Towards an Anarchist Society

Uploaded as part of the Anarchism in Australia project.

Author: Libertarian Workers for a Self Managed Society
Originally Published: 1998
Retrieved from:


Libertarian Workers For A Self-Managed Society


The Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society have been active in Melbourne, Australia since 1977. The group was formed to act as a focus for Anarchist activity in Melbourne. Our membership consists of people from all walks of life who want to see the Australian state and corporate sector replaced by a federation of community and workers’ councils that are based on egalitarian principles.

Our principles of association are outlined in the document “ANARCHISM TOWARDS THE 21st CENTURY. “

This document, “TOWARDS AN ANARCHIST SOCIETY” outlines practical ways people can become involved in Anarchist struggle. It is divided into three main sections.
A) Outlines how the Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society functions and how people can become involved in the group’s activities.
B) Outlines how people can form Anarchist groups and how groups and individuals can co-operate and support each other in their aims to build an Anarchist society.
C) Outlines practical ways people can challenge the power of the State and the corporate world.

ANARCHISM TOWARDS THE 21st CENTURY outlines our theoretical principles of association, while TOWARDS AN ANARCHIST SOCIETY outlines practical steps people can take to create an egalitarian community that is based on two principles of association:- equal access to power and wealth.

Although both documents can be read separately, it’s best to read both documents together so that people have an overview of our principles and practices.


a) PRINCIPLES OF ASSOCIATION – The group’s principles of association are outlined in the document ANARCHISM TOWARDS THE 21st CENTURY. Membership is open to anyone who has a basic agreement with these principles.

b) MEMBERSHIP – Any group member has the right to invite any person they believe agrees with the group’s principles of association to a group meeting. The member must give one meeting’s notice of their intention to invite a possible new member to a group meeting.

A potential new member has three options. They can join the group as an observer, they can join as an associate member or they can apply to become a member of the group.

1a) Observers – have the right to attend all meetings and participate in group activities.

1b)Associate Members – have the right to attend all meetings, participate in all group activities and make decisions on group strategy and activities. Although they can be involved in discussions about the group’s principles of association, they are not able to take part in decisions that change the group’s principles of ssociation, outlined in the document ANARCHISM TOWARDS THE 21st CENTURY.

1c) Membership – New members have the option to either become group observers or associate members. If they wish to become members of the LIBERTARIAN WORKERS FOR A SELF MANAGED SOCIETY they can apply for membership anytime. One meeting’s notice is required before a person’s membership can be decided. If there is any disagreement about a person’s application for membership, the person’s application will be decided by a simple majority vote. Any person whose membership application is denied will be given a written reason for denial of membership and they can reapply for membership in three months time. Any potential member has the right to be present at any meeting where their membership application is being discussed.

1d) Membership Termination
(I)Any member of the Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society can resign at any time.
(ii) If during the course of group activities it becomes obvious that there is disagreement about all or part of the principles of association (Anarchism Towards the 21st Century) any two members can call a special meeting to review all or part of the principles of association. A minimum of ten days notice is required to call this special meeting.
(iii) If at the end of this review it is obvious that no agreement on the principles of association is possible, the criteria for an organisational division have been created. If more than one member finds themselves in disagreement, the group assets and liabilities will be divided on the basis of the numbers in each new group.
(iv) If at the end of the review only one member does not agree with the principles of association adopted by the rest of the group, that member has the right to call another review of the principles of association within four weeks of the last review. If they do not avail themselves of this opportunity within the 4 weeks their membership of the group is terminated. If they call for a second review and again they are the only member that does not agree with the principles of association adopted by the group that members membership of the group is terminated at the end of the second review.
(v) Any member who does not attend meetings for over 12 months who does not inform the group that they consider themselves a member will have their membership of the group terminated.


I) GROUP MEETINGS: The group meets weekly. Group meetings consist of theoretical and practical discussions. Decisions regarding the day to day running of the group are made at group meetings.

ii) 1998 PUBLIC MEETINGS: Public meetings are publicly advertised in the main stream and non-mainstream press. They are held on the last Thursday of each month. Meetings start at 8.00pm. They are held at Ross House, 247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne (near Swanston Street corner). Anarchist literature is available at meetings. In 1998, meetings will be held January 1998 – November 1998. The topic discussed at the public meeting is decided at the previous group meeting. The venue and date will be publicly advertised on the radio program THE ANARCHIST WORLD THIS WEEK, in the Anarchist Age Weekly Review, The Anarchist Monthly Review and in the Age Entertainment Guide in the “HEAR THIS” section on the Friday before the meeting.

iii) ANARCHIST MEDIA INSTITUTE: The Anarchist Media Institute acts as an interface between THE LIBERTARIAN WORKERS FOR A SELF-MANAGED SOCIETY and the Mass Media. All members of the group are encouraged to become involved in the Anarchist Media Institute’s activities. The Institute’s main activities are press releases, press conferences, arranging lectures and talks on Anarchism and maintaining and fostering contact with overseas Anarchist groups and publications. The Anarchist Media Institute is also able to mount campaigns for individual group members, other groups and members in the Anarchist community and like minded groups and individuals. The Anarchist Media Institute will try to keep their campaign before the public and will try to generate as much community support as possible for their activities.

iv) PRESS RELEASES: Press releases and press conferences can be issued by the LIBERTARIAN WORKERS FOR A SELF-MANAGED SOCIETY or THE ANARCHIST MEDIA INSTITUTE. Press releases and conferences can be initiated by individual group members, but the group needs to be consulted before they are released to the Mass Media.
It is important for Anarchists to bring their ideas to the attention of the general community. Although Anarchists take certain risks in issuing media releases and convening media conferences, the coverage that can be generated by the Mass Media – especially in issue orientated campaigns, is worth the risk.

v) ANTI-ELECTORAL ACTIVITY: One of the few times that Australians talk politics is during election campaigns. The Federal election which will be held in 1998 raises an opportunity for Anarchists to raise questions about representative democracy through slogans such as DIRECT DEMOCRACY – NOT PARLIAMENTARY RULE, PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS – TWO MINUTES OF ILLUSORY POWER.

In 1990, THE LIBERTARIAN WORKERS FOR A SELF-MANAGED SOCIETY held a VOTE INFORMAL – DIRECT DEMOCRACY NOT PARLIAMENTARY RULE campaign. We held a vote informal campaign using one Senate candidate. The group was able to obtain extensive television, radio and newspaper coverage on the aims of the campaign and on what Anarchism is and how an Anarchist society would function.

The campaign allowed many people who were interested in Anarchism in Melbourne, but were not part of an active group, to become involved in Anarchist activities.

The outcome of the campaign was that in Melbourne, twice as many people voted informal than any other city in Australia and polling agencies also added the informal category to their polling results before the election. The campaign also led to a direct confrontation with the Australian Electoral Commission, which caused so much controversy that during the 1992 State elections in Victoria, the Chief Electoral Commissioner refused to do any Media interviews because they were concerned about adverse publicity from our campaign in 1990.

In 1993 the Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society stood two candidates in the Senate election. Our 1990 campaign had been so successful that on the last sitting day of parliament in 1992 the Labour, Liberal/National and Democrats passed legislation that made it illegal to encourage people to vote informal. The penalty for encouraging people to vote informal was not a fine it was six months imprisonment. We still conducted a VOTE INFORMAL campaign and once again obtained widespread publicity for anarchist ideas. During the course of the 1993 election campaign we were invited to take part in a high court challenge about the unconstitutional nature of the new law. We decided not to take part but continued to press the State to take action against our campaign.

The Federal government did not take any legal action against us as it’s obvious the law was unconstitutional and if they took us to court and lost they could be forced to call new elections as we were not permitted to campaign because of the new law. To date this law still stands, the Federal government wants to intimidate people not to spoil its festival of representative democracy. Obviously we will continue to challenge the notion that people are forced to vote, that we cannot encourage people to vote informal and most importantly we want to challenge the notion that elections have anything to do with democracy.

In the 1996 Federal election we once again stood two Senate candidates on a VOTE INFORMAL ticket. During the course of the campaign Albert Langer (a Melbourne radical activist) was imprisoned for contempt of the Supreme Court because he encouraged people not to allocate preferences by voting 1 2 2 2 2 . The publicity surrounding his imprisonment pushed our campaign into the background. The Age newspaper in Melbourne attempted to get the Electoral Commission to ask the Supreme Court to put an injunction against our campaign as it was obviously illegal. In their opinion if Albert Langer was imprisoned for asking electors to not direct preferences, we should face the Courts for our campaign. The Australian Electoral Commission decided discretion was the buzzword and no action was taken against our campaign.

The next Federal Election will be held in late 1998 early 1999. Currently we are discussing our tactics. As we get closer to the elections we will be in a position to outline our campaign. We encourage other anarchists across the country to become involved in activities that challenge representative democracy.

vi) WORKPLACE ACTIVITIES: Irrespective of which government is in power, what legislation is passed and how militant the trade union movement acts, our workplace activities are based on introducing anarchist/libertarian ideas in the workplace. We encourage people to form their own organisations outside the trade union movement.
We also encourage workers to put forward ideas and involve themselves in actions, which challenge the power of the state; which challenge the owners right to own the means of production and which strive to create work place activities that encourage the occupation of worksites and which encourage the creation of a self-managed society that is not based on a wage system and which allows all people equal access to society’s wealth. Members of LWSS are encouraged to set up anarchist groups in their workplaces and in any institutions they are involved with. Members of the group are able to join any workplace or institutional group they wish to join.

vii) COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: Although community and workplace activities may often overlap, there are situations where members of the group find themselves in community struggles. We encourage these members to attempt to have community groups they are involved in to use anarchist decision making processes and use anarchist strategies. Most community struggles are not burdened by an established superstructure e.g. trade union structures in workplace struggles. This means that anarchists who are involved in community activities can have a profound influence on the direction community struggles take. Any member of LWSS is able to become involved in any community struggle they are interested in. Any member in a workplace or community struggle is able to ask the group for assistance in any campaigns they are involved in.

viii) MUTUAL AID: The group is not only a political organisation, it also provides mutual aid for members who may have difficulties with the state because of their political activities. Our strength lies in the fact that we are able to support members during these times. The group will also provide mutual aid to members who may find that they need assistance during 1995.


The LWSS have two major publications:
1) Anarchist Age Weekly Review
2) Anarchist Age Monthly Review

This is a 4 page news sheet (approx 3,500 words) which is published on the Wednesday of each week. The weekly review presents an anarchist viewpoint on local, national and international events. All members of the LWSS are able to write articles for this publication. Articles for publication are accepted till 9.00 am each Wednesday. Articles are able to be sent by fax.

This means any members of the group anywhere in the country can send in articles for publication. All articles that are sent in are published as is. T

he Anarchist Age Weekly Review will list all publications received by the group for that week.1998 is our 6th year of publication. We intend to hold a major gathering to celebrate our 300th edition sometime in May / June 1998.

This is a 36 page anarchist publication which is published every month. At the present time it consists of articles from all across the globe as well as the previous four weeks editions of the Anarchist Age Weekly Review. Articles for publication can be submitted by anyone. Preference is given to articles that present an anarchist/libertarian perspective. The Anarchist Age Monthly Review publishes articles from various anarchist viewpoints. Articles don’t necessarily reflect our own particular viewpoint. Articles for publication are selected by LWSS. All articles for the publication need to be submitted by the 15th day of the month before publication.

Financial difficulties caused us to cease publication in July 1997, we expect to re-commence publication with issue No: 80 in July 1998.

Anarchist Age Weekly Review – Australia
¨ 10 issues $10.00
¨ 50 issues $50.00
Overseas Air-Mail
¨ 50 issues $100.00
Anarchist Age Monthly Review – Australia
¨ 12 issues $36.00 (Wage – earners)
¨ 12 issues $20.00 (Non wage – earners)
¨ 12 issues $40.00 – sea mail
¨ 12 issues $70.00 – air mail Please make out all cheques or money orders to LIBERTARIAN WORKERS and send to PO Box 20, Parkville. 3052 Melbourne Australia.

The Anarchist World this Week is a radio program that goes to air on 3CR, 855kHz on the am dial, every Wednesday from 10.00 to 11.00. Thousands of people in Melbourne and the Victorian countryside listen to the program. The program is an important part of our activities because it allows many people to come into contact with anarchist ideas and practice. We encourage other anarchists to come onto the program so they can have a wider audience for their ideas. The program attempts to provide an anarchist analysis of local events as well as national and international events. It also acts as a good medium for the launch of campaigns and various activities. We encourage other community radio stations to contact us if they want to broadcast the radio program on their air-waves. We also provide input into other programs on 3CR.

We encourage listeners to become Friends Of The Anarchist World This Week to help us overcome production costs. Friends of The Anarchist World This Week donate $10.00 per month towards the running of the program. Without the “Friends” support we could not broadcast and we encourage people to become “FRIENDS”. Please make out all cheques and money orders to LIBERTARIAN WORKERS.

Thea Swifte was a member of the Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society who died suddenly on the 31st July, 1994. In order to remember Thea’s contribution to Anarchist ideas and activities in Melbourne, The Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society have set up THE THEA SWIFTE ANARCHIST MEMORIAL FUND to help the partners and children of anarchist activists who through illness or their political activities find themselves in difficult financial situations. All donations are publicly listed in the Anarchist Age Weekly Review (you can donate anonymously if you wish). Any applications for assistance will be processed as they arrive. Members of the Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society administer the fund and any decisions made will be listed in The Anarchist Age Weekly Review. We encourage as many people as possible to contribute to this fund. Cheques and money orders can be made out to The Thea Swifte Anarchist Memorial Fund.

We encourage as many people as possible to become Friends of the Anarchist Media Institute. This money helps us to continue to function. A Friend of the Anarchist Media Institute will receive 50 issues of The Anarchist Age Weekly Review, 12 issues of the Anarchist Age Monthly Review and any posters or press releases that are produced by The Anarchist Age Media Institute over the next 12 month period. Cost to become a friend is $100.00 Cheques and money orders should be made out to LIBERTARIAN WORKERS.

ANARCHIST MEDIA INSTITUTE MONTHLY DISCUSSION MEETINGS LAST THURSDAY OF THE MONTH 8.00 PM (except December, 1998) ROSS HOUSE, 247 FLINDERS LANE MELBOURNE (near Swanston Street) ALL WELCOME The Anarres Anarchist Mail Order Bookshop Has A Stall On The Night.

FAX NO. (03) 9482 4371 – If you have news you want us to spread – fax us today with your information.
TELEPHONE (03) 9828 2856 – The Anarchist Media Institute has a 24 hour answering service. Irrespective of when you ring your message will be taken by a human being not an answering machine and a member of The Anarchist Media Institute will be paged and will contact you A.S.A.P. after your call.
Send all correspondence to: LIBERTARIAN WORKERS FOR A SELF-MANAGED SOCIETY PO Box 20, Parkville, 3052, Melbourne. Australia or ANARCHIST MEDIA INSTITUTE PO Box 6, Alphington 3078, Melbourne. Australia



Since 1977 our main activities have centred around disseminating anarchist ideas in the places where we live and work. In 1995 we intend to encourage people to form their own anarchist groups both in the cities and the country.

Through the Anarchist Media Institute we are able to provide speakers for public meetings. We can provide assistance organising literature and meetings that can act as a focus for the formation of local anarchist groups. The Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society feel it’s important that diverse autonomous anarchist groups are formed all across Australia. If widespread radical social change is to occur in Australia then anarchist theory needs to be translated into anarchist organisation.

At this time it’s not important whether these groups are federated, what’s important is that local groups are formed. The Anarchist Media Institute can provide advice and practical assistance for individuals and small groups to form their own anarchist organisations. Most political organisations are only interested in attracting members to a centralised structure. We not only encourage people to join the Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society, but we also encourage them to form their own independent groups. Once workplace and community anarchist groups are formed the basis will be laid for a possible federation or co-federation of anarchist groups.

We encourage individuals and groups who agree with our principles of association – equal access to power and wealth, to contact us if they want to form local community or work place anarchist groups. We can provide assistance with –
i) speakers
ii) literature
iii) organisation of public meetings
iv) organisational advice
v) assistance with publications and
vi) assistance with finances
vii) organisation workshops

We also want to hear from people who want to join the group or who want to form a federation of groups with similar principles of association to the Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society.

Ideas coupled with organisation provides the basis for the creation of an egalitarian anarchist movement. In 1998 we intend to assist as many people and organisations as possible to form strong independent local and workplace anarchist groups. If you’re sick and tired of theory and feel you’re ready to form a local group then contact us for practical assistance in 1998.

Many people want to organise an anarchist conference, workshop or event but don’t know how to go about it. Activists in the Anarchist Media Institute have over 150 years of experience of organising anarchist workshops, conferences and events. We are happy to make this experience available and are happy to use our resources and extensive contacts to help people organise an anarchist conference, workshop or event in their local community or workplace. The Anarchist Media Institute is able to take the overall organisation and media responsibilities from organisers shoulders. This support gives organisers the luxury of knowing they can devote their total energies into the day to day organisational details of their conference, workshop or project.

Remember if you don’t know where to start contact the Anarchist Media Institute and we will swing our experiences and resources behind your activity to ensure it’s a success. It doesn’t matter where you live in Australia, if you have the ideas and desire to make your activity a success we have the experience, resources and contacts.

Members of the Anarchist Media Institute are keen to see a proliferation of anarchist activity both in Australia and overseas in 1998. If individuals or groups have an idea we can help them make their ideas a reality. The Anarchist Media Institute can help activists overcome their isolation by helping individuals and groups organise now. If you want our assistance telephone, fax or write to The Anarchist Media Institute today.

Most people, whether they work, are dependents or rely on the social security system, are hostages to capitalist modes of thought and production. The desire to breakaway from this control and set up parallel organisations within society is a desire that drives countless people. Our ability to breakaway from capitalist modes of life and production seem to be grossly limited because the state and business seem to rule every aspect of our lives. Sometimes we find that we can breakaway and throw out a challenge to capitalism and the state. This section outlines a few of the challenges that we as individuals and groups can use to challenge the state and capitalism and at the same time develop living practical examples of anarchy at work.

The examples we have outlined are possible within a state based on parliamentary principles. Anarchists who live in non-parliamentary societies may need to carry out other actions. What we have outlined are only a few examples, other groups and individuals may decide to carry out other actions to generate examples of practical anarchy. We are always interested in hearing from people who have other experiences to share. We intend to update this section every year and welcome other suggestions.
i) Occupations
ii) Squatting
iii) Co-operatives, Collectives, Freestores
iv) Support networks
v) Consumer boycotts
vi) Parallel Networks
(vii) Non Co-operation


Strikes are no longer a radical workplace tactic for change as they:
i) Leave the plant in the hands of the employers.
ii) Force workers to set up pickets outside the workplace.
iii) Allow employers access to the workplaces equipment and buildings.
iv) Allow the employer to resume work by employing scabs.
v) Make strikers passive not active participants in the dispute.
vi) Often alienate strikers from the community.

a) Force Management out of the workplace and leaves the workplace in the hands of the workers.
b) Make it extremely difficult for the Management or the police to regain the workplace without a major confrontation.
c) Allow employees the opportunity to maintain limited production and distribute the goods they produce as they see fit. This tactic encourages widespread public support.
d) Prevent the introduction of scabs on the worksite and helps to maintain workers solidarity.
e) Make workers active participants in their own struggle.
f) Maintains the dispute in the workers hands and forces management to deal directly with those who are responsible for the occupation. Occupations freeze out professional union bureaucrats and politicians from negotiations. Occupations can be carried out by industrial, clerical and service workers. They can be carried out by students and community groups. An occupation throws out a direct challenge to private enterprise and the state. Through occupations we can build solidarity and control our workplaces and communities. As anarchist activists we encourage as many people as possible to use the occupation as a major tactic in the struggle to create an egalitarian community.

Property relations form the cornerstone of capitalist society. Private and state ownership of land and housing is one of the main pillars of our society.
Squatting poses a direct challenge to capitalist modes of ownership. Non payment of rent and mortgage are other forms of activity that pose a direct threat to capitalist property relationships. Rent and mortgage strikes as well as squatting are ways people can challenge our present property relationships. A widespread movement that refuses to recognise present day property relationships can form the basis of a movement that is attempting to create an egalitarian society. Land and housing should be held in common it should not be used as a source of speculation for private profit and state gain.

If we wish to create an egalitarian society, it’s important that we start forming our own organisations to provide the community and ourselves with services that are normally provided at a profit.

Co-operatives allow people to pool resources so they can produce what they need and want. Co-operatives can provide physical services as well as intellectual services. They can pose a challenge to the normal productive processes and, may be able to provide many services that private enterprise cannot provide.

Co-operatives are normally formed to satisfy human needs not to create profits for individuals and corporations.

Collectives can be formed to tackle problems that face us as individuals and groups. By sharing ideas and resources we can form groups that help us survive problems that we are faced with. Collectives are a useful way that people can help to resolve personal, group and community problems.

Freestores can be set up to provide an alternative to the normal transactions that occur in shops. A freestore works on the common storehouse principle. People and organisations bring in materials and goods they have no use for and other people take what they need. Freestores can be set up in squatted premises. They do not function on an exchange basis, but function on a needs basis.

Any individual or group that is attempting to replace the state and private enterprise by a community based egalitarian system, will eventually find themselves in conflict with the disciplinary arm of the state – police, army and legal system.

Support, physical, moral and financial, needs to be available not only for the person who is in conflict with the state, but any dependents they have. The state and private enterprise keeps radical activity in check by threatening peoples employment, families, financial security and their access to society’s wealth. Unless we as a movement can provide the necessary physical, moral and intellectual support for individuals who tackle the state, then we cannot expect individuals to challenge the state and private corporations.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to be in employment, may be in a position where we have income left over after essential expenses. We encourage all those people who are in such a position to boycott non-essential consumer spending and use those funds to help set up co-operatives, collectives, freestores, and support networks. An effective consumer boycott not only provides funds for an emerging egalitarian social movement but it places consumer society under direct pressure.

As an emerging egalitarian social movement grows, its possible to create elements of a dual power society. The emerging co-operative, collective and freestore movement can set up parallel schools, community services, health centres agricultural communes and housing services. The emergence of such a parallel network marks an advanced stage in the collapse of present day society.

People do not want to wait till “after the revolution” for change, what they want is change now. Although the state will use all the means at its disposal to stop such a movement, a growing egalitarian movement can overcome many of these problems and set up dual power situations.

The state and private enterprise relies on compliance. People are taught to take it on the chin and not make a fuss. All across the globe the state and multinational corporations continue to function because we continue to co-operate with them. Examples of non co-operation include not participating in elections, not paying the various charges that the state levies on us (using this money to provide alternative services to the community) and not supporting state and private enterprise initiatives. Non co-operation is an important way that the state and private corporations can be put under constant pressure.

FAX: (03) 9482 4371
Web Page LIBERTARIAN WORKERS FOR A SELF-MANAGED SOCIETY PO BOX 20, PARKVILLE, 3052 MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA ANARCHIST MEDIA INSTITUTE PO. BOX 6, ALPHINGTON, 3078, AUSTRALIA SUBSCRIBE TO: ** THE ANARCHIST AGE ** ** THE ANARCHIST AGE MONTHLY REVIEW ** ** THE ANARCHIST AGE WEEKLY REVIEW ** AND LISTEN TO: THE ANARCHIST WORLD THIS WEEK ON 3CR 855kHz EVERY WEDNESDAY 10.00 AM – 11.00 AM PUBLIC DISCUSSION MEETING 8.00 P.M. LAST THURSDAY OF THE MONTH An anarchist society is a voluntary non-hierarchical society based on the creation of political and social structures which are formed on the basis of equal decision-making power and which allow all people equal access to that society’s wealth.


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