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Anarcho-syndicalist organization?

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jolasmo
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Apr 2 2014 08:24

To be honest I think there's some truly incredible mental gymnastics going on here in an effort to pin virtually every reformist tendency within syndicalism on organisational dualism, which I think is in the first place rather unfair, and relies on a reduction of all organisational dualist approaches to a bastardised version of what one Italian anarchist wrote about a century ago, and in the second place, and much more importantly, doesn't actually help us to understand why some revolutionary unions slide into reformism. I think this happens because of structural pressures that face all revolutionary movements (inside or outside of the workplace) which are immediate and inherent to class struggle itself and not the work of some nefarious group of 'platformist' or 'specifist' outsiders plotting to rob the movement of its revolutionary political stance. Now, to be clear, I don't think these strucutral pressures are irresistable, or inevitable, but I do think they exist as a tendency within almost all such organisations and movements and that effectively combatting them requires a deeper understanding of the issues at stake than just pinning the blame on your L&Ses, or your FAIs or whatever.

OliverTwister wrote:
How about the quote from one of the FdCA's primary documents that references Malatesta's theory of organizational dualism as an antecedent of their own?

No, it absolutely doesn't say that, and that's the second time you'v e had to really twist these quotes you're using to fit your argument. What it actually does is reference Malatesta's theory of the decline of revolutionary unions:

FdCA wrote:
Malatesta already opposed this idea, held by Monatte, in 1907 at the International Congress of Amsterdam. He clarified how the proletariat's associations for resistance would inevitably slide into reformism, thus blurring sight of the goals.

What's more, it goes on to say:

FdCA wrote:
This was the economicism which Lenin pointed out, though he wanted to fight it by instilling class consciousness into the masses from without, but which Anarchist Communists fight by acting as a critical conscience from within.

So the reality is, the FdCA are saying pretty much the opposite of what you want them to: that Anarchist Communists should organise within fighting organisations against the slide into 'economism', that is, the depoliticisation of such organisations and movements.

The piece says nothing whatsoever about Malatesta's ideas about organisational dualism, probably because, as I pointed out, they are diametrically opposed to the platformist conception of such.

OliverTwister wrote:
How about Liberty and Solidarity, who actively argued as IWW members for the IWW to become less explicitly political, and whose leading light even argued that the CGT in Spain was being held back by it's attachment to its anarchist heritage?

Tbh as Battlescarred pointed out L&S are not a good example of typical platformist practice by any means. Towards the end of its life as an organisation it more or less broke from platformism, and indeed anarchism altogether, and became essentially a syndicalist political group agitating for industrial unionism and working mainly within the IWW. By this point they were pretty harshly critical not only of the CGT's anarchism but of anarchism in general.

OliverTwister wrote:
I'm not saying that this is omnipresent with everyone who advocates specific political organizations. What I am saying is that there is a discernable trend for this with anarchists who advocate organizational dualism and strict separation of political and economic organizations.

So not platformists then, who, as I pointed out, don't understand their conception of organisational dualism in terms of a political and an economic organisation but in terms of political-economic organisations and political organisations which work to advance and defend anarchist politics within the former.

klas batalo wrote:
If you read the stuff on organizational dualism, and then see how that got translated to the world of Especifismo and not just the americanized reductive version of we should have revolutionaries intervene in social movements (either to build or politicize them), then we can actually talk about the real arguments being made. I think that is how we end up with all this variance, cause some folks take the original texts 100% to heart, and also some of the critics of dual organizationalism are probably more read up on the specifics than the actual practitioners in the US context at least.

So I don't doubt that some US critics of organisational dualism are very well read on the subject, though this thread is not particularly good evidence of that tbh. But it's one thing to have read up on what Malatesta wrote about this stuff a century ago, and another to have an actual critique of the practice of organisational dualism today. What you've written here comes across a bit like "hey, you're doing it wrong, we know because we've read all about this stuff", and frankly it turns my stomach when people make these sorts of supercillious arguments.

Anyways wrapping up, I'm not a diehard supporter of platformism or organisational dualism, but I do think that people are being pretty disingenous with the way these concepts are being deployed within the discussion here.

~J.

Battlescarred
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Apr 2 2014 09:25

Spot on, Jolasmo!

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OliverTwister
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Apr 2 2014 14:01

This thread is boring. I'll admit that I'm not as engaged with it as I might be, primarily because I just don't really care about platformism.

However, to say

Quote:
there's some truly incredible mental gymnastics going on here in an effort to pin virtually every reformist tendency within syndicalism on organisational dualism

is over the top. Please point to where I, or anybody, has said anything even close to that. The reactions have basically boiled down to "How dare you say something mean about platformism!"

Do the FdCA quote approvingly of Malatesta's assertion that unions are inherently reformist in their explanation of their own practice of organizational dualism (in the chapter of their program titled "Organizational Dualism")? Not according to Jolasmo.

Does the FdCA say anything like this?

Quote:
For Anarchist Communists these theoretical problems are resolved with organizational dualism, assigning precise tasks and separate functions to the two organizations.

Not according to Jolasmo.

Rather, "[t]he piece says nothing whatsoever about Malatesta's ideas about organisational dualism, probably because, as I pointed out, they are diametrically opposed to the platformist conception of such." I'll grant that FdCA don't go on in that chapter to elaborate Malatesta's concept, beyond using his assertion that unions are inherently reformist as a basis for their own theory; but I'd like to see where you pointed out that Malatesta's ideas are "diametrically opposed" to platformist ideas. I saw you point out that he debated with Dielo Trouda, fair enough, but please quote any modern platformist group arguing that they are diametrically opposed to Malatesta.

Then there's L&S. They were a member group of Anarkismo.net, they helped put together Anarchist Black Cat IIRC, they called themselves platformist. How dare I reference them as an example of a group which took organizational dualism to an extreme!

Also, this:

Quote:
So not platformists then, who, as I pointed out, don't understand their conception of organisational dualism in terms of a political and an economic organisation but in terms of political-economic organisations and political organisations which work to advance and defend anarchist politics within the former.

Really, all platformists have this as their conception? Cause the first I'd noticed anyone using those terms was about 3-4 years ago. FdCA don't use those terms. George Fontenis didn't use those terms. Do Common Struggle, or Zabalaza, or any of the other organizations involved in Anarkismo? Again, you're going to have to provide some quotes here.

There's plenty of great discussions about whether reformism is "inherent" to syndicalism or revolutionary movements, or what that even means. There's also really good overviews of contemporary platformism, like this one. I'm not going to recreate that work. But I've heard members of anarchist political organizations say in public meetings things like "We've been talking about how the IWW is an economic organization, and [organization name] can be a political organization to act in it." These ideas come from somewhere, they don't just fall from the air.

I'm not going to bother with this thread more unless there's something really compelling, because it doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

syndicalist
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Apr 2 2014 14:35

If this thread is boring then why stir the pot. The thread wasn't meant to be a platform for discussing platforms, of which has little to do with the original topic.

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Pennoid
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Apr 2 2014 17:08

This thread accidentally a whole bottle of platformism? I'll set it straight!

Edit: In spite of the above joke, the following are quite series questions:

Anyone interested in more practical questions? Like how to overcome small-group dynamics/cliques, how to manage time, how to reduce administrative effort/bureaucracy? What is the role of the social event in organizing? The BBQ, the soccer game, the dance party, the LAN party (Age of Empires II, FTW!!!) etc. How do we deal with informal leaders when a) we are them, b) we are not them.

Battlescarred
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Apr 2 2014 16:19

We call it football in Britain not soccer.

Battlescarred
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Apr 2 2014 16:25

As I said anyone who uses L&S as a good example of Platformism is a ninny. As Jolasmo says :"Towards the end of its life as an organisation it more or less broke from platformism, and indeed anarchism altogether, and became essentially a syndicalist political group agitating for industrial unionism and working mainly within the IWW. By this point they were pretty harshly critical not only of the CGT's anarchism but of anarchism in general." Indeed they established close links with the Comités Syndicalistes Révolutionnaires in France, extremely hostile to anarchists themselves.

syndicalist
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Apr 2 2014 16:51

I dunno, some people were fooled by L&S,
Including some smart folks in the IWW. I dunno, they always smelt bad to me. And their syndicali always seemed a bit fake and opportunist Though, in correspondence and on paper, I thought Snowball seemed decent enough. Even if I didn't share their views

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klas batalo
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Apr 3 2014 06:11
Pennoid wrote:
This thread accidentally a whole bottle of platformism? I'll set it straight!

Edit: In spite of the above joke, the following are quite series questions:

Anyone interested in more practical questions? Like how to overcome small-group dynamics/cliques, how to manage time, how to reduce administrative effort/bureaucracy? What is the role of the social event in organizing? The BBQ, the soccer game, the dance party, the LAN party (Age of Empires II, FTW!!!) etc. How do we deal with informal leaders when a) we are them, b) we are not them.

dig this but maybe another thread.

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klas batalo
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Apr 3 2014 06:18

okay Jolasmo says basically that FdCA says these should be organizations within the mass organization that fight against economism... i sorta argue this in pointing out that makhno and all in my recent piece were for the anarchization of mass organizations/struggles and eventually for a revolutionary mass organization/movements... so sure, and sorry if i'm annoying by saying a lot of platformists don't read the OGs enough on organizational dualism...but how else do we end up with these weird economistic interpretations??? perhaps the persistence of the dominant leftist groupthink in the west regarding party and class/union? i really don't have the time to cite for R. Spurgetis but there over the last 15 years at least from what I remember in my reading of organizational documents and debates, internal and external a waxing and waning current/tendency of platformists who do hold a we need a political group to work in apolitical ie economic group.

jolasmo
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Apr 3 2014 09:23
OliverTwister wrote:
This thread is boring. I'll admit that I'm not as engaged with it as I might be, primarily because I just don't really care about platformism.

Fair dos, wasn't me who brought it up though.

OliverTwister wrote:
However, to say
Quote:
there's some truly incredible mental gymnastics going on here in an effort to pin virtually every reformist tendency within syndicalism on organisational dualism

is over the top. Please point to where I, or anybody, has said anything even close to that.

Alright, mebbe that was a bit ott, but you did say:

OliverTwister wrote:
"who led the charge for CNT integration with the state and disarming of the workers ... It wasn't the die-hard syndicalists, it was the leading lights of the FAI"

and

OliverTwister wrote:
Often times when the default idea is that there can and should be only revolutionary propaganda groups and non-revolutionary fighting organizations, this leads to attempting to pull the revolutionary politics out of the fighting organizations. This was certainly one of the main ideas leading to the CGT split

so I feel like a theme is developing there. Maybe I'm reading too much into it though.

OliverTwister wrote:
The reactions have basically boiled down to "How dare you say something mean about platformism!"

I actually don't mind people slagging off platformism, just not in this kinda dishonest way that just seems to build it up as a foil to syndicalism. Which is a bit odd, I think.

OliverTwister wrote:
Do the FdCA quote approvingly of Malatesta's assertion that unions are inherently reformist in their explanation of their own practice of organizational dualism (in the chapter of their program titled "Organizational Dualism")? Not according to Jolasmo.

Does the FdCA say anything like this?

Quote:
For Anarchist Communists these theoretical problems are resolved with organizational dualism, assigning precise tasks and separate functions to the two organizations.

Not according to Jolasmo.

Hey, I never denied the FdCA quote Malatesta and believe in organisational dualism, but their conception of organisational dualism is different from Malatesta's in important ways.

OliverTwister wrote:
Then there's L&S. They were a member group of Anarkismo.net, they helped put together Anarchist Black Cat IIRC, they called themselves platformist. How dare I reference them as an example of a group which took organizational dualism to an extreme!

Sure. I'm just saying they were a pretty atypical example.

OliverTwister wrote:
Also, this:
Quote:
So not platformists then, who, as I pointed out, don't understand their conception of organisational dualism in terms of a political and an economic organisation but in terms of political-economic organisations and political organisations which work to advance and defend anarchist politics within the former.

Really, all platformists have this as their conception? Cause the first I'd noticed anyone using those terms was about 3-4 years ago. FdCA don't use those terms. George Fontenis didn't use those terms. Do Common Struggle, or Zabalaza, or any of the other organizations involved in Anarkismo? Again, you're going to have to provide some quotes here.

No, you're right, they don't use those terms, but I think the wording of the platform speaks for itself in terms of the actual concepts advanced there:

The Platform wrote:
[We advocate] grouping revolutionary workers and peasants on the basis of production and consumption (revolutionary workers' and peasants' production organizations, free workers' and peasants' cooperatives, etc.).

Do they use the phrase 'political-economic organisation'? No. But I think it's pretty clear that that is what they want, even if they don't use the exact jargon that contemporary anarchosyndicalists use.

OliverTwister wrote:
There's plenty of great discussions about whether reformism is "inherent" to syndicalism or revolutionary movements, or what that even means. There's also really good overviews of contemporary platformism, like this one.

As an aside, the author of that pamphlet went on to help found the latest attempt at an Anarkismo group in the UK, Collective Action.

~J.

syndicalist
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Apr 3 2014 14:29
syndicalist wrote:
I suspect those US or north american groups that identify with anarcho-syndicalism or other forms of libertarian workerism will continue on their own ways. Which is perfectly fine and best for all. Whatever level of coordination or cooperation folks feels works, everyone should engage as appropriate.

Back on point, I suspect this is where North American anarchosyndicalists and libertarian workers are at. Not that I can speak for others. Just an observation

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Felix Frost
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Apr 3 2014 15:38
Battlescarred wrote:
As I said anyone who uses L&S as a good example of Platformism is a ninny. As Jolasmo says :"Towards the end of its life as an organisation it more or less broke from platformism, and indeed anarchism altogether, and became essentially a syndicalist political group agitating for industrial unionism and working mainly within the IWW. By this point they were pretty harshly critical not only of the CGT's anarchism but of anarchism in general." Indeed they established close links with the Comités Syndicalistes Révolutionnaires in France, extremely hostile to anarchists themselves.

This is all true, but then there seems to be a bit of a tradition with platformist groups in the UK abandoning anarchism in favour of dubious leftist ideologies. Both the Anarchist Workers Association from the 70s, and the Anarchist Workers Group from the late 80s, suffered similar fates if I remember correctly.

In any case, there are plenty of other examples of platformists that have been criticising anarcho-syndicalism and arguing against "politicising" unions too much. I appreciate that most current platformists in the US might have other views on this, but this is hardly something that Oliver is just making up.

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Felix Frost
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Apr 3 2014 15:48
syndicalist wrote:
Actually the reason why the CNT rejects workplace elections and State funding is precisely because it goes against their anarchism. And the anarchist approach to workplace organizing

I would say it's because they take a firm stand against class collaboration, and this isn't something that is specific to anarchism. There are other anarchists who has come to different conclusions on these questions (including a lot of CGT members), despite sharing the same anarchist ideology.

Battlescarred
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Apr 3 2014 16:32

Sorry, I'm really not clear what you mean by not wanting to "politicise" unions ( or any other movement for that matter. I'm sure platformists ( not sure how many groups actually stick to such a narrow description these days) want to spread their ideas and their politics inside the bodies they are working in.

Battlescarred
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Apr 3 2014 16:35

"This is all true, but then there seems to be a bit of a tradition with platformist groups in the UK abandoning anarchism in favour of dubious leftist ideologies. Both the Anarchist Workers Association from the 70s, and the Anarchist Workers Group from the late 80s, suffered similar fates if I remember correctly."
But L&S were the specific group being cited . Agree about the developments within AWA/LCG and the AWG but L&S represented a qualitatively new phenomenon, I feel

syndicalist
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Apr 3 2014 16:57
Felix Frost wrote:
syndicalist wrote:
Actually the reason why the CNT rejects workplace elections and State funding is precisely because it goes against their anarchism. And the anarchist approach to workplace organizing

I would say it's because they take a firm stand against class collaboration, and this isn't something that is specific to anarchism. There are other anarchists who has come to different conclusions on these questions (including a lot of CGT members), despite sharing the same anarchist ideology.

But they don't share the same ideology. If they did their conclusions would be similar I mean. How many times do leftist trade unionists roll out the ref tethering, only to have a cleaner yet still collaborationist perspective. So I try and measure stuff by their practice, not their speeches or Nay day banners I mean, even at the height of the SACs reformism, Federativs (SAC publishing house )published anarchist and revolutionary syndicalist texts

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 3 2014 17:04

Maybe it would be more productive not to pose this in absolute terms. Even L&S thought the union should have some politics (some kind of minimal syndicalism). Even the most 'ideological' FORAists don't think workers should have to memorise Kropotkin before joining the union. So the first question is not 'politics y/n?', but 'what politics is appropriate?', to which there probably isn't a single answer. ('Apoliticism' or economism would still make sense tendentially, even if strictly speaking, there's no such thing as an apolitical organisation. I think in practice 'apolitical' tends to mean default 'common sense' politics as opposed to dissident ones, so in a union context, usually social democracy).

This is where I think Marcel van der Linden's distinction between the ideological level, organisational level, and shopfloor level is helpful. As Battlescared (and others) point out, the difference between the CGT and CNT isn't really ideological, at least on the face of it, in that the CGT retains a notional commitment to anarchism, red and black symbolism, built a statue of Durruti in Léon etc. Rather it's to do with how this anarchism manifests (or doesn't) in organisational and shopfloor levels (e.g. the CNT's 'three no's' of works council, liberados/representatives, and state subsidies).

syndicalist
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Apr 3 2014 17:09
Battlescarred wrote:
"This is all true, but then there seems to be a bit of a tradition with platformist groups in the UK abandoning anarchism in favour of dubious leftist ideologies. Both the Anarchist Workers Association from the 70s, and the Anarchist Workers Group from the late 80s, suffered similar fates if I remember correctly."
But L&S were the specific group being cited . Agree about the developments within AWA/LCG and the AWG but L&S represented a qualitatively new phenomenon, I feel

I'll leave the AWA aside, mainly cause we got lots of informative stuff from them and agreed with the premise of putting organized into organized class struggle anarchism. AWG no sympathy as they were a split from the DAM, who had strong relations with and shared a similar view on the 1980s world

I would agree that L&S represented something a bit more different they really believed that they were cadre and on a mission to do their thing inside the IWW. And elsewhere
They were slick and fooled a bunch of very smart people But they were on ego and power trips
And as much as I may not share the views of many contemporary platform it's it seeped incisors, L&S were clearly different in approach, style and form. This had been my long held observation and view, which prly means little anyway

Like I said earlier, efforts to broad brush things leads to false conclusions, poor efforts to understand each group or situation. And, for me, just says folks are not interested in the dynamic of the work or why a particular situation arises. If we simply say all platform ism is leftism and all anarchosyndicalism leafs to reformism, I think we gain nothing but waste time and space

s.nappalos
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Apr 5 2014 14:06

Can one of the mods pull the platform debate to another thread maybe?

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klas batalo
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Apr 6 2014 02:37

Yeah, I really don't wanna have to start another thread, but I'm this close to wanting to start one called "Anarcho-Syndicalism in the US" cause of the drift of this one.

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Apr 6 2014 03:54

Re CNT & CGT I don't think it is class collaboration that explains CGT's position. If you go back to the origin of this dispute within the CNT itself in early '80s, the problem then was that the wave of strikes run thru workers assemblies during the transition had come to an end, and most workers wanted to control negotiations & struggle but to do so legally. To retain its large following some sections of CNT choose to participate in the enterprise committee elections, but from a position of opposition to them, to be there to guard against sellouts. I don't think that is "class collaboration." I think it is trying to figure out a practical way to fight in an unfavorable labor law framework. Being *more* opposed to this framework, to the point of non-cooperation, may mean a stronger sort of anarchism, and that is the path the CNT has taken.

I think, frankly, that Oliver's arguments are grotesque strawman fallacies. To paint every dual organizational group with the L&S brush is fallacious & offensive to boot. By doing that he makes himself someone who is not worth taking seriously.

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OliverTwister
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Apr 6 2014 06:28
Quote:
To paint every dual organizational group with the L&S brush is fallacious & offensive to boot.

Yes that's clearly what I did. The rolling eyes emoticon is not generating but this is where I would put it.

Also why do you find L&S offensive? I was opposed to them from the beginning, but they were welcomed into Anarkismo and AnarchistBlackCat (the latter of which I've never interacted with, the former not for 8+ years). Surely if their ideas were so diametrically opposed to everyone else's in that milieu they would have been rejected or asked to leave.

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Apr 16 2014 05:06
Quote:
Michael Schmidt writes: “There is strangely, in the view of myself and Lucien van der Walt, detailed in our book Black Flame: the Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism, no historically definable “anarchist-communist” current at all. No doubt the WSM in Ireland, the FdCA and others of our tendency would be surprised at this position, but it has a solid grounding in historical fact: that “pure anarchist communists” like Hatta Shuzo of Japan were in fact not anti-syndicalist (merely recognised the limitations of the single, mass organisation without the specific organisation, as did Errico Malatesta and others) and in fact worked within the syndicalist movement to reunite the “anarchist communist” Zenkoku Jiren with the “anarcho-syndicalist” Nihon Jikyo. So if even the “purists” were not anti-syndicalist, and the “anti-organisationists” like Luigi Galleani were in fact organised, albeit on a smaller affinity-group scale, who is it in fact, that is opposed to the mass line approach that the majority of the historical anarchist movement adopted?

“Of the anarchists who can rightfully claim that title by their revolutionary free-communist class orientation, the only ones who reject the mass line are those who believe in the uselessness of reforms, believing that the “revolutionary gymnasium” of union organising etc only saps the workers’ strength through the infection of bourgeois norms, and draws them into fatal compromises with the state, capital and the elitist project (here the ZACF prefers the FdCA’s confidence that revolutionary ideas can infect the class organisations instead). Anarchist-insurrectionists find their solution to class mobilisation in the precipitation of spontaneous and voluntary mass revolt by catalytic deeds. Although this position comes close to some left-communist and some council communist positions, there is nothing inherently un-anarchist about their analysis, although just as the mass line can succumb to reformism, so the insurgent line can succumb to substitutionism.

“However, Lucien and I accepted that in many cases, anarchist insurgency and guerrilla warfare took place not in isolation, but as the defensive arms of mass popular organisations. Here we may give honourable mention to the fighters of the Organización Popular Revolucionaria-33 (OPR-33) in Uruguay which acted in defence of wildcat strikes by the CNT union and other popular mobilisations against neo-fascist repression in 1971-1976, of Resistencia Libertaria (RL) in Argentina which defended worker’s autonomy against the ultra-right which organised the murderous Galtieri military coup in 1976, of the Movimiento Ibérica Libertaria (MIL) which operated underground in Spain against the Francoist dictatorship in 1971-1974, and of the Workers’ Liberation Group (Shagila) of Iraq and Scream of the People (CHK) of Iran which defended the factory soviets (shoras) and grassroots neighbourhood committees (kommitehs) during the Iranian Revolution of 1978-1979. A more familiar example to most would be the Los Solidarios group in Spain in the 1920s was not merely running around assassinating people at whim, but that they had been formed by the famed anarcho-syndicalist CNT union federation as a secret, yet official, defensive arm responding to real and deadly repression.

“Other than the anarchist-insurrectionists, there remains only the “classless individualists” who, we of our tendency are all agreed, by denying the social nature of humanity and the necessity for class struggle for socialism-from-below, break with the foundations of anarchism and are thus non-anarchist, while the “philosophical educationists,” where they do not deny the class struggle, are simply poor anarchists in that they have withdrawn from social activism. Thus we say, “anarchist-communism” at base is simply a synonym for what today is often called “social anarchism” and mostly historically adheres to the mass line which includes syndicalist approaches.

“The only further distinction then becomes between “anarcho-syndicalism” that defines specifically as anarchist (such as our comrades of the CNT-France and others), which has the strength of recognising its anarchist roots, but the weakness of not being able to embrace all workers on the basis of economic commonality – because it is a mass organisation trying to be at the same time a specific organisation, and “revolutionary syndicalism” that does not define itself as anarchist (the IWW [Industrial Workers of the World] and others), which has the disadvantage that it will attract reformists and state-socialists into its ranks, but the advantage that it can embrace all workers (although the IWW often also suffers from the conundrum of trying to be sufficient in itself without an affiliated specific anarchist organisation). Other than that, there are also specific organisations that do see syndicalism as inherently reformist and therefore a dead loss, but most are of our tendency which see organisational dualism as crucial. This is the crux of the argument between the International Workers’ Association (IWA) and those of our tendency: the IWA sees syndicalism alone as sufficiently revolutionary because their unions are specifically anarchist, while we believe syndicalism should be non-specific because of the class nature of trade unions, but as a result needs to be allied to specific organisations which provide anarchist content. One of the determining factors in which argument is correct is, crudely, the numbers: the IWA declines while the tendency today represented in the organisations of the anarkismo project and the unaffiliated syndicalist unions, grows.”

I think this quote and the highlighted parts brings out some interesting things related to this thread (and there are also some other interesting parts).

Basically the author(s) here of Black Flame (the platformist tome if you will) argue that the organizational dualist tendency should be focused on having two groups one specific organization that strategically allies itself with an non-specific economic/class/ syndicalist organization a la the IWW, in order to provide it with content. To me it all seems a bit schematic but I can see where people get some of the ideas in this thread.

So no to anarchist syndicates, but yes to anarchists building syndicates and winning them over to anarchism to make them anarchist syndicates?

In retrospect this is incredibly similar to the KAPD/AAUD relationship, and the whole debates there around those organizations after the fact, and the AAUD-E to KAUD development seems really pertinent??? (As much as such things can be 90+ years down the line.

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klas batalo
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Apr 16 2014 05:11

i.e. should we do

1) specific organization working in revolutionary unions (dual organizationalist strategy as proposed here/FAI-CNT/KAPD-AAUD) ?

2) revolutionary unionism is sufficient (CGT/AAUD-E/IWW) ??

3) fusion of specific content and revolutionary unionist practice (KAUD/anarcho-syndicalist/FORAismo) ???

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Apr 16 2014 16:08
Quote:
Also why do you find L&S offensive? I was opposed to them from the beginning, but they were welcomed into Anarkismo and AnarchistBlackCat (the latter of which I've never interacted with, the former not for 8+ years). Surely if their ideas were so diametrically opposed to everyone else's in that milieu they would have been rejected or asked to leave.

I'm not a member of an Anarkismo or platformist group so your question is irrelevant.

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syndicalistcat
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Apr 16 2014 16:26

to comment on the parts you've highlighted:

Quote:
but the advantage that it can embrace all workers (although the IWW often also suffers from the conundrum of trying to be sufficient in itself without an affiliated specific anarchist organisation). Other than that, there are also specific organisations that do see syndicalism as inherently reformist and therefore a dead loss, but most are of our tendency which see organisational dualism as crucial. This is the crux of the argument between the International Workers’ Association (IWA) and those of our tendency: the IWA sees syndicalism alone as sufficiently revolutionary because their unions are specifically anarchist, while we believe syndicalism should be non-specific because of the class nature of trade unions, but as a result needs to be allied to specific organisations which provide anarchist content.

the CNT in the revolution in Spain was identified as a specifically "anarchist" union. So what does it mean in saying it is "non-specific"? The anarchists even got the one non-anarchist political tendency in the CNT expelled (the BOC, which became the POUM). There did remain three different anarchist tendencies in the CNT. CNT didn't have a narrow doctrine or "line". But it was still anarcho-syndicalist.

I think one of the issues with the "unions alone" line lies with the non-class forms of oppression as well as forms of class struggle outside the workplace. Is the union really sufficient for this?

There is another issue: The issue of what, for lack of a better word, I'll call autonomism in regard to struggles of oppressed groups. In other words, at various times particular groups have formed organizations to address & organize around their specific oppression, such as Mujeres Libres or a group in USA like Black Workers for Justice, or the League of Revolutionary Black Workers.

If you say the One Organization is sufficient unto itself, what about these organizations that develop around the intersection of class & non-class oppression?

Further, there is the problem of the workers in the bureaucratic service agency unions. Perhaps one says the revolutionary union should work as a pressure group or independent worker organization in that context. Maybe. But there is also the possibility of an independent worker organization in that context not aligned with a particular union.

So, I think it is inevitable the revolutionary process & the process of class formation will probably involve a multiplicity of mass organizations & initiatives. I think a revolutionary union would have to approach such organizations for an alliance. So the idea of a social movement alliance with other organizations is something that has to be allowed for. Quite apart from the question of the specific vs mass organization distinction.

There is also the question of how a sizeable revolutionary organization is going to emerge. It's not likely to emerge at present simply by recruitment to the small organizations that exist now. During a period of class formation & much more heightened struggles, in the future, there may emerge radical takeovers of local unions which breakaway, there may be emergence of various new radical independent unions. We should think of the idea of bringing these together into a radical labor federation, outside the business unions.

In this scenario, it's likely a variety of radical influences will exist in these various organizations. If there is to be a specifically libertarian socialist influence here, it seems hard to see how a specific organization is n ot needed. Similarly if we think of the revolutionary process as involving a social movement alliance between unions & other organizations....what about the political influences in those various organizations? How do links develop between militants in different mass organizing situations?

On the other hand, I think a serious problem with anarchist specific organizations is a tendency to be too ideologically narrow. The talk of "ideological unity" tends to suggest this problem. What level of ideological unity? On what basis? So I think there are problems with the concept of the "specific organization". It's sort of ironic because "organized anarchists" have more or less taken this for granted.

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Apr 16 2014 22:42
klas batalo wrote:
i.e. should we do

1) specific organization working in revolutionary unions (dual organizationalist strategy as proposed here/FAI-CNT/KAPD-AAUD) ?

2) revolutionary unionism is sufficient (CGT/AAUD-E/IWW) ??

3) fusion of specific content and revolutionary unionist practice (KAUD/anarcho-syndicalist/FORAismo) ???

Can I answer "all of the above"?

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Apr 17 2014 00:19

Fnordie, if you mean, Would it be useful for all three approaches to be tried? I think the answer is "Yes" as long as they are approached in a serious & organized way. Then we can assess the results, and see how things work out. Test each hypothesis.

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Apr 17 2014 01:45

Yeah, that's basically my position. I also think different strategies are appropriate for different contexts. There might be specific local conditions or levels of struggle in Uruguay that make Especifismo a more viable practice there, and other contingencies in the US that might make "big tent" revolutionary unionism a better option for us.

I'm also generally in favor of both anarchist agitation inside business unions, and of 'apolitical' revolutionary industrial unions, and of anarchosyndicalist unions. These debates make sense in particular either/or instances (CNT vs CGT, etc), but in general I don't think anyone should wed themselves to one particular strategy.