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Anarchism Without Adjectives: From Yesterday To Today

category international | anarchist movement | opinion / analysis author Tuesday January 23, 2007 21:11author by Floreal Castilla Report this post to the editors

Venezuelan anarchist Floreal Castilla examines the heritage of Fernando Tarrida del Mármol (1861-1915), the relevance of his views to today's anarchists and the relationship between platformism and 19th-century anarchism.


Anarchism Without Adjectives: From Yesterday To Today

by Floreal Castilla

Fernando Tarrida del Mármol (1861-1915), was a 19th-century Spanish-Cuban anarchist intellectual who wrote about libertarian tactics in a letter sent to "La Révolte", a French anarchist journal. In it, he states:
"I would like to explain more clearly the idea that I have of the revolutionary tactics of French anarchists; therefore, being unable to write a series of articles as should be necessary, I send this letter to you, hoping you will extract what you believe to be worthy of publication in it.

Revolutionary decisiveness has never been lacking in the French character, and anarchists have demonstrated, on an infinite number of circumstances, that they do not lack propagandists and revolutionaries. The number of militants is quite large but - with its great thinkers, determined propagandists and adept enthusiasts - France, in truth, is the country where the fewest important actions for the good of Anarchy take place. This makes me think. This is why I have said that I do not believe your revolutionary tactics to be sound. Nothing fundamental divides the French anarchists from the Spanish anarchists but nevertheless we are, in effect, at a great distance from each other.

We all accept Anarchy as the integration of all liberties and its only guarantee as the impulse and sum of human well-being. No more laws nor repression; spontaneous, natural development in all actions. Neither superior nor inferior, neither governors nor governed. The cancellation of all distinction of rank; only conscious beings that look for each other, attract each other, discuss with each other, resolve together, produce together, love each other, without any other aim than the well-being of all. This is how we all conceive Anarchy, how we all conceive the society of the future; and it is for the accomplishment of this idea that we all work. Where, then, are the differences?

In my opinion, enraptured by contemplation of the ideal, you have drawn up a line of ideal conduct, an unproductive puritanism in which you squander a good deal of your forces, forces that could destroy the strongest organisms and that, thus badly used, produce nothing. You forget that you are not surrounded by free beings, jealous of their freedom and their dignity, but by slaves who hope for release. You forget that our enemies are organized and every day seek to grow stronger in order that their reign may continue. You forget, in short, that even those that work for good live in the present social disorganization and are full of vices and prejudices.

From all this it can be deduced that you accept absolute freedom and expect it all to come from individual initiative, taken to the level that no pact or agreement can be possible.

No agreements, no meetings at which decisions are made: what is important and essential is only that each one does as he pleases.

The result? Someone would like to do something good but lacks the means to join up with others who think as he does, in order to carry out their initiative, to listen to their advice and accept their assistance; he is forced to do it all alone, or not at all.

Creating commissions for administrative tasks, fixing dues so as to be able to face certain needs, is an imposition. And this way, if a comrade or a group wants to get together with all the other anarchists in France or throughout the world for such-and-such an initiative, they will not have the means to do it and must resign themselves to the idea. Everything that is not The Social Revolution is a triviality. But should it not matter to anarchists that wages become even more insufficient, that the working day is being extended, that workers in the factories are insulted or that women are prostituting themselves for the bosses? While the bourgeois regime lasts those things will always happen, and we need only worry ourselves about the final goal. But in the meanwhile, the masses of proletarians who suffer and who do not believe in the coming liberation, do not listen to the anarchists.

If I were to continue along these lines, there would be countless examples, each one with the same result: impotence. Not because they lack anything, but because they are scattered, with no link between them.

In Spain we have followed a completely different tactic. Certainly, for you it will be a heresy worthy of excommunication at the highest level, a deceptive practice that must be separated from the anarchist field of action; but nevertheless we think that only thus can we ensure our ideas penetrate the proletariat and destroy the bourgeois world. Like you, we long for the purity of the anarchist programme. There is nothing so intransigent and categorical as Ideas, and we admit no middle ground or any sort of extenuating circumstance. We have therefore tried to be as explicit as we can in our writings. Our pole star is Anarchy, the goal we seek to reach and towards which we direct our steps. But our path is blocked by all classes of obstacles and if we are to demolish them we must use the means that seem best to us. If we cannot adapt our conduct to our ideas, we let it be known, and seek to come as close as possible to the ideal. We do what a traveller would do when he wishes to go to a country with a temperate climate but who, in order to reach it, has to go through tropical and glacial zones: he would go well-furnished with furs and light clothes that he would get rid of once he arrived at his destination. It would be stupid and also ridiculous to want to fist-fight against such a well-armed enemy.

Our tactics derive from what has been said. We are anarchists and we preach Anarchy without adjectives. Anarchy is an axiom and the economic question something secondary. Some will say to us that it is because of the economic question that Anarchy is a truth; but we believe that to be anarchist means being the enemy of all authority and imposition and, by consequence, whatever system is proposed must be considered the best defence of Anarchy, not wishing to impose it on those who do not accept it.

This does not mean that we ignore the economic question. On the contrary, we are pleased to discuss it, but only as a contribution to the definitive solution or solutions. Many excellent things have been said by Cabet, Saint Simon, Fourier, Robert Owen and others; but all their systems have disappeared because they wanted to lock Society up in the conceptions of their brains, despite having done much to elucidate the great question.

Remember that from the moment in which you set about drawing up the general lines of the Future Society, on the one hand there arise objections and questions from one's adversaries; and on the other hand, the natural desire to produce a complete and perfect work will lead one to invent and draw up a system that, we are sure, will disappear like the others.

There is a huge distance between the anarchist individualism of Spencer and other bourgeois thinkers and the individualist-socialist anarchists (I can find no other expression), as there is between Spanish collectivists from one region to another, among the English and North American mutualists, or among the libertarian communists. Kropotkin, for example, speaks to us of the "industrial town", reducing its system, or if one prefers its concept, to the coming together of small communities that produce what they want, thus making a reality, so to speak, of the biblical heaven-on-earth out of the present state of civilization. Whereas Malatesta, who is also a libertarian communist, points to the constitution of large organizations who exchange their products between them and who will increase this creative power even more, this amazing activity that is unfolded by the 19th century, purged of all injurious action.

Each powerful intelligence gives its indications and creates new roads to the Future Society, winning supporters through some hypnotic power (if we can say so), suggesting these ideas to others', with everyone in general formulating their own particular plan.

Let us agree then, as almost all of us in Spain have done, to call ourselves simply anarchists. In our conversations, in our conferences and our press, we do discuss economic questions, but these questions should never become the cause of division between anarchists.

For our propaganda to be successful, for the conservation of the idea, we need to know each other and see each other, and for this reason we have to set up groups. In Spain these groups exist in every locality where there are anarchists and they are the driving force of the whole revolutionary movement. Anarchists do not have money, nor easy means to find it. To get around this, most of us voluntarily make a small weekly or monthly contribution, so that we can maintain the relations necessary between every member. We could maintain relations with the whole World, if other countries had an organization like ours.

There is no authority in the group: one comrade is appointed to act as treasurer, another as secretary to deal with correspondence, etc. Ordinary meetings are held every week or fortnight; extraordinary meetings whenever they are necessary. In order to save on expenses and work, and also as a measure of prudence in case of persecution, a commission of relations is created on a national level. But it does not take any initiative: its members must go to their groups if they wish to make proposals. Its mission is to communicate the resolutions and proposals that are communicated to it from one group to all groups, to keep lists of contacts and provide these to any group that should ask for them, and to make direct contact with other groups.

Such are the general lines of the organization that were accepted at the congress of Valencia and about which you spoke in "La Révolte". The benefits that are produced are immense - and that is what stokes the fire of anarchist ideas. But rest assured that if we reduced action to anarchist organization, we would obtain very little. We would end up transforming it into an organization of thinkers who discuss ideas and which would certainly degenerate into a society of metaphysicists debating words. And this is not unlike the situation you find yourselves in. Using your activity only to discuss the ideal, you end up debating words. The ones are called "egoists" and the others "altruists", though both want the same thing; some are called "libertarian communists" and others "individualists", but at the root they express the same ideas.

We should not forget that the great mass of proletarians is forced to work an excessive number of hours, that they live in poverty and that consequently they cannot buy the books of Buchner, Darwin, Spencer, Lombroso, Max Nordau, etc., whose names they will hardly even have heard. And even if the proletarian could obtain these books, he lacks the preparatory studies in physics, chemistry, natural history and mathematics that would be necessary to understand what he is reading well. He has no time to study with method, nor is his brain exercised enough to be able to assimilate these studies. There are exceptions like the case of Esteban in "Germinal", those whose thirst for knowledge drives them to devour whatever falls into their hands, though often little or nothing is retained.

Our field of action, then, lies not within these groups, but among the proletarian masses.

It is in the societies of resistance where we study and we prepare our plan of struggle. These societies will exist under the bourgeois regime. Workers are not writers and care little whether there is freedom of the press; workers are not orators, and care little for the freedom to hold public meetings; they consider political liberties to be secondary things, but they all seek to improve their economic condition and they all seek to shake off the yoke of the bourgeoisie. For this reason there will be labour unions and societies of resistance even while there still exists the exploitation of one man by another. This is our place. By abandoning them, as you have done, they will become the meeting places of charlatans who speak to the workers of "scientific socialism" or practicism, possibilism, cooperation, accumulation of capital to maintain peaceful strikes, requests for aid and the support of the authorities, etc., in such a way that will send the workers to sleep and restrain their revolutionary urges. If anarchists were part of these societies, at least they would prevent the "sedators" from carrying out propaganda against us. And furthermore, if, as is the case in Spain, the anarchists are the most active members of these societies, those that carry out whatever work is needed for no reward, unlike the deceivers who exploit them, then these societies will always be on our side. In Spain it is these societies who buy large amounts of anarchist newspapers every week to distribute free of charge to their members. It is these societies who give money towards supporting our publications and aiding prisoners and others who are persecuted. We have shown by our work in these societies that we fight for the sake of our ideas. In addition, we go everywhere there are workers, and even where there are not, if we think that our presence there can be useful to the cause of Anarchy. Thus is the situation in Catalonia (and increasingly so in other regions of Spain), where there is hardly a municipality where we have not created or at least helped to create groups - be they called circles, literary society, workers' centres, etc. - which sympathize with our ideas without describing themselves as anarchist or even being really anarchist. In these places we carry out purely anarchist conferences, mixing our revolutionary work together with the various musical and literary meetings. There, seated at a coffee table, we debate, we meet every evening, or we study in the library.

This is where our newspapers have their editorial offices, and where we send the newspapers we in turn receive to the reading room; and all this is freely organized and almost without expense. For example, in the Barcelona circle it is not even required to become a member; those who so wish can become members and the monthly contribution of 25 centimas is also voluntary. Of the two or three thousand workers who frequent the circle, only three hundred are members. We could say that these places are the focal point of our ideas. Nevertheless, although the government has always sought pretexts to close them down, it has never come up with anything, because they do not describe themselves as anarchist and private meetings are not held there. Nothing is done there that could not be done in any public café; but because all the active elements go there, great things often arise over a cup of coffee or a glass of cognac.

We nearly forgot the cooperative societies for consumption. In almost every town of Catalonia - except Barcelona, where it is impossible due to the great distances involved and the way of life - consumption cooperatives have been created where the workers can find foodstuffs that are cheaper and of better quality than at the retailers, where none of the members considers the cooperative to be an end in itself, but a means to be taken advantage of. There are societies that make large purchases and that have credit of fifty or sixty thousand pesetas, that have been very useful in strikes, giving credit to workers. In the literary societies of the "gentlemen" (or wise men, as they are often known), they discuss socialism; two comrades then register as members (if they do not have the money, the corporation will see to it) and go to stand up for our ideas.

The same happens with our press. It never leaves aside anarchist ideas; but it gives room to manifestos, statements and news which, although they may seem of little importance, serve nonetheless to allow our newspaper - and with it our ideas - to penetrate into towns or areas that know little of our ideas. These are our tactics and I believe that if they were adopted in other countries, anarchists would soon see their field of action widen.

Remember that in Spain most people cannot read; but despite this, six anarchist periodicals, pamphlets, books and a great many leaflets are published. There are continually meetings and, even without any great propagandists, very important results are achieved.

In Spain, the bourgeoisie is ruthless and rancorous, and will not allow one of its class to sympathize with us. When some man of position takes our side, all manner of means are unleashed against him to force him into abandoning us in such a way that he can only support us in private. On the contrary, the bourgeoisie gives him whatever he wishes, if he moves away from us. Therefore, all the work in favour of Anarchy rests on the shoulders of the manual workers, who must sacrifice their hours of rest for it.

While there are a great many fine elements in France, Britain, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and North America, think of the progress we could make with a change of tactics!

I think I have said enough for my ideas to be understood.

Yours, for the Social Revolution,


Barcelona, 7th August 1890"

(Translated from French to Spanish by Vladimiro Muñoz)

In this memorable letter, Tarrida del Mármol successfully sets out the problem of how anarchists can become an influence on the mass movements and stop being small groups of individuals who have inherited the Bakuninist principles of the 1877 International without regressing, of course, into the "propaganda by the deed".

The matter is of the utmost relevance today, at the start of the 21st century. However, it must be stressed that syndicalism today is no longer what it was at the end of the 19th century, with French revolutionary syndicalism and the period leading up to the foundation of the Spanish CNT in 1910.

A series of other observations also needs to be made. The practice of "anarchist terrorism" (1880-1910) did not lead to anything and was in fact counter-productive for the anarchist movement. Then, after the defeat of Russian anarchism in the revolutionary process in the land of the Urals, an attempt was made to present the emergence of platformism (1926) as a "deviation", when it was in fact nothing less than a landmark in the organizational evolution of anarchism. In reality, platformism had already been practiced in Spain, which had produced the Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI) in 1923, though it can also be traced back to the syndicalist defence groups that faced the terrorism of the bosses in the 1920s.

The libertarian concept of discipline or "organic responsibility", was already practiced by anarchist organizations albeit implicitly rather than explicitly: delegates adopted resolutions that the membership accepted, adopted and implemented, even when it did not agree with them. When Buenacasa tells Francisco Ascaso that his opinion differs from that of the organization, the impetuous Ascaso replies: "that's as may be, but although the organization says the opposite to me, I am the one that is right". And so "organic responsibility" came to be adopted in the Spanish CNT in Exile at a time when the development of conspiratorial activity against Francoism required it. For that reason, Gino Cerrito (b. 1922), the Italian historian, attacked the concept of "organic responsibility", stating that anarchism was not the theory of a social class but an individualist philosophy. But Cerrito was wrong. Anarchism is a philosophy that is individualist and associative at one and the same time. It is individuals who associate, and this is true even there where anarchism was an influential mass movement, as was the case with the port workers of Buenos Aires, the Dutch Provo movement, the Catalan textile workers or the Ukrainian farmers: associative individuals, that is the key to anarchism.

That is why the idea of a hierarchical "party" is rejected by anarchists, because it is nothing less than a hierarchical replica of State apparatuses. In reality, the anarchist party is the confederation or federation. And it has always been so. Federations confederate, affinity groups federate and, to a great extent, the affinity group is a federation of individuals as well as the local union federation is an association of unions. For the anarchist organization, the federal principle replaces the executive principle.

But treatment of the legislative principle is more delicate. One assumes that, in groupings where there are natural inequalities of whatever origin, anarchists accept the principle of the majority, as in the unions for example. But what distinguishes platformism is that while the legislative principle is not adopted within the anarchist organization, it must be adopted in the mass organizations in the interests of public anarchist politics. Such a thing would be totally unacceptable for any hardened anarchist individualist. Nevertheless, this cannot allow us to forget the rights of the minorities, who Malatesta tried to save by proposing that agreements of the federation of associates be adopted only by those who were in favour of them but not by those who were against. This, though, would go against the principle of organic responsibility.

Platformism developed in the years following 1926, becoming greatly enriched with the contributions of many people: Fontenis, Guérin, etc. But at heart, it is a means whereby anarchism can leave its own imaginary universe and make contact with the people in the street, with a large part of the population, with "the masses".

Nowadays, platformism is an alternative to the insurrectionalism that instead seeks to vindicate 19th-century nihilist, gang-ridden, mafia-like "anarchist terrorism". It is also an alternative to the visible and extraordinary disorganization that permeates "other-worldist" anarchism, that continues to announce that we are partisans of chaos, disorder, vandalism and violence. That is, of course, untrue; but similar actions could be carried on if they are accepted by "the masses". And by accepted we also mean directed, coordinated and decided by them. The key, in my opinion, is to stop being a minority and become the majority or the best possible majority. Otherwise, defeats always lead to dark rooms and ivory towers.

Platformism has become a specific element within today's broad anarchist movement. The adoption of "historical materialism" by sectors within anarchism is nothing new: it was common during the development of the movement over seven decades, at least since its foundation. Bakunin was a historical materialist and not, indeed, in the restricted sense.

Only the crisis of 1940, with the world war and the appearance of McCarthyist anti-communism - which also spread within the anarchist movement - gave a foothold to certain influences of the old individualist liberalism which was then able to colonize certain sectors of anarchism, as was the case with anarchism in Italy, in the River Plate area and in several other places.

But those influences are returning, as can be seen even in Spanish anarcho-syndicalism today. What is happening is that the influence of North American anarchism - based mainly on a strange mixture of old-fashioned insurrectionalism and incurable Yankee liberalism - is being used by certain elements who are specialized in the subject, to intensify the general confusion.

The word "libertarian", for example, no longer means what it did when it was coined by Sébastian Faure, for the very simple reason that French culture does not have the influence it once had for over a century; what is influential now is North American culture, in which "libertarian" stands for both the anarchist sense and for those who are in favour of the "free market". Hence "anarcho-capitalism", the very negation of anarchism, which has always been anti-capitalist. This confusion is also to be seen within the anarchist movement. Murray Rothbard (1926-1995), the father of anarcho-capitalism, an enemy of the State but a supporter of the "free market", really is the ideologist of many so-called "anarchists" or "libertarians" around the world.

Clearly Rothbard was also against the multinationals, like all liberal radicals: he was against private monopolies that prevent the free operation of the market. But the anti-capitalism of anarchists does not stop with the fight against the multinationals. By no means. Nor in the social-democratic or unionist method of expropriating the capital gains that the bosses snatch from the workers, be it through laws or dictatorships, or even agreements. No. Anarchist anti-capitalism is based on the belief that nobody can sell their labour to create capital gain, for the State or for private industrialists. That is the point.

For anarchists, the creation of capital gain by means of work is related to the contribution to the collective wealth of the communist association. That is to say, of the communist society. For that reason, anarchists have never accepted the idea of wage-slaving, be it in a "free" or "planned" market. In other words, anarchism does not accept capitalist profit, be it private or public. Neither does it accept "universal suffrage" (in the words of Kropoktin), not because this suffrage was non-viable, but because it is not our masters we should be choosing but our rotating and recallable delegates.

So, Anarchism without adjectives. We do need to re-read - and remember - the classics from time to time, including Tarrida del Mármol.


Floreal Castilla
Venezuela, 31st December 2006

Translation by Nestor McNab

author by nestor - Anarkismopublication date Tue Jan 23, 2007 21:14Report this post to the editors

This article in Spanish:

Related Link: http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=4570
author by Apublication date Wed Jan 24, 2007 02:23Report this post to the editors

Propaganda by the deed was never seen by its proponents as strictly limited to individual attacks but also included group actions and insurrections, such as those in which Malatesta participated.

And if it didn't lead anywhere and was so disasterous for the international anarchist movement, why did the largest anarchist movements and successes occur in Mexico, Russia and Spain after and not before intense periods of "propaganda by the deed"?

author by Ilan Shalif - AATWpublication date Wed Jan 24, 2007 04:00author address Tel AvivReport this post to the editors

It seems pro organizational anarchists can be also against anarcho-communism. Anarchism Without Adjectives can be an option only for people who object to the claim that "from each according to ability and from each according to needs" is the only principled deduction from the Freedom & Equality & Solidarity. If people think seriously of antiauthoritarian anticapitalist society - one cannot hold other principle to the post revolution days than the whole world scale direct democracy of the world commune of communities in which every one will contribute according to ability and every one will get according to needs.

Not less important than there is no real anarchism without the direct democracy of "organic" organization of specifism/platformism so there is no such thing as dry water or Anarchism Without Adjectives

Related Link: http://shalif.com/anarchy
author by Anarchopublication date Wed Jan 24, 2007 18:45Report this post to the editors

Anarchism Without Adjectives is essential as free and voluntary communism would be ironic if people do not have the opportunity to try something else.

Equally, objective circumstances and economic reality may make immediate communism impossible on a wide scale. If this is so, looking at alternatives makes sense as well as being a practical alternative.

And, ultimately, we have enough to do without debating pointless on what possible future society will be best and most in keeping with anarchist principles. That time is better spent critiquing and fighting against authoritarian systems rather than building silly walls between comrades.

And I'm sure that any social revolution will see lots of experiments in many different forms of society, as it will be based on individual desires and the reality of the situation.

Needless to say, "Anarchism Without Adjectives" applies to genuine forms of anarchism and should not be used to tolerate authoritarians trying to steal the anarchist name for their hierarchical systems (for example, "anarcho"-capitalists). Not that I am suggesting anyone here of holding that position, I'm making a general point.

Related Link: http://www.anarchistfaq.org
author by Ilan S. - AATWpublication date Thu Jan 25, 2007 16:33author address Tel AvivReport this post to the editors

Anarcho (probably the "owner of the FAQ) repeat his long hard to decide position.

Anarcho:
Anarchism Without Adjectives is essential as free and voluntary communism would be

Ilan:
"Anarchism Without Adjectives" is a label of these who accept as partners all antiauthoritarian anticapitalist self labeled anarchists. (Mutualist, cooperatists, classic syndicalist included.)

Anarcho:
ironic if people do not have the opportunity to try something else.

Ilan:
The building of anarcho-communism of world commune of communities will be arrived by the majority of the people. It may take time till application of direct democracy by the revolutionary masses will be crystallized. However, a real anarcho-communist is for a clear cut model of society in which every one will give as one can and get as one need.

These who call themselves "anarchists" but are not promoting
"free and voluntary communism" are not included in Anarchism Without the Adjective "-communism"

For sure not all who do add the Adjective "-communism" to their anarchism as Anarco do often have the same opinion on all subject - including on organization and the model of future society.

Of course people will be able to experiment, but for sure a society that oppose exploitation will not include within it such people or communities - they will have to manage for themselves.
Of course communities and regions will be able to not be included within the world multi-tier direct democracy, but they will not be able to force the rest of society to treat them as partners.

Just imagine how absurd is the idea of going alone and wide spread free experimenting when the community is just a block of buildings in a city of million inhabitants.

Anarcho:
Equally, objective circumstances and economic reality may make immediate communism impossible on a wide scale.

Ilan:
Some people think people who promote anarcho-communism do it as luxurious wish. Revolution that will not be on wide scale will not survive in any kind of world dominated by capitalism of any kind (including state capitalism). Revolution that will not abolish state and money in the area it already hold will quickly deteriorate to an authoritarian regime.

Anarcho:
If this is so, looking at alternatives makes sense as well as being a practical alternative.

Ilan:
This was the classic excuse of the authoritarians of the left

Anarcho:
And, ultimately, we have enough to do without debating pointless on what possible future society will be best and most in keeping with anarchist principles.

Ilan:
Some people are satisfied with the vague slogan of antiauthoritarian anticapitalism. Some people will not destroy the capitalist system if they will not have a clear hope or dream of alternative society.

In addition, if we will not have the debates about our preferred anarcho-communist model, it will be easier for the authoritarians of the left to usurp the revolution.

Anarcho:
That time is better spent critiquing and fighting against authoritarian systems rather than building silly walls between comrades.

Ilan
Some people who claim to be against authoritarian systems put forward ideas that are so ridiculous that they just serve the authoritarians. For instance, these who claim that the new society will be a loose federation of small communities... every one who have any sense about modern world system will lough at.

The walls between anarcho-communism and the other self claimed "anarchism" who object to the immediate abolishing of state and money and the application of the communist principle of From Each According To Ability - To Each According To Needs is essential. Otherwise, the slogan of Freedom & Equality & Solidarity are not more honest than the use of it by the France capitalist revolution.

Anarcho:
And I'm sure that any social revolution will see lots of experiments in many different forms of society, as it will be based on individual desires and the reality of the situation.

Ilan:
Some people visualize the revolution as a kind of a festival and not as a fierce social class war. Just the survival in the struggle against the remnants of the capitalist power will not let it be a festival.

There will be lot of experiments... but if the revolution is to survive, all the experiments will be within the multi-tier direct democracy where there is no state.

Anarcho:
Needless to say, "Anarchism Without Adjectives" applies to genuine forms of anarchism and should not be used to tolerate authoritarians trying to steal the anarchist name for their hierarchical systems (for example, "anarcho"-capitalists). Not that I am suggesting anyone here of holding that position, I'm making a general point.

Ilan
"Anarchism" is used as self label by many kinds of people. The Insurectionalists, the pragmatists with the small "a" anarchism, the Parcomists who just do not commit themselves to the communist principle of from each according to ability to each according needs and for world community of grass root communities, etc.

There are some nice people who are so tolerant that they do not regard the opinions they hold as much more than the opinions of competitors.

This is may be why the anarchistfaq include so obsolete texts and not including a clear case for anarcho-communism.

http://www.anarchistfaq.org

add your comments

Related Link: http://shalif.com/anarchy
author by Nestor McNab - FdCA (pers.cap.)publication date Thu Jan 25, 2007 17:20Report this post to the editors

I think Ilan is missing the point here, and in discussing the merits of (anarchist) communism rather than some other economic theory, he is doing exactly what Tarrida del Marmol suggests anarchists do not do (which of course we are all free to to...).

The kernel of Tarrida del Marmol's letter is about how anarchists can influence "the masses". It is about tactics. He points out, very clearly in my opinion, the difference between the situation in Spain at the time (where anarchism was growing as a result of these tactics) and countries like France, where anarchists spent most of their militant existence arguing the toss about this that and the other, without actually having any influence (or at least, not the influence they could have had).

If the final goal of anarchists is a society where there truly exist Freedom, Equality and Solidarity, then of course it will have to be society where the principle "From each according to ability, to each according to need" is applied, in other words a communist society.

author by Anarchopublication date Thu Jan 25, 2007 18:45Report this post to the editors

So Ilan is in favour of "free" communism, but you do not have the option of anything else -- otherwise you are not a "real" anarchist.

Fine, you have yet again excommunicated me, and many others, from anarchism. Soon the movement will be pure -- it will just be Ilan and anyone who agrees with him totally...

"The building of anarcho-communism of world commune of communities will be arrived by the majority of the people."

So a non-exploitative and non-authoritarian minority will be forced to be communists? I fail to see how that would be considered libertarian -- or work, for that matter. Communism cannot be imposed (as Kropotkin stressed).

"It may take time till application of direct democracy by the revolutionary masses will be crystallized."

Time? Yet that is what I suggested, namely that communist-anarchism may not appear over night (again, as Kropotkin stressed). For that suggestion I was attacked and my anarchism questioned!

"However, a real anarcho-communist is for a clear cut model of society in which every one will give as one can and get as one need."

And any working people who disagree gets a gun pointed at their head? That is what you are talking about unless communism is voluntary and free.

Related Link: http://www.anarchistfaq.org
author by Ilan S. - AATW, Matzpen, ainfospublication date Sun Jan 28, 2007 01:07author address Tel AvivReport this post to the editors

There are anarchists with various adjectives, there are anarchists with out adjectives too.... or claiming they are disruptive or do not have any value

AnarchoFAQ write:
Excommunication is for churchs, not libertarians

Ilan:
The freedom to define other people with adjectives is one expression of freedom.

Anarcho:
So Ilan is in favour of "free" communism, but you do not have the option of anything else -- otherwise you are not a "real" anarchist.

Ilan:
It might be my English is wanting, but it seems Anarcho do not like a clear demarcation between the various kinds of "anarchism".

The label "anarchism" is usually carry a kind of general definition which imply that the one included is anticapitalist, antiauthoritarian, and do not follow any specific teacher like the autonomist Marxists....

Some people who are antiauthoritarian, anticapitalists refrain to label themselves as anarchists because of bad name some anarchist trends smeared this label.

As supporter of the use of anarchism WITH adjectives, I do not regard heretics those who honestly use the label anarchism with other adjectives and do not wish to monopolize the label anarchism to just their like minded.

Yes, I am firmly for the anarchist communist model, and regard the other options as crap - people are entitle to hold.

When they do not ban others with other adjectives from using the anarchist label.. (as some who object to specifism/platformism deny the right of these who support it to label themselves as anarchists) they are just genuine anarchists - I do not agree with.

Anarcho:
Fine, you have yet again excommunicated me, and many others, from anarchism.

Ilan
As I communicate with people who are not anarchists of any kind, why should I excommunicate people who are anarchists - though not my kind?

I just think that people who are not a specific kind of anarchism I support, are not within the spectrum of people I wish to discuss few things or do together specific projects.

For instance, I do not think that anarchist who I am not so sure if the adjective -communist is really describe him is welcome participant in a project its first principle is:

The purpose of the site is to:
1) Collect and distribute the news and analysis produced by anarchist groups and individuals all over the world who are influenced by the "platformist", anarchist-communist or especifista tradition of anarchism.

Or may be I am wrong, and Anarcho regard himself as significantly influenced by the platform, and I am mistakenly think he is more objecting to it than supporter.

(Just for the record, I cooperate with people who are not my kind of anarchism. I am even member in ainfos collective with comrades who are "just" social class struggle anarchists without even the label "communist". Or in the AATW which include people who do not label themselves as any kind of anarchism.)

Anarcho:
Soon the movement will be pure -- it will just be Ilan and anyone who agrees with him totally...

Ilan:
Soon the movement will be tolerant enough to let people who hold very erroneous opinions include the label anarchist in their self labeling as long as they will be honest enough to except other people with other adjectives are honest anarchists too.

It seems Anarcho do not understand that only authoritarians have people who agrees totally with any other.

The anarchist movement will be just less confusing when each trend will have its own adjective, and do not wish to promote the confusing anarchism without adjective or delegitimize others who are of a different trend than they are in.

"The building of anarcho-communism of world commune of communities will be arrived by the majority of the people."

Anarcho:
So a non-exploitative and non-authoritarian minority will be forced to be communists?

Ilan:
If an non-exploitative and non-authoritarian community within a big city or a region will refuse to join the big anarcho communist system, they will just have to respect it. They will be able to distribute the needs among them with any non communist mode they wish - as long it will be based on the agreement of the majority of the people within that community, but will not expect to be treated with the same level of solidarity.

(Even within a community that decide on the communist mode, individuals in the minority that do not like it, but do not like to get out, will just have to contribute their share of work as decided by the direct democracy of the community and get what will be decided by it as their needs. )

Anarcho:
I fail to see how that would be considered libertarian -- or work, for that matter. Communism cannot be imposed (as Kropotkin stressed).

Ilan
You do not need the authority of Kropotkin to back the idea that Communism cannot be imposed.

The abolishing of capitalism will happen only when there will be a big majority of mass movement to do that.

The revolution will not deteriorate to authoritarian state capitalism only if direct democracy will be adopted soon enough by the participants of the revolt.

The adoption of the communist mode will come very soon too when the masses will find that any other principle of covering of needs is less practical.....

You do not need Kropotkin or any other prophet to predict that: The kibutzes movements in Palestine-Israel can be regarded as an thorough experimental case that prove that if the circumstances are in favor of it, it will be adopted. There, even Fascists, procapitalists, religious orthodoxes, national socialists, national-leninists - all adopted the internal relations of "from each according to ability - to each according to needs".

(Even at 2007, while the privatization of most of the Kibutzes is on its way, there are still about hundred who continue with the internal communist mode, though very few of them are for anarcho-communism.)

Anarcho
Quote Ilan
"It may take time till application of direct democracy by the revolutionary masses will be crystallized."

Anarcho
Time? Yet that is what I suggested, namely that communist-anarchism may not appear over night (again, as Kropotkin stressed). For that suggestion I was attacked and my anarchism questioned!

Ilan:
There is significant difference between the adoption of direct democracy and the adoption of communist-anarchism.

Direct democracy even before the revolution succeeded to take the whole world is essential to prevent deterioration to capitalism.

The adoption of the communist mode can take a bit more without endangering the revolution. However the claim:
"communist-anarchism may not appear over night" is very similar to the authoritarian left that claimed that "communism may not appear over night"

The main difference between these who stress that it "may not appear over night" and these who regard it as essential for the revolution to succeed is both the time table and what they intend to do to shorten the time needed.

Anarcho
Quote Ilan
"However, a real anarcho-communist is for a clear cut model of society in which every one will give as one can and get as one need."

Ilan
It means that any one who add to hir self label "anarchist" the adjective "communist" is to my opinion a real one if s/he is as quoted above. I do not think it is of any value or appropriate to force any one who add the wrong adjective to hir anarchism to drop this adjective....

Any one who will disagree with the abolishing of capitalism and building a multi tier direct democracy world with no exploitation, will be regarded as enemy - and will treated as the revolution will decide.

Probably, when these opponents will not use force or sabotage - they will be treated only verbally....

Anarcho:
And any working people who disagree gets a gun pointed at their head? That is what you are talking about unless communism is voluntary and free.
http://www.anarchistfaq.org

Ilan
The above is not a kind of honest interpretation of what I said, even if it was not detailed enough or in good English.

Freedom is restricted in free society only if it clash with the freedom of others. As long as the one holding an opinion I object do not shout it in a defening way in my ear I would not have a case to make hir shut up or chang hir mind.

During the revolution and after it too, force will be applied with or without "gun pointed at their head" regardless of class origin. Force will be applied when it will be the only option to prevent people from disrupting the revolution and the well being of other people.

It seems that only if the majority of a community will be for it, it will choose to follow the communist mode. This majority will be probably more so after they get used to it. People who will object to it will be given the option to follow the regulations of the direct democracy - or get out.

http://shalif.com/anarchy

P.S.
For people who experienced long years of life within a community that follow the communist mode of "from each according to ability - to each according to needs", some genuine reservations and hesitations may seem ridiculous....
Ilan

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textReport from St. Imier International Congress, 8th-12th August 2012 22:28 Mon 10 Sep by Collective Action 0 comments

This year marks the 140 year anniversary of the first anarchist International held at St.Imier, Switzerland, in 1872. In celebration of the anniversary an international gathering was called in St.Imier in mid-August. A contingent of Collective Action militants attended the gathering along with thousands of other anarchists from around the world to discuss politics, create new international ties and, of course, have some fun.

anarkismotent.jpg imageDelegation returns from International Anarchist Gathering at St Imier 16:13 Wed 22 Aug by Andrew Flood 4 comments

August saw a gathering of a couple of thousand anarchists from all over the globe in St Imier, Switzerland. This small town was the site of the founding of the Anarchist International in 1872, the gathering was organised to commemorate this event and involved dozens of political, organisational & cultural events. As part of this gathering Anarkismo, the international network that the WSM is the Irish section of, held both a European conference and a global gathering. [Italiano]

300_0___20_0_0_0_0_0_5423_popupp.jpg image"Black Flame" blog updated again 20:09 Tue 13 Dec by Lucien van der Walt 0 comments

The Black Flame blog has just been updated. The blog collates news, views and reviews of Lucien van der Walt and Michael Schmidt's book, "Black Flame: the revolutionary class politics of anarchism and syndicalism".

zababooks_logo_2011.png imageNew Zabalaza Books website 23:25 Thu 08 Sep by Zabalaza Books 0 comments

The Zabalaza Books pages have moved to the new ZB site.

Freedom Bookshop, venue for the event imageConference of European Anarkismo organizations in London 18:02 Wed 23 Mar by European Coordination Committee 0 comments

On the weekend of 26-27 February 2011, delegates representing organizations from the UK, France, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Ireland and Italy met to discuss how they could work more closely together. [Dansk] [Deutsch] [Italiano] [Ελληνικά] [Nederlands]

videoComunique from A(A)A. Anon Anarchist Action 03:47 Thu 24 Feb by NetAnarchist 0 comments

In the last few years, Anonymous has gained increasing notoriety for its action against websites, agencies and organizations that promote censorship and control. It has helped spread information and supported protestors demanding freedoms and rights. But the popularity of the movement, the attention it brings along, and the structure it has engendered threaten to push Anonymous away from the decentralized, collective movement it has been. As decisions become more centralized and newcomers jump on the bandwagon, Anonymous risks becoming yet another ineffective reformist group, fueled by well-meaning rethoric but subject to third party interests and paralyzed by its fear of authority...

book.jpg imageNew Book: Anarchism & Socialism: Reformism or Revolution? 03:23 Thu 26 Aug by Wayne Price 0 comments

Anarchism & Socialism: Reformism or Revolution?
by Wayne Price

From the Foreword by Andrew Flood (Workers Solidarity Movement--Ireland):

"This collection of essays by Wayne Price…will hopefully play a significant part in helping us build the movement we need…..This volume represents a good foundation to this process. It revisits many of the essential basic questions and lays down a coherent position in regard to them. Wayne's insights are important to us because they are based not just on a theoretical study of revolution but on five decades of practical experience in the North American left and the anarchist movement"

organisational_platform_of_the_general_union_of_anarchists_draft1.jpg imageAnnouncing the new Anarchist Platform Archive 06:54 Tue 22 Jun by AP Archive 0 comments

Announce the new Anarchist Platform Archive. The Anarchist Platform Archive is an archive of texts relating to the publishing of the Organisational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (Draft) by the Group of Russian Anarchists Abroad (“Delo Truda” Group) in 1926.

cover_v_1_b.jpg image"Black Flame" blog updated 21:07 Sat 24 Apr by Lucien 0 comments

The Black Flame blog has just been updated. The blog collates news, views and reviews of Lucien van der Walt and Michael Schmidt's book, Black Flame: the revolutionary class politics of anarchism and syndicalism' .

start.gif imageZabalaza Books Update - 7 January 2010 15:05 Fri 08 Jan by Griffin 0 comments

As of 7 January 2010 the Zabalaza Books website has just been updated with the following:

more >>

imageStuart Christie's Preface to "Black Flame: the revolutionary class politics of anarchism and syndica... May 11 by Red and Black Action 0 comments

Stuart Christie's Preface to Lucien van der Walt and Michael Schmidt, "Black Flame: the revolutionary class politics of anarchism and syndicalism" (AK Press, San Francisco)

imageThe Political Thought of Errico Malatesta Mar 08 by Felipe Corrêa 1 comments

This text is divided into four main parts for the presentation of Malatesta’s political thought: a.) a brief description of the author’s life, the political environment in which he found himself and his main interlocutors; b.) a theoretical-epistemological discussion, which differentiates science from doctrine/ideology and, therefore, the methods of analysis and social theories of anarchism. A notion that will be applied to the discussion of Malatestan thought itself; c.) theoretical-methodological elements for social analysis; d.) conception of anarchism and strategic positions. [Português]

textSpecifism explained Sep 11 by Collective Action 0 comments

In discussing the platform of Collective Action some individuals have expressed confusion at our use of the label "specifism" to describe the tradition of social anarchism we associate with. The following is a short introduction to what we consider to be the most essential concepts within the specifist model. This text is an adaptation of a forthcoming interview with Shift Magazine on anti-capitalist regroupment. [Italiano]

imagePutting the record straight on Mikhail Bakunin (1976) Feb 01 by Alliance Syndicaliste Revolutionnaire et Anarcho-syndicalist 3 comments

This text was a translation from the French, and was published in English in the Libertarian Communist Review, no. 2, 1976. It is an excellent discussion of Bakunin, his method and his views on issues like dual organisationalism and taking power. Therefore it merits more exposure to contemporary militants.

imageLandauer’s Fallacy Jul 28 by Wayne Price 8 comments

There is a often-cited quotation by Gustav Landauer, that the state is only a relationship. It is frequently used to argue for a non-revolutionary anarchist strategy. I argue that it is mistaken and misleading. [Italiano]

more >>

image"Black Flame" blog updated again Dec 13 0 comments

The Black Flame blog has just been updated. The blog collates news, views and reviews of Lucien van der Walt and Michael Schmidt's book, "Black Flame: the revolutionary class politics of anarchism and syndicalism".

imageNew Zabalaza Books website Sep 08 Zabalaza Books [ZACF] 0 comments

The Zabalaza Books pages have moved to the new ZB site.

imageConference of European Anarkismo organizations in London Mar 23 Anarkismo European Coordination 0 comments

On the weekend of 26-27 February 2011, delegates representing organizations from the UK, France, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Ireland and Italy met to discuss how they could work more closely together. [Dansk] [Deutsch] [Italiano] [Ελληνικά] [Nederlands]

videoComunique from A(A)A. Anon Anarchist Action Feb 24 Anon Anarchist Action 0 comments

In the last few years, Anonymous has gained increasing notoriety for its action against websites, agencies and organizations that promote censorship and control. It has helped spread information and supported protestors demanding freedoms and rights. But the popularity of the movement, the attention it brings along, and the structure it has engendered threaten to push Anonymous away from the decentralized, collective movement it has been. As decisions become more centralized and newcomers jump on the bandwagon, Anonymous risks becoming yet another ineffective reformist group, fueled by well-meaning rethoric but subject to third party interests and paralyzed by its fear of authority...

imageNew Book: Anarchism & Socialism: Reformism or Revolution? Aug 26 0 comments

Anarchism & Socialism: Reformism or Revolution?
by Wayne Price

From the Foreword by Andrew Flood (Workers Solidarity Movement--Ireland):

"This collection of essays by Wayne Price…will hopefully play a significant part in helping us build the movement we need…..This volume represents a good foundation to this process. It revisits many of the essential basic questions and lays down a coherent position in regard to them. Wayne's insights are important to us because they are based not just on a theoretical study of revolution but on five decades of practical experience in the North American left and the anarchist movement"

more >>
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