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Always Carry A Book

Alice Ross

In memory of Walter Benjamin, radical German Jewish philosopher who committed suicide in 1940 after completing the ‘Theses on the Concept of History’ from which this quote’s taken, and dedicated to all people who are victimised and killed by states. We have lived through and witnessed such horrors, in the last few years alone, that I often feel overwhelmed and exhausted, and I don’t think this is unusual. My understanding of history ‘against the grain’ (in Benjamin’s terms) or ‘from below’ helps me to maintain perspective; reminding me that actions have consequences, and that I’m not alone. One of the things I cherish about living in both Jewish and anarchist circles is our dedication to reading, discussing, and questioning everything together, so ‘always carry a book’ is also practical advice.

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A pink floral background with a line drawing of a white hand holding an open book. The left page features the quote: “The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the ‘state of emergency’ in which we live is not the exception but the rule. — Walter Benjamin, 1940.” On the right page, “ALWAYS CARRY A BOOK,” with the first letter of each word in pink, spelling out: “ACAB.”

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