This is a very edited version of the review article Syndicalism, Marxist Myth and Anarchist Reality and will appear in the new issue of Black Flag (235) out May 2012. This issue also has as its revolutionary reprint Kropotkin’s 1890 article The Use of the Strike and this is included at the end of this review.
To what extent do the revolutions and revolts of 2011 reflect a new world born from the shell of the old? Were these revolts of the internet generation -- networked individuals? Are people not only using new technology but becoming transformed by it? For anarchists, what lessons can we learn and to what extent must we transform our organisational methods and structures?
Andrew Flood looks at Paul Mason's recently published book 'Why its kicking off everywhere' and in particular what Mason has to say about the internet and the emergance of the 'Networked Individual'. The recording is of a WSM supporters meeting in Dublin and the 20 minute presentation is followed by 30 minutes of discussion on the ideas outlined, roughly as summarised below.
Ha-Joon Chang, while an economist, is not of the mainstream neo-classical brand. This becomes very obvious reading his extremely useful book 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism.
This is an introduction to Proudhon’s economic ideas and their influence on revolutionary anarchism. It is a chapter from the new book The Accumulation of Freedom: Writings on Anarchist Economics (AK Press [US/UK], 2012) and its blurb (in part) states: “The only crisis of capitalism is capitalism itself...
The revolutionary union the Industrial Workers of the World marked its 100th anniversary in 2005. To mark this event a conference was held at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, hosted by the editors (Fred Lee and Jon Bekken) of this useful selection of talks from it. As well as an introduction, this book has ten chapters on a wide range of subjects on something often not much discussed in radical circles, political economy.
“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
As we prepare to enter the 3rd month of the Occupy movement a commonly heard criticism targets both the lack of clear demands and the related complex and often drawn out decision making processes being used at Occupy General Assemblies. These criticisms however miss the point, against the traditional left with its package of pre-set answers (best before 1917) what makes Occupy different is that process of decision making through assembly. The assembly form is not just a way of making decisions but also a different form of doing politics. The Assembly is in embryo the different world we seek to create.
As with any book, some errors were not spotted before publication. This page lists these few minor mistakes as well as the appropriate corrections. The errors are few and far between and not that significant.
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.