Anarchists fall out was Re: QUEBEC CRACKPOTS

Chuck0 chuck at
Tue May 1 08:16:51 PDT 2001

Andrew Flood wrote:

> >The nuances of this discussion are too complex for me to comment on
> >briefly, but basically it revolves around strategy. Andrew and other
> >class war anarchists in Europe and North America believe that we should
> >organize federations and organizations in order to pursue a
> >revolutionary strategy. I've argued the anti-organizational position,
> >which relies more on the type of social networking that has provided the
> >means by which the "anti-globalization" movement has become successful.
> I think this either/or argument is not the real division. We have
> argued for the creation of organisations that are involved
> in struggles on the ground. These organisations where they exist
> have played an important role in providing a structure for the
> broader network and as importantly explaining what anarchists
> are actually fighting for.

I understand what Andrew is saying, but I think he'd agree with me that working people don't always need organizations to accomplish their goals.

When we talked about this several years ago, I believe we talked about why American anarchists tended to organize differently than European anarchists. One factor was that European anarchists have a grounding in working class resistance culture, whereas many American anarchists come to the philosophy intellectually. Another factor is geography. Europe is quite compact which might facilitate the growth of organizations, whereas in the states everything is so spread out that face-to-face meetings are difficult. Shit, it's hard enough for Washington, DC anarchists to meet up with our comrades in Baltimore.

This is where the Internet has greatly helped our organizing and networking. As Andrew knows, since he has used the web for a long time, anarchists were early adopters of Internet technology. The anarchy-list has existed for 12 years. I co-founded Spunk Library in 1992--this anarchist archive was one of the first digital libraries. We've been using anarchist lists for organizing for almost 10 years. I once did an interview with a journalist, perhaps a year ago, and she asked me why the anarchists were just starting to put up websites. I laughed, and explained to her that anarchists and libertarians started using the web for political purposes long before the other political tendencies.

My main website,, has been spreading anarchist mayhem for over 6 years. It also just achieved it best month ever, getting 3.6 million hits in April.

Networking is very important to organizing and building organizations. Since it has no institutional history, it's influence is often understated. Networking has also been helpful in developing a leaderless movement that the authorities have problems comprehending. They understand how to infiltrate organizations to fuck them up, but a network is much harder to kill. The cops still think they can disrupt us by jailing "leaders" like Jaggi Singh.

> >The "organizationalists" operate on an anarchist version of traditional
> >Left organizing, i.e. focus on getting folks to join your party.
> This is dreadfully inaccurate almost to the point of being slanderous!
> We go out of our way to say you don't have to join our organisation
> to be active. See
> for an article I wrote in '97 criticising the 'join the party'
> approach.

Oops, sorry. But I insist that some anarchists still think this way, because many of them used to be Marxists or progressives of one stripe or another.

> This accusation is also hard to square with our involvement around
> the Zapatista encounters, I was in Chiapas in '97, Spain in '98
> and in Bradford later in '98 (Bradford began the planning process
> that led to J18 after the follow up Glasgow meeting in '99).

That's certainly true. Andrew's work, as well as many others, was important in this regard. But word about J18 was disseminated via our decentralized networks which helped give us the advantage. If one organization in the U.K. had decided that they would organize everything, it would have been easily sabotaged. Instead, a network of organizations, individuals, and affinity groups around the world made J18 a "smashing" success.

> Chuck is quite right to say it makes no sense to throw
> all of your energy into building political
> organisations. He is wrong to imagine that is what
> we argue for or the other groups in agreement with the
> Anaarchist Platform (see )

I'm just pointing out the obvious bureaucratic void that inflicts many organizations. There is also this tendency, which I think is reinforced by our socialization, that an organization is the answer to every problem. It often is the answer.

I would just be happy if more folks were more critical about their organizing methods. Last year some anarchist in the U.S. emailed me and asked me how to start a federation. I explained to him that starting a federation comes last in the organizing process. You don't say, "Here's my federation, please join." Since a federation is a collective of smaller groups, then the obvious thing is to organize the smaller groups first. Hopefully, they will have a purpose for existing, other than an ideological idea that you need to have the group in order to have a federation.

> Actually we emphasise the importance of building a vibrant
> movement that is independant of any organisation - this
> to a large extent is what has happened over the last
> period.


> Now back to ganging up on the rest of you!

Heh, heh. Let's roast that liberal Monbiot over the coals.

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An American soldier in a hospital explained how he was wounded: He said, "I was told that the way to tell a hostile Vietnamese from a friendly Vietnamese was to shout ‘To hell with Ho Chi Minh!’ If he shoots, he’s unfriendly. So I saw this dude and yelled ‘To hell with Ho Chi Minh!’ and he yelled back, ‘To hell with President Johnson!’ We were shaking hands when a truck hit us."

(from 1,001 Ways to Beat the Draft, by Tuli Kupferburg).

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