What anarchists think #4 – Organisation

Anarchist organisationWhat is ‘organisation’? It’s a vast subject so let’s think about one kind of organisation relevant to anarchists, the ‘revolutionary organisation’. Each kind of organisation has its own purpose enabling people to accomplish what they cannot individually, harnessing energy and resources in productive ways.

However, organisations are not pure rational constructs. They have their own culture, often obscured by formal structures. Strip away the theoretical organisation of states, corporations and political parties and you reveal the hierarchy, authority, fear and greed that is true organisation in a capitalist society. Because of this some anarchists reject not only the ‘ordering’ imposed on our minds by capitalist society but all forms of organisation. We at the Heckler recognise the problems of organisation but accept that it is necessary for achieving a libertarian society. What is important is to build organisations that are a practical example of anarchist-communist ideas.


Determination and solidarity

To create effective organisations we must know our own and other’s minds, therefore there must be a high degree of communication and sharing. We must set about creating aspiration, setting achievable targets, celebrating success, rededicating ourselves again and again to the reasons why we have formed or participate in the organisation. And because organisation is a mutual, sharing activity these things cannot be contained within one mind or merely thought but acted out and given a tangible existence through words and actions. At the same time, we must remain individuals, capable of independent and objective appraisal, not cogs in some vast machine.

What then is the purpose of ‘revolutionary organisation’? Can it be described? Given that the need for revolution already exists, a revolutionary organisation must increase the demand for it.
It must increase the measurable ‘weight’ or ‘force’ of the resources joined to demand revolution. The structure must increase the ability of the organisation to perpetuate itself while its ends remain unrealised.

It must be flexible, be able to absorb or deflect change or challenges to it, have the ability to change or cease as circumstances dictate and the self-knowledge to initiate change when change is required. High levels of positive communication, mutual respect and celebration, shared aspirations and solidarity all describe the revolutionary organisation.


Creating a revolutionary structure

Anarchists in a free society will be self-ordering and society will be self-regulating.  The organisations we construct will arise out of the needs of the moment, filtered by our knowledge and perceptions. Organisations, whether free associations, collectives, federations, communes or ‘families’ will be fluid and flexible but retain the ability to persist. They will be responsive to individual and social need. They will have a structure and culture matching the needs, beliefs and purpose of members. They will not have the super-ordered, monolithic or divergent cultures of competition, fragmentation, subordination or conflict that exist within organisations today.

Creating organisations that have a revolutionary structure is an act of revolution itself. The more we do it, successfully, the better we will be at making the revolution and the closer we will be to achieving revolution.

Working as an organisation can make our interventions in the class struggle stronger and our ideas clearer than they could be alone, and though we still have a long and hard road to travel, ever increasing co-ordination is unmistakably the way forward.

A powerful revolutionary organisation will not come about by people simply agreeing with each other. Only through the dynamics of working together can we achieve the unity of activity and theory necessary to bring about a free and equal society.

“Anarchism is organisation, organisation and more organisation.” Errico Malatesta

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