Kent Anarchists are a new local group trying to find their feet, obviously, in Kent - of all places. They recently put out a number requests for contacts and are running a regularly updated blog, Joe Maguire had chance to ask them a few things for the Freedom paper.
JM: Can you give an introduction to the group? Outline where you’re based and what your activities are, at present time?
KA: Kent Anarchists is a Working Class Anarchist group that promotes self organization, mutual aid and solidarity within the Working Class community. We seek to work within the community with people through their day to day struggles against the State and Capitalism. We believe that we (the Working Class) to be the driving force for revolution and social liberation.
We are against the following:
• We are against all Political Parties.
• We are against all authoritarian organizations and groups, whether Left Wing or Right Wing.
• We reject the State and Capitalism
We promote the following:
• Self organization of Working Class communities by Working Class people themselves.
• Working councils for Working Class people.
• Working Class mutual aid and solidarity, serving the interests of our Working Class community.
JM: What are your objectives, immediate, long-term etc?
KA: Our immediate objectives are to develop relationships and contacts within our community / region. We work within the community by promoting Anarchist ideas / history, through propaganda distribution and social meets.
Our long term goals are to create a strong Anarchist presence within the region that can work with the local community.
JM: How are you organised? Do you intend to affiliate to either of the federations, either, as a group or as members? Do you have wider contacts?
KA: At the moment most of us are not affiliated with any federations. We see ourselves as more of a community action group. This does not mean we would not welcome members of Anarchist federations to the group, or that we wouldn't work with them. But as of now we feel it is in our best interests to be non aligned.
JM: Is there a wider history of radicalism in Kent? Your blog links to a miner’s festival, but these are closed, no? Can you give a wider overview of ‘the scene’ and the ‘balance of forces’ in Kent? Are leftist groups dominant? Do groups like EDL have a presence?
KA: The local history of radicalism in Kent is very limited. This is something we clearly want to change by developing radical ideas and promoting Anarchism. There is the usual leftist groups in the area such as the SWP. But these groups have very little support (if any) within the community.
JM: Do we know whatever happened to the East Kent Anarchists?
KA: The old East Kent Anarchists eventually had people drift away and move on, whether it be through moving out of the area or simply losing interest. A handful of people put in some hard work at first, but in recent years it has been inactive. We still have contact with one or two members of the old group.
JM: How would you assess the wider anarchist movement, its strengths and weaknesses? And, what role do you think local groups can play?
KA: The Anarchist movement in the last few years, because of austerity, has seen a kind of revival. People do want to explore an alternative to Capitalism. The community group is essential to developing Anarchism into the wider public, and for its success. We believe this is the only way Anarchism will connect with people and be successful in achieving our aspirations.
JM: How do people reach the group?
KA: The main problems we believe Anarchism faces is keeping people interested and active. Many people come into groups expecting revolution or some massive change right away. We wish this was the case, but sadly it isn't. It will take much hard work and dedication, and this is something we are willing to do. We also believe that Anarchism needs to open itself up a little more and become accessible to the public and not be so 'ghettoized' as it has been in the past.
JM: Anything additional you wish to add?
KA: We are looking forward to the challenges ahead. We would welcome all local Anarchists, and local people with Anarchist ideas and principles to get in touch and join in with the group.