Black Flag 221 (2002)

"from riot to revolution?"

An issue of the London-based class struggle anarchist magazine Black Flag from the early 2000s.

Submitted by Fozzie on August 12, 2023

With thanks to Kate Sharpley Library for providing a physical copy to scan.


National News

  • Argentinean Embassy occupied by Anarchists
  • Rebel Workers at Home.
  • Freudian slips
  • IWW Action in Swansea
  • MMR
  • Freed Trade Hall
  • Housing Office Occupied
  • Police Brutality at Sellafield
  • Alka-Belter
  • Protestors 6, Glasgow Council 0
  • The Games People Play
  • Dead Dogma Sketch
  • What are their Names?

International News

  • Resistance Sprouts in Brussels
  • Essen Conference
  • Workers resisting McMerde
  • White Supremacists Chased Out Of York, Pennsylvania
  • ltalian Anarchists protest against Miltarism
  • “We lead by obeying": a letter from Chiapas
  • Anarchists in New York
  • Revolt in ltaly
  • Striking all over the world
  • After September 11th
  • The Eurostate
  • The criminalisation of dissent
  • “From Riot to Revolution"
  • Looking back at Genoa
  • Genoa: beyond the hype
  • Revolt of the “beautiful people“?
  • Under the X-Ray


  • Mumia Abu-Jamal update
  • Ray Gilbert
  • Anarchist political prisoner could be facing 25 years to life
  • Evgeni Novozhiloy
  • Setting a Precedent?


  • Rank And File Or Broad Left? A short history of the Building Workers Group
  • On Fire: The battle of Genoa and the anti-capitalist movement
  • No Gods, No Masters, book 2 by Daniel Guerin
  • News from the Kate Sharpley Library
  • Monopolise Resistance? How Globalise Resistance would hjack revolt
  • Anarchism and the Black Revolution by Lorenzo Komboa Ervin

Back page

  • Why we are not making demands of the World Economic Forum


Welcome to issue 221 of Black Flag!

It has been a long time since the last one and alot of exciting events have happened: Genoa, Argentina, the protests in New York and Brussels, a general strike in Nigeria, the list seems endless. This is why this issue is a bit cramped!

A recurring theme in this issue is the importance of applying anarchist ideas in working class struggle. As Alexander Berkman once observed "there is a continuous warfare between capital and labour." For the last 20 years the victories in that war have been mostly one way. Are things changing? The number of work days lost to strike action have risen from 282,000 in 1998 to 354,000 for the first 10 months of 2001. Union membership is up, at 6.7 million. Two-day strikes on the rail network have already led New Labour ministers to talk of "wreckers" and the CBI to warn of "seventies-style industrial anarchy". The T&G is balloting for industrial action at MG Rover. The CWU has voted for strike action over the Postal workers pay dispute.

The current wave of strikes at least poses for the anti-capitalist movement the reality of class struggle as the fundamental of an anti-capitalist project. Only when the "anti-globalisation“ movement makes links with working class people in struggle can real anti-capitalism become possible. The direct action scene is doing this. It is the only way forward 一 an effective anti-capitalist politics has to root itself within the class struggle.

Black Flag aims to aid the development of such a politics and its practice. We need to strengthen the politics of class. Anarchists must argue that direct action (strikes, occupations, etc.) should be employed over pay and, for instance, health and safety, and as a weapon of solidarity. Those of us taking direct action should seek to argue for support demos and rallies, not only to draw other working class people into action alongside us but also to re-establish a militant presence in the public space.

Events in Argentina are a striking confirmation of this, as well as anarchist theory and practice. The “principles of anarchism“ (to use Kropotkin's words) have been reinvented again in working class struggle. The basic principle of anarchism and syndicalism, the mass assembly (of strikers, neighbours) is being successfully applied. Hopefully anarchists across the world can help these seeds of anarchy created in struggle to grow and bloom. Together, we can make the ruling class lament "we would have got away with it too, if it wasn't for those pesky kids!"

Black Flag's New Year resolution is to appear regularly, if (at the start) somewhat infrequently. Practically, this means that we aim to get Black Flag out twice a year, moving as quickly as possible to quarterly. This means that the deadline for the next issue is the 15th August, 2002 so the next issue will be available at the Anarchist bookfair.

As always, any help with writing, production and distribution will be well received!


BlackFlag221.pdf (14.96 MB)