The meeting started with a twenty minute talk from a member of the Anarchist Federation, which established some of the crucial differences between the way anarchists organise and the tactics of other 'revolutionaries'.
Anarchists fundamentally believe in self-organisation, as opposed to appealing to politicians and professional mediators. This often leads to confrontation with the state, and even violence. Though this is not an aim in itself, we acknowledge that the ruling class will not willingly give up power, so it is an unfortunate necessity. The comrade illustrated his points with reference to the anti Poll Tax movement in the UK, plus the Shell to Sea camp and the anti bin tax movement in Ireland. He insisted that class struggle must be at the heart of anarchism, so he "gets excited" when he sees "people in flat caps"!
We then all sat in a circle and began an open discussion. There were many people in the meeting who had never really encountered anarchism before, so I suggested we talked about what an anarchist society would be like. This became quite a long utopian imagining session, which can be fun to do once in a while. The mood in the room noticeably lifted, as people began to let their imagination wander, something we are taught not to do from an early age. We also touched upon why anarchists focus so much on 'the state' as being the enemy (compared to other groups), instead of capitalism. Many of the participants agreed that capitalism and the state are essentially inseparable, and that the state helps organise, defend and extend capitalism, against the interests of working class people.
At the end of the meeting, we decided to set up a series of six (non-hierarchical!) 'anarchist schools', each exploring a different aspect of anarchism as it relates to everyday life and struggle. These will start in a few weeks time (when there's space in the social centre calendar!), and will be fortnightly.
Still to come this week...Friday 21st September - 7.30pm - 10pm The Boy Who Dropped an Egg on the World - A Play Jack's Hard Rub theatre company present writer/director Julian Bond's powerful anti-war production.
Saturday 22nd September - 7.30pm til late School Students Against War - Benefit Night Live music and DJs, good company and dancing to benefit School Students Against War.
Sunday 23rd September - 7pm - 11pm Free Screen - Film Night The first of our regular film nights. Showing Osama - an Afghan film about life under the Taliban and Walkout - a drama based on anti-racist school struggles in 60s LA