Anarchism, especially in ‘Britain’ is fucking dire! We are largely confined to a ghetto and are by-and-large seemingly inable (At least since Class War officially folded in 2010) to break out of it. We are dogged by an inability to relate to the every day lives of working-class people and practicial solutions and combative immediate battles have been replaced largely by ineffective, pseudo-intellectual and long-term projects which never seem to materialise. There also seems to be a MASSIVE over emphasis on petty squabbles and trivial bullshit like whether or not the ‘Zapatistas would call for an international revolt with the view to setting-up workers’ councils in the coming year’ (OK, so this never actually happened and such a call never existed but you get the point I hope). When something big happens such as the student revolt of 2010/2011, the big demo. of 26th March 2011, boycott workfare and anti-bedroom tax campaigns, uprising of August 2011, G8 protests in 2013 etc. we are scarcely seen (If at all) and if we do make an intervention then we never build on it. There is also a lack of anarchist established and led initiatives. “But what do you fucking suggest?” I hear you say. Well I will outline what I suggest but this is not a series of magical suggestions, a manifesto or some grand programme to build workers’ councils and create a revolution overnight but are a series of suggestions about starting to get our house in order. I suggest ‘The Immediate’ and ‘The Long-Term’.
– Stop looking inwards with our publicity and propaganda.
This is preaching to the converted and only seeks to reinforce the ghetto mentality. We need to snap out of this mentality and go to our natural constituency in the working-class communities in and around where we live. We are not going to get anywhere, spread our ideas or build anything unless we nurture the apathetic and actually listen to the wider working-class community about what we want and what as a community we can bring to the table (In this case “we” is the wider working-class community).
– Fight where we stand
This is building bases and a culture of resistance in our local communities and workplaces. We need to interact with the community, listen to our family and mates, talk to people outside of our political circles. Listen to the hard truths and take them on board!
– Think Global, Fight Local
We are ultimately internationalists, that’s a given, and the struggles within our local communities whilst having their own unique characteristics are part of a wider, international struggle. Having said this, like I said above, we need to fight where we stand and so we should ‘think global’ in recognising that the ultimate struggle is international but ‘fight local’ because local is where we live. Too many of us seem to be disconnected by exclusively advocating and cheerleading uprisings abroad and fine, fair enough, all power to people rising up around the world but we live here and so we should build here and not many of the cheerleaders seem to at least be thinking of localised activity. International uprisings can and do run in tandem with local struggles but to neglect local struggles by exclusively distracting yourself with goings on in far-away lands is folly and exoticism. Having said this, building international links is vital but not as a substitute to building local links. We can learn from people abroad, we can discuss things abroad and take inspiration and empowerment from it but when doing so just take a look around you and remind yourself where you are and where your immediate struggle is. Let’s get fighting here and now!
– Anarchism is not enough
Anarchism alone is not enough. We need to seek out other libertarian socialists such as social ecologists, autonomous Marxists, situationists, council communists and other left communists etc. There are enough of us libertarian socialists around to build a genuinely broad libertarian front.
– Break with Occupy and Anonymous
Occupy (With a few exceptions): Liberals, closet anti-Semites, conspiracy theorists, middle-class, rapey, pacifists, cuts across class (I will go into this at a later date!), extremely ghettoised, cliquey and face it, we are not the 99%!
Anonymous: Minus a few good actions from the hacking side (Hacking and fucking with nonce websites) and the odd token working-class activist, all of the above! Viva la Lovealution? Fuck off!
– Build bases
As I have already said, build in our communities and workplaces. This can be where we drink, where we hang-out, youth clubs, where we work, gig venues, fuck, wherever we interact with other people basically.
– Stop being so fucking lazy
This means turning up to things on time, doing what we agreed to do, not being so hard to get ahold of it is like trying to contact fucking aliens, being arsed to do things for ourselves and helping others, doing the dirty work, doing the non-glamorous work (Leafletting, stickering etc.) and generally just getting out of fucking bed.
– There is no dignity in work
Whilst it is important that we fight for our rights and defend our gains in the workplace, there is no dignity in work. It’s called wage slavery for a reason and there is no dignity in slavery!
– Connect the dots
The struggles are NOT isolated. Working-class students fighting privatisation, fees and cuts, police brutality and death in custody, stop and search, rise in heroin and crack abuse; rise in the far-right, racism and conservatism, rape culture, sexism and wider issue of patriarchy, imperialism, bedroom tax, cuts; strikes, workfare, wage slavery, ecocide and so on are all connected. We need to join the dots between these struggles and this should be a central theme of our activity. If the struggles exist in isolation then we will forever be going for petty reforms and we will be giving in to the state’s divide-and-rule tactics.
– Bring class back into politics
We are engaged in a class war, a class struggle. Whilst I have no problem with SINCERE activists born into middle-class backgrounds (People who are sincerely recognising and working against their class privillege with vigour), we are a working-class movement and this should be a revolution by and for the working-class. We seem to be forgetting this so come on, put the class back into the politics! There are an insincere, tiny patronising few middle-class amongst us who bring with them their shitty middle-class attitudes of privillege, patronisation and domination. Given such attitudes then how can we relate to our wider working-class community when they infect even working-class people in anarchism? We need to stop blurring class lines and deluding ourselves to the fact that their is a three-tier class system in place (Working, middle and upper). We should not be afraid to call out middle and upper class privillege even when accused of ‘classism’, ‘workerism’, ‘working-classism’ and ‘working-class chauvanism’ (When accused it’s a badge I wear with glee). We ultimately want a society in which class does not exist, a classless society, but we can not get to that point when we delude ourselves into believing that ‘class is just not an issue’ (After all, it is THE issue!) and that ‘we are all middle-class now’ (I shit you not, some people really believe this crap!). We can not get to that point without attacking the class system, middle and upper class privillege (And calling it out!) and controlling our own struggles OURSELVES! We can not get to a classless society when we constantly bleat on about ‘cutting across class’ and when we blur class lines. When we blur class lines we can not see them, so we can not challenge them so we become blind to them. How can we fight the class system when we can not see the enemy clearly? It would be like a sniper trying to shoot through a cloud of smoke! If we forget that they exist (When they clearly do!) then they will only be perpetuated and so we could not then get to a classless society.
– Address much neglected struggles
There are important, vital struggles which largely no fucker seems to be addressing. These are (But not limited to) sexual liberation, the struggle against patriarchy and sexism, the struggle against transphobia (Which I regard as a form of sexism), the struggle against militarism, anti-bolshevism, queer liberation, black liberation, earth and animal liberation. We MUST start to actively work within these struggles which should ALWAYS be led by the group being oppressed; for example naturally women should take the lead in feminist struggles or else the feminist cause will be nullified and void.
– Call out and address bad shit within our own scene
This can be internal sexism, domination, racism and chauvanism.
– Build cultural groups and events
This could be Love Hardcore, Hate Homophobia, Love Music, Hate Fascism, Love Football, Hate Racism, Football Not Business or Reclaim Your Scene (And maybe another round of Rock Against the Rich gigs?).
– Build anarchist infrastructure
This means autonomous spaces such as squats, social centres, woman and queer only spaces, housing co-operatives, work co-operatives, food co-operatives, art collectives and the like. This also means a legal and support infrastructure for when we are nicked and sent to prison.
– Build umbrella groups
We need to build umbrella groups and coalitions where autonomous groups can come together to share skills, resources and take action on issues. I would suggest:
Anti-Imperialist Action (To fight against war, imperialism and militarism. Would be a good, class-based alternative to the ineffective middle-class drabness of the Stop the War Coalition)
Militant Atheist Front (For the militant atheists among us to fight against religion)
Sexual Liberation Front (Fight for sexual liberation)
Anti-Sexist Action (To fight against sexism and patriarchy)
Anti-Homophobe Action (For fighting against homophobia)
Anti-Speciesist Action (To fight for animal liberation and against speciesism)
Ida B. Wells Coalition (To get behind black people in the fight for black liberation) (Already existing)
Red and Anarchist Skinheads (RASH) (To fight against nazi bastards and boneheads in the skinhead subculture which seems to be making somewhat of a small comeback) (Already existing)
Anti-Capitalist Action (For the fightback against gentrification, globalisation etc.)
Social Ecologist Action (For campaigning on eco issues such as fracking, fossil fuel empire etc.)
– Form solidarity groups
This is the Solidarity Federation, Hackney Solidarity Group, Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty and Seattle Solidarity Group style actions and groups. There are groups already doing things like this such as the one(s) in London, Edinburgh, Newcastle etc. but there needs to be these type of groups in as many places as possible if not everywhere.
– Build community groups
In line with putting our community at the heart of our politics we need to set-up community groups. For this I would suggest:
Workers’ support groups (To support hard-up workers and workers in dispute)
Strike support groups (To get behind striking workers NOT in front of them, to fight alongside them and not substitute ourselves for themselves and to help guard against opportunists. We are not Trots!)
Anti-bailiff groups (Build combative community resistance against evictions and reposessions)
Help for the homeless (Food Not Bombs, Guerilla Humanity etc.) (Help those at the very bottom of capitalism’s pile)
Tenants’ and residents’ associations (Fight for tenants’ and residents’ rights and fight against shit such as gentrification etc.)
Food and clothing banks (Assist hard-up families and individuals)
Welfare support groups (Assist those on welfare or wanting to claim welfare with appeals, sanctions, general advice etc.)
– Do not forget our goal
We seem to be very content with existing to call for petty reforms in the system. Whilst it is important to fight for rights and defend them in the here-and-now, this should not move itself into being content with petty reformism which is increasingly looking like it has. This has led to people actually forgetting that we are anarchists and just feel like saying to them “hello, we are anarchists, remember?”. We should never forget who and what we are, anarchists, and we should not forget our end goal, anarchy. This means no government, no state, crushing every last bit of capitalism and working towards wiping reaction from the face of the earth. Remember who we are, demand the impossible and let the flames of anarchy burn!
– Do not give up or lose the moment but also do not burn out
In the anarchist scene in Britain when we are on a roll with things we tend to kick back and relax and seem to think that things will be the same when we get our lazy arses back around to doing said things again. We need to push and push when we are on a roll, we need to build on what we have got and then push for more. Be bold! But, having said all of this, we need to work out sharing work loads, rotate things and work out that fine line between taking on a lot of work and burn out. It can be done, it has been done and in other parts of the world, it is being done! There is nothing wrong with relaxing and having a break, it is needed to avoid things such as burnout but we should also not allow things to fizzle out.
We need to socialise more, get to know one another more intimately (No, I do not mean fucking each other, but if you do that then fine), build on friendships in a political but also more importantly; a non-political environment. This works to build greater bonds, connections and trust. If you can not get on with and trust your mates then who can you get on with and trust? Besides, it’s simply fun to socialise, too much politics will blow your fucking mind!
So there you have it, my humble suggestions. I suggest these things in order to merely create debate, stimulate already existing debate, as my contribution or just simply to suggest something because hardly anyone (If anyone at all!) seems to be suggesting anything. Take what I have said however you want to but if you have better suggestions them put them forward, bring them to your mates (Both political and apolitical), groups you may be involved with and groups you may not be involved with.