Thinking about anarchism

Thinking about Anarchism is a regular column in the Irish Anarchist paper Workers Solidarity whoch explains many of the basic slogans and issues of anarchism


WHY IS THE concept of class so important to anarchists? Why are we constantly talking about classes and class struggle? Some of our opponents accuse us of living in the past, they claim the working class is dying out.


A revolution essentially is a sudden upheaval in society which fundamentally alters the way that society operates or who that society is run by. It occurs when the mass of the people desire change that their rulers are unwilling or unable to grant.

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What about human nature?

We are constantly being told that there will always be leaders and led, rulers and ruled. These ideas are powerful because they seem to make sense. We do live in a nasty, competitive society.

Anarchist Organisation

One of the greatest myths that has been fostered about anarchists is that they are disorganised. Since the anarchist movement first emerged in the International Working Mens' Association in the 1870's it has developed many trends.

Are anarchists violent?

There is a lot of nonsense turning up on TV, radio and in the newspapers, which tries to make anarchism little more than another word for violence. In reality anarchists are no more violent than anyone else

Beyond the 'Days of action against global capital'

For decades, the organisations that manage capitalism have met to divvy up the world among themselves. For the first time, their role as dealers of poverty and misery has been exposed by thousands of angry protesters.

Chaos - Thinking about anarchism

The media constantly tell us that anarchy is just another word for disorder and disorganisation. Whether it be the Star or the 'educated' Irish Times, the same misuse of the word occurs with monotonous regularity. Not all of this can be put down to lazy and careless journalism.

Organising & Agitating

'Don't mourn, Organise', Joe Hill said before he was executed by the US state. It's nothing more than common sense to say that two heads are better than one. The more people working together, the more that can be achieved. But organisation is more than the coming together of kindred spirits.

Anarchism, socialism and freedom

Anarchism views society on the basis of two fundamental pillars. These are the economic nature of society and the manner in which political power is organised. We believe that the economic system under which we presently live must be abolished. We also say that the political institutions of capitalism, which are hierarchical and authoritarian, must go too.

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Follow the leader?

Organisation based on a small leadership telling everyone else what to do is always opposed by anarchists. We have no desire to be ruled, ordered round or dictated to. But is this not an unrealistic position that takes no account of the real world?

Anarchism and Marxism

A lot of people who call themselves anarchists will probably be extremely annoyed when I say that the most striking thing is how much we have in common with Marxism. Both anarchists and Marxists are materialists. Both believe that the ideas in peoples' heads are shaped by the social and economic conditions in which we live.

Religion & belief

We believe that people should be empowered to be in control of their own destinies. That means opposing the power of the churches.

The Myth of the Student Radical

There is a commonly held idea that universities are some sort of "red nucleus", a hotbed of activism and socialism. The fact is that students come from many different backgrounds and classes, although mainly 'middle' and upper class. There is no underlying political or economic interest that unites or could unite all students.

Smash the state

One of the best known catch phrases of Anarchism has got to be "Smash the State". It's also one that's easily open to misunderstanding.

Evolution and revolution

There can be no islands in the stream of capitalism. Any such group has to enter into economic relations with the modern capitalist economy eventually.


Capitalism now operates globally. If you are serious about fighting them then there is a glaring need to organise and co-ordinate. It is in answer to this need that revolutionary organisations spring.

The need for an anarchist organisation

Why is it that so many anarchists don't see the need to join anarchist organisations?

Anarchism and Religion

The popular stereotype of anarchists' relationship to religion is that we are all priest-killers and church-burners. This is, as is usually the case with mainstream representations of anarchism, almost completely false.

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Neither Orange nor Green

Sinn Féin's politics offer little more to Northern workers, as a class, than the politics of the fringe loyalist groups. Both aspire to getting a better deal for the poor and oppressed in their communities but neither are capable of delivering, as they are limited to rhetorical appeals to the workers of the other side to "see sense"

Against Private Property?

When anarchists say "property is theft" does this mean they are after your tooth brush?

What is Direct Action

Anarchists talk a lot about Direct Action, what does it mean

Anarchism & Democracy

ANARCHISM is about individual freedom. But it is also about building a society that has a fair system of wealth distribution. For this reason, anarchists consider themselves to be democrats.

Training or Education

Our schools are just glorified production lines - children go in one end, workers come out the other. There is little room for the idea that knowledge might be a good thing in itself, that there is more to education than making round pegs for round holes.

Getting organised locally

One local struggle, no matter how determined or daring, won't overthrow the system. On the other hand, a network of struggles, supporting and encouraging each other, can spread and grow to be capable of just that.

Irish nationalism is not for us

Anarchists are for the defeat of British imperialism. But we want more, we stand for the creation of a new society in the interests of the working class. This is very different from the politics of nationalism, of Sinn Fein

Indonesia : The impossible revolution?

Revolution is about a large number of people coming together at the one time. The aims of a revolution are often radical and far reaching.

Dare to lead... with ideas

Leaders get into positions of power where they tend to make decisions that don't represent the views of the people who put them there &endash; and then they spend their time convincing people that it's the only option &endash; or you might call it selling the deal to them

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Red and Black Ireland

News of Anarchism in Ireland

The Ainriail mailing list carries the latest news from the WSM and the struggles anarchists are involved in. There are never more then 8 posts a week (and normally only 2-4). We post printed articles to it shortly after they are published.

More details!

From the new format (2000) Workers Solidarity

Anarchism, elections and power

Anarchists have always opposed participation in the sham of parliamentary elections (choosing rulers rather than ending the division into rulers and ruled) and this time around it will be no different.

Anarchism and the struggle for Freedom

We're told we live in a free society. We have freedom of speech, we can work where we like, travel where we like, and can vote in elections. But how free are we?

Why can't you all get together?

Last November about 70 or 80 people, from a number of left wing groupings, attended a conference in Dublin calling for 'Left Unity'. The organisers of the meeting wanted to set up an alliance like the Socialist Alliances in Britain, or even a new party like the Scottish Socialist Party. This would be an alliance, based on Leninist groups, coming together primarily to contest the next general election.

Workers have the power

In the WSM we're often asked why we spend so much time talking about the working class. Even the title of our paper, Workers Solidarity, seems a bit odd to some - why are we talking so much about workers? Isn't anarchism for everybody? And aren't we all middle class now?

Democracy In Our Unions?

Trade unions were set up to defend and advance the interests of workers, but over the years have become more and more dominated by a largely unaccountable bureaucracy.

Democracy, majority rule, and autonomy

An element of real democracy is that decisions should be made by those who are effected by them. For a lot of issues, only certain people will really be effected by a decision, and so they should be the only ones to make it.