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(en) US, Atlanta, The Capital Terminus Collective doubles in size!; Or, how not to create an anarchist federation

Date Mon, 11 Jul 2005 14:31:34 +0300

The Capital Terminus collective (CTC) set the weekend of
July 1-3 for the creation of a Southern Anarchist Federation.
However, this SAF was not created, and we feel it is important
to explain why and how both so our supporters understand
where we are at, and also so that other groups trying to
organize something similar in their area can draw lessons.
While we had a setback, we pulled a victory out of it by better
organizing our local collective. We also still think that a
federation – regionally, nationally, or globally – in order
to develop unity of theory and tactics is still an important step,
and we hope to be able to cross that step in the future.

Our biggest mistake was that we tried to create a SAF almost
unilaterally; while we had supporters and sympathizers in other
cities throughout the southeast, the only solid group
committed to the task was the CTC in Atlanta. This was based
in two things: 1, when the CTC began as a group of three
individuals, one of the main things that united us was that we
all saw a need for a coordination of class-conscious anarchists
in our area; and 2, we had become extremely heady after initial
boosts in size, and since the creation of a SAF was still one of
our main goals, began organizing for that before having
contacts with solid groups in other cities. We had supporters
and sympathizers in other cities during the entire process, and
tried to outreach to others (for instance by participating in the
Southeast Anarchist Network gathering and publicizing our
efforts), but fundamentally it remained a project by a group in
one city. The results of this became increasingly obvious the
closer we came to the designated weekend, culminating in a
conference to which only one person outside of Atlanta came
(though the attendance from Atlanta was quite high). Learning
from our mistakes, the CTC has a desire to work with other
collectives on the project of organizing a SAF, and of helping
individual sympathizers to build collectives in their cities.

As mentioned, the attendance from Atlanta was great and the
CTC is currently at a point where it can work on multiple other
projects. Organizing a SAF is still a goal for us, but it is on the
back burners in terms of what we are actually putting energy
into. We definitely did not want to take the dishonest route of
creating a ghost federation and then trying to populate it with
members (and of not admitting our mistakes). There were
many solid proposals during the weekend of projects which the
CTC could take on, with some of the more popular ones being
support of Planned Parenthood and other options for women
keeping reproductive autonomy; organizing women’s
self-defense classes; counter-military recruitment; radical labor
and student organizing; and creating a food and clothing
distribution program. Out of these, the collective chose to work
on Planned Parenthood support and women’s self-defense
classes (combining those into one project) and
counter-military recruitment because we felt that these are
both areas that revolutionaries need to be strongly involved in
due to the political context of this country. In addition the
collective will work on standard collective business: building a
website; printing leaflets, posters, and other propaganda
(hopefully in the future beginning a rank-and-file agitational);
and maintaining study groups, both an ‘Anarchy 101’
study group and a deeper one. To create a structure which is
flexible enough to work on all of these projects as well as deal
with a large (and hopefully growing) membership with a
minimum of micro-managing, we have chosen to create
separate working-groups for all of these projects which are still
part of the larger collective, sparing the collective as a whole
from having to meet every time a decision needs to be made
(although the collective will still be having monthly business
meetings to deal with other things such as bringing in new
members and discussing strategy). As well, we decided to
create co-secretary and co-treasurer positions, which are equal
in responsibility but staggered so that the ‘senior’
officer can pass on necessary skills and information to the
‘junior’ one. Hopefully this will make rotation of tasks
and the ability to recall officers much more tangible.

We still strongly feel that a Southern Anarchist Federation
would be a great step forward and strongly call on sympathetic
groups or individuals to get in contact with us. We also want to
offer a short list of advice to those in other regions who may be
attempting the same work we did:

• Don’t work unilaterally – make known your
desires throughout the region, but wait until there are solid
groups in more than one city who are committed to the idea
before actually attempting to organize a federation.
• Make sure you are prepared for long and large meetings
– have a tight schedule and agenda, and make sure
someone has the skills necessary to facilitate a large group.
• Have a proposal for everything – come up with an idea
for every aspect of an organization, at least as a starting point.
Certain ideas may be shot down but they still may act as a
springboard for better ones.
• Have a back-up plan in case the plan to create a
federation falls through. Above all be ready to see and to admit
• Have every task delegated out beforehand. Anticipate
ahead of time every task that may need doing, and share them
out so that they do not fall on one person days before the

-Victory to the people,
The Capital Terminus Collective, Atlanta, GA
Copied from anarkismo.net

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