If Pirate Enlightenment is a desert island, it is also a sandpit for play, a creative space for generating new ideas.

David Graeber’s newly published book Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia isn’t his best, and may leave many readers feeling marooned.  

Yet, my colleague Josh Reno and I were glad we read it. In this article on Inside Story, we connect ideas from Pirate Enlightenment to Graeber’s previous works and life, and point out directions for ongoing conversations.  

Arguably, like Graeber himself, pirates made use of the ordinary capacity for conversation to speak as if another world did exist, and as a way of bringing alternatives into being.  

Take this article as a starter for deeper dives into Graeber’s work in our forthcoming book As if already free Anthropology and Activism After David Graeber