In his seminal "Modern Science and Anarchism," Kropotkin argued that anarchism as we know it today geminated in the First International. Its "main idea," he continued, was "a direct struggle of Labour against Capital in the economic field - i.e. the emancipation of Labour, not by middle-class legislation, but by the working men themselves."
These are the basics we need to get back to. Direct action is much more than just demonstrating (however vigorously), necessary though that is. It is about working class people fighting back where we are directly oppressed and exploited by capital and the state, in our communities and workplaces. It is about resisting the powerful by building our own power, the power of solidarity, self-organisation and self-management. It means fighting for reforms, both minor and major by our own efforts and own organisations. It means prefiguring the new society while fighting this one.
It is time to get "back to basics," remember where anarchism comes from (social struggle) and apply our ideas where they matter, in the mundane everyday issues that matter to people. Unless we do that, a great opportunity will be missed. Hence our front page.
We at Black Flag know that this is not easy. We know how atomised many communities and workplaces are. We know we have argued this before (and will do so again). We also know that many anarchists are doing exactly this. What we need to do now is to start working together in order to aid these tendencies, to concentrate on the basics we all share rather than the minor points which divide us (particularly if these points concern hypothetical future events or developments!). We need to start working out how we can apply the basic ideas and ideals our politics are based on - working class direct action, solidarity and self-management. As Argentina shows, they can change the world!
We have made a few changes in this issue of Black Flag. The news section is much smaller, reflecting the fact that we have been less regular in coming out recently. We have limited the news sections to that of interest to anarchists and/or not that well known. Instead, we have concentrated on more in depth articles which will provoke thought and action.
Lastly, there is the usual call for people to get involved. Any anarchist magazine is dependent on members of our movement contributing articles. If you expect others to do this for you, then you are missing the whole point of our politics. Back to basics is equally applicable within our movement as it is within the class struggle. Unless you get off your arse and contribute (news reports, articles, book reviews, pictures, etc.) then no anarchist journal can survive for long. If you want Black Flag to keep going then it is a case of showing solidarity (i.e. fund raising, selling it) and practising direct action (i.e. helping out).
We hope to produce Black Flag more frequently next year. Reflecting this, the deadline for the next issue is February the 14th.
SMI/PM Internationals March on $andton
The Street is mightier than Le Pen
General Strike Shuts Down Spain
Collective Nouns for Anarchists
Immigrant's Occupation in Seville
Strike Paralyses Toronto
Class Struggle in China
No Borders Strasbourg
Resistance in Italy
Machete power beats the state
Argentina: The Struggle Continues
Privatisation and Gentrification, Reaction and Resistance, in Hackney's 'Regeneration State'
Justice - A bourgeois Concept?
Changing the way we think of Direct Action
Alexander Berkman: A Blast from the past...
Vive l'anarchie: An interview with French Anarchists