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Especifismo: The Anarchist Praxis of Building Popular Movements and Revolutionary Organization

category international | anarchist movement | feature author Sunday March 18, 2007 18:08author by Northeastern Anarchist - NEFACauthor email northeastern_anarchist at yahoo dot comauthor address PO Box 230685, Boston, MA 02123, USA Report this post to the editors

Throughout the world anarchist involvement within mass movements as well the development of specifically anarchist organizations is on the upsurge. This trend is helping anarchism regain legitimacy as a dynamic political force within movements and in this light, Especifismo, a concept born out of nearly 50 years of anarchist experiences in South America, is gaining currency world-wide. Though many anarchists may be familiar with many of Especifismo’s ideas, it should be defined as an original contribution to anarchist thought and practice.

The praxis of Especifismo is a living, developed practice, and arguably a much more relevant and contemporary theory, emerging as it does out of 50 years of anarchist organizing. Arising from the southern cone of Latin America, but its influence spreading throughout, the ideas of Especifismo do not spring from any call-out or single document, but have come organically out of the movements of the global south that are leading the fight against international capitalism and setting examples for movements worldwide.

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Especifismo: The Anarchist Praxis of Building Popular Movements and Revolutionary Organization in South America

by Adam Weaver

Throughout the world anarchist involvement within mass movements as well the development of specifically anarchist organizations is on the upsurge. This trend is helping anarchism regain legitimacy as a dynamic political force within movements and in this light, Especifismo, a concept born out of nearly 50 years of anarchist experiences in South America, is gaining currency world-wide. Though many anarchists may be familiar with many of Especifismo’s ideas, it should be defined as an original contribution to anarchist thought and practice.

The first organization to promote the concept of Especifismo—then more a practice than a developed ideology—was the Federación Anarquista Uruguaya (FAU), founded in 1956 by anarchist militants who embraced the idea of an organization which was specifically anarchist. Surviving the dictatorship in Uruguay, the FAU emerged in the mid-1980s to establish contact with and influence other South American anarchist revolutionaries. The FAU’s work helped support the founding of the Federação Anarquista Gaúcha (FAG), the Federação Anarquista Cabocla (FACA), and the Federação Anarquista do Rio de Janeiro (FARJ) in their respective regions of Brazil, and the Argentinean organization Auca (Rebel).

While the key concepts of Especifismo will be expanded upon further in this article, it can be summarized in three succinct points:
  1. The need for specifically anarchist organization built around a unity of ideas and praxis.
  2. The use of the specifically anarchist organization to theorize and develop strategic political and organizing work.
  3. Active involvement in and building of autonomous and popular social movements, which is described as the process of "social insertion."

A Brief Historical Perspective

While only coming onto the stage of Latin American anarchism within the last few decades, the ideas inherent within Especifismo touch on a historic thread running within the anarchist movement internationally. The most well known would be the Platformist current, which began with the publishing of the “Organizational Platform of the Libertarian Communists.” This document was written in 1926 by former peasant army leader Nestor Makhno, Ida Mett and other militants of the Dielo Trouda (Workers’ Cause) group, based around the newspaper of the same name (Skirda, 192-213). Exiles of the Russian revolution, the Paris-based Dielo Trouda criticized the anarchist movement for its lack of organization, which prevented a concerted response to Bolshevik machinations towards turning the workers’ soviets into instruments of one-party rule. The alternative they proposed was a "General Union of Anarchists" based on Anarchist-Communism, which would strive for "theoretical and tactical unity" and focus on class struggle and labor unions.

Other similar occurrences of ideas include “Organizational Dualism,” which is mentioned in historical documents of the 1920's Italian anarchist movement. Italian anarchists used this term to describe the involvement of anarchists both as members of an anarchist political organization and as militants in the labor movement (FdCA). In Spain, the Friends of Durruti group emerged to oppose the gradual reversal of the Spanish Revolution of 1936 (Guillamon). In "Towards a Fresh Revolution" they emulated some of the ideas of the Platform, critiquing the CNT-FAI's gradual reformism and collaboration with the Republican government, which they argued contributed to the defeat of the anti-fascist and revolutionary forces. Influential organizations in the Chinese anarchist movement of the 1910's, such as the Wuzhengfu-Gongchan Zhuyi Tongshi Che (Society of Anarchist-Communist Comrades), advocated similar ideas (Krebs). While these different currents all have specific characteristics that developed from the movements and countries in which they originated, they all share a common thread that crosses movements, eras, and continents.

Especifismo Elaborated

The Especifists put forward three main thrusts to their politics, the first two being on the level of organization. By raising the need for a specifically anarchist organization built around a unity of ideas and praxis, the Especifists inherently state their objection to the idea of a synthesis organization of revolutionaries or multiple currents of anarchists loosely united. They characterize this form of organization as creating an

exacerbated search for the needed unity of anarchists to the point in which unity is preferred at any cost, in the fear of risking positions, ideas and proposals sometimes irreconcilable. The result of these types of union are libertarian collectives without much more in common than considering themselves anarchists. (En La Calle)

While these critiques have been elaborated by the South American Especifistas, North American anarchists have also offered their experiences of synthesis organization as lacking any cohesiveness due to multiple, contradictory political tendencies. Often the basic agreement of the group boils down to a vague, "least-common-denominator" politics, leaving little room for united action or developed political discussion among comrades.

Without a strategy that stems from common political agreement, revolutionary organizations are bound to be an affair of reactivism against the continual manifestations of oppression and injustice and a cycle of fruitless actions to be repeated over and over, with little analysis or understanding of their consequences (Featherstone et al). Further, the Especifists criticize these tendencies for being driven by spontaneity and individualism and for not leading to the serious, systematic work needed to build revolutionary movements. The Latin American revolutionaries put forward that organizations which lack a program

which resists any discipline between militants, that refuses to 'define itself', or to 'fit itself', ... [are a] direct descendant of bourgeois liberalism, [which] only reacts to strong stimulus, joins the struggle only in its heightened moments, denying to work continuously, especially in moments of relative rest between the struggles (En La Calle).

A particular stress of the Especifismo praxis is the role of anarchist organization, formed on the basis of shared politics, as a space for the development of common strategy and reflection on the group’s organizing work. Sustained by collective responsibility to the organizations’ plans and work, a trust within the members and groups is built that allows for a deep, high-level discussion of their action. This allows the organization to create collective analysis, develop immediate and long term goals, and continually reflect on and change their work based on the lessons gained and circumstances.

From these practices and from the basis of their ideological principles, revolutionary organizations should seek to create a program that defines their short- and intermediate-term goals and will work towards their long-term objectives:

The program must come from a rigorous analysis of society and the correlation of the forces that are part of it. It must have as a foundation the experience of the struggle of the oppressed and their aspirations, and from those elements it must set the goals and the tasks to be followed by the revolutionary organization in order to succeed not only in the final objective but also in the immediate ones. (En La Calle)

The last point, but one that is key within the practice of Especifismo, is the idea of “social insertion.” (1) It stems from the belief that the oppressed are the most revolutionary sector of society, and that the seed of the future revolutionary transformation of society lies already in these classes and social groupings. Social insertion means anarchist involvement in the daily fights of the oppressed and working classes. It does not mean acting within single-issue advocacy campaigns based around the involvement of expected traditional political activists, but rather within movements of people struggling to better their own condition, which come together not always out of exclusively materially-based needs, but also socially and historically rooted needs of resisting the attacks of the state and capitalism. These would include rank-and-file-led workers’ movements, immigrant communities’ movements to demand legalized status, neighborhood organizations’ resistance to the brutality and killings by police, working class students’ fights against budget cuts, and poor and unemployed people’s opposition to evictions and service cuts.

Through daily struggles, the oppressed become a conscious force. The class-in-itself, or rather classes-in-themselves (defined beyond the class-reductionist vision of the urban industrial proletariat, to include all oppressed groups within society that have a material stake in a new society), are tempered, tested, and recreated through these daily struggles over immediate needs into classes-for-themselves. That is, they change from social classes and groups that exist objectively and by the fact of social relations, to social forces. Brought together by organic methods, and at many times by their own self-organizational cohesion, they become self-conscious actors aware of their power, voice and their intrinsic nemeses: ruling elites who wield control over the power structures of the modern social order.

Examples of social insertion that the FAG cites are their work with neighborhood committees in urban villages and slums (called Popular Resistance Committees), building alliances with rank-and-file members of the rural landless workers’ movement of the MST, and among trash and recyclables collectors. Due to high levels of temporary and contingent employment, underemployment, and unemployment in Brazil, a significant portion of the working class does not survive primarily through wage labor, but rather by subsistence work and the informal economy, such as casual construction work, street vending, or the collection of trash and recyclables. Through several years of work, the FAG has built a strong relationship with urban trash collectors, called catadores. Members of the FAG have supported them in forming their own national organization which is working to mobilize trash collectors around their interests nationally and to raise money toward building a collectively operated recycling operation. (2)

Especifismo’s conception of the relation of ideas to the popular movement is that they should not be imposed through a leadership, through "mass line," or by intellectuals. Anarchist militants should not attempt to move movements into proclaiming an “anarchist” position, but should instead work to preserve their anarchist thrust; that is, their natural tendency to be self-organized and to militantly fight for their own interests. This assumes the perspective that social movements will reach their own logic of creating revolution, not when they as a whole necessarily reach the point of being self-identified "anarchists," but when as a whole (or at least an overwhelming majority) they reach the consciousness of their own power and exercise this power in their daily lives, in a way consciously adopting the ideas of anarchism. An additional role of the anarchist militant within the social movements, according to the Especifists, is to address the multiple political currents that will exist within movements and to actively combat the opportunistic elements of vanguardism and electoral politics.

Especifismo in the context of North American and Western Anarchism

Within the current strands of organized and revolutionary North American and Western Anarchism, numerous indicators point to the inspiration and influence of the Platform as having the greatest impact in the recent blossoming of class struggle anarchist organizations world-wide. Many see the Platform as a historical document that speaks to the previous century’s organizational failures of anarchism within global revolutionary movements, and are moved to define themselves as acting within the "platformist tradition". Given this, the currents of Especifismo and Platformism are deserving of comparison and contrast.

The authors of the Platform were veteran partisans of the Russian Revolution. They helped lead a peasant guerilla war against Western European armies and later the Bolsheviks in the Ukraine, whose people had a history independent of the Russian Empire. So the writers of the Platform certainly spoke from a wealth of experience and to the historical context of one of their era’s pivotal struggles. But the document made little headway in its proposal of uniting class struggle anarchists, and is markedly silent in analysis or understanding on numerous key questions that faced revolutionaries at that time, such as the oppression of women, and colonialism.

While most Anarchist-Communist oriented organizations claim influence by the Platform today, in retrospect it can be looked at as a poignant statement that rose from the morass that befell much of anarchism following the Russian Revolution. As a historical project, the Platform’s proposal and basic ideas were largely rejected by individualistic tendencies in the Anarchist movement, were misunderstood because of language barriers as some claim (Skirda, 186), or never reached supportive elements or organizations that would have united around the document. In 1927, the Dielo Trouda group did host a small international conference of supporters in France, but it was quickly disrupted by the authorities.

In comparison, the praxis of Especifismo is a living, developed practice, and arguably a much more relevant and contemporary theory, emerging as it does out of 50 years of anarchist organizing. Arising from the southern cone of Latin America, but its influence spreading throughout, the ideas of Especifismo do not spring from any call-out or single document, but have come organically out of the movements of the global south that are leading the fight against international capitalism and setting examples for movements worldwide. On organization, the Especifists call for a far deeper basis of anarchist organization than the Platform’s "theoretical and tactical unity," but a strategic program based on analysis that guides the actions of revolutionaries. They provide us living examples of revolutionary organization based on the needs for common analysis, shared theory, and firm roots within the social movements.

I believe there is much to take inspiration from within the tradition of Especifismo, not only on a global scale, but particularly for North American class-struggle anarchists and for multi-racial revolutionaries within the US. Whereas the Platform can be easily read as seeing anarchists’ role as narrowly and most centrally within labor unions, Especifismo gives us a living example that we can look towards and which speaks more meaningfully to our work in building a revolutionary movement today. Taking this all into consideration, I also hope that this article can help us more concretely reflect on how we as a movement define and shape our traditions and influences.

[NOTE: This is the final version of the above article. A slightly different copy, we regret, appears in the print version of the Northeastern Anarchist, and may also be in electronic circulation. Please refer to this final version in any citations.]


1. While "social insertion" is a term coming directly out of the texts of Especifismo influenced organizations, comrades of mine have taken issue with it. So before there is a rush towards an uncritical embrace of anything, perhaps there could be a discussion of this term.

2. Eduardo, then Secretary of External Relations for Brazilian FAG. "Saudacoes Libertarias dos E.U.A." E-mail to Pedro Ribeiro. 25 Jun 2004


En La Calle (Unsigned article). "La Necesidad de Un Proyecto Propio, Acerca de la importancia del programa en la organizacion polilitica libertaria” or “The Necessity of Our Own Project, On the importance of a program in the libertarian political organization." En La Calle, published by the Argeninian OSL (Organización Socialista Libertaria) Jun 2001. 22 Dec 2005. Translation by Pedro Ribeiro.

Original Portuguese or English

Featherstone, Liza, Doug Henwood and Christian Parenti."Left-Wing Anti-intellectualism and its discontents" Lip Magazine 11 Nov 2004. 22 Dec 2005 .

Guillamon, Agustin. The Friends of Durruti Group: 1937-1939. San Francisco: AK Press, 1996.

Krebs, Edward S. Shifu, the Soul of Chinese Anarchism. Landham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998.

Northeastern Anarchist. The Global Influence of Platformism Today by The Federation of Northeastern Anarchist Communists (Johannesburg, South Africa: Zabalaza Books, 2003), 24. Interview with Italian Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici.

Skirda, Alexandre. Facing the Enemy, A History of Anarchist Organization from Proudhon to May 1968. Oakland, CA: AK Press 2002.

Adam Weaver is an anarchist-communist from San Jose, CA.
This essay is from the newest issue of 'The Northeastern Anarchist' (#11)... which includes essays on Magonism and the CIPO-RFM, Especifismo, Organizational Dualism, the Quebec 'national question', participatory economics, and much more!

The Northeastern Anarchist is the English-language magazine of the Northeastern Federation of Anarchist-Communists (NEFAC), covering class struggle anarchist theory, history, strategy, debate and analysis in an effort to further develop anarchist-communist ideas and practice.


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author by Andrewpublication date Wed May 10, 2006 04:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't get the concluding bit that seems to be trying to set up a 'platform' V 'Especifismo' division. In reality the movements that use these labels developed in isolation from each other and where in recent years they have connected far from arguing about which is the better term etc they have recognised that both belong to a common tendency in anarchist communism that in fact predates the platform. If anything we've moved towards claiming the term anarchist communism. is an example of this in action involving groups that use either and indeed both labels. It's why out Editorial statement opens with "We identify ourselves as anarchists and with the "platformist", anarchist-communist or especifista tradition of anarchism. We broadly identify with the theoretical base of this tradition and the organisational practice it argues for, but not necessarily everything else it has done or said, so it is a starting point for our politics and not an end point.". Note this phraseology has also been adopted by the WSM for our points of agreement.

author by rafael - anarkismo.netpublication date Wed May 10, 2006 05:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Seria possível traduzir este artigo para o portugues ou espanhol???

author by --------- - ------------publication date Wed May 10, 2006 13:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Anyone can traslate to portuguese this text???
Es possible traduzir-lo para lo porttugues?
Alguem pode traduzir esse texto pro portugues??

author by prec@riatpublication date Fri May 12, 2006 20:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To me, especifismo, as presented in this article, seems to have more ideational affinity with class-struggle insurrectionary anarchism than the platformist tradition per se.
Substitute "especifisto revolutionary organization" with "insurrectionary anarchist affinity group (perhaps with 'some notes on insurrectionary anarchism' as the groups 'platform'" and "social insertion" with "anarchist intervention" and one begins to see what i mean.
A possible important difference I'd be interested in exploring would be whether especifista organizations have been 'open' or 'closed' collectives and how this related to "social insertion", historically.

author by Pedro Ribeiropublication date Fri May 12, 2006 23:40author email socialismandfreedom at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

First, in English.
Especifismo is not insurectionist and I fail to see how comrade prec@riat came to such conclusion. As a closed comrade of Adam and one of the people that looked over that document before it was publish, it rather disturbed me that someone would take THAT out of the text. If you could expand on why you believe so it would be a great help, so we can correct any misunderstandings that might exist.

E em portugues.
Compa rafael,
Meu nome eh Pedro Paulo, e eu ajudei a revisar esse texto. Eu estou trabalhando numa traducao (eu devia ter mandado uma copia para o Compa Eduardo que era o secretario de relacoes da FAG, mas meu computador pifou tantas vezes, e tada vez eu tinha que comecar de novo. Alem do mais, como vc pode ver, meu computador naum tem portugues, entaum fica dificil de ler por que eu naum posso acentuar nada.
Se vcs acharem outra pessoa que possa traduzir mais rapido e eficazmente, eu recomendo, por que tempo tambem eh um problema pra mim. Senaum, eu vou tentar terminar essa traducao o mais rapido possivel

author by Adam Weaverpublication date Sat May 13, 2006 08:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree with you that the convergence of platformism and especifismo is positive for our movements. The term anarchist-communist seems to be being reshaped, as many are ascribing a whole set of ideas and politics that haven't necessarily previously always been associated with it to my knowledge. It seems to me that the different types of anarchism have mostly been schools of thought rather than developed strategies for revolution.

What's exciting is that so many are struggling to develop analysis and strategy that speaks to today's context as part of Anarchist-Communism.

Getting to the heart of your comment, next to giving a basic description of the politics and history of Especifismo, my goal was to put it into historical context. I wanted to raise up for discussion and debate how we see all these different tendancies throughout history and relate them to ourselves currently- why do we call our selves Platformists and Especifists as opposed to Organizational Dualists or Shifuists? By what measure do we use to define what we consider our political legacy and which to claim inspiration from?

Now the comments I made on the weaknesses of the platform as a document and a project are not an attempt to denigrate them for the benefit of Especifismo (though I'm sure one could construe this), but to help us better understand, respect and critique each of them for what they are.

author by mkpublication date Tue May 16, 2006 23:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Can anyone explain the differences of anarchist communism to libertarian municipalism (the non-electoralist types)?

I mean, as far as I know, zapatista villages in mexican revolution, and Chiapas 'municipios en rebeldía' had and have much in common with libmun. In fact the spanish revolution in the rural areas is often stated as beign inspirated by existing communitarianists roots that existed even before than unions.

Another scheme could be this one:

Libertarian socialism types:
-anarchist communism
-revolutionary unionism
-lib. municipalism
-agrarismo, zapatismo (mexican rev.)
-council communism

I think is enough time we could coordinate all this ideas into a coherent set of ideas. The platform could be a beginning for this path. A libertarian socialist strategy could well coordinate mutualism and coops with anarcho-syndicalism and anarchist communist political action within the current capitalist society; council communism in the industrial world, libertarian municipalism in the countryside in the hypotetical anarchist future...

author by Tom Wetzel - WSA (personal capacity)publication date Thu May 18, 2006 04:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I had an opportunity to discuss & observe the FAG's politics for a few days in 2003 in Porto Alegre. I found that the strategic conception of my own organization, Workers Solidarity Alliance, was very similar to that of the FAG. FAG distinguishes the role of the organization of revolutionaries -- the "specifically" anarchist organization (hence "especificismo") -- from the mass organizations, such as unions, neighborhood groups, student groups. The FAG is active within the Resistencia Popular, which is an alliance of a number of small mass organizations, not specifically anarchist but with a left-libertarian character, such as oppositional groups in the CUT unions, independent worker associations like the scavengers' association, barrio committees, etc. FAG does not emphasize public actions by the FAG itself as they view that as "vanguardist." Rather, their strategic vision is for involvement within the mass organizations. That's because they see liberation as an act of the class en masse, not an act of a political minority. I agree with Pedro that the FAG is not insurrectionist. I guess my main disagreement with both platformism and especificismo is not the strategy but the aim since i'm not a communist. On the other hand, I don't agree with the poster here who suggests mutualism as an aim, since that would imply acceptance of a market economy and private (albeit collective) property.

author by MaRK - NEFACpublication date Fri May 19, 2006 01:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you are against market economics wouldn't that imply that you are *for communism*..?

author by Phebus - NEFACpublication date Fri May 19, 2006 05:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

While I'm reading this (and other essay about that coming out of North America) I cant help but wonder "What's so new about Espefismo"?

I mean, it's a rather classical pro-organisation social anarchist vision. Is that really different from Bakounine or Malatesta vision and actual practice?

While not presented as a coherent ideology, it seem clear to me that european anarchism have developped a similar practice over the years. I mean, this is really close to some of the proposals and practice of most french and italian organisations.

author by Tom Wetzel - WSA (personal capacity)publication date Fri May 19, 2006 12:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To answer Mark's question: Communism is not the only concept of a non-market, socialized economy based on self-management. Participatory economics is a form of non-market generalized self-management, but it isn't communist as this is usually understood since it uses prices and able-bodied adults are remunerated on the basis of their work effort & sacrifices. It's not the case that everything is "free". I've discused the limitations of libertarian communism, and how i believe that participatory economics provides a better answer, in my essay at:

But, actually, the new issue of NEA has much the same material in my article there.

Now, of course, it's certainly true that parecon is an evolution out of the libertarian communist tradition. They're sort of close cousins. If you use "communism" loosely enough, you could regard parecon as just a form of libcom.

author by prole cat - ctc (personal capacity)publication date Wed May 24, 2006 19:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some have argued that, since parecon "uses prices and (workers) are remunerated on the basis of their work effort & sacrifices", it is not really a "non-market" economy.

author by NY WSApublication date Wed May 24, 2006 20:35author email wsany at hotmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

TUESDAY, MAY 30 - 7 p.m.
339 LAFAYETTE STREET (corner of Bleecker Street)


"Anarchism, Workers' Liberation and Economic Vision for a Post-Capitalist Society"

talk by Tom Wetzel, Workers Solidarity Alliance--Bay Area

Tom's talk will deal with alternative models for a future society posed by class struggle anarchists, including participatory economics (parecon). Please bring your ideas and inspiration to contribute to the discussion.

Tom is a long time labor and community activist, and is a founder of the San Francisco Community Land Trust, and orgnizer of the recent fare strike in SF. He is currently a free lance writer and a regular contributor to ZNet. He is working on a book about self-management and the labor movement.

author by Tom Wetzel - WSA (personal capacity)publication date Thu May 25, 2006 07:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To reply to prole cat briefly: It is entirely fallacious to infer that parecon is based on markets because it uses prices and remuneration for effort & sacrifice in socially useful work.

Prices emerge in a planning process
in parecon through people expressing their priorities for various productive outcomes. Prices are simply a measure of relative importance to people of the resources used and the outcomes. Without this, there cannot possibly be an effective economy. That's precisely why libcom, if interpreted strictly as a moneyless economy, simply won't work.
Parecon is a non-market economy governed by a social plan. One of the defects of libcom is that advocates of it have never provided a coherent answer to the question of allocation of labor time and resources in production. Market and plan are the only alternatives. Parecon is a planned economy. What is libcom?

author by ipsiphipublication date Sun Jun 04, 2006 08:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thank you.
However, I don't believe that the organic development of especifismo was so different from any other anarchist tradition as to be considered "better" for contemporary purposes of North American anarchist organisation or "multi-racial revolutionaries" in the USA as I understand the author to be suggesting.
I would not so quickly dismiss the platform or even the lasting effect of certain members of the CNT/FAI co-operation with the 2nd republic. At least not without assessing the positions of the CNT/FAI since their return to legal status 1978, and comparing same with the illegalisation of FAU in Paraguay & how that affected their ideas & memory of same.

There is always a difference in praxis of any anarchist grouping and also of rhetoric or "call to new supporters" set by the background state's legal (&/or) criminalisation / oppression status.
I believe we are all moving in the right direction globally, and more unites our struggles as anarchists within or without other leftwing organised campaigns than seperates us. May we all be "thankful" we are not facing dicatorships such as that of Uraguay in the 1950's or war such as usurped the 2nd Spanish republic.

That much said - great article! food for thought - thanks.

author by Pat Murtaghpublication date Sun Jun 04, 2006 10:05author email murtaghpatrick at hotmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

There's a lot to agree with and disagree with in the above posts. At least one disagreement is obvious. The SA comrades are NOT "insurrectionist" in any meaningful definition of the word. They do NOT believe in "exemplary violent acts" but rather in building the capacity of ordinary people to manage their own affairs.
Another agreement is also obvious, though some may take it as not so. The SA comrades see their "field of action" not just in the classical "working class" but also amongst the self-employed, the marginals, the semi-employed of SA. They help to create what are actually "mutualist" forms of action amongst such people as the scavengers of Brazil and Argentina. In many countries of SA the traditional "working class" as defined in Marxist terms are a small minority. The SA comrades orient themselves to the reality of their societies.
Which brings me to my question. My first experience with "especifisismo" via their propaganda was NOT that they advocated a "seperate anarchist organization", an obvious take on the word but rather that they saw the class structure of SA as something quite different from that of the "developed world" in the manner that I have described above. They have, if you examine their actions, much more contributed to a mutualist practice than to a traditional syndicalist practice-let alone an anarcho-communist practice. The terms are indeed different. They all come together in the form of an anarchism that advocates organization whatever the economic theory that the individuals hold to.
The question is: how do you square the circle of the actual "policy" of the SA anarchists ie what they do from day to day with the idea that they are "orthodox anarcho-communists" ?
Puzzle it out.

author by José Antonio Gutiérrez - Anarkismopublication date Mon Jun 05, 2006 04:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Interesting article, but in fairness, I would agree with Nicholas Phebus that nothing, absolutely nothing of what is stated in the article itself ("social insertion", specific anarchist organisation and role in broader popular movements and organisations) is new to the revolutionary tradition of anarchism. You have only to read the classical authors of anarchism (Bakunin, Carlo Cafiero and so on), and check out their practice to realise that. I believe that "Especifismo" is nothing but a return to the revolutionary spirit of anarchism in times when anarchism is becoming again a relevant revolutionary alternative to the exploited around the world.

That is the point that brings close together Platformism and Especifismo, for the two of them spring out of a critical evaluation of the role of anarchism in the past, examines strenghts and weaknesses and proposes an strategy with an eye on the set of basic principles of anarchism. True that the historical context in which them both were born were different, but have something in common: an experience of defeat and harsh repression (Russia in the early 20s Latin America through the 70s -though the FAU is born in the 50s the current approach is crystalised in the post-dictatorship period), that leads to try to look for the mistakes and learn from them.

That´s probably the most important thing to learn from Especifismo and Platformism: the critical spirit and the strong class struggle and popular approach. But I am a declared enemy of trying to import mechanically revolutionary approaches to different times and places: I think it is quite dangerous the temptation of saying "this works in Brasil, therefore it will work in the US". Things, unfortunately, are not quite easy when it comes to build up a popular movement. It is not an issue of saying "Especifismo" or "Platformism" (both belonging to the same tradition) are more or less relevant to the movement in the US. It is a matter of learning from other traditions, but being aware of the local circumstances and needs.

From that point of view, the most important thing to learn from Especifismo is not the "general theory" (for it is only a return to the basics of revolutionary anarchism) but the particular way in which they have dealt in implementing an anarchist alternative for struggle in their own reality, as it was mentioned, a reality with high percentages of the population surviving in the informal sector of economy, for example, that is strikingly different to the context of the First World for instance. This is what really makes Especifismo something new.

Going now on with the discussion, I want to disagree strongly with the idea that "Especifistas" are close to insurrectionism... hell no, that´s ludicrous. It is obvious, and not only that they´re not insurrectionist, but they would be strongly oppossed to it as they reject acts isolated from the masses.

I want to disagree as well with the comrade that says that "Especifismo" has more to do with "mutualism", for "mutualism" is a political strategy that relies on the progressive and pacific change of society through "good example" (being a bit reductionist). Though "Especifismo" has developed some practices that could be labeled as "mutualists", this tradition is quite clear and insistent on the need to struggle and prepare for revolutionary changes. "Mutualist" practices are quite natural in countries with no social security at all. But this is not, as far as I know, the revolutionary strategy of no group labeled as "Especifista" -FAU, FAG, etc...

Because of the above mentioned, you could still say that they are "orthodox anarchist communists", though applying the theory to their own realities and needs.

ps. "Anarco-Comunista" is a term that we used in South America to describe the local Platformist tradition, for in Spanish at least, "Plataformista" sounds dreadful...

author by Tom Wetzel - WSA (personal capacity)publication date Thu Jun 15, 2006 09:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have to disagree with Pat Murtagh's
claim that the South American especifistas
are mutualist rather than syndicalist.
The scavenger's association may have
some cooperative-like functions but it also
has union-like functions. And the other
organizations that I heard of in Porto
Alegre when I was there were opposition
groups in the CUT unions and barrio
committees, rooted often in land seizures.
The aim seemed to be to develop mass
organizations of struggle, not cooperative

author by Pat Murtaghpublication date Mon Jun 19, 2006 13:35author email murtaghpatrick at hotmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you will look back to what I originally posted I never said that the especificists were "mutualists" rather than "syndicalists" in the sense that the theory they adhere to (an "ism" of any name) is one or the other. They obviously are NOT mutualists in terms of their theory. What I was saying is what they actually do rather than what they believe is mutualist rather than "traditional syndicalist" (though mutualists have ALWAYS believed in the mechanism of syndicalism to reach a transition point to their cooperatives.).
To name the organization of self employed people as "syndicalist" or "unionist" rather than mutualist stretches the term "syndicalism" or "unionism" beyond all recognition as it means essentially that ALL self organization of the people can be labelled as "syndicalist" or "unionist". I don't think this is useful because it leads to an "apoloclyptic temptation", the idea that "opposition" is all that counts in preparation for a "final showdown" rather than patient construction of alternatives.
In a "mutualist" view of syndicalism the unions gradually take on more and more of the character of cooperatives as they gain more and more power vis-a-vis the employers. It's a continuum where there is no one point that is "unionism" pure and simple and another that is "cooperative" pure and simple.
Similarily the actions of building up cooperative action within neighbourhoods is seen in mutualist terms as the foundation of a "plurality" of insitutions of civil society that can ally themselves to form local governing bodies as an alternative to the state. But the various organs of cooperationj would retain an independent existence as a "counterbalance" to some all powerful "general assembly", something that orthodox anarcho-communists often advocate without examining the problems that might (and have) result.
The phenomenum of people believing one thing while doing something else is hardly a new thing, and it is particularily easy if there is no obvious logical contradiction between the beliefs and the actions and if such differences that exist can be ignored or argued away.
I'm certainly NOT argueing that the SA comrades are mutualists in theory. far from it. What I am saying is that their actions are "mutualist" almost by necessity given their circumstances.
Pat the M.

author by Tom Wetzel - WSA (personal capacity)publication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 01:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't see Pat M.'s use of the term "mutualist" as being at all helpful. Mutualism is a vision of a different economic arrangement...essentially a form of market socialism based on cooperatives. If we are to try to understand what that would be in terms of strategy, it seems to me obviously that it would be a practice of forming cooperatives. This differs from a strategy of forming mass self-managed organizations of struggle as prefigurative of a society based on self-management...that's what syndicalism is. Mutualism is also inconsistent with libertarian communism which is what especificistas see as their aim. That's because communism is inconsistent with a market economy.

author by Pat Murtaghpublication date Wed Jun 21, 2006 16:16author email murtaghpatrick at hotmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Labels may indeed be useful. I have to state my prejudices here and now to make this discussion even slightly realistic. I describe myself as a "mutualist" even though I have no great over-riding economic scheme that I wish to inlict upon the world. I am fully aware that there are many things that should be provided in a "communistic" fashion ie free to all, as opposed to the 'market scheme' that parecon actually is (ie a market of consumption that depends upon the impossibility of determining of determining 'individual contribution' with a 'labour cheque' attached to it). The anarchocommunists dealt with the unreality of this scheme over 100 years ago in the dispute between "collectivism" and "communism". To my mind parecon is a ressurection of the collectivism that was rejected by anarchism long ago, with the addition of the "planners" that will present the assemblies with the data that they will make their decisions from. Those who you have debated in the past from the anarcho-communists are as well aware of this distinction as I am, and I agree with them; "Parecon" is NOT anarcho-communism".
To me that is neither here nor there. I look for "general agreement" for the near future and in that outlook anarchocommunists, partial market anarchists such as the believers in Parecon, fully free market mutualists such as Kevin Carson and very eclectic people such as myself will ALWAYS advocate almost exactly the same things. There is NO difference.
Where we differ, and where I believe that saying things are as they are, rather than disguising matters by pretending that independent "scavengers" are "workers" in the usual leftist terminology, is in the medium term of "failed revolutions". That is ALL that ANY of us have EVER seen, and I would predict that it is ALL that we will EVER see. In those situations clarity becomes important, as it has been in Argentina, and the goal of anarchism should be be stabilize a situation at a point that is "less than revolution" but "more than what was before". Revolutionism and fixation on "ultimate goals" are a positive detriment to working within such situations.
In such situations the "romance of revolution" says that we should ally ourselves with the Leninists who believe in the same romance, and,because they are usually more numerous, that we should mindlessly support them. At the same time this "romance" says that there is ONLY one other alternative that we should mindlessly support; the initiatives of the much more numerous social democratic left (a lot of whom are Leninists who act as social democrats-say one thing and do another;have I said this before?).
The ultimate goal- well I'll leave that to the imagination of those who imagine that they will be alive to see it. At the present time the mutualists that I am associated with are VERY much in favour of "building organizations of popular struggle", just as the mutualists who formed the majority !!! of the First International as opposed to the English trade unionists and the Marxist sect that eventually captured that organization. The "immediate goals" of mutualists are exactly the same as those of any other socialist anarchists. Where we differ is not so much in terms of the "ultimate goal",distant as it is, but even more so in terms of what we are willing to sacrifice in the here and now for the sake of an ever receding future.,
This is why we are generally "gradualists", and also why we don't subscibe to a great theory. We are more than slightly aware of the reality of human nature, and we prefer the idea of "muddling through" as opposed to the institution of "one way", whatever it may be.
Very few of us, myself included, are opposed to "parecon', as opposed to anarcho-communism. What we see is the value of competing systems that could check the abuses of one or the other system,including some systems that are anathema in orthodox anarchist discourse.
As I said before, this is hardly "useful" in the here and now, but it may become VERY useful if anarchism should ever overcome its marginality and be able to manouevre in "real politics". At that point a clear idea of a pluralistic approach that avoids social democratic solutions becomes a NECESSITY and NOT a luxury. This is far short of the "anarchist revolution". So what. The history of Parecon, at least in terms of its leading spokesmen, to my mind shows VERY clearly how this "one track" thinking has led to capitulation to social democracy, at least in the case of Bazil.
Our comrades in Brazil are OPPOSED to the government that Z-Net has gone through many convolutions to glorify. Look back and judge from there. As a SA comrade has mentioned(on this board), the "actions" of our comrades there may have been mutualist, whatever the theory, because the REALITY of SA is as it is. I see NO problem with "defending the interests of independent businesses" (as the scavengers of SA are) because these are the people there, and redefing them as "workers" is to my mind merely a trick of rhetoric.
Perhaps the argument between Tom and myself is merely a matter of language as I am sure that we would be in perfect accord as to "what is to be done" in our present societies. All that I wanted to point out in my orginal post is that the stategy evolved by "especificismo" is very much mutualist, as it HAS to be in the conditions of SA. It was an observation that is as little in contradiction to the way that present day mutualists see the world as the fact that we are almost always "good syndicalists". In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. I'm afraid that I am unaware of any mutualists who differ much from us. I'm sure they exist, but they are very much an endangered species. Guess I haven't searched enough. It is best not to disguise this reality as it may have something to say to us in other countries.
I'd like to close by saying that it is VERY easy for me to pick apart ANY scheme for an alternative to what most people on this board would describe as "capitalism" and what I would describe as "mature managerial society that has found a balance" Anybody of moderate intelligence could find the holes in ANY single alternative. They actually do such a thing all the time, which is one of the many reasons that anarchism "leaks adherants" at the same rate as the Trots do for different reasons.
I see the value in parecon, just as I see the value in anarcho-communism. It's just that I can't totally believe in either, or any other scheme, as the ONE AND ONLY way to order a society, and I would hope that there would be NO "one and only" because of the failures of all such schemes. I am still "Marxist" enough to believe that the value of "pluralism" that came to be with the triumph of managerialism over capitalism (bite me now) is something well worth preserving as it is "progress". I can envision MANY anarchist socities that would be worse than what we have now because they lacked this historical value.
Anyways Tom, please consider contacting Larry for the projected "anthology" to present your views at greater length. Personally I think they are great value even though I disagree with them. It is NOT up to me to determine the fine points of economics, whatever my opinions. These "points" will probably be a matter of dispute long after both of us are dead. Take care,
Pat the M.

author by Tom Wetzel - WSA (personal capacity)publication date Thu Jun 22, 2006 05:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Pat shows by this last piece that he simply doesn't understand what parecon is proposing. It most definitely is NOT a market economy. The fact that he thinks it is the same as the "labor time voucher" schemes of 19th century "collectivists" shows that he he hasn't understood it. Under a mutualist or 19th century collectivist scheme, the various workplaces are the collective private property of the people working there. That is why they have a market relationship to others in society. Their autonomy as owners of their means of production sets up a bargaining power relationship to their customers and everyone else in society. That is what a market system is. It is the allocation of resources based on how much bargaining leverage you have. Parecon completely rejects collective private ownership of means of production and bargaining power relations. In parecon, as in libertarian communism, all means of production are owned in common by the entire society (or not owned by anyone, which amounts to the same thing). Moreover, allocation of resources and jobs in parecon is governed by a social plan, not bargaining leverage as indicated by "labor voucher" revenue in a market. Production groups have no "sales revenue" in parecon.

I have no idea what anthology by Larry you are referring to, Pat.

In the first IWA, the mutualists were the followers of Proudhon. They were opposed to the general strike and other tactics favored by the Bakuninist wing. Your use of terminology is not helpful because it is confusing, Pat.

author by José Antonio Gutiérrezpublication date Sun Jun 25, 2006 08:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don´t want to deal with the discussion about Parecon, but if the label "mutualists" really fits our South American comrades. And again, I think the label is wrong and not useful for a number of reasons:

- the existence of practices of mutual aid have been a feature for long in syndicalism, and to acknowledge it doesn´t necessarily mean to stretch the term (and actually, I think our understanding of "syndicalism" has been constantly shrinking from its original meaning to the current point where its role is seen solely in terms of increasing workers´ wages). This, goes not mean that comrades are syndicalist for the paramount importance they givbe to the role of the political (específica) organisation.
- Mutualism is not only a set of practices, but it is a well defined strategy, that relies on gradual change. Our South American comrades build up "popular power" as a road to the revolution, that is not an apocalyptic episode that will happen at some uncertain stage, but something that should be prepared from this very minute. But though we fight for change here and now, and we want to see reforms in the immediate future, it does not mean that we keep faith that the system will gradually change unitl it loses its nature.
- Though practice can differ with theory in some cases, for the above mentioned, I do not think this is the case. The theory and the practice are going really hand in hand.

author by Tom Wetzel - WSApublication date Sun Jun 25, 2006 12:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I should point out, I suppose, that WSA has evolved "syndicalism" from its earlier meaning. We do not mean mere sindicalismo, which is translated into English as "unionism." We do not limit libertarian syndicalism (self-managed mass organization building) to the workplace, but extend the concept to community struggles. We mean by "syndicalism" an emphasis on the empowerment of the working class through the building up of mass organizations that develop a self-managing practice and skill- and confidence-building, so that a society of self-management is prefigured, at least to the degree feasible, in the movement itself. Such organization has its point because of the existence of oppression and struggles against it. The mass organization is seen, in the syndicalist view, as the means to empowerment of the class, not the specific organization. The specific organization (and WSA is a specific or political organization) has its organizing and activist and educational role, but the aim is not empowerment of the specific organization or the "vanguard."

author by Pat Murtaghpublication date Mon Jun 26, 2006 17:44author email murtaghpatrick at hotmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

First, the 'anthology' is a possible project of my comrade Larry Gambone who has now retired to Nanaimo. It would be an anthology of "social anarchist" writings that would be a "broad tent" in which our mutualist leanings would be an obvious minority. What Larry wants to present is a collection of writings that express what I would call "socialist anarchism", others would call "class struggle anarchism" and still others would call "ethical anarchism". We do not intend to include a certain subset of anarchism that is either "insurrectionist" or "primitivist" or several other names.
I thought that Mitch might have notified Tom about this matter, but I am obviously wrong. In any case those who are interested in contributing can contact Larry via If this contact fails please inform me ( , and I will supply other contact methods.
I hope that I made myself plain previously, but I guess that I haven't. Personally I am VERY agnostic about any "ultimate" ecomomic system. For those who are interested in history I would recommend Guillaume's 'On Building the New Social Order' to see how parecon compares with a "traditional" market (that evil word) anarchist system where prices are set not by some "elected or influenced" planning bureaucracy but by the syndicates who "own" the means of production (as opposed to the workers in a workplace) in collaboration with the "Banks of Exchange' of the Communes. Reading this sort of thing may make it clearer as to how our Spanish comrades tried many different systems when they had the opportunity in their revolution. It may also make it plain how "anarcho-communism" differs from both parecon, the mixed economy that I favour and the "collectivist" ideal. Hopefully it will also "loosen minds" to see that there may a great number of other economic models yet to be described.
"Mutualism" is NOT a synonym for mutual aid. It is a way of approaching anarchism that is gradualist and advocates the formation of cooperative enterprises as an alternative that can "hollow out" the 'capitalist' or 'coordinationist' system. It does NOT see the "present struggle" as "merely" a stepping stone to an utopian future. It sees the "present struggle" as valuable in itself and hopes to expand it WITHOUT any unrealistic dreams.
There is a lot about mutualism that I personally disagree with. I am an "anarcho-communist" in that I agree with Kropotkin that Marx's (or Proudhon's) "labour theory of value" cannot translate to any realistic "remuneration according to effort". The advocates of parecon disagree with this, and they think that such a calculation can be made by "political fiat" without taking into account the class interests of "the planners" who are only "controlled" by the general population.
But to deal with SA particularily. The efforts of our comrades there are "mutualist" in the sense that they attempt to defend and better the economic conditions of a class of people that don't fit into the usual leftist schemata. They are NOT attemting to "establish" anything,merely to improve what already exists.
This ACTION is totaly seperate from the beliefs of the actors. Mutualism as an ideology simply doesn't exist in SA. Period !!!
Far be it for me to dictate the belief system of other comrades in other circumstances. All that I suggest is that they should consider "adjusting" what they believe to the valuable work that they already do in the hope of "doing it better" with a more realistic perspective. If anyone can convince me that "the revolution" ie a "libertarian revolution" as opposed to a statist one is on the near horizon I will be very happy to adjust my views.
Til then I merely make small suggestions. Maybe a "myth" is a necessary component of the valuable work of libertarians. But I am not convinced of that.
Pat the M.

author by mitchpublication date Mon Jun 26, 2006 21:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Pat writes: "I thought that Mitch might have notified Tom about this matter, but I am obviously wrong. In any case those who are interested in contributing can contact Larry via If this contact fails please inform me ( , and I will supply other contact methods."

Uh, I did forward this Pat. Perhaps this got lost somewhere. I believe it was back at the end of April 2006.

author by Tom Wetzel - WSA (personal capacity)publication date Tue Jun 27, 2006 02:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

once again Pat Murtagh presents a completely false picture of participatory economics. Prices in a participatory economy are not "set" by "planners." To begin with, as the name should suggest, the basic idea of participatory economics is that everyone -- the entire population -- are the "planners". There is NO separate group of "planners." Prices are not "set" by fiat of anyone. Prices emerge as an expression of strength of desire for products, according to rules that the community establishes when it sets up a participatory economy. Mutualism, in my view, is hopelessly utopian. There's no way that we can effectively challenge capital by pooling our pennies and forming cooperatives to operate in the market economy. To explain prices, once again, in parecon, let's suppose that neighborhood assemblies and regional federations have proposed an ambitious agenda for new construction. This requires a big increase in use of concrete. But the industrial organization controlling the concrete industry has not proposed an increase in supply. And let's suppose that a rule that had been established for economic planning goes something like this: "If demand for a product exceeds proposed supply by X percent, then increase the initial proposed price by X percent."
According to this rule, then, if concrete demand is 10 percent greater than proposed supply, this raises the price by 10 percent. This affects the budgets of every organization that has proposed to use concrete. In the next round in the negotiations, these organizations will need to adjust their proposals to take account of this. Some may drop or cut back their construction proposals. Others may feel that their construction plans are so important they are willing to scale back other things. If the effect of this is to reduce demand by concrete to match the proposed supply in the next round of negotiations, the price falls back to where it was at before. If the construction plans are so important to people that this doesn't happen, then the prices stays at the higher level. But the concrete industry might then propose social investment to increase capacity to meet the increased demand. Now, in the pircture I've just presented, no one has "set" the price. The price fluctuates according to rules which have been set up for the planning process by the society.

author by Donato Romito - FdCApublication date Mon Jul 17, 2006 17:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

After having read and translated in Italian Adam Weaver's essay about especifismo, I think there's a sort of misunderstanding about "organizational dualism".

In a few words, as the matter requires more to say (beginning from Bakunin and not only from the 1920s Italian anarchist movement), in FdCA's praxis and theory, "organizational dualism" is not related to labour unions only but to every mass organization acting on the base of self-management in the community. As the mass organization is not only the union itself, but every base and mass movement or base committes, grassrooted unions or associations made by workers, immigrant/Italian people, proletarians, femminists, environment activists and so on, FdCA's members act as "natural members" inside these base organization, trying to manage and develop the struggles on a class-base and FdCA as political organization tries to build netwoks in order to federate struggles and their organizations.

Anyway, if you like, it's possible to

Sorry for my poor English, of course.

Donato Romito

author by Nestor - Anarkismopublication date Mon Jul 17, 2006 18:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This article in Italian:

Related Link:
author by javierpublication date Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the same happens with specifismo afaik

author by mitch - WSA (pers. cap.)publication date Sun Nov 26, 2006 23:29author email wsany at hotmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sorry comrades (Adam in particular), but I couldn't figure out how to get this as a comment on its own.

There is a public IWA Seretariat document posted on the IWA/AIT/IAA website entitled:

"Defence of the IWA and narchosyndicalism"

Perhaps there are some readers of anarkismo who know about the
"International Anarchosyndicalist Network", because I have no idea of it. And I've been around for some time and I would think I would've at least heard of it.Does this really exist?

On the ILS/SIL, looking at the website, it seems like this project has been dormant for a year (in spite of its makeover).

Anyway, I look forward to some constructive replies.

Thanks & solidarity.

author by Adampublication date Tue Nov 28, 2006 06:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I didn't read the link you posted entirely, but what I believe the IWA is referring to as a "International Anarchosyndicalist Network" is ILS/SIL. Even before the formation of ILS/SIL the IWA always seemed to imagine that SAC, CGT and CNT-F (Vignoles) were attempted for form a parelell international body. I think that is what they are referring to. Does this answer your question?

author by Pablopublication date Wed Jul 18, 2007 10:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The use of the term "especifismo" to refer to political anarchist organisations is much older than FAU.

The members of the Federacion Anarco-Comunista Argentina in the 1930s were referred to as "especifistas" (in the lips of a FORA militant it was more of a derogatory term). It was an anarchist-communist organisation, not clearly platformist, but inspired by the Polish Anarchist Federation, a clandestine organisaton, and very class-struggle and sindicalism-minded.

author by Nestor - Anarkismopublication date Mon Jul 23, 2007 16:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This article in German:

Related Link:
author by Lucas Cifuentespublication date Mon Jul 30, 2007 12:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree with the comrade above this message, that 'especifismo' ir one of the organic experiences of the hisotrical anarchist movement, much long before FAU or another especific organizations.... one of the best examples are FAI (Spain, Portugal) I think...


Pd, sorry for my english

author by José Antonio Gutiérrezpublication date Mon Jul 30, 2007 22:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Usually, the term used for organisations like the FAI was "organización específica", but they did not referred their political ideas as "especifismo". Actually, the whole model was a dual one for organisation were there was an "anarchosyndicalist" organisation (carrying on the daily struggle) and the "específica" organisation (mainly to give ideological orientation to the syndicalist counterpart). This was represented in the most classic couple of all of anarchist history: CNT-FAI.

This organisational model differs from the "especifismo" of FAU in the sense that the latter is not anarchosyndicalist and does pose the problem of the political organisation in slightly different terms.

And in fairness, even if it was previously used in a derogatory manner against the FACA comrades, the term "especifismo" came to be known for what it stands for nowadays only with FAU. It is with them that it assumes a specific meaning in political terms...

(Personally, I do not favour the use of that particular term precisely for its associations with classic anarchosyndicalism)

author by Fercho - C.L.Apublication date Fri Nov 13, 2009 11:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

compa, me parece que este articulo tiene razon en la cuestion de que en sur america el anarquismo no esta marcado por una corriente especifista, pero usted no comprende las causas historicas ya que en latinoamerica la nacional influye mucho en la ideologia de los movimientos de izquierda, en la cual hay una pluraridad y diferenicacion poblacional extremadamente elevada, ademas usted compara el movimiento libertario con el movimiento libertario de inmigrantes y esto es totalmente falso, el movimiento lo debe analizar desde las perspectivas historicas de la estructuracion de las instituciones sur americanas, desde su identidad popular hasta su cultura, usted ve que los comunistas latinoamericanos reproducen supuestamente los sistemas europeos marxista, pero en realidad ellos crean unos modelos propios, con una fuerte nacionalidad latinoamericana, asi que tambien falla al reclamar un puritanismo en las ideas acratas el cual no ha existido ni existira, el anarquismo tambien es influido por los sistemas ideologicos dominentes de cada region. este texto parece sacado de la ortodoxia anglo-sajona, en la cual la iniformidad de las ideas ni siquiera se da en la practica y si estudio el movimiento europeo y el EU, para que vea lo mezclado y casi indiferenciable de los toros movimientos de izquierda.

Related Link:
author by El Pharaonpublication date Sun May 23, 2021 17:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The term 'especificismo' contains the message. Communists (call it anarchists or libertarian communists and not socialist, because that holds a statist connotation) do not organize in parties or organizations as a rule. We leave that to marxists, leninists, stalinists, trotskyists, maoists and social democrats. That is because we don't believe in reformism or transitional trotskyism. Neither am I personally convinced that we need syndical organizations (except where anarchism has had traditional and strong anarchist trade unions such as in Spain, France and Italy.) So, the comrades in South America - hardened by difficult conditions and with a long tradition of struggle in different countries - are applying what platformist anarchists do so well since before the existence of the first International: we join specific movements of struggle in a short-term tactic or a long-term strategy in order to play our role of animators of the revolution. Capitalism still holds elements of the hunter-gatherer society, of the slave society and of a feudal society. A revolution is not something that happens on the 1st October 1917. It is a lengthy process of revolution and counter-revolution. By using 'especifist' tactics we can be present in the movement at all times without having to go against the stream during counter-revolutionary periods (as sectarian insurrectionists or vanguardists would.) We can use our own agenda instead of that of police provocators. We are specific in our barricades as well. Didn't Johnny the nose say: "A wise-guy that doesn't lay low is either a snitch or a fed. Go and clean the kitchen in your family's restaurant."? 😜👼

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