Good news, everyone! Bristol Anarchist Federation has been running its monthly discussion nights for an entire year. Over the past twelve months, we have covered a range of subjects from ‘anarchism and violence’ and ‘revolutionary women’, to ‘mental health under capitalism’ and ‘a world without money’. The talks have been consistently popular, with most meetings seeing about 40 people attending – although, over 200 people showed up for our talk on mental health! We have met lots of new people, some of whom have gotten involved in anarchist organising in Bristol and helped to develop our ideas and actions.
Discussing and criticising our strategies plays an important role in anarchism. It is part of what keeps it a vibrant and relevant philosophy, despite over 170 years having passed since workers’ movements first used the term. It enables those of us who have been active within the movement for a while to keep up-to-date with our knowledge, whether that might be the latest news on cuts, the situation in Syria, or the newest technological developments.
These events also help to spread anarchist ideas, while encouraging new people to get involved in activism, or rethink their previous assumptions. Capitalism likes to keep us isolated, so these discussions provide a much-needed outlet for the frustrations many of us share. It can be empowering to know you’re not the only one who thinks there is something very wrong with society – as can socialising and making new links with people who are also open to questioning the way things are. We hope our discussion nights provide an antidote to the media spin and outright lies we are bombarded with every single day.
Action is, of course, essential if we are to create change. But action without reflection and thought is unlikely to be successful. Because of this, our discussions inform how we act. For example, one of our past discussions, on the rise and fall of the anti-cuts movement of 2010-2011, taught us valuable lessons that we hope to use in the upcoming fights against the latest round of council cuts.
Our discussion nights take place every third Tuesday of the month, at 7pm, and almost always at Hydra Books (34 Old Market Street, BS2 0EZ). Next Tuesday’s talk will be on Ecology & Anarchism. So, if you are interested in the struggle to protect habitats, the fight against climate change, and the impact we have on our planet, then come along. As always, it’s free!
If you have any other questions about anarchism, life, the universe, and everything – or just want to talk in a more relaxed atmosphere – come to our second At The Café event, on Sunday November 20th.