Topic of the Week: Anarchist federations
Anarchists have organized in a variety of different ways, from the informal to the formal, with differing degrees of success and failure. This week we're taking a look into Anarchist federations, specifically anarchist organization and federations in the USA.
A brief and incomplete history: In 1989 the Love and Rage Network was officially formed, which went on to become the Love and Rage Revolutionary Anarchist Federation, then disbanded in 1998 over growing internal and external divisions. In 2000, the North Eastern Federation of Anarchist Communists (NEFAC) started, organized around platformist ideas. The federation was based in the north-east of North America and split up in 2008. Two groups came out of the split - Québécoise members,who named themselves the Union Communiste Libertaire and the U.S.A. members who continued on with the original NEFAC name for some time. In 2011 NEFAC became Common Struggle, which later joined one of the most recent anarchist organizations in North America – the Black Rose Anarchist Federation, which has locales across the USA. While Black Rose may not be defined specifically as a platformist (especifismo) organization, many associate it as such.
Are you a current member or former member of an anarchist federation? Do you / did you find it meaningful for anarchist organization or would you have preferred something else? Why? What are your experiences that you can share about that would help the anarchist space grow in North America?
Platformist organizations like Black Rose stress tight political and organizational unity; another approach is synthesist, that argues for less ideological unity, and is often described as big tent or anarchist-without-adjectives. Would a synthesist nationwide anarchist organization make sense or be something of interest? Finally, how do our real life day jobs effect us as anarchist organizers? Often members of these anarchist federations like Black Rose work as staffers, which denotes someone whose day job is working in the non-profit industry or other unions. Is this a role anarchists should assume or is there a larger critique and discussion to be considered?