An Anarchist FAQ version 14

An Anarchist FAQ version 14.0

AFAQ is now at release 14.0 So What's New at the FAQ?

This revision was made as part of getting the second volume of the FAQ ready for publication. That is now complete. Volume 2, which includes sections G to J, is now complete and ready for AK Press to proof-read and get the layout done. This is, as would be imagined, a great relief! Given that AFAQ was formally released on the 19th of July 1995, this means that this is the climax of over 15 years work.

So what is there in this release?

First of, there is section J.4. This is a revision of section on "What trends in society aid anarchist activity?" Various sub-sections have been merged and renamed, along with significant changes to content. No drastic changes there, with some material cut as it was somewhat out of date.

Then there are the revisions to section J.5, the section on "What alternative social organisations do anarchists create?" There is lots of new material on anarchist community organising and industrial struggles as well as on co-operatives. In terms of community unionism, more examples are added to that section (including rent strikes in Chile during the 1920s and another example of the CNT in Spain in the 1930s). The section on industrial unionism now contains some of the material cut from section J.3.8 plus some new material and quotes. A discussion on “path dependency” is included in the section on why co-operatives will not compete away capitalism (in spite of their greater efficiency). There is some re-arranging of the material on mutual banking between sections, but no significant changes.

There is a significant revision to section J.6 ("What methods of child rearing do anarchists advocate?"). Various sub-sections have been merged and renamed, along with significant changes to content. The basic argument of the section remains, but with a change in emphasis. Also a fun Emma Goldman quote at the end!

Section J.7 ("What do anarchists mean by social revolution?") has been somewhat revised. One sub-section has been renamed, but no significant changes in content have been made.

Finally, a slight change to section J.2.8 (on "Will abstentionism lead to the right winning elections?") to include a quote from the late, great, Howard Zinn on the importance of organising rather than voting.

This release has been made on International Women’s Day. In fact it is the 100th International Women's Day (being agreed at the second International Conference of Working Women held in Copenhagen after being proposed by Clara Zetkin, leader of the 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party in Germany). Demonstrations marking International Women's Day in Russia proved to be the first stage of the Russian Revolution of 1917 -- March 8–12 (February 23–27 Old Style) -- and, significantly, the Bolsheviks opposed them.

This was symbolic of the success of the vanguard party (following on from its disastrous activities during the 1905 revolution). Yes, after much resistance by the party bureaucracy, Lenin managed to drag his party into seizing power in November (October Old Style) 1917 and then the limitations of Bolshevism and its ideological prejudices and assumptions became glaringly obvious. As Kropotkin suggested, Bolshevism’s contribution to revolutionary theory was how not to conduct a revolution! In just over six months, the Bolsheviks were exercising a de facto party dictatorship over a state capitalist economy (ideological recognition of party dictatorship came in 1919). If that is a successful revolution, what would an unsuccessful one be like?

Lastly, in terms of AFAQ the introduction to volume 2 will be put on-line when we have information of when it will be published. There may be a review of the last 15 years (like the one done for the 10th anniversary) on July 19th this year, depending on work-loads.


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