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(en) Mexico: Revolutionary Anarchism and Political Parties, a document by the "Alianza de los Comunistas Libertarios" (ca,it)

From "dela protesta ala resistencia" <delaprotestaalaresistencia@hotmail.com>
Date Tue, 7 Dec 2004 11:40:28 +0100 (CET)

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For a long time there has been an erroneous conception regarding anarchists'
views on parties. In this document, we, as revolutionary anarchists, wish to
clarify the matter a little. We will begin by saying that our ideology is
rooted in the philosophical and political ideas of the Russian revolutionary
Mikhail Bakunin. With that said, we believe that, as a self-sacrificing fighter
for the cause of the workers and therefore an enemy of bourgeois capitalist
exploitation and State repression, Bakunin understood perfectly the historical
need for a revolutionary party, consisting only of the most dedicated elements
who sacrificed themselves to the revolutionary cause and were an integral part
of it.

Not only did Bakunin understand the need for an organization with these
characteristics, but actually formed one in the year 1868 called the "Alliance
of Socialist Democracy". The Alliance was founded in the same period as the
"International Working Men's Association" (the 1st International) and the
members of the Alliance were unjustly and mistakenly accused by the Marxists of
"wanting to weaken the International by forming a new one from within". The
reality, however, was totally different, as far from wanting to weaken it,
Bakunin had realized quite rightly that the best complement to the Workers'
International would be an organization of the best elements with a high level
of revolutionary consciousness which could lead to a large number of workers
organized in the International, in an authentically socialist and revolutionary
direction. This is how Mikhail Bakunin explained the relationship between the
Revolutionary Organization of the vanguard (the Alliance) and that immense,
formidable mass Proletarian Front, the International Working Men's Association:

"The Alliance is the necessary complement to the International. But the
International and the Alliance, while having the same ultimate aims, perform
different functions. The International endeavours to unify the working masses,
the millions of workers, regardless of nationality and national boundaries or
religious and political beliefs, into one compact body; the Alliance, on the
other hand, tries to give these masses a really revolutionary direction. The
programmes of one and the other, without being in any way opposed, differ only
in the degree of their revolutionary development. The International contains in
germ, but only in germ, the whole programme of the Alliance. The programme of
the Alliance represents the fullest unfolding of the International."
- Mikhail Bakunin

Although we anarchists recognize the need to build a revolutionary organization
with tactical and ideological unity, whose task is to encourage the development
of the workers' consciousness of their revolutionary historic role of getting
rid of capitalism and the institutions of inequality, we reject the use of the
term "party" to refer to such an organization. We reject the use of this term
for two reasons which derive from the word in question. The first is confusion
with the bourgeois political parties; the second is the Marxist-Leninist
concept of the party. It is these two ideas that we will be examining below.


As a Revolutionary Organization, our aim is to make the proletariat aware of
its social strength and of the fact that this very strength can bring down
capitalist society. Our work, therefore, involves the organization of popular
forces from below, in other words independently of the ruling class. We believe
that it is inappropriate to present ourselves to the workers as a "workers'
party", given that nowadays party is understood in its bourgeois sense
associated with elections, parliament, political power and a whole series of
concepts which go against the idea of popular emancipation. We are convinced
that those parties and individuals who describe themselves as representing the
exploited classes and the oppressed, and who create hopes of emancipation in
them through elections and parliaments, are instead only reinforcing the
bourgeois political institutions and thereby (logically and effectively) also
despotism, exploitation and tyranny...


We run the risk not only of being confused with the bourgeois parties, but also
with the Leninist ones. And something interesting emerges here: Leninism
promotes the creation of a party that represents the interests of the working
class. Some might draw the conclusion that anarchist ideas and the Leninist
model have much in common, but that is something which we flatly reject, for
two reasons. To begin with, as can be seen from the earlier part of this
document, the concept of an Organization of the most advanced elements
("vanguard") was not something which was first expressed by Lenin. Decades
before, Bakunin had understood that mass defence and resistance fronts alone
(such as trade unions and international workers' associations) were not
sufficient to undertake a revolutionary struggle as they were lacking, amongst
other things, that nucleus of the most conscious revolutionaries who could
fight to ensure that the popular movements did not fall victim to reformist or
openly bourgeois tendencies.

The other main difference with the Leninist concept is even more important, as
it concerns the aims of each tendency. The Leninist tendency wants the vanguard
party to take control of the State once the revolution has been won, as its
members are supposed to be the most conscious, the most intelligent, the best
able to represent perfectly the interests of the proletariat. The function of
the anarchist Political Organization, instead, is not to conquer State power.
Unlike the Leninists, we want the destruction of the State, as we know that
political and military power in the hands of a minority in the name of the
revolution is exactly what can damage the revolution most.

The taking of political power, or rather the fact that a minority turns itself
into a nucleus of professional politicians with the right to take decisions and
impose these on the masses, signifies creating the seeds for bureaucratization
and counter-revolution. It lays the basis for a return to a society divided
into a privileged minority and a huge oppressed and dominated majority.

The goal of the anarchist Organization is not political power but the building
of proletarian popular power from the bottom up, in other words all the power
based on the working people collectively through their assemblies and
horizontal decision-making bodies.


But Revolutionary Anarchism did not see its programme for homogeneous
Organization expressed only during the time of Bakunin. Apart from the Alliance
of Socialist Democracy, other similar groups have at various times tried to
emulate the role of the Alliance, groups such as the Delo Truda group, formed
principally of Russian and Ukrainian anarchists who fought together with the
Russian proletariat in the Russian Revolution, which was subsequently
transformed by the Bolsheviks into a State-Party dictatoriship.

At the end of the 1920s, The Delo Truda group published a document which was
very important for the international Libertarian Movement, opening a breach
between organized anarchism and the individualist interpretation of anarchism
which repudiated the formation of an Organization of the vanguard. The
anti-organizationalists consisted of those who did not want to make a
committment or be responsible as militants, those who repudiated that
revolutionary discipline which, as Nestor Makhno pointed out, is essential for
our tasks to be carried out successfully.

These few lines will help us to clear up the question in hand: "without
discipline inside the organization it is impossible to undertake any serious
revolutionary action at all. Without discipline, the revolutionary vanguard
cannot exist, as in would then find itself in total practical disunity and
would be unable to identify the tasks of the moment or carry out its role as
initiator which the masses expect of it." (Nestor Makhno, "On Revolutionary

The Organizational Platform is a document published by the Delo Truda Group
with the aim of bringing about a General Union of Anarchists, an Organization
of the revolutionary anarchist vanguard. It is a document which sets out the
arguments regarding the need for an organizational structure of this type.
Another example of anarchism constituted in a Revolutionary Organization is
that of the Friends of Durruti in Spain during the 1930s, at the time of the
Spanish Civil War. The Friends of Durruti were an anarcho-syndicalist group
within the CNT who understood the need to form a conscious revolutionary
leadership after the CNT began to commit historical errors such as joining the
Republic's bourgeois government. The Friends of Durruti, whose name
commemorated the revolutionary anarchist Buenaventura Durruti who died in
combat on 20th November 1936, realized that in the circumstances of the time is
was urgently necessary to create a nucleus which would be able to indicate the
correct positions for the Spanish proletariat so that it could go back to the
strictly collectivist and anti-State positions which had been defended from day
one of the Spanish Revolution by Durruti and Ascaso.


We can summarize by saying that we anarchists of the Bakuninist line are
advocates of a specific revolutionary Organization which participates in the
popular movements, seeking to insert our Libertarian Socialist programme in
these movements and ensure that they proceed along anti-capitalist lines in
order to abolish private ownership of the means of production and create
horizontal and assemblyist popular power on the ruins of all that is called
political power and the State. An Organization of this type is what the
militants of the "Alianza de los Comunistas Libertarios" want to build and we
are working daily towards the social revolution and the emancipation of the

(Alliance of Libertarian Communists)

Translation by FdCA International Relations

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