Reportback from Fred Lappert

Despite the egoizing, despite our apprehension, we stand on the threshold of coalescing together to form a strong anarchist movement for the first time in 50 years. If we work at it.

We actually agreed on a statement of principles and practice, perhaps a bit too general, but one that reflected all our politics as individuals, and transcends our differences.

It wasn’t easy. We were paranoid of power plays and came close to destroying the tenuous feeling of unity by alienating and making our hosts feel defensive, a step not in keeping with our avowed principles of making and receiving criticism. We compromised.

Comrade Sam Dolgoff’s strong push for studying his set of principles and coming back in a year to adopt them, took the form of a personal argument, as he let the amount of work he put into it get in the way of discussing it. I respect his work and find it a document worthy of consideration. I criticize myself for reciprocating in the argument.

We were paranoid of any mention of Marxist terminology, (the feeling here cannot be attributed to any one person.) This ignores, I believe, a tool we could use, with caution, in explaining the nature of capitalism, in much the same way we have studied Proudhon’s work “What is Property?”. Let us then resolve to guard against vulgar Marxism, but not be afraid of comrades who seek to understand the economic institutions we suffer under.

Some were unprepared for conducting workshops in a useful way, (I was not entirely confident about my teaching abilities).

But we came together and agreed on the roots necessary for the formulation of a social organization. Our principles reflect a decentralizing function, with the strong possibility of federative links. I hope the declaration includes not only process but content as well.

Seeing as how we are to discuss the statement of principles for the next year, I would like to initiate a discussion of the concept of self-management, for the next issue of the bulletin.

Yours for the general strike,

Fred Lappert, Columbis, Ohio

Comments

syndicalist
Feb 20 2011 03:11

"Comrade Sam Dolgoff’s strong push for studying his set of principles"..... at the time Sam and his young comrades in the midwest were strongly pushing his "Notes for the Regeneration of the Labor Movement" at this time. ( http://libcom.org/library/notes-for-a-discussion-on-the-regeneration-of-the-american-labor-movement-dolgoff-1970s ) I'm not sure if there was another document sam drafted that may have been floating at that time. I don't recall, but I may have some additional reference to the discussions in a file.

I can definatively say that the midwestern anarchist-communists circulated around this time a document that later went on to (substantively) become the principles of the ACF/NA. I need to check and see who circulated "General Principles of Anarchist-Communism"...I'm pretty sure it was the midwestern groups not Sam himself (though he may have had a hand in drafting them).

syndicalist
Feb 26 2011 04:02

Dead End..... I went through a whole slew of "SRAF Bulletins: For Anarchist Agitators," the "Self-Management Newsletter" looking Iowa stuff for you. Got a couple of more tidbits
for you and will post 'em.

Fred described himself as an "anarchist-communist" who hailed from Ohio. I can't recall him and I don't think he was in the ACF/NA with us...for sure he wasn't....or not by that name and surely not from Ohio.

It seems like the document may very well be "The Notes". There's a reference in the SRAF Bull. about Sam & Esther being in Chicago that year promoting what was then only a mimeoed position paper. I'll see what else I come up with.

Aparently there were some individualist anarcho-situationists (may they're call crimethink today, I dunno), some who have played a role in "Anarchy Magazine" who distributed a position paper entitled: " Beyond Character And Morality - Toward Transparent Communications and Coherent Organization". The last sentence of the document reads:

"The only coherent organization is that which we unite as individuals who are concious of our desires, unwilling to give an inch to mystification and constraint, and unafriad to act freely in their own interests."

I think you catch the drift ... and you'll get copy of fulltext.