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.
“The exploitation of man by man, someone once said, is theft” (Pierre-Joseph Proudhon)
The global Occupy movement has struck a cord with the 99% and the ruling class is worried. Rightly so, given that the neo-liberal agenda that has allowed the few to become obscenely rich at the expense of the rest has come under fire.
“In drawing up theses for the international workers’ movement we must not begin with theoretical, preconceived assumptions… If we forsake the empirical road and take one that is doctrinaire, we cannot create an International of struggle.”
Augustin Souchy at the Second Congress of the Communist International
This is a useful little pamphlet, giving as it does a short introduction to various rebellions against Bolshevik dictatorship by the proclaimed “ruling class” of that regime, workers and peasants.
In science, the validity of a theory is generally proven by its predictive abilities. A theory suggests certain outcomes and if those predictions come to be then it becomes accepted as valid. Strangely, while proclaiming itself "scientific socialism" (something, like so much else, appropriated from Proudhon), Marxists refuse to apply that criteria to the socialist movement.
On the 9th of July 2011, I debated “Marxism and Anarchism” with the Leninist group Alliance for Workers Liberty at their conference “Ideas for Freedom.” This article is based on the notes I used and reproduces the content of my contribution.
This leaflet was created to hand out at a debate on “Marxism and Anarchism” at the AWL 2011 “Ideas for Freedom” Conference.
This is an impressive addition to anarchist history. The reports, debates and motions of the International Anarchist Congress held between August 24th and 31st 1907 are available for the first time in English. This meeting, held in Amsterdam, attracted the leading lights of the international libertarian movement – Errico Malatesta, Emma Goldman, Pierre Ramus, Christiaan Cornelissen and a host of others (Peter Kropotkin being an notable absentee).
The Strange Case of Tory Anarchism, Peter Wilkin, Libri Publishing
What have we done to deserve this? Really, what is it about anarchism which makes non-anarchists think they can appropriate our names and attach it to the ideologies and systems anarchism developed in protest against? Thus we have an oxymoron like “anarcho-capitalism” inflicted upon us, despite anarchism’s well-known socialist credentials.
Anarchists have long argued that capitalism is an economic system riddled with contradictions. These express themselves in recurring crisis, when these contradictions expose themselves for all to see in generalised misery they produce.