History

Anarchism in Action - the collectives in the Spanish Civil War

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Many people would agree that the anarchist principle "from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs" is a nice idea. A self managed society with everyone having a real say in how things were run is a lovely ideal. They might nod along to the lyrics of "Imagine" by John Lennon but then equally shake their heads and tell you that such a thing could never work "in the real world". You would probably be told that people are just naturally greedy and self-centred and such a thing would end in chaos.

Brief history of anarchism in Japan

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TODAY JAPAN BRINGS to mind high tech corporations, stressed out primary school students and a gruelling work ethic that demands loyalty to the company. One hundred and thirty years ago it was a very different place, predominantly agricultural and ruled over by a fuedal elite. In 1868, these rulers decided to industrialise the country and create a highly centralised state. For this reason, the Japanese experience of capitalism is different from that in many European countries.

Remembering the 1974 Revolution in Portugal

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ON APRIL 25TH 1974 a radical faction within the Portuguese Armed Forces, the MFA, revolted against the government. Until that day Portugal had been under a fascist dictatorship for over half a century. Whether the MFA was left or right wing inclined was unclear at the time. The military revolt created a space where people could effect change in their lives and the opportunity was grasped eagerly.Left-wing activists began returning from exile, and new political parties sprouted up. The parties all used the situation to gain political power in the government. Ordinary folk, in contrast, used the situation to improve social conditions in their communities and workplaces through new autonomous organisations. It was here that the true revolution was fought and is of most interest to anarchists.

Introduction to the Revolution in Spain (with audio version)

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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.

About the anarchist Alexander Berkman

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ALEXANDER BERKMAN was born in Russia in 1870. It was a time of revolutionary upheaval, and Berkman was influenced by his uncle Maxim, later exiled to Siberia for his revolutionary activity. Joining a group of students who read the literature of the Nihilists and other prohibited organisations, Berkman was eventually expelled from school. Finding most professions barred to him, he emigrated to America. On his arrival in 1888, he quickly became involved in the anarchist movement, but, although in some ways strong, it was a divided movement.The United States at the time was opening its gates to many thousands of new arrivals, many of them from Europe. These people tended to live in the same communities as others from their country, and work in the same places. Shops, bars, and newspapers would cater for each community, usually in their native language. In Europe, the anarchist and revolutionary socialist movements were relatively strong. There was no parallel in North America, and the trade union movement was still finding its feet.

Oscar Wilde's socialism

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Paris has had its fair share of famous people die in it. Most of them have ended up in the Pere La Chaise cemetery and Oscar Wilde is one of them. Of all the people buried there, that was the one grave I had to see when I entered that cemetery on a brisk March morning. I admire him because he was the master of that Irish pastime of extracting the Michael.

Biography of Mexican anarchist Ricardo Magon

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INSIDE MODERN MEXICO the name of Ricardo Flores Magon is well known, and is regarded in a somewhat similar way to that of James Connolly in Ireland. But outside Mexico few have heard of him. Born to a poor family in 1873, he became a journalist on the opposition paper 'El Demócrata' after finishing school. In 1900, along with his brother Jesús, he founded "Regeneración', a radical paper opposed to the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz.

The Emergence Of Modern Irish Socialism 1885-87

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It could be argued that modern Irish socialism began with the establishment in 1872 of branches of the International Working Men's Association (or First International). However, these branches (in Dublin, Cork, Belfast and Cootehill) were short-lived because of the intense opposition that they encountered and their demise was followed by a complete absence of socialist organisation until 1885.

The Russian Revolution: Four October Myths

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Here I am going to look at four myths, widly accepted by the left and right alike on the October revolution and its aftermath. In 1922 Emma Goldman complained Soviet Russia, had become "the modern socialist Lourdes, to which the blind and the lame, the deaf and the dumb were flocking for miraculous cures". And like most religious events that claim a historical valadity many of the myths of the October revolution rather then being historical accounts are written instead to create a blind faith in the leadership of the party.

Loyalist Myths: King Billy Revisited

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The Orange Parades on and around the twelfth of July have long been a bone of serious contention and indeed a source of sectarian conflict in the Six Counties. Members of the Orange Order demand their unalienable right to march the Queen's highway, in commemoration of the victory of King William of Orange at the battle of the Boyne - a victory (as the Orangemen see it) for religious and civil liberty.

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