Sep 022014
 

Edward Heath Made Me Angry: The Christie File: Part 3, 1967-1975. (The later memoirs of a West of Scotland ‘baby-boomer’) Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBook titles — £3.10  READ INSIDE!

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This third volume of Christie’s memoirs provides the historical and political context for the international anti-Franco resistance of the anarchist ‘First of May Group’, from 1967 to the dictator’s death in 1975. It is a first-hand account — by someone accused but acquitted — of the campaign of anti-state and anti-capitalist bombings by diverse groups of libertarian militants who came together as the ‘Angry Brigade’ to challenge the aggressively anti-working class policies of the Tory government of Edward Heath.

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Jun 172014
 

BlairBrownCHAPTER III: PARTY-LIFE IN WARTIME

Never is the power of the state greater, and never are the forces of political parties of opposition less effective, than at the outbreak of war. This deplorable war, comes like a storm in the night, when everyone, wearied with the labours of the day, was plunged in well-deserved slumber, rages all over the world with unprecedented violence, and with such a lack of respect for human life and of regard for the eternal creations of art as to endanger the very cornerstones of a civilization dating from more than a thousand years. One of the cornerstones of historical materialism is that the working classes all over the world are united as if by links of iron through the perfect community of economico-social interests which they possess in face of the bourgeoisie, this community of interests effecting a horizontal stratification of classes which runs athwart and supersedes the vertical stratification of nations and of races. The greatest difference, in fact, in the views taken of economico- social classes and of linguistico-ethical nationalities, as between the respective adherents of nationalistic theories and of the theories of historical materialism, consists in this, that the former propound the hypothesis that the concept “nation” is morally and positively predominant over the concept “class,” whilst the latter consider the concept and reality “nation” altogether subordinate to the concept “class.” The Marxists, in fact, believed that the consciousness of class had become impressed upon the entire mentality of the proletariat imbued with socialist theories.

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Jun 162014
 
Lobster

“You can really have no notion how delightful it will be When they take us up and throw us, with the lobsters, out to sea!”

CHAPTER II: DEMOCRACY AND THE IRON LAW OF OLIGARCHY

Reduced to its most concise expression, the fundamental sociological law of political parties (the term “political” being here used in its most comprehensive significance) may be formulated in the following terms: “It is organisation which gives birth to the dominion of the elected over the electors, of the mandataries over the mandators, of the delegates over the delegators. Who says organisation, says oligarchy.”

Whilst the majority of the socialist schools believe that in a future more or less remote it will be possible to attain to a genuinely democratic order, and whilst the greater number of those who adhere to aristocratic political views consider that democracy, however dangerous to society, is at least realizable, we find in the scientific world a conservative tendency voiced by those who deny resolutely and once for all that there is any such possibility. As was shown in an earlier chapter, 1 this tendency is particularly strong in Italy, where it is led by a man of weight, Gaetano Mosca, who declares that no highly developed social order is possible without a “political class,” that is to say, a politically dominant class, the class of a minority. Those who do not believe in the god of democracy are never weary of affirming that this god is the creation of a childlike mythopoeic faculty, and they contend that all phrases representing the idea of the rule of the masses, such terms as state, civic rights, popular representation, nation, are descriptive merely of a legal principle, and do not correspond to any actually existing facts. They contend that the eternal struggles between aristocracy and democracy of which we read in history have never been anything more than struggles between an old minority, defending its actual predominance, and a new and ambitious minority, intent upon the conquest of power, desiring either to fuse with the former or to dethrone and replace it. On this theory, these class struggles consist merely of struggles between successively dominant minorities. The social classes which under our eyes engage in gigantic battles upon the scene of history, battles whose ultimate causes are to be found in economic antagonism, may thus be compared to two groups of dancers executing a chassé croisé in a quadrille.

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Jun 152014
 

MilibandCHAPTER I: THE CONSERVATIVE BASIS OF ORGANISATION

At this point in our inquiry two decisive questions present themselves. One of these is whether the oligarchical disease of the democratic parties is incurable. This will be considered in the next chapter. The other question may be formulated in the following terms. Is it impossible for a democratic party to practise a democratic policy, for a revolutionary party to pursue a revolutionary policy? Must we say that not socialism alone, but even a socialistic policy, is Utopian? The present chapter will attempt a brief answer to this inquiry.

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Jun 142014
 
Domela

Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis (1846 –1919)

CHAPTER 4: ANARCHISM AS PROPHYLACTIC

Anarchists were the first to insist upon the hierarchical and oligarchical consequences of party organisation. Their view of the defects of organisation is much clearer than that of socialists and even than that of syndicalists. They resist authority as the source of servility and slavery, if not the source of all the ills of the world. For them constraint is “synonymous with prison and police.” 1 They know how readily the individualism of the leaders checks and paralyses the socialism of the led. In order to elude this danger, anarchists, notwithstanding the practical inconveniences entailed, have refrained from constituting a party, at least in the strict sense of the term. Their adherents are not organized under any stable form. They are not united by any discipline. They know nothing of obligations or duties, such as elections, pecuniary contributions, participation in regular meetings, and so on.

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Jun 132014
 
Dockstrike

Report on the Dockers’ Strike of 1889

CHAPTER 3: SYNDICALISM AS PROPHYLACTIC

According to the syndicalist doctrine, it is essential to transfer the revolutionary centre of gravity of the proletariat from the political party to the trade union. The union is conceived as a politically neutral organism, one which does not adhere to any party, but which is socialist in inspiration and aim.

It is the great merit of the syndicalists that they have understood how disastrous would be isolated syndicalist activity, devoid of any general theory, living simply from day to day; and to have advocated with much energy the indissoluble union of the working class, organized in its trade unions, with the socialist idea as spiritus rector and as ultimate aim. The syndicalists desire (and here, for once, they agree with the Marxist politicians) to diffuse among the organized workers the conviction that the trade union cannot attain its aim except by the elimination of capitalism, that is to say, by the abolition of the existing economic order. But the syndicalists also desire (and here they are in open conflict with all the other currents of contemporary socialism) that the trade union should not merely be an asylum for socialist ideas, but that it should also directly promote socialist activity, pursuing not simply a trade- unionist policy in the amplest sense of the term, but in addition and above all a socialist policy. Syndicalism is to put an end to the dualism of the labour movement by substituting for the party, whose sole functions are politico-electoral, and for the trade union, whose sole functions are economic, a completer organism that shall represent a synthesis of the political and of the economic function.1

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May 282014
 

TheoryofJusticeSince its publication in 1971 the political ideas expounded by philosopher John Rawls in A Theory of Justice have provided the justifiers and apologists (i.e., the informers and the regulators who, respectively, mould opinion and behaviour within the bourgeois state) for a ‘just’ capitalist democracy — the currently prevailing form of class society — with an alternative to utilitarianism. It also provides, to quote Burns*, “…the oppressor’s cruel smile / Amid his hapless victim’s spoil” with an ideological mask of ethical legitimacy for the predatory values — and practices — of nakedly amoral neo-liberal capitalism. The question remains: how can bourgeois rule be defeated without putting something worse in it place — and without having to plough through the deliberately mystifying lexicon of neo-liberal gobbledygook (e.g. “dialectic” and “contradiction”, for conflict and division, respectively), with which they seek to cover their own self-serving bureaucratic agenda?

* Lines Written on a Banknote

“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

John Kenneth Galbraith

Rawls’ stated aim is to develop a theory of justice that is a viable alternative to the classical utilitarian and ‘intuitionist’ concepts of justice and morality. In contrast with classic utilitarian thought he argues that each person ‘possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society cannot override.’ Policies that lead to the loss of freedom for some or the imposition of sacrifices on the few in return for the benefit of the majority are not, therefore, compatible with a ‘just’ society.

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Jan 112014
 

CoverGrannywebMy Granny Made me an Anarchist: The Christie File: Part 1, 1946-1964. First published by ChristieBooks in 2002 in a limited edition of 100 copies, this fully revised, updated, unabridged eBook (Kindle edition, 2014) is published by Christie(e)Books  —  Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles  NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE — £2.51/€3.03/$4.00  READ INSIDE!  ¡LEER EL INTERIOR!

UK : £2.51 ; USA : $4.00 ; Germany : €3.03 ; France :  €3.03 ; Spain:  €3.03 ; Italy:  €3.03 ; Japan: ¥ 419 ; India: R249.00 : Canada: CDN$ 4.25 ; Brazil: R$9.51 ; Mexico: $52.43 ; Australia: $4.47

“This fascinating personal account offers a remarkable picture of the late-20th century, seen through sensitive eyes and interpreted by a compassionate, searching soul.” Noam Chomsky

“Stuart Christie’s granny might well disagree, given the chance, but her qualities of honesty and self-respect in a hard life were part of his development from flash Glaswegian teenager — the haircut at 15 is terrific — to the 18-year old who sets off to Spain at the end of the book as part of a plan to assassinate the Spanish dictator Franco. In the meanwhile we get a vivid picture of 1950s and early 1960s Glasgow, its cinemas, coffee bars and dance halls as well as the politics of the city, a politics informed by a whole tradition of Scottish radicalism. Not just Glasgow, because Stuart was all over Scotland living with different parts of his family, and in these chapters of the book there is a lyrical tone to the writing amplified by a sense of history of each different place. When we reach the 1960s we get a flavour of that explosion of working class creativity and talent that marked the time, as well as the real fear of nuclear war and the bold tactics used against nuclear weapons bases. It is through this period of cultural shake-up that Stuart clambers through the obstructive wreckage of labour and Bolshevik politics, and finds a still extant politics of libertarian communism that better fitted the mood of those times. Now, in 2002,it is Stuart who finds himself quoted in an Earth First pamphlet as the new generation of activists for Global Justice by-pass the dead hand of Trotskyist parties and renew the libertarian tradition.” John Barker

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Jan 082013
 

SouchyCover001WITH THE PEASANTS OF ARAGÓN. LIBERTARIAN COMMUNISM IN THE LIBERATED AREAS  by Augustin Souchy Bauer. ISBN 978-0-904564-21-1

 ‘Entre los Campesinos de Aragón: el Comunismo Libertario en las Comarcas Liberadas’. First published 1937, Barcelona, by Tierra y Libertad. Translated by Abe Bluestein.

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souchy1

Augustin Souchy Bauer (1892-1984)

In 1936-37 Augustin Souchy Bauer visited towns and villages in Aragón that, soon after July 19, 1936, began to live a lifestyle without precedent in all history. One after the other they collectivised the land and established libertarian communism, spontaneously — but with all due deliberation. The story of this trip that Souchy made together with Emma Goldman part of the way is a document of extraordinary importance not only for the facts presented but because it informs the reader of today how and in what circumstances an idea regarded as purely utopian until then became a reality .  .  . The reader will learn how an economic and social system developed that was truly communal and anti-authoritarian. Anarchists of the National Confederation of Labour and the Iberian Federation of Anarchists (CNT-FAI), socialists of the General Union of Workers (UGT) and individualists lived together in the same community in a way of life not even imagined until then.

Sep 022012
 

Anarquismo y Lucha de Clases (Floodgates of Anarchy)

 

Anarquismo y Lucha de Clases por Stuart Christie y Albert Meltzer (traducción directa de Floodgates of Anarchy por Eduardo Prieto). ISBN 978-1-873976-59-3 (€4,12/£3.25/ $5.14)

España ; France ; Germany ; Italy ; UK ; US/Canada/India and RoW

Las compuertas que contienen las caudalosas aguas de la anarquía se están resquebrajando. Los liberales aligerarían la presión desviando parte de la corriente; los conservadores apuntalarían diques; los totalitarios construirían una presa todavía más resistente. ¿Pero es la anarquía una fuerza destructiva? La ausencia de gobierno puede alarmar al autoritario, pero ¿es realmente un pueblo liberado su propio peor enemigo? o ¿son el verdadero enemigo de la humanidad –como postulan los anarquistas– los medios por los que se le gobierna? Sin gobierno el mundo podría conseguir acabar con la explotación y la guerra. La anarquía no debería confundirse con un gobierno débil, dividido o múltiple. Solo con la total abolición del gobierno puede la sociedad desarrollarse en libertad. Estos son los argumentos presentados por los revolucionarios Christie y Meltzer.

“Quien quiera conocer qué es el anarquismo en el mundo contemporáneo hará bien en empezar por leer ANARQUISMO Y LUCHA DE CLASES. (…) Nos obliga a replantear nuestra mirada hacia ciertos problemas morales y políticos que otras doctrinas más sofisticadas eluden” – The Sunday Times

“Lúcida exposición de teoría revolucionaria anarquista”  - Peace News

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