In critical thinking the blackmail of the expected response always hangs like the sword of Damocles over our heads. As if to realise that walking on the wrong path should automatically mean one always has another path to propose. It is not so! Some paths should never have been followed whilst somewhere else perspectives have to be formed based in paths that do not carry the burden of previous choices. Obviously democracy and its reinforcement in its structures and content is another uncharted path that we should ourselves open, eliminating certainties (such as “sheltering” freedom from enemies) that, hitherto, have led to dead ends. We must appeal to broadening democracy itself without fearing whether it is not liberal enough for our standards (to invest in its growth rather in its ‘protection’). But the latter is primarily an issue of political action to undertake, and secondarily of political thought to be discussed.
An interview conducted for issue no. 7  of the French journal, Z, which perfectly illustrates the process of autonomous organization of the population in the face of the decomposition and collapse of the State apparatus. The example is valid for any other European country; the difference is only one of degree. Let us recapitulate some of the difficulties that stand in the way of autonomy: the inertia of a life subject to the commodity, the habit of appealing to the State for help, egoism, the rise of fascism, police repression, weariness in the face of constant sacrifices, etc. A life of freedom is not an easy road, but a life of slavery is not easy, either.
Nikos Romanos, anarchist prisoner in Greece, was on hunger strike from the 10th of November until the 10th of December 2014. The judicial mechanisms refused his furlough request to attend university classes. In response to this, multiform actions of solidarity took place inside and outside the prisons of Greek democracy and internationally. Seeing that his initial request was repeatedly and vengefully denied, our comrade was blackmailed to accept electronic tagging as an option for getting educational furloughs eventually, “a last resort” that became more pressing as his health was quickly deteriorating. In fact, he chose to stop his hunger strike only after the Greek parliament voted almost unanimously (with the exception of two MPs of the main ruling party according to the official record, while MPs of the Nazi party were apparently quasi-present at the vote) in favor of an amendment proposed by the justice minister
In December 2008, Athens became world news for the first time in recent years, for a reason that was soon overshadowed by the financial and debt crisis that came immediately after. I think it would be useful to revisit this event now, when it is not so loaded any more in terms of public attention and affect. This reason was a totally unpredicted, contingent event: the pointless murder of a youngster by a policeman, which sparked a wave of massive and angry protests for several days in Athens –including in neighbourhoods where no demonstrations had ever taken place in living memory- as well as in all major Greek cities, and several minor ones.
On the 18th of September, Scotland has voted to stay in the United Kingdom after voters rejected independence: in overall the 55% of the electorate rejected the proposal compared to 45% who supported this initiative. This result – which relieved London, the markets and the leaders of the European parliament (who seemed ready to move heaven and earth to defend the Union ) – was somehow expected. From the first day the Edinburgh Agreement of 2012 was signed (as a consequence of the success of Scottish National Party – SNP – in the elections of May 2011) which paved the way for the referendum, opinion polls showed that only 30-35 % wanted independence.
The minds of men, especially of the young, thirsting for the mysterious and extraordinary, allow themselves to be easily dragged by the passion for the new toward that which, when coolly examined in the calm which follows initial enthusiasm, is absolutely and definitively repudiated. This fever for new things, this audacious spirit, this zeal for the extraordinary has brought to the anarchist ranks the most exaggeratedly impressionable types, and at the same time, the most empty headed and frivolous types, persons who are not repelled by the absurd, but who, on the contrary, engage in it. They are attracted to projects and ideas precisely because they are absurd, and so anarchism comes to be known precisely for the illogical character and ridiculousness which ignorance and bourgeois calumny have attributed to anarchist doctrines.
When I was asked by the Anarchist Research Group to talk here today, I resolved to tackle a difficult subject which we tend to ignore because it doesn’t fit our view of the world but which is going to affect us all, anarchists and non-anarchists, increasingly: the rise at the end of the twentieth century of religious fundamentalism. Among the classical anarchists, the characteristic statement on religion came from the most widely-circulated work of the Russian anarchist Michael Bakunin, God and the State. It is a fragment, written in 1871, in which he deplores the fact that belief in God still survived among the people, especially, as he put it, ‘in the rural districts, where it is more widespread than among the proletariat of the cities’.
A number of obstacles have been set up, by custom and/or by State intervention, in the way of unmarried couples . A simplification of legal codes and the abolition of unnecessary bureaucracy would have been the answer to this, as well as to much of social complexities and impasses. But before we vagely blame the omnipotent State for the bureaucratic maize it has weaved around us, we must consider how self-imposed customs, habits and superstions hold the State and its institutions together. So far as marriage is concerned, there is no reason whatsoever to celebrate the signing of a contract and there are several reasons to attack it on all sides for what it represents.
The government, seconded by most news networks are sure to have found the solution to the effects of religious fundamentalism as it has recently stricken British society: surveillance, stricter control through stricter legislation, supplemented by the practice of traditional ruffianism (or else the giving of information from members of the public to the authorities). For it is clear what the Telegraph means when it ends its August 23rd article with: “Somebody in the local community had tipped police off about his activities” and “the need to collect information is ever more pressing … the fear is other returning jihadists will have slipped the net, wandering Britain’s streets with murderous intent”
The Citizens Coordination Committee Fight for Housing was initiated in Rome in 1988 by comrades who participated in Autonomia Operaia (Workers Autonomy), a non-parliamentary Marxist group formed in the ‘70s. Its start-up action, that is to say, the occupation of the suburban area of San Basilio, marked the reinstatement of the struggle for self-organised housing in Rome. The struggle for housing stems from the historical fight of the exploited who were forced by the fascist regime into settlements in the city’s outskirts and were thus obliged, along with many immigrants, to live in sheds and shoddy shelters during the first post-war years.