Submitted by Juan Conatz on December 21, 2010

Writing on the subject of anarchism in relation to the class struggle we had few, if any, books to consult, despite the writings of earlier anarchists when class divisions were taken for granted and before the development of current social and economic trends. The anarchist movement owes little to the writings of the "intellectual"-on the contrary, professional writers have dipped into the achievements of anarchist workers to enlighten themselves on social theory or to formulate other theories.

I was helped in my early thoughts by coming from Glasgow and Blantyre where I grew up amongst miners and others who had kept the socialist and libertarian tradition alive for more than sixty years. I subsequently had the advantage of holding discussions with comrades of the clandestine struggle against Franco such as Octavio Alberola; Salvador Gurruchari and Jose Pascual Palacios. I must also add to this list Luis Andres Edo and Alain Pecunia, a fellow prisoner in Carabanchel, Madrid, Prison. Without them and people like them we would have been gobbled up or annihilated entirely by the machinery of the State.

I may say that this book would never have appeared without the help of my co-author Albert Meltzer, a veteran of the anarchist movement for over a third of a century. Albert has worked with stalwarts of a previous generation of British anarchists-Mat Kavanagh, Frank Leech, Albert Grace, Sam Mainwaring Jnr, and others-as well as collaborating with revolutionaries in Asia and Europe. Our work in the Anarchist Black Cross, an organisation for helping prisoners and activists abroad and in Britain, resulted in this book.


The major battles that we fought in the past were under the red flag of socialism and working class collectivism. The life's blood of anarchists, too, "dyed its every fold". These colours, together with the battle honours and passwords, have been captured by the enemy. They are now used with intent to deceive.

The classic books about anarchism were written under the red banners. For then socialism had to do with the abolition of exploitation and the establishment of both freedom and equality. The black banners were raised only to call for greater militancy in achieving that goal. In countries such as Russia and Italy, the totalitarian victory was resisted to the bitter end.

The red-and-black banner was first raised in Spain, where the labour movement and anarchism had not parted company, and were almost synonymous. Little has been written on anarchism in relation to the class struggle, and nothing at all (so far as I can discover) in English. The present book is one of the few contemporary writings on what anarchists think, as distinct from academic interpretations as to what they ought to think.

Amongst others I should like to thank Ted Kavanagh for many helpful discussions.