Archive for April, 2010

Revolutionary Socialist League (RSL): “What We Stand For” (1984)

WHAT WE STAND FOR

Program in Brief of the Revolutionary Socialist League

1. The REVOLUTIONARY SOCIALIST LEAGUE is an organization dedicated to the fight for freedom for all the world’s people – freedom from poverty and hunger; from racism and all forms of national, sexual, age and class-related oppression; from privileged rulers and wars – freedom from capitalism.

We believe that that this fight is more necessary than ever. Today, the world capitalist system is sliding deeper and deeper into a massive economic, political and social crisis. This crisis is bringing conditions as bad as or worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s. In all countries, the ruling classes are responding to the crisis by bludgeoning down the living standards of the masses of people and curtailing our rights. Unemployment and wage-cutting, cutbacks in social services and a beefing up of the repressive apparatus – the police, military, prisons, etc. ­ – all are part of the capitalist attack. As in the 1930s, the crisis is paving the way for the rise of fascist groups eager to impose their genocidal solution on humanity.

Internationally, the crisis will cause the battles among the different blocks of national capitalists to flare into full-scale wars, as each seeks to defend and increase its power, markets, investment outlets and control of natural resources against the others. Twice already in this century the capitalists have fought devastating world wars, in which millions of people have died. Now, with this development of huge nuclear arsenals capable of blowing up the planet hundreds of times over, human civilization itself hangs in the balance.

Thus the continued existence if the capitalist system is pushing us closer every day to depression, fascism, world war and possibly total destruction.

Continue reading ‘Revolutionary Socialist League (RSL): “What We Stand For” (1984)’

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Will Shatter to ‘Fifth Estate’ on punk (1978)

UNDERSTANDING PUNK

F.E.:

Lately there have been a lot of articles and letters about punk rock and the people involved, in all sorts of papers. The vast majority of what’s been written is from people who are outside looking in, trying to figure out what the fuck it all means.

Give up. It’s pointless. Unless you make the commitment to be involved you’ll get nowhere – real fast. We don’t feel we have to justify ourselfs to anyone elses standards. We get called reactionary by commies, socialists, liberals and other idiot lefties. Fascists, conservatives, ministers and various straight people (real sheep) call us anarchists, hoodlums and decadents. All things to all people. Come check us out. But don’t judge us. We’ll just laugh or throw something.

The point is we are trying to do what we want on our own terms as much as possible. I want to fuck things up. That [[3]] doesn’t mean every punk band agrees. Some want to sell records (there are always bad apples).

When we play I like to see chairs and tables broken; I like to see fights and lunacy and objects thrown around. That doesn’t mean that every other band is after that kind of release.

We are not part of a brand new mold. Every time you or any other paper approaches us as a new movement or a coherent unit of sameness, the fight to resist is that much harder.

Fuck this and fuck that: I want some fun – NOW!

The End is Near (I wish)
Will Shatter
Negative Trend
San Francisco

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letter to Fifth Estate #291 (vol 13, #3; April 30, 1978) pp 2-3.

Norman Cohn on the heresy of the Free Spirit (1951)

The heresy of the Free Spirit therefore demands a place in any survey of revolutionary eschatology – and that is still true even though its adherents were not social revolutionaries and did not find their followers amongst the turbulent masses of the urban poor. They were in face gnostics intent on their own individual salvation; but the gnosis at which they arrived was a quasi-mystical anarchism – an affirmation of freedom so reckless and unqualified that it amounted to a total denial of every kind of restraint and limitation. These people could be regarded as remote precursors of Bakunin and of Nietzsche – or rather of that bohemian intelligentsia which during the last half-century has been living from ideas once expressed by Bakunin and Nietzsche in their wilder moments. But extreme individualists of that kind can easily turn into social revolutionaries – and effective ones at that – if a potentially revolutionary situation arises. Nietzsche’s Superman, in however vulgarized a form, certainly obsessed the imagination of many of the ‘armed bohemians’ who made the National Socialist revolution; and many a present-day exponent of world revolution owes more to Bakunin than to Marx. In the later Middle Ages it was the adepts of the Free Spirit who conserved, as part of their creed of total emancipation, the only thoroughly revolutionary doctrine that existed. And it was from their midst that doctrinaires emerged to inspire the most ambitious essay in total social revolution which medieval Europe was ever to witness.

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Norman Cohn, The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages, Revised and Expanded Edition (NY: Oxford University Press, 1951/1970), pp 148–49.