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Is Anarchism Relevant in Today’s World?

15th February 2015 · 11:00am - 1:00pm

In person | Virtual event

 Is Anarchism Relevant in Today’s World?

Donald Rooum

When Tony Blair committed the British government to join the war in Iraq, the huge demonstrations against were unsuccessful. Has society learnt anything from this and, in particular, does anarchism have a role to play?

The ideal of anarchism is the abolition of all government and the organisation of society on a voluntary, cooperative basis without recourse to force or compulsion. Indeed, this is the ideal of socialism in general. Authoritarian and anarchistic socialism are associated with the names of Marx and Bakunin.

The Marxist programme is for the State to be taken over by a group of people appointed by the working class, who will then guide people to learn to become so co-operative, that the State is no longer needed! Anarchism on the other hand, seeks to undermine the authoritarian institutions, not by direct assault but by attrition, so that people cease to trust them, and they lose power little by little. This talk will argue that the anarchist approach is the more efficient and could have relevance in our society today.

Donald Rooum says that he first became interested in anarchism in 1944 when he visited Speaker’s Corner in London while on a Ministry of Food scheme which used schoolboys to pick hops in Kent. He subscribed to War Commentary, thus beginning a connection with Freedom Press which has continued for over sixty years. During that time he has been a writer for and an editor of Freedom, the name to which War Commentary reverted after the end of the Second World War.

In 1949, Rooum began to raise his profile in activist circles, participating in the annual anarchist summer school. The working title of Frank Lisle’s 1952 portrait was The Anarchist. Rooum became an outdoor speaker Market Street, Bradford, then at Speaker’s Corner. He was a founding member of the Malatesta Club, an anarchist social club and venue that opened in London on May Day 1954.

If you would like to comment on this event please visit our Ethical Record section.

Doors 10.30. Entry £3, £2 concs./free to Ethical Society members.

Tea, coffee & biscuits will be available.

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