A series of letters sent to the Weekly Worker on anarchism and Marxism. Most were printed as they were sent, although letter one was cut in half (letter two, which aimed to include the material cut when the first one was published was not if I remember correctly). The letters end up, as usual, discussing the Russian revolution and the Makhnovists).
Bloody Brilliant! This pamphlet does a remarkable job in summarising the basic ideas of Bakunin, the founder of revolutionary anarchism. It covers his analysis of modern class society, the state, bourgeois democracy and Marxism. On every count, Bakunin has been vindicated.
May 1st is a day of special significance for the labour movement. While it has been hijacked in the past by the Stalinist bureaucracy in the Soviet Union and elsewhere, the labour movement festival of May Day is a day of world-wide solidarity. A time to remember past struggles and demonstrate our hope for a better future. A day to remember that an injury to one is an injury to all.
Our account of past struggles is not simply a history lesson. Nor is it an attempt to mire the current struggle and movement in past controversies. Rather it is an attempt to contribute to a movement which must look to the future. To do so, we must understand the past in order to avoid repeating previous mistakes and dead-ends. To move forward we must reject those ideologies which failed in the past but which linger on like the undead in our midst.
Some will dismiss our leaflet by saying that it is "old news," that "lessons have been learned" and so on. This does not stop them praising the Bolshevik revolution and urging us to repeat it! Nor does it stop them justifying and rationalising Bolshevik actions, so creating the atmosphere in which such actions will be repeated. Nor does it stop them using the same slogans as before, such as "nationalisation under workers' control," a "workers' government" and so on.
Kropotkin argued that every "new economic phase demands a new political phase." This meant "if we want the social revolution, we must seek a form of political organisation that will correspond to the new method of economic organisation. . . . The future belongs to the free groupings of interests and not to governmental centralisation; it belongs to freedom and not to authority." 1
These are exciting but dangerous times. On the one hand, a vigorous new movement seems to be emerging which combines politics with a sense of imagination, one which is often explicitly anti-capitalist. On the other, the forces of reaction appear to be making in roads across Europe. Capitalism in its most naked form, neo-liberalism, is rampant [This was originally written in 2001, how times have changed!]
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