The Organizational Platform Of The General Union Of Anarchists (Draft)

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HorrorHiro
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Dec 23 2012 15:24
The Organizational Platform Of The General Union Of Anarchists (Draft)

http://www.nestormakhno.info/english/newplatform/org_plat.htm

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plasmatelly
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Dec 23 2012 15:42

And your thoughts are?

syndicalist
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Dec 23 2012 16:54

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HorrorHiro
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Dec 23 2012 17:07

I generally am against dwelling on the history of Anarchism, this is an exception. This was was the first attempt since the days of Bakunin to formulate a theoretical and practical platform of the positions and tasks of anarchists, which could provide anarchism with the necessary political and organizational unity to increase the influence of anarchist ideas within society.

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plasmatelly
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Dec 23 2012 17:31

Stuff did come after it too, though.
I guess everyone has there own take on the Platform, and I reckon as way of throwing up some ideas about where anarchists had gone wrong in russia, it's quite a good analysis. To build on where the platform seems to be leading, there seems to be several different ways of reading it.
I suppose the 4 main thrusts of what anarchists should be aiming for and the discussion on dual power - although still a bit vague are good. It was an unfinished work and to be honest, even though it's interesting, is a bit of a specific view point.

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plasmatelly
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Dec 23 2012 17:37

But tbh - there is a lot of stuff on here about the platform!

Harrison
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Dec 25 2012 02:13

plasma summarises it well

Rather than talking about the actual written content of it, I'd say main use has been as a rallying pole for the organised elements of class struggle anarchism, and similarly the influence of its attempt to directly strategise how anarchists should move forward. if there is anything anarchism could do with more of, it is implementable strategy.

The interaction between, and merger of, anarchism and syndicalism provides the other historical rallying pole, within the context of a tighter tactical remit than the platform.

freemind
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Dec 25 2012 11:25

I've never understood the suspicion that some Anarchists have towards the P.latform.Only Anarchists could create a polemic about a thesis on cogent,effective,collective,unified action.Too many put 2+2=5!
A fetishisation of Individualism and the mistaken belief that unified and collective programmes equals excessive centralised and authoritarian structure has helped ensure that Anarchism resembles a sect rather than a serious working class force.

Tom de Cleyre
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Dec 25 2012 19:46

People are suspicious of the platform, and rightly so. The Platform is hardly about unification. Faced with the problem that anarchists do not agree on everything and should have been more unified in Russia, you have 2 types of reaction: platformism is about saying that anarchists must change, synthesism is saying that the organisation must change.

In practice, platformism just creates small groups (usually around one or two thinkers and their followers, but not necessarily...) in which most anarchists just don't feel comfortable but which has good coherence among the few people who are in it (until struggle for power within the group makes it explode). When they don't schism, they drop the idea of 'anarchism' quickly after they reach 25 members.

synthesism creates a unified organisation (or organisation of organisations) tolerable to everyone but which has little organic unity and which members usually forget it exists (cynics say that as you cannot gain political power in it, the most 'active' 'anarchists' that national organisations usually relies on take no interest in it, non-cynics say that the work of an anarchist group is already pretty much a full-time thing, without much time left to do more than keep in touch with others). The idea of synthesism is not to have a very regular, visible organisation anyway, but a structure that can potentially react in case of something like the russian revolution happening...

Basically, platformism is the favoured approach of people who think they are right (or their leader is right) and people should recognise that and be right with them, synthesism is the approach of people who tend to have lower self-confidence and think that individuals are usually wrong about things even if they have one brilliant idea.

redsdisease
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Dec 25 2012 20:20
Tom de Cleyre wrote:
In practice, platformism just creates small groups (usually around one or two thinkers and their followers, but not necessarily...) in which most anarchists just don't feel comfortable but which has good coherence among the few people who are in it (until struggle for power within the group makes it explode). When they don't schism, they drop the idea of 'anarchism' quickly after they reach 25 members.

Can you give some examples of this? I'm wary of the politics of several of the more prominent platformist groups, but I've never heard of or seen the things that you're describing.

Harrison
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Dec 26 2012 05:48
Tom de Cleyre wrote:
Faced with the problem that anarchists do not agree on everything and should have been more unified in Russia, you have 2 types of reaction: platformism is about saying that anarchists must change, synthesism is saying that the organisation must change.

...

Basically, platformism is the favoured approach of people who think they are right (or their leader is right) and people should recognise that and be right with them, synthesism is the approach of people who tend to have lower self-confidence and think that individuals are usually wrong about things even if they have one brilliant idea.

i disagree with this, i can't see a reason for a formal political grouping if its tactics and theory are not binding upon its members, otherwise it is a waste of the time/energy consuming mechanisms of a formal organisation. if tactics and theory are not binding, then it may as well just be a loose network (which can be useful in certain circumstances). the only advantage a formal organisation can bring is to multiply our strength by focused application of tactics.

i think with regard to the emergence of 'leaders' and following them, perhaps this may be a common social phenomenon in groups, and something that needs to be countered, but surely the idea that we should collectively discuss our tactical orientation and work on a relatively rigid basis to apply those tactics is only logical if we wish to have an impact. it should still be possible to maintain constant disagreement and debate in a group whilst trying to work according to a common basis. afterall, a group should be focused around achieving a set of goals rather than connecting those of common ideological label.

i think a great deal of wisdom (that seems obvious when read, but might not have been otherwise) can be gleaned from platformist texts / ideas, but i would hesitate to uncritically support them because (often) equally as they solve certain problems they introduce a different set of problems.

for example, whilst the text on 'Concentric Circles' identifies a significant problem in political groups

Quote:
It is very easy for a militant who appears from time to time to want to set the political line of the organisation, for example, since it is not they who will have to follow this line most of the time.

These are disproportionate forms of decision-making in which one ends up deciding something which others enact.

its solution raises a series of other problems, whereby it could introduce some very strange social dynamics of activist competition between members.

radicalgraffiti
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Dec 26 2012 15:50


Tom de Cleyre wrote:

synthesism creates a unifiEd organisation (or organisation of organisations) tolerable to everyone but which has little organic unity and which members usually forget it exists (cynics say that as you cannot gain political power in it, the most 'active' 'anarchists' that national organisations usually relies on take interest in it, non-cynics say that the work of an anarchist group is already pretty much a full-time thing, without much time left to do more than keep in touch with others). The idea of synthesism is not to have a very regular, visible organisation anyway, but at structure that can potentially react in case of something like the russian revolution happening...

Your wrong about this. Actual synthesis organisations like the French FA do not operate how you discribe, they have existed for decades, are communist, and engage in various, activity and projects.

syndicalist
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Dec 27 2012 01:35

"Anarchism and syndicalism": A Platformist & A/S Discussion

http://libcom.org/forums/organise/anarchism-syndicalism-platformist-disc...

RedAndBlack
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Dec 28 2012 11:15

This

"We are not Platformists, we strive to be." - S. Nappalos

IMO is one of the better pieces of analysis on the Platform and Platfomist tradition. It correctly situates the tendency as a reaction to the failures of the Russian/Ukrainian anarchist movement in the wake of the Russian revolution while not dismissing the important lessons to be drawn from the document. More importantly it is the only piece of analysis to (correctly I believe) recognise the provisions of the Platform as the blue-print of anarchist organisation during high-levels of social struggle and, as a consequence, looks also more broadly at the current historical conditions that present barriers to the generalisation of this model.

Harrison wrote:
for example, whilst the text on 'Concentric Circles' identifies a significant problem in political groups

Quote:
It is very easy for a militant who appears from time to time to want to set the political line of the organisation, for example, since it is not they who will have to follow this line most of the time.

These are disproportionate forms of decision-making in which one ends up deciding something which others enact.

its solution raises a series of other problems, whereby it could introduce some very strange social dynamics of activist competition between members.

I'm not sure I follow with your analysis here. I don't think that this needs to be a competitive relationship at all if a formal and co-operative relationship is in place between full-militants, militants and supporters that facilitates the education and strengthening commitment of new members. I think the criticism is more of the "open-meeting" style of decision-making that gives individuals decision-making power without any level of commitment or understanding of the decisions being made. This is a very common approach within the anarchist milieu.

That aside it is worth noting that while there is a "broad Platformist tradition" that would include specifism. The ideas of the FARJ et al. are from a slightly different lineage to those of the Platform. While sharing the same basic ideas I'd say specifism was the more comprehensive approach. It also identifies the origins of its ideas in the organisational dualism of Bakunin. Essentially making a case that anarchism was specifist as articulated by its founding militants.

Tom de Cleyre wrote:
Basically, platformism is the favoured approach of people who think they are right (or their leader is right) and people should recognise that and be right with them, synthesism is the approach of people who tend to have lower self-confidence and think that individuals are usually wrong about things even if they have one brilliant idea.

I don't think is a particularly helpful analysis.

Tom de Cleyre
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Dec 28 2012 19:15

I personally wouldn't count the current FA as synthesist, and I agree with you about them.

Also, both descriptions were caricatures of the excesses of both ideas, neither of which have been fully realized in a single organization (as far as I know).

I think it is helpful analysis, because it is a general tendency that can be fought if we keep it in mind (and therefore in check).