Friday, February 22, 2008

Anarcho-Syndicalist Review, formerly Libertarian Labor Review, is one of the longest standing anarchist publications in North America. Aside from Fred Woodworth's The Match !, it is the oldest anarchist effort on this continent of any quality (leaving aside the IWW's The Industrial Worker, which doesn't claim an explicitly anarchist description). Unlike The Match, an individualist publication, it is the oldest "social anarchist" effort still existing. It situates itself in the practical application of anarchist ideas known as "anarcho-syndicalism". Throughout the many years of its existence it has maintained a consistently high quality, presenting the issues involved in a libertarian approach to the problems of the working class, both at the workplace and outside it, in an intelligent and modest style that is mercifully free of the grand ideological "private language" of far too many anarchist efforts. ASR speaks to the intelligent ordinary person, neither talking down to the public nor affecting a pseudo-populist militance.
The latest issue to hit Molly's mailbox continues this fine tradition. Issue numbers 48/49 (seems they squeezed two together to, as they say, make a transition to a three times a year schedule) is dated Winter 2008. Its 48 pages contain a wealth of reading material. The highlights...
*'Workers' Struggles in the Middle East' by John Kalwaic. A survey of recent working class struggles in that part of the world.
*'Immigrant New York Foodstuffs Workers Organize Industry-Wide IWW Campaign Against "Illegal" Jobs, Conditions" by Maria Rodrigues Gil. A report on the increasingly successful IWW organizing efforts in the food industry in New York City.
*'On the Tenant Power Question:Housing Under New Labour' by Dan Jakopovich. A report on tenant organizing in the UK and how this aspect of popular power struggles against the false socialism of the social democrats in power there.
*"Four Questions Regarding Privatization" by Jaime Gonzales (a translation from CNT #336, July 2007). An exploration of what actually happens, and the real reasons behind moves to privatize government services.
*'Between Christianity and the Libertarian Left:How Wide the Gap' by Marc B. Young. The first of a pair of articles exploring the relationship between religion and libertarian socialist politics. This is the more "pro-religious" of the duo, trying to make parallels and bridge the divide. It contrasts with...
*'Anarchism and Religion' by Robert P. Helms. . This presents what is the "mainstream" of historical anarchism as atheistic, but it also points out parallels and connections. Taken with the above the two articles present the connection of anarchism and religion in all its shades of grey, rather than a polemical either/or position.
*'Do You Really Care? :Pathos of a Revolutionary' by Richard Kidd. A little bit of a break. More of a personal story exploring the emotions behind the adoption of radical politics. Well worth reading as an unexamined radicalism is no radicalism at all.
*'A Failed Revolution:The Experience of the French Popular Front, 1936-38' by Iain McKay. An historical essay from a libertarian perspective of the failures of the movement of the same name.
*'Green Unionism in Theory and Practice' by Dan Jakopovich. An exploration of the interaction of unionism and ecology.
There's so much more in this issue. Short items about current news, book reviews, events,etc.. Well worth your shekels. The website of Anarcho-Syndicalist Review is , but said site is sorely in need of updating. ASR is basically a print publication. Subscriptions are $15 US for three issues from Box 42531, Philadelphia PA 19101, USA. Bundle orders are available. If there is one English language anarchist labour-related publication that you should keep up with, this is it.

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