Do you accept the outline of the Anarchist Platform 1926?

Aye. It's basically essential for efficient anarchist organisation
33% (10 votes)
No. It's not necessary, disregards valuable important diversity and is too "Bolshevik"...
50% (15 votes)
Other. Please state.
17% (5 votes)
Total votes: 30

Posted By

Volin
Jun 15 2005 22:11

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Volin
Jun 15 2005 22:11

I've started reading into the Platformist tradition along with its many critiques and was just wondering what position anarchists on here took>>? Are there any die-hard Platformists? Or rabid "foaming at the mouth", exciteable anti platformers? At the mo, I accept many of the disagreements from people such as Malatesta and Volin (*bows before his name*) but am still inclined towards a basic Platform in regards organisation. (By the way is the AF Platformist or only influenced by it?)

Steven.
Jun 15 2005 23:02
Volin wrote:
I've started reading into the Platformist tradition along with its many critiques and was just wondering what position anarchists on here took>>? Are there any die-hard Platformists? Or rabid "foaming at the mouth", exciteable anti platformers? At the mo, I accept many of the disagreements from people such as Malatesta and Volin (*bows before his name*) but am still inclined towards a basic Platform in regards organisation. (By the way is the AF Platformist or only influenced by it?)

Influenced.

Me too, the basic principles are sound I reckon - collective responsibilty, theoretical and tactical unity. Only sensible really.

AndrewF
Jun 16 2005 11:18
Volin wrote:
I've started reading into the Platformist tradition along with its many critiques and was just wondering what position anarchists on here took>>?

I acutally voted 'other' which should surprise a few.

Basically the platform is a useful point of common recognition when it comes to linking up with anarchists as a short hand summary of what sort of anarchism you are talking of. So it has been useful for the moments when we have made initial contact with anarchists in Chile, South Africa and the USA. This useful shorthand is not just its organisational content but also its empahsis on communism, class struggle and the (all too common) faults of the anarchist movement. Likewise it is also useful in areas where comrades are emerging from a more disorganised anarchist mileu and wondering where to go. The introduction to the platform summarises the shortcomings they have already seen and in general it suggests ways of overcoming these,

But the core ideas in the platform go back well beyond 1926 or even the experiences of 1917 - 21 that it comes out of. You'll find early anarchist from Bakunin to Lucy Parsons putting a similar emphais on the importance of taking organisation seriously and involvement in mass organisations of the class rather than pure anarchist groups.

And the platform (which was never more than a draft document as far as I know although the 'draft' is generally dropped in the translated versions) has flaws even beyond those introduced because it is an 80 year old document. There are wide areas it leaves out (no discussion of racism or sexism for instance) and there are other areas it is either unclear on or just simply wrong. Two formulations in particular stand out as to crude to be useful, the concept of the 'General Union of Anarchists' (seemingly intended to somehow unite ALL anarchists under a single organisation) and the Executive whose powers are loosly defined and open to more than one interpretation (a very bad idea for a central body).

But even in these two areas it at least makes a contribution to an area of discussion that anarchists today still fudge and attempt to gloss over. Most modern platformist groups also of course claim a link to organisations like the Friends of Durruti who had no formal link to the platform. Finally in recent years parallel evolution has seen European platformists link up with South American especifists as sharing a common approach to these questions coming from two different historical sources (The especifist tradition comes our of the experience of the Urugyan FAU from the 1950's). The Anarkismo editorial guidelines refer to "the "platformist", anarchist-communist or especifista tradition of anarchism" to reflect this and the increasing tendancy to simply use the common label of anarchist-communist.

In terms of diversity etc ironically its quite noticable that it is the platformist groups that seem to have the greatest ease in dealing with anarchists and the broader libertarian movement outside of their ranks. I suspect this is because our 'tradition' is a lot more fluid (to the point where you have to ask if there really is a 'platformist tradition') and its also the confidence that comes with being part of an organisation that has quite defined positions and tactics.

I'm trying to put together an article for Anarkismo that makes these points in more detail but you'll pick up quite a lot of the important stuff if you go to http://www.anarkismo.net/anarchistmovement

AndrewF
Jun 16 2005 11:21
revol68 wrote:
Interestingly in Spain it was the "defenders of anarchist purity", the FAIstas who became most engrossed in collaboration.

But the FAI were not platformists in any sense of the word - rather the opposite a 'synthesis' federation of groups with no common program beyond protecting the purity of the CNT. I'm not aware of a single platformist group - now or in the past - that considered the FAI platformist. It was almost a model of what is wrong in the 'synthesis' approach.

Steven.
Jun 16 2005 11:58
JoeBlack2 wrote:
revol68 wrote:
Interestingly in Spain it was the "defenders of anarchist purity", the FAIstas who became most engrossed in collaboration.

But the FAI were not platformists in any sense of the word - rather the opposite a 'synthesis' federation of groups with no common program beyond protecting the purity of the CNT. I'm not aware of a single platformist group - now or in the past - that considered the FAI platformist. It was almost a model of what is wrong in the 'synthesis' approach.

The FAI today don't seem to like Platformists at all - their talks at the IFA congress they kept slagging them off as being like Bolsheviks.

AndrewF
Jun 16 2005 12:29
John. wrote:
The FAI today don't seem to like Platformists at all - their talks at the IFA congress they kept slagging them off as being like Bolsheviks.

Which is pretty much the traditional synthesis line.

I pretty much take the implication that 'the FAI are platformists of some sort' to be a further indication that Revol68 has not bothered to research the platform for himself but is just repeating the 'truths' he has been feed by others. Otherwise it would be hard to imagine how he could miss that the 'platform' was one side of a debate and that the other side of that debate 'the synthesis' advocated exactly the sort of structures and organisational methods that the FAI used.

The long running synthesis structures favoured by the FAI is probably part of the reason that IWA loyal anarcho-syndicalists are so hostile to the platform. As the quote I posted the other week demonstrated the platform is actually quite sympatheic towards anarcho-syndicalism if it also sees a need to go beyond it. That said the Czech (and Slovakian) sections of the IWA do identify themselves as platformist so even this is more complex than it first appears.

AndrewF
Jun 16 2005 12:32

I posted my reply above as you posted this 'clarification'

revol68 wrote:
sorry i thought it was clear that i was making a point about organising "politically" (on the basis of shared ideals) rather than equating the FAI with platformism.

But on that basis I could compare you with Nick Griffin on account of your common interest in politics. Again the synthesis and the platform are opposed strategies - it makes no sense to blame one for the actions of the other! All the more so because the problem with the FAI was its synthesist approach and subsequent inability of that approach to deal with events on the ground.

AndrewF
Jun 16 2005 13:02
revol68 wrote:
Where I would draw comparison between the FAI and Platformist groups is in relation to your attitude towards anarcho syndicalism and the positioning of them as the defenders of anarchism against reformism and a "leadership of ideas".

I don't know of any platformist group that defines itself as a 'defender of anarchism against reformism' - could you name one?

This is the major role of the FAI

Likewise I am unaware of any occasion on which the FAI has talked of being or seeking to be a "leadership of ideas". Could you tell us when this has happened?

This is the major role of platformist organisations

I think your just using the old leninist amalgamation technique in which two bodies with no real association are linked so the crimes of one can be blamed on the other. But feel free to prove me wrong by answering the above questions - they are straightforward enough.

pingtiao
Jun 16 2005 13:23

revol: stop being a

Quote:
cock.

Try and keep the discussion on a political level, and have some fucking respect.

pingtiao
Jun 16 2005 13:27

Don't play to the audience- Joe is being fair and you are being needlessly provocative.

Save it for those who deserve it.

pingtiao
Jun 16 2005 13:34

That was the insult icing on the cake of disrespect

AndrewF
Jun 16 2005 13:43
revol68 wrote:
Joe are you seriously trying to tell me that there is no overlap between being "the leadership of ideas" and the FAI's "defenders against reformism".

No the two are not the same at all - in fact the 'defenders against reformism' generally meant FAI members occupying key positions in the CNT or preventing those they reckoned were reformists occupying them. It meant and still means expulsions and the clamping down of real debate around issues identified as reformism. This is the opposite of 'leadership of ideas'.

As a modern day example it has meant instead of a open debate about the strategy of the CGT we have instead seen a prolonged whispering campaign based on false claims that they are 'state agents', 'prison wardens' 'police men' 'have abandoned or are about to abandon libertarian communism' etc.

Of course if you stretch the argument enough then platformist would also tend to argue against SOME of the same reformist tendencies - but then so would any other anarchist. The amalgamation technique is precisely based around seizing hold of the similarities that always exist and using these to make a claim that the two are the same.

To illustrate - in my foolish youth I would often intervene at the Russian Revolution sessions of (Irish) Marxism. The SWP would never deal with the ideas I had raised instead member after member would get up and say that I had said the sort of thing that a czarist might say with the clear implication that this made me wrong and there was no need to deal with the ideas at all. This is precisly what you are doing here in trying to claim any sort of meaningful relationship between platformism and its opposite - synthesism.

AndrewF
Jun 16 2005 14:06
revol68 wrote:
PLease stop being so fucking defensive!

I'm not being defensive - I'm pointing out that the amalgamation technique is a fundamentally dishonest one and in this particular case is daft. I don't even accept that the two things you claim are the same are the same - its not a question of honesty as such its a question of what each tries to achieve and once more these are actually opposites.

You really don't seem to be able to deal very well with your preconcieved theories being questioned as you always resort to name calling when this happens. This is particularly silly in this case as I set myself up to be proved wrong through the two simple questions I asked above. Your inability to answer them just demonstrates you are trying to argue by assertion - as does your recourse to repetition and then SHOUTING repetition when you are asked to provide evidence for this assertion.

Another example - what you are trying to do is equivalent to me seeking to blame the CNT for the failures of the TUC on the grounds that both claim to be about organising workers as workers. Although at least in that case both are about organising workers as workers, blaming the CNT for the failure of the Labour party is a better parallel.

AndrewF
Jun 16 2005 14:36

Huh?

Try breaking up that long sentence - all I can understand from it at the moment is a rather movementist criticism of organisation. Those things seldom amount to more that an intellectualised excuse for sitting on your hands while waiting for the ripening of time. Or alternatively as a justification for blind activism - really two sides of the same coin.

But perhaps there is more there than what meets the eye?

BB
Jun 16 2005 14:52

I'm sort of lost at the moment? Thought i might see a bit of something i could understand, as i thought it could be interesting. What i've found out so far is, the shorter the amount of time between your 2's posts the shorter in length they get! So i've got something out of it.

AndrewF
Jun 16 2005 14:57
revol68 wrote:
just not ones as self important to label themselves the "leadership of ideas" in a time of fuck all militancy.

You really haven't bothered researching any of this have you?

The term is used as something to be aimed at! The idea that any organisation could label itself as the 'leadership of ideas' is absurd. It actually runs against the concept of the idea itself because it arose to combat the leninist concept of leadership which is based around a single organisation claiming the title for all time.

I reckon your just falling into the classic modern day anarchist avoidence of analysing the concept of vanguard. Its quite clear that in any struggle some people will have better ideas* that others - we need to recognise rather than deny this if we are to avoid such people defaulting to positions of leadership of position based on what they did 10 years ago. You can only do this by recognising that a dynamic and shifting vanguard does exist and dealing with this - not by wishing it away.

Finally this is the second time you have used the term 'self important' in recent days. I'm not that upset by it - given the chronic lack of ambition in most of what passes for the anarchist movement I'd chose self importance anyday.

* - differences in confidence, experience, skill and even education also fall into play here as can differences in class background, sex and 'race'.

AndrewF
Jun 16 2005 15:04

Quite relevant to the debate (I think) would be the article from the Mexican especifist group 'Revolutionary Anarchism and Political Parties'

http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=468

"Although we anarchists recognize the need to build a revolutionary organization with tactical and ideological unity, whose task is to encourage the development of the workers' consciousness of their revolutionary historic role of getting rid of capitalism and the institutions of inequality, we reject the use of the term "party" to refer to such an organization. We reject the use of this term for two reasons which derive from the word in question. The first is confusion with the bourgeois political parties; the second is the Marxist-Leninist concept of the party. It is these two ideas that we will be examining below."

AndrewF
Jun 16 2005 15:21
revol68 wrote:
joe sorry to break it to you but you aren't arguing with some 6th former whose just read Berkman's ABC of anarchism.

OOOO - whose self important now?

My problem with your style of argument is that you seldom share the insights contained in that big post 6th form brain of yours - instead you just assert things in the manner of a bad 6th form debator. And of course insult people in the manner of a 6th former. As my mother used to say 'if you don't want to be treated like a child then don't act like a child'.

The sentence that follows is again too long to easly unpick but appears to be an argument against form of ideological organistion at all. Is that correct or have I missed something? (A good rule of thumb with long sentences is to replace all commas with full stops and then reword as needed. I force myself to do this all the time).

nastyned
Jun 16 2005 15:25

Bit too ranty this thread - calm down lads.

Anyway, I think the platform does have some good ideas. You should really see Skirda's sympathetic translation in 'Facing the enemy' rather than the more well know one based on Voline's hostile translation. In fact you should read all of 'Facing the Enemy' as it's very good.

As has been pointed out the platform is a bit dated and does have its weaknesses though.

And I have to say I've always thought how the FAI behaved in the CNT is pretty much what the platform was advocating, though the FAI was and is not a plaformist organisation.

AndrewF
Jun 16 2005 15:44
nastyned wrote:
And I have to say I've always thought how the FAI behaved in the CNT is pretty much what the platform was advocating, though the FAI was and is not a plaformist organisation.

It would be great if someone could explain what they mean by this rather than simply asserting it to be the case. As I understand it the FAI organised as affinity groups with no particular theoretical unity or indeed tactical unity between such groups. I'm unaware for instance of any FAI program that all groups were meant to implement. And I think the role of an actual platformist organisation would have been very much closer to that of the Friends of Durruti than the FAI.

But perhaps there is something I have missed or failed to understand in all this. In which case could someone explain it - perhaps in some detail or point me at some other source that does so.

I am aware that this idea is somewhat common currency in some circles - I've seen reviews of Skirdas book that criticise it on that basis. But I've not come across any platformist organisation that puts the FAI forward as a model - has anyone else?

Vaneigemappreci...
Jun 16 2005 15:50

agree with the bomber here, i'm sure that underneath all the hot headed irish in-fighting there is probably some decent arguments being put forward, if only i had the slightest idea what the fuck it was all about embarrassed

nastyned
Jun 16 2005 15:54
JoeBlack2 wrote:

It would be great if someone could explain what they mean by this rather than simply asserting it to be the case.

Don't take that tone with me sunshine.

The platforms calls for anarchists to operate as an organised group insided the syndicalist unions. Which is exactly what the FAI did. Obvious really.

Now I also clearly stated the FAI is not a platformist group so don't get your knickers in a twist.

AndrewF
Jun 16 2005 15:56
Vaneigemappreciationclub wrote:
, i'm sure that underneath all the hot headed irish in-fighting there is probably some decent arguments being put forward, if only i had the slightest idea what the fuck it was all about embarrassed

1. Was the FAI platformist in some way? (Me No, Revol Maybe, NN - sort of)

2. Even if it wasn't does its actions tell us anything about the platform (me no, revol yes)

3. Should anarchists form ideological organisations seperate from the organs of the working class (me yes, revol no (I think)).

Unfortunately discussion of these points is a little bit too heavy on the 'oh yes it is, oh no it isn't' side and a little bit light on the 'this is why I am claiming this' or 'here is the evidence for that' side.

AndrewF
Jun 16 2005 16:03
nastyned wrote:
Don't take that tone with me sunshine.

Which 'tone' - that was a genuine request (see last post). Its hard to clarify this stuff unless people spell out why they are saying certain things. Once that has happened (as here) you can discuss them, its impossible to discuss assertions in a meaningful way.

nastyned wrote:
The platforms calls for anarchists to operate as an organised group insided the syndicalist unions. Which is exactly what the FAI did. Obvious really.

Yes and no because the platform also calls on anarchists to operate in other unions which is exactly what the FAI didn't.

"Without restricting ourselves to the creation of anarchist unions, we must seek to exercise our theoretical influence on all trade unions, and in all its forms (the lWW, Russian TU's). We can only achieve this end by working in rigorously organised anarchist collectives; but never in small empirical groups, having between them neither organisational liaison nor theoretical agreement."

From the General Section

The last sentence pretty much describes what was to be the FAI structure as what was not to be done, i.e. "never in small empirical groups, having between them neither organisational liaison nor theoretical agreement."

BB
Jun 16 2005 16:23
JoeBlack2 wrote:
Yes and no because the platform also calls on anarchists to operate in other unions which is exactly what the FAI didn't.

Are you talking in a FAI capacity, which is what i assume. Weren't they members of the CNT.

I think, i am completely lost, otherwise.

Re-read it, that's not what you're discussing. embarrassed

Volin
Jun 16 2005 16:48

After reading the Organisational Platform I was, in view of the heat it gets, surprised at how libertarian and practical most of it actually is. As Joe's already said, the inclusion of syndicalism as an important part of action but within wider federation is remarkably progressive and something I was kind of already thinking of. Also it's not IMO anywhere near as "Bolshevik" as many people make it out to be. But personally there's one or two things I didn't like;

Organisational Section

Collective Responsibility

"The practice of acting on one's personal responsibility should be decisively condemned and rejected in the ranks of the anarchist movement."

Federalism

"it has too often been understood as the right, above all, to manifest one's ‘ego’; without obligation to account for duties as regards the organisation...Consequently, the federalist type of anarchist organisation, while recognising each member's rights to independence, free opinion, individual liberty and initiative, requires each member to undertake fixed organisation duties, and demands execution of communal decisions."

[...]

"Every organisation adhering to the Union represents a vital cell of the common organism. Every cell should have its secretariat, executing and guiding theoretically the political and technical work of the organisation.

With a view to the co-ordination of the activity of all the Union's adherent organisations, a special organ will be created: the executive committee of the Union. The committee will be in charge of the following functions: the execution of decisions taken by the Union with which it is entrusted; the theoretical and organisational orientation of the activity of isolated organisations consistent with the theoretical positions and the general tactical line of the Union; the monitoring of the general state of the movement; the maintenance of working and organisational links between all the organisations in the Union; and with other organisations."

Taken literally this could mean that individuals will be forced to comply to the group's decisions even if the latter only possesses a small majority. Decisions could be made and implemented which go against the principles of anarchism and anarchists, the same "creativity" of the people that Makhno talks about would be easily curbed. Finally the whole concept of secratariats and an Executive Commitee is highly dodgy, bureaucratic and probably what Volin(e) was talking about when he said that the OP represents one step away from government. Such institutions should never be allowed to exist separated from the unions and councils and with people (such as Makhno was?) that are more than just temporary delegates.

kalabine
Jun 16 2005 17:11

i think the platform has some good bits, tbh i reckon the way AFed and CW oganise is fine though (as i understand it, having not been a member of either) - i had a look of the WSM website and it all looks needlessly complicated and lefty - i like the idea of platformism more than the practice i think

gurrier
Jun 16 2005 23:42
Volin wrote:
Taken literally this could mean that individuals will be forced to comply to the group's decisions even if the latter only possesses a small majority. Decisions could be made and implemented which go against the principles of anarchism and anarchists, the same "creativity" of the people that Makhno talks about would be easily curbed.

If the majority of an anarchist organisation decided to do something that was against the principles of anarchism, I don't think that any amount of decentralisation would solve the problem - it's just avoiding it pure and simple. Furthermore, all anarchist organisations are free associations of people and there is nothing stopping people from leaving, setting up alternatives, etc, etc. I agree with you about the executives though.

I have always found arguments against 'ideological organisation' to be the height of silliness. To use every day language, 'ideological organisation' is simply people who have similar goals cooperating to acheive those goals. It is only possible to make an argument against ideological organisation in the most abstract terms with the emptiest political rhetoric as if you try to look at it on any sort of practical level it descends into absurdity at a breathtaking pace. You shouldn't hang out with people you like and so on. I think the bizzare prevalence of this argument in some anarchist circles is little more than a fear of commitment with more than a smidgeon of the liberal individualism of the comfortable.

cantdocartwheels
Jun 17 2005 03:22

eh? i would have thought arguements against simply builiding 'ideological organisation' were fairly logical, take the poll tax, had anarchists gone around organising seperate ''anarchist anti-poll tax groups' to the existing anti-poll tax unions, they would have been a fucking embarassing bunch of lunatics and ended up looking like the militant lot did when they tried to organise the ''anti-poll tax march'' across scotland, which ended up having 75 people, 70 of whom were militant members.

People aren't stupid, if they think some cunt is just using an issue that matters just to advance their strange little dream of a ''communist utopia'', then they won't want anything to do with it, nobody likes political opportunists of every sort, neither do I. Especially since i'm somehwat pessimistic and happen to think all the dreaming about a socialist utopia of the future (tm) is quite likely to be a load of pie and sky in terms of the struggle over material conditions right now.

Now, don't get me wrong, I think you do need explicitly libertarian communist 'parties' or anarchist organisations of some description, but setting them up as nationally organised groups and concentrating on building them, or thinking they play the pivotal role in struggle, are all somewhat foolish in my opinion.

Vaneigemappreci...
Jun 17 2005 09:00

admittedly i know jack shit about plaformism (should probably leave it here), but i'd agree with cantdo, surely having an ideological group which is detached from the point of struggle and is a separate ideolgical body makes little sense, plus isnt there the chance that it could fall into the trap of being a bureaucratic and restrictive organisation which simply attempts to divert struggle down a strictly ideological route, sure anarchist and class struggle ideas need to be propagated and spread, but through an ideological institution?