the rise of the far right and anti-fascism: february 16th, sheffield

The next communist forum in Sheffield will be a discussion on the rise of the far right in Britain today, the character of fascism, and how we should organise against this threat.

The meeting takes place from 7pm on  Tuesday 16th February at The Rutland Arms, 86 Brown Street, Sheffield S1 2BS. Email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com to express your interest or ask for more info – see below for some background reading for the meeting. Continue reading “the rise of the far right and anti-fascism: february 16th, sheffield”

collective decision-making and supervision in a communist society

by Moshé Machover: only the introduction is presented below, see the full document here.

The importance of this issue cannot be over-stated: it concerns the very essence of communism. If communism means anything at all, it means a radical eruption of democracy. Bursting its present narrow political confines, where it is allowed to hold truncated and partly illusory sway, democracy is to engulf all spheres of social life. This applies in particular to what is, under capitalism, the alienated sphere of economics: major choices that are now made behind the backs of society – imposed by private owners who monopolize wealth, or left to the chaotic play of blind market forces – will be decided consciously and collectively by the community concerned. The enormous extension of the sphere of collective decision-making will necessarily imply a corresponding expansion and deepening of the scope of public supervision, ensuring proper implementation of decisions. Continue reading “collective decision-making and supervision in a communist society”

the spirit of utopia today: reminder

The Commune is holding a meeting on Saturday 12th September as part of the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair. The event takes place at The Island, Bridewell St, Bristol BS1 2PY, from 10.30am to 6pm, and our workshop is from 5pm in Room 2 (first floor).

bristolbookfair

The title of our session is ‘the spirit of utopia today’. With an environmental crisis, continuing poverty, recession & war, and the seeming collapse of alternatives to capitalism, we are living in dystopian times. This talk & discussion will explore the meaning of utopianism today and its importance for recovering our humanity in opposition to its systematic abuse for profit and power. What are ‘concrete’ and ‘abstract’ utopias; is there value in the utopian spirit, or is it just dreaming; and what critiques should we have of the idea of ‘scientific’ socialism? Continue reading “the spirit of utopia today: reminder”

12th september, bristol: ‘the spirit of utopia today’

The Commune is holding a meeting on Saturday 12th September as part of the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair. The event takes place at The Island, Bridewell St, Bristol BS1 2PY, from 10.30am to 6pm, and our workshop is from 5pm in Room 2 (first floor).

bristolbookfair

The title of our session is ‘the spirit of utopia today’. With an environmental crisis, continuing poverty, recession & war, and the seeming collapse of alternatives to capitalism, we are living in dystopian times. This talk & discussion will explore the meaning of utopianism today and its importance for recovering our humanity in opposition to its systematic abuse for profit and power. What are ‘concrete’ and ‘abstract’ utopias; is there value in the utopian spirit, or is it just dreaming; and what critiques should we have of the idea of ‘scientific’ socialism? Continue reading “12th september, bristol: ‘the spirit of utopia today’”

jan waclaw machajsky: a prophet unhonoured in his own time (and rightly so)

by Ernie Haberkern

The rise of a new bureaucratic rul­ing class in Russia in the thirties and forties of the twentieth cen­tury has artificially inflated the stock of several opponents of the social democratic movement who attacked it on the grounds that it was preparing a dictatorship of ‘intellec­tuals’ or men of ‘science’ over the untutored working class.

The subject of this study – Jan Waclaw Machajsky – is one such figure. Continue reading “jan waclaw machajsky: a prophet unhonoured in his own time (and rightly so)”

report: anarchist meeting on the capitalist crisis

by David Broder

On the evening of 22nd April the London branch of the Anarchist Federation and the NE & South London Solidarity Federation held a joint meeting on the subject of “World Economy in Crisis: Who Pays the Price? And How Can We Resist?”. Some 30 people managed to tear themselves away from Manchester United vs. Portsmouth and episode 5 of The Apprentice to make it to the Calthorpe Arms for the meeting.

The speakers leading off the discussion were Bonnie from AFed and Neill from SolFed. Bonnie’s talk was largely on the background to the crisis and how it had come about, and she delved a few times into Marxist analysis and Marx’s categories in order to tell the story of the movements in the world economy. She was near-apologetic for doing so, although it very much seemed to be the ‘meat’ of her talk’s theoretical underpinning: she said she was talking about Marxist economics rather than Marx’s politics, although I fail to see much separation between the two, whatever the state-socialists have done to poor old Marx… Continue reading “report: anarchist meeting on the capitalist crisis”

of policemen and mad professors: communism and physical force

by Chris Kane

The Police operation around the G20 was entitled “Operation Glencoe” – named after the massacre in Scotland in 1692 when the order was given that “the rebels, the McDonalds of Glencoe” were to be “put all to the sword”. Operation Glencoe lived up to its namesake resulting in the Police manslaughter of Ian Tomlinson returning home from work. The G20 summit was surrounded by an atmosphere of hysteria whipped up by the media, the Police and mad professor Chris Knight, the self-appointed spokesman for the protests. This was done in a way that made protest and violence almost synonymous. These events have posed anew the question of violence and of legality as they relate to the project of creating a new society.

Most working class people abhor violence, particularly anti-social crime. Contrary to the lies of capitalist politicians communists also abhor violence, we seek a society fit for human beings where the social conditions which give rise to forms of violence will be uprooted, the need to resort to violence will be vastly diminished and subject to the interests of humanity. But this new society will not be achieved without physical force: this may seem a paradox but it flows directly from the nature of the society we live in today. Continue reading “of policemen and mad professors: communism and physical force”

the g20 protests: the devil against the detail

(at The Bank of England, April 1st 2009)

by Nathan Coombs

First was the March 28th ‘Jobs, justice, climate’ rally: a quickly forgotten TUC organised trot through central London. Second was the April 1st protest at the Bank of England, where the four horsemen of the apocalypse descended on the Bank, against a fever pitch expectation set by the police and the media about the eruption of a ‘summer of rage.’ Something like 5,000 to 10,000 joined the protest at Bank, and conferring to a well recognised pattern the protest was not so much a unified event, as a conglomeration of events – in a similar vein to the ‘anti-globalisation’ movement of the 1990s and beyond.

In the sense of history repeating itself, Chris Knight, the ‘martyr’ of the G20 Meltdown movement, declared an impending “Velvet Revolution”[i] in the week running up the protest, and the media were quick to invoke parallels with the May Day riots and to label the assorted anarchists groups and hodgepodge of protestors as ‘anti-globalisation activists;’[ii] even in the absence of any anti-globalisation banners, chants or slogans. Needless to say, neither the revolution, nor the anti-globalisation protest materialised. Or in other words, the form of the protests might have stayed the same, but the content had not. Yet surveying the post-mortem commentary about the protest on the left, the blinkers still seem to be on those that only saw what they expected to see, nevermind what was simmering in a inarticulate bubble beneath the surface. Continue reading “the g20 protests: the devil against the detail”

the commune’s 20th april forum ‘euro elections: where should we turn our fire?’

The next of The Commune’s London ‘uncaptive minds’ forums on capitalism and the working class today will be on the subject of ‘European elections: where should we turn our fire?’

The public meeting takes place from 7pm at the Lucas Arms, near King’s Cross on Monday 20th April.

We will be looking at the European Union’s response to the recession and its proposed constitution; whether there is any worth in contesting elections and whether they have any relevance to today’s workplace struggles; and the politics of the No2EU election campaign backed by the RMT, Morning Star and Socialist Party.

Speakers confirmed so far include Mick Dooley (rank-and-file candidate for general secretary of the builders’ union UCATT) and Peter Gowan (Professor of International Relations at London Metropolitan University and a member of the editorial board of New Left Review)

All are welcome. Email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com for further details or to register your interest. See below for map of the venue. Continue reading “the commune’s 20th april forum ‘euro elections: where should we turn our fire?’”

like a winter with a thousand decembers

A piece by the Athens-based TPTG/Blaumachen taking a detailed look at the worker and youth protests which swept across Greece in December 2008.

Reflections on the recent unrest in Greece: “The rise of new organisational forms and contents of struggle is being discussed by all the insurgent elements”…

greekriotcops Continue reading “like a winter with a thousand decembers”

riots in greece – the “swan song” of autonomism?

This discussion article by Dan Jakopovich puts forward a controversial take on the riots in Greece

On the wings of Seattle, the Zapatista rebellion in the Mexican state of Chiapas and other heights of the so-called “anti-globalisation” (or, more precisely, “alter-globalisation”) movement, by virtue of the failure of the bureaucratic path to socialism, the end of the last century and the beginning of the 21st century witnessed a growth in the popularity of “autonomism”, a more or less crystallised ideology according to which the successful struggle against capitalism presupposes turning one’s back on existing political institutions – the state, parties and elections, as if they will disappear if we ignore them.

Although many of those who participated in the Greek protests and occupations would not identify with this autonomist or anarchist strategy, in the Greek events it is nonetheless possible to clearly observe the autonomist assumptions in the power of “direct action”, independently from the existing balance of political and class forces, independently from the strength of the left-wing parties and independently from their election results.

In other words, many in Greece and the world nurtured the hope that it was possible not only to overthrow the Greek centre-right government, but also to tear down capitalism, although the anti-capitalist Greek parties – the semi-Stalinist Communist Party of Greece and the socialist coalition SYRIZA, despite very significant recent electoral advances – are far too weak to assume governmental power. But the autonomists do not want that since – despite the historical experience – they believe that there is a possibility of circumventing the existing political institutions and electoral strategy in developed multi-party systems. These are well-intentioned illusions. Even on Iceland, where the financial crisis and protests recently led to the downfall of the neo-con government, the power was taken over by the Social Democratic Party and the eco-socialist Left-Green Movement party. Continue reading “riots in greece – the “swan song” of autonomism?”

new pamphlet on chávez’s venezuela

We are pleased to announce the publication of our seventh pamphlet, “The revolution delayed: a decade of Hugo Chávez”.

The pamphlet features the translation of an interview conducted with El Libertario in Caracas by the French anarchist ‘Charles Reeve’, alongside an interview with Loren Goldner, author of Ubu saved from drowning: worker insurgency and statist containment in Spain and Portugal. These documents are prefaced by a chronology of recent developments in Venezuela. Click the image below to read it online.

You can order the pamphlet for £1 + postage by writing to uncaptiveminds@gmail.com or The Commune, 2nd Floor, 145-157 St John Street, London EC1V 4PY.

chavezcover

the revolution delayed: 10 years of hugo chávez’s rule

This month marks the tenth anniversary of Hugo Chávez’s coming to power in Venezuela, and ten years of the “Bolivarian revolution”. This process has included waves of state intervention in the economy and fervent rhetoric against US imperialism. But while some on the  left see this Chavista movement as the new “socialism for the 21st century”, groups such as ours have argued that it is actually more like an old-fashioned attempt at modernisation by a technocratic élite; that  increased bureaucratic power over capital is not inherently progressive;  and that the “revolution” in Venezuela allows for very little working-class control or initiative from below.

Here we present a translation of a March 2008 interview conducted by the French anarchist ‘Charles Reeve’ with two members of the El Libertario group in Caracas, the nation’s capital, which offers some stark insights into the reality of the situation. Looking at various aspects of the Venezuelan economy and living standards in the country, it argues that Chavismo and the mythology of the “Bolivarian revolution” conceal a raft of neo-liberal reforms and attacks on workers’ rights, and that we must break out of the dynamics of Chávez vs. the opposition in order to build an autonomous working-class alternative.

chavezreviewstroops Continue reading “the revolution delayed: 10 years of hugo chávez’s rule”

review of ‘resistance to nazism’

by David Broder

Recently I have engaged in a fair degree of research into working-class resistance during the Second World War, and so at yesterday’s Anarchist Bookfair I was interested to pick up a copy of the Anarchist Federation’s pamphlet ‘Resistance to Nazism’ (subtitle ‘Shattered Armies: How the Working Class Fought Nazism and Fascism 1933-45’), reprinted this May.

The stated aim of the pamphlet is to present an alternative ‘history from below’ discussing the struggles and experiences of working-class people rather than looking at the world through the prism of competing governments and military figures. This is a worthy aim indeed. Continue reading “review of ‘resistance to nazism’”