Polemic was a short zine written and editted by Edinburgh University Anarchist Society. It has since been discontinued, but any who wish to take up the challenge of reviving it are more than welcome to come and raise the idea and see if support can be garnered to make it happen!
POLEMIC ISSUES TO DATE: Please ask if you wish to get hold of a pdf or hard copy, or if you wish to contribute to or edit Polemic
POLEMIC EMAIL ADDRESS: polemic(at)noflag.org.uk
POLEMIC WEBSITE: issuu.com/euas
– Issue 1: February [published 18.02.10] [Published online –.09.10]
– Issue 2: June [published 14.09.10] [Published online 17.06.10 ]
– Issue 3: November [published 28.10.10]
– Issue 4: February [published –.02.11]
– Issue 5: March [published –.03.11]
– Issue 6: November [published 07.12.11]
POLEMIC SUBMISSION INFORMATION
Action plan for the anarchist magazine, to be produced by the society:
– The magazine will be called Polemic.
– It will have a collection of articles, thoughts and quotes contributed anonymously by the society.
– It will be produced and spread widely and free of charge around bookshops, libraries and any anywhere we have access to.
We are looking for contributions to this magazine:
– The magazine will be intended to provoke thought and doesn’t have to relate directly to anarchism of any kind.
– Articles need to be less than 500 words.
– No lower limit on words. They can be as short as you wish.
– Submissions to the magazine can be in any format, eg. articles, recounts, cartoons, poems, photographs (the magazine will be in black and white)
– Guideline for content- ‘thought provoking, not thesis writing’. The magazine is aimed at trying to challenge public day-to-day thought.
– We would like to retain impartiality to a degree within articles, and to present articles as convincing or challenging arguments, rather than heated verbal attacks which often deter the open minded reader.
In terms of practicality:
– We aim to make this a monthly project.
– We aim to make the magazine around 8 A5 sides
– By university print charges, each copy will cost around 40p to make. The current society funds are £0. We will need to have a fundraiser of some kind to aid bring this project to reality. We don’t need to raise much, but the more we do the further the magazine can go. In the mean time we can start working on the content.
– Articles to be submitted by the 25th of every month
– There are columns within the zine that need writing each month, if you would like more information on how to write for these, please contact the polemic address below.
– To submit an article please send it to polemic(at)noflag.org.uk
Faith in Anarchy
Anarchism is political humanism. Without some sort of quasi-spiritual faith in humanity’s ability to act in its own collective best interests, our viewpoint is utopian and pointless. Many would argue that it already is. Anarchism’s biggest critics usually take the line of its unfeasibility, that it is a nice idea that is impossible in the real world. A quick perusal of the British Humanist Association website shows a loose belief system based around the goodness of the human race, and our ability to govern ourselves in the absence of a divine authority. That sounds a lot like us talking, and we would do well to forge links with organisations that share the value that we hold distinct from more statist left-wing groups. If the leap into the anarchist “faith” is akin to the adoption of some sort of belief in humanity, does that make us a religion? Not exactly, and although it sounds like arguing semantics, the distinction between “religion” and “spirituality” should be emphasised. “No Gods, No Masters” remains a rallying call of the anarchist movement. This is more a rejection of religious authority than of the spiritual concept of an intelligent creator, a belief which is personal and does not infringe upon the liberties of others. It is, on the other hand, sad that the only reason some people do good is that they fear the retribution of a divine judge. As anarchists we do not oppose spirituality as a facet of a person’s worldview, merely the infringement of liberty, equality and respect by power-hungry religious organisations.
As a human-centred organisation, anarchism’s co-operative and egalitarian focus is the vessel through which our power is channelled out. Humans are social animals, and to work alone is to work backwards in the line of evolution. We cannot work with others at all without believing at least a small part in their essential good nature, and this is the basis of friendship. One needs no “incentive” to co-operate freely with friends. In the same way, free associations of individuals as a part of a wider society are much easier to set up if transactions take place between two people in mutual agreement rather than between two stacks of currency. It is hard to cheat a person that you know. It is much harder to cheat a person that you respect. In repetition of a familiar-sounding adage: We must treat other people the way that we would wish to be treated. Then, there will be no call for any authority to make superfluous laws and structures of government that serve only to solidify existing power. Anarchism is simply the faith that humanity can do this free from coercion, violence and arbitrary authority. It is not a religion, nor a mere political standpoint. The role of faith in anarchism shall continue to be debated.
Response to the Student Editorial on lesser-known societies
We’re thrilled to have been included, being not so much a “lesser-known” society as “paperwork-pending not-actually-yet-a-society” society. The publicity is of course welcome, and our “subterfuge” of the EUSA indexing system wasn’t really done on political grounds, we’d honestly rather have the free publicity from that, too. The stall was a success despite its, ahem, unplanned nature, however illicit stall occupations were not the sole preserve of revolutionaries such as ourselves! With regard to our footwear and coats, it was rather cold, I seem to remember, and trying to turn over capitalism and the state is just miserable with cold feet. “Menacing” wasn’t quite what we were going for, I’m sure.
It’s good that we’re finally out there, and the brainchild of the back first-year philosophy lectures is finally becoming realised. We wore boots and trenchcoats that winter too. It’s Edinburgh.