David Graeber

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Person.png David Graeber   Unwelcome GuestsRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(academic, anarchist)
David Graeber.jpg
BornDavid Rolfe Graeber
Died2 September 2020 (Age 59)
Venice, Italy
Alma materPhillips Academy, State University of New York at Purchase, University of Chicago
Interests • anthropology
• money
• bureaucracy
• debt
Anarchist anthropologist whose work included Debt, The First 5000 Years. Died suddenly in 2020.

David Graeber was an anarchist anthropologist. He won a Fulbright fellowship and completed a Ph.D. on magic, slavery, and politics in Madagascar. He was a relatively prominent academic (whose rehiring Yale turned down in 2007 - defying a petition of almost 5000 signatories), currently employed by Goldsmiths, University of London.


David Graeber was the son of self-taught working-class intellectuals.


David Graeber had a long history of activism including a role in protests against the World Economic Forum in New York City in 2002, membership in the IWW. He was one of the organizers of the Occupy Wall St. protests.[1]


David Graeber died after a short illness in 2020, that was initially not judged to be serious.[citation needed]


He has published various non-fiction books, including a highly impressive theory of money and debt, entitled Debt, The First 5000 Years, which was read on Unwelcome Guests.[2]


A Document by David Graeber

TitleDocument typePublication dateSubject(s)Description
Document:The Centre Blows Itself Up: Care and Spite in the ‘Brexit Election’Article13 January 2020"Antisemitism"
Boris Johnson
Jeremy Corbyn
Alastair Campbell
Dominic Cummings
UK/2019 General Election
At the 'Brexit Election' of 2019, the anti-Semitism accusations weakened Labour immensely. But it was the – ultimately successful – campaign by the 'Centrists' to force Jeremy Corbyn to reverse his position on Brexit that really ensured their party’s electoral disaster.


Quotes by David Graeber

Bureaucracy“are not themselves forms of stupidity so much as they are ways of organizing stupidity — of managing relationships that are already characterized by extremely unequal structures of imagination, which exist because of the existence of structural violence. This is why even if a bureaucracy is created for entirely benevolent reasons, it will still produce absurdities.”The Utopia of Rules
Police“If you think about it, this is a really ingenious trick. Because when most of us think about police, we do not think of them as enforcing regulations. We think of them as fighting crime, and when think of “crime,” the kind of crime have in our minds is violent crime. Even though, in fact, what police mostly do is exactly the opposite: they bring the threat of force to bear on situations that would otherwise have nothing to do with it... most violent crime does not end up involving the police... Why are we so confused about what police really do? The obvious reason is that in the popular culture of the last fifty years or so, police have become almost obsessive objects of imaginative identification in popular culture. It has come to the point that it’s not at all unusual for a citizen in a contemporary industrialized democracy to spend several hours a day reading books, watching movies, or viewing TV shows that invite them to look at the world from a police point of view, and to vicariously participate in their exploits. And these imaginary police do, indeed, spend almost all of their time fighting violent crime, or dealing with its consequences.”
Social change“Normally, when you challenge the conventional wisdom — that the current economic and political system is the only possible one — the first reaction you are likely to get is a demand for a detailed architectural blueprint of how an alternative system would work, down to the nature of its financial instruments, energy supplies, and policies of sewer maintenance. Next, you are likely to be asked for a detailed program of how this system will be brought into existence. Historically, this is ridiculous. When has social change ever happened according to someone's blueprint?”