Compiled by CrimethInc.
Reviewed by Zack Furness
Saturday, December 1 2001, 2:45 PM
"Something happened when we quit our jobs, quit paying rent, quit paying for anything. And I think back to the early days--when, like clouds parting to reveal the sun, we discovered what we were told had been lies, that it could be done, and that it would mean the time of our lives."
This quotation, taken from the introduction, provides a sneak preview into the world of Evasion--a world of overflowing dumpsters, political critiques, theft, excitement and freedom. Evasion is a collection of zines (of the same name) that have been compiled for the first time by the good folks at the CrimethInc. collective. While the book is focused upon the life of the author, it is more acutely focused upon the politics of living and the ability for people anywhere to drastically change the ways in which they live. The book serves as a both a blueprint for how to live outside of the market (providing excellent advice about dumpster diving, squatting, stealing from corporate chain-stores, freight hopping, etc.) and also as an invitation to those of us trapped within the tumultuous cycles of work and consumption. However, the real essence of this book lies within the energetic and meaningful prose of the nameless author. While the entire book is well written, there are moments of pure genius that arise without warning, sweeping the reader into a different reality and a whirlwind of possibility. During these moments, the nameless author could best be described as the Thoreau of the alley--one who lives/writes deliberately, and without regrets.
It is very fitting that the author remains nameless because the idea being explored is that this could be you, your life, your freedom. Evasion suggests that true living can be done both for oneself, and in spite of capitalism. More specifically, Evasion teaches one how to live off of the excesses of the capitalist system without contributing to it. The ethic presented to the reader is one of exploiting the exploiters--robbing the corporate chain-stores in order to get by, eating what others carelessly throw away, living in houses that people abandon, riding for free on trains that penetrate our landscape. Despite the daily schemes of theft, food acquisition, travel and housing, the author is explicit about his/her devotion to a lifestyle free from animal products, drugs or alcohol. Individuals that live a straight edge, vegan lifestyle sometimes have the tendency to assume the 'holier than thou' platform of which they can be critical of a cruel and sinful society. However, the author's lifestyle choices are reflected upon in order to demonstrate to readers that one can live this lifestyle without compromising one's ethics.
Furthermore, the author never expresses contempt for individuals who subscribe to the capitalist system, but instead, he/she fully understands the symbiotic relationship at work. The author is not critical of people because they are blind sheep or mindless sinners, but because they have not challenged their worldview and they are not living lives of enjoyment. While the author's lifestyle may not be appealing to everyone, it is well worth your time to explore what it is about, and how one can accomplish it. Regardless of your disposition, the message presented throughout is one that all of us can understand: life can be exciting, positive, fun, daring, and rewarding....but only if we let it be.
Evasion not only challenges the assumptions of what it means to survive, but also what it means to truly live. It is not too often that a book can really change the way in which you think about life.
This is one of those books.
Evasion is available from AK Press