Archive for the ‘4. Historical Influence of the Platform’ Category

Barikád Kollektíva

After the repression of the worldwide revolutionary wave in 1917-23, thousands of proletarian militants had to flee the areas where they actively took part in the revolts, because the terror of the capitalists was not able to kill every revolutionary, though that was its intention. Apparently, the revolutionary movement has suffered a great blow: the triumphant counter-revolution had almost completely destroyed the structures which the proletariat had already conquered while it was organizing itself as a class. The proletarian organizations, which, as the prefigurations of the communist world party were organizing the centralization of the struggle, were destroyed or distorted into the counter-revolutionary caricatures of themselves. Bolshevik social democracy, which called itself “communist”, together with the traditional Social Democrats, tried to disintegrate and to falsify one of the foundations of its class-being, the class memory of the proletariat. In fact these tendencies imply the objective negation of the class as such, because their definitions of the class, just like their practical activity, disguises the basic antagonism between bourgeoisie and proletariat, by serving concepts like the Leninist theory of “socialism in one country”, the “peaceful adjacency” of socialism and capitalism, the Bersteinian line of the socialist evolution of capitalism etc. These ideologies are the reflections of the negation of classes – the objective life condition of capitalism, which actively helped the bourgeoisie to absorb the class conflict and to reinforce the atomisation of the proletariat.

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by Jered Fisher

Those who desire to change the world face many difficulties, from repression to apathy to struggling to keep the vision of creating a new world in the shell of the old. For anarchists, who struggle against oppression of all kinds, the difficulties that arise from this staunch moral philosophy are many. The Dielo Trouda group of Russian anarchists in exile, who participated in the Russian Revolution, analysed why the anarchist idea did not win out. The product of this analysis was the Organisational Platform of the Libertarian Communists, which addressed problems of organisation within the anarchist movement. In the ‘Organisational Section’ they outlined four principles of organisation they believed would lead to a more successful anarchist movement. They are as follows:

– Federalism, having a free agreement of individuals and organisations who work collectively towards common objectives.

– Tactical Unity, meaning that common tactics should be used within the movement, giving it a common direction leading to a fixed objective.

– Theoretical Unity, that the actions of the movement should be in concord with its principles.

– Collective Responsibility, meaning that every member of the movement is responsible for the political and revolutionary activity of the movement and that the movement is responsible for the political and revolutionary activity of every member.

These four organisational principals, in general, hold true to creating a more successful movement when observed. They are worthy of consideration and hopefully adoption by the present anarchist movement. To make a case for these principles of organisation, a positive historical example of their execution is in order.

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by R. Williams
(Anarchist Workers Association – UK)

1975

In 1926, a group of exiled Russian anarchists published ‘The Organisational Platform of Libertarian Communists’. It was born out of their tragic experiences during the Russian Revolution – the spring of workers’ and peasants’ self-management and its bloody replacement by the winter of famine and bureaucratic Party dictatorship.

It was the determined hope of Makhno, Arshinov et al, that such a disaster should not reoccur. To this end the collectively wrote what became known as ‘The Platform’. It draws on the lessons of the Russian anarchist movement – its failures to build up a working class presence sizeable and effective enough to counteract the tendency of the Bolsheviks and other political groups to substitute themselves for the working class. It contains a rough program of organisational tasks for anarchists – in short, how we can be effective.

‘Anarcho-Bolshevism’

Since shortly after its publication, however, the Platform has been buried under the more glamorous revolutionary textbooks. It’s authors, for the pains, were labelled ‘Anarcho-Bolsheviks’ (so a new political term was invented!) by some of the more celebrated anarchist personalities such as Alexander Berkman and Errico Malatesta.

This was because the authors and sympathisers of the Platform pinpointed the failure of the Russian anarchist movement in its disorganisation, lack of national coordination, and thus theoretical and practical confusion. In other words – ineffectiveness.

To remedy this, the Platformists proposed a formal organisation, a ‘General Union of Anarchists’. To be effective, yet still run in a anti-authoritarian way, it would stick to several strict principles.

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Federatsia na Anarkho Komunistite ot Balgaria – FAKB

1945

Basic Positions

We reject the present social system of State and capitalist centralisation, as it is founded on the principle of the State which is contrary to the initiative and freedom of the people. Every form of power involves economic, political or spiritual privilege. Its application on an economic level is represented by private property, on a political level by the State and on a spiritual level by religion. These three forms of power are linked. If you touch one, the others are changed and, inversely, if you keep one form of power, it will inevitably lead to the re-establishment of the other two. This is why we repudiate the very principle of power.

We are supporters of the abolition of private property, of the State and of religion, and of the total suppression of every form and institution of constraint and violence. We reject every teaching and every social, political and economic-political movement aimed at maintaining the State, private property, the church, and constraint and violence in social relations.

We repudiate fascism, which is a historic attempt to restore absolutism, autocracy and the strength of the political form of power with the aim of defending the economic and spiritual dominance of the privileged classes.

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by the First Italian Section of the
International Anarchist Communist Federation

Translator’s note: The period following the Russian revolution was one of great change for anarchists, many of whom fled to France to escape oppressive regimes. One contribution to the debates of the time was the Organisational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists – Project, produced by a group of Russian exiles including Makhno. Following publication of this, a group of Italian anarchists founded the 1st Italian Section of the proposed International Anarchist Communist Federation [1]. The document below, dating from the latter half of the 1920s is the Manifesto of this Italian group, one of whose members was Giuseppe Bifolchi. Bifolchi later had to leave France and went to Belgium where he founded the monthly journal „Bandiera Nera“ (Black Flag). During the years of the Spanish Revolution, Bifolchi fought as a commander in the Italian Column.

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Anarchist Communist Manifesto [2]

Anarchist-communists are unanimous in affirming that the principle of authority which today’s institutions are based on is the fundamental cause of all social ills, and it is therefore for this reason that they are today, tomorrow and forever, unyielding enemies of political authority (the State), of economic authority (Capital) and of moral and intellectual authority (Religion and Official Morality).

In short: anarchist-communists are against all the dictatorships of political, economic, scientific or religious derivation; on the other hand they are sincere partisans of a form of social organisation which is based on the free association of producers and consumers with the aim of better satisfying the various needs of the new society.

They are communists, because having carefully examined the social question in all its facets they are of the opinion that only a society based on libertarian communism will be able to guarantee every one of its members the greatest well-being and freedom.

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by Nestor McNab (FdCA)

The debate which surrounded the publication of the „Organisational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists – Project“ between June and October 1926 was lively and widespread, involving a great number of anarchists both in France, where it had been published, and abroad. However, as Paris in those days was a sort of magnet for anarchists who had been forced to flee their countries of origin or who were drawn there by the great activity of others already present, a large part of the debate regarding the proposals of the Group of Russian Anarchists Abroad (GRAZ)[1] was centred on Paris.

Publication of the „Platform“ itself was preceded by a series of articles regarding anarchist organisation in Delo Truda, notably the GRAZ article „The Problem of Organisation and the Notion of Synthesis“ in March 1926. The notion of a synthesis of the three main strands of anarchism (anarchist communism, anarcho-syndicalism and individualism) had been proposed by Sébastien Faure and was supported by figures such as Volin. Itself a controversial idea, „synthesism“ was to prove to be, in the years that followed, the counterpart to the „platformist“ idea of organisation and the organised movement was destined to be polarised over the years into federations based on a synthesis and those based on a tendency.

The debate accompanied the piecemeal publication of the Platform and took place in the pages of various anarchist journals, including the promoter group’s own Russian-language paper, Delo Truda, and the French paper Le Libertaire. Following comments by some comrades, the GRAZ published a „Supplement to the Organisational Platform“ in November 1926, which addressed certain points which had been raised by Maria Korn Isidine.

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