Archive for the ‘7. Recent Writings’ Category

Some Thoughts on Dual Power

Posted: December 20, 2010 in 7. Recent Writings

We in Beyond Resistance talk a bit about the idea of Dual Power in our strategy paper, but there are various understandings of the term. From our strategy: extlink

“Dual power is the idea that the embryo of the new world must be created while fighting the current one; ‘building the new in the shell of the old’. It means encouraging working class organs of self-management, where we can exercise our autonomy and restrict the power of boss and government until such time as we can confront and abolish both. A dual power strategy is one that directly challenges institutions of power and at the same time, in some way, prefigures the new institutions we envision. Therefore, it not only opposes the state, it also prepares for the difficult confrontations and questions that will arise in a revolutionary situation.”

At the recent anarchist bookfair in Los Angeles, Tom Wetzel of the Workers Solidarity Alliance went on to debunk some of the myths surrounding anarchist positions on power, and sums up nicely how we define Dual Power:

“One of the weaknesses of anarchism historically was there was a lot of confusion about power. People say we’re against power, but actually, the mass of people, the working class people, can’t liberate itself without actually creating new structures of power to run things. To run the society, that’s power. And I think the idea of popular power, power that’s based on ‘we’re all equals,’ self-managed kind of power, I mean, that’s how I think of the replacement for the state and the corporations, and so on. But in terms of developping power now, it might be useful to distinguish between social power that people build through movements that are engaged in confrontations, like shutting down workplaces. That means ordinary people are actually exercising power, some power. But it’s power that comes about through struggle, through confrontation with the people that have power in this system. But if you’re just running a collective, like of food distribution, that’s not really power, that’s collectively managing a resource. But I think that’s different from social power. And the point you said about transition to the new society, we have to have things there that can make that transition, historically, that was part of the whole reason for syndicalism–you develop a working-class movement where we have in all the various workplaces, we have workers organized in revolutionary, self-managed workplace organizations or unions, so that in a transitional situation, they can take over the running of those workplaces and guarantee that we still have food and transportation and public utilities and so on.”

Found at: extlink

by Ian Martin
(Furious Five Revolutionary Collective)

‘Reformist!’  What a dreaded word for any self-professed revolutionary to be attached to.  It is one of those accusatory labels that ends intelligent debate and is designed to intimidate one into silence.  Much like the labels of communist! or, more recently, terrorist! used by those in power and their propagandists.  These labels serve as ideological whips to force someone into the proper mindset; god forbid someone does not spout the proper theories or rhetoric.  It is amazing how much activity is considered reformist by some, leaving one to wonder exactly what can be done that is considered revolutionary besides running around with gun and bomb in hand, attending meetings with the necessary scowl, or dancing around a campfire.  Reformist vs. revolutionary.  The eternal debate.  And while we stand around fighting over which actions are which, we accomplish no action, and the world goes to hell.


by Ian Martin

What’s the difference between an activist and an organizer? The distinction is quite important. An activist is committed and responsible to an issue; they are what I call ‘issue-centered’. The issue can be anything from war to globalization to anarchism itself. Activists then attempt to rally people around this issue based on individuals’ moral commitments and beliefs. For activists, an organization is simply a means to effect change and win some victories regarding the given issue.

What needs to be done to create a successful, truly liberatory, revolutionary movement? What should an anarchist be doing to help in the creation and construction of such a movement? These are, or at least should be, central questions that anarchists need to be addressing. While they are by no means the only relevant issues, the fact that some anarchists spend so much time on intellectual masturbation instead of tackling these concrete problems of liberation is symptomatic of their distance from real grassroots struggle. For some, anarchism may be an intellectual game, a lifestyle, or simply something to do to pass the time. But for anyone who is truly interested in liberation, in building a free, equal and just society made up of vibrant communities, its time to get our hands dirty. There s no substitute or quick easy fix for organizing and movement building. Behind every spontaneous uprising or revolution, there was years of organizing work that paved the way and laid the foundations. Such work has been ignored for far too long by those calling themselves anarchists. This distance from grassroots struggle must be eliminated, and anarchists must assume their proper role as revolutionary organizers if they wish to be at all successful in seeing their dreams realized. The reason why anarchists are so cut off and isolated from the people and find themselves sharing in so many of the other flaws of the Left, is because like the Left, anarchists have mostly (in modern times) been activists.


Active Revolution

Posted: June 28, 2010 in 7. Recent Writings

by James Mumm

Part I: Anarchist, Grassroots Dual Power

Dual Power Defined

The term “Dual Power” has been used in several ways since it was first coined. The following definition builds on the previous meanings of Dual Power, most importantly by articulating the equal and necessary relationship between counter-power and counter-institutions. In the original definition, dual power referred to the creation of an alternative, liberatory power to exist alongside and eventually overcome state/capitalist power.

Dual power theorizes a distinct and oppositional relationship between the forces of the state/capitalism and the revolutionary forces of oppressed people. The two can never be peacefully reconciled.


Engaging with the Class

Posted: June 28, 2010 in 7. Recent Writings

by Jacobian (WSM)

One of the deep insights of anarchist theory is that means and ends are inseparable. The method of struggle will have important repercussions on the realisable ends. The development of Anarchist theory and practice has been a search for liberatory methods that are likely to create the society that we hope to see. The role of the organisation then has to fall in line with those tactics and strategies that are liable to bring about a libertarian society.

The Organisational Platform of the Libertarian Communists” [1] (Abbreviated: The Platform) was first written after the failure of the revolution in Russia and the Ukraine. An attempt was made to give solutions to those factors in the struggle which had lead to failure.


by Asher

“We need more people!”

“If only there were more anarchists…”

These phrases and others like them are all too common amongst our anarchist communities across Aotearoa (and no doubt the rest of the world). But in themselves, they betray a fatal mistake in our goals, in how we see our role in moving towards a revolutionary situation.

An anarchist revolution will not come if we simply seek to convert more people to anarchism. Rather, more people adopting anarchist theory will be a by-product of successful anarchist organising and solidarity. There are a few issues we need to examine in order to best understand the role of anarchists in capitalist society. Who will make a revolution?

An anarchist revolution cannot be made by a vanguard, by an elite group of activists, politicos or anarchists. A truly libertarian revolution, which all anarchists seek, can only be made by the great mass of the working class, in a broad sense of the term. This revolution will not magically appear the day we manage to get 51% of the population to call themselves anarchists, but rather by constantly seeking to expand upon the consciousness and militancy of the working class.


by Camille

In NEFAC’s `Aims and Principles’, it is said that the federation is “an organization of revolutionaries coming from different movements of resistance who identify with the communist tradition within anarchism”. [1] This may raise eyebrows when read by many people as they ask themselves what the hell we mean by that. Anarcho-communists, libertarian communists, communist-anarchists… Is this a contradiction? Was there a secret alliance between Marx and Bakunin, Lenin and Makhno, Mao and Pa kin? Are we Bolsheviks in disguise aiming to subvert anarchism and recruit little soldiers for `The Party’ (whichever it is)? Of course not! Let’s look at it closer.


Principled Bakuninism

Posted: June 28, 2010 in 7. Recent Writings

by Larry Gambone

When looking for new Latin American Anarchist groups, I happened to find a document I think is of importance. “El Anarquismo Revolucionario: origen, evolucion y vigencia…” was written by a Mexican anarchist group called Organizacion Popular Anarquista Revolucionaria (OPAR) [1]. They subscribe to “Principled Bakuninism” (Bakuninismo Principista) The following is a brief examination of this tendency. (My Spanish is not the best, my apologies to OPAR if I am misrepresenting them in some way.)

Bakunin developed revolutionary anarchism from the proto-anarchism of Proudhon. Key elements of Bakunin’s anarchism were the need to implant oneself in the popular movements and the organization of the revolutionary minority. This latter entailed the formation of a tight, well-organized, international revolutionary organization. The goal of the revolution was to abolish capitalism and the state and introduce what we today call Popular Power. The goal of the revolutionary organization was to encourage the mass movements in that direction. Bakunin’s “vanguard” was not authoritarian. It did not boss the worker organizations. Nor was the vanguard to rule once the revolution was made. It was simply composed of the most advanced people and lead by example and persuasion, not coercion.


About the Platform

Posted: June 28, 2010 in 7. Recent Writings

by Barikád Kollektíva

The text itself, as we have seen before, was written in a period when the counter-revolution (after the abolition of the 1917-23 revolutionary wave) was in the full flush of health. So the most emphasized point of the text was to point out the disorganisation and confusion of the movement, the complete lack of centralization and united practice. It is doubtless that against the powers of the extremely centralized and at least against the proletarians unified capital one has to use similar methods in order to win. But pseudo-anarchism was attacking the anti-democratic and dictatorial essence of the proletarian struggle with full force. So the desired unity only without them and against them could be achieved.

The Platform correctly states that anarchism is “not a beautiful utopia, nor an abstract philosophical idea, it is a social movement of the labouring masses”. Instead of the bourgeois duality of practice and theory, this is an organic unity, the process of the abolition of capital in its every manifestation. The Platform always proceeds from the active reality and tries to react in accordance with this; it does not concern itself with the theoretical “problems” constantly debated by the “anarchologists” (Did Kropotkin wear flowered underpants? Will there be weather forecast in the anarchist society? etc.).


by Internal Education Secretary – Organização Socialista Libertária
São Paulo, Brazil

This is a quick English translation of a text which was produced as a result of theoretical debate by the OSL-SP together with other organizations in the Forum of Organized Anarchism (FAO). It deals with what theory and ideology are and what we understand as materialism.

Theory and Ideology

1. “Theory aims at the elaboration of conceptual instruments that enable us to think rigorously about and obtain profound knowledge of the concrete reality. It is in this sense that we can speak of theory as being a science.” (Huerta Grande)

2. “Theory is an instrument, a tool, it serves a purpose, it is required if we are to produce the knowledge that we must produce.” (Huerta Grande)

3. Praxis, understood as an objective transformation of the social process, that is to say a transformation of the relations between man and nature (productive praxis) and man and man (revolutionary praxis), is the basis of knowledge, the criterion of the truth and the final goal of theory. This does not mean to say that theory only serves for practice, as it believed by pragmatism with its utilitarian conception, because the relationship between theory and practice is a relationship of dialectic unity where theory is not reduced to practice, but complements it and also allows it to advance, limited only in its accomplishment by human action. (Filosofia da Práxis)