Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Simply Anarchism.

Anarchists seek to build free and equal communities.
Hierarchical power structures are limiting of humanity and creativity, and the root cause of many social and health problems.
Anarchists seek to abolish all hierarchies – whether in unaccountable global corporations, in the state sector, or in our personal relationships.
Elections don’t give any real democracy, instead we seek direct local participation in decision-making and community stewardship of resources.
Economic growth only delivers wealth to those already wealthy; instead flexible cooperative working could increase leisure and bring economic security with better working conditions.
Rather than globilised production of worthless goods for profit, we would aim for environmentally-sustainable local production for real needs, bringing back good craftsmanship.
Anarchists take direct action – to highlight and prevent abuses and exploitation, and also to build non-hierarchical alternatives

What Might an Anarchist Society Look Like?

1 The world’s resources would be held in common and shared with all the diverse life on Earth.
2 People would manage their own lives, work and communities, and everyone would have a say in decision making through decentralised forms of organisation.
3 Relationships in all areas of life would be based on mutual respect and equality regardless of gender, skin colour, sexual orientation,disability, age, culture etc.
4 Work wouldn’t be boring and repetitive, but instead would be a means of voluntary self expression and fulfilment; unpopular or difficult jobs would be shared.
5 Education would be integrated into daily life to produce free individuals who think for ourselves.
6 Goods and services would be produced ecologically for human needs based on the principle “from each according to ability, to each according to need”.

Why Anarchism?

Freedom and Equality

Fundamentally, anarchism is the struggle for freedom. Freedom from rulers and corporations who dominate our lives and are destroying our earth. Freedom for workers, women, and all oppressed people in all parts of the world. We believe that this sort of freedom can only be achieved together with equality and a fair distribution of resources.

Individual and Collective

Anarchists believe in the inherent dignity and humanity of the individual. But this dignity and humanity can only be fully realised in a co-operative, egalitarian society. This is why we are in favour of working together collectively and being organised. It is incorrect to equate anarchism with individualism or chaos.


Anarchists understand that this truly free and equal society can only be achieved through revolution – meaning a complete transformation of society. This society cannot be ‘given’ to the people by politicians or bureaucrats. It must be built by people from below.

Change by Direct Action

Anarchism opposes the violence which is an integral part of capitalism and the state (this violence comes in many forms: war, patriarchy etc.). We believe that means shape ends – in other words, the way we struggle will shape the outcome of the struggle. This is also why we do not support the seizure of State power by authoritarian political parties. However, anarchists do believe in direct action – action taken by everyday people to address the power imbalance in present day society. This includes strikes, boycott’s, work-to-rule’s and occupations.

The Past

Both authoritarian communism (as in Russia, China etc.) and ‘labourism’ (ie. The labour parties of the world), have failed to solve our global crisis. We need a different path to a better world. Anarchism offers itself as a guide on that path.

Roundup of Anarchism in Scotland articles.

a recent interest of mine. -Scottish Anarchism
by Ian Heavens.

Beating the poll tax - Anarchist Communist Federation title=The_Birth_of_Glasgow's_Anarchism.

75th Anniversary of IB Remembered by Fife Trades Union Members


Fife marks Brigade's 75th anniversary

After the 1886 visit to Glasgow of Peter Kropotkin

 Kropotkin’s visit was followed in 1888 by that of Chicago anarchist, Lucy Parsons, partner of Albert Parsons, one of the executed Haymarket martyrs

Bailte bánbhreaca idir neoin bhig agus béal maidne’ Seosamh MacGrianna

The Edinburgh Socialist League and its ginger group, the Scottish Land and Labour League, also evinced the strong libertarian character of its Glasgow counterpart early on. Much of this was down to the activism and propaganda of a number of important anarchists in ‘auld reekie’, such as Andreas Scheu, Thomas H. Bell and Paul Reclus, nephew of the famous French anarchist geographer, Elisée Reclus. Andreas Scheu (1844-1927) was an Austrian furniture designer active in German anarchist politics from as early as 1870. He went to London in 1874 where he was involved with and quickly became disillusioned by the stagnation of émigré German socialists. In Johann Most (1846-1906), he found a much more active and energetic anarchist comrade and helped Most with his German language newspaper, Freiheit, published in London and smuggled into Germany from 1879 to 1882. Most served 16 months hard labour in England for an article titled ‘Endlich’ (At Last), in response to the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881, and left for New York on his release. Scheu had grown impatient of Most’s lax attitude to security and general indiscretion before his arrest but with Most gone, and only the pedestrian conversation of the Anarchist Club to fill the space, Scheu drifted into the Democratic Federation, its successor the Social Democratic Federation, and then the Socialist League, of which he was a founder member. Scheu took a sales job with Jaeger in Edinburgh in 1885 and remained in the city until the 1890s where he was a beacon of anti-authoritarian sentiment and practise. He made many contacts with Glasgow over the years and presumably many trips also. He eventually returned to Germany via London after many years of activism throughout which he appears to have remained a committed anti-parliamentarian socialist if not an anarchist.

Thomas H. Bell, was another young member of the Edinburgh Socialist League, who, perhaps inspired by the example and ideas of Scheu, became a confirmed anarchist and carried this revolutionary creed with him to London and then Los Angeles, where he was still active in the 1930s. Bell made a favourable impression on many anarchists who came across him, most notably Voltairine de Cleyre and he was related by marriage to the indefatigable English anarchist, John Turner (1864-1934), who employed him as secretary of the 3,000 strong Shop Assistants’ Union in 1898. Bell had been active in the Freedom Group in London along with his companion Lizzie Turner Bell. His sister, Jessie Bell Westwater was also later an anarchist activist in the US. It is generally less safe to assume that Bell had Glasgow contacts and a hand in helping the movement there, but his omission from consideration would certainly be unfair, and might also draw the criticism of a Glasgow bias in this work.
A third individual worth mentioning whom we can be more certain spoke and supported the early Glasgow anarchists from a base in Edinburgh was Paul Reclus (1858-1941). Reclus, like another French anarchist Lucién Guérineau (1857-1940), spent a number of years in Scotland after police crackdowns against anarchists in France. Reclus lived in Edinburgh from about 1894 and visited Glasgow often where he was involved in aiding the local anarchist movement. He eventually returned to France in 1914.

 Ethel McDonald, in Motherwell in 1873), but the two had a child, William Morris Duff, born in 1896, and they were living together at 9 Carfin Street, Govanhill, Glasgow in 1897. It was at this address that they played host to Voltairine de Cleyre during her tour of Scotland in September 1897. De Cleyre became a great friend of the Duffs as a result and a lifelong lover of Scotland which she claimed was, ‘the sharpest, ruggedest, wittiest place on earth’.

 As they did with other anarchist visitors over the years, the Duffs arranged meetings for Voltairine de Cleyre in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Paisley and Dundee, the last of which Voltairine didn’t like and in a fit of strangely affected Scots declared it to be ‘no very bonnie the noo’ in a letter to her sister. Obviously the Scottish experience had indeed had a profound effect on her, either that or she was taking the piss!

The year after Voltairine de Cleyre’s visit, William Duff published a Solidarity Leaflet in Glasgow containing her long anti-religious poem, ‘The Gods and the People’. He and Maggie also paved the way for her return visit to the city in August and September 1903, soon after she had been shot by a mentally ill man in America, in an incident from which she never completely recovered and which led to her death in 1912 at the early age of 45. The Duffs were at 91 Aitkenhead Road in Glasgow when Voltairine returned, and they and their local comrades arranged a number of speaking engagements for her, though probably fewer than in 1897. William McGill, of Pollokshaws, who ran an anarchist bookstore in the city centre, chaired Voltairine’s talk to the Progressive Union, an important intellectual and campaigning forum that exercised a profound influence on the leading Scottish Marxists, John Maclean (1879-1923) and James McDougall (1891-1963). The Progressive Union was actually founded by an uncle of McDougall’s, named Daniel, who was himself an anarchist.

This matches the observation of John Paton who says that by 1910 ‘there had been no anarchist propaganda in Glasgow for many years, although at one time there had been an active group’. To what extent ‘wee McAra’, as he was known, managed to re-start the Glasgow movement is difficult to say. This Edinburgh-based anarchist (probably born in Crieff in Perthshire in 1870), was a tramp speaker for anarchism and a tireless propagandist, who was the first to give open-air speeches on anarchism in Belfast, where he also spent three months in Crumlin Road Jail. McAra was never an organisation person and because of this when he moved on after a period of propaganda work, the support he had garnered for anarchism usually dissipated. This did not actually occur in 1909/10 and this may have been because McAra encouraged a Bristol anarchist, George Ballard (or Barrett), to come to the city and carry on the work he had started.


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Environmental rambling.

Could the Earth survive after us or without us ?

I'm not sure how true I believe this to be. It seems like with negative feedback loops etc that we are changing the Earth in a way such that it will destroy itself though obviously not completely.
This raises the question of how eco-centric or biocentric can an environmentalist politics be though. It does look like we're doing it more for humans so how anti- anthroprocentric can it be?

Causes of environmental problems : Capitalism/consumerism/ productivism/endless growth , hierarchy, ignorance, anthroprocentrism

Without a radical re-think of society I don't believe technology is an answer.

I'm not a primitivist but I'm more sympathetic to them than Transhumanism or technohumanism.

4 senses of intrinsic value
  1.  intrinsic vs instrumental. instrumental aids intrinsic e.g. pleasure. skiing is valuable since it promotes pleasure which is intrinsically valuable.
  2.  intrinsic value i.e. having moral worth as opposed to being a mere object e.g. moral status of babies vs a shoe.
  3. inherent value. Expereinces could have inherent value since an experience is a relation.
  4. Intrinsic value regardless of valuers i.e. independent of anyones thoughts on them.

1 seems to make sense.
 I believe in 2.
 3 is unclear .
 4 seems impossible and philosophically problematic or absurd.

I've Read  Social Ecology versus Deep Ecology: A Challenge for the Ecology Movement by Murray Bookchin.

Most of the article is terrible. Gross distortion and lies about Deep Ecology and strawman. Murray Bookchin sounds more like Ayn Rand in this article.

"Let us agree from the outset that ecology is no magic term that unlocks the secret of our abuse of nature. It is a word that can be as easily abused, distorted, and tainted as democracy and freedom. Nor does ecology put us all--whoever "we" may be---in the same boat against environmentalists, who are simply trying to make a rotten society work by dressing it in green leaves and colorful flowers while ignoring the deep-seated roots of our ecological problems"-Correct.

Ecology and green politics does not automatically interest left wing people and can attract reactionaries. It also invites special interests at times.

"Deep ecology has parachuted into our midst quite recently from the Sunbelt's bizarre mix of Hollywood and Disneyland, spiced with homilies from Taoism, Buddhism, spiritualism, reborn Christianity, and in some cases eco-fascism" is a completely ignorant belittling statement ignoring the value in eastern thinking while being lies in regard to fascism or Disneyland.

"Let us face these differences bluntly: deep ecology, despite all its social rhetoric, has virtually no real sense that our ecological problems have their ultimate roots in society and in social problems. It preaches a gospel of a kind of "original sin" that accurses a vague species called humanity---as though people of color were equatable with whites, women with men, the Third World with the First, the poor with the rich, and the exploited with their exploiters. " Completely untrue!


Friday, 13 September 2013

Biphobia and Monosexism.

The difference between monosexism and biphobia


X-posted from tumblr, because I think people might find this helpful.
Re: monosexism and biphobia. Do you use these words interchangeably? I notice more and more people are treating the two as synonymous and it doesn’t really sit right with me.

Personally, I don’t.
But before I answer, I have to clarify something first, because a lot of people seem to think I invented the word “monosexism”: So, while this is incredibly flattering, the fact is I didn’t. This word has been in use in bisexual movements from the 1990s or even earlier. I’m willing to take credit for popularizing it on tumblr, though :p
Now to my answer:
I see biphobia as a particular aspect of monosexism, they are definitely not interchangeable. Monosexism, as I see it, refers to the structural privileging of monosexual identities and behaviours. So, monosexism refers, for example, to the belief that one can only be either straight or gay, that it is better to be monosexual than bisexual*, that only monosexual identities are “real”, that monosexual issues are the only ones deserving of attention, etc. Monosexism causes bisexual erasure (from media, literature, art, TV and film, etc.), it causes discrimination when it comes to activist priorities, budgeting, etc. It causes the social isolation that leads many bis* to have poor health and mental health, and prevents proper treatment and support that might help alleviate them. It keeps bi* people “low” on the “pecking order” and creates all sorts of oppression. I see monosexism as the main factor responsible for all the horrible statistics in the Bisexual Invisibility report, for example. So, basically, monosexism is the system, the base structure. It is everything which isn’t directly aimed at bi* people but nonetheless has the effect of eradicating our existence or legitimacy.
I also have to say that monosexism is a structure that first and foremost comes from heterosexism and the patriarchy – 99.99999999% of it comes from heterosexual culture. So for me, monosexism is a term that allows us to look at all the ways that the “broader” culture creates oppression against bisexuals*. In addition, it allows us to consider monosexism as a structure that affects everyone instead of just bi* people – for example, by limiting other people’s options.
Biphobia, on the other hand, is direct negative attitudes and treatment of bi* people. It’s one specific result of monosexism. So here we can think about the many negative attitudes and behaviours specifically aimed against bis*. For example, when people refuse to date bisexuals*, when bis* are represented in stereotypical ways in the media, when bi* women become the target of sexual violence (because they’re perceived as particularly sexy sexual objects), when bi* people are discriminated at their jobs because of their bisexuality (for example, because they’re perceived as unreliable, flaky, unable to handle responsibility or commit to their job), and, yes – when bi* people are treated badly by L, G, and T communities.
I think it’s important to make that distinction, because these are two completely different levels of oppression working against bisexuals* – and of course, I think that the room that biphobia occupies right now in bi* political dialogues is unproportionate, and that we need to pay lots more attention to structural, heterosexual, monosexism.
[For a teeny bit more on that, here’s the snippet from my book where I define the two terms]