William Powell (author)

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William Powell (born 1949) is the author of The Anarchist Cookbook, which he has since disowned. He and his wife are currently the co-directors of Education Across Frontiers, an organization aimed at the professional development of international school teachers and administrators.


The Anarchist Cookbook (1971)[edit]

  • This is a brutal book – sensual, rude, coarse, and cruel. However, it is timely and well-written, even witty.
    • Introductory words by P. M. Bergman.
  • Power is not a material possession that can be given, it is the ability to act. Power must be taken, it is never given.
    • "Foreword".
  • Anarchy can no longer be defined as freedom from oppression or lack of government control. It has gone further than that. It has become, especially in the young people today, a state of mind, an essence of being. It can be expressed as "doing their own thing", or maybe just having the freedom to do or not to do.
    • "Foreword", p. 29.
  • If I could come out in this book and advocate complete revolution and the violent overthrow of the United States of America, without being thrown in jail, I would not have written The Anarchist Cookbook, and there would be no need for it.
    • "Introduction".
  • Believe it or not, bananas do contain a small quantity of Musa Sapientum bananadine, which is a mild, short-lasting psychedelic.
    • The fictitious bananadine recipe, from chapter one, "Drugs".
  • Treat any and all drugs with respect, for most of the time they are stronger than you are.
    • Chapter One: "Drugs", p. 59.
  • I detest symbolic protest, as it is an outcry of weak, middle-of-the-road, liberal eunuchs. If an individual feels strongly enough about something to do something about it, then he shouldn't prostitute himself by doing something symbolic. He should get out and do something real.
    • Chapter Two: "Electronics, Sabotage, and Surveillance", p. 62.
  • A revolution was never fought, throughout history, for ideals. Revolutions were fought for much more concrete things: food, clothes, housing, and to relieve intolerable oppression. … I know of no one, outside of Patrick Henry, willing to die for an abstraction.
    • Chapter Two: "Electronics, Sabotage, and Surveillance".
  • A government creates its own revolution. There can be no revolt without it.
    • Chapter Two: "Electronics, Sabotage, and Surveillance".
  • It seems acceptable today to scream for revolution, without any concept of what will follow it. This is just what the forces at large want, for who will follow a man who doesn't know where he's going?
    • Chapter Two: "Electronics, Sabotage, and Surveillance", p. 62.
  • Since shotguns are not military weapons, your local sporting goods dealer will have good information about them, as long as you aren't black, Spanish, or a white freak.
    • Chapter Three: "Natural, Nonlethal, and Lethal Weapons".
  • Never before have self-suffiency and education been so important, and they are virtually inseparable from survival.
    • Chapter Three: "Natural, Nonlethal, and Lethal Weapons".
  • I have no patience with individuals who claim that everything will be beautiful if guns and other weapons are outlawed. These people do not have the foresight to realise that, if weapons are made illegal, they will only be possessed by enemies of the people (i.e., the army, the police, outlaws, and madmen). I feel very strongly that every person should be armed and that he or she should be prepared for the worst. There is no justice left in the system. The only real justice is that which the individual creates for himself, and the individual is helpless without a gun. This may sound like the dogma expounded by radical right-wing groups, like the Minute Men. It is.
    • Chapter Three: "Natural, Nonlethal, and Lethal Weapons", p. 78.
  • Unity is the only way in which the people of this country can overthrow the fascists, communists, capitalists, and all the other assholes who claim running a representative government is so difficult. The emphasis has been taken from the Bill of Rights and placed on the type of interpretation of the Constitution that best suits the people in power.
    • Chapter Three: "Natural, Nonlethal, and Lethal Weapons", p. 78.
  • There is only one purpose in hand-to-hand combat, and that is to kill. Never face an enemy with the idea of knocking him out. The chances are extremely good that he will kill you.
    • Chapter Three: "Natural, Nonlethal, and Lethal Weapons", p. 79.
  • It is easy to pick up a weapon and in a short while become a reasonably good shot. This makes it extremely easy for the virtually untrained individual to come to believe that he is an expert in ballistics. False confidence is as great a fault as no confidence at all. In the training of any freedom fighters there must be a merger of fearlessness and intelligent caution. A dead man has no use for confidence or courage.
    • Chapter Three: "Natural, Nonlethal, and Lethal Weapons", p. 92.
  • I would warn against holsters with devices for quick-draw. Devices always fail when you need them most.
    • Chapter Three: "Natural, Nonlethal, and Lethal Weapons", p. 92

* If we must have violence, then let it be real violence, let it be for survival, and not halfway around the world for "ideals".

    • Chapter Three: "Natural, Nonlethal, and Lethal Weapons", p. 93.
  • If a man is to be a man, a free spirit unto himself, he must arm himself not only with weapons but with ideals and concepts he is willing to die for.
    • Chapter Three: "Natural, Nonlethal, and Lethal Weapons", p. 93.
  • Every person, whether in wartime or not, should keep a pistol and rifle in his house at all times. If a person is not going to protect himself, and wishes the government to do it for him, how can he complain when the government decides to protect itself against him, and executes him?
    • Chapter Three: "Natural, Nonlethal, and Lethal Weapons", p. 93.
  • One of the greatest myths of all time is that so-called civilized man is no longer an animal, and for that reason can strive to disarm himself and grow fat with false concepts.
    • Chapter Three: "Natural, Nonlethal, and Lethal Weapons", p. 93.
  • It has got to the point in this country where men believe they are men, just because that is their birthright. If that is true, then, by the same logic, an animal held captive in a zoo is still a free wild beast.
    • Chapter Three: "Natural, Nonlethal, and Lethal Weapons", p. 93.
  • A man must make himself a man, he must enable himself to stand up on two legs, unafraid because he has confidence in his own security and in his own power. There is no place for emotionally or politically cuckolded people in the society I speak of. Survival of the fittest.
    • Chapter Three: "Natural, Nonlethal, and Lethal Weapons", p. 93.
  • This chapter is going to kill and maim more people than all the rest put together, because people just refuse to take things seriously.
    • Chapter Four: "Explosives and Booby Traps".
  • If people depend on the state to make laws, to prevent themselves from doing what they really want to do, then I say these people are nuts. I mean to say, if I really want to do something, I don't particularly care if it's legal, illegal, moral, immoral, or amoral. I want to do it, so I do it. The only laws a man can truly respect are the ones he makes for himself.
    • "Postscript", p. 153.
  • Have you noticed that the people who actually make the laws, the people in power, never make laws for themselves?
    • "Postscript", p. 153.
  • Prison does strange things to men. Although its purpose is to break the free spirit of a man, in many cases it just adds fuel to the fire that has never been and will never be extinguished.
    • "Postscript", p. 153.
  • I can fully appreciate the fury and anger that a person can feel when put through a humiliating experience by a cop, but I would recommend strongly that a person maintain his cool, and in no circumstances lose his temper. If you lose your temper, you are playing right into the cop's hands.
    • "Postscript", p. 154.
  • When confronted on the street by the police, a common emotion for a person to feel is fear. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, it's quite healthy, but do not show it to the cop. If the cop realizes you are afraid of him, he will take full advantage of the situation and play on your fear. This doesn't mean act belligerently, and, for God's sake, do not be a high school or college lawyer, and explain to the cop what he can and cannot do. He can do anything, he's got the gun.
    • "Postscript", p. 154.
  • When you are put into a big city jail, you will probably be frightened, lonely, humiliated, and completely drained of any spirit. This is normal. Talk to the fellow prisoners, write, play cards, read, doodle, do anything to keep your mind occupied, but above all do not verbalize your misfortune to your fellow prisoners. Each one of them has had similar situations, and is sick of thinking about it.
    • "Postscript", p. 157.
  • A word of advice: If you get the choice between the upper and lower bunks in a cell, choose the lower. Prisons do not turn off their lights at night, and I spent a sleepless night, without a mattress, with a five-hundred-watt bulb shining directly into my eyes.
    • "Postscript", p. 157.
  • The best advice possible on any legal matter is (1) maintain your cool and temper, (2) keep your mouth shut, (3) get a good lawyer and call your family, and (4) never forget what you have been through. Allow the fear and loneliness, and hatred to build inside you, rather than diminish with time. Allow your passions to fertilize the seeds of constructive revolution. Allow your love of freedom to overcome the false values placed on human life. For the only method to communicate with the enemy is to speak on his own level, using his own terms. Freedom is based on respect, and respect is earned by the spilling of blood.
    • "Postscript", p. 157.

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