March 1991

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Class - thinking about anarchism

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WHY IS THE concept of class so important to anarchists? Why are we constantly talking about classes and class struggle? Some of our opponents accuse us of living in the past, they claim the working class is dying out. After all you don't see too many workers wandering around in donkey jackets, cloth caps and heavy boots. So that settles the question, doesn't it? No, it doesn't, so let us get away from silly caricatures and get down to basics.The modern world, like the societies that preceded it, does not consist of a single group of people who have more in common than they have dividing them. Sadly there is no single 'humanity', not yet. In every country there is still a division of people into classes which have conflicting interests.

An anarchist critique of Lenin

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THE COLLAPSE of the regimes in Eastern Europe has thrown up all sorts of questions about socialism. So let's go back to the beginning. The Russian revolution of 1917 was, initially, a shot in the arm for socialists everywhere. It was possible, it existed and now it only remained to imitate it everywhere else. But as time passed it became obvious that something had gone terribly wrong. Instead of being the inspiring picture of our future, Russia had turned into a squalid class-ridden dictatorship. As purge followed purge and the new rulers allocated themselves the best of everything, the socialist movement in the West floundered as it sought explanations for what had gone wrong.

1916: What are you celebrating?

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THIS YEAR marks the 75th anniversary of the Easter Rising. There will be all sorts of commemorations throughout the country, organised by forces ranging from Fianna Fáil to Sinn Féin. We will hear a lot of talk about the "spirit of 1916", what does it mean today? The rising was heroic. Some would even say stupid. It had little popular support. Most Irish people at the time believed that Irish men should be off fighting the Germans. It was widely thought that in return Home Rule would become a reality. The leaders of the rising were not too worried about this. They believed that the blood sacrifice was all that was needed to inspire future generations.

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