An Anarchist Manifesto

sparrow@coombs.anu.edu.au
Mon, 2 Dec 1996 16:24:57 +1000


( This document was originally written by the Anarchist Collective at the
University of Melbourne in 1989 as a double sided A4 flyer to express our
version of an anarchist politics. I offer it here for comment and (re)
distribution. It was originally a Word 5 document. Asterisks indicate
emphasis, either bold, italic, underline, increased font size or some
combination as you think is appropriate.)

***"Freedom without Socialism is privilege. Socialism without Freedom is
Tyranny"***

* *Anarchism* is the most misunderstood of political philosophies, perhaps
because it threatens both the established order and those who would become
our new masters after we have overthrown it. Anarchists are constantly
having to deny the images of them presented by both Left and Right. Taken
in by these lies or suffering from their own preconceptions, few bother to
investigate the reality. With this in mind we have put together this
summary of what we *do* believe.*

*Anarchists seek to maximise freedom for all.* We believe all people
should be as free as possible to determine their own destinies and
activities within the limits required by a respect for the equal rights of
others. This freedom should actual and practical, unhindered by
unnecessary legal prohibitions or material constraints.

*Anarchists are opposed to authority and hierarchy.* All persons must be
considered as equals. No-one has the right to coerce or expect obedience
from others except where necessary to protect the equal rights of others.

*Anarchists are opposed to patriarchy.* As a coercive set of social
relations based on gender hierarchy, patriarchy oppresses and silences
women in ways that we are as yet not even fully conscious. Patriarchal
structures must be destroyed wherever they are recognised.

*Anarchists are not opposed to organisation.* Anarchy is about
organisation. It is about co-operation amongst equals, free of oppressive
power relations. Often a lack of organisation allows oppression to go
unnoticed and merely offers the "liberty" of the strong to take advantage
of the weaker. We must organise to prevent this. We are opposed, however,
to types of organisation which are based on authority and hierarchy or
which involve the unnecessary regimentation and subordination of
individuals or which strangle individual creativity. We are implacably
opposed to the centralisation of power.

*Anarchists believe in the necessity of *direct democracy*.* Where
disagreements exist amongst persons which cannot be resolved
co-operatively, the will of the majority must be respected. Consensus
decisions are always the ideal but when a consensus cannot be reached then
democratic procedures must be employed. Considering peoples as equals
requires this. Representative and Parliamentary democracy are frauds which
separate the government from the people, deny us control over our own lives
and encourage apathy amongst the citizenry. Real democracy places power in
the hands of the people by making all decisions at the lowest possible
level by voting in workplace and community councils.

*Anarchists seek the destruction of the State.* The State, a government
which holds itself to be separate from and above the people, is always an
oppressor. It has its own interests: its natural form is a bureaucracy and
the military, the police and the security forces are its weapons.
"Control" of the state is an illusion which corrupts all revolutionaries.
We will not be free while the State exists.

*Anarchists seek an end to private property.* Our needs chain us as much
as our enemies. "Liberty" without the means to exercise it is a hollow
fraud. We are not free to do that which we cannot do because others deny
us the resources. The capitalists' monopoly of the means of production,
their control of society's wealth, enslaves us to them as surely as would a
gun held to our heads. The division of the political from the economic is
a bourgeois myth. True social equality requires equal access to the means
of production. For this reason all anarchists are socialists (though not
all socialists are anarchists).

*Anarchists believe in the need for a total Revolution.* There is no aspect
of the existing evils, Capitalism, Patriarchy and the State, that we can
afford to leave intact if we seek to build a world free of oppression.
Like cancers these structures will reappear and destroy freedom if they are
not sought out where-ever they are manifest and destroyed utterly and
simultaneously. Because our goals are radical, involving the total
overthrow of the existing order, we cannot hope to accomplish them by
reformist means within that order.

*Anarchists deny the distinction between ends and means.* Liberation and
revolution are our activities not our ends. For this reason we will never
be able to achieve freedom through authoritarian methods or destroy the
State by seizing control of it.

*Anarchists follow no leaders.* No-one can lead us to take responsibility
for our own lives. Only we can liberate ourselves. The only "leadership"
we recognise is by example.

*Anarchists believe in a brighter future.* We envisage a future free of
oppression, of people living in community and in control of their own
lives. We see a society governing itself though workplace and community
councils, making decisions at the lowest possible level and cooperating and
organising together. We believe in a society where "economic" decisions
about production and distribution which affect all of us are made
democratically rather than left in the hands of a privileged and unelected
few. Free of the destructive imperatives of capitalism, we will be able to
live in harmony with the environment, use technology to our own advantage
rather than our bosses and escape from the threat of war derived by the
needs of Capital and State to extend their influence. We will build our
own future.

*Anarchists know that it can work.* We gain strength from the examples of
anarchist revolutionaries at the forefront of progressive movements
throughout history. We learn from the Spanish Civil War where peasants and
workers seized control of large areas of Spain and organised them according
to anarchist principles. We learn from other existing anarchist
organisations and from our own experiences as we attempt to put anarchist
theory into practice in our own lives.

**Anarchy for the New Millennium!**

*Recent historical events only serve to underline the importance of
anarchist thought today. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the
transformation of the Eastern bloc have conclusively discredited
authoritarian socialism. But the evils of capitalism remain. The
aggressive enforcement of "free" market policies at the global level
through the IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation has
generated not only an increasing disparity between the wealthy Northern and
impoverished Southern peoples but also an ever widening gap between the
rich and poor in each hemisphere. Clearly what is required is a revolution
which does not seek merely to replace one set of bosses with another. The
accelerating environmental crisis which faces the planet is yet another
indicator of the failure of existing social forms to serve the real needs
of the people. A society where political/economic decisions are made by
politicians/bosses far removed from the consequences of those decisions
will never live in harmony with the environment. Only by bringing decision
making power back to those who live and work in an area can we hope to
achieve a sustainable community.*

*Our choice then is between more of the same - war, poverty, injustice,
environmental destruction - or *Anarchy*. The choice is clear.*

* * * * * * * *

( written originally by the Anarchist Collective at the University of
Melbourne, 1989.
Minor revisions by sparrow, 1996)