What We Believe

We believe in Anarchism, as laid out in this short introduction to anarchist communism pamphlet, and this even shorter 8 minute history of anarchism video!

Below are the core principles of the UK Anarchist federation which have been agreed on collectively by our members. They are not an unchangeable doctrine, and whilst we will always stay true to our Anarchist-Communist roots we also incorporate new ideas and experiences into the way we work. For a more in depth look at our politics and practice see the Resources section of our site.

anarchybook2Aims & Principles

1The Anarchist Federation is an organisation of revolutionary class struggle anarchists. We aim for the abolition of all hierarchy, and work for the creation of a world-wide classless society: anarchist communism.

2 Capitalism is based on the exploitation of the working class by the ruling class. But inequality and exploitation are also expressed in terms of race, gender, sexuality, health, ability and age, and in these ways one section of the working class oppresses another. This divides us, causing a lack of class unity in struggle that benefits the ruling class. Oppressed groups are strengthened by autonomous action which challenges social and economic power relationships. To achieve our goal we must relinquish power over each other on a personal as well as a political level.

3 We believe that fighting systems of oppression that divide the working class, such as racism and sexism, is essential to class struggle. Anarchist-Communism cannot be achieved while these inequalities still exist. In order to be effective in our various struggles against oppression, both within society and within the working class, we at times need to organise independently as people who are oppressed according to gender, sexuality, ethnicity or ability. We do this as working class people, as cross-class movements hide real class differences and achieve little for us. Full emancipation cannot be achieved without the abolition of capitalism.

4 We are opposed to the ideology of national liberation movements which claims that there is some common interest between native bosses and the working class in face of foreign domination. We do support working class struggles against racism, genocide, ethnocide and political and economic colonialism. We oppose the creation of any new ruling class. We reject all forms of nationalism, as this only serves to redefine divisions in the international working class. The working class has no country and national boundaries must be eliminated. We seek to build an anarchist international to work with other libertarian revolutionaries throughout the world.

5 As well as exploiting and oppressing the majority of people, Capitalism threatens the world through war and the destruction of the environment.

6 It is not possible to abolish Capitalism without a revolution, which will arise out of class conflict. The ruling class must be completely overthrown to achieve anarchist communism. Because the ruling class will not relinquish power without their use of armed force, this revolution will be a time of violence as well as liberation.

7 Unions by their very nature cannot become vehicles for the revolutionary transformation of society. They have to be accepted by capitalism in order to function and so cannot play a part in its overthrow. Trades unions divide the working class (between employed and unemployed, trade and craft, skilled and unskilled, etc). Even syndicalist unions are constrained by the fundamental nature of unionism. The union has to be able to control its membership in order to make deals with management. Their aim, through negotiation, is to achieve a fairer form of exploitation of the workforce. The interests of leaders and representatives will always be different from ours. The boss class is our enemy, and while we must fight for better conditions from it, we have to realise that reforms we may achieve today may be taken away tomorrow. Our ultimate aim must be the complete abolition of wage slavery. Working within the unions can never achieve this. However, we do not argue for people to leave unions until they are made irrelevant by the revolutionary event. The union is a common point of departure for many workers. Rank and file initiatives may strengthen us in the battle for anarchist communism. What’s important is that we organise ourselves collectively, arguing for workers to control struggles themselves.

8 Genuine liberation can only come about through the revolutionary self activity of the working class on a mass scale. An anarchist communist society means not only co-operation between equals, but active involvement in the shaping and creating of that society during and after the revolution. In times of upheaval and struggle, people will need to create their own revolutionary organisations controlled by everyone in them. These autonomous organisations will be outside the control of political parties, and within them we will learn many important lessons of self-activity.

9 As anarchists we organise in all areas of life to try to advance the revolutionary process. We believe a strong anarchist organisation is necessary to help us to this end. Unlike other so-called socialists or communists we do not want power or control for our organisation. We recognise that the revolution can only be carried out directly by the working class. However, the revolution must be preceded by organisations able to convince people of the anarchist communist alternative and method. We participate in struggle as anarchist communists, and organise on a federative basis. We reject sectarianism and work for a united revolutionary anarchist movement.

10 We oppose organised religion and cults and hold to a materialist analysis of capitalist society. We, the working class, can change society through our own efforts. Worshiping an unprovable spiritual realm, or believing in a religious unity between classes, mystifies or suppresses such self-emancipation / liberation. We reject any notion that people can be liberated through some kind of supernatural force. We work towards a society where religion is no longer relevant.

 

4 comments

    • Bristol Anarchist Federation

      Opposition to fascism is a core part of 20&21st century anarchism, and has always been a part of the theory and practice of the Anarchist Federation since it’s formation in ’86.
      Please excuse our the vague nature of this response, but in the present day AFed members work with a variety of other anarchists and like-minded folk in confronting fascism in the west country and beyond. Can’t really say more than that publicly!

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  1. 'Tom' Dixon

    Saw you marching at Tolpuddle. Do you really think chanting “kill the Tories” is helping us move towards change? I want change, but I don’t want to kill anyone! If the revolution means singling out groups and individuals “to be killed”, then you can keep your revolution because it will be nothing more than a fascist uprising. If you want to learn about anarchy and peace, listen to Crass and look at the writings of Penny Rimbaud. Better still, go and visit him at Dial House in Epping Forest – it’ll be well worth your time!

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    • Bristol Anarchist Federation

      Run down of events :
      A group of folks at the side of the road started jeering at the part of the march just behind us with the Hunt Saboteurs Association banners. Making loud pro-hunting and anti-left/anti-labour comments. Two of them at least were present last year, again singling out the HSA.
      There was a loud chant of ‘Cull the Tories, not the Badgers’ in response, from folks marching with the HSA, which those of us ahead of them eargerly joined in with. ’tis a great chant. It’s both puny and something with a wide enough number of meanings to please just about everyone. ‘cept tories, and people with an illogical hatred of badgers.
      On the second pass of the same group the chant started up again, louder, as the group were being much more aggressive in both tone and content. Some point during all this the chant changed to ‘Kill the Tories, save the Badgers’ or ‘Save the badgers, kill the tories’, which doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.
      On a personal basis, I’d still defend ‘Kill the Tories’ as an acceptable thing to put on a placard or shout at a march. For the following reasons:
      1. They are literally killing us. Their austerity measures have lead to uncountable deaths across the working class of this country.
      2. It’s an exagerated version of our own political ideology. We certainly want a world with no tories (as in no tory party in any meaningful sense, if they want to sit around together and grumble about how they can’t kill poor people for profit since the revolution happened, fine).
      3. The two biggest dangers that face any political movement are repression or recuperation. I think the essay I’m copying this from said it best: ” The anarchists must simultaneously be those who are blamed for acts of startling indecency, of inappropriate extremism in all the right causes (“they burned four police cars at our peaceful march!”) and those who are around town cooking and sharing free communal meals, holding street parties, projecting pirated movies on the sides of buildings, running libraries and bicycle repair shops, and appearing at protests (“oh look, it’s those lovely anarchists again!”). We will be safest from the right hand of repression and the left hand of recuperation when everyone is thoroughly confused as to whether we are frightening or loveable.”

      In terms of actual use of violence in a revolutionary context, I agree singling out individuals and groups because of who they are or what they believe is an overwhelmingly negative thing. That is violence for it’s own ends, violence for violence. I’d disagree it’s automatically fascist to do so, from slave revolts to communist revolutions, from right wing imperialism to social democratic coups it has happened. Fascism does not have a monopoly on ill conceived use of violence.
      In terms of violence in the context of a revolution, I’d say the threat of (for sure) and the use of (in all likely hood) is unavoidable. Those in power will not give it up without a final stand, a final attempt to crush those who oppose them. Never have. Only when there has been a real or imagined threat of violence have they backed down from massacring those rising against them. This moment of violence (or threat of it) will likely pale in comparison to the day to day violence those currently in power inflict on the world. From the obvious wars, assasinations, bombings. Through to the police beatings, and those dead or crushed in prison and immigration detention. Through to ecological destruction, austerity that leaves people to die on the streets. People unable to heat their homes, to access basic medical services. The intentionally brutal beurocracy that has killed so many on disabilites. The way capitalists rip raw resources and products of labour from coutnries they then leave without the means to support their most vulnerable. That is the violence we need to end.

      Pacifism as ideology, rather than personal choice, is at best the result of a partial/selective reading of history. At worst it’s the result of being in a position of privilege and being unable to imagine not being in one. Of constant state propaganda that it is the only correct way of pursuing change, despite its inability to achieve any change without being coupled with diversity. Worst still is when ‘pacifism’ means outright compliance of a sort even Gandhi would balk at.

      The band are alright. I’m sorry if you thought we ourselves were being too crass.

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