Collective Responsibility: A Two-fold Issue

Posted: June 13, 2010 in 10. NEFAC Writings on Platformism

by Mujo (Bete Noire-NEFAC)

All Individual Members are Responsible to the Entire Organization

We are organizing in order to have a real influence in the society we live in, more specifically in the social class of which we’re members, namely the working class. There is no point in deciding on the implementation of campaigns or specific work together and then coming back to our respective cities or areas to disregard those decisions and fail to apply them. It should required by all members that once a decision as been taken by the organization in a democratic fashion, not representatively democratic but with a decision making process that involves everyone, that they implement that decision in order to give the organization its usefulness.

The overall action of all members is then greater than the sum of the uncoordinated actions of all the people that share a core of ideas and practices. It allows us as members of the working class to give a common blow to the ruling class. The isolation of anarchists in their specific environment slows down the influence and the spreading of their ideas and practices in the working class. By organising responsibly we’re breaking with the vicious circle of having to repeat the mistakes of the past as well as preventing us from redoubling our efforts.

In the specific case of the NEFAC, the fact that anarchists are organising across the border and with a language difference breaks with the limitations that the bourgeois state imposes on the working class as a whole (i.e. nationality, ethnic background, culture, etc.) Implementing common decisions amongst different cultures and nations is a way to counter the different tactics of our common enemy who has been breaking our social class coherence by giving each community different status and different laws.

We need as anarchists to regroup, around an agreement around an analysis of the current situation and of what needs to be done. We need to discuss strategy and implement it on the ground so that we will be better able to stifle the efforts of the ruling class and, eventually, move forward ourselves as a class to overthrow the reign of our class enemy, the bourgeoisie

The Organization is Responsible for the Political Activities of all its Members

Now to achieve the coherence previously mentioned, the people who voluntary joined forces with each other share some sort of responsibility. This common responsibility in turn means that each member group’s or individual’s political activities have to be shared by all others. Let’s make it clear that this second part is not meant to curb the dissidence of minority positions or to stifle initiative of members. Different positions, minority ones included, allow for deeper discussions and thus greater unity in the organization. As initiative allows for the needed flexibility the organisation needs to act on local and/or specific issues in an efficient way. What the above statement implies is that individuals need to be able to answer to the organisation as a whole regarding their political activities. If the organisation is unsatisfied with the explanations expressed by the member group or individual, the organizational body may take a stand, and, at the most extreme, freely choose to disassociate with the said member. Otherwise, how open the door would be for a traitor to secretly become a member and then completely block any progress in the organisation.

Differences on minority positions and practices should be allowed until only the minority is ready to take responsibility. This practice is far from being authoritarian because it tries to make a minority come to its position. This process prevents the minority from arbitrarily imposing its will on the organisation. Otherwise the remaining members have to defend positions that contradict their opinions within their struggling environment. Without this second part the “I can do whatever I want” minority would be able to force opinions and associations on the entire group with no way to review the activities of the said minority.

Political activities, whether in an organization or not, have consequences and repercussions. In a platformist organistion there needs to be a consciousness of what other people think about certain political actions. The organization must have a method to call out members of disputed actions. It is not a shameful or authoritarian practice, it is a responsible one.

Finally, to win as anarchists, and to remain faithful to our ideas and principles while still organizing together, we should consider keeping a few things in mind. Every means possible should be taken so that all members can attend decisional meetings. If that is impossible, absent members should be allowed to communicate their decision through clear mandates. The decisions and discussions need to be distributed to all members so they can be applied. Fortunately, nowadays there are many methods by which we can communicate our decisions and have meaningful discussion. Failing to do this can only be seen as laziness, or as being done in bad faith.


From The Northeastern Anarchist. The NEA is the English-language theoretical magazine of the Northeastern Federation of Anarchist-Communists (NEFAC), covering class struggle anarchist theory, history, strategy, debate and analysis in an effort to further develop anarchist-communist ideas and practice.

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