144 years ago today, workers took over Paris and tried for the first time to run a society in the interest of the many.


1919-2014: 95th anniversary of the death of Rosa Luxemburg

Rosa Luxemburg grave in Berlín

"Freedom is always the freedom of the one who thinks differently (Freiheit ist immer Freiheit der Andersdenkenden)

Freedom only for the supporters of the government, only for the members of a party – however numerous they may be – is no freedom at all. Freedom is always the freedom of the dissenter. Not because of the fanaticism of "justice", but rather because all that is instructive, wholesome, and purifying in political freedom depends on this essential characteristic, and its effects cease to work when "freedom" becomes a privilege."

"Without general elections, without unrestricted freedom of press and assembly, without a free struggle of opinion, life dies out in every public institution, becomes a mere semblance of life, in which only the bureaucracy remains as the active element".



"History is the memory of states," wrote Henry Kissinger in his first book, A World Restored in which he proceeded to tell the history of nineteenth-century Europe from the viewpoint of the leaders of Austria and England, ignoring the millions who suffered from  those statesmen's policies. From his standpoint, the "peace" that Europe had before the  French Revolution was "restored" by the diplomacy of a few national leaders. But for factory  workers in England, farmers in France, colored people in Asia and Africa, women and  children everywhere except in the upper classes, it was a world of conquest, violence, hunger, exploitation a world not restored but disintegrated.

My viewpoint, in telling the history of the United States, is different: that we must not accept  the memory of states as our own. Nations are not communities and never have been, The  history of any country, presented as the history of a family, conceals fierce conflicts of  interest (sometimes exploding, most often repressed) between conquerors and conquered,  masters and slaves, capitalists and workers, dominators and dominated in race and sex. And  in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking  people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners.

Howard Zinn. 


They Call it “Child Labour” but it is Child Slavery


The Bolivian President Evo Morales, supposed champion of “21st Century Socialism”, has declared himself partly supportive of “child labour”. This debate is not new. Associations of “child labourers” demand “fair” conditions for jobs that have “always existed” and that are considered necessary to help to end the poverty of their families.
By saying that work helps to form a “social conscience”, the President defends a current that, instead of favouring the abolition and total eradication of child labour, proposes its regulation.
Confusion is born from the very moment in which we accept the term “child labour” instead of calling it what it actually is – exploitation and child slavery. And, in Bolivia, there are over 850,000 children between the ages of 5 and 14 who are exploited in this way. A large part of the blame for this confusion lies with international organisations, like the ILO, which itself doesn’t stop talking about “child labour” and the “worst forms of child labour”. It is part of the bureaucratic and materialist vision that oozes from each speech given by organisations that have always served to defend the ruthlessness and criminality of capitalist imperialism that is always behind their decisions. Morales’ comments about “child labour” represent this contradiction.
Work in itself is not reprehensible. We have always believed that children should “work” on what they ought to: playing and developing themselves. But each child forced to work to satisfy their most basic needs, and those of their families, is condemned to forced labour. And this is often the result of the lack of job opportunities for their parents, or the lack of a dignified wage in the jobs they have that would allow them to escape poverty. Over sixty percent of the world’s adult workers live in such a situation, and in Bolivia it represents seventy percent of adult workers. And while this situation persists, so will the exploitation of children in the labour market – perpetuating in this way the disgusting and criminal economic system of capitalism.

Publishing house of Self-management magazine


Guillermo Rovirosa 50 Years On

Fifty years on from his death, Guillermo Rovirosa still accompanies us in our fight for justice for the poor of the Earth. He began his activism in favour of the poor in the 1940s, in a post-war Spain plagued by poverty. Working-class organisations had been politically exhausted and crushed.
Disillusioned and without hope for the future, many Marxist and anarco-syndicalists were influenced by Rovirosa’s testimony and converted to Christianity.
Rovirosa was the first militant and the driving force behind the HOAC. With the repression or destruction of many left-wing groups, working-class Christian activists were the only ones standing up against Franco’s dictatorship, seeking justice for the poor at the risk of losing their freedom, jobs, or respect.
His Christian radicalism was based on baptism and he believed that the emancipation of the poor would only come from their own struggle. Many disagreements within the Church followed as a result. He thought leaders or hierarchies were absurd, and criticised the ‘well-intentioned’ society of bourgeois and pietistic Christianity promoted by societal elites. He became poor himself and spread hope among the most exploited people in his country.
The activists created free publishing houses, workers’ buffets, and co-operatives made up of thousands of workers. They promoted political realities such as the law of Anonymous Labour Societies.
As a scientist, Rovirosa didn’t allow inventions to be put into practice if that meant jobs would be lost, as he saw the pain of an unemployed worker as much worse than losing a scientific advance. Meanwhile, in spite of his love for the Church, he was persecuted and slandered from within its ranks. He was also expelled from the National Commission of the HOAC (Hermandad Obrera de Acción Católica (Catholic Action Workers Brotherhood).
His revolutionary economic ideas and new paths towards liberation were all dedicated to the vast majority of humans living in poverty or conditions of exploitation. The Christian Cultural Movement today takes strength from his spirit and the path he lay out with his poverty, humility, and sacrifice. In the monstrous system of imperialist economic savagery under which we live today, the need for the working-class militancy encouraged by Rovirosa is more apparent than ever. This system must be defeated, but the movement to defeat it must be led by the oppressed themselves.

Publishing house of Self-management magazine


FREEDOM: Rudolf Rocker

Freedom is the very essence of life, the impelling force in all intellectual and social development, the creator of every new outlook for the future of mankind. The liberation of man from economic exploitation and from intellectual and political oppression, which finds its finest expression in the world-philosophy of Anarchism, is the first prerequisite for the evolution of a higher social culture and a new humanity

Political rights do not exist because they have been legally set down on a piece of paper, but only when they have become the ingrown habit of a people, and when any attempt to impair them will meet with the violent resistance of the populace. Where this is not the case, there is no help in any parliamentary Opposition or any Platonic appeals to the constitution. One compels respect from others when he knows how to defend his dignity as a human being. This is not only true in private life, it has always been the same in political life as well.The peoples owe all the political rights and privileges which we enjoy today in greater or lesser measure, not to the good will of their governments, but to their own strength.


Working Class Culture: The Culture of the Poor


Certain topics fail to enter our historical memory, or are barely mentioned. Such is the case with the working class culture that arose from the labour movement. There is a premeditated desire to ensure that the history of solidarity between the poor is permanently hidden, along with an attempt to hide how they have been capable of being agents of change in their own lives, constructing amazing realities from small beginnings.
Poor working class militants didn’t look exclusively to improve their material lot. Above all, they sought to generate a new culture that allowed them to create and sustain organisations that could bring about political and economic revolution. This coordinated action is summarised very well in the phrase of one member of the First International: “Man lives only from political and economic demands”. Benoit Malon continues by saying that “a political and economic transformation cannot be separated from a moral revolution”. This spirit remains intact in the slogan of the Spaniards present at that same internationalist meeting: “Misery and ignorance are the main enemies of the people. Wage war on ignorance and misery! To fight ignorance, revolutionise newspapers and books; to end misery, encourage cooperation and collaboration”.
The components of this working-class culture had an overwhelming sense of morality. This explains why the most conscious militants placed immense importance on their own personal conduct and lifestyle. This was an expression of the comprehensive character of the culture they defended. Ricardo Mella illustrates this morality: “I remember the courageous combatants of the past with great admiration! They were serious, upright, of unfailing morality, and capable of great audacity without resorting to ridiculous rudeness. They were thoughtful and reflective to the point of never compromising the interests of the proletariat, fighting for their ideas with determination and without weakness. They spread their ideas tirelessly but without rowdiness, and when the moments of struggle arrived, they would never turn their backs or beg for mercy if defeated.
The history of the workers’ movement has been a history of liberation – of changing situations of oppression and injustice into situations of emancipation. However, we must not hide the fact that it has also been a history of betrayal, with workers’ organisations choosing bureaucracy over commitment to activism, and alliance with the powers that be over freedom.