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The Learning Curve

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factvalue
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Dec 13 2015 10:53

Winning an election in which the 'representatives' would be chosen from a list of options handed down from our masters that everyone was instructed to vote for, is the inversion of the system I sketched above, i.e. top-down power arrangement posing as bottom-up, and would therefore prevent any change, which is its purpose. Surely everyone knows this by now don't they?

factvalue
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Dec 14 2015 11:00

And what qualifies someone to be a 'politician'? To become qualified to serve at the counter in Burger King you need a university education but all you need to occupy the highest positions in this 'society' are neurotic ambition, cunning, brutality, the backing of a political party's expensive propaganda apparatus, the chaos of capitalism and the authoritarian upbringing necessary to produce fear and submission in little children to secure the gullibility and slavery of billions of people. Then just about anyone can win elections. The party system has a long history stretching right back to the earliest patriarchal hierarchical governments in Mesopotamia and elsewhere and it has twisted society into the irrational monstrosity you see before you using every possible method of murder and torture. Those are some of the reasons I don't vote.

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Noah Fence
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Dec 14 2015 11:53

You don't vote? Whaaaaattt?!!!!!!!!!!!! What makes you think you have a right to an opinion if you can't even be bothered to vote? Etc.

factvalue
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Dec 14 2015 14:13

I dreamed I voted a few months ago and woke up, went to the mirror and apologised to myself. On the same night I also dreamed that I was having a wee in a miniature model of Nuremberg and a rainbow called Horace formed in the scattered speckles of wee wee - makes as much sense as voting.

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Noah Fence
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Dec 14 2015 14:41

I used to think voting was futile, but then...

http://youtu.be/438UKM1Av1g

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Chilli Sauce
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Dec 14 2015 14:57

That was amazing, Webby.

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Auld-bod
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Dec 14 2015 15:17

George Harrison performed a benefit concert in support of the party in 1992.

factvalue
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Dec 14 2015 15:32

I remember it like it was yesterday.

Ghost Whistler
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Dec 14 2015 17:48
factvalue wrote:
Quote:
But that's the problem I'm defining: how can a modern society do that? How would an anarchist society do that? What is the mechanism that would be involved?

By removing as many obstacles blocking the free development of people's potentials as possible, including imo the particularly destructive notion of a limited set of inhuman automatic mechanisms for governing our machine-like existences. I'd imagine there'd be a potentially limitless number of rational ways of going about this in a planetary sized federation, in which local decisions would be arrived at through directly democratic means, and larger scale decisions which would affect larger numbers of people would be carried out through upward regional delegation, with delegates who are fully aware of the overwhelming feelings on all issues and empowered to convey the will of the communities they come from, and who would be instantly recalled if they overstepped their remit/became politicians, perhaps all run on consensus or some other model. Of course not every single little thing would require the input of the entire community in this way, only those which affected everyone significantly. All of this is what the current system pretends to be, since those who own it know that this is what people want, and that it would work. Maybe you could print out some of the AFed or SolFed documents Chilli referred to and have a read if you don't like screens, there's some lovely clear writing and excellent description there if you're exploring these things.

And sorry for being childish, don't take it personally I meant no offence, I'm a very silly person at a turning point in my life and some of your questions made me giggle. I'd heard the 'who cleans the toilets' one before but your airport question and sea travel for the landlocked conundrum cracked me up a wee bit, sorry.

Ok, thanks. But I don't get why that would be funny? Wouldn't those things be valid concerns for a community?

Ghost Whistler
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Dec 14 2015 17:50
Auld-bod wrote:
Ghost Whistler #30

‘I don't really feel comfortable handing out leaflets, especially to people who aren't remotely interested, and they are never going to win an election.’

Yes more ‘socialist’ politicians sitting in the Commons is the answer to the problem of capitalism. Eventually they could form a government and pass some laws. It is strange no one has tried this before! Always room for one more inside.

Has it been tried before in Britain?

I don't know. I joined because I wanted to find people that shared my views who, if needed, might be able to help me out if I need it. Particularly as someone that has to deal witht he DWP.

I don't think they have a cat in hell's chance of getting elected anyway. This system is all sewn up right now.

Ghost Whistler
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Dec 14 2015 17:52
factvalue wrote:
Winning an election in which the 'representatives' would be chosen from a list of options handed down from our masters that everyone was instructed to vote for, is the inversion of the system I sketched above, i.e. top-down power arrangement posing as bottom-up, and would therefore prevent any change, which is its purpose. Surely everyone knows this by now don't they?

But they don't, otherwise we'd have a better system.

I'm just trying to learn.

factvalue
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Dec 14 2015 20:15
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I'm just trying to learn.

I appreciate that but you should understand that quite a lot of irrational caviling in connection with anarchist communism comes dressed up as innocent objective criticism. Everyone should of course be free to discuss and criticise, that's an indispensable part of life but so far you have not really offered that many improvements, just criticism.

Immanent, scientific criticism requires the fulfillment of certain criteria. The person criticising should really have a fairly comprehensive grasp of the field being criticised, and should ideally know the field at least as well as the person on the end of the criticism. There should be a genuine interest in seeing the field under scrutiny succeed, not fail, otherwise disruption or neurotic quibbling and carping rather than objective criticism is the true purpose. And finally the person would have to be criticising from the point of view of the subject/field itself, not from a point of view that has really nothing to do with it. It would be ridiculous to criticise an egg whisk for not being able to defrost the windows of your car, or to criticise anarchism for not having a chance of winning elections. Our feelings about a particular subject may be warm and cosy or brittle and spiky or depend on what sort of a day we've had or what we ate for breakfast but that doesn't affect the nature or relevance of the subject.

Politics as we have known it does nothing to solve the basic problems of life. It largely creates or exacerbates them because of its illusory and irrational character, and is helpless before basic facts and possibilities. Politicians, unlike train drivers or electricians or nurses, have no practical task, they accomplish nothing, they produce nothing. They are archetypal parasites. None of the basic functions of actual human social life such as love, compassion, creative work, knowledge production and dissemination, has ever had any effect on or been affected by universal suffrage, the secret ballot, the party system or representative parliamentary democracy, which on the other hand has been rather handy for allowing all manner of irrational ideologies to gain access to immense amounts of power over those basic functions and needs. This system leaves the rational organisation and safeguarding of human needs and functions entirely to chance and affords them no influence over the fate of society. When was the last time your heard any political debate addressing anything truly fundamental to human beings? I'm quite fond of anarchist communism because it puts such things back in their rightful place at the centre of social life.

Ghost Whistler
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Dec 14 2015 20:50

i have no problem being wrong.

But i'm getting the sense that, for people who understand the arguments and have been through the learning process and are confident in their beliefs, hearing these questions, quite probably over and over, it's tedious. Unfortunately that doesn't help me.

I don't have people I can talk to about this stuff in real life. The people I know (Socialist Party aside and I don't really associate with them because i don't live anywhere near where the local party meets unfprtunately) are turning increasingly right wing like most of the country. It's depressing and trying to carve a pathway through this mess that our society has become under this fucking capitalist shithouse is not easy.

factvalue
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Dec 14 2015 20:55

I hear you, it can be a real struggle just to keep it together sometimes. I'm not trying to discourage you by any means. Have a look at the Afed or Solfed websites and maybe get in touch and see if there's anyone nearby to get together and share with. I'm well isolated where I am right now, and surrounded by total reactionaries so I feel much the same as yourself. Take action, get in touch with those feeling the same way. As I've found out recently, excellent comrades make it all much easier to handle.

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Noah Fence
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Dec 14 2015 21:28

GW, it really does seem to me that you're still grasping quite hard at liberal democracy which considering the prevailing culture in the UK, and most of the world for that matter, is totally understandable and not in the least bit surprising but to make any meaningful headway in the pursuit of understanding anarchism you're gonna need to let that shit go. We believe that there is nothing in that system which can help the working class free itself. It's not that there is no party or politician willing to fight the working class corner but that by its very nature it is IMPOSSIBLE for parliament to create a society that has equity and freedom at its heart. To embrace or even understand anarchism you need to understand capitalism and the administrative role that parliament plays in it.
A critique of anarchism is fair enough but to try to place it within the current political system and then critique simply makes no sense.

factvalue
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Dec 15 2015 11:07

I think people latch on to the 'democracy' canard as one last desperate effort to retain the notion that politics is a rational human activity comparable to medicine or civil engineering. But the simple fact that Hitler, Stalin and Mao were political geniuses is enough to demonstrate the absurdity of such a conception of things. Politics is pure mysticism, an irrational phantasm. The skill of a brain surgeon carrying out essential work is unaltered whether or not she is a 'conservative' and or a 'social democrat' or holds one or another 'view' on UKIP or ISIS. No number of outlandish promises or idiotic speeches made to 'the people' from either of those or any other political perspectives will help or hinder her in carrying out a brain operation and she would gaze at us in complete perplexity if we demanded to know her position on immigration or ritual beheading before we allowed her to operate on us (and may well harbour doubts about whether the surgery was really worth the effort). Would it make more of a difference to the functioning of all the social processes of a country to remove all the politicians and ideologues or to remove all the doctors, engineers, midwives, carpenters, educators etc.? What purpose does this irrational epidemic really serve except to destroy the human community?

The elimination of the irrelevant irrationalism of 'politics' and its source the State is exactly what the benighted members of the socialist party lost sight of long ago. Ideological socialist party concepts can only perpetuate the fragmentation of human society. Their concept of the 'working class' as applied exclusively to industrial workers, which divided this 'revolutionary proletariat' - the new masters - from technicians, educators, medics etc, who were relegated to a position of 'servants of the bourgoiesie', contributed not insignificantly to the rise of fascism via this degraded middle class base, which fled into the arms of race theorists, rather than become servants of the new chosen people, who were themselves in absolutely no condition after millenia of oppression to act in a rational, socially responsible way in the administration of society. The smothering of the human community by authoritarian, hierarchical party concepts has been exposed for what it is too many times to be credible. There are people who carry out essential tasks of all kinds in the creation of society and there are those the likes of union bureaucrats and politicians who wouldn't know the first thing about it.

ajjohnstone
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Dec 15 2015 10:01
Quote:
I used to think voting was futile, but then...
http://youtu.be/438UKM1Av1g

During my absence from the SPGB, i often used the example of the Natural Law Party in discussions declaring voting for them and believing people could fly was a more realistic expectation than voting Labour and expecting political change.

I also recall their full page dense-text manifestoes (almost unreadable for myself and resembling something like a North Korean speech by Kim il Sung) being published in the mainstream press

Ghost Whistler
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Dec 15 2015 11:10
factvalue wrote:
I hear you, it can be a real struggle just to keep it together sometimes. I'm not trying to discourage you by any means. Have a look at the Afed or Solfed websites and maybe get in touch and see if there's anyone nearby to get together and share with. I'm well isolated where I am right now, and surrounded by total reactionaries so I feel much the same as yourself. Take action, get in touch with those feeling the same way. As I've found out recently, excellent comrades make it all much easier to handle.

That's a good idea, that's why i joined the Socialist Party.

Unfortunately travel is a pain in the arse because I don't live in bristol proper and so getting around is horrifically expensive.

There is one issue with the Bristol anarchist group. I don't know the truth of this and it's entirely possible that they were scapegoated, but there were a couple of arson incidents for which they got blamed. I have not been able to find out the truth, but one of them was a car in a suburb that got torched. I dont' remember the reason, but the car was chosen because of who the owner was iirc.

I am all for smashing the system, but I cannot condone something like that. Aside from the obvious risk to people, including innocent people, there was huge disruption to local travel as a result which affected a lot of people incuding me. I don't say that to sound selfish and privileged, but that I believe anarchists have to pick their battles carefully. Unfairly or not, as a result of this people's receptiveness to the anarchist position was massively influenced. I am very uncomfortable with violence like that. Perhaps someone here knows the truth of what happened.

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Noah Fence
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Dec 15 2015 11:46
Quote:
There is one issue with the Bristol anarchist group. I don't know the truth of this and it's entirely possible that they were scapegoated, but there were a couple of arson incidents for which they got blamed. I have not been able to find out the truth, but one of them was a car in a suburb that got torched. I dont' remember the reason, but the car was chosen because of who the owner was iirc.

That's a pretty poor reason to dismiss an anarchist group considering that you're willing to engage with a group that supports parliamentarianism. I mean, to reject a group because of a stupid act carried out by one or two members but be willing to engage with a group that supports a system that is deeply entrenched with oppression of all kinds seems kind of odd.

Spikymike
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Dec 15 2015 12:08

Ghost Whistler, Best not to get sidetracked on this thread with any extensive discussion of the role of 'sabotage' in it's various forms as used by different people in very different circumstances some of which are more justified than others. The Bristol events alluded to were discussed on this site some time back if you are interested but if nothing else don't confuse the odd reference there to a so-called 'Informal Anarchist Federation' with the actual well established UK Anarchist Federation (formerly known as the Anarchist Communist Federation) who have a forum on this site as well as there own website. I have my differences with the AF but they still have some good people in the Bristol area as far as I'm aware.
PS: The 'Socialist Party' you joined is not I presume 'The Socialist Party' as in the SPGB - the later party has a pretty good website dealing with some basic anti-capitalist ideas though neither organisations are anti-parliamentary.

Ghost Whistler
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Dec 15 2015 13:26
Webby wrote:
Quote:
There is one issue with the Bristol anarchist group. I don't know the truth of this and it's entirely possible that they were scapegoated, but there were a couple of arson incidents for which they got blamed. I have not been able to find out the truth, but one of them was a car in a suburb that got torched. I dont' remember the reason, but the car was chosen because of who the owner was iirc.

That's a pretty poor reason to dismiss an anarchist group considering that you're willing to engage with a group that supports parliamentarianism. I mean, to reject a group because of a stupid act carried out by one or two members but be willing to engage with a group that supports a system that is deeply entrenched with oppression of all kinds seems kind of odd.

I'm not dismissing them. I'm trying to find out the truth. the SP may support Parliamentarianism, but as far as I know they haven't themselves committed arson. I can't see any justification for that action.

I don't believe that the actions of individual anarchists invalidates the philosophy, but I don't want to associate with people that carry out such behaviour. Can't you see why? What would have happened had some innocent got injured?

Ghost Whistler
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Dec 15 2015 13:29
Spikymike wrote:
Ghost Whistler, Best not to get sidetracked on this thread with any extensive discussion of the role of 'sabotage' in it's various forms as used by different people in very different circumstances some of which are more justified than others. The Bristol events alluded to were discussed on this site some time back if you are interested but if nothing else don't confuse the odd reference there to a so-called 'Informal Anarchist Federation' with the actual well established UK Anarchist Federation (formerly known as the Anarchist Communist Federation) who have a forum on this site as well as there own website. I have my differences with the AF but they still have some good people in the Bristol area as far as I'm aware.
PS: The 'Socialist Party' you joined is not I presume 'The Socialist Party' as in the SPGB - the later party has a pretty good website dealing with some basic anti-capitalist ideas though neither organisations are anti-parliamentary.

The only socialist parties I'm aware of are the SWP and the Socialist Party. If there's a separate group called the Socialist Party of Great Britain then, assuming it's not the latter, I haven't heard of them. I'm talking about the group formed from Militant.

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Noah Fence
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Dec 15 2015 13:59

Aw come on - how many people have been starved, beaten, imprisoned or killed as a result of liberal democracy. As I said before, you are displaying strong attachment to parliamentarianism which is narrowing your view of Anarchism. I don't mean this as an attack but as an observation.

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Dec 15 2015 14:32
Quote:
don't confuse the odd reference there to a so-called 'Informal Anarchist Federation' with the actual well established UK Anarchist Federation

Just quoting this again to make sure it doesn't get lost in the fray. In other words, fuck those dickheads who pointlessly burned some shit in Bristol. They have nothing to do with any organized class struggle anarchist group in the UK and they have no traction here on libcom. (Although, again, anarchism and violence is discussed in the Anarchist FAQ, which you should read...)

Personally, GW, I don't really care if you join the SP or vote or whatever. I think voting is a waste of time and I think the SP is, ultimately, a self-interested authoritarian organization. But if you're gonna do those things, fine.

What might be a better tact is to discuss the practical problems you face at work or at the job center or whatever and see if anyone on libcom has advice for you or if they know anyone/any group in your area who might be able to help out.

Ghost Whistler
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Dec 15 2015 14:48
Webby wrote:
Aw come on - how many people have been starved, beaten, imprisoned or killed as a result of liberal democracy. As I said before, you are displaying strong attachment to parliamentarianism which is narrowing your view of Anarchism. I don't mean this as an attack but as an observation.

I am not dispiuting any attachment, but i cannot see any justification for the vandalism of cars and arson puts people's lives at risk. How can that be positive?

Fleur
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Dec 15 2015 15:14

GW wrote:

Quote:
I don't believe that the actions of individual anarchists invalidates the philosophy, but I don't want to associate with people that carry out such behaviour. Can't you see why? What would have happened had some innocent got injured?

However, ifaik, the people who torched the cars, etc, were not part of the Bristol AFed, so by contacting AFed for a chat -I'm not necessarily saying join, just if you want to know what they're all about they're the best people to talk to - you're not going to be associated with the people who did the car burnings. To be honest, I come from Bristol originally and there's always been people who do weird shit there, it's part of the charm of the place, or they thing which is annoying, depending on your perspective.

Ghost Whistler
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Dec 15 2015 15:36
Webby wrote:
GW, it really does seem to me that you're still grasping quite hard at liberal democracy which considering the prevailing culture in the UK, and most of the world for that matter, is totally understandable and not in the least bit surprising but to make any meaningful headway in the pursuit of understanding anarchism you're gonna need to let that shit go. We believe that there is nothing in that system which can help the working class free itself. It's not that there is no party or politician willing to fight the working class corner but that by its very nature it is IMPOSSIBLE for parliament to create a society that has equity and freedom at its heart. To embrace or even understand anarchism you need to understand capitalism and the administrative role that parliament plays in it.
A critique of anarchism is fair enough but to try to place it within the current political system and then critique simply makes no sense.

You are probably right and in my defence that's most likely because that's the system i was raised into. Sometimes I'm not even sure what liberal means, but that's another issue; there seem ot be several meanings.

I would be happy to see an anarchist society. My problem is that the way the world is right now, with our society and the institutions within (some or all of which may be superfluous or even toxic), it's going to take an awful lot of work - and that's before considering how people view anarchy and capitalism. If I was more sure of what this all meant in myself, rather than simply an intrinsic fundamental to-my-core gut feeling that capitalism is wrong wrong wrong, I'd be grasping less at the system we have.

For example: my mother's cooker has broken. I rang Curry's (the retailer) to try and get this sorted. In the process I had the pleasure of going through a call centre. Noone in their right mind wants to work in places like this, they are the gulags of the information age. But how else would a society of many people deal with problems experienced with things like cookers. Even the best constructed cookers aren't foolproof.

If for the sake of argument we agreed that call centres, in the post-revolution world, where the best way to deal with 'commodity breakdown' what would happen if too few people agreed to work in such places? I fully agree with freedom, I'm unemployed I don't want a shit job, I don't want to work in a fucking call centre. I've fought the DWP with shit like this before. What I'm asking is: how does an anarchist society ensure that what needs doing gets doing.

Ghost Whistler
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Dec 15 2015 15:40
Fleur wrote:
GW wrote:

Quote:
I don't believe that the actions of individual anarchists invalidates the philosophy, but I don't want to associate with people that carry out such behaviour. Can't you see why? What would have happened had some innocent got injured?

However, ifaik, the people who torched the cars, etc, were not part of the Bristol AFed, so by contacting AFed for a chat -I'm not necessarily saying join, just if you want to know what they're all about they're the best people to talk to - you're not going to be associated with the people who did the car burnings. To be honest, I come from Bristol originally and there's always been people who do weird shit there, it's part of the charm of the place, or they thing which is annoying, depending on your perspective.

I'm not making accusations, btw, I'm just trying to find out what actually happened. I find violence abhorrent: i can't abide bullying or thuggery, not by the state nor those that oppose it. Not without good reason and all this action did was polarise people even further against anarchists, who may well have been scapegoated.

Battles have to be chosen strategically surely. The current political climate is hardly pro-anarchism and the media will be relentless and united in portraying anarchists as molotov wielding hoodie wearing terrorists.

Fleur
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Dec 15 2015 15:45

GW:

Quote:
I'm just trying to find out what actually happened.

Thing is, you're not going to find out what actually happened because it was very illegal and people could do some very so serious time for it. So nobody's going to fess up to it, especially on a public forum. So what you will get by looking through the various internet discussions (not here really but there's a fair amount on other sites) is a lot of gossip, tittle-tattle and speculation. And you'll be none the wiser.

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Auld-bod
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Dec 15 2015 15:59

Good advice on the posts - particularly Spikymike #51, Chilli #55 and Fleur #60.

I’d forget about people doing stupid things and think out your own politics and the tactics which flow from them.

You asked if socialists entering parliament had been tried before. Though I have strong reservations about the SPGB, in the December issue of their monthly journal, ‘Socialist Standard’, is a good article – ‘Cooking the books – You can’t buck the market but you can abolish it’, which debunks the Labour Party and all socialists, who wish the reform (or patch up) capitalism. It’s on their website.

EDIT
Lots of people find the book Homage to Catalonia George Orwell's personal account of his experiences and observations in the Spanish Civil War inspiring – an insight into how a libertarian communist society could function. Orwell was not an anarchist.