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(en) Italy, Up to the Transitional Period - Basic Strategy Document of FdCA*

Date Wed, 03 Aug 2005 09:33:12 +0300

I - Introduction
Our Theory examines the history of the class struggle which leads
us to become Anarchist Communists. The first part of our Basic
Strategy analyses our enemies, allowing us to understand what
we need to do in order to survive despite the repression which
the powers that be use against us, and also to destroy any obstacle
which interferes with the realization of Anarchist Communism.
We have to establish the principles behind our action. These
are not abstract concepts. They originate in the conditions
under which we live and work and only if they are shared by all
will they unite us and not contradict our practices. Although
our practice is of necessity linked to the particular, specific
conditions of the time and place where we operate, it must
always keep these principles in mind, principles which are the
product of an analysis of the historical period we are part of.

This, then, is not a programme. It is a correct methodology
without which no programme can be considered right or
wrong. We will therefore develop our programmes and judge
the programmes of others on the basis of this methodology,
remembering that every programme must keep in mind the
"basic" political situation of our age.

These basic principles of our political work did not appear for
the first time today as an invention of ours. They are the same
principles that Anarchist Communists have acquired and
experimented over the course of time, albeit under varying
historical conditions.

Today, it is our turn to adopt them but we must avoid the
mistakes of the past. We must avoid certain principles being
used in contradiction with others. We can do this not by
eliminating from our practice those methods which did not
provide good results in the past, but by attaching (as much as
possible) the right importance to each "principle" so that
together they can form a more organic whole.

II - On Being an Anarchist Communist

Consciousness of Anarchist Communism comes from the
consciousness of history. But it is empty unless real individuals
adopt it and allow it to take its place in history. Even this is of
no value, unless these individuals transmit their consciousness
and their existence through their actions and their work.

In order for Anarchist Communist consciousness to spread
and for Anarchist Communists to grow in number and act, it is
first and foremost necessary for us to live Anarchist
Communism (its consciousness, physical presence and
political action) in the society around us in the least
contradictory and most gratifying way possible, as something
useful and beautiful.

Being an Anarchist Communist in the 21st century, in a world
dominated by wars, capitalism and repression, means being
able to imagine a different way of life, with the same
productive possibilities as today. A life in which war, violence
and social injustice no longer exist.

Understanding this means understanding the injustice of this
society and fighting to end it. But it also means trying to
improve the quality of our lives today as much as possible.

There have been those on the one hand, who have been
attracted by the ideal of a just society and who felt their lives to
be like a christian mission. These people have sacrificed their
own lives for the sake of their ideals to such an extent that they
have isolated themselves from reality and become the
vanguard of a movement of lofty idealists which is invariably
short-lived. They have lived on the bread of their idealism and
not of the day-to-day social reality, and have distanced
themselves bit by bit from the class struggle, ceasing to be a
part of it.

Then there have been others who, faced with the difficulties of
political struggle, have come to the decision that it is
impossible to arrive at an Anarchist Communist society within
their lifespan. While continuing to aspire to Anarchist
Communism, they have chosen to struggle for more
easily-obtainable objectives even though not completely just.
In this way, they deny that Anarchist Communism is
achievable and work with the powers to create forms of
government which would be "better" for the proletariat but
which in reality only serve to drive the class struggle even
further from its basic objective - the destruction of social

Today we talk about the LABOUR STRUGGLE (by which we
mean the struggle carried on by all the exploited for their
immediate interests with the possibility of satisfying their
historical interests) in order to improve to the best of our
abilities the economic conditions under which we live, and
POLITICAL STRUGGLE (by which we mean the struggle
carried on through consciousness of historical interests) in
order to obtain an Anarchist Communist society.

But while no-one denies that the labour struggle can produce
immediate, tangible results, can the same be said of the
political struggle?

There is an enormous difference between the political struggle
of leftist parties (with paid militants and prospects for positions
of power) and the political struggle of Anarchist Communist
parties (unpaid and with no prospects for power). So much so,
in fact, that some 19th-century Anarchists even said that
Anarchist Communists do not engage in politics!

So how is it possible for an Anarchist Communist militant to
fight for Anarchist Communism (not only for labour gains) and
continue to do it without committing either of the
previously-mentioned errors - to become an idealistic purist
detached from the masses or become a fancy politician
detached from the ideals of Anarchist Communism?

We must set out clearly the concept and practice of being a
member of an Anarchist Communist organization so that it
can be something that anyone can do, both in theory and in
practice, as they can identify with its raison d'être and not
only with the (far-off) ideal of Anarchist Communism.

Being a member of an Anarchist Communist organization
engaged in politics (against the politics of other political forces,
though in the same technical ways and with no other
motivation that "struggling" for Anarchist Communism) is
alienating. (For the sake of this argument we will not deal here
with the labour struggle.)

Having to engage in politics and the alienation resulting from
this is yet another obstacle that capitalism puts in the way of
the spreading and the success in society of an idea which is
contrary to it.

It would be lovely to be able to define (theoretically at least) a
"correct" form of militancy, one which is not alienating. But
unfortunately, an individual who, driven by the alienation that
this society produces, becomes an Anarchist Communist
militant will never be repaid even in ethical terms (as things
stand at present) for the energy dedicated to the struggle,
unless the new society should appear during his or her lifetime.

There have been many comrades who have succeeded in this
without deviating, and others who have not.

There are two possible situations. Either political militancy is
(consciously or unconscious) the transposition of the exploited
and repressed individual's material and intellectual instincts
which are correctly directed against the powers, or militancy is
the product of a COMMUNIST CONSCIOUSNESS which the
individual needs in order to survive within this society.

The first way of conceiving militancy is that of the excitement
of a first approach to politics. It absolutely must not be allowed
to survive as failure to do this would mean being unable to
understand why one could not accept an appointed position as
exploiter (in whatever form) were it to be offered by the powers
that be. Historical examples of this are endless!

The second way of conceiving militancy is in effect
contradictory. On the one hand, engaging in politics is the
expression not only of an economic malady (labour struggle)
but also an emotional, intellectual and moral malady that
drives us to become communists. Engaging in politics is
liberating as the struggle against the ideological system of
capitalism brings about a different individual, a communist
individual. Engaging in politics thus makes us become in part
individuals who are "different" from both the oppressors and
the oppressed who seek power.

On the other hand, however, the sacrifices and the efforts
which we are forced to make for the political struggle, tend
(sometimes successfully, sometimes no) to turn comrades
from communism, to weaken their ideals, to worsen their
economic conditions. We must not delude ourselves with the
idealistic illusion that everyone can be a communist in the face
of everything.

If we want an organization of heroes we would be better off
training the supporters of Anarchist Communism to write
poetry, because very few heroes are born in each century.

In practice, the first way of conceiving politics leads to
authoritarianism, to compromise, to Stalinism. The second
way is without doubt the Anarchist Communist way, but we
have to eliminate as much as possible the real contradictions
that can be created, because on this will depend whether those
of us who are not really heroes can be Anarchist Communists.

The answer to the problem lies in two factors:

1. introducing the comrades' private lives into the concept of
Anarchist Communist politics;
2. bringing to the Anarchist Communist community as much
communism as possible.


The division of private life and political life was produced with
the rise of "political life" which meant, and still means,
"power". There exists a division between what is private and
what is public, between what is political and what is power.
Society today, however, only distinguishes between private and
political in terms of power.

The private life of an Anarchist Communist is twice over

1. when private relationships (which are influenced by the
dominant ideology) determine the evolution of the comrade's
communist consciousness;
2. when the private life is influenced by and influences the
comrade's political activity.

Introducing the private life into the concept of Anarchist
Communist politics simply means setting out in terms of
theory and analysis of the situation what already exists: the
private life as an essential fact of a living being and as a fact
which affects the life of an Anarchist Communist.

This problem is always treated, and rightly so, is a delicate
manner, because no agenda, congress or motion will ever be
able to transform or improve our private lives.

It is useless to publicize private life or treat it as we treat other
political matters, because our private work is just that -

What we mean, in effect, is that we must be conscious that the
political determines and is determined by the private, but only
with the help of comrades (comrades with particular
characteristics) can we help each comrade develop his or her
private life in the best possible way.

We must underline "in the best possible way" because, for the
very reason that society necessarily determines our private
lives, they can only be perfect if society is perfect. This does
not, however, provide is with an excuse to do nothing to
develop our private lives.

We must be fully conscious of the importance the conditions
of a comrade's private life have in his or her education,
development and work as a comrade, and the same is true also
of a society.

Political events are important or unimportant, right or wrong,
enjoyable or not, only when they translate into improvements
in the individual's private life.

Improvements in our material living conditions, our home
lives, our personal relationships and our relationships with our
comrades are all matters which concern our private lives and it
is of the utmost importance (in some cases perhaps absolutely
essential) that comrades should help each other.

Kropotkin called it solidarity and that is what we will call it too.
It is a concept that he tried to make scientific by re-discovering
in the "animal" nature of other living beings, but maybe it can
never be made scientific. However it is easy to understand all
its aspects and "secret" laws and can be easily learnt.

But it is not the task of a Basic Strategy document to deal with
this matter. Both it and those things that need to change can
be best dealt with elsewhere. Here, we will limit ourselves to
repeating that this problem must be dealt with in practical


In this part of the document we will use the word communism
to denote the novel factor which is held in common by all
left-wing ideologies, but distinguishing between political
practice and political ideology on the one hand and the
primordial and instinctive in every leftist ideology on the other.

In the ideology (not the practice!) of every "comrade" there is a
certain vague element: a need, a desire for justice and equality
which is shared by every ideology. The differences in methods
and aims are another matter, though they can inhibit these
needs to the point of denying them, when these ideologies
(with the exception of Anarchist Communist theory) come to
develop and articulate the needs.

By contrast, this statement would suggest another: that when
developing the needs of comrades, Anarchist Communism
does not deny them.

"Developing" here does not only mean hypothesizing the
future Anarchist Communist society, but allows for its partial
realization and the partial satisfaction of what communism is
and of the benefits that derive from it.

The "utopian" experiments of the past on the part of some
comrades are merely an acritical attempt to develop and make
concrete the above need in an impatient, non-scientific way.

The notion of creating communes and the experiences
resulting therefrom represent on the one hand the pressing but
irrational desire to "make" communism and, on the other
hand, the impossibility of extricating the rabbit from its hole
with these methods.

But then, by way of a reaction to these misguided forms of
action (though at least they are moving in more or less the
right direction), there are those who believe in the saying "the
worse it gets, the better it gets", in other words, the less
communism there is, the more desire for communism there is.
But this can lead to the fear that the drive for struggle can die
with the birth of initiatives which satisfy this need for
communism, if only partially.


As Fabbri put it, the appetite arrives once you start eating. In
other words, the more communism you experience, the more
you want. For once in our lives we should trust in Man's
selfishness - instead of making do with a little, we should want
it all.

It is a matter of understanding what is not utopian and try to
obtain it by starting with the real needs which, in order to
survive, need to be seen in the practical, everyday reality.

So far it has been easy for us to express the idea. But in
translating it into concrete forms, we come across problems of
an economic, legal and practical nature which, as they lie
outside the scope of basic strategy, do not permit us to go any
further in the elaboration of this question.

But there is no shortage of practicable ideas:

* cooperatives together with comrades
* new forms of schools
* communist cultural activities (theatrical, musical, artistic,

What is important is that they are not impossible to realize,
that they take account of the conditions of life of those involved
and that they provide the necessary guarantees. This will never
involve a certainty that they will be free from being taken over
by the powers and turned against those who use them.

At this point, the debate passes over to the level of political
strategy and tactics.


The concept of graduality lies in the consideration that every
form of sudden advance of the socio-economic conditions of a
nation is sudden only when seen wearing blinkers. Sudden
advances are an explosive development caused by a mixture of
rage and political consciousness which have been building up
over a long period.

Class-struggle militants often develop a mindset which is
useful only for the perpetuation of the status quo: "things will
get better after the revolution…". And until then?

Reformism is revolting, anything new gets eaten up by the
system, only the revolution can change things.

It is almost like talking to someone who insists that the
torrential rain is due to the fact that the revolution has not yet

All or nothing, fascism or communism, sunshine or rain.

Anarchist Communism will not come about through an
unexpected, sudden revolution which appears without warning
through divine intervention by the spirit of Lenin or Bakunin.
Preparation for the revolution has already begun. The
revolution started over a century ago with the killing of the first
Anarchist and it continues, gradually, along its path.

We have the problem, however, of the contrast between those
on the one hand who believe in "action now!", in forcing the
situation, in the hopes of a fast and easy solution to the
problems of whole populations and those, on the other hand,
who believe that only a lengthy process of acquiring
consciousness can change things - so long, in fact, that we
might as well learn to put up with things in the meantime.

The methodology of graduality does not allow for the
progressive ideology of coups d'états nor for any biological
evolutionism toward a more just society.

Every struggle, every explosion of rage, every revolt and even
every defeat, is a step forward in the gradual development of
the conditions which will lead to the revolution. But only as
long as every political act produces consciousness and as long
as every political act becomes part of the memory of each

Gradualism is not irresponsible faith in the slow advancement
of the class struggle. It is the consciousness of the fact that
things happen when there are the necessary conditions for
them to occur and, above all, when the most important
premise (i.e. the growth of class consciousness) is not
forgotten during a struggle.

Graduality has certain similarities with reformism and agrees
to a great extent with reformism in holding that political
conquests cannot and must not all come together, but can be
obtained one by one. Where they do differ, and violently at
that, is on where these conquests should be obtained:
PARLIAMENT or CLASS STRUGGLE. The same difference
exists on how they should be obtained: AGREEMENT WITH
on the methodology with which they are maintained:

Graduality also has several things in common with
revolutionary Leninism, agreeing with it for the most part on
the fact that a revolution can bring the historical phase of
capitalism to a close, but here too there are enormous
differences as it believes that class consciousness is required in
order to produce an Anarchist Communist post-revolutionary
period and not a class of authorized bureaucrats who are
delegated to build Anarchist Communism.

We do not want to use either the gradual conquests of a
parliament for our gradualism, nor the revolutionary conquest
of the State in order to arrive at the objectives of our
gradualism. What we want, independently of the State and of
parliament and against both of them, is to gradually build the
conditions for the revolution, both in the form of social
conquests (the management of which remains in the hands of
the proletariat) and in the form of mass and "specific" political
organizations in which class consciousness remains strong and
evolves and grows without leaders who have been delegated
the management of these organizations.

We are gradualists up to the revolution and even afterwards
during the whole transition period, but we know that the speed
of our gradual advance is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to
our strength and to our ability to "subvert".

Graduality is not an alibi for advancing slowly. Anything but! It
is simply an awareness that the evolution towards Anarchist
Communism must not be confused with the illusions of a

Every struggle, in fact, must sow consciousness and strength,
above all in the wider approach to the evolution towards
Anarchist Communism. The more struggles there are, the
closer we get to the time of the revolution - as long as we do
not expect every struggle to be the last.

This is because we are certain that class consciousness is the
same thing as Anarchist Communist consciousness.

III - Self-management

If all those who engaged in politics managed themselves, we
would be in an Anarchist Communist society, as the
self-management of all activity is only possible if there is no
constituted power to control social life even if this does not
concern it.

No-one can doubt the enormous difference that exists between
the clarity of meaning that the expression "self-management"
evokes and the nebulous nature of self-management, correctly

The principle of self-management, more than any other
principle, is harder to put into practice than to establish its

As a political practice, SELF-MANAGING THE POLITICS
WE ENGAGE IN is immediately, instinctively and
unequivocally recognizable as Anarchist Communist. The
trouble is that it is difficult to be Anarchist Communist above
all because it is difficult to manage the politics we engage in.

Self-management involves rejecting the ideology and practices
of capitalism (be it of the State or Market variety) and the idea
that this is an impossibility is responsible for providing the
greatest contradictions among the proletariat.

Lack of faith in the possibilities of self-management and the
repression of self-managed struggles, have been, are now and
will continue to be important strategic tools in the hands of

As comrades, we must try to exercise every type of pressure,
every possible manoeuvre, every way of forcing
self-management to remain at the heart of every struggle. And
when it is substituted by any of the various forms of centralism
(be they more or less democratic), we must gather and educate
all those who reject centralism under the banner of

As an organization, our struggle must seek to ensure the
victory of the ideology and practices of self-management at
every level (ideological, educational, in the struggles, within
the labour unions, in the press, in violence and in "political

Our organization must be an emblem, a flag-bearer of
self-management. It must be the practical representation and a
clear example that it is possible to self-manage the
transformation of capitalist society into an Anarchist
Communist society.

In fact, despite the strategy of capital, the first spontaneous,
instinctive form of anti-capitalism has always been for
self-management if only because participation and
decision-making is always based on the participants
themselves and on their needs - in other words,

But sooner or later leaders, chiefs, bureaucracies, and so on,
appear. These are the powers who identify with the proletariat,
but only because it suits them to do so.


The survival of Anarchist Communists must be seen by all to
be the survival of self-management, despite today's pyramidal
power structure. What we must avoid at all costs is any
non-self managed deviation within the organization.

While self-management is an indispensable condition for
advancing our political practice, it alone is not enough.

Self-management does not mean corporativism or
sectarianism. Without class consciousness or historical
memory (in other words, without Anarchist Communist
ideology) it can turn into oppression of the weaker components
of the proletariat even if they are managing themselves
correctly. Self-management can mean advancing one's own
interests over and above those of other sectors of the

Self-management as an indispensable condition, but not in
itself sufficient, means that self-management without
organization cannot achieve anything.

Self-management is a light that allows those who want to be
Anarchist Communists to be Anarchist Communists, but it
produces little effect on those who are not.

The battle for self-management is the toughest battle that
Anarchist Communists have to fight. What is important is that
all our struggles are self-managed. This is absolutely essential.

IV - Relations with other political forces

We have analysed and established that within the proletariat
there exist pseudo-Socialist, counter-revolutionary ideologies
and we have condemned them. But we cannot forget that in
one's political practice it is useless to reject alliances with
anyone who is not identical to us.

It is first necessary to distinguish our enemies from our
adversaries, our adversaries from our allies and our allies from
our nearest comrades.

Errors of judgement can easily be made. This can either be
because, driven by the fire of polemics, we are too easily led
into condemning someone quite close to us because of one
small difference, and thereby committing the sin of excessive
purism. Or because, driven by a noble desire to unite our
forces, we too easily accept someone who is actually quite
distant from us because of one small common point, thereby
committing the sin of over-simplification.

Unfortunately, it is often true that we tend to emphasize the
differences with those who are close to us, while with those
who are distant we may be willing to emphasize the
similarities, given that the differences seem too obvious to us.

If engaging in politics also means being emotional, where we
are most likely to make errors (due to our emotiveness) is in
the area of our relations with other organizations.

We should always be strict with ourselves on this point and
even accept the inevitability of making mistakes. With this in
mind we will certainly be better disposed towards self-criticism
and to understanding the errors of our comrades.

We must always be careful of those involved in the class
struggle who use libertarian words in order to trick and
deceive, and unmask them. But we should be equally prepared
to recognize as friends those who may not at first seem to be
comrades due to a lack of experience.

This is a most difficult task. Any error, any hurry, any
uncertainty or even any certainty on our part can have a heavy
price to pay. But it is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY both to
struggle in order to unite those who are only different on the
surface (in order not to waste our energies), and to avoid
allying ourselves with people who will later betray us.

IT IS VITALLY IMPORTANT to remember that a great many
Anarchist Communist defeats have been the result of too
much faith and of political errors in this area.

Anarchist Communists have excelled in fighting capitalism
face one, but have been defeated when capitalism has
disguised itself as communism.


Or, our relations with Anarchists.

The Anarchist movement can be defined by its basic
characteristics, which are:

1. a rejection of power as an instrument and method of
struggle in the building of an Anarchist Communist society;
2. acceptance of the principle of self-management;
3. consciousness that power can only be destroyed through
4. political action must be addressed to the exploited, who
are the authors of the revolution.

We do not agree that we can accept into the one political
organization the various forms in which these principles can be
expressed. Our aim is to represent one tendency which all can
join once they consciously consider our ideas to be correct.

We firmly believe that our way of conceiving Anarchist
Communism is the most scientific possible. But we must
consider our comrades who are our brothers and sisters as
people and who can with time and experience become
militants in our organization, by strengthening their analysis.

We must seek joint action, discussion and debate.

Much will depend on the clarity with which we can motivate
our choices and our convictions. We must have no fear, no

However, this does not exempt us from unmasking with the
utmost firmness anyone who infiltrates the Anarchist
movement with the aim of weakening it and leading comrades

The greater the tendency to work together, the more we must
be vigilant against infiltrators and provocateurs but we must
never, under any circumstance, use provocative or violent
means against any who may make errors either because of
false beliefs, lies or bad experiences. Sooner or later they will
either leave the movement or else join us.

Debate must be carried on with decision but must not be
suffocating and, as far as provocateurs are concerned, any
condemnation must be motivated and firm. This is true with
regard to both strategy and tactics.


From the point of view of strategy (political strategy) we
consider as being allies only those political organizations
whose primary objectives are not fundamentally different from
ours, even if they do not consider themselves to be part of the
Anarchist movement. This is true even if they are influenced
by methods and practices of power which they ingenuously
consider transitional. It does not apply to those who openly,
consciously and uncritically agree with Marxist-Leninist

Any strategic alliance must be based on an awareness that it is
hard to be Anarchist Communists, that capitalism and its
ideology create often impassable barriers which present many
from being Anarchist Communists.

A strategic alliance seeks no favours. It is based on the
awareness that our allies contribute to our work while carrying
on their own battles.

When evaluating these organizations, we must make a
distinction between their leading elements and the mass of
their members and seek to establish what, if any, possibilities
the ordinary members have of eventually defeating any
Marxist-inspired theories, thanks to a more or less active
libertarian minority within the organization in question.

If we are careful in our evaluation of possible allies, we need to
ensure that any strategic alliance be established on the basis of
a real possibility of political debate.

From a tactical point of view, we consider as allies all those
political organizations whose ideological stability indicates a
libertarian evolution of the members and leaders as a whole or
in part.

We form tactical alliances only if there is some practical
advantage to be had for our organization or if there is good
reason to believe that the use of libertarian methods within the
alliance would place in question the political principles behind
the ally's political theory.

No alliance must be formed if there are grounds for believing
that such an alliance would damage our organization.


We consider as adversaries those organizations whose politics
are supposedly in the interests of the proletariat but which in
fact are not, and which have no intention of or are incapable of
changing their basic authoritarian positions and vertical

No strategic alliance with these organizations is possible. It
may be possible to form tactical alliances with them in order to
advance certain common struggles, but only if the alliance is of
use to our organization and as long as we are aware that we
must always protect ourselves and be careful of the dangers
that the alliance could hold for our organization.

We should be guided by the following criteria:

1. the alliance should be useful to our organization;
2. our organization must be strong enough and ready to
defend itself from and if necessary counter-attack any attempt
at a premeditated attack on us.

It is important to repeat that past experience has taught us that
our adversaries are always ready and willing to eliminate
political organizations with libertarian practices. Anarchist
Communists must accept the ideological and practical task of
defending not only their own organization but also the entire
Anarchist movement and, if possible, our allies too from the
practices which (we repeat) experience has shown us to be
TYPICAL of those we have defined as adversaries.

But this should not stop us taking advantage of their strength if
it is tactically useful to our organization.


Our enemies are those who have betrayed the cause of the
proletariat but who remain within the proletariat as they have
yet to be recognized as traitors.

It is our task to fight them with every means and on all levels,
provided this struggle does not lead to setbacks or to a
diminution of the class struggle.

We must defend ourselves from them in any way, at any price,
because the survival of Anarchist Communism within the class
struggle is essential if we are to have even the slightest chance
of ending it.

We are also enemies of all leaders, of all those who hold a form
of power, even if it calls itself "socialist". We need to carry on a
constant struggle against them without let-up and without ever
seeming to accept them.

Ridiculing power, even red power, does not mean setting back
the class struggle but (as long as it does not damage our
organization) advancing it.
* Approved by the First Congress of the Federazione dei
Comunisti Anarchici (FdCA) 1985) Basic Strategy

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