Why NEFAC? A Barricada Position Paper

Barricada Position on Adhesion

The Barricada collective is now a full-fledged member of the NorthEastern Federation of Anarcho-Communists. Furthermore, Barricada the magazine is now the official monthly publication of the English speaking section of NEFAC, as well as it's International Secretariat. All this seems to be in direct contradiction to our original synthesist statements and some of our earlier politics. In this article we seek to explain how we went from synthesism to platform oriented anarcho-communism, why we feel there is a need for a platform oriented anarchist federation in the Northeast (and in North America in general), and why we are attempting to shift the focus of our activity and agitation.


Since it's inception, the Barricada collective described itself as a synthesist collective, with members identifying with anything from anarchist-communism, to syndicalism, insurrectionism, autonomism, council-communism, and so forth. However, as the collective progressed, we have all evolved towards a common political position, that of anarchist-communism. This does not at all mean that we are not still influenced by other lines of thinking, as we very much are (particularly autonomism and revolutionary-syndicalism), but simply that we feel that the totality of our politics falls best under the banner of anarchist-communism.

However, we are not comfortable with all the positions of anarchist-communism or of the "Organizational Platform of the Libertarian Communists" (an influential text in NEFAC). Particularly in regards to some of the anti-union, or anti-revolutionary union, positions of some sectors of NEFAC. NEFAC is still developing it's position on unions, but indeed we intend to push as hard as possible for a conciliatory position between anarchist-communism and revolutionary syndicalism. A position similar to that of the CNT-F and the French Anarchist Federation which provides for strong working relationships between the two lines of thinking.

Why An Anarcho-Communist Federation? Why NEFAC?

To us, the necessity of a revolutionary anarchist federation is a matter of cementing links with other comrades and collectives, of developing a coherent revolutionary praxis, and a means of providing ourselves, as revolutionary class-struggle anarchists, with an organizing pole from which to organize concerted and long-term interventions in the class struggle.

If we as anarchists are to build revolutionary dual power to challenge the power of the state and capital and put forth viable and coherent alternatives to the status quo, we need to organize ourselves and coordinate our efforts. We feel that this cannot be accomplished simply through informal networks, but rather that it necessitates a structure within which to work on a permanent basis. This to us is the importance of creating federation structures.

Furthermore, to those who talk of "vanguardism" and "anarchist parties"--we say that we seek to organize ourselves in ways that reflect the society that we seek to create, and while this may not be your vision of anarchism, it certainly is ours. Direct Democracy, decentralization, federalism, collective and individual responsibility, and communism are the pillars of the society which we seek to be a part of creating.

To those who claim that these structures are bureaucratic and eventually become anti-democratic, we say that we believe that anarchism, to be implemented on a large scale basis, requires such structures and such levels of organization. One need only to look at the CNT and the FAI at the time of the Spanish revolution to see this. These are our historical influences, and the models which we now seek to emulate. To us, NEFAC represents the embodiment of this line of thinking and these forms of organization in our region today (albeit at a very much embryonic level). We have no pretensions of NEFAC becoming a mass organization, nor is that necessarily the objective. However, we do see it as a vital organizing pole for class struggle anarchists to come together and coordinate efforts.

Quite frankly, we have become very disillusioned with some of the anti-organization, anti-class struggle, and activist centered attitudes of a significant portion of contemporary North American anarchism. While all are free to struggle as they see fit and to organize as they most identify with, we seek to work in a different manner. This has led us to a realization that there is a need for permanent anarchist structures with a clear platform of politics (as well as tactics), as the term anarchist has come to encompass so many different lines of thinking that synthesizing them has become next to impossible. Once again, we see this permanent structure in NEFAC.

None of this, however, implies that we intend to stop working with other groups, lending space in Barricada when they request it, or participating in mass actions. As we have very often stated, we feel them to be incredibly useful and productive and see no contradiction between day to day community and workplace based struggles and mass convergences. When they are organized correctly, they are both essential components of struggle and very much complimentary.

How to Break Out of the Ghetto?

We feel that one of the principal problems with anarchism in North America today, and the reason why it has been trapped in middle-class punk (and often white and male) scenesterism is that we have failed to reach out to people on a level that affects their day to day lives. This is why people cannot relate to us, not because of our tactics.

To say that particularly oppressed groups are put off by militant tactics because of the possible repercussions to them is to us an absurd and paternalistic lie. The oppressed know full well the violence of the state and it's institutions and are fully aware of what it takes to combat them (see LA uprising after Rodney King trial, Cincinnati, Argentina, and countless other examples). When people feel that actions are motivated by something other than purely ideological conviction, that they in fact stand to better their lives and the life of their community, is when they are willing to put themselves on the line. Continued from previous page.)

This can only be achieved by focusing on the day to day issues that affect people's lives. By working on a principled level in communities and workplaces to build trust, to build bonds, and to develop the links that are absolutely necessary for any social revolution. As anarchists we have the advantage of a disregard for the legality of the state and a willingness to take direct action. Not only does this get results, but it also builds trust with communities by showing that we are not all talk (like the authoritarian left tends to be).

By focusing on the day to day, bread and butter issues, but tackling them from a revolutionary perspective, we can slowly radicalize people and open the doors to a broader critique of the system as a whole. This can be done by showing how all struggles are in the end linked, and that the bastards that raise rents in Boston, are in the end tied to the system that rains bombs on the people of Colombia. By building this awareness, urging people to organize their own lives, and focusing on struggles that have the potential to undermine the authority and power of the state and capital, we can begin building truly revolutionary dual power.

To us, this is the natural progression, not the other way around. If we are truly serious about breaking out of the anarchist/activist ghetto, then it is this kind of work we are going to have to start doing. However, we would again like to make very clear that we see no contradiction between this type of political activity and militant action. In fact, militant action, when used correctly and responsibly, can be a great asset. It is precisely these kinds of struggles that most lend themselves to true militant direct action, rather than the usual illegal symbolic actions that are seen at mass protests. Militant defense of squats, eviction resistance, defense of the homeless against police abuse (or ideally aiding the homeless in defending themselves from police abuse), various kinds of support activity for "illegal" immigrants, and so on and so forth, these are all examples of militant and confrontational actions that are centered in concrete struggles and that have a clear potential to aid in building dual power.

Once again, in our opinion, today it is NEFAC which puts forward this line of thinking and which provides the opportunity for us to work in serious political campaigns, not as isolated anarchist individuals, but as militants with a common political and tactical program to radicalize and strengthen struggles.

These are the reasons why we have joined the NorthEastern Federation of Anarcho-Communists. We are excited about the direction we will be heading in as part of NEFAC, the direction that the magazine will move in as an organ of NEFAC, and what the future may bring. We are of course still willing to work with all those who we consider to be comrades, and will not shy away from civil comradely debate on this issue.

For Communism and Freedom!

for the Barricada Collective