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(en) Britain, Organise! #63 Winter 2004 FOR REVOLUTIONARY ANARCHISM - the magazin of the anarchist federation - CONTENTS and Editorial

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 8 Apr 2005 12:31:12 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
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the emerging movement

02. Editorial
04. The anarchist movement in Argentina - part two
06. In the tradition - part five
10. Who's afraid of nanotechnology?
12. The resistance in Iraq
14. The third revolution?
19. Schools out!
23. We don't need to be schooled to learn
27. Review
36. Letters
37. Revolutionary portraits
39. Anarchist Federation aims and principles

Organise! --- Organise is the magazine of the Anarchist Federation (AF). It is
published in order to develop anarchist communist ideas. It aims is provide a
clear anarchist viewpoint on contemporary issues and to initiate debate on ideas
not normally covered in agitational papers. We aim to produce Organise! twice a year.
To meet this target, we positively so.li.cit contributions from our readers.

We aim to print any article that furthers
the objectives of anarchist commu-
nism. If you'd like to write something
for us, but are unsure whether to do
so, why not get in touch first? Even
articles that are 100% in agreement
with our aims and principles can leave
much open to debate.
As always, the articles in this issue do
not necessarily represent the collective
viewpoint of the AF. We hope that their
publication will produce responces
from readers and spur the debate on.
The deadline for the next issue of
Organise! will be 15th March 2004. All
contributions should be sent to: AF, c/o
84b Whitechapel Hight Street, London,
E1 7QX. It would help if all articles
could be either typed or on disk (PC or
MAC format). Alternatively, articles can
be emailed to the editors directly at
The Anarchist Federation is a member of
the International of Anarchist Federations
(IAF) - www.ifa-iaf.org

>>>> editorial - where now?

A number of strikes, with many of them unofficial, have broken out in
Britain over the last few months. Postal workers have continued what is
now almost a tradition, whilst baggage handlers at the airports have
taken militant action. There is seething discontent among the firefighters
and this has exploded in a number of actions. Steel erectors at the
Wembley Stadium came out on strike, as did couriers. Welcome signs
that the working class is not dead and is not quite ready to give up the

However militancy among British workers is considerably lower than in
the rest of Europe. The manufacturing industry has been decimated, as
has mining. Much of this has accelerated under the Labour government.
Both manufacturing and service industries are looking further afield for
cheap labour. Even the call centres with their low pay are at risk from
being farmed out to somewhere cheaper like India. The rhythm of
closures is speeding, with their announcement on the news a regular
feature. Despite deals on productivity plants like Jaguar are being closed.
And where there are no closures productivity deals are being forced on
workers with the connivance of the unions.
Another way the bosses have grabbed back profit is through the increase
in the working week. Workers are expected to stay late at work or take
home work for the evening or weekend or work through the lunchbreak.
The average working week is now 48 hours in Britain- we work longer
hours and have fewer holidays than the rest of Western Europe.
Sick pay
But the drive to increase profit isn't just confined to making people work
harder. There have been increasing calls from bosses' think tanks to
attack sick pay. Tesco has already launched some pilot schemes.
Whether workers are genuinely ill - sometimes through the stress of their
jobs and overwork- or are taking back time with a "sickie" then the
intention is there among increasing numbers of employers to clamp down
and to remove sick pay benefits. General practitioners have been
recently warned not to write so many sick notes.
Another important issue in an increasingly ageing population is pensions.
The State is determined sooner or later to make a move on this, just as it
has done in other parts of Europe. There, mass mobilisations threaten to
halt any schemes to increase the pension age and force people to work
beyond 65. The whole issue may prove to be a major mobilising factor.
Another way in which the boss class has attempted to retain its profits is
with the bringing in of cheap immigrant labour. This is particularly obvious
in the service industries and in farm work. One
of the ways to mobilise in the countryside against the reactionary bloc of
rural aristocrats, bigfarmers is to consider organising amongst immigrant
workers. Similarly in the towns, agitation and propaganda must be aimed
at immigrant workers emphasising working class unity.
Yet another way for the employers to maintain their profits is through
casualisation, short-term contracts and "precarious" jobs. A lot of
thought- and action- now needs to be put into this problem and again
agitation and propaganda needs to be aimed at this area.
The political situation
Leninism in all its forms is in severe crisis, as is social democracy
including within the Labour Party.Unfortunately, developments on the
Continent and in other parts of the world have not been matched at such
a fast rate in Britain. In particular, whilst old-style Communist Party
politics is rapidly waning, Trotskyism, despite a certain shrinkage, still
has a death-like grip in many areas of struggle. Recent events have
highlighted how damaging this grip is, and we may now be seeing a
turning point. The stranglehold of the Socialist Workers Party over the last
European Social Forum, their collusion not only with Ken Livingstone and
his Trotskyist allies of Socialist Action within the Greater London Authority,
but with the police has caused revulsion both here and in the rest of
Europe.This may well unleash a crisis within that organisation. This crisis
was already developing with the SWP's various exploits within their "anti-
capitalist" front Globalise Resistance, within the cartel of Leninists and
disillusioned Labourites of , the Socialist Alliance, and within Respect
cobbled together between George Galloway MP, the Muslim Association
of Britain and the SWP.
If the SWP goes into crisis and starts disintegrating this will create new
political space. The SWP's increasingly arrogant and authoritarian
behaviour, its readiness to ignore and insult its potential allies, and its zeal
at forming good working relationships with the Mayor of London and the
highly paid officials of Socialist Action, as well as its willingness to
collaborate with the police, may cause it to fragment. A large number of
disillusioned members will then be outside the SWP. The other Leninist
groups smaller in size than the SWP may not necessarily benefit as they
themselves have many long-term problems, one of which is their failure to
grow and to increase their influence.
The anarchists
Could the anarchists benefit from this possible new space? For many
years the SWP has attracted fairly large numbers of people who are
discontented with the system. Their Leninism has often come with a
pseudo-libertarian turn of phrase and people who might have turned to a
confident and organised anarchist movement have joined the SWP.
But unfortunately what passes for an anarchist movement is small and is
divided into a number of different groups and organisations. There is often
mistrust and sometimes outright hostility between these groups. There is
an unwillingness to work together. Unlike the various organisational
traditions in other parts of Europe, there is often mistrust and opposition to
organising beyond the local level. This has been made into a theory by
some who advocate the creation of strong local groups before national
organisations can be created. The AF has never been opposed to the
creation of local groups; in fact our members have often been key figures
in the creation of such groups.
Most importantly, there is a distinct lack of class analysis inside what
passes for a movement. There is an unwillingness to relate to class
struggle. Among certain parts of this "movement" there is an obsession
with mobilised around large calendar events , like May Day, G8 meetings
and the ESF and much time is devoted towards preparation in the
preceding months. In the past, anarchist mobilisations around these
events have been useful, but now there is an increasing ritualisation.
There is no substitute for painstaking propaganda and agitation directed
towards the concerns of the mass of the population. There has to be a
break with the politics of the stunt and the big event. Anarchists have to
turn themselves more and more to making themselves relevant. We have
suggested in this article that we must organise around problems like
casualisation, the attack on sick pay, and pensions. This should be on top
of basic anarchist agitation and propaganda aimed, not at the ghettoes of
the left and of anarchism, but at the mass of the working class.
The Independent Working Class Association has attempted to tackle this
problem and seems to have attracted the admiration of some anarchists.
Unfortunately their approach is marred by electoralism, among other
problems. Some local groups have engaged in work directed towards the
mass of the population and their everyday problems, without falling into
the trap of electoralism. This approach has to be made general if British
anarchism is to stand any chance at all of growing and profitting from the
developing situation.

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