Basic Anarchism

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

Jobstown 4 Police Squadron: This is What the State is for

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The Garda raids against the Jobstown 4 at dawn are an illustration of how the state works to protect the interests of the rich and powerful. Nothing illustrates the repressive role the state plays better than having a squad of strange men turn up at your door at dawn to take you away against your will. It’s an exercise in power that it meant to scare, to frighten others into staying quiet.

Whenever people refuse to be bought off or diverted into ineffective action or electoralism the state deploys the stick. For months Gardaí have been attacking people in communities across the country for continuing to resist water meter installations. And over the last decade we saw state repression being directed again and again against the community around Rossport because they refused to give in to Shell. There is huge and growing outrage directed at the Garda, it's at moments like this that the old anarchist slogan 'Smash the State' comes into focus.
 

The Spirit of Anarchism? Book Review: Cindy Milstein, 2010, Anarchism and its Aspirations. Edinburgh: AK Press.

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‘By anarchist spirit I mean that deeply human sentiment, which aims at the good of all, freedom and justice for all, solidarity and love among the people; which is not an exclusive characteristic only of self-declared anarchists, but inspires all people who have a generous heart and an open mind’.

Only Those Without Democracy and Freedom Need To Be Told They Have Them

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In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack we have been inundated with reminders from our 'leaders' of how glorious our society, our civilisation, is. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity - these are the principles which supposedly animate our political life.

But only those who aren't free, and don't live in a democratic society, need to be told they are free and live in a democratic society. To those who are free, it is obvious. Billionaire Denis O'Brien knows he is free. We, au contraire, have to be convinced. And real democracy is a way of life, it is not something hard to spot.

We want a society where liberty, equality, and solidarity, aren't just words, but are the ubiquitous and palpable features of every day life - that is to say anarchism.

In our society, Democracy is like a marble statue in an art gallery. It is dead and motionless, put on a pedestal, you view and admire it, then go home and don't take it with you. The professionals will curate it - return to your plebeian wont.
 

They Seem Invincible, says Orwell, But Don't Give Up

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'Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible' – democratic socialist George Orwell.

You wake up, and the radio is saying something about hundreds of billions of euro again. Police somewhere just shot a load of protesters, and something about the polar ice caps melting faster than we thought. It's awful, but you're just one person. Things are pretty bleak.

You're not the first to feel hopeless
As Orwell says, the rulers of society, the people in charge who control the resources and make the decisions, will seem invincible. Put yourself in the position of a feudal serf, or a slave? Do you think they ever thought that the feudal regime would crumble, that slavery would be abolished? People said it wasn't possible, that human nature wouldn't allow it, and that we should just aim to have a 'better feudalism', a 'better slavery'. But, lo and behold, it happened and only because there were people who refused to settle, who dared to believe that a fundamentally better world was possible.

Disobedience is Humanity's Original Virtue says Oscar Wilde

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'Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man's original virtue' - Oscar Wilde.

However, there is a prevalent perception counter to Wilde's view which considers conformity and compliance to be virtuous traits. This perception is quite clearly held by most of those at the top our society's hierarchies - be they politicians, top business people, or religious leaders - or at least they want us to embody these passive 'virtues'.

But as Wilde points out, a reading of history clearly shows that it has been disobedience, rebellion, and heresy, which have driven progress over the millennia. It seems almost too obvious to say, because the absence of resistance will obviously lead to nothing changing for the better.
 

CAHWT – inspiring people to demand participatory democracy

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At a public meeting of the Campaign Against Home and Water Taxes (CAHWT) in Kildare last month, a query was raised from a woman anxious about the upcoming local elections. She explained her complete frustration with the austerity policies of the Fine Gael-Labour Government, and described her despair at not having the power to challenge policies that were ravaging her community, stating there “really is no one legitimate left to vote for.”

Thinking About Anarchism and Organisation

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An accusing finger is pointed at anarchists any time the word organisation is mentioned. Many people believe that anarchism is against organisation and just another word for chaos, but is it? The simple answer, of course, is no, but that does not explain the confusion surrounding the question, nor the accusations thrown at anarchists.

Thinking About Anarchism: Direct Action

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The idea of direct action is sometimes misunderstood as meaning anything violent, anything from a brick through a window to a full-scale guerrilla war. Our political opponents go out of their way to spread confusion because they know that in a “battle of ideas” they would lose. That is why they portray anarchism as a ludicrous system of chaos and disorganiation.

Referenda: A Strategy for Success?

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The idea that calling for a referendum is a good strategy for winning significant reforms often crops up in campaigns. It seems logical, as a referendum is a chance for the population to directly make a decision on the issue to hand. But the reality is that the demand for a referendum is seldom, if ever, the best way to build a struggle for a reform. Here are five reasons why:

Work in capitalism & anarchism - Thinking About Anarchism - I Hate Mondays

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Unemployment is at alarming levels. There are hundreds of thousands of workers who would take any job. At least it is better than being on the dole. But of course that is what unemployment is all about. It is a tool the bosses use to discipline those in work and help them keep wages low. Also, as workers are let go those remaining are expected to take on more work. Few workers are resisting this. Most just want to hang on to what they have.

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