What do you do when the people making the right arguments are manipulative idiots who have so alienated people that opening their mouths amounts to emptying a full magazine into their feet? I started this blog having just come from an Occupy Dame Street assembly. There I witnessed a car crash in glorious slow motion. I felt that deep sort of frustration, where you can see just what is coming, but remain unable to tear your eyes off the disaster as it wrecks all around.
The issue on the face of it is simple. The Dublin Council of Trade Unions has called a pre-budget demonstration and would like Occupy Dame Street to co-organise it. Straightforward enough you'd imagine. Well it's a bit more complex. Occupy Dame Street is a little prone to an anti-union line that is about the 8/10's Sunday Independent’s 'The unions are running the country' and 2/10's the left communist’s 'The unions are running the country.' [Ian, please note that the 2/10's comprises both people who might be called 'autonomists' with some degree of accuracy: Everyone else, there are two in-jokes there, only one of which most of you have a hope of working out].
Like I suspect many other Anarchist Writers readers I've been playing a part in the Occupy X movement. I've visited the camps in Cork & London (and published photos of both, see end of this post for images from Dublin) and I've been active from time to time in the General Assembly of the Dublin Camp at Occupy Dame Street. I also did a workshop on activist journalism at Occupy Dame Street about 10 days back.
Well, I was on strike twice this week (over attempts to gut our pension scheme). Lots of leaflets and union membership forms were handed out. It did not seem that busy (good sign, but hard to tell as I normally don't hang around outside my work!). It did reinforce why management always seem to have enough money for contractors (they were more than happy to cross our picket line). One member of another union refused to cross, which was nice.
These are two letters and part of a leaflet related to an article in the SWP's Socialist Review by Pat Stack on anarchism. This article (imaginatively entitled "Anarchy in the UK?") was an attempt to rubbish anarchism in the eyes of the "anti-globalisation" movement at the time (around 2000). It had to be the worse article on anarchism I had seen (and there is stiff competition for that honour, usually from the SWP!).
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 Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci once wrote that "to tell the truth is a communist and revolutionary act." If we apply this maxim to most of the left, we would draw the obvious conclusion that it is neither communist nor revolutionary.
The Socialist Workers Party is a classic example of this mentality, rewriting history to suit the recruitment needs of the organisation. One of the ironies of history is that the Trotskyists who spent so much time combating the "Stalin school of falsification" have created their own.
This Open Letter was written for indymedia.ie in answer to an open letter from one of the main leninist parties in Ireland that had been published in their newspaper. I'd recently had some bad experiences of their methodology in other struggles which inspired me to write this reply to explain why such a letter was not going to get a positive response. Later in that year and across the following two we were going to have a lot of problems with this party in the anti-war movment and then the European Union summit protests of 2004.
Anarchism stands for 'Socialism from below'. This means a future society where ordinary working men and women control all aspects of that society.
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