Basic Anarchism

Articles that form an introduction to the basic ideas of anarchism and how anarchists see the world

Why be a revolutionary

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I may not have any chains around my feet, but still, I am not free. In modern society - capitalism - our bosses and leaders have invented new methods to chain us. According to the propaganda we are supposed to live in a free, democratic society, yet all of us experience limitations in our lives. Everyday more of us are being flung on the dole, families are being thrown out on the streets, our pay packets are shrinking and prices keep going up. Politicians care about little else except their popularity. In truth, we all know that this free, democratic society doesn't exist on the streets where we live.

Evolution or Revolution?

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THE IDEA OF evolution has always been important to socialists. Except for a handful of utopians most have thought of socialism in terms of human progress and improvment. This idea was given a scientific basis in the nineteenth century by socialists who saw society as evolving through stages towards socialism (not that it would stop here socialism would just be the end of pre-history real history could then begin.) Most socialists believed that the struggle towards socialism was a striving of people to develop and move forward.

Smash the state! - thinking about anarchism

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ONE OF THE best known catch phrases of Anarchism has got to be "Smash the State". It's also one that's easily open to misunderstanding. Particularly in Ireland, where the 26 counties once had the rather humorous title of "Free State", many see state as meaning the geographical area of a country. This slogan has also been misrepresented by anarchism's opponents as meaning opposition to all forms of organisation and decision making. Obviously neither of these is what anarchists mean, but what exactly is the state and how do we smash it?

Syndicalism and Anarchism

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In the 1860s the modern socialist movement was beginning to take shape. The International Working Mens' Association or First International was becoming a pole of attraction for militant workers. As the movement grew points of agreement and of disagreement between the Marxists and the Anarchists about what socialism meant and how to achieve it were becoming clear. This led to the Marxists using less than democratic means to expel the anarchists.

Anarchism and leadership

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A CYNICAL EYE is directed at anarchists whenever they speak of organisation. Is not anarchism the opposite to organisation? The simple answer is NO. Is it then the opposite of large or complicated organisation. The answer is equally simple, NO. So where do such mistaken ideas come from?

Anarchism Today

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AT THE MOMENT the "Socialist Movement" has all but collapsed. Despite the fact that high unemployment, war and mass starvation would point to the need for a coherent anti-capitalist alternative most socialists are confused and demoralised. The reason is simple, both the reformist and Leninist parties are paying for their legacy of betrayal of socialism in this century. What they conceived socialism to be has been totally discredited. As anarchists it is important to realise that their are both advantages and drawbacks to these developments.

What about human nature? Thinking about Anarchism

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A WORLD without war, famine, poverty, racism? A world where there are no bosses ordering us around and living off our work? A world where competition is replaced by co-operation and individual freedom? Sounds nice. Who wouldn't like to see it? But it can never happen, it runs against human nature. How many times have you heard that line? How many times have you been told that people are naturally selfish, greedy, prone to violence and short-sighted?

Thinking about Anarchism - Revolution

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ANARCHISTS SAY that capitalism can not be reformed away. We say it must be overthrown through a revolution. Many people however believe that the failure of the Russian revolution of 1917 shows revolutions just replace one set of rulers with another. The failures of the revolutions in Nicaragua, Iran and Cuba to fundamentally change life for the workers of these countries seems to point to the same thing. So why all this talk of revolution?

Why the Working Class?

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The Workers Solidarity Movement say that a mass anarchist movement capable of getting rid of the division of society into bosses & workers, order-givers & order takers and building a new society must be based on the working class and its struggles. This is not some abstract dogma but follows on from our understanding of how change can be brought about.

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.

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