fighting for ourselves

29 12 2012

By Adam Ford

This new Solidarity Federation pamphlet is a thorough, fascinating and inspirational introduction to the anarcho-syndicalist group’s perspective – taking in the past, present and projected future of workers’ struggles in the UK, Europe and the world. But while it presents a compelling argument for the necessity of SolFed’s tactical approach, Fighting For Ourselves does not make a strong case for SolFed itself being the primary locus of that fightback.

Perhaps the single most impressive thing about the work is the seriousness of the approach taken. Clearly a lot of thought, preparation and debate have gone into it. What’s more – the writers clearly perceive that: a) the current economic crisis presents both challenge and opportunity, and b) mass rank-and-file organisation is now self-evidently the most ‘realistic’ way forward.

Read the rest of this entry »

the spanish revolution

15 12 2012

In memory of Terry Liddle, a member of the Commune who died recently, we republish his short summary on the Spanish Revolution.

In 1931 the Spanish King Alfonso XIII, having supported the discredited dictator Primo de Rivera, went into exile. The Second Republic was proclaimed. Articles 26 and 27 of its new constitution placed stringent controls on church property. Members of religious orders were banned from the ranks of teachers. It also allowed divorce, gave women the vote and stripped the nobility of its special legal status. It established a legal procedure for the nationalisation of public services, banks and railways.

In 1934 Catalonia attempted to establish its autonomy with the Spanish Federation. This moved was suppressed and Catalonia only became autonomous in 1936. Its government was called the Generalitat.

Read the rest of this entry »

what kind of anti-capitalist organisation is iops?

18 10 2012

Michael Albert is visiting England next week to promote IOPS  (International Organisation for a Participatory Society). Duvinrouge asked him some questions.

duvinrouge - Michael, you are coming to England to speak at the Anarchist Bookfair to promote IOPS, what is the key message you want to get across?

I am speaking three times at the bookfair, I believe, once on Anarchist economics, once on a three book set called Fanfare for the Future, and once about IOPS. For that matter, the trip is also taking me to Norway, Sweden, Belgium, France, Germany, and Denmark for broadly similar talks.

For the anarchist economics panel, my focus will be that to be anarchist economics ought to understand existing economic relations and their implications but with special emphasis on the structures that impose restrictions on people controlling their own lives, including, in particular, markets and corporate divisions of labor – not simply private ownership.

The Fanfare talk, I suppose, is to introduce the books, so I will focus on trying to explain their motivation and broadly what they encompass, including how they try to provide the tools needed for full and effective participation in analyzing current relations, envisioning and advocating goals, and developing organization and program for reaching those goals. I will also try to summarize a cross section of the insights in the books.

The third talk, the IOPS presentation, is where I will try to make a case that IOPS visionary, strategic, and organizational commitments are, or at least in my view ought to be, highly congenial to anarchists. I will discuss the features that I think justify that claim. There will also be time, and I look forward to answering questions that raise people’s concerns about IOPS.

Read the rest of this entry »

the power to make change for ourselves

8 11 2011

David Broder was unconvinced by ‘Anarchism: a Marxist Critique’ by John Molyneux

There’s a bloke who sells the News Line at Broadway Market on Saturdays: Britain’s first-ever colour daily paper is still going strong, it seems. Only thing is, the News Line is the paper of a small Trotskyist group called the WRP, and it could only afford to go full-colour because Colonel Gaddafi was paying for it. So seeing the seller as I walked to the Anarchist Bookfair on the 22nd – two days after the Libyan dictator met his end – I was keen to debate the merits and demerits of this news. He stuck to his (pro-Gaddafi) guns, angrily telling me I “didn’t understand the Marxist theory of the state” and was an “anarchist”.

Some people don't make a great case for the school of thought they claim to uphold

After the bookfair us Communards went for some much-needed refreshments at the Wetherspoons. At the pub a slightly drunk ‘anarchist’ started chewing my ear off about how much he hated Marxism (“Marx was a totalitarian”) but also his sadness about the passing of Colonel Gaddafi, who had, at least, built lots of hospitals. I wondered whether either this anarchist or my Broadway Market Marxist were particularly good representatives of their schools of thought, or indeed honest in their criticisms of others. Read the rest of this entry »

where next for network x?

22 01 2011

Daniel Harvey reports on the activist gathering in Manchester

Some members of The Commune joined a gathering of about 300 activists, anarchists and anti-capitalists at Manchester Metropolitan University to discuss ways forward in the struggle against austerity and cuts. Understandably, there was much enthusiasm for making connections with allied groups from around the country, finding ways of offering practical assistance, as well as moral support.

A large part of the gathering was taken up with discussions about what people thought Network X should be in terms of its organisation and aims. The facilitators gave an initial political basis in the form of the People’s Global Action hallmarks’. These rejected all forms of discrimination based on patriarchy and racism, but seemed to forget about class and disability (both of which became points of contention later on) as well as capitalism, imperialism and ‘feudalism’. Read the rest of this entry »

revolutionary syndicalism in interwar europe, monday 29th

28 11 2010

Following our successful series of talks on political organisation over the summer, where we looked at series of communist political organisations (Kamunist Kranti in India, Potere Operario in Italy and finally at Big Flame in England), The Commune is hosting a series of discussion forums on revolutionary syndicalism.

The second meeting of this series is: Monday, November 29, 7pm: Revolutionary Syndicalism and Anarcho-Syndicalism, the Interwar European Experience. Like the other meetings in the syndicalism series, Monday’s will be held in The Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8ND. Read the rest of this entry »

bristol reading group 24th october: spaces outside capitalism

17 10 2010

The next session of The Commune’s Bristol reading group on alternatives to capitalism will be looking at spaces outside capitalism. We will be discussing the value – or otherwise – of ‘autonomous zones’ and ‘co-operatives’ as a means of working outside the system.

From 6pm on Sunday 24th October at Café Kino, Ninetree Hill, Stokes Croft. Recommended reading below – email for more info. Read the rest of this entry »

berns salonger demo 22nd october; cleaners’ defence committee meetings

17 10 2010

Call-out from the Cleaners’ Defence Committee

On Thursday 21st October the Cleaners Defence Committee will hold a mass meeting covering cleaners struggles in UK and Berns, at UCL. After the demonstration on Friday 22nd October there will be a social in aid of the Berns workers at LARC, and there will be 3 meetings that will include coverage of these struggles at the Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday 23rd October. Read the rest of this entry »

marx, bakunin and the question of authoritarianism

14 09 2010

David Adam casts doubt on the traditional narrative regarding the question of authoritarianism in the Marx-Bakunin conflict

Historically, Bakunin’s criticism of Marx’s “authoritarian” aims has tended to overshadow Marx’s critique of Bakunin’s “authoritarian” aims. This is in large part due to the fact that mainstream anarchism and Marxism have been polarized over a myth—that of Marx’s authoritarian statism—which they both share.1

Thus, the conflict in the First International is directly identified with a disagreement over anti-authoritarian principles, and Marx’s hostility toward Bakunin is said to stem from his rejection of these principles, his vanguardism, etc. Anarchism, not without justification, posits itself as the “libertarian” alternative to the “authoritarianism” of mainstream Marxism. Because of this, nothing could be easier than to see the famous conflict between the pioneering theorists of these movements—Bakunin and Marx—as a conflict between absolute liberty and authoritarianism. This essay will bring this narrative into question. It will not do this by making grand pronouncements about Anarchism and Marxism in the abstract, but simply by assembling some often neglected evidence. Bakunin’s ideas about revolutionary organization lie at the heart of this investigation. Read the rest of this entry »

manchester class struggle forum 19th july: anarcho-syndicalism

9 07 2010

The next Manchester Class Struggle Forum will host a discussion on Anarcho-Syndicalism.

What is anarcho-syndicalism? How do anarcho-syndicalist unions differ from existing workers’ organisations? Do anarcho-syndicalist strategies have any value in 21st Century Britain, or are they 80 years out of date and several countries out of place? Or are anarcho-syndicalist strategies the tool we need to fight back in a period of savage cuts and declining living standards? Read the rest of this entry »

council communism and anarcho-syndicalism: 30th may bristol reading group

29 05 2010

The next Bristol reading group session will be on Sunday 30th May at 6pm in Café Kino on Ninetree Hill, Stokes Croft, Bristol.

The session will discuss views of council communism and anarcho-syndicalism. Suggested background reading below. All welcome: email for more info. Read the rest of this entry »

council communism and anarcho-syndicalism: bristol reading group 30th may

3 05 2010

The next Bristol reading group session will be on Sunday 30th May at 6pm in Café Kino on Ninetree Hill, Stokes Croft, Bristol.

The session will discuss views of council communism and anarcho-syndicalism. Suggested background reading below. All welcome: email for more info. Read the rest of this entry »

the earth is not flat: a review of ‘against nationalism’

29 04 2010

by David Broder

Against Nationalism is a pamphlet produced by the Anarchist Federation. The introduction explains that the document has its origins in arguments around the time of the winter 2008-09 war in Gaza, at which time AF argued for a ‘no state’ solution to the conflict.

The pamphlet scores a number of easy points against Trotskyist cheerleaders for movements such as Hezbollah and Hamas and details such groups’ anti-working class credentials. However the far more interesting question posed by the pamphlet is the distinction between ‘nationalism’, ‘resisting imperialism’ and ‘class politics’. Read the rest of this entry »

what is ‘militancy’?

26 02 2010

by Nathan Coombs

The word militancy’s usage generally refers to non-state military groups pursuing an ideological programme. In the way in which the term is deployed in the media, it is thus used as an ambiguous half way house between more legitimate terms such as, say, activist group, and the more loaded term extremists, or terrorists. Read the rest of this entry »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 16,925 other followers