Anarchy from A to Z: U for Unity

An invitation to refound organized anarchism

The Quebec collectives of NEFAC are re-organizing themselves. Basically, the Quebec and American sections of the Federation have decided to form two solid but independent organizations. On 22 and 23 November, we will be holding a congress at the Métropole where the manifesto and constitution of a new Quebec-specific anarchist communist organization will be adopted. We will be taking the opportunity to begin a dialogue with comrades who are close to us and see whether it is possible to integrate more militants in this process which will affect all parts of Quebec.

Our basis for unity

Over the past decade of struggles, we have been successful in establishing a serious anarchist communist organization in Quebec. That in itself is a victory but there is still a long way to go, in our opinion, before we can begin to see the type of organization that we have in mind emerging in the province. To ensure the development of organized anarchism in Quebec, a strategy for the many different tasks to be carried out is required. This will demand the establishment of a militant, revlutionary organization for the radical social movements and for the emergence of a wide, open libertarian left.

But first, what type of organization are we talking about? As we see it, it is part of the social struggles. It is a collection of militants on the same wavelength, a meeting-place for debate and the sharing of ideas and experiences, both social and political. It is not a secret group, a private club or an affinity group, but a public organization which anyone who shares its positions can join. Organization is essential in order to share our resources, break with localism and maximise the impact of our libertarian practices by coordinating our political activities. Experience has led us to adopt the platformist principles of organization, i.e. an effective organization is one that is based on:

  • theoretic and tactical unity
  • federalism and direct democracy
  • collective responsibility.

We do not have a dogmatic approach to the "Organizational Platform of Anarchist Communists", the document which "platformism" is based on; it is the starting point of our practice, not the end point. In concrete terms, the search for unity and consistency is a permanent process which takes place through internal debate. Federalism and direct democracy allow us to achieve a certain balance between autonomy and collective force. What is common to us all is collectivized and controlled democratically by the whole organization, but members maintain their full political and organizational autonomy in their local work. Collective responsibility means that the members of the organization participate in the internal debates and decision-making but will adopt the majority position. In short, agree with the positions and campaigns that are adopted and participate in them.

Winning back a social base

Each time anarchism played a role in other countries, there were organized anarchists with deep roots in their societies. It was the case in Spain, in Ukraine, France and Mexico, where organized anarchism had a presence in the majority of localities and in every district of the larger cities, carrying out intense activity in the various social movements and enjoying a lively, diversified press. It could be said that everywhere anarchism made a difference, it was rooted in the movement and had a stong social base. This is something that is lacking in Quebecois anarchism, and something we want to change.

For a long time now, the Quebec anarchist movement has been a generational phenomenon concerning mostly young people. Every new generation of militants drives out the preceding one and has to practically re-invent the wheel. If anarchist communists are to win back a social base, we will have to face the double challenge of rooting ourselves in the social movements on both a medium and long-term basis. And we will have no chance of doing this unless we are unable to develop a militant presence in the struggles of our class. It is time to reconsider a fundamental form of militancy: the mass action of the social movements in our neighbourhoods, schools, campuses, workplaces, etc. It may be somewhat less glorious than certain other forms of "radical" militancy, but we cannot ignore it if we are to be successful in the long term in building an open movement based on the realities of our class.

Organized anarchism cannot confine itself to militant ghettos. It must move out into the neighbourhoods and the places of our daily lives. The anarchist movement must also leave the big cities and establish itself throughout the land. To consolidate anarchism in our class, we are ready to go to plces we have practically never been - in the smaller towns of the province.

We will do our best to support, materially and morally, anyone who wants to join an existing group in the new organization or to develop one in their town. Refounding organized anarchism and turning it into a force to be reckoned with in society is no mean task... But if you're interested and if you want your say too, now's the chance. All contributions are welcome!

Article from "Cause Commune", No. 22 (October 2008).

Translation by FdCA - International Relations Office