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(en) Britain, Introduction to anarchist communism - anarchist federation - How We Fight: Building a Culture of Resistance (AF) III. (3/3)

Date Sun, 04 Apr 2010 18:52:25 +0300


As we’ve said, a culture of resistance is built of many different organisations working in many different ways. When people organise themselves without leaders or representatives to take direct action against the things that exploit and oppress them then they are taking part in creating a culture of resistance which in the end is what will overthrow capitalism and create a new, free, society. It is impossible to tell in advance what forms this culture of resistance will take. The needs and the imaginations of the people involved will dictate what happens and how. ---- However, it is possible to lay out the very broadest outline of how people can organise themselves and fight back. We can look at what has worked in the past and what people are doing now and point out how direct action and self organisation can be applied to a number of areas of everyday life. There can be no complete list, but in this section we’re going to look at how people can fight at work and, in different ways, in their communities. We will also look at what role minority
revolutionary organisations like the AF can play in this.

Resistance in the Workplace

At work the confrontation between workers and bosses is at its most obvious.
Workers want to work as little as possible for as much money as they can get,
whereas bosses want as much work for as little pay. This is the nature of capital-
ism. Bosses exploit workers and workers resist exploitation. It is for this reason
that when we are at work, we are watched and controlled more closely than
anywhere else. The amount of work we do is measured, the kind of work we do is
strictly defined. We are told when we can eat and when we can go to the toilet. We
are watched every minute of every day by bosses and managers whose job it is to
make sure that every minute we are being paid we are working for the company.
However, the amount of effort management makes to control people at work
points to something else. At work we are incredibly powerful. When we work for
a wage we create the profits that the ruling class needs to exist. They need us to do
what we are told in order to exist at all. We don’t need them. When workers dis-
rupt the smooth running of a workplace through strike action or sabotage and so
on, we directly disrupt the ability of the ruling class to make the profits it depends
on. For this reason, resistance at work always has revolutionary potential, however
small scale it is. When we refuse to make profits for our bosses we threaten their
very existence.

There is a constant conflict between the interests of management and the interests of
workers which is shown in many different ways. On a small scale, individual, level
are theft and slacking off where workers find ways round the control mechanisms that
management uses. On a larger, more collective, level are strikes and sabotage where
workers seek to force concessions from management. In these kinds of struggles
there are two things at stake. Firstly, workers seek to get a bigger slice of the profits
management make by exploiting them, either through theft or through wage claims.
Secondly, workers seek to resist the control of management, to get more freedom on
the job. Both sets of demands are important, but it is the second set that leads in direc-
tions that are very dangerous to the ruling class.

When management are faced with a militant workforce that is disrupting their ability
to make profits they will try and negotiate. However, they will always negotiate over
wages, working hours or something similar. That is they will negotiate the level of
exploitation, never the fact of it. They will never negotiate away control of the work-
place, indeed, they will pay a great deal of money to retain and expand that control.

This is the difference between revolutionary and reformist struggle at work. Reformist
struggles tackle the level of exploitation, seeking a ‘fairer’ deal between workers and
management. Revolutionary struggles challenge exploitation altogether and seek to
take control away from management. Whenever we fight at work, both kinds of struggle are there as potential. It is the way that we fight and the kinds of organisations that
exist that determine whether a strugglewill take a reformist or revolutionary direction.
The most common kind of working class organisation in the workplace is the trade
union. As discussed above, this is one kind of organisation that is more often than not
completely co-opted by the ruling class. As a result of past struggles which threatened
management’s power, the trade union is invited to the negotiating table. In return for
ensuring that workers don’t behave unpredictably – taking wildcat strike action or
sabotaging equipment for example – the union is given a place in the management of
capitalism, a little slice of the power that management has. The way that most unions
are organised as hierarchies, with leaders and so called ‘representatives’ means that
this power is concentrated in the hands of a small number of people who become as
much part of the ruling class as the managers that they supposedly oppose. It is the
form of trade union organisation – based on negotiation and representatives rather than
direct action and full involvement by the membership, hierarchical rather than partici-
patory – that leads to the the various ‘sell outs’ and ‘betrayals’ that are such a common
feature of modern workplace struggles. Not any one particular leadership, but the fact
that there is a leadership in the first place.

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

The Ungovernable Factory: British Industrial Struggle in the 1970s

For a brief time in the 1970s the bosses were very close to losing
control of the factories that made them their fortunes. Thatcher’s
1980s rhetoric about the threat to ‘management’s right to manage’
was not just the usual politician’s guff. From the late 1960s right
through to the defeat of the miners’ strike in 1984 a mass movement
of militant workers challenged management not just for better pay but
over how the workplace would be run.
Workers in the car industry were particularly militant, but ‘the English
disease’ as widespread strike action was known spread throughout
the economy. At its peak in 1979 29.4 million working days were
‘lost’ to strikes and disputes frequently escalated into occupations
and open confrontation. To take just one example, workers at the
Halewood Ford plant on Merseyside struck repeatedly throughout the
1970s. They fought for pay rises and against attacks on their working
conditions. Speed up on the line and other attacks were repeatedly
defeated. More than this, workers eventually started rejecting work
altogether. Friday night was strike night as the late shift downed tools
every week to go out drinking instead.
Importantly, much of this activity was run by the workers themselves,
with militant shop stewards based on the factory floor rather than
distant union bureaucrats taking on many tasks. At Halewood, the
mass meetings held regularly throughout disputes are still remem-
bered today and were often addressed by people from outside as well
as inside the workplace. These struggles were antagonistic not just to
management but to the unions as well.
Throughout Britain militant workers such as those at Halewood con-
fronted management and the trade unions for greater control of their
lives. It took a major assault by the state and a complete transforma-
tion in the global economy to defeat them.

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

The alternative to the trade union is, ironically, the very thing that gives the trade
unions what little power they have. Militant workers organising independently to take
direct action on the job are the thing that management is most afraid of. It is trade
unionism’s promise to control these militants that management demands as a condition
of giving them a place at the negotiating table. When workers are militant and self-
organised, as they were in the 1970s for example, the trade unions are more powerful
because management needs their ability to control and channel struggles so much
more. When workers are divided, disorganised and passive, then unions lose their
power and management stops working with them, as has happened in recent years for
example.

It follows from this that the priority for people fighting in the workplace should be
not a strong union branch, but strong bonds of solidarity between workers on the job.
These bonds mean that direct action to defend conditions and make gains is much
more likely to succeed. Ultimately, we see these bonds of solidarity as forming an
important part of a culture of resistance and as the basis for moving beyond reform-
ist and defensive struggles – those to protect and improve pay and conditions – into
revolutionary struggles.

These revolutionary struggles involve not just fighting management, but getting rid
of them altogether. In periods of heightened struggle when a majority of the working
class is mobilised against the ruling class, workers can move from fighting manage-
ment to managing themselves. Workers take over the factories and the workshops,
the fields and the haulage yards to start producing the goods and services that society
needs for their own sake rather than for the profit of the bosses.

For many workers this will mean simply walking away from the unproductive and
pointless jobs that they do. Most call centres and offices, insurance, advertising, bank-
ing and other pointless parasitic jobs that just move money around for the rich should
just be abandoned. For those in more useful jobs, the way work is organised should
be completely transformed. Workplaces should be run by meetings of all workers,
or where this is impractical, by meetings of mandated delegates from different work
groups and sections. The exchange of raw materials and finished products across the
world would be worked out by federations of these self managed workplaces and the
communities they are part of rather than driven by the profit motive.

In the beginning, we would simply have to keep these places running to produce the
things we needed, but as the revolution became more secure, the very nature of work
itself would need to be completely transformed. Some work would be decentralised
and carried out on a smaller scale so that communities had more control over the things
they needed. Other jobs, transport for example, would still have to be run on a large
scale and so would be run by federations accountable in every way to the communities
they served. The amount of work needed would be greatly reduced as the profit motive
is removed and the alienation of each individual from the tasks they carry out would
disappear. All of us would be involved in decisions about what kind of work needed
to be done and all of us would have free choice about what kind of work we wanted to
do. Relationships in the marketplace between depersonalised commodities would be
replaced by relationships between people doing work that interested them. What hap-
pens now only to a limited extent in small privileged sections of the professional elite
– some scientists and academics for example – would be the norm for everyone. We
would work because we wanted to for the sake of all those around us.

Resistance in the community

Unlike work, where it is more easy to see the lines of struggle, ‘community’ is much
harder to define. In the past, many people lived in close knit working class communi-
ties centred on a particular workplace – mining villages or factory towns for exam-
ple – where work and home all served to bind a particular group of people together.
These kinds of communities are much rarer now, but even when they were common
not everyone who lived in the same area could feel part of them. These communities
were often divided by race with ghettos for particular groups of immigrants and a great
deal of hostility between what were effectively different communities. In the US in
particular the division between white and black workers could be every bit as violent
and exploitative as the division between the working and the ruling classes. They were
also divided by gender. Men and women could have vastly different experiences of life
in these ‘united’ communities, with men enjoying such power over ‘their’ women that
it was their violence that was the biggest problem in women’s lives, not exploitation by
the ruling class.

While it can be argued that these divisions serve the interests of the ruling class, that
does not mean that they automatically disappear if we assert a common ‘working class’
identity. We cannot assume that just because working class people live in a particular
area that there is a ‘community’ there that is ready to fight back. We should also refuse
to be nostalgic for working class communities of the past. The unity that they had was
often marred by, and even sometimes based on, racism, sexism, homophobia and so on.
This does not mean, however, that we should reject the community as a site of working
class struggle. There are many important battles to be fought outside of the workplace
which are just as important in building a culture of resistance. What it means is that
we have to think carefully about the kinds of struggles that take place and the different
kinds of engagement that they require.

There are broadly speaking two kinds of struggle that working class people face
in the places that they live. The first is the social wage struggle, that is struggles
against cuts in essential services and against attacks on living standards through
increases in the cost of living. The second is what might be called the ‘identity’
struggle, although it is about far more than this. In this category are struggles by
women against patriarchy, ethnic minority/majority people against racism and white
supremacy, LGBTQ people against homophobia and so on. These kinds of struggles
take place at home, in the workplace, inside and outside of working class organisa-
tions. They are, however, community struggles in the sense that the people who fight
them often find themselves bound together through that fight. These two forms of
struggle are ideal types and often get mixed up – in the struggles of asylum seekers
for example who must confront racism and attacks on their living standards – but
keeping the different ways they work in mind can often help us understand what is
going on.

Social wage struggles

When we talk about a social wage we’re talking about all the different ways that
working class people receive services from the state and the ruling class that
are in effect part of their share of the profits of industry. Healthcare, subsidised
and social housing, transport and utilities like water and electricity, libraries and
social services, benefits and many other things can be seen as part of the social
wage. Like wage increases and shorter working days these services are often
the result of previous rounds of struggle, victories won by the working class in
the past. They are also, just like the benefits we receive at work, often used to
control us.

Community struggles over the social wage take many forms but they usually
involve a fairly straightforward confrontation between some arm of the state –
the local council for example – and a relatively clearly defined group of people
who depend on a particular service. Cuts in local medical services are resisted
by those who use them – patients of a particular clinic, or those living in an area
served by a particular hospital. Rent increases are resisted by the tenants of a
particular landlord or housing authority. School closures are resisted by the par-
ents and children directly affected. There are many different tactics available to
people fighting these kind of struggles. Petitions and appeals to representatives
are often used, and more often than not fail, but there are also forms of direct ac-
tion that people can use. Occupations of threatened buildings and services, mass
protests outside, and inside, government buildings, blockades and disruptions to
the normal running of services, street riots and disorder. Social wage struggles
are often the most imaginative of all struggles in terms of the tactics they use,
and this is in part because of the difficulties they face.

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

Fighting for the Social Wage: Poll Tax Rebellion

In 1989 the then Tory government tried to introduce a new local tax,
the Community Charge or Poll Tax, first into Scotland and then, in
1990, into the rest of Britain. This new tax levelled a fixed charge on
all tax payers meaning that poorer people paid a much higher percent-
age of their income than the better off. For the very poorest the new
tax would be a real burden whereas the rich would see their taxes fall.
Through much debate and disagreement a movement grew to resist
the new tax by refusing to pay it. This movement organised itself
into local Anti Poll Tax Unions, or APTUs, which organised to spread
the idea of non-payment and to help people resist any attempts to
force them to pay. The APTUs organised mass meetings, physical
resistance to bailiffs trying to collect the tax and protests at and oc-
cupations of town halls and council buildings. These tactics were so
successful that bailiff companies went bust, unable to operate when
confronted with entire communities determined to stop them. Council
revenues collapsed as up to 17 million people refused to pay and the
cost of chasing non-payers through the courts rocketed.
Protests at town halls often turned into confrontations with the po-
lice, with small scale riots and disorder all over the country. A nation-
al demonstration went the same way when police attacked in Trafalgar
Square and fighting went on for hours. The grass roots of the move-
ment rallied round to defend those arrested, but some left political
parties involved disowned the rioters (although they soon soon denied
having done this when the riot proved to be popular) and even cooper-
ated with the police, proving that in the end they’re more concerned
with their own power than the needs of working class people.
In the end, the Poll Tax was defeated by widespread self organisation
and direct action. The APTUs allowed people to meet and make their
own decisions and the non-payment campaign created a direct con-
frontation with the state, a confrontation that we won.

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

The difference between social wage struggles and struggles in the workplace is that
it is not always possible for people fighting over the social wage to hurt the profits
of the people they oppose. Rent strikes and the refusal to pay taxes can work in this
way, but protests and occupations don’t always have this effect. This is one of the
biggest difficulties that social wage struggles face – it is much harder for them to hurt
the people in charge. Many of the tactics communities use are aimed at disrupting the
smooth running of local government in the same way that industrial disputes disrupt
the smooth running of the workplace. However, another set of tactics is also aimed at
the legitimacy of the institutions of government, at questioning whether the council, or
the NHS trust and so on even have the right to run the services that are being attacked.
It is here that social wage struggles often move in the direction of self organisation
and self management – running occupied buildings and services themselves, squatting
land and simply building the things that are needed without waiting for permission. It
is also here, however, that social wage struggles are often co-opted. Sometimes, politi-
cal parties move in and claim to speak for the people involved in resistance to cuts and
so on. They claim that the problem is the result of who is in charge, not because of the
system as a whole. They use the discontent and resistance of ordinary people as a basis
for their own power, as a way of governing rather than freeing people. These parties
come from across the political spectrum, whether from the mainstream, from the left
or even the far right – this is a tactic the BNP used for example. At other times, the
organisations that the community has set up for itself to defend the services it relies
on are invited to negotiate with the state, even invited to run some things themselves.
Very quickly they find themselves managing people’s dissatisfaction on the state’s
behalf, just like a trade union in the workplace.

If this co-option can be avoided and resisted by self-organised groups working without
representatives and taking direct action to fulfil their own needs, then these kind of
social wage struggles can move in amazing directions. Millions of people can be
organised to resist the degradation of their own lives, as happened during the struggle
against the Poll Tax for example. They can also take over the running of important
aspects of their day to day lives which at the moment are in the hands of the state.
At times of heightened struggle, for example during long lasting general strikes, this
dynamic leads to people taking over the running of their own communities, provid-
ing for themselves the services they rely on. During and after the revolution this will
expand to break down the division between work and the community so that people
decide amongst themselves what services they need and how they will provide them
for themselves. Neighbourhood assemblies will work in cooperation with councils in
the factories and workshops to provide everything needed for life, with everyone af-
fected by a decision involved in making it.

‘Identity’ struggles

The word ‘identity’ is really not up to the job of describing the kind of struggles we’re
talking about here, but it is better than any of the other terms that we have. Most lib-
eral, and even most radical, ways of talking about the struggles of women, of LGBTQ
people, ethnic minority/majority people and so on do not recognise the relationship
between these kinds of struggle and working class struggle. Sometimes they are seen
as distractions and sometimes as ‘separate but equal’, but rarely as an integral part
of the struggle against capitalism as a whole. For anarchist communists capitalism is
more than just a class system, it is a system that uses a whole range of hierarchies to
maintain the power of a minority. Resistance to all of these hierarchies should be seen
as resistance to capitalism.

This does not mean, however, that separate organisations are not needed by people
fighting patriarchy, white supremacy and so on. Just because the struggles of women
or gay people are important in the struggle against capitalism does not mean that those
struggles can simply be folded into some ‘wider’ fight against capitalism. The nature
of these forms of exploitation and oppression mean that not only do ethnic minority/
majority people or gay people and so on face attacks from the state in the form of
discriminatory laws or police harassment, they also face attacks from other working
class people.

Because of this it is necessary for these people to form their own communities not
only in order to organise together but also to talk together without having to justify
what they say to people who do not share their oppression. It is essential that peo-
ple form groups which are all female or all ethnic minority/majority or all LGBT or
all disabled and so on and so on. These groups provide a space in which people can
understand what is unique about their own oppressions and in which they can be free
of the prejudices, conscious or unconscious, of people who do not share their experi-
ences. These groups can be the basis of communities of resistance, where a shared
understanding becomes a set of shared tactics and actions to take on both the state and
the everyday prejudice and violence that can make life hell for anyone defined outside
the norm.

These unique understandings and tactics become an important part of a culture of
resistance. They strengthen the challenge that all exploited groups make to capitalism
by broadening and deepening the range of resistance that the ruling class faces. The
power differences and hierarchies that the ruling class uses to keep us divided from
one another are not overcome by some false ‘unity’ that ignores the differences in our
experiences of exploitation and oppression. They are overcome when different people
use their own experiences to come up with unique forms of resistance that meet their
own needs. This is the foundation of alliances between different groups, between men
and women, black and white, immigrant and native, queer and straight and so on, not a
unity built on ignoring these differences.

These communities of resistance are as vulnerable to co-option as any other kind of
resistance. Feminist groups find themselves taking government funding and becoming
part of the administration of capitalism rather than resisting it, ethnic minority/major-
ity activists become ‘community leaders’ and end up as part of the problem. It should
be stressed, however, that this is not a special feature of this kind of group. Workers’
organisations are just as vulnerable to being co-opted as women’s or queer organisa-
tions for example. Indeed, it is often the divisions caused by different hierarchies that
are used to do this. Early trade unions were bought off by the expulsion of women and
immigrant workers from the workplace, giving male workers a little slice of power as
a bribe. Queer groups have often seen gay men take positions of leadership and power
in exchange for downplaying, indeed sometimes even opposing, the needs of lesbian
women or transgender people, breaking the unity brought by a common oppression
with the privileges of male power in a patriarchal society. As always it is direct action
and self-organisation that can avoid this kind of co-option.

The ultimate goal of revolutionary ‘identity’ struggles is the same as any other kind
of revolutionary struggle. It is not for equal rights or a place at the capitalist table. It is instead the complete transformation of the way society is organised. The struggle is
for a world in which everyone has the chance to be a full human being and do what-
ever it is that they need to grow and fulfil themselves. In the end, ‘identity’ struggles
seek to destroy the need for that identity, just as workers’ in struggle want to stop be-
ing workers and start being people. The future we’re fighting for is one in which there
are only people, and the colour of their skin, who they chose to sleep with or what
kind of genitals they happen to have are their business and no one else’s.

----------------------------------
The Environment and the Social
Wage: The German Anti-Nuclear Movement

In 1975 the West German government began building a nuclear re-
actor in the tiny hamlet of Wyhl. Since 1971 a grass roots move-
ment had been building to oppose the new reactor, but had been
ignored at every stage of the planning process. On the 18th February,
one day after construction had begun, local people occupied the site
and were dragged away and beaten by the police. A few days later
on the 23rd February 30,000 people came back and reoccupied the
site forcing the police to back down. Within a month the construction
license had been withdrawn and the reactor was never built.
This was the first major victory for the German anti-nuclear movement
which had been growing since the 1960s in the belly of the peace
movement and through local citizens’ initiatives. Through the late
1970s hundreds of thousands of people were involved in occupations
and direct action aimed at stopping the government’s nuclear power
programme. Projects in Wackersdorf and Gorleben were defeated and
in 1981 100,000 people faced off 10,000 police with sticks, stones,
molotovs and slingshots in protest at a proposed plant in Brockdorf.
The German anti-nuclear movement is the single most successful en-
vironmental direct action movement in recent history. It started with
local communities organising themselves to resist building projects
through legal channels (lobbying, protests and so on). It grew into a
major alliance between anarchists, the libertarian left, local groups
and national campaigns that were able to fight and win against some
of the biggest police mobilisations ever seen in Germany. In the end,
some parts of this movement were co-opted into the German Green
Party and other parts faded away as the government backed down, but
its influence still lives. Even in 2008, it was possible for 15,000 to
blockade nuclear waste shipments and any German government can
guarantee that moves towards a new nuclear programme will be met
with resistance.
---------------------------------------------------------------

The role of the revolutionary organisation

If people are capable of running their own struggles and of fighting for themselves to
meet their own needs then what is the point of an organisation like the Anarchist Federa-
tion? We are an organisation of conscious revolutionaries who see ourselves as working
towards an anarchist communist revolution, but as we’ve made clear in this pamphlet, we
don’t think that any revolution will be down to us. It will be the self activity of millions of working class people that makes the revolution, not the work of a handful of people with some nice ideas. We are not a revolutionary party that will lead the working class out of its ‘trade union consciousness’, out of reformism and into revolution. We are not the embryo of a workers’ council or a revolutionary union that will grow and grow until we eventually take over. We do not lead anyone, we do not act on behalf of anyone but ourselves.

There are, however, some things that a revolutionary organisation can do that would
be far less likely to happen without it. Anarchist communism is a living working
class tradition, but there are times when that life hangs by a very thin thread. In peri-
ods of defeat and division, when the working class has few organisations of its own
and there is very little struggle, something has to keep the lessons that have been
learned alive. The revolutionary organisation is an important store of knowledge and
skills. It is a kind of memory that keeps alive a vision of the working class as united
and defiant, even when the class has been kicked in the head so many times it’s
starting to forget its own name, let alone its past.

This means producing leaflets and pamphlets, organising meetings and education
to keep ideas and history alive. This is not just an academic exercise, playing with
ideas for the sake of it, it is intensely practical. Accounts from the early days of the
Poll Tax struggle make clear that people were drawing inspiration from the stories
of previous fights against taxation, going back to the 14th century peasants’ revolt!
Knowing that something has happened before can make people feel that it is more
realistic to fight back now. And this need not just be some vague ‘inspiration’, how-
ever important this is. A revolutionary organisation with national and international
contacts can be an important channel for information which bypasses hierarchical
structures like the unions or the media and puts workers in different, isolated, strug-
gles in direct contact with one another.

There is much more to it than this of course. Members of a revolutionary organisa-
tion are also militants in their own right and intensely involved in struggles where
they live and work. The ideas of anarchist communism spread not just through the
words of our organisations but also through things that we do. Whatever we are
involved in we push for direct action and self organisation and resist takeover and
co-option by authoritarian groups. Our membership of a broader organisation of
revolutionaries gives us access to the experiences of our comrades and allows us to
discuss and debate the issues and tactics of any particular struggle without having to
worry about the basics. The high level of political agreement within a revolutionary
organisation allows us to worry about the crucial details rather than having to make
the same arguments against the unions and for direct action again and again and
again.

It is in these two main ways – preserving and spreading the memory and lessons of
previous struggles, and supporting committed but potentially isolated militants in
day to day struggles – that a revolutionary organisation contributes towards a culture
of resistance. The ideas of anarchist communism work. When we use them to fight
our chances of winning increase because these ideas empower us and show us our
own strength rather than telling us to rely on some set of leaders or representatives.
The revolutionary organisation is one important way of spreading those ideas, of
putting them into action and using them to build a culture of resistance.

There is no Conclusion

Anarchist communism is a living, breathing working class tradition that grows out of
the actions and experiences of millions of people over the centuries of struggle against
capitalism. The one lesson that we learn again and again is that people fight back.
Wherever they are and whatever is happening to them, people fight back. Sometimes
we win, more often we don’t, but whenever we make progress the principles of direct
action and self organisation are usually at the heart of it. Our defeats are never total:
there’s always something left to move forward and carry on fighting. Our victory will
never be final: human beings will always seek to change and experiment, to experi-
ence new things and new ideas.

We believe that as long as capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy and all the rest of
it still exist there will always be people who resist. We believe that they have the best
chance of winning when they organise using anarchist communist principles. As long
as that resistance goes on, the Anarchist Federation and the many groups like us all
over the world will do whatever we can to bring those ideas to the people that need
them. Whether at work, at home or in the community people will always fight back,
and anarchist communists will always be there to support them as best we can.

===================================================================

Anarchist Federation Aims and Principles

1.The Anarchist Federation is an or-
ganisation of revolutionary class strug-
gle anarchists. We aim for the abolition
of all hierarchy, and work for the crea-
tion of a world-wide classless society:
anarchist communism.

2. Capitalism is based on the exploi-
tation of the working class by the rul-
ing class. But inequality and exploi-
tation are also expressed in terms of
race, gender, sexuality, health, ability
and age, and in these ways one sec-
tion of the working class oppresses an-
other. This divides us, causing a lack
of class unity in struggle that benefits
the ruling class. Oppressed groups are
strengthened by autonomous action
which challenges social and economic
power relationships. To achieve our
goal we must relinquish power over
each other on a personal as well as a
political level.

3. We believe that fighting racism and
sexism is as important as other as-
pects of the class struggle. Anarchist-
Communism cannot be achieved while
sexism and racism still exist. In order
to be effective in their struggle against
their oppression both within society
and within the working class, women,
lesbians and gays, and black people
may at times need to organise inde-
pendently. However, this should be
as working class people as cross-class
movements hide real class differences
and achieve little for them. Full eman-
cipation cannot be achieved without
the abolition of capitalism.

4. We are opposed to the ideology of
national liberation movements which
claims that there is some common in-
terest between native bosses and the
working class in face of foreign domi-
nation. We do support working class
struggles against racism, genocide,
ethnocide and political and economic
colonialism. We oppose the creation
of any new ruling class. We reject
all forms of nationalism, as this only
serves to redefine divisions in the in-
ternational working class. The work-
ing class has no country and national
boundaries must be eliminated. We
seek to build an anarchist international
to work with other libertarian revolu-
tionaries throughout the world.

5. As well as exploiting and oppress-
ing the majority of people, Capitalism
threatens the world through war and
the destruction of the environment.

6. It is not possible to abolish Capi-
talism without a revolution, which will
arise out of class conflict. The ruling
class must be completely overthrown
to achieve anarchist communism. Be-
cause the ruling class will not relin-
quish power without their use of armed
force, this revolution will be a time of
violence as well as liberation.

7. Unions by their very nature cannot
become vehicles for the revolutionary
transformation of society. They have to
be accepted by capitalism in order to
function and so cannot play a part in
its overthrow. Trades unions divide the
working class (between employed and
unemployed, trade and craft, skilled
and unskilled, etc). Even syndicalist
unions are constrained by the funda-
mental nature of unionism. The union
has to be able to control its member-
ship in order to make deals with man-
agement. Their aim, through nego-
tiation, is to achieve a fairer form of
exploitation of the workforce. The in-
terests of leaders and representatives
will always be different from ours. The
boss class is our enemy, and while we
must fight for better conditions from
it, we have to realise that reforms we
may achieve today may be taken away
tomorrow. Our ultimate aim must be
the complete abolition of wage slavery.
Working within the unions can never
achieve this. However, we do not ar-
gue for people to leave unions until
they are made irrelevant by the revolu-
tionary event. The union is a common
point of departure for many workers.
Rank and file initiatives may strength-
en us in the battle for anarchist com-
munism. What’s important is that we
organise ourselves collectively, arguing
for workers to control struggles them-
selves.

8. Genuine liberation can only come
about through the revolutionary self
activity of the working class on a mass
scale. An anarchist communist society
means not only co-operation between
equals, but active involvement in the
shaping and creating of that society
during and after the revolution. In
times of upheaval and struggle, people
will need to create their own revolu-
tionary organisations controlled by eve-
ryone in them. These autonomous or-
ganisations will be outside the control
of political parties, and within them
we will learn many important lessons
of self-activity.

9. As anarchists we organise in all ar-
eas of life to try to advance the revo-
lutionary process. We believe a strong
anarchist organisation is necessary to
help us to this end. Unlike other so-
called socialists or communists we
do not want power or control for our
organisation. We recognise that the
revolution can only be carried out di-
rectly by the working class. However,
the revolution must be preceded by
organisations able to convince people
of the anarchist communist alternative
and method. We participate in struggle
as anarchist communists, and organise
on a federative basis. We reject sec-
tarianism and work for a united revolu-
tionary anarchist movement.

10. We oppose organised religion and
religious belief(s).

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

Contact us:
Web:
www.afed.org.uk
www.iaf-ifa.org
Email:
info@afed.org.uk
Post:
BM Anarfed, London WC1N 3XX

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

Resistance

Resistance is the monthly agita-
tional bulletin of the Anarchist
Federation.
For printed copies please write to:
BM ANARFED, London, WC1N
3XX. Send a Stamped Addressed
Envelope to get a free sample. The
ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION (10
issues) is £6.00 (UK addresses
only). A joint subscription to re-
ceive both Organise! and Resist-
ance for one year is still £10 (UK
addresses only). Free electronic
subscription available online.
--------------------------------

Organise!

Organise! is the magazine of the
Anarchist Federation, published
in order to develop anarchist com-
munist ideas. It aims to give a clear
anarchist viewpoint on contempo-
rary issues, and initiate debates on
areas not normally covered by agi-
tational journals. All articles in the
magazine are by AF members un-
less signed. Some reflect AF policy
and others open up debate in undis-
cussed areas, helping us to develop
our ideas further. We welcome con-
tributions of articles to Organise!
as long as they don’t conflict with
our Aims and Principles we will
endeavour to publish them. Letters,
of course, need not agree with our
A&Ps at all.
Try ONLINE ORDERING of Or-
ganise! using Paypal (both UK and
overseas orders). Otherwise, send
£3.00 to obtain the current issue in
print to a UK address (inc p&p) (or
£3.50 for non-UK orders) to: BM
ANARFED, London, WC1N 3XX,
England, UK.
ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTIONS are
also available, saving 50p an issue.
Read back issues free online.

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

More AF Publications

AGAINST NATIONALISM -
published September 2009, an
analysis of nationalism and why
anarchist communists are funda-
mentally against it. Printed copies
- £2 +p&p.

IN THE TRADITION - pub-
lished as a pamphlet for the first
time in 2009, this collection of
articles from Organise! magazine
outlines the root of and influences
on the politics of the A(C)F. Print-
ed copies - £2 +p&p. Also online
in french.

ON THE FRONTLINE: ANAR-
CHISTS AT WORK - new for
2009, the AF's workplace strategy
is explained. Printed copies - £2
+p&p. Also online in french.
BASIC KROPOTKIN. New pam-
phlet for October 2008. Kropotkin
and the History of Anarchism, by
Brian Morris. An introduction to
the thought and politics of one
of the most influential anarchist
communists of 100 years ago. -
£2.00 +p&p.

RESISTANCE TO NAZISM -
telling the stories of libertarian
groups that were opposing Fas-
cism in Europe before, and into,
the 1930s including Edelweiss
Pirates, FAUD underground, Za-
zous, 43 group, Arditi del Popolo
and dozens of other Italian groups
- £1.50 +p&p.

WORK AND THE FREE SOCIETY - Why work is so terrible and
why it must be destroyed before it destroys us! - £2.00 +p&p.

Other AF Pamphlets:

• The role of the revolutionary organisation
• Beating the poll tax
• Manifesto of libertarian communism - george fontenis
• The anarchist movement in japan
• Ecology and class - where there’s brass there’s muck
• Anarchism - as we see it
• Beyond resistance - a revolutionary manifesto
• Against parliament - for anarchism
• Work and the free society
• Aspects of anarchism
• Resistance to nazism
• Basic kropotkin




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