Over the last couple of years the WSM has been going through a process of re-examining the way we relate to people interested in what we have to say. Alongside this we have recently begun to try and get a better understanding of what it is we do. Both these processes have some major implications in reaching an understanding of what the usefulness of a revolutionary organisation is in the modern era of broad and loose social networks.
There is a long standing and in my view pretty counter productive hostility between left political organisations and the radical counter culture. This piece grew out of a reply to ‘The Limit’s of the Counter Culture’ which is part of an online publishing project of Chekov Feeney. Chekov was a member of the WSM for many years and is using this project to slowly reveal his new analysis of radical politics and other ways things might be done. I’ve known him for about 15 years since we met in one such counter cultural political space, the short lived Garden of Delight in Dublin. In any case what started out as a somewhat annoyed response to his piece sat on my drive and grew and grew as I edited it into something more constructive and ended up far too long to post as a comment on his site. So rather than wasting it I’m posting it here.
Back before many people had discovered the internet a small group of anarchists including this writer began work on the Anarchist FAQ. We were tired of having to provide the same basic explanations over and over as new people joined the news net group, alt.soc.anarchism, so we began the FAQ so newcomers could be referred to it.
I soon dropped out of the project as did most of the others involved but a small group, with Iain McKay the most active among them, kept working on it year after year. In the sixteen years that have passed the FAQ has became huge and an exhaustive argument for anarchism.
August saw a gathering of a couple of thousand anarchists from all over the globe in St Imier, Switzerland. This small town was the site of the founding of the Anarchist International in 1872, the gathering was organised to commemorate this event and involved dozens of political, organisational & cultural events. As part of this gathering Anarkismo, the international network that the WSM is the Irish section of, held both a European conference and a global gathering. [In Italian]
This is a write up of a talk given at the 2011 London Anarchist bookfair. Its blurb was: “Why bother with dead anarchists? For some, while anarchists may do beards well we don’t do theory. This is wrong. We do have theory, as my An Anarchist FAQ and Property is Theft! show. Anarchism is a rich source for analysing and transforming society. Join me in exploring why dead anarchists are worth reading.”
I’ve tried to keep it as close as possible to what I remember of what I said, based on the same notes.
On March 26th it quickly became obvious that the TUC anti-cuts demo was going to be nearly as big as the 2003 anti-war march. It was an impressive show of numbers – not strength, though, as there was no coherent call for turning words into action. That is why getting our message of direct action (strikes, occupations, etc.) is key. The notion that “peaceful” and “dignified” walking from A to B will change policies was, surely, put to rest for this generation when Blair took us into Iraq?
In December 2010, I and a few other people published 200 copies of Anarkismens ABC, a Danish translation of Alexander Berkman's ABC of Anarchism. Since I had never tried publishing a book before, I have decided to note down some of my experiences with the process, in the hope that it might be useful for others thinking about experimenting with small-scale self-publishing.
This is an excellent, if flawed, little pamphlet. Written by a group of people in the Solidarity Federation, the UK section of the International Workers Association, it is an attempt to explain how a libertarian communist society could work. The aim of such a society is "to guarantee liberty and equality" for all and, unsurprisingly, these principles are at the heart of both their model and their criticism of capitalism.
I attended the last of the student demos against the tuition fees increase on the 9th of December. It was a well attended march, with students and workers across the country protesting their anger. Many of the student marchers came straight from their occupations. These were people protesting against austerity using direct action, something every anarchist advocates.