Albert Meltzer som Brands Londonkorrespondent.

Från Brands Londonkorrespond.
Kamp i England för fred!

Brand nr 2 1940

Framtiden synes oss inte alldeles svart, ty ni skall inte tro all propaganda, som den imperialistiska regeringen sänder ut. Det Brittiska imperiet är inte alls så enigt i sin kamp för ”segern”, som det framgår av regeringens uttalanden. Ty under detta krig har den antimilitära inställningen kommit före, och inte efter, sedan massor av arbetare redan slaktats.

I Skottland är majoriteten av befolkningen socialistisk och antimilitaristisk. Speciellt i Glasgow, varifrån den rörelse, liknande anarkosyndikalismen (fabrikskommitterna) kom under förra kriget. Det övriga England är inte så revolutionärt, men även där finns en stark antimilitaristisk inställning mot kriget. Jag talar här inte om stalinister, fascister och andra tillfälliga krigsmotståndare, utan om vänstersocialister, en del socialdemokratiska fackföreningar, kooperativa föreningar – speciellt de kvinnliga; pacifisterna, I.L.P. (oavhängiga arbetarpartiet) och anarkisterna. Dessa utgör lokala antimilitära kommittéer.

Under inflytande av dessa organisationer ha redan, efter endast sex månader, tusentals vägrat att göra den militära tvångstjänstgöringen, trots att ännu endast tre årsklasser inkallats. Det är många fler, som äro medvetna antimilitarister, men som tagit den ”civila” värnplikten – ty lagen medger en viss frihet i detta fall.

Det finns också många pacifister, som föredraga att tjänstgöra vid ”Röda korset” i stället för militärtjänsten. Vi anarkister ha inte antagit något; vi ha inte antecknat oss varken för militärtjänst eller civiltjänst.

I de antimilitära socialistiska organisationerna propagerar man för direkt aktion, fastän detta inte är tillåtet enligt lag. I England ha vi strejkrätt. Javisst! Men endast on strejken inte hindrar krigsindustrien. Och vilken industri är f.n. inte krigsindustri? Varje politisk, eller mera allmän strejk, eller propaganda för sådan strejk är olaglig.

Hittills har inte vår anarkistiska propaganda förbjudits, men man måste komma ihåg, att med den speciella makt, som parlamentet givit Chamberlain, har denne full rätt att förbjuda vad han vill, göra husvisitationer och beslagta tidningar. Ännu har han inte gjort detta, men Daladier i Frankrike, som har samma fullmakter – har gjort det.

Den anarkistiska rörelsen är i Frankrike förbjuden, likaså de anarkistiska tidningarna. Den frihetliga rörelsen förföljes. Våra spanska kamrater (t. o. m. fransmän som kämpat i Spanien) ha sänts tillbaka till brigadgeneralen Franco, för att mördas.

Inom Brittiska imperiet har Indien vägrat att lämna hjälp åt England. Detta är ett faktum, trots att borgartidningarna i in- och utlandet säger motsatsen. Visst har imperieregeringen fått telegram med löfte om välvilligt bistånd. Men från vem? Från en del prinsar, som tjänstgör som poliser för imperiet. Dessa prinsar, som sitta i sina palats med hjälp av den Brittiska militären, de lovar att sända både folk och pengar till Englands hjälp.

Den indiska nationalkongressen vägrade att lämna någon hjälp till England. Denna kongress representerade den organiserade arbetarklassen, bönderna, nationalister och internationalister och hela den indiska oavhängighetsrörelsen. Alltså hela den indiska nationen – utom prinsarna.

Vid kongressen voro representerade två huvudriktningar: reformisterna (möjligen inklusive Gandhirörelsen) som vägrade att lämna någon hjälp till det imperialistiska kriget, till dess Indien befriats från den engelska imperialismen.

I Kanada, Australien och Afrika är inte stämningen fullt så enhällig som i Indien, den är där mera splittrad liksom i England. Jag kan försäkra att vår anarkistiska rörelse bedriver en intensiv kamp mot det imperialistiska kriget, för fred och frihet. Jag hoppas och tror att i kampen mot kriget, vi skall kunna bygga ut vår rörelse så, att vi kan krossa imperialismen och förena oss med den övriga världen i en segerrik kamp för anarkismen.

Vi hoppas att också ni kamrater, hjälper oss i denna vår kamp. Vi vet att bland arbetarna råder den uppfattningen, att revolutionen först skall bryta ut i Tyskland, och att en generalstrejk mot kriget skulle hjälpa Hitler. Men vi skall visa, att det inte är endast här i England, som de antimilitära organisationerna arbetar, utan att denna idé är ännu starkare i andra länder, och att arbetare och bönder i andra länder är med oss, och att vi kan förena världens arbetare i gemensam kamp mot kriget.

Därför önskar vi få oss tillsänt alla upprop och manifest, som utgives av de anarkistiska organisationerna i andra länder, och som bevisar att anarkismen överallt bekämpar kriget och imperialismen. Jag kan inte nu, på grund av de rådande förhållandena, skriva mera om vår aktivitet. Men ni kan vara övertygade om att vi medvetet arbetar för världsrevolutionen – och den frihetliga världsfederationen.

Leve anarkismen!

A. M.

Anarkistiska städer

Colin Ward
Frihetlig Socialistisk Tidskrift 22, februari 1977

Följande artikel är hämtad ur en nyutkommen bok av Colin Ward: Housing – an Anarchist Approach (Freedom Press London). Den har tidigare varit publicerad i Undercurrents mars 1975. (FST)

Anarkismen, som ju har som sitt politiska ideal ett regeringslöst samhälle, bestående av självständiga kommuner, tycks vid första anblicken inte alls ha befattat sig med staden och dess problem. I själva verket har det emellertid från anarkismen utgått en ström av idéer på detta område, alltifrån Kropotkin till Murray Bookchin, vilkas tänkande i främsta rummet haft historisk karaktär, och alltifrån John Turner till de internationella situationisterna, vilka sett mera till det ideologiska. Fast det finns förstås också en hel del gott folk som ytterligare skulle kunna berika den anarkistiska stadsteorin, om de inte andligen, om än inte i praktiken, övergivit staden. Särskilt i Storbritannien, det högst urbaniserade landet i världen, har i århundraden myten om den lantliga lyckan spirat och omhuldats av folk från alla samhällsklasser och politiska riktningar. Raymond Williams har i sin bok The Country and the City (”Landsbygden och staden”) påvisat, hur denna myt genom tiderna tillförts litteraturen, och hur det förlorade paradiset av lantlig lycka alltid förlagts till det förflutna. E. P. Thompson anmärker att felet med denna myt är, att den ”utslätats, förskönats och förstorats, varefter den blivit ett tillhygge i händerna på städernas invånare i deras kritik av industrialismen. I stället för att fundera över vad en sann gemenskap i en industristad skulle kunna innebära, har man hängivit sig åt denna myt.”

Två stadskulturer

Motsvarigheten till den pastorala drömmens muntra herdar och herdinnor är i våra dagar, menar många, de fattiga på landsbygden i den tredje världens länder. Men paradoxalt nog flockas nu detta lantliga proletariat i stora skaror till städerna. Om man i dag önskar se exempel på anarkistiska städer som växt fram genom direkt folklig aktion och inte genom regeringsdekret, får man vända sig till den tredje världen. I Latinamerika, Asien och Afrika har den väldiga strömmen av folk till de stora städerna under de senaste årtiondena resulterat i uppväxandet av vidsträckta nybyggarsamhällen runtom de existerande städerna, befolkade av det ”osynliga” folket, d.v.s. av människor som officiellt inte registrerats som stadsbor. Pat Crooke påpekar, att städer utvecklas på två plan; på det officiella planet och på det inofficiella. Huvuddelen av befolkningen i många latinamerikanska städer är, framhåller han, stadsbor som officiellt inte är det och som håller sig med en egen, folklig ekonomi som faller utanför den institutionella ekonomiska strukturens ram.

Ett sätt att minska trycket på dessa explosionsartat expanderande städer vore att förbättra livet på landsbygden och i småstäderna. Detta skulle emellertid förutsätta att genomgripande jordreformer kom till stånd, att arbetskraftskrävande småindustrier igångsattes och att jordbrukets avkastning dramatiskt höjdes. Tills detta sker, kommer folk – hellre än att gå och svälta på landsbygden – att söka sin lycka i städerna. Den stora skillnaden jämfört med den lavinartade tillväxt av städerna som på artonhundratalet drabbade Storbritannien är den, att industrialiseringen då föregick urbanisering och inte tvärtom som nu är fallet. Den officiella synen på den tredje världens nybyggarstäder är, att de utgör grogrunden för allsköns brott, laster och sjukdomar, och att de verkar upplösande på familje- och samhällsinstitutionerna.

Den anarkistiske arkitekten John Turner som kanske gjort mer än de flesta för att förändra vår syn på dessa nybyggarsamhällen framhåller emellertid följande:

”Tio års verksamhet i peruanska barriadas tyder på att ett sådant synsätt är grovt missvisande. Det tjänar förvisso hävdvunna politiska och byråkratiska privilegieintressen, men det har mycket litet att göra med verkligheten… I stället för på kaos och upplösning pekar vittnesbörden på under sansade och välorganiserade former genomförda ockupationer av offentlig mark, detta trots våldsamt motstånd från polisens sida, och på en utvecklad intern politisk organisation med årliga lokala val. Faktum är att tusentals människor bor tillsammans under ordnade förhållanden i dessa barriadas – utan polisbeskydd och andra allmänna tjänster. De halmhus som ursprungligen uppfördes byggs så fort som möjligt om till tegel- och cementhus. I dessa byggnader investeras alltsomallt miljontals dollar i form av arbete och material. Antalet personer som får sin utkomst på arbetsmarknaden, lönerna, läskunnigheten och den allmänna bildningsnivån är i barriadas genomgående högre än i innerstadens slumområden, varifrån flertalet av barriadainvånarna kommer, och till och med högre än vad genomsnittet för landet visar. Kriminalitet, ungdomsbrottslighet, prostitution och spel är sällsynta företeelser. Det enda undantaget utgör småstölder, men även dessa tycks i barriadas vara färre till antalet än vad stadsgenomsnittet utvisar.”

De medeltida städerna förebilder

Denna hyllning till de fattigas förmåga till inbördes hjälp påminner osökt om Kropotkins Mutual Aid (”Inbördes hjälp”), där det i hans kapitel till den medeltida stadens lov bland annat heter:

”Varhelst människorna fann eller väntade sig finna skydd bakom stadsmurarna, upprättade de sina edsförbund, sina brödraskap och sina vänskapskretsar, förenade av en gemensam idé och djärvt inriktade på ett nytt liv i inbördes hjälp och frihet. De lyckades så väl, att de inom loppet av några få århundraden helt hade förändrat Europas ansikte.”

Kropotkin är emellertid inte den som ser medeltidens fria städer i rosenrött. Han känner till deras misstag, deras svek mot de omkringboende bönderna, deras exploatering av dem. Modern forskning ger emellertid sitt stöd åt hans tolkning av de medeltida städernas utveckling. Walter Ullman, t. ex. fäster uppmärksamheten på att dessa medeltida städer ”utgör nog så tydliga exempel på självstyrande enheter”, och att när beslutet skulle fattas i gemensamma angelägenheter, ”gemenskapen i dess helhet församlades…församlingen representerade inte helheten, den utgjorde denna helhet.” Ett sådant styrelsesätt förutskriver, att enheterna inte är för stora, och av tekniska skäl argumenterar Kropotkin i sin förvånansvärt aktuella Fields, Factories and Workshops (”Fält, fabriker och verkstäder”) mycket riktigt för en uppdelning och utspridning av gemenskaperna och för en integrering av jordbruk och industri, för (som Lewis Mumford uttrycker det) ”en mera decentraliserad utveckling av stadsbebyggelsen i små enheter, där direkta mänskliga kontakter är möjliga, och där både stadens och landsbygdens fördelar kan tas till vara.”

Howard och trädgårdsstaden

Kropotkins samtida Ebenezer Howard ställde sig i Garden Cities of Tomorrow (”Morgondagens trädgårdsstäder”) några enkla frågor: Hur bli kvitt storstadens hårdhet och landsbygdens brist på möjligheter? Hur slå vakt om stadens möjligheter och landsbygdens skönhet? Som svar på dessa frågor uppställde han inte bara trädgårdsstaden utan också något som han kallade den sociala staden, ett nätverk av samhällen. Samma budskap framlägger Paul and Percy Goodman i Communitas: means of livelihood and ways of life (”Gemenskap – ett medel till livsuppehälle och ett sätt att leva”). Det andra i raden av deras tre paradigm, den nya kommunen, är vad professor Thomas Reiner kallar ”en stad med många kärnor”. Även i Leopold Korhs bländande essä The City as Convivial Centre (”Staden som ett ställe att träffas på”) återkommer budskapet. Kohr fastslår, att den goda storstaden är ”en polynukleär federation av städer”, d.v.s. är uppsplittrad i många små enheter eller centra som dock hålls ihop i en större gemenskap – precis som hans egen stad är en federation av kvarter.

Likaså i Kropotkins efterföljd ser Blueprint for Survival (”En plan för överlevande”) som sitt mål ”ett decentraliserat samhälle av små gemenskaper, där industrierna är små nog att reagera och anpassa sig till gemenskapernas behov”.

Bookchin och den frigörande teknologin

Och långt innan energikrisen slog igenom i folks samveten, diskuterade Murray Bookchin i sin uppsats ”Towards a Liberatory Technology” (”Mot en frigörande teknik”), som publicerades i Anarchy år 1967 och nu ingår i hans bok Post-Scarcity Anarchism (”Välfärdens anarkism”), energifrågan i samband med den polynukleära staden:

”För att underhålla en stor stad går det åt enorma mängder energi i form av kol och olja. Solenergi och tidvattensenergi går emellertid att utvinna endast i små kvantiteter. Dessa nya energikällor förmår sällan leverera mer än några tusen kilowattimmars elektricitet. Det förefaller föga troligt, att det någonsin kommer att konstrueras soluppfångare som kan förse oss med de väldiga mängder elektrisk energi som framställs i de stora ångkraftverken. Det förefaller inte heller särskilt troligt att en uppsättning vindturbiner någonsin kommer att kunna leverera tillräckligt med elektrisk ström för att lysa upp Manhattanön med. Om bostäder och fabriker också i fortsättningen koncentreras lika hårt som nu, torde de ny energikällorna inte bli annat än leksaker, men om städerna reduceras till storleken och sprids ut över landet, finns det inga skäl till varför dessa nya energikällor inte i kombination med varandra skulle kunna garantera oss den industriella civilisationens alla bekvämligheter. För att sol- vind- och tidvattenskrafterna skall kunna utnyttjas på ett effektivt sätt, måste emellertid storstäderna sprängas och spridas ut. En ny typ av samhällen, omsorgsfullt anpassade till naturen och respektive områdes resurser måste ersätta dagens ringlande bälten av stadsbebyggelse.”

Sennetts oordning

En helt annorlunda tankelinje inom det anarkistiska tänkandet på stadsproblematikens område kommer till uttryck i Richard Sennetts The Uses of Disorder: personal identity and city life (”Om nyttan av oordning, den personliga identiteten och stadslivet”). Flera tanketrådar vävs samman i denna bok. Den första har författaren hämtat från psykologen Erik Eriksson. Det är hans tanke, att människan i sin ungdom söker efter ett slags ren identitet i ett försök att undkomma lidande och osäkerhet, och att hon blir vuxen först när hon kan acceptera mångfalden och oordningen. Den andra tanketråden är att människorna i dagens amerikanska samhälle stelnat till på detta ungdomliga stadium. Så fort folk skrapat ihop tillräckligt med pengar, flyr de bort från det brokiga och farliga livet i stadens centrum till det enkla och trygga förortslivet i familjens sköte. Den tredje tanketråden går ut på att den nuvarande stadsplaneringen genom de metoder den använder, som t. ex. zonindelning och uteslutning av ”udda konsumenter”, påskyndar detta skeende, särskilt genom vanan att projicera trender långt in i framtiden och på grundval härav räkna ut energiåtgång och kommande utgifter. ”Professionella stadsplanerare som hjort upp detaljerade och storstilade planer för anläggande av vägar och gator, för byggande av bostäder och för sanering av innerstaden har sett de utmaningar i form av nya gemenskaper som kommit från undanskuffade grupper i samhället som ett hot mot sina planer snarare än som ett naturligt led i den allmänna strävan till social återuppbyggnad.” Vad detta egentligen innebär, säger Sennett, är att planerarna tenderat att vilja se sina egna planer ”som mera sanna än de historiska svängningarna och omkasten, d.v.s. de oförutsedda händelserna i verkliga livet”.

Hans åsikt är att man för att övervinna de amerikanska städernas kris måste bryta med allt detta som tenderat att låsa fast människorna vid ”den rena identiteten”, vid den ”säkra” och ”trygga” tillvaron. Sennett vill ha städer där folk tvingas till konfrontation med varandra. ”Det skulle inte förekomma någon polis eller någon annan form av central kontroll, ingen central styrning av skolväsen, zonindelning, bostadssanering, etc… Dessa aktiviteter kunde skötas genom gemensam försorg, allra helst genom direkt, icke-våldslig konflikt i själva staden.” Sennett hävdar, att det är just frånvaron av personliga konfrontationer som gör att aggressioner och konflikter i våra dagars städer tar sig utlopp i våld. I det slags anarkistiska stad som Sennett föreställer sig ”uppmuntras folk att säga vad de tycker om varandra, i akt och mening att komma underfund med varandra och kunna anpassa sig till varandra.”

Kommer städerna då att ändra utseende och karaktär?

Det är oundgängligt att så sker, helt enkelt därför att våra städer håller på att bryta samman, svarar Murray Bookchin i en bok som nyligen kommit ut i USA, The Limits of the City (”Gränserna för städernas tillväxt”). Våra dagars städer bryter samman, förklarar han, därför att de växer för fort och blir för stora.

”De befinner sig i ett upplösningstillstånd på det administrativa och institutionella planet. De blir med tiden alltmer oförmögna att lösa de problem som hänger samman med bostäder, kommunikationer, brottslighet och livsmedelsförsörjning… Även i städer där ett slags formell demokrati råder, ”går man inte till roten med det onda utan försöker lösa problemen med ny lagstiftning som ytterligare inskränker medborgarnas fri- och rättigheter.”

De professionella stadsplanerarna har inte heller mycken hjälp att komma med:

”Ytterst sällan har stadsplaneringen förmått höja sig över de nedbrytande samhällsförhållanden på vilka den utgjort ett svar. Den har alltmer vänt sig inåt mot sig själv och utvecklats till en tummelplats för experter och specialister – för arkitekter, ingenjörer och sociologer. Inte oväntat kommer några av de mänskligaste tankarna på stadsplaneringens område från amatörer som upprätthållit kontakten med människornas vardagstillvaro och storstadslivets kval.”

Bookchin har rätt. Ebenezer Howard var stenograf till yrket, och Patrick Geddes var botanist. Den grupp amatörer som emellertid betytt mest för Murray Bookchin är de ungdomar som verkat inom rörelsen för en alternativ kultur:

”Mycket har skrivits om utslagna ungdomars flykt till landsbygden. Mindre känt är, i hur stor omfattning ekologiskt sinnade, på en alternativ kultur inriktade ungdomar faktiskt började underkasta stadsplaneringen en förödande granskning och ofta lade fram alternativa förslag till de från officiellt håll framlagda avhumaniserande planerna för städernas ‘revitalisering’ och ‘rehabilitering’…”

Få valmöjligheter kvar

Dessa planerare för en alternativ kultur ”hade inte siktet inställt på det tilltalande och spektakulära eller det som var mest effektivt ur ekonomisk och teknisk synpunkt. De var i stället i främsta rummet inriktade på att tänka ut planer som bäst främjade personlig intimitet, mångskiftande personliga förhållanden, icke-hierarkisk organisation, kollektivt boende och materiellt oberoende av marknadsekonomin. Deras planeringsarbete tog inte sin utgångspunkt i abstraktioner eller i strävan att bättra på de rådande förhållandena utan i en uttalad kritik av dessa förhållanden och i en vision av de fria mänskliga förhållanden som skulle kunna ersätta dem.”

Man var i själva verket i färd med att återuppväcka den ursprungliga staden och med återupprättandet av kommunen. Det är inte obekant för Murray Bookchin att alternativkulturrörelsen i USA sjunkit tillbaka från den toppnivå den uppnådde på sextiotalet och fått lämna plats för mera politiskt inriktade rörelser, vars hårda och ohyfsade retorik Bookchin skarpt kritiserar. ”Ännu mindre ägnade att ge framgång i försöken att nå en alltmer oroad och förvirrad allmänhet än blommorna i mitten på sextiotalet var de knutna nävarna i slutet på sextiotalet.” Han hävdar emellertid att vissa frågor och krav som rests inte går att komma förbi. Uppfordran till ”skapandet av nya decentraliserade samhällen som grundar sig på ett ekologiskt synsätt och i sig förenar det bästa från såväl stads- som lantlivet” kommer inte att förklinga ohörd. Den bistra verkligheten är nämligen den att ”det existerande samhället inte har så många valmöjligheter kvar”.

Övers. Gunnar Bergström

Anarkism i England (1953)

C. J. Björklund:
Anarkism i England
BRAND Nr 6 1953

I en dikt om London har jag fattat staden som en kluven värld. Är det inte fallet också med alla andra städer, hela världen. Den gemenskap och harmoni vi alla längtar efter finns inte. Man får bara hoppas på att kluvenheten inte är en livsprincip. Jag tror det inte. Men att tro är ju en sak, att veta en annan.

När man vandrar i London får man på olika sätt en erinrar om att England gett asyl åt många frihetskämpar. I närheten av Orsett Terasse i Paddingtondistriktet, där jag bodde en tid tillsammans med tecknare och målaren John Olday, finns ett hus, som jag varje dag studerade. Där bodde nämligen på sin tid de landsflyktiga ryssarna, Mikael Bakunin, Alexander Herzen och deras kamrater. De förfogade över hela huset, vilket nu skulle passa utmärkt till ett studiehem för frihetliga socialister, en frihetens oas i en bråkig storstad.

I Red Lion Street i Holborn erinras man om Krapotkin. Där är nämligen sätet för den tidning, vilken Krapotkin (jämte fru C. M. Wilson) var med om att grunda under sin vistelse i London, tidningen Freedom. I den gatan finns också en anarkistisk bokhandel fylld med intressant litteratur. Om Krapotkins Londonvistelse har jag samlat en del material, som säkert kan komma till användning senare, kompletterat med mina intryck av honom vid mötet i hans hem i Dmitrov i Ryssland revolutionsåret 1918.

Till England flydde också Mazzini efter dödsdomen i Italien. Garibaldi kom senare. I nr 10 Laystall Street grundade Mazzini en skola för italienska barn. Där finns nu en restaurant Garibaldi på nedre botten, lokalerna ovanför, före detta skollokalerna, hyrs ut till föreningar. I augusti, tisdagen den 4, 1953, talade jag där om den svenska frihetliga rörelsen vid ett möte, som arrangerades av Syndicalist Workers Federation, IAA:s sektion i England.
*
Det anarkistiska tänkesättet och sinnelaget möter man i många engelska grupper, bland de intellektuella, vetenskapsmän och tekniker, författare av skilda slag, konstnärer, de religiösa, frikyrkorna och den anglikanska kyrkan, vilken betraktas som statskyrka, ehuru det i England inte finns någon statskyrka i svensk mening. Staten betalar inga präster.

Typiskt för England är det fria forum som finns i Hyde Park, Towern Hill i London och andra platser i den staden och i många andra städer. Där framträder talare, mer eller mindre skickliga, för alla möjliga riktningar. Och där kan man konstatera att det anarkistiska tänkesättet bryter fram överallt.

Men vad menas då med anarkistiskt tänkesätt?

Jo, att det existerar en mer eller mindre stark känsla för värdet av frihet och ett behov och längtan efter en gemenskap som bygger på frivillighet. Därav följer allt det övriga: frontställningen och revoltkänslorna mot orättvisor, tyranni, våld av olika slag, sinne för justice, rättvisa, fair play, hygglighet, som Krilon uttrycker det, nödvändigheten av ett samhälle som är annorlunda än det som kapitalismen, statssocialismen och diktaturen, bjuder oss.
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Självfallet existerar också bland den engelska fackföreningsrörelsen, i kooperationen och även i den partipolitiska organisationen tendenser och sympatier för anarkismen. Exempel är avskyn för diktatur och centralism, strävan efter självstyre. I England finns ju också en rätt stark fredsrörelse, där man i många fall när det gäller krig och militarism argumenterar på ett sätt som är anarkistiskt, utan att de som gör det kallar sig anarkister och inte heller är det i strängt dogmatisk mening. Men vilka är det egentligen, och vi behöver ju inte alls vara fientligt stämda, sorgsna eller förbannade över att det finns så många människor, som tänker och känner på ett sätt som faktiskt är anarkistiskt: de kräver frihet från våld och diktatur och propagerar för en gemenskap i full solidaritet. Det skulle vara intressant att spinna vidare på denna tråd, men jag skall övergå till att skriva något om de speciellt anarkistiska grupper som i dag finns i England.
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Den äldsta anarkistiska gruppen kanske inte är Freedom, men den daterar sig från 1886, då månadstidningen med samma namn grundades. I dag utkommer Freedom som veckotidning. Vid tillfälle skall jag berätta om Freedom Press. Den publicistiska verksamheten har varit omfattande, vilket framgår av att enbart sedan år 1941 har tryckts 500,000 exemplar böcker och broschyrer. En halv miljon trycksaker, förutom tidningen, är imponerande. Att denna litteratur haft inflytande på tänkesättet bland många grupper i England är uppenbart.

Studerar man Freedom Press’ boklista finner man en hel del intressanta saker. Till exempel Vero Richards: Spanska revolutionens lektion, Marie Louise Berneri: Arbetare i Stalins Ryssland, Varken öst eller väst, Resa genom landet Utopia. Dessa två författare har uträttat mycket i Freedom Press. Marie Louis B. är tyvärr död, hon dog i mycket unga år, men Vero Richards fortsätter oavbrutet sitt arbete.

Internationella Arbetar-Associationens sektion i England är Syndicalist Workers Federation. Organisationen är endast några år gammal, men har skaffat sig en tidning, Direkt Aktion, och har grupper i Liverpool, Nelson, Glasgow och Manchester. Federationen har också en egen tryckpress och en expeditionslokal. Där möter man energiska kamrater som Ken och Malcie Hawkes, Peter Green och Don Pedalty, vilken senare är utgivare av en hektograferad tidning Prometheus, med ett så imponerande antal sidor som 32 i stort format.

I Londons east end, judarnas speciella distrikt, finns en gammal judisk anarkistisk grupp. Nordöst i staden har också en grupp och därtill kommer Londons anarkistiska klubb, som nu är i färd med att samla pengar till en fond. Närmare tusenlappen har redan tecknats; pengarna skall användas till verksamheten.
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Ovanstående är endast några spridda drag om anarkismen i England. Återkommer till temat, som just nu är föremål för studier av en författare, som jag träffade i London, Ivan Avakumowic. Han har skrivit en bok om Krapotkin, prinsen som blev anarkist lyder underrubriken. Han blev ytterst förvånad, då han fick veta att jag under revolutionsåret 1918 hade bott hos Krapotkin i Dmtrov; han anser sig nämligen veta allt om svenskarna och Krapotkin, ja, allt om den ryske anarkisten. Just nu arbetar han på en bok om anarkismen i England, sedan äldsta tid fram till våra dagar.

Counter-Subversion

Emilio Henri
Anarchy No. 9

The author wishes to point out that the subjects discussed in this article are purely theoretical and have no relationship whatsoever to political intentions within the United Kingdom. There is no intention to incite anybody to commit, or to conspire to commit illegal acts, or legal acts by illegal means.

It is impossible to discuss urban guerrilla warfare without considering the attitudes, tchniques and abilities of those who seek to contain it.

Urban guerrilla warfare has little or nothing to do with traditional warfare in that, although wars are waged for political reasons, the act of waging war, the military action, is not normally carried through on a political level but on a technical level. Urban guerrilla actions, on the other hand, are intensely political. A guerrilla force operates within a community with the support, active or not, of that community. Any force that attempts to do otherwise is doomed to failure. Every action has to be planned with the considerations of the community in mind, every action is propaganda.

The containment of subversion has a long and interesting history based on the continuing inability of the agents of the status quo to understand the motivation and techniques of the guerrilla. The stock military solution to armed military subversion of the state has been massive repression which results in the subversive elements receiving even greater community support than they previously enjoyed.

Unfortunately for those who employ the techniques of guerrilla warfare, a considerable amount off effort is now being applied in the field of military theory so as to arrive at effective methods of counter-subversion. The latest development has been the focus of attention on the writings of, and the actions directed by, Brigadier Frank Kitson of the British Army. In 1971 he produced a book called ‘Low Intensity Operations’ which is a statement of his theories of containment. His basis is that armed political subversion of the state in the form of guerrilla warfare is the greatest threat to the security of the state in the future. This is more important than it may seem as in the past neither politicians nor soldiers were aware of this simple fact. He goes on to suggest that the development of an army (in this case, the British Army) should be toeards internal security duties, political policing. Certainly within the British Army Kitson’s ideas are very radical as the tradition of this army has been one of non-involvement in politics, a non-awareness of the reasons for its own existence and actions. The respons to Kitson’s book amongst the Left in Britain has been, characteristically, one of premature paranoia. The most constructive comment that Seven Days could manage was that they ‘hoped the bastard rots.’

The school of military thinking that Kitson represents believes that it has practicable methods of dealing with urban guerrillas. These methods have been developed from experience in dealing with rural guerrillas in Kenya (the Mau-Mau) and Malaya (Malay-Chinese communists). In both these situations the motivation of the guerrillas tended to be vague nationalism and this was the main reason for their destruction. The basic individual motivation of the guerrilla is of vital importance. If, as Carlos Marighella, the Brazilian guerrilla leader, said, political analysis comes before military technique, the strength of the guerrilla unit is greatly enhanced. The individual is active because of intense political commitment and not through loyalty to a leadership. Kitson and his exponents cannot understand the resultant decentralism and impenetrability of the guerrilla organisation. The other difference between a rural and an urban situation is that in a rural situation the fire-power of the Army is fairly unlimited whereas in an urban situation it is very restricted owing to the number of non-guerrilla personnel in the area of an action, and the continuous presence of the media.

The new techniques can be simplified into three basic categories. These are:

1) Intelligence. This is really a psychological war against the individual. The urban guerrilla is part of the community and has a ‘cover’ within the community. Once the individual is identified, he/she is ‘on the run’ and the resultant sense of insecurity leads to mistakes and death or capture. Information gained from informants or prisoners is the basis, plus collated snippets from observation etc. This is very effective against a centralist organisation but virtually useless against an efficient cell structure where no one individual has enough information to be a danger to the whole organisation or even a significant part of it.

2) Kitson’s pet theory of ‘pseudo-gangs.’ This means soldiers or guerrillas who have been persuaded to change sides operating as counter-terrorist groups. These groups can have several functions. The can attempt to alienate the guerrillas from their support by taking fake actions designed to kill indiscriminately. It is believed that an example of this was the McGurk’s Bar bombing in Belfast, where several people were killed by an ‘IRA’ bomb that the British Army suggested went off accidentally. The local people (in the catholic New Lodge Road area) are now convinced that the bomb was planted by the British Army SAS. At the time, Brigadier Frank Kitson was commanding the 39th Brigade in action in Northern Ireland. Pseudo-gangs can also operate inconspicuously in areas where normal troops would immediately come under fire. They can be used for liquidation of known guerrillas without the formalities of arrest and the resultant legalities. They can also operate as intelligence sources through observation which it would be impractical for normal Army units to undertake.

3) Superiority. A conventional army is far better trained in the rudiments of battle. It has vastly superior equipment and weaponry. If an urban guerrilla unit can be drawn out into open conflict, it can easily be contained and then destroyed. The army must concern itself with drawing the guerrillas out. An example of this kind of action could possibly be found in the actions of the British Army paratroops in Londonderry before, during and after the now infamous ‘Bloody Sunday’ events. If this was a deliberate, pre-planned operation then a description of its development would start with the paras hiding in derilict buildings and on their barricades until the civil rights march approached and then as a number of children thew stones at the barricades, the paras were sent in on an ‘arrest’ operation. Of course the protesters ran away, so the soldiers, many firing from the hip, fired ‘aimed’ warning shots through the backs of some of the demonstrators; they also shot several ‘gunmen’ none of whom had guns. At this point enraged IRA men should have opened fire, not realising what they were soing because of the fury from seing their mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers etc. brutally gunned down. If they had they would have exposed themselves hopelessly and a large number of them would have been captured or shot. As it happened there were no armed guerrillas in the vicinity and the Army and the ex-brigadier who was brought in to impartially investigate the deaths of thirteen people denied that there had been any ‘planned’ operation at all.

Of these three techniques the only real threat to urban guerrilla groupings comes from the ‘pseudo-gangs’ concept. The ‘superiority’ method fails if the self-discipline of the guerrilla is good. Also if an operation of this type fails, the result is a number of deaths which are hard to explain away and an increased hatred for any of the agents of the state, which means additional support for the subversive elements. The pseudo-gang fails when it is exposed through counter-intelligence by the guerrillas, their supporters or sympathetic sections of the media. This is precisely what happened when a number of policemen and militiamen in civilian clothes opened fire on a peaceful demonstration in Mexico City early last year. Some of them were identified by the reporters present and their action, which was intended to confuse the ordinary people and turn them against the left-wing students, failed.

There have been more successful examples of this technique in other Latin American countries, particularly Guatemala.

It can be seen, then, that successful urban guerrilla struggles depend on the politically aware and committed individual, organising in small decentralised cells with good intelligence and propaganda control and a firm, disciplined base within the urban community. Such a force is uncontainable by any opposition. Kitson’s theories consist of two broad tactical concepts. That the urban guerrilla should be fought on guerrilla terms by the use of propaganda and the confusion of counter terrorism or that the urban guerrilla should be forced into entering into conventional military engagements. The former is logically impossible because the basis of good guerrilla action is to never engage the enemy on equal terms, to always have the advantage, maintained by strong discipline and superior intelligence. The latter relies for its success on bad organisation and poor discipline, a state of affairs that should not arise within a committed struggle.

– Emilio Henri

Meltzer: ‘…only a few Intellectuals’

By Albert Meltzer
Black Flag VOL III, No. 19 April 1975

”We seldom have articles like the one on Anarchism and the South Wales miners. Frankly I know more about the history of the Spanish or the Russian movements than I do about the British… Most of the historians one consults tend to assume that British anarchism has no history. The snippets one gets sometimes in other papers wets the appetite but none of them ever trouble to go deep – just a bit of self-advertisement as if they existed in a void…”

So say letters resulting from our article on Anarchism and the Welsh Miners. I have followed it up in this issue on one concerning Anarchism and the West of Scotland. Also scheduled to appear as a separate book is the pre-announced ”Anarchists in London” (which will refer to anarchism in the rest of the country, too and I hope may bridge the gap between some of the published references to anarchism in the past, and the present time).

Most historians deliberately overlook working class movements unless they make a decided, successful impact and become noteworthy. Working-class theoreticians who express and formulate theories are totally ignored as of no consequence: what they say is attributed to the next available ”Intellectual” ..(e.g. published works on British anarchism, such as they are never fail to mention Herbert Read who played a very small part in the periphery of the movement; totally omitting every single theoretician the movement produced between the wars).

An interesting comment may be seen in George Lichtheim’s ”History of Socialism” published as a Penguin where he explains that anarchism was too ”romantic” a movement to be influential in Germany where only a ”few intellectuals” espoused it.

He echoes the generally held argument of the bourgeois intellectual that the hardened German workers had no use for the ”romance” of anarchism as compared with the lightheaded Latins (Mr. Lichtheim is not a German for nothing!) But police records tell us another story. Just as the Social Register said there were only ”Four Hundred” people in New York – when (as O. Henry pointed out) a fairer analysis was the Census which saaid there were four million – the German police – from Bismarck to Hitler – told quite a different story from Mr. Lichtheim. They listed hundreds, and even thousands, of anarchists – only a few of the ”intellectuals”!

These records have been preserved, for any fair historian. After the fall of the Reich the Allies microfilmed the whole of the SS records. Not only are the Munich police files (relating to the Munich Commune, and with material on Landauer and Muehsam) now in the Rehse Collection of the Library of Congress, the archives of the German Foreign Office located at Bonn have documentation on the period 1892/1919 and are described in the Catalogue of Files and Microfilms of the German Foreign Ministry (in Ann Arbor and Washington). This contains a great deal of information on German surveillance of anarchism throughout the world.

In the Bundesarchiv of the SS however, a full nine volumes of documents dealing with the anarchist movement up to the period 1928/38, have been preserved. There are details of arrest, search of domicile, confiscation of libraries, records of the FAUD and other anarcho-syndicalist bodies, surveillance of suspected anarchists and also the international surveillance of which the Nazi police were a part. These records have been microfilmed with the other SS records seized in 1945 and are held in Washington. Guide to German Records microfilmed at Alexandra Va.) The Staatsarchiv in Hamburg has ”fiffteen feet of shelf space” on anarchism and anarchist activity, as well as a three volume ”Anarchist Album” with the photos of 1163 anarchists, states the Newsletter of European Working Class History (published by the University of Southern California)… not bad for ”harheaded” Germany, Mr. Lichtheim!

The records in Eastern Germany are even more vast as they contain material from Communist sources about anarchism. ”In the Staatsarchiv Potsdam are located the files of the Police Presidium Berlin, to which all information on anarchism was sent and from which all measures taken against the anarchists emanated”. Not only would careful research tell us much about European anarchism, it would also tell us a lot about ”international police surveillance” and how the Nazis worked with the international police.

Albert Meltzer.

Meltzer: Anarchism & The Welsh Miners

By Albert Meltzer
Black Flag VOL III No. 17, Jan/Feb 1975

When I was a lad, I would creep surreptiously past the careless stewards into the miners’ conferences which were traditionally held in Cardiff’s seedy temperance hall. There I would listen to the bright little alert men as they elevated some local issue on the coalfield to the status of a glorious philosophical dialogue – and all of them were anarchists. The young anarchists of today seem curiously oblivious of the anarchosyndicalist traditions which exist within their own land and they resort to foreign ancestor figures to fill the gap created by the symbolic destruction of their own fathers. But the essential sense orf locality, the comparatively small pit where all worked (when work was available), the isolation of the valley village or township – all these were similar to the environment conditions which created the anarchosyndicalist movement of Spain.

In the history of the South Wales miners’ movement, some leaders were overtly anarchosyndicalist and had international links with syndicalists in other lands, and their attitude was implicit in the movement as a whole.

Leo Abse M.P. in his new book Private Member: Macdonald £3.50.

Mr. Abse goes on to describe some of the other influences anarchism had on the Welsh miners. Lewis Jones he says, was the only one of the world-wide delegates to the Comintern conferences in Moscow who would ostentatiously not stand up when Stalin arrived. But more ”the miners Lodge was the centre not only of industrial life but of all political and social life as well”. It was from its local health schemes that Nye Bevan derived the idea of a National Health Service. The miners’ institutions, clubs and libraries, the cinemas and the billiard halls, were owned by the Union. The miners governed themselves – ”the State had already withered away. There was an extraordinary contempt for external authoritarian disciplines. When South Wales miners hear music they sing: they do not march.”

Mr. Abse’s recollections of anarcho-syndicalism in South Wales (he calls ”our South Wales Labour movement… the most respectable and unselfconscious anarcho-syndicalist movement ever”) are interesting especially as the academic historians deliberately blot it out from public record. He does not in any way give the full picture. But his hints of it are fascinating. He himself was a social-democrat wwith a middle-class background, who was early ”led up the garden path” by John Strachey – presumably by way of ‘popfront’ fellow travelling – but also he says, without following it up, Herbert Read. He makes one or two references to anarchism to make it suggest he at least had some contact with the movement in the forties apart from his boyhood remebrance of the old anarchist miners’ movement. (He actually quotes Berneri totally out of context to justify his entry into Parliament).

There is some justification for his sneer at ‘young anarchists’ though the ‘foreign ancestor figures’ as well as the native ones were always part of the working class tradition. A couple of years ago, one Peter Michael Jones – a Welsh worker whose parents had come to London during the slump, mentioned to me casually ”he got his names from his grand-da who was a great communist and called after someone like Lenin”. That the anarcho-syndicalist traditions in Wales and Scotland have been forgotten is true. It is due not to the ‘curious oblivion’ of young anarchists but to a deliberate policy by Communist Party propagandists and by the historians. History for them is ‘great names’ not people. There are no ‘great names’ for them to collect. It is true Jim Colton married Emma Goldman to give her British nationality, and she is an extremely writeable-about figure, and that is the extent, therefore, that any of the historians and academics and anarchologists will give you about Welsh anarchism. But Colton is a more remarkable figure than Emma Goldman for he, with a few others, survived the tremendous blows against Welsh anarchism which would have happened around the time of Abse’s boyhood, and may have been the theme of one or two of the conferences he attended.

Sectarian socialist divisions were less marked in the period before the First World War; and many working class Anarchists saw nothing incompatible in joining a socialist club or even a party; with the rise of the Syndicalist movement, this lack of distinction became even more so. Tom Mann, for instance, was the leading Syndicalist whilst the in the ILP. Jim Connolly, in some ways a Sydndicalist, was in the Presbyterian background. Kropotkin’s attitude to local socialist parties, the co-operative movement and the trade unions, was clearly sympathetic. There were a few anarchist groups scattered here and there which maintained aloofness from other socialist movements. But that was the periphery of the movement – now assumed to be all there was at the time, because it preserved its identity. It is probably not true that at the conferences Abse attended ”all of them were anarchists”. But usually all the activists were.

The dangers of anarchism were seen very clearly by the Fabians, who abandoned their ideas of building a State Socialist movement via the Liberal Party to create the Labour Party – a movement based upon the established trade union bureaucracy in alliance with middle class professionals. This domination of State Socialist ideas is seen in the evolution of the older Independent Labour Party. It became the first part of the new Labour Party; then its right wing, then when its leading members were able to enter the Labour Party, secure as its leaders, it became a left-wing and then a really ‘independent’ party. (The Fabian struggle against anarchism incidentially is clearly traceable throughout the works of Bernard Shaw).

As the Labour Party was built by the Fabians throughout South Wales, it came into conflict with the anti-parliamentarian traditions of the Welsh miners. Abse indeed makes it clear to the point of embarressing frankness how, even as late as 1958, ”to our syndicalist miners, Westminster had always been unimportant” and they used the House of Commons, through the miners’ lodges, ”as a dumping ground for those in the union who were supernumerary, awkward, or even slightly senile”. He realised that with this indifferent attitude to parliament persisting to the present, any smart, slick careerist could fight on equal terms at the selection conference and once in, with the safety of a majority such as could be commanded in the Eastern Valley of Monmouthsire, he could act exactly as he pleased.

The generation of activist Anarchist miners took heavy blows. During the Depression many of them were the first to be laid off. But more particularly, the insidious growth of Labour Party power was strengthened by the rise of Bolshevism. I have heard about some of the South Wales delegates to the Comintern refusing to stand for Stalin in the twenties – as a gesture to feeling back home. But gradually the CP was built up especially among the younger miners (who are now the old-timers). They had behind them the glamour-value of the Russian Revolution seemingly appropriated by Lenin, and the apparently irresistible rise of Communist power as well as the myth that only Russia stood between us and world fascism.

The attacks by Churchill strengthened the hold of the CP, for everyone knew Churchill was the Welsh miners’ worst enemy. This is why, to this day, you hear Churchill’s action against the Tonypandy miners confused with his action at Sidney Street in London’s East End.

As the CP grew – and it grew in the heart of the Labour Party bureaucracy – the Welsh Anarchists were squeezed out. Men like Colton, once popular Welsh and English speakers, were ostracised, thrown out of their jobs and had to fight grimly to keep their place in the union – because they opposed the dictatorship in Russia.

In 1937 Sam Mainwaring Junior tried to put forward the case of the Spanish Anarchist miners to the N.U.M. conference and was shouted down … that was the bitter nadir marking the end of the movement. Reading from CNT Bulletin received that morning from Catalonia he shouted that Catalonia had never received a penny from British sources yet Catalonia carried the backbone of the struggle. ”They are Trotskyists… Fascists…” shouted the Stalinist stooges!

When I knew the Welsh Anarchist miners they were the rump of the grand movement, mostly old men who were regarded as ‘cynical’ by their fellow workers. But the women were usually much more actively ‘cynical’ in opposing the ideas of State Socialism. In 1938 for instance, I was invited to speak at a local ILP meeting on Spain, in a Welsh valley.

”Take care of those at the back,” whispered the chairman. ”those are the Wrecking Brigade.” They were a group of Welsh-speaking women who took great pleasure in ”giving hell” to the Labour and CP speakers – especially with ”toffee-nosed” English accents.

But to their, and my, delight, we proved to be fellow-Anarchists. The ”Last of the Mohicans” in the valley were four women, and two elderly miners, all that remained of ”the most respectable and unselfconscious anarcho-syndicalist movement ever”, though not quite all – as Mr. Abse discovered. For their influence was not entirely eroded when he came on the political scene.

But it was this contact with the grassroots anarchist working class movement that was ultimately thrown away when the conscious anarchist section, that had not been eroded by its lack of structure and definition, allowed itself to be allied with, associated with and finally – until our own clean break – dominated by the bourgeois pacifist and liberal elements. Perhaps this may explain our ‘sectarianism’ to some of our critics in the younger generation.

Albert Meltzer.

Meltzer: The Myth of the Revolutionary Party: Marxism & Christianity

Albert Meltzer
Black Flag VOL V No. 7

The revolutionary party is a myth of twentieth century. It has never existed. The theory dates from the (imaginary) success of the Bolshevik Party in making the Russian Revolution, since which it has dominated Marxist thinking. As a result of (what was in practice) Lenin’s counter-revolution, the myth of Marxist Leninism has been propagated by a huge and growing university industry throughout the State Communist countries and overflowed into every university in the rest of the world. It is the subject of theses and comment as economics has replaced theology as ‘Queen of the sciences’ and capitalist economics and Marxist-Lenimism arte reiterated endlessly without any questioning of their main hypotheses. In examining the basic tenets of Marxist-Leninism we must first however notice that the set of events on which it is based did not happen in the way they are interpreted at all. The conclusions drawn are false and based upon false premises.

In this respect we may well compare the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ revelations of Marxism and Marxist-Leninism (they are not identical; and the surprised discovery by philosophers of the essential difference between the two) with the ‘old’ and ‘new’ testaments of Judaism and Christianity.

Judaism, like Marxism, claims to be based on an infallible and unalterable Law (in the one Divine, Scientific in the other). This Law is immutable and has very little relations to current problems. hence it encourages a vast degree of comment and interpretation – Talmudic on the one hand, Scientific Marxist philosophy on the other.

The Talmudists will argue endlessly as to what the Divine Will is on particular subjects. They claim no direct connection with the Almighty as Christianity does, and therefore base themselves on what the Law says and how previous scholars have interpreted it. E.g. a pious jew might be concerned if his sons play football on Saturdays. The Lord omitted to say anything explicit. Working is prohibited which would exclude professional football (but could one see it if one did not have to pay to enter?) – and how does this affect amateur football? Is it ‘work’ or ‘innocent pleasure’? Rabbi This might argue one way and Rabbi That the other. Their arguments might be finely based on precedent and inevitably tortuous. Is not study and prayer permitted, which to some might be, in this day and climate, arduous work, and not the pleasure it was to a previous generation? It is easy to see how the subject affords endlesss discussion, argument, the posssibility of schism, the reliance upon an educated, professional body of casuitical leaning. (Rabbi, in fact, means teacher; the teacher is not the equivalent of a priest.)

Marxism has appealed to many scholars of a Talmudical bent; Marx himself indeed came of a line of Talmudists though one need not attach to much importance to this. The arguments of Marxism follows the establishment of a Law for Marx never established a party. Marx’s law is supposed to be scientific and immutable and successive generations of Marxist scholars have tried to interpret all events – from beekeeping to trade unionism, from ping pong to war (as in China today) – in the light of the Law. The scientific law proclaimed is the inevitable transition from feudalism to capitalism to monopoly capitalism to socialism. This is Marx’s own theory, his special contribution to science (and not any desciptions of what socialism is or how it can be achieved). The current trend to find ‘Marxist play and rights,’ Marxist analysis of sport, or labour organisation, based on the need to reconcile these different activities with an immutable Law.

This is not to say that the Law is necessarily wrong – at any rate all the time. Marx’s analysis of the development of capitalism from feudalism is sound – it was based on hindsight. It does not follow that his analysis of the development into socialism was right and history is still proving him wrong. He thought that monopoly capitalism would grow to the point where – because of increasing poverty among the proletariat – it must inevitably be taken over by the latter. This has nowhere occured (the Leninist myth assserts it has). Nor is the Law of Moses necesssarily wrong. ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ What could be a grander injunction? But the adherents of the Law do not consider it means what it says. A plethora of considerations makes it practically worthless and everyone knows that in practice such an all-sweeping commandment is incapable of fulfillment though nobody admits it in principle, therefore a multitude of amendments and interpretations surround it. As for the lesser commandments – not coveting one’s neighbours donkeys or asses – or the bewildering variety of dos and do-nots in Deuteronomy, the authorative tone presented as coming from God himself, swept away argument without settling anything; to create confusion and misunderstanding for a thousand years or more. (Since a man is not prohibited to marry his niece, can he do so? Yet it says plainly a woman may not marry her nephew).

Christians are not bound by the ‘Law’, the last quotation for instance is left to the priesthood, though in practice all their hang-ups and inhibitions derive from it. A practical necessity oof the Jews, for instance, was to increase and multiply being a small people in the middle of a highly susceptible country surrounded by enemies, with plenty of room to expand. Hence they banned all practices likely to diminish the population – e.g. homosexuality – and increased respect for the marriage bonds – unlike the Greeks who, in a barren country, wanted to keep their numbers down and took the reverse view. This has dominated legal thinking to this very day, about 2000 years after it has ceased to matter, and is the essence of the Judaeo-Christian laws that cause the reactionary laws of today (and the hyper-reaction to them too).

Similarly, in the new revelation of Lenin, Leninists are not bound by the scientific law of Marxism. Russia was the most reactionary and feudal country hence it could not be the one to have a revolution according to Marxist laws (and some sects of Marxists hold that therefore it did not happen). Leninism rejects this as Christianity rejects the mosaic Law; but at the same time utilises the law to to buttress its argument.

Lenin, as the spostle of the ‘new’ religion, like Jesus (if the comparison is not to startling) begins by rejecting the rule of the scholars and just as Christ rebukes the Pharisees so Lenin castigates the Social-Democrats with whom he shared common beginnings and a common faith. Both Christianity and Leninism are based on a set of events which are supposed to have happened. If these are historically false, then they are materially false. The discussions about whether the historical events of Christianity really happened are well known, the new myth of Leninism less so. Lenin claims to have actually carried through the revolution. He did it by means of a revolutionary party arming itself with the historical truth. In fact, was this the case?

The revolution in Russia was carried out while Lenin was sitting in a Zurich cafe. Tsarism regarded as unshakable and symptomatic of entrenched reaction was swept away long before any of the Bolsheviks saw Russia. They returned due to the astuteness and doubledealing of Helphand Parvus. Helphand was a Marxist scholar of the old-school whose connections with the Marxist social-democracy in Poland and Germany were intimate; he was the chosen associate of Rosa Luxemburg and Trotsky (who picked up from him the theory of ‘permanent revolution’), as well as of the reformist section of German social-democracy which had entered the Imperial Government. With a foot in both camps he conceived a brilliant triple stroke – to rescue Germany from a Russian offensive and enable it to concentrate on fighting the West; to give a boost to State Communism to which he still owed ideological support; and to make a fortune out of speculation on the collapse of the Eastern front. This could be done by bringing Lenin back to Russia and equipping him with the money to float a major well organised party that would take over the government and bring Russia out of the war.

It succeeded brilliantly so far as two of the projects Helphand had in mind were concerned, though for the Imperial German government it proved to be only one more nail in the coffin. It is to Helphand one must give credit for the success of Lenin’s counter-revolution. It was a counter-revolution not a a revolution. Control was largely in the hands of workers, peasants and soldier soviets. Lenin’s achievement was to make those soviets subject to party discipline.

Other Marxists such as Trotsky only came to accept this party at the last moment. They had clung to the older party as long as possible. When they saw the well equipped new party carrying all before it – able to buy and subvert police and soldiers – they joined it and proclaimed the Bolshevik Party as in effect a new religion, that of Leninism, or as they called it misleadingly, Marxist-Leninism.

As was said of the New Testament, what was new wasn’t true; and what was true wasn’t new. To justify itself, Leninism quoted the old Laws of Marxism which they had superseded. The party had the right to suppress all other parties because it was the party of the working class. Capitalist parties had suppressed the workers; now through the Party the workers would suppress the capitalists, and while the state was ‘young’ and surrounded by capitalism, it had to assume dictatorial powers. The state is now ‘old’ but the new laws are seemingly eternal. The ‘scholars’ were substituted by a priesthood. It was no longer a question of interpreting the Law. Someone had come who was greater than the Law. The priesthood, or the party, had the right and duty to interpret what He would have done in any given circumstance.

As He lived in a particular time with particular historical events happening, these became the point of reference of everything. To this day the ‘Samaritans’ (through a misinterpretation of a particular parable) are assumed to be good; the Pharisees bad. To this day Leninists – basing themselves on Lenin’s attitudes to contemporary events, largely dictated by the civil war – give the priestly resplies as to how the Godhead would have reacted, and judge movements of today on his judgment of the fifty years ago.

This question of a revolutionary party was dubious. Marx never conceived the idea of a party taking over the role of salvation like a priesthood. He envisaged the scholars controlling the mass party but looked on the party itself rather as Lenin looked upon the trade unions. In the context of today the concept has become increasingly ridiculous because of the multiplicity of parties.

In the first place the Trotskyist movement broke from the Communist Party, though basing itself on the same texts. This was in one sense the split between those who clung to Marxist ‘talmudism’ with Leninist ‘priesthood,’ and those that held that the priesthood has the sole right to determine how matters should be run thereafter. But this one schism has caaused others well known and highly comic to some, a major tragedy (in their ultimate result) to others. The division is threefold:

(1) Moscow line; the revised Stalinism; (2) Maoism; and its many splits and counter-splits; the old Stalinism sometimes interlaced with Bolshevik pre-revolution dynamism and sometimes with a total rejection of of all Marxist dogmatism as against Leninist dogmatism (3) Trotskyism, in its 57 varieties. It is pointless here to discuss the many divisions. But that there are divisions everyone knows, and this itself makes the revolutionary party outmoded. Lenin’s theory was based on the fact that there could only be one working class party … in defiance of the palpable fact that he had split from the main party (but that had sold out to the bourgeoisie). In Leninist terms, the one party had the right to suppress all the others because these were bourgeois parties. But what if there were more than one Leninist party, each able to outbid or undercut the other?

The answer to that was in Portugal, where the Communist Party was within an ace of seizing power. But it was outflanked by its rivals, as it is nowadays at every turn. Yet not one of them can ever take power because they too will be outflanked by yet anothor. Another accommodating Helphand Parvus cannot be found to put one in power and then let it reason with hindsight an argument needing guns to back it.

Granted that the so-called revolutionary party has no future in any revolution, does it have any purpose at all? If it is trying to get power for itself, one can see its purpose. If it is seeking to nourish certain intellectual leaders and build an artificial leadership that may eventually hope to be taken seriously by a real following, then one can see the point; but this does not amount to more than a confidence trick. It is undoubtedly true that people of a given political (or any other) tentency have the right and the pleasure to group together in one body, but why a party?

It may well be true that the deficiencies of the anarchist movement in the past has always been in precisely the opposite direction. One writer has ingeniously argued the tyranny of structurelessness (though there is a greater danger of tyranny of tyranny). Without a party structure one can have the domination of the loudest voice, the worship of orator, demagogues or writers, reliance upon ‘militants’ as distinct from all others and so a drift into a situation where hierarchy and bureaucracy having been thrown out of the door creep in through the window. One is also wide open to penetration by other people who do have a party when one has a body which has no leadership. It is unfortunately impossible to say decisively that all problems are solved if one does not have a revolutionary party. But on the positive side it has no purpose beyond domination, and it should be recognised as an evil.

Generations of ‘revolutionary parties’ in Britain have achieved only one thing: the almost total alienation of the working class from what was once the working class movement.

Albert Meltzer.

Meltzer: Anarchism in the West of Scotland

A Glimpse of Working Class History
By Albert Meltzer
Black Flag: Organ of the Anarchist Black Cross VOL III, No 19, April 1975

many older anarchists used to speak affectionately of Fred and Amy Macdonald who were active in anarchist propaganda in the West of Scotland as far back as a hundred years ago. Fred was a german baker who had been intimately connected with the International and with the Anarchist workers’ faction in Germany that sided with Bakunin. (Fred, who died about 1912 always used Amy’s name; his own is not known to me). They formed a circle which met in their tiny flat somewhere in Bridgeton. Whether it was the first Anarchist group in the West of Scotland I have ni idea; but its existence shows that anarchist propaganda there well exceeds a century.

As it was a working class movement we have no historical record of it, since records as a rule exist of succesful working class organisations or of bourgeois intellectuals who make sure they leave records behind (iy is true that today this ‘rule’ is being altered). For many years Amy (who lived until 1935) used to tell of the old days when the solitary bands of Anarchists used to speak at the Green and elsewhere and sometimes be pulled from their platforms or chased by angry crowds of excited Christians disturbed at hearing their superstitions mocked. Their attacks on the Liberal M.P.s (the dominant in the West of Scotland) were the first to crack the gigantic edifice parliamentary radicalism had built up among the workers. Among well known propagandists of the libertarian idea was James Dick, who was in the old Socialist League.

There were other socialist groups apart from the Anarchists of course; and Glasgow led the way in socialist education and understanding. The Independent Labour Party was strong was strong there from its foundation – with its dour emphasis on socialism – in contrast to the Social Democratic Federation which tried at least to introduce a bit of gaiety (with the Clarion Club movement and so on). It is said that once Keir Hardie turned up at a S.D.F. meeting where he was invited to give a fraternal address from the I.L.P. – he was perturbed to find it upstairs in a pub but horrified when he got up their to find the debauched scene – not merely socialists drinking but ladies smoking! He turned and fled, thinking he was in a brothel. Asked on one occasion what he thought of Anarchism, he said he was only once in an anarchist meeting ”and the language was terrible … I didna stop to listen”. Yet he was several times on the platform with Peter Kropotkin, whose language may be assumed to have been proper.

Between the pioneer days of Fred and Amy and the exciting period before the first world war, when revolutionary syndicalism made so great an impact on the West of Scotland, (with the Syndicalist movement proper, the IWWs, the dissident Wobs who formed a second organisation here, and the anarcho-syndicalist grouping) there must have been an upsurge of the anarchist idea in the West of Scotland. Perhaps somebody will research it one day: a huge number of working class militants must have been anarchists, as one can judge by these activists who later switched into other parties and thus by their defection provide a yardstick as to how wide the movement must have been. (e.g. John Maclean always denounced William Gallacher – later Communist MP – for having been a ”recent recruit” to Marxism from anarcho-syndicalism and having only gone over when there was a Bolshevik bandwagon to jump on, always implying he had clung to the movement he left merely for popularity).

Guy Aldred, a Londoner, saw very clearly in the pre-war period that Glasgow was to be the libertarian hotbed and at first tried to divide his activity between Shepherd’s Bush (always his stomping ground in London) and Glasgow, later devoting his whole time to Glasgow. He was an anarchist but had differencies with some in the anarchist movement of his day (especially with the Rudolf Rocker circle – a personal and family difference, as Rocker was in fact his brother-in-law). He tended therefore to call himself a revolutionary socialist, or sometimes a ”Bakuninist” (”Marx expressed the social revolution but Bakunin lived it”) combining both Marxism and Anarchism. He pioneered Council-Communism in this country and his long propagandism for the form of council-communism in which virtually there is not much difference between those from a Marxist and those from an Anarchist tradition was long and tireless, despite his constant battle against poverty (he relied entirely on his lectures and sales of literature for a living). That at the end of his life Aldred tended to capitulate in some of the ideas he had expressed all his life was due entirely to the fact that he was totally worn out by the struggle and poverty.

The anarchist movement which had been noticeably strong in the pre-world war period did not fold up, though most of its members did in Glasgow accept the Bolshevik myth for a time. This was probably due to the expressive propagandism of John Maclean – one of the few honest socialist leaders – who combined standard-bearing of the Russian Revolution (which he thought had triumphed) with criticism of Lenin and his authoritarian centralism. It was thought by many that it was possible to defend the gains of the Russsian revolution while not accepting Lenin’s triumph – something which with only small hindsight seems a tall proposition – but Glasgow was of course during the whole of the war and its aftermath in a bubbling state of revolution of its own – tanks being brought down the streets to curb the workers even after the war – and its factory form of organisation was at times almost able to surpass the achievements of the Russian workers in bringing down tsarism – and it would have been difficult to have imposed a party dictatorship on the Lenin model there, in the circumstances prevailing.

Several Englishmen went north, attracted by the numbers of Anarchists with their roots in working class organisation – one being George Ballard, of Bristol – who (as ”George Barrett”) became a fluent speaker for the Anarchist cause in Glasgow, and also edited ”The Voice of Labour”, a syndicalist weekly. Among the Scots who came to London were James Dick, james Murray, Florence Stephen and several others who helped to build up the anarchist influence in the syndicalist movement of pre-world war I. Florence Stephen (author of ”Suffrage or Syndicalism”) later moved into trade union activity among women shop assistants helping John Turner (secretary and pioneer of the Shop Assistants Union and one time editor of Freedom).

The Miners

As in South Wales, the miners were particularly receptive to Anarchist ideas. It is interesting to note that on one occasion Peter Kropotkin went to Blantyre and Burnbank to speak to the miners there.

The memory of Kropotkin’s visit stayed with the miners of Lanarkshire. Anarchism did not die there until two or three whole generations had passed away. Even during the second world war it was possible for anarchists to go and speak to the Burnbank miners – I did myself – and received a warm welcome. They were old veterans. Like the South Wales libertarian miners, they warmly supported the anarchist movement even though in practice they had to accept the existence of socialist and communist leaderships. The belonged to the miners’ lodge and allowed the Labour and Communist nominees to struggle for the jobs of parliamentary representaation. They did not have a distinctive culture from the working class culture of the time and merged into their background; they would have been the irreducible backbone of the movement had it obtained strength in the rest of the country. As it was they had little contact except by ”literature” – and that contact was broken when (as in the case of the South Wales miners – see Black Flag No. 17) bourgeois pacifist and liberal ideas began to infiltrate in the more formally constituted anarchist movement in complete alienation to anything in which they were interested.

However it was not the same situation as in South Wales where the anarchist movement became so informally constituted and so identified with its background that it lost its identity among the advancing state socialist organisations. On the contrary, it was sharply sectarian. The ”Solidarity” group (no connection between any of the Glasgow ”Solidarity” groups – there were three succeeding each other – or the present group using the name) went to the extreme of rejecting not only parliamentary but trade union activity: they refused to join unions, and this in highly organised industries like shipbuilding and car making. Some of them maintained this attitude as late as the thirties – I remember some of the Scots comrades even at Ford’s of Dagenham maintaining their ”conscientious objection” to trade unionism like Jehovah’s Wotnesses. It is interesting to note (for those that think trade unionists are necesssarily bigoted in these matters) that their fellow workers always perfectly understood their position, not only accepting them as militants but even in some cases (quite agaainst the rule book) as shop stewards.

The association of anarchists and council-communists, in the Anti-Parliamentary Communist Federation, in particular (founded by Aldred, but he later left it to form his own organisation the United Socialist Movement) went on until the late thirties (publishing Solidarity and the Fighting Call). Then it became specifically anarchist again, chiefly influenced by Frank Leech, one of the most tireless propagandists the British anarchist movement has known. He was a burly ex-Navy boxer, whose work couldn’t be measured. He spoke week after week to audiences of never less than a thousand – for a long time he spoke in the open air every Sunday afternoon and again in a hall – with several hundreds attending – in the evening. He organised a press, he helped in factory gate meetings and factory organisation, started an anarchist bookshop and a meeting hall, and gave untold help to the German anarchist movement in the late thirties as well as to the Spanish movement.

During the war the movement seemed to grow rapidly, but it was disorganised despite its growth. There were two very brilliant speakers Jimmy Raeside and Eddie Shaw. Their views on anarcchism were original: they described themselves as Conscious Egoists and Stirnerites but rejected the bourgeois individualism often asssociated with those ideas (e.g. shop factory committees were ”unions of egoists”; anarcho-syndicalism was ”applied eoism” and so on), which at any rate made old ideas sound new and which influenced many people at the time. The generation of Glasgow activists which followed on called themselves (some still do) Stirnerites, and it was this generation which gave the drive and continuity of revolutionary anarcho-syndicalist ideas to the influx of younger militants following the Scottish apprentices strike; the disillusionment with the Labour Party (Y.S.), and the political short-sightedness of the Committee of 100 in the early sixties.

Albert Meltzer

Meltzer: ‘Ministerial Inefficiency’

By Albert Meltzer
War Commentary, October 1940
”World War – Cold War: Selections from the Anarchist Journals War Commentary & Freedom 1939-1950″

The inefficiency of Ministers used as a slogan for victory? It sounds almost incredible, and maybe it would be in another country, but it is a fact today in Britain. The Tory leaders are thoroughly discredited: Chamberlain has been an omen of disaster to the Conservative Party, and his followers, local Tory MPs who were full of praise for Hitler and Mussolini, would have no chance in the country if – as is not now possible – a General Election came. The man-in-the-street would be very likely to agree now with the statement of one Conservative MP some years ago: ”The Blackshirts have what the Conservatives need” – not dictatorship but Brixton!

This is shown by the phenomenal success of the book Guilty Men. It had a very good send-off by being unofficially banned, but it created a sensation apart from that. Guilty Men tells the familiar tale of a complacent Chamberlain leading a Hitler-loving Conservative solid majority in the days of Munichism. More and more people are coming to recognise this fact: yet, conversely, the Government does not lose in popularity. The antodote to all criticism is: ‘But now it is all different’. A Chamberlain is out, a Churchill is in. Apart from Mr Churchill looking more like a bulldog than his colleague and the more important fact that his support and warmhearted defence of fascism under Signor Mussolini has had a chance to be forgotten while Mr Chamberlain’s visits to Munich are too fresh in the public mind, there is little difference. But the man-in-the-street is fooled: he is led to believe we have suffered some defeats because of inefficient Mr Chamberlain, and now are to be led to victory, via the change of Prime Minister, by Mr Churchill.

Even now, with the change of Ministry to ‘efficient’ Ministers, criticism of them has to continue. Mr Duff Cooper went into office in a blaze of glory, having made a brilliant speech crying out to Chamberlain, ‘Go, go, in heaven’s name, go!’ It was a dangerous speech, though, for now everyone is crying that at Mr Duff Cooper. True Mr Cooper has to defend the ridiculous methods of the Ministry of Information, sure Minister-breaker, since the Ministry can only give official policy, while the nation wants the soothing syrup of Transport House variety, the ‘better land after the war’ type, which the rulers may promise but cannot specify too closely. Also, he has had to tread on the corns of neewspapermen by censorship of news – always a risky business! But apart from that, what significance has Mr Cooper’s inefficiency? True, propaganda could be a great force in the war, and he is retarding it; but no more than any other member of his class would.

The reason seems clear: the Cabinet may be likened to the proverbial Russian sledge, after which the wolves of public opinion run. The mother on the sledge has to throw off her babies one by one: a hard parting, but inevitable, anything to allay the wolves. And this mother is distiinctly hard-hearted and will throw them all off if she can maintain her position on the sledge. Some of the babies, though, are lusty brats and run after the sledge crying, ‘Shame!’ – e.g. Mr Hore-Belisha!

The ruling class can well afford one or two Ministers as a burnt-offering if it can stop the public from thinking and acting thereby.

At the moment, there is some denunciation of Sir John Anderson, and a demand that he should resign, because of the suppression of liberty underneath him, and also because of the internment of so many refugees either anti-Nazi or friendly to the allied cause. But we are not concerned with whether Sir John would resign or not: the question is whether such practices would stop if we had a new Home Secretary. The agitation must be against the offence, not the individual acting as figure-head or held responsible.

In the trade unions, it is the same: agitation against any particular person sometimes leads to their being replaced by better men, who in turn, because of the method of trade union bureaucracy, become equally reactionary. The introduction of Labour leaders into the Government has not altered the character of the war: Mr Attlee, who before had led the demand for a statement of peace aims, once Lord Privy Seal, had to declare that the time for stating peace aims was ‘inopportune’. Labour MPs led the demand for such things as nationalisation of mines; now a Labour Minister of Mines has to state that this cannot be done. So it seems that change of Ministers does not lead to a change of methods. But the agitation against inefficiency leads to a lessening of the struggle against the system, and that, of course, is what the ruling class want.

It might be stated that there is an interesting excepttion to the rule that inefficiency against individual Ministers is largely inspired by a desire to avoid essential criticism rather than to face actual criticism. That is the wide-spread belief in this country that Britain is inefficient, too lenient, too humane, etc. which is, of course, fostered with the intention of making the people believe that we must be less lenient, less humane, etc. If it were stated bluntly – ‘we must be intolerant, we must be inhumane’, etc. – it is doubtful that the British people would agree. But they are told that we are notoriously lenient, ridiculously humane, and are likely to remain so, and the result is support for the reverse action to be adopted. Then, when the news comes out, the reaction is, ‘Well, it’s about time too!’, or the like.

It is, by the way, a remarkable illusion that inefficiency does not exist in Germany – a thing which all good patriots here believe. Why this illusion I cannot fathom: it may have arisen as a means of exhorting people to do their bit, but it has never been very true.

In the last war the myth of German efficiency rose to an alarming extent, but was grossly exaggerated. Hasek has portrayed the corrupt and decaying Austro-Hungarian Army for ever in the Good Soldier Schweik, while as to the German Army in the last war, Bernard Shaw – who has written on everything – pronounced the truest words, in the mouth of a member of the ruling class, who says ”if the British public knew that I had said it, I should at once be hounded down as a pro-German”. It is:

”Our people have for some reason made up their minds that the German War Office is everything that our War Office is not… my own view… is that the German War Office is no better than any other War Office.
I found that opinion on my observation of the character of my brother-in-law; one of whom, by the way, is on the German General Staff.” (Augustus Does His Bit, 1917)

Today, of course, the Nazis have got rid of the aristocratic Junkers: whereas we retain the aristocratic junk. Nevertheless, today in Germany the State is in control: and the State, in its totalitarian stage, though it eliminates capitalist waste and oligarchic inefficiency, creates bureaucracy and its attendant ‘red tape’. When we get much better information on how Germany wages this war (which will only, perhaps, be afterwards), we shall very probably see that Germany has not been winning victories because of the superior efficiency of Nazism, but because the bourgeoisie of the west are fearful, and therefore timid. They fear that a major war of destruction will ruin their property, and expediate social revolution: the Nazis, representatives of a ‘have not’ nation against the ‘have’ imperialisms, and who have deluded at least themselves that revolution is impossible, for they are the revolution, have no such trepidations, and so take the initiative and the drive. They err in underrating social revolution, for it is becoming ever more of an imminence, and will sweep away both them and their bourgeois ‘sisters under their skins’.

A. M.

Meltzer: ‘The Fifth Column’

By Albert Meltzer
War Commentary, May 1941
”World War – Cold War: Selections from the Anarchist Journals War Commentary & Freedom 1939-1950″

Consciences are bad in Fleet Street. Our press lords, who boosted Hitler to the skies when Hitler only did things one attacks him for but had not come into competition with the City of London, are now in opposition to him. Consciences are bad in the homes of the aristocracy and the politicians: the Friends of Hitler in Mayfair and Westminster have to change their tactics.

Lord Redesdale declares that he has no longer any sympathy with the Hitler regime (despite daughter Unity Mitford’s antics and son-in-law Oswald Mosley’s convulsions) for now ”the enemies of the King are the enemies of every honest man”. George Robey left for a trip to Australia and told the Daily Express how much he admired Hitler – by the time he came back he had to say ”it was only a joke”. Lord Londonderry indignantly denies canards about his being interned as a spy (because he had entertained Ribbentrop in the old days) – an analogous position with Prince Louis of Battenberg in the last war. The Page-Crofts and the Arnold Wilsons, the friends of fascism in Germany, Italy and Spain in the old days (still, so far as the last two go), the Lennox Boyds, and the others – all have to swallow their words, and all do their bit with patriotism.

Hannen Swaffer mentions Tory MPs such as this – and forgets his own idol, Winston Churchill: ”Had I been in Italy at the time, I should have been a fascist,” ”I have always declared that if Britain were defeated in a war, we should need a Hitler to lead us back to our rightful place amongst the nations.”

This was what we once called the Fifth Column. In Spain, Franco had four columns converging on Madrid, and boasted of a fifth of provocateurs, spies and fascists within it. The reference was clear. All the friends of fascism were the enemies within the gates: so they were called in revolutionary Spain.

The Communist Party took up the slogan parrot-fashion, and urged purges of the ‘Fifth Column’ everywhere – until its master, Stalin, about-faced and they were forced to join it.

But our Fifth Column, also reversed when war was declared. They supported Hitler, Mussolini, etc., because they wanted to preserve Capitalism-Imperialism. This war against Hitler (which poor dupes of workers are kidded is against fascism) is for the preservation of Capitalism-Imperialism. Excited patriotism took the place of fervent fascism. Sudden ‘sympathy’ for fishermen killed by Nazi machine-gunners (not a new development in totalitarian warfare) became one of the ‘excuses’ for this reversal.

Now what? Our Fifth Column has a bad conscience. It must save its face: for previous admiration for Herr Hitler is now at a discount. So it looks for a scapegoat.

Norway provides for it. Major Quisling, at the head of the Nazi party, led a movement to help the Nazis.

To put it bluntly (but don’t tell Mr Lennox-Boyd or the Friends of Nationalist Spain), Quisling did a Franco. Not a very effective Franco, but certainly Quisling had the support of an important section of the Norwegian ruling-class, e.g. the head of the Oslo police, the Bishop of Oslo, and many officers. (The Norwegian ruling-class has always been pro-German, and recently pro-Nazi, influences: largely as a result of the strength of social revolution.)

Now the Nazis have other movements, too: the German-American Bund, the Dutch, Rumanian, Swedish, etc., Nazi ‘culture’ and ‘sports’ movements: all of which could emulate Franco, Quisling or Kuusinen. Similarly, any Communist Party would help Russia (e.g. the Finnish Communist Party, although it did not exist outside Moscow) if it were the opposing force.

One might say, perhaps, that such movements represented (to the ruling classes of the Allied powers in a capitalist war) the new ‘Fifth Column’. Our ex-Fifth Column, and still fascistic, ruling class might perhaps term these the new ‘Fifth Column’.

Oh no. They have a better trick. With these they deliberately confuse the genuine anti-war (anti-Hitler’s and anti-Stalin’s, as well as anti-Chamberlain’s, war) elements – socialists, pacifists and anarchists.

The Sunday Dispatch has a flaming article: ‘Where Britain Must Strike Next’. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom of speech for ‘defaitists’ and anarchists, it declares. The Peace Pledge Union it denounces as a ‘revolutionary’ organisation. It insists on dictatorial measures in the French manner. All this from a Rothermere paper – Rothermere, the backer of Hitler and Mussolini in days gone by, the man who introduced Fascism to Britain by his support of Mosley, and the man who was recently dragged through the police courts on that case about the Princess and the royal heads of Europe and Hitler.

Hannen Swaffer, cynical Fleet Street scribbler, writes in the ‘Labour’ Daily Herald as though he didn’t know of the huge numbers of local Labour parties opposing the war and affiliated to the No Conscription League, or of trade union rank-and-file opposition to the war, by writing as though only fascists, plus a few communists, opposed the war – with the possible exception, perhaps, of one or two ‘sentimental pacifists’.

Careful propaganda, ‘public opinion made to order’, biased reporting, unscrupulous misrepresentation; gradually it is worked up to insist to suppress all revolutionary, peace yes, and labour movements. Churchill the timemay not be able to ‘control’ all the seas all the time, on his statement, but he ‘controlled’ the General Strike very efficiently. Chamberlain, Rothermere, Beaverbrook: we all know what even the ordinary trade unionist think of them.

Is the working class going to allow its movements to be broken by action, following careful propaganda? Let us know in advance the technique:

1. Ex-boosters of Hitler clamour for imprisonment of all Germans, as potential spies, inclusing those who risked their lives fighting Hitler underground whiile these gentlemen wrote letters to The Times in their clubs, saying what good Hitler was doing for Germany.

2. The demand for dissolution of all communist, fascist ‘defeatist’ and similar organisations (the term similar to include trade unions, Labour Parties and co-ops opposing the war; ILP, NCL, Peace Pledge Union, anarchists, educational and civil liberties bodies).

3. The creation, gradually, of the power of the executive to dissolve anything they chhoose.

4. The strengthening of the executive power as the dictatorial body controlling the country.

5. Hitlerism, and not even with the social programme that was used to delude the German people.

ALBERT MELTZER