The Role of an Anarchist Organisation


Looking around the world today it can be difficult to imagine how the society that we want to see can be created. But rather than sitting back and waiting for capitalism to collapse, or for the revolution to come, we believe in organising in the here and now.Throughout history anarchist-communists have embraced different forms of organisation from the affinity group, to revolutionary cells, to anarchist syndicalism. We in the WSM, consider ourselves within to fall within the ‘platformist’ tradition. Among other things this means that we think that a group can achieve far more when it works in unison, rather than constantly having the same fundamental theoretical and tactical disagreements.

The role of a group like ours is to popularise the aims and methods of anarchism amongst working class people, mainly because we believe that these alone will result in the free society we want to create. Our ideas link an understanding of the present with a viable vision of the future.

This link involves a practical understanding of the means necessary and acceptable to achieve results but also to help build the confidence of the class in its own abilities and decision-making power. This can be doing simple things like producing our newsletter, pamphlets and leaflets. It also means arguing for anarchist methods as much as possible in campaigns that we are involved in.

This can take the form of fighting for democratic structures in the Anti-Bin Tax campaign, helping to organise the huge Mayday 2004 events, arguing for democracy in our unions or advocating direct action in the anti-war movement but in all cases we try and promote actions that actively transform those that take part in them. Actions that help people gain sense of their own power and abilities and prepare them for the revolution and the libertarian communist society we want to create.

We analyse the society we live in, history and try to learn from the mistakes of the past. We also try to elaborate a common strategy that attempts to link the various expressions of the class struggle.

In a sense we seek to provide a leadership of ideas but this does not mean we come down from the mountain top like Moses, carrying the blueprint for a new society under our arm. Rather we learn from the struggle and the people we interact with.

Anarchists not only want to abolish capitalism, but we also want to abolish all relationships that involve subordination and domination. Our aim is a truly classless society that isn’t divided into bosses and workers, or order givers and order takers. So while we see ourselves as offering leadership we reject the idea that we should become some sort of institutional leaders or managers of the movement.

We refuse to take positions of power which would lift us above the broad movement and give us control over it. Instead we rely on the strength of our ideas, and the example we set, to convince people, rather than hoping our position on some hierarchical ladder will allow us to control the people below us.

In this spirit we look forward to the time when an organisation like ours becomes unnecessary. Following a successful revolution we would gradually lose our reason for existing and disband.

So to summarise we don’t make the revolution for the working class, we don’t direct it in their interests and we don’t govern them for their own good. We simply exist as an organisation within the class that attempts to encourage its development in a libertarian fashion and speed up its emancipation.

This article is from Workers Solidarity 94 Nov/Dec 2006

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