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(en) Freedom 6403 8 Feb, 2003 - What anarchism means to me

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 23 Mar 2003 09:47:02 +0100 (CET)


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A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
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I'm an anarchist because I oppose capitalism and
believe there's a fairer, more sustainable way of
organising social and economic life. Anarchism is
about opposing power - whether the power of the state,
the multinational corporation, the grinding power of
the ruling class over the working class or the power
inherent in patriarchy, racism, homophobia and the
exploitation of the environment and of non-human
animals. Anarchism points to a brighter world based
on co-operation and mutual aid which, for me, is the
basis of human and natural life. Unlike Marxism,
anarchism is rooted in everyday life, as Peter
Kropotkin pointed out in his book Mutual Aid a
century ago.

The bottom line for me is class, but class isn't the
whole story. What excites me about anarchists and
anarchism is the sheer diversity of their thought and
action. From prisoner support to animal liberation,
from solidarity with workers in dispute to setting up a
food co-op, from social centres to LET Schemes, from
libertarian education to experimental art, it's all going
on somewhere. Anarchism might ebb and flow over
time, but it never stands still and it never
compromises.

But anarchism also means frustration, at least for me!
There's lots of great stuff going on, but we must try to
co-ordinate our activities more. At last year's
Anarchist Bookfair (held in London every October),
framed activist Mark Barnsley said what a shame it
was that anarchists only meet up once a year, and then
to flog stuff to each other. He was right. We have to
get together more. Other things we must do: raise our
profile in the labour movement and find a way to
bridge the (perceived) gap between the 'green' and 'red
and black' ends of the movement. Freedom newspaper
has an important role to play in this.

Looking back, I've always been a libertarian. But it's
only in the last seven years I've called myself an
anarchist. I had a rather varied political journey to
where I am today, encompassing (in chronological
order) the IMG, the SWP, the Labour Party Ğ this last
included a spell working in the House of Commons and
being a local councillor, enough to turn anyone
anarchist - and, most recently, the Green Party (don't
ask!). My friends joke that the reason I'm an anarchist
is because I've tried everything else.

Nowadays, anarchism has come out from behind the
shadow of Marxism. The world over, the black flag can
be seen on demonstrations. Anarchism is growing
because both Marxism and liberal democracy have
failed to deliver the goods for working people. It's
increasingly clear that the world's problems won't be
solved by the state or by voting for politicians to run
it. To me, anarchism simply means a better world. God
knows, we need one.
Richard Griffin

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