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At The Cafe

At The Cafe

By Anarchist Communist Group (ACG)
Members of the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG) sit down to discuss current events through an anarchist lens, aiming to demystify anarchist theory and ideas in the process.
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ACG Reading Group: The Conquest of Bread
We have selected the first three chapters of Petr Kropotkin’s Conquest of Bread for the reading group because it tries to envisage what an anarchist communist society would look like. Kropotkin wrote The Conquest of Bread to systematically explain the essential ideas of anarchist-communism. It was a watershed moment in anarchist history since it was the first time that a completed and in-depth theoretical work of anarchist-communist theory was available to the public.Throughout the first three chapters, Kropotkin constructs an argument for the common ownership of all intellectual and useful property due to the collective work that went into creating it. Kropotkin does not argue that the product of a worker's labour should belong to the worker but asserts that every individual product is essentially the work of everyone since every individual relies on the intellectual and physical labour of those who came before them as well as those who built the world around them. Because of this, Kropotkin proclaims that every human deserves an essential right to well-being because every human contributes to the collective social product.
01:05:32
May 05, 2022
The Idea - Anarchist Communism, Past, Present and Future
Dale Walford spoke to anarchist communist historian, writer and militant Nick Heath about his new book The Idea – Anarchist Communism, Past, Present and Future. The book is being published in May 2022 by JUST books If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
17:15
May 01, 2022
Public Meeting: War in Ukraine - Is 'No War but the Class War' Just a Slogan?
What does the slogan 'No War but the Class War' mean in the interimperialist conflict between Russia and NATO-backed Ukraine? The recent actions of the Russian state in Ukraine follow on from its military support for the Assad regime in Syria, its presence in Libya, its intervention in Kazakhstan to help crush the revolt there, its support for the Lukashenko regime in Belarus, and its disguised military presence in Africa via the Wagner Group. In all these cases the Russian state wants to maintain/further its imperialist interests. In opposing Russia the NATO countries have chosen to back Ukraine, both politically and with limited military support. Western liberalism has re-embraced a (supra-)nationalism. The conflict poses uneasy questions and issues for libertarian communists, especially for those in “the West”. What action can/should groups take? Should support be given to Ukraine, and if so what does that mean? Is ‘no war but class war’ just a slogan? Can it be turned into something more? What are the longer term outcomes, is a new cold (or even hot) war beckoning? This public meeting organised by the Anarchist Communist Group intends to give discussion to these questions and hopefully provide, if not answers, some clarity about how communists and anarchists can approach the matter.
31:11
April 29, 2022
ACG Reading Group: The Green New Deal
The Anarchist Communist Group had its first national reading group event. We selected the topic of the Green New Deal to launch the reading group because it is often put forward as a key part of a strategy to tackle climate change. Through the readings we addressed the following questions in small groups (not recorded) before reporting back and having a whole group discussion. Questions 1. What are the positive features of the Green New Deal? (US/Britain) 2. What are the limitations? 3. What does this issue tell us about how social transformation will come about? What is the role of the State- national and local- and the struggle for reforms? 4. What ideas do we have for campaigns/actions/strategies that will lead to real change- and an eco anarchist communist society? Readings: https://www.resilience.org/stories/2019-05-14/one-cheer-more-or-less-for-the-green-new-deal/ http://www.anarkismo.net/article/31250 https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MHHHvblfrO0TyCC9T9IqLCjNrO9N2N_p/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=110879616352976367677&rtpof=true&sd=true If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
27:34
February 19, 2022
Public Meeting: On Whose Authority?
11th January 2022 Under the rule of Johnson’s right-wing populist regime, we are seeing a dramatic increase in the levels of authoritarianism here in the UK. With, for example, the Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill, the Online Safety Bill, the Judicial Review and Courts Bill, a rash of lengthy jail terms for protesters, the continuation of the “hostile environment” and the appalling treatment of refugees, all of these measures are a means of punching down at the weakest, the poorest, the vulnerable and the most powerless in society, while ensuring the repression of any opposition or dissent.  This discussion meeting will look at the current situation and the general direction of the Conservative government and its loyal Labour opposition. It will discuss what we can do and how to fight it. With speakers from the ACG and Spycops campaign. If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
01:26:26
January 23, 2022
Aims & Principles 4: Nationalism
Presentation about the fourth aim and principle of the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG):  "We are opposed to the ideology of national liberation movements which claims that there is some common interest between native bosses and the working class in face of foreign domination. We do support working class struggles against racism, genocide, ethnocide and political and economic colonialism. We oppose the creation of any new ruling class. We reject all forms of nationalism, as this only serves to redefine divisions in the international working class. The working class has no country and national boundaries must be eliminated. We seek to build an anarchist international to work with other libertarian revolutionaries throughout the world." If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
01:24:43
January 14, 2022
Public Meeting: Anarchist Communism Vs Big Tent Anarchism
Anarchism is a political tradition that unites a number of different anti-authoritarian currents and is seen as an alternative to the Leninist tradition. However, anarchism itself has been divided historically, to an extent over the ultimate goal, but largely over important issues of political analysis, strategy and tactics. The situation is the same today. This session will look at the distinct tradition of anarchist communism to explore how it is both similar and different to other currents. Some of these differences are far from trivial and often put our current in opposition to those who have been grouped under what we call big tent anarchism. It is not a question of sectarianism, as we work with a wide range of anarchists in grass roots campaigns and projects, but with how we can best build an effective revolutionary anarchist movement. The issues we will discuss are not just of interest to anarchists. Questions such as the role of organisation, insurrectionism, analysis of class, freedom and collective responsibility, attitude towards Labour, support for national liberation are relevant to all who are concerned with social transformation. We will address these questions in the context of specific contexts, from the Russian Revolution to today’s pandemic.
29:38
September 22, 2021
COVID-19: Rising Cases & Lifting Restrictions
As cases rise and restrictions are lifted, we discuss the current situation focusing on the impact on work and working conditions. If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
48:07
August 01, 2021
Aims & Principles of the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG)
Presentation and discussion about the aims and principles of the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG)
01:06:01
May 07, 2021
Public Meeting: The Commune in Anarchist Communist Theory
“Paris is a true paradise! No police, no nonsense, no exaction of any kind, no arguments! Everything in Paris rolls along like clockwork. If only it could stay like this forever. In short, it is a beautiful dream. All social groups are organised federally and are masters of their own fate”. Gustav Courbet- artist and revolutionary, April the 30th, 1871. Anarchist communists see in the commune a sketch of how society could be organised. The commune model provides an organisational basis for creating self-directing, integrated units which when federated with similar bodies could have a national and even international character. The Paris and Kronstadt Communes were both brought about under extremely difficult circumstances and lasted only for a matter of weeks. Despite their preoccupation of survival, they demonstrated the practicability of the commune as an organisational form which generated the maximum level of freedom, solidarity and equality. The commune as a geographical entity can accommodate both community and workplace anarchy. This meeting will start with the Paris Commune, commemorating its 150 anniversary. The grass roots clubs and associations that sprung up in the neighbourhoods show the perennial capacity of the working class to create its own organisations. Then we will consider how the idea of the commune could inspire our activities today as we struggle to create resilient working class communities in localities which have been torn apart by divisions created by capitalism and racism: between work and home, waged and unwaged, old and young.
01:52:37
April 29, 2021
Public Meeting: The Kronstadt Revolt 1921: The Crushing of the Flower of the Revolution
A meeting to mark the centenary of the Kronstadt rebellion, crushed by the Bolsheviks. What are the lessons to be learned for today? In this meeting we look at the circumstances that led up to the Revolt, and examine the idea of an aborted Third Revolution intended to carry out the true revolutionary aims of the Russian masses. We look at the implications of what happened and how the truth about Kronstadt needs to be revealed to expose the dangers of Leninist vanguardism, which still has a detrimental effect on our struggles today. The sailors at the naval base of Kronstadt were at the forefront of the Russian Revolution of 1917. They formed one of the first soviets in summer of that year. They were among those who stormed the Winter Palace in October. They took an active part in the defence of Petrograd against the White advance. Yet by 1921 they were disillusioned with the Bolshevik government, with War Communism, the lack of free speech, the exactions of the Cheka, the Bolshevik political police, and the brutal grain requisitioning in the countryside. On March 1st, 1921 they held mass meetings of up to 15,000 on various ships and garrisons and demanded immediate new elections to the Soviet by secret ballot; freedom of speech and the press for all left and anarchist parties and groups; freedom of assembly for trade unions and peasant organizations; abolition of Communist political agencies in the Army and Navy; immediate withdrawal of all grain requisitioning squads, and re-establishment of a free market for the peasants.” For this they were denounced as agents of the Whites. In reply, they broadcast the following radio message: “Comrade workers, red soldiers and sailors. We stand for the power of the Soviets and not that of the parties. We are for free representation of all who toil. Comrades, you are being misled. At Kronstadt all power is in the hands of the revolutionary sailors, of red soldiers and of workers. It is not in the hands of White Guards, allegedly headed by a General Kozlovsky, as Moscow Radio tells you.” Trotsky ordered the Red Army to attack. Fierce fighting followed and the revolt was brutally crushed. Victor Serge wrote: “The final assault was unleashed by Tukhachevsky on 17 March… Some of the rebels managed to reach Finland. Others put up a furious resistance, fort to fort and street to street; they stood and were shot crying, “Long live the world revolution! Hundreds of prisoners were taken away to Petrograd and handed to the Cheka; months later they were still being shot in small batches, a senseless and criminal agony. Those defeated sailors belonged body and soul to the Revolution; they had voiced the suffering and the will of the Russian people”.
01:29:25
March 30, 2021
Public Meeting: Building a Revolutionary Movement
13th January 2021 At our last At the Cafe event we looked at the anti-working class, pro-capitalist role of the Labour Party. As a follow up, this meeting will be discussing the alternatives to reformism, parliamentarism and the same old capitalist politics. Currently, the working class is generally de-politicised, demoralised with wider class consciousness at a low. Meanwhile, nationalism and other forms of identity politics, as well as populism, conspiracy theories and the “re-normalisation” of racist attitudes seem to be on the rise. That said, there have been some attempts to break out of this state of affairs, for example, the Black Lives Matter movement over the summer and the recent string of successful strike ballots (despite the UK government’s 50% ballot threshold). Internationally, there have also been examples of class resistance, but we need more. So how do we get from where we are now to where we want to be, with a viable mass working class movement capable of taking on the boss class? This meeting will look at the current balance of class forces and how to build a revolutionary movement, both here in the UK and globally. It will also discuss the idea of “social insertion” as practiced by a number of South American libertarian communist organisations.
02:01:41
March 30, 2021
Public Meeting: Class Not Nation (On Nationalism)
The nation state creates the illusion that the people who live within certain physical borders are united politically, economically, and culturally. However, this is not the case and belief in this illusion has led to many in the working class to support their rulers and bosses more than their fellow workers who are not identified as belonging to this nation. Though understandably groups of people who have been exploited and oppressed under colonialism want to free themselves, the end result is the substitution of another oppressive State, just with different people in charge. Whilst many people understandably identify with the place they live, the way in which nationalism as an ideology has developed makes it very difficult to develop any sense of working class internationalism. Political and social movements have been diverted from fighting the real enemy- the capitalist class- and instead have focused on another state or another group or people as the cause of their situation. This can be seen all over the world – the conflict in Yugoslavia, Hindu/Muslim clashes in India, the horrendous genocide in Rwanda/Burundi and the hatred and violence against immigrants in the UK. Though the nationalism of Scotland and Catalonia may seem less dangerous, it is based on the same premises: that an independent Scotland or Catalonia will be better for all and workers stand side by side with the ruling class. Nationalism is a form of identity politics: the belief that by sharing a particular identity, eg being Scottish, English, Welsh or whatever, that you automatically share certain essential characteristics. People may experience certain forms of exploitation and oppression because of having a particular identity, eg not being able to speak your own language or even genocide. However, this situation is based on the structural and material situation that people live in and has nothing to do with eternal or essentialist characteristics of different groups of people. The only way out of the situation is to see things in terms of class with the enemy being capitalism. This does not mean that identifying yourself as working class is enough – and repeating the same mistakes of other forms of identity politics. Rather it is seeing that there is a particular relationship between capital and labour that leads to exploitation. In the end we want to abolish class as well – ending all exploitative and oppressive relationships such that all that is left is human beings living in a free and equal society. Libertarian Communism 2020 will consider all these issues, aiming to find ways of combatting nationalism and working towards a working class internationalism. Speakers will address the question of nationalism generally and then the next speakers will focus on nationalism in Catalonia (with a speaker from the CNT in Spain) and in Scotland.
02:18:57
March 30, 2021
Public Meeting: Labouring in Vain
4th November 2020 Many people, thirsty for social change, have been lured to the Labour Party during the recent wave of Corbynism. Some of those are now reconsidering their membership of a Party led by Sir Keir Starmer and are looking for alternatives. We in the Anarchist Communist Group argue that the Labour Party has always been a will o’ the wisp,* something that diverts away from real social change. It has never been a socialist party and has always taken the side of capitalism and imperialism, as we explain in our talk. Whether controlled by the right, the centre, or the left, the Labour Party has always been an unsuitable vehicle for real radical change. Neither will the founding of a Labour Party, Mark Two, controlled by socialists, offer a credible alternative. The transformation of this unfair unequal society to one which is just and equal can never come through Parliament. Only broad movements organising in both the workplaces and the neighbourhoods can bring this about. In this talk we look at the record of the Labour Party and explain why it is can never be our ally in the fight for social justice and equality. *The will-o’-the-wisp is a flame-like phosphorescence caused by gases from decaying plants in marshy areas. In olden days, it was personified as “Will with the wisp,” a sprite who carried a fleeting “wisp” of light. Foolish travellers were said to try to follow the light and were then led astray into the marsh. Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
01:15:33
March 30, 2021
COVID-19: Where are we now?
Since the last episode on Covid, the UK has been under two further periods of lockdowns, with rapidly rising case numbers and almost 120,000 deaths. We discuss the current state of things and how the government has reacted, focusing on the impact on work and working conditions.  If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
39:02
February 16, 2021
COVID-19: The Government's Response
Join us for the first episode of the second season of At the Cafe! Today, we're talking about the UK government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and highlighting some troubling practices they're sneaking in under the radar. If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
43:03
August 10, 2020
TROTRO - Part 8: The Composition of the Revolutionary Organisation
Part 8 of an 8 part series on our pamphlet on the role of the revolutionary organisation: Read Here If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
05:03
August 10, 2020
TROTRO - Part 7: The Development of Revolutionaries Within the Organisation
Part 7 of an 8 part series on our pamphlet on the role of the revolutionary organisation: Read Here If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
00:49
August 10, 2020
TROTRO - Part 6: The Leadership of Ideas
Part 6 of an 8 part series on our pamphlet on the role of the revolutionary organisation: Read Here If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
01:35
August 10, 2020
TROTRO - Part 5: Tasks of the Organisation
Part 5 of an 8 part series on our pamphlet on the role of the revolutionary organisation: Read Here If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
05:09
August 10, 2020
TROTRO - Part 4: Class Identification
Part 4 of an 8 part series on our pamphlet on the role of the revolutionary organisation: Read Here If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
02:15
August 10, 2020
TROTRO - Part 3: Structure
Part 3 of an 8 part series on our pamphlet on the role of the revolutionary organisation: Read Here If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
06:09
August 10, 2020
TROTRO - Part 2: The Role of the Revolutionary Organisation
Part 2 of an 8 part series on our pamphlet on the role of the revolutionary organisation: Read Here If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
04:58
August 10, 2020
TROTRO - Part 1: Introduction
Part 1 of an 8 part series on our pamphlet on the role of the revolutionary organisation: Read Here If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
01:30
August 10, 2020
Why Are We Internationalists?
We discuss why we, as anarchist communists, are internationalists and why nationalism is a tool of capitalism to turn the working class against their interests.  If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
18:07
August 10, 2020
What's Wrong With Parliament?
We discuss the nature of Parliamentary Politics and Representative Democracy; why we as Anarchists reject them, and what we think should replace them.  If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
24:50
August 10, 2020
Post Work
Interview with James, from the Anarchist Research Group at Loughborough University, about various anarchists’ ideas around abolishing work as we know it. If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
47:06
August 10, 2020
Never Mind The Ballots - Part 2
Joint presentation and discussion with the Angry Workers and others about Parliamentary Politics and the 2019 Election Result. If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
50:57
August 10, 2020
Never Mind The Ballots - Part 1
Joint presentation and discussion with the Angry Workers and others about Parliamentary Politics and the 2019 Election Result.  If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
22:16
August 10, 2020
Is It Going To Happen?
An exploration of how we are going to change society. If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
12:18
August 10, 2020
Historical Examples of Anarchism
A look at the history of working class movements that have tried to build anarchist communist societies. If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
08:45
August 10, 2020
War
We discuss war as an inherent and necessary part of the capitalist system. If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
13:44
August 10, 2020
Crime
We discuss how an anarchist communist society would deal with crime without the state. If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
16:44
August 10, 2020
Why Work?
We discuss and analyse the nature of work under capitalist society and why people would work in an anarchist society society. If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
14:52
August 10, 2020
What Is Anarchist Communism?
We discuss what Anarchist Communism is. What are its ideas and how does it differ, in its theory and its practice, from other revolutionary movements. If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
07:30
August 10, 2020
The Anarchist Communist Group (ACG): Who Are We?
Preamble to the founding statement of the Anarchist Communist Group.  If you are interested in finding out more about anarchist communism or are interested in the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), please visit: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org with links to all our socials.
01:01
August 10, 2020