Where we're at - Social Revolution

Where we're at - Social Revolution

1976 text by libertarian socialist group Social Revolution about the current state of the world and the working class.

Throughout the world a small minority of bosses – private capitalists or State bureaucrats – own and control the means of life: the factories, laboratories, communications and all the other resources we depend on. They leave the rest of us with no choice but that of working for them – in boring, usually socially useless or harmful, and often dangerous jobs outside the home, and bringing up kids for the same kind of life inside the home. They let us produce goods and services only when they can make a profit by selling them, in complete disregard of human needs, so that mountains of food are destroyed while millions starve who can’t afford to buy it, so that people rot in slums while building workers are laid off. And when the trade wars between the bosses of different countries hot up into the real thing, it’s the rest of us, the working people, who have to make the weapons and are sent off to kill one another.

But plenty of us refuse to put up with it all without a fight.
In our workplaces we organise to defend living standards and to gain some control over conditions of work. In the community we form tenants’ associations, resist motorways and try to stop pollution. School and college students challenge the way they are indoctrinated. Women, gays, black people fight the discrimination they suffer. Socialists try to spread awareness of the need for a complete change to a free classless society.

These, and others, are all valid ways for working people to express their needs as human beings and resist their conditions of life. Members of the SOCIAL REVOLUTION group are all involved in one or more of these movements. We aim to encourage people to organise democratically without leaders, and to exchange experiences and understandings so that all the different struggles can merge, with one another and across national frontiers, into a united and conscious movement for world social revolution.

The liberation of the working class can only be the work of the majority of working people themselves. The manipulation of self-appointed leaders can only hold back this work. We expect that the main form of organisation for carrying out revolutionary change will be some kind of WORKERS COUNCILS – that is, councils of delegates based on workplaces and neighbourhoods, elected by and under the direct democratic control of working people. These councils will co-operate to produce and distribute the goods and services needed by the community, which will be made freely available as the waste of capitalism is done away with. Work will be the voluntary and varied activity of people controlling their own creativity for agreed human purposes. The united world, without money, Government or war, will belong for the first time to the people of the world.

SOCIAL REVOLUTION group will not be telling anyone to “follow us”, or issuing calls to “build the revolutionary party” as if it were some universal panacea to the problems facing our class. But revolutionary groups do have a role to play in the struggle for socialism. These groups should attempt to clarify issues, to attempt to show the links between seemingly isolated and unconnected activities and struggles – to show that these are linked in the overall fight to overthrow this rotting corpse of a social system, capitalism, and replace it by a democratic society with people producing for use not profit.

“SOCIAL REVOLUTION” is produced by different local groups taking it in turn to edit and layout each issue. We do this in order to attempt to break down the divisions of labour imposed by modern society.

We have decided to increase the size and frequency of “Social Revolution”, and to discontinue production of “Libertarian Communism”, our discussion journal. We are investigating the possibility of producing a libertarian discussion journal jointly with the Anarchist Workers Association and Solidarity. We are aiming to bring out the new “Social Revolution” once every two months, with 16 or 20 pages. We have not yet decided on a price but the larger size will inevitably mean an increase on the present 8p. Our aims in making this change are to use our limited resources more effectively and to use the space in the gibber SR to go into more issues in more depth.

Editing and lay-out of this issue of Social Revolution was by Aberdeen Group. Published June 1976.

‘where we’re at’, Social Revolution, No. 4 (June 1976), p.2
Marky b's blog

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Kronstadt_Kid
Jan 28 2011 17:15

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Steven.
Jan 28 2011 17:59

Mark, thank you for all this stuff you're posting up, it's great!

knightrose
Jan 29 2011 08:05

A bit of background. Social Revolution was the group Spikeymike and myself were in. We started life as a dissident group within the SPGB. After our eventual, and justified, expulsion, we set up on our own. The group was never very large - I don't recall there ever being more that 17 or 18 members. But we had groups in London, Hull and Aberdeen. we started out very ambitiously with a theoretical(ish) paper - Libertarian Communism, which started while we were still in the SPGB, and an agitational one, originally called Workers Power but quickly changed to Social Revolution when a certain trot group appeared on the horizon. Eventually we merged with Solidarity to form Solidarity for Social Revolution, which was really a pretty unstable association. The outcome of that was the formation of Wildcat and a less well known group in the Potteries, Careless Talk. These two groups were the strongest advocates of the Intercom project and eventually merged into Wildcat during the Miners strike.

Steven.
Jan 29 2011 11:06

Thanks for the background

bastarx
Jan 29 2011 11:45

First paragraph is repeated.

Steven.
Jan 29 2011 13:14
Peter wrote:
First paragraph is repeated.

thanks for letting us know, I have fixed. If you spot any errors like this in the future, please feel free to click edit and fix it yourself, then an editor will approve the change.

syndicalist
Jan 29 2011 23:57
Quote:
[knightrose] Eventually we merged with Solidarity to form Solidarity for Social Revolution, which was really a pretty unstable association.

I remember that. I'd be interested in hearing about the relationship with London Solidarity.

Years before the merger, the Solidarity publication was called "Solidarity: For Workers Power". Also, didn't some of the ex-Anarchist Workers Association folks put out a mimeo publication called "The Libertarian Communist"?

bastarx
Jan 30 2011 04:29

OK, probably too hard to edit on my phone though.

Battlescarred
Feb 11 2014 15:48
syndicalist wrote:
Quote:
[knightrose] Eventually we merged with Solidarity to form Solidarity for Social Revolution, which was really a pretty unstable association.

I remember that. I'd be interested in hearing about the relationship with London Solidarity.

Years before the merger, the Solidarity publication was called "Solidarity: For Workers Power". Also, didn't some of the ex-Anarchist Workers Association folks put out a mimeo publication called "The Libertarian Communist"?

No, not true about Libertarian Communist. I think you're confusing publications.
Incidentally just learnt that one person involved in Careless Talk is now a millionaire architect in Bali!!1

Steven.
Feb 11 2014 16:10
Battlescarred wrote:
syndicalist wrote:
Quote:
[knightrose] Eventually we merged with Solidarity to form Solidarity for Social Revolution, which was really a pretty unstable association.

I remember that. I'd be interested in hearing about the relationship with London Solidarity.

Years before the merger, the Solidarity publication was called "Solidarity: For Workers Power". Also, didn't some of the ex-Anarchist Workers Association folks put out a mimeo publication called "The Libertarian Communist"?

No, not true about Libertarian Communist. I think you're confusing publications.
Incidentally just learnt that one person involved in Careless Talk is now a millionaire architect in Bali!!1

that's funny about the Careless Talk person. If s/he fancies giving us a donation we would be happy to take it!

Who did put out Libertarian Communist then? I remember having a look at some a few years ago in a library, where they were stored alongside a paper which I believe was called Anarchist Worker, and they looked very similar. It looked like one followed the other

Battlescarred
Feb 11 2014 16:27

It wasn't mimeographed it was offset printed, a proper paper. Libertarian Communist was the paper of the Libertarian Communist Group, successor to the Anarchist Workers Association which produced Anarchist Worker

Devrim
Feb 11 2014 18:11
Battlescarred wrote:
It wasn't mimeographed it was offset printed, a proper paper. Libertarian Communist was the paper of the Libertarian Communist Group, successor to the Anarchist Workers Association which produced Anarchist Worker

I can't remember the paper, but when I first got involved the people who later became the A(C)F were still distributing the supplements. I remember a few. There was certainly a Trotsky one, and I think I remember one on Spain 1936, and one on Russia 1917 too. The production quality was pretty professional looking.

Devrim

Battlescarred
Feb 11 2014 21:13

Russia, German Revolution, Spain, The Peasantry, Trotsky, Hungary, those were the supplements

Steven.
Feb 11 2014 23:23
Battlescarred wrote:
It wasn't mimeographed it was offset printed, a proper paper. Libertarian Communist was the paper of the Libertarian Communist Group, successor to the Anarchist Workers Association which produced Anarchist Worker

right okay yes, I remember it was a proper paper. I wasn't sure what "mimeographed" meant so I wasn't sure which statement of syndicalist you were saying wasn't correct!

Battlescarred
Feb 12 2014 09:01

I think mimeographed is American for duplicated

Devrim
Feb 12 2014 09:15

No, a mimeograph machine was something different. You made a stencil, affixed it to a barrel, and then turned the handle on a roller. I am sure if you are interested you could google it and Find an image. The ink was a strange shade of purple. Some of the solidarity publications were done on one of these machines.

Devrim

lurdan
Feb 12 2014 12:44
Devrim wrote:
No, a mimeograph machine was something different. You made a stencil, affixed it to a barrel, and then turned the handle on a roller. I am sure if you are interested you could google it and Find an image. The ink was a strange shade of purple. Some of the solidarity publications were done on one of these machines. Devrim

Battlescarred is right - stencil duplicators were mainly referred to as duplicators in the UK. ('Mimeograph' was mainly used in the US after one of the registered trade names for the prrocess. 'Roneoing' was also sometimes used for similar reasons. Don't recall seeing an actual Mimeograph machine. Most of the machines I used were made by Gestetner).

Up to the late 1970s, when the cost of photocopying fell to the point that it became more feasible for groups to use it for small runs of material (and when photocopiers became more widespread making it possible to abuse access to them smile ), stencil duplicating was a primary method for producing leaflets and publications. Some were manually operated (I recall the 'great fun' of working one) but others were electrically driven. The relatively low cost and portability of the machines also made it feasible for small groups to aspire to own one and thus control their means of production. (I recall Joe Thomas telling me of how during WW2 the Oehlerites raided a supplier of the machines under cover of the blitz).

Stencil duplicators could use a range of coloured inks. The purple ink you refer to actually related to a different process called spirit duplication. This was only suitable for very short runs of stuff, the resulting images faded over time, and unlike stencil duplicating I don't think it was possible to re-use the master sheets. It wasn't used much by political groups as I recall.