Position paper from the Federation of Revolutionary Anarchist Collectives (FRAC), a group based in the U.S. midwest that existed from 2001-2006.
What is the best way to organize for revolution? How do we start to take on the system of patriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism, and the state? In what way will our efforts pre-figure the free society we are fighting for while defending autonomy and self-organization from authoritarian repression and new elites?
Nuclei is a fancy word that means seeds, kernels, cells, “the head of the comet”, “a central point, group, or mass about which gathering, concentration, or gradual build-up takes place.” Revolutionary Nuclei means a core group that is trying to learn, expand, develop, prepare opportunities in which we can help bring the struggle for total freedom and equality to higher and deeper levels; ultimately an uprising or “insurrection” that joins into an international anti-authoritarian Social Revolution.
A true Revolutionary Nuclei would be our anarchist collective, but it would also be more than that: The scenes in which we operate, the struggles that we join, the projects that we create, the skills we develop, the music that keeps us moving, the elders that we learn from and the youth who we try and keep up with.
Revolutionary Nuclei is not Leninist Vanguardism. We don’t claim any automatic access to “the truth” and we deny anyone the right to permanent “lead” over the struggle or society. Our goals are also opposed. We do not seek to capture power for our organization but instead to use organization as an effective contribution to the fight against all exploitation and oppression. We move amongst the people not as “leaders”, but as equals.
These are some specific elements of a strategy for building Revolutionary Nuclei:
1. A Pole in the Movement There is a new movement on the streets of North America in the wake of the battle of Seattle. It is large, but inexperienced. It has many anarchist aspects including direct democracy, direct action, and “anti-capitalism”, yet it is still dominated by social democrats (left/liberals). We need to be a clear pole within the street protest movements arguing for and developing effective anarchist politics and tactics.
2. A Base in the Class The revolution will be made by the masses of working class and oppressed people or it will not be made at all. Organizing projects within the working class - especially communities of color, women, and queers - help break isolation of radicals, cut against elitist attitudes and help lay the basis for the mass organizations with the only social power capable of revolution.
3. Creating Revolutionary Culture The authoritarian ruling class survives not mainly through its repressive force, but through the acceptance of hierarchal, racist, sexist, dog-eat-dog culture. The revolution must break this grip over how we live as much as overthrow the structures that hold us down. We need to create music, art, community, life that inspires the kind of world we are fighting for.
4. Counter-Institutions Counter-Institutions show in the here and now the benefits and the challenges of collective control over resources, services, and structures. Counter-Institutions can highlight needs that the state does not fulfill and provide a base of operations for the anarchist movement.
5. Developing Skills We should consciously create an environment where we can share and develop the necessary skills for the tasks ahead: critical thinking and public speaking, child-care and emergency first aid, agit-prop and self-defense, etc., etc., etc.
6 Making Links Crucial to any revolutionary project is the expansion of ideas and debates, mutual aid and solidarity, coordination of organizing and attack. We should actively look to make contacts and/or alliances with other groups and individuals with similar goals across Chicago, our region, North America, and the world.
Please do not interpret this list as some kind of dogmatic rules. But any collective that was able to approach its projects with these goals in mind and slowly but surely implement aspects and weave different strands together, would be well on the way to building the kind of anarchist nuclei needed to make libertarian revolution.