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

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

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

What is anarcho-syndicalism: building the new world within the shell of the old

The seventh and final part of a series exploring anarcho-syndicalism, its aims and principles, and the practicalities of enacting them in the real world. The basic foundation of anarcho-syndicalism is that ordinary people, through solidarity and direct action, have the power to improve our own lives. We do not need bosses, bureaucrats, or political parties … Continue reading

Notes on sectarianism

This has been something I’ve been meaning to write for a long time. However, each time I have given up because I can’t find the words to articulate something which flowed brilliantly as a rant, but not so well as prose. So, you’ll have to forgive me if this post comes out more as a … Continue reading

Don’t vote, organise – the reasoning behind the slogan

It is a long-established truism that anarchists are opposed to electoralism. A myriad of slogans such as “whoever you vote for, government wins,” “don’t vote, it only encourages the bastards,” and “if voting changed anything they’d abolish it” have entered the public psyche. So much so, that they are taken up by cynics and the … Continue reading

What is anarcho-syndicalism: revolutionary unionism

The third part of a series exploring anarcho-syndicalism, its aims and principles, and the practicalities of enacting them in the real world. Although it isn’t limited to workplace struggles as traditional syndicalism is, industry remains an important battleground for anarcho-syndicalism. After all, it is here that the working class create the wealth of the world, … Continue reading

Where do the “middle class” fit into it all?

It is, perhaps, the most vague and ill-defined term in sociopolitical discourse. At the same time, it’s one of the most commonly used. It can be everything from a badge of honour to the most callous insult. Something which defines your economic status or destroys your street cred. The term I’m talking about is “middle … Continue reading

What is anarcho-syndicalism: Not just syndicalism

The second part of a series exploring anarcho-syndicalism, its aims and principles, and the practicalities of enacting them in the real world. In The Union Makes Us Strong? the Anarchist Communist Federation (ACF, now Anarchist Federation) offered “a critical analysis” of “syndicalism, including its anarcho variety.” In it, they painted anarcho-syndicalists as “dismissive of the … Continue reading

What is anarcho-syndicalism?

It has been my intention, for some time, to write a series of articles exploring various issues and ideas within anarcho-syndicalism. This is not a purely academic exercise. I am a member of the Solidarity Federation (SolFed) – the British section of the International Workers’ Association (IWA) – and its Liverpool local. Now, anarcho-syndicalism is … Continue reading