Chris Gray's review of Bakunin's Statism and Anarchy is, in general, good. It covers the weaknesses of Bakunin's ideas (namely his personal prejudices against Germans and Jews and for Slavs) and indicates its underlying strengths. As part of his review, Gray raises some serious political points which, I feel, need answering. We should thank Chris for allowing us to bring into clear light some of the key differences between anarchism and Marxism.
Or "how not to critique anarchism."
As in any social movement which is just beginning, the current "anti-globalisation" movement is a mixed bag with contradictory ideas. This is to be expected. Only by discussion and activity can those involved clarify and develop their political ideas. Part of this process is, by necessity, a critical evaluation of past social movements and revolutionary ideals. This, again, is natural and positive. Without discussion, without honest and principled debate, any movement with stagnant.
With anarchism back in the news thanks to the student protests in 2010, we can expect the likes of the Socialist Workers Party to have patronising and inaccurate articles on "anarchism" in their publications. This is a reply to a previous article from 10 years ago but which repeats all the usual nonsense typically spouted by Leninists on "anarchism." This article was serialised in Freedom.
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.
Two letters to a Leninist newspaper, Socialist Resistance, refuting their claims about anarchism. It covers the usual Leninist distortions about anarchism. The second letter was turned into a pdf file (included) which was handed out at their subsequent meeting on anarchism. For more discussion of these issues, section H of An Anarchist FAQ is recommended.
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.
Allan Engler is a lifelong trade unionist and social activist. Some may recognise his name from his 1995 book Apostles of Greed when he first presented his critique of capitalism and his alternative. His new booklet Economic Democracy: The Working-Class Alternative to Capitalism expands on this vision, which he terms “Economic Democracy” but which others would call market socialism.
A vision of a co-operative commonwealth has always been at the heart of socialism. The earliest socialists suggested co-operative villages, workplaces and consumer societies. This was echoed by libertarian socialists.