Aims and Principles

AIMS AND PRINCIPLES
MELBOURNE ANARCHIST COMMUNIST GROUP

Adopted 1 July 2023.

Anarchism is a social philosophy based upon the principles of liberty, equality and solidarity, which developed out of the anti-authoritarian wing of the revolutionary workers’ movement of the nineteenth century. Anarchists aim to create a society without bosses, governments, or domination of any other kind. A society which abolishes capitalism and the state can only be achieved through a social revolution, made by the international working class. This revolution will require conscious and deliberate organisation to prepare for it and carry it out.

As anarchists, we believe that the means we use determine the ends we reach. We therefore organise according to principles we want to see operating in an anarchist society. This means organising outside of and against the state, with a consistent federalism and transparent internal processes open to inspection by all members of the organisation. This protects equality of participation in decisions and safeguards collective responsibility over their application.

This group aims to be an organisation of class struggle revolutionary anarchists, who share political positions, articulated in theory, strategy and tactics. We envisage this to be part of a working class movement composed of mass organisations and specific revolutionary groups. We aim to cooperate with like minded groups – federating where possible – to intervene in the mass organisations and struggles of our fellow workers. Such anarchist communist organisations must encourage the development of rank-and-file power in the workplace and the use of direct action against the bosses and government. The international working class must be sufficiently organised and powerful to take control of production and defend this revolutionary transformation.

THE AIMS OF THE GROUP

The group aims:

a) To participate in the workers’ revolution that will pave the way for the construction of a free, communist society;

b) To protect the living heritage of the working class, in both its intellectual and organisational forms. The group develops its strategy and tactics in the world that exists rather than as it wishes it to be. It aims for the defence of the immediate interests of the working class and the development of the consciousness and organisation necessary for the workers’ revolution.

THE WORK OF THE GROUP

The group uses anarchist principles in its operation. Internally, it practices:

a) Real, functional equality amongst its members;
b) The use of mandated, recallable, and rotatable delegates, rather than autonomous representatives. This ensures that members maintain control over all decisions of the group; c) Federalism in its affiliations.

In its external activities, the group supports:

a) Struggles to defend and advance the living and working conditions of the working class,
b) Working class struggles to advance or defend freedoms such as the right to speech, association, and class organisation;
c) Struggles against state violence, sexism, racism, queerphobia, nationalism and all forms of oppression and reactionary ideology;
d) The use of direct action against the bosses and government as the only method which maintains the autonomy and power of the working class;
e) Workers’ self-management as both a means and an end.

The group will thus practice:

Theoretical Unity: A developing agreement on the overall ideas of the group, sufficient to enable the group to agree on its practical activities, and changing in the light of collective reflection on events and experience.

Tactical unity: Collective implementation of group decisions and libertarian co-ordination of actions of group members.

Collective responsibility: When speaking on behalf of the group, members advance its positions and take responsibility for its actions. The group also takes responsibility for the actions of its members taken in its name, provided they are in keeping with the general line of the group.

If, for any reason, a member disagrees with the position of the group, they are free to discuss and advocate their ideas, provided:

a) It is not on an occasion where the group has decided to put its own position;
b) They make it clear that they are not speaking on behalf of the group; and
c) They do not misrepresent the group’s position.

The group rejects both pacifism and terrorism. Adopting pacifism would render us helpless before our enemies, while to use terrorism would be to join them. Instead, our principle is to recognise the right of the working class to use necessary and reasonable force for individual and collective self defence against armed counter revolution.

THE STRUCTURE OF THE GROUP

Since any group is the sum, both of its members and the relationships between them, the group consciously embodies the principles of liberty, equality and solidarity. The group reflects on its internal practices to ensure they are in keeping with anarchist principles:

Liberty: The basis of the group is the principle of free association. Unless specified otherwise in the group’s rules and procedures, all decisions are made by majority vote. Members are free to disassociate if they disagree with the majority position of the group, and the majority is also free to disassociate from an obstructive or otherwise disagreeable minority.

The group and its members accept responsibility for their actions. In it’s affiliations with others, the group accepts coordination of decision making only through the use of a consistent federalism, so that decision making may always be in the hands of its members.

Equality: The group uses mandated, recallable and rotatable delegates rather than electing autonomous representatives. Delegates present the positions of the group and carry out actions strictly within the bounds approved by members. All members of the group have an equal space to speak. Tendencies to monopolise speaking space are combated. Recognising “leadership” as a set of skills that can be learnt, the group encourages their learning by all members so that skills can be dispersed amongst the group rather than concentrated in an individual.

Solidarity: Members of the group relate to each other as comrades and are committed to each other personally. Power in the group is shared and coercive tactics (whether physical, organisational, intellectual or emotional) are rejected. All members contribute to group discussions and activities honestly and to the best of their abilities. The contributions of members are respected. The group regards comradely criticism as being both a duty and a mark of respect, rather than disrespect. Financial obligations are calculated in accordance with the groups rules and procedures, and operate on a progressive basis which considers members’ ability to pay.

THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE GROUP

The group is composed of individuals and has a defined membership. Admission to the group is a decision of the members and by application. A joining procedure exists for making this decision. a) Membership is open to reliable, convinced revolutionary anarchists who accept the group’s aims and principles, agree to abide by its rules, participate in its activities, and make financial contributions as decided by the group. b) The group has the power of expulsion and has developed a procedure, requiring a 2/3rds majority for doing so. c) Membership is not open to class enemies, including employers (except of domestic staff solely on grounds of disability), to managers with the right to hire and fire, or to police, prison guards, Pinkertons, and commissioned officers in the armed forces.

THE EXTERNAL RELATIONS OF THE GROUP

The group will maintain a regular exchange of information, analysis, news and views with the local, regional and global anarchist movement. It is open to co-operation for agreed goals with other anarchist groups and non-anarchist groups within the labour movement, provided that the form of co-operation is consistent with anarchist principles. One of the aims of co-operation with non-anarchist groups is winning new adherents to anarchism through the demonstration in practice of the validity of our ideas.

Past versions

Aims and Principles (pdf) (plain text), adopted 11 December 2004