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Anarchist Federation (Britain and Ireland)

Anarchist Federation
Leader Collective and Autonomous leadership
Founded 1986, (as Anarchist Communist Federation)
Ideology Anarchist communism,
International affiliation International of Anarchist Federations
Politics of the United Kingdom
Political parties

The Anarchist Federation (AF) is a federation of anarcho-communists in Great Britain and Ireland. It is not a political party, but a direct action, agitational and propaganda organisation.


  • Origins 1
  • Aims and principles 2
  • Publications 3
    • Organise! 3.1
    • Resistance 3.2
    • Anarchist communist editions 3.3
    • Stormy Petrel series 3.4
  • Membership in the IAF-IFA 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The Federation was founded as the Anarchist Communist Federation in March 1986 by the Anarchist Communist Discussion Group, which had coalesced around two anarcho-communists who had returned from France and began selling the pamphlets of the defunct Libertarian Communist Group tendency, and members of Syndicalist Fight. The group aimed to provide an anarchist intervention into working class struggles such as the Miners' Strike, and was closely involved with the Anti-Poll Tax community-based campaign at the end of the 1980s and unemployed struggles through the Groundswell network of claimants' action groups. There is also a student membership, of whom many, including non-student members were involved in the series of university occupations that began in the beginning of 2009 and swept across British universities in opposition to the Gaza War as well as the 2010 Student movement against reforms in further education.

It changed its name to the Anarchist Federation[1] in the late 1990s, though advocacy of Solidarity and the anarchist communist currents within the Spanish, Russian and Ukrainian Revolutions. The Anarchist Federation continues this tradition of agitation within the workplace and community, rather than attempting to gain prominent bureaucratic positions in trade unions, local councils and other institutions, unlike a number of socialist and communist parties and groups. It promotes grassroots direct activism against the state and capitalism and is run in a horizontalist manner.

Key Anarchist Federation principles include a commitment to

  • Anarchist Federation (Britain)
  • Anarchist Federation (Ireland)
  • A Revolutionary ManifestoBeyond Resistance:
  • "On The Frontline: Anarchists at Work" Workplace Strategy of the Anarchist Federation
  • The Sparrows' Nest - a Centre for Anarchist Culture and Education in Nottingham
  • Organise! Onwards: first decade magazine review
  • Organise! magazine - the second decade
  • Anarchist Federation Local/Regional Contacts and Groups
  • AF-North - Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Leeds, Preston Bradford, Nottingham, Newcastle
  • Yorkshire AF - Sheffield, Leeds
  • Anarchist Federation ArchiveLibertarian Communist Library:
  • International of Anarchist Federations/L'Internationale des Federations Anarchistes

External links

  1. ^ "ACF - the first ten years". 
  2. ^ "AF publications: Pamphlets and Books". 
  3. ^ "Aims and Principles of the Anarchist Federation". 
  4. ^ "IAF-IFA membership of the AF". 


The IFA-IAF was founded during an international anarchist conference in Carrara in 1968 by the three existing European federations of France, Italy and Spain as well as the Bulgarian Federation in French exile. To counter the Internationalisation of state and capitalist powers that are developing their influences ever rapidly on a global scale, the IFA has since aimed to build and improve strong and active international anarchist structures.

The Anarchist Federation is a member organisation of the Anarchist Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI).

Membership in the IAF-IFA

The motif of the stormy petrel has a long association with revolutionary anarchism. Stormy Petrel was the title of a German anarchist paper of the late 19th century, it was also the name of a Russian exile anarchist communist group operating in Switzerland in the early 20th century. The Stormy Petrel was the title of the magazine of the Anarchist Communist Federation in Russia around the time of the revolution. Writing in 1936, Emma Goldman referred to Durruti as “…this stormy petrel of the anarchist and revolutionary movement…”

The London group of the Anarchist Federation also produced a set of pamphlets under the imprint of Stormy Petrel which includes The Friends of Durruti: Towards a Fresh Revolution; A Brief Flowering of Freedom: The Hungarian Revolution 1956; Errico Malatesta: Anarchism and Violence; and The Italian Factory Councils and The Anarchists.

Stormy Petrel series

  • Basic Bakunin. ACE#1
  • The Role of the Revolutionary Organisation. ACE#6
  • Ecology and Class - Where There’s Brass There’s Muck. ACE#9
  • Beyond Resistance - A Revolutionary Manifesto. ACE#11
  • Resistance to Nazism. ACE#16
  • Basic Kropotkin. ACE#17
  • On the Frontline: Anarchists at Work. ACE#18
  • In The Tradition. ACE#19

The Anarchist Federation has published 19 pamphlets in the ACE series covering a wide range of historical and theoretical subjects including;

Anarchist communist editions

The distribution of Resistance is free although usually donations are requested.

Resistance, like Organise! is a publication by the AF, however, it is a monthly bulletin produced by members of the organisation. It carries more of a local interpretation to it than Organise! does and deals with the same issues, although in less words, and in some articles has a more comical theme to it.


Organise! hopes to open up debate in many areas of life. Despite being a publication of the Anarchist Federation, unless signed by the organisation as a whole or by a local AF group, articles in Organise! reflect the views of the person who has written the article and nobody else.

Any article that furthers the goals of Anarchist-Communism are aimed to be published. However even articles that are in complete agreement with the Aims and Principles can be left to much open debate. The articles in Organise! do not necessarily represent the collective viewpoint of the AF.

Organise! is the magazine of the Anarchist Federation.It is published in order to develop anarchist communist ideas and aims to provide a clear anarchist viewpoint on contemporary issues and to initiate debate on ideas not normally covered in agitational papers. The AF aims to produce Organise! twice a year and to meet this target, the AF positively solicits contributions from its readers.


The Anarchist Federation publishes the theoretical journal Organise!, as well as a monthly newsletter, Resistance and two series of pamphlets; Anarchist Communist Editions and Stormy Petrel.


  1. The Anarchist Federation is an organisation of revolutionary class struggle anarchists. We aim for the abolition of all hierarchy, and work for the creation of a world-wide classless society: anarchist communism.
  2. Capitalism is based on the exploitation of the working class by the ruling class. But inequality and exploitation are also expressed in terms of race, gender, sexuality, health, ability and age, and in these ways one section of the working class oppresses another. This divides us, causing a lack of class unity in struggle that benefits the ruling class. Oppressed groups are strengthened by autonomous action which challenges social and economic power relationships. To achieve our goal we must relinquish power over each other on a personal as well as a political level.
  3. We believe that fighting systems of oppression that divide the working class, such as racism and sexism, is essential to class struggle. Anarchist-Communism cannot be achieved while these inequalities still exist. In order to be effective in our various struggles against oppression, both within society and within the working class, we at times need to organise independently as people who are oppressed according to gender, sexuality, ethnicity or ability. We do this as working-class people, as cross-class movements hide real class differences and achieve little for us. Full emancipation cannot be achieved without the abolition of capitalism.
  4. We are opposed to the ideology of national liberation movements which claims that there is some common interest between native bosses and the working class in face of foreign domination. We do support working class struggles against racism, genocide, ethnocide and political and economic colonialism. We oppose the creation of any new ruling class. We reject all forms of nationalism, as this only serves to redefine divisions in the international working class. The working class has no country and national boundaries must be eliminated. We seek to build an anarchist international to work with other libertarian revolutionaries throughout the world.
  5. As well as exploiting and oppressing the majority of people, Capitalism threatens the world through war and the destruction of the environment.
  6. It is not possible to abolish Capitalism without a revolution, which will arise out of class conflict. The ruling class must be completely overthrown to achieve anarchist communism. Because the ruling class will not relinquish power without their use of armed force, this revolution will be a time of violence as well as liberation.
  7. Unions by their very nature cannot become vehicles for the revolutionary transformation of society. They have to be accepted by capitalism in order to function and so cannot play a part in its overthrow. Trades unions divide the working class (between employed and unemployed, trade and craft, skilled and unskilled, etc.). Even syndicalist unions are constrained by the fundamental nature of unionism. The union has to be able to control its membership in order to make deals with management. Their aim, through negotiation, is to achieve a fairer form of exploitation of the workforce. The interests of leaders and representatives will always be different from ours. The boss class is our enemy, and while we must fight for better conditions from it, we have to realise that reforms we may achieve today may be taken away tomorrow. Our ultimate aim must be the complete abolition of wage slavery. Working within the unions can never achieve this. However, we do not argue for people to leave unions until they are made irrelevant by the revolutionary event. The union is a common point of departure for many workers. Rank and file initiatives may strengthen us in the battle for anarchist communism. What's important is that we organise ourselves collectively, arguing for workers to control struggles themselves.
  8. Genuine liberation can only come about through the revolutionary self-activity of the working class on a mass scale. An anarchist communist society means not only co-operation between equals, but active involvement in the shaping and creating of that society during and after the revolution. In times of upheaval and struggle, people will need to create their own revolutionary organisations controlled by everyone in them. These autonomous organisations will be outside the control of political parties, and within them we will learn many important lessons of self-activity.
  9. As anarchists we organise in all areas of life to try to advance the revolutionary process. We believe a strong anarchist organisation is necessary to help us to this end. Unlike other so-called socialists or communists we do not want power or control for our organisation. We recognise that the revolution can only be carried out directly by the working class. However, the revolution must be preceded by organisations able to convince people of the anarchist communist alternative and method. We participate in struggle as anarchist communists, and organise on a federative basis. We reject sectarianism and work for a united revolutionary anarchist movement.
  10. We oppose organised religion and cults and hold to a materialist analysis of capitalist society. We, the working class, can change society through our own efforts. Worshipping an unprovable spiritual realm, or believing in a religious unity between classes, mystifies or suppresses such self-emancipation / liberation. We reject any notion that people can be liberated through some kind of supernatural force. We work towards a society where religion is no longer relevant.

The aims and principles are as follows:

The Aims and Principles[3] are a number of points that the Anarchist Federation is politically based around. Individuals are required to agree with the Aims and Principles as they are regarded to be a basic representation of Anarchist-Communist politics within a revolutionary organisation, however they are subject to edition, a decision taken by vote at the National Delegates' Conference.

Aims and principles

"We are not in the least afraid of ruins. We are going to inherit the earth. There is not the slightest doubt about that. The bourgeoisie might blast and ruin its own world before it leaves the stage of history. We carry a new world, here in our hearts. That world is growing this minute." - Durruti
"The passion for destruction is also a creative passion." - Bakunin

The AF logo, which depicts two clasping hands above flames, is inspired by a salute used by anarchists during the Spanish revolution. The element of flames can be seen to refer to quotes by both Mikhail Bakunin and Buenaventura Durruti.


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