Direct Action: the education of revolutionaries.

Chapter Thirty of The Authority of the Boot-Maker by Mal Content.

“Anarchism is neither sectarian nor dogmatic. It’s theory in action. It doesn’t have a pre-determined worldview. It’s a fact that anarchism is manifest historically in all of man’s attitudes, individually or collectively. It’s a force in the march of history itself: the force that pushes it forward.”

– Nestor Makhno: to Francisco Ascaso and Buenaventura Durruti, Paris, 1927.

This, my friends, is where the cop-out ends, once you’ve accepted that there is no one above or below you, you become responsible for everything that happens within your sphere of influence. Who gives governments the power to abuse, torture and kill? It is you. The prison I referred to earlier exists only in the mind, in the collective consciousness, the defeatist attitude that: “nothing can be done”. In fact everything can be done and already is, in this world we built with our hands, eyes and brains. Everything you require to live is provided by your fellow workers, as you provide for them. The intervention of bosses, accountants, academics and politicians only serves to make the process less efficient and pleasant to operate. If we allow these intermediaries to manage our desires they will stifle and kill them. Despite not being noticeably more competent or wise than anyone else they have been elevated above their fellows and it isn’t in their interests to upset the applecart. They will patiently explain why we can’t have what we want, just yet.

“Our people stand for action on the march. It is while going forward that we overtake. Don’t hold them back, even to teach them `the most beautiful theories’ …”

– Francisco Ascaso, quoted by Paz and others.

Direct action is that which seeks its ends without the mediation of a third party; it does not necessarily involve protest, and where it does, is not limited to protesting. Breaking up a fight is direct action, calling the police is not. It can be anything from distributing free food to the needy or recycling old clothes, to strikes, sabotage and factory occupations. This principle demands that those who have most invested in a struggle should direct it, whilst relying on solidarity from others, so priority should be given to projects and organisational forms which give confidence to those who are marginalised or unused to taking action.

Q. How many Anarchists does it take to change a light bulb?

A. None – “The light bulb must change itself!”

– Anon.

Direct action is most popularly associated with the practice of revolutionary syndicalism or industrial unionism, which gained currency at the turn of the last century but lost out to Bolshevism; however the abject failure of political and industrial representation has revived its popularity in this one.

The importance of direct action goes far beyond its immediate goals; it ingrains the habit of taking responsibility, of working with others in a voluntary and horizontal fashion for reasons other than personal reward. It builds confidence and trust, shares skills and teaches by example. A solidarity action that at first glance seems to have only a minor impact, in fact operates on several fronts. It gives satisfaction to the participants, courage to fellow workers who hitherto felt powerless, and issues a warning to the exploiters that their acts have consequences. It helps repair the social cohesion and sense of community that capitalism tries so hard to abolish. Above all every comrade must feel valued and supported, every blow must be returned, until over time a culture of militant solidarity is established, only then can we act coherently in our common interest, and prise power from the exploiter’s grip.

There are many traps into which revolutionaries can fall; relying on the limited vision and experiences of a few people for example, or on the other hand diluting the movement with those who have too much invested in the status quo; falling back on dogma, or abandoning essential principles. It’s a mistake to assume that every oppressed person is ready and able to shake off their oppression, and equally erroneous to wait until conditions are perfect. To transform society we must transform ourselves, we can do it along the way but we have to start now. Lines must be walked between making real improvements to the lives of people in the here and now, and giving in to reformism, we want the earth, but we’ll take it a piece at a time.

“This task of laying the groundwork for the future is, thanks to Direct Action, in no way at odds with the day to day struggle. The tactical superiority of Direct Action rests precisely on its unparalleled plasticity: organisations actively engaged in the practice are not required to confine themselves to beatific waiting for the advent of social changes. They live in the present with all possible combativity, sacrificing neither the present to the future, nor the future to the present. It follows from this, from this capacity for facing up simultaneously to the demands of the moment and those of the future and from this compatibility in the two-pronged task to be carried forward, that the ideal for which they strive, far from being overshadowed or neglected, is thereby clarified, defined and made more discernible.

Which is why it is both inane and false to describe revolutionaries drawing their inspiration from Direct Action methods as “advocates of all-or nothing”. True, they are advocates of wresting EVERYTHING from the bourgeoisie! But, until such time as they will have amassed sufficient strength to carry through this task of general expropriation, they do not rest upon their laurels and miss no chance to win partial improvements which, being achieved at some cost to capitalist privileges, represent a sort of partial expropriation and pave the way to more comprehensive demands.

From which it is plain that Direct Action is the plain and simple fleshing- out of the spirit of revolt: it fleshes out the class struggle, shifting it from the realm of theory and abstraction into the realm of practice and accomplishment. As a result, Direct Action is the class struggle lived on a daily basis, an ongoing attack upon capitalism.”

– Emile Pouget: ‘Direct Action’.

Red and Black Telly roundup.









As Israel designates Palestinian human rights organisations ‘terrorist’, where is the international community?

gal-dem

Two Palestinian human rights workers speak out against Israel’s branding of their workplace as a “terrorist” organisation.

Img. Khadija Said

In late October, Israel designated six leading Palestinian civil society and human rights organisations as “terrorist” organisations – including our workplace. We are two Palestinian women who work for Addameer, a non-governmental, civil institution that works to support Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons. This latest escalation in Israel’s use of its military and legislative powers to maintain control over Palestinians suppresses any form of dissent and severs our right to self-determination.

Two weeks later, the Israeli military

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Racism and the Working Class.

Chapter Sixteen of The Authority of the Boot-Maker by Mal Content.

Racism is another ideological hegemony closely woven into the fabric of modern (capitalist) society. It is a species of mythology, and like religion, requires certain assumptions to be taken on trust, not subjected to rational analysis. So I’d like to examine who racism serves, what racists actually believe, and how these ideas gained currency in the first place. Racism holds that mankind can be divided into separate branches identified by physical characteristics, and that these can be ‘ranked’ in terms of ability, intelligence or morality. I well remember school books in my youth that presented this as fact.

Race is a political construct with no scientific basis, it does not follow from any of the major religious traditions, nor is it particularly old. Nevertheless, apologists for racism often contend that there have always been antagonisms between races and this is rooted in some feature of human nature – that old cobblers. By extrapolation, they imply that racism can never be eliminated entirely, which absolves them from the bother of having to do anything about it, or even

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Sheffield JustEat couriers to strike against pay cut

Cautiously pessimistic

Couriers working for JustEat/Stuart Delivery in Sheffield have now announced plans to strike and hold a series of protests against a new payment structure that will slash their earnings.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FE5PCcjWUAAD_7e?format=jpg&name=900x900

The IWGB union stated:

“On Sunday 28 November at 12 noon, Sheffield food delivery couriers from the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) are protesting outside of Sheffield Town Hall to demand that Stuart delivery cancels a planned pay cut of nearly 25%. Having previously been promised a postponement to the cuts in October 2021, couriers are set to strike from 6 December after the corporation that delivers for JustEat decided to push ahead with the cuts next month.

Stuart is slashing pay on most deliveries from £4.50 to £3.40 from 6 December 2021 as part of a new pay structure that will force couriers who already have to pay their own vehicle costs to work even harder and longer…

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Don’t expect real climate solutions from COP26. It works for corporations

People and Nature

This article by SIMON PIRANI first appeared on Truthout

In the run-up to the United Nations climate change conference (COP26) in the UK in November — the 26th session of the talks that were launched in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 — the governments of the world’s richest countries are making ever-louder claims that they are effectively confronting global warming.

Nothing could be more dangerous than for social, labour and environmental movements to take this rhetoric at face value and assume that political leaders have the situation under control.

There are three huge falsehoods running through these leaders’ narratives: that rich nations are supporting their poorer counterparts; that “net zero” targets will do what is needed; and that technology-focused “green growth” is the way to decarbonize.

On Extinction Rebellion’s London demonstration last month. Photo by Steve Eason

First, wealthier countries claim to be supporting poorer nations — which are…

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Life on Carpenters Estate -a life worth fighting for

Focus E15

A local resident speaks to Focus E15 campaign about what Carpenters Estate means to her.

When I reminisce about my best moments growing up, I always think of the Carpenters estate. I can’t imagine growing up in a more fulfilling community.

Across all generations we supported one another. You had the over 65s, some who had known each other since the 2nd World War. They had grown up together and then raised their children together. It was a very close, caring and supportive community that felt more like a family. Us children would all attend Carpenters primary school and play together afterwards in the lovely green spaces and park. There was so many different cultures too, I tried so many different cuisines and learned a lot by being around different ethnicities and religions. I actually believed the whole world was multicultural like the estate I grew up on, because to me Carpenters was the only world I knew.

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Trans Rights is a Class Issue

Anarchist Communist Group.

On Trans Day of Remembrance (20th November 2021), we remember and honour the lives of trans and gender-diverse people reported murdered in the last 12 months. Trans people around the world face structural, institutional, societal, and direct violence. The violence that trans people face has roots in the policies, laws, and institutional practices of capitalist society.

We have long known the function of gender roles and gender inequality in capitalism, not just in dividing the working class, but also in ensuring the cultural norms that secure the provision of unpaid domestic and care work. Following from this analysis, we add trans people’s struggle against oppression to a structural understanding of oppression in modern society. Indeed, gender nonconformity poses a threat to those patriarchal structures of gender oppression, whereby capitalism benefits from unpaid work in the home that is still, to varying degrees, divided according to traditionalist gender roles.

It is clear that transgender and non-binary people’s experience of inequality, discrimination and violence cannot just be explained with reference to individual prejudice. Structural observation shows that we must also pay attention to the role of capitalist exploitation.

One in three UK employers said in a 2018 survey that they would be less likely to hire a trans person. The retail sector came out even worse, with 47 per cent of employers saying they were unlikely to employ a trans person.

Research in the US has shown that trans people are twice as likely to be living in poverty as the general population , and that work place discrimination affects more than three quarters of transgender people, who disproportionately face such issues as loss of employment due to discrimination, refusal to hire, privacy violations, and extreme levels of unemployment. Of the reported killings of trans and gender-diverse people whose profession was known, worldwide, 58 per cent were sex workers.

From this we can see that transgender people are more likely to be working class, and therefore we must conclude that trans rights is a class issue. And the violence that trans people face is a class issue.

We in the ACG are against all oppressions and inequality both because of the hardship and suffering it causes and because we need to unite as a class if we are to be effective in our struggles. The working class is composed of people of varying sexuality, people with disabilities, those who struggle against the straitjacket of gender categories, people from many ethnic backgrounds.

Divide and rule has long been used as a tool to subjugate us. We in the ACG seek to unite the working class, because our struggles are worth fighting for together, in an integrated fight to seek revolutionary social change and to create a society in which exploitation is abolished and all resources are held in common.

transrespect.org/en/tmm-update-tdor-2021/

CFMEU VICTORIA FAILS ITS COVID TEST

Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group

This article first appeared in The Anvil, Vol 10 No 5, published 31 October 2021.

CFMEU Office Demonstration 21 Sept 2021

Source: styleheavens.com (original source unattibuted)

The anti-vaxxer attack on the offices of the CFMEU in Melbourne last month is a stark reminder that class collaboration doesn’t come free. What looked like an opportunity to protect union members’ interests through co-operation with the bosses and the State instead created even greater dangers than the hard road of class struggle would have done.

When the COVID19 pandemic hit last year, the Federal Government was compelled to introduce wage support payments, known as Jobkeeper, for workers whose workplaces were shut down by public health measures. Thanks to over a century of militant class struggle, wages in the construction industry are amongst the highest in Australia. Jobkeeper approximated to the minimum full-time wage. Shutting down construction would have thrown building workers into massive…

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Patriarchy: A design for oppression.

Chapter Twenty-one of The Authority of the Boot-Maker by Mal Content.

“I haven’t the faintest notion what possible revolutionary role white heterosexual men could fulfil, since they are the very embodiment of reactionary-vested-interest-power.”

– Robin Morgan: ‘Sisterhood is Powerful’.

If, like me you come into that category, your initial reaction to this statement may be one of dismissal, but once you’ve had the thought it never quite goes away. If you’re serious about revolution, it makes sense to regularly question whether you may be one of those holding it back. One of the reasons people glaze over when we speak of revolution is the glaring fact that almost every revolutionary movement has rapidly re-created the power structures it set out to abolish, and frequently ended up killing more of its own side than the enemy. The cure is worse than the disease! There is a reason for this, and it’s staring us in the face. Just as capitalism and state re-create each other, so do patriarchy and hierarchy.

I see patriarchy as the original and fundamental form of oppression; I believe it informs not only how men oppress women, but also how they oppress each other, and how the bourgeois state oppresses us all. The structural character of this oppression makes it virtually impossible, with the best of intentions, not to be complicit on some level, a revelation the enormity of which, takes time to sink in.

“Nothing in nature explains the sexual division of labour, nor such institutions as marriage, conjugality or paternal filiation. All are imposed on women by constraint, all are therefore facts of civilization which must be explained, not used as explanations.”

– Claude Meillassoux: Maidens, Meal and Money: Capitalism and the Domestic Community.

We see how ideological hegemony causes the oppressed to reproduce their oppression; patriarchy is a specific hegemony that cuts across economic and cultural lines, but like capitalism and the state it stands as an obstacle to a free society. By patriarchy I mean the structural

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