History

Arguments against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party

We are in a period when the Labour Party is, again, pretending that it can protect people in Britain from the ravages of a crisis-ridden capitalist system. The best arguments against the Labour Party will arise when strikes, occupations and street protests take place and then the Labour Party denounces them. But until then, here are some arguments from history:

1. In 1914, The Labour Party actively supported the First… Continue reading

The gang system in Coventry

The gang system

in Coventry

REG WRIGHT

REG WRIGHT is a Coventry engineering worker who has spent a life-time in the motor, aircraft and textile industries, One of the pioneers of the gang system in its present form, he has even written a play about it. In a forthcoming article in ANARCHY he discusses Erosion Inside Capitalism.

THE GANG SYSTEM AS OPERATED IN COVENTRY is modern and yet traditional. Its… Continue reading

Education, equality, opportunity

Education, equality, opportunity

John Ellerby

ULTIMATELY THE SOCIAL FUNCTION of education is to perpetuate society: it is the socialising function. Society guarantees its future by rearing its children in its own image. In traditional society the peasant rears his sons to cultivate the soil, the man of power rears his to wield power, and the priest instructs them all in the necessity of maintaining a priesthood. In modern governmental society, as Frank MacKinnon put it in The Politics of Education:

“The educational system is the largest instrument in the modern state for telling people what to do. It enrols five-year-olds and tries to direct their mental, and much of their physical, social and moral development for twelve or more of the most formative years of their lives.”

To find a historical parallel to this situation you would have to go back to ancient Sparta, the principal difference being that the only education we hear of in the ancient world is that of ruling classes. Spartan education was simply training for infantry warfare and for instructing the citizens in the techniques of subduing the slave class, the helots, who did the daily work of the state and greatly outnumbered the citizens. In the modern world the helots have to be educated too, and the equivalent of Spartan warfare is the industrial and technical competition between nations which is sometimes the product of war and sometimes its prelude. The year in which Britain’s initial advantage in the world’s industrial markets began to wane, was the year in which, after generations of bickering about its religious content, universal compulsory education was introduced, and every significant development since the Act of 1870, had a close relation to the experience, not merely of commercial rivalry, but of war itself. The Acts of 1902, 1918 and 1944 were all born of war, and every new international conflict, whether in rivalry for markets or in military techniques, has been the signal for a new burst of concern in different countries over the scale and scope of technical education among the rival powers. Thus the explosion by America of the first atomic bombs was a signal to Russia to hasten the pace of technical and scientific education, and Russia’s success in putting the first sputnik into space, led to an outburst of self-criticism in America about the shortcomings of the American educational system, and to a concern about the quality and availability of technical education in both Britain and America which is still in full swing. Continue reading

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An Anarchist in Love with Mao’s China – Herbert Read’s ‘Letters from China’.

Plus a list of dubious accounts of ‘successful’ revolutions, from Russia to Rojava

In the second year of the Great Leap Forward famine – in which perhaps 30 million died – Herbert Read visited China on an official delegation.

Read’s acceptance of a knighthood for his literary achievements had already discredited him amongst many anarchists. But, at the time of his visit in 1959, he was still the most prominent… Continue reading

Finding Hope on an A to B March

I haven’t been on many A to B marches over the last few years due to doubts about state sanctioned protest but I managed to get down to the anti-austerity demo on June 20th in London, and was glad I did.

The part of the march I was in was made up of a wide mix of people and groups; gay people (with a LGSM banner!), straight people, Unions -lots… Continue reading

Rescuing Galbraith from the conventional wisdom

Rescuing Galbraith from the conventional wisdom

Colin Ward

John Kenneth Galbraith’s The Affluent Society is the only modern book on economics to become a best-seller. Comparisons have been made with Tawney’s Acquisitive Society and with Keynes’s General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, and praise has been lavished on the book from the political right, left and centre. The Financial Times found it “a stringent and stimulating piece of social analysis”, the Daily Telegraph thought it might provide the ‘sixties with “the popular tools of thought for handling the unfamiliar problems of our already rich society”. Even the warring factions in the Labour Party were united in praise of it, from Mr. Crosland who declared that “I am wholeheartedly a Galbraith man” to Mr. Crossman, who believed it to be “the most entertaining and profound exposure of post-war Western society that has yet been published”, and Tribune which saw in it a “magnificently iconoclastic assault on economic illusions”. It even has its admirers on the other side of the iron curtain, where Galbraith himself is the only leading Western economist to have lectured on the economics of capitalism, and one of the only ones to seek an exchange of professional and personal views with his opposite numbers in Moscow, Warsaw and Belgrade. Continue reading

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Oliver Law & The Spanish Civil War

Oliver Law

On July 19 1936, General Franco, with the backing of Hitler and Mussolini, led a coup against the democratically elected Government of Spain. It kick started the Spanish civil war which saw a viscous fight between right wing and left wing ideologies. Of the many like minded individuals who went to Spain to fight against Franco’s fascists was a young man from Texas who would become the first… Continue reading

¡Digan revolución!

Joe Herbert on the role of photojournalism during the Spanish civil war Continue reading

The Bonnot Gang

(taken from Freedom, October 2012) It’s the 100th year anniversary of the Bonnot Gang, a group of anarchist bandits who operated in the Paris of the Belle Époque

The Bonnot Gang are famous for being the first to use automobiles as getaway cars and were well known in their day for high profile robbing sprees and violent antics. The group continue to divide opinion due to the… Continue reading

Hacking in the seventies

Hacking, phone taps and the anarchists

‘A Company of Bastards’ and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (this brief history of militant trade union phone hacking in the 70s was published in Freedom, 13th August 2011)

Recent comment on the ethics of phone hacking and the media reminded me of our practices in the 1970s, during the time of the alternative press and counter-cultural journalism in… Continue reading