Archive for the ‘8. The Role of the Anarchist Organisation: PP’s’ Category

The Forum of Organized Anarchism: a Process in the Making. Statement of the Aims and Principles of the Fórum do Anarquismo Organizado (FAO), approved at the 2010 National Meeting, held recently in Porto Alegre. The Fórum do Anarquismo Organizado (Forum of Organized Anarchism – FAO) has existed since 2002 and up to 2010 was a space for networking among individuals, groups and anarchist organizations who agree with two main themes: organization and “social insertion” (work within mass movements). These two bases provided us with theoretical and practical foundations over these past eight years; struggling to organize and organizing to struggle were the slogans used to gather together militants and guide our groups and organizations.


Struggle to Organize!

“We repeat: without organization, free or imposed, there can be no society, no conscious and desired organization, there can be no freedom nor guarantee that the interests of those in society are respected. And whoever is not organized, whoever does not seek the cooperation of others and does not offer his own, in conditions of reciprocity and solidarity, puts themselves necessarily in a state of inferiority and remains an unconscious cog in the social mechanism that others establish in their own way, and to their advantage.”

Errico Malatesta

The question of organization is very old in the anarchist milieu. Over one hundred years ago Malatesta was already addressing the issue. However much it may seem to us to be a simple matter, there is still much confusion about it and many people who sincerely think that anarchism is against any form of organization, that organization would mean bureaucracy, authoritarianism, etc. This is understandable, after all, as the concrete examples of organization that people know (like authoritarian, centralized, electoral parties) do not encourage anyone to think about it. But it is necessary to break with this, to realize that this is just “a” form of organization and not “the” form.

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Coletivo Comunista Anarquista (CCA)

Brazilian Anarcho-Communist Group’s Statement of Purpose


The Coletivo Comunista Anarquista (CCA – Anarchist Communist Collective) is an organizationalist especifist and federalist anarchist political grouping with a horizontal structure that seeks to act as an active minority inside the social movements – without transforming them into “puppet fronts” under the pretext of efficiency, but always seeking to instill into them a combative and revolutionary character.

We are faithful to the principles of direct democracy, self-management, federalism, mutual aid, direct action, revolutionary solidarity, class struggle and self-defence. Our objective is an anarchist communist society, in other words social and economic self-management and political federalism; anarchism therefore has the duty to interfere in the current reality, so as to alter people’s material lives and not only to limit itself to the level of ideas. In order to bring about change within the society in which we live, it is necessary for us to work as an integral part of the various popular struggles, in the neighborhoods, in the factories, in the fields, in the universities, and so on. Because for us “anarchism does not originate in abstract reflections of an intellectual or a philosopher, but in the workers’ direct struggle against capitalism, in the needs of the workers, in their aspirations of freedom and equality, aspirations that become particularly alive in the best heroic period of the life and struggles of the working masses” (the Platform).

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Anarchist Federation

Beyond Resistance

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Beyond Resistance is the Anarchist Federation’s analysis of the capitalist world in crisis, suggestions about what the alternative anarchist communist society could be like, and evaluation of social and organisational forces which play a part in the revolutionary process.

We aim to do three things through this manifesto:

  • To convincingly make the case for a revolutionary social transformation into a libertarian society.
  • To challenge those who are already convinced of this, that a revolution can be best brought about by the creation of organisational structures and a globally united anarchist communist movement.
  • To explain the role we see the AF playing in this process.

Preface to the Sixth Edition, Autumn 2008.

When we first published our Manifesto back in 1996 as the Anarchist Communist Federation, we raised the question of what the post-millennial world could look like. In particular we asked how many superpowers we might end up with following the thaw of the Cold War period. With the current crisis at the boundaries of the old Soviet Union and the new Europe, and NATO trying to justify its continued existence, geopolitics still seems to be dominated by the cold-war military powers of the USA and Russia, whereas economic might is spreading itself around a bit (if not a lot), notably in regions of the East and in Latin America. So the answer remains up in the air, for now.

The credit crunch is preoccupying the minds of capitalists whilst they ask all of us being screwed by the system to tighten our belts, and to have faith that a new boom will over time replace bust when wealth will once again trickle down to the poor. Climate change is showing effects that cannot be ignored even by those who are responsible for the dangers it has caused. But in return we are being offered either a gloomy totalitarian future where consumption is controlled ever more tightly by a surveillance state, or a hopeful post-oil world that will power its electric cars with a mix of nuclear and alternative power sources without affecting economic growth. Food prices are rising as land owners find diverse ways to make agriculture pay, whilst the hungry global poor suffer from not being the preferred market, even though there is enough land to feed everyone on Earth. Obsession with immigration is creating fear and suspicion, a gift to fascism and the controlling democratic state alike. Our freedom of movement is more under threat than ever as EU and US governments secure borders, introduce biometric identity schemes for minorities or entire populations, and aim to control migrant workers. At the same time ‘failed’ asylum seekers – adults and children alike – are finding themselves in dehumanising detention centres, facing deportation to war-zones which are so often the legacy of colonial, Communist and anti-Communist wars of past governments.

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Basic Strategy Document of the
Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici

(Approved by the First Congress of the FdCA, 1985)

Our Theory examines the history of the class struggle which leads us to become Anarchist Communists.

I – Introduction

Our Theory examines the history of the class struggle which leads us to become Anarchist Communists. The first part of our Basic Strategy analyses our enemies, allowing us to understand what we need to do in order to survive despite the repression which the powers that be use against us, and also to destroy any obstacle which interferes with the realization of Anarchist Communism.

We have to establish the principles behind our action. These are not abstract concepts. They originate in the conditions under which we live and work and only if they are shared by all will they unite us and not contradict our practices. Although our practice is of necessity linked to the particular, specific conditions of the time and place where we operate, it must always keep these principles in mind, principles which are the product of an analysis of the historical period we are part of.

This, then, is not a programme. It is a correct methodology without which no programme can be considered right or wrong. We will therefore develop our programmes and judge the programmes of others on the basis of this methodology, remembering that every programme must keep in mind the “basic” political situation of our age.

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Basic Strategy Document of the
Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici

(Approved by the First Congress of the FdCA, 1985)

I – General Notes on the Organizational Problem

Apart from the problem of coming up with a strategy for a process which can revolutionize the conditions which make up the current political situation, the development of class consciousness also throws up another problem, an internal problem, for class-struggle militants: organization.

The organization of the proletariat is a requirement, a need, an essential premise for its emancipation.

It is a requirement because in any situation of struggle, the tasks of class-struggle militants differ and can be distinct and specialized, but together they must be designed to reach the same result, both at the level of immediate objectives and on a more general and comprehensive level.

It is a need, inasmuch as for victory in a struggle there are no real alternatives to any form of organization, in the sense that each form of struggle which does not translate into organizational CONCEPTS and FORMS only expresses itself with levels of political planning which are distinctly inferior to the demands which produced the struggle. In fact, the reaction of the bourgeoisie if it is unable to defeat the proletariat militarily thanks to the strength of will of the latter for liberation, is certainly capable of recuperating, on the level of ideology and economy, the FORMS that the struggle has taken.

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Basic Strategy Document
of the Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici

(approved at the 1st Congress of the FdCA, 1985)

Introduction

Mass organizations differ from anarchist communist political organizations in that they have different bases and purposes. They do not have that clarity regarding the final goal that the political organization can have, though they potentially have the same goal as the political organization. History demonstrates that this goal (anarchist communism) is produced by a certain type of practice and consciousness within the mass organizations. These factors are based on the two principles of social self-management in struggle and in construction, and of the egalitarian and intransigent defence of those who work for society.

These are both logical principles, so much so that they may seem automatic; but history has shown that the dominant classes have always acted in such a way as to render this logic fragmentary and easy to suffocate. The utmost political clarity is therefore necessary and should be applied towards the real needs of the proletarians who are members of the mass organizations.

On the other hand, history has also shown that the revolution will not be realized unless it is put into action by the proletarian masses themselves who, as proletarians, discover their revolutionary potential through the practices of the mass organizations and who decide to set in motion revolutionary practices.

In consequence, the anarchist communist revolution will be successful inasmuch as the mass organizations apply that revolutionary logic which is not a necessary prerogative of theirs, but which is at the same time naturally inborn in them.

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We anarchists of the Bakuninist line are advocates of a specific revolutionary Organization which participates in the popular movements, seeking to insert our Libertarian Socialist programme in these movements and ensure that they proceed along anti-capitalist lines in order to abolish private ownership of the means of production and create horizontal and assemblyist popular power on the ruins of all that is called political power and the State. An Organization of this type is what the militants of the Alliance of the Libertarian Communists want to build and we are working daily towards the social revolution and the emancipation of the world.

“The Alliance is the necessary complement to the International. But the International and the Alliance, while having the same ultimate aims, perform different functions. The International endeavors to unify the working masses, the millions of workers, regardless of nationality and national boundaries or religious and political beliefs, into one compact body; the Alliance, on the other hand, tries to give these masses a really revolutionary direction.”

For a long time there has been an erroneous conception regarding anarchists’ views on parties. In this document, we, as revolutionary anarchists, wish to clarify the matter a little. We will begin by saying that our ideology is rooted in the philosophical and political ideas of the Russian revolutionary Mikhail Bakunin. With that said, we believe that, as a self-sacrificing fighter for the cause of the workers and therefore an enemy of bourgeois capitalist exploitation and State repression, Bakunin understood perfectly the historical need for a revolutionary party, consisting only of the most dedicated elements who sacrificed themselves to the revolutionary cause and were an integral part of it.

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A NEFAC Position Paper

The North-Eastern Federation of Anarchist Communists (NEFAC) is still a small anarchist federation and, in our mind, there is still a lot of work to do in order to see the emergence of the type of revolutionary organisation we advocate in our region. Our federation is composed of activists coming from different movements of resistance who identify with the communist tradition within anarchism. Our activities are organised around theoretical development, anarchist propaganda, and intervention in the struggle of our class, be it autonomously or by direct involvement in social movements.

Since our formation, in April 2000, we have based ourselves on a number of principles:

Our Goal: Revolution

As anarcho-communists we struggle for a classless, stateless and non-hierarchical society. We envision an international confederation of radically democratic, self-managed communities and workplaces. To achieve this society, our class will abolish the wage system and socialise all industries, means of production and distribution. We reject the division of labour that condemns an individual to a life of restricted activity for the sake of the commodity economy. The abolition of markets and exchange value will allow for the satisfaction of human needs, adhering to the communist principle, “From each according to ability, to each according to need.”

We believe the only way to achieve this is a social, political and cultural revolution where the oppressed classes lead the struggle to the end, overthrow the bourgeois civilisation and abolish capitalism, the state, patriarchy and racism. Such a radical perspective can only emerge, in our opinion, from social movements. That’s why we advocate the radicalisation of every struggle (from the Latin word “radix” which mean “roots” radicalising means going the roots of problems).

Through this radicalisation and our involvement as anarcho-communists in various movements of resistance, we want to aid the development of an autonomous class conscientiousness, the only safe-guard against political recuperation from all sides (including an eventual recuperation by an anarchist current). The revolution we want will not be the work of an organisation, even an anarchist one, but of a large class movement by which ordinary people will directly take back full control on the totality of their life and environment.

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by the Anarchist Federation

Anarchist Communists have a vision of a revolutionary organisation very different from State-orientated parties and groups. But there is also something wrong with the idea of informal groupings as advocated by some Anarchists. To understand why a revolutionary individual needs to be part of a revolutionary organisation it is necessary to first describe the thing itself: its structure, its relationship with the working class and the theoretical basis of that relationship coupled with a precise understanding of class spontaneity.

The first fifty years of the 20th Century saw a sea change in the nature of capitalism. Traditionally capitalism was governed by the iron laws of supply and demand. Now what is produced matters less and less so long as marginal increases in profit are achieved. Economic necessity and technological inevitability mean increased investment and production no longer mean more jobs – they increasingly mean fewer jobs.

With the end of the age of antagonistic nation states and blocs that existed between from 1875 to 1995, the capitalist powers can now manipulate the global economy, shifting finance and production as opportunity dictates. Statist parties and groups have long proclaimed the solution nationalisation. But since investment does not increase jobs there is no argument for seizing the ‘commanding heights of the economy’, only abolishing them and finding new ways to organise work. Growth as a means of full employment is self-defeating since growth under capitalism is only achieved through increased competitiveness, competitiveness through productivity and productivity by shedding labour. Unemployment cannot be solved by increasing the amount of non-working since it depends on lower incomes and inevitable inequalities. Capitalism may have created wealth but it was stolen from the past (the ideas, knowledge and technics accumulated by pre-capitalist societies) and filched from the future (irreplaceable future commodities, gene pools, environmental degradation’s and so on).

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by the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front [1]

“The revolutionary collectivists [i.e. Anarchists] try to diffuse science and knowledge among the people, so that the various groups of human society, when convinced by propaganda, may organise and spontaneously combine into federations, in accordance with their natural tendencies and their real interests, but never according to a plan traced in advance and imposed upon the ignorant masses by a few ‘superior’ minds.” Mikhail Bakunin

Introduction

This pamphlet broadly outlines our view of the role of the revolutionary organisation.

Class Struggle and Revolution

Anarchists believe that it is important to build a mass Anarchist organisation amongst the workers and poor (the Working Class). The role of this organisation is to popularise and fight for the creation of a society based on the principles of Anarchism: that is, a society based on a federation of worker and community councils, production for use and distribution according to need. This society can be described as Stateless Socialism or Libertarian Communism. The Bikisha Media Collective, Zabalaza Books and Anarchist Union network aims to build such an Anarchist organisation.

Such a society can only be built by a conscious movement of the Working Class, using our industrial power

SEE OUR PAMPHLET, CLASS STRUGGLE, CAPITALISM AND THE STATE, FOR MORE ON THIS POINT.

In order for this to take place our class must have two things:

First, a revolutionary consciousness. This includes: a rejection of the State, capitalism and all forms of oppression; the desire to reorganise society in a new and better way in the interest of the workers and the poor; the recognition of the fact that only the workers and the poor can make and secure the revolutionary transformation, and following from this, the belief that only the mass organisations of the working class – in the workplace and in the community – are to make decisions in society. The State will not be allowed in any form.

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