Activism and... Anarchism '68

IssueMay 2008

I would like to dissent from the celebration of May ’68.

In 1968, I was an editor of Freedom, the anarchist paper, at a time when the anarchist movement was growing rapidly. Anarchists were exploring the potential of nonviolence

Both the Committee of 100 and CND had moved a lot of people towards an understanding of what the state was doing secretly such as the regional seats of government which were placed to rule over the country in the aftermath of a nuclear war.

In other respects anarchism brought many able adherents from the trade unions and the universities. Anarchist methods of protest in Britain resulted in sit-ins and occupation of factories and schools and the squatting of empty buildings for the homeless.

It was however a long and arduous task to peacefully convince the population which by and large believed that the government was there for their benefit. Foreign wars brought a lot of people to the streets protesting and there was hope that the population would take sovereignty over their own lives.

The French are known for their failed revolutions.

This time, in 1968, having done nothing to educate the people or communicate with the trade unions, they went through a revolutionary charade producing excellent poetry but resulting in the complete defeat of anarchist nonviolent aspirations throughout the world.

Their leader, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, was advertised as an anarchist, but when he came to London he told me and others that that was only a publicity stunt, that he was no anarchist.

The French activists had no right to spoil years and years of work towards a universal understanding of the tasks in front of us, to create a worldwide peaceful society without rulers.

Publisher, 77, London

Topics: Anarchism, Activism
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