On 23 January 2008 the American anarchist and writer Peter Gelderloos spoke at Kebele social centre on the subject of ‘Tactics for social change’. The talk was based on his recently released book ‘How non-violence protects the state’, and the meeting generated some healthy debate, not least on Bristol Indymedia.
Gelderloos has recently visited Greece, and has written a long piece posted on Infoshop titled ‘Insurrection vs Organisation – reflections from Greece on a pointless schism.’ The article begins with this historical quote:
“I consider it terrible that our movement, everywhere, is degenerating into a swamp of petty personal quarrels, accusations, and recriminations. There is too much of this rotten thing going on, particularly in the last couple of years.” From a letter from Alexander Berkman to Senya Fleshin and Mollie Steimer, in 1928. Emma Goldman adds the postscript: “Dear children. I agree entirely with Sasha. I am sick at heart over the poison of insinuations, charges, accusations in our ranks. If that will not stop there is no hope for a revival of our movement.”
Gelderloos proceeds to take a look at the apparent schism in Greece between insurrectionists (typified as black bloc types), and organisationalists (in Greece he refers to the anti-authoritarian movement), and then puts it in a wider context.
You can read the full (long!) article here.
Gelderloos references a number of other essays that support either the insurrectionary or organisation arguments. Click on the title to read it.
“Rogues Against the State” by crudo, from Modesto Anarchist (California)
“Fire at Midnight, Destruction at Dawn: Sabotage and Social War” from A Murder of Crows, out of Seattle.
“An Anarchist Communist Strategy for Rural, Southern Appalachia,” by Randy Lowens, written for Anarkismo.net
“Anarchism, Insurrections, and Insurrectionism” by José Antonio Gutiérrez D.
All interesting stuff well worth a read. Ask yourself, is it a question or ‘either’ one ‘or’ the other? Or can the two sides of the argument mesh together at all?