5W VII: The Role of the Anarchist Communist Organization in a "Front of Oppressed Classes"
history of anarchism |
opinion / analysis
Wednesday November 16, 2005 20:20 by Michael Schmidt - Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation blackdragon at africamail dot com
Final part of a 7-part article on the history of anarchist communism.
By involvement in everyday struggles, we build tomorrow today, build a new world in the shell of the old, creating a dual-power situation as exists now in Argentina: popular power of the base undermining parasitic power of the bourgeoisie.
FIVE WAVES: A BRIEF GLOBAL HISTORY OF REVOLUTIONARY ANARCHIST COMMUNIST MASS ORGANISATIONAL THEORY & PRACTICE
THE ROLE OF THE ANARCHIST COMMUNIST ORGANISATION IN A "FRONT OF OPPRESSED CLASSES"
History is not neutral. In school we are told that we need governments and bosses. We are told that history is a struggle between different governments, armies and ruling elites. We are told that only the rich and powerful make history. What we are not told is that ordinary people have fought the bosses and rulers every step of the way and that this class war is the true engine of civilisation and progress.
We are not told that governments and capitalism are not only unnecessary, but destructive of all that is worthwhile. We as anarchists know that people, even the bourgeoisie, are not inherently bad. We all merely conform to our class interests. But given the right conditions, conditions of true equality and freedom, a powerful spirit of mutual aid and co-operation springs up. How we act is related to the structure of society.
When oppression and exploitation are forcibly removed, then the "goodness" that is in most of us comes through and flourishes as it did when the workers held the reigns in Argentina, Macedonia, Ukraine, Spain, Mexico, Manchuria, China, Albania, Iran, Cuba, France, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Algeria and elsewhere. We hope that we have shown that what we anarchists are saying are not just pretty, unrealistic ideas. We hope we have indicated with this brief introduction that these ideas can work. A new society can be created with the workers, peasants and the poor in control.
But it won't happen spontaneously - we must organise for it. That is why we need revolutionary organisations, organisations that draw together all those fighting for workers' control of the means of production and directly-democratic community self-organisation, organisations that give us the chance to exchange ideas and experiences, and to learn from the lessons of history. We do not need groups of pushy leaders and their passive followers.
As Rosa Luxemburg said in Organisational Questions of Russian Social Democracy: "Let us put it quite bluntly: the errors committed by a truly revolutionary workers' movement are historically far more fruitful and valuable than the infallibility of even the best central committee". We do not need elite political caucuses and "vanguard parties" dictating to us from on high. What we need is working class organisations under workers' directly-democratic control, with strictly-mandated delegates subject to rank-and-file decision-making, mobilising the mass of ordinary people in the process of making a truly social, grassroots revolution.
A most important point, however: anarchists are not, and should not, be the sole organisers of the working class in preparation for revolution. To put it plainly, we anarchists are not fighting for an anarchist world, but a free world, and we are not the only social force moving in a libertarian direction. We need to be deeply and intimately involved in the global anti-neoliberal movement and in the practical day-to-day struggles of the working class, demonstrating mutual aid, solidarity, responsibility, federalism and all the other principles of revolutionary anarchism in action.
This point was made by the anarchist group Rebel - Libertarian Socialism (Auca -SL) of Argentina, in an explanation of its ideas on joining the ILS in 2003: "the model of the Single Revolutionary Party is exhausted. It has demonstrated its lack of flexibility against the different political manifestations of our class".
This echoes the ACF's The Role of the Revolutionary Organisation that stated: "A libertarian communist organisation will obviously not be the only organised tendency within the working class. Unlike Leninist organisations, it does not see itself as the Party but as one of several organisations which will participate in the mass movement alongside those without affiliation."
In opposition to this traditional, narrow-minded political idea of the role of the revolutionary organisation, Rebel promoted the idea of a "Front of Oppressed Classes where syndicalist, social and political models which, in general, struggle for revolutionary change will converge. It is there, in the heart of the FOC, where a healthy debate of political tendencies and positions should be engaged in, so that the course the FOC takes is representative of the existing correlation of popular forces."
The FOC idea is totally different to the Popular Front idea common to the Marxist-Leninists in which they form a front organisation supposedly for solidarity purposes, then insert their leaders to rule this commandeered social force which they then order about like an army. Instead the anarchist FOC concept represents the progressive political plurality, anti-authoritarian solidarity and innovative diversity of a united working class in action against both capital and its siamese twin, the state. Rebel warned against any bureaucratisation of the social struggle along Marxist-Leninist lines.
We in southern Africa made a similar point in our position paper The Role of the Revolutionary Organisation in the Class Struggle (1997): "The Anarchist organisation sees itself as part of the working class, its Anarchist ideas a historical development of the experiences of workers, who as an exploited class seek to create a new world free of tyranny and exploitation in any form."
Rejecting the Marxist-Leninist concept of a "revolutionary leadership" of the single revolutionary party, we aim for a "leadership of ideas" of libertarian class autonomy and diversity within the class. "We support all progressive struggles both for their own aims and for the increased confidence that campaigning can give people."
"Secondly, we support them because we recognise that it is in struggle that people are most readily won to the revolutionary ideas of anarchism. Third, we support them because it is in struggle that people can potentially create organisations of self-management that develop their skills and that may possibly help in the revolutionary transformation of society."
By involvement in everyday struggles, we build tomorrow today, build a new world in the shell of the old, creating a dual-power situation as exists now in Argentina: popular power of the base undermining parasitic power of the bourgeoisie. Importantly, "[w]e defend other progressive organisations that are involved in struggles from repression. Where necessary, we will engage in United Front [similar to the FOC concept] actions alongside them".
However, whilst we defend these groups unconditionally, we do not do so uncritically - we maintain our independence and argue for our ideas. If you like what you have just read, if you want to be part of the fastest growing movement on the left, you should think about joining the global anarchist communist revolution of the workers, peasants and the poor - and the associated libertarian social movements of the base in which we work.
The natural skills, intelligence, innovation and solidarity owned by the working class are the only things that can produce both the social revolutionary dynamite needed to destroy the neo-fascist neoliberal system - and the fertiliser that will enrich the post-revolutionary soil so that it comes up roses: beautiful, but armed with thorns. The renewed energy, potency and practicality of the anarchist movement has seen new organisations spreading like wild-fire.
ZACF (SOUTHERN AFRICA)
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