Alternatives

Articles about the alternatives to capitalism both in terms of practical experimentation and theoretical study

Rojava: Eyewitness to a women's revolution - report back from a May 2018 trip at #DABF 2018

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The 12th Dublin anarchist bookfair heard this account from Wendy, a Human Rights & immigration lawyer who visited Rojava in May 2018 as part of a fact finding delegation. [audio]

Three futures: Barbarism, UBI Warehousing or Anarchism

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Our global society is broken. Donald Trump & Brexit are symptoms along with the rise of the far right elsewhere in Europe. In an old pattern, fundamental economic crisis often results in society becoming very much more brutal for most people.  In the age of nuclear weapons this current crisis could be our last.  And with a somewhat longer countdown to disaster we are also facing climate catastrophe.

The crisis is fundamental rather than temporary because there are two underlying factors that are irreversible.  The first is the end of the era where the environmental costs of growth could be mostly discounted in the belief that dilution would neutralise pollution.  For much of the industrial revolution the poisonous effluent dumped into the ecosystem had only local severe effects with the vast oceans and atmosphere diluting the pollutants enough that global effects were minor.  This is no longer the case with climate change being the most talked about of several examples where the pollution generated by growth can no longer be absorbed without serious global consequences. 

[As this is a long read we have also made
the entire piece available on audio,
listen as you are doing the dishes 
or you can download a PDF version]

Rojava revolution - Co-operatives & assemblies - video with commentary in the text

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As they have driven ISIS back in northern Syria / Rojava the Kurdish YPG and their allies in the SDF have won increasing visibility in western media. While such reports often mention the key role in this fight played by women in the YPJ, there is otherwise little examination of the revolution happening behind the front lines in Rojava. That revolution is why they stood and fought ISIS rather than fleeing. This can be true of a lot of alternative media coverage. In part this is due to the limited amount of information on what this revolution involves. but it’s also in part because photographs of women with guns are judged to be more striking than women workers in a co-operative bakery or a community assembly.

We’ve tried to address this imbalance somewhat, both in our coverage and through bringing a number of Kurdish and other speakers over to talk at the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair. They spoke about what is happening behind the front lines. What is it that is being constructed that so many have judged is worth going to the front lines to defend against ISIS? Our speakers this year included Erjan Ayboga author of ‘Revolution in Rojava’ and US academic Janet Biehl who has visited the region twice since the revolution to investigate what is happening on the ground.

What's the Incentive to Work in an Anarchist Society?

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One of the most common arguments against the establishment of Anarchist Socialism is that there would be no incentive to work in a new, future society - leading to widespread apathy and laziness among the general population, with a few carrying the burden of the overwhelming majority at best and at worst nothing will be done at all. The aim of this piece is to highlight that the opposite is instead true - that in a socialist society there will even more of an incentive to work productively (in the capitalist sense) and to contribute to the communal pot which we can all then draw from.

Firstly we should reject the capitalist ethos of what is productive labour. To summarise under capitalism productive labour is valued by how much profit can be made in a transaction of goods, services or ficticous capital - not by how valuable it is on a human level. Take for instance stock brokers who get enormous pay checks for betting on and moving currency or goods around the world, while mothers and the care givers of children get next to nothing, becoming slaves to charity, the state or their partners (possible all of these) to support them in the rearing and socialisation of children, so arguably one of the most important jobs in society gets no remuneration.

Eyewitness Rojava Revolution - accounts from participants and Janet Biehl - #DABF video & audio

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In Northern Syria ISIS has been driven back by people fighting for a society based on principles of direct democracy, gender equality, and sustainability. From the their revolution in 2012 they have created a de facto autonomous region in which this ideas are being implemented.

At this opening session of the 2016 Dublin Anarchist Bookfair we heard from eyewitnesses to the revolution including those from the region.

On visiting the Zapatista community of Oventic

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Last November, I took part in a week-long language school at Oventic, Chiapas.[1] I spent the week living and learning with two US-based comrades – Laila, a tattoo artist and socialist/feminist from Memphis, and Michael, a housing rights activist from Baltimore – alongside the wider Zapatista community of Oventic. Our ‘guides’ for the week were our neighbours – Natalio and Paloma as well as Stephanie (who was learning to be a teacher) and Efrain (a linguist, philosopher and educator all rolled in to one). These were the people we met and spoke with every day. What follows are some reflections recorded along the way.   

 

Radical Cooperatives: homes without landlords, workers without bosses - DABF2014 audio

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A presentation from the 2014 Dublin anarchist bookfair on the role of radical co-operatives in social change, based on the experience of Radical Routes in the UK.

Bread and Robots: Automation, urban farming and the abolition of wage labour.

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“Let us be lazy in everything, except in loving and drinking, except in being lazy.”
- Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Communism: What's In A Word?

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This article opens by looking at how the meaning of communism as opposed to socialism evolved in the late nineteenth century and closes with a look at how this applies to the free software movement today. The terms socialism and communism appear in England around the 1820s as terms adopted by members of the cooperative movement who were sick of hearing their politics referred to as "Owenism". Originally the two terms were undifferentiated but by the 1840s communism was used by revolutionaries to differentiate themselves from reformists such as J.S.Mill who had adopted socialism to cover an indigestible mess of reformisms.

The Anarchist Collectives in the Countryside during the Spanish Civil War

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Many people, upon hearing about Anarchism, consider a society based on anarchist principles as unrealistic, idealistic and naive - the vision of dreamers. Given the homogenous view of the world represented in the media, it is often difficult for people to imagine a society where such universally accepted institutions as the state, the judiciary system, the police, armies, and nations no longer exist.

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