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(en) UK, Black Flag special FOR ANARCHIST RESISTANCE - Anarchy or Chaos

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 8 Jul 2004 20:48:24 +0200 (CEST)


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We live in a world marked by massive
inequalities of wealth and power. Those
few lucky enough to escape material
impoverishment face the mental and
emotional impoverishment of a world
racked by narrow selfishness. Our
planet's resources, which could be used
to benefit all, are being sold off to the
highest bidder. Our environment is being
killed to create more profits.
Imperialism and war stalk the world.
Fascism and xenophobia are rising, used by the
powerful to get us to blame others for the
problems we all face.
Problems created by an unsustainable
system which places profits and power
above people and planet.
The gap between what is and what
could be has reached new heights. The choice
facing us is either the chaos or anarchy.
Between a system built on authority and
a society based on freedom. Between
self-destructive competition and self-
empowering co-operation. Between
despair and hope. Between capitalism
and freedom.
"Anarchism, the no-government
system of socialism." (Kropotkin)

Anarchy is a free society of free individuals
working together as equals to meet their
needs and desires. Anarchy is the simple
idea that people are at their best when they
are free, managing their own lives and not
being bossed about. It means we are able
to decide ourselves the right way to do
things whether in our work, our
communities, our regions and, ultimately,
our planet.
It means ending the power of the state,
organised religion and capitalism. Whether
it is a boss or politician, priest or
bureaucrat, all are based on subjecting the
many to the power of a few. This harms
those subject to such authority. Their
potential is crushed under the dead-weight
of authority while the few in charge
accumulate wealth and influence at their
expense.
The sources of power are many, but
private property and the state are the two
main ones. That is why anarchism is anti-
state and anti-capitalist. But we are against
all forms of oppression, including sexism,
racism, homophobia and religious bigotry.
Anarchism is about creating a world free
for all. A world free from oppression and
exploitation, where decisions are made by
those affected by them. A decentralised
society where power lies with the people
and not in centralised authority or
hierarchical bureaucracy.
Anarchism is simply the theoretical
expression of our capacity to organise
ourselves and run society without bosses
or politicians. Anarchism allows working
class people to become conscious of our
power as a class, defend our immediate
interests, and fight to revolutionise society
as a whole.
"It is through disobedience that
progress has been made, through
disobedience, and through
rebellion" (Oscar Wilde)
Anarchism is no abstract philosophy.
Anarchist ideas are put into practice
everyday. Wherever oppressed people
stand up for their rights, take action to
defend their freedom, practice
solidarity and co-operation,
fight against oppression,
organise themselves without
leaders and bosses, the spirit
of anarchism lives. Anarchists
simply seek to strengthen
these libertarian tendencies
and bring them to their full
fruition.
Anarchists have been at the
heart of the anti-capitalist and
anti-globalisation movement.
At the Battles of Seattle and
Prague as well as elsewhere
anarchist principles were used
to great success. Anarchists
are actively involved in
workers' struggles, their trade
unions, anti-sexism and anti-
racism struggles, land rights, in
community resistance, animal liberation,
environmental struggles, prisoner support,
disability rights, and other struggles.
Anarchists see social struggle as the
only means of changing society. We need
to organise collectively in our communities
and workplaces to make real change. Only
direct action and solidarity can create a
power capable of not only resisting current
oppression but also of changing society.
"The only limit to the oppression
of government is the power with
which the people show
themselves capable of opposing
it." (Malatesta)
Some say that direct action is not needed
because we live in a democracy. Anarchists
reject this. Voting gives an illusion of
sovereignty and accountability but it's a
con. How much "say" can you have
putting a cross on a bit of paper every four or
five years? Look at the Iraq war. The vast
majority of the population opposed it, so what
did our elected representatives do? Go to war!
This came as no surprise. The state does
not exist to represent the people, it exists to
repress them. It is an instrument for ensuring
the rule by elites, little more. The state is part
of the problem, not the solution.
The best known anarchist saying must be
"if voting changed anything, they'd abolish
it." This means that elections cannot bring
radical change. Rather than change the world,
they change the party. Progressive parties
tone down their policies in order to get elected
and then tone them down even more to keep
the wealthy happy - look at Lula in Brazil.

And if the politicians do pursue anti-elite
policies, then the real power in the system
come into play: the power of big business and
the state bureaucracy undermines the
government and, if that does not suffice, then
there is always a military coup.
Real change comes from direct action,
solidarity and struggle, not from voting once
every four or five years. That is why
anarchists are anti-parliamentarian. We argue
that we must organise independently and
outside of bourgeois politics by means of
federations of workplace and community
assemblies. Only such collective mass
struggle can win significant improvements in
the here and now. Only this can tame the
arrogance of governments, left or right, and
make them listen to the people.
"If I can't dance it's not my
revolution" (Emma Goldman)
But anarchism is not just about reforms or
protest. Anarchism aims to change the world,
not just make existing society less oppressive.
We take part in such struggles to argue for
far-reaching change, for revolution.
Anarchists believe that the world will only
be changed through revolution. The world is
split between the ruling and working classes.
The ruling class control all the power and
wealth. They oppress us, exploit us, control
us. Only the direct action of the working class
will change this and over throw capitalism.
It is possible. It has worked. During the
Russian Revolution, millions of workers and
peasants practised anarchism and defended
their freedom against both Red and White
dictatorship. In Spain in the 1930s large parts
of the country, including large cities like
Barcelona, were run along anarchist
principles. Fifty years later the Zapatistas in
Chiapas, Mexico declared "a network without
a central head or decision maker, no central
command or hierarchies." The popular
assemblies and occupied workplaces in
Argentina are another example of large-scale
anarchy in action.
"Creating not only the ideas
but also the facts of the
future itself" (Bakunin)
Direct action also creates the framework of the
society which will replace capitalism
asworking class people have to organise
themselves to resist oppression and
exploitation. Collective class struggle creates
anarchism. Anarchy would be based on the
working class people's own combat
organisations, created in their struggles
within, but against, capitalism and the state.
Anarchy, therefore, is not some distant goal
but rather an aspect of current struggles
against oppression and exploitation. Means
and ends are linked, with direct action
generating mass participatory organisations
and preparing people to directly manage their
own personal and collective interests. The
struggle against oppression is the school of
anarchy. It teaches us not only how to be
anarchists but also gives us a glimpse of what
an anarchist society would be like, what its
initial framework could be and the experience
of managing our own activities which is
required for such a society to work.
"We are learning to know in
Russia how not to introduce
communism" (Kropotkin)
Most Marxists agree that we need a
revolution. Anarchists reject Marxism as a
path to freedom. Marxism in power has simply
proven anarchist criticisms of it right! Social
democracy became as reformist as anarchists
predicted. Bolshevism quickly became the
dictatorship over the proletariat.
Working class people are capable of
organising and running society directly. We
do not need vanguard parties to seize power
and govern in our name. Unlike Marxists,
anarchists do not want power for ourselves.
We think that power is too important to leave
in the hands of a few people. We believe in
real democracy. Not freedom for the few or the
majority but freedom for everyone.
Real socialism, anarchism, will be created
and run from below. We reject the simplistic
Marxist idea that the state is "an armed
machine." This fails to address the real issue,
namely that of power. Anarchists know that a
revolution needs defending. The real question
is who has the power. Is it the working class,
in its own class organisations, or will it be a
"revolutionary" government, a handful of
leaders at the top using the state machine to
impose its own concept on socialism onto the
masses?
"Be Realistic -- Demand the
Impossible!" (Paris, 68)
Our goal is freedom, equality and solidarity.
All three are interdependent. Without equality,
freedom is meaningless. And equality must be
political as well as economic. There can be no
equality between those in government and
those subject to it and so equality without
freedom is impossible. Anarchists, therefore,
are the most logical and complete socialists,
since we demand for every person not just
their part of society's wealth but also their
portion of social power.
Anarchists do not have a blue print for the
future. Unlike Marxists anarchists think that
people will be able to take responsibility for
their own lives and organise in the ways they
see fit. Without the state, bosses, leaders or
parties. Real democracy is impossible without
the active and permanent participation of all
the members of a group, something
centralisation, by its nature, excludes. So a
revolutionary organisation must reflect this,
being run from the grass-roots upwards,
directly democratic and co-ordinated by
mandated, recallable delegates. Only self-
management today can ensure freedom and
equality after the revolution.
We aim to replace the state and capitalism
with a free federation of the directly
democratic organisations created in the class
struggle. These organs of class power will be
the framework of a free society. Capitalism can
only be destroyed when workers expropriate
their workplaces directly, using direct action
to kick out the bosses. Once under workers'
management, socialism is achieved by them
federating together. The state will be
destroyed by a federation of community
assemblies. In both cases, decisions flow from
the bottom-up by means of mandated and
recallable delegates. Such a system is no
impossible dream, it has existed in every
popular revolution.
Only such mass participation can create a
world fit for human beings, one where freedom
means more than picking a boss or politician;
one where resources are used to improve our
lives while protecting the planet and not the
balance sheets of corporations; one where
useful work replaces mindless toil.
What is it to be? Anarchy or
Chaos? The choice lies with you!
Interested in finding out more?
Black Flag, BMHurricane,London,
WC1N 3XX
Freedom(fortnightlyanarchist
paper) and Freedom Bookshop,
84b Whitechapel High St, E1 7QX
(AldgateEastTube)
Anarchist Federation, c/o Freedom
Bookshop
Solidarity Federation, PO Box 29,
SWPDO, Manchester, M15 5HW



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