An International Anarchist Militancy
As wars between nation States become more frequent and draw in volunteers from around the world, it is the ideal moment to reflect on what charcterizes an international anarchist militancy.
The goals of anarchist militants are to:
carve out autonomous territory
build liberatory communities and political bodies
fight on the side of the global oppressed
provide international solidarity across borders
The term ‘anarchist militant’ should be redundant, as all those who fight for liberation should take a militant approach. However the recent tendency of so-called anarchists in the West to liberalize the anarchist movement, culminating in the outrageous turn of such groups marching to the beat of NATO’s drum, it is clear that what it means to be an anarchist needs to be reasserted, and its historical legacy continued.
Carving Out Territory and Building Communities
The priority is to take territory, to help destroy and eat away at nation-states, control the means of production so that resources may be equitably distributed, and not fall into the hands of exploiters and capitalists. To do so, the essential task is building up forces and political groupings so that we can be a formidable faction when the moment is right. This is a process that takes time and dedication, years of training and study. It pays off because when States and demagogues fight each other, we will be able to take advantage of the turmoil to carve out a territory.
As we build our armed factions, we simultaneously build liberatory structures and communities. Our movement will not succeed if one oppressive state is replaced by another, capitalist white supremacy is replaced by an authoritarian demagogue (or vice versa); if one form of repressing anarchists, and ‘second class’ citizens is replaced by another, if self-described fascism is replaced by democratically imposed fascism.
Our forces and our communities should be built in a way consistent with our ethics and organizing principles: respect for each other, a priority for people’s needs, research, education and knowledge based on the people’s struggle, community defense disseminated throughout society. These principles form the basis for the decisions of each collective.
We hold that the central foundation is defense and strategy. This is the place and the role for the militant anarchist. This is how training comes to bare fruit. With the proper preparation, our territories create space for liberated communities and social structures to flourish, and create buffer zones that can allow us to defend these areas.
We can look to the work of Makhno, Zapata, the Spanish Civil War or the Shinmin Prefecture. These examples lead us down the road to success and provide valuable warnings to heed.
We learn from Shinmin that defense must be equal to the population that lives within the territory, must be spread throughout, not just the armed forces. While heinous regimes must be combatted, we have to acknowledge that holding a territory also creates a weakness in a guerrilla struggle. If attacks are launched from our region, we must be able to sufficiently counter any response. Attacks launched must also cripple the enemy’s ability to retaliate.
Defense is not just arms training and holding the territory, but also commiting to the political lines without wavering.. This is an essential lesson from the Spanish Civil War. The militants were sold out before they were able to reap the benefits of their battles. The CNT insisted on joining the coalition government, weakening the militant position and creating an opening for the fascists to take power. This is a warning for all anarchists to heed today. Hold a firm line between your unapologetic work and those so-called radicals who waffle and give in ideologocially to power – they have already sold out before even achieving any gains. A line between those committed to the principles and those willing to give in should be drawn hard and fast.
Inevitably once liberated territories exist, there will, by the necessity of survival and in order to not be annihilated by better-armed adversaries, be uncomfortable negotiations and compromises. But it is imperative to note that these compromises should not be made before they are absolutely necessary. If they are made before we have any territory, it only strengthens the State, without us gaining anything. Before taking territory from the State, our political lines must be uncompromising — it is our strong ethics that will hold us together for the fight. All our effort must be focused on preparing fighting forces and promoting a stronger movement. We focus our energy on all the aspects that will lead to material gains for our side.
FIght on the Side of the Globally Oppressed
Our fight is on the side of the globally oppressed. Those of us who stand in particularly egregious States, like the US, those in Europe, and Australia hold a particular responsibility to study and understand how these States have pillaged the global south, and to fight these States tooth and nail. It is our responsibility to stay staunchly resistant to their propaganda, so as not to become the radical wing of their agenda. For example, those so-called anarchists that parrot US propaganda about the Ukraine are merely strengthening its global standing.
We must not buy a bit of their propaganda that they are fighting for ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’. They only fight for the freedom of capitalist markets, and the rights of European culture and white society. We must stand outside of this rubric and align ourselves with those who have felt the brunt of this ‘freedom’. Do not be fooled into thinking that you will be safe by aligning yourself with such a power. As an anarchist your allegiance is to the oppressed, to our movement, and to destroying these beastly States.
All of our safety and our futures lie in liberated territory. The role of anarchist militancy is to unleash the struggle from the empty promises and soporific machinations of State propaganda. To be on the right side of history, we must stand with those who have been pillaged by the US, who have been executed by its mercenaries, who have been swindled and hounded by its far right proxy mercenaries. We must look to our comrades in South and Central America, in Africa, to make sure from our position within the folds of the most efficient killers, and the strongest promoter of right wing political groups, we are fighting hard enough, and from the right perspective.
International Solidarity Across Borders
As anarchists that live in imperialist States — or States that meddle in the affairs if others, arm Nazis and put far right regimes in power, kill and attack people who defend their homes and communities, and train and arm proxy groups to do the same — we have a duty to fight it and sabotage its means of torture. If we do not, we are essentially collaborators. Having an international perspective means understanding the role of the country you are born in and its geopolitical terrain and taking active steps to incapacitate it. This is the true meaning of solidarity.
There is no time when it makes sense to collaborate with such a State. Our goal and our sole duty is to undermine and destroy it.
This solidarity wouldn’t be worthwhile if we weren’t also actively building a different type of community / political structure to take hold in the remains of the state. We act now to prevent the deaths of more people from the global south, to prevent the deaths of comrades fighting abroad, and we commit ourselves to the longevity of the struggle so that future generations won’t suffer the same fate.