On the trade unions and “boring from within”

I’ve written a number of pieces now on anarchist activity within the trade union movement. In particular, I’d point to Trade unions, worker militancy, and communism from below, What is anarcho-syndicalism: revolutionary unionism, Anarcho-syndicalism and the limits of trade unionism, and my most recent post on Building the rank-and-file. However, these have all focused primarily on the difference between … Continue reading

Building the rank-and-file

As we get closer to the possibility of coordinated public sector strikes on June 30th, debate continues to rage about how best to build for the event. In particular, on the libertarian left there has been much talk of the need to build a new rank-and-file. In a recent Truth, Reason & Liberty article on … Continue reading

The revolutionary general strike in an era of casualisation

In the present movement against government cuts, a lot of slogans (and from them leftist strategies) are invoking the idea of a general strike. As a tactic, there are a number of reasons this would not work. Chief amongst them being that a set-piece “one-day” strike is the limit of the left’s ambitions in this … Continue reading

The pros and cons of the black bloc

A black bloc, despite all the controversy around it, isn’t a complicated thing. It is simply the act whereby great numbers of people wear all-black clothing and cover their faces on demonstrations. They then come together as a unit, for both strength in numbers and anonymity. That’s it. It is not an organisation, as conspiracy … Continue reading

Standing on the picket line

During the election campaign that saw Labour sweep to power in 1997, Tony Blair boasted that his government “would leave British law the most restrictive on trade unions in the Western world.” And so it did, not only maintaining the anti-strike laws implemented by Margaret Thatcher and Norman Tebbit but adding to them. Aside from … Continue reading

Where does peaceful protest get us?

On 26th March, the Trades Union Congress are calling a march in London against the government’s austerity measures. This has reignited one of the longest-running debates in activist politics: that of peaceful protest versus direct action. In particular, the line is drawn between those worried that a violent minority will hijack the event and distract … Continue reading

The principle and practice of “violence” against property

The recent student protests – in particular the siege of Millbank Tower and the riots on the day of the tuition fees vote – have provoked an awful lot of debate. Among other things, it brought the boogeyman of anarchism back into the media spotlight and helped to reinvigorate the fight against the cuts. What … Continue reading

What is anarcho-syndicalism: a radical vision of community organisation

The sixth part of a series exploring anarcho-syndicalism, its aims and principles, and the practicalities of enacting them in the real world. In part five of this series, I examined how to rebuild the community consciousness and sense of solidarity that once defined the working class. Here, I want to look at building upon that … Continue reading

Animals in anarchy

It is my experience that an awful lot of anarchists have cats. I, with two cats as well as a dog, am one of them. It is also my experience that a considerable amount of anarchists are vegetarians or vegans. I am not one of them. In the short term, this is of no consequence. … Continue reading

Anarcho-syndicalism and anarchist communism

I am, as those who read my articles regularly should be aware, an anarchist communist. I want to see a world where the workers control industry and communities manage their own resources, without the oppressive interference of the state, capital, or any other top-down structure. Perhaps less-known is the fact that I am also an … Continue reading