Wednesday, November 23, 2005

British Anarchisms and the Miners' Strike #2

The Benjamin Franks article mentioned below is a brief and generally sympathetic account of the changes that took place within British anarchism during the mid and late 80s. Here's the conclusion:

"Since the miners’ strike, liberal anarchism has declined, while class struggle anarchism with a commitment to anticapitalism has, concomitantly, risen. This can be seen not only in the provocative targets of the anarchist sections of the alternative globalisation movements, but also in the extent to which Freedom has altered both in terms of its editorial board and its content. The newspaper is now more consistent with class struggle (or social) anarchism—despite the continued involvement of (Donald) Rooum and his Wildcat carton. The reengagement of anarchism with industrial struggles has had a marked influence on the interests and forms of political activity of British anarchist groups. Libertarians gained greater confidence to search out routes of solidarity. The eventual defeat of the miners also put in place a reconsideration of agency and organisation within libertarian movements, which has had a noticeable impact on the tactics and structures employed and endorsed by consistent libertarians. Although liberal anarchism has largely declined, this is partly due to the recognition by those formerly categorised as such that contesting capital relations is a dominant factor in their forms of resistance. Similarly, class struggle libertarians have become aware of the class nature of many of the forms of action formerly dismissed as ‘liberal.’"

I'd be curious to see a similar account of Irish anarchism, since the Workers Solidarity Movement seems to have reached the same perspective without having to heal any divisive rift between class struggle and lifestyle anarchisms, offering an anticapitalist and "antiglobalisation" perspective that recognizes the importance of the class struggle while also acknowledging the need for a total revolutionizing of ALL social relations, not just property relations (i.e. a posteconomistic socialism that even some Marxists like Gorz could sympathize with.)

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