It’s a confusing time to be on the revolutionary left as everything that was once certain turns to smoke. Technology has overturned & remade what constitutes effective communication & the construction of networks. Quite how to organise is no longer clear and old reference points of 1917, 1936 or even 1968 no longer provide definitive models.
The left is fond of military analogies so I want to open this piece with the observation that poor generals plan for the last war rather than the next one. Those militaries that planned for World War Two by perfecting the trench systems that dominated World War One had their powerful & expensive fortifications quickly overwhelmed in the opening weeks of the war through blitzkrieg. And in turn by 1943 Blizkrieg was defeated though defence in depth at Kursk.
The ConDem’s are continuing the grand tradition of all governments in proving anarchists right. Our so-called representatives are able to ignore their manifestos, are free to break their solemn pre-election pledges and vote as they like – all in the interests of capital.
The Scottish Federation of Anarchists (SFA) was a class struggle anarchist grouping of the early 1990s. It produced Scottish Anarchist magazine, a regular newsheet of the same name and had groups in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and elsewhere. It lasted a few years. Here is the draft of its Aims and Principles, which I wrote. The idea was to produce a basic statement of what we stood for to explain our ideas to others. It was accepted by the SFA, but with a different, and shorter, preamble.
An article from the early 1990s on ideas how the Glasgow Anarchist Group should organise itself. Rejecting both synthesis and platformist organisation, it suggests what is often called a class struggle anarchist group in the UK. Hopefully this will be of interest to others.
ANARCHISTS SAY that capitalism can not be reformed away. We say it must be overthrown through a revolution. Many people however believe that the failure of the Russian revolution of 1917 shows revolutions just replace one set of rulers with another. The failures of the revolutions in Nicaragua, Iran and Cuba to fundamentally change life for the workers of these countries seems to point to the same thing. So why all this talk of revolution?
As anarchists we hope to help build communication between people engaged in struggle and inform a growing proportion of the real facts of such struggles. The other related aspect of an anarchist newspaper will be articles that sketch out what anarchism aims to achieve and what the history and current reality of that struggle
This collection of three articles examines the how and why of anarchist organization. The first is a look at the success of the network form of organization and why it came to the fore in the current period. It then looks at the limitations of that form or organization. The second articles looks at the organizational practise of the first anarchists and in particular Michael Bakunin and re-examines the different levels of organization he advocated in the light of the needs of anarchists today. The final article asks why anarchist organizations mostly failed to grow following the collapse of the left and identifies why large scale anarchist organizations are essential if we are to ever overthrow capitalism.
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