The specific anarchist organisation uses, both for its internal and external functioning, the logic of what we call “concentric circles” – strongly inspired by the Bakuninist organisational model. The main reason that we adopt this logic of functioning is because, for us, the anarchist organisation needs topreserve different instances of action. These different instances should strengthen its work while at the same time allowing it to bring together prepared militants with a high level of commitment and approximating people sympathetic to the theory or practice of the organisation – who could be more or less prepared and more or less committed. In short, the concentric circles seek to resolve an important paradox: the anarchist organisation needs to be closed enough to have prepared, committed and politically aligned militants, and open enough to draw in new militants. …
Author: Federação Anarquista do Rio de Janeiro – FARJ | English Translation: Jonathan Payn of the ZACF | PDF file size: 849 KB
English translation of “Anarquismo Social e Organização”, by the Anarchist Federation of Rio de Janeiro (Federação Anarquista do Rio de Janeiro – FARJ), Brazil, approved at the 1st FARJ Congress, held on 30th and 31st of August 2008.
The first Congress of the FARJ was held with the principal objective of deepening our reflections on the question of organisation and formalising them into a programme. This debate has been happening within our organisation since 2003. We have produced theoretical materials, established our thinking, learned from the successes and mistakes of our political practice it was becoming increasingly necessary to further the debate and to formalise it, spreading this knowledge both internally and externally. The document “Social Anarchism and Organisation” formalises our positions after all these reflections. More than a purely theoretical document, it reflects the conclusions realised after five years of practical application of anarchism in the social struggles of our people. The document is divided into 16 parts. It has already been published in Portuguese in a book co-published between Faísca and the FARJ.
From the black bloc ‘having a go’ to going on marches, from smashing up a McDonalds’ to attending a picket, from throwing bricks to going to fundraising concerts for single issue campaigns – all of these activities have had the term ‘direct action’ applied to them.
In 1999, in the aftermath of the June 18th global day of action, a pamphlet called Reflections on June 18th was produced by some people in London, as an open-access collection of “contributions on the politics behind the events that occurred in the City of London on June 18, 1999”. Contained in this collection was the article ‘Give up Activism’ which has generated quite a lot of discussion and debate both in the UK where it first appeared and internationally, being translated into several languages and reproduced in several different publications.
Here we republish the article together with a new postscript by the author addressing some comments and criticisms received since the original publication.
Give Up Activism is an important critique of the activist mentality in the direct action movement.
We that believe in the construction of a libertarian political organisation, of an anarchism that as a revolutionary project has real impact in the class struggle, see the need of adopting a clear program of action that is the fruit of collective discussion and express our principles and revolutionary objectives and that determine the tasks to be realized in each step taken. The importance of anarchists having such a program is expressed by Bakunin when he stated that “one should never renounce the clear established revolutionary program, not in what concerns to its form, not in what concerns its substance”….
Platformists and especifists have made their point, it’s been written a million different ways. Its time to move beyond advocating for the anarchist organisation, and get to it. The task of this tendency is not to convince others with words, the task is to actually build the organisation and develop its politics… most people in this debate have given little time to what would actually be the strategic orientation of such an organisation, other than it’d be an especifist/platformist organisation…. Its time we got our shit together and actually started discussing the ins and outs of an anarchist organisation that has real strategic and tactical unity.
When a revolutionary begins organising in a shop, the first step is typically to agitate one’s co-workers. In our minds we see a step-by-step process wherein our agitation leads to other opportunities, recruitment, committee building, until we have power and an organisation. The problem is that for most workplaces, this way of thinking gives the wrong impression. In some workplaces, particularly in production, there’s a state of constant agitation and actions burst out before committees ever get built. In other workplaces agitation just never seems to take hold. What do we do in these situations? What do we do when agitation takes years without much visible result, or in places where workers are clearly in the retreat or a passive state?….