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(en) Brazil: Forum of Organized Anarchism -FAO- Declaration of Principles [pt]

Date Tue, 20 Sep 2005 18:56:29 +0300


Fórum do Anarquismo OrganizadoA process in the making
What is the FAO?
The Fórum do Anarquismo Organizado [Forum for Organized Anarchism] is a
discussion and development forum for anarchist organizations, groups and
individuals who work or who intend to work in an organized way, acting socially.
The first Forum was held in the city of Belém do Pará in 2002, moving then to
Porto Alegre in January 2003 for its plenary session, and São Paulo in November
2003 for the national meeting. This was followed in January 2005 by a meeting
in Porto Alegre and the 3rd national meeting in July 2005 in Goiânia.
The main objective of the FAO is to create the conditions for the creation of a
real anarchist organization in Brazil. It is a goal which we know will not be
achieved immediately, but it must be started now.

The FAO has committed itself to the following:

1. To stimulate and carry out debate on organized anarchism in Brazil given the
need to create an anarchist organization.

2. To support the formation of organized anarchist groups.

3. To work so that these groups can come closer together, work together and
eventually merge on a state or regional level at first.

4. To work as far as possible in different areas of the revolutionary anarchist
struggle: propaganda, theoretical development and, most importantly, social
militancy within the various struggles (neighbourhoods, homeless people,
students, labour organizations, social ecology, the struggle against the FTAA,
and so on).

5. To work towards the creation of a Brazilian anarchist organization with a
shared political programme, a real presence within the social struggles and the
greates possible national visibility.

6. To establish fraternal, solid relations with anarchist organizations in
other countries, above all in Latin America, whose local situation is similar
to ours.


Fight to Organize!

"We repeat it again: without organization, free or imposed, society cannot
exist; without conscious, desired organization, there can be no freedom nor
guarantee that the interests of those who live in society are respected. And
those who are not organized, who do not seek the cooperation of others and who
do not offer theirs, in reciprocal conditions and in solidarity, place
themselves necessarily in a state of inferiority and there remains an
unconscious gear in the social mechanism that others work in their way and to
their advantage."
(Errico Malatesta, 1897)

The question of organization is a very old subject in the anarchist milieu. It
is over a hundred years since Malatesta broached the theme. No matter how much
it may seem to us to be a simple subject, there is still a lot of confusion
regarding it and there are a lot of people who sincerely think that anarchism
is against any form of organization, which would be
bureaucracy, authoritarianism, etc. That is understandable. After all, the
concrete organizational models that people have seen (such as authoritarian,
centralized and electoral parties) do not encourage anybody to think about it.

But it is necessary to break with that, to notice that these were just *one*
form of organization and not *the* form. Anarchism has always had other
organizational forms: horizontal, participatory, federative. Just think of
Bakunin, Malatesta, Makhno, the Federacion Anarquista Iberica, the Federacion
Anarquista Uruguaya, the syndicalist anarchists, and so on. Now is the time we
need to be organized, to overcome the fear of bureaucratization.

Discussing organization nowadays is not only a question of re-taking anarchist
history, but above all a real need. We cannot remain atomized in the face of an
articulate, well-informed system with a great operational capacity. To "remain
isolated, acting or wanting to act each off his own bat, without understanding
each other, without preparing ourselves, without gathering together the fragile
forces of the isolated, means condemning ourselves to weakness, to wasting our
energy in small ineffectual acts, to losing faith quickly in our objectives and
to complete starvation" (Malatesta, 1897).

Besides, organization multiplies our forces, allows us to take precautions and
to defend ourselves from the increasing repression and turns into a reality the
solidarity that we have written and spoken about so many times. We know that
there are some anarchists who are contrary to the idea of organization, mostly
individualist anarchists. They are not more or less anarchist than us as a
result, just anarchists of another type, of another conception. Let them follow
their path. We will follow ours, and with every right to do so.

Because we believe that in order to face this capitalist system, it is
necessary to be organized.

Building an Organized Anarchist Group (OAG)

In whole Brazil there are hundreds and perhaps thousands of people that
identify with or are sympathetic to anarchism. It is a potential force that is
often not effective due to the dispersion of anarchists. We will not form an
anarchist organization by magic: first it is necessary for there to be
organized anarchist groups (OAGs) with some form of coordination between each
other.

The organized anarchist group is the seed of the anarchist organization. The
FAO is willing to support anarchist individuals who feel their blood boil in
the face of injustice and who are tired of doing little or nothing or who are
isolated. We propose a path by which individuals can set up an organized
anarchist group (OAG):

1) Number of people:
Identify people that you know, who may be interested in the project. Call a
meeting to debate the setting up of a group, supported by reading material. The
more people the better, but it is not necessary to wait for a group - 3 people
is enough to begin with, aiming at working for more people to enter.

2) Identity of the OAG:
With the proposal under way, the OAG can already have a name, a flag and its
symbols, so that it is recognized by other people.

3) Division of basic tasks:
The regular internal tasks of the group can be shared between the members. This
avoids some people being over-burdened with work and others doing little, and
helps to keep the group more horizontal. Here are some suggestions for sharing
out tasks in groups of at least 5 people (smaller groups will need to adapt to
their possibilities).

a. organization: the comrade with this task is responsible for recording the
agreements and decisions made during meetings, relaying them to the others,
establishing the calendar, calling meetings, organizaing the group's internal
materials;

b. propaganda: the comrade with this task is responsible for writing and
suggesting communiqués and propaganda material, e.g. group bulletin, website,
pamphlets;

c. finances: the comrade with this task is responsible for acting as group
treasurer, collecting membership dues, fund-raising and so on;

d. relations: the comrade with this task is responsible for correspondence, PO
Box, e-mails, dealing with other anarchist groups, leftist groups or popular
movements;

e. political education: the comrade with this task is responsible for fostering
the internal political education of the group, deciding what is required,
gathering material, preparing courses, in order to improve the political
education of group members.

This division of tasks is by no means rigid. The comrade responsible for
propaganda, for example, coordinates the group's bulletin, but nothing can stop
others from coming up with ideas, writing, commenting, etc. The same is true
for the other functions.

4) Meetings:
Is is most important that meetings be regular as they are the only opportunity
for the group to debate and plan its activities collectively. They can be
weekly or fortnightly, preferably in a fixed place where the group can be
relazed and where there will be no interruptions.

5) Group communications:
A post-office box should be opened for correspondence, and the group should
obtain an e-mail address and also publish a bulletin, even if it is only a
modest, 2-page photocopied news-sheet. It is a great beginning and it allows
the group to be known by the people. Another important thing is to write a
declaration of principles for the group.

6) Decision-making method:
Consensus should always be sought, with everyone participating in the debate in
an egalitarian way. When consensus cannot be reached and the subject demands a
decision, the point is voted and the whole group accepts the result. The
minority position and its arguments should remain on the record for subsequent
evaluation.

7) Basic tasks of each member:
An internal function (organization, finances, propaganda, relations and
political education); external social militancy in some front (see below);
participation in the group's meetings and contributing to the group.

Moving from the Group to the Organization

This big change can come about in two ways.

i) Through growth of the OAG

In states and regions where other anarchist groups do not exist or where there
are other anarchist groups that are contrary to organization and social
militancy, the only way to constitute an organization is through the growth of
the OAG, whose objective is always to move forward.

The maturity of the OAG can be seen in several ways: through numeric growth
(more or less 20 regular militants), regularity, affinity and trust developed
amongst the members, expansion of the social fronts, the improvement of
political education, etc. If this is the case, the whole OAG can go a stage
further, dividing itslf into nuclei, creating a council of delegates of the
various nuclei and enlarging its sphere of action.

It is vital that the change from OAG to Organization reflect a real step
forward and not just the desires of the members. Just being a group in name
only, with maybe a name for an organization or federation, is simply deceptive
propaganda, a voluntarism not based on reality, easily prone to ridicule.

The transition from Anarchist Group to Organization is a process, however, the
groups are defined autonomously. The transition implies a qualitative
difference in the construction process, not a hierarchical one.

ii) By various OAGs coming together and unifying

In states and areas where two or more anarchist groups exist, it should be
possible for them to maintain links with the other individuals and anarchist
groups involved in the FAO. We are speaking here about neighbouring regions,
that do not necessarily need to be in the same State, just close (for example,
Goiás and Distrito Federal), groups located along the borders between 2 states,
etc.

These contacts can develop to a greater or lesser extent. Some may reject our
project categorically, others may show interest and at the same time have
doubts and partial criticisms. With these latter, dialogue should be promoted
and if possible a state-wide or regional FAO be formed to link these groups,
develop united practical tasks, debate the project and work for unification.

Organize to struggle!

Insertion and social militancy

" (...) to nurture popular organizations of every type is the logical
consequence of our fundamental ideas and, therefore, it should be an integral
part of our programme". (Malatesta, 1897)

Anarchism is composed of a diversity of currents, it is true. But it is also
true that not all of them are disposed to work closely with our class, our
people.

Historically, there have been moments of very strong anarchist presence in
Ukraine with the Makhnovshchina, in the Spanish Revolution, the Mexican
Revolution, with revolutionary syndicalism throughout Latin America, not to
mention the countless other experiences. In all these cases, which are a
reference point (at least theoretical) for all anarchists, there have been
organized anarchists, who had class-struggle positions and definite social
practices. It can be said that in every case where anarchism had an importance
presence, there was also insertion and social militancy.

We live in an age where poverty is getting ever worse. The abyss betwen the
classes is today greater than it was a hundred years ago. 85% of the world's
population is poor or living in poverty. In Brazil alone, 40 million people
live below the poverty line.

The manifestations of this poverty are brutal and they are there for anyone who
wants to see. We have not lost the capacity to get angry, to revolt in the face
of these permanent attacks; we will not "keep to our own kind" or stand by with
an "each to his own" attitude, because it is only us who have to suffer this
situation.

We believe that anarchism has something to say about this situation.

We believe that anarchism has answers to this situation, that anarchism lives
in this situation and is not closed off from the situation.

Anarchists have been carrying on several forms of activity. We maintain
relations with each other, publish bulletins, promote libertarian meetings,
maintain internet sites, publish books and create channels for alternative
information, etc.

All this is important and necessary. But have we been giving due attention to a
type of militancy that is fundamental: community action together with the
popular movements, in the neighbourhoods, schools, universities, workplaces,
etc?

Happily, there are anarchists who already do this in several ways, but we
sincerely think that it is too little, and we do not only say this about other
anarchists, we include ourselves among those that need to improve and to
increase their work in the communities, their social insertion. We believe that
all the activities of contacts, publications, encounters and books would be
greatly enriched if they were linked to community activities on the part of
anarchists.

There are several anarchist groups and organizations that have been seeking to
expand their social insertion for several years and a fair amount of experience
has been accumulated over recent years, from the homeless movement to the
students' movement, from the inner-city neighborhoods to union work, in the
fights against the FTAA and free trade areas, anarchists have been present.
This is something which allows us to discuss us the subject better.

Therefore we believe that at this time it is essential that we discuss how
anarchists can act within the community, what relationships can be established
between anarchists and the social movements, and what types of action would be
more or less interesting, etc. Above all, we believe that anarchists alone will
not make the revolution, and that if we do not have a militant presence in the
struggles of our class, we will have no chance.


Getting involved in community work and social militancy

All the members of the OAG should work in the social movements. The internal
tasks already mentioned are important, but they are not enough and cannot serve
as an excuse for the militant "to get out" of social militancy. This is
important if we are to avoid some members concerning themselves just with
internal or "nicer" matters, and others with social militancy, a situation that
can create "informal bureaucrats".

It is important that the group evaluates its forces so that the social work can
give results and avoid taking on more than it can sustain. That makes it
necessary to make priorities in choosing the area in which we work. When we say
"priority", we do not mean that one area or another is naturally destined to
accomplish the social revolution, simply to concentrate our forces in some work
that we believe has more transformation potential.

However, with growth and experience, we should seek to involve ourselves in the
widest range of areas. The idea is that the OAG discusses the type of work to
be done, verifying what is viable (in the neighborhood, school, university,
factory, squat, etc.) on the basis of the situation of each group. It is always
advisable to begin social insertion in grassroots initiatives where militants
are naturally involved or where it is easier to become involved.


Some examples of fronts and areas where we can work

Fronts are those places where our militancy is made concrete. For example: the
students' movment, the labour movement, the homeless movement, community radio,
associations and struggle committees in inner-city neighbourhoods etc.

In the community fronts, we can work in such areas as housing, healthcare,
food, water, electricity supply, basic sanitation, transport, social ecology,
communication, culture, education, human rights, racism, gender, etc.
Everything will depend on the specific demands of each place and of our
political project.

In this Declaration of Principles of the FAO, we have limited ourselves to
discussing our insertion and social militancy in a general way, as it would be
impossible to describe, even in general lines, detailed propositions for each
area. There is a great deal of material being produced by the members of the
FAO on these various fronts, experiences to share and support for those
involved. Materials and information about the work of each specific front can
be obtained through contact with the members of the FAO.


Want to know more? Want to participate?

If you have read this material and are interested, it doesn't matter if you are
just an individual or if you a member of some group or organization; it doen't
matter if you are already a declared anarchist or someone who has just recently
become interested in anarchism - get in touch with us. You can certainly play
an important role in the struggle and there is much you can contribute!

The 6 commitments of the FAO represent the level of agreement that we have
currently reached. However, we recognize that within the FAO differences do
exist and disagreement can exist among our groups, individuals and
organizations. This fact is quite understandable and should not be seen as a
problem, but as a starting point for dialogue and construction. It would be
absurd to imagine that FAO members, geographically distant and with few
opportunities to enjoy direct contact and act jointly, be perfectly in tune
with each other.

We want to emphasize these aspects of our relations because this is a
collective job of construction in which, so far, the members themselves are
responsible for the agreements reached within the FAO, not to individual
actions and proposals of its membership. For us, the anarchist project is above
particular or personal issues.

The FAO is already up and running, but it is not ready and finished and is
never closed to anyone who is interested. We are the first to wish to see our
mistakes corrected, to perfect the project and to incorporate new contributions
and more people in the discussions. If you have any doubts or disagree partly
with what has been stated here, we invite you to dialogue, to get to know us
better.

In short, the FAO has a constructive ethos, open to dialogue and is against
sectarianism. We believe that only on this basis can the conditions be created
for the construction of a true anarchist organization, one that is not a mere
acronym or a ghetto.

Signatories to this Declaration of Principles:

Coletivo Anarquista Organizado (MA)
coletivoanarquista@hotmail.com
São Luís MA Cx. Postal 306 CEP: 65001 970

Coletivo Amazônida de Estudos Anarquistas (PA)
caeabelem@yahoo.com.br
Belém PA Cx. Postal 643 CEP: 66017

Coletivo Anarquista Zumbi dos Palmares (AL)
cazpalmares@hotmail.com
Cx. Postal Cep: 57020-970 Maceió - AL

Grupo de Estudos Libertários Babilônia (AP)
babiloniaap@yahoo.com.br
Cx. Postal 32 Cep: 68906-970 Macapá - AP

Pró Grupo Anarquista Organizado Vermelho e Negro (Feira de Santana, BA)
vermelhoenegro@hotmail.com
Cx. Postal 280 Cep.: 44001-970 - Feira de Santana - Bahia

Coletivo Pró Organização Anarquista em Goiás (GO)
proorganarquista_go@riseup.net
Cx. Postal 92 Goiânia-Goiás CEP: 74003-901

Federação Anarquista Gaúcha (RS)
http://www.fag.rg3.net
fag.poa@terra.com.br
Cx. Postal 5036 CEP: 90041-970 Porto Alegre - RS

Fórum do Anarquismo Organizado Estadual de São Paulo (SP)
fao_sp@yahoo.com.br

Luta Libertária (SP)
http://www.lutalibertaria.cjb.net
lutalibertaria@hotmail.com
Cx. Pt. 11639 São Paulo, SP CEP: 05049-970

Rede Libertária da Baixada Santista (Santos, SP)
http://www.redelibertariabs.cjb.net
redelibertaria_bs@yahoo.com.br
Cx. Pt. 99 Santos, SP CEP: 11010-010


CONTACT ADDRESS FOR THE FAO SECRETARIAT:

secretariafao@riseup.net

ANARCHISM IS STRUGGLE!


Original Portuguese version available as a downloadable PDF file:
http://www.pt.indymedia.org/cidades/c1/imgpublico/11267627800cbd82f43f.pdf

Translation by FdCA - Internatrional Relations

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