Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Molly reproduces the following announcement from the Anarkismo site. Comments from Molly follow after the text.
We are a group of anarchist communists in the process of forming an organization in Ontario. We are so fresh that we don't yet have a name. We are inviting other anarchists to consider getting involved with us in helping to create an anarchist movement across Onario.
Right from the start we want to have a regulrily updated web site accompanying a regular free newspaper that will be distributed in the 1,000s. It will combine articles on anarchism with reports on the struggles of ordinary working people that are taking place now in this province. Our intention is not to build yet another small group of a dozen or so people but to begin the process of building an organization of thousands that will have a presense in every town, workplace and neighbourhood across the province.
The individuals involved in drafting this statement are located in southern Ontario, but we are interested in making conatct with both individuals and groups outside of this area. Some of us have lived here for awhile, and have been involved in previous anarchist initiatives in Ontario. Others have migrated here recently, and have been involved in organizations in other provinces or countries. We want to get in touch with anarchists of all ages right across the province whether you have been active forty years or are just taking the first steps.
Some of us have been members of the North East Federation of Anarchist Communists or the Workers' Solidarity Movement (Ireland). Most of us are now NEFAC members or supporters. we think it is sensible that any Ontario anarchist communist organization will have an open relationship with NEFAC groups in Quebec and the North Eastern USA. However, our key focus is on building an organization that will build a movement in Ontario capable of providing real solidarity with struggles and that through local strength can contribute to the global struggle for an anarchist world. In terms of basic political positions we are seeking to contact people who broadly agree with the Anarckismo.net statement.
We want you to get involved. Contact us at ontarioac@gmail.com
First of all Molly has to state that she thinks initiatives such as this are a great and wonderful thing. Molly is always in favour of rational anarchist attempts at organization, especially as we have a very high hill to climb in the face of opposition from those "within" anarchism that would like for us to remain as disorganized as possible. In connection with this the only utility that I can see for retaining the word "communist" in the title of any such presumed organization is to drive away the "wreckers" that always attempt to destroy anarchist attempts at organization. Better that they snipe from the outside. In terms of the stated goal of "outreach" ,however, this term is extremely destructive. The vast majority (99% +) of the general population identify this term with the historically successful people who have appropriated this adjective. Amongst the "communists" that have used this term to describe themselves perhaps 5% to 10 % have any clue as to the way that you use it. I'm also sad to say that there isn't a firm majority of self-professed anarchist communists today who actually profess belief in "anarchist communism" as an economic and communitarian theory. Far too often it is merely used as a synonym for "organized anarchism that believes in class struggle", a phrase that is very much broader than the term "anarchist communism". If pressed, I suspect that the majority of people who use this term to describe themselves would be indistinguishable from an "eclectic" such as myself who believes in pluralism in both economics and social organization in a libertarian society.
As one of those who have been "doing this game" for an extended time (36 years in my case, not the "40" that shows just how immature our movement is in Canada- I wanna see "70" as the top age), I can only urge the comrades to reconsider the use of this unfortunate name in the context of trying to build a "large" movement in the near future. This is an argument that was old when the first fish with lungs crawled onto land in the Devonian, and I've been part of it for many years. I'd even consider people to reconsider the use of the term "anarchist" for a mass (maybe,maybe, maybe) movement in Canada today. While "anarchist" is not associated in the public mind with death camps that slaughter 10s of millions of people it is associated with far too many misconceptions to make it anything but a barrier to the ordinary person. I use it to describe myself, but I'm not engaged in the process of trying to build a large scale organization, and I can explain the real meaning of the term without urgency. Organization builders don't have that luxury.
If you want a suggestion, I'll give it to you. Call yourself the "Cooperative Commonwealth Federation" if the copyright on the name has run out. Consider doing it even if it hasn't. The name is actually quite consistant with anarchism, and I will give you a rock solid guarantee that the fuss that results will give "results" that 50 years of slow propaganda couldn't. Before you do this just be ready to "catch the inquiries". Now is hardly the time to do such a thing, but consider it for the future. Pick a neutral name for now.
All terminology aside I wish the comrades in Ontario well. Even if I think that their enthusiasm has to be divided by the number of years that it will realistically take them to achieve their goal. What this shows is that anarchism has reached a threshold where such dreams are thought possible even if I would be the sceptic and put factors of ten on the time frame. This is considerably different from the situation in the early 70s when I first came to the movement. It is not total illusion now.
Molly is still, however, left with some questions. Why do people think that they have to have an organization seperate from NEFAC ? I admit I see this as an outsider, but I do detect a certain amount of "localist jealousy" in how the initiators of this call describe the previous efforts of NEFAC. NEFAC is the classic "cadre organization" with all that that implies. I see a certain confusion between the desire to build some sort of "mass" organization, and the retention of terminology such as "anarchist communist". Do you want an FAI or do you want a CNT ? If the organization is to be "specifically anarchist" how do you differentiate yourself from "synthesists" such as myself without falling into the sort of sectarianism that makes organizing a large movement impossible ? Where do you "draw the line" in your desire to recruit ? NO... despite the rhetoric of the so-called "post-leftists" that's not a swear word. "Post leftist" may be a dirty word, but "recruit" is not.
Well, so many questions. In any case good luck, and I wish you well.

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