You Can’t Blow Up a Social Relationship: The Anarchist Case against Terrorism

You Can’t Blow Up a Social Relationship: The Anarchist Case against TerrorismAuthor: Unknown | File size: 332

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You can’t blow up a social relationship. The total collapse of this society would provide no guarantee about what replaced it. Unless a majority of people had the ideas and organisation sufficient for the creation of an alternative society, we would see the old world reassert itself because it is what people would be used to, what they believed in, what existed unchallenged in their own personalities.

Proponents of terrorism and guerrilla-ism are to be opposed because their actions are vanguardist and authoritarian, because their ideas, to the extent that they are substantial, are wrong or unrelated to the results of their actions (especially when they call themselves libertarians or anarchists), because their killing cannot be justified, and finally because their actions produce either repression with nothing in return or an authoritarian regime. Terrorism or propaganda by the deed can be of no benefit to the working class, as capitalism is a social relationship, not a group of bad individuals

This essay was first published as a pamphlet around late 1978 or 1979, in the aftermath of the Sydney Hilton Bombing of 13 February 1978. The black humour of the time around the anarchist movement was that the police and security forces framed Ananda Marga, a socio-spiritual organisation and movement founded in India, because they came before Anarchism in the alphabet.

The arguments in this pamphlet are still as valid today as when they were written all those years ago.

First published (1979?) in Australia by Libertarian Socialist Organisation

This second Zabalaza Books edition July 2014

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Anarchism, the Welfare State, and Social Assistance

Anarchism, the Welfare State, and Social Assistance - Common CauseAuthor: Common Cause  | File Size: 322 KB

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Unemployment is a permanent fixture of capitalism. It is not simply the outcome of those who make bad life choices. There are no “cracks” to fall through when the entire foundation is designed with gaping holes. Mass unemployment is not merely a failure to apply a more compassionate capitalism, or a more Keynesian economic model with progressive taxation and better state provisions for the working class. Even the major structural reforms that brought about the post-World War II establishment of the Welfare State never ended unemployment. In fact, in hindsight we can see that these reforms merely set up a system whose subsequent dismantling has left a pacified and disorganized working class in its wake….

 This text is from Volume 2 of Mortar: Revolutionary Journal of
Common Cause Anarchist Organization |

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With Allies Like These: Reflections on Privilege Reductionism

With Allies Like These: Reflections on Privilege Reductionism - Common CauseAuthor: Common Cause  |  File Size: 347 KB

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Over the course of the last several decades, anti-oppression politics have risen to a position of immense influence on activist discourse in North America. Anti-oppression workshops and reading groups, privilege and oppression checklists and guidelines, and countless books, online blogs and articles make regular appearances in anarchist organizing and discussion. Enjoying a relatively hegemonic position in Left conversation, anti-oppression politics have come to occupy the position of a sacred object—something that expresses and reinforces particular values, but does not easily lend itself to critical reflection. Indeed, it is common for those who question the operating and implications of anti-oppression politics to be accused of refusing to seriously address oppression in general. A political framework should be constantly reflected upon and evaluated—it is a tool that should serve our struggles and not vice versa….

This text is from Volume 2 of Mortar: Revolutionary Journal of
Common Cause Anarchist Organization |

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Race, Class and Organisation

Race, Class and Organisation by the Workers Solidarity FederationAuthor: Workers Solidarity Federation  |  File size: 244 KB

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It is falsely claimed by some that Anarchism, as currently constituted, is unable to attract Black people, and other specially oppressed minorities. It is therefore argued that we should thus endorse separate Black-only anarchist/community organisations that may in some (vague and unspecified) cases associate with “white” groups – “white” groups should “work among” “their own” people etc.)… but… “it was the ability of anarchism to provide alternatives and to pay special attention to the specific needs of … different sections of the working class in order to unite the whole class that made the success (of the Cuban anarchists and IWW) possible,” not “a revision of anarchism to accommodate nationalism”..

Originally published in Black Flag magazine, 1998
Text retrieved from
Online WSF archive

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Expecto Patronum: Lessons from Harry Potter for Social Justice Organising

Expecto Patronum: Lessons from Harry Potter for Social Justice OrganisingAuthor: Chris Crass  |  File size: 350 KB

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Have you daydreamed about being a member of an inter-generational social justice organisation like the Order of Phoenix? Do you want Dumbledore to be your mentor? Have dementors ever burned you out to the point where you doubted your ability to take on the Voldemorts of our world? Do you find yourself analysing Dumbledore’s Army for lessons on developing liberatory vision, culture, leadership, and organisation? Me too. Let’s develop our magic, build our liberation movement, and defeat the Voldemorts in our world….

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[Leaflet] The Importance of a Liberatory Process: a Critique of Fetishized Militancy

[Leaflet] The Importance of a Liberatory Process: a Critique of Fetishized MilitancyAuthor: Scott Nappalos  |  File size: 55 KB

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Militancy is revered on the left. Whether insurrectionary violence or mass militancy of social movements, the form and level of militancy serves as a marker of the relative power and progressive nature of a movement. Insurrectionists fetishize either mere acts alone (independently of who does them, groups or individuals) or fetishize violent acts as signs of collective will. Some social movement organizers take militancy to indicate a progressive or revolutionary nature of a movement. Looking at militancy and militant acts alone however is bound to be distorting and lead us down garden paths. A militant event occurs in a social context and through a social process, and these facts bare on the meaning of militancy as a historical phenomenon….

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The Fundamental Requirement for Organised Safer Space

The Fundamental Requirement for Organised Safer SpaceAuthor: Anarchist Federation  |  File size: 236 KB

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This article will be a very basic introduction to the foundations of safer spaces, community accountability and transformational justice that arise from elements present from the very inception of anarchism as a political philosophy. These concepts are responses to verbal, physical and sexual abuse that have always been present within radical communities and continue to present a challenge to this day. As such this article will touch on all forms of abuse from problematic language through to rape and physical violence. An example of one such policy can be seen at

This article was first published in the Anarchist Federation’s
Organise! magazine #80, Summer 2013.

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Short Circuit: Towards an Anarchist Approach to Gentrification

Short Circuit: Towards an Anarchist Approach to GentrificationAuthor: Two Toronto Members of Common Cause  |  File size: 1.22 MB

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Gentrification, etymologically speaking, is a relatively new word, coined in 1964 by the English Marxist sociologist Ruth Glass. Conceptually, some would claim that it has been a feature of urban life for hundreds of years. Between 1853 and 1870, for instance, the Haussmannization of Paris forced thousands of poor people from the centre of the city, where rents had traditionally been cheaper, to the urban periphery; these migrations were the forced results of structural changes Baron Haussmann had proposed to the city’s urban geography, and rapidly increasing rents. We might anachronistically consider displacements such as these an example of gentrification, but, as we will explore below, the term has some specificity and nuance that such comparisons fail to capture.

From the first volume of Mortar, the theoretical journal of Common Cause

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The Politics of Voices: Notes on Gender, Race & Class

The Politics of Voices: Notes on Gender, Race & Class by Aidan RoweAuthor: Aidan Rowe  |  File size: 886 KB

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As class-struggle anarchists dealing with the relations between gender, race and class, we must, in theory and practice, pick a path between two pitfalls. On one side is economic reductionism – the reduction of all political questions to the social relations of production – which erases the perspectives and struggles of women, queers and people of colour; submerges their voices within an overly generalised class narrative, in which the idealised Worker is implicitly white heterosexual and male; or consigns their struggles to a secondary importance compared to the “real struggle” of (economic) class against class. On the other is a stultifying and inward-looking liberal-idealist identity politics, concerned fetishistically with the identification of privilege and the self-regulation of individual oppressive behaviour to the (near) exclusion of organised struggle, which, while amplifying the voices of the marginalised, consigns them to an echo chamber where they can resonate harmlessly….

This article is from the Workers Solidarity Movement’s Irish Anarchist Review, No. 7 – Spring 2013

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Building Power and Advancing: For Reforms, Not Reformism

Building Power and Advancing: For Reforms, Not Reformism by Thomas / MASAuthor: Thomas (MAS)  |  File size: 279 KB

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As anarchist communists, we are against reformism. However, we are for reforms. We believe that fundamentally the entire system of capitalism, the state and all systems of hierarchy, domination, oppression and exploitation of humans over humans must be abolished and replaced with a direct democracy, egalitarian social relations and a classless economy that bases contribution according to ability and distribution according to need. However, such a social revolution can only occur through the power of the popular classes themselves from the bottom-up. In advancing towards such a social revolution and a free and equal society, we must build our power in preparation for this fundamental transformation of the world, building on struggles along the way….

From the website of Miami Autonomy & Solidarity  |  See also:

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Anarcho-Syndicalism and Principles of Urban Planning

Anarcho-Syndicalism and Principles of Urban Planning by Scott RittenhouseAuthor: Scott Rittenhouse  |  File size: 517 KB

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Urban Planning is neither boulevards for conquerors, nor a landscape for the palaces of the rich, nor an opportunity for land speculators, nor a design opportunity for artists, nor a conspiracy for social engineers.

Urban planning is conducted to promote the health, safety, and well-being of people living together in urbanized areas; to enable people in urbanized areas to use scarce resources efficiently (all natural resources are “scarce”: supply and demand equals scarcity); and to mitigate the impact of population growth on the health of the planet.

Under capitalism, planning has been used to service the interests of the rich who own property [real estate] and the means of production. Under Anarchism, these will be “socialized”: expropriated, collectively “owned” by the Free Commune / Community, used and self-managed by workers and residents, non-transferable, and non-saleable. People will be able to make the land use decisions which meet their needs and make their lives better. There will be no “property values” or land speculation….

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Direct Action

Direct Action by Emile PougetAuthor: Emile Pouget  |  File size: 850 KB

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“Direct Action is the symbol of revolutionary unionism in action. This formula is representative of the twofold battle against exploitation and oppression. It proclaims, with inherent clarity, the direction and orientation of the working class’s endeavours in its relentless attack upon capitalism.

Direct Action is a notion of such clarity, of such self-evident transparency, that merely to speak the words defines and explains them. It means that the working class, in constant rebellion against the existing state of affairs, expects nothing from outside people, powers or forces, but rather creates its own conditions of struggle and looks to itself for its means of action…”

First published by the Fresnes-Antony Group of the French Anarchist Federation, 1994

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Scott Rittenhouse, presente! 1959-2012

Scott Rittenhouse, presente! 1959-2012ZB: we repost this obituary from the WSA’s Ideas and Action site to pay our respects to Scott Rittenhouse.

We first had contact with Scott a number of years back when he got into contact with us about republishing some of the texts he had written [See the pamphlet Why You Should Not Trust the Church and the ‘Fundamentals of Anarchism’ leaflets What is Free Association?, Anarchism and Immigration, What is Mutual Aid?, Anarchism and Freedom and What is Anti-Authoritarianism?]. We did not have contact again for a numbers of years until about a month ago when he wrote us an email about publishing some more works of his. Not having the time then, we were not able to do so and now it is with a heavy heart that we read this.

If any of Scott’s comrades have access to his texts that are as yet unpublished, please can they send them to us so that we may show our respects for our comrade by publishing them. You can contact us via the Contact page above.

We send our condolences to all the friends, family and comrades of Scott… his loss was a great loss to us all.

Mourn… and Organise!

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