Some of us went up to Brisbane to the Live and Let DIY festival (February 1st-3rd) to do a workshop on the proposed regional anarchist federation.
We focused on questions of why a federation and how would it occur (through a foundation convergence) & operate
Attendance about 20 people, including peeps from Anarchist Direct Action & Mutiny & Black Rose.
- Anarchist federation: not the movement, rather an attempt to have better organizing amongst a small group of people
- not interested so much in personal political identity (of whether you define yourself as an anarchist), but in whether you agree with the minimum common politics…
Common politics (so far):
- Seek the abolition of capitalism and class society in all its forms.
- Support an organisational philosophy based on decentralisation, mutual aid and autonomy, and reject domination and hierarchical/authoritarian organising.
- Oppose all forms of oppression and power over others and recognise that these rarely play out in isolation but are strongly interwoven and connected.
- Believe that an anarchist society is desirable, necessary and possible. Revolutionary change isn’t going to come from leaders, experts or professional activists but can only come from below: from the collective self-organisation of ‘ordinary’ people.
- Believe in solidarity across and against borders and are internationalists. We reject the state and all its functions such as the police and military.
v to begin organizing much more effectively than anarchists do at the moment, socialists have the party: anarchists don’t have an explicit form of organization
v How do we move beyond summit protests: recently there hasn’t been enough planning, organizing & communication
v how can we organize on a large-scale basis in Australia. Make the work more efficient-don’t have to repeat the same errors that have been made by other collectives throughout the region
v How do we self-organise; how do we have more co-ordinated trainings, continuity, across the movement, instead of reinventing the wheel every 5 years.
· not an anarchist but still interested-revolutionaries have to take up the attrification of the Left & left institutions-not just building the Federation.
Have to be:
· challenging class composition
· understanding the nature of how we are exploited, how can we deal with new ideologies that capitalism has produced, looming crises-enviro & recession-what is meaningful collective organising
· Trots argue that you ‘build the party’. Most important point is ‘what is meaningful revolutionary activity’-building an organization that doesn’t just expand.
Who was at previous Sydney meeting: Wollongong Autonomous Action, individuals, Alarm, Jura, Black Rose, Mutiny….
How would Federation/ convergence work
Federation convergence: could be lengthy introductions, sharing of information, what we do, who we are
-Modified spokescouncil basis.
-working on 100% consensus is going to work-will have to operate on some voting basis (e.g 80%)
-Need to have Safer spaces discussion
Whether to have Individuals or groups in federation
-depends on whether you’re having a spokescouncil, or just a consensus-based process.
-danger of group-based process; that it comes off as elitist and exclusive, rather than welcoming and allowing full participation
ADA reportback: main problem with individuals, is that they can disrupt consensus, a random person can stop decision-making process.
-Reality however is that there are a lot of individuals atm.
-Would like there to be a clearly mapped out process to negotiate this tension. Need to have support for new groups to be initiated.
-also don’t want to have false affinity groups in existence that don’t really operate under any political commonality
–How can individuals have a say.
-Problem is that there are only a few groups that have systematic political discussion. In Sydney collective is Inner-City based, Mutiny.
-Individuals should be encouraged to come to the convergence-would find it alienating & cliquey if only groups were asked to come. Maybe have a place for individuals to meet up & share ideas and points.
Ideas for convergence: how can common politics be discussed, as well as streamed alongside more practical stuff.
-Idea in Sydney-to focus initially on ‘what we have in common’ & what we can achieve together rather than on what we disagree.
-can do lots of skillsharing & discussion how can we construct activities, skiilshares, workshops, stuff for people to do. (e.g like ASEN-the Australian Student Environment Network)
– Discussion around what is radical/revolutionary politics in the here & now-in Australia-what does that mean
What does the Federation do
-Forming ad-hoc working groups
-Should be an organic process, a platform for groups & individuals to network
-Convergence in itself-building autonomous action, avoiding the summit protest routine
-Talk about collectively what you can do- cross-pollination can happen..Convergence is a valid form of action on its own merits.
-ACDC (Alliance for Civil Disobedience Coordination) in Melbourne broad civil disobedience alliance for revolutionaries…How would it relate to that…
– We should be porous to the outside world-groups ‘put up the boundaries’ rather than being integrated into social struggles that are going on.
-Shared ideas-can we be freed from the city as a basis of organizing. This could be true for the production of a publication.
-Could be creating an excessive moment-might come up with something that’s better than affinity groups & spokescouncils-want to constantly challenge ourselves to come up with new ways of organizing.
-Again, a chance to go beyond summit protests-don’t have to be obsessed with actions-important for people to get together & talk about ways of making revolutionary action effective
Conclusion/sum up time…
-Really exciting! Led to Mutiny having discussion about strategy, about plans…
-Should be a fun party.
-Call-out for a reader-could be productive-would need a certain amount of time…
-Grievance, Food, Fundraiser, try and outsource process…someone else can compile reader….
-Can be discussed on e-mail. Questions around access are important…everyone should have the ability to make an input around our movement.
To have a central place-where people are meeting can reportback, can here about what’s going on.
-In embryonic stages, just get as many people there, get the word out.., exciting to hear that things are happening in anarchy today..
–main focus of DIY isn’t current bands, but issues, see you in Melbourne!