the spanish revolution

In memory of Terry Liddle, a member of the Commune who died recently, we republish his short summary on the Spanish Revolution.

In 1931 the Spanish King Alfonso XIII, having supported the discredited dictator Primo de Rivera, went into exile. The Second Republic was proclaimed. Articles 26 and 27 of its new constitution placed stringent controls on church property. Members of religious orders were banned from the ranks of teachers. It also allowed divorce, gave women the vote and stripped the nobility of its special legal status. It established a legal procedure for the nationalisation of public services, banks and railways.

In 1934 Catalonia attempted to establish its autonomy with the Spanish Federation. This moved was suppressed and Catalonia only became autonomous in 1936. Its government was called the Generalitat.

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the power to make change for ourselves

David Broder was unconvinced by ‘Anarchism: a Marxist Critique’ by John Molyneux

There’s a bloke who sells the News Line at Broadway Market on Saturdays: Britain’s first-ever colour daily paper is still going strong, it seems. Only thing is, the News Line is the paper of a small Trotskyist group called the WRP, and it could only afford to go full-colour because Colonel Gaddafi was paying for it. So seeing the seller as I walked to the Anarchist Bookfair on the 22nd – two days after the Libyan dictator met his end – I was keen to debate the merits and demerits of this news. He stuck to his (pro-Gaddafi) guns, angrily telling me I “didn’t understand the Marxist theory of the state” and was an “anarchist”.

Some people don't make a great case for the school of thought they claim to uphold

After the bookfair us Communards went for some much-needed refreshments at the Wetherspoons. At the pub a slightly drunk ‘anarchist’ started chewing my ear off about how much he hated Marxism (“Marx was a totalitarian”) but also his sadness about the passing of Colonel Gaddafi, who had, at least, built lots of hospitals. I wondered whether either this anarchist or my Broadway Market Marxist were particularly good representatives of their schools of thought, or indeed honest in their criticisms of others. Continue reading “the power to make change for ourselves”

Riots : when normal behaviour is meaningless.

Looking back at the Commune coverage of the riots.

Barry Biddulph suggests that we need to find a way to engage with the contradictory and elemental nature of  the recent riots.

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Riots. We should have seen them coming. After all, the combustible material has been stacking up for some time. The majority of rioters who appeared in court were under 24, and from poor neighbourhoods. Strikingly: 41/% of suspects live in one of the top 10% of the most deprived places. [1] We already knew that in Hackney there are 22 claimants for every job. In Haringey, where Tottenham is located, there are 29  claimants for every vacancy. [2]  Youth unemployment  currently stands  at 949,000. [3] Add to these grim figures, the volatile mix of police harassment, affordable housing shortage, cuts in benefits,  resentment at bankers and parliamentary politicians robbing the tax payers, and what do we have? Alienation, and disaffection. As Naomi Klein put it in the Guardian,” When you rob people of what little they have, in order to protect the interests of those who have more than anyone deserves, you should expect resistance.”[4]

Even so, many on the left did not expect this resistance. Furthermore, they did not  like the look of it. The Socialist Party was particularly disgusted. In their opinion, it was a tragedy for small shop keepers, and devastating for working class communities. As if capitalism in crisis wasn’t. The SP leadership was worried about the lack of police numbers. The view of Peter Manson of the CPGB was that the riot targeted working-class people. In a moment of self-doubt, he mused that at one level, it was a collective rebellion but on balance it was without political content with anti social gangs having a moment of power. [5] But the rioters’ most comprehensive critic was  the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty. The riot would have no positive effect. Indeed, it would have reactionary consequences. It would strengthen law and order, stimulate racism as well as alienate organised labour. [6] Continue reading “Riots : when normal behaviour is meaningless.”

where next for network x?

Daniel Harvey reports on the activist gathering in Manchester

Some members of The Commune joined a gathering of about 300 activists, anarchists and anti-capitalists at Manchester Metropolitan University to discuss ways forward in the struggle against austerity and cuts. Understandably, there was much enthusiasm for making connections with allied groups from around the country, finding ways of offering practical assistance, as well as moral support.

A large part of the gathering was taken up with discussions about what people thought Network X should be in terms of its organisation and aims. The facilitators gave an initial political basis in the form of the People’s Global Action hallmarks’. These rejected all forms of discrimination based on patriarchy and racism, but seemed to forget about class and disability (both of which became points of contention later on) as well as capitalism, imperialism and ‘feudalism’. Continue reading “where next for network x?”

revolutionary syndicalism in interwar europe, monday 29th

Following our successful series of talks on political organisation over the summer, where we looked at series of communist political organisations (Kamunist Kranti in India, Potere Operario in Italy and finally at Big Flame in England), The Commune is hosting a series of discussion forums on revolutionary syndicalism.

The second meeting of this series is: Monday, November 29, 7pm: Revolutionary Syndicalism and Anarcho-Syndicalism, the Interwar European Experience. Like the other meetings in the syndicalism series, Monday’s will be held in The Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8ND. Continue reading “revolutionary syndicalism in interwar europe, monday 29th”

bristol reading group 24th october: spaces outside capitalism

The next session of The Commune’s Bristol reading group on alternatives to capitalism will be looking at spaces outside capitalism. We will be discussing the value – or otherwise – of ‘autonomous zones’ and ‘co-operatives’ as a means of working outside the system.

From 6pm on Sunday 24th October at Café Kino, Ninetree Hill, Stokes Croft. Recommended reading below – email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com for more info. Continue reading “bristol reading group 24th october: spaces outside capitalism”

berns salonger demo 22nd october; cleaners’ defence committee meetings

Call-out from the Cleaners’ Defence Committee

On Thursday 21st October the Cleaners Defence Committee will hold a mass meeting covering cleaners struggles in UK and Berns, at UCL. After the demonstration on Friday 22nd October there will be a social in aid of the Berns workers at LARC, and there will be 3 meetings that will include coverage of these struggles at the Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday 23rd October. Continue reading “berns salonger demo 22nd october; cleaners’ defence committee meetings”