We are a group of anarchists in Nottingham, federated to the Anarchist Federation. The Anarchist Federation is a Britain-wide organisation controlled by local groups like ours. It makes the most of our collective efforts and ideas, and helps us work out how society functions and how to change it for the better.
We are ‘social anarchists’, that is to say, anarchists with a class analysis who work towards a world where everyone is personally free and also socially and economically equal. Social anarchists recognise that society at the moment is divided into those who work (us) and those who reap the rewards of our labour (capitalists). It is also divided into those who are ruled (us) and those who benefit by keeping us oppressed and politically powerless (the state). In Britain, the government does this to help their capitalists friends. At the moment, no one trusts governments or capitalists, so why don’t we get rid of them? We certainly don’t need them!
Locally, our groups work to make life difficult for our bosses, who exploit our labour, and local politicians who are more interested in spending out taxes to boost their own power and prestige than serving the people they supposedly represent. Whilst most of us need jobs and services, this does not mean that we should be grateful to those who supply them. They can just as easily be taken away from us, as we are experiencing at the moment. And what’s more the state makes it our problem that there aren’t enough jobs to go round, by slashing services and attacking benefits. We could run our cities and communities far better without these people!
To work towards being able to do just that, social anarchists try to help build a mass movement of self-organised groups from within our communities, towns and workplaces, making the most of the ‘culture of resistance’. The ‘culture of resistance’ means when ordinary people fight back against the state and the bosses, and not because they need anyone to tell them to do it, but because they want to or have to. These self-organised groups should be connected together formally but in a decentralized way, as our federation is, to support each other and to stop some becoming more powerful than others. Encouraging this ‘culture of resistance’ is one of the roles of anarchists within self-organised groups, after helping them succeed in what they set out to do, be it saving a swimming pool, demanding social housing, opposing workfare, winning a strike, or whatever.
In fact, it is often observed of anarchists that we are amongst the most hard-working members of such groups! It may surprise some people, but being organized, reliable and effective is important for anarchists. This is because we choose to be accountable to each other and to the non-anarchists we work with, rather than just doing as we want or trying to become powerful in relation to other people, which is a problem in some struggles and campaigns.
For anarchists, it is also vital to oppose all hierarchies and oppression in society and in our personal relationships, and to undermine social forces that keep us divided and suppressed on an individual level and not able to live our lives fully and as equals.
Read more about the AF in Nottingham.