Introduction to the religion discussion at ACF conference, Glasgow, August 1996.
Note – this intro quotes freely from Bakunin’s God and the State in places, which is why the language is sometimes a bit old-fashioned. BAKUNIN, GOD AND THE STATE
One of the linchpins of traditional anarchist thought is an opposition to religion, which finds its basis in materialism. By this we mean that our material existence as humans is solely due to our development from animals.
With an introduction by the AF, we reproduce two important texts on libertarian organisation from the 1970’s & 80’s, The Tyranny of Structurelessness by Jo Freeman and a reply to it The Tyranny of Tyranny by Cathy Levine. The two texts were previously published together as Untying the Knot: Feminism, Anarchism and Organisation (Rebel Press, 1984) and we have kept this title. Those who may tend more towards anti-organisational currents in anarchism but also those who may unwittingly verge towards centralised structures in a desire to become more organised, will find much to think about in these two texts.
“BRITISH JOBS FOR BRITISH WORKERS” is a slogan that’s become very familiar in the past few months. Energy sector workers across the country have staged wildcat strikes and demonstrations to protest at the fact that workers have been brought in from outside the UK while local people go jobless. Now the protests are spreading to the construction industry. The union Unite is planning pickets and unofficial action at construction sites where foreign workers are employed, and the Olympic site in East London is being highlighted as a high-profile potential target for the campaign.
Scottish Unite official Bobby Buirds’ comments that the current strike are “not against foreign workers, it’s against foreign companies discriminating against British labour” confirms that the strike is against bosses, not fellow (foreign) workers. The foreign workers are just doing what any of us would do if we were desperate for work, but the media have turned this into some “foreigners go home” trip again. Foreign workers regularly suffer appalling living and working conditions, along with low wages and little in the way of representation. Given that the contract was awarded to the lowest-bidding tender, it is likely that these are the same conditions being faced by the Italian workers on Humberside.
I work for a contracted company in charge of the maintenance of a oil refinery in south Wales. The start of the strike occurred due to an Italian company being contracted to increase refinery capacity at the Lindsey refinery. The strikes quickly spread across the rest of the refineries sporting the slogan “British Jobs for British workers”.
Israel’s brutal attack on the Gaza strip has elicited widespread revulsion, and has led to protests across Britain and the world. It is clear that the Israeli state has committed atrocities which anyone with an ounce of humanity would seek an end to. Its savage bombing of one of the most densely populated places on earth has resulted in over a thousand deaths. Nowhere is safe – Mosques, schools and UN sites have been attacked by the IDF. Even by the “civilised” standards of warfare between nation-states, which allow for a reasonable degree of “collateral damage”, several incidents stand out for their brutality.
Most people in Israel will remember one thing about the protest later today (Sat 3/1/2009): that the organizers went to the Supreme Court in order to make sure they are allowed to present a Palestinian flag.
The following text was received from an anarchist activist living in the Middle East. It has been edited slightly for clarity, but is largely as written by an activist on the ground in the Middle East. For obvious reasons we publish it here anonymously.
European Union officials once again proved themselves to be the standard-bearers for free-market capitalism by making a series of concessions to the continent’s heavy industries in the latest series of international climate change negotiations in Poznan, Poland. These industries will now only have to pay for 70% of their climate ‘credits’ on the already-flawed EU Carbon Trading Scheme, while hospitals and universities remain paying the full charge. The talks, which are designed to iron out the differences between the various national capitalist interests ahead of the Copenhagen climate summit in late 2009, have been littered with obstructions that are exclusively based around state sovereignty (such as Brazil’s reluctance to allow isolation of the Amazon akin to that of Antarctica) or corporate interests from the oil, coal, aviation and automobile industries.
The unrest in Greece following the killing of 16 year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos has held the attention of the world and electrified the anarchist movement internationally. In the UK, solidarity actions and demonstrations have taken place in London, Leeds, Brighton, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh. The Greek embassy in London was blockaded, and there were tussles with police during a demonstration in Dalston. Internationally, solidarity actions and demos took place in Mexico, the US, Portugal, Spain, Denmark, France, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Russia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Italy, Ireland, Croatia, Finland and Canada. The ruling class is vocal about the threat of the conditions in Greece spreading throughout Europe, and unsurprisingly anarchists are being presented as “dark forces” stirring discontent behind the scenes. But the widespread sympathy for the anarchists amongst youth in Greece has thrust the ideas into the spotlight, and represents the possibility of advancing ideas about creating real freedom and community as viable, current and living ideas