ARM – 1995 – “What is Anarchism?” leaflet

This was printed in bulk and distributed at the University of the Witwatersrand and elsewhere from early 1995. By this stage the Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ARM) had a new address (see leaflet), following developments in late 1994 which saw a section of ARM (including people associated with the “Backstreet Abortions” distribution project) leave to form a “counter-cultural network,” with what remained as ARM becoming a class-struggle group. The old address used by the larger ARM and “Backstreet Abortions” could no longer be used. Meanwhile this text indicated clearly where ARM was now positioned. More on this history here.

Get the PDF here. The text is below the image.


Anarchism is a revolutionary class struggle tradition which has had a massive impact on struggles in Asia, the Americas, and Europe, reaching its fullest expression in the Ukrainian (1918-1921) and Spanish (1936-1938) Revolutions.

We stand for INDEPENDENT WORKING CLASS ACTION to smash all forms of domination (being bossed around) and exploitation (being ripped off). People should be free to live their lives as they see fit, provided this does not suppress the freedom of others, i.e. racism, sexism, homophobia, environmental destruction, imperialism, etc.

For us working class action is any collective struggle by working class people to regain control over their lives. It does not matter whether this is in the workplace, in the community, in the schools or elsewhere. By working class we mean everyone who has to work for a living and lacks social power (blue- collar and white- collar workers, workers’ families and youth, rank and file soldiers, the unemployed and the rural poor).

The government and the capitalist system are at the root of all the oppressions afflicting working class people. So we must smash them, not collaborate with them (for example, voting for parliament) . We fight for an INSURRECTION TO ESTABLISH STATELESS SOCIALISM. Stateless or Anarchist Socialism is a society based on democratic worker, community, and other councils, federated internationally.

Production and distribution are organised on the basis of need, not profit.

We support and get involved in everyday struggles for wages, houses, land, education, and basic freedoms. It is only in these daily struggles that organs of grass-roots working class power can be built and the ideas of revolutionary Anarchism spread. The working class must be organised and revolutionary to ensure the success of the revolution. THE REVOLUTION IS BUILT TODAY!

To work towards the revolution Anarchist militants need a decentralised, democratic ANARCHIST ORGANISATION with clear principles. The Anarchist organisation’s function is to help build democratic working class power, and to promote Anarchist ideas. Our aim is thus to help the working class to liberate itself. Unlike others on the Left, we make no claims to “lead” the working class. Any revolution based on a division between so-called “leaders” and “led” can only lay the basis for new tyranny and exploitation. A perfect example was the Russian Revolution, where already by 1918, the Communist Party was well on its way to becoming the new ruling class.

Write to us at: ARM, PO Box 1717, Rossetenville, 2130
The views expressed are definitely not those of the Senate, Council or SRC.