Black Flag 216 (1999)


As the twentieth century draws to a close, things are looking shaky for the New World Order and its supporters. The economic crisis in South East Asia indicates a deeper problem with the rule of finance capital, as well as the hypocrisy of capitalism's rent-a-quote army of "experts." Before the crisis, investors rushed to the region and all proclaimed its commitment to "free market" principles. After it began, the "statism" which made these regimes the (economic) envy of the world was suddenly discovered by the right and their old positions placed in the Memory Hole.

With the collapse of SE Asia, the supporters of capitalism have redoubled their claims that America is the model for the rest of the world, ignoring the fact that its current economic upturn is the weakest since the Second World War. In Britain, the lowering of interest rates indicates that the Thatcherite/Blairite economic order is less secure than they used to claim. Across the world, the effects of the rule of finance capital are being felt more strongly. Reality is over-coming the hype but it seems unlikely that the world's ruling elites will do anything about it until it's too late. The religion of the market still has its hold over the minds of many, removing possible solutions from the hands of capital in case they strengthen working class power (still the bogey of capital, even after all these years).

What has this to do with anarchism? Simply, if we are facing an economic crisis, anarchists may just as well make use of it and redouble their activities in presenting real, practical alternatives to both state and capitalism. The publishing of Daniel Guerin's No Gods, No Masters by AK presents the constructive nature of anarchist ideas and theory, showing us all that we have a rich and powerful body of ideas and experiences to build upon. They just need to be put into practice. This issue of Black Flag contains many articles on people doing just that. Hopefully they will inspire more resistance and activity elsewhere. Guerin's book also indicates the importance of theory and reading the works of past theorists of anarchism, which also is the theme of Gary Hayter's article on Kropotkin's classic The Conquest of Bread. We need to combine theory and practice, ensuring they inform each other.

This may seem like we are stating the obvious to fill up space, but it is not. We have been facing difficult times for the past 20 years and it's easy to forget that anarchism is a practical and powerful set of ideas. Given that the left is either stuck in the quagmire of Bolshevism or embracing the discredited neo-liberalism of our rulers, there is a golden opportunity for anarchist ideas. We may fail, but if we do nothing we definitely will!

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Apr 11 2018 12:33


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