Adopted 14 Feb 2024
Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group
Statement of Shared Positions
This document is to be read as a supplement to the Aims & Principles of the Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group. Agreement with the positions in this document is a condition of membership.
1. The social revolution will be the act of the working class, organised primarily in the workplace. Other social groups may play a positive role in this struggle, but they cannot be a substitute for a revolutionary movement of the working class. We attribute this unique role to workers, at the point of production, for a few reasons. Firstly, the working class forms the vast majority of society. Secondly, the experience of social co-operation in production tends to produce the values that promote solidarity in the struggle against the employer. Thirdly, and above all else, it is the working class which is in the structural position to directly seize control of the means of production and uproot the power of capital, at its own initiative. By doing so, production can be repurposed to meet human needs under conditions of generalised self-management by the whole of society. One corollary of the fact that the struggle will be decided in the workplace is that it will not be decided by street brawls with the cops or by trying to drop out of capitalist society. While it is certainly necessary to defend ourselves against police attack, capitalism’s achilles’ heel is in the workplace, and so our strategic orientation – both in regards to reform and revolution – must be there.
2. We stand for the complete equality of all people and in solidarity with people of all marginalised genders and sexualities. Capitalism oppresses women, LGBT+, and people who don’t conform to the gender binary. The liberation of all will not be achieved without the overthrow of capitalism and the destruction of class society. In turn, the overthrow of capitalism will not be achieved without the participation of all segments of the working class. It is therefore in the interests of all workers to support the struggles for the liberation of those oppressed on the basis of gender and sexuality. Oppression based on sexuality or gender identity is completely antithetical to anarchist principles. Such oppressions serve only to divide the working class, and deny our LGBT+ comrades the capacity to freely live and express themselves as they truly are. The oppression faced by trans people must be combatted at every opportunity. Solidarity between everyone – regardless of sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression – can only be built on the principle that ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’. We support the right of women and LGBT+ comrades to organise autonomously within the wider working class movement and also within Anarchist organisations.
3. Australian capitalism and the Australian state are founded upon the murderous disposession and genocide of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The processes of domination, oppression, and resistance that began with colonisation have not ended. Aboriginal people are subjected to mass incarceration, deaths in custody, and Aboriginal children continue to be removed from their families. Aboriginal control of land is attacked by mining companies and other capitalists who destroy sacred sites and cultural heritage while government policies reflect an ongoing defacto position of assimilation. Aboriginal peoples have resisted invasion, colonisation, genocide and assimilation since 1788, and they continue to resist.
Our full solidarity is with the ongoing resistance of Aboriginal people, particularly where that resistance is exercised through militant self-organisation. We recognise and support the right of Aboriginal peoples to self determination. We acknowledge the desire of Indigenous people for a treaty that recognises their continued rights. However we argue that no just treaty will be possible whilst capitalism and the state endure. The capitalist state will never accept genuine land rights, economic justice and self determination for Aboriginal people, as the continued expansion of capitalism demands ever greater dispossession. Justice for Indigenous people can only be achieved through a revolution which abolishes class society and the state.
4. We are internationalists, anti-imperialists, and anti-militarists. Capitalism produces a system of competing states, each dominated by the interests of a domestic ruling class. States are compelled to compete for influence, resources, and access to markets, in the interests of their domestic ruling classes. We need revolutionary working class organisation, not just within our own country, but across all countries. A successful revolution will need to spread to encompass the whole world. To do this, we need to fight against imperialism, racism, and nationalism, and unite workers of the world on the basis of class solidarity.
We therefore oppose the policing of borders under capitalism, and advocate their abolition as part of the revolutionary struggle against the State and capitalism. In particular, we support the struggle of refugees for asylum in Australia and oppose both immigration detention and deportation.
As anarchists we do not support the state or its military. We oppose the provision of money, weapons or personnel to the military forces of any State. Here in Australia, we have a special responsibility to oppose Australian militarism.
In the event of war between states, we oppose all belligerents and raise the slogan “No War but the Class War”. Instead of supporting national militaries, we advocate fighting the class struggle, against both the invader and domestic ruling class.
In anti-imperialist struggles, we side with the oppressed and argue for working class methods of struggle. We criticise the leadership of those struggles by capitalist parties and reject reactionary tactics like deliberate attacks on civilians.
5. We reject 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 capitalists, the state and reactionary violence.
6. We oppose State bans on any opinion, even ones with which we passionately disagree. Any such bans would end up being used, in the end, against the working class and its organisations. We also, therefore, recognise complete freedom of conscience. We support the right to believe in any religion or none, to practise any religion or none, and to preach any religion or none. Adherence to religious precepts must therefore be entirely voluntary. Attempts by religious leaders or denominations to compel adherents to conform to their teachings or discipline must be resisted and we resolutely reject any attempt to give them State backing.
7. There is no parliamentary road to anarchy and communism. The ruling class will not allow us to vote away their wealth and power. The working class will only get rid of capitalism by seizing control of capitalist property, re-organising production and distribution according to need, and defending this transformation of social relations against all attempts to undo it. That is to say, through social revolution.
Similarly, there is no parliamentary path to working class power within capitalism. The experience of 150 years across the world proves that Socialists don’t conquer Parliament, but instead Parliament conquers Socialists. The process of campaigning for election, operating in parliaments, and reproducing a viable electoral organisation necessarily alters the behaviour of those involved in it.
Elections engage workers as ‘voters’ deferring to candidates, rather than as individuals capable of exercising power where they are exploited and dominated. It alienates them from their potential power as a class, with the capacity to organise and act on the job.
Bourgeois elections ultimately reproduce bourgeois politics, and those who find themselves in power are inevitably tasked with maintaining the interests of capital.
As anarchists committed to building genuine working class power – for a social revolution that overthrows capitalism – we do not run in elections, join electoral parties, or campaign for them.
8. A free communist society will be one that is ecologically sustainable. Even if capitalism were just and supportable on other grounds, it would fail the test of sustainability. Capital accumulation requires endless growth, and so ever-expanding energy consumption. Even if the obstacles posed by highly profitable fossil fuel companies could be overcome within capitalism, the emissions produced by a green transition could also prove environmentally destructive given the levels of consumption demanded by capitalist production. We need to reject the instrumental thinking inherent to capitalism and realise that we are part of nature – a conscious and creative part, but a part. As such, nature is not something to be dominated, but to be protected.
There is no freedom on a dead planet. A revolutionary movement must rapidly decarbonise the world while simultaneously meeting the just needs of the global south for the modernisation of essential industries. We are strongly opposed to Malthusian population theories, primitivism, and other currents which would dispense with the useful (and, in many cases, life-saving) advancements of industrial and technological society. Instead, we advocate for an advanced industrial and technological communism, which should be harnessed under workers control, under conditions of cooperation, in a system of sustainable production for use, rather than exchange.