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(en) Britain, A snap-shot of the anarchist movement 2005

Date Sat, 13 Aug 2005 14:04:02 +0300

There have been groups of anarchists and anti capitalists (well
before the so called recent "anti capitalist" movement) doing lots
of very impressive stuff both on a local and national level. There
are annual events like the Anarchist Bookfair and for a long time
the Anti McDonalds fayre in London and smaller and newer bookfairs
in a large number of cities and towns throughout the UK - Norwich
and Manchester are just two that jump to mind - there are more.
There are dozens of local groups working within their local communities
promoting anarchist or anarchist ideas, although sometimes these groups
don't actively call themselves anarchists. Groups like ACE in
Edinburgh, HSG in Haringey, people down in Brighton, Leeds,
Bradford, Cambridge, Oxford, Norwich Anarchists, Colchester
Anarchists, WAG in Walthamstow, Bristol Anarchist Network, etc, etc
(see either The Agitator or libcom.org - both on line for even more
of these groups).

There are more and more social centres springing up adding to those
which have been in existence for years. Places like The 1 in 12 in
Bradford, ACE in Edinburgh, Sumac Centre in Nottingham, 56A in London,
as well as centres in Brighton, Leeds, Lancaster and others. Although
a number of bookshops have fallen by the wayside over the years we
still have Freedom and Housmans in London and others dotted around
the country (all be it we need more), but we also have distributions
services like Freedom, AK, Active, @ books, repressed, and others.
We have kitchen's of our own which cook for large amounts of people.
@ Teapot, Veggies and Bradford 1 in 12 spring to mind. We have our
own sound systems and groups who have marques (look at events like
Earth First which our movement put on), as well as legal support
networks (LDMG) and more recently a medics network and Trauma group
network. I could go on....

Then there are groups like Class War, Sol Fed, AF, IWW, which
although not presently very strong are still there doing stuff
and have structures in place should our ideas get more popular.
We have a number of our own publications (far too numerous to
mention), and loads of single issue campaigns anarchist either
run or are involved with.

OK, we haven't got a strong federated structure with all these groups. In
fact a number of these groups probably don't even know each other, and we
definitely don't talk to each other and work together enough. We do though
from time to time have conferences and gatherings to try and make a start on
moving this forward. A number of the groups rely on a few people to keep
them going. We are not managing to get our views across to people as we
would wish. But, there are still a huge amount of us out there doing stuff
and trying to promote anarchism and anarchist ways of working and living.
That we don't get our views more widely circulated may be put down partly to
some of us, but there are huge obstacles in our way. The state and it's
media are two that spring easily to mind. A lot of us are doing the best we
can with the limited resources we have.

So, lets never forget that there are a lot of very committed
anarchist and anti capitalists within the UK who are trying to
do a lot of very good stuff against difficult odds. Some groups
and individuals will fall by the way side. Others will get
involved or start up. But, we do have the bones of a movement
in the UK. Even if some of us differ on specific, we are generally
pulling in the same direction, and most of the time can put our differences
aside and work together when needed. We have a lot of experience of this
happening over the last 15 years we have been together as a group.

I don't see the anarchist movement in the UK through rose tinted glasses. We
have a number of problems to overcome. But, lets also remember there are a
lot of us doing a range of diverse and positive things. And maybe we need to
celebrate this a bit more sometimes.

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