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(en) The Northeastern Anarchist #6 - Platformism Without Illusions: Italy NEFAC interviews the Federazione dei Comunist Anarchici (FdCA) (it)

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 14 May 2003 09:13:37 +0200 (CEST)

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

Athough smaller in numbers than the
synthesis-oriented Italian Anarchist Federation (FAI),
the Federazione dei Comunist Anarchici (FdCA) has
provided an important pole for class struggle
anarchists in Italy for over fifteen years now. They are
an explicitly platformist group, and maintain a high
level of organizational discipline throughout the
federation. Since our formation, those of us from
NEFAC have kept semi-regular contact with the
FdCA, and, incidentally, they were one of the groups
whose organizational model we studied prior to our
founding conference. Below is an interview with
Donato Romito, the FdCA's international secretary.
English translation by Nestor McNabb (A-Infos
Collective, Rome).

- interview by MaRK, Class Against Class


Anarcho-communism has a long history and tradition
in Italy, going back to the 1870s, however it seems
that most of today's anarchist groups trace their
history to the struggles of 1968-69. Were any of the
older anarcho-communist tendencies able to survive
the period of fascist reaction and influence the newer
generations of anarchist militants? Also, what is the
specific history of 'platformist' tendencies in Italy?

FdCA: It was 1968-69 when the older members of the
FdCA first appeared on the political scene, the years
of the workers' and students' movements. Clearly
they could not remain unaffected by the strong
libertarian, but above all class, elements expressed in
those movements. When they approached anarchism,
they found there the Federazione Anarchica Italiana
[Italian Anarchist Federation, FAI], a synthesis
organization, which apparently offered a space but
which in reality was not an organization but a
collection of individuals of a rather individualist
tendency. However, historical readings on Italian and
international anarchism showed us that there was
instead a continuous line of class-struggle,
communist anarchism starting with the First
International and proceeding through the social
struggles in most parts of the world at the start of the
twentieth century, the anti-Bolshevik and
anti-Stalinist struggles not to mention the work
carried out by anarchists both before and after the
Russian Revolution, the Red Years in Italy, the
Mexican Revolution and of course the Spanish

In Italy, the continuity of anarchist communism was
disturbed by various events, the most disastrous of
which was without doubt the economic influence of
that Italo-American anti-organization and non-classist
anarchism linked with the journal "L'Adunata dei
Refrattari" during the fascist and post-war period.
One form of "rebellion" against that tendency which
had taken over Italian anarchism during the 1950s
was the creation of the organizationalist Gruppi
Anarchici di Azione Proletaria [Proletarian Action
Anarchist Groups, GAAP].

These groups had some excellent members, but fell
apart after they were "kicked out" of the world of
"official" anarchism by the FAI. Luckily, despite the
"excommunications", many of these comrades
continued their class-struggle activity and when they
were tracked down at the beginning of the Seventies,
were able to pass on their experiences and provide a
link between the two periods.

It should also be remembered that, at that time, we
were geographically close to the French experience
with the Organisation Révolutionnaire Anarchiste
(ORA) and the Spanish groups who were reorganizing
against Francoism and, later, following the death of
Franco. To sum up, it was the union of these forces
which enabled the birth of territorial groups during the
Seventies which could take up the reins of
communist, class-struggle anarchism in Italy, and
allow this tendency to enjoy greater visibility.

At the same time, a revision of the history of Italian
anarchism was taking place. Starting with the
excellent studies made by Masini (not by chance one
of the most prominent militants in the GAAP) a series
of studies were started, above all by our anarchist
communist comrade Dada. Her volume "L'anarchismo
in Italia: fra movimento e partito" ["Anarchism in Italy:
Between Movement and Party"] was a turning point in
studies on Italian anarchism. It highlighted not only
the communist basis of anarchism but also the
original theorization of the principle of "organizational
dualism" [1] which had its highest level of theorization
in Italy during the First International, from Bakunin to
certain correspondents such as Celso Cerretti, to
whom Bakunin wrote a letter clarifying this question
(republished together with a lot of other material in
the book).

Regarding platformism in Italy, Dada provided new
material which brought new light to the history of
anarchism which had up to that point been centered
on the role of Malatesta, a synthesis mediator for all
tendencies. With the publication of memoirs relating
to the Paris meetings, it was discovered that Fabbri,
Fedeli and others had been in contact with Arshinov.
Even studies on the fascist period, both on the
comrades in prison or confined and on those exiles
who had fled death, demonstrated further the
continuity between the communist, class struggle
anarchism of a large part of the anarchist movement
in the pre-fascist period and the debates of those

To simplify, it can be said that the choice of name of
the Federation of Anarchist Communists had some
significance, particularly in the light of the rediscovery
of the previous attempts to found similar
organizations - the Unione dei Comunisti Anarchici
d'Italia [Union of Anarchist Communists of Italy] in
1919 (which unfortunately melted into the synthetist
Unione Anarchica Italiana [Italian Anarchist Union,
UAI]) and the Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici
[Federation of Anarchist Communists] in 1944 which
unfortunately withdrew into the synthesis FAI
[Federazione Anarchica Italiana]. The comrades of the
anarchist communist tendency which rose again at
the start of the '70s for the most part did not allow
themselves to be drawn into the FAI, despite the
polemics which this organization often stirred up in an
attempt to discourage their attempts at organization,
and the result is a project which has lasted right up to
the present day.

When did the FdCA first form? What social
movements or anarchist groups did the original
founding members come out of?

FdCA: The FdCA was born in 1986 when the
Organizzazione Rivoluzionaria Anarchica
[Revolutionary Anarchist Organization, ORA] united
with the Unione Comunisti Anarchici Toscana
[Tuscan Union of Anarchist Communists, UCAT].
ORA had been in existence for 10 years and had
sections in several regions of Italy. UCAT had been
active in Tuscany for 5-6 years. The FdCA is the most
recent and most successful Italian anarchist
communist organization since 1986.

How is the federation organized?

FdCA: The FdCA is a federation of militants, and
sections are formed by several militants in the same
town. As an organization, the FdCA is founded on
shared ideological elements. There is, therefore, unity
on theory, unity on basic strategy and political
strategy and general agreement on tactics. Debate is
ongoing as far as political strategy and tactics are
concerned, which influences the definition of the
organization's program. The political activity of
militants is governed by the principle of collective
responsibility. The decision-making body is the
National Congress, where decisions are made on our
political theses, on our press, our internal bodies
(such as editorial teams, various committees) and
where we elect the Council of Delegates which runs
the organization between congresses and which
respects the decisions of congress. Comrades are
elected to the Council of Delegates on both a
territorial basis and a political basis. The Council of
Delegates then elects a National Secretariat which
has the task of representing the organization and
coordinating the activities of the federation.

In what areas of struggle is the federation active?
How would you say that 'platformism' informs your
activity within these struggles?

FdCA: The FdCA is active above all in the areas of the
unions, anti-militarism, environmentalism, the fight for
self-managed social spaces and the anti-globalization

Platformism characterizes our activity in four different

(1) a strong class-struggle and unity-of-class
approach to the struggles;

(2) careful, detailed analysis of those in struggle and
the state of the struggle;

(3) the search for common, collective policies as a
result of debate within the sections;

(4) our application of the organizational principle of
multiple membership, whereby we draw clear
distinctions between the tasks and roles of the
proletariat's mass organizations and the political
organizations of anarchist communists, where
confusion and overlapping between the two is
avoided and where the activities of anarchist
communist militants are informed by this.

What is the FdCA's relationship to the organized
Italian workers' movement (the COBAS, the
anarcho-syndicalist USI or mainstream trade unions)?

FdCA: Most FdCA militants are active within the labor
movement, both within the CGIL [2] and in the radical
grass-roots unions [3]. Today, the working class is
divided between three traditional unions and five or
six grassroots unions. We are not interested in a war
between unions as class unity is a fundamental
aspect of our strategy and something which goes
beyond fidelity to any particular trade union. This is
why we try to promote coordination committees of
delegates, territorial coordination and coordination of
libertarian union activists: to achieve a more radical
syndicalism with libertarian principles. Several of
these grassroots unions contain "cobas" in their name
[4], but they differ from the COBAS Confederation
which in our opinion is a somewhat confused
collection of union, political and cultural layers. Then
there is the USI [Unione Sindacale Italiana], which
maintains its ideological identity as an anarchist

How about other anarchist groups such as the FAI?

FdCA: As we indicated earlier, dealing with the FAI
has always been difficult. Although it is numerically
larger and has its press (the weekly 'Umanita Nuova'),
the FAI has always been distant from class struggle
and the workers' movement. Recently, however, it has
begun to pay more attention to labor issues and a
series of debates and common initiatives have been
developed between the FAI and the FdCA.

Italy has a history of extra-parlimentary groups
(including anarchists and autonomists) which have
carried out armed actions against the State. How do
you view these isolated "direct actions" carried out by
individuals or small groups? Is there a place for this
type of activity within the revolutionary project?

FdCA: Anarchist communists have always rejected
armed struggle as the expression of elitist,
clandestine, self-appointed vanguards which are
detached from the very proletariat they are trying to
provide an example of how things should be done. In
this way, they create a truly authoritarian relationship
between between the so-called leading vanguard and
the working class. Political assassinations can destroy
in moments years and years of unglorious work in the
class struggle.

Of course, Italy is one of those countries where the
State has always made an instrument of armed
struggle, turning it to its advantage, provoking it, or
simply allowing it to take place. The Italian State even
"used" the dramatic events in Genoa in 2001, with the
complicity of the Black Bloc, particularly its foreign
elements. In a revolutionary context there can only be
room for the armed struggle of the working class,
wherever the physical survival of the class and the
revolution is threatened. In recent months the road,
railway and port blocks by those Fiat workers
threatened with redundancy have attracted
widespread popular support. These are of course
illegal actions carried out by thousands of workers
who, for the time being, have managed to impede any
repressive action on the part of the State.

When repression does strike, as with the post-Genoa
investigations, mass mobilizations have been the
response, leading to the release of the comrades who
were arrested.

Does the FdCA maintain international ties with other
platformist groups?

FdCA: Sure, we have stable relationships with most of
the organizations for whom the Platform was an
inspiration, both in Europe and further afield. We
consider the AP list to be most useful for international
debate and on the occasion of Genoa 2001 we
promoted a meeting between Platformist
organizations. We believe that an international
network of cooperation between anarchist communist
organizations would be a most valuable tool. At the
moment, the FdCA is part of the International
Libertarian Solidarity (ILS) project together with other
libertarian political groups and class struggle unions.

What is some of the current activity of the federation?
Future plans?

FdCA: Each FdCA section has its own activities in
relation to the territory it is part of, as the Federation
views itself as a political force in relation to the
movements and other political groups. In the short
term, we will obviously be busy with the anti-militarist
campaign against the war in Iraq. Our policy is to
build mass anti-militarist committees which operate
according to libertarian principles where there can be
the greatest possible participation of all those who
oppose war, armies and capitalism.

On the union front, we will be working in the fight
against the law which seeks to permit the freedom of
dismissal for the bosses, together with the fight
connected with the renewal of national work contracts
in various sectors involving nearly five million
workers. We will be part of the movement in defense
of non-religious, pluralist, state education against the
reform of the education secretary. Although we are
part of the anti-globalization movement, we do not
take part in the Social Forums. We are organizing our
3rd National meeting in June (you are all invited, by
the way!). Then for the future, our most ambitious
project is the usual one - to develop and nurture the

Federazione dei Comunist Anarchici C.P. 144 61100
Pesaro, ITALY internazionale@fdca.it

** Translator's Notes:

[1] The original Italian expression is "dualismo
organizzativa" and refers to anarchist membership in
both specific anarchist organizations and general,
mass labor organizations.

[2] The largest confederate trade union in Italy,
traditionally linked with the Italian Communist Party.

[3] Sometimes known as "base unions", like CIB
Unicobas, RdB, Sincobas, etc.

[4] "Cobas" is an abbreviation of the Italian "comitato
di base", or base committee.


This interview is from the "Platformism Without
Illusions" series in The Northeastern Anarchist #6
(Winter/Spring 2003). Further interviews include
platformist-influenced anarchist groups from the
United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Czech Republic,
South Africa, Brazil, and Chile.

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 practice.


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