It’s been a year and some since the last issue of Black Flag was out and about. This issue made it just in time for last year’s Anarchist Book Fair and it has certainly been worth the wait. It’s sporting an attractive new layout thanks to Rob from Freedom Press and, with a new collective, things are looking up.
So what can we expect from this edition? Well there is the usual in depth analysis and comment of subjects both contemporary and historical. This particular issue has a good look at some Anarchists from the near and distant past. Thought provoking articles about revolutions and of course a present day cover story from an anarchist view point.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s (Sarko, as he is popularly known) electoral threats against workers made interesting reading. It remains to be seen whether Sarko can “do a Thatcher.” This is very useful material for those interested in French politics.
The historical article ‘A failed revolution?’ is one I enjoyed the most. It succinctly sums up the events leading to, during and after the French popular front of 1936-38. It’s detailed in its portrayal of various factors leading up to what could have been a ‘dual power’ situation. Of particular interest to readers of Organise! is the role played by Anarchists in the factory occupations and strikes. Their success and failure can be summed up in the quote:
The Anarchists were able to set up factory committees running independently of the state, however these committees were dropped for fear that the organisation would become ‘diverted into workplace affairs’
The year 2006 marked the passing away of American Libertarian Socialist Murray Bookchin. The one time Communist Party member, Trotskyist and Anarchist’s legacy is given fair coverage. Alongside his obituary is his eloquent critique of the Communist Manifesto.
“More dangerous than a thousand rioters” is what the Chicago Police department described Lucy Parsons as. This review of her writings and speeches succeeds in showing her phenomenal organisational skills.
As mentioned previously, this issue is packed with past Anarchists. No history is with out a look at Solidarity’s Chris Pallis (1926-2005), a.k.a Maurice Brinton. Again as with Bookchin, there is publication of his insightful and comical take on sects. Readers familiar with the recent Scientology demos will take to his style instantly.
Self-taught academic Abel Paz’s book Durruti in the Spanish Revolution is skillfully covered, which the life and times of Durruti portrayed over six engrossing pages – a must read.
The final obituary in this issue is that of John Taylor Caldwell (1911-2007). Self-educated, the Glaswegian’s stamina and contribution to British Anarchism is invaluable.
Last but not least is the first of a two part analysis of how the Russian revolution lost its way. As a former Trot, reading through this at times felt like a bad trip! Centralisation certainly empowers the few, not the many.
The reviewed issue was no. 226 and no. 227 is expected in May. It is £3 per issue and copies can be obtain by writing to,
Email: black_flag [at] lycos.co.uk