Some Anarchist history and theory on revolution

Women with gun and flag

Anarchists insist that to get rid of capitalism and all its oppressions we need a revolution. But what exactly is a revolution and who can create one. What is the role of anarchists in that process. What is the history of anarchist involvement in Revolutions. These articles are a selection of those to be found on these topics on Struggle site check out the rest of the site for more.

Answers to some basic questions

General articles about Revolution

The road to revolution
A complete transformation of society, revolution, is the goal of anarchism. Ray Cunningham looks at what is meant when anarchists talk about revolution, and what can be done to bring it closer.

Organising against Capitalism
Many revolutionaries in recent years have been engrossed in analysing the mistakes of the past and the changing nature of capitalism. Andrew Flood a participant in the "Intercontinental Gathering for Humanity and against neo-liberalism" argues it is time to start moving on to the constructive work of building a new movement.

Modern revolutions or is revolution still possable
With the fracture of the working class into smaller workplaces, mostly due to automation, the division of the old communities into suburbs, the advent of mass transport which meant even those in the suburbs no longer worked together, the m ove into white collar and skilled jobs, In short that the revolution although desirable is now utopian

Prospects for revolution
We are living in a time of great change for the left. For this century the left has been identified with social-democracy (Labour, WP etc.) who saw socialism as being introduced through a few good men taking getting elected through parliament. Or by Leninists who saw socialism as a few good men being put into power by a revolution.

Platformism in action
The Workers Solidarity Movement was formed in 1984. Prior to this the late 1970s and early 1980s had seen the first episodes of public anarchist activity with the emergence of local anarchist groups, many of them short-lived, in Belfast, Dublin, Dundalk and Limerick.

Can you have an anarchist army?
AS ANARCHISTS believe the bosses will resist a revolution, it follows that we accept the need for armed force to defend the revolution. But anarchists also oppose militarism

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?

Revolutionary History

Bakunin's ideas on revolutionary organisation
The Russian revolutionary Micheal Bakunin is often presented as the 'founding father' of anarchism. He was a larger than life figure whose disputes with Marx in the 1st international form an essential role in the clarification of the role of the vanguard and of the state in the revolutionary process. Yet his concrete ideas on anarchist organisation are not so well known.

Revolution in Europe

Revolution in Ireland

The 1798 Rebellion

In June of 1795 several Irish Protestants gathered on top of Cave Hill, overlooking Belfast. They swore " never to desist in our efforts until we had subverted the authority of England over our country and asserted our independence". Three years later 100,000 rose against Britain in the first Irish republican insurrection. Andrew Flood examines what they were fighting for and how they influenced modern Irish nationalism. [In Spanish]

You can also download, print out and distribute a PDF file of this article.

1798 rebellion leaflet

Robert Emmet and the rising of 1803
A review of the book by Ruan O' Donnell on the 1803 rising

When the Red Flag flew in Munster
FARM LABOURERS STRIKES, occupations of creameries, red flags flying and 'soviets' being declared. Not usually the sort of thing associated with the years 1919-1923, the years of the War of Independence and the Civil War. This article covers the events of these years they 'forgot' to tell you about in school.

The 1798 Rebellion
In June of 1795 several Irish Protestants gathered on top of Cave Hill, overlooking Belfast. They swore " never to desist in our efforts until we had subverted the authority of England over our country and asserted our independence". Three years later 100,000 rose against Britain in the first Irish republican insurrection. Andrew Flood examines what they were fighting for and how they influenced modern Irish nationalism.


A revolution they never told you about in school
25th anniversary of Portugal's revolution. It is estimated that about 380 factories self-managed and 500 co-ops were in operation by the summer of 1975

25 years ago : When France rebelled
People think of revolutions as buried deep in history. Yet, as little as 25 years ago France was on the verge of a total revolt with 12 million workers on strike, 122 factories occupied, and students fighting against the old moribund system in which they found themselves.

The Paris Commune
The commune was formally installed in the Hotel de Ville two days later in the glorious spring sunshine of Tuesday, 28 March. The national Guard battalions assembled, the names of the newly elected members were read out , as, wearing red, they lined up on the steps of the Hotel de Ville under a canopy surmounted by a bust to the republic. On high the red flag was flying as it had done ever since 18 March and guns saluted the proclamation of the Paris Commune

Spanish revolution

A new world in their Hearts: Spain 1936
In the short space of a few years the small peasants and agricultural labourers demonstrated that, far from chaos, anarchism was an efficient, desirable and realisable method of running things. There were unprecedented levels of voluntary collectivisation throughout the land on the anti-fascist side.

Review: The Spanish Civil War by Antony Beevan
It is a very welcome break from the normal pattern of mainstream military histories of the Spanish Revolution. For the most part these fail to discuss the revolution within the civil war

For more information on the Spanish Revolution read The Spanish Civil War: Anarchism in Action and have a look at the Spanish Revolution Webpage

Russian revolution

The Russian Revolution
Does the end justify the means? Many on the left belive so. Aileen O'Carroll argues that the means used play a part in creating the end that is achieved. The best example of this is the Russian Revolution of 1917.

For many more articles on the Russian Revolution see the Russian Revolution Webpage

Revolution in America


On New Years Day of '94 people awoke to the news that four towns in the south-eastern state of Chiapas had been taken over by a group calling itself the Zapatista National Liberation Army. Dermot Sreenan, who recently presented a talk on the EZLN and organised a picket of the Mexican embassy in January '94, looks at the politics and history of the EZLN.

The Mexican Zapatistas and direct democracy
Little has been written about day-to-day life in the rebel area, here we help to right this balance

For Humanity and against neoliberalism
In August of 1996 3,000 people from all over the world gathered in jungle camps as guests of the EZLN to discuss building a global fight against neo-liberal capitalism

Thousands of rebels from all over the world meet in Spain
Interview with a WSM member who attended the 2nd encounter for Humanity and against neoliberalism in Spain this summer


Argentina says "Enough"
On the 19th and 20th of December 2001, there was a major popular revolt in Argentina. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in the streets. The demonstrations were sparked by the government's plan to cut public spending as part of an emergency financial package demanded by the IMF

Argentina- a living laboratory of struggle
The popular movement in Argentina has not been defeated. The newly elected president will go on the offensive with all the powers at his disposal. However the assemblies, occupied factories and Piquettes will resist and may even experience a new growth.

Cuba..socialist paradise or Castro's fiefdom?
Cuba, about 90 miles off the coast of North America, is the largest of the Caribbean islands. The social services are in a far better condition than they are in other Latin American countries. Virtually every Cuban under the age of 30 can read and write. But the cost of these benefits is high for the working class who have never been in the saddle of power in Cuba.

Bolivia: debtors armed with dynamite and molotovs
In La Paz, a group of small debtors armed with dynamite and molotovs occupied the building of a banking supervisory agency. There they held hostage 94 of the institution's functionaries

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.


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.

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Spanish revolution

Find out more about the Spanish Revolution