Now then, what’s this all about?

A quick explanation of where I’m coming from, since I always find it annoying when blogs don’t do that…

I’m pretty much a class struggle anarchist, or libertarian communist, or some other combination of words along those lines. What that actually means is that I believe the vast majority of people across the world don’t have much of a real, meaningful say in most decisions that affect them. This is still true even of most people who own xboxes, or iphones, or drink wine, or have been to uni, and so on – ultimately, most people who eat hummus on a regular basis still don’t have any more real control over their lives than people who don’t.

In addition to this, I believe that the socialist political project – in both its Bolshevik form, as represented by the various Communist Parties throughout the 20th century, and currently upheld by Trotskyist groups like the Socialist Workers Party, and its reformist/social democratic form, as represented in Britain by the Labour Party – has succeeded only in elevating various new tiny groups of people into positions of power. It hasn’t delivered any great benefits for those who haven’t made it into Parliament or the Politburo, and the new rulers have often been every bit as harsh and brutal as the old.

I also recognise that a lot of what anarchists and libertarians do also isn’t terribly useful either. This isn’t me claiming any kind of great wisdom here, it’s just me being honest about the fact that I’ve done a lot of things, both before and after becoming an anarchist, that in hindsight were pretty much a waste of time. Some of them were fun but pointless; others made me cold, tired and miserable, and still didn’t achieve anything.  But I have also done some things, especially since becoming an anarchist, that weren’t totally pointless, which brings me to my next point.

Despite all the failures, defeats and betrayals, I’m still not an absolute pessimist. There are lots and lots of reasons to be miserable, but I still believe that most people don’t really like being fucked over, and they’ll try and assert some control over their situation whenever they think they have a decent chance of doing so. It happened on a grand scale across Europe at the end of the First World War, and in Spain in 1936, and in Hungary in 1956, and in quite a lot of places in 1968 and the years that followed, and it’s still happening, on a considerably smaller scale, in a lot of places right now.

So, the point of this blog is to try and draw attention to things that I think are useful or inspiring and to explain why I think they’re good, and equally to point out when I think people are wasting their time and to explain why I think that.  I think there are good and bad aspects to trade unions, anti-fascism, anti-militarism, environmentalism, social centres, and a lot of the other things that anarchists and lefties do, and a bit of reflection can help us do more of the good stuff and less completely futile stuff.

Among other things, I think the Seattle Solidarity network is an example of genuinely useful stuff that anarchists are doing, and think the emergence of similar groups is a positive sign.

Finally, like a lot of bloggers, I have a bad habit of starting blogs and then completely abandoning them, so don’t be surprised if I do that.


29 Responses to Now then, what’s this all about?

  1. Sophie Ziv says:

    Hey! Just wanted to say I really like your blog. I’m a member of the AF and the Glasgow Solidarity Network and I’ve got you as a quick link on my browser. 🙂 Also, yeah, SeaSol is awesome.

  2. sweezox says:

    hey, dig the blog. working on getting one going–got yours as one of our links. will send you ours to look at when we launch. cheers!

  3. Pingback: What we talk about when we talk about class. | Cautiously pessimistic

  4. SamFanto says:

    Don’t really know how to contact you by email, otherwise I would have just sent the following to you personally; but, anyway – I just wanted to inform you of some new texts I’ve put up on the dialectical delinquents site:

    chile: the Allende years :

    the class struggle in south africa 1976 – 80 :

    riots, strikes, sabotage and sit ins in Karachi (2011) :

    riots in china (2011) :

    poetry in motion (2009 – 2010) – Contributions to the supersession of poetry (a reproduction of part of a discussion on libcom that I had between November  2009 and February 2010) :

    Nouvelle agression “racialiste” à Marseille :

    chomsky – collaborator with the US state :

    mental illness & solitary confinement in Texas prisons :

    – Sam

    • Thanks! FWIW, I set up nothingiseverreallylost (at) gmail (dot) com to use as a semi-anonymous email for this project, but I’m terrible at remembering to check it, so I’ll probably see comments here faster. I don’t have anything like enough time to spend reading atm, but recent events which I’m sure you’ll have seen had made me think I should go back and read some of the copout/Aufhebengate stuff again, when I get a chance.

  5. Mike Harman says:

    Do you have any interest in re-posting your articles to libcom? We could give you a blog there if so.

  6. SamFanto says:

    I guess you’ve seen this:

    One of the reasons which I did not go into in the above text is that since Aufhebengate, I think just one of my texts has been put up on libcom (a section of “Cop-Out…” – ), by me under another name. Another section was taken off very quickly by libcom admin. As far as I know, libcom and its posters never ever refer to anything on my site (the only references are either sent by me under a different name or by someone close to me), let alone put up any of my texts (which from now on they really mustn’t do if they follow through on their promise to remove the texts as I suggested, though they haven’t started to do so as far as I can see). This mentality is utterly sectarian; I, on the other hand, sometimes put in links to libcom texts or comments that I think might be useful for an opposition to this society – my ego doesn’t get in the way of recognising what might be genuinely useful, whereas libcom’s collective ego obviously blanks out anything I write, even though the things on my site are ever so slightly more useful than Michael Schidt etc. , whom they include. Which shows how discerning they are.

  7. SamFanto says:

    Apologies for using this space to “advertise” texts on my site, but – as you said – you rarely look at your “cautiously pessimistic” emails:
    Just added to my site:  homage to catatonia –
    A reflection on the history of Catalonia and aspects of current events, translated from the French

  8. SamFanto says:

    Just received this appeal for a solidarity demo in London, which seemed more appropriate for your site and maybe also for your contacts (though I’ve left it as a comment on the bottom of December 2017, News of Opposition: ), though you might find a better place to publicise this than here at the bottom of your comments boxes:
    In order to get themselves clearly heard and understood by their filthy bosses, the Holiday Inn’s strikers are intent on demonstrating on Saturday, December 16th, in front of the Intercontinental Hotel Group’s (IHG) registered office in London (this very group owning the Holiday Inn company). International pressure put on those usual hostelry’s slave-holders could be decisive here, as much as concrete solidarity expressed to the parisian suburb’s workers on strike, who have been fighting for their rights for nearly two months (57 days, to be exact). So, to the London comrades : come and support them !


    « We’re forced to clean seventeen rooms a day, sometimes twenty or twenty-two rooms a day… But it can take one hour just to clean a single one ! The worst is for those working women placed under the four hours a day contract. Those ones are even less paid, although still doing their seven or eight hours a day. That’s just slavery.


    The hardest point is that one always has to lay claim, if he wants to be paid, Sibidé, a 55 years old striker says, sitting on a plastic crate, with a cap on his head. His own job is to clean the hotel’s floor. If we do extra hours, they don’t pay for it. And if we claim for additionnal payment, they just wait till we get tired of it, till we give up asking. Then, they don’t have to pay.
    He makes 1100 to 1200 € per month, including week-ends and public holidays. His salary never increased in ten years of work. With a sour look in his face, he can’t stand staring bitterly to the Holiday Inn’s table of fees, behind him : until 450 € a night. The girls working here clean three of these rooms per hour, he protests angrily, raising already more than their salary… »

    • Thanks for this – annoyingly I’m away from my computer for the next few days and don’t really know how to make a proper post from my phone, but have shared via email with a few London people.

  9. SamFanto says:

    Once again, a reply to your reply here:

    PS It seems rather inappropriate to keep on posting stuff informing you of my replies here; is there any better way?

  10. Rob says:

    Love your website and thanks for plugging our meetings. I’ve taken the liberty of using some of the info here for a little industrial round up on our website. Cheers.

  11. Thomas says:

    Referring to Bellingcat to criticise other alternative sources seems dubious. We all know who really finances Bellingcat…

    • I don’t know much about Bellingcat, and I’m not sure what you’re referring to – presumably something in the ARR/Blumenthal article? What is the specific claim that you’re dubious of?

  12. Jack says:

    do you have a twitter?? or somewhere where updates are posted?

    • Not directly, but I’m sure there’s some system where you can follow/subscribe to wordpress blogs – it might easier if you have an account yourself, but I’m sure you can do it with just an email as well.

    • Yeah, I think it should be possible to get updates via email using a “follow” thing that should appear at the bottom of your screen somewhere, that’s probably the simplest way? I appreciate that probably makes me sound like a confused grandparent.

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