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(en) Especifismo: South American anarchists praxis of working to build popular movements and form specifically anarchist organizations

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 22 Mar 2005 11:53:58 +0100 (CET)

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The Especifismo Anarquista section* describes what the ideas are behind
this South-American current of Anarchism, its similarities and diferences
with the Platform, and why we feel they are important and attach ourselves
to the label. A bit of history and theory about this approach to Anarchist-Communism.
>>>> Throughout the world anarchist involvement within mass movements as well
the development of specifically anarchist organizations is on the upsurge.
This trend is helping anarchism regain legitimacy as a dynamic political
force within movements. In this light, Especifismo, a concept born out of
nearly 50 years of anarchist experiences in South America, is gaining
currency world-wide. Though many anarchists may be familiar with some of
Especifismo’s ideas, it is an original contribution to anarchist thought.
While more of a practice than a developed ideology, the first
organization to promote the concept of Especifismo was the
Uruguayan Federaccion Anarquista Uruguaya (FAU) founded in
1956 by anarchist militants who embraced the idea of an
organization which was specifically anarchist. Surviving the
dictatorship in Uruguay, the FAU emerged in the mid 80’s to
establish contact and influence other South American anarchist
revolutionaries. The FAU’s work helped support the founding
of the Federacao Anarquista Gaucha (FAG), the Federacao
Anarquista Cabocla (FACA), the organization from Sao Paulo
called Luta Libertaria (libertarian struggle)in their respective regions
of Brazil and the Argentinean organization Auca (Rebel).

While the key concepts of Especifismo will be expanded upon
further in this article, it can be summarized in three succinct points:

1) The need for specifically anarchist organization built around a
unity of ideas and praxis. 2) The use of the specifically anarchist
organization to theorize and develop strategic political and
organizing work. 3) Active involvement and building of
autonomous and popular social movements, called “social
Historical Perspective

While only coming onto the stage of Latin American anarchism
within the last few decades, the ideas inherent within Especifismo
touch on a historic thread running within the anarchist movement
internationally. The most well known would be the Platformist
current, which was started with the publishing of the
“Organizational Platform of the Libertarian Communists”
document written in 1926 by former peasant army leader Nestor
Makhno, Ida Mett and other militants of the Dielo Trouda (Workers
Cause) group based around a newspaper of the same name. Exiles
of the Russian revolution, Dielo Trouda criticized the anarchist
movement for lack of organization which allowed the
Bolshevik’s to turn the workers soviets into instruments of
one-party rule. The alternative they proposed was a ‘General
Union of Anarchists’ based on Anarchist-Communism and
“theoretical and tactical unity.”

Other similar occurrences of ideas includes “Organizational
Dualism,” which is mentioned in historical documents of the
1920's Italian anarchist movement. This term refers the
organization of anarchists both within anarchist political
organization and as militants within the labor movement. In Spain,
the Friends of Durruti group emerged to oppose the gradual reversal
of the Spanish Revolution of 1936. In "Towards a Fresh New
Revolution" they emulated some of the ideas of the Platform in
critiqueas of CNT-FAI gradual reformism and collaboration.
Influential organizations in the Chinese anarchist movement of the
1910's like the Wuzhengfu-Gongchan Zhuyi Tongshi Che (Society
of Anarchist-Communist Comrades) advocated similar ideas. While
these different currents all have specific characteristics that
developed from the movements and countries in which they
originated, they all share a common thread that crosses eras and
Especifismo Elaborated

By raising the need for specifically anarchist organization built
around a unity of ideas and praxis, the Especifists inherently state
their objection to the idea of a synthesis organization of
revolutionaries or multiple currents of anarchists loosely united.
While these critiques have not been elaborated by the South
American Especifistas to our knowledge, North American
anarchists has offered their experiences of synthesis organization as
lacking any cohesiveness due to multiple, contradictory political
tendencies. Often the basic agreement of the group boils down to a
vague, least common denominator of politics, which leaves little
room for united action or developed political discussion among

Without a strategy that stems from common political agreement,
revolutionary organizations are bound to be an affair of reactivism
against the continual manifestations of oppression and injustice
and/or a cycle of fruitless actions to be repeated over and over
again, without little analysis or understanding of the consequences.

A particular stress of the Especifismo current is the role of anarchist
organization, (or federation generally) formed on the basis of shared
politics, as a space for the development of common strategy and
reflection on the groups organizing work. Sustained by collective
responsibility to the organizations plans and work, a trust within the
members and groups is built that allows for a deep, high level
discussion of their actions. This allows the organization to create
collective analysis and be continually reflecting on and changing
their work based on the lessons gained and circumstances of the

The last key point of Especifism is the idea of “social
insertion.” It first stems from the belief that the oppressed are
the most revolutionary sector of society and that the seed of the
future revolutionary transformation of society lies already in these
classes and groups. Social insertion is seen as anarchist
involvement in the daily fights of the oppressed and working
classes, not single issue activist campaigns, but the movements of
people struggling to better their own condition, to resist the attacks
of the state and capitalism; such as rank and file led workers
movements, immigrant communities demanding legalized status,
neighborhood organizations resisting the brutality and killings of
police, working class students fighting budget cuts and tuition
increases or the poor and unemployed opposing eviction and service

Examples of social insertion that the FAG cites are their work with
neighborhood committees in urban villages and slums (called
Popular Resistence Committees), building alliances with rank and
file members of the rural landless workers movement of the MST
and among trash and recyclables collectors. Due to high levels of
temporary employment, underemployment and unemployment in
Brazil, a significant portion of the working class does not survive
primarily through wage labor, but rather by subsistence work and
the informal economy, such casual construction workers, street
venders and trash and recyclables collectors. Through several years
of work, the FAG has built a strong relationship with urban trash
collectors, called catadores. Members of the FAG have supported
them in forming their own organization that is working to mobilize
trash collectors around their interests nationally and raise money
toward building a collectively operated recycling operation.

Especifista interaction of ideas seeks not to impose ideas or move
movements into ‘anarchist’ but to preserve their anarchist
thrust, that is their natural tendency to be self-organized and to
militantly fight for its own interests. Assumes view that social
movements will reach their own logic of creating revolution, not as
when they as a whole necessarily reach the point of being conscious
anarchists, but when as a whole or at least an overwhelming
majority reach the consciousness of their own power and the
exercizing of this power in their daily lives; and in a way
consciously adopt the ideas of anarchism.
# From the web page of The Fourious 5
An Anarchist-Communist/Especifista Collective based
out of San Jose, CA. US.

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