World War One and 100 Years of Counter-Revolution

Otto Dix, Stormtroopers Advance Under Cover of Gas, 1924

One hundred years on from the start of the First World War, Mark Kosman reflects on the nature of war and the class struggle throughout the last century and asks the question: can governments keep up this destructive, murderous fraud? In 1871, Karl Marx wrote that governments use war as a fraud, a ‘humbug, intended to defer the struggle of the classes’. In 1914, that fraud was so effective that not only most workers but also most Marxists supported their respective nation’s rush to war. Ever since then, governments have used war to defer class struggle and prevent revolution, but this strategy cannot last forever.

The Great Unrest and the Great War In all the commemorations for the start of World War One it is unlikely that there will be many references to the huge strike wave that preceded the war. But this strike wave, known as the Great Unrest, created considerable insecurity among Britain’s elites. This was especially the case as these strikes coincided with other disturbing social movements such as the nationalist upsurge in Ireland and the increasingly violent campaign for women’s suffrage. By the summer of 1914, workers were mobilising for what the left reformist commentators, Sydney and Beatrice Webb, called ‘an almost revolutionary outburst of gigantic industrial disputes.’ The future Prime Minister, Lloyd George, warned that if these industrial disputes coincided with the looming civil war in Ireland then Britain would face ‘the gravest [situation] with which any government has had to deal for centuries.’ Another reformist author, H.G.Wells, claimed that Britain’s wage-earners had ‘definitely decided not to remain wage-earners for very much longer’ and he warned of ‘a series of increasingly destructive outbreaks … culminating in revolution.’ Wells may have overstated what he called the ‘drift towards revolution’. But even Basil Thomson, the head of Britain’s political police, the Special Branch, seems to have shared Wells’ fears when he predicted that ‘unless there was a European war to divert the current [of unrest] we were heading for something very like revolution.’ Continue reading

Abortion rights are under attack in Spain, and we must show solidarity with pro-choice struggle.

Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon: Justice Minister championing a law that will result in a brutal injustice to Spanish women’s rights.

The struggle for safe and legal access to abortion is an ongoing one. With many states constantly seeking to review or reduce women’s access to abortion, and in doing so police our bodies and our sexuality, Freedom’s regular contributor Juana Belén Gutiérrez de Mendoza highlights the recent attack on abortion rights in Spain, and why it is necessary to show solidarity and oppose this restrictive and deadly new Act.

Maybe you are a 40 year-old unemployed mother of 5 in the worst recession of our time, maybe you forgot to take the pill and went to bed with a few too many, or perhaps you have been raped. I know many stories of men who won’t put a condom on when you tell them to: from the cheeky student boy trying to trick you on a one night stand (do you think a vagina is too thick to notice you’re not wearing rubber?) to the abusive boyfriend who wants to control every inch of your body. It is very easy when you don’t have a womb (and don’t care about STIs?) The point is, whatever the reason or context, abortion should be safe, legal and accessible to all. Continue reading

‘Liberal’ Zionism and Gaza: A Personal View

Growing up in a Jewish family, who suffered huge and indescribable losses during the war, just like many others, has meant that I wasn’t always able to see Israel for what it is: a racist and brutal occupying power. For weeks I’ve been obsessively reading the news, seeing the images of blood and destruction, homes and entire lives reduced to dust.  Previously I might have dismissed this as mere propaganda, as Palestinians “playing the victim” or perhaps I would have blamed Palestinians for their own deaths. Going to university in another country, meeting Palestinians and especially having friends who challenged me is what made me question my previous beliefs.

I remember at age seven, being showing a black and white film about the concentration camps. I remember being told about how we Jews have always been hated and will always be: how if “it” happened again, our neighbour would gladly walk into our house and take it. And yes, I remember being told that I was a “different” Jew, I was a “good” one. Did my dad also wear those funny curls? At least I wasn’t so “sensitive”. Or just this week being told that I was the “nicest” Jew one of my colleagues had ever met, as if that was a compliment. Continue reading

A Critique of Borders

This essay argues that an anarchist society ought to be one without borders, as they are incompatible with the goals, values and vision of an ideal world. Anarchism is the ideology and methodology of the good society, and thus ought to hold itself to these high standards. Firstly, I shall argue that borders inhibit human autonomy and flourishing. Secondly, I shall argue that borders instantiate and cultivate nationalism, which is harmful to moral understanding. I shall conclude that anarchist societies, if our goal is a political settlement as close to utopian conditions as possible, must be globally inclusive.

The Central Argument:

The goal of the good society is to maximize human potential in order to invoke human flourishing. The actualisation of human potential is achieved through the autonomy of individuals, and the freedom of association between individuals within society; it is achieved through the cultivation of moral understanding, the cultivation of creativity and intellect, the capacity to live where you wish to live, to do what makes you happy, and to live with the people that make you feel safe and secure, loved and respected, important and worthwhile in virtue of being oneself. Continue reading

Appeal for Sam Mbah

Sam Mbah is an anarchist activist from Nigeria who has, along with his political activism, written African Anarchism Continue reading

Launch Party! Friday 25th July, 7pm!

That’s right folks, Freedom News will be having a launch party this Friday! To celebrate the official catapulting of Freedom into the sparkly stratosphere of online news sites, Freedom Bookshop in Aldgate will play host to a night of fun, frolics and intense philosophical conversation/drinking. It’ll also be a great opportunity to support the the bookshop, an important activist space, as well as the paper (well, digital paper that is.) In Freedom Newspaper’s long and sometimes not so illustrious history it has undergone many changes; from its style, to editors, and to the changing nature of the economic and political systems it seeks to challenge. In 128 years of publication it has had to adapt and this relaunch of Freedom is a further development in what will no doubt be another century of top quality anarcho-journalism. ALL ARE WELCOME! If you’ve never visited us before now would be a great time!

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West Mids Antifa Collective On Britain First’s Vist To Coventry

After a weekend that saw demonstrations and actions across the country, West Mids Antifa Collective presents a first hand account of the pro-Gaza and anti-Britain First action in Coventry on Friday, and give an insight into the way WMAC operate.

Yesterday was both a success and a failure in many respects. For well over a month, WMAC have been organising against Britain First’s proposed visit to Coventry as part of their UK road show, which has hitherto been unsuccessful and ruined by antifascist action nationwide. We should add, any critical views of particular groups we have organised with come out of a belief in transparency and honesty in Left organising, and while we have those criticisms we also have deep respect for those who joined us in solidarity and helped to promote the event and build numbers, especially the Trades Council and Coventry Friends of Palestine.

After a few hours of online research we stumbled across a photo of party leader Paul Golding and some other sad looking characters standing on the staircase of a Coventry hotel. There was no information given but a Google search of the suite names on a plaque behind them provided the location. We later called the area manager of the hotel chain and expressed our concern, sending over information about their campaigns and mosque ‘invasions’. He informed us that not only was he unaware of their meeting, but as a Muslim himself he found it to be both offensive and disturbing. He assured us they would never be back again. We will keep this hotel anonymous.

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Why strikes are important to anarchists

In the context of the recent mass one day protest strike on July 10th and the upcoming protest against strike breaking Ritzy workers this Sunday, Rob Ray examines the power of the strike, and the anarchist method of organising one. Continue reading

Less Evil is Still Evil: Post-Gove Education and the New Morgan Era

Today’s cabinet reshuffle has seen the downfall of despised Education Secretary, Michael Gove. Here current education worker Daniel Dawson discusses Gove’s replacement, and the radical class conscious education they want to see in place  of the current system.


Within less than a week of the largest public sector strike since November 2011, the Conservative Cabinet reshuffle sees the most gangrenous attachment to Education since trench foot, Michael Gove, demoted to Chief Whip. Schools across the nation rejoice! I myself allowed a moment of intense relief as I spread the good news among the staff of the mediocre academy where I work, before reminding myself the old adage: Never trust a Tory.

Nicky Morgan, Gove’s replacement is an unsurprising choice by Cameron, having expressed the desire to be rid of the ‘pale, stale and male’ image of the Conservative party. Affirmative action in practice! And I’m not even against affirmative action, but what I am in opposition to is the Tory Neo-liberalist take on Feminism which propels an equality minister, who famously opposed gay marriage, into a position she has no experience of just because Cameron wants more women in plain view for a pre-Election bid for support. Continue reading

Press release from Harmondsworth detainees protest 14/07/2014

At 9pm tonight (Monday 14th July 2014) 60 detainees at Harmondsworth mens immigration detention centre began an overnight demonstration, occupying the courtyard. They are demanding that all those on the now unlawful Detained Fast Track (DFT) system are taken off DFT and released. Following last weeks High Court decision ruling the operation of DFT unlawful, detainees have been organising inside detention centres, gathering petition signatures on a petition as follows…. We are detainees in Colnbrook.  The High Court has said the way fast track is operated is unlawful.  That means the decisions in our cases are the result of unlawful treatment.  We demand: 1. We are taken off fast track and released now 2. All decisions and removal directions in our cases are cancelled 3. We are able to bring new asylum cases under fair conditions, not in detention. Over 200 detainees have so far signed the petition. Tonights protest was sparked by the imminent charter flight that will see 270 people deported to Pakistan, the majority of whom are on DFT – this is a gross miscarriage of justice.  There are two more charter flights in the coming two weeks.

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