The ABC of Anarchism

The ABC of Anarchism - Alexander Berkman

Author: Alexander Berkman

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“Our social institutions are founded on certain ideas; as long as the latter are generally believed, the institutions built on them are safe. Government remains strong because people think political authority and legal compulsion necessary. Capitalism will continue as long as such an economic system is considered adequate and just. The weakening of the ideas which support the evil and oppressive present-day conditions means the ultimate breakdown of government and capitalism. Progress consists in abolishing what man has outlived and substituting in its place a more suitable environment.”

Alexander Berkman,
The ABC of Anarchism

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What is Anarchism?

What is Anarchism - WSF (2nd ed, ZB)

Author: Workers Solidarity Federation

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Anarchism is a working-class political ideology that opposes all forms of exploitation and domination. We think that all people are fundamentally equal, and should have the freedom to live their lives as they see fit, as long as they do not harm the freedom of other people. We oppose capitalism because it is a vicious profit system that is based on the exploitation of the workers and the poor to the benefit of a small class of bosses and top government figures. We do not think that the government (courts, army, bureaucracy) is there to look after everyone, instead its role is to keep the ruling class in power. Racism, sexism and other forms of special oppression are primarily the product of capitalism and the State. In South Africa, racism was created to “justify”, strengthen and deepen the exploitation of the Black working class in the mines, farms and factories.

First published by the Workers Solidarity Federation, circa 1995. Johannesburg. South Africa.
Second revised edition, 1997 printing. Johannesburg. South Africa.
Third edition, 2003 by Zabalaza Books and Bikisha Media Collective
This edition 2018 by Zabalaza Books
Inspired by the Workers Solidarity Movement pamphlet, Anarchism and Ireland.

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Only the Workers can free the Workers

Only the Workers can free the Workers - WSF (2nd ZB edition)

Author: Workers Solidarity Federation

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We anarchists believe that at the moment we live in a capitalist society in which there are two major classes: the ruling class and the working class. The bosses own the factories, banks, mines, shops, etc. we don’t. All that we have is our ability to work. The workers and our families need to work for the bosses in order to earn a living. We workers create all the wealth. We build the roads, the schools, the buildings, the goods in the shops. We transport and work in the shops. But we do not control the wealth that we create. We make cars, but very few of us ever own one. We clean the university offices, but we do not receive a decent education. We grow the food on the land, but we starve. We build the houses of the rich, but live in shacks and one room buildings. The bosses suck up the wealth that the workers make. Everything that we make is owned by the bosses. If we build cars, the cars belong to the company. The bosses sell the goods. The bosses use a little bit of the money from the sales to pay us. They keep the rest for themselves. Workers dig gold from the ground, but we earn only a few hundred Rand a month. The bosses sell the gold, and make millions of rand. This is how the bosses exploit the workers. We get a low wage, and so becomes poor. The boss gets a high profit, and so becomes rich. The wealth of the bosses is stolen from the working class.

First published by the Workers Solidarity Federation, 1997 printing. Johannesburg. South Africa.
Second edition, 2003 by Zabalaza Books and Bikisha Media Collective
This edition 2018 by Zabalaza Books

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Building a Revolutionary Anarchism

Building a Revolutionary Anarchism - Colin O’Malley

Author: Colin O’Malley

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This article speaks on the failures of the anarchist movement to grow, despite numerous social movements, and how models of anarchist political organisation point the way forward to overcome these pitfalls.

Two recent events have thrown critical challenges at the anarchist movement in the United States: the financial crisis that began in 2008 and the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement that sprung from that crisis in 2011. If the current political and economic outlook in this country is any indication, we should expect more frequent moments like these to arise. “Movement Moments” such as these are critical opportunities for revolutionaries of any variety, left or right. Acceptance of the status quo seems impossible.

This piece originally appeared in Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, No. 27 (2014) published by the Institute for Anarchist Studies.

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The Principles of Anarchism

The Principles of Anarchism - Lucy Parsons

Author: Lucy Parsons

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A lecture by Lucy Parsons, in which she
outlines her views on anarchism.

It was during the great railroad strike of 1877 that I first became interested in what is known as the “Labour Question.” I then thought as many thousands of earnest, sincere people think, that the aggregate power, operating in human society, known as government, could be made an instrument in the hands of the oppressed to alleviate their sufferings. But a closer study of the origin, history and tendency of governments, convinced me that this was a mistake; I came to understand how organised governments used their concentrated power to retard progress by their ever-ready means of silencing the voice of discontent if raised in vigorous protest against the machinations of the scheming few, who always did, always will and always must rule in the councils of nations where majority rule is recognised as the only means of adjusting the affairs of the people. I came to understand that such concentrated power can be always wielded in the interest of the few and at the expense of the many. Government in its last analysis is this power reduced to a science. Governments never lead; they follow progress. When the prison, stake or scaffold can no longer silence the voice of the protesting minority, progress moves on a step, but not until then.

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AgitProp #19 – Anarchism and Crime

AgitProp #19 - Anarchism and Crime - SolFed

Author: Solidarity Federation

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Anarchists are repeatedly accused by our detractors of being idealist, utopian and impractical. One matter, on which the libertarian perspective is often seen as particularly weak, is the thorny topic of crime. It would be fair to say that the “all coppers are bastards”-type polemics trotted out with tiresome regularity do little to convince the potential convert that revolutionaries have anything of substance to offer as an alternative to the crime ridden status quo. Moreover, this continued failure to adequately address lay people’s basic questions with satisfactory answers surely goes a long way in explaining why contemporary anarchism has failed to gain a firm foothold in the collective psyche of the population. Here we offer one contribution towards addressing this perennial shortcoming.

From Direct Action, Issue #46, magazine of the Solidarity Federation
www.direct-action.org.uk

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Spanish Anarchism and Women’s Liberation

Spanish-Anarchism-and-Womens-Liberation-Temma-E-KaplanAuthor: Temma E. Kaplan | File size: 291 KB

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One of the chief ideological disputes between the Spanish anarchists and communists during the Civil War was the anarchists’ insistence that social revolution should not be postponed until the war was won; without the social revolution (by which they meant the defeat of authoritarianism and the transformation of all social and economic relations and institutions to permit maximum individual freedom, self-expression, and spontaneity), the war would be just another changing of the guard, so familiar in Spanish history.

Source: Journal of Contemporary History,
Vol. 6, No. 2 (1971), pp. 101-110.
Originally found at: the Zine Library, http://zinelibrary.info/
(attempted access on 12 September 2015, showed the site to be down)

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[Leaflet] Thinking about Anarchism: What is Anarchism? – John Flood

[Leaflet] Thinking about Anarchism: What is Anarchism? - John FloodAuthor: John Flood | File size: 111 KB

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Many people still associate anarchism with violence, destruction, and chaos. This concept of anarchism is reinforced by the corporate media, and those that have an interest in discrediting the anarchist movement. Needless to say this idea of anarchism bears no correlation with the society we are trying to create, or our struggle to achieve it.

From Workers Solidarity, the magazine of the Irish Workers Solidarity Movement

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AgitProp #16 – Back to the Future: Imagining the Future in a Post-Revolutionary World

AgitProp #16 - Back to the Future: Imagining the Future in a Post-Revolutionary WorldAuthor: Unknown | File size: 356 KB

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Much of our time as revolutionaries is spent on the routine of organising in the here and now – building a campaign, organising for a demonstration, planning for a trade union meeting…. Too often we don’t manage to take time to step back from the here and now and imagine or envisage what it’s all about. But without dreaming, without imagining a future the daily humdrum can seem dispiriting.

To really build for a new society, we need to try to paint a picture of what that society might look like. And we need to be able to suspend reality and dream of the sort of future that might be out there. This article is the first of what we hope will be a series which will attempt to look into a post-revolutionary future and imagine what such a society might look like.

Read and dream….

This article is from Issue 3 of the Irish Anarchist Review – published May 2011

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Socialism from Below: Defining Anarchism

Socialism from Below: Defining Anarchism by Lucien van der Walt and Michael SchmidtAuthors: Lucien van der Walt and Michael Schmidt | File size: 759 KB

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This pamphlet is Chapter 2 of the book Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism (Counter-Power vol. 1) by Lucien van der Walt and Michael Schmidt. All references to other chapters throughout this text are references to that book.

See: black-flame-anarchism.blogspot.com

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Marxism, Freedom and the State

Marxism, Freedom and the State - Mikhail BakuninAuthor: Mikhail Bakunin | File size: 478 KB

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Liberty for all, and a natural respect for that liberty: such are the essential conditions of international solidarity.

~ Bakunin

This collection of extracts from the works of Mikhail Bakunin are taken from his writings touching on his controversy with Marx over the nature of the state and its role in the liberation of the international working class.

Written between 1867 and 1872, many of Bakunin’s predictions about the outcome of following the authoritarian communist road have been proven valid by the actions of Leninist tyrants across the world.

Text from LibCom | libcom.org

This second Zabalaza Books edition July 2014

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