Book Review: The Traffic Power Structure

by Planka.nu collective
ISBN: 978-1-62963-153-0
PP: 96
Publisher: PM Press

This is one of my favorite PM Press books. Compact, loaded, an accessible theoretical dynamite exploding US conceptions of identity and liberty based on automobiles. There are lovely indications of how constructions of liberty and freedom, driving fast on the road, are actually complete systems of domination and control.

Authored by the Planka.nu collective and translated by Gabriel Kuhn, this is a great text for anyone interested in spicing up their direct action with a little theory. By resituating and questioning one of the basic premises of modern culture — the automobile — they offer an excellent model for individuals or groups who want to critique and reframe current political and social currents. There are powerful connections to Ivan Illich and autonomy and some good class analysis.

There are several reasons to get this text. One, the writing and translation are efficient, powerful, and persuasive. There are several bumps, but overall it’s quite tight. Second, unlike bloated or self-aggrandizing theory or political screeds, the TPS authors want you to understand what they are saying so that you, too, can challenge automobility. Third, this is theory from a localised situation of enacted resistance and mutual aid. For direct action groups or individuals seeking to increase their theory or explore ways to articulate or frame their positions, TPS offers a great model.

I love this book and have read it a couple times. Yes, you can find it for free as a PDF, but having the hard copy just feels better.

by Luther Blisset

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