The Question Of The Revolutionary Anarchist Organization: A Common Struggle Position Paper (adopted September 15, 2002)
Common Struggle - Libertarian Communist Federation 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 organization 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 organized 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 socialize all industries, means of production and distribution. We reject the division of labor 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 civilization 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 radicalization of every struggle (from the Latin word "radix" which mean "roots" radicalizing means going the roots of problems).
Through this radicalization and our involvement as anarcho-communists in various movements of resistance, we want to aid the development of an autonomous class consciousness, 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 any one organization, 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.
Necessity of Organization
Any revolutionary period will be preceded by organizations capable of popularizing anarchist alternatives and anarchist methods; organizations capable of leading the battle of ideas and able to serve as a rallying point for activists. To this end, we believe that a strong, and above all, organized presence in social struggles anarchist movement is necessary. Let's be clear, we do not believe that an organization is a movement in itself, and we do not pretend at all to represent to whole of the anarchist movement. While we have confidence in our ideas, we do not think we possess THE truth, and it is probable that we are wrong on this or that point. That is why we advocate revolutionary pluralism.
We reject the vision of the 'political-party-guide-of-the-masses', a vision which reduces the idea of revolution to the authoritarian seizure of power by a centralized party believing to be acting in the name of the masses. We know that this vision has led to bloody dictatorships and has nothing to do with socialism. It's goal not being the seizure of power, the anarchist organization is neither a party, nor a self-proclaimed vanguard, but an active minority in the working class. The anarchist organization is one of the movement within the social struggle; it's an assembly of like-minded activists, a place of confrontation and debate, a place of synthesis of ideas, social and political experiences.
Basic Organizational Principles
The anarchist philosophy implies a number of organizational principles that it is important to explain here. We've identified four: theoretical coherence, tactical unity, collective responsibility and, of course, federalist direct democracy.
The libertarian communism we advocate consists of a number of theoretical and tactical proposals that form a coherent political project that anarchists want to put in practice. Hence it needs to be formulated in a determined platform. What's more, to be efficient and popularize our platform, it needs to be common to the whole of our organization. This is our theoretical coherence.
But a common platform is not enough. Indeed, to implement it, we need to use appropriated means. We believe that these means are not arbitrary; they are determined by the goal to achieve and the circumstances of the struggle. The choice of the tactics to us is not neutral and without consequences; in our opinion, it flows from the goal we have chosen for ourselves and that's why we advocate tactical unity.
Practice has taught us that the logical consequence of these organizational principles is collective responsibility. If we collectively accept some political positions and a determine line of action, it is in order that each member implement it in their political work. What's more, if we agree on specific work to be done and a way to do it, then we become responsible to one and other for its execution. In the end, collective responsibility is nothing more then the collective method of action.
Internal Functioning of Common Struggle
The anarchist organization rejects centralism for its functioning and adopts the principles of federalist direct democracy. That is to say that Common Struggle groups and local unions are autonomous and are the best judge to determine the daily work to be done and the way implement it in their communities.
The conference is the sovereign body of the federation, it is open to all members and takes place twice a year. All decisions are taken there after full debate (by a simple majority vote when necessary, by consensus the rest of the time), are final, immediately applicable and are binding members. Only a new conference can overthrow a decision taken this way. All the rules of functioning of the organization are adopted at conferences and so apply to all. In between conferences, there's a permanent delegates federation council that function on the basis of one collective member, one vote. It is up to the groups and local unions to determine the best way to apply the decisions taken in conference or by the federation council.
Anarchists are fully aware that the presence of a minority and a majority does not mean at all that the majority is inherently right. That's why any anarchist organization needs to have mechanisms that enable a minority, while still bound by the decisions taken by the organization, to defend it's point of view inside the organization, even if it was beaten at a conference or in the federation council. In any case, an anarchist organization must be an environment where sectarianism is discouraged and dialogue promoted, and where an atmosphere of camaraderie reigns.
Every permanent task in the organization is of a purely executive nature, and subjected to a clear mandate and the comrades upholding them are revocable at any time. The same rules apply to delegations. Without making it a strict rule, Common Struggle is generally in favor of a rotation of tasks.
When necessary, the anarchist organization can also form working groups and appoint comrades to do specific tasks. These working groups are subjected to the same rule as the permanent task and delegations.