He is one of the co-founders of the Retort collective, an association of radical writers, teachers, artists, and activists, which has existed in the Bay Area for the past two decades. He co-authored Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War, along with T.J. Clark, Joseph Matthews and Michael Watts. He co-edited Resisting the Virtual Life: The Culture and Politics of Information. And he is working on a book about The Long Theft: Episodes in the History of Enclosure. He is also the editor of Archives of Dissent, to be published by PM Press. In 2012, he published The Green Machine - a world history of the bicycle.
He is married to the archivist Gillian Boal.
- Boal, Iain and James Brook, Resisting the Virtual Life: The Culture and Politics of Information City, (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1995)
- As member of Retort, Blood for Oil? (2005)
- As member of Retort, Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War
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