Ramsey Kanaan

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Ramsey Kanaan is a Scottish-Lebanese businessman and publisher of anarchist literature, best known as the founder of AK Press, a distributor of anarchist and left-wing books[1] named after his mother Ann Kanaan.[2] He left AK in 2007 to found a new radical publisher PM Press.[2][3]


Kanaan has republished works of classical anarchist theory by Peter Kropotkin, Alexander Berkman, Rudolf Rocker, Emma Goldman and others, while encouraging the development of contemporary anarchist theory and analysis, such as libertarian socialist Murray Bookchin's Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm, which he commissioned for AK Press.[citation needed]

In the 1970s and 1980s, he was involved in the early UK anarcho-punk musical scene, which featured bands including Crass, Conflict, Poison Girls, Rudimentary Peni, The Mob, Zounds, Omega Tribe and Flux of Pink Indians. He was the lead singer of the Scottish anarcho-punk band Political Asylum.[4] He currently belongs to Folk This,[5] a music group which performs folk songs from the past, including from the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, and the Paris Commune, and hymns and anthems of the Industrial Workers of the World. Kanaan is a music reviewer for the punk magazines Maximum Rock'n'Roll and AMP Magazine.[6][not in citation given]

He was involved in the 1980s and early 1990s in the movement against the poll tax in Britain. Community Resistance, the Edinburgh anarchist group with which Kanaan was an organizer,[7] played a key role in the five-year anti-poll tax campaign that ultimately brought down Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.[8][not in citation given][9]

Kanaan is one of the founders of the San Francisco Anarchist Book Fair[10] and is a member of Bound Together Books in San Francisco, a collectively run anarchist bookstore.[11]

Kanaan is a contributing host and producer at KPFA.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Kanaan is married to broadcaster Sasha Lilley, host and founder of Against the Grain.[12] He resides in Oakland, California. He is passionate about hatha yoga, Vipassana meditation, decolonizing foodways, and the health and well-being of our oceans.


  1. ^ Ramsey Kanaan, "What's Wrong with the American Anarchist Movement?" Jura Books, Sydney, 2005. Archived April 27, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ a b Rachel Swan, "Beyond Anarchy at PM Press" East Bay Express, February 18, 2009. Retrieved 19.01.2015.
  3. ^ Tobias Carroll, "I’ve Got a Name: Music, Radical Politics, and AK Press" The Experience Music Project Pop Conference, April 2008
  4. ^ "Political Asylum: 1982-1987"[dead link]
  5. ^ "About Folk This!" Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Maximum Rock'n'Roll
  7. ^ Ramsey Kanaan, "When Fucking the System isn't Enough" Renewing the Anarchist Tradition Conference, Institute for Social Ecology, August 2001
  8. ^ BBC "1990: Violence flares in poll tax demonstration"
  9. ^ Solnit, David. "Poll Tax Rebellion – How One Small Scottish Anarchist Group Toppled the Thatcher Government: An Interview by David Solnit with Ramsey Kanaan." Globalize Liberation: How to Uproot the System and Build a Better World Ed. David Solnit. City Lights Publishers, 2003.
  10. ^ Channel Zero, "Interview with Ramsey Kanaan on the San Francisco Anarchist Book Fair" March, 2007
  11. ^ Jerome Gold, Obscure in the Shade of Giants Black Heron Press June, 2001
  12. ^ a b "About Against the Grain" (last visited May 8, 2009). Archived August 15, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.