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Kronstadt diary – Mar 2nd | Historical

PETROGRAD, 1921

March 2—Most disquieting reports. Large strikes have broken out in Moscow. In the Astoria I heard today that armed conflicts have taken place near the Kremlin and blood has been shed. The Bolsheviki claim the coincidence of events in the two capitals as proof of a counterrevolutionary conspiracy.

It is said that Kronstadt sailors have come to the city to look into the cause of trouble. Impossible to tell fact from fiction. The absence of a public press encourages the wildest rumours. The official papers are discredited.■

Alexander Berkman

<< Mar 1stMar 3rd >>

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Kronstadt diary – Mar 1st | Historical

PETROGRAD, 1921

March l–—Many arrests are taking place. Groups of strikers surrounded by Chekists, on their way to prison, are a common sight. Much indignation in the city. I hear that several unions have been liquidated and their active members turned over to the Cheka. But proclamations continue to appear. The arbitrary stand of the authorities is having the effect of rousing reactionary tendencies. The situation is growing tense. Calls for the Uichredilka (Constituent Assembly) are being heard. A manifesto is circulating, signed by the “Socialist Workers of the Nevsky District”, openly attacking the Communist regime. “We know who is afraid of the Constituent Assembly,” it declares. “It is they who will no longer be able to rob us. Instead they will have to answer before the representatives of the people for their deceit, their thefts, and all their crimes.”

Zinoviev is alarmed; he has wired Moscow for troops. The local garrison is said to be in sympathy with the strikers. Military from the provinces has been ordered to the city: special Communist regiments have already arrived. Extraordinary martial law has been declared today.■

Alexander Berkman

<< Feb 28thMar 2nd >>

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Kronstadt diary – Feb 28th | Historical

PETROGRAD, 1921

February 28–Strikers’ proclamations have appeared on the streets today. They cite cases of workers found frozen to death in their homes. The main demand is for winter clothing and more regular issue of rations. Some of the circulars protest against the suppression of factory meetings. “The people want to take counsel together and find means of relief,” they state. Zinoviev asserts the whole trouble is due to Menshevik and Social Revolutionist plotting.

For the first time a political turn is being given to the strikes. Late in the afternoon a proclamation was posted containing larger demands. “A complete change is necessary in the policies of the Government,” it reads. “First of all, the workers and peasants need freedom. They don’t want to live by the decrees of the Bolsheviki; they want to control their own destinies. We demand the liberation of all arrested socialists and non-partisan workingmen; abolition of martial law; freedom of speech, press, and assembly for all who labour; free election of shop and factory committees, of labour union and Soviet representatives.”■

Alexander Berkman

Mar 1st >>

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Justice For Mohamud | Current Events

On the 9th of January, Mohamud Mohammed Hassan was murdered by the South Wales Police in Cardiff. Communities across the city soon rallied to oppose this blatant, horrible act of racism, with a fundraiser for Mohamud’s family reaching its goal of £30,000 within two days, and the hashtag ‘#Justice4Mohamud’ quickly spreading like wildfire throughout social media. The most overt response was, however, a series of large protests outside the Cardiff Bay police station from the 12th until the 16th of January. The response of the police and the media to both Mohamud’s death and to the protests provide a damning exposure of the role of both of these institution in, and their allegiance to, a racist, colonialist system.

The police, as expected, explicitly denied any role in Mohamud’s death, even going so far as to lie and state that there was no evidence that Mohamud being physically injured in any manner; this lie was later exposed by a later report from an independent investigation. The media assisted the police in this lie, and continues to downplay the severity of this event, by refusing to state that Mohamud was murdered by the police, instead stating only that he ‘died after being held in police custody’ in a poorly veiled attempt to distance the police from Mohamud’s death; some may attempt to justify this phrasing as no more than an attempt to maintain neutrality, but, in situations of evident and extreme oppression like this, neutrality can be nothing more but allegiance to the oppressors.

The protests were large, vocal and unrelenting in their criticisms of not only South Wales police, but of policing as an institution. They, acting in accordance with the wishes of Mohamud’s family, remained entirely non-violent, yet, due to the challenge that they posed to the police, they were treated in a disproportionate and aggressive manner, with around 250 police officers being present at the protest on the 16th; this number of officers is completely unprecedented in recent history, and I have personally seen far, far larger demonstrations of thousands of people in Cardiff being policed by no more than a dozen officers. The police deliberately targeted black people, walking past white protesters, in order to threaten them with fines for breaching the restrictions on mass gatherings that have been placed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; this threatening behaviour continued outside of the protest, with protesters being intimidated, followed and fined as they walked home, and one organiser, Bianca Ali, had her home invaded by two van-loads of police officers in riot gear in an obvious act of state repression and authoritarianism. Bianca received a fine of £500, which was later doubled to £1000, but, thankfully, community solidarity resulted in this money being raised within a few days. The surveillance of protesters was also obvious, with police liaison officers attempting, with a false, friendly guise, to gather information about the protests, and with cameras being constantly used to record the protests. Even beyond this frankly horrifying repression, the behaviour of the police at the protest was atrocious and disrespectful; officers were recorded laughing at and mocking the protesters, and one officer even jokingly confessed to murdering Mohamud.

The media did nothing to expose or report on the police’s atrocities and did everything in their power to portray the protests as violent riots, playing on the racist stereotype of black people as aggressive thugs or criminals in an attempt to delegitimise the protests; Wales Online used a deliberately provocative picture to misrepresent the protests, and the headline from the Daily Express read “Furious protests erupt in Cardiff as angry crowds hurl smoke bombs at police”. The use of smoke bombs was a brief, harmless event which posed no threat to anyone, and, whilst it is undeniable that many of the protesters were angry (and rightfully so!), ‘furious’ is hardly a suitable word to apply to a controlled, relatively peaceful event. In fact, the majority of the major media outlets reported on the use of smoke-bombs, whilst very few of them reported on the speeches, arguments and demands of the protests.

These disgusting behaviours displayed by both the police and the media are a direct result of their vested interest in preserving racism. The police in the UK were formed in order to maintain oppressive class relations by attacking organising working class people and violently enforcing private property relations, and they were soon modelled after their Amerikan counterparts, who were the direct institutional descendants of slave patrols; as a result, the police is fundamentally racist and classist, and will always serve to intimidate, attack and oppress those marginalised in society in order to coerce their subservience to the unjust system that exploits them everyday for the benefit of the rich and powerful. Major media outlets in a capitalist system are necessarily owned by rich and powerful people, the same people who benefit from this exploitative system and, therefore, have a vested interest in combatting the anti-racist efforts that would necessarily challenge this system. Any honest reporting of the protests would undermine the ideology that upholds the current neoliberal system, and would expose many people to its horrors, so instead dishonest reporting is used to undermine support for the protests and, by extension, the struggle against racism; despite the best efforts by some to keep the protest’s respectable, there simply never was a chance of the corporate media reporting positively on the protests.

Mohamud was only 24 years old, he had a family and his whole life ahead of him. That was robbed from him by a racist institution that has been operating for centuries, claiming thousands upon thousands of innocent lives. His death was, and remains, a tragedy, and we must do everything in our power to ensure that Mohamud is the last person killed through the brutality of the police. As these events have proven, this can only be achieved through the abolition of the police, who are irredeemably racist and beyond any hope of ‘reform’. As these events have also proven, we cannot expect any help in this struggle from corporate media, which has a vested interest in ensuring the continued existence of systemic racism. However, these events have proven that we can expect help from our communities, those who we struggle and fight alongside on a day-to-day basis. Together, we can fight for, and we can win, a better world! ■

If you can afford to, please do consider donating money to Mohamud’s family: https://gofund.me/bb087bb7

Written by a Federation member.

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Solidarity Is A Stream Of Sparks | International

Now and then the flame dies down, but solidarity is a stream of sparks”

ILYA SHAKURSKY, an antifascist political prisoner in Russia, appeals to you in this interview to write to him, and to others imprisoned in the infamous “Network” case. Please see a note at the end about where to send messages.

Tomorrow, Tuesday 19 January, is the anniversary of the assassination of antifascists Anastasia Baburova and Stanislav Markelov, who were shot dead in broad daylight in central Moscow in 2009. People will gather – in Moscow, to lay flowers at the place where they were killed, elsewhere on line – and we publish this article on several web sites simultaneously, to express solidarity. 

The “Network” case began in Penza and St Petersburg in October 2017, when the Federal Security Service (FSB) started detaining young anarchists and antifascists, who had supposedly participated in a terrorist group. The security services claimed that the young detainees were preparing terrorist acts, aimed at the presidential elections and the football World Cup in 2018 [which was staged in Russia].

It soon became clear that this “Network” organisation had been dreamed up by the FSB, and the confessions extracted from the alleged participants with the use of the most barbaric tortures. Details of the methods used, including electric shock batons, were published widely before the defendants were tried. 

Nevertheless, the defendants were found guilty and sentenced – in January 2019 in St Petersburg, Igor Shishkin to three-and-a-half years’ detention; in February 2020, seven defendants in Penza, including Ilya Shakursky, to between six and 18 years; and in June 2020 in St Petersburg, Viktor Filinkov to seven years and Yulii Boyarshinov to five-and-a-half years.

In October 2020 an appeal by the Penza defendants was heard and rejected. An appeal by Viktor Filinkov is in progress.

All ten defendants are included in a list of 61 political prisoners compiled by Memorial, Russia’s largest human rights defence group.  

This interview with Ilya Shakursky, who is serving a 16 year sentence, is by Dmitry Semenov. It was published by Free Russia House, an “alternative embassy for Russian civil society” based in Kyiv, Ukraine, and by the Rupression collective that supports the “Network” case prisoners. (The questions were sent via Yelena Shakurskaya, Ilya’s mother, and answers received, via Yelena, in written form.)

Question: Do you feel the support from outside the prison system, and how important is it? Could you say something briefly to our readers and to people who support you?

Ilya Shakursky: It feels good to realise, every morning when they call out my surname and hand over letters I have received, that people remember me and continue to support me. At those moments, the grey monotony of imprisonment is broken up by different colours. It doesn’t matter whether the letter is a couple of lines or goes on like a whole essay. Just getting some news gives me strength and happiness. When I see photos of solidarity actions all over the world; when I read interviews with well-known people who speak about the absurdity of the criminal case against us; when I hear the drums and voices of friends [demonstrating] on the other side of the [prison] wall; when I think of the concert, at which the whole hall sang “It Will All Pass” [“Vse proidet”] (a song by the Russian punk group, Pornofilms, about the “Network” case), or of the rap-battle, where verses were read in support of our case, or of the street artist who used graffiti to speak out about repression in Russia today – I feel like it wasn’t all in vain.

If this means that people start paying attention to things that were previously out of their reach, or unclear, or that they didn’t need to think about – then this could become a way in which everyone can contribute to the struggle against the absurdity, the violence and the injustice. Now and then the flame dies down, but solidarity is a stream of sparks, that stops them from putting the fire out all together, that stops us losing heart – or, to put it another way, stops us from bowing our heads and submitting to evil.

If any of you suddenly thinks of writing to a political prisoner, don’t abandon that thought. Don’t hide it in your “to do” list among your other worries. Do it, right at that moment. Write about your dreams, about what you love, share some memories that make you laugh, or your impressions from a book you have read. Please be assured that your letter is more important than it can seem to you. It can save a political prisoner from the awful monotony of another day behind bars and walls. And that really is very important.

I am very grateful to each and every person who supports political prisoners, who fights for their release, and for justice, and who conveys those sparks that light the fire, that prevent evil from consuming our lives.

Q: After you heard the verdict, and the long, severe sentences, at the court of first instance, how did you react? What has helped you not to give up, not to be overcome by depression, to hold on?

ISh: When I heard the sentences being read out, I took them as final confirmation that this was nothing more than punishment for recalcitrance. It’s difficult to believe what’s happened, and even now I try not to dwell on it. Such thoughts can gnaw away at you and drive you out of your mind.

We live in a world where the life of any one of us can be destroyed, on the whim of those who have power in their hands. What’s most terrifying of all is that people get used to this – to everything that is happening now: demonstrators and young politicians being beaten up; criminal cases under terrorism laws being opened against underaged children; the poisoning of undesirables, absurd sentences, and much, much more that is unjust, cruel and brutal, that could become the norm, if society just accepts it as the new reality. I fear that, above all. Really, that would be totalitarianism with the silent acquiescence of the majority. And then it might be too late to start saying that that was not what we wanted.

I admit, honestly, that holding on, not getting depressed, gets harder. Especially in the context of what is happening in the country. But I am still alive, I have friends and family waiting for me outside these walls, they believe in me and sincerely love me – and so I have to hold on. I must not give up, for the sake of those people who are dear to me, for my own sake, for the sake of the stars in the sky and the fresh air, for the sake of freedom and love.

With smiles they were breaking my wings,

My scream sometimes was like a wail.

And I was numb from pain and helplessness,

And could just whisper: thanks to be alive! (Vladimir Vysotsky.)

Q: You practically all received exactly the sentences that the prosecution asked for – evidently, in large part because you refused to admit guilt and you publicly denounced the torture. With the benefit of hindsight, do you now regret that?

ISh: To regret the course we have taken would render worthless all that we have lived through, and are living through now. The very worst time for me was when I gave up to weakness and fear, and betrayed myself by doing so. I felt that I had just stopped being human; hatred for myself overshadowed all my thoughts. But today, although I am in prison, actually behind four walls, I now remain the person that I really am. If I had [approached the trial] differently, my life would have been mere existence. Why talk about freedom, equality and fraternity, and then betray all of that? What would these words mean for people, if each one of us could just turn our backs on them when the executioners demand it?

The more that people betray themselves and others, the more often they carry out criminal orders in spite of their conscience, the sooner we will all become slaves, deprived of our free will, whose lives are mere existence.

Maybe I am guilty for silence,

Guilty for unnecessary words.

At moments of fear and desperation

My guilt can be hidden.

I constantly expect reproach

Even from those who are indifferent.

I, like everyone, am not free of defects, 

But I am constrained by my conscience.

That’s what calls on me at times

Not to shut my eyes to evil

And to stand by those who suffer.

Otherwise, the burden of guilt will suffocate us.

Q: If you could make time go backwards, and return to some point before your arrest, would you change anything cardinal in your life?

ISh: I already look at my past from a different, probably more grown-up and aware, viewpoint. So of course there are things in the past I would like to change. For example, I would value more highly the people around me, not make mistakes or take wrong turnings, be less bitter, less naive – and much else, maybe some completely personal stuff. But I take my fate as it is – although of course there’s much I could regret, as there is for many people.

My behaviour, my mistakes, my action and my views and aims made me what I am now. That’s what makes our lives interesting, full as they are of happiness and pain, of light and dark. All the more often now, I realise that I took the road leading in the necessary direction. When I see those who hate me – Nazis, propagandists, Chekists [i.e. those in the Russian security services], thugs – and those who support me – the defenders of Shiyes, musicians, artists, political prisoners, teachers, people from my town, comrades all over the world, family and loved ones – I understand that I am on the right side, the bright side. And that understanding justifies, in many ways, the road I have taken, which is short but from which I have drawn definite conclusions and ideas.

What’s there to say about life? That it turned out to be long.

Only with grief do I feel solidarity. 

But whilst my mouth is not yet packed with clay, 

It’ll only resound with gratitude

(Iosif Brodsky.)

Q: Finally, I would ask you to formulate some sort of phrase or slogan that in the current situation helps you to overcome all the difficulties and to believe that justice will soon be achieved.

ISh: When I write that good will prevail, I don’t have in mind worldwide peace, however much I would like that. The point is that good prevails every day, thanks to sincere, good people. Good prevails when doctors save people’s lives, when people adopt a child from an orphanage, when a taxi-driver saves a demonstrator from sadists with truncheons, when eco-activists defend forests from destruction, when political prisoners are released in court, when human rights defenders protect prisoners from torture, when solidarity and love make us smile, and make us believe that we are not alone, that we are together and that we will win. Good will prevail!

PS [from Dmitry Semenov, freerussiahouse]. At the end of his letter Ilya Shakursky sent a message to the interviewer, not for publication. At the end of that message he again expressed thanks for the interest shown in the case, and best wishes. From my side I would like to send Ilya and his friends rays of support, for their freedom. “For sure, this will all pass.” 

Note. Please send messages to Ilya Shakursky and the other prisoners in English to peoplenature[at]yahoo[dot]com, and I will see that they get translated and passed along. Our friends in Russia say that there is no point in sending letters written in English (or other languages except Russian) to prisoners in Russia, as they will not receive them.

A list, in English, of the “Network” case defendants is here, and other information from the Rupression collective is here.

The English translation of Interrupted Flight, the song by the Soviet-era Russian bard Vladimir Vysotsky, is from an article by Elena Dimov on the Contemporary Russian Literature site. The translation of the last lines of “I, Instead of a Wild Beast, Entered the Cage” by Iosif Brodsky is by Valentina Polukhina and Chris Jones, from: L. Loseff and V. Polukhina (eds.), Joseph Brodsky (Palgrave Macmillan, London: 1999).

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Death of Alexandre Skirda – historian and anarchist militant | Rest In Power

Translated by the Anarchist Federation from the French language original ‘Décès d’Alexandre Skirda, historien et militant anarchiste’ from Le Monde Libertaire (journal and website of La Fédération Anarchiste– French-speaking Anarchist Federation, our comrades in the International of Anarchist Federations): https://monde-libertaire.net/index.php?articlen=5339

Death of Alexandre Skirda – historian and anarchist militant

Following a long illness, on Wednesday 23 December our friend and comrade Alexandre Skirda passed away aged of 78. Has he now joined Nestor Makhno, likewise a descendant of Zaporozhian Cossacks, on banks of the Dnieper?

His interest in the region and understanding of its language enabled him to get to know the revolutionary peasant movement in southern Ukraine, heir to centuries of direct democracy practice. In books such as Nestor Makhno: Anarchy’s Cossack. The Struggle for Free Soviets in the Ukraine 1917-1921 he showed how the creation of free municipalities in that period aimed to establish a stateless society, and how the Bolshevik state destroyed these after eliminating the Ukrainian insurrectionary revolutionary army (which consequently allowed them to defeat the White armies).

Even today, most Trotskyist militants shudder at hearing the name of Alexandre Skirda. They cannot forgive him for revealing the manner in which the Red Army, sent by Trotsky, crushed the City of Kronstadt that had wished for direct federalist democracy in Russia: “It is here in Kronstadt that the first stone of the Third Revolution opposed to the bureaucratic order of the Bolsheviks was laid, leaving behind the dictatorship of the Communist Party, chekas and state capitalism ” (8th March, 1921). In publishing Kronstadt 1921: Prolétariat contre Bolchévisme he granted the longstanding wish of Stépan Pétrichenlo, president of the Kronstadt Provisional Revolutionary Committee: “They may shoot the Kronstadiens, but they will never shoot down the truth about Kronstadt”.

His research enabled him to write several books on that historical event, which have been translated into different languages and reissued many times, enriched by new documents. Significantly, he recently translated and presented the previously unavailable Kronstadt in the Russian Revolution by Efim Yartchuk [also now in English].  This recounted the experiences of one of the key instigators of the Kronstadt anarchists dedicated “To those who had shed their blood during the revolution of 1905 for the complete emancipation of the proletariat from the yoke of capital and authority; To those who fought in February and July 1917 against the new world order; To those who let themselves be deceived by the slogans of the proletarian state raising their arms against the new masters, the Bolsheviks. In memory of those who perished on the road to the Society of free men: anarchy”.

Having this opportunity to scale the mountain of documents feeding his books, those mentioned here being only a small part, we are able to see the importance of his historical work in revealing what has long been hidden – as much by the “Whites” as by the “Reds” – on a revolution which has had consequences, for decades, on the workers’ movement in many countries.

We will not forget Alexandre Skirda, the essential historian of the Russian Revolution, and also the anarchist activist who, from the 1960s, led the Anarchist Studies and Action Group.

“The dead live on, and with them, the dreams they carried”, Gustav Landauer.■

Original text

Décès d’Alexandre Skirda, historien et militant anarchiste

À la suite d’une longue maladie, mercredi 23 décembre notre ami, notre compagnon Alexandre Skirda nous a quittés à l’âge de 78 ans. Est-il allé sur les rives du Dniepr rejoindre Nestor Makhno, descendant de Cosaques zaporogues comme lui ?

Son intérêt pour cette région et sa connaissance de la langue lui avaient permis de connaître le mouvement révolutionnaire paysan du sud de l’Ukraine, héritier de plusieurs siècles de pratique de la démocratie directe. Dans des livres tel Nestor Makhno, le cosaque libertaire, la lutte pour les soviets libres en Ukraine 1917-1921, il montre comment dans cette période la création de communes libres visait à établir une société sans État, puis la façon dont l’État bolchevik les a détruites, après avoir éliminé l’Armée révolutionnaire insurrectionnelle ukrainienne, qui avait pourtant permis de vaincre les armées blanches.

Encore aujourd’hui le nom d’Alexandre Skirda fait frémir la majorité des militants trotskistes, qui ne lui pardonnent pas d’avoir révélé la manière dont l’armée rouge, envoyée par Trotski, avait écrasé la Commune de Kronstadt, qui souhaitait pour la Russie une démocratie directe, fédéraliste, et déclarait le 8 mars 1921 : « C’est ici à Kronstadt qu’est posée la première pierre de la IIIème Révolution opposée à l’ordre bureaucratique des bolcheviks, laissant derrière la dictature du Parti communiste, des tchékas et du capitalisme d’État ». En publiant Kronstadt 1921: soviets libres contre dictature de parti, Il exauçait longtemps après le souhait de Stépan Pétrichenlo, président du Comité révolutionnaire provisoire de Kronstadt : « Ils peuvent fusiller les Kronstadiens, mais ils ne pourront jamais fusiller la vérité de Kronstadt ».

Ses recherches lui ont permis d’écrire plusieurs livres sur cet événement historique, qui ont été l’objet de traductions dans divers pays et de nombreuses rééditions, enrichies par de nouveaux documents. Il a notamment récemment traduit et présenté Kronstadt dans la révolution russe d’Efim Yartchouk, inédit jusque-là. Celui-ci, un des principaux animateurs des anarchistes de Kronstadt, décrit ce qu’il a vécu et dédie son ouvrage « à ceux qui versèrent leur sang lors de la révolution de 1905 pour l’émancipation complète du prolétariat du joug du capital et de l’autorité. À ceux qui luttèrent en février et en juillet 1917 contre les maîtres du monde. À ceux qui s’étant laissé abuser par les slogans de l’État prolétarien levèrent bientôt les armes contre les nouveaux maîtres, les bolcheviks. À la mémoire de ceux qui périrent sur la route menant à la Société des hommes libres : l’anarchie ».

Ayant eu l’occasion d’approcher la montagne de documents alimentant ses livres, ceux évoqués ici n’en étant qu’une partie, nous avons pu mesurer l’importance de son travail historique pour révéler ce qui a été longtemps occulté – aussi bien par les « blancs » que par les « rouges » – sur une révolution qui a eu des conséquences, pendant des dizaines d’années, sur le mouvement ouvrier de nombreux pays.

Nous n’oublierons pas Alexandre Skirda, l’historien incontournable de la révolution russe, et aussi le militant anarchiste qui, dès les années 1960, animait le Groupe d’études et action anarchiste.

« Les morts vivent et avec eux, les rêves qui les ont portés », Gustav Landauer.■

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Every Moment of the Oppressed is a Crisis! | International

Every Moment of the Oppressed is a Crisis! – Atakan Polat

Every moment of an oppressed person is a crisis. We are born into a crisis that has been going on for centuries, and this crisis rises at the age when we start to sell our labor; By hours and days, it continues by selling our lives. Even life itself turns into crisis, transformed. We always hear the words “the burden of the crisis”; living becomes a burden for us oppressed. Unpaid invoices, pocket money that cannot be paid, books that cannot be received, calluses sinking as they walk, waist twisted by working… Even the university diploma of the oppressed often turns into a crisis with unemployment. They are all crises and crises never subsided.

Every moment of an oppressed person is a crisis. The economic crises of the governments are added, but these crises do not develop involuntarily. The crisis that powers use to grow, gain and exploit more; the rich get rich, the poor get poor.

Today we are in a crisis again, this time in the corona crisis. Maybe many of us thought we were in a health crisis, but when the places we worked were closed, we all faced the fact that the issue was economic for the governments. We learned that with the new bans announced overnight, cafes, restaurants and bars were closed and we were unemployed. We learned, but we could not learn why the places where tens of thousands of us work were closed when everywhere was open.

In the corona crisis, many bans were imposed. And we were among the segments whose lives were most upset by these prohibitions, as workers working in cafes, restaurants and bars. It’s not just a joblessness. It was said that the money will be distributed under the name of short work allowance, but to those who have the appropriate conditions. If our conditions were suitable, that is, even if we were lucky, we did not know how to meet our needs with the short work allowance we received. But we knew that the short-time work allowance, which was shown as grace, was actually covered by the unemployment insurance fund that the state created by stealing from our salaries for every day we worked. So even when the state had to reluctantly give us back what it stole from us, it was trying to make our lives appear to be owed to it.

It was also said that it was forbidden to lay off workers in this crisis. Well, most of us were already working without insurance… The bosses fired us as they wanted whenever they wanted. We, the workers of cafes, restaurants and bars, who were employed without insurance during the corona crisis, were the first to be discarded. We were not prohibited from firing because we were not “officially” employed. The experiences of our insured ones were not much different. Because firing was forbidden, but it was not forbidden to sign a letter of resignation with the threat of “paying the salary”. Can you find any numbers regarding the workers who resigned from their jobs or were forced to do so? Can any institution of the state publish data on this? It does not explain because it does not suit those who exploit us, our labor, our future.

We are in a crisis right now and we don’t have five cents piled up in the corner. Because the money earned daily is spent daily and the money we earn in one day is not enough to accumulate. Way to go, the food goes, it goes to the phone bill … Accumulated five penny with us or the unemployed in a few days after Turkey’s standards of healthy and average budget should be allocated for a balanced diet 2 thousand 447 Liras 72 cents, the budget should be allocated for necessities average of 7 thousand 973 Liras that we learned As thousands of uninsured café, restaurant and bar workers, we wake up every day to keep up with the day, but the government’s “grant” to our insured ones with these bans is not enough to even pass near these standards.

When what we have is not enough to live, he spends the money that is not there; We borrow money from banks. Unless we can pay our debts, we will borrow even more. As we borrow money, the owners of the banks and the state that shakes hands with them will win. I don’t know who is a billionaire, who doubled his wealth in this period and the economy grew by 6.7 percent according to TURKSTAT data. This is the case not only in the land we live in, but in all geographies. At the end of July 2020, the wealth of approximately 2 thousand 189 richest people in the world reached a record 10.2 trillion dollars. Not only did billionaires’ billions increase, new billionaires were added to billionaires. The unemployed were added to the unemployed and the poor to the poor for the exploiters to exploit more easily.

Every moment of an oppressed person is a crisis. So who wants to live with crisis? Nobody wants. It is necessary to take to the streets with the oppressed like us to know that the rulers are unjust and to create a just world in order to eliminate crises. Emma Goldman said years ago: “Ask for work. If they don’t give you work, ask for bread. If they do not give you work or bread, then take bread.” It is obvious that those who take our work, our bread and our future will not give what they want. We know that we cannot meet our needs unless we come together, shoulder to shoulder. And yet, today, as throughout history: They will not give, we will take!

Atakan Polat
Genç İşçi Derneği (Young Workers Association)

Originally Posted:
http://gencisci.org/ezilenin-her-ani-kriz-atakan-polat/

Shared without permission.
Automatically Translated.

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IFA statement on Belarus situation and solidarity

The following statement was produced at the online delegate meeting of the Relations Commitee of the International of Anarchist Federations (CRIFA) on 24-25 October 2020, and subsequently translated. Scroll down for Italian, Spanish and Portuguese translations or visit the websites of the respective federations.

BELARUS: AGAINST CAPITALISM AND DICTATORSHIP, FOR INTERNATIONALIST SOLIDARITY

The Commission of Relations of the International of Anarchist Federations (CRIFA) expresses its support and internationalist solidarity with the struggles of people in  Belarus against Alexander Lukashenko’s dictatorship, a mass movement that is participated in by our anarchist comrades there. The situation in Belarus concerns the autocratic dictatorship that has lasted for 26 years, the current economic, health and public services crises. A wave of protests have filled the squares of the country to request the dictator’s withdrawal.

As anarchists, we are not empassioned by the debate on whether the last presidential elections were fair or not. It is simply clear that the people in Belarus are saying ‘enough is enough’: they do no longer want a government which is starving, beating and oppressing them.

We stand in solidarity with Belarusian political prisoners and demand their immediate release. We also demand the reinstatement of all workers who have lost their jobs for participating in strikes or protests, and urge an immediate end to the repression. We denounce the violence and abuses of the political policies that are in place, and the regime’s
military or paramilitary forces, who are arbitrarily detaining, beating and torturing its political opponents. We demand the fall of an authoritarian power which is a sad remainder of the totalitarianism of the former Soviet Union, one which still serves as a weapon for the military strategy of Putin’s Russia which which uses its neighbouring country as a military foothold.

However, in the same way as we oppose Russian militarism in Belarus, we also oppose the militarism of Atlantic (NATO) forces in the Baltic Republics, together with all the armies and all the wars that are made by states against the people. Likewise, we do not buy the current rhetoric of Western ‘freedom’, nor of a possible mediation role of the European Union. The only role that the EU has is to manage the interests of European capitalism and therefore, as internationalists, we are opposed to this institution.

Instead, we call for international solidary between all workers and oppressed people and for all social movements which are committed, in the East and in the West, to syndicalism and workers rights, to the right of housing, to feminist and LGBTQ mobilisations, to the defence of land and environments against speculators, to people’s solidarity and mutual aid, to the occupation of spaces, to the production of alternative cultures, and to the defence of civil society all freedoms against exploitation and authoritarianism – to quote only some of our preferred axes of social intervention.

Only the direct participation of people in struggles from below can make a difference and produce a movement that go beyond the substitution of an old government with a new one, more or less corrupt, more or less authoritarian. Among all other challenges that humanity is facing, the current pandemic has confirmed that state and capitalism do not work when it comes to the need for solidarity.  It is the entire society that must change towards equality and freedom, and anarchism is more than ever the option that we put forward to achieve this.■

The Commission of Relations of the INTERNATIONAL OF ANARCHIST FEDERATIONS (IAF/IFA) – 25 October 2020

Originally hosted with Italian / Spanish / Portuguese translations here.

The Italian version is also available to listen to on YouTube:

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Street Anarchy pt.3 – The Third Movement | Theory and Analysis

[translator’s note: Ruymán is a member of FAGC (Federación Anarquistas Gran Canaria or Gran Canaria’s Anarchist Federation), which centres most of its activity around the issues of housing, rent and homelessness. They are known for housing homeless people in squatted buildings run along anarchists’ principles without the members needing to share the same ideology. The biggest one so far, La Esperanza, houses more than 260 people, around 160 of them minors. More recently the FAGC has called for a rent strike to demand better conditions for renters during the COVID-19 crisis. The strike is supported today by more than 60.000 tenants. This is the second of a series of three articles written in 2015 where Ruymán explains how the FAGC sees the way forward for anarchism based on their experience these years]

“On, on, onwards, for the fire is hot! […] On, onwards, as long as you live.”

(Letter by Thomas Müntzer to his followers, 1525)

In the previous two articles I talked about the two types of anarchism I had identified, and of the potential and limits of the social struggle; now I’m going to talk about the necessity for combative anarchism, committed to the social struggle, to transcend its starting point and reach a superior revolutionary objective thanks to well-designed and solid strategy.

Analyzing the situation of activism, social movements, including the anarchist, have been on the defensive for years. We only come out to the streets and mobilize to not lose ground. We don’t know how to attack. The only thing we want is not to lose past conquests, but not to make new ones. Fights like militant unions, housing, education or healthcare are framed today in those terms. They are respectable movements of self-defense, not structures of attack. Honestly, I believe it is time to go on the offensive.

We need to overcome this ongoing situation where we are just trying to take punches as they come, and learn how to fight back, to trade blow by blow, to hurt. This last decade of struggle, and especially the experience in housing, has taught me that when one focuses their militancy in the management of a “small matter”, in the preservation of what you have, you risk losing the ambition to go further. And this can turn what was supposed to be just a phase, the means to an end, into an end in itself.

I know it’s not the best for me to talk about not limiting yourself. We live in a state of retreat, as anarchists and as social activists. A few, resigned but pragmatic, try to save the furniture from the shipwreck, and try to build something for the future. A majority is still impervious to the lost opportunity and, lost in their liturgy of banners and hymns, don’t want to see that even the most reformist collectives have overtaken them on the left, thanks mainly to their activity. Another significant part abandons ship and, seduced by the siren’s song of the establishment, flirts with electoralism, the new parties, and starts believing something incomprehensible: that voting is the transformative novelty; and that to abstain and create on the sidelines is the orthodoxy.

We raise our voice from the dirt, in the very heart of poverty. I won’t speak to you with a clean face, neither will I shake off the dust in your presence nor offer you a washed up hand; down here, where we get down to work, it doesn’t smell good, there’s no sterile debates and rhetoric doesn’t accomplish anything. While working in misery, we are trying to organise it. Let’s begin!

We are not interested in the war for acronyms, the scuffles about banners, the internal feuds of families, sects, tendencies and clans. It’s like seeing two starved insects fighting over the remains. Anything that tries to drag us into that is not welcomed. We also don’t want to hear intellectuals babbling or fighting among themselves, telling us about a past that cannot be repeated or inviting us to advance while they themselves don’t move their asses from their seats. There’s a new anarchist that is active, pragmatic, that wants to be adult but not to grow old, and that is not willing to get itself tangled in the ideological disputes of its elders. Our proposal is to make a call for all combative anarchists to work together. This verb is key: to work. To coordinate efforts based around practical work proposals, leaving asides brainy questions about the future of a society we still are not strong enough to preconfigure. We spend hours arguing about what type of fuels will be used in the post-revolutionary society, how will the means of production be managed, what resources will it use and which not; and we still haven’t made the revolution that’ll allow us to have these problems in front of us. Because of our incompetence, we have no capacity to decide about our present, so we try to decide about something that has no relevance and belongs to a future that is slipping out of our hands. Let’s work so that one day we could argue about these problems in workers or community assemblies, but until then let’s not waste time.

Once we come all together, willing to work together but not to think the same, to combine efforts but necessarily sensibilities, we can select the objective. The FAGC chose housing, and everyone interested knows the results. Yes, we are responsible for the biggest occupation in the whole Spanish state, but I already said in my previous article that that is not all, we still need a third movement. What was done alleviated the situation of many people, it has allowed to extend the life of some of the most urgent cases; and that is already the most important thing. But it’s not enough to stay there. It would be like organising an army and refusing to declare war. Everything lived, good and bad, must serve to extract conclusions, reflect and take the fight to a new stage.

And what about the long and surrealist shadow of assistentialism? We have learnt our lesson and found the way to avoid it. The social struggle, by offering real solutions to real problems, allows us to get in contact with the people. But for the relationship to advance it is essential that the person affected stops being a receiver/observer and starts being an actor. And that’s achieved by establishing as necessary that the person being rehoused takes part in their own rehousing. Do you want to receive help? Here we are for you, but first prove that you are capable of helping yourself and others. Do you refuse? Very well, we won’t give more solidarity than the one we are offered, that’s all. Whoever really needs a house will have no option but to question what they’ve learnt, what the system taught them, their own way of behaving with others, before they can make a decision. It’s possible that it won’t produce any change, but we would have made them confront a hard contradiction face to face. A what was said about rehousing also applies to the rest. In our last occupations we have been applying that principle and the results have been very positive. We certainly participate in less rehousings, but the experiences are better and the participants more in need, more committed and more active.We have also learned that behind the criticisms of “assistentialism” we often find voices with little experience that, unwilling to abandon their ivory tower and walk among the filthy and difficult reality, show their disdain for active militancy by looking for pretexts instead of offering alternatives. The risks of assistentialism are not overcome from a comfortable distance while surrounded by those already convinced.

Once organised, with an established protocol to avoid becoming an NGO or a real estate agency, we are missing that last twist that I mentioned in “Street Anarchy II”, that third movement: the way of conflict.

The third movement is the one that makes the difference between conventional squatting (an act that closes its cycle on its own, revolutionarily innocuous) and programmed expropriation of households owned by banks, with the objective of establishing a communal management of a collective good (an act that means a direct political, social, and economical challenge).

It’s not enough to occupy houses, which usually only affects a limited number of people. It’s not even enough to make them available for the people and use them for rehousing. In the end we can end up reinforcing the System by compensating for one of its shortfalls and inhibiting people in protest by helping them get back on the capitalist train. We need to occupy and rehouse, but as part of a political strategy of mass socialization that aims for the neighbours themselves to manage consumer goods through assemblies, just like we expect the workers to do with the means of production.

The strategy is simple: unite with those other combative anarchists, call a popular assembly about the most urgent topic that worries your neighbourhood (I use housing as an example because it’s the field we have more experience with), offer useful tools to the neighbours and establish contact with them. How many empty houses owned by the banks are in the neighbourhood? So occupy all of them and make the neighbours directly manage the public good of housing. We have to take the step, cross the threshold, and turn squatting into collective expropriation.

How many of your neighbours pay rents to the same real estate agency, bank or rich landlord? How many can’t pay or are about to find themselves in that situation? Once again, call a neighbours assembly and give that fatalism a conscious dimension. They soon are going to lose the home because of not being able to pay the rent, so give not paying a political character: propose calling a rent strike. No one pays, either until everyone’s rent goes down (if the disposition of the people doesn’t allow for anything more radical) or until the management of the houses is put in your hands with no intermediary.

Do you organise in a libertarian union? Propose to integrate the labour struggle with the social struggle (which doesn’t mean just having good intentions, writing statements and supporting campaigns, but to start your own way of intervention and confrontation, directly revolutionary). To compete with the establishment unions using their weapons is either a waste of time or suicide. The nature of libertarian unionism always was multifaceted, and extended beyond the purely laboural plane. In order to survive, anarcho-syndicalism needs to adopt integral solutions and offer tools not limited to factories or even consumer cooperatives, but that directly address the issues of the poorest neighbourhoods. We must bring back the renters unions that anarcho-syndicalism pushed for back in the 30s, and take neighbours demands to a different plane.

And what about the platforms that already work around housing? First, we have to distinguish between those that undertake a committed and altruistic labour, with a revolutionary base, and those that are ineffective, are in the pocket of the political parties, or are motivated by nefarious interests. Second, no one has the monopoly of the social struggle. If you think a campaign is lacking, that it is being used as a pawn for electoral purposes, and you think you can offer and structure things better, more effectively, more radically, there’s no reason why you should cede the territory to anyone – none that makes us that there has to be exclusivity or imposture in the housing front. Third, we have to be aware, as anarchists, of the necessity of articulating our own answers, our own programs, our own strategies. Yes, the fights have to necessarily be popular and collective, open to everyone; tactical alliances are equally desirable, as long as they are limited to the work and don’t require concessions. But we have to be able to structure a differentiated road map with our own objectives, we have to show to the people that we offer veritable solutions to the social issues, and know how to communicate that we have our own revolution going on.

The situation, thanks to the so-called “progressive candidatures”, can be more favourable than what it looks like. Develop this strategy everywhere, but don’t miss the chance of honing in on wherever the “champions of housing and social policies” have reached power. Squat en masse, with the support of the neighbours, and start laying the foundations, the theoretical support, to show the contradictions of these “progressive parties”. Whether because their insensibility and incompetence is what forces you to squat, or because they trigger or condone a repressive reaction.

This general proposal, of intervening in a struggle based around a good (or means of production or service) to radicalise it, take it to its final stages, and make the popular body (the assembly of neighbours or renters) that initiates and fights on said battle be the one that ends up organising said good, is a simplified way of starting a revolution. The councils or soviets were just this in their origins. This is what the third movement is about.

We are at a pivotal moment. Consumed by the electoralist fever, demobilized by the partisanship of the new generation, we forget that for those down below the shit is still covering them up to their necks. The sick and the hungry, the homeless and the immigrants can’t endure any more of your vote counting or your insufferable theories. We can run away from our responsibility as long as we want, but there’s nowhere to hide. I myself tried to address this matter by creating an idyllic community of rehoused people, believing that the revolutionary response would come later. Too concerned with guaranteeing the stability of the neighbours, and especially that of their children, it took me two years to understand that the path of the conflict must go hand in hand with the work of creation. It may make life more uncertain, but if the construction of the new doesn’t happen in parallel to the destruction of the old (like classics like Bakunin and Proudhon recommended), you will create a beautiful walled city, but you will leave untouched anything beyond its borders; and in the end the exterior will breach the fortress and will do the same that humidity does to the stone.

In this moment anarchism, the entirety of the social movements, is at a crossroad. There’s a gordian knot that seems unsolvable, and both the pure theoreticians and the institutionalists intend to cut it with a penknife; from the FAGC we assert that it’s time to use a guillotine. Get involved in the neighbourhoods, don’t be afraid of the hostility, the mistrust, the bickerings and the animal instincts that I assure you you’ll come across. Strike now while the mirage of recuperation hasn’t yet reached even those with empty stomachs. Look for the one who doesn’t have a home or a salary or government help or hope. Call the whole neighbourhood and confront them with the idea that it’s in their hands to change their situation. Grow little by little, with effective assemblies and free from pompous speeches. Offer reality, naked and coarse reality. And start taking, taking and taking until there’s nothing you don’t manage yourselves. It can be scary, but it’s the dizziness before a revolution that starts. The only thing left is for you to join. And what if you don’t succeed? Goddammit, at least you would have tried.

I’ve said it before but I won’t stop saying it. If they exploit misery, it is our task to organise it.

Ruymán Rodríguez

Read Part One:- “Two Anarchisms
Read Part Two:- “Social Struggle

More information about the Federación Anarquistas Gran Canaria can be here www.anarquistasgc.noblogs.org or on their Facebook.

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Great Anarchists | Review

Anarchism, despite being a rich historical tradition with theorists and thinkers from all over the world, and which has influenced a great many social movements, is unfairly maligned at times. Some pigeon hole it as an anachronism, based on the worship of a prelapsarian past; a mindset of the small-society and essentially obsolete today. Others malign it as overtly and centrally European, unequipped to deal with the struggles faced by people of colour and colonised peoples today who may demand a nationalism of their own for the sake of safety. Beyond this, some – often of the more traditionally Marxist stripe – tend to label it utopian and divorced from material change: too busy focused on what could be to deal with what is.

Given that these criticisms are some of the most common that anarchists, and Anarchism more broadly, face, there is always a concern when a book with a historical angle crosses the desk, and has a focus on the thinkers of the past. While it is unquestionably valuable for a modern movement to be aware of the thoughts and struggles of those who came before, is this not just re-affirming some of those critiques above to centralise them in a book of this kind? The pivotal issue of a work such as Ruth Kinna and Clifford Harper’s new Great Anarchists is whether it manages to avoid the trappings of simply repeating and glorifying those of the past, becoming a project of immediacy and relevance, or whether it becomes mired in celebrating long dead men.

Immediately the question is answered: in the introduction, they establish the important principal that, ‘although these contexts were special, many of the issues the anarchists wrestled with still plague our lives’, and that the purpose of the investigations in the book are ‘not just interesting archaeological exercises’, but instead opportunities to examine how classical anarchists thinkers influenced modern movements and offer insight into lessons that apply to modern living. From the very beginning, the project is set up with a powerful motivation towards a useful and ultimately successful goal.

Originally published as a series of pamphlets, Great Anarchists serves as a crash course through individual prominent anarchists and thinkers of influence to the anarchist movement, and to this extent each segment is dedicated to a single individual. Further, Clifford Harper’s beautiful illustrations begin each segment, showing an artful and striking portrait of the subject. The heavy, stark lines and strongly textured designs draw on images of classical woodcuts but without the clutter that can often confuse and bury less expert attempts at the style, and compliment the book in a unique manner. Addition of art such as this breaks up the text, and transforms Great Anarchists from a piece of raw educational material into a singular project, a kind of didactic art-book, fusing the theory with an aesthetic quality that calls to mind the aesthetic and joyful narratives implicit in so much of anarchist thinking.

Comprised of ten miniature biographies of thinkers associated with anarchism, one of the strengths of the project lies in the selections themselves. It would be tempting to approach a project such as this with the desire to nail down all of the ‘canonical’ thinkers, and it is precisely this temptation that Kinna and Harper avoid. While prominent names such as Kropotkin certainly appear, and it can be somewhat disconcerting to see a list of ‘great’ anarchists that doesn’t include Emma Goldman, the choice to include early pre-anarchist figures such as William Godwin, mavericks such as Max Stirner, and those with legacies which have been largely depoliticised by history and education such as Oscar Wilde, allows an image of anarchism to be built more broadly. Further, it implies a vital piece of information: anarchism is somewhat unique among ideological traditions in that while it invariably draws from thinkers in the past, there is no name-giving origin point or presumed ‘central’ figure of authority. Anarchism can be found in any number of places, drawn out from any number of thinkers, and there are more of them around than you might think.

Kinna’s clear and concise style provides a great sense of ease to the reading. Never difficult, there is an almost conversational tone to much of the writing which can allow a reader to almost miss exactly how much information is being presented. Further, and perhaps most importantly to avoid the curse of hagiography, Kinna is never afraid to present critiques of the figures contained in the book: whether it is highlighting Kropotkin’s infamous views on the First World War, Bakunin’s anti-Semitism, or the long-standing tension between Stirner and much of the general anarchist movement, there is always room for nuance in Great Anarchists, and it is precisely this care that avoids the book sliding into myth-making.

All of this is extremely positive, however, that does not mean that Great Anarchists is without some degree of concern. To begin with, there is the first and obvious issue of the selection covered. While it is absolutely true that, shy of writing a tome thousands of pages long, Kinna and Harper would always be forced to make decisions to exclude certain thinkers in a project of this kind, the choice of who to include is worth examining. Inclusions of Oscar Wilde and William Godwin are certainly appreciated, and as mentioned earlier, open up the world of anarchism more broadly than simply focusing on the anarchist ‘canon’ might have, however the limitations of the figures selected do seem evident: other than Lucy Parsons, every figure discussed in the text is white, and with no exception at all, every figure is either of European or North American origin. Given the generally European flavour of most early anarchist theory, it is difficult to critique Kinna and Harper themselves for this issue, but in a text in which they are willing to include figures who pre-date the anarchist movement (as typically thought of) itself, it seems slightly strange that no figures from Asian, African, or South American anarchism are discussed.

It must be emphasised that this is not a damning criticism, and does nothing to impact the valuable nature of the work that is included in Great Anarchists, nor is it intended to downplay the significance of any thinker who has been included. Instead, it simply must be stated that the anarchist movement is broad and multifaceted one, and it might have been nice to see an inclusion of a figure such as Itō Noe (to give but a single example) in order to reflect that and also to combat the idea of anarchism as being a Eurocentric concept.

Further, there is a single note worth making, which is that while the downsides of various thinkers as individuals is a subject of discussion – anti-Semitism, or personal views on war, as mentioned earlier – there is fairly little critique of their thought itself in the broader sense. As Great Anarchists is more of an introduction to thinkers on their own terms than a text of theory in its own right, this is not truly an issue in my view. However, it is easy to imagine an anarchist coming from an anti-civilisational or primitivist perspective taking issue with the discussion of Louise Michel’s support for scientific and technological advancement in an uncritical tone – addressing only potential ‘deeply unscientific practices’ – as if these views were in a state of firm consensus amongst the anarchist community in general.

Neither of these downsides counteract or deny the useful and overall very fun nature of Great Anarchists, which manages to achieve its stated goal of balancing historical education with an emphasis on shared struggle with the present almost effortlessly, and is an enjoyable read.

The question for someone new to the world of radical leftist thought – particularly anarchist thought – is often where to start learning. It can be incredibly difficult without any particular guide to know where to begin, both in terms of which thinkers one should approach first, but also the texts they wrote and which ones should be considered the most urgent to read. Perhaps the most commonly suggested classical anarchist work among modern radicals is Kropotkin’s The Conquest of Bread, and while still a fantastic work filled with powerful explanation and convincing argument, there is some truth to the claim that the style can be challenging for people with little background in reading older texts. By contrast, many of the attempts that have been made to write modern groundings and introductions to the radical movements of anarchism take an altogether different route and, while they do provide an overview of common perspectives, it is fairly normal for them to avoid delving too deeply into the history of anarchism. Preferring to give modern day examples, and discuss modern day events, this strategy can be very useful but for a number of new readers it can be frustrating: where did these ideas come from, the question is asked?

Kinna and Harper’s new collection strikes a delicate but vital balance between the two approaches. Maintaining constant connections with the movements and struggles of revolutionary groups and radical thinkers of today, they draw a line directly between historical writers and activists without entangling themselves too deeply in what might be intimidating theory for the newcomer; their language is clean and concise, and they refrain from approaching the topic with the assumption that any given reader will already know what they seek to discuss. Given this mixture of the present with the past, as well as the brilliant use of illustrations throughout the book, Great Anarchists takes a centre stage as one of the most useful and beautiful introductions to the history and, more importantly, the present of radical thought. While not without potential nitpicks, the next time you are pressed to show a curious individual something to get them tumbling into the radical movement, Great Anarchists should be near the top of the suggestions. ■

Jay Fraser
Jay is an anarchist, poet, amateur philosopher, and basketball fan. He did his degree in English at the University of Lincoln, and is a fan of animals, good coffee, and horror movies. You can find him on Twitter @JayFraser1, or trying to find his face mask for the millionth time.

Great Anarchists by Ruth Kinna and Clifford Harper is available now from Dog Section Press for £6. Visit www.dogsection.org/press to buy, and read online.

Ruth Kinna is a professor of Political Theory at Loughborough University, and is currently the editor of Anarchist Studies. Clifford Harper is a radical illustrator, whose work can be found in a number of radical publications.