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(en) Britain, Anarchist Federation Constitution (revised) 2008

Date Tue, 09 Sep 2008 17:00:55 +0300

PREAMBLE ---- The Revolutionary Organisation ---- The Anarchist Federation is
committed to building an effective organisation which has a collective identity
and works to a common goal: anarchist communism. However, we believe that such a
collective identity must be based on free association and respect for the
autonomy of the individual. We value the diversity of our members as we continue
to develop our ideas in the light of new developments in the world and from our
experiences of struggle. ---- The Anarchist Federation works for the creation of
an international libertarian communist movement. We believe this movement cannot
be created without the building of a specific anarchist communist organisation.
We reject spontaneism, the belief that before the revolution revolutionary
minorities have no more role than to defend ‘historical communist positions’.
Equally we reject the notion that the revolutionary organisation is the ‘brain
of the working class’ or is its (self-appointed) vanguard.

The revolutionary organisation is the conscious minority of the proletariat
which has come together to express its opposition to class society in an
organised manner. The revolutionary organisation has a number of vital roles to
perform. It must be a propagandist organisation, producing and disseminating on
a national and international basis, analysis of and propaganda against
capitalist society, and for the establishing of libertarian communism. It must
be the memory of the working class, bringing out the lessons of past defeats and
‘victories’ and making them widely available amongst our class. It must be a
forum for debate and discussion between all revolutionary working class
currents. It must strive to understand the developments in our society and
deliver a coherent communist response to them. It must seek to win the
‘leadership of ideas’ within the class, against the challenge of the Left. It
must constantly expose the true role of the social-democratic and
authoritarian-Left. It must be an organisation of intervention, acting in a
co-ordinated and concerted fashion in all areas of working class life, in the
workplace and the community.

The organisation is based on the following fundamental criteria –

Federalism: We are a membership organisation in which individuals join both a
local group and the national organisation. However, the main basis of the
organisation is a federated structure of groups which have joined together to
form a national organisation. The federation develops theory, strategy and
tactics through debate and discussion, aiming for participation of all members
in decision-making such that effective consensus can be reached. The federation
has no centralised decision-making body and all officers work within the
mandates given to them by the National Conferences and National Delegate
Meetings, and are subject to recall. We actively fight against any tendencies
within the federation for hierarchies and inequalities to develop.

Political Unity: The federation is based on a common set of aims and principles.
Members must agree with these aims and principles. We also have a particular
approach to how we organise which is written in this constitution. New members
must also agree to adhere to these principles. In addition, we may adopt
policies and analyses that are the result of discussion and elaboration by all
the members. As these will be developed collectively, it is expected that they
will reflect the views of the whole organisation.

Tactical Unity: The federation seeks to act in a co-ordinated way, developing
strategies and tactics through discussion and debate which members are expected
to implement where appropriate.

Collective Responsibility and Solidarity: Members must not act so as to
undermine the federation but instead must seek to support the federation in
practice and show solidarity for other members.

Free Association and Autonomy: The individual does not subsume his/her identity
into the collective. A member is one who has chosen to associate with others and
retains their autonomy. If a member or group does not agree with policies,
strategies or tactics adopted by the national organisation once they have become
members, then they do not have to implement these decisions and may express
their disagreement. Members may also argue for making changes to the aims and
principles or constitution but this must be the result of a genuine change of
view emerging from new ideas and experiences since their joining the
organisation. When an individual joins, it is expected that they join as a
result of genuine agreement with the political and organisational principles of
the AF. The Federation will be responsible for ensuring that new members fully
understand the aims and principles.

1. STRUCTURE: The AF is a national organisation based on the principle of
federation on which regional/local/workplace/interest groups voluntarily work
together in a concerted manner.
2. MEMBERSHIP: The AF is a membership organisation. A member must agree with
the aims and principles and participate, to the best of their abilities, in the
work of the organisation. Members will communicate with the national
organisation on a regular basis (e.g. by word of mouth, letter, report,
attending National Conference) and should read the Internal Bulletin (IB) and
all national journals, pamphlets and leaflets, and endeavour to attend National
Conference. Individuals shall join through their local group. If no local group
exists they will be registered through the National Secretary.
3. GROUPS: A group shall consist of at least three members. Each group is
autonomous in that it is responsible for its own internal affairs. The group
shall hold regular meetings in the locality and keep in touch with isolated
members in their area.
A group requires two posts;
* SECRETARY: Responsible for receiving mail and answering enquires,
notifying members of meetings and actives, ensuring that members have access to
minutes of meetings and maintaining contact with individual members in their area.
* TREASURER: Responsible for keeping financial records, maintaining
the group’s bank account, collecting dues and keeping financial records open to
the group for inspection. The group should practise rotation and recall.
4. REGIONAL ORGANISATION: Groups shall federate regionally and shall
organise regular meetings attended by group delegates from the region. Regional
organisations will require a secretary. All groups and individual members in the
region will be sent all minutes of regional meetings.
* A. National Delegate Meeting (NDM) - The NDM is responsible for
deciding tactics and the general running of the Federation in line with National
Conference policies. The NDM is subordinate to the National Conference. Groups
shall send one mandated delegate for every three members to the NDM.
* B. National Conference: This is the supreme decision-making body of
the Federation. It elects National Officers and decides Federation policy. It
meets once a year. Policy decisions are made on the basis of a simple majority
of the membership. Delegates are represented on the same basis as for NDMs’.
National Conference alone can amend the Constitution and Aims and Principles.
Emergency National Conferences can be held at the behest of a NDM. Non-members
may be invited to attend National Conference as long as they have been proposed
and approved by a NDM. Their names and details must be published in the
pre-conference IB.
6. NATIONAL OFFICERS: The principle officers of the Federation will be the
National Secretary, National Treasurer, Internal Liaison Officer, Publications
Officer, Anarchivist, Librarian, Computer Network Secretary, Prisoners Liaison
Officer, Internal Education Officer. These are elected annually by the National
Conference. They will normally not hold office for more than two years and will
not hold office for an intervening period of two years. Officers may be in a
post longer if no other candidate comes forward. National Conference can elect
other National Officers to fulfil specific tasks for specific periods. All
officers are subject to the control of the members through the National
Conference and the NDM, which can instruct the Officers to fulfil specific
tasks. All officers should give reports to all IBs’, NDMs’ and National
Conferences. All officers are subject to recall by conference.
7. INTERNATIONAL SECRETARIAT: In order to maintain contact with fraternal
groups overseas there shall be an International Secretariat. It will be elected
and accountable to the National Conference and the NDM. Those with linguistic
skills and a strong interest in international work will be involved. The
International Secretariat will make report to the IB and national meetings,
including listing publications received (copies available on request).
Secretaries are responsible for sending publications and Organise! to
groups/individuals on an exchange basis.
8. DECISION-MAKING: The AF makes decisions on the principle of consensus. We
reject the concept of bourgeois democracy in which a simple majority can decide
for the entire organisation. At local group meetings, national delegate meetings
and conferences, members will enter debates with the intention of reaching a
consensus such that the organisation can move forward together.
However, we also reject the idea that a few individuals can hamper the
functioning of the organisation by preventing decisions being made that are
clearly supported by the vast majority. Therefore, when a consensus cannot be
reached after appropriate debate the following procedure can be adopted at
National Delegate Meetings and National Conferences:
* 1/ A member can propose that an indicative vote on a proposal be taken.
* 2/ The meeting or the facilitator of the meeting may call for a
move to an indicative vote if consensus has not been reached. If the meeting
decides to move to a vote this is done by means of a straw poll.
* 3/ If two-thirds of those voting support the proposal, then the
vote is carried
* 4/ If the minority feel that the meeting was not representative,
then they can ask for the ratification procedure to be implemented (see next
* 5/ However, in keeping with the principles of individual autonomy,
the minority is not expected to implement the policy. It is hoped that they
would not speak out publicly against it without discussing this first within the
Federation. However, they can argue within the organisation for a change of
policy and discuss internally the nature of comments they might want to make
publicly. All of this must be done openly within the groups comprising the
Federation. However, if their actions are considered to have severely undermine
the activity, functioning, and/or security of the organisation or its members,
then the individual(s) could potentially be subject to disassociation proceedings.
9. ACCOUNTABILITY: In order to ensure utmost accountability of all
decisions, all decisions are subject to ratification by members. There are two
kinds of ratification, negative and positive.
* Negative ratification: If the minority in a meeting decide that a
vote should go to negative ratification, members who do not agree with a
decision made a NDM or National Conference must register a negative vote with
the National/Regional Secretary within two weeks of receiving the minutes. If a
majority of the whole membership disagrees with a decision then the decision is
* Positive ratification: If a decision is made by a vote in a meeting
that the minority feels is important enough to require the support of the vast
majority of the organisation, they may request that the final decision on that
issue is made by positive ratification. All members receive the minutes of the
meeting or conference, together with a ballot paper for the particular decision
to be ratified. They can vote YES, NO or ABSTAIN. They must send their vote off,
including abstentions within two weeks of having received the minutes. All
members can vote, including those who attended the meeting or conference. The
final decision will be that supported by a two-thirds majority of those voting.
10. DELEGATES: It is the job of delegates to present the views of their
groups. While they may express their own opinions during the debate, they must
also reflect the views of those who delegated them. When voting, they must vote
as mandated and not as how they personally feel. All delegates are accountable
to their group.
11. INTERNAL BULLETIN (IB): An IB will be produced at least two weeks before
each NDM for which members, groups, committees and officers etc. will be urged
to contribute. A special Conference IB will be produced at least one month
before the National Conference in order that groups can fully discuss motions
and instruct delegates on their decisions.
12. PUBLICATIONS: Groups and individuals may publish articles, pamphlets etc.
as they see fit under their authority. Newspapers, periodicals and other
publications produced in the name of the Federation are under the control of the
NDM which is empowered to nominate and remove editors, production teams etc.
13. FACTIONS: Groups may work with and contact each other in the Federation
but if such relationships effectively constitute a faction at variance with
Federation policies, then this should be made clear in public pronouncements.
This consideration applies to minorities in general.
1. Basic Principle
* 1.1 The AF is a federation of individuals, organising in
groups on a voluntary basis, joined together on the basis of free association
* 1.2 The AF consciously organises on a collective basis,
striving to achieve the highest level of unity but we also relinquish over each
other, personally and politically.
* 1.3 Where people can work together they should do so, where
they cannot, they should not.
* 1.4 We reject the ‘right’ to control behaviour claiming
instead the right to disassociate from those we cannot work with within the Aims
& Principles of our organisation.
2. Reasons for disassociation
* 2.1 These basic principles mean there is no power or
authority in the AF to punish, discipline or otherwise constrain individuals and
* 2.2 The sole grounds’ for the AF disassociation from any
members or groups are:
o A. Racist or sexist behaviour, harassment or abuse;
o B. Other abuse, threatening intimidating language or
o C. Assault;
o D. Unconstitutional disruption or other action or
non-action, which sabotages, damages or undermines the AF.
o E. Behaviour, which adversely affects the credibility
and relationship of the AF with individuals and organisations with whom we
associate or cooperate.
o F. Membership of political parties or other
organisations whose aims, methods or principles of organisation are incompatible
with those of the AF and which sabotages, damages, undermines or adversely
affects the credibility and relationship of the AF with other individuals and
3. Disassociation Procedure (Available on request).
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