Do Australian anarchists need to be organised?

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kharkov
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Aug 26 2013 00:39
Do Australian anarchists need to be organised?

Do Australian anarchists need to be organised?

An introductory clarification

I first of all have to clarify that what I am about to convey I do so from my own “grass root” understanding of anarchism and my desire is to contribute towards a positive analysis and further development of the anarchist ideal in Australia. This, I propose to do in a critical manner rather than an obsequious, mystifying or dogmatic one. It however does not mean that I am infallibly right with my opinion; it is simply, the way I see it.

I do not intend to promote my ideas nor convince people to see and analyse issues the way I do. I do not wish to introduce a new catechism or sound as a pessimist, whilst taking into consideration that the current condition of the Australian society is somewhat complicated. Furthermore, I least of all seek to come across as an academic or theoretician of anarchism; instead I anticipate that I can successfully argue the need to build and develop from a realistic ground floor level a coherent and organised anarchist movement, without lying to ourselves.

As I have previously stated, I am writing from a simplistic anarchist point of view, because I believe that it is through anarchism that we can develop a better society, more egalitarian, fairer, more fraternal, where solidarity and a humanitarian concept of life will flourish…

I do not propose to present a propaganda thesis, for I believe that we are in a phase of civilisation where the propagandistic written word is non effective due to the social apathetical conditioning that governments have successfully developed through their brainwashing, firstly with their compulsory mis-education and secondly with their conjured enhancement in the quality of life through an accumulation of wealth, subject to the ever increasing working hours at the expense of our fellow workers.

As individuals and as anarchists we therefore need to analyse our current society in an endeavour to reach the necessary collective agreements amongst ourselves to ensure that we can turn society upside down by questioning and confronting every single incident affecting our lives as well as that of the neighbourhood we form part of.

A Short Critique

Due to my geographical isolation I have ventured into reading numerous anarchist blogs so as to keep in touch with the growth, development and activities of the anarchist movement within our shores.

Regretfully, I must convey that having read comments in quite a number of blogs, it is evident the disarray that has unfortunately been an integral part of the Australian anarchist movement from its inception in the late 1800’s still continues.

There has not been a maturity of the movement in any way; this off course being due to the lack of generational continuity by the failure of the movement itself in not being able to sustain any form of adequate presence in either a regular and constant anarchist publication or an anarchist (anti-authoritarian) structured organisation be it syndicalist or even a national federation of anarchist groups.

These are fundamental requirements should we want anarchist concepts, suggestions and opinions to be taken seriously and for us not to be looked upon as simply a group of trouble makers or idealistic utopian fools.

Taking into account the geographical land mass we confront together with the fact that the Australian individual is an entity that stands out on its own, I shall endeavour to do an analytic review of various attempts in the history of the Australian anarchist movement to formulate itself into some sort of effective mass organisation or even a publishing collective excluding off course the isolated individuals or diminutive groups that persevered for quite a number of years with the publications of magazines such as “Red & Black”, “Acracia”, “Ravachol” or “Anarchist Age”.

Every time an attempt was made in developing, in structuring and in formulating the basis of a national organisation these have generally broken apart, split or disintegrated as a result of personality differences together with a multitude of other diversities that in turn have also contributed to the failure in attracting the Australian “grass root” working class.

We have also failed to acknowledge the fundamental principal of respecting each others point of view and accepting the fact that polemics must exist in order to ensure that we do not become stagnant. Such is the beauty of anarchism, because it is a continuously evolving ideal driven by the individuals that embrace its philosophical concepts. That is why anarchists have always been labelled as the “anti-authoritarian socialists”. We do not accept anyone telling us what to do or how to do it, instead we believe in the decision making process of mutual agreement differentiating us from the parliamentary driven socialist/communist parties with their cadres, leadership structures and discipline.

Last but not least the inability of the overall Australian anarchist movement over the past 13 decades in being able to divorce itself from the various Labour Clubs and the innocent attempts to achieve a libertarian-marxist stance which off course represents the unification of two ideologies which are incompatible.

As I have already indicated I have tried to more or less follow the differing opinions concerning the need of an organisation, which no doubt is anticipated will become the instrument to further Australian anarchism and ensure its intervention in the Australian social and political life.

Quite a number of those comments have been in favour whereas a few others have clearly demonstrated an opposition and have also been some what derogatory. Regardless, what has come to the surface has been the anxiety reflected by quite a few individuals or anarchist groups conveying the need for such an organisation, which I would prefer to qualify as “the responsible need”.

How could we begin?

First of all it is important to clarify the anarchist and libertarian reality amongst ourselves; we cannot contemplate that we all think alike; that there are no differences or that we all fit into the same basket. Due to the diversity of thoughts within anarchism, we should not contemplate that one perception is better than the other (be it individualists, anarco-communists, syndicalists, insurrectionalists, etc,.) instead, we the individuals that have embraced the ideal of anarchism should further develop ourselves with the school of thought we best identify ourselves, but at the same time not negate our co-operation with the other schools of anarchism and above all arrive at a comprehensive understanding of those differences.

In addition we should evaluate with objectivity where the australian anarchist movement is currently placed, what have been the successes of our interventions over the past century or so, as well as what would be our ability and strategies to change the current domination of financial capitalism, the most powerful system in history, which has integrated and coerced the majority of the world population into achieving its objectives.

From where I stand and see Australian anarchism in a broad sense, it incorporates a multitude of different groups as well as two streams of syndicalism (ASF and IWW), but above all it stands out as a very fragmented and divided anarchist movement. Interpretation resentments, accusations of phraseology abuse, sexist attitudes and personality dislikes all leading to splits which we need not go into for they are well known but when retold will differ, depending upon the camp or group the person recalling the event is aligned with. And off course they are all valid and they all have their reasons.

We should nevertheless not forget that these statements are made from an aligned perspective, we therefore should sit back, constructively analyse all these historical divisions and realise that there were negative and positive aspects on all sides of the arguments.

I do however have some difficulty in appreciating the logic for these historical divisions being constantly brought to light, and assume whether they simply serve to justify (what is unjustifiable) our non existent or insufficient ability of intervention and collective contribution, consequently we wrap ourselves within our own little world and our peculiar version of the “truth”.

As a result, the objective analysis of these reasons, together with our reality, should push us towards a different attitude, which regretfully has not occurred as yet, and that is to: be less sectarian amongst ourselves, be less dogmatic, be more respective to each others point of view, know how to listen, be less patrimonial (I say this from the perspective of that usual speech -what I say is valid, what anyone else says you can take with a grain of salt-, or -we are the only and true heirs-,..., with more or less arrogance and contempt for others); be much more brotherly with comrades who aspire to the same final objective... Subsequently, these defects must be added to the fragmentation of Australian anarchism, which further hinders the goals we need to achieve.

Although there is some light at the end of the tunnel, recently there have been some timid attempts in trying to overcome this distancing and I refer to the positive signs of co-operation between MACG and MAC.

This change in attitude (opening communication channels) that has recently occurred is a necessary step forward, but not sufficient to resolve the problems and difficulties that exist within Australian anarchism. The problems are so deeply rooted, that a co-ordinated unification will not be sufficient to resolve them. Should such unification evolve it will be welcomed and hopefully become an important step in allowing us to cement a visible activity and contribution in all aspects of the social spheres of Australian society proving that we are a viable ideological alternative but it will also require a massive effort from everyone.

For me, it is quite clear that Australian anarchism has a limited level of contribution-intrusion-intervention; the frequency of acknowledgment by the population at large is minimal if non-existent; the current divisions drag us in the opposite direction to the path required for the development of a mass movement which is required so as to ensure the social revolutionary process we all aspire to achieve.

This is not to say that as anarchists (individually or as part of a group) we are not involved in struggles/activities across the community at large, to the contrary, I know for a fact that many are involved with great enthusiasm and extraordinary convictions. I honestly believe that every single one of us does what he/she can do with more or less success that regretfully finishes up being fruitless sacrifices/activities. (All I am saying here is that we the anarchists in our totality are a minority in the political struggle and in our endeavours to achieve the changes we seek.)

It would also be advantageous to distinguish what it is to be in the struggle; in other words, the struggle that will result in change for the better, change that will revolutionise society and direct it towards the establishment of a libertarian communist society. Generally and with due respect to anyone or any group, I'm not pointing the finger at anyone, a group (or a number of groups) of five, ten or fifteen anarchists which with some hard work may develop to ten, thirty, sixty or even a hundred people, could tomorrow send a communiqué of solidarity with all the struggles that are taking place around the world. Which does not seem bad, but the reality is that it is a communiqué, a mechanical act where one member writes a page, and the rest of the members unanimously approve the contents. It is published in a blog and the written text of solidarity will navigate through the World Wide Web.

All I am trying to say is that it is “easy”, making statements, organizing demonstrations, they are not difficult things to do, yes they carry our message our opinion and opposition to events to injustices, unfortunately it neither reflects our force as an alternative nor do they reflect the contentious issues the Australian population at large is willing to revolt for.

I must stress that I respect and admire the time and effort by all that have been involved in activities here above described, nevertheless I do have concerns that they might believe such actions have laid the foundation for the path of revolution. It must be understood that these are marginal activities, that in order to achieve the objectives we all aspire we must develop a mass movement, we have to develop an awareness within the current society of an alternative to the system that suppress every single one of us.

It would be the same as a motion being moved at a shop floor in favour of a libertarian socialist self managed structure, when only a hand full of workers would second the motion. And then we ask ourselves, why did the motion fail?

One could also argue that these are the only type of activities that can be achieved taking into account the constraints of our environment. I accept and respect this argument but I do not agree with it.

Unfortunately the reality is that our numbers are minimal to put it mildly, in addition we are fragmented into a series of small groups the majority of which refuse to co-operate with each other due to issues that arose in the past, thus making our involvement, our intervention, our participation, -in whatever struggle is developing within the complexity of the Australian society- practically invisible, regardless whether the action was instigated or propelled by anarchists. (I shall simply beg the question, what recognition has been given to the ASF within the Australian press to the recent success against the Domino Pizza enterprise?).

What is the alternative?

An unsurmountable amount of work is required in order to lay the necessary foundations that will eventually initiate the construction and development of that alternative society we seek. A project like ours, whose aspiration it is to restructure a different world with different values will not evolve over night. The establishment of this alternative society can only be achieved with a constant perseverance on our part in demystifying the interpretation and understanding of an anarchist society to the community at large.

Both the government and opposition are the entities responsible for whatever murmur is being heard around the place in protest to their proposed policies and labour reforms, but what have we as anarchists collectively done to develop, promote and awaken a socio-political awareness within the Australian society so that the community may launch a barrage of questions opposing and objecting to whatever ludicrous legislations are being contemplated by the government of the day.

I can already hear the remarks in the distance, “… but our group has published…”, or “… I wrote on my blog…” and I do not dispute the fact that this was done, I do however question the exposure received by those written compositions. What was the print run for those leaflets, or that magazine? To whom was the distribution targeted? What was the number of hits recorded on the site after uploading the article? In other words, are we preaching to the converted or are we trying to reach the wider population?

In addition we have the dilemma of the two revolutionary syndicalist organisations that have been in existence for quite a number of years. The IWW was revived in the early 1970’s and the ASF established during the 1980’s, I shall generalise and say that they have been around for 40 years or there about, nevertheless without taking away the merits of numerous struggles by both organisations their membership growth has been some what limited when compared to the size of the Australian work force and the membership of the unions affiliated to the ACTU. The membership of both organisations is principally embodied by anarchists with both failing to attract a non ideologically aligned membership. Therefore, are these syndicalist organisations a credible alternative force represented by workers at shop floor level across the country? I do not think so because once again the community at large has no understanding what so ever of the libertarian/anarchist ideology.

That is why I strongly believe that in today’s reality we require an anarchist organisation through which an active anarchist movement can evolve, develop and grow. To me it is a priority, which in turn will also assist in promoting the growth of the syndicalist organisations. The two go hand in hand and you cannot separate one from the other. This is an opinion I have always held, and although an attempt was made in the mid 1970’s it failed miserably, hopefully we have learnt from past errors.

What should be the characteristics of this organisation?

Should we be willing to push aside our pride, past resentments and personality dislikes, we can begin the process of formulating that anarchist organisation.

I shall lay the cards on the table, and from inception make it known that this proposed anarchist organisation has to be a horizontal functional entity of organised anarchism, based on mutual agreements, a federalist and self managed entity with responsibilities and duties, rotation of co-ordinators and delegates with limited tenure that acknowledge the task at hand but that will also be recalled should they abuse the position entrusted upon them by others, with accountability of their undertaken responsibilities. Have an active participation with alternative suggestions in industrial issues as well as the multitude of social problems confronted by the community.

Having raised the issue of co-ordinators, delegates and positions of responsibility, we should not negate that unfortunately the contentious issue of power shows its ugly head at any level of social interaction even amongst anarchists. We have always eloquently argued that we are all equal, that we only accept the power of the decisions made during our plenaries through the process of debate and mutual agreement; that we have no leaders and that no-one is in charge. Not true, I could give numerous examples of libertarian/anarchist organisations that claim to only accept the power of their plenary yet only a reduced number of delegates/members attend their assemblies, or whenever they celebrate a Congress there is no need to be present because what will be approved has been predetermined. Anyone with the patience to do an objective analysis of the smallest group/cell that claims to be driven and guided by its assemblies/plenaries will observe that there is always someone that stands out, with more initiative, that has a better and more persuasive command of the spoken language, as a result the majority of times not to say all the time the decisions/activities under taken by the group end up being the ones proposed by that individual. Being aware that this weakness of unconsciously controlling the situation is existent, we as anarchists have to make that extra effort to ensure that the horizontal organisational process is adhered to encouraging the participation in debates and suggestions of activities by all.

We must also acknowledge that we are in a different society compared to that of 40 or 50 years ago. The way of relating with each other, of reading, of producing, of perceiving our future, has changed. We have the internet, the world wide web, highways of information which can also drown us, where it is extremely difficult to separate fact from fiction. It is this technology that also dictates production, consumption and the sensitivity of reaction to any incident. Society has also evolutionised from being the cultivators and producers of knowledge, to being the gatherers and hunters of knowledge in a forest of electronic data, which regrettably is controlled and manipulated by the forces of neoliberalism through the various outlets of social media. I am not saying that we have to do away with the internet, but definitely we have to create that interest, that desire of wanting to know, for people to log onto the different libertarian/anarchist sites and be exposed to that alternative opinion, to those alternative points of view ranging from the cost of public transport, health and education through to a critique on the increase to the retirement age. And whether we agree or not we also need that hard copy coverage.

No matter which way we look at it we have to make the population of Australia aware that there exists an alternative way, empowering them to contribute together with their neighbours in the decision making process affecting their lives which does not follow any political party line. To me the task of getting this message out there becomes much easier when there is a national functional organisation made up of a multitude of smaller groups located in the suburbs and the outback that co-operate with each other.

Harrison
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Aug 26 2013 07:14
Quote:
Due to the diversity of thoughts within anarchism, we should not contemplate that one perception is better than the other (be it individualists, anarco-communists, syndicalists, insurrectionalists, etc,.) instead, we the individuals that have embraced the ideal of anarchism should further develop ourselves with the school of thought we best identify ourselves, but at the same time not negate our co-operation with the other schools of anarchism and above all arrive at a comprehensive understanding of those differences.

There certainly do exist - and have always existed - many different forms of anarchism, but there are a great deal of anarchists that believe the political bracket of those that constitute a political ally, to be those that
a) see the working class as the political subject
b) desire stateless (ie. 'true') communism, without the plan for a interim pseudo-proletarian state
c) seek to organise the working class in a fashion where power lies with its base

As a result, I don't think you'll see everyone sharing the viewpoint that different strands such as individualism/insurrectionalism can or should be squared with anarchist communism.

This is of course a separate assertion from saying that they ought to refuse to cooperate with those anarchists where possible - you'll see insurrectionists often as key individuals in anti-fascist formations for instance, cooperating with anarchist communists - and i'm sure there will still remain many personal friendships between the strands, but I think there are many who would say that these ideologies are worlds away from the politics of working class self-organisation.

I think many anarchist communists would prefer to see themselves as the 'anarchist strands of the workers movement' rather than the 'workerist strands of the anarchist movement', hence this is where the rejection of unity with the other anarchist tendencies comes from.

Quote:
That is why anarchists have always been labelled as the “anti-authoritarian socialists”. We do not accept anyone telling us what to do or how to do it, instead we believe in the decision making process of mutual agreement differentiating us from the parliamentary driven socialist/communist parties with their cadres, leadership structures and discipline.

I entirely agree, and this is a core strength of anarchism. Of course it is still necessary to have self-discipline in revolutionary organising in order for any project to function, and also collective discipline in which anarchists agree to give a project their all once it has been agreed in a collective decision making process.

I noticed you mentioned you are geographically isolated, i'd like to mention it is worth experiencing anarchist methods of organisation in practice, as often they prove to be fairly less glamorous in practice, and personally I found there to exist an element of romanticisation of their processes which can be misleading. Whilst methods of internal organisation are important, the most important is the political content, and what militants represent externally (ie. running against bureaucratisation in class oriented campaigns they partake in).

Quote:
Last but not least the inability of the overall Australian anarchist movement over the past 13 decades in being able to divorce itself from the various Labour Clubs and the innocent attempts to achieve a libertarian-marxist stance which off course represents the unification of two ideologies which are incompatible.

I do think the idea of libertarian-marxism is a falsity insofar as it is a made up ideology and (as someone once pointed out on this forum) more or less an anarchist term for 'marxists we like'. Similarly it does involve a slight rewriting of history - for instance the KAPD in germany will be lavished with anarchist praise, whilst omitting to mention that it was a centralised organisation that dabbled in entryism at points. I still think it was a great organisation, it is just important to recognise what it actually was rather than a false historical picture.

However, I think anarchists interested in elements of marx (as anarchists always have been ever since Bakunin helped publish the first Russian translation of Capital), do not see themselves as fusing the two, but rather taking and using the elements that suit their purposes.

Quote:
No matter which way we look at it we have to make the population of Australia aware that there exists an alternative way, empowering them to contribute together with their neighbours in the decision making process affecting their lives which does not follow any political party line. To me the task of getting this message out there becomes much easier when there is a national functional organisation made up of a multitude of smaller groups located in the suburbs and the outback that co-operate with each other.

Certainly I think this is the case, although I do not live in australia. But any organisation that tries to square a general unity of anarchist tendencies, rather than a unity of class-oriented anarchist tendencies, would in the long run be a stagnant organisation incapable of making collective decisions. The historical record of organisations like this is such, and those that survived only survived due to moving closer to being in practice almost wholely anarchist communist. The IFA affiliate in France is an example of this.

The strength of national organisations in not just to create better communication and co-operation, but also to help collectively decide upon closer strategy in choosing the campaigns to focus on, and their collective action inside those campaigns. For instance, it is then a great deal easier to defeat attempts by leftists take over campaigns.

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Chilli Sauce
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Aug 26 2013 07:11

Harrison, it was a good post, but mostly I'm giving you the up just for taking the time to actually read through the thing.

Harrison
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Aug 26 2013 07:44

They are obviously really intelligent and polite, I think they deserve a proper reply, especially since they mention they are geographically isolated.

Its long, but length is easy after having observed the One Man Crusade Against Political Correctness.

Ablokeimet
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Aug 26 2013 13:33

There is much to agree with in Kharkov's piece (and it's certainly got me wondering if I've met Kharkov in real life), but there are also some things with which I disagree.

kharkov wrote:
I do not intend to promote my ideas nor convince people to see and analyse issues the way I do.

Well, I do. I have opinions which I believe are largely correct. I also have both a thirst for the truth and a moral obligation to bring others to it. Therefore, I seek to persuade, and also to have my ideas tested and improved, if necessary - because if I'm wrong, I'd very much like to know it.

kharkov wrote:
... instead we believe in the decision making process of mutual agreement differentiating us from the parliamentary driven socialist/communist parties with their cadres, leadership structures and discipline.

There's nothing wrong with discipline. We need a lot more discipline in the Anarchist movement. In particular, we need people to keep their commitments, like carrying out the action points they voluntarily agreed at the previous meeting, or even simply turning up to meetings on time. The discipline we don't need is authoritarian discipline, where everybody does what the boss tells them.

kharkov wrote:
Due to the diversity of thoughts within anarchism, we should not contemplate that one perception is better than the other (be it individualists, anarco-communists, syndicalists, insurrectionalists, etc,.) instead, we the individuals that have embraced the ideal of anarchism should further develop ourselves with the school of thought we best identify ourselves, but at the same time not negate our co-operation with the other schools of anarchism and above all arrive at a comprehensive understanding of those differences.

This bit is dead wrong. Some ideas are right and some are wrong. Here are two:

(a) Individualists have been the bane of the Anarchist movement in Australia for decades. They are disruptive influences who usually cannot, and almost always refuse to, work harmoniously with others.

(b) Insurrectionists are positively dangerous. We've been mercifully free of this pernicious tendency in Australia up till recently, but I've seen the damage they've done overseas. I have no intention of letting them get established here and I will not rest until Insurrectionism is extinguished as a political tendency.

Between Anarchist Communists and Syndicalists, there can be comradely discussion and debate, but neither Individualism nor Insurrectionism have any place in the Anarchist movement.

And if you think I've been hostile in my reaction, you're completely correct - and, in the words of the old saying, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

kharkov wrote:
In addition we have the dilemma of the two revolutionary syndicalist organisations that have been in existence for quite a number of years. The IWW was revived in the early 1970’s and the ASF established during the 1980’s, I shall generalise and say that they have been around for 40 years or there about, nevertheless without taking away the merits of numerous struggles by both organisations their membership growth has been some what limited when compared to the size of the Australian work force and the membership of the unions affiliated to the ACTU.

Well, the IWW in Australia is much bigger today than it was back in the 1970s & 80s, while the ASF is having a growth spurt right now. Neither organisation is without its problems, but at least they've been going in the right direction, which is more than can be said for most of the ACTU's affiliates.

kharkov wrote:
That is why I strongly believe that in today’s reality we require an anarchist organisation through which an active anarchist movement can evolve, develop and grow. To me it is a priority, which in turn will also assist in promoting the growth of the syndicalist organisations. The two go hand in hand and you cannot separate one from the other. This is an opinion I have always held, and although an attempt was made in the mid 1970’s it failed miserably, hopefully we have learnt from past errors.

On this much, I can agree. An Anarchist Communist Federation, based on a sound set of shared positions, can be the way to bring together a critical mass of Anarchists who can contribute something concrete to the class struggle and spark off a rank & file movement that is independent of the Federation and eventually grows into a substantial Syndicalist organisation.

kharkov wrote:
What should be the characteristics of this organisation?

I shall lay the cards on the table, and from inception make it known that this proposed anarchist organisation has to be a horizontal functional entity of organised anarchism, based on mutual agreements, a federalist and self managed entity with responsibilities and duties, rotation of co-ordinators and delegates with limited tenure that acknowledge the task at hand but that will also be recalled should they abuse the position entrusted upon them by others, with accountability of their undertaken responsibilities.

Yes, we should practice federalism. I don't see anything controversial about this.

kharkov wrote:
Having raised the issue of co-ordinators, delegates and positions of power, we should not negate that unfortunately the contentious issue of power shows its ugly head at any level of social interaction even amongst anarchists. We have always eloquently argued that we are all equal, that we only accept the power of the decisions made during our plenaries through the process of debate and mutual agreement; that we have no leaders and that no-one is in charge. Not true, I could give numerous examples of libertarian/anarchist organisations that claim to only accept the power of their plenary yet only a reduced number of delegates/members attend their assemblies, or whenever they celebrate a Congress there is no need to be present because what will be approved has been predetermined. Anyone with the patience to do an objective analysis of the smallest group/cell that claims to be driven and guided by its assemblies/plenaries will observe that there is always someone that stands out, with more initiative, that has a better and more persuasive command of the spoken language, as a result the majority of times not to say all the time the decisions/activities under taken by the group end up being the ones proposed by that individual.

An Anarchist society is one where, amongst other things, there is no person in a position of institutionalised power. That doesn't mean that everybody will have the same amount of influence as everyone else. Some people have more to contribute, and will. What is necessary is to ensure that the authority which these people accumulate will be based on the freely bestowed and fully revocable agreement of others - that the moment people disagree, the authority dissolves.

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Lumpen
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Aug 26 2013 14:37

The experience of being in an anarchist group (which I was until recently) doesn't really support the overall characterisation of the anarchist scene in Australia. As a newly freelance individual with some familiarity with the subject, I feel I can speak my mind a bit.

kharkov wrote:
We have also failed to acknowledge the fundamental principal of respecting each others point of view and accepting the fact that polemics must exist in order to ensure that we do not become stagnant.

The main split in the anarchist scene here is between organised formal groupings and less-organised, amorphous friendship networks centred around subcultures. The former is divided by bitter disputes and personality clashes, but there are no real political differences. This is likely a basis for a small, ongoing federation. The latter is spectacularly uninterested in being part of a local or international anarchist movement – unless you include Tumblr reblogs.

The question facing the extant organised anarchist groups is how best to overcome disputes and when to work together, and how. The dedicated disorganisation of some is not really a problem other groups can deal with.

A third tier exists, which is the longstanding projects like MAC, Jura and even groups like Black Star. MAC is structured to be able to function in a federation, but is Jura or Black Star?

kharkov wrote:
Last but not least the inability of the overall Australian anarchist movement over the past 13 decades in being able to divorce itself from the various Labour Clubs and the innocent attempts to achieve a libertarian-marxist stance which off course represents the unification of two ideologies which are incompatible.

This is news to me. On the whole, there is hostility toward Marxism (or rather, Marxist organisation) amongst anarchists. There was a brief period in the late 1990s/early 2000s where autonomists wanted a seat at the anarchist table. This fad died when its adherents started taking up fulltime lecturing jobs.

In other words, I don't think this is a pressing or real concern.

kharkov wrote:
…We should not contemplate that one perception is better than the other (be it individualists, anarco-communists, syndicalists, insurrectionalists, etc,.) instead, we the individuals that have embraced the ideal of anarchism should further develop ourselves with the school of thought we best identify ourselves, but at the same time not negate our co-operation with the other schools of anarchism and above all arrive at a comprehensive understanding of those differences.

This appeal to a false unity is a problem for a couple of reasons. Firstly, these labels serve to mask the more mundane things that sustain them, and in turn give a grandeur that the labels do not deserve. There are not many insurrectionists to speak of. There are very few dedicated individualists. Many describing themselves as anarchists derive their understanding from adding "anarcho" to the front of handicrafts, self-improvement and providing charity (mostly to each other). None of these things are that bad after you discount the confusion it might cause someone interested in anarchist ideas. Hardly a basis for a standing organisation, though.

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Agent of the In...
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Aug 26 2013 18:30
Harrison wrote:
I do think the idea of libertarian-marxism is a falsity insofar as it is a made up ideology and (as someone once pointed out on this forum) more or less an anarchist term for 'marxists we like'. Similarly it does involve a slight rewriting of history - for instance the KAPD in germany will be lavished with anarchist praise, whilst omitting to mention that it was a centralised organisation that dabbled in entryism at points. I still think it was a great organisation, it is just important to recognise what it actually was rather than a false historical picture.

The idea of 'libertarian marxism' is a falsity is so insofar as the usage of the label 'Marxism' has been improper. (Don't know if that makes sense, but anyways) Marxism is really another way of saying class-struggle centralism, considering that it has historically been distinguished in terms of its strategy and means within the historical workers' movement, and especially against that of anarchism.

Now libertarian marxists bring the label upon themselves when they continue to call themselves "Marxists" for no well argued reason. It would be better if they had just called themselves 'council communists', 'autonomists', etc., and do so without referring themselves as "Marxists". But obviously they don't.

So since that's the case, I do use the label 'libertarian marxism' as an umbrella for all those mentioned tendencies, including situationism. But that's to distinguish them from Leninist Marxism. To not do so would end up generalizing them with centralist practice.

[Although one can interpret 'libertarian marxism' as 'libertarian-democratic centralism', which is a complete contradiction in terms.]

Overall, I don't really see what's the problem with using that label. If some anarchists have used it as way of saying "Marxists like us", then so be it. All that really matters is the content behind the terms we use. I don't think it causes too much distortion.

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Lugius
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Aug 27 2013 00:31

kharkov:

Quote:
anarchists. We have always eloquently argued that we are all equal, that we only accept the power of the decisions made during our plenaries through the process of debate and mutual agreement; that we have no leaders and that no-one is in charge. Not true, I could give numerous examples of libertarian/anarchist organisations that claim to only accept the power of their plenary yet only a reduced number of delegates/members attend their assemblies, or whenever they celebrate a Congress there is no need to be present because what will be approved has been predetermined. Anyone with

You claim you can give numerous examples but do not give even one. To me, it reads like someone to pass off with an opinionas a statement of fact. Can you present an example?

It seems to be a misunderstanding of what a plenary or a congress is as practised by anarchist organisations and the difference between a general membership organisation and federation.