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Disbanding of The Federation of Revolutionary Anarchist Collectives (FRAC)

category north america / mexico | anarchist movement | press release author Tuesday July 05, 2005 21:05author by via ainfos Report this post to the editors

Statement from the Burning River Revolutionary Anarchist Collective and the NorthStar Anarchist Collective on the official disbanding of the FRAC

Disbanding of The Federation of Revolutionary Anarchist Collectives (FRAC)



To those fighting for a better tommorrow,

The Federation of Revolutionary Anarchist Collectives of the U.S. is officially disbanded. As a revolutionary anarchist federation based in the midwest/Great Lakes region we started this project nearly 3 years ago now. In that time we have had collectives in the cities of Chicago, Minneapolis, Lansing, and Cleveland. We had the opportunity to work with many comrades and make many friends. While our drive for a world free of domination continues to thrive, our ability to maintain FRAC as an organized threat to the power of state and capital has waned. We do not question the need to have an organized revolutionary anarchist federation in the Great Lakes region and hope that such a project can succeed in the future here.

We hope to put out a much more detailed and reflective piece in the future looking back on the lessons we have all learned from these past 3 years. We wish all similiar revolutionary anarchist projects nothing but the best, whether here in the U.S. or around the world.

In Solidarity and Struggle,

The now defunct FRAC


Burning River Revolutionary Anarchist Collective
P.O. Box 27376
Cleveland, OH 44127, USA
Email: burningriver@resist.ca
Web: http://www.burningrivercollective.org

NorthStar Anarchist Collective
2441 Lyndale Ave. South
Mpls., MN 55405, USA
Email: mnacollective@yahoo.com
Web: http://www.arampls.com/northstar/

author by Andrew - Anarkismopublication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 22:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Does this mean that just FRAC no longer exists as a federation or that the collectives that formed it (eg Burning River) are also dissolving?

Also I hope you produce some detailed analysis of the whole experience as this can be very useful for others.

author by MaRK - NEFACpublication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 01:40author email kronstadt at juno dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Prior to the last NEFAC conference we received a solidarity message from a platformist comrade from FRAC, and he went into some of his personal observations of what led to the dissolving of the federation. I don't have a copy of it offhand, but if I remember right I think the main issue was a general lack of cohesion and focus for the federation.

From my own limited perspective... I think alot of people were under the impression that FRAC was a platformist group, along with NEFAC and NAF. But in actuality they were much more of a synthesis grouping. A core of the founding members were ex-Love & Rage members, and carried over alot of the ecclectic politics of that group. I also got the impression that FRAC purposely remained ambigious on a number of important issues (revolutionary nationalism, class struggle, etc.) so as to not alienate potential members who identified as a "revolutionary anarchist". When they eventually did try and tighten things up I think it created some tensions which led to some people leaving.

I was closest to the Chicago people, and I know alot of personal issues played into their disbanding, which if I am not mistaken happened awhile back (also, two very active members moved back to Minneapolis and started the North Star Anarchist Collective). I think a general sense of stagnancy also contributed to this.

Lastly, I think alot of people questioned the usefulness of a regional federation, and how such a body would strengthen local anarchist activity. This is something we also struggle with in NEFAC, and continually have to re-evaluate.

Anyways, I would expect the ex-FRAC comrades to re-group in some other capacity and continue forward with solid anarchist organizing and activity -- most likely with a more localized focus -- in the Great Lakes region. Definitely wish them the best of luck in their efforts down the road...

author by JJ, NorthStar (A) Collective - ex-FRACpublication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 11:24author email mnacollective at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

To all dreamers and believers,
I am only speaking in personal capacity as a member from NorthStar Anarchist Collective and I am not speaking for anyone else in NS or ex-FRAC. MaRK hit the nail on the head with a lot of the issues. And it is a project that we will be working on in the future, that is that we will be writing about the lessons learned and how not to make the same mistakes, but also about the lessons we learned for future work in a federation.

First off we were not specifically platformist in name. I would say that although in theory we strived hard to create theoretical, tactical and strategical unity. I would say that the use of terms like platformist are useful when we are discussing the way forward for the anarchist community but it does not always make since when we broaden our resistance and community building to the greater working class struggle. As far as FRAC purposely remaining ambiguous on the issues of revolutionary nationalism it was somewhat on purpose. The reason being is that we have never had a proposal put forward to come to unifying vote on a decided upon answer to this theoretical question. So we would be stomping upon collective members if we put any word out there that was contradictory to the rest of the federation. This however does not mean we have not had some decent debates on this. And it is still something that I think the anarchist community should try and redefine. Such questions come up when we examine the Zapatista movement, a Brits out movement and most anti-colonial and anti-imperialist movements. I believe this is sore spot for a lot of anarchist thought. How do we struggle with these movements while remaining steadfast internationalist (which I believe strongly that we need to remain)?

As far as being class struggle anarchists, is there really any other way? I say that jokingly but we were and are dedicated class struggle anarchists. We didn’t always use the term class struggle but there are many reasons, and one of them is not because we were trying to hide it. But we were and are libertarian-socialist or if you will anarcho-commies (as you will find in our points of unity that we were indeed communist). The fact is that I believe that the term class struggle has become known as something that has changed it’s meaning in the past 100 years. I believe that the class war needs to not differentiate between those who are employed and those who are unemployed such as laid off workers or stay at home parents etc. I also believe that the term historically has encompassed mostly those who are working industrially and not those who are working in healthcare and slaving away at a service job or public sector. Also I believe that FRAC never thought that any struggle should trump another struggle. That is the struggle against capital and the state do not trump the struggle against racism, sexism, heterosexism, war, fundamentalism, environmental destruction, etc. I believe this really starts to get into a false dichotomy then.

Sorry this is long winded but we poured a lot into building this federation.

As far as some basic reasons why we broke up was that we were finding it difficult to expand. And thus we were left with very few collectives to carry forward this kind of revolutionary work. We in the Midwest and Great Lakes region do not have a huge organized class-conscious anarchist community. Or we just would not be in this predicament. Instead of relying on the continuity of a federation we were relying the work of only three collectives and few individual supporters. That is fine in theory but over a three-year span collective individuals have personal problems and family issues and just plain life that gets in the way of being effective. If we were dealing with personal issues in the federation then we would be dealing with that problem for sometime and we then would not be working outwardly. This is something that needs to be done and by doing this it creates family within our movements and we personally grow from this, but it also leads to serious burnout for some people. In the end we were down to just two collectives and we were geographically spread way out, Minneapolis to Cleveland. And this just wasn’t sustainable. We had to be realistic about how much we could accomplish with this makeup. We do not question the need for federation work as we can see it in place historically in Spain (36-), Bolivia, Japan, etc. and now throughout the Chiapas with the Zapatista’s. I personally just feel that at this time for us to be effective we need to build at a more local level. And we have not given up as NorthStar’s are starting to build a spokes council (federation work) here in the Twin Cities.


Please sisters and brothers keep fighting for a new world, we are still with you, we just took a fall, we will get back up,

JJ,
NorthStar Anarchist Collective

author by Kim Keyserpublication date Fri Jul 08, 2005 04:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear JJ and other libertarians

I´m sorry to hear the break up of FRAC. However, I do not know if it should be considered such a devastating fall. (Okey, before I say anything more: I do not know very well the establishment, development or decline of FRAC. What I know is just through the net. Therefore I might be wrong in my impression of it, but the ensuing text nevertheless has important general remarks), The reason why I´m saying this is that clinging onto something that just ain´t good enough for the situation will not be furthering our case -that´s a fall. But realizing -after selv-evaluation- that one needs to do things another way might imply a victory (altough it may feel really bitter).

I do NOT want this new promising anarcho-communist tendency to go through a similar development like the International Socialist Tendency (which I was a member of in Norway and which is/used to be represented by ISO in the US). They had a quite dramatic rise in the sixties and has since not managed to grow significantly.

Here in No(r)way I remember the annual meeting reporting economic hardship and a severe loss in members (and thus money). However, the period they had lost members was in one they characterized with the term "anticapitalistic mood" (which amongst other things should´ve implied that people were more open to their ideas) - an apparent contradiction. Either the period was not characterized by anticapitalist mood or the organization was doing something wrong (because they lost members in a period they themselves thought they´d be getting more members). They didn´t change their analysis on the "anticapitalist mood" or their way of running the organization. Thus, the only outcome was (further) marginalization. It seems many IST sections around the world also are sinking into (further) irrevelance.

The only way to prevent such disasters is to continously re-evaluate our theory and praxis in a self-critical manner. It often requires strenuous honesty and boldness, but it needs to get done! And if this new thing don´t work, we have to try another, and another,and..., until we find the solution. This we owe to both our selves and the rest of the world.

Also, organizations need a proper and stable foundation to start from. Like my late anarchist partner Beyer-Arnesen wrote: To build the organizational foundation requires time and is most challenging, but from this the whole organizations future depends. (I couldn´t remember his exact words -but it was similar in content).

In solidarity -Kim (Norway)

 
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