Despite the egoizing, despite our apprehension, we stand on the threshold of coalescing together to form a strong anarchist movement for the first time in 50 years. If we work at it.
We actually agreed on a statement of principles and practice, perhaps a bit too general, but one that reflected all our politics as individuals, and transcends our differences.
It wasn’t easy. We were paranoid of power plays and came close to destroying the tenuous feeling of unity by alienating and making our hosts feel defensive, a step not in keeping with our avowed principles of making and receiving criticism. We compromised.
Comrade Sam Dolgoff’s strong push for studying his set of principles and coming back in a year to adopt them, took the form of a personal argument, as he let the amount of work he put into it get in the way of discussing it. I respect his work and find it a document worthy of consideration. I criticize myself for reciprocating in the argument.
We were paranoid of any mention of Marxist terminology, (the feeling here cannot be attributed to any one person.) This ignores, I believe, a tool we could use, with caution, in explaining the nature of capitalism, in much the same way we have studied Proudhon’s work “What is Property?”. Let us then resolve to guard against vulgar Marxism, but not be afraid of comrades who seek to understand the economic institutions we suffer under.
Some were unprepared for conducting workshops in a useful way, (I was not entirely confident about my teaching abilities).
But we came together and agreed on the roots necessary for the formulation of a social organization. Our principles reflect a decentralizing function, with the strong possibility of federative links. I hope the declaration includes not only process but content as well.
Seeing as how we are to discuss the statement of principles for the next year, I would like to initiate a discussion of the concept of self-management, for the next issue of the bulletin.
Yours for the general strike,
Fred Lappert, Columbis, Ohio