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Podur’s “The Path of the Unarmed”


Frequent Z writer Justin Podur is in the midst of writing what appears to be a young adult-aimed book of fiction (sci-fi perhaps) that seeks to relate what a “leftist,” revolutionary point of view is. Entitled “The Path of the Unarmed,” the story describes the political education of a youth named Unarmed Warrior who receives tutelage in the ways of the revolutionary left from a mysterious visitor.
The book, available freely online but as yet unfinished, is eminently readable and amazingly deep. Without ever being overly intellectual or dull, Podur manages to offer highly illuminating leftist understandings of a wide range of modern concerns: alienation of labour, environmental devastation, modern sexuality, etc. He offers a litany of excellent insights that would stimulate and challenge any thoughful reader, and could even be fruitfully read by some young teenagers.
I’ll excerpt a few exceptional bits. Here, Podur obliquely addresses the roots (and solution to) the “incel” phenomenon:
“But what if you just can’t take [romantic] rejection?”
“If you can’t take the rejection, something must have gone wrong for you in terms of the social support you need to thrive in your life. We would try to get you more resources so that you could safely try some easier things with low risk of rejection and build yourself up so you can strive to do more. That’s what a real community, a real movement, would do. Not collect lonely people on messge boards, feed them with hatred, and unleash them to do violence against others.”
Here, he powerfully addresses the question of doing good in the world by adopting a spiritual approach:
“If you want to be truly spiritual… you must free yourself from propaganda and you must understand the powers that are exerting themselves on you, your mind, and your body. That is a prerequisite for meaningful spirituality, not an alternative to it.”
And a wise lesson about how the economy in the real world works:
“Bill Gates made his fortune by establishing a monopoly over an aspect of the computer business–he’s done many things to prevent competitors from entering [the market] He probably set computer technology back in order to prevent competition.”
Podur’s story proceeds to offer the reader a glimpse of a post-revolutionary society, describing what its more-perfect economy is like, what workplaces are like, what romantic and sexual relations are like. And so on. Not surprisingly it references Participatory Economics and draws on Podur’s earlier related writings on post-revolutionary vision–all of it exceptionally easy to read though dealing with quite sophisticated ideas.
It goes on to give a fascinating and perceptive critique of anti-oppression theory, identity politics and more. Hugely ambitious for any writer of fiction, but much more so for someone writing for young adults.
My own feeling is that, even though the work is not finished, it could be fleshed out more to add a little more scenery and drama (and length) for those readers who want a pleasant, more languid, read. Either way though, highly recommended.

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