“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.
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.
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 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.
As discussed in “The Symbols of Anarchy” in An Anarchist FAQ [AK Press, 2008] anarchists at first used the red flag as their symbol of choice, with the Black Flag slowly replacing it over a period of many decades from the 1880s. Both flags, however, had their roots in working class struggle and protest, both were anti-capitalist symbols raised by working class people in revolt against exploitation and oppression.
Editor of The Voice of the People, and senior editor of The People.
The Voice of the People, October 29, 1849
Translator: Shawn Wilbur
Editor: Iain McKay
QUESTION. What is Socialism?
ANSWER. It is the doctrine of universal conciliation.
Translator: Jonathan Mayo Crane
In the depths of Louisiana, whither I have been driven by the vicissitudes of my exile, I have read in a United States paper, “La Revue de l’Ouest,” a fragment of correspondence between you, P. J. Proudhon, and a Madam Hericourt.
Some words of Madam Hericourt, cited in that paper, cause me to fear the feminine antagonist may not have the strength — polemically speaking — to cope with her brutal masculine adversary.
As part of our agitation in the student protests, anarchists have raised the necessity of direct action such as occupations. This has a wider application than students and anarchists have long argued that as part of any social revolution workers would need to occupy their workplaces.
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