Amid brazen abuses of state power and growing inequality, anarchist principles have been creeping back into the mainstream. Jak Hutchcraft talks to some of people the leading the charge.
By Jak Hutchcraft, April 19, 2023
There’s a boarded-up venue on a busy road in Brighton. Wedged between an Oxfam and a Card Factory, it has no fancy signage, no clear indication of what goes on inside, or if the place is even open. But on the boards covering the windows there are some words:
“For a social system based on mutual aid and voluntary co-operation: against all forms of oppression. To establish a share in the general prosperity for all – the breaking down of racial, religious, national, gender and sex barriers – to resist ecological destruction and to fight for the life of one earth.”
I’m at the Cowley Club – Brighton’s anarchist cooperative social centre and music venue. Inside there’s a bookshop and café area displaying titles like Prison: A Survival Guide, A Primer on Anarchist Geography and Crass Reflections. Further into the room there’s a huge mosaic mural that says Mutual Aid & Cooperation, next to a wall plastered in posters saying things like END SIEGE IN GAZA, and The Only Good Fascist is a Dead Fascist. A notice board to my right is full of pamphlets and flyers about fox hunting, fracking and upcoming punk shows. This volunteer-run venue was opened in 2003 and hosts gigs several times a month, as well as organising workshops and talks, offering a free library, running a food bank, and priding themselves on being a base for “projects dedicated to grassroots social change.”