Anarchist Youth Network

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The Anarchist Youth Network (AYN) was a loosely-organised anarchist network, supposed to be based in Britain and Ireland. Lasting only from 2002 to 2004, it suffered many of the weaknesses common in the contemporary anarchist movement of the English speaking world.


Founded in London in 2002 by two members of the Anarchist Federation on the back of the anti capitalist movement it became the United Kingdom's fastest-growing anarchist organization.

Membership numbers

In London by late 2003 the group began having fortnightly meetings of up to 40 people and elsewhere groups sprung up:

Region Membership
Bristol 3-4
Essex 3-4
Herefordshire 3-4
Manchester 6-12
North East 2-3
Stroud Valleys 2-3
Surrey 5-7
Swindon 2-4
West Midlands 4-6
Worthing 2-4


The group was floundering, however very few of those involved had any ideas on what to do to change the world. Individualist anarchist ideas were common, and anti-theory sentiment was common. There was little class struggle basis to the group, and so no common strategy.

An attempt was made to organize a network of anarchist students, which had contacts at the University of Bristol, University of Birmingham, Cambridge University, Cardiff University, University of East Anglia, Keele University, Oxford University, Goldsmiths College, London School of Economics, Royal Holloway, School of African and Oriental Studies, University College London, and the M12 Collective. However this was a last-gasp attempt to find direction, and it failed.


The London group split into two principle factions - class struggle anarchists, and those who could loosely be described as having affinity with post-left anarchy. The latter became the Black Star Collective and became involved in squatting autonomous social centres before becoming involved with other groups (such as In Arms Reach or Last Hours). The former became the web collective, later the libcom group, running the website. The majority of the London AYN group simply drifted away, as did many of the other groups.

AYN was mostly a social network for anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian alternative kids. Despite a lot of internet discussion on email lists, message boards and even chatrooms, despite many meetings, gatherings and small scale actions, without a theoretical focus and an understanding of the class nature of capitalism, AYN was doomed to repeat the failures of the Anarchist Youth Federation of the 1980s which followed a similar fate.

It finally dissolved in mid-2004.

External links

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