Libertarian Workers Group resigns from ACF

A letter of disaffiliation by the Libertarian Workers Group from the Anarchist Communist Federation of North America in 1981.

Submitted by klas batalo on January 3, 2011

March 31, 1981

Libertarian Workers Group
Post Office Box 692
Old Chelsea Station, NY NY 10113

Copies to all A.C.F.
Affiliates & Contacts

Dear comrades,

The purpose of this letter is to make known the LWG’s intention of disaffiliating from the Anarchist-Communist Federation. This decision has not been an easy one. The discussions around this decision have been long and hard, one which has been reached only after intense internal discussion spanning several months. We must strongly emphasize that this decision is an independent one. The LWG did not collaborate or inform any other ACF affiliate or ACF contact of this decision prior to the writing of this letter. We must further note that this decision was not a unanimous one.

Over the course of the past eight months we’ve seen a disintegration of the internal development of the Federation. Those LWGers who attended the Morgantown [West Virginia] conference left the conference with generally positive feelings. However since that time our feelings and commitment to the ACF has drastically changed. This can be seen, in part, to our lack of consistent contribution to the IDB [Internal Discussion Bulletin]. By the same token we have met our obligations to the ACF in those fields where we have committed ourselves, notably in writing articles and distributing the “NAA”
[“North American Anarchist”]; External Correspondence Group matters; finances; collection of graphics and in attempting, along with the Syndicalist Alliance [Milwaukee, Wisconsin] to develop an on-going fund and support group for our Chilean comrades.

Before we go any further, we should clearly spell out our future relationship to the ACF. In this regard we would like to maintain comradely ties. We view these ties in concrete terms. That is continued commitment to the “NAA” (in all aspects); to work on projects of mutual interest and concern and to discuss and debate in free and open fashion issues of the day, theory and development of an active class struggle anarchist movement.

On the positive side it can be said that our generally active role in the ACF over the past 2 ½ years has been a good learning experience. Our group has been able to sharpen our own theoretical as well as practical development and has made good contacts, in part due to the formation of the ACF. We look forward to continuing these positive developments, however, now on an independent basis. And we plan to send at least one observer to the forthcoming conference. Yet it is unfortunate that the negative aspects of this relationship outweigh the positive ones. It is now that we turn to this aspect and reasons why the LWG wishes to disaffiliate.

A problem that no doubts plague every active affiliate is that of finances. While the LWG is probably no larger than most affiliates
[10 members at time of this letter. M.] it can be honestly said that we are poorer than most. The average weekly income (gross is no more than $150.00 a week. In light of our high degree of activity (see our report in IDB V. 3 #’s 11-12) we’ve found our financial, as well as energy, commitment to ACF a drain on our limited resources. To clarify this let us say that many n the LWG feel that the money contributed to the ACF could have been directed to expand and publish on a much more frequent basis [the LWG newsletter] “On The Line”, the publication of more leaflets, as well as other projects.

The energy to distribute the “NAA” has generally presented little or no problems. However, over the course of time we’ve spent more and more of our meeting time to discuss the problems and future of the ACF. As an affiliated group we clearly saw the need, and rightly so, to discuss all matters pertaining to the Federation. Yet internal maters seemed to overtake the practical aspects of developing a clear organization with a presentable analysis and solid mutual projects. In this light the time that could have been used to develop our local work became somewhat wasted time discussing many non-practical matters. Matters that had no bearing on the future of an activist and well coordinated anarchist-communist movement.

Rather than placing the blame on what has become a rather sectarian (internally and otherwise) and ineffective organization on any one group, we feel we are all to blame to one degree or another. Thus we have observed that there has become little or no room for open and honest discussion. This has lead, in part, to the lack of collective discussion on practical activity and theoretical matters. The manner in which comrades have discussed issues with each other has been less than comradely. In fact some of the discussions and articles in the IDB and “NAA” have been downright dogmatic, ultra-sectarian and personally offensive. While many members of the LWG may not politically disagree with many of the opinions expressed, we are, however, displeased with the style they are written in.

Furthermore the LWG feels that the orthodoxy of some groups is not a positive example of other group’s attempts to develop a “new anarchism”. That is a theory and practice relevant to modern conditions. This only leads to a poor display of internal and public sectarianism, substituionalism, absententionism, censorship, intolerance and most of all lack of comradeship. While we can agree that it is important to maintain a solid degree of continuity with basic anarchist principles and organizational forms, we find it hard to accept and work with groups who are frozen in time and opinions.

Part and parcel of this, the LWG can no longer accept the fact that comrades are frozen out in one way, shape or form because of their particular outlook on any one issue or issues. We have found this to be the case concerning our group as well as others. We refuse to accept a monolithic outlook or “line”. We thus feel that by striking out on our own we will again have room to act and develop our ideas, methods of struggle and organizational forms without being unjustly criticized.

Concerning the “Basis of Affiliation & Internal Organization”, we feel that there is no longer a LWG consensus on this document. Over the course of time LWG members have come to some pretty clear and sharp disagreements with certain sections of this document. While there is some sympathy for continued debate on the “Basis”, it is clear that our concepts and future proposed changes would not be accepted by many affiliates.

Much to our displeasure we presently see the ACF as an ineffective organization. We have seen good intentions as well as potential dissipate without any signs that the present malaise will be overcome. We also see the ACF, as it exists, becoming more of a diversion from local work to mythical organizational fetishes. Our group has always stressed the need to build the local base as a compliment to building a continental federation.

The potential of our work in the New York area is great. It can be said without exaggerating that the LWG, small as it is, is in the best position we have ever been in to develop a solid base. Through the development of our independent positions and roles in our areas of activity do we stand a real chance of developing the type of influence and cohesiveness in the “movements from below” that has not been seen in the N.Y. area for years.

We would like to conclude this letter by making it clear to all that our decision to disaffiliate is an independent one. There may be those who feel we are working with others to wreck the ACF. On the contrary, we believe that the ACF will stand or fall on its own merits.

The Libertarian Workers’ Group looks forward to working with the ACF on many projects. We would still like to receive two copies of the IDB. We will continue to answer all external correspondence until a new group takes on this responsibility. We will forward all ECG files to the new group.

Naturally we invite comments on this letter and we hope to engage in an on-going dialogue with all.

Most importantly of all, we hope to maintain that special faith, trust and respect we have developed over the years.

Yours for a world without rulers,

Corresponding Secretary
Libertarian Workers’ Group
New York, New York



13 years 3 months ago

In reply to by

Submitted by syndicalist on January 5, 2011

I've transcribed a couple of articles which comrades may find of interest. These poorly written articles appeared in Black Flag of Anarchism: an Anarcho-Syndicalist Newsletter in 1977 and 1978 and were ghost written by myself.

Black Flag of Anarchism: an Anarcho-Syndicalist Newsletter was initially published by MM and various others in Rhode Island. Upon the formation of the NYC area Libertarian Workers Group (LWG) in december 1977, it became its publication for one issue. BFA was superseded by On The Line. The below statement of principles were also superseded by the LWG's own Where We Stand.


Social Revolutionary Anarchist Federation Holds Conference

The weekend of July 29-31(1977) SRAF held its yearly North American conference at Wildcat Mountain in Wisconsin. In attendance were both members and non-members of SRAF and independent Anarchist groups/collectives.

Although this author arrived late Friday night, I was told that a General Assembly was held earlier that evening. Fraternal greetings from Portugal were read.

On Saturday morning breakfast (like all other meals) were provided by the hosts, Milwaukee SRAF. Following breakfast the 2nd General Assembly was held. At this Assembly, the names of the 20 odd workshops were read off and the times decided on. A number of these workshops proved to be worthwhile; overall they clearly lacked a class analysis and perspective. Of all the workshops that dealt with an Anarchist class perspective and analysis was the "Self-Management Workshop."

One interesting development that occurred at the conference was the pre-organization of the Anarchist-Communist Tendency within the SRAF. ACT was initiated by a number of Anarchist-Communists and Revolutionary Syndicalists with the hopes of getting the stagnant and non-revolutionary SRAF on a revolutionary Anarchist path. Although there seemed to be a lack of consensus by some on any one particular [organizational] issue. There was most clearly a consensus that a new declaration of principles should be written. A declaration of principles was submitted by Resurgence, a group of Anarchist-Communists and Anarcho-Syndicalists from Chicago.

It is the opinion of this writer that the ACT may prove to be an answer to the problems that face the non-class struggle oriented SRAF. It is this writer's opinion that all Revolutionary and Anarcho-Syndicalists get involved in this project.

Due to space limitations, I cannot give a full analysis of all the workshops. Overall, however, the conference needed to be better organized, less sexist, less pot smoking and certainly needed to be more oriented towards the class struggle.


Black Flag of Anarchism: an Anarcho-Syndicalist Newsletter
Volume 1 Number 1 (new series)

[ Self-published 8" x 14' black and white mimeographed newsletter.

Previous issues were simply named Black Flag of Anarchism and issued over a period of almost four years. ]

Anarchist-Communist Federation Founded

The weekend of March 18 [1978] is now an historic date for the North American Anarchist movement. On that date Anarchist-Communists and Anarcho-Syndicalists gathered, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to debate the issues that face the North American Anarchist movement and to federate together to create a viable Anarchist-Communist and Anarcho-Syndicalist organization and movement.

The process of federation, which led to the founding of the Anarchist-Communist Federation (ACF), is one that dates back at least three years, mainly through correspondence amongst individuals. However the main thrust for this federation came about at last summer's Social Revolutionary Anarchist Federation's conference in Wisconsin (see last issue of BFA). At this SRAF conference a number of individual's, group's, and collectives met to set up the forerunner of the ACF, the Anarchist-Communist Tendency (ACT). The people who initially responded to the ACT were temporarily based around a document of Anarchist-Communist principles, distributed by Resurgence, a group of Anarchists from Chicago.

The ACT, which up until March 18, served, more or less, as the organizing committee of the ACF. During the interim period between the SRAF and the ACF founding conference, members of the ACT published Peter Kropotkin's Anarchist-Communism: Its Basis & Principles (which now acts as one of the ACF's common points of agreement and basis for affiliation); participated as an organized tendency in demonstrations and revised the ACT document.

The March 18 meeting was merely a culmination of debates and work on the revised document. At the conference, the debates and hard work on the revision lead to a fruitful ending: the creation of an Anarchist organization based on a coherent set of principles and organizational structure.

The ACF stands alone on the libertarian left because it has been founded around revolutionary principles of collective responsibility, mutual aid, feminism and class struggle. Opposed to the ACF in pioneering the way towards economic and political freedom are scattered groups of libertarians who either fail to grasp the issues at hand or who are opposed to collectively working together to bring about social and economic change.

The Libertarian Workers Group of New York City

As of December 1977, a small group of Anarcho-Syndicalists in the New York City area has constituted themselves as the Libertarian Workers Group (LWG).

The aims of the LWG is to promote rank and file unity in the unions against the boss and union bureaucrats; support for independent unions and workers councils; the publication of Anarcho-Syndicalist literature; participation as a group in workers and peoples demonstrations; and building the North American section of the Anarcho-Syndicalist International Workers Association.

The LWG has fraternal ties to most European and Latin American Anarcho-Syndicalist organizations and carries a good many of their publications, inclusinding the 1978 Solidaridad Internacional Anti-fascista calander for $3.00.

The LWG can be reached at: Box 445 Forest Hills Station, Flushing, NY 11375.

Free Workers Union of Germany Reconstructed

According to the informational bulletin of the International Workers Association, the Freie Arbeiter Union (FAU) has been reconstructed.

The FAU publishes Direkt Aktion as well as an informational bulletin about news from Spain, as well as Anarcho-Syndicalist literature.

The FAU's "…objective is the liberation of society from exploitation. The future Anarchist-Communist society, with the use of technology, will assure the distribution of necessities in a free society. The self-managed federalism will come about through spontaneous revolution and movements of councils to face organized reaction, and to counter the formations of authoritarian oppression. The functional organization is continuous in an Anarchist society and is the organization of struggle for the economic existence of our choice, which is workers' self-management and federalism."

(Freely translated by MM from Informacion A.I.T.)

Black Flag of Anarchism: an Anarcho-Syndicalist Newsletter
Volume 1 Number 2 (new series)

This 8" x 14' black and white mimeographed newsletter was published by "members of the [NY] Libertarian Workers Group and the [newly formed] Anarchist-Communist Federation" of North America.

Our Principles

Black Flag of Anarchism: an Anarcho-Syndicalist Newsletter is based around the following principles:

Support for all autonomous rank and file labor struggles, both inside and outside the trade union movement.
- Support for certain immediate gains by labor to help alleviate poverty and want.
- Socialization and collectivization of the means of production and distribution by the working class. Another words, for a society run and controlled by those who produce the world's wealth.
- For the use of the Social and General Strike to abolish capitalism and the State.
- For the abolition of the wage system.
- For working class internationalism.
- For working class education in the principles and functions of Anarcho-Syndicalist economics, theory and mutual aid.
- For class war defense work.