Basic Anarchism

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

What causes low wages - Unequal power, unequal pay


During the year a spate of reports have 'discovered' what a lot of workers already know - that equal pay for equal work just doesn't exist. Although legal victories and a raft of employment equality legislation have made some dents, the fact remains that discrimination on the grounds of gender, ethnicity and age (to name just a few) persists and is widespread. It seems obvious to ask: why?

Mutual Aid, solidarity & the household taxes


Mutual Aid is the fuel an anarchist society will run on. It is also what keeps capitalist society going in spite of all the hardship, greed, and exploitation that exists. Like all good ideas it's simple to understand. In order to get by in a tough world, it's necessary to get a bit of help from others. And as well as receiving help you also give it, not simply because it's nice to be nice, but because you know that sometime in the future you'll need a bit of it yourself.

Direct action, violence & that fence at Shannon airport


One of the most interesting arguments from within and, interestingly from without, the growing anti-war movement is on the use of violence. Typically, the argument takes this form: anti-war protests are peace protests, therefor they must be peaceful. Further, these self-appointed arbitrators within and without the movement have extremely tight definitions of what is and what isn't peaceful.

Beyond the politics of 'lets have another march' - Direct Action & fighting to win


Anarchists are not particularly interested in protesting against the evils of the world - we would prefer to abolish them! Political parties, of both left and right, are happy to make statements and mount ineffectual protests that are intended to achieve little more than a bigger profile for their own party. And when their party gets big enough they will sort out everything for us. That might be alright for those who merely want to change their rulers. It holds no appeal for anarchists who want to abolish the division of people into bosses and workers, rulers and ruled.

Why War is the Health of the State


Recent revelations in the Washington Post regarding Bush's eagerness to engage in war on Iraq only serve to prove what is morbidly obvious: War is always in their sights. Six days after the Trade Centre strikes in New York the Bush Administration had already initiated plans to take Iraq out. Is it just coincidence that Iraq has the second largest oil reserves in the world? One should not be shocked - such political behaviour is de rigeur in a system, in a society, that places the relentless quest for wealth and power above the lives of the inhabitants of the planet.

The problems of leadership


I recently found myself on a morning flight from London to Dublin with two leaders - David Trimble and Ken Magennis. If that plane had crashed it can almost be guaranteed that there would have been some conspiracy theory surrounding it. The crash would have meant that this article would never have been written - but in the greater scheme of things it would be remembered due to the fact that these leaders' lives would have been lost.

Anarchism and the love of Freedom


"Ireland unfree will never be at peace" according to the oft quoted phrase of Padraig Pearse. Of course, he was right. But what exactly did Pearse and the republicans of 1916 mean by freedom? What do you think it means? Why does it seem to be so highly prized by anarchists.The anarchist is, according to Bakunin (himself one of the greatest), "a fanatic lover of liberty, considering it as the unique condition under which intelligence, dignity and human happiness can develop and grow" (from 'The Paris Commune and the Idea of the State').

Introduction to the Revolution in Spain (with audio version)


The extent of the democracy in Spain during the revolution was far more thorough going than anything ever achieved anywhere else in the world at any time in know history. This might seem like a grand claim but I challenge anyone to disprove it. As many of you will know there is a great deal written on the Spanish Civil War. Not just standard history and accounts of the war and its wider political impact, but personal memoirs, poems, journalistic diaries and novels. In Homage To Catalonia, George Orwell has written one of the better accounts of what it was like to be in Spain at the time. In terms of atmosphere and drama he goes a considerable way towards giving the reader some idea of the mood in Spain in 36. Orwell hints at the revolution that was taking place, and at the atmosphere of comradeship and solidarity that abounded in revolutionary Barcelona.

Building local campaigns


We live in a world where we are encouraged to be passive. We can either accept things as they are or, at best, we can ask someone else to do things for us. That someone can be a politician, a 'community leader', or even a full-time union official. The 'experts' will look after the important stuff and we can stay at home feeling dependent and powerless. Just as there are bosses and workers, there are also leaders and led; and we are supposed to accept it as somehow natural.

Thinking about Anarchism: Organising & Agitating


Educate, agitate, organise. The phrase has been around for years but the ideas it encapsulates are still radical. We live in a world where we are encouraged to be passive. We are all consumers. We watch, we read, we observe, and some of us wait, hope and dream. These words go against the grain. You can't build a revolution by watching from a distance. There comes a point where many decide that they are tired of sitting on the sidelines.

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