Spies, voting machine companies and Big Pharma are still your natural enemies.

Cory Doctorow
10 min readDec 18, 2021


A membership card for the “Anti-Beatle Association.”

Rest in Power, David Graeber

The unexpected death of the anthropologist David Graeber in September 2020 ripped a hole in the hearts of millions of us whose lives had been altered by his books (Debt, The Utopia of Rules, Bullshit Jobs), his work as an anarchist organizer (he is credited with coining “We are the 99%”), his teaching, and his friendship. It’s hard to overstate the mark Graeber left on this world during his too-brief tenure here.

For those of us who counted him as an inspiration, 2021 brought a small consolation: the posthumous publication of The Dawn of Everything, a mammoth book he co-wrote with the archaeologist David Wengrow in a collaborative process that took most of a decade to come to fruition.

Dawn is a book that challenges the orthodoxy on the origin, nature and inevitability of inequality and hierarchy, and the relationship these bear to different modes of production, such as urban vs rural, farmer vs hunter-gatherer, etc. It is a vast thesis that weaves together anthropology, archaeology, botany, evolutionary science, geology, and disparate other subjects to make a complex argument that touches on nearly every part of human political economy, leisure, liberty and history.

It’s a genuinely remarkable book, as is evidenced by the different angles stressed by reviewers. If you haven’t read Dawn and you tried to figure out what it was about from the reviews in the Guardian, the New York Times, and Crooked Timber (part 1, part 2), you could be forgiven for thinking that they were reviews of three different books. But if you’ve read it, it makes perfect sense that the reviews would have to pick an area of focus for any summary, and that there are many such foci to choose from.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

I could easily write a dozen essays inspired by this book (and I might end up doing so), but the thing that struck me most off the bat is Graeber and Wengrow’s account of the origin of differences between cultures.

The Davids have set out to overturn the orthodoxy of the “agricultural revolution,” a kind of…



Cory Doctorow

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