Four public talks will take place in UK to mark the bi-centenary of the birth of anarchist revolutionary Mikhail Bakunin. We hope you can make one of them!
1) An Introduction to Bakunin
Wednesday June 18th, 7pm.
At Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh, 17 West Montgomery Place, Edinburgh
Convened by Edinburgh group of the Anarchist Federation
2) The Spirit of Revolt: Bakunin
Sunday June 29th, 1pm
Speakers: Brian Morris (author of book on Bakunin) and speaker from Anarchist Federation
Convened by London group of Anarchist Federation and South-east England Region of Anarchist Federation
At the Common House Unit E, 5 Punderson Gardens, London, E2 (nearest tube Bethnal Green)
3) Manchester on Friday June 27th, 7pm
At Subrosa (Manchester Social Centre), 27 Lloyd Street South, Moss Side, M14 7HS.
Organised by Manchester AF.
(not yet sure about Disabled access).
4) Sheffield Anarchist Bookfair (Details of the event are here : http://afed.org.uk/component/content/article/403.html ).
Saturday 12th July, 10am-6pm (there are the opening times for the bookfair as a whole - free/donation entry).
At Showroom Workstation, 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S1 2BX
Organised by the AF.
International of Anarchist Federations, May 2014: http://i-f-a.org/index.php/statements
In today´s world, as in the past, war is a necessity for States to establish domination over other parts of the planet, to unite their own populations behind them against an external Enemy, to boost their own arms industries which are a growing part of their own economies. Increasingly, large corporations and financial institutions like the IMF and the World Bank in conjunction with states like the USA, France, China, Russia etc impose their economic domination through military force. Moreover the development of the nuclear power industry leads to a nuclear society of control and centralisation and a looming threat to human life and the environment. New technology (drones etc.) is used to kill more and more people and for increased State surveillance including the control of Fortress Europe borders against immigrants from Africa.
The search for minerals for these industries informs the fight by the different power blocs to establish control over important sources of uranium, oil and other minerals.
War is intimately bound up with environmental destruction as with the defoliation of the jungle during the Vietnam War and the huge environmental damage with the bombing of oil refineries during the Gulf Wars.
War involves the displacement of whole populations, enforced migration and the establishment of huge refugee camps. It triggers famine with attacks on crops and harvests. Mass rape is readily used as a weapon of terror and as a symptom of the distorted masculinity bred by militarism.
As well as manufactured threats like that of Islamic fundamentalism and once again those of the Russian Bear or of Western imperialist aggression, increasingly the threat of internal disorder , often provoked by the State itself, is used to create an internal enemy, The Enemy Within- whether this is youth gangs or political groups. The growing militarization of society is thus justified, with a developing presence of troops in the streets and at transport hubs, and an increasingly militarised police force.
The competing power blocs- USA, Russia, China, the European Union etc- seek their own spheres of influence on a global level, leading to an increasing tension as can be seen with the Ukrainian situation.
We oppose the drift towards the militarization of society and the drive towards war. Disputes over borders are used as a means by power blocs and nation states to trigger conflicts. The answer is not the solution of micro-nationalism (Scotland, Catalonia, etc) with the development of new small States with their own armed forces but a free federation of the peoples, with the destruction of the war industries, the disbanding of the armies and the disappearance of borders and the overthrow of capitalism itself. On a practical level we oppose their drive to war and the militarization of society with campaigns against military recruitment, support to all deserters and war resisters, mass civil disobedience and blockades and strikes against the shipment of arms and armies.
The sharing of all resources by the populations of the whole planet
WAR AGAINST WAR!
IFA anti-Election - European Elections
The European elections are taking place in the context of increasing austerity. Every day we are subjected to the effects of the crisis brought about by global capitalist transformation. Governments, states and supranational structures, such as the European Community, deny rights and attack living conditions, acquired in years of struggle, in order to prop up capitalism and ensure that the corporations and banks do not pay the price for the situation they themselves created. Some of the problems we face include:
- Unemployment, related in particular to privatisation and outsourcing.
- The privatization of basic social services, with the consequence of an offer guaranteed only to those few who can afford it, and a low quality of services.
- Social atomization, in which everyone is forced to be responsible, creating competition between individuals in the daily struggle for existence.
- Jobs and other aspects of life are becoming more and more precarious; rights are denied daily.
- The consequence of this social model is the comeback of the patriarchal family, which imposes a subordinate role in society on women.
- Immigration is used as a pool of workers to exploit and enslave for the benefit of the bosses.
- Ruthless methods of production that cause devastation to both our lives and the environment.
- A society based on debt, in which the conditions of our existence are owned by the banks.
- Bureaucratization of society that guarantees the continuity of the political institutions and economic interests of the rich at the expense of the working class.
It is in this context that we are being asked to participate in the charade that calls itself a democracy. The only choices presented to us are ones that will continue the policies that benefit corporations, financial institutions and politicians. One of the main debates is about the role of the European Union itself. Some look to it as a way to resolve the crisis and maintain unity amongst people. Others argue that we need to retreat into our own borders in order to take back control of our own economies and political institutions. However, neither solutions will do anything more than reinforce the power of those who oppress us.
The European Union
The European Union has meant another layer of power over populations. Its main purpose is to serve the needs of corporations and financial institutions and is therefore an obstacle to the emancipation of the working class. The majority of the laws that people are now subjected to come from the European Parliament rather than the individual states. The EU does not need to respect local conditions and instead imposes their own vision for Europe based on the needs of capital. The vast majority of regulations have been to enhance the power of capital over the people. Very few policies have been directed at improving the social conditions of European populations. We have seen the way in which the EU has presided over the attack on the Greek people and the raid of western capital on the assets of Eastern Europe. Any attempt by people to resist the encroachment of this superstate has been firmly resisted by individual states. For example, the state may refuse to allow people to vote on whether or not they want to remain within the EU or, if they do let them vote, the rig it so that the country remains in the EU. This was the case in Ireland, France and the Netherlands. In addition, the EU has created fortress Europe, closing its borders to the rest of the world, as well as trying to be one of the many self-appointed world policemen.
Withdrawal from the EU?
Given the way the problems created for us by the European Union, you might think the answer is to withdraw from this Union. However, the idea that the working class would be better off outside the EU, ruled by their own State, is a dangerous illusion. It is especially dangerous because of the fact that this is the position of the far right parties who are not remotely interested in resisting state power. Instead, their aim would be to install an even more authoritarian regime with even more repression.
Firstly, capitalism is global. The power of international corporations and banks, the major cause of the problems facing us, will not disappear if a country withdraws from the EU. The global processes which are at work, the movement of production and money across borders, motivated by the search for profits will continue. International institutions such as the IMF and World Bank will still have the power to impose austerity and policies that are against the interests of local populations. Human needs will take second place; it doesn't matter whether the country is within or outside the EU.
Secondly, the retreat behind national borders, a move driven by the xenophobic ideology of the far-right, will have serious consequences for the spirit of co-operation and solidarity between the working class of Europe. Ordinary people have a history of supporting each other regardless of national origin. This tradition will be undermined as people put what appears to be their self-interest over mutual aid. It may not lead to actual war, but it has already led to a mentality of competition and conflict that will only further undermine the effectiveness that comes from a united European working class. A divided working class will benefit those who have caused the problems we are facing in the first place, such as austerity and repressive measures.
Many who support withdrawal from the EU seem to think that we can return to some kind of Golden Age of prosperity. However, this is another illusion; this Golden Age never existed. They forget that their own state has never been their friend; it has always been the instrument of imposing the interests of a small minority on the majority. All states operate by taking power from the people. It doesn't matter if the State is a few miles or thousands of miles away; it will still be out of our control, operating in its own interests.
The Anarchist Alternative
Anarchists reject both the options presented to us: supporting the EU by voting in the European Elections or campaigning for withdrawal. This is because of our basic critique of what the State represents. The European Union, like all states big or small, is based on the giving up of power to a minority who use this power in the interests of the corporate and financial elite. In addition, the internationalism that the EU represents is the unity of this elite against the European working class. We propose both an alternative method of organising society as well as an alternative internationalism that extends to the whole planet.
Anarchists oppose the top-down approach adopted by the State and leftist parties. We need to promote non-hierarchical forms of organisation and methods of organising. The future organisation of society that we envision will be one of that is bottom-up based on groups which federate with each other and co-ordinate on an international level, independent of any current statist structure whether national or at a European level. This will include all areas of economic and social life such as the production, distribution and consumption of goods and the provision of services such as health and education. We need to take control of our own education such that it helps to promote our emancipation from authoritarian ideologies such as religion, nationalism, and cult of the leader.
In order to achieve this aim of complete political, economic, social and cultural transformation we need to build on and strengthen the international networks and co-ordinations that we already have. We need to take concrete action where we live and work but which contributes to a global strategy. Devising such a strategy to fight successfully against the global forces of oppression and exploitation is not an easy task. However, it is a necessity and there are a number of steps we can take. These steps can be taken by all of those who want to create a new society, no matter country they live in. We are all facing similar attacks so we can have a common strategy which can be adapted to local conditions.
- We have to fight back against borders working as human filter but let capital move across. Our proposal is to abolish all borders within countries and between countries which are limiting free movement of people.
- United fight against the banks by a universal refusal to pay debts.
- Civil disobedience against all repressive laws which take away our human rights.
- Strengthen and extend the current struggles against the increasing precariousness of living and working conditions.
- Resist all attempts to divide us according to race, sex or age.
- Co-ordinate struggles that are against common employers across borders.
- Resist privatisation of public services
- Promote alternative networks of production and distribution
- Extend international solidarity for those being criminalised as a result of social struggles.
The fight against austerity and the solutions proposed by politicians, both pro and anti-EU, will not work and, if anything, will make matters worse. They want us to validate their actions by putting an X on a piece of paper, thus giving them the power to act on our behalf. However, we know that they will not represent us and will continue to support the rich and the powerful economic institutions of capitalism that are making our lives a misery. The only way that we can resist the attacks as well as begin to gain control of our lives and our society is to build movements and network that defy borders which we control independent of the politicians and institutions of the state.
International of Anarchist Federations, April 2014
Organising for AFem2014, the anarcha-feminist conference which will take place 19th October 2014 the day after the London Anarchist Bookfair, continues. Venue to be announced very soon.
Find AFem2014 online at
We are pleased to have contact with Unity (Israeli - Palestinian Federation of Anarchists) who announce that "Unity" is an anarchist-communist organization active in Israel-Palestine who have recently experienced a growth in membership.
The website is currently mainly in Hebrew but we are told that as soon as articles and information in English are added they will send an updated link as well as an English description of the organization. There is now one article in English on the situation in Ukraine which can be reached by clicking the English tab after going to the home page.
- Belarusian anarchist political prisoner Aliaksandr Frantskevich released - Sept 2013
- WE ARE WINNING: assessment of Taksim actions by Revolutionist Anarchist Action / Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet (DAF) in Meydan Newspaper - 12-June-2013
- We are winning! Taksim Square reports from Revolutionist Anarchist Action (DAF) in Istanbul, Turkey - June 2013
- Anarchist Federation report from the 10 year Balkan Anarchist Bookfair, Ljubljana, Slovenia on 24-26 May 2013
- Joint statements, radio and video from the Balkan Anarchist Bookfair 24-26 May 2013
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