Platformists and especifists have made their point, it’s been written a million different ways. Its time to move beyond advocating for the anarchist organisation, and get to it. The task of this tendency is not to convince others with words, the task is to actually build the organisation and develop its politics… most people in this debate have given little time to what would actually be the strategic orientation of such an organisation, other than it’d be an especifist/platformist organisation…. Its time we got our shit together and actually started discussing the ins and outs of an anarchist organisation that has real strategic and tactical unity.
When a revolutionary begins organising in a shop, the first step is typically to agitate one’s co-workers. In our minds we see a step-by-step process wherein our agitation leads to other opportunities, recruitment, committee building, until we have power and an organisation. The problem is that for most workplaces, this way of thinking gives the wrong impression. In some workplaces, particularly in production, there’s a state of constant agitation and actions burst out before committees ever get built. In other workplaces agitation just never seems to take hold. What do we do in these situations? What do we do when agitation takes years without much visible result, or in places where workers are clearly in the retreat or a passive state?….
The reason why millions and millions of people, especially young people, are unemployed and live in poverty around the world is because of the capitalist and state systems. Capitalism and the state lead to all sorts of problems including unemployment, inequality and the oppression of workers, women and people of colour….
‘Anarchy’ is a word that has a very bad reputation these days. The mere mention of it causes most people to imagine nothing but rows of burning cars, roaming gangs of looters and senseless violence in the streets. Anarchy, we are told, means nothing but the very breakdown of social order itself. Yet is this the truth? Is government really the vital foundation of our society? To say that we would tear our society apart without a government standing over us, brandishing the stick of authority, is to say we are in reality no more than helpless infants.
- The Problems Posed by the Concrete Class Struggle and Popular Organisation: Reflections from an Anarchist Communist Perspective by José Antonio Gutiérrez D.
- The 1973 Strikes and the birth of a New Movement in Natal by Nicole Ulrich
- Education for Revolution: Anarcho-Syndicalist Pedagogy for South Africa by Mandy Moussouris and Shawn Hattingh
- Broken World, Broken People: We Need a Path to a better Future by Shawn Hattingh
- Tearing Racism up from its Capitalist Roots: An African Anarchist-Communist Approach by Bongani Maponyane (ZACF)
- Revolutionary Anarchism and Political Parties by the Alliance of Libertarian Communists (ACL), Mexico
- Direct Action: 14 ways to improve your job
- The Importance of a Liberatory Process: a Critique of Fetishized Militancy by Scott Nappalos
- Do you really want to overthrow capitalism? by Nate Hawthorne
- How to Stop UnemploymentSolidarity against Sexism on the Shop Floor by Angel Gardner
- Statement on the Informal Anarchist Federation and terrorist tactics by the Anarchist Federation (England, Wales and Scotland)
- What is Direct Action? by Organise! (Ireland)
- The Need of Our Own Project: On the Importance of a Program in the Libertarian Political Organisation by Organisación Socialista Libertaria (Argentina)
- Less Talk, More Regroupment: A Piece on Revolutionary Strategy and getting organised by Jasper Conner
- End Poverty and Unemployment by Soundz of the South
- What? No Government? by the SolFed
- Comrade Peasant,Listen! by the CNT/FAI
- The Case for Community Syndicalism by Keir Snow
- The Specific Anarchist Group by the Wild Rose Collective
- Thinking about Anarchism: Policing and the Law by the Workers Solidarity Movement
- Thinking about Anarchism: Anarchist Organisation by the Workers Solidarity Movement
- Where Do We Go Now?: Towards a Fresh Revolutionary Strategy by NEFAC
- Grassroots Unionism in the Workplace by Frances Tuuloskorpi
- Anarcha-feminist Manifesto
- Prioritising Kids in the Anarchist Community by Amberraekelly
- Feminist Class Struggle by bell hooks
- Anarchy and Organisation: A Letter to the Left by Murray Bookchin
- To Act, to Love, to Think: Letter of América Scarfó to Émile Armand
- Why May Day Matters: History with Anarchist Roots by the ZACF & Friends
- What is the Social General Strike? by the SolFed
- Know Your Enemy [leaflet redesigned]
- What an Egalitarian, Anarchist Society Might Look Like by Max
- Anarchism and Communism by Luigi Fabbri
- Call for An Anarchist Manifesto about Palestine and A Syrian Anarchist Speaks [2 Essays]
- Are You An Anarchist? – the answer may surprise you!
- Why Women Should Join Political Organisations by Dolores
- The Hidden Struggle Behind the World Cup by the Workers Solidarity Movement [for the 2010 WC in South Africa]
- The Political Organisation and the Mass Organisation by Keir Snow
- Introduction to Anarchist-Communism by the Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement
- Evict the Bosses and Politicians: Stop Privatisation Now by the BMC of South Africa
- No War but the Class War by the BMC/AU of South Africa
- Against the WCAR Fraud: Anarchism, Racism And the Class Struggle [4-page leaflet produced by the BMC/AU of South Africa for the World Conference Against Racism in 2001]
- Fundamentals of Anarchism: What is Direct Action?
- Why You Should not Trust Your School
- Trade Unionism vs. Anarcho-Syndicalism
- ‘For Reasons of State’ by Mikhail Bakunin
- What is Free Association?
- Organisation by Affinity Groups
- Anarchism and Immigration
- The Methods of Anarcho-Syndicalism
- Towards Anarchism by Errico Malatesta
- Principles of Revolutionary Unionism
- The Anti-Racist History of Anarchism
- Can the Church Help You by Alexander Berkman
- Why do Soldiers Die for their Country?
- The Idea of Good Government by Errico Malatesta
- Class War and Solidarity in Liberty by Mikhail Bakunin
- The Anarchist History of Fighting for Womens Freedom
- Anarchism and the History of the Black Flag
- Towards a New World
- Government? by Ricardo Flores Magon
- Class War – not Race War!
- Without Bosses by Ricardo Flores Magon
- How to Fight Racism
- Are Anarchists Dangerous?
- What is Mutual Aid?
- How are decisions made in an emergency in an Anarchist Society
- The Great Money Trick
- The Philosophy of Atheism by Emma Goldman
- Justification of Anarchism
- Know Your Enemy
- Anarchism and Freedom
- What is Revolutionary Unionism (Anarcho-Syndicalism) by George Woodcock
- What is Anti-Authoritarianism?
- Every Prisoner is a Political Prisoner by A//Political
- A Brief History of Capitalism
- Durruti is dead, yet living by Emma Goldman
- Who Cares about Collectives?
- Anarchism and Youth Liberation by Marc Siverstein
- Building a Revolutionary Movement: Why Anarchist-Communist Organisation? by Adam Weaver
- Towards the Creation of an Anarchist Movement: From Reactive Politics to Proactive Struggle by Beggar
- Anarchism & the Platformist Tradition
- A Guide to Community Organising / Door Knocking Tips
- What is Anarchist Feminism? Do we need a Feminist Consciousness? by Anna Aniston
- The Federation of Anarchist Groups of Spain – To everyone [F.A.I. Manifesto]
- What is Anarchism? by John Flood [WSM]
- Towards a History of Anarchist Anti-Imperialism by the ZACF
- Divided and Ruled – Racism and Sexism by the Class War Fed.
- Anarchist Study Groups
- The Specific Organisation by Jaime Cubero
- Why Anarchism?
- Rethinking Crimethinc
- Towards More Effective Political Organisations: The Role of Leadership in an Anarchist Society
- For Revolutionary Struggle, Not Activism
- Anarchism and Organisation by Errico Malatesta
- Now it’s Your Turn: Strike Action [A3]
- Anarchist Communism: An Introduction
- “Attentats” and Anarchist Practice [Resolution adopted at the Anarchist Communist Congress, October 1906, London]
- Do Anarchists Believe in Freedom? by Wayne Price
- Sexism in the Anarchist Movement
- Thinking About Anarchism: Why Class Matters
- Understanding Community Organising
- Anarchism, Sex and Freedom: The Fight against Capitalism, Patriarchy and Repressive Religious Morality by the Solidarity Federation
- Legacy of Struggle: Re-examining the “Survival Programs” of the Black Panther Party
- Anarchist Communism by Johann Most
- On Anarchist Debate
- The Problems Posed by the Concrete Class Struggle and Popular Organisation: Reflections from an Anarchist Communist Perspective by José Antonio Gutiérrez
- Strengthening Anarchism’s Gender Analysis: Lessons From The Transfeminist Movement
- Neighbourhood Associations: A Personal Experience by Larry Gambone
- Religion and Revolution by Wayne Price
- Black Flame: the Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism [leaflet advertising the book]
- Capitalism is the Disease – Anarchism is the Cure
- Anarchist Communist Theory and Strategy & the Anti-Organisational Deviation: The Communist Origins of Anarchism by Adriana Dadà [FdCA]
- Principled Bakuninism by Larry Gambone
- Earthquake in Haiti – Solidarity with the Haitian People: Neither Crocodile Tears nor Silence…! by José Antonio Gutiérrez D.
- Thinking about Anarchism: Why “Class” is so Important
- Thinking about Anarchism: The Need for an Anarchist Organisation
- What is ‘The Platform’ and what does is offer to Anarchists today
- Why the Black Flag? by Howard Ehrlich
- Women’s Liberation through Working Class Revolution by the ZACF
- Queer Liberation & Anarchist Communism by Thomas Giovanni [NEFAC]
It is reported on all sides that the winter will mean terrible misery for the working classes all over the country. Aged people say that they have never seen such a want of employment at the beginning of the autumn as is seen now. Skilled workers are as badly affected as the unskilled ones. Nothing similar has been seen in this country since the terrible years of 1884 to 1886, when from one-fifth to nearly one-fourth of the Trade Unionists in the shipbuilding trade were unemployed, when nearly the same proportion of unemployment prevailed in all the leading trades; and when groups of unemployed men were walking all the day long in the streets of London and all the great cities singing their heart-rending, misery songs.
It is no use hiding our heads in the sand, as do the ostriches. The bare truth must be told. It is a national calamity, and as a national calamity it must be faced by extraordinary measures. Continue reading
by Angel Gardner
If there is anything that I have learned from working in the restaurant and retail industry for over 14 years, it is that sexual harassment and sexism in the workplace is an issue that has not gone away. Perhaps you have become more tolerant of being sexually objectified. Maybe you are afraid that being uncomfortable with sexual advances or comments means that you are a prude or hopelessly outdated. The reality is that sexual harassment and sexism are all about power. We feel uncomfortable about standing up for ourselves in these situations because to do so questions power relations; not only in the workplace, but in society in general.
Is it sexual harassment or sexism in the workplace?
- A district manager asks you and your 40-year old female co-worker, “Will you girls make us some coffee for our meeting?”
- Your manager makes all the women in the workplace wear tight baby doll t-shirts which are intentionally a size too small that say, “For a Good Time Call …” while the men are told to wear plain black polo shirts that do not have to be form-fitting.
- During your training at a retail clothing store, you are told to flirt with potential customers to make sales. You feel uncomfortable with this and despite your efforts to be proactive about sales in a professional way, you are pulled aside later for not being “friendly enough.”
- A conventionally-attractive regular customer often sits at the bar and stares at you throughout your shift and has made several comments about your appearance that make you uncomfortable. When you tell him to stop, he says that you should be flattered. Your boss fails to act and your other co-workers, who appreciate his attention, tell you that you are strange for not liking it.
The answer: If any of these policies, attitudes or behavior makes you feel uncomfortable, then you should not have to deal with it. Everyone’s comfort level is different. Some of your co-workers might not mind being called “girl” or “sweetie,” while others may take offense to being referred to as a “woman” or by any gender-specific pronoun. Different expectations for employee uniforms that force co-workers into stereotyped gender roles are sexist practices that create a potentially hostile workplace. Flirting with customers should never be a given, but a choice. Some people may find that they like the attention and get better tips by flaunting their appearance and flirting, but not everyone should have to interact in a similar fashion. Berating others for what makes them uncomfortable promotes an environment of harassment.
So you feel like a policy or an individual at work is creating a hostile work environment? Going the legal route is not always the best or solitary option. Collectively standing up together with your co-workers against sexist practices, policies or individuals can often be the safest and most powerful way to fight. Though it is technically illegal, it is easier for companies to retaliate against an individual than a group of workers. In addition, sexual harassment cases often result in companies dragging women through the mud and can prove to be very traumatic for the victim. Legal processes can take a long time to resolve, but taking direct action in your workplace is immediate. When workers come together to fight sexual harassment and sexism, we are empowered by taking back the workplace and at the same time, form closer bonds with our co-workers by building mutual trust and respect for one another.
How do I fight sexism and harassment in my workplace?
- Form a coalition with co-workers who share and/or are sympathetic to your concerns. Sexual harassment affects union and non-union members alike, so do not exclude any possible allies.
- Ban customers and clients who are repeat offenders from the store and make sure that the ban is being enforced by the rest of your co-workers.
- Confront your boss as a group about sexual harassment issues (perhaps even a definition) and make it known that you take it very seriously and so should they.
- Confront workers who refuse to support their fellow workers when they feel harassed, violated, or uncomfortable. Have one-on-one conversations about the impact of their actions (not respecting boundaries) and words (“it’s not a big deal”), and express your feelings in a genuine, but professional manner.
- Any policy, dress code, or expectations that fellow workers find to be sexist should be addressed, regardless of whether or not you’ve reached consensus. If you are required by your job to wear a tight baby doll t-shirt, but men can wear polos, you should also be able to wear polo, if you do not want to wear the t-shirt.
This article originally appeared in the March edition of the Industrial Worker, the newspaper of the Industrial Workers of the World. It does a great job answering many questions relating to sexual harassment.
From the black bloc ‘having a go’ to going on marches, from smashing up a McDonalds’ to attending a picket, from throwing bricks to going to fundraising concerts for single issue campaigns – all of these activities have had the term ‘direct action’ applied to them.
Direct action has been confused with actions that are probably best termed as ‘symbolic’ – and which are, on many occasions, ineffective. A lot of the confusion has been due to the media terming anything that they regard as outside the perimeters of ‘normal protest’ as ‘direct action’ – however some confusion is down to activists themselves confusing the terms. Many activists, for example, regard protests such as the G8 summit as direct action, but these types of protests, even if they are successful in shutting down the event, remain as symbolic.
We that believe in the construction of a libertarian political organisation, of an anarchism that as a revolutionary project have real impact in the class struggle, see the need of adopting a clear program of action that is the fruit of collective discussion and express our principles and revolutionary objectives and that determine the tasks to be realized in each step taken. The importance of anarchists having such a program is expressed by Bakunin when he stated that “one should never renounce the clear established revolutionary program, not in what concerns to its form, not in what concerns its substance”. In our understanding, its fundamental importance comes from the fact that the said program expresses the ideological, theoretical and practical unity of the revolutionary organisation.
An Opening Admonishment
There’s been a lot of debate throughout the internet, and I’d assume it continues in person (I live in the country, so I wouldn’t really know) about anarchists and organisation. The basic point of this piece is to say, enough hollering at each other, just fucking get to it.
I think debate is important for strengthening revolutionaries, but I think there’s also a point where it becomes masturbatory, and I think we crossed the line a while back. Some seem to be convinced, whether pro or anti organisation, that what we most need to do, is to win over more anarchists (and questioning commies) to our position. Perhaps this isn’t really an expressed idea, but its clear that many tendencies within anarchism believe it. One group recirculates 100 year old pamphlets retracing the same tired arguments on the need for an explicitly anarchist organisation, the other mocks the article and publishes another incomprehensible article against organisations. Regardless of our stance in the debate, we spend most of our time discussing organisation within the left, rather than implementing them and developing a praxis. Certainly we’ll get more out of practical work with the people who are daily fighting oppression than we will discussing ideas on websites. We should also be aware that we’ll never perfect this or that strategy as our approach should always be adjusted for new historical developments. So the question is, when are we gonna shut the hell up and get to it? With all this bickering, and little to show for it, are we any better than Trotskyists who continue to publish newspapers with nothing but attacks on Stalin?
When a revolutionary begins organising in a shop, the first step is typically to agitate one’s co-workers. In our minds we see a step-by-step process wherein our agitation leads to other opportunities, recruitment, committee building, until we have power and an organisation. The problem is that for most workplaces, this way of thinking gives the wrong impression. In some workplaces, particularly in production, there’s a state of constant agitation and actions burst out before committees ever get built. In other workplaces agitation just never seems to take hold. What do we do in these situations? What do we do when agitation takes years without much visible result, or in places where workers are clearly in the retreat or a passive state?
The reason why millions and millions of people, especially young people, are unemployed and live in poverty around the world is because of the capitalist and state systems. Capitalism and the state lead to all sorts of problems including unemployment, inequality and the oppression of workers, women and people of colour.
‘Anarchy’ is a word that has a very bad reputation these days. The mere mention of it causes most people to imagine nothing but rows of burning cars, roaming gangs of looters and senseless violence in the streets. Anarchy, we are told, means nothing but the very breakdown of social order itself. Yet is this the truth? Is government really the vital foundation of our society?