Red and Black Notes is an attempt at offering an anarchist communist perspective on current issues and events.
“Anarchism does not derive from the abstract reflections of an intellectual or a philosopher, but from the direct struggle of workers against capitalism, from the needs and necessities of the workers, from their aspirations to liberty and equality, aspirations which become particularly alive in the best heroic period of the life and struggle of the working masses.”Peter Arshinov, Nestor Makhno and others, 1926, Organisational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (Draft)
Anarchism is a political tradition that fights for a self-managed, socialist and stateless society, in which all contribute freely according to ability, and through which all have full access to the material basis for pursuing their individual and collective fulfillment.
In this libertarian socialist society, individual freedom is harmonized with communal obligations through cooperation, directly democratic decision making and social and economic equality. Economic production would occur under worker self-management, and would be coordinated within a system of participatory decentralised planning, that would be directed to meet human needs within ecological limits, rather than to generate private profit.
As anarchists, we believe that this libertarian socialism can only be created by the class struggle of the vast majority of society (the working class) against the tiny minority that currently rule. The emancipation of the working class must be an act of the working class itself.
We reject parliamentarianism, believing that if we tell people to go out and vote, tomorrow we will be telling them to vote for us. We reject the right of the state and capitalists to dictate to the masses how life should be organised, even if this is by the most progressive of candidates.
We reject dictatorships of all kinds. The method of anarchism must be consistent with the aims of anarchism, not for any moral reason, but because the methods we use will determine the ends we create.
We fight for reforms under capitalism, but we reject reformism. The existing ruling class will never freely surrender power. The achievement of libertarian socialism requires revolution.
We struggle against all manifestations of prejudice and oppression both within the workers’ movement and in wider society. The struggle against homophobia, sexism, racism (and more) are working class struggles. The success of a revolution and the successful elimination of these oppressions after the revolution will be determined by how we build such struggles in the pre-revolutionary period.
Anarchists believe in the power and potential of the working class to build a new world. It is through collective struggle that people will discover that they have the power to change our world, and build the bonds of solidarity necessary to make it happen.
A major focus of our activity is our work within the economic organizations of the working class (unions etc). Anarchists should always seek to be members of the mass organisations of the working class, seeking to encourage them towards direct action, democratic forms and solidarity. To wall ourselves off from the daily struggles of the mass of people would be to render anarchism an irrelevance. However, mass activity is also not sufficient to bring about socialism.
A successful revolution will require that anarchist ideas become the leading ideas within the working class. This will not happen spontaneously. Anarchists must work to make our ideas the leading ideas or, as it is sometimes expressed, to become a “leadership of ideas”.
Anarchists must organise themselves specifically as anarchists in order to consolidate their political efforts, clarify their ideas, guide their actions, and win the struggle of ideas for anarchist politics within the working class.
If you want to know more about anarchist communism, check out the reading list.
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COVER IMAGE: Anarchists march on the streets of Barcelona, 1936, during the Spanish Revolution.