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FARJ: The Context of the 2008 Congress and the Debate About Organisation

category brazil/guyana/suriname/fguiana | anarchist movement | policy statement author Wednesday February 08, 2012 22:08author by Federação Anarquista do Rio de Janeiro - FARJ Report this post to the editors
The first Congress of the FARJ was held with the principal objective of deepening our reflections on the question of organisation and formalising them into a programme.

SOCIAL ANARCHISM AND ORGANISATION

THE CONTEXT OF THE 2008 CONGRESS AND THE DEBATE ABOUT ORGANISATION

To theorise effectively it is essential to act.
Uruguayan Anarchist Federation (FAU)

The first Congress of the FARJ was held with the principal objective of deepening our reflections on the question of organisation and formalising them into a programme.

Since 2003 the debate around organisation has been taking place within our organisation. We had produced theoretical materials, developed our thinking, learned from the successes and mistakes of our political practice and it was becoming increasingly necessary to further the debate and to formalise it, spreading this knowledge both internally and externally.

The practical work of our two fronts – occupations and community – was absolutely central to the theoretical reflections that we made in this period. It even contributed to the creation of our third front in early 2008 – the agro-ecological front, called Anarchism and Nature.

One year ago we decided to have a debate around organisation, in necessary depth, with the aim of formalising the conclusions into a document that would be validated at the 2008 Congress. For this reason, still in 2007, we took some actions to contribute to the necessary theoretical maturity that would be essential to this path we wanted to take:

• Activation of the Political Education Secretary
• Carrying-out of Internal Education Seminars
• Development of Education Handbooks for Militants

These actions sought to give to each militant of our organisation the structure, space and necessary support so that this debate would be able to take place in the most desirable way possible. We made a great effort to read, write, debate, revisit materials already written, deepen discussions, make clarifications; in sum, to plan in the fullest we thought necessary for this debate.

However, we did not only want to provide a forum for debate. We wanted to reach more conclusive positions, or deepen the political line of the organisation. As one of the features of our organisational model is theoretical and ideological unity, we wanted to use this time for the deepening of certain theoretical and ideological questions, and ultimately arrive at concrete positions, to be defined and disseminated by the whole organisation.

In these five years we had always thought that in order to develop a political line we necessarily need to think of the mutual influence that exists between theory and practice, since we consider them inseparable. When both interact reciprocally, and in a positive way, they enhance the results of all the work of the organisation. With good theory you improve practice, with good practice you improve theory. There is no way to conceive the anarchist organisation as with only theory and no practice, or even developing a theory and trying to completely adapt the practice to it.

From the beginning we thought it would be fundamental not to construct an organisation that, distant from struggles, writes documents and then goes into practice with the objective of adapting it to the theory. Likewise, it never appeared possible to us to conceive anarchist organisation with only practice but no theory, or even assuming as theory everything that happens in practice. We always sought a balance that, on the one hand, did not have as an objective to theorise deeply in order to begin acting and, on the other, sought to ensure that the action was in line with the theory which, in our understanding, strengthens the result of militants’ efforts without unnecessary loss of energy.

In this debate, which took place in the last two years and which is formalised in this document, we desired to develop a proper theory that was not simply a repetition of other theories developed in other places and at other times. Obviously, our whole theory is imbued, from beginning to end, with other theories and of other authors that lived and acted in other contexts. It would be impossible to conceive of a consistent anarchist theory without the contribution of the classical anarchists, for example. However, we made a point of having a long reflection on these – the theories and thoughts of these authors – and whether they make sense in our context today. We seek to create proper concepts, aiming to give original character to the theory that we wanted to create, and in this endeavour we think we have been very successful as we, in our view, construct and formalise a coherent theory, articulating classical and contemporary theories, as well as our own conceptions. Nevertheless, we do not believe that this is a definitive theory. Many aspects could be improved. Lastly... the most important thing is to make it clear that we think we are taking the first steps along this path we wish to follow.

Finally, we desired to build this discussion and its formalisation in a collective manner. It is not enough for us that one or another comrade writes all the theory of the organisation and that others simply observe and follow their positions. It was because of this that we sought, throughout this period, to consider all the positions of the organisation and not just of one militant or another. This too, in our view, adds value to the text. It does not come from the head of one or other intellectual that thinks of politics detached from reality, but on the contrary is the result of five years of struggle and organisation of anarchism in permanent contact with the struggles of our time, seeking a revolutionary social transformation towards libertarian socialism. In sum, it is the result of five years of practical activity.

With the purpose of contributing one more step, of formalising theoretically that which has accumulated in our short history, we held the first Congress – which occurred in conjunction with the commemoration of five years of the FARJ – on 30 and 31 August 2008. The main reflections of which are recorded below.

Ethics, commitment, freedom!


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