“We desire the freedom and well-being of all men, all without exception. We want that every human being can develop and live in the happiest way possible. And we believe that this freedom and this well-being cannot be given by a man or by a party, but that everyone should find in themselves their conditions, and conquer them.
We consider that only the most complete application of the principle of solidarity can destroy war, oppression and exploitation, and solidarity can only be born of free agreement, of the spontaneous and desired harmonising of all concerned.” – Errico Malatesta
Anarchism is a political ideology of social transformation, which is expressed through an anti-authoritarian mode of reflection, interpretation and intervention on reality. It constitutes a revolutionary theory that struggles against all forms of exploitation and oppression. It has its historical origins in the working class struggles over almost two centuries. Committed to these principles, which are a continuation of the organisationalist current of anarchism, the Federação Anarquista do Rio de Janeiro (farj) proposes to work – now and without intermediations – in order to interfere in the different realities that make up the universe of social movements.
To achieve its intended goals – to move immediately towards a world where all are free and equal – the farj will respect the firm ethical precepts that sustain it, promoting the development of a political culture that is based on respect for the plurality of perspectives and affinity of objectives.
The farj is an organisation of active minority, made up of militants conscious of their historical responsibility (“a subject who has a libertarian ethic knows why they’re struggling and is able to explain the ideological motives of struggle, [and] has commitment and self-discipline to carry out the tasks undertaken ” – Ideal Peres). It proposes a radical transformation of society having as its starting point everyday popular life. It seeks always to support the development and strengthening of self-organisation, in the construction of independent and combative activities, in order that we all achieve a truly just society, free and equal, within the conception that each of its components is only an interim fighter inserted in the continued pursuit of human beings but for the realisation of the perfect dream, at least for creating the best possible utopias. To this end, the farj always seeks to support the training and development of other self-managed organisations, participating combatively in the day-to-day struggles of popular movements in action, first, in Brazil, in Latin America and especially in Rio de Janeiro.
To achieve these objectives, the farj has well-defined principles and content. The assumption of coherence with these principles is what determines ideological authenticity pertaining to anarchism.
In summary, these principles are:
Freedom is the founding principle of anarchism. The struggle for freedom precedes anarchy. The desire to be free – from the contingencies of nature, principally, and, in the second instance, from human predators themselves, which by means of instruments of domination suffocate true egalitarian and fraternal dynamics – is the axis around which, in a permanent process historical, social, political and economic transformations turn. Individual freedom, however, can only find its greatest expression in collective freedom. States, capitalism and their results, class society, false educational principles, authoritarian family practices and ideologies of mass alienation, as well as mistaken theories of social emancipation, which lead to the formation of new tyrannies, currently constitute the greatest obstacles to the full libertarian development of humanity.
2. Ethics and Values
The libertarian ethic is synonymous with anarchism, and is its backbone. It is a non-negotiable militant commitment, and presupposes consistency between life and ideology, that is, living anarchism. We understand that the ends are in the means, just as the tree is in the seed, and that we will only arrive at libertarian ends with political responsibility and through libertarian means. Ethics are exercised in mutual respect, and are responsible for defining the priority of values.
Federalism is a non-hierarchical method of political organisation of society. It presupposes the decentralisation of the process of decision-making and enables the integration of self-managed nuclei at all levels.
It is based on mutual aid and on free association, with equal rights and duties for all. We consider it essential that the federal units exercise their right to deliberate, through delegations taken in the grassroots assemblies, guided by agreed principles, and having the organisational and militant commitment to abide by the resolutions of the council of delegates, thus respecting the decisions of the federative body.
Internationalism is exercised, in practice, through federalism. We understand that internationalism is enriched by respect for diversity of cultural practices and is practiced by the solidarity of struggles and through social self-management.
An anti-capitalist and anti-statist method of socio-economic management at all levels. It is characterised as the management of the means of production and social organisation for the benefit of the collectivity; it is exercised from the grassroots entities, with equal rights and participation of all responsible.
Self-management, as a process of constructing the new, while still living with the current outdated system, potentiates the transformations that point to an egalitarian society.
6. Direct Action
A method of action based on individual and collective protagonism. It is marked by horizontality and by a minimum of intermediation that, when necessary, does not result in the emergence of decision-making centres separated from those concerned.
Direct action is expressed in multiple variants and at all levels and expression, connecting the workers and oppressed to the centre of political action.
“Only direct action shakes thrones, threatens tyrannies, convolves worlds; it alone, principally, educates and strengthens the dispossessed people in their millennial struggle. Direct action is the revolution.” (José Oiticica)
7. Class struggle
We affirm our identity as workers. We fight for a classless society in which everyone can work and have the right to a dignified life. To achieve this objective, we consciously face a daily class struggle against the exploitative elites and the state. We believe that the end of class society will only be achieved with the emancipation of the oppressed in the process of the social revolution.
8. Political Practice and Social Insertion
We understand that, as workers, our intervention must be guided by our own social reality, based on the struggles that we face in our daily lives. However, considering that we anarchists believe that political action involves a greater commitment to social causes, we must always seek to relate our own militant practice to the diverse manifestations of popular struggles. Therefore, we believe that any expressions in this direction in the social, cultural, peasant, trade union, student, community, ecological etc. camps – as long as inserted in the context of the struggles for freedom – contemplate our political practice of social insertion.
9. Mutual Aid
We propose to achieve active solidarity in struggle, fraternising with all comrades truly working for a more just and egalitarian world. Thus, we consider that mutual aid is a logical and direct consequence of the set of principles of anarchism, since we can only implement them through effective solidarity between the exploited and oppressed.
Our conception is that anarchism, as social thought, does not allow the separating of theory and practice, ends from means and action from transformation; it does not allow for rigid frameworks wishing to establish, for the attitudes of militants, an abstract model that determines their principles and strategies. Anarchism, by being anti-dogmatic and establishing freedom as its primary concern, seeks in the evident contradictions of the capitalist system its field of action. Therefore, it is within the class struggle that the anarchists must be, while having a society of oppressed and oppressors, of bosses and workers, owners and dispossessed. However, as anarchists understand that the class struggle is a means and not an ends, they must be on the alert for certain interpretations of authoritarian meaning that conceive of history as the mere result of the struggle between classes. If there really is a factor that transforms history for libertarians, it can only be the result of the struggle continually engendered by revolutionaries against oppression and in search of solidarity. For anarchists, man isn’t, in the new society, a simple result of historical materialism. Men are not forged by the hammer blows levelled by predetermined dialectics nor by some scheme that transcends them to concrete action.
Therefore, direct action is not only a means or methodology of combat, but the only way to materialise, in attitudes, the desire for individual and collective transformation. In this way the anarchists, who never sought a scientistic systematisation of their social thought, affirm that only through concrete actions can the radical process of transformation result.
Without masters or dogmas, libertarian militants proceed advocating social insertion in the most pressing issues of their lives. Such a relationship puts in the hands of the people and other organised groups the task of changing everything to please everyone. We think that anarchic elements were present in the classless societies of yesterday, and continue, in those of today, not because they represent the result of economic contradictions, but to express, in the fullest form, the desire for freedom common to all individuals and communities throughout time. For this anarchism served, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as an important inspiration for the struggle against the bourgeoisie in the same way as it should determine the ethical standards of the future anarchic society.
Translation: Jonathan – ZACF