The Capital Terminus Collective doubles in size!

  • Posted on: 12 July 2005
  • By: worker

<table><tr><td>Or, how not to create an anarchist federation

The Capital Terminus collective (CTC) set the weekend of July 1-3 for the creation of a Southern Anarchist Federation. However, this SAF was not created, and we feel it is important to explain why and how both so our supporters understand where we are at, and also so that other groups trying to organize something similar in their area can draw lessons. </td><td><img src="files/pictures/collective_small.jpg"></td></tr></table><!--break-->While we had a setback, we pulled a victory out of it by better organizing our local collective. We also still think that a federation – regionally, nationally, or globally – in order to develop unity of theory and tactics is still an important step, and we hope to be able to cross that step in the future.

Our biggest mistake was that we tried to create a SAF almost unilaterally; while we had supporters and sympathizers in other cities throughout the southeast, the only solid group committed to the task was the CTC in Atlanta. This was based in two things: 1, when the CTC began as a group of three individuals, one of the main things that united us was that we all saw a need for a coordination of class-conscious anarchists in our area; and 2, we had become extremely heady after initial boosts in size, and since the creation of a SAF was still one of our main goals, began organizing for that before having contacts with solid groups in other cities. We had supporters and sympathizers in other cities during the entire process, and tried to outreach to others (for instance by participating in the Southeast Anarchist Network gathering and publicizing our efforts), but fundamentally it remained a project by a group in one city. The results of this became increasingly obvious the closer we came to the designated weekend, culminating in a conference to which only one person outside of Atlanta came (though the attendance from Atlanta was quite high). Learning from our mistakes, the CTC has a desire to work with other collectives on the project of organizing a SAF, and of helping individual sympathizers to build collectives in their cities.

As mentioned, the attendance from Atlanta was great and the CTC is currently at a point where it can work on multiple other projects. Organizing a SAF is still a goal for us, but it is on the back burners in terms of what we are actually putting energy into. We definitely did not want to take the dishonest route of creating a ghost federation and then trying to populate it with members (and of not admitting our mistakes). There were many solid proposals during the weekend of projects which the CTC could take on, with some of the more popular ones being support of Planned Parenthood and other options for women keeping reproductive autonomy; organizing women’s self-defense classes; counter-military recruitment; radical labor and student organizing; and creating a food and clothing distribution program. Out of these, the collective chose to work on Planned Parenthood support and women’s self-defense classes (combining those into one project) and counter-military recruitment because we felt that these are both areas that revolutionaries need to be strongly involved in due to the political context of this country. In addition the collective will work on standard collective business: building a website; printing leaflets, posters, and other propaganda (hopefully in the future beginning a rank-and-file agitational); and maintaining study groups, both an ‘Anarchy 101’ study group and a deeper one. To create a structure which is flexible enough to work on all of these projects as well as deal with a large (and hopefully growing) membership with a minimum of micro-managing, we have chosen to create separate working-groups for all of these projects which are still part of the larger collective, sparing the collective as a whole from having to meet every time a decision needs to be made (although the collective will still be having monthly business meetings to deal with other things such as bringing in new members and discussing strategy). As well, we decided to create co-secretary and co-treasurer positions, which are equal in responsibility but staggered so that the ‘senior’ officer can pass on necessary skills and information to the ‘junior’ one. Hopefully this will make rotation of tasks and the ability to recall officers much more tangible.

We still strongly feel that a Southern Anarchist Federation would be a great step forward and strongly call on sympathetic groups or individuals to get in contact with us. We also want to offer a short list of advice to those in other regions who may be attempting the same work we did:

• Don’t work unilaterally – make known your desires throughout the region, but wait until there are solid groups in more than one city who are committed to the idea before actually attempting to organize a federation.
• Make sure you are prepared for long and large meetings
– have a tight schedule and agenda, and make sure someone has the skills necessary to facilitate a large group.
• Have a proposal for everything – come up with an idea for every aspect of an organization, at least as a starting point. Certain ideas may be shot down but they still may act as a springboard for better ones.
• Have a back-up plan in case the plan to create a federation falls through. Above all be ready to see and to admit mistakes.
• Have every task delegated out beforehand. Anticipate ahead of time every task that may need doing, and share them out so that they do not fall on one person days before the conference.

-Victory to the people,
The Capital Terminus Collective, Atlanta, GA