The role of unemployment in capitalism

Unemployment in Britain currently stands at roughly two and a half million. This is not far from the three million mark of the Thatcher era, which became a watermark for social discontent. With public sector job losses – and the private sector fallout – expected to claim another million people, it is unsurprising that people … Continue reading

Thoughts on “free markets” in an anarchist society

The terms “capitalism” and “the free market” carry a lot of historical weight and baggage. For the right, they are basic neccesities for freedom and prosperity. For the left, they are the root of social and class inequality, the primary source of misery and injustice in the name of human greed. For the vast majority … Continue reading

The revolutionary potential of “social scum”

Media pundits, politicians, and the outraged chattering classes often go on about the “underclass.” Faced with levels of crime, poverty, and social anger that they are neither willing nor able to understand, the term is one of blame and accusation. It’s a useful catch-all for the long-term unemployed, welfare recipients, the homeless, petty criminals, drug … Continue reading

Why there is no liberty on the “libertarian” right

Yesterday was Tax Freedom Day. That is, it was “the first day of the year that Britons work for themselves rather than the taxman,” at least according to the Adam Smith Institute. As such, it seems a rather apt time to discuss the right-wing libertarian notion of freedom. The basic goal of (right) libertarianism, according … Continue reading

Anarchist communism, public services, and the welfare state

Anarchists are against hierarchy and coercion, and as such oppose the structures of the state. From this simplistic premise, there are those who find it hard to comprehend anarchist support for public services and the public provision of welfare. Right-wing “libertarians” and “anarcho”-capitalists are the most vocal in their criticisms of such a stance. Murray … Continue reading

Class war and the agents of the state

One of the key components of anarchism is class struggle. This struggle has many forms, from picket lines, through anti-racist and anti-fascist movements, to the fight for migrants’ rights and armed insurrection against imperialism. However, the aim remains the same. Agitation, organisation, and education for the working class against their exploitation and repression by the … Continue reading

Trade unions, worker militancy, and communism from below

One of the basic rights of workers in the industrialised world is the right to organise. Under the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948,workers “have the right to establish and, subject only to the rules of the organisation concerned, to join organisations of their own choosing without previous authorisation.” … Continue reading

On property and the right of inheritance

In September 1869, Mikhail Bakunin delivered a Report on the question of Inheritance to the Basel Congress of the International Working-Men’s Association. In it, he posed the following question; But what separates property and capital from labour? What distinguishes the classes economically and politically from one another, what destroys equality and perpetuates inequality, the privilege … Continue reading

On climate change, class, and capitalism

When the subject of climate change arises, there are several things that we can expect to hear about quite consistently; The Kyoto Protocol and how well one or other government is living up to their responsibilities. The “green credentials” of various corporate bodies. The introduction of some new “green” tax which will, depending on the … Continue reading

Why the “free” market isn’t free

For as long as the ideology has existed, proponents of capitalism have invoked the “free market” in defence of their ideas. To use the definition of “anarcho”-capitalist Murray Rothbard, a “free market” is one in which the “array of exchanges that take place in society” are “undertaken as a voluntary agreement between two people or … Continue reading