Aims and Principles

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gentle revolutionary
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Aug 15 2005 11:20
nastyned wrote:
Again, the principle is simply: "revolution will be a time of violence as well as liberation". No mention of armed struggle, though it leaves the question open, which I think is the right position to take.

Even though that's not my primary problem with this point (!), let's see it as a whole, not just parts of it:

6. It is not possible to abolish Capitalism without a revolution, which will arise out of class conflict. The ruling class must be completely overthrown to achieve anarchist communism. Because the ruling class will not relinquish power without the use of armed force, this revolution will be a time of violence as well as liberation.

Now I don't see a point in being careful with words if it's perfectly obvious what we mean (except to you, allegedly) - apart from it being a way to circumvent criticism. Let's have a survey on an average forum and see how people understand it. This is clearly a prophesy, it's even written as a prophesy.

Anyway, how would you define "revolutionary violence" if it isn't armed struggle, and why would you define it as violence if it isn't armed struggle (and why wouldn't you define it as self defence even if it proves to be armed struggle)?

nastyned wrote:
As even medium sized demonstrations in Britain often end in violence I have no doubt at all that there will be violence associated with world revolution.

Well, Iran certainly isn't known for it's solicitude, but the Iranian revolution of 1979 (which included a strong socialist element) was remarkably "nonviolent".

nastyned
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Aug 15 2005 11:45

You're right, I missed that bit! embarrassed

You're still wrong though! wink

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Rob Ray
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Aug 15 2005 11:45

Prophecy (though you do prophesise when it's a verb I think).

Anyway apart from nitpicking abut spelling, yeah it does sound like one, though tbh if that's roughly correct for AF's ideological position then it'd hardly work to get rid of it, cos people will inevitably find out about that attitude if they actually joined up.

edit: UNless it's the american spelling

gentle revolutionary
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Aug 15 2005 12:23
Saii wrote:
Prophecy (though you do prophesise when it's a verb I think).

edit: UNless it's the american spelling

No, you're right. embarrassed Thanks.

Saii wrote:
Anyway apart from nitpicking abut spelling, yeah it does sound like one, though tbh if that's roughly correct for AF's ideological position then it'd hardly work to get rid of it, cos people will inevitably find out about that attitude if they actually joined up.

I suspect it wasn't made by consensus, as I know some people in the AF who are quite open minded about this issue.

nastyned
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Aug 15 2005 13:03

Now, where was I.

Yes, it is our position, which is why it's in the As&Ps. As far as violence goes the old 'as little as possible, as much as necessary' does it for me.

knightrose
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Aug 15 2005 13:36

Nobody is glorifying violence. Nobody is arguing for clandestine groups or "armed struggle". We are reckoning that the ruling class will resort to violence and that the working class will need to act accordingly. Sounds like common sense.

I agree with Nasty - though i go by the "peacefully if possible, violently if necessary" maxim.

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pingtiao
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Aug 15 2005 15:52

I'd like to throw my lot in with knightrose and nastyned here.

The name is irrelevant. The As+Ps are also irrelevant if we are honest. They are useful as a way of distinguishing ourselves from other groups, but that is all really. This particular principle/aim simply makes it clear that we do not have a romanticised and unrealistic view of what a revolutionary upheaval of society would look like.

What is important is the activity of the Federation, and the actual politics of it's members.

knightrose
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Aug 15 2005 20:51

let's also try and focus on the fact that the issue of violence during a revolutionary process is far from being the main issue. A revolution will be won as a result of working class self organisation in workplaces and communtiies. It will not be barricades on the streets and gun battles with soldiers.In fact one of the main aims would surely be see that army units mutinied. If it comes to pitched street battles with guns and bombs, then the working class will lose. Violence will probably ocur, but it will be a minor aspect. However, the less prepared we are for the state to be violent, the more likely we are to be crushed.

Mike Harman
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Aug 15 2005 21:29
knightrose wrote:
let's also try and focus on the fact that the issue of violence during a revolutionary process is far from being the main issue. A revolution will be won as a result of working class self organisation in workplaces and communtiies.

It only just about says that in the A&Ps in these two, neither of which mention workplaces and communities.

# Genuine liberation can only come about through the revolutionary self activity of the working class on a mass scale. An anarchist communist society means not only co-operation between equals, but active involvement in the shaping and creating of that society during and after the revolution. In times of upheaval and struggle, people will need to create their own revolutionary organisations controlled by everyone in them. These autonomous organisations will be outside the control of political parties, and within them we will learn many important lessons of self-activity.

# As anarchists we organise in all areas of life to try to advance the revolutionary process. We believe a strong anarchist organisation is necessary to help us to this end. Unlike other so-called socialists or communists we do not want power or control for our organisation. We recognise that the revolution can only be carried out directly by the working class. However, the revolution must be preceded by organisations able to convince people of the anarchist communist alternative and method. We participate in struggle as anarchist communists, and organise on a federative basis. We reject sectarianism and work for a united revolutionary anarchist movement.

knightrose
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Aug 16 2005 07:46

what I said is still right though

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Aug 16 2005 11:30
pingtiao wrote:
The name is irrelevant. The As+Ps are also irrelevant if we are honest... What is important is the activity of the Federation, and the actual politics of it's members.

Totally agree with this.

knightrose
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Aug 16 2005 16:15
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The name is irrelevant. The As+Ps are also irrelevant if we are honest... What is important is the activity of the Federation, and the actual politics of it's members.

This comment worries me. If members don't agree with the aims and principles, then how do we maintain trust and democracy with the AF?

Mike Harman
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Aug 16 2005 16:58
knightrose wrote:
what I said is still right though

Yeah, I was just pointing out that what I'd consider to be the fundamental priniciple of anarchist communism doesn't explicitly appear in the A&Ps.

knightrose
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Aug 16 2005 17:04

I've always taken it for granted. I don't see how working class resistance exists otherwise. I'd guess that most of thoise who set up the ACF thought so too.

Mike Harman
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Aug 16 2005 17:26
knightrose wrote:
I've always taken it for granted. I don't see how working class resistance exists otherwise. I'd guess that most of thoise who set up the ACF thought so too.

Fair enough, but for me the main point of the A&Ps is to introduce the AF to people when they come across it, some of whom might not be familiar with the concept of class struggle, or anarchism, at all.

knightrose
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Aug 16 2005 17:28

I think when they were written it was pretty much assumed to be the case. Don't forget the 70s and 80s were times of industrial and community class struggle. It's only in the 90's and 00's that class struggle has got forgotten to the point where many anarchists think getting trapped in a field in Scotland is the height of revoltuionary resistance!

Anyway, your point is well made. That's why they need rewriting.

odessa steps
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Aug 16 2005 17:55

"We are for communism, which is a classless society in which all goods are distributed according to needs and desires".

The problem I have with this formulation is that it says nothing about Power or Authority and ignores self-determination, local/self-management and voluntarism. Who decides what goods are produced and how they are distributed? This is why - in my view - we have always emphasised the fact that we are anarcho-communists rather than communist. The economic relations may be communist (the forms of production, value, distribution and consumption but the social relations underpinning these forms is anarchist.

odessa steps
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Aug 16 2005 18:08

I think that the way we distinguish ourselves from a) anarcho-pacifists; and b) reformist-resisters (those pesky liberals again!) is precisely through our revolutionary intent (which is to say that we aim for a total transformation of society) and the forms and means by which revolution occurs which - because we are a class struggle federation and rightly - is through the expropriation of the ruling class. Our aim, surely, is a transformation of humanity and the social relations between us through collective action and the formation of a free society. I think we are most powerful when we actually describe in concrete terms the what and how of revolution. As has been said, the working class will itself decide what level of force or violence is necessary to defend or advance the struggle without us saying it must do this or it musnt do that.....

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Steven.
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Aug 16 2005 18:10

I reckon you just need loads more As+Ps.

That'll sort the men from boys 8) red n black star

odessa steps
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Aug 16 2005 18:23

I do think we have to differentiate between the likely though not inevitable violent resistance of the ruling class to its expropriation (on the one hand) which we will have the right to take up arms to resist (self-defence) and the voluntary adoption of the armed struggle as a legitimate means of bringing about the revolution (which depends entirely on the level of oppression and resistance of the ruling class to progress).

I think that a non-violent (ie where the primary means of bringing about revolution is not armed struggle but rather the political mass strike (which would, of course, be thousands of mass strikes and actions) is perfectly imaginable. Some of these will use force (cutting the locks on a disused factory and breaking open the control rooms to start up social production for need involves force) but would not be inherently violent. Counter-revolutionary violence is likely but not inevitable and armed struggle justified only in self defence (but that very act of taking to arms has revolutionary potential in the right situations).

gentle revolutionary
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Aug 16 2005 18:52
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
pingtiao wrote:
The name is irrelevant. The As+Ps are also irrelevant if we are honest... What is important is the activity of the Federation, and the actual politics of it's members.

Totally agree with this.

Leftists often fail to acknowledge the vital importance of propaganda, the strength of the first impression and the outward image that we're projecting. As long as that is the case, capitalists, with their highly-sophisticated "industry of consciousness"(H.M.Enzensberger) and keen observers of human psychology, will have little trouble in defending the status quo from our feeble attacks (I am a historical materialist).

(don't shoot the messenger:)

gentle revolutionary
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Aug 16 2005 19:01
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a non-violent (ie where the primary means of bringing about revolution is not armed struggle but rather the political mass strike (which would, of course, be thousands of mass strikes and actions)

This is what I was having in mind (although of course mass strike, especially unarmed mass stike, can't be "legislated" like IWW leaders thought).

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pingtiao
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Aug 16 2005 19:14
gentle revolutionary wrote:
Leftists often fail to acknowledge the vital importance of propaganda, the strength of the first impression and the outward image that we're projecting. As long as that is the case, capitalists, with their highly-sophisticated "industry of consciousness"(H.M.Enzensberger) and keen observers of human psychology, will have little trouble in defending the status quo from our feeble attacks (I am a historical materialist).

(don't shoot the messenger:)

I think that it is too easy to get drawn into trying to compete on a terrain you can never win on. In an age of mass communication and advertising saturation, spreading anarchist ideas through pampleteering and newsletter distros becomes much harder. My personal opinion is that the best way our politics and praxis can be spread (note to non-AF types, not 'recuit people') is for people to come into contact with anarchists in on-the-ground struggles for meaningful changes- whether those be community politics [schools closing down, council house sell-offs], workplace organising or campaigns [the anti-ID thing perhaps]. I think that propaganda should take a secondary role.

Thus, with our limited time and energy, quibbling about As and Ps, or the prescence or absence of a 'C' in the acronym sort of becomes abit meaningless.

In my opinion.

gentle revolutionary
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Aug 17 2005 04:31
pingtiao wrote:

My personal opinion is that the best way our politics and praxis can be spread (note to non-AF types, not 'recuit people') is for people to come into contact with anarchists in on-the-ground struggles for meaningful changes- whether those be community politics [schools closing down, council house sell-offs], workplace organising or campaigns [the anti-ID thing perhaps]. I think that propaganda should take a secondary role.

I completely agree, but we need to work on other aspects as well.

gentle revolutionary
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Aug 17 2005 06:45
pingtiao wrote:

My personal opinion is that the best way our politics and praxis can be spread (note to non-AF types, not 'recuit people') is for people to come into contact with anarchists in on-the-ground struggles for meaningful changes- whether those be community politics [schools closing down, council house sell-offs], workplace organising or campaigns [the anti-ID thing perhaps]. I think that propaganda should take a secondary role.

I completely agree, but we need to work on other aspects as well.

Besides, we won't get a chance to work with people (as AF) if we can't create trust, which is highly unlikely at the moment (this isn't only our fault of course).

nastyned
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Aug 17 2005 08:36
gentle revolutionary wrote:
we won't get a chance to work with people (as AF) if we can't create trust, which is highly unlikely at the moment (this isn't only our fault of course).

confused

What do you mean by this?

knightrose
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Aug 17 2005 09:28
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Besides, we won't get a chance to work with people (as AF) if we can't create trust, which is highly unlikely at the moment (this isn't only our fault of course).

I'm not sure what you mean. We don't have much trouble in Manchester, other than our own lethargy.

You can work with people if you approach them in the right way. That means treating others with respect and decency.

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Bodach gun bhrigh
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Aug 17 2005 12:02
knightrose wrote:

This comment worries me. If members don't agree with the aims and principles, then how do we maintain trust and democracy with the AF?

I'll second that, and further, why would people join in far flung areas if they didn't have some declaration of principle they could hold on to

kalabine
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Aug 17 2005 14:23

speaking as a non member of afed, i reckon your aims and principles are fine as they are.

i do think if you have them however you should adhere to them, i think it is important all members agree with them, and understand them - and if they dont they should be able to try and change them

gentle revolutionary
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Aug 17 2005 16:17
knightrose wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean. We don't have much trouble in Manchester, other than our own lethargy.

You can work with people if you approach them in the right way. That means treating others with respect and decency.

I don't know, maybe you're right, maybe good will is all we need, but I'm not sure how far one can go in a non-crisis situation, where more trust is needed. Of course workers who've been sacked will want all the support they can get, but what about organising a neighbourhood around some non-critical issue (for instance)?