We opted for the specific model of organisation – known by other names as “especifismo” or organisationalist anarchism – largely inspired by the Uruguayan Anarchist Federation (FAU). Through the discussions that we had, we came to the conclusion that it would be essential to work with popular social movements, and that, for this, we should create an organisation with an emphasis on militant commitment. An organisation in this model defends some clear positions: the organisation as active minority, the emphasis on the need for organisation, theoretical unity and unity of action, the production of theory, the need for social work and social insertion; an understanding of anarchism as a tool for the class struggle in pursuit of a libertarian socialist project, the differentiation between the levels of political action (the anarchist organisation) and social action(the popular movements), and the defense of a strategically made militancy. Obviously, the organisation was not born functioning with all these concepts, but we have improved our work in this direction, over the years.
The Specific Anarchist Organisation
This model of organisation maintains that the function of the specific anarchist organisation is to bring together and coordinate the forces stemming from militant activities, building a tool for solid and consistent struggle, that seeks a finalist objective: social revolution and libertarian socialism. We believe that work without (or with little) organisation, in which each one does what they want, poorly articulated or even isolated, is inefficient. The model of organisation we advocate seeks to multiply the result and effectiveness of militant forces.
In this model, the specific anarchist organisation works as an active minority, or a group of anarchists that, organised on the political and ideological level, partakes in actions on the social level – in social movements, unions etc. In this work, the organisation of active minority works to influence the movements and struggles in which it is involved, in order that they function in the most libertarian way possible. Always acting on the social level, the active minority does not seek positions of privilege, does not impose its will, nor fight for social movements, but with them, as such differentiating itself from the Marxist-Leninist “vanguard” . It is thus the ideology within the social movement, and not the reverse.
Theoretical Unity and Unity of Action
We understand theoretical unity as necessary, because the organisation can not work with any theory, or with multiple theories; this leads to a lack of articulation, or even to a conflicting articulation of a set of concepts that leads, without doubt, to wrong practice, confusing or very inefficient. This unity is always achieved collectively and in a horizontal way within the organisation. The theoretical unity goes together with unity of action. Through it, the organisation works to implement the actions that were established within the strategy of struggle. Having defined a theoretical and ideological line and a strategic programme, all militants – hence the organisation as a whole – have an obligation to carry out tactical actions established by the strategic programme. In sum, everyone should be “rowing the boat in the same direction.”
Need for Social Work and Social Insertion
This type of organisation is known, still, by giving emphasis to the need for social work and social insertion. Social work is the activity that organised anarchists realise in the popular social movements, and social insertion is the insertion of libertarian ideas and concepts in such movements. If we want to struggle for a society without exploitation and domination, there is no consistency in doing this without the involvement of those who are the main victims of capitalist class society: the exploited and dominated people. Taking this position does not mean idolising the people or believing that they are revolutionary in essence, but only to agree with the idea that the fight against exploitation must proceed with the involvement of those who are the most exploited. Hence, we strongly encourage action in autonomous and combative popular social movements of their own creation. We believe that anarchism, in order to flourish, should be used as a tool for class struggle.
Political and Social Levels
Another characteristic of this model of organisation is the differentiation between the political and social levels of action. We do not believe that there is a hierarchy of political organisation above the social movement (as it is for the authoritarians); for us, this is a complementary and dialectic relationship, essential to both. Thus, the political level of the anarchist organisation must act at the social level, in social movements organised around pragmatic issues for improving the living conditions of the exploited class.
Strategy and Tactics
To do so with consistency, its develops strategy within the anarchist organisation: it is in this context that analyses are made, that is in the global, national and regional context; that we analyse the movements and popular forces in play, their influences and potential; the questions of institutional policy that have influence on the environments in which we propose to act. In the context of the specific organisation, occur reflections on the long-term goals, or, we forge our conceptions of social revolution and libertarian socialism. After this, the most complicated: thinking of a proposal of action in search of attaining these goals, or at least to make them become more tangible. The strategy will have to answer the following question: how to get from where we are to where we want to be? This “macro” line(Diagnostic, goals for the short, medium and long term) we call strategy and our major goals, the strategic goals. The strategy then is detailed in a more “micro” line, or tactics, which determine the actions that will be put into practice by militants or groups of militants who seek to achieve tactical objectives. Clearly, the attainment of tactical objectives brings us closer in an important way to the major strategic goals.
Level of Commitment
Thus, this choice of organisation requires a high level of commitment from the militants.
* Excerpt from “Interview with the Rio de Janeiro Anarchist Federation (FARJ)” by Thierry Libertad. It can be read in full here.