Thinking About Anarchism: Direct Action

  • user warning: Table 'cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: SELECT data, created, headers, expire, serialized FROM cache_views_data WHERE cid = 'audio:block_1:results:ff0db4c55a037059c3695f66cdcd5d34' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 27.
  • user warning: Table 'cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_views_data SET data = 'a:3:{s:6:\"result\";a:6:{i:0;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"4162\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:44:\"The cause of the crisis in global capitalism\";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.002798395233972366\";}i:1;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"1196\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:60:\"October 2006 National day of action in Rossport audio report\";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.008031711921125383\";}i:2;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"6021\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:88:\" After the anti-capitalist blocs - fighting their crisis - audio from Anarchist Bookfair\";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.011121122176871749\";}i:3;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"7618\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:38:\"The development of anarchism in Sydney\";s:7:\"_random\";s:19:\"0.01742305608226271\";}i:4;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"7617\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:61:\"Experiences of Anarchism in Ireland - talk at Jura in Syndney\";s:7:\"_random\";s:19:\"0.03760269380882633\";}i:5;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"7608\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:64:\"Facing Deportations - audio from the Dublin anarchist book fair \";s:7:\"_random\";s:19:\"0.05686348123183798\";}}s:10:\"total_rows\";i:166;s:5:\"pager\";a:5:{s:9:\"use_pager\";s:1:\"0\";s:14:\"items_per_page\";i:6;s:7:\"element\";i:0;s:6:\"offset\";i:0;s:12:\"current_page\";i:0;}}', created = 1565238607, expire = 1565238907, headers = '', serialized = 1 WHERE cid = 'audio:block_1:results:ff0db4c55a037059c3695f66cdcd5d34' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
  • user warning: Table 'cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: SELECT data, created, headers, expire, serialized FROM cache_views_data WHERE cid = 'video:block_1:results:d1bd4a9bdf0c592395306e39f5452d02' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 27.
  • user warning: Table 'cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_views_data SET data = 'a:3:{s:6:\"result\";a:3:{i:0;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"5276\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:57:\" Shell\'s Armada in Broadhaven bay, Rossport a video guide\";s:7:\"_random\";s:21:\"0.0004200683910586577\";}i:1;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8098\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:52:\"Avacado squat eviction in Phibsboro Dublin July 2015\";s:7:\"_random\";s:22:\"0.00042167771646909203\";}i:2;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"5987\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:61:\"Protests around Ireland after Israeli attack on Gaza flotilla\";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.005017751832509182\";}}s:10:\"total_rows\";i:195;s:5:\"pager\";a:5:{s:9:\"use_pager\";s:1:\"0\";s:14:\"items_per_page\";i:3;s:7:\"element\";i:0;s:6:\"offset\";i:0;s:12:\"current_page\";i:0;}}', created = 1565238607, expire = 1565238907, headers = '', serialized = 1 WHERE cid = 'video:block_1:results:d1bd4a9bdf0c592395306e39f5452d02' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
  • user warning: Table 'cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: SELECT data, created, headers, expire, serialized FROM cache_views_data WHERE cid = 'Random_PDF:block_1:results:d701b49486a84d4cd29efe1b1fbdd8e3' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 27.
  • user warning: Table 'cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_views_data SET data = 'a:3:{s:6:\"result\";a:2:{i:0;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"6125\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:27:\"Irish Anarchist Review No 2\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:2596:\"<p>\r\n <span id=\"internal-source-marker_0.6484457798349057\" style=\"font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;\"><img alt=\"IAR2\" src=\"/sites/default/files/images/Cover - Half.jpg\" style=\"width: 340px; height: 498px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 3px; float: right;\" /></span><span style=\"font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;\">The Workers Solidarity Movement</span><span id=\"internal-source-marker_0.6484457798349057\" style=\"font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;\"> is very pleased to announce the second issue of The Irish Anarchist Review</span><span id=\"internal-source-marker_0.6484457798349057\" style=\"font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;\">. This magazine is dedicated to understanding the contemporary political, economic and social situation that confronts us, and finding ways to advance alternatives.</span></p>\r\n<p>\r\n <a href=\"http://www.wsm.ie/sites/default/files/Irish%20Anarchist%20Review%202.pdf\">Download The Irish Anarchist Review Issue 2</a><br />\r\n <br />\r\n <span style=\"font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;\">Our first issue was released in the aftermath of major strikes across the public sector. Despite decades of partnership, a deflated union movement and an intense barrage of media bile, Irish workers showed their willingness to take to picket lines to fight the Government.</span><br />\r\n <br />\r\n <span style=\"font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;\">Now, however, we can see that the union leadership were not willing to fight - they quickly demobilised strike action to return to the bargaining table, squeezing out a disgraceful deal in Croke Park negotiations. Now, without opposition, the Government calmly talks of four-years of &lsquo;hair-shirt&rsquo; budgets to restore the national finances.</span></p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.002007629724226547\";}i:1;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:3:\"566\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:40:\"Workers Solidarity 91 - March/April 2006\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:291:\"<p><img src=\"/attachments/apr2006/ws91.gif\" style=\"float:right;border:5px;\" /></p>\r\n<p>The March/April 2006 issue of Ireland&#39;s anarchist paper - Workers Solidarity</p>\r\n<p>[<strong><a href=\"http://www.wsm.ie/sites/default/files/ws91.pdf\">Download the PDF file of WS91</a></strong>]</p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.008814854555590874\";}}s:10:\"total_rows\";i:73;s:5:\"pager\";a:5:{s:9:\"use_pager\";s:1:\"0\";s:14:\"items_per_page\";i:2;s:7:\"element\";i:0;s:6:\"offset\";i:1;s:12:\"current_page\";i:0;}}', created = 1565238607, expire = 1565238907, headers = '', serialized = 1 WHERE cid = 'Random_PDF:block_1:results:d701b49486a84d4cd29efe1b1fbdd8e3' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
Date:

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.

When the phrase ‘direct action’ was first used at the end of the nineteenth century it meant no more than the opposite of trying to win change by trusting in ‘better’ politicians. In the context of modern trade unionism it means using industrial action – strikes, work to rules, occupations – rather than trusting in the supposedly impartial Labour Court, Rights Commissioners and mediators.

In the community it means tenants and residents associations organising non-payment of water and household taxes instead of trusting in the local politician to get rid of them. The point is that action is taken, not indirectly by representatives over whom we have little control, but directly by those who are affected. It is action intended to succeed, not just to gain publicity. It rejects the notion that ordinary people are stupid and powerless and so must leave all the important decisions to someone else. It recognises that most improvements for our class will not be handed down by the bosses; they have to be fought for. That is how we have gained nearly everything we have, from the eight hour day to the right to join a union.

Anarchists hold that genuine socialism cannot be created by the actions of any small minority or elite. If we are to create a socialism based on the grassroots democracy of workers and community councils a lot of people will have to be involved. A lot of people will have to believe that they can destroy the present system and build a better one.

Through engaging in direct action we learn by experience that there is no need to depend on some ‘expert’ or professional politician. We learn that we can manage our own struggles in our own interests. We learn the need to link up with others in the common cause. For example, if we want to win on the household tax, we have to involve more than just one area of the country. This is when the ideals of solidarity and mutual aid become real. There is no pre-condition for revolution more important than working class self-confidence. If this does not exist then the running of society will be taken over by whatever party is able to put across the image that they are the “professionals” and “experts”. 

When this happens we can forget about socialism. A minority is in the driving seat and it is only a matter of time before they develop from a grouping with their own interests into a new fully-fledged ruling class. This is what has happened every time a minority has been trusted to rule a country after a revolutionary upheaval. Only a confident working class can create the true democracy that will stop this happening. 


This article is from Workers Solidarity 125, Jan/Feb 2012
 

Like what you're reading?
Find out when we publish more via the
WSM Facebook
& WSM Twitter