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(en) The Northeastern Anarchist #6 - Collective Responsibility: A Two-fold Issue by Mujo, La Bete Noire (NEFAC Montreal)

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 26 Jul 2003 22:44:11 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

The need for anarchists to organize so that their ideas and
pratices have some kind of influence on the path to social
change is to us self-evident and will not be argued in this
article. We'll instead focus on one aspect developed by
platformist anarchists: collective responsibility. Firstly,
collective responsibility implies that individuals, by joining an
organization, in accordance with their unity on a theoritical and
tactical level, need to fulfill certain membership requirements
and apply collective decisions. Secondly, the organization as a
whole must answer as an entity for the political actions and
ideas of all members and is thus responsible for those actions
and ideas. All individual members are responsible to the entire

We are organizing in order to have a real influence in the
society we live in, more specifically in the social class of
which we're members, namely the working class. There is no
point in deciding on the implementation of campaigns or
specific work together and then coming back to our respective
cities or areas to disregard those decisions and fail to apply
them. It should required by all members that once a decision
as been taken by the organization in a democratic fashion, not
representatively democratic but with a decision making
process that involves everyone, that they implement that
decision in order to give the organization its usefulness.

The overall action of all members is then greater than the sum
of the uncoordinated actions of all the people that share a core
of ideas and pratices. It allows us as members of the working
class to give a common blow to the ruling class. The isolation
of anarchists in their specific environment slows down the
influence and the spreading of their ideas and pratices in the
working class. By organising responsibly we're breaking with
the vicious circle of having to repeat the mistakes of the past
as well as preventing us from redoubling our efforts.

In the specific case of the NEFAC, the fact that anarchists
are organising across the border and with a language
difference breaks with the limitations that the bourgeois state
imposes on the working class as a whole (i.e. nationality,
ethnic background, culture, etc.) Implementing common
decisions amongst different cultures and nations is a way to
counter the different tactics of our common enemy who has
been breaking our social class coherence by giving each
community different status and different laws.

We need as anarchists to regroup, around an agreement
around an analysis of the current situation and of what needs
to be done. We need to discuss strategy and implement it on
the ground so that we will be better able to stifle the efforts of
the ruling class and, eventually, move forward ourselves as a
class to overthrow the reign of our class enemy, the

The organization is responsible for the political activities of all
its members.

Now to acheive the coherence previously mentioned, the
people who voluntary joined forces with each other share
some sort of responsibility. This common responsibility in turn
means that each member group's or individual's political
activities have to be shared by all others. Let's make it clear
that this second part is not meant to curb the dissidence of
minority positions or to stifle initiative of members. Different
positions, minority ones included, allow for deeper discussions
and thus greater unity in the organization. As initiative allows
for the needed flexibility the organisation needs to act on local
and/or specific issues in an efficient way. What the above
statement implies is that individuals need to be able to answer
to the organisation as a whole regarding their political
activities. If the organisation is unsatisfied with the
explanations expressed by the member group or individual, the
organizational body may take a stand, and, at the most
extreme, freely choose to dissassociate with the said member.
Otherwise, how open the door would be for a traitor to secretly
become a member and then completely block any progress in
the organisation.

Differences on minority positions and practices should be
allowed until only the minority is ready to take responsibility.
This practice is far from being authoritarian because it tries to
make a minority come to its position. This process prevents
the minority from abritrarily imposing its will on the
organisation. Otherwise the remaining members have to
defend positions that contridict their opinions within their
struggling environment. Without this second part the "I can do
whatever I want" minority would be able to force opinions and
associations on the entire group with no way to review the
activities of the said minority.

Political activities, whether in an organization or not, have
consequences and repercussions. In a platformist organistion
there needs to be a consciousness of what other people think
about certain political actions. The organization must have a
method to call out members of disputed actions. It is not a
shameful or authoritarian practice, it is a responsible one.

Finally, to win as anarchists, and to remain faithful to our
ideas and principles while still organizing together, we should
consider keeping a few things in mind. Every means possible
should be taken so that all members can attend decisional
meetings. If that is impossible, absent members should be be
allowed to communicate their decision through clear
mandates. The decisions and discussions need to be
distributed to all members so they can be applied. Fortunatly,
nowadays there are many methods by which we can
communicate our decisions and have meaningful discussion.
Failing to do this can only be seen as laziness, or as being
done in bad faith.


The Northeastern Anarchist is the English-language
theoretical magazine of the Northeastern Federation of
Anarcho-Communists (NEFAC), covering class struggle
anarchist theory, history, strategy, debate and analysis in an
effort to further develop anarcho-communist ideas and


Current issue is $5ppd ($6 international) per copy, back issues
are $2ppd ($3 international) per copy. Subscriptions are
$15ppd for four issues ($18 international). For distribution,
bundle orders are $3 per copy for three or more copies, and
$2.50 per copy for ten or more.

Checks or money orders can be made out to "Northeastern
Anarchist" and sent to:

Northeastern Anarchist PO Box 230685 Boston, MA 02123,
USA northeastern_anarchist@yahoo.com

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