cover photo


more Le Guin

 Xerta last edited: Mon, 23 Apr 2018 01:01:56 +0200  
A fine contribution. Robert Graham's Blog being good as usual.

Robert Graham's Anarchism WeblogRobert Graham's Anarchism Weblog wrote the following post Wed, 24 Jan 2018 06:47:08 +0100
Ursula Le Guin (1929 – 2018)
Ursula Le Guin (1929 – 2018)

Robert Graham's Anarchism Blog: a Tribute to Ursula Le Guin (1929-2018)
I love her Earthsea saga very much. Read the books a few times, every few years again.
I just went looking for something new to read and discovered The Dispossessed on my shelf.
multiple reasons to reshare

 Xerta last edited: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 12:03:43 +0100  
1: Plug for Freedom.

2: Plug for Kate Sharpley Library.

3: Plug for the works of the late Albert Meltzer.

4: Lots of material for @Quotes

#freedom #katesharpleylibrary #albertmeltzer

Freedom Press wrote the following post Sat, 24 May 2014 16:10:19 +0200

A tribute to Albert Meltzer


Albert Meltzer: January 1920 – May 1996

May 2014 is the eighteenth anniversary of the death of Albert Meltzer. To mark it, the Kate Sharpley Library collective have put together this (small) collection of quotes to salute our comrade...
On Anarchism

“The Anarchism I advocated from the start, and never varied from is that born of the class struggle, which was certainly taken into account by philosophers but came out of the working class. It had a proud fighting history in the struggle against Statism and every exploitative system.”
I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels page 174

“There was by now a major difference as to what Anarchism was all about. Either it was a marble effigy of utopian ideals, to be admired and defined and even lived up to by some chosen individuals within the framework of a repressive society, or it was a fighting creed with a programme for breaking down repression.”
I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels
page 104
On the newspaper industry

“Fleet Street workers long held the cynical view that theirs is a lie factory and the extra money they get is like the extra for playing the piano in a whorehouse.”
‘Mirror to Maxwell’ Black Flag no.139 page 5

“Such were the restrictive practices denounced as being a restraint of the freedom of the press-lords to decide who should work and who shouldn’t that the management was not consulted as to our political reliability and the only test applied was whether we could do the job or not. This type of abuse of the employer’s natural rights was later held up by Tory propagandists as an example of union power at its worst.”
I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels
page 170
On unions

“Nobody criticised the trade unions more than I did whilst they were powerful. I plugged syndicalism for over half a century and for what my powers were worth never spared the lash on bureaucracy and reformism. In the Nineties legislation and unemployment have reduced their power no less surely than was done in fascist countries abroad during the Thirties. I can now see the worst union was better than the best political party, and their faults were as nothing compared with the absence of any form of workers’ defence.”
I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels page 373
On politics

“When the ambitious have power, they preach self-sacrifice by others.”
The Floodgates of Anarchy
(with Stuart Christie), PM press edition page 32

“The theme of politics is always the same – that one must work harder and get less.”
The Floodgates of Anarchy
(with Stuart Christie), PM press edition page 76

“What above all is the curse of leadership is not the leaders themselves, but agreement to being led blindly — not the faults of the shepherd but the meekness of the sheep.”
Anarchism: Arguments for and against (2nd ed.) page 59
On violence

“Most people, whether they admit it or not, are conditioned by the mass media, the neo-Church, and they deplore the type of violence that the state deplores and applaud the type of violence that the state practices.”
The Floodgates of Anarchy
(with Stuart Christie), PM press edition page 111

“It is obviously sometimes necessary to use violence, since laying down a code that says one may not use it in any circumstances leaves one helpless against attack. Everyone except an extreme pacifist would admit this, yet a different standard is laid down up for anarchists. It seems the official line, certainly the judicidal view, is they must either be believers in “mindless violence” or woolly-minded idealists, so-called “non-violent anarchists” or “violent” ones, as if 99.9 per cent recurring of the population were neither ultra-pacifists nor mad axe-wielders.”
I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels page 256-7
On the Left

“In our day ‘the Left’ has changed from having any association whatever with the working class and even from State socialism to meaning a package-deal of reforms and attitudes generally expected of a ‘progressive’ person with no class connotation.”
Introduction to modern politics – Leftism Black Flag 146 17/12/1985 page 6
On ‘experts’

“Are we calling these intellectuals idiots? Who called these idiots intellectual?”
Liars and Liberals, Black Flag supplement page 3
On the meaning of ‘libertarian’

“The name ‘libertarian’ was still, at any rate in Spain, used only by the anarchists and syndicalists; the hi-jacking of the name by right wing private enterprise people not yet having become widely known outside the USA — it still signified ‘libertarian socialist’ as opposed to ‘State socialist’.”
I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels
page 233
On the far right

“I moved in the early Seventies to a Greenwich council flat, and was there when a widely-advertised fascist march took place, passing a few streets away in Lewisham which had a high proportion of black residents. As usual, it was more a police demonstration guarding bussed-in fascists marching between their lines.”
I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels page 290
On the political police

“Many subsequent experiences show that the British secret political police, if not the worst in the world, are the most secret. The writer C. S. Lewis says the greatest success of the Devil is to persuade people he doesn’t exist, which makes it easier to get them to obey him. I never had any experience of this, but it certainly applies to the secret political police. Perhaps Lewis was understandably confusing the two.”
I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels
page 86
On history

“Our historical judgement was criticised as based only on anecdotal history from veterans but knowing how conventional history is concocted I doubt if it suffered from that.”
I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels
page 182-3

“‘Research’ often means looking up dated reference books, and passing it off as knowledge.”
I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels
page 166

“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’.”
‘Only a few intellectuals’ Black Flag v3n19 page 7 April 1975

“The histories of whole peoples were wiped out for precisely the same reason that the history of the working class movement in recent times is wiped out: it does not suit the conquerors for it to be known, because traditions keep alive the spirit of revolt.”
Review of British syndicalism by Bob Holton, Cienfuegos Press Anarchist Review no.2 page 16 (1977)

Originally published at:

poverty in Spain

 Xerta last edited: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 12:10:35 +0100  
Interesting graphic from The Olive Press. For non-Spanish speakers: both maps show the incidence of poverty by autonomous community; left map: traditional calculation, right map: taking into account cost of living.


Interesting to me: the shift from traditional "poor" regions to "rich". How high all these numbers are as the official stats are an under-reporting of the actual situation.
  last edited: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 12:02:43 +0100  
Personal note: we fit the definition for both ;-)
Crowned heads, wealth and privilege may well tremble should ever again the Black and Red unite!

 Xerta last edited: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 12:33:54 +0100  
I'll not be there, but sort of wish I was going to be:

Freedom Press wrote the following post Thu, 22 May 2014 12:32:24 +0200

Radical workers’ bloc at Tolpuddle: A friendly pan-anarchist get together, in a field


Martyrs’ festival and rally 18th-20th July 2014

In 2011 an anarchist-inspired black bloc stole the TUC’s thunder and dominated the “March for the Alternative”. For a couple of hours, as Miliband set out his vision for saving capitalism – surrounded by bodyguards in case anyone remembered the last Labour government – militant workers in Oxford Street made a little piece of the country ungovernable.

At that year’s Tolpuddle festival a lonely red and black flag fluttered over the campsite. A small group of anarchists, who had basically come for the music, decided to join the martyrs’ rally on the Sunday, but not wishing to march under the hammer and sickle or the Labour Party banner, scrounged a length of garden cane and tied a piece of plain black cloth to it. We were pictured on the Tolpuddle website, just to the left of Tony Benn.

The following year we decided to do it properly; local troublemakers Wessex Solidarity put out the following call through social media:

“Calling on Anarchists, Anarchosyndicalists, Libertarian Socialists, Revolutionary Unionists, Platformists, Wobblies, non-aligned working class radicals and all those who want to celebrate 200 years of class struggle without marching under the banner of a political party or the business unions that affiliate to them. Bring your red/black/(A)/pirate flags and let’s start putting the libertarian left back into the consciousness of our class. We’re portrayed as a disorganised rabble – show ‘em we can get organised and march together as a group.”

Despite initial hysteria from some quarters, we conducted ourselves with dignity, and visibly took everyone by surprise – to the extent that the CP decided to squeeze in front of us with their silly flagpoles while no one was looking. Theirs are taller than everyone else’s, which tells you all you need to know. We’d assured the organisers we weren’t out to start a ruck, and it just made them look childish and stupid. We were joined by 30 plus members of the Anarchist Federation, Solidarity Federation, IWW, Class War and non-aligned anarchist groups, many of us fresh from the counter – EDL action in Bristol.

In 2013 with the formal support of AFed and SolFed we took a stall in the Martyrs Marquee, participated in debates, shifted a mountain of literature and took enough in donations to cover our expenses plus making a few quid for Freedom Books. Everyone we spoke to felt the mood was more militant than previous years; the Labour “got to be in it to win it” line was challenged at every turn, the appetite for direct action is growing. Sunday’s Bloc numbered about seventy-five, from as far afield as Wales, France and the Midlands with community singing led by Bristol AFed. Our militants ranged in age from 16 to a 96-year-old Spanish Civil War veteran – a proper antifascist!

The annual celebration of working class struggle is meaningless without us, and allows reformists and reactionaries to claim the union movement as their own. Our commitment is to the original spirit of the Martyrs: working-class self organisation in the face of a hostile bourgeois state, more relevant today than ever, owing to the abject failure of political and industrial representation to meet the needs of the people, and the increasingly repressive reaction of the state to autonomous protest and resistance. The Tolpuddle story doesn’t end with the TUC, the labour party or the 4th international; the 20th century is over; we must learn its lessons and evolve. It’s up to us to present an alternative to the reformist agenda.

Once again we have a stall in the Martyrs Marquee. We will be carrying stock from Freedom Books, Britain’s oldest anarchist publisher, plus flags, badges, zines and pamphlets for donations, and loads of free stuff. If you or your group want to get involved, help run the stall, or if you have literature you’d like to give away or accept donations for please get in touch: or via the contact form on the Wessex Solidarity blog.

For those who are staying for the weekend festival, an advance party will arrive on Friday afternoon to pitch tents; we corral them together so that people can get to know each other, exchange contacts and ideas, plan and plot another year of class struggle.

If you’re just marching with us on Sunday 20th July, meet up as usual 1:30 pm outside the Martyrs Museum; bring your flags and banners.

“Crowned heads, wealth and privilege may well tremble should ever again the Black and Red unite!” – Otto von Bismarck

Mal Content

@elmussol if it is a sunny day there can't be many finer days out
squat for freedom

 Xerta last edited: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 13:16:09 +0100  
On the downside Freedom has stopped their venerable print edition. On the plus side they are putting much more good stuff on their website (much of which will be reshared I'm sure).


Freedom Press wrote the following post Fri, 25 Apr 2014 14:54:44 +0200

Squatting as a solution to the housing crisis


The former police station at 2, Lower Clapton Road

The occupation of the former police station on Lower Clapton Road by Hackney residents who describe themselves as “not political” but homeless provides the owners – namely Free School Trust the Olive School – with the opportunity to prove their claimed commitment to “community service and charitable giving”, as reported on their website.

The Olive School must act humanely and negotiate with the occupiers to find a mutually beneficial deal that allows the occupiers to remain in the building until refurbishment commences.

The Free School system is transforming the way education works in the UK, taking responsibility away from state-organisations such as the Department of Education and putting it in the hands of trusts of people who are allowed to make unprecedented decisions on the curriculum and management of their schools. As “no timeline has yet been fixed for its move to the police station”, the Olive School’s board of trustees must intervene in the ominous threatened “appropriate action” of the Department of Education and insist that they themselves can negotiate and strike a compromise with the occupiers rather than mercilessly and violently evicting them out on to the streets. Squatters are not a problem, they are the symptom of the chronic lack of affordable housing in the UK currently. They are human beings struggling to survive and improve their lives in the face of insurmountable intolerance and criticism from the media, the public and the impotent interventions of supposed “welfare” institutions that have no resources to help them thanks to Government cut-backs.

Squatting, or more neutrally “self-housing”, is a solution allowing owners and occupiers to work together to maintain and protect buildings whilst providing urgently needed shelter in these times of dangerous “hidden homes“. Where will these people go if evicted? Hostels are flooded with drugs and toxically over-crowded, the waiting list for housing from councils is over two years, and there is no temporary alternative besides a cardboard box on the street.

This is the latest installment of the ruling Government’s consistent attacks on anyone who would attempt to solve their own problems of housing. In 2011, the Government criminalised squatting in residential properties, despite the thousands of empty homes across the UK and their purported commitment to the ideals of letting people take control of their own communities without government intervention. Council housing is being sold off to private landlords and the number of rough sleepers is soaring, yet those who would seek only to house themselves continued to be demonised as a source of misery and inconvenience for the rich.

Making deals with those who occupy buildings without express license is not unprecedented, and have historically been a common solution to immediate housing issues. In the 1950s, the Government was compelled to make deals with the thousands of “Vigilantes” who occupied military bases across the UK in the aftermath of the post-World War 2 housing crisis. Again in the 60s, even Conservative politicians and other boroughs across London took the bold and progressive move of signing agreements with the Family Squatting Movement, which commentators since have acknowledged was the start of the housing co-op movement in the UK. Even recently, the owners of the Pizza Express on the Kentish Town Road made an agreement with the occupiers, allowing them to host community events and house themselves through the winter.

Also, it is a common practice amongst property owners to install ‘property guardians’ into buildings in order to prevent them being occupied by unlicensed self-housers. Instead of evicting one set to install another, the owners should work with the current residents.

The Government, the public, indeed the whole UK must cease in its’ inhumane analysis of those who self-house and self-help themselves in this current economic climate. In the upcoming years, thousands more people face eviction from their homes, and when they try to house themselves, they will be criminalised and persecuted by people who naively believe it can never happen to them.

Common myths about making agreements with self-housers include that they will damage the property, yet if the grade-II listed police station is to be refurbished anyway, why should this be a concern? Moreover, due to their living situation self-housers often show a deep house pride, as well as an uncanny ability at DIY to improve the conditions of derelict and abandoned buildings in order to make them livable. I would propose to the Department of Education, the Borough of Hackney and the Olive School that instead they humanize this issue, approach the occupiers and find out what they can do together, in a genuine spirit of “Big Society”.

If free schools are to be really free and find a meaningful place in the community, they must address not only issues with education, but with the ills of residents in the local area. If the Government is to be truly representative of the nation, then they must also represent the rights of the poor and dispossessed, not only the wealthy and privileged. Work together with these residents and find a compromise together, rather than evicting them into an uncertain and difficult future. Evictions do not solve homelessness, they only further endanger lives and dehumanize the most vulnerable in society. The time has come for us to look to the history of self-housing with pride and respect and act accordingly to help the citizens of this country who would only try to help themselves out of a desperate situation.

Gyorgy Furiosa


Rudolph Rocker book launch

 Xerta last edited: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 16:43:21 +0100  
If I was in London, I'd be going to this event:

Freedom Press wrote the following post Sat, 15 Mar 2014 06:51:06 +0100

BOOKLAUNCH: Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism


Freedom Press is pleased to announce the upcoming launch of a new annotated edition of Rudolph Rocker’s key political essay on March 22nd at our Bookshop in Whitechapel, from 3pm.

Speakers at the event will include:
  • Journalist, NUJ activist and The Circled A radio show presenter Donnacha Delong
  • Anarchist historian Nick Heath, whose biographical series on the libcom website comes highly recommended.

About the author and book

Rocker may not be a household name today, but he should be.

The German-born thinker, writer and trade union agitator was a key figure in beating sweatshop labour in London and one of the most influential figures in the largest anarchist project ever devised — the International Working Men’s Association.

He intended Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism to be a brief but thorough introduction to a complex creed and in 1948 he succeeded in creating a classic work which has been reprinted every decade since.

This new edition includes annotations expanding on the people, places and events mentioned by Rocker throughout his text, both to help place this highly intelligent piece back in its proper context and to aid further reading.

It also contains a short introductory biography of Rocker’s life written by former Freedom Newspaper and Black Flag Magazine editor Rob Ray.


For more retail/distribution information or to pre-order your copy, contact Freedom Press on 020 7247 9249, email, or visit the shop at 84b Whitechapel HIgh Street, London E1 7QX. The book can be ordered on this website.