Political texts

The West Supports Islamic Terrorism When It Suits It’s Geopolitical Interests

Some people may take me as a “conspiracy theorist” for what i’m about to say, so let me make this clear:

It doesn’t matter to me whether or not 9/11 was an “inside job”. Nor does it matter to me whether or not the moon landing was fake, or whether Stanley Kubric was the one who filmed it. I don’t care whether or not Jay Z, Rhianna or even Obama are members of Satanic cults. I don’t even really care whether or not reptilian aliens from the other side of the galaxy have been secretly running all human civilisations for the past 130,000 years.

But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter if powerful people are secretly doing things which lead to the deaths of civilians that they then lie about. Killing civilians is not acceptable by most people’s standards of morality, and what’s more it goes against the Geneva convention, as does torture and the mistreatment or prisoners of war. If a government which has signed the Geneva convention does these things, the officials responsible are War Criminals.

Not lizards, or satanists or members of whatever New World Order you think is going on, but War Criminals. War Criminals who don’t want to be brought to justice, and would rather hide their tracks. If possible, they would rather be remembered as heroes, not criminals, or failing that not remembered at all.

If the West is at war against Islamist Terrorism, that’s one thing. Of course, “terrorist” is a slightly meaningless label given that most of the West’s enemies would call it’s leaders terrorists as well.  Whenever someone uses violence to achieve their political goals, then their opponents will probably call them a terrorist. It’s a subjective definition.

So let’s just stick with the term “War Criminal”, because that’s a lot more clear-cut. If a rebel group attacks a nation state, even killing military personnel in the process, they are not necessarily war criminals. In fact they may be completely dedicated to achieving a lasting peace and a democratic system of government, only resorting to violence because their enemies are so despotic and brutal that they are ensuring perpetual conflict.

However, anyone, whether they are a Nation-State, a rebel group or a mercenary squad, who kills civilians, tortures people or mistreats/kills prisoners of war, is a War Criminal, whatever their ideology, nationality or size.

The leaders of the West (broadly speaking, the NATO powers) are War Criminals. The mistreatment of prisoners of war at Guantanamo Bay is well known, and this is only one site at which prisoners of the “war against Terror” are tortured. The deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq due to Western bombs and bullets are also well known. Again Iraq is only the most famous recent example: Western bombs killed plenty of civilians in Libya, Mali, Afghanistan and Pakistan too, to name just a few examples.

Also War Criminals are the leaders of Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Boko Haram, Al Nusra and any other Islamist militant group that targets civilians, torture’s people or kills or mistreats prisoners of war. So in this “War of Terror” both “sides” are War Criminals. Both can be called terrorists too, if you like that term. But it is of course more complicated than that, because there are not just two sides. There are too many “Islamist groups” in the world for anyone to be able to count them all, and they are not all united in common cause, with common leadership or even with a common ideology.

The West gets around this complexity by simply referring to them all as if they were the same, much as they used to refer all leftists and serious labour organisers around the world “Communists”, and for much the same reason. So that they can kill them, and their citizens will not object to it because the majority of those citizens have been convinced that “Communists”, or “Islamists” are a deadly threat.

But this lumping of all Islamic militants in the same category plays another function as well, which is to disguise the fact that the West is only really at war with some of these groups, and is in fact funding or operationally supporting others. This is the point at which some people will say i’m a conspiracy theorist, so i guess i’d better name drop some respected journalists and academics who have collected a wealth of empirical evidence for these claims: Michel Chossudovsky and Jeremy Scahill are good places to start.

I am going to focus on the bigger picture of the basic theory. Lets start with three basic assumptions: 1. Imperialism is a lot easier if the imperialist nations don’t have to fight all their own wars but can instead get the people who have already been conquered to fight them instead. 2. Imperialism is also a lot easier is the people who are being conquered are too busy fighting ethnic wars against one another instead of uniting against their colonisers. 3. Imperialism is even easier if the colonised people don’t even see themselves as such but instead are deluded into thinking they are citizens of independent sovereign nations.

Today we have a world divided between three major imperialist powers (Russia, China and the West) with a few countries led by governments who at least try to maintain a degree of independence (e.g. Iran, Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela). Most of the world’s supposedly independent sovereign nations are actually Western proxy governments, since the West is the most militarily superior imperialist power.

Instead of ruling these countries’ peoples directly as colonial subjects, the West installs pseudo-democratic governments. These governments hold elections, but if the population elects a candidate the West doesn’t like, they will either be assassinated by agents working for the west, or their entire government will be overthrown by rebels armed by the West.

Two important books documenting this overall pattern are “War is a Racket” by Major General Smedley Butler and “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” by John Perkins, both of whom were actually heavily involved in this process and who later choose to expose it through their writings.

If the colonised people happen to vote for pro-Western candidates in their fake elections then they stand a chance of being able to live in peace. If not, and if they organised armed rebellion against whatever government the West imposes on them by force, they will most likely be drawn into a civil war that takes on ethnic dimensions.

Their revolutionary army will be infiltrated by Western agents who will do all they can do split the organisation into rival warring factions on ethnic lines, or the West will simply form a new “rebel” group to fight against them from the outside. Western propaganda, and the propaganda of the Western proxies on the ground, will constantly emphasise the ethnic dimensions of the conflict.

This could be done for example by forming a rival rebel group comprised of members of only one ethnic group to attack the genuine revolutionaries. This would be likely to inflame passions all across the country and perhaps lead to the spontaneous formation of other rebel armies representing only one ethnic group. Then the war will appear to outsiders and even to the citizens of the country to be an ethnic war rather than one between an imperialist country and it’s subjects.

Sometimes Russia, China, Iran or some other anti-western power will also be funding one of the other rebel armies, or perhaps the government the rebels are fighting itself. This is what’s going on in Syria: Russia is supporting the Assad regime, Iran are supporting Hezbollah, and Saudi Arabia and Qatar are supporting various other rebel groups. It must be pretty annoying (to say the least!) to be a genuine Syrian revolutionary and having to work with all these imperialists!

The interesting this is that the NATO powers do not directly fund the rebels, instead they fund Saudi Arabia and Qatar and let them fund rebels, though CIA, M16 and other western secret service agencies are almost certainly playing more direct roles than the Western governments are publicly letting on. Nonetheless, it is an example of the kind of long twisted hierarchies of power in modern Imperialism.

The interesting by-product of this complexity is that the West finds itself actually funding groups who share the kind of Islamist ideology that the West declared war against after 9/11. Some of the Syrian rebels, like Al Nusra are openly in allegiance with “Al Qaeda”, as the West itself admits and complains about. But they don’t tell Saudi Arabia or Qatar to stop funding them.

“Al Qaeda” itself is not the most coherent of organisations, but rather many different organisations pursuing different objectives in different parts of the world with different leadership structures. This is how it is possible for some Al Qaeda groups to be working with the West, as in Syria, and some working against the West, as in most places.

The point is, all of this should be enough to show that the West do not really care about fighting Al Qaeda or Islamist militancy per se. They will support or fight against these groups depending on other factors, as to whether or not it seems to suit their short term geopolitical interests.

So what are these interests? Well, the financial system or the western world (by which we mean all it’s quasi colonies in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Australasia as well as simply the imperial heartlands of Europe and North America) is still dominated by the US dollar. The value of the US dollar, and thus the integrity of the whole system, is based on it’s link to energy supplies, especially Oil and Gas. If Oil and Gas are sold in dollars at a good price, then the West is happy. If not, it’s not.

This is why we always hear about war or tense diplomatic relations concerning the West in countries where there are Oil and Gas reserves under the ground: (e.g. Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Mali, DRC, Venezuela), or where Oil or Gas pipelines would have to be built (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Colombia).

For the rest of the Western colonies in the world the explanation is slightly simpler. There’s no point going to all that trouble ensuring the ratio of value between US Dollars to Oil is OK if no workers are being exploited to turn natural resources into commodities for those dollars to be spent on. So the West makes sure that the countries with the raw materials are run by regimes who’ll sell them to the West cheaply, and the countries with the workers will be run by regimes who’ll keep wages down by violently repressing trades-unions and other social movements of the poor.

The companies making money off of the cheap labour power and raw materials, are of course all based in the West and their owners go to the same parties as Western military and political leaders, since they are members of the same social class- the ruling class.

So there you go. It’s not all an Evil conspiracy. It’s just plain, good old-fashioned Imperialist War crimes being covered up behind a smokescreen of democracy for the benefit of capitalists.

Clarification of what i think about the Anarchist Federation in the UK

From reading some of the articles on this blog, especially “critique of the anarchist federation” and “anarchism which is not anti-colonialist is just racism in disguise” people in the anarchist federation have probably gotten the impression that i am harboring big grudges against them and just want to shit all over them or give them a bad reputation.

I want to apologise to anyone who has gotten this impression, and i recognise that by only writing about my criticisms of the organisation, in quite a sarcastic way too, i have in fact been contributing to giving it a bad reputation, which i dont actually want to do.

A lot of the negative tone of what i wrote did indeed just come out of a sense of resentment at the particular way that my disassociation from the organisation actually came about, but i now understand that this was largely just the result of a long series of  misunderstandings, partly involving simple administrative issues about people not having my current email address etc.

So i have calmed down a lot, and if possible i’d like to repair some of the damage by making it clear here that i do still have a lot of respect for the organisation and i’d like to be able to at least occasionally work on some of the same issues as people in it.

As long as people in the organisation do not refuse to work with me simply out of spite, and can just focus on the issues themselves, i am sure this is possible and that i can get on with practical work with them without making a big deal out of things that happened in the past. “Practical work” does not even necessarily have to involve spending any time with me anyway.

Being part of the Anarchist Federation for two years taught me a huge amount about political and economic theory that i am hugely grateful for. When i first joined the organisation i was quite young and inexperianced in many aspects of life, and my head was full of all kinds of incoherent notions. One of the advantages to structured organisations in general, especially ones that have a focus on constantly updating their analysis, is that people within them receive a political education much faster than they’d be able to any other way that i can see.

Even if i eventually decided that there were a few things i disagreed with about the organisation’s positions, i dont really disagree with them as strongly as perhaps other things i’ve written have made it seem. My overall experience of the organisation is that it is full of people who are very intelligent and experianced, who treat their actions in an intellectually rigorous way.

I am sure that people in the Anarchist Federation who disagree with me on some topics could come up with arguments against things i’ve said that would make me stop and reconsider some things, so again, i hope noone is too spiteful to engage with me on them.

If anyone in Afed misinterpreted “Anarchism which is not anti-colonialism is racism in disguise” to think that i am just accusing everyone in it of being racist or White sumpremacist, then i would ask them to look back at what i actually wrote. If anyone is going around claiming that i have said these things about afed then i would ask them to stop, because i never said that.

I was the Latin American secretary for over a year and actually represented the organisation to many other anarchist groups throughout Latin America in face to face meetings. I have to say i think this gives me some right to make comments on the organisation’s approaches to issues of imperialism and racism.

I would also like to make it clear that i am not an “anti-organisationalist”. I have engaged with insurrectionalist theory enough to have made up my own mind on the arguments against formal organisations, and i have pretty much always argued that although they make some interesting points, to completely reject formal organisations is absolutist, and ridiculous.

I do genuinely believe that some of arguments made by the Anarchist Federation and the writers they are influenced by, such as the authors of the Organisational Platform of Libertarian Communists, have never really been answered by any insurectionalist author i have ever read.

the only “insurectionalist” authors that i really do agree with are those who are less absolutist on this issue, such as Peter Gelderloos: http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=20070408112944402, and this anonymous writer: http://www.crimethinc.com/blog/2010/01/07/say-you-want-an-insurrection/ who writes under the Crimethinc banner but whose views definitely are not the same as most Crimethinc people. To me insurrectionalism is simply about recognising that certain violent actions carried out by oppressed people can be legitimate even in non-revolutionary situations, and that revolutionaries can and should seek to proactively change social dynamics rather than taking them as given.

However, I believe very strongly that if Anarchism is to play any significant role in social conflict then Anarchists need to be very organised, with accountable decision-making structures and clearly defined roles for individuals within organisations. All my experience of anarchist groups that have not been organised in that way has confirmed this. The Tyranny of Structurelessness definitly exists, and being part of Afed gave me a lot more confidence to argue against it in other groups i was involved in.

Being a part of the Anarchist Federation for two years also confirmed the value of organisations in other ways, as i saw first hand how the organisation’s structure was able to last beyond short term political campaigns and helped provide a sense of continuity between struggles.

So i don’t have any major theorectical problem with the Anarchist Federation trying to organise itself the way it does. The objections i have are mainly based on my impression that some of the specific ways it is structured means that it fails to achieve what it tries to. It doesnt mean i don’t want what Afed wants, which is a well-structured national anarchist organisation.

I have written, in an overly harsh tone i admit, that i thought it would be better if the whole thing was abandoned and a new organisation was formed. On a theorectical level, i still believe this, but there is no way i could imagine it actually happening unless the Anarchist Federation as it exists now played a significant, if not leading role in forming that new organisation. Obviously i did not make that clear in earlier writtings, which were written, as i admitted above, partly out of anger at the rudeness with which i thought i was being treated.

It even says in some Anarchist Federation literature that the organisation does not see itself as necessarily the final answer in Anarchist organising in the UK, and that theorectically it could dissolve and merge with some new future organisation. That was one of the things that attracted me to the organisation, that it didnt seem as up-itself as many other political groups.

i do believe that the time has come to start thinking about a new national organisation that is structured in a slightly more loose way than Afed, but which is still based on core theorectical ideas that afed has about the role of anarchist organisations and how they should be structured. This is because i feel that there are many young people around the country who have been radicalised in recent years but who will for cultural reasons just never be interested in an organisation with the organisational culture of afed.

I also believe that a certain overly defensive group-mentality exists in Afed that might make the process of afed disbanding and being replaced by something more dynamic and effective extremely difficult. I am sure there are lots of people in afed who would just automatically deny that there is anything wrong with it. But i also know that there are also lots of people in Afed who feel similarly to how i do about certain things, even if they still think i’m a rude idiot.

I know i’m a rude idiot sometimes. I just hope that people see that its not all the time, and that i can also be capable of making sensible arguments and good decisions. Even more importantly, i hope people realise that i am interested in putting aside differences and getting on with practical work to advance the same aims as them, whether or not i am part of the organisation again and whatever the circumstances of me leaving were.

One final point i would like to make is that i dont feel that i really know anyone in the organisation well enough to make personal judgements on them, and that i also dont feel that they know me well enough to do the same. In the organisation i was extremely isolated and only communicated with other members via the internet, at a few national gatherings, and once or twice on the phone.

I dont think these experiances of me are really enough for somebody to make an informed judgement on my level of commitment to the same aims and principles as them. I hope that anyone with a negative image of me in their head can take a step back and think about whether it is really justified on the basis of the limited experiance they’d had of me. I have certainly tried to do the same with people in Afed whom i’ve formed negative views of.

I also promise to be more careful in my choice of language in any future public communications where i might mention Afed to make sure i am not being unfair or giving it a bad reputation.

Having said all this i would love it if people from Afed could communicate with me more, even if they have nothing good to say, or even if they only write a few very short sentences. I don’t want to have any kind of feuds or bad relations with organisations that believe in almost exactly the same things as me, as there is too much practical work to be getting on with.

To clear up the issue once and for all, my email is Razchaoten@gmail.com. if more people had known that in afed before they decided to kick me out, perhaps none of this would have happened, as i would have been able to defend myself against accusations of being Anti-organisationalist at the time. But what’s done is done, and if anyone wants to get in touch then they are more than welcome to email me.

Dying Is The Only Good Thing Margaret Thatcher Ever Did

The only good Fascist is a dead one, as the old saying goes, and today Thatcher finally achieved this positive distinction. She had made a fair effort at being a good fascist for many years, but clearly did not understand that if she had just killed herself in 1975, the year she became Tory party leader, she would have already achieved her goal.

Some people would object to my categorization of her as a Fascist. These people need to get a life, and some perspective. Margaret Thatcher was a close personal friend of Augustus Pinochet, the Chilean dictator and even helped him avoid punishment by letting him hide out in the UK. This is clearly a strong endorsement of Fascism.

Pinochet did not come to power as a result of free and fair elections, but as the result of a coup financed by the CIA and the ITT corporation. His regime killed literally millions of people and destroyed the Chilean labour movement.

Thatcher clearly admired this in him as she was committed to destroying the British labour movement. Her regime used extreme violence against striking miners (amongst other workers) and passed legislation that made effective working class solidarity illegal.

Under her reign UK police were given more power and more weaponry with which to fight working class people, starting a trend which continues to this day. This use of direct violence may not compare with Pinochet’s, but she managed to kill many working class people through more indirect ways too, by beginning the dismantling of nationalised industry and the welfare state.

Like most Fascists, she saw left-wingers and ethic minorities as serious threats to the divine order of things and so supported the various bloody “anti-communist” wars going on throughout the 1980s in the “3rd world” and made speeches sympathizing with racist violence against immigrants.

Her policies towards the remaining British Colonies were predictably brutal, maintaining a heavy British military presence in Northern Ireland which collaborated with violent Protestant gangs, and even started a war with Argentina to keep the completely insignificant Falkland Islands under British imperial control.

But of course her major accomplishment toward achieving a Fascist world order in which all power is in the hands of an un-elected elite backed up by extreme State violence and divide -and-rule propaganda lay in her reforms of the financial system.

During the 1980’s international financial capitalists aided by Thatcher and her buddy Ronald Reagan consolidated their power over the international system to an unprecedented degree.

Thatcher deregulated the financial sector in Britain and helped the IMF force indebted “3rd world” States to do the same. This meant that in very real terms financial capitalists had far more power over what governments did than elected officials.

It created a world where those in a position to borrow money are seduced into living in a dream world of material excess which can be taken away at any time, while those that are not able to borrow money face ever increasing hardship and are ignored by almost everyone even when dying on the street.

There is much, much more i could say on this theme, but frankly, i don’t want to right now because it will only make me angry, whereas today should be a day for joyous celebration.

When “Evil” people die, “Good” people should be happy, even if taking pleasure in the death of others is not usually a “Good” thing to do. Like her friend Pinochet, Thatcher never faced punishment for her crimes against humanity and was allowed to die as an “innocent” person in the eyes of official society.

Now that she had been dead only a few hours the mainstream media are already talking as if we are all supposed to be sad about it. What about all the people who died as a result of her economic and military policies? Where are the mainstream media articles commemorating them?

This emotional whitewashing should not be stood for. A huge proportion of British citizens, and many people of other backgrounds besides, have hated Margaret Thatcher for years and have been anxiously waiting for this day. Many people around the country will be celebrating today.

But the mainstream media will probably not report this, or if they do, they will probably make it out to be a bad thing. Well fuck them. We have a right to feel the way we do.

Let the truth be known. Margaret Thatcher was an evil fascist arsehole and millions of people are glad she’s dead.

Now get out there and start partying.

 

 

Anarchism Which is not Anti-colonialist is Just Racism in Disguise

Saying you are opposed to Capitalism and the State without talking about Imperialism and Colonialism is quite a strange thing to do. It is in fact suspicious, as it indicates not only that you live in an imperialist country and enjoy the benefits of this, but also that you refuse to admit this fact. I am afraid to say this makes you a racist, even if you don’t realist it. Like with drugs, the first step to giving up racism is admitting you have a problem. The UK Anarchist movement has yet to take this first step.

Divide and Rule Affects Anarchists Too

Many people living in Imperialist countries whose armies have invaded other people’s territory to exploit their labour power and resources may feel pissed off at the government for reasons that have nothing much to do with Imperialism.

They may feel that their taxes are too high, for example, or that the government is letting too many immigrants come into the country, or not providing enough public services. In all of these examples such people may actively support even more imperialist government policies to bring more wealth to the country, such as wars of aggression and tightly regulated border controls between imperialist countries and their colonies.

Basic to the age-old Imperialist strategy of divide and rule is the placing of members of certain ethnic groups in privileged positions in relation to others. In settler-colonies such as the modern day Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank, the settlers are the group given the privileges by the government, while the indigenous people are subjected to racist oppression. In imperialist “home” countries it is the “indigenous” population which is given privileges by the State whilst migrants from the colonies and their descendants are racially oppressed. Modern day Israel is also a good example of this, as people of Palestinian Arab descent are systematically excluded from political and economic power.

Sticking with the example of Israel, let us examine the Israeli Anarchist movement. Judith Butler, in a lecture available online misleading called “Queer Anarchism and Anarchism Against the Wall” (which in fact barely mentions Queer Anarchism at all) offers a critique of certain sections of the Israeli Anarchist movement which talk about their struggle against the Israeli state as something separate from the Palestinian people’s struggle for self-determination.

Butler points out that many Anarchists, not just in Israeli but all over the world, wrongly understand “self-determination” to mean “the creation of a State”, which is not necessarily the case. Though it is of course true that many Palestinians do wish to see the creation of a new State of “their own” (which to Anarchists would be an impossibility since States are always controlled by elite minorities rather than whole populations) many other Palestinians keep the ideas of self-determination and State-creation deliberately distinct.

This confusion on the part of Anarchists living in Imperialist countries between anti-colonial struggles for self-determination and chauvinistic nationalist struggles for the creation of new States does not just apply to Palestine, but indeed to all anti-colonial struggles. This leads many anarchists from such countries to refuse to support any anti-colonial struggles unless they are explicitly anti-statist, which is very rare.

Point 4 of the UK Anarchist Federation’s Aims and Principles

… is typical of this confusion, stating:

We are opposed to the ideology of national liberation movements which claims that there is some common interest between native bosses and the working class in face of foreign domination. We do support working class struggles against racism, genocide, ethnocide and political and economic colonialism. We oppose the creation of any new ruling class. We reject all forms of nationalism, as this only serves to redefine divisions in the international working class. The working class has no country and national boundaries must be eliminated. We seek to build an anarchist international to work with other libertarian revolutionaries throughout the world.

Notice that there is no distinction made here between different types of nationalism, indeed the first sentence talks about “the ideology of national liberation movements”, as if they were all the same. They do claim to support “working-class” struggles against colonialism, but what does this mean in regions of the world that remain industrially undeveloped or where capitalist modes of labour relations have not been fully established?

The first sentence also mentions “claims that there is some common interest between native bosses and the working class in the face of foreign domination”, but it does not actually offer any argument against these claims, because there is none. No-one can deny for example that the Chinese working class is better off now than they were under colonialism, even if they are still horribly exploited.

But being less exploited is in their interest, and it has come about because of the interests of their “native bosses” in promoting export-led industrial development. The Communist Party has an interest in enriching itself and trying to outcompete the West, and this has led to increases in the standard of living for working class Chinese people as well.

This refusal to provide an analysis of how capitalist economies actually work, beyond the simplistic communist view of that money and wage-labour are inherently wrong and need to be ended, is perhaps part of the reason for these baffling claims against economic nationalism being in the interests of working class people.

What I think the Anarchist Federation mean to say is “being oppressed by native bosses is not as good as being your own boss”. So why don’t they just say this, instead of ruling out support for any anti-colonial movement that calls itself nationalist?

Benedict Anderson argued that “nations” are Imagined Communities, in his book of the same name, because in any nation there are too many people for them to all personally know one another, yet they still think of one another as a community.

Is it not possible, therefore, to imagine a community that you might even use the word “nation” to describe that does not have a State? Anarchism is after all the philosophy that communities don’t need States to exist or manage themselves. But the Anarchist Federation claim that any form of nationalism “divides the working class” and that “national boundaries must be eliminated”.

I would argue on that it is rather Nation-States that divide the working class and that it is the institutions of border control between such States that must be eliminated. If this happens then it really doesn’t matter in economic or political terms whether or not people choose to identify with nationalist concepts.

In the same lecture about Israel, Judith Butler mentions the “age-old” question of whether Anarchy can only exist if there is a State for it to be opposed to, or if Anarchy is instead something that can exist without States, even though it is defined in relation to them.

I would say that of course Anarchy can exist without states, and that just because the word means “without State” it doesn’t mean States have to actually exist for the concept to make sense. Before there were States people obviously didn’t use the word “Anarchy”, because it wouldn’t have meant anything, like how no one used to talk about “organic” food before chemical pesticides and fertilisers were invented. But just because they may have used different words back then it doesn’t mean people’s food wasn’t organic or their societies anarchic by the definitions we use today.

The words “self-determination” are much less confusing, because they are framed in positive terms. Anarchists would perhaps be better off describing their beliefs in such terms, especially when engaging in anti-colonial struggles. If a group of people “imagines” themselves to form part of a national community and organises a political movement calling for their “self-determination”, there is nothing wrong with this in itself from an Anarchist standpoint.

The problem only comes when people start conflating the concepts of “self-determination” with “state creation”, and as anti-statists Anarchists should be the main people voicing opposition to this conflation, rather than conflating it in our own heads as well.

This means instead of closing our eyes and putting our fingers in our ears whenever we hear about a group of people struggling in the name of their national identity, we should actively participate in these movements as much as possible in order to promote an anti-state perspective from within.

It is strange that organisations like the Anarchist Federation do not apply this logic to anti-colonial struggles when it is precisely the same logic they use to justify their engagement with workplace and community struggles more generally. In these struggles, the Anarchist Federation argues, it is necessary for anarchists to be present in order to counteract the tendency of authoritarian and statist groups, whether Marxist, Liberal or whatever, from taking decision making power over the direction of the struggle away from the rank-and-file.

Anarchists do this not only because it provides opportunities to spread our critiques of States and authoritarianism to wider audiences, which is more like a by-product of taking up this role within wider social movements, but also because we believe that if Statists take control of struggles then the rank and file have already lost, whereas we want them to win.

As anti-capitalists, Anarchists desire a world in which the concept of being “working class” becomes meaningless, because there would be no other classes to compare it to. Yet we are happy to call ourselves “working class” right now in order to join in struggles with other people who identify with this label. So why can we not apply the same logic to nationalism?

Just as we criticise Marxists for claiming that working class self-determination can only be achieved by the creation of a Workers State, so should we also be arguing that national self-determination (whatever nation you might be talking about) is not dependent on the creation of a Nation State, but is actually severely damaged by it.

White Supremacist Anarchism

If anarchists living in imperialist countries (such as Russia, Israel, the US and all the EU countries) do not participate in anti-colonial struggles which are being fought against those same states, then we can only conclude that they do not really care about destroying the State they are oppressed by, or in preventing anti-colonial struggles from being taken over by Statists.

If this is so it suggests that they are in fact merely pretending to be opposed to inequality when they really want to maintain their own privileges over colonised people, whom they are also happy to allow to continue to be oppressed by States, whether “foriegn” or “native”. As they will almost always have a different ethnic identity to the colonised people whose struggles they refuse to declare allegiance with, this position must be seen as fundamentally Racist.

I do not mean to suggest that this racism is conscious, and I know full well how quickly people can lose their tempers once accusations of subconscious oppressive attitudes start getting thrown around. In the past Anarchist Federation members have argued that their position is justified because some of their members are from the same countries as the anti-colonial movements which they criticise. This was the apparently the case with an article they produced which criticised the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka for being nationalists, at a time when Tamil civilians were being brutally murdered and one might have expected words of solidarity instead.

If this article was written by somebody of Sri Lankan Tamil descent, then of course it doesn’t make much sense to accuse them as an individual of being racist. But the Anarchist Federation was not a presence at any of the Tamil Solidarity demonstrations going on in the UK at the time, nor has it been very involved in anti-colonialist solidarity activism in general.

Instead they focus mainly on the struggles of unionised workers in the UK, who are predominantly White Europeans of British descent and so are already extremely privileged compared with other ethnic groups. Though the Anarchist Federation is heavily involved in anti-fascist activities, to its credit, it does not emphasise an opposition to racism in UK society more broadly, and is itself a disproportionately White organisation, despite its black (and red) flag.

The main emphasis of the AF is on issues of economic oppression, which also reflects the fact that it is a predominantly White (and Male) organisation. The minority of Female-identifying and Queer members has enabled a shift towards recognising the necessary interconnectedness of struggles against both class society and patriarchy, but so far even this has been limited and no comparable shift towards an anti-racist focus has occurred.

Islamophobic Anarchism and Atheist Chauvinism 

This may also have something to do with the AF’s 10th point in its Aims and Principles, which declares:

We oppose organised religion and cults and hold to a materialist analysis of capitalist society. We, the working class, can change society through our own efforts. Worshipping an unprovable spiritual realm, or believing in a religious unity between classes, mystifies or suppresses such self-emancipation / liberation. We reject any notion that people can be liberated through some kind of supernatural force. We work towards a society where religion is no longer relevant.

Though an improvement on the previous wording of this point which simply said “we are opposed to organised religion and religious belief”, the fact that this is even part of the Aims and Principles is clearly going to disincline the vast majority of the world’s population from wanting to have anything to do with the organisation. When I was a member of the Anarchist Federation I witnessed and participated in many discussions on this issue and found that the Anti-religious faction was simply too powerful within the organisation for there to be much hope of this changing.

This is one of the reasons that I declared in my “Critique of the Anarchist Federation” that the organisation should just be abandoned and a new one formed, because it is too set in its ways to be reformed, much like the State it purports to oppose.

I found many Anarchist Federation members, and other White UK anarchists generally, to hold Islamophobic views almost identical to the fascists they opposed. Many Anarchists fall into the trap of accepting the Fascists’ own terms of the debate, including the assumption that Islam is inherently authoritarian and sexist.

Most Westerners have a very poor understanding of the core teachings of Islam, and Anarchists are no exception. All you need to do in order to be considered a Muslim, according to the most liberal interpretations of the Koran, is declare belief in a single God and Mohammed as the messenger of that God. In itself this has nothing to do with the question of whether or not one is opposed to the state or has a materialist analysis of capitalism.

Going one step further in being a good Muslim than simply saying you think the Koran is genuinely the word of a single God who actually exists, you could also decide to pray 5 times a day (which is mainly just declaring the first point over and over again), give 2.5 per cent of your income to the poor, fast during Ramadan and try to visit Mecca at least once in your life.

That’s it. Those are the 5 pillars of Islam and everything else is pretty much optional (again, according to the most liberal interpretations). Women don’t have to cover their faces, and have the right to divorce their husbands. All races of people are considered equal. Usury and inequalities of wealth are considered immoral. Oppressed people have the right to fight back against oppression.

Rather than being opposed to Anarchism, liberal forms of Islam actually complement it incredibly well. Any religion that emphasises “One God, One Authority” can also be interpreted as an anarchistic statement that “there should be no human authority in the material world”.

Just because you don’t believe in God doesn’t give you the right to say that people who do cannot be true revolutionaries. Just because you were brought up to believe in Christianity – a particularly illogical religion which tries to say that God both is and isn’t human at the same time –  then lost your faith in it later, that doesn’t mean you know everything about all world religions.

Believing in “materialism” as the Anarchist Federation claims to, usually means having been raised in a society where you have been able to achieve a high enough standard of scientific education to be able to get at least the basic gist of both the Biological Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection and the Cosmological Theory of the “Big Bang” as well as the Socio-economic “Labour Theory of Value”.

These theories are all on the State school curriculum’s of many Western countries, and open discussion of them is not punishable by law. This is not the case in most of the rest of the world.

Even if many anti-colonial political organisations may be “secular” this does not make their members Athiests, and secularism is in fact more often used to help people of different religious faiths get along rather than to help them get along with athiests.

I am not going to claim that refusing to work with religious people is actually racist, even though the majority of people who take such a hard line against religion are likely to be from ethnically privileged backgrounds. What I will say though is that it does nothing to help the aims of the movement, which I understand to be the achievement of greater working class unity around the world.

There is no reason why someone cannot have both a materialist analysis of capitalism and a moral one which is prepared to actually call capitalists and governments Evil. The use of moral language in political discourse makes for much more powerful propaganda than just “holding to a materialist analysis of capitalism”. If you say “capitalism is against our interests as a working class people” the obvious response is “So what? Who are we to assert our interests anyway, in a value-free materialistic universe?” but if you also say “revolutionary activity is the only moral thing to do” then you hit people where it hurts, their hearts.

Non-white people living in the UK, or the world in general, are much less likely to be Atheists. This means that most people actively struggling against colonialism – and therefore against presently existing States – have some kind of religious view. Saying that they “worship…an unprovable spiritual realm [which] mystifies or suppresses [their] self-emancipation/liberation” is not only a terrible way to express solidarity with them, it is also quite clearly not true.

Religious faith is often cited by its practitioners to be the only thing keeping them going in tough times, such as when they are fighting revolutionary wars against the State for instance. Far from “suppressing” their self-emancipation, religious teachings often provide a catalyst for it, for example when Malcolm X encouraged Black people in the US to organise for “self-defence by any means necessary”.

This was a most revolutionary idea and one which was based on Islamic religious teachings that legitimise violence against oppressors. Indeed, one of the last things the Prophet Mohammed said to his followers before he died was “do not oppress, and do not be oppressed” which could be considered an elegant summing up of anarchist revolutionary practice.

Again, just because you may see your own society’s dominant religion – Christianity, for most Westerners – as a force keeping down the working class in your country, it doesn’t mean that religious belief necessarily always plays this role everywhere in the world.  Even Christianity has sometimes been used as a catalyst for revolutionary anti-colonial and anti-capitalist struggles, especially in Latin America, where many Catholic Priests influenced by “Liberation Theology” even took up arms themselves against the State alongside poor people.

If the Anarchist Federation, or any other similar organisation, wants to be a private members clubs for atheists only, it should choose another name. Christian, Islamic, Buddhist and Hindu Anarchists have all played roles in world history and will continue to do so. So will anti-statist nationalists involved in anti-colonial struggles.

Anarchists of all ethnic and religious/philosophical identities should unite on the basis of a shared commitment to the self-determination of all people and the negation of all States, and leave religious and national/racial identities out of it.

Then we might just stand a chance of really becoming a global working class movement.

 

 

 

The Key to Understanding Imperialism is Knowing Who Prints Money

Introduction

If you suggest to most people that almost all the political unrest, war and economic crisis in the world is the result of the manipulations of tiny elite groups of people they will probably call you a conspiracy theorist. But the reality is that all the information you would need to prove such a statement is freely available to the public.

The reason people are still largely unaware about the true nature of the Global System is that this information is usually dressed up in jargon that is deliberately designed to be incomprehensible to most people. In this essay I will try to explain some basic economic concepts using only normal English language. If any readers are still confused by anything I write here please let me know by leaving a comment and I will try to explain it in an even simpler way.

The essay begins by explaining who prints money in the Western world, and how these same people can be said to control the governments and economies of the West. Then we will look at how the system for printing money in many countries which oppose the West is organised differently, but still in a way which means that a small minority have all the power over the economy.

Lastly I will explain two completely different systems that I think are much fairer and democratic, and which I believe it is necessary for people to struggle in order to replace the current systems with. Both the systems I will propose can be said to be Anarchist systems, which means they are organised in a way which discourages inequalities of power from forming, and which do not require the existence of governments to function.

I should make it clear at this point that I am writing from an Anarchist perspective. This means I am biased against both governments and capitalists, so readers should bear this in mind. I am also not going to cite any sources, because hopefully once you read this you will already know what kinds of things to type into Google to find more detailed academic information which I am certain will confirm what I am going to tell you.

Central Banks Control the West

By the West I mean the United States and the European Union as well as all the countries around the world which are dominated by them. The most powerful military forces in the Western world apart from the US and the EU States are Israel, Australia and Japan, who should be considered Western countries even though they are not geographically in the Western world. Despite decades of struggles against Western Imperialism, the majority of other former European colonies in the world are still hopelessly weak in the face of Western military and economic power.

Most of these former colonies are in unimaginably huge amounts of debt to two financial institutions which work closely together, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), both of which are run by Western governments and investors. This debt gives the West power to dictate what the economic policies of other countries should be, through IMF “Structural Adjustment Programmes” (SAPs).

These SAPs do in fact sap the wealth from all these countries and convert it into money that ends up in the hands of Western Governments and businesses. This is because, as the name suggests, they adjust the structure of these country’s economies into whatever shape Western governments want them to be in. For example, if the West doesn’t want a rival government to develop its industry by educating it’s people and putting money into new industrial companies, the IMF will tell that government that it must take money away from schools and spend it’s money only on developing agriculture instead.

The IMF also always says that governments must not put taxes on foreign products or investment money being imported into the country. This makes it very easy for Western companies to buy all the best businesses in poorer countries and to make sure everyone in those countries has to buy Western products instead of their own. The poorer governments have no choice but to do what the IMF-World Bank system dictates because if they don’t it will punish them by not letting them borrow more money, or by raising the interest on the money they already owe.

The Treasury Department is the name given to the part of a government which looks after its money. But all of the money that most governments have is actually debt to banks. For poorer countries most of this debt is to the World Bank/IMF but even powerful Western governments are also in huge amounts of debt to their Central Banks.

Central Banks are a special type of bank that has the power to print a country’s money. The US Dollar is printed by a bank called the Federal Reserve, the British Pound Sterling is printed by the Bank of England and the Euro is printed by the European Central Bank.

All of these banks are actually private companies, not parts of the government, even though they have names which make them sound like they are. Western governments all used to print their own money themselves, but starting with Britain in the 1690’s they all gradually changed this to let private companies have this power.

This means that Government Treasuries in these countries don’t actually print money. Instead they print things called “Treasury Bonds”, which are just pieces of paper that basically say “please lend the government some money, and if you do this piece of paper will mean we promise to pay you it back, at interest”. They could just print money themselves, and not have to pay interest at all, because after all, they are the government and have lots of guns, so who is going to argue? But they don’t.

Instead they let these private businesses called Central Banks print lots of their own money and then buy these “Treasury Bonds” with it. This means that the government has money to buy more guns and do all the things governments do and the banks have lots of pieces of paper which say the government promises to pay them back. This gives the Central Banks a lot of power over Western governments to tell them how to run their economies and also what policies they should have in dealing with other countries.

For example, after the Bank of England was created and given the power to print money in the 1690s the country whose government it now controlled – Britain -became a huge empire all around the world which murdered millions of people, enslaved millions more and made lots of money for itself to pay back its debts to the Bank.

Similarly, after the Federal Reserve was created and given the power to print dollars in 1913, the United States government stepped up its own efforts to become an imperial power and eventually was powerful enough to force most of the world to use the dollar to trade in important goods like Oil.

Even now the United States will invade any country with a government that tries to trade its oil in a different currency, because this will mean among other things that the owners of the Federal Reserve will make less money. Since the War on Terror was announced in 2001 there have been Western military and secret service interventions in many Oil producing countries for this very reason: Invasion of Somalia by US 2002, Attempted Coup in Venezuela by US secret agents 2003, Invasion of Iraq by UK and US 2003, Lebanon by Israel 2006, Libya by UK, US and France in 2010 and the ongoing conflict in Syria in which US secret agents are also heavily involved.

All of these Wars were officially described as wars against “Terrorism” and for “Democracy”, both of which are never really defined by Western leaders when they use these words. It seems that their definition of Democracy is “selling Oil in money printed by the Federal Reserve Bank” and that they similarly define Terrorism as “selling Oil in any other currency”.

As well as explaining their Imperialist practices, the Western governments’ debt to their Central Bank also explains most of their policies in their home countries as well. If you have ever been to a Western country, or even seen a movie set in one, you will have noticed that Western culture is largely based on the idea that having lots of money is a good thing to aspire to and is in fact more important to focus on than pretty much anything else.

The result is that many people are really very depressed because they do not have as much money as they think they should, even if they actually have everything they need to survive as well as a community of loved ones, whilst those that have more money than they need seem to always be purchasing ridiculous items and living lives of shocking vanity and disregard for the less fortunate. But the prevalence of this psychologically damaging culture is only partly ordinary Westerners’ own fault.

The people who own the Western Central Banks are Capitalists, which mean that they earn their living from the fact that they have “Capital”, which is just money they choose to use to invest in profitable business rather than spend on something else.

All the money that these Bankers get from governments, and all the money that they print in the first place, will stop being “Capital” as soon as they let it just sit around somewhere without any profit being made from it. This means it is in their interest to force the governments they control to run a system that provides as many opportunities as possible to invest their money and make a profit.

This is why so many things in the West are run by private companies instead of by the government or by Non-governmental organisations. It is also why there are so many Western businesses around that don’t actually produce anything society needs, and often just cause lots of problems by their very existence.

Money in the West is not invested in places where it needs to be if everyone was to have a good job and be able to afford everything they need in life, because the Western governments don’t care about that.

They care about doing what’s good for the Central Bankers and the other capitalists that benefit from the system they set up. In fact, by their own laws they have to care more about that than anything else, because they are the ones who choose to be in debt by selling Treasury Bonds. So we should not be surprised at the class divide in Western countries or the divide between Western countries and the other countries they control.

Central Bankers ultimately profit from any other capitalist business going on in the country that they print money for because the government taxes these businesses and their workers in order to pay off it’s debts to the Bank. That’s right, the only reason the government takes so much of your wages if you work in the formal Western economy is to pay their debt to these banks, not to run public services, which are all paid for by the debt itself, as is the military.

Capitalists in general, and so the Central Banks in particular, need to have cheap workforce to exploit if they want to make a profit. There’s only so much money to be made from just buying something cheaply in one place and selling it for more in another. You make a lot more if in the middle you get someone to do some kind of work to change it into something more valuable, but only if you don’t pay that worker the same as the value that their work adds to the product. Instead, if you pay them a set wage per hour or per year, and make that wage pretty low, you can fool them into putting a lot of “value” into your products for free. (If you understand this paragraph you basically never need to bother reading Karl Marx, who made economics even harder for ordinary people to get their heads around, by making up a load of new jargon of his own).

This is why you see Western and Western controlled governments refusing to just give working class people free access to everything they need to live happy lives without working for someone else: Land, Education, Healthcare, Shelter, Clothing, Civil liberties etc, because they want to keep them in poverty. By keeping us in poverty they make us feel like the only way to survive is by either working for a capitalist business or living off hand outs from other people that do.

If you look at the average wages in Western societies (adjusted for inflation) over the past few decades you will see that they have just gone down and down while the shareholders of Central Banks and the biggest other Capitalist businesses have gone up and up. All of this can be traced back to government policies and the monetary policies of the Central Banks themselves.

The IMF/World Bank and Western Central Banks have deliberately created economic crises in countries all over the world many times in order to further the consolidation of their power, and the power of large capitalist businesses generally, over society as a whole. One simple way they can do this is to print so much money that it starts to lose value. This is the law of supply and demand, which says that in any kind of marketplace something has more value if its supply is low and the demand for it is high and has less when the opposite is true. When this happens with money, which if something that is traded in markets just like anything else, it is called inflation. Inflation has been the root cause of most economic crises in Western Imperialist history, and it is caused by deliberate Central Bank policies.

They cause these crises because in these situations many small capitalists and even poor people are forced to sell their assets, which is a fancy word for “valuable stuff” like their houses or their businesses or their land or their jewels or Treasury Bonds, to the bigger capitalists, including the people who own the Central Banks. This is what is called “Class War”, when one class of people attacks another in order to steal their property, but the suffering inflicted on the poorer classes in order to make them surrender their assets is caused by denying them what they need to survive – in this case money – rather than direct physical violence. But it is War just the same.

This is why you might sometimes hear about people talking about Capitalism or the Capitalist System as the name for the political-economic system in the West, and saying that Capitalism is imperialistic and oppresses the working classes. I prefer to be more precise and call it the Western Imperialist system, rather than “The” Capitalist system, because, as we will see, Non Western societies and theoretically even non-oppressive systems can also be called “capitalist”.

State-Capitalism in the Anti-Western World

State-Capitalism is when a government (State is just another word for government) acts like a capitalist business itself, rather than just being controlled by separate capitalist businesses. This means of course that the government in a State-Capitalist country has to print its own money rather than just get into debt to capitalist banks.

Many Anti-Western governments have understood the power of the Central Banks over the Western Imperialist system and sought to make sure that they have not been able to take over their own countries as well. I have already explained about how many Oil producing States have tried to free themselves from domination by the US Federal Reserve system and been invaded or had their leaders killed by the CIA. There have been two Anti-Western countries, however, which have managed to resist such a fate for many decades due to their size and military capability: Russia and China.

Russia was called the Russian Empire until 1917 and was ruled by emperors called “Tsars”, so this period of history is often called “Tsarist”. In Tsarist Russia the Central Bank was not an independent private business but was actually owned and controlled by the government. After the Russian Revolution in 1917 the new government run by the Communist Party kept this system going. Even today, when Russia is now called the Russian Federation and Communist Party rule is finished, the Russian Central Bank is still heavily controlled by the government, which takes half it’s profits.

Russia’s independence from the Western Imperialist Banking system means it has always been able to run it’s economy in a different way and have a foreign policy that actually challenges the West’s dominance. During the time the Communist Party was in power many revolutionary-minded people in other parts of the world naively thought that the Russian system was actually run for the benefit of the working class and for anti-imperialist struggles in other parts of the world.

In fact Russia’s foreign policy was still as Imperialistic as it was when they called themselves the Russian Empire, and workers in Russia were still deliberately kept in poverty by the government so that they could be exploited, just like in the West. State-Capitalism (which they called Communism to piss off real Communists, who mostly changed their name to Anarchists) just meant they were exploited by State-run businesses instead of private ones.

Nonetheless there was much more social equality (except within the Communist Party, whose leaders lived in luxury) in Communist Russia than in the West, and except for times of severe shortages the living conditions of the working classes were actually better than in the West in many ways. Even though they had less political rights – like the right to free speech or assembly- Russian workers had economic and social rights which Western workers did not have, like the right to have a job and healthcare. The Russian government did not make sure this was the case out of love for the people though, it did it to secure their loyalty and make the West look bad.

The Russian Communist Party did also actually give lots of money to revolutionary groups around the world who were fighting Western Imperialism, and many of the civil wars in what was then called the Third World (Africa, Latin America and Asia) were actually wars between the US and Russia in disguise, with Russian secret agents supporting one side and American ones the other. The Russians were not fighting for the liberation or self-government of these countries though, they just wanted to be the ones exploiting their workers and resources instead of the Westerners.

Russia was able to do all this, and still is able to control the economies of most of its neighbouring countries, because when it wants to start a new industry it can just print money itself with which to do so, rather than having to borrow money from other people, because the government runs the Central Bank. Because Russia has always been a dictatorship as well it has also been able to just force people to work to build up its empire, especially during the time they were led by Josef Stalin. Stalin ordered several “5 year plans” which were successful in revolutionising Russian industry and were only possible because of the State-Capitalist combination of a dictating government with its own State-run central bank.

The other State-Capitalist country is of course China, which was also taken over by a group calling itself the Communist Party, who are still in power today. The Chinese Communist Party was always separate from the Russian one, even though they were obviously inspired by them in many ways. The Chinese dictator Chairman Mao, who brought the Communist Party to power and created the State called the People’s Republic of China, followed similar policies to the Russians when it came to industrialising the country.

China also supported many anti-imperialist and revolutionary movements around the world, and still does, but just like Russia it has always been simply another Imperialist power in itself, supporting these struggles for its own interests rather than out of genuine solidarity.  Just a few years ago a Maoist Communist Party took power in Nepal after a civil war that had gone on for ten years. The Chinese government were supplying them with weapons all throughout the civil war and now that they are in power they are adopting policies that benefit China. This is exactly what the Western Imperialists are trying to do in Syria.

The People’s Bank of China is the Chinese Central Bank which prints the Chinese currency, the Yuan, and is controlled by the State. This Bank’s policies have helped China to become the world’s biggest industrial economy, producing more industrial goods than any country in history.

Here we see an important difference between the Western and State-Capitalist systems. Because the Peoples Bank of China is not simply concerned with making the most profit for itself as possible, but can also have more long term goals in mind they have strategically supported the development of China’s industry in such a way as to provide jobs for most of the working class and to be able to export more products than they import. In China the State doesn’t employ all workers anymore, but let’s private capitalist businesses exist as long as they don’t challenge the Communist Party’s power, and this has helped industry to grow, as private capitalists are greedier than Communist bureaucrats so run their businesses more efficiently.

In the West almost the exact opposite has happened. Western governments, controlled by their need to make money for private capitalist bankers, have allowed the industries of their countries to all but collapse, with terrible consequences for working class people. This has not been a well thought-out strategic long term government policy, and Western governments are probably regretting now that they have allowed this to happen.

Because the bankers always had a short term interest in letting Western factories shut down and be replaced by factories in other countries where wages were lower instead, that’s what Western governments allowed to happen. The bankers had an interest in this because they were always investing in the other companies that ran the factories (as they invest in pretty much everything) so they shared in the increased profits from the cheaper labour in other countries.

This is where the Western Imperialists have fucked up, perhaps so much so that they will soon lose their empires and never get them back. They now have to import goods from China, their Imperial rival, because they cannot produce them by themselves. This means that American Dollars and other Western currencies are flowing into China, as Westerners use them to buy Chinese goods, but not many Chinese Yuan are flowing into the West.

That means that Chinese businesses have more Western currency that they need to convert into Yuan so they can spend them in China than there is Yuan that Western businesses want to change into Western currencies.  In other words: the supply of Yuan is less than the demand for it and the supply of Western currencies is higher than the demand for them. This means that the Yuan should in theory start to be worth more in relation to Western currencies (stop and think about this for a few minutes if you need).

If the Yuan started to be worth more compared with Western currencies then people in the West would have to pay more for Chinese products and so they would stop buying them. For example, if you earn 6 British Pounds an hour, then if that gets you 100 Yuan, you can buy two shirts that cost 50 Yuan in China. But if 6 pounds starts to be worth only 50 Yuan then you can only buy one of those shirts and maybe you will not bother because you can find them cheaper somewhere else.

The People’s Bank of China does not want this to happen so they print more and more Yuan as they earn more and more dollars so that the supply of Yuan will stay the same relative to Western currencies, so that its value will stay the same. They call this “pegging” the Yuan, and just like with the Western inflation crises they do it by simply printing money,

They then use this extra Yuan to change Western currencies that Chinese businesses have earned by exporting products into Yuan, which those businesses need to pay their workers. The Peoples Bank of China therefore keeps earning more and more Western currencies for itself.

Because the Chinese government is like one big capitalist enterprise, they do not want this money to just sit around doing nothing, they want to invest it in something than will earn them even more money. The best things you can buy with Western money are Treasury Bonds from Western governments. If you remember, these  are just pieces of paper the government gives in exchange for loans at interest – a pretty sure way of making a profit as they are backed up by the whole authority of the government. So now the Peoples Bank of China owns huge amounts of Western Treasury Bonds, which means that the Western governments are now increasingly in debt to the Peoples Bank of China, and therefore to the Chinese Communist Party itself.

So although the United States is still the biggest military power and still uses that fact to try and force Oil producing countries to sell in Dollars, as just one example among many forms of imperialist military operations, China may one day own more of the US government’s debt in the form of treasury bonds that the Federal Reserve actually does, making the global Oil markets use of the dollar seem less likely for the future, all because China has used State planning to successfully out-manoeuvre the West’s system of private capitalism.

So What Are We Supposed To Do About All This?

Though Western Imperialism is unquestionably a bad thing, that doesn’t mean that it’s decline is necessarily good if it is just going to be replaced with Eastern Imperialism. The BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) is a political alliance of extremely big Anti-Western countries that already exists and is growing stronger, symbolising the very real threat of a new Eastern Imperialist world system.

So if we don’t want to maintain the old Western System, but are also frightened of the new Eastern one, which after all is led by a totalitarian dictatorship which already has a history of supporting armed groups in other countries, what are we supposed to fight for instead?

The truth is that we don’t need either of these systems, neither Central banks run by governments in the East or visa versa in the West. In fact we don’t need anyone to print money at all, if we just got rid of all these governments and collectively decided that everyone was entitled to all they needed to survive and live a good life, free of charge. There are more than enough resources in the world for that to be possible if no capitalists or “Communists” were around making a profit.

So for me personally, that’s what I am fighting for, a system called Anarchist Communism in which there are neither governments or central banks, neither laws nor money but instead merely a culture, everywhere in the world, in which no-one lets anyone else get oppressed or go without access to food, shelter, clothing, education, healthcare or the wilderness. As I said before, there are enough resources for this to be possible and I genuinely believe that this global cultural revolution is all that would be necessary to achieve it, plus of course the destruction of all the worlds governments and capitalist businesses, which admittedly is a tricky thing to achieve.

But even in such a utopian world some people may still decide that they want to start using money for some reason and there would be no government around to stop them.  The global anarchist communist culture would not be able to stop them either so long as they did not start oppressing people or denying people of access to what they needed.

If everyone’s basic needs were already met for free and people wanted to set up some kind of money based market place for purely unnecessary items, then this would not be a threat to the overall Anarchist Communist system.  Even if they started acting out roles as capitalists and workers the exploitation of the workers would still be truly voluntary if they could just walk away from the job at any moment and still have all they need to survive happily, which is not the case for most workers today.

But I hope I have already convinced you that whenever some kind of system based on money is created it becomes necessary to ask “Who controls the printing of this money?” If we do not want the power to print money to be in the hands of elite minorities, whether they be private capitalists or Communist Party Bureaucrats, then we must ensure that this power is held collectively by ordinary people.

Many small communities around the world have successfully experimented with local currencies that they can only use in that area, but which the decisions about monetary policy (which is policy about money) for are made democratically by everyone who uses the currency. These experiments are a reminder to the world that Central Banks are not necessary even in a capitalist economy. The only thing they are necessary for is an Imperialist economy.

No political party, lobbying group or social movement will ever be powerful enough to get Western Governments to change their banking systems or turn the People’s Republic of China into a genuinely democratic communist system, and small-scale local currency projects, as promising as they are, will never be allowed by governments to grow big enough to really challenge the Central Banks. The only way we can liberate ourselves from the tyranny of bankers and bureaucrats is through Revolutionary Direct Action against the power of all governments.

We cannot fight against the West without fighting the East at the same time, or else we will just find that we have been helping the East to take over our lives. We must work on building the global cultural shift towards a world where no one accepts poverty of oppression any longer, and at the same time work on building a united global insurrectionary movement against all the power of all States.

Even if you do not agree with me about the need for Global Anarchist Communist Revolution against all States and Empires, I hope I have at least convinced you that we do indeed live in a world of empires, and of the importance of the role of Central Banks in explaining global inequalities of wealth and power.

I hope I have also convinced you never to become either a capitalist or a member of a Communist Party, but rather to try and live your life in as free a way as possible from their systems.

You don’t have to try to get rich, and if you can find ways to get what you need to survive for free then you don’t even have to use money at all. Money and the laws of governments are not real things and you don’t have to treat them like they are. The more you do, the more you make them real. Sure, you can pretend to believe in them when it suits you but you don’t have to lose your sense of self because of them like so many people have. Revolution begins in the mind.

Even if you do not want to join in with any revolutionary activity to do with actually bringing down or sabotaging governments, I hope you will at least be as free from them in your own life as you can and that you will encourage others to do the same.

I hope you will put your trust in love for all people, in your own self-reliance and in strengthening that of your community, whatever that might mean for you, rather than in money, governments or the murderous ruling class fuckers that they are controlled by.

Good luck, and Power to You.

You don’t have to be a lover to be a revolutionary, but it helps.

In my song “thoughts on fucking and the system” I wrote several lines that might indicate to people that don’t know me, that I think of love, and especially romantic love, as somehow a negative thing from a revolutionary perspective.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the song is intended as a satirical wake-up call to revolutionary activists who have become so jaded that they have abandoned even the concept of love, replacing it with the more abstract, less emotional notion of “mutual aid”.

The song also seeks to highlight the very real forces acting on us as human beings, and perhaps especially as revolutionaries, in a society based on hatred deliberately sown by the greedy and deceitful. When government agencies orchestrate terrorist attacks on symbols of particular ethnic or religious groups in such a way as to make blame appear to lie with members of another such group, solely to increase profits for a select few corporations and banks, it is difficult to maintain a loving attitude towards humanity.

But then, life itself is difficult. If there were no challenges in life it would not be worth living. Abandoning love, whilst still looking at the world through the prism of a perspective that see’s ignorance, greed and hatred ruling society and corrupting all our minds, is tantamount to suicide. Indeed this is the route taken by many of us who understand the basic functioning of the global system but feel powerless to change it, often indirectly through substance abuse.

If revolutionaries cannot see ourselves as morally superior to our enemies, our struggles cease to feel meaningful. For revolutionaries guided by religious faith, this moralising is perhaps easier than it is for more atheistic people. But you do not have to believe in God, the Astral Plane or the Immortal Soul, to believe in Love.

Love, as I also wrote in the above-mentioned song, is made of chemicals, or perhaps more accurately electrical signals travelling down neural pathways that are created, ultimately, by chemical reactions at the level of DNA. For our brains and bodies to have developed the multitude of parts and processes that we call “Love”, there must have been an evolutionary advantage for our ancestors to have done so, if you accept the theory of evolution by natural selection.

As Kropotkin sought to demonstrate in Mutual Aid, animals that evolve cooperative instincts towards members of their own species tend to stand a better chance of survival than those that don’t. It is easy to understand why: many hands make light work, and thus the overall expenditure of energy for a group in order to survive is less when they cooperate.

But talking about animals having cooperative instincts is still outside the realm of human emotion. Kropotkin may have been excited when he saw a crab trying to help it’s companion in Brighton Aquarium, but normal people are not usually satisfied with observations of the behaviour of other species when trying to resolve their own emotional crises.

We may, however, feel happy, even deliriously, overwhelmingly so, when another human being that we feel love for shows some sign that they love us too. Everyday, all over the world, billions of nods of encouragement, hugs, kisses and caresses of reassurance, and loving words are given out by human beings to one another. If this were not the case, would our societies function at all?

And yet, displays of intense emotion or preferential treatment of loved ones are not considered professional in today’s world run by machines and people who aspire to think and act like machines. Officially, the business world is held together by webs of direct personal financial interests which coalesce and converge at dizzying rates, and are measured in terms of numbers, graphs and longwinded jargon on pieces of paper and computer screens.

For human beings brought up in such a world, whether they are the ones acting like machines or being acted on by them, it is hard to imagine learning to love at all. Luckily, however things are not quite so bad yet.

I used to scoff at revolutionary rhetoric that referenced love, even though it was probably revolutionary messages coated in the language of romantic idealism that most influenced my early development.

Now I wonder why I was so cynical. What was I trying to prove? That I didn’t need love?

Falling in love for the first time with someone who loved me back came much earlier in my life than my involvement with political activism. If I hadn’t have had that boost to the spirit, would I ever have had the gall to think I could take some kind of meaningful action to change the world?

I do not currently have any sexual or romantic relationships going in my life, and yet strangely don’t seem to care as much as I used to. I used to feel such a desperate longing in my soul for someone, usually female but sometimes not, to be some kind of soul mate, and release my from my inner anguish.

But I always remembered the concept of the “anima” I’d read about whilst working a terrifying job in central London for a fat, bald tyrant, that there is a figure that recurs in the dreams and art of almost all human beings of a beautiful woman, representing all kinds of good, pure and gentle qualities, but still somehow bound up with lust. The more relationships I had with women the more I realised I just kept on projecting that image onto them, trying to force them to be what my subconscious felt I was lacking.

The anima is based on an internal separation in the mind, reinforced by all the sexist and heteronormative bollocks that our brains are bombarded with since birth. Whenever I was with a girl who resembled the female archetype, it brought out negative traits in me that are usually associated with masculinity.

I aspire to make these concepts meaningless in my own mind, a task I know to be impossible, but a worthwhile pursuit nonetheless. It means not identifying with any gendered identity.

If you are macho, you’re macho, regardless of your biology, and if you are sensitive, you’re sensitive.

All of us have to be sensitive sometimes and put on a front at others. If half the population only knows how to do one and not the other, what kind of ridiculous pressure does that put on romantic relationships?

Relationships aren’t meant to be about people compensating for each others’ flaws. They’re meant to be about love. Unconditional love would preclude conditions like “you must pretend to be exactly opposite to me in all the ways society dictates we must be”.

But then, it’s no wonder that in such a dictatorial society people are ill-equipped with wise teachings to help them balance out all the contradictory aspects to their being. For society does not have as it’s aim our spiritual development, if it can be called that. Societies aim is the self-expansion of capital, by murder, deceit and the poisoning of the earth if so be it.

That is the primary dictate to which all others have been brought in effect to more efficiently enforce: poisoning minds for generations with racist, sexist, classist crap to create this family unit, this class structure, these racial and gender classifications. This inequality.

This alienation from everyone around us, even people we see and talk to everyday.

Except for those happy souls who are able to project love at almost everyone they see, and so constantly see it reflected back at them in the faces of others responding in kind. They do not necessarily see the world as such a dystopian place.

Two people in a different mood standing on the same street might observe two almost entirely unrelated realities, which if they were to relate later to a mutual friend would sound nothing alike.

One might observe the buildings, reflecting on why they had been built in such a way and what purpose they were currently being used for, and see the people scurrying past like labrats running through mazes constructed by higher powers completely disinterested in their wellbeing.

The other might simple see a street full of crazy characters, each with their own backstory, with love interests, hope and dreams, and quirky little mannerisms that make them each adorable in their own special way.

The people who can only see their fellows as cogs in a machine, are themselves guilty of being so much like a machine, that they have started to think like one. Without love.

These crazy quirky characters are the people of the earth. They are who society is built from, and who any future society will have to be built from too. When I look at them, and imagine the society they could build if they were only liberated and empowered enough to do so, I see a world I would risk my life for.

It would be a world not exactly based on love, but one where it would certainly be easier, because everyone would be happier within themselves, following their own dreams and desires, instead of having to scrape together whatever magic or fun they can in the few hours between working and fitful sleep.

People who are exhausted physically and emotionally do not make the best lovers. They do not really make the best workers either, but that’s what being a worker makes of them, especially when the system keeps trying to make them better and better, or at least more efficient at turning time into money.

Don’t we all want to be happy within ourselves and able to feel loved by, and love towards other people and things? Some perhaps would answer no, but I suspect they would mainly be lying to themselves, or else are seriously fucked in the head.

Don’t we all feel that the power structures and associated cultural restrictions we have now are making it harder and harder to be happy or to feel love? To feel anything but loathing and despair?

To change things we need a lot of collective action. Fucktons of it in fact: toppling governments, regrowing rainforests, educating new generations not to be as stupid as our current leaders are, all kinds of shit. People need to unlearn all the programs that have been fed into them, deal with their twisted views on race, gender, sex and material objects, and to support one another while doing so.

What else could tie all that collective action together except love?

Ideology? Collective recognition of long term benefit? Incentive schemes?

Human beings are not designed for such mental gymnastics and self control. Set a system up and watch it fall, that’s our species’ favourite sport.

But we are all born with an ability to love. If we were not our species never would have survived. If the first human mothers didn’t love their children why the fuck would they put up with them sucking at them and not just leave them to die in the jungle? Why would they have protected them until they were old enough to reproduce themselves?

Men and women are not physically so different as people always go on about. Maybe mothers can love more than anyone who isn’t a mother could ever know, or maybe we all can love anyone with that same strength with which a mother loves a child.

In a world where collective organisation ensured a decent standard of living and respect for individual and social freedom, maybe we wouldn’t even have to speculate about such things, for everyone would have so many different examples of love around them that they would know pretty much everything about it, and we could get on with something else.

Like trying to find aliens. And then fall in love with them.

US-EU Free Trade Talks Are About Preserving White Supremacy, Nothing Else

When did European Imperialism end? When American Imperialism had been developed enough to smoothly take over, thus continuing the domination of the majority of non-white peoples by a small elite White minority.

White-owned Transnational Corporations, which were always an important part of the imperialist system – look at the East India Company for example – never lost their important places at the tables of Western European political leaders, and never stopped monopolising the resources of Latin America, Africa and Asia. The only thing that changed was that instead of directly ruling these continents, the White ruling class simply did it more indirectly.

This is done largely through the use of secret agents, like the fictional James Bond, who for some reason is still accepted as a legitimate hero despite quite clearly being an agent of White imperialism with no respect for the Geneva convention or womens rights. The CIA’s involvement in the “post” colonial world has also been the subject of many hollywood films, so no-one with a tv can really claim ignorance about the true natrue of power relations in the world.

Now, because they grew so arrogant in the 1980s that they started to believe their own claptrap about exporting jobs and deregulating of banks being the key to world freedom, the White Ruling Class has screwed up the economic basis of it’s own power and allowed it’s main imperialist rival – China – to gain advantage.

So they are scared. Scared that the rest of the world is realising that the era of there being only one world superpower is now over and that poor countries dont have to pretend to believe that Western Imperialism is actually just “globalisation”, but can have a little bit more choice about who to align themselves with.

So the White Ruling Class is consolidating it’s power by trying to formally link together the economies of the EU and US with “free trade” talks. This is undoubtably the first step towards even greater political unity as well, paving the way for the formal constitution of a united White Empire.

They won’t call it that of course, but thats what it will be. White working class people have to decide now who’s side they are going to be on; the imperialists or the oppressed. They have to recognise the privileges that the imperialist system gives them above non white people and realise that this makes them a target of the righteous vengance of the oppressed. If they dont want to be a target, they need to change sides now, before it’s too late.

Of course many Whites will refuse to do this, continuing to see non-white people as a threat and the imperial system as a protector. They will be the first to die, because the system is nowhere near as loyal to them as they are to it. If they havent learnt that already from the austerity measures and bank bailouts of recent years then they never will.

White people need to realise that the privileges they currently get from their skin colour are not worth their oppression by a government that despite being mostly made up by people of the same colour; still sees them as economic resources as nothing more, just as they do the rest of the world.

There is nothing special about white people in europe and america enjoying more rights than non-whites. The Imperialists did the same thing in all the territories they controlled, putting one ethnic group above all the others as a form of divide and rule.

The point is that white people do not have to play this game, they have a choice. They can choose to join the fight against the Empire; they are not bound by their skin colour to serve it.

But fighting against the empire means joining forces with people of other cultures, on the basis of equality, which means unlearning most of the ways we have been conditioned to think. We do not, for example, come from an advance civilisation based on principles of democracy and therefore have the right to enforce our culture on other people. The truth is our culture is no better than any others, and in terms of how many people it has killed, it’s actually probably the most barbaric culture that has ever existed.

So wise up, white people, and fight against this Free Trade Agreement. It is not going to help you, it is not going to help anyone in the “post” colonial world, it is only going to help q bunch of racist businesspeople and politicians who don’t give a damn about anything but their own money

 

 

An Anarchist Position on Mali: Solidarity with Tuareg peoples against both Al Qaeda and the West

(This piece is intended as a polemic rather than a piece of academic research. See http://www.globalresearch.ca for more detailed information on all the assertions about Al Qaeda and Western Imperialism made below.)

In “The Revolution of Everyday Life” Raul Vaneigem talked about the idea of the “Third Force”. http://library.nothingness.org/articles/SI/en/display/29

What i think he meant by it is that every time the mainstream media, (or commercial popular culture more generally), presents us with an apparent conflict between two sides, there is always actually a lot more going on behind the scenes. There is always at least one “third force”, usually more than just one, and without understanding this we can not understand the role of capitalist interests in whatever conflict is going on.

So, in Mali, we are told, the West is fighting Al Qaeda, as they supposedly have been for over twelve years. The Western powers say Al Qaeda is using Mali as a safe haven, but they didn’t seem to mind until pretty recently. Mali has been a “safe haven” for Al Qaeda for over ten years, during the whole “War on Terror”.

Al Qaeda says the West are evil imperialists that want to fuck over the Malian people. Well, this is as true as saying Al Qaeda are fake-muslim terrorists wanting to impose a patriarchal dictatorship, but again, Al Qaeda in the Maghreb and it’s forerunners didn’t seem to mind cooperating with Western Imperialism during the Soviet Afghan War, or selling Cocaine to European countries, or working with the Western backed Tourre for years.

So who’s the third force here, and what’s really going on?

Well, there just so happens to be a long history of struggle on the part of the Tuareg people of the Sahara, who are spread out across the territories of many nation states in North and West Africa, usually living on land rich in natural resources that are highly desired by Western Corporations, especially now that they face such immediate threats to their power from China, which has already made significant inroads into Africa that the West is desperate to reverse.

An independent Tuareg state in Mali would run the risk not of turning Mali into a safe haven for Al Qaeda, which it already was, but turning it into a safe haven for other Tuareg freedom fighters wishing to create independent states in Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Niger etc. This is what the West is really afraid of.

As nationalists, the Tuaregs want the resources of their territories to be controlled by and used for the benefit of their people. As imperialists the Western powers will do everything they can to prevent this and to keep said resources in the hands of Western corporations. The French have already preemptively invaded Niger as well, to secure Uranium deposits that sit below land occupied by Tuaregs.

So what about Al Qaeda? What’s their game, and how does it fit into the West’s?

Al Qaeda was invented by the CIA in the nineteen eighties, when they brought together radical Islamists from all over the Muslim world and gave them training and funding to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. This is not a conspiracy theory, this is a well documented fact that the US does not even deny.

What they do deny is that the CIA continues to control or influence Al-Qaeda’s actions. We are supposed to believe that they just created a monster which has now gotten out of their control and which we must now trust them to destroy. They ask us to trust them to do this so much that we are supposed not to mind when our basic civil liberties are taken away from us, when they drop bombs on our families and the families of our friends, and send people from our communities to die in foreign countries.

They ask us to ignore the fact that every time the Western corporations have a strategic interest in occupying somewhere with valuable resources, Al Qaeda handily seems to attack it thus giving the West the perfect excuse.

The West want to build a pipeline through Afghanistan? Al Qaeda attacks New York, supposedly from bases in Afghanistan. The US needs to make sure whoever replaced Saddam Hussein doesn’t have the same economic policies as him? Al Qaeda starts a long and bloody sectarian conflict in Iraq which the West uses to justify it’s continued presence there until enough private security companies can be found to replace US troops.

Tuaregs rise up in Northern Mali against a dictator who allowed both Al Qaeda, AND the West to profit from Malien resources and labour power for years? Al Qaeda takes over Northern Mali, sabotaging the genuine independence struggle and justifying a huge Western Military mobilization to protect the resources of the country.

The Western powers can not defeat Al Qaeda in Mali, nor do they really want to. What they want, and i really can’t stress this enough, is MONEY, and the same goes for Al Qaeda. You don’t have to read very much of the Koran to figure out that they are full of shit when they claim to be good Muslims.

What the Tuareg people want is Freedom, and control over the resources of their land. Whether you call yourself an Anarchist, a Socialist, a Liberal, or just a decent human being, you must surely see that this is a reasonable demand on their part, and that both Al Qaeda and the West are seriously fucking them over with this bullshit war.

As an Anarchist i can obviously not explicitly declare sympathies with any nationalist organisation which desires to set up a new Nation State with borders, bureaucrats and other bollocks that comes as part of the package. There is no such thing as a democratic state and we must expect any political movement seeking to create a State structure to eventually become corrupted, creating a new ruling class living off the surplus labour of the rest of society. So i will not say “solidarity with the MNLA”, for example.

But the supporters of the MNLA, like non-islamist Tuaregs everywhere, are fighting simply for their basic human rights, such as the right to self-determination, which is also a basic Anarchist tenet (when it is removed from its normal nationalistic connotations)

According to many analysts the MNLA are the only force in the region that could possibly defeat Al Qaeda (http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/spotlight/2012review/2012/12/20121228102157169557.html#.UOCH3JVhuxg.blogger) which is exactly why the West is refusing to allow them to do so. Malien civilians are suffering enormously and not receiving anywhere near enough humanitarian aid, forcing them to be even more dependent on Al Qaeda.

Whatever name they go under, Tuaregs fighting against Al Qaeda need political support from anyone wishing to see a real solution to this war, and the West’s murderous real agenda needs to be exposed and condemned.

More immediately, civilians in Mali and in the parts of Niger occupied by the French, need humanitarian aid, and the Western media needs to report upon the actual humanitarian situation, instead of continuing this fucked up information blackout.

Solidarity with Tuareg freedom fighters!

Down with Al Qaeda, Down with Western Imperialism!

For a world without Nation States and Capitalism

For Anarchy and Revolution

Critique of the UK Anarchist Federation

So I used to be a member of the Anarchist Federation in the UK, as well as part of various informal affinity groups and lots of attempts at things in between, networks and forums and what have you. I have also traveled around a fair bit to other cities and countries in Europe and Latin America to learn about how the anarchist movements in those places worked. I am not claiming to be any kind of expert as a result of these experiences. I am still only 25 years old at the time of writing this. But I do feel like I have learned at least a few things worth sharing.

In writing specifically about the Anarchist Federation in the UK I am not trying to piss anyone off. However, I am not going to pretend I don’t have some feelings of bitterness towards the organisation. Maybe if I ran into certain people I might come across as a bit cold towards them, but that’s pretty much the extent of my spitefulness.

I joined the Anarchist Federation because I felt like the Anarchist scene in my town was too disorganised. If you accept the numbers and terminology I was using in “Fibonacci insurrectionism” then it was an informal network but with enough people to have at least a federation, perhaps something more.

There were various collectives campaigning about different things or running different projects, and god knows how many affinity groups and random individuals drifting around with no clear sense of purpose as far as I could see.

I imagined that the Anarchist Federation was a lot bigger than it actually turned out to be when I joined. It had over a hundred people, but not much more than that and it never seemed to grow in the few years I was associated with it. The structure of the organisation was very far from the hypothetical “ten groups of ten” model I talked about in “Fibonacci insurrectionism”.

You could be considered a Branch of the federation if you only had three people. That’s ridiculous. What can you do with three people, really? I would have put it at a minimum of 8, a maximum of 15, so that when you get up to 16 you split into two. Like I said, 15 is pretty much the maximum for a consensus meeting.

As a result of this some Branches had a lot more people than others, and so some were a lot more effective than others. Many Branches barely existed. Mine was one of them. I’d be at delegate meetings hearing people from other cities talk about what their group had discussed and voted on and proposed and whatever, and I could just talk for myself pretty much. And I wasn’t the only one. There always seemed to be people around about which it was hard to say whether they were speaking as a delegate or just an individual.

It was all very confusing. You had to give a certain amount of personal information to join as well as money. That right there is gonna put a lot of people off. All the groups I knew about organised fundraisers for themselves, usually gigs. Gigs are great for fundraising because they are also social events which can be made into awareness raising things, with the right speeches, lyrics, decorations and literature around the place. But the Anarchist Federation insisted on cash from each of its members, according to how much they earned.

It was a constant topic of conversation, taking up hours of time on internet discussion forums and at conferences themselves. I am not exaggerating when I say that the vast majority of the time spent at national conferences went on discussing internal administrative problems on the federation and that absolutely no time at all went into discussing direct action, except as a theoretical concept.

Someone who had been in the federation a long time even told me that it was debatable whether or not revolutionaries should take direct action. An Anarchist said that. It was unbelievable.

The theory seemed to be that if you did anything then it made you a vanguardist. The word “vanguard” is thrown around a lot in anarchist circles so perhaps I should discuss it a bit. Lenin called for a “Vanguard party” and what he meant by that was a hierarchical organisation bent on seizing political power for itself. So anarchists are against the Leninist idea of vanguard parties. Sure.

But “vanguard” just means “in front” rather than “at the back”. Lenin meant that the Vanguard party should go in front and take power, so that when the rest of the people caught up they could all be given the power that the vanguard took. Obviously, that’s ridiculous, power corrupts, etc.

But when you are not talking about taking power but simply taking action, then to throw around the word vanguard like it’s a bad thing is fucking stupid. Someone has to make the first move. And that person is most likely to be someone who has built up a while revolutionary theory on the idea of making a move, i.e. an Anarchist.

By making the first move you could be said to be “leading the way” and people are always going to tell you “oh but anarchists aren’t supposed to have leaders” in an annoying voice but the thing is, we are not against leaders, we are against rulers. Bosses, governments, people with coercive power. Not just someone who has a suggestion about what fucking direction we should take.

The Anarchist Federation’s literature makes clear that they are not against leaders, saying that they actually want to be a kind of intellectual leadership of the working class. At least, some people seem to be big fans of texts that call for an organisation to be this “leader of ideas”.

Well, I would much rather have a practical leader who knows how to do lots of things than an intellectual leader who just knows lots of long words, and I don’t think I am alone here. By following someone who knows how to do things you will learn how to do them yourself, as long as you pay attention. By following an intellectual leader you will learn how to be a self-righteous, smug little freak.

The Anarchist Federation also said it wanted to be the “memory of the working class” but all they seem to remember is defeat. I read pretty much all their literature and didn’t get much of an idea about what the fuck I was supposed to do from any of it. I learnt that lots of people had died in struggle a long time ago.

A major feeling I got from a lot of people was that I needed to quickly learn loads of anarchist history and read all the old classic anarchist writers. I don’t regret any of that, because some of it is amazing literature, but really, it wasn’t what I signed up for.

I was already an anarchist when I joined, or I wouldn’t have joined. I was trying to figure out how to be a more effective revolutionary activist, but all the “action” done under the Anarchist Federation banner was organising some public talks, sometimes turning up to other peoples demos or picket lines and giving out newsletters.

In itself that wouldn’t have been a problem. After all a formal organisation with a structure so easily open to police agents shouldn’t be claiming illegal actions under its own name. But the federation seemed to actively distance itself from informal networks of affinity groups rather than aiming for the kind of “movement” I describe in “Fibonacci insurrectionism”. In turn, most activists I knew saw no reason to get involved with the federation, or what the point of it was. Sometimes people asked me if they thought the Anarchist Federation would have funded various things, like materials for actions, but I knew it would have been pointless even to ask. Activists naturally presumed that the point of an organisation like that would be to fund or at least support people taking action, but the organisation didn’t seem interested in that at all.

Federation members would routinely ridicule other anarchists, and especially insurrectionists, despite it saying nowhere in any of their literature that they were against insurrectionism. In doing so they were playing their part in perpetuating and exacerbating precisely the same divide that I am trying to reconcile, that between insurrectionism and platformism. Sometimes people would just resort to crass stereotypes about squatters and hippies, which I took offense to as a fairly hippyish squatter. I’m writing a insurrectionist zine about spirals, for fucks sake.

But I was genuinely loyal to the organisation despite all this bullshit, always trying to speak up for it amongst my friends in insurrectionist circles, always trying to advocate it’s positions. But for me, doing so was a matter of action. I tried to find ways of taking action that fitted in with the federation’s decisions.

Federation says we need to make sure the Left don’t take over the anticuts movement? I try and help organise and advertise alternative anticuts organisations not based on hierarchical structures that Leftists can easily take over, and to promote them whilst disrupting Leftist demonstrations with more radical tactics than just walking around listening to reformist bullshit, like occupying buildings and trying to do symbolic actions against banks and other capitalist institutions which caused the crisis.

Of course these tactics did not always work, and I could have benefited from hearing what other actions groups had tried in other parts of the country in order to figure out what tactics worked and what didn’t. But when I read the reports groups made about themselves they seemed to all be about holding meetings and giving out literature on the street. I mean, I did that as well. But it’s not action. It’s propaganda at best.

So the only way I could take action to advance the anarchist federations aims as I understood them was with non-members, through informal structures. When they found this out they kicked me out of the federation behind my back. They actually had a vote at a conference, which I was not told about in advance, or even after. I just tried to check my emails one day on the Anarchist Federation account and I found out I had been deleted.

That’s why I mentioned I was a little bitter. But I think the points I am making here are still quite valid. They kicked me out for advocating structurelessness or words to that effect. I hope that “Fibonacci insurrectionism” at least proves that I do not advocate structurelessness. I just recognise the chaotic nature of the universe and say that structure and informality should compliment each other rather than be seen as two opposing things.

There is room for order in a chaotic universe, but there is no room for chaos in an ordered one, nor in the Anarchist Federation, so it seems. I wish I could be constructive and suggest ways the Anarchist Federation could be reformed so that is more like the kind of organisation I talk about at the end of “Fibonacci Insurrectionism”, which uses its formal structures as part of a wider, informal, movement, which it is connected to other parts of in semi-formal ways. Also, one which is pro- action and which exists only to analyse action, take action and help others take action.

But really, from what I have experienced of the internal culture of the Anarchist Federation, I think it would be incredibly hard to change it in a more insurrectionary direction. It has become a stagnated and irrelevant organisation with an informal hierarchy that is probably more likely to simply become formalised rather than be effectively challenged. Around the time I left they were talking about a “Secretariat” made up of all the elected officials in the organisation, mostly a small friendship clique of the longest serving members as far as I could make out. These “Elders” seemed to have decided long ago to crush youthful initiative and to prioritise the struggles of unionised workers (a relatively privileged section of British society) above most other concerns, just like the Trotskyists they claimed to be so different from.

So, I say to anyone would like to be part of the kind of structures I have described in Fibonacci Insurrectionism, we need to start from scratch. I don’t care what it gets called, but we need an Insurrectionist Anarchist federation in the UK, one with a decent amount of real groups of a decent size and a simple delegate system, with no membership fees or personal details needing to be handed over just to participate.  We need about a hundred people who know what they are talking about when it comes to both direct action and propaganda, who have enough patience to sit through a meeting and participate in a delegate structure, and who are also connected to various other militant affinity groups, collectives and revolutionaries through different informal means. People who see the point of an organisation is to do whatever it takes to help the insurrectionary movement to grow, not to close yourself off into a private club of theoreticians and cynical trades unionists. People who want to stop pissing around and get on with it for fucks sake.

Do a hundred such people exist?  Are you one of them? Get in touch. Razchaoten@gmail.com

Fibonacci Insurrectionism

1²= 1 Revolutionary Individual

I don’t like the term “insurrectionalism”. It’s got too many syllables, and I don’t see what the “al” really adds to it apart from that. Insurrectionism is easier to say, for one thing.

I mean, some people will shy from anything with “ism” at the end. But I don’t know, it’s got to be there really, cos it’s just a theory. That’s what “ism” means to me anyway. A lot of people would definitely shy away from the word “insurrection”. But what other word can we use?

I guess “insurrectonalism” could be taken as meaning the theory of being “insurrectional”, like, as an attitude or something. Maybe that kind of makes sense. Insurrectionism would then be a broader theory of insurrection in itself. And maybe that’s what we need too.

A lot of literature I’ve read which uses the term “insurrectionalist” or which is identified with that tendency, seems to be a lot more about the subjective attitudes it may be good to have if you are being “insurrectional”, like being distrustful of organisations and being willing to take action yourself, even if results are uncertain.

That kind of thing is good, I myself am a fan of writing about subjectivity, but we need to also be able to explain our actions in a wider context, and specific contexts too, not just generalisations about class struggle and the negation of the state.

I would like to talk about the Fibonacci sequence in order to talk about a few points relating to this. I am not trying to advocate some new ideology based on numerology and mysticism, it’s just a poetic devise. Ok?

You start off alone – 1 – just a single consciousness, a single body. You want to do something about the fact that you are conscious that society is not as you would wish it to be, that there are many things you wish to see destroyed, negated.

The first step is to find another – 1 – who feels the same or, at least similar enough. I remember the first time this happened to me was when I was very young, maybe eleven or twelve, walking down a corridor at school. Me and a friend were talking about revolution, and he said “so, shall we do it? Are you serious about this?”.

1² + 1² = Two Comrades, or Insurrectionary Buddies

We started a newsletter together in the school with some other people, tried to create a buzz, talked about how we should get rid of school uniform, that kind of thing. We had vague ideas about wider political issues and a general sense of the system being all fucked up, but that was all. Maybe my friend knew more than me, who knows. But it was something.

Once there are a couple of you, you are more likely to be able to find another couple – 2 – which has already formed without you, in fact you could probably find two. Then there’s gonna be three couples, working together, and with that you should easily be able to find

more people.

This is gonna get confusing unless you actually know what the Fibonacci sequence is: 1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55,89,144,333,477,810,1287,2097,3384,5481,8865,14346,23211

It just keeps going up like that. Each number is what you get if you add the two numbers before it together.

What I’m talking about is starting a group of people that gets bigger and bigger, in a way which uses the Fibonacci sequence. You square each number of the sequence and then add them all together.

So you actually start with 1, then there’s 2, then 6, then 15, then 40, then 104…

After 23 steps you should have over sixty thousand people!

Sounds like a pyramid scheme? No! A Spiral, dummy!

Like the galaxy, like your DNA, like the swirling water going down the drain.

Mathematical poetry, there’s beauty in those numbers, if only you could see it.

Get some graph paper if you wish. If it is within your means.

Draw the little squares and rectangles and try to map the spiral. That’s the easy part, actually drawing it requires skill I don’t have.

“But why? Just because its golden?” I hear you asking

“I thought you said this weren’t no mystic shit?”

The point is that at each stage you will be adding only just over half of what you already have, maybe around two thirds. Once you have six, you add another 9. Then you have 15, and you add another 25.

You’re trying to just over double your numbers each time, sticking to the golden ration between new recruits and existing members.

Of course the exact number won’t match up, that would be stupid, and you’re gonna be losing people the whole time as well. But that’s the way to grow, like a spiral. Not like a linear progression going up and up all the time.

Get the new people, then consolidate that gain. Let them merge in with the group, and let the nature of the group change as a result. The old relationships between original members will change as new members arrive. There will be a while of transition.

But don’t let it solidify into something new too quickly, cos as soon as it’s bearable you have to go to the next level, get a whole load more people in. You have to keep finding groups that are the same size as or smaller than yours to merge with, and if they don’t exist there isn’t much you can do. Except perhaps inspire them into coming about…

At different stages, different things are possible. Don’t try and do something that you don’t have the numbers for yet and don’t keep doing what you did when you only had a few of you once you’ve got more. Everytime you get more people, let the group try and do more things, take on more functions.

For example, in a riot situation it is good to be able to look after yourself for the most part, 1, but to have a “buddy”, 1, who you promise to look out for and who also looks after you. The two of you can find another 4 people, and then you have the first three steps of the sequence: 1, 1, 2. The numbers are squared, that’s why graph paper is good, so you can see it. The two is really a 4, the 3 a nine.

1² + 1² + 2² = 6 person Affinity Group

The six of you can be an affinity group made up of three pairs of buddies. Each individual is the beginning of the sequence. They are all the first 1, they are also all a part of the 1,1,2. All they have to know is that their first loyalty is to themselves, their second is to their buddy and their third to the rest of the affinity group.

An affinity group of 6 can do a lot. They can pick a target beforehand and try to attack it, hoping others will join in. They can change their mind in the middle of battle and communicate this change relatively quickly.

Militarists always say that in the field you need a clear chain of command and for people to just obey orders regardless of the stresses in the heat of battle. This is why we can defeat them, because they are idiots.

Cops will stand there looking terrified with blood pouring down their faces whilst hundreds of angry youth are trying to knock them down, waiting in vain for the order to retreat. Soldiers will do something similar.

Our chain of command starts with ourselves, as individuals. We are the ones defining our own mission objectives, our own wider strategy and our own long term goals, not some businessman somewhere far away from the action.

But 6 people is pretty much the maximum for this kind of thing. 6 people who know each other well can have a hurried conversation or make a few hand signals to each other in the middle of a chaotic situation.

I have seen groups of ten or more trying to do the same with terrible consequences for us all. Ten or fifteen people moving as one group is very obvious to our enemies and causes them to attack us when we are not ready.

1² + 1² + 2² + 3² = 15 person Collective

Fifteen is the next level up from a 6 person affinity group. 1 squared plus 1 squared plus 2 squared (4) plus three squared (9). Fifteen, about the maximum number of people you can have at a formal consensus meeting, like for some kind of collective.

Collectives are more formal than affinity groups. They cannot be based solely on vague feelings of affinity but must have some kind of actually defined lowest common denominator. With that many people you can’t expect all of them to be friends, but you can expect them to be comrades.

Meetings of around fifteen people have to be structured. You need someone to act as facilitator, or maybe more than one, to give the meeting a kind of other-worldly air, to make everyone feel like the normal modes of conversation are being suspended temporarily. You can’t just but in an interrupt someone or just suddenly go off on a tangent of your own. You have to be patient, wait your turn to talk, make your point succinctly, and focus on how to resolve whatever problems are coming up. It’s tough, but worth it when things go well and everyone respects each other.

But trying to do all of that with any more than about fifteen people is just going to make you want to rip off your own head. It is realistic to expect that fifteen people who already know each other and agree on some basic points to be able to reach unanimous decisions together on day to day questions. For the first hundred thousand years of human existence we lived mainly in groups of about 15. But after three the next Fibonacci number is 5, which squared is 25. That plus the fifteen you already had is 40, and 40 people cannot have a meeting together.

I have seen it tried, I have even seen a room of 300 try to have the type of meeting that only a group of 15 could successfully achieve. It becomes a farce, the structures that small groups put in place to prevent hierarchies or authority figures emerging just become hierarchical structures in themselves.

In a meeting of fifteen people each person with speak on average one fifteenth of the time of the meeting. So if the meeting is an hour long they will talk for four minutes. In reality some people will say nothing or very little and others will make a few longer contributions, but that’s what averages are.

A collective of 15 people is enough to organise a lot of projects. They could write, print and distribute literature. They could organise demonstrations. They could plan clandestine actions that are more complicated than those a group of 6 could pull off. They could cook a load of food and give it out on the street.

A collective can do lots of things, but it is usually better for it to have a pretty defined function, a brief “job description” that has been based on a real analysis of the situation the collective members are in and a realistic and achievable aim. So maybe a collective can say “we are a bunch of anarchists and we want to write literature and hold talks about anarchist theory”, and it could very well manage to convince quite a few people over time of the validity at least a few concepts, but if it tries to say “we are a bunch of anarchists and we are going to bring about a revolution” maybe it isn’t going to be very successful by it’s own standards.

Collectives, or anything bigger than them, can also bring into being smaller groups to do specific tasks, which we usually call “working groups”. Working groups are about the same size as an affinity group and so can organise themselves pretty informally while they are doing whatever they are supposed to be doing. But they are still part of a larger formal structure, which is the collective (or larger organisation).

By this I mean that if a formal meeting of a collective decides that a working group should be formed for some reason, to research some particular information for example, then ideally the members of the working group would have met up and at least achieved something by the time of the next collective meeting. If so, at least one person from the working group should give some form of report on what they did to the bigger meeting. The same goes if an individual person or pair of “buddies” has declared at a collective meeting that they will do something in particular and the rest of the people have agreed that they should be the one to do it. If you say you are going to do something at a meeting and then don ‘t do it, you should at least come to the next meeting and explain why not, even if it was just because you were too lazy.

In my experience there are only certain types of people who are really suited to working in this formal way. It requires individuals to be punctual, organised, respectful to others during meetings and to recognise that they have some responsibility to be held democratically accountable for actions they take in the name of the collective. Many people have problems doing most of these things. But I really think that once a group gets to a certain size, formal decision making structures really are necessary for the group to be considered democratic.

There is a text available for free online called “the Tyranny of Structurelessness” which explains in great detail why formal structures are needed, and I can’t be bothered to repeat everything it says here.  All I would say about it, as I have already said here anyway, is that for smaller groups it’s not really necessary. A group of four or five people should be able to have a fucking conversation and listen to each other properly, unless one or two of them really are absolute bullying dickheads, in which case, why are you working with them?

1² + 1² + 2² + 3² + 5² = 40 person network

But what if you are part of a growing group of people and don’t happen to be the kind of person suited to formal collective meetings? If there are enough people, such as 40, to stick with the Fibonnacci numbers, you can form what I would call a “network”.

A network is a loose structure with a “semi-formal” decision making process. The internal politics of “networks” can sometimes be confusing as different people are likely to want more or less formality in the structure. The network may be made up of two or three collectives, or a collective and four or five affinity groups, or just a load of affinity groups, or even just a load of individuals, or any combination of the three things.

I would imagine that a network made up just of individuals with no stronger ties to each other than just shared membership of a network is probably not going to do very well or have much substance to it. I have seen many “networks” form and most of them never got past the stage of having a meeting to decide that they were a network.

But then I have seen others which have formed and carried on, going from strength to strength even as their component members almost completely change. These have usually been made up of several different smaller groups of varying size as well as a few random individuals. Networks are good forms of organising to allow individuals who are not part of anything corresponding to an affinity group but who still want to work with others in some way. Many people who may not have the best social skills in world make up for it by being extremely skilful in other ways, and it is therefore not only discriminatory but also foolish not to allow them some form of participation.

Like a collective, a network also needs to have some kind of stated purpose, but due to the amount of people involved and lack of a formal decision making process, this stated purpose should be something as simple as possible – a “lowest common denominator” approach. I would argue that once this stated purpose is agreed upon, network meetings should not really try to have a decision making function at all.

I think that the best form of meeting for a loose network of people is what I would call a “forum” meeting. This is when people basically just have a group discussion that isn’t necessarily aimed at “consensus”, like a meeting of a formal collective would be. In a forum meeting, people talk in more of a vague “bigger picture” way about things, suggesting ideas about how the whole group should go forward and seeing what the response to those ideas is.

For example, say there is a “forum” meeting of a network that has been based around environmental issues in a particular town and an individual makes a speech of some kind about how they need to do more publicity in the town about the health risks of a particular new development. Other people at the meeting might all nod their head in agreement, maybe no one else says anything contrary to it, and that in itself is enough. It shows that the idea has a lot of support within the network, and is therefore worth putting into practice. So the individual can go back to their affinity group or their collective or just their “buddy” and start getting on with the work of making some publicity materials, confident that other people in the network will probably help distribute them.

Or it could be that someone stands up in a forum and calls for immediate sabotage action against the project. This would probably lead to some debate or even angry disagreements and questions about whether or not it’s the right time or worth the risk, or if they should wait for public support. Hopefully none of the arguments against would be based on pacifist ideology, or else it would not be an insurrectionist anarchist network. Pacifists should probably ignore this whole text and stick to hierarchical organising, sheep that they are.

So the individual may still go back to their affinity group and starting planning to do the action anyway, knowing that not everyone in the network will be happy about it but still believing that it’s a good idea. Or they may take the disagreement as a sign that they just shouldn’t do it. That’s the whole point, it’s still up to the members of a network to decide to do whatever they want, they are not bound to decisions made at forums, because there shouldn’t be any.

Not only is this a benefit in terms of individual freedom, it is also a benefit in terms of security. If a group gets so big that it falls under the category of what I describe as a network, then it is extremely stupid to try and make decisions with everyone in the room at the same time. Whether you dismiss it as a conspiracy theory or not the fact is that the State does have secret agents working for them and that these agents are used even on pacifist groups campaigning for their legal rights to simply be upheld, even in the most “democratic States” (a contradiction in terms). So any group prepared to break the law, with a revolutionary analysis behind it, should definitely expect to be infiltrated, and in fact, to act as if they already have been.

One of the things infiltrators do, obviously, is feed information to the authorities about the details of actions that are being planned and those already undertaken so that arrests can be made. Therefore the details of actions should never be discussed in a forum or even formal collective meeting, because then the likelihood that an infiltrator will know is extremely high. Formal meetings and informal “forums” are part of the Public Sphere, whereas affinity group meetings are Private. Of course, you could always have an informer in your affinity group, and that would certainly be awful. It has happened to people I know and they were extremely shaken up by it. But even then at least only the actions of the members of that affinity group should be known about, not everyone in the network.

But infiltrators do not just feed information to other cops. They have also been known, in cases such as the Counter Intelligence Programme of the US FBI in the late sixties and seventies, to deliberately disrupt the decision making processes of revolutionary organisations (and a loose network is still a form of organisation), to create internal conflicts out of nothing or to make existing ones worse through antagonistic rhetoric and behaviour. Undercover FBI agents infiltrating the Black Panthers even sent insulting letters to different faction leaders signed in the names of their rivals, to drive the factions further apart by adding a personal dimension.

This kind of dickhead behaviour in a formal structure can really fuck a lot of things up for everyone – witness the depressingly large number of Black Panthers who are now either dead or in jail.  But at a “forum” meeting it doesn’t really matter as much. People can have a massive row at a forum meeting and still carry on all their activity as if nothing happened, because the whole point of a forum is that is a time when people can discuss things in the abstract a bit without it necessarily affecting the current strategies of everyone involved.

But, as with all things, there are limitations to informal networks as well. Little groups of people doing different things and vaguely helping each other out now and then is nice, but it can get frustrating when you get enough people in the network that you feel there is potential to do a lot more. Large groups of people making a complex plan together and putting it into practice with them each taking on different functions as part of a smooth machine takes a lot of formal organising. It has to, or else whatever the big master plan is won’t be democratic- there will be people having to do things they had no say in. What’s more, lots of conversations will have to happen with few enough people that it is safe to discuss incriminating details, and yet these conversations still somehow be part of a democratic structure.

1² + 1² + 2² + 3² + 5² + 8² = 104 member federation

The form of organising that I would suggest for when there are this many people trying to do things that are this complicated is what anarchists in general call “federation”, which may be slightly different from what other people mean when they talk about federations. The governments of Russia, the US and Germany all call themselves federations, but they are certainly not the kind of structures I am advocating.

Federations are large groups of people who make decisions together not by all piling into a room at once and trying to talk it out, but by splitting into smaller groups and electing delegates to a small meeting where the delegates talk amongst themselves. Any decision that the delegates make has to then be ratified by all the smaller groups that they’ve been chosen from. The delegates should also be different people each time there is a delegate meeting. That way they are definitely not any form of authority over anyone else, they are just messengers between groups.

To illustrate it further, let’s go back to the Fibonacci numbers. To get the figure for 40 we took the sum of the squares of the first 5 numbers in the Fibonacci sequence (1 squared is 1, plus another one squared is 2, 2 squared is 4 so you add the 2 you already have to make 6. The next Fibonacci number is 3 which squared is 9. 9 plus the six you already have is 15. The next number is 5, which squared is 25, plus the fifteen you already have is 40. Ok?) The sixth Fibonacci number is the sum of the previous two, which were 3 and 5, so you get 8. 8 squared is 64. That plus the 40 you already have is 104, which should be enough for a federation.

The federation of 104 members would ideally be made up of 10 collectives of around ten people each. I say “collectives” rather than affinity groups because though some constituent groups of federations may actually have only around 6 or less people and therefore be small enough to be considered an affinity group, they still need to have at least a minimum degree of formal organisation. These groups of around 10 need to at least be able to formally come to a consensus on who their next delegate is going to be and whether or not they agree with any proposals that have come out of the previous delegate meeting.

Ten delegates should be able to have a formal meeting amongst themselves about what their delegated positions are going to be. Ideally delegate meeting should actually be quite boring, with people just acting out roles that they have been assigned by their groups. It should not be a place to have vague open ended conversations like you would in a “forum” type meeting, because there is a danger that the delegates would just be talking about their personal opinions rather than simply representing the consensus opinion of their group. Because the delegates from each group are chosen before each delegate meeting, people who are shit at being delegates because they are too egotistical, forgetful or downright dishonest should theoretically not be chosen again. That’s what accountability is all about.

Getting all these processes to work smoothly is extremely hard. You can’t just write a constitution about how things are supposed to work and expect it to start off like clockwork. It takes time for people to get used to working like this, and things that take time also take patience. But if people manage to get it working, it can be a remarkably stable form of organisation. There is archaeological evidence that indicates that before Columbus sailed the Atlantic there were whole regions of North and Central America is which forms of federation similar to this were the system of government for hundreds of years . Today in the territory claimed by the EZLN rebel army in Chiapas, Mexico, a form of federalism based on similar principles to that which I have described is the system of government for hundreds of thousands of people.

But we are not talking about how to run communities right now, we are talking about how to organise as revolutionaries right now in our present day condition of alienation from political and economic power. To me an Insurrectionist organisation is one that sees its role in part as being about taking action rather than simply talking about other people taking action. The central idea of Platformist anarchism is that anarchist organisations are necessary to help raise consciousness amongst oppressed people, but that it is the oppressed people themselves who must take action for revolutionary aims to succeed. I do not think that most insurrectionists actually disagree with this. I certainly don’t, because it would be stupid to think that self-identifying insurrectionist anarchists, as a tiny minority of the population,  could ever really achieve much by our actions alone.

But consciousness raising requires action. You can’t go around writing graffiti and posters and flyers and stickers and newsletters and zines and blogs about why the “working class” should take direct action and then not take action yourself. If you do then most members of the “working class” will tell you to fuck off, or at least shut up. Maybe some of them will be inspired to take action just to show you up for being the coward that you are. Of course, if you genuinely are completely incapable of taking action yourself due to some kind of disability, then sure, you’re not necessarily a coward if you just talk about it. Talking about it is still worth doing. But you are a lot more likely to sound like you know what you are talking about if you are actively involved in struggle yourself.

A Federation that is big enough and well organised enough to carry out impressive actions will gain a good reputation amongst people who hear about the action and see the benefit of it towards revolutionary aims. It should also have enough intelligent people involved to be able to collectively figure out what kind of actions actually would have this effect, by analysing the situation and taking into account what actions it could realistically pull off and how the people they are trying to influence actually think. It would be nice if everyone who was getting ripped off or shat on by some corporation or government agency already was pissed off about it enough to support anyone taking action against them in order to gain a little more liberation, but unfortunately this is usually not the case.

So maybe some people would support a mass shoplifting action from a big supermarket chain to give free food to the hungry but not one where you also robbed the cash register and the booze aisles. Depends where you live. Some communities might be full of people who’d disrespect you if you didn’t nick all the alcohol. These are the kind of questions that social analysis is supposed to solve.

The point is you want people to talk about the federation like “oh yeah, those guys/girls/people. They’re pretty cool. I get what they are about and like what they do” and for them to then check out the website or posters or whatever and see what the message is. And the message should be “Like this kind of shit? Well, what are you waiting for? This is how you can do it yourself: step one, form and affinity group…” and then explain the whole damn Fibonacci thing from the beginning again.

That way you have an organisation which is constantly starting off little Fibonacci spirals of insurrectionary activity. It is a meme that can replicate, or at least it should aim to be, like the spirals of DNA in our chromosomes. An insurrectionary organisation should see replication as the criteria of success for its actions. If no one’s copying you then you aren’t doing anything worth copying.

All of this stuff: being able to analyse things realistically, being able to organise and pull of complex actions, being able to effectively associate those actions with a DIY message and give effective assistance to help new insurrectionist organisations get off the ground after you’ve helped inspire them to do so, all of it takes organisation. It takes people volunteering to take on specific tasks and being held accountable to the others on how well they do the job. It takes a lot of meetings, a lot of debates, a  lot of consensus building, a lot of politics, basically. So it needs to be done by a formal political organisation, such as a federation.

1² + 1² + 2² + 3² + 5² + 8² +13² = 273 people in a movement

But federations are not the end of the story. The whole point of this spiral metaphor with the Fibonacci structure is that there is no end to it. If things go well revolutionary activity should spread and spread and never back down. That’s when you know you’re doing something right, when your actions and analyses are replicated by more and more people.

8 plus 5 is 13, which squared is 169. Add that to the federation of 104 and you get 273. What do you call something like that? A number of people big enough that it could include a federation or two and any number of independent collectives , affinity groups, buddies and individuals?  The only thing i can come up with is “movement”, though I would hope a movement would be a fuck of a lot bigger than that, and it is. Anyway, I am getting pretty bored of talking about maths all the time and I’m sure whoever’s reading this is too.

Anyway, in reality a federation can be a lot bigger than 104 people, and again, you would hope it would be. You just need to add more layers of delegate structures. 10 people choose one person to go to a meeting of ten delegates who choose some kind of Superdelegates to go to another meeting of ten Superdelegates, and so on. I don’t want to get into the maths again. Too much…

So let’s talk about movements. They have too many people involved for them to possibly know each other, so they are like what Benedict Anderson said nations are, Imagined Communities. Like with nations, people in a movement are not bound together through face to face contact but through shared identification with an abstract idea. No matter how up to date an empirical a movement’s analysis may be, it is still something abstract at the end of the day. It’s not something you can touch.

The movement is not an organisation. You will never get everyone in the movement together in a big room to all make decisions together. It is made up of both formal and informal structures, and this is it’s strength. This is why it is better than a federation.

One of the limitations of a federation is that because all the constituent parts of it have to be formal groups themselves, everyone who participates has to be the kind of person who is suited to those kinds of formal structures. This excludes a lot of the best people in the movement. Being able to patiently sit through a meeting is not a particularly inspiring trait to the average person on the street.

But a federation that is self-consciously only one part in a wider movement which is more important than the formal structures of the federation itself, has to potential to be incredibly effective and dynamic, and to help the movement as a whole to be a lot more organised while still being fundamentally chaotic.

Say that people in the federation start talking about some upcoming change that the local council is going to make to the community, closing a library for example. Maybe they only start talking about it in the first place because someone not in the federation mentioned it to some of them. The federation with its organisational capabilities could start to organise some people to research more about it, some other people to write polemic articles about it, other people to fundraise money for other people to print up a load of leaflets about the issue.

During the process of producing this literature the federation has to come up with a collective position on the issue, or else the literature cannot be said to have been produced by it as a whole. So each group has to decide what they are gonna tell their delegate to tell the delegate meeting their position is. Maybe in the process some of the groups participate in forum type meetings in smaller networks that they are also part of and discuss the issue there, getting feedback from non-federation members and some of these feedback may influence what the federation’s official position ends up being.

When the literature is finished, maybe it gets discussed at other informal forum meetings by both federation members and non-members. Maybe some non-members like it and help distribute it, even though they are not part of the federation. Maybe some don’t like it and decide to produce their own literature instead, as individuals or as collectives, with a slightly different position. Maybe there are even two or more federations in the same movement with slightly different positions. The more the better.

With at least some awareness already having been made, perhaps many people feel that it is time for action. Some affinity groups may have already begun taking some forms of action already, hacking into the council’s computers or some other form of sabotage. But the federation also starts a kind of intellectual process of it’s own about what forms of actions it thinks should be taken. This process is again influenced by informal meetings with non-members. Again, at the end some people in the movement agree with those forms of action, and start organising clandestinely to achieve them. Again, perhaps some don’t and do something else.

Maybe the federation’s idea for action works, and starts a wave of copycat actions by loads of other people. Maybe the federation’s idea doesn’t work but one of the other smaller groups’ ideas does. Maybe that smaller group’s analysis was sharper precisely because it was born out of a critique of that of the federation. Maybe not but if it is, maybe the federation members are humble enough to admit they were wrong. Maybe they aren’t, but it doesn’t matter, because now the wave of actions is outside of the control of those that instigated it. It has become an Insurrection, maybe just a small one, maybe just a symbolic one, maybe one that doesn’t end up changing anything at all. Or maybe not.

This is an example of how the benefits of formal structure and those of dynamic flexibility can be combined. To fetishize one over the other is sheer foolishness. A formal organisation that shuts itself of from wider informal networks in the movement is not only less capable of achieving its own aims, it is also less likely to come up with good ideas for aims in the first place. It is also likely to survive if faced with serious pressure from the State, especially because it’s structures are fairly open to it’s agents to manipulate. Clandestine affinity groups who only know the names of a few of the people taking action with them are more likely to survive, but they are also less likely to be democratic or to develop a mature analysis. They also face difficulties seeking each other out for collaboration, and this is where they can be aided by piggybacking on the structures of more formal organisations in order to come into contact with others that they can have private conversations with later.

Small “movements” like this have the potential to adapt and change as they face pressure from the state and changing circumstances. If one collective or federation is wiped out, all the raw ingredients to build new ones are still there in the informal networks, which become larger and stronger as the more temporary formal structures help them to grow. Hopefully these movements will figure out how to take action that replicates, and the much hyped “mass movement” can finally come about.

This is not about making a mass movement of anarchists, simply a mass movement of people acting for themselves, in their own interests, united against a common enemy, the State. It is not anarchist ideology that needs to spread, it is revolutionary practice.