Collective Action's review of Solidarity Federation's recently published book 'Fighting for Ourselves: Anarcho-syndicalism and the class struggle'.
Fighting For Ourselves: Anarcho-Syndicalism and the Class Struggle (from this point on referred to as FFO) is an important contribution to existing introductory anarchist works and an essential read for those aiming to familiarise themselves with both historical and contemporary anarcho-syndicalist thought and practice.
This is the first interview in a series looking at new groups which have formed in the UK recently. We wanted to find out why new groups are forming and the politics informing their work. These were printed in the final issue of Shift.
Originally published in September 2012.
Why has your organisation formed?
The following was published as an introduction and a primer for an anarchist reading of the following text - 'What is Communisation? - Leon de Mattis - as a result it assumes a certain understanding of concepts within communisation theory (outlined in that text) as well as being a rather cursory presentation of the controversies therein. Nonetheless we reproduce it by itself as a useful starting point for further investigation and debate into the relationship between these revolutionary theories.
Communisation as a conception of the process of revolutionary transformation is intrinsically tied to the history of utopian thought. As a result it is possible to trace many communising sentiments as far back as the pre-modern, agrarian ideals of the Diggers, the writings of Thomas More, Babeuf, Robert Owen and many other early utopian socialists.
Specifism explained: the social and political level, organisational dualism and the anarchist organisation
In discussing the platform of Collective Action some individuals have expressed confusion at our use of the label “specifism” to describe the tradition of social anarchism we associate with. The following is a short introduction to what we consider to be the most essential concepts within the specifist model. This text is an adaptation of a forthcoming interview with Shift Magazine on anti-capitalist regroupment.
"Specifism" refers to an organisationalist current within the anarchist tradition which, in contemporary terms, is principally elaborated by the Federação Anarquista do Rio de Janeiro (FARJ) but has its historical roots in the writings of Bakunin, Malatesta and Makhno (among others).
This year marks the 140 year anniversary of the first anarchist International held at St.Imier, Switzerland, in 1872. In celebration of the anniversary an international gathering was called in St.Imier in mid-August. A contingent of Collective Action militants attended the gathering along with thousands of other anarchists from around the world to discuss politics, create new international ties and, of course, have some fun.
From August 8th to the 12th, the small Swiss town was taken over by anarchists attending the gathering. It was hard to calculate the exact number of attendees as the venues and sleeping sites was spread across the entire town and there was a constant flow of people leaving and joining the gathering throughout the week, but estimates have ranged from 2,000 to 4,000.
Collective Action offer some initial and cursory remarks on David Cameron's speech today in which he announced his party's intention to make further massive cuts in welfare and to scrap housing benefit for the under-25s. These comments are to be followed by a more substantial look at what these cuts mean to the working class.
1. The high proportional cost of housing benefit relates less to the value of the existing (and depleted) social housing stock and more to the over-inflated rates of private tenancy.
On 1 May 2012, a new anarchist communist organization called Collective Action was launched in the UK, together with the release of a statement (Where We Stand: Formation of a new Anarchist Communist project in the UK). In an attempt to clear up some points that were not clear from the statement or from the other documents published by the organization, Anarkismo.net has carried out this interview, in which the answers to our questions represent the jointly-held positions of Collective Action's members.
Can you elaborate on the circumstances that gave rise to Collective Action?
Collective Action responds to Adam Ford's (a member of the Commune) criticism of the May Day statement outlining our objections to his proposals for organisational unity and putting forward our own, alternative vision of "libertarian cohesion", regroupment and escalation.
We welcomed the article “Why We Need Collective Action, not ‘Collective Action’”, written on the Infantile Disorder blog by Adam Ford, a member of The Commune.
May Day statement of "Collective Action". In it we outline our analysis of the problems facing the anarchist movement in the UK and offer a call out to all independent anarchist communists to participate in our project to re-visit our political tradition, re-group and re-kindle our political action.
“I listen to them freely and with all the respect merited by their intelligence, their character, their knowledge, reserving always my incontestable right of criticism and censure.” - Mikhail Bakunin
The contemporary anarchist movement throughout the UK, and indeed around the world, faces unique challenges.