The Electoral Road to Power?


Black Rose/Rosa Negra Anarchist Federation

As the left revisits questions of strategy and the role of elections in the path towards socialist transformation, author and veteran activist Tom Wetzel outlines both a critique of the electoral centered path and a strategy for working class power from below.

By Tom Wetzel

Could a shift from capitalism to socialism be brought about through electoral politics? Ever since the origins of the modern socialist left in the late 1800s, many socialists have viewed the politics of parties and elections as a way they can insert themselves into history — forming a core component of their strategy.

In the World War I era the American Socialist Party (SPA) had gained a hundred thousand members and elected more than a thousand government officials — mayors, members of city councils and state legislators. By the mid-20th century “democratic socialism” had been coined as a kind of political brand to refer to the tradition of the socialists oriented to electoral politics as a strategy for social change.

The “democratic socialist” label was partly meant to show their defense of the systems of “representative democracy” and liberal values in western Europe, North America and elsewhere. This was combined with critiques of the repressive and undemocratic nature of the “communist camp” countries of the mid-20th century — the Soviet Union, Castro’s Cuba, Communist China. This defense of “representative democracy” is tied in with their basic strategy of working to gain political power through elections.

 read article


On the Barricades of Berlin



The 1848 wave of worker rebellions that swept across Europe struck the German states with the March Revolution. While Richard Wagner and Mikhail Bakunin fought side by side in Dresden, the writer August Brass led the successful defense of the barricades in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz public square. Published in English for the first time, On the Barricades of Berlin provides a riveting firsthand account of this uprising. Brass’ testimony begins with the tumultuous events leading up to the revolution: the peaceful democratic agitation; the demands that were brought to the king; and the key actors involved on all sides of the still peaceful, yet tense, struggle. It then follows the events that led to the outbreak of resistance to the forces of order and sheds light on the aftermath of the fighting once the exhausted Prussian army withdrew from the city.

August Brass (1818–76) was a German journalist, editor, and novelist and a member of the Doctor’s Club of Hegelian enthusiasts along with Karl Marx. Andreas Weiland is a renowned German translator and art and film critic. … more


Mid-June events listings: Peterloo, Orgreave, letting fees and more


Cautiously pessimistic

A quick listing of a few upcoming events: On Thursday 13th, the People’s History Museum in Manchester will be hosting a discussion on “From Peterloo to Orgreave” with the Orgreave Truth & Justice Campaign. Following on from that, Saturday 15th will see the annual Orgreave rally commemorating the 35th anniversary of the strike. This weekend […]


Rebellion in Sudan


Anarchist Communist Group

The rebellion against the regime of Umar al-Bashir in Sudan started in the northern city of Atbara, a railway terminus, in December 2018. Discontent against a regime that had brought poverty to the mass of the population erupted with the cry “tasqut bas” (it should just fall). The headquarters of the ruling National Congress Party was burned down, and the police replied to this with tear gas and live ammunition.

The revolt erupted again on April 6th, having spread to the capital, Khartoum. The police and military attacked the demonstrators, killing over 120 people, and using tear gas, rubber bullets and again live ammunition. Thousands were arrested. The government had declared a state of emergency in February, shutting down the press or censoring it, applied restricted access to several phone companies, and disrupting the internet.

Despite this, the demonstrations continued. Several thousands set up a camp outside the main army base in Khartoum and demanded that al-Bashir be removed as President.

The protests were initiated by the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), made up of doctors, lawyers, journalists, engineers, teachers, and university professors. Their demands have been vague with calls for “Freedom, Peace and Justice”. However, the working class has involved itself in the demonstrations, and the Sudanese Jobless Association had its banners on demonstrations. Up to 70% of those involved in the demonstrations have been women, and they have shown great courage and determination.

Read more …