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(en) Britain, Introduction to anarchist communism - anarchist federation (AF) II. - Who we are and what we believe:

Date Sun, 04 Apr 2010 18:32:21 +0300


Revolution and Anarchist Communism -- Revolution and Revolutionaries ---- Revolutionaries believe that the societies we live in are basically unjust and unfair. It is not just a matter of this injustice or that unfairness - it is the whole way that society works that is unjust and unfair. Poverty, war, racism, sexism and all the rest of the problems we face are not exceptions to the rule - they are the rule. --- Capitalism cannot exist without creating poverty, without fighting wars, without oppressing people because of their race or gender. --- We believe that capitalism must be destroyed and a new society – an anarchist communist society – must be built. This is the revolution. Both the destruction of what exists now and the construction of something new are part of the revolution.

As revolutionaries we work to encourage both – supporting people who are opposing
those in power as well as supporting people who are trying to build alternatives.
Because capitalism is basically unfair and unjust, revolutionaries do not believe in
change through gradual reform. This is reformism. This is not to say that a minimum
wage or a shorter working day or the right to abortion on demand are not important.
These reforms and many others have made life better for ordinary people. Revolutionaries are not trying to say that life has not improved since Victorian times - that
would be silly. What we do say are two things.

Firstly, no reform is permanent. Any reform can and will be undone by politicians
and bosses whenever they get the chance. The attacks on civil liberties, on working
conditions and on public services over the last few years should be enough to prove
this.

Secondly, reforms are only granted by governments when they are scared of some-
thing worse – a mass movement of ordinary, working class people. Time and time
again it has taken the actions of millions of people organising together to get even
the most basic reforms. The ten hour day, rights for women and children, even the
welfare state were all forced concessions from governments challenged by mass
movements. There is nothing governments are more scared of than people ignoring
11
them and simply doing things for themselves. This is direct action, when people act
for themselves without waiting for permission from any higher authority. Govern-
ments will make almost any concession to stop such movements.

Because of this, revolutionaries are often attacked as utopian, as imagining unre-
alistic perfect worlds that can never be. ‘You should be practical,’ these people tell
us. ‘Focus on getting results here and now, not on some imaginary cloud cuckoo
land in the future.’ When people say things like this, when we are told to be
‘practical’ or ‘realistic’, we are usually being told to abandon our principles. New
Labour attacks public services in the name of ‘pragmatism’, the unions sell out to
management because it’s ‘practical’, authoritarian revolutionaries like the Social-
ist Workers Party lie to their members and the public because they’re ‘realistic’.

If this is what being practical means then that would already be enough to reject it.
But there’s more to it than this. Being ‘practical’ in this way, making compromises
and deals with bosses and politicians, is a sure-fire way of making sure that you
don’t get what you want. Any deals done with capitalism are bound to backfire, as
we’ve seen time and time again. You don’t make progress by negotiating with the
bosses. You make progress by terrifying them. Anarchist communists believe that
it is better to fight for what we want, even if we don’t get it straight away, rather
than fighting for something we don’t want, and getting it.

Mass movements making demands based on their own needs are much more scary
to the ruling class than any number of snivelling bureaucrats being ‘realistic’ and
asking nicely for a few scraps from the boss’s table. We don’t want the scraps - we
want the whole meal, and the kitchen that cooked it, and the house it was served
in, and the fields it was grown in, and the factories that made the plates and so on
and so on. Everything the ruling class has, it has because the working class made
it and they stole it. We refuse to ask nicely for things that are already ours. This is
not just a matter of principle, it is practical. People that beg for scraps get nothing
else, and often not even that. If we work to take what is already ours, the ruling
class will be forced to concede far more than just scraps.

Anarchism and Anarchists

Anarchism is a set of revolutionary ideas that have been around in one form or
another for centuries. They are, at root, very simple. Anarchists believe that people
are quite capable of looking after themselves. No leader can know what you need
better than you do. No government can represent the interests of a community
better than the community itself. We believe that everyone should take part in
decisions that affect them, whether at work, in the community or at home. Only in
this way can we have a fair and just society, in which everyone has the chance to
fulfil themselves. Everything in anarchist ways of thinking follows from this basic
principle.

Obviously, this is not how society works now. At work we do what we’re told or we
get the sack. At home, the police, the tax man and other arms of the state snoop into
our business and tell us what we can and can’t do. We do not take decisions about how
we work, about how our taxes are spent, what laws are passed and on and on and on.
For anarchists, taking back control over our own lives is the revolution. We see two
ways of working as being key to being able to do this: direct action and self-organ-
isation. Direct action is when those directly affected by something take action to fix
it themselves, rather than asking someone else to do it for them. A strike that forces
management to make concessions or face losing money is direct action where lobbying
an MP or going through union negotiations is not. Squatting derelict land and
turning it into a community garden is direct action, whereas pressuring the council to
clean up vacant lots is not. When people act by themselves to achieve something that
they need then they are taking direct action – whether that’s sharing food with others
or fighting the police in a riot.

For direct action to be possible then there also needs to be self organisation. This is or
ganising without leaders or phoney ‘representatives’, and it allows ordinary people to
take back the power to make their own decisions. Self organisation allows us to break
down and overcome the hierarchies that separate us. In self-organised groups everyone
has an equal say and no one is given the right to represent anyone else. This kind of
group is capable of deciding its own needs and taking direct action to meet them in a
way that any hierarchical group based on representatives – like a political party or a
trade union – cannot.

Because of this we reject the use of the state – that is government, parliament, the
courts, the police and so on – to bring about revolution. No one can free anyone else.
We all have to free ourselves by acting together. No government, even a ‘socialist’ or
‘revolutionary’ government, can do this. Any group or party taking over the state sim-
ply becomes a new set of leaders, exploiting us in the name of ‘socialism’ rather than
‘capitalism’. This is what happened in so-called ‘communist’ Russia. Only by destroy-
ing the state, not taking it over, can we free ourselves.

For anarchists, direct action and self organisation are essential tools for freeing our-
selves. They are the way that working class people can confront the problems in their
own lives in a collective way, the way in which it is possible for us to work together
against the whole system of capitalism and the ways it tries to divide us.

Anarchist Communism

These ideas have not just been plucked out of thin air. They have been developed by mil-
lions of people throughout the last few hundred years as they have fought back against
the exploitation they have faced. This tradition of resistance often, but not always,
described itself as communist. Anarchist communism is a living working class tradition
that has worked in ways large and small throughout the history of capitalism. It does
not come out of the abstract ideas of a few intellectuals but from the concrete actions of
millions of people.

For many, the word communism is associated only with the tyranny of Soviet Russia or
so-called Communist China. These societies were and are some of the worst tyrannies
the world has ever seen, killing millions of people through famine, war and execution.
As anarchists we don’t forget the prison camps, the slave labour, the unjust trials and
executions - indeed anarchists were often the first people to suffer these attacks.
However, unlike the press who use the example of ‘communist’ Russia to claim that
revolutionary change is impossible, anarchists also refuse to forget the example of the
millions of ordinary people who fought against tyranny in Russia and all over the world
in the name of true communism. These people organised themselves, without leaders,
into groups that used direct democracy, meaning that everyone had an equal say in how
things were run. They used direct action, first against the state and capitalism, and then
against the new Soviet tyranny.

The true communism that they fought for is the extension of these ways of working into
every aspect of life. The communist slogan ‘from each according to their ability, to each
according to their need’ sums up the idea. Nobody should be short of anything that they
need. Individuals receive goods and services because of how much they need them, not
because of how much they can pay or how much they deserve them. People give back to
society, through the work they do, according to what they want and are able to do. Eve-
ryone will have the chance to do interesting and creative work, instead of just a minority
while everyone else is stuck with boring drudge work.

This society would be organised through local collectives and councils, organising
themselves to make the decisions that need making and to do the work that needs doing.
Everyone gets a say in decisions that concern them. We believe that in fighting for this
kind of future we are fighting for the full freedom and equality of all. Only this will give everyone the chance to be whatever they can be.

---------------------------------------------------
Workers’ Councils:

Organising the Revolution

One of the most important things we refer to when we talk about the
communist tradition are workers’ councils. Wherever there has been
revolutionary struggle there have been workers’ councils. Wherever revo-
lutions have been beaten, the crushing of the councils has been a key
defeat.

Workers’ councils are mass assemblies of workers in revolt that take over
the running of most aspects of daily life when the state and the bosses
have been defeated or are in retreat. The major 20th century examples
occurred in Russia, Germany, Hungary, Spain and many, many other more
minor examples. However, the history of resistance to exploitation is full
of similar examples. The Paris Commune of 1871, the Parisian sections
during the revolution of 1789 and the years that followed, even the ‘rings’
of German peasants during the peasant wars of the 16th century, all have
a lot in common with 20th century workers’ councils.

These mass assemblies are the arenas in which revolutionary workers de-
bate their actions, come up with plans and proposals and decide how to
move forward. They involve everyone present in every stage of decision
making and have proved capable of running complex societies perfectly
well. They exist at many different levels which federate together in order
to cooperate. For example, the Kronstadt soviet was made up of mandated
delegates from each ship, crew and workplace who all held their own
smaller meetings before contributing to larger decisions. These decisions
were informed by less formal mass meetings held constantly in public
squares which debated key issues facing the revolutionaries. Every single
person could be involved in the decisions that affected them. The military
defeat of the Kronstadt soviet by the Bolsheviks was one of the final nails
in the coffin of any hope of a real revolution in Russia.

The practice of hundreds of workers’ councils in dozens of struggles show
us that not only is it possible for everyone affected by a decision to be
involved in making it, but that millions of people will risk their lives to live
like that. When it has the chance, the working class invents new social
forms to meet its own needs and it is these forms that should inspire us
today.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

It is the many examples of people organising and resisting in this way that we call the
communist tradition. The workers’ councils of revolutionary Spain, Germany, Russia,
Hungary, France, Mexico and on and on and on are the many examples that we look
to when we think about how we can free ourselves and fight capitalism. Time and time
again the world has seen ordinary people using direct action, self organisation and
direct democracy to build new societies and lives for themselves. It is the ideas and
successes of these people that we try to build on in today’s fight against exploitation.
Anarchist communism is more than an abstract vision of the future and it is more than
a nostalgia for the revolutionary movements of the past. It is a living working class
tradition that lays the foundations for the future society in the here and now. Every-
thing we will be after capitalism we must learn under it and through the fight against
it. The revolution is not and never can be year zero – that way lie the corpses piled
up by ‘revolutionary’ terror in France and Russia and China and on and on and on.
Instead, revolution must be built out of the materials to hand by people alive today.

Ends and Means

The most important part of the working class tradition that we call communism is the
refusal to make a distinction between ends and means. The organisations that we build
while fighting capitalism will be the basis of anything that comes after the revolution.
If those organisations do not embody the principles of the society that we want to see
then that society will not come about. If we want a future where everyone contributes
to the decisions that affect them, then we have to build organisations now in which
this happens. The Anarchist Federation is one such organisation.

This is known as prefiguration and is one of the central ideas of anarchism. The idea is
summed up by one important slogan: ‘building the new society in the shell of the old’.
What this means is that our struggle is not simply against capitalism. We also fight,
as far as is possible, to live as we wish to right now, to build alternatives to capitalism right under its nose.

In terms of organisation, this means that whatever we are involved in we try to push
that group in the direction of direct democracy and full participation by all involved.
Whether this is a residents’ group or a political campaign, a strike committee or a
community allotment, we push for organisation without leaders or hierarchy.

We believe that not only will this make these groups more effective in achieving their immediate goals, but it will also increase the self confidence of the people involved and give them the tools they need to resist elsewhere in their lives. Over many different struggles and many different organisations this will build up a broad culture of resistance amongst ordinary people. It is from people steeped in this culture that revolutionary struggles will arise.

However, prefiguration has its limits. For many people building alternatives to
capitalism in the here and now means one of two things: either a lifestyle or individu-
alist response, or an attempt to create a dual power situation. Whilst the AF is often
sympathetic to these approaches and doesn’t reject them completely, we do not believe
that they can lead to revolution on their own. We also have some serious criticisms of
both of them.

The Limits of Prefiguration: Lifestylism

The labels ‘lifestylist’ and ‘individualist’ are often used, frequently unfairly, as
insults and so we have to be very careful when we use them. When we talk about
‘lifestyle’ politics we’re talking about a kind of politics that focuses in some way
on ‘dropping out’ of capitalism, on getting ‘off the grid’ and living without relying
on capitalist exploitation. This can mean many things. It can be something small
scale like living in squats and surviving by stealing from supermarkets or taking
the perfectly good food that they throw out (‘skipping’ or ‘dumpster diving’). Or it
can be something much larger like a project to communally farm a piece of land or
establish a new community.

The reasons that people have for doing this kind of thing are very good ones. They
see the harm that capitalism does every day and want no part of it. By stealing or
taking what is thrown away they try to stop giving support back to the bosses that
exploit us and people all over the world. By going back to the land and trying to be
self-sufficient in food and power they try to live with as few links to global capital-
ism as possible. More than this, often these kind of political lifestyle choices involve
building and living in communities based on solidarity and mutual respect. Many
involved in this kind of activity would argue that this is ‘building the new society in
the shell of the old’.

Whilst we respect many people who make these personal lifestyle choices, we reject
this as a useful form of political action. The main reason for this is that it is not
something that the majority of people can easily involve themselves in. Those with
significant debts, dependants, health problems or any number of other things that
limit their freedom of action find it very difficult, if not impossible, to ‘drop out’.
There is no possibility for building a lifestylist mass movement. Indeed, lifestylism
does not attempt to overthrow or destroy capitalism; it only attempts to wash its own
hands clean of the blood.

This is, in fact, a huge political problem with lifestyle responses to capitalism. Often
this form of politics leads to a kind of elitism and snobbery on the part of people liv-
ing ‘political’ lifestyles. Ordinary people become ‘sheeple’, hopelessly brainwashed
by their jobs and the media and as much part of the problem as the people that own
and run the economy. In its most extreme forms, such as primitivism, this leads
people to openly call for the extermination of the majority of the human race and a
return to a hunter gatherer lifestyle.

This kind of attitude is not an inevitable consequence of dropping out, but it is very
common, and it is the result of an individualist way of looking at capitalism. Capi-
talism does not exploit us as individuals: it exploits us as classes or groups. We are
exploited as workers, as women, as non-white minorities or even majorities. We are
oppressed as gay or transgender, as professionals with some perks, or temporary work-
ers with none, as ‘consumers’ in the west and as disposable labourers in the global
south.

If we respond to the damage that capitalism does to us as individuals then the only
logical answer is to abstain. You live without a job, without shopping, without relying
on the systems of exploitation that surround us. If this is impossible, then you mini-
mise your impact. You get an ‘ethical’ job, buy ‘ethical’ products and reduce your
contribution to exploitation that way. From here it’s only a short step to despising the
people who aren’t as ‘enlightened’ as you, who keep capitalism going by ‘refusing’ to
abstain.

However, if you respond to capitalism as a member of a broader exploited class, then
the logical response is collective. You show solidarity with people in the same situa-
tion as you, you fight where you are for better conditions, and for more control over
the conditions of life. A collective response like this is always oppositional. It always
has to fight capitalism rather than trying to go round it. It is, in potential, the beginning of a mass movement and the basis of a new society based on the recognition of our common interests.

In the end, it is this that the ruling class are afraid of, not people dropping out, and it is this that we should be looking to try and build.

The Limits of Prefiguration: Dual Power

The other typical approach to prefigurative politics is trying to build dual power. This
means trying to build organisations in the here and now that will eventually replace
capitalism. These can be anything from cooperatives of various kinds that organise
to produce or to sell some product in a non-hierarchical way, to mass revolutionary
unions that aim to take over the running of industry.

The idea is that by building organisations through which people run their own lives
now, a point of ‘dual power’ can be reached. This is a situation where both capitalism
and potential alternatives exist side by side, where there are two systems of economic,
social and political organisation in direct competition with each other. For people who
argue this way, this is how revolution happens. People build an alternative which in-
creasing numbers of people join until it is strong enough to confront capitalism directly
and replace it.

There are a number of different approaches to dual power strategies. Some see them-
selves as providing examples that can be taken up by other people and perhaps even-
tually become state policy. Things like the transition town movement at the moment,
or various alternative education movements work in this way. These are rarely very
confrontational about their ideas and see themselves as reformist rather than revolution-
ary. They do, however, see the need to build an alternative base of power outside the
state and capitalism.

Others seek to build entire alternative economies through cooperatives, credit unions,
local trading systems (LETS schemes as they are often called) and the like. These, they
argue, could eventually reach the point where many people are in effect living outside
the capitalist economy. People in this tradition often, but not always, describe them-
selves as mutualist.

A variation on this idea sees building alternative centres of political rather than economic power as the key. There are two main traditions here. Some focus on building com-
munity assemblies to take local decisions and sometimes seek to take over local town
halls and council chambers through elections. These people often, but again not always,
describe themselves as municipalist. Others focus on building revolutionary trade unions
which will confront management in the workplace to get immediate gains. They will
also, just as importantly, be run by direct democracy, giving workers experience of tak-
ing decisions and organising. These unions are then seen as able to take over industry in
its entirety replacing capitalism as they do so. This is usually described as syndicalism.
All these approaches, and they often work in combination, see themselves as building
a political and economic alternative to capitalism right under its nose. They argue that
these alternatives are able to grow to the point where either capitalism withers away
or there is a confrontation between the two systems which leads to revolution and the
destruction of capitalism.

There are many positive things about these approaches. They encourage self organisa-
tion and direct action by ordinary people. They provide important lessons in collective
working and experience of direct democracy for those involved. The AF does not reject
any of these approaches out of hand and members often involve themselves in this kind
of project.
19
However, there are important weaknesses in these approaches that limit their use-
fulness. These kinds of projects are highly vulnerable to attacks by the state. Laws
can be passed that make most cooperatives illegal or at least very difficult to set
up. Community assemblies can be denied resources, or even attacked directly by
the police and the army. People who pursue dual power strategies are often very
over-optimistic about their ability to avoid repression. Capitalism and the state
tend to attack any threat sooner rather than later.

It is not, however, direct attacks by the state that are the biggest problem with dual
power strategies. The biggest problem is the risk of co-option. What this means is
that movements and organisations which start out trying to provide an alternative
are often ‘captured’ by capitalism. They become part of it rather than an alterna-
tive, helping capitalism to manage people’s exploitation rather than challenging
it. For example, cooperatives often become employers in their own right, with
full cooperative members becoming managers and their new employees exploited
workers like any others. Community groups are approached by local councils,
given funding and access to some power and end up administering the council
policies they set out to oppose. Housing co-ops become landlords, credit unions
become banks (building societies in the UK started out as community schemes),
syndicalist unions negotiate with management and crack down on wildcat strikes.
Ordinary people who start out trying to build alternatives end up becoming the
thing they hate.

Any potential alternative to capitalism in the here and now will have to interact
with the things that it is trying to replace. A co-operative store will have to buy
stock from capitalist suppliers. A community assembly will have to negotiate with
the local council if it is to secure resources. Even syndicalist unions, a highly con-
frontational way of working, find themselves having to negotiate with managers.
This does not mean that we should reject completely all these ways of doing
things. What it does mean, however, is that none of these is a road to revolution
on its own. Instead of seeing these ways of working as a way of creating replace-
ments for capitalism, we should see them as one way amongst others of creating a
culture of resistance. It is this culture and not any particular organisation that it is
important for us to build.

A Culture of Resistance

Anarchist communists believe that people are perfectly capable of looking after
themselves. We believe that everyone should be involved in the decisions that
affect them, that everyone is capable of making the most complex choices that are
needed to run a society. We believe that these decisions will be better than those
made by elites as they will be decisions which take into account the needs of the
whole community not just those of a small minority of exploiters.

More than this, we believe that the only people capable of destroying capitalism
and creating a world in which everyone has control over their own life are those
directly exploited by capital today. As we’ve pointed out, the ruling class know
this and they work very hard to keep the working class divided and lacking in the
skills that it needs to make this change. This is something that has to be overcome
before revolution is possible. We have to ‘build the new society in the shell of the
old’. However, history shows that organisations built by working class people for
their own benefit are often co-opted and turned against them. Trade unions, credit
unions, cooperative traders and manufacturers - all of these and more have been
used to defend rather than destroy capitalism.

Authoritarian revolutionaries use this problem as an excuse to take over. Accord-
ing to them, the working class is only capable of a ‘trade union consciousness’, of
haggling over wages and perks instead of toppling capitalism and building some-
thing new. What is needed, they claim, is leadership. They will be the cause of the
revolution, leading the poor stupid masses into the light kicking and screaming.
History shows us that this leads only into new tyrannies.

The alternative is more difficult to imagine, because it is something that is delib-
erately discouraged and hidden in a capitalist world. The alternative is a culture
of resistance, a set of bonds of solidarity and understanding between many dif-
ferent people in many different places. These new relationships give people the
confidence and the resources that they need to fight back wherever they are. This
culture becomes a mass of tinder which is able to turn the spark from one struggle
or another into a flame which can spread. From this culture revolutionary situa-
tions will seem to come from nowhere, surprising governments and professional
revolutionaries alike. This culture is not a particular organisation or set of princi-
ples or anything like that. It is composed of many different organisations and more
than this of ideas, practices and attitudes that reveal to us our power as exploited
but necessary parts of the capitalist system. This culture is as much about the self
image and self belief or ordinary people as it is about any particular set of ideas or
organisations.

--------------------------------------------------------

Defending the Revolution: The Krondstadt Uprising

The Kronstadt Soviet was one of the most radical organisations of
the Russian revolution. A naval base connected to Petrograd, it very
quickly kicked out its officers and became a hotbed of revolutionary
action and debate. The Soviet, a council made up of delegates from
all over the base, cheerfully participated militarily and politically in
the early days of the revolution, both in February 1917 when the Tsar
was overthrown and in October 1917 when a revolutionary rather than
moderate government was installed.

As time went on, however, the Kronstadt Soviet became a problem for
the ruling Bolsheviks. In the years immediately following the revolution
the Bolsheviks deliberately set out centralise power in their own hands.
They arrested and killed opponents, unleashed the secret police on the
population and suppressed many of the revolutionary organs that they
has supported in order to get into power. The factory committees that
ran workplaces on directly democratic lines were dissolved, the Soviets
were reduced to rubber stamps and the peasantry were attacked and
brutalised in order to secure grain. All of this provoked resistance and
strikes and disorder became common, all of which were met with brutal
force.

On March 21st 1921, while workers’ unrest was threatening to turn to a
general strike in Petrograd, the Kronstadt sailors issued a proclamation
demanding an end to the political repression against workers and peas-
ants, anarchists and members of other left parties, to return the control
of the army and the press to the workers and the release of all political
prisoners from the worker’s movement. The Bolsheviks responded in
the only way they knew how, sending hand picked regiments of party
loyalists (even the brutally disciplined Red Army could not be trusted
to crush the popular Kronstadt sailors) to attack the base. After brutal
fighting the Kronstadt Soviet was crushed.

To this day, Leninist parties spread lies about what happened. They
know that the facts show how bankrupt their way of doing things is,
how often parties and representatives, however revolutionary they may
claim to be, betray the working class to seek their own power.
-------------------------------------------------


This all sounds very nice, and it can be the stuff of stirring speeches and articles,
but it can also be vague and woolly. It is a fact that the revolutions of the past
have surprised those that took part in them, often seeming to come from nowhere.
Women rioting over the price of bread in Russia never expected to overthrow the
Tsar a few months later. Students protesting over the way their universities were
run in 1960s France never expected to be part of a movement of millions. And yet
all this and much more in countless different examples is exactly what happened.
It is tempting to define a culture of resistance in a vague way in order to deal with this
fact. We can see it as a kind of seed bed for revolutions, with the remains of smaller
struggles falling as fertiliser on the soil until it is rich and black enough for the riotous shoots of an uprising to spring forth. This, however, is not enough. It makes us think in abstractions and metaphors and so hides the real activities of the real people who build a culture of resistance. We need to be more concrete to do real justice to the struggle of millions of ordinary people.

A culture of resistance is in some way the sum of all the things that people do to
survive and resist under capitalism. It is the big things like strikes and riots, occupa-
tions of factories and public buildings and huge organisations that fight for something
in particular. Just as importantly, it is the small things as well. The little scams at work and the community and residents’ groups that make life a little bit more bearable at
home. It’s hatred of the police and the bosses and pride in who you are and the com-
munity you live in.

What all of these things have in common is that they create connections between
people. They make spaces where people can meet and talk together without being in
competition with each other. They create bonds of trust. The scam at work relies on
your workmates keeping quiet, the huge strike relies on each person sacrificing their
pay for the benefit of everyone.

These connections of trust and common purpose between people work against the
everyday logic of capitalism. Capitalism splits us off from one another. We are given
orders instead of taking part in decisions. When we buy something, whatever it is, all
we know is its price not who made it and why. The media tells us to fear immigrants
and outsiders who they claim are trying to take what little we have. We are forced at
every turn to cut ourselves off from the world, to be blind to the connections that we
have with other people.

A culture of resistance restores those connections, making visible what capitalism
tries to hide from us. Every object we use in our lives is made by other human beings.
Every piece of food we eat, every bit of power we use, every cup of water we drink is
there because other people made it possible. Capitalism hides this behind prices and
company names. It takes the credit for making life possible by hiding the very things
that connect us to everyone else in the world. A culture of resistance shows us how
connected we are to other working class people. It rolls back the deceptions of capitalism and shows us how powerful we really are. It is not some abstract ideal, but instead
it reveals the concrete reality that connects us all and blows away the abstractions and
lies that capitalism uses to isolate us.

A culture of resistance grows in the belly of capitalism and uses the connections
between workers that capitalism in some cases creates to build the beginnings of an
alternative. A culture of resistance builds structures and ideas of cooperation and soli-
darity that prefigure the world to come. A culture of resistance is the school in which
we learn how to be free, how we become through the fight against capitalism every-
thing that we will be after it.

Through organising ourselves without leaders, through taking direct action against our
enemies, through making decisions in which everyone involved gets a say we learn
how to live as free human beings. An anarchist communist world in which we control
our own lives and the things that make them possible can only be built by people who
have taught themselves how to be free. A culture of resistance composed of many dif-
ferent kinds of organisation is how we do that.

A culture of resistance operates in many different ways and in many different areas of
life. It is created by the actions of millions and will always be surprising and exciting
in the new ideas and the new ways of fighting back that it creates. However, it is pos-
sible to give a broad outline of the kinds of things that are possible and of the sorts of
struggle that can take place. The next section lays out some of these ideas and explains
why we think the Anarchist Federation can be part of this.
/3
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A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
By, For, and About Anarchists
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