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Akiva Orr, described by many as 'the godfather of Israeli anarchism', has passed away.
Akiva “Aki” Orr was an author, activist, and general anti-Zionist troublemaker who had pursued a radical vision for a democratic one state solution in Palestine and Israel for over 50 years.
Originally a refugee from Berlin in the 1930s, Akiva Orr became politicised during the Israeli governments brutal treatment of striking sailors in Israel during the 1950s. He went on to join the Communist Party and became a radical leftwing activist. As he would explain later “There is no better political education than being attacked by police batons”.
Far too independent to be told what to do by anyone, Aki left the Communist Party to found the Matzpen group in the 1960s. Aki and the Matzpen were radical anti-zionists: they fought for a one state solution and total equality between Israelis and Palestinians. They went much further than other Israeli groups- actually publicly aligning themselves with leftwing Palestinian factions, notably the Palestinian Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP).
Aki was a prolific writer: His writings have been invaluable for foreigners and Israelis alike seeking to understand why their country is so bizarre. Much of his writing concerns the contradictory character of the Israel as a secular but Jewish state, and how Israel's militarism has been a used as a tool of social engineering by the state.
His later writings concerned his support for direct democracy- In his book “Politics Without Politicians” he laid out his vision for an Athenian-style democratic system that would use modern technology to let everyone participate in the political process.
Aki remained active and true to his beliefs right up until the end, and has been an inspiration and a guiding spirit to the current generation of Israeli anarchists.
All his works (in English and in Hebrew) are available online for free at http://www.akivaorrbooks.org/
"Matzpen", the documentary (much of which consists of interviews with Akiva Orr) is available here
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