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(en) Freedom 6403 8 Feb, 2003 - Readers' letters

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 25 Mar 2003 09:55:47 +0100 (CET)

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

Dear Freedom,
What was that almost SWP, lefty bollocks that passed
for an editorial in the last issue ('What we say', 25th
January)? Sack whoever wrote it.
Wendy Smith

Dear Freedom,
Jose Marti's view is a popular one, especially with the
establishment ('Non-violence is no solution', 25th
January). They like it because it supports munitions
manufacturers and leads to power politics. I've heard
it before - the oppressed rise up to overthrow the
oppressor. But as a permanent solution it goes
nowhere, since the oppressors and the oppressed are in
reality the same people, with the same politics and the
same objectives.

The mistake is in the sentimental belief that the
downtrodden are virtuous and that this excuses
stupidity. The idea suggests the problem has only one
solution, where of course there are many. One, which
appears to escape many anarchists, is anarchism.
What I actually find irritating, though, is that the
editors of Freedom devoted a third of a page to a
rather meaningless photograph of a youth throwing a
stone and an emotive quote from Berkman, simply to
endorse an overworked and dated opinion.
Peter Gibson

Dear Freedom,
Come on, Jose, tell us what your principles are if you
think we should support the "establishment of a
society based on Islamic principles". Or do you mean
an Islamic state? Is there any difference if you
establish mechanisms for enforcing those principles,
even on fellow believers? If we're against tanks
running over people's heads, do we automatically have
to agree with the ideas in those heads? If we're
opposed to racism and anti-semitism, do we magically
become Zionists and, instead of a no-state solution,
offer a two, three or four-state 'solution'?
The fact that the Israeli state is a tool of western
foreign policy and is waging a war on its colonial
subjects doesn't mean we support a Palestinian state
as the 'opposite' Nor does the fact that we're not
cheerleaders for Arafat mean we should hold off
criticising Israeli apartheid. As anarchists, we'll never
be in with the in-crowd of national liberation. But we
should make sure we use our distinctive voice to argue
for freedom, without gods and governments to justify
each other.
John P.

Dear Freedom,
Trevor Smith's request that anarchists should
"demonstrate a plan for a future society" (letters, 11th
January) suggests he's not only in the wrong church but
sitting in the wrong pew as well. Anarchists have no
mandate to say how people must live. We carry no
brief to say how people are to be organised.
It may well be that anarchism was synonymous with
socialism in the nineteenth century. But right through
the twentieth century, flirting with power proved too
much of a temptation for socialists. And I'm weary of
being told that such tragedies are merely examples of
'state' socialism. If only other socialists would read
their Marx properly. I get Jehovah's Witnesses at my
door saying the fault with other Christians is that they
haven't read their Bible properly.
All power corrupts. Especially those who have it all
worked out. The worldwide collapse of Marxist-driven
regimes has opened up a wealth of joyous
opportunities for anarchists. Wisdom suggests that
they exercise great caution when political solutions,
plans for the future or regimes that promise to wither
away are dangled before them.
Peter Good

Dear Freedom,
I'd like to remind Iain McKay that calling a fellow
anarchist a 'liberal' doesn't help maintain a dialogue
('Anarchist economics', 11th January). A minimum
definition of anarchist would be someone who
ultimately wishes to get rid of both the state and
capitalism. David Dane fits that definition so he's an
anarchist. A liberal, by the way, is someone who
believes in both the state and capitalism, so no
anarchist can ever be a liberal.
Of course, anarchists have always been divided on
tactics. There are the militants, of whom Iain seems to
be one, as is his right. Then there are the moderates,
to which David probably belongs. So why not just say
moderate, rather than sneering about liberalism?
As for co-ops and mutual aid societies they may well
have become conservative and failed to produce a
mutualist society, but they nonetheless remain as a
practical example for working people. Where do
anarchist communists find such an example in daily
Larry Gambone

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