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(en) Canada, Collectif Emma Goldman - Small is Beautiful: Anarchist organization and local social establishment (ca, de, it, fr, pt)[machine translation]

Date Fri, 6 Aug 2021 08:51:03 +0300

What follows is a text of personal reflection by an activist of the collective. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of all the members, but wishes to advance certain reflections. ---- Almost seven years ago, in 2014, the official communiqué was published announcing the dissolution of the Union Communiste Libertaire (UCL). Created at the same time as its foundation, in 2008, the Emma Goldman Collective, from Saguenay, devoted much of its time and energy to the federation project with the idea of expanding the anarchist movement in the province and spreading ideas and practices to as many people as possible. The organization allowed the development of campaigns of actions in theoretical and practical unit which were co-constructed and propagated in the circles of the various collectives (the UCL counted up to six - Drummondville, Montreal, Quebec, Saguenay, Saint-Jérôme and Sherbrooke). In terms of publications and the dissemination of information, We produced the Cause Commune newspaper (several thousand copies on newsprint in each edition), magazines, posters and various publications with a certain rigor in terms of content and ideas. To organize everything, we relied on the principle of libertarian federalism: decision-making was done in meetings of local collectives, decisions were relayed by delegates to federal bodies (other meetings) and to committees. It was a form of direct democracy. Management time, see here for example all travel for meetings, long deliberations on a little everything and anything, up to questioning about the graphics and involvement in the secretariat, was the time that militants had less in their engagement in local struggles (without forgetting that the number of hours could also precipitate militant exhaustion). Of course, the tools developed at the federal level were of great help in the local work. But, without calling into question the principles of libertarian federalism and direct democracy, it is quite possible to think that a less "heavy" (less energy-consuming) operation could have been possible - especially in an organization of less than one. hundred members.

With the experience acquired over the years of UCL, the Anarchist Collective Emma Goldman continued its solo path from 2014. Although we wanted to multiply collaborations with other groups, they were more rare and ephemeral - our condition of geographical isolation is undoubtedly for a lot. On the other hand, we were able to focus most of our efforts and our resources on the social struggles of Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, develop material that responded more directly to the issues and targets of our communities and, it must be said, spend much less time in meetings. Working in a small group certainly has advantages at this level: cooperation and decisions are made more easily, the search for solutions and the resolution of disagreements take up less time.

All in all, and without making it a doctrine, there is certainly an appreciable beauty in the organization of a small political collective. After all, it is illusory to think that the social implantation of anarchism can be achieved on a large scale before it is done at the local level. Anarchists do not seek to take control of movements; they and they work at the base and their practices are deployed first on a small scale before spreading. However, this does not prevent us from developing links with other groups and calling on them. This organizational model has, it cannot be denied, clear limits. For example, it is much less obvious that an isolated small group receives support in the event of repression or threats. It seems important to me to continue to question the effective forms that the development of links and common tools with the comrades of collectives from other regions could take. Like others, I follow with attention the work on the ground that the comrades are doing in Kamouraska, on the Pointe de la Gaspésie, in Sherbrooke, Trois-Pistoles, Gatineau, Hamilton, Quebec, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, etc. and I personally draw inspiration from it to continue. Halifax, etc. and I personally draw inspiration from it to continue. Halifax, etc. and I personally draw inspiration from it to continue.

Alan Gilbert

Read also:

Assessment and outlook: review of the last year[About the year 2014]
Feedback on the workshop on anarchist organization outside major centers and reflections on the organizational question[Following a workshop in Quebec City in 2015]
Posted 20 hours ago by Collectif Emma Goldman

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