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.

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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.

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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.

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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.).

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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)

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by Federação Anarquista do Rio de Janeiro – FARJ

We opted for the specific model of organisation – known by other names as “especifismo” or organisationalist anarchism – largely inspired by the Uruguayan Anarchist Federation (FAU). Through the discussions that we had, we came to the conclusion that it would be essential to work with popular social movements, and that, for this, we should create an organisation with an emphasis on militant commitment. An organisation in this model defends some clear positions: the organisation as active minority, the emphasis on the need for organisation, theoretical unity and unity of action, the production of theory, the need for social work and social insertion; an understanding of anarchism as a tool for the class struggle in pursuit of a libertarian socialist project, the differentiation between the levels of political action (the anarchist organisation) and social action (the popular movements), and the defense of a strategically made militancy. Obviously, the organisation was not born functioning with all these concepts, but we have improved our work in this direction, over the years.

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by Thomas (Miami Autonomy & Solidarity)

Recently during a discussion on organizing strategy that I was observing, more than participating in, a friend and comrade of mine emphasized the importance of listening in organizing. He wasn’t talking about listening in the sense of listening only to figure out how to market your ideas in more attractive language, or the kind of listening where you pretend to listen so that the other person is more willing to listen to you; he was talking about the kind of listening that attempts to really understand and consider what the person you’re communicating with is saying.

The point he was making wasn’t to submit to someone else’s point of view, instead of trying to impose yours; his point was to recognize that both you and the person you’re dialoguing with are equal human beings with something of value to contribute to a conversation. This doesn’t always mean that we can find common ground in dialogues; but it does mean that we should try to engage in dialogues in ways that open the possibility of finding common ground where it can be found; and where it can’t: clarifying and truly understanding our differences.

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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 Matt (Firefly Collective – NEFAC)

Because of the frequent mass demonstrations that have been occurring in the past couple of years, a lot of people in the anarchist movement have formed, joined, participated in, or otherwise been involved with an affinity group. In fact, many people have been turned on to anarchist politics after experiencing first hand the efficient and empowering action that can come out of a solid affinity group. Working closely with people that share a mutual trust and respect, as well as a common strategy and vision proves the anarchist method of organizing far better than the most eloquent anarchist thinker. After all, it has its roots in what most of us consider to be the farthest reaching attempt at anarchist social revolution – the Spanish Civil War.

What is of note that relates very closely to then and now is that the anarchist affinity groups of the Spanish Civil War didn’t form in the weeks prior to July 1936 – in many cases, they had been around for years. They formed as study groups for self-education; for propaganda purposes – printing and distributing newspapers and pamphlets: they formed as class conscious individuals saw a need for more organization at the grassroots level, more widespread radical education, and a more strategized method of agitation.

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(Pro – Organized Anarchist Collective of Joinville)

“… true anarchy cannot exist outside of solidarity, outside of socialism.”
Errico Malatesta

“Idea and action are inseparable, if the idea has ascendancy over the individual; and without action the very idea atrophies.”
Piotr Kropotkin

“Sometimes it is better to fight and get beat up than to run away.”
George Orwell

“Equality before the law is a farce without social equality. We want opportunity for all, not to accumulate millions, but to have a perfectly human life, without inquietudes or freights concerning the future.”
Ricardo Flores Magón

The present document is the first public document of Pró-CAO (Pró – Coletivo Anarquista Organizado / Pro – Organized Anarchist Collective) of Joinville, Santa Catarina, in which we will try to present our project for the construction of an organized anarchist policy with an ideologically revolutionary program.

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