The Leave / Brexit vote in the referendum came in the end as a surprise, a narrow win for Remain was expected. This may be because the core Leave vote was in the run-down white working class communities of the now desolate English and Welsh industrial zones. A population trapped in conditions of long-term unemployment and poverty who no one really pays much attention to anymore.
Some on the left have seized on the makeup of this core vote to suggest that there was some progressive element to the Brexit vote despite the campaign being led by racist hatemongers and wealthy US-oriented neoliberals. Mostly that’s a mixture of wishful thinking and post hoc justification for having called for a Leave vote in the first place, but it is true that a section of the working class, C2DEs in marketing speak, voted to Leave in close to a 2:1 ratio. Is the class composition of that vote enough to automatically make it progressive regardless of content? And what does it tell us that a section of the radical left seems to think the answer to that question is yes, that it is enough to be anti-establishment?
In Northern Syria ISIS has been driven back by people fighting for a society based on principles of direct democracy, gender equality, and sustainability. From the their revolution in 2012 they have created a de facto autonomous region in which this ideas are being implemented.
At this opening session of the 2016 Dublin Anarchist Bookfair we heard from eyewitnesses to the revolution including those from the region.
Why can’t the 99% simply vote in a government that acts in their interest and not that of the 1%
At a simple level parliamentary elections sound like the ideal way for the mass of the ‘have nots’ to use their numbers to overcome the power and influences of the tiny number of have’s. Occupy talked about this division in the language of the 1% and 99%; a crude approximation that does reflect a reality where the number of wealthy decision makers is actually very tiny, indeed less than 1%. So, why can’t the 99% simply vote in a government that acts in their interest and not that of the 1%?
Oxfam has just released a report that shows global inequality has escalated rapidly over the last 6 years. The particular measure they used is a very important one. First they calculated the wealth held by the poorest 50% of the planets population, which is about 3.6 billion people. And then they asked how many of the richest people held the same amount of wealth.
We awake to news that more towns in Ireland are under water due to storm flooding. And that perhaps the sea ice at the north pole might melt due to temperatures rising above zero. The first story is given a lot more prominence in Irish media than the second but strangely at the same time another story is being celebrated. The start of yet more greenhouse gases being pumped out of their safe place far below the sea off the Irish shore to be processed and then released into the atmosphere via the Corrib refinery.
Reading through the mainstream media coverage of the climate negotiations in Paris (CoP21), one could hardly understand the event as anything other than ‘a real turning point in human history’ (Irish Times). The heroic work of the French delegates had achieved ‘the world’s greatest diplomatic success’ (the Guardian), indeed the deal was not short of ‘a major leap for mankind’ (quote from summit leaders). Yet in reality our leaders have signed a deal guaranteeing climatic destruction!
Why It’s Right to Resist the Government
“The law is essentially the weapon of the privileged, it is made by them for the purpose of enshrining their power and the people need to dismantle it entirely if they want to be genuinely free” – Errico Malatesta
Does this mean anarchists are against laws? Anarchists are against laws that are created by the rich and the privileged layer of society which are used in their favour. These same laws are used to exploit and oppress the rest of society. These laws are designed to give as little as possible to people.
One of the key foundation documents for the Workers Solidarity Movement is the ‘Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (Draft)’ This text was written in Paris in 1926 by a group that included exiled Russian and Ukrainian anarchists and was very influenced by the lessons they drew from the Russian Revolution. Three of the authors -- Nestor Makhno, Ida Mett, Piotr Archinov -- were then and now very well known anarchists, the remaining two -- Valevsky and Linsky -- I know relatively little about.
In this article I intend to examine whether this text has any relevance to anarchist organising today, some 90 years after it was drafted. In addition, what can we say about its shortcomings? Finally, I will look at some of the confusion the WSM ran into when trying to follow it.
Two different futures are fighting to be born in this moment.
One the future of more effective border guards, of dragging refugees off trains and herding them into camps, of war without end, of hatred for the 'other', of wealth for a privilege few and immiseration for the masses.
The other future is glimpsed in the people quietly organising our own aid convoys to Calais, of solidarity with Rojava, of fighting for an equality that will be global in scope and from which no one will be locked out.
Which of those futures will you choose to feed?