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Comment On First Issue

Over the last two decades anarchism has returned from the edge of extinction. At a time when the rest of the left has been in decline anarchism has grown, re-establishing itself in country after country. However anarchism as a movement has never had a significant foothold in any of the English speaking countries (ES). There were movements in the USA and London around the turn of the century but both of these were limited to the immigrant community and failed to survive after World War I. Now that the authoritarian left has collapsed, the alternative that anarchism offers should be more attractive than ever. However because of the perceived weakness of anarchist theory, and the fact that in the ES those using the label 'anarchist' are commonly anti-organisational and counter-cultural in outlook, anarchism is not yet looked at seriously by those seeking alternative politics.

In addition many of the small anarchist groups that exist are going through a mini-crisis. For too long they have seen themselves solely as an opposition to the rest of the left, a voice in the wilderness. There has been no real thought of how to become the major organising force for revolution. This has generated a lack of seriousness reflected in sloppy politics and the absence of co-ordinated intervention in struggles.

These are the audiences we are seeking to address in this new publication, Red & Black Revolution. We will be talking about the sort of politics the left needs in order to succeed in changing the world. We will be arguing for anarchism with those looking for a new direction for the left. We will be advocating a particular tendency in anarchism, most commonly called 'Platformism' after the 1926 publication The Organisational Platform of the Libertarian Communists. We will be discussing our concrete experience of campaigns in Ireland, experiences we feel have lessons for activists everywhere. We will be bringing in-depth features on the international movement, that will attempt to give a flavour of the broader picture of the anarchist movement. Through the combination of this work we hope to encourage a new direction not only in left politics in the ES but also of anarchist politics.

In this issue we look at the state of the left today, why it is in this state and how to get out of it. Describing the crisis of the left is the easy part and has been done elsewhere by ourselves and others. Uprooting the causes beyond the superficial ones is more difficult. We identify the cause in the authoritarian practise and theory of the left. Freedom is identified as a key concept much neglected by the left but one that is central to change. The right has managed to appropriate the buzzwords of freedom, choice, and democracy despite the fact that these are things few of us encounter in our day-to-day lives. For the left to reclaim them it is first necessary to demolish the 'free world' edifice constructed by the right. We start this process by examining the role of parliamentary 'democracy' in the developing world.

A movement capable of overthrowing capitalism is yet to be built. But there are movements arising or continuing that incorporate some of the necessary features. These are powerful indicators of the possible. Anarcho-syndicalism represents perhaps the oldest surviving example available. The rebellion in southern Mexico would seem to represent the most recent. We also look at an attempt to challenge the domination of Irish trade unions by bureaucratic deals. It is by understanding the potential and also the problems of such movements that we can begin to see what is required.

So welcome to a new publication. We hope you find our work useful, we don't claim to know all the answers, rather we are exploring with you the possibilities of change. Change is our goal, not just of the left but of the world.

Contents

The Left...Ashes to Phoenix? Part One

It has become something of a cliche is say the left is dead. But few have explained this supposed death. New organisations have arisen in recent years that claim to be avoiding the mistakes of the past. How true is this claim? Andrew Flood examines the evidence and comes up with some disturbing conclusions.

http://www.wsm.ie/article_viewer/173

The Left...Ashes to Phoenix? Part Two

The left to-day, demoralised by its collapse is without focus or direction. Anarchism given its anti-authoritarian tradition should be able to offer a way forward. But many are reluctant to take up anarchism, Andrew Flood looks at some of the reasons why this is so and suggests the key organisational ideas needed for a new anarchist movement.

http://www.wsm.ie/article_viewer/172

Lessons Of Trade Union Fightback

Following the vote on the Programme for Competitiveness and Work at the end of March, the Trade Union Fightback (TUF) campaign was wound up. Here Gregor Kerr, an INTO member who was secretary of TUF, looks at the history and lessons of the campaign.

http://www.wsm.ie/article_viewer/176

Freedom & Revolution

Does the end justify the means? Many on the left belive so. Aileen O'Carroll argues that the means used play a part in creating the end that is achieved. The best example of this is the Russian Revolution of 1917

http://www.wsm.ie/article_viewer/177

Marx & the State

Some Marxists claim Marx was a libertarian, and Leninism and social democracy are not really Marxist. But in doing so they ignore the anarchist critique of Marx's political ideas on the state, the party and the organisation of a socialist revolution. Conor Mc Loughlin looks at the contradictions within Marx's political writings.

http://www.wsm.ie/article_viewer/178

Marx & the State

Some Marxists claim Marx was a libertarian, and Leninism and social democracy are not really Marxist. But in doing so they ignore the anarchist critique of Marx's political ideas on the state, the party and the organisation of a socialist revolution. Conor Mc Loughlin looks at the contradictions within Marx's political writings.

http://www.wsm.ie/article_viewer/178

Marx & the State

The main organisational form in libertarian politics today is syndicalism. Alan MacSimon, a delegate to Dublin Council of Trade Unions who has also attended a European gathering of revolutionary unions looks at the potential, and limits, of syndicalism.

http://www.wsm.ie/article_viewer/179

Syndacilism: Strenghts and Weakness

The main organisational form in libertarian politics today is syndicalism. Alan MacSimon, a delegate to Dublin Council of Trade Unions who has also attended a European gathering of revolutionary unions looks at the potential, and limits, of syndicalism.

http://www.wsm.ie/article_viewer/179?type=report&language=ga...

Review: Grassroots democracy

Democracy has broken out in a range of countries in recent years - Guatemala, S. Korea and Argentina to name but a few. But, what is the reality? Kevin Doyle looks at a book that takes a more critical eye.

http://www.wsm.ie/article_viewer/180

The EZLN

On New Years Day of '94 people awoke to the news that four towns in the south-eastern state of Chiapas had been taken over by a group calling itself the Zapatista National Liberation Army. Dermot Sreenan, who recently presented a talk on the EZLN and organised a picket of the Mexican embassy in January '94, looks at the politics and history of the EZLN.

http://www.wsm.ie/article_viewer/181

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