Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Platformism

Platformism

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Platformism'
Start a new discussion about 'Platformism'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Platformism is a tendency within the wider anarchist movement originally theorised by Nestor Makhno
Nestor Makhno
Nestor Ivanovych Makhno or simply Daddy Makhno was a Ukrainian anarcho-communist guerrilla leader turned army commander who led an independent anarchist army in Ukraine during the Russian Civil War....

 and is mainly based on his concept of anarchism
Makhnovism
Makhnovism refers to various related political and economic theories elaborated by anarchist revolutionary leader Nestor Makhno, and by other theorists who claim to be carrying on Makhno's work. Makhnovism builds upon and elaborates the ideas of Peter Kropotkin, and serves as the philosophical...

 and the organisational theories in the tradition of Dielo Truda
Dielo Truda
Dielo Truda was an anarchist and platformist journal first published 1925 by a society called the Group of Russian Anarchists Abroad.Russian political exiles formed the group in Paris after the Russian Revolution of 1917...

's Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (Draft). The document was based on the experiences of Russian anarchists
Anarchism in Russia
Russian anarchism is anarchism in Russia or among Russians. The three categories of Russian anarchism were anarchist communism, anarcho-syndicalism and anarchist individualism...

 in the 1917 October Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

, which led eventually to the victory of the Bolsheviks over the anarchists and other groups. The Platform attempted to address and explain the anarchist movement's failures during the Russian Revolution. The book drew both praise and criticism from anarchists worldwide.

History



The Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (Draft) was written in 1926 by Dielo Truda
Dielo Truda
Dielo Truda was an anarchist and platformist journal first published 1925 by a society called the Group of Russian Anarchists Abroad.Russian political exiles formed the group in Paris after the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 ("Workers' Cause"), a group of exiled Russian anarchists in France. The pamphlet is an analysis of the basic anarchist beliefs, a vision of an anarchist society, and recommendations as to how an anarchist organization should be structured. The four main principles by which an anarchist organization should operate, according to the Platform, are ideological unity, tactical unity, collective action
Collective action
Collective action is the pursuit of a goal or set of goals by more than one person. It is a term which has formulations and theories in many areas of the social sciences.-In sociology:...

, and federalism
Federalism
Federalism is a political concept in which a group of members are bound together by covenant with a governing representative head. The term "federalism" is also used to describe a system of the government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and...

.

Until recently, the platform was known in English as the Organizational Platform of the Libertarian Communists, because the English translation was based on Voline's mis-translation of the original and not the Russian original.

The platform argues that "We have vital need of an organization which, having attracted most of the participants in the anarchist movement, would establish a common tactical and political line for anarchism and thereby serve as a guide for the whole movement".

Principles


The Platform has 4 key organizational features which distinguish it from the rest of the anarchist movement. They are:
  • Tactical Unity - A common tactical line in the movement is of decisive importance for the existence of the organization and the whole movement: it avoids the disastrous effect of several tactics opposing each other; it concentrates the forces of the movement; and gives them a common direction leading to a fixed objective.
  • Theoretical Unity - "Theory represents the force which directs the activity of persons and organizations along a defined path towards a determined goal. Naturally it should be common to all the persons and organizations adhering to the General Union. All activity by the General Union, both overall and in its details, should be in perfect concord with the theoretical principles professed by the union."
  • Collective Responsibility - "The practice of acting on one's personal responsibility should be decisively condemned and rejected in the ranks of the anarchist movement. The areas of revolutionary life, social and political, are above all profoundly collective by nature. Social revolutionary activity in these areas cannot be based on the personal responsibility of individual militants."
  • Federalism - "Against centralism, anarchism has always professed and defended the principle of federalism, which reconciles the independence and initiative of individuals and the organization with service to the common cause."

The Platform today


Today there are platformist groups in many countries including the Workers Solidarity Movement
Workers Solidarity Movement
The Workers Solidarity Movement is an anarchist organisation in Ireland broadly in the platformist tradition of Nestor Makhno. It was set up in 1984 and publishes the paper Workers Solidarity and the magazine Red and Black Revolution....

 in Ireland, North Eastern Federation of Anarchist Communists (NEFAC, or Fédération des Communistes Libertaires du Nord-Est) in the northeastern USA, the Communiste Libertaire in Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, Common Cause http://www.linchpin.ca in Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, the Organización Comunista Libertaria (OCL) in Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, the Federation of Anarchists of Greece (OAE) in Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, Anarchist Communist Initiative
Anarchist Communist Initiative
The Anarchist Communist Initiative is a Turkish anarchist-communist, Platformist organization. AKI is the largest anarchist organization in Turkey presently....

 (AKI) in Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Organizacion Socialista Libertaria (OSL) in Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, the Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici (FdCA) in Italy, the Coletivo pró Organização Anarquista em Goiás in Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, Grupo Qhispikay Llaqta in Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

, the Libertarian Communist Organization (France)
Libertarian Communist Organization (France)
The Libertarian Communist Organization is a French anarchist-communist organization. OCL is a platformist organization, built around the principles of theoretical unity, tactical unity, collective responsibility, and federalism....

 in France, the Alianza de los Comunistas Libertarios (ACL) in Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group (MACG) and Sydney Anarchist Communist Trajectory (SACT) in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, and the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) in South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

. RKAS - Revolutionary Confederation of Anarcho-syndicalists by the name of. N.I. Makhno (Революционная конфедерация анархо-синдикалистов им. Н. И. Махно) - an international anarcho-syndicalist, platformist confederation. Sections and individual members of RKAS exist in Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Bulgaria and Israel. Platfomist organizations also founded the now defunct International Libertarian Solidarity
International Libertarian Solidarity
International Libertarian Solidarity was an international anarchist network with over 20 participating organizations from North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa....

.

The website Anarkismo.net
Anarkismo.net
Anarkismo.net is an international anarchist-communist, platformist and especifista news and discussion website. Its news service is one of the select publishers included in the Google News aggregator...

 is run collaboratively by Platformist organisations from all over the world.

Criticism


The Platform attracted strong criticism from many sectors on the anarchist movement of the time including some of the most influential anarchists such as Voline, Errico Malatesta
Errico Malatesta
Errico Malatesta was an Italian anarcho-communist. He was an insurrectionary anarchist early in his life. He spent much of his life exiled from his homeland of Italy and in total spent more than ten years in prison. He wrote and edited a number of radical newspapers and was also a friend of...

, Luigi Fabbri
Luigi Fabbri
Luigi Fabbri , was an Italian anarchist, writer, agitator and propagandist who was charged with defeatism during the World War I. He was the father of Luce Fabbri....

, Camillo Berneri
Camillo Berneri
Camillo Berneri was an Italian professor of philosophy, anarchist militant, propagandist and theorist....

, Max Nettlau
Max Nettlau
Max Heinrich Hermann Reinhardt Nettlau was a German anarchist and historian. Although born in Neuwaldegg and raised in Vienna he retained his Prussian nationality throughout his life. A student of the Welsh language he spent time in London where he joined the Socialist League where he met...

, Alexander Berkman
Alexander Berkman
Alexander Berkman was an anarchist known for his political activism and writing. He was a leading member of the anarchist movement in the early 20th century....

, Emma Goldman
Emma Goldman
Emma Goldman was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century....

 and Gregori Maximoff
Gregori Maximoff
Grigori Petrovitch Maximoff was a Russian-born anarcho-syndicalist who was involved in Nabat, a Ukrainian anarcho-syndicalist movement. Along with several other anarchists, he was imprisoned on 8 March 1921 following a Cheka sweep of anarchists in the area...

. Malatesta in a written response to the Platform commented that "Their organisation, being typically authoritarian, far from helping to bring about the victory of anarchist communism, to which they aspire, could only falsify the anarchist spirit and lead to consequences that go against their intentions." However, in his last response to Makhno — after seeing a Platformist group in formation — Malatesta concluded that he was actually in agreement with the positions of the platform; but had just been confused by the language they had used:
"But all this is perhaps only a question of words.

In my reply to Makhno I already said: "It may be that, by the term collective responsibility, you mean the agreement and solidarity that must exist among the members of an association. And if that is so, your expression would, in my opinion, amount to an improper use of language, and therefore, being only a question of words, we would be closer to understanding each other."

And now, reading what the comrades of the 18e say, I find myself more or less in agreement with their way of conceiving the anarchist organisation (being very far from the authoritarian spirit which the "Platform" seemed to reveal) and I confirm my belief that behind the linguistic differences really lie identical positions."


As an alternative to platformism Voline and Sebastien Faure
Sébastien Faure
Sébastien Faure was a French anarchist . He was a main proponent of the anarchist organizational form known as synthesis anarchism.- Biography :Before becoming a free-thinker, he was a seminarist...

 proposed synthesist anarchist
Synthesis anarchism
Synthesis anarchism, synthesist anarchism, synthesism or synthesis federations is a form of anarchist organization which tries to join anarchists of different tendencies under the principles of anarchism without adjectives. In the 1920s this form found as its main proponents the anarcho-communists...

 federations who they envisioned to form under anarchist without adjectives principles.

External links

  • Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (Draft) The most accurate translation of the platform in English
  • Anarchism and the Platformist Tradition An Archive of Writings on the Platformist Tradition within Anarchism
  • Manifesto of The Libertarian Communists Written in 1953 by Georges Fontenis for the Federation Communiste Libertaire of France. It is one of the key texts of this anarchist-communist current.
  • A Guide to the Platform based on the older translation
  • Towards a Fresh Revolution Written by the Friends of Durruti group following the Spanish Civil War
    Spanish Civil War
    The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

    , this text is arguably one of the most important Platformist texts ever written. It reaffirms the early calls from the Russian comrades for tactical and theoretical unity, and better organizational practices, and sheds light on the errors in organization during the Spanish Civil War.
  • Anarkismo.net - Multilingual anarchist news site run by over a dozen platformist organisations on five continents
  • The Tyranny of Structurelessness: An organizationalist repudiation of anarchism, essay
    The Tyranny of Structurelessness
    "The Tyranny of Structurelessness" is an influential essay by American feminist Jo Freeman inspired by her experiences in the 1970s women's liberation movement concerning power relations within radical feminist collectives....

     by Jason McQuinn
    Jason McQuinn
    Jason McQuinn is an American anarchist, founder and co-editor of Alternative Press Review, and founder and former co-editor of the journal Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed from 1980 to 1995, when Tad Kepley took it over, and again from 1997 to 2006...

     critiquing anti-organisational structures; originally appeared in Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed
    Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed
    Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed is a North American anarchist magazine, and is one of the most popular anarchist publications in North America. It could be described as a general interest and critical, non-ideological anarchist journal...

    , volume 54
  • http://www.inspiracy.com/black/wooden.html%20¿Wooden shoes or platform shoes? on the organizational platform of the libertarian communists by Bob Black
    Bob Black
    Bob Black is an American anarchist. He is the author of The Abolition of Work and Other Essays, Beneath the Underground, Friendly Fire, Anarchy After Leftism, and numerous political essays.-Writing:Some of his work from the early 1980s includes...

    ]
  • About the Platform by Errico Malatesta
    Errico Malatesta
    Errico Malatesta was an Italian anarcho-communist. He was an insurrectionary anarchist early in his life. He spent much of his life exiled from his homeland of Italy and in total spent more than ten years in prison. He wrote and edited a number of radical newspapers and was also a friend of...

     and Nestor Makhno
    Nestor Makhno
    Nestor Ivanovych Makhno or simply Daddy Makhno was a Ukrainian anarcho-communist guerrilla leader turned army commander who led an independent anarchist army in Ukraine during the Russian Civil War....