5. Organisational Part

Submitted by AndrewF on April 4, 2005

The principles of anarchist organization

The general constructive positions set out above represent the organizational platform of the revolutionary forces of anarchism.

This platform is built around a specific theoretical and tactical outlook. This is the minimum around which all the militants of the organized anarchist movement must be rallied.

The platform’s task is to assemble all of the healthy elements of the anarchist movement into a single active and continually operating organization, the General Union of Anarchists. All of anarchism's active militants must direct their resources into the creation of this organization.

The basic organizational principles of a General Union of Anarchists are as follows:

1. Unity of theory
Theory is the force which guides the activity of individual people and individual organizations along a specific route towards a specific goal. Naturally, it must be shared by all persons and all organizations who join the General Union. The activity of the general anarchist Union, both in general and in detail, must be perfectly consistent with the theoretical principles professed by the Union.

2. Unity of tactics or the collective method of action
The tactical methods employed by the individual members or groups within the Union must likewise be united, strictly consistent with one another as well as with the overall theory and tactics of the Union.

Sharing a general (common) tactical line within the movement is of crucial importance for the existence of the organization and of the entire movement: it rids the movement of the confusion arising from the existence of multiple mutually antagonistic tactics and focuses all the movement’s forces on a common direction leading to a specific objective.

3. Collective responsibility
The practice of operating on one’s individual responsibility must be strictly condemned and rejected within the ranks of the anarchist movement.

The areas of revolutionary, social and political life are profoundly collective in nature. Revolutionary public activity in those areas cannot be based upon the individual responsibility of single militants.

The general anarchist movement's executive body - the Anarchist Union - takes a decisive stand against the tactic of unaccountable individualism and introduces the principle of collective responsibility into its ranks: the union as a whole is answerable for the revolutionary and political activity of each member of the union; likewise, each of its members is answerable for the revolutionary and political activity of the union as a whole.

4. Federalism
Anarchism has always rejected centralist organization both where the social life of the masses is concerned as well as in the area of its political activity. The system of centralization relies upon the stifling of the spirit of criticism, initiative and independence of every individual and upon the masses' blind obedience to the "centre". The natural and inevitable upshot of this system is slavishness and mechanization, both in public life and in the life of parties.

Contrary to centralism, anarchism has always advocated and defended the principle of federalism, which combines the independence of the individual or organization with their initiative and service to the common cause.

By combining the idea of the independence and fullness of each individual's rights with service of social requirements and instincts, federalism paves the way to every wholesome manifestation of the faculties of each individual.

But very often the federalist principle has been warped in anarchist ranks; too often has it been taken to mean primarily the right to display one's ego and neglect one’s duties towards the organization.

This distortion has caused a great deal of disorganization within our movement in the past and it is time to put an end to it once and for all.

Federalism means the free agreement of individuals and entire organizations upon collective endeavour, in order to achieve a common objective.

Now, any such agreement and any federative union based thereon can only become a reality (rather than exist only on paper) if the essential condition is fulfilled that all parties to the agreement and to the union fully honour the obligations they take on and abide by the decisions reached jointly.

In any social project, however great the federalist basis on which it is built, there can be no rights without responsibilities, just as there cannot be decisions without these being implemented. That is all the more unacceptable in an anarchist organization which takes only obligations upon itself with regard to the workers and their social revolution.

As a result, the federalist type of anarchist organization, while acknowledging the right of every member of the organization to independence, freedom of opinion, personal initiative and individual liberty, entrusts each member with specific organizational duties, requiring that these be duly performed and that decisions jointly made also be put into effect.

Only in this way will the federalist principle come to life and the anarchist organization function properly and move towards the goal it has set.

The idea of the General Union of Anarchists raises the issue of the coordination of the activities of all the forces of the anarchist movement.

Each organization affiliated to the Union represents a living cell that is part of the overall organism. Each cell will have its own secretariat to facilitate its activities and provide theoretical and political guidance.

In order to coordinate the activity of all of the Union's affiliated organizations, a special body is to be established in the form of an Executive Committee of the Union. The following functions will be ascribed to that Committee: implementation of decisions made by the Union, as entrusted; overseeing the activity and theoretical development of the individual organizations, in keeping with the overall theoretical and tactical line of the Union; monitoring the general state of the movement; maintaining functional organizational ties between all the member organizations of the Union, as well as with other organizations.

The rights, responsibilities and practical tasks of the Executive Committee are laid down by the Congress of the General Union.

The General Union of Anarchists has a specific and well-defined goal. For the sake of the success of the social revolution, it must above all choose the most critical and revolutionary elements from among the workers and peasants to join it.

As an organization promoting social revolution (and also an anti-authoritarian organization) which seeks the immediate destruction of class society, the General Union of Anarchists likewise relies upon the two fundamental classes of the present society - the workers and the peasants - and it equally facilitates the quest of both for emancipation.

As regards the urban workers' revolutionary labour organizations, the General Union of Anarchists must make every effort to become their pioneer and theoretical mentor.

The General Union of Anarchists sets itself the same tasks where the exploited peasant masses are concerned, and to serve as a basis, playing the same role as the urban working-class revolutionary trade unions, it must attempt to develop a network of revolutionary peasant economic organizations, and furthermore, a specific Peasant Union built on anti-authoritarian principles.

Born out of the mass of the workers, the General Union of Anarchists must take part in all aspects of their life, always and everywhere bringing the spirit of organization, perseverance, militancy and the will to go on the offensive.

Only thus will it be able to fulfil its role, to carry out its theoretical and historical mission in the social revolution of the workers and become the organized cutting edge in their process of emancipation.