Sheffield Anarchist Book Fair 2013
Following are the titles and descriptions of the talks from the programme:
The Luddites, the crisis and the need for a new politics of technology - Corporate Watch
From 1811-1816, textile workers in the North of England rose up against machines that were destroying their livelihoods, and against the whole industrial capitalist system. 200 years of technocratic capitalism has brought us to the to the brink of an environmental disaster, and class exploitation still ruins the lives of the majority of the world’s people: the choice between libertarian socialism and barbarism has never been more stark. Rather than face the transition to sustainability and economic justice, ruling elites are trying to maintain business as usual, through technofixes such as geoengineering and synthetic biology. This workshop will discuss new efforts to resist these technofixes, and the need for a new luddite politics of technology.
The Fighting Union - The Industrial Workers of the World in Sheffield - Sheffield Industrial Workers of the World
We don’t have much money and no paid officials. We don’t sell insurance or credit cards. But we are fighting and winning and we want more. We want the economy run for the benefit of everybody, not a handful of executives on unimaginable pay. Hear about the IWW across the world, its history, and principles and where we are at today. Hear from the Sheffield Branch of the IWW and how we grew from one campaign into an organised group of people taking action to change their own varied workplaces for the better, and gaining international support. Find out about our members’ own experiences using direct action and how direct democracy is working in ‘the Union for all workers’.
The Idea of the Commune - Nick Heath, Anarchist Federation
A presentation outlining how the idea of the commune and the federation of communes developed amongst anarchist communists in the 1870s and 1880s . They saw the commune as the “vehicle of revolution”. Whilst the idea of the commune seeks to involve all sections of the working class, be they women, unemployed, youth, the old, etc the meeting argues that anarcho-syndicalism limits struggle and the involvement of large sections of the working class. Anarchist communists need to re-affirm the idea of the commune.
Anarchist communism: a history of struggle - Collective Action
A presentation covering the basic principles of anarchist communism as shown through two key historical episodes: the life of Bakunin and the Makhnovist uprising in Ukraine. The presentation will bring these ideas up to the contemporary period to discuss contemporary debates between organisationalist and so-called lifestyle anarchism.
Anarchists! Know your theory! - Collective Action
This presentation aims to debunk the myths that anarchism is a romatic, impulsive or otherwise anti-intellectual philosophy. The lecture will introduce key theoretical concepts - specifism, organisational dualism, the social and political level and social insertion - that help to inform anarchist communist practice. These ideas will be siutated in the original experiences of key proponents such as Bakunin and Malatesta but argued to be key tools for anarchists today to build popular, anti-capitalist movements.
The Feminist Library: Womens’ Studies Without Walls - Womens’ Studies Without Walls
In January 2013 the Feminist Library (London) hosted a weekend event to launch a new initiative entitled Womens’ Studies Without Walls, which is continuing in the form of a series of evening events at the library. The reason for initiating Womens’ Studies Without Walls (WSWW) was a feeling that the gap between academics studying feminist struggle and activists involved in everyday grassroots struggle has grown so wide that we cannot easily find places to talk together and, in some cases, cannot even understand one another.
We would like to hold a meeting with anyone who is interested in talking about how to develop WSWW. We can tell you how we organised, answer questions people may have, and facilitate a discussion about whether there is a need and/or an interest in organising WSWW outside of London. If there is sufficient interest among the people present, we can actually start some grassroots planning during the meeting.
Anarchism, Marxism and the state: the real divide amongst revolutionaries? - The Commune & Communist Workers Organisation
Marxists and anarchists have always shared the view that the antithesis to capitalism is a classless, stateless society. What they have not shared is a clear outline of how this might come about. After the statist cul de sacs of social democracy, Stalinism and Trotskyism many Marxists now recognise that the issue is not about replacing the state but destroying it. After the failure of the anarchists in Spain many anarchists recognise that revolution from below cannot just be a nice idea but has to have a deeper material basis. With capitalism now in obvious crisis is this not the time for a more fruitful exchange on revolution and the state than has been possible in the past? All welcome.
They say ‘cut back’ we say....?
A facilitated discussion to share experiences and information from various local groups organising against the policies of austerity such as those fighting the bedroom tax and benefit cap, UK Uncut, and groups seeking to save local services threatened with closure. How do we increase the effectiveness of responses to the state’s austerity program? All welcome.