The Freedom of Things

An Ethnology of Control

How the Structure of Dependence in Modern Society Has Misinformed the Western Mind


Peter Harrison

1st edition, February 14, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-9832982-1-2
Paperback,  TSI Press

Available at online bookstores everywhere.

On Amazon, click here.

On Barnes & Noble, click here.

Click here for the book’s Facebook page.


About the Book

With remarkable clarity, Peter Harrison reveals how the assumed escape from ‘savagery’ the Enlightenment promised was ever only the transformation of humans into commodities freely available in a market: independence and autonomy being replaced by dependence and drudgery. His interpretation of the lifestyles of peoples who lived both before the rise of the State and in societies that still live independently of State administration is both original and non-patronizing. Within this framework is developed a convincing challenge to the orthodoxy that the feud in pre-State societies was a means of social control, and this leads into a radical re-evaluation of violence in non-State societies. Inspired by the profound critiques of capitalism posed by Indigenous perspectives, it also serves to chronicle the left’s persistent inability to provide a theory that does not ultimately align itself with the paternalist and controlling ethos at the core of Enlightenment, progressivist, and expansionist values.


Indigenous, Anthropology, Marxism, Violence, Knowledge, Community, Peace, Economy, Feud, Labor


All fascinated by the social organization of hunter-gatherer lifestyles and anyone interested in the implications for the radical left of Marx’s insistence on humanity’s defining animal disposition.


Critical Social Theory; Sociology & Anthropology; Economics & Political Science; Global Studies & Political Economy

About the Author

Peter Harrison, has long involvement in far left, anarchist and Indigenous discourse and is co-author of Nihilist Communism: A Critique of Optimism in the Far Left (Ardent Press, 2009). He currently lives and works in Australia. For more information or to schedule an interview with Peter Harrison please email at:



Introduction: Four Preludes

Prelude One
Prelude Two
Prelude Three
Prelude Four: Autonomic

1. Notes for the Imagining of the Paradoxical Contra-Historical Society

Interesting Materialism versus Comedic Teleology
Imagining the Tribal Zone
The Neoplastic, or Extrasomatic, State
History Idling

2. The Emancipation of Production

The Productivist Discourse
They Know Not What They Do
Replacing People with Sheep
Communal Production
Production for Use
Centrifugal Society

3. The Emancipation of Labour

The Liberation of Things
The Precipice of Sovereignty
The Cruelty of Humanism
Population Mystifications
Not Enduring

4. Community and Community-ism

Data and Discombobulation
Gulag Channel
Community Style

5. An Outline of a Theory of Limits

Fields and Fences
The Faulty Mechanics of Hope

6. Dependence

Accidental Community
Real Movement-ism Reloaded
Immaterial Community

7. Violence

A Passionate Devotion
Violence, Morality, and Other-Control
Feuding as Social Control
Holy Freedom’s Laws
Violence and Civilisation
Circumscription and Unification
Enemy Relations
The Gender Factory
Refractory Logic
Self-Control and Pain

8. The Prize of Peace and Leaderless Leninism

The Philosopher’s Truncheon
For Violence?
You Don’t Know What’s Good for You

9. Perspective (with Willie Brim) 211

Perspective and Soul
Modes of Living
Villages in Time
Civilisation and Capitalism
Marching from Left to Right with Rousseau and Hobbes
Indigeneity and Capitalism

10. Knowledge

The Indigenous Obstacle
Knowing and Learning
Gift or Similitude