A New United Front
The current state of organizing within leftist spaces is not focused. Many have tried to combat this, of particular note are the platformists who try to focus intensely on their praxis. However, to date organizing with the left more often than not, to be blunt, more characteristic of dis-organization. Therefore, a new approach must be taken up to combat the lack of focus and general disorganization found within leftist circles. Federationism provides this level of focus and organization necessary. Praxis being the application of theory to actions taken in the world, within praxis is also the idea of direct action which is to use praxis to directly reach certain goals without appealing to the state or elections to address the issue.
The people of the world are increasingly restless in the face of increasing authoritarianism; inaction on issues of importance from localities to the world stage; and the failures of the state, capitalism, and hierarchy. People often get confused and overwhelmed trying to figure out what they can do. The left provides a great myriad of solutions big and small, and it is just too much, people become frozen with choice paralysis. What people need are digestible choices which are clear in their intent and efficacy. Federationism again steps in to fill this need by employing a triad of praxis which gives clarity to what people can do to resist against the issues which keep them oppressed.
The aim of this text is to provide a clear set of actions that federationism promotes as furthering tangible resistance to oppression, and to provide a strong groundwork for the efforts of universal liberation. This text will be expanding on the two federationist principles of the triad of praxis and the prepared revolution. The goal of each item is to place supreme emphasis on materially helping people, showing people why joining a movement toward federationism is beneficial to themselves and others, or both.
A New United Front
Federationist Leagues and Federationist Associations
The goal of liberation can only be reached through liberatory methods. Federationism must be organized in accordance with the ultimate intention of liberatory institutions in mind. As such, this is the call to action on the formation of unions of Federationist Associations known as a Federationist League, and a union of Federationist Leagues to be known as the International Federationist League. Federationist Associations shall operate at the most local levels of society in order to aid individual communities. From there local Federationist Associations shall federate freely with each other, creating an interconnected and decentralized network of mutual aid and revolutionary praxis.. A Federationist League shall be a decentralized federation of local Federationist Associations which will seek to act in coordinated unity with itself to spread federationist theory and enact federationist praxis. Federationist Leagues should ideally operate on a regional or national level depending on a variety of factors such as population and the logistics of voluntary cooperation. Federationist organizations can in accordance with the principles of a decentralized federation work with any other federationist organization as is seen fit or necessary, with no truly prescribed way of structuring a union of federationist organizations.
Federationist Leagues and Associations will seek to enact praxis at various levels of society and across communities. Acting as a catalyst for the spreading of revolutionary attitudes and federationist theory, and engaging in praxis to materially improve the condition of the exploited classes. Federationist Leagues are to maintain focus on the triad of praxis in accordance with building a prepared revolution. However, Federationist Leagues shall also enter into a New United Front.
New United Front
The threat of fascism and reactionary ideology is on the rise at this present time. Around the world there is a growing need for a dedicated bulwark against the far-right, to protect our communities, to protect our loved ones, and to protect our dreams of a better world. It has become absolutely necessary to be ready to defend against and to fight against fascists and reactionaries. As such it is paramount that a New United Front be formed to combat fascism and other reactionary ideologies.
Federationist Leagues should seek to work with, and ultimately create decentralized networks with other libertarian leftist tendencies and organizations in order to work on the shared goal to oppose reactionary ideology and movements. Federationists should work with others to create this New United Front, as it allows for greater solidarity to be built up between anti-authoritarian tendencies, and allow for joint praxis to protect us all.
Federationists should seek out other libertarian socialist groups and organizations to form a New United Front with, provided that such groups and organizations are ultimately revolutionary in their aims and eschew electoralism as a strategy. All groups in a New United Front should understand that revolutionary potential lies in acting as a catalyst for spreading social and class consciousness. Trying to actively incite revolution, particularly through violent acts, would only create a premature revolutionary attempt that is far easier to crush and will incite specific and targeted repression from the state.
A New United Front is a deliberate choice compared to calling for a new popular front. Liberals and centrists at this time are largely not open enough to anti-fascism, with large segments of centrist interests attempting to and generally succeeding in siding with the right-wing against the left, while liberals continue to waste their efforts on electoralism within systems designed to make real change impossible from elections. Acting against reactionaries requires dedication and focus to the task. Energy cannot be spent on those who don’t understand the direness of the need to oppose fascism, and those who would require considerable effort for them to even just not side with the fascists. A united front, rather than a popular front, is what is necessary at this time to oppose the particular threats to liberatory movements that currently exist. Any efforts on the part of a New United Front on winning others over should be spent on trying to convince our other comrades to abandon electoralism and to instead take up direct action. While winning over liberals and the like over to the libertarian left will be a necessary task, however it is more pressing to begin to win over the electorialists and reformists first.
The goals of a New United Front should first and foremost be focused on physically opposing the far-right wherever they show themselves, as well as to physically protect communities from reactionaries. Secondary objectives should include all other forms of anti-fascist direct action. The goal of a New United Front should be to be able to provide coordinated and decentralized coverage of areas to be able to directly confront and dissuade the far-right anywhere they might rear their head. The benefit of this being the greater strength of solidarity it brings, allowing for stronger showings of anti-fascist direct action, allowing each group within it to grow in strength, ability, connections, and experience.
The purpose of this coalition, beyond the immediate needs of anti-reactionary direct action, is to allow for greater solidarity between the various tendencies of the libertarian left. This coalition will allow each group to pursue praxis as they see fit and provide outreach to demographics which each is suited toward. A larger interconnected network of solidarity and mutual aid will allow for each group to feel more motivated, have greater access to resources and potential comrades, as well as gain the strength of being in a larger organization without sacrificing the integrity, transparency, and individuality within each member of the coalition. This New United Front presents an opportunity to greatly strengthen libertarian socialism and the movement toward liberation.
Community outreach is the process by which federationists will organize to directly meet the needs in their communities. The purpose of this is to remove or at least weaken the need for the state both materially and in the minds of people. Community outreach will assist in raising individual and community autonomy away from the hegemonic control of the state and other oppressive institutions. This tactic is not new, it has been used by groups such as the Black Panthers, and by the Democratic Union Party in Syria and Rojava, further the tactic is a more organized exercise of the basic principle of mutual aid. Mutual aid being the voluntary exchange of goods and services to the mutual benefit of all involved parties.
The foundational cornerstone of community outreach is going to the people in one’s own community and learning directly from them what they actually want and need. From there it is a straightforward matter of seeking out solutions to these problems. There is not a single person who knows more about what the people need than the people themselves. Where direct action comes in is helping to meet that need, and over time helping communities come together to meet their own needs for themselves. This is not entirely dissimilar to neighborhood councils that exist in various cities, or even the mass line strategy of Mao Zedong. However, what is crucially different is that the actual execution of these tasks is not the providence of the state, this is individuals engaging in mutual aid with each other, ultimately building up to communal self-governing and empowerment. Communities do not need to outsource their ability to lead decent and fulfilling lives to bureaucrats in an office that can be miles away from them in the best of scenarios. What people and communities need is to be given the tools to engage with their own empowerment and liberation, this is not something that can be gifted from above it must be cultivated at the ground level. Common examples of community outreach are providing food to those in need, creating community gardens, picking up litter and garbage in a community, brake light clinics, and so forth.
As previously stated, the long term goal of community outreach is the fostering of communal and individual autonomy. This is achieved by bringing a community closer together in a social and material sense. It is vital that the community will begin to empower itself and its members on its own. This should in turn help create a community which acts increasingly on the principle of mutual aid and itself sees community outreach as an important social good that individuals will take up for themselves. Community outreach is also important due to the fact that more tightly knit communities see large drops in crimes committed, as the material conditions are met for all members there is a lack of motivation for most crimes, which in turn helps protect the community from the enforcers of the state.
As a community is brought closer together it is just as important to bring them closer together with the communities around them. Just as they struggle so too do the people in their neighboring communities, and the lessons imparted in bringing their community closer together can be applied to bring them closer together both within their community and between communities. Over time this solidarity can be channeled into working towards community and intercommunity autonomy, through the use of neighborhood and local councils through the Federationist Associations of the area. These councils will demonstrate to the people that they do not have to rely on the state or capitalism to provide things, and that they as individuals and as a community have the power to self-govern. Further, as this develops it will be seen that as capitalism and the state fall further into the abyss of decline and fascism that there is a need to evolve and create institutions of self-defense from the state and reactionaries.
The goal is to create semi-autonomous zones filled with people who have the skills and tools to self-govern and coordinate with each other and those in other communities, creating a solid foundation for a revolution of liberation. Whenever the revolution comes due to the implosion of the capitalist system, these communities can be prepared to provide for and to protect themselves, while also having a head start on building a better future of society which is not weighed down by oppressive forces.
Through community outreach federationists can extend the language and ideas of self-governance to the realm of the workplace. Asking the community why it is that democracy is so beneficial to them in every way, but then why is disallowed in the workplace where they are paid only a fraction of the value of what they produce while their boss does very little but earns so much more.
Federationists should encourage a form of syndicalism and workplace democracy to develop within local workplaces, demonstrating the material gain that can come from these systems. From there pointing out how syndicalism and workplace democracy integrated with their community autonomy could lead to much more prosperity within their community. The step to integrate parallel power, specifically syndicalism, within the larger framework of community self-governance and social revolution is absolutely crucial. Syndicalism on its own merely creates a separate solidarity between workers, but will in general result in isolation between the community struggle and the worker struggle. The struggles of the community and worker must be realized as within the same understanding of the social revolution and the fight for liberation in all aspects of life. Without an integration of the community and worker struggles, both will be left weakened and will over time erode and lose their sense of purpose and direction, which is exactly what has happened in most prior potentially revolutionary periods.
The increase in worker consciousness and working towards a movement of radical worker autonomy will just as in the case of community autonomy have workers realize the lack of necessity for both the state and capitalism. This paired with the breaking down of the boundaries between community life and work life, will lead people to understand that such boundaries are falsely constructed. As the realization grows that community life should increase the value found in one’s work and that work life should increase the value found in one’s community, there should also be a collective awakening to the grand possibilities of a future without oppression, subservience, or coercion.
It is also important that federationists help demonstrate what this breaking down might look like. Federationists should promote and help the operation of community and worker owned and operated media organizations, health clinics, and child care programs in particular. Independent media organizations, even if tiny in scale can have important and large impacts on communities. Federationist media organizations can provide news and coverage of events that corporate media will twist or hide. Such media outlets don’t need to out compete other more established outlets, the main focus should simply be providing information that helps see through ruling class lies and deception; counters dangerous narratives; and keeps communities connected and up to date with the important realities that they are facing and encouraging mutual aid. Health clinics, like media outlets, do not have to seek to replace existing clinics. Health clinics in areas that are medically underserved can go a long way in demonstrating the principles of mutual aid and solidarity. Less formal health clinics have helped countless people throughout history, particularly women and queer individuals, in times when accessing healthcare was near impossible if not simply impossible. Child care programs can very directly help take a load off of parents and guardians who may wish to organize but have to take care of children, and in turn can have that barrier removed for them. Again, such programs don’t have to seek to out compete or replace already existing services. These programs give the benefit of including known and trusted individuals to look after children. Additionally, it can allow helping children get ahead in their material conditions by assisting with schooling. Further, such programs can help foster critical thinking, a cooperative mindset, and personal autonomy within children to help them reach a greater understanding of themselves and the world they find themselves in.
It is key that demonstrations are used to mobilize communities. Demonstrations being protests, marches, strikes, and so on which push for things which are in line with federationism’s goals or which are advantageous to communities in order to push for further concessions. It is of the highest importance that this approach is understood strictly in the sense of direct action, and not in regard to electoralism. Reforms doled out from above can always be taken away more easily than those fought for by the people, and take longer for such reforms to be taken for granted and be subsumed into the status quo and co-opted by opportunists within the government. The use of demonstrations is to force those in power to concede to the demands of the people. Due to the dynamic of the people making demands against the initial will of the state it is critical that demonstrations involving federationists seek to drive the narrative around the demonstrations. If the state is allowed to take uncontested control over the narrative, demonstrations lose their power and can be dismissed by those in power. As such it is important to craft clear issue focused demands.
Demonstrations in order to be effective must remain in the public eye for as long as possible, presuming the state does not quickly give into demands. The visibility of demonstrations lends to winning over the hearts and minds of the populace at large, as the message is broadcast to people and can introduce them to wider social movements which the state normally tries its best to cover over. As such, failure to meet demands of demonstrators must be met with swift and decisive escalation of the demonstrations. Escalation of demonstrations involves both the size and scope. An escalated demonstration can increase the area being occupied, the length it is occupied, or both. An escalated demonstration can also most critically include the escalation of demands, this in tandem with the escalation in the size of demonstrations and in where demonstrations take place can help pressure the state into giving the people what they are owed.
Escalation of demands is crucial to radical organizing. Demonstrations are not a negotiation, and it is long past time in which they are viewed by anyone as such. If a local government or employer does not accept initial demands within a short window of time, then as a principle of federationist praxis the demonstration must be escalated. It is important to remind these institutions of oppression that in reality they are using stolen power and borrowed time, and that they cannot resist a firm and dedicated push by the people. Failure to accept demands means that demands will be increased, with any later agreement to initial demands no longer being acceptable and that at the very least the first set of additional demands is the new lowest that they can agree to. Further, using escalation of demands in tandem with escalation of size and scope of the demonstration can in turn lend even more leverage.
Every attempt to shut down or disperse a demonstration must in turn be met with an escalation. Trying to work around the demands of the demonstration is to be met with an increase in the demands. Trying to negotiate down to half measures of the demands is to be met with an increase in demands. Trying to disperse a demonstration is to be met with a regrouping and escalation of the size and scope of the demonstration. Any additional attempts of any sort of these subversive actions are to be met with exponential escalations of the demonstrations. The forces of the state and capital are to be made to understand the precarious nature on which they stand. Further, an important tactic for escalated demonstrations is to have multiple moderate sized demonstrations, rather than one large demonstration, as it prevents state enforcers from being able to adequately contain demonstrations or detain demonstrators.
A further note is that escalation of size and scope should include the tactic of doing so in areas which capitalists and state enforcers are not expecting or would be caught off guard by. Additionally, reaching out to other communities to join in the demonstrations out of solidarity can win far greater and more important victories by spreading the winnings to greater numbers of people. This can ultimately culminate in a combination of a general strike and general mass protest, where a large portion of the people within a country or international region come together in solidarity to make their demands.
Such a general demonstration may also be the ideal position from which a revolution may spring forth as by the point that such a demonstration is possible and is called for it would likely constitute a critical mass in social consciousness within a populace, attempts to disperse such demonstrations can then be met with revolutionary action. A general demonstration would ideally come with the demand for a peaceful transfer of power, and the formation of social councils and a general assembly which shall be representative of federationists as well as other groups within a New United Front. Such an ideal and peaceful transfer of power in order to abolish the state apparatus and from there begin the transitive phase from capitalism to communism is unfortunately highly unlikely. The state will in all likelihood push back with ferocious violence, at which point it is clear that the state will have lost its last false pretense for holding power and that a revolution for liberation by any means necessary must commence. The state chooses to rule through violence and coercion, and as such has certainly already decided to seal its fate by requiring that it can only be abolished through similar means.
Federationism and Insurrection
While organizational direct action is the primary mode of praxis that federationists should seek to engage it, that is not always possible or practical. Some federationists may lack the time or resources to dedicate to such relatively large scale tasks, and others may face a lack of ability to even access or start organizational direct action within their area for any number of reasons. As such, there must be a space for individuals and small informal groups to engage in direct action.
The core essence of federationist praxis, particularly in regard to praxis for individuals and small groups, is influenced by and borrows heavily from insurrectionary anarchism (to correct a previous mischaracterization from initial versions of The Federationist Manifesto, insurrectionary anarchism does not reject the idea of revolution inherently nor do most insurrectionist anarchists, but certain tendencies do take up that interpretation of insurrection as negating revolution). Naturally federationism does not fully agree with nor purport to be a replacement of the insurrectionary tradition, rather federationist praxis simply takes inspiration from the ideas that can be found within the tradition. Insurrectionary anarchism consists of five main points, the focus on temporary affinity groups over permanent organizations; the concept of attack; transcending the dichotomy between the individual and society; self-management of the struggle; and constant agitation and build up. Of these points federationism largely agrees with all these points, with the main exception of organizational theory.
Federationism puts forward that radical change has only ever been brought about by mass movements and that the smaller scale of affinity groups, especially temporary ones, simply cannot replace the longer term efficacy found within permanent organizational structures. However, temporary affinity groups are absolutely perfect for a variety of direct action tactics that will be covered later. Federationism does not reject individual or affinity group praxis, however such praxis is best left to certain tasks rather than being the whole of organizing. That being said, affinity groups and their focus on full direct democracy and lack of leaders or followers is something that should be replicated as much as possible within more permanent organizational structures. Federationist Leagues must seek to attempt to mirror the sort of society federationism hopes to bring about, as such there should be no distinction of leaders or followers, each member is unique and valuable in and of themselves. Federationist Leagues are not to be ‘mass organizations’ which erase the individuality of members in favor of the collective, instead they are to be as direct of democracies and possible and seek to empower individual members rather than seek to enforce subordination to the collective. The collective and individual are dependent on each other, and must seek to work together not overcome the other. As such, while more permanent and formal means of organization are necessary, this should not stop the use of individual or affinity group oriented praxis where it is best suited.
The concept of attack is the idea that one should always be doing something, and that through action not theory one learns how to become an actual revolutionary. Under the concept of attack theory and readings are best useful as clarifying how to act. Further, there can be no compromise or negotiation with the state or forces of capital. Federationism agrees with these concepts, that taking action is the most important facet of revolution and that theory should serve the role of clarifying how to act. Federationist theory should only ever be straight forward and as direct as is practical, there is no place for overly esoteric writing with complicated words and phrases that only turn people away. Additionally, there is no place for compromise or negotiation with those which oppress the people and seek to do so indefinitely, there can only be actions to force them to weaken themselves in order to strengthen the revolutionary movement and better provide necessities of life that the people need and are currently deprived of.
The transcendence of the dichotomy between the individual and society is absolutely essential for any person who wishes to bring about a better world. Individuals deserve and have a right to autonomy and liberty to form their lives and identities in the ways that they want to and be free of poverty, oppression, and fear of the future. However, this sort of individual can only come about in a society which provides the material conditions which allow for it, and fosters a culture of encouraging individuals to seek out their own definition of self and success. The individual and society are merely two parts of a greater whole, each is absolutely vital in creating a better world. As such federationists must reject any reductionist and misleading notions that the individual and society are opposites pitted against each other. Such an idea stems from the state, which draws such a distinction, and those who claim to fight for liberation but maintain that this false dichotomy in their thinking will only lead the movement towards liberation astray with their inability to escape the confines of statist and domination centered thinking. Free individuals are only possible in a society which fosters them, and a free society is only possible where individuals seek to raise each other up and come together in solidarity.
Self-management of the struggle in the principle that those that struggle against oppression must remain autonomous in their choices and praxis. Self-management is on principle opposed to more formal organization, which is where federationism parts ways with insurrectionary principles on this matter. However, federationism takes into account the critique of organizations presented by this principle, the critique being that organizations are prone to enforcing total conformity within their ranks and are far easier incorporated into already existing hierarchical power structure and as such losing all revolutionary potential and betraying members which had placed their hope with the organization. Following this line of reasoning federationism proposes that the structure of the Federationist Leagues be decentralized and, to be frank, a league not a party. Federationism is opposed to top-down structures of authority, and rejects any attempt to create mandatory uniformity within its members and constituent leagues, as well as absolutely condemns integration within existing power structures. Federationist Leagues are to be decentralized and reject the devolution into a ‘mass organization’ which would place power with the organization as an entity rather than with the members that make up the organization. Federationist Leagues are to always be self-managed by all their members, not from any sort of special committee(s).
Constant agitation and build up is the fifth general principle of insurrectionary theory. This posits that a revolution is a concrete event that has a start and finish, and further that it is not inevitable that it will just happen one day. A revolution must be built up through acts of insurrection in our everyday lives, some big and some small. Federationism agrees with insurrectionary anarchism on this point entirely, and this is the purpose of Federationist Leagues. Federationist Leagues merely serve as organizations to empower individuals to take on these daily actions in a unified manner. We the people are what will bring about the revolution through our struggle against injustice and oppression, and our actions must build up to that point. We cannot rest our hope in a revolution that we would not work towards ourselves, we must seize the present for ourselves in order to construct our liberated future!
Direct Action for Affinity Groups and the Individual
As previously stated, direct action for affinity groups and individuals should be for certain sets of praxis. Such praxis may be necessary in the case of individuals or small groups being in some way prevented from organizing into larger groups, or that there may be certain circumstances in which the actions which are necessary for a community fall outside of the main work of a Federationist League. Following the necessity of individual and affinity group direct action, federationism proposes certain acts as being easy to accomplish comparable to the good they can produce. Such actions are not the only ones, but are generally applicable to most people.
First, joining demonstrations. Federationists do not need to always join in on strikes, protests, or other forms of demonstrations as a collective unit. If an individual or group of federationists wants to join and support demonstrations, then there is no reason they should be prevented or discouraged from doing so. Doing so can in turn grow a greater sense of community, solidarity, and connections.
Second, agitprop. Agitprop is a portmanteau of agitation and propaganda. It is the display and spreading of messages through popular media, such as literature, pamphlets, posters, and any other such mediums which can spread the messages of federationism and liberation. Agitprop can raise awareness of issues, attempt to help increase understanding of federationist ideas, and so forth. Particularly simple forms of this may be leaving pamphlets around in public places, or even passing them out and talking to ordinary people about the ideas of federationism, as well as what is known as wheat pasting. Wheat pasting is the application of a gel or liquid adhesive made from a mixture of wheat flour, starch, and water to things such as posters or artwork which make their removal more difficult than simply tearing it down or scrubbing it off. Wheat pasting allows for a greater assurance that reactionaries will not be able to not so easily tamper with posters, flyers, or artwork promoting federationism.
Third, talking to ordinary people. Following up on the idea of passing around pamphlets and discussing with passerbys the ideas of federationism, simply bringing up federationism and its ideas to other people can help spread its message and ideas to more people. One does not need to convince every person they talk to of federationism, merely being exposed to the ideas opens people up to hearing them from someone else at some other time. The more people are familiarized with the ideas of liberation and the ideas of federationism, the easier it will be to spread such beliefs and as such help raise social consciousness.
Fourth, seed bombing. Seed bombing is the practice of taking specifically local indigenous species of plants, placing them in capsules and spreading them in areas that have been taken over by urban or industrial decay. Such actions can bring about healthier and more vibrant local ecosystems, as well as combat the local effects of industrial capitalism.
Fifth, volunteering. Volunteering with other organizations or groups can provide one with a massive number of opportunities to help others in ways they may not have considered before. Anything from local rewilding efforts to food service can assist one’s community and create a closer bond with it and to the people living there. Additionally, strictly speaking one does not have to volunteer with an already existing organization, but can replicate their actions in their own community.
Federationists in order to aid in revolutionary action and organizational praxis should engage in personal training for themselves. Such training does not have to be a purely individual activity, but its purpose should allow federationists to help themselves and others.
First, learning additional languages. Learning more languages allows for communication with more people. As such one can understand and help people in their communities who may not speak the common language of the area and who are likely being placed in a marginalized position because of it.
Second, learning self-defense. Self-defense training will enable one to protect both their self and others. Both physical self-defense such as martial arts, and self-defense using weapons such as firearms are useful. Being able to fight and defend others is a core part of federationism and should be taken upon federationists to put into reality.
Third, learning first aid. Just as much as protecting others can come in the form of fighting, it also comes in the form of saving lives. Federationists should not just look to fight back, but to grow, nurture, and heal their communities and friends.
Fourth, learning rhetoric. Unfortunately the quality of ideas is often not enough to convince people of them, and as such federationists should learn both spoken and written rhetorical skills in order to become more convincing. This will help convince others of ideas, as well as help identify bad and malicious arguments used by reactionaries and allow for their tricks to be exposed. Debate should generally not be concerned with, as debates are battles of rhetoric not of proving truth. Changing minds and winning over hearts comes from genuine personal connection from feeling understood, which comes from conversation not debate.
Fifth, learning ethics and rights. It is important for federationists to have a defined sense of right and wrong. Taking the time to learn ethics allows for one to grow in passion and conviction for what they believe in, and prevent one’s self from being debased into fatalist despair which saps their motivation. Further, it is likewise important to know the rights given to one’s self by the state. It is important to know one’s rights as it allows one to understand how they can navigate through the system around them and prevent one from being tricked by agents of the state into forfeiting their rights.
Sixth, learning habits. All of the previous options for personal training are great, however it is also important that whatever is chosen should become a habit. Federationists must take care and effort to learn how they personally learn best and how they form habits in order to stick with these important steps of personal improvement.
Politics are boring. It’s painfully so, and it is largely intentionally so. Politics are boring because if politics were engaging then the exploited and oppressed would be confronted with their exploitation and oppression. As such it is the job of federationists to always ensure that our political actions are not boring, tedious, jargon-filled, and so on and so forth. Following the outline made by the collective CrimethInc. federationists should be ensuring our politics are relevant to everyday life, and consist of activities that are simply enjoyable.
Meetings of federationists, and when federationists head out to engage in direct action, should be more akin to social events than traditional political meetings. People should be actively conversing with each other, there should be food and refreshments that anyone in the community can have and are actually pleasant to eat and drink. There should be activities that everyone can engage in that in a sense turn praxis into a sort of ‘game’. Going out to engage in praxis should further be a social event as well. People should be talking with each other, and making friends and connections with their community. Going to meetings and engaging in direct action should not be something that members dread or are indifferent to, but instead actively motivated to keep coming back to.
Emma Goldman is quoted as saying “If I can’t dance to it, it's not my revolution.” This is absolutely important to note, revolutionary activity may be serious and that can be enjoyable in one sense, but it also needs to be truly jovial sometimes. Communities should be encouraged to come to gatherings where there will be games, singing, dancing, etc. and not just for politics. Federationists should work to organize such social events as something not strictly political and for their own sake. Of course seeking to welcome as many people as possible, and bring the community together.
For meetings which are specifically about politics, then there should be sorts of enjoyable games which act to help remove the idea of needing hierarchy. Games should build trust between members, and have them learn more about each other on a personal level. Games should be varied to prevent members getting tired of them. Such games could include finding out basic ideas of what motivates and demotivates your members, which can in turn help members figure out what praxis they want to focus on; the use of puzzles that require cooperation to solve, which helps put members in cooperative mindset; a simple scavenger hunt, just for fun; and having a notebook in which members can share books, ideas, or drawings they want others to know about, which can build up a collection of community interactions. Further, as a more long term game, members can be split up into teams and be asked to create a cooperative economy between the teams, introducing resources and rules as things move along that teams are asked to cooperate on in order to make sure everyone is getting their needs met. Such games will help break down the monotony of traditional politics and demonstrate the benefits of cooperation, mutual aid, and strong community bonds.
The Essentials of Organizing
Federationists must seek to always organize upon certain principles which will help bring about a truly liberated and free society. Without these essentials, organizations are doomed to fail at the same hurdles of previous revolutionary attempts.
First, be transparent. Federationists have nothing to hide about their organizations from others. There are no secrets of how resources are used or who is in “really” in charge.
Second, be simple. Federationists have no use for confusing or dense rules, writings, or actions. Making things overly complicated alienates those who are interested, and only allows people to try to obstruct organizing by slowing things down or making things overly complicated.
Third, be held up to scrutiny. Federationists should expect and welcome the scrutiny and critiques of those they seek to win over, as they are above neither. Organizing is for the benefit of the people and communities which are exploited and oppressed, learning from them is absolutely important.
Fourth, make a conscious effort to avoid ‘mass organization’. Federationists seek to elevate individuals and empower them. The collective organization is not more important than the members which make it up. As such members should be empowered in a social dimension, not erased by the organization in identity or the actions of the organization.
Fifth, federationists do not lead. Federationists have no interest in leading the people in a revolution, instead they only seek to help educate and empower them. Just as the rising tide raises up all boats, empowering as many people as possible empowers the rest of society. The point of the revolution for liberation is that there will be no more leaders to command followers, all people are to be equals that cooperate with each other towards their common goals.
Sixth, locate strategic points. Federationists should seek to locate and identify local strategic points to occupy control during demonstrations. Simply put, organization is meaningless without action. Action is most effective when the points which project the power of oppressive institutions are occupied and prevented from furthering their oppression and exploitation. Forcing oppressors out of locations which help project their power is the only way to win victories in the fight for liberation.
A prepared revolution is based upon the premise that there should be a predetermined set of rules and institutional structures in preparation for a revolution. Such rules and institutional structures are to ensure that chaos and disorder do not sweep through communities and prevent revolutionary ideas from being undermined. Such things don’t need to be and in fact should not be complex or particularly specific, they exist to give a basic framework and set the stage for liberation to be the trajectory and result of the revolution. Such rules would be largely self-evident such as disallowing murder or theft, and decision making institutions would be a decentralized federation of assemblies of the people. The purpose of this would be to allow for a form and direction to be offered to those participating in the beginnings of a spontaneous revolution. The exact specifics of what rules and the exact structure of the institutions should be left to the Federationist League of a given area or country, and should be different based on the different needs of each area.
A prepared revolution is essential to the creation of a liberated world. This is because the means and the ends of any revolutionary project are in fact one and the same. The lack of principles in attempting to achieve liberation can only lead to failing at that task. Liberation and autonomy are not things which can be handed down from above, they can only be forged from below. The state will never truly liberate anyone because the purpose of the state is always oppression. Just as only using a hammer forces one to see all things as nails, the use of the state forces those who wield its power to only see dissidents that must be oppressed.
Further, as part of a prepared revolution, federationists must take care to locate strategic points to hold during protests and during an inevitable revolution within their local area. Federationists do not wish for a revolution to occur or wish to hasten its arrival, a revolution is a bloody and traumatizing affair. However, it is inevitable that a revolution will break out. Capitalism and the state are inherently unstable institutions which grow stronger and weaker in cycles as the mechanisms that uphold them engage in greater and greater dysfunction, such as a market crash. Federationists have the task of preparing for this revolution, in the meantime organizing and gathering support for the ideas liberation and self-empowerment. Revolutions which are forced to start outside of spontaneous means are prone to failure as such revolutionary attempts are usually done against the popular will, which defeats the purpose of having a revolution at that time.
During the revolution the basic unit of community self-governance is to be the commune. From the starting point of individual communes a process of forming a decentralized federation should begin. Ideally communes at the start of a revolution should be the new form taken on by local Federationist Associations. This is not to say that only federationists should be allowed to participate in communes, just that the structural base of communes should grow out of the systems in place for Federationist Associations.
Communes should of course be radically and directly democratic, and seek to abolish all inequities in society that currently plague communities. As a baseline they should include a number of households up to about 150, as this size is the upper limit of which people can meaningfully interact with everyone else in the community. Communes following the start of a revolution will be allowed to make their own rules, provided they don’t conflict with the universal rules provided by the Federationist League they are a part of during the process of prepared revolution.
Communes should hold weekly meetings in order to check in with all members and their needs. Communes should, relative to their size and need, elect a council which will handle basic day to day maintenance of the commune. Ideally the size of the council should be an odd number between three and nine, allowing for personal accountability. Members of councils should be instantly recallable should they in any way overstep their bounds, and should only serve for a short length of time. The purpose of the commune’s council should be to encourage all members to participate at least a few times, sharing the burden of the labor to maintain the community they all share.
Assemblies are to be decentralized federal bodies which enable cooperation and coordination between communities. The lowest level of assemblies are to be federations of communes, from there those assemblies will federate with each other to form a larger assembly, and so on and so forth until there is a general assembly which includes all communities under its purview.
Regular assemblies are to have the power to create rules for the areas and people they represent, though a system of deliberative semi-direct democracy, which will operate on the basis of subsidiary. Subsidiarity meaning that issues are only handled by higher levels of cooperation as they are necessary, as such assemblies will only convene as necessary, as determined by members of the communities. Rules can be suggested by individuals, communes, or affinity councils. Assemblies will then have members deliberate on the specifics and implementation process of the proposed rule. Following the initial deliberation, the draft of the rule will be presented before all members and deliberation at the commune level will begin in order to suggest changes to the draft. The delegates in the assembly will from there aggregate the critiques provided to them and begin another round of deliberation. Finally, once a proposed rule has been finalized it will be called to a directly democratic vote. A simple majority vote will have the rule be applied as a suggestion to the communities and adopted by all localities which also had a simple majority in favor or the rule. If a three-fourths super majority is reached, with more than half of constituencies voting in favor with at least a simple majority, then the rule will become an incentivized suggestion. Incentivized suggestions will require some level of cooperation with the rule, though the localities will be allowed to negotiate to have specific changes made, and will require an at least three-fifths super majority vote to ratify the incentivized suggestion.
Assemblies are to be composed of only delegates which will act as messengers of the communities they represent. Delegates are to be immediately recallable for any reason. Communities should be represented by at least three seats in assemblies, and no more than nine. The seats should be divided into a dedicated seat for a woman, a man, and a queer person. The seat for queer people shall be dedicated for trans and non-binary members of communities, though they may also hold either of the other seats as well given they identity at least partially as either a woman or man. If no queer members of the community wish to seek the position or are ineligible to serve, then then seat will alternate as either being for a woman or man until such time as a queer person is both eligible and seeking the position. This is to ensure that gender equality in all dimensions is facilitated through the institutional structure of society and decision making.
Delegates should not hold consecutive terms, and term lengths should be short. The position of delegate should likewise be encouraged to all members of a society to hold at least a few times. Delegates should not be a professional class separated from their communities, but actual members of their communities participating in the important democratic decision making process of a revolutionary society.
Worker syndicates would work in much the same way as communes and assemblies, and alongside them. Individual workplaces shall based on general industry form a decentralized federation with other workplaces of the same general industry, called a syndicate. Syndicates from there would form decentralized federations with both other syndicates of the same industry, forming levels of decentralized syndicates until all workplaces in each general industry are represented by a general syndicate, in the same fashion as assembles.
It is the role of syndicates to engage in decentralized planning of the economy. Such planning should be based on the principle of: to each according to their need, from each according to their ability. The emphasis is to be placed on providing all with the resources they need before expecting any contributions from them.
Workplaces and syndicates are to in turn work with the comparable level of commune or assembly. Syndicates in order to better complete their task of a decentralized planning of the economy are to work between industries through a labor affinity council. Syndicates would likewise to assemblies operate on the same delegate system.
Affinity councils are as the name implies councils organized around specific topics, representing certain groups in society. Affinity councils would work alongside assemblies in order to provide a level of focused expertise in a certain area. As previously stated, affinity councils can in turn make suggestions to assemblies to create rules for communities. The same decentralized federation and delegate systems would also apply as they are applied to assemblies and syndicates.
Examples of affinity councils were outlined in The Federationist Manifesto and include councils such as affinity councils for gender equality, racial equality, labor cooperation, and ecological conservation and restoration.
As the social revolution draws ever closer it is important to conceive of the notion of justice. Currently forms of “justice” under capitalism and the state are nothing short of lies and false promises. There instead needs to be a move towards conflict mediation and resolution, with influences from restorative and rehabilitative systems of justice. The use of courts should be made unnecessary in most if not all cases, and should only be utilized in the most severe instances of endangering the safety of others.
As such, the question is often asked what is to be done with the inevitable reactionary and counter-revolutionary prisoners that will be taken during the course of a revolution. Federationism is in favor of using a system similar to that of the CNT-FAI during the Spanish Civil War. Prisoners should be placed in an open plan prison, and given free reign to do as they wish so long as they do not try to escape. Prisoners are to be given all rights befitting their status as people worthy of dignity. They are to be able to receive communication and visitors, and given a reasonable amount of privacy. The point is not punishment but temporary containment until such time as they no longer can pose a threat.
The focus of treatment of prisoners should be towards a program of deradicalization away from their reactionary ideas. Focusing on the resocialization of prisoners towards more supportive and accepting communities, as well as emotional outlets and therapy. Prisoners are to be understood to have been misguided by an exploitative and repressive state apparatus, and are in need of respect and assistance, not revenge or punishment.
Suspected war criminals are to be held in similar accommodations and given a fair trial of their actions as soon as possible. Prisoners found guilty of war crimes are to be held indefinitely until it can be said with certainty that they are no longer a threat to others. It is not the place of any just society to sentence any person that does not pose an immediate threat to the safety of others to death.
A Call for A New United Front
For too long have the oppressed and powerless been forced to exist under the tyranny of the state. For too long have they been told to wait by faux revolutionaries who promised to end their oppression for them. It is time that all people that seek the liberation and self-emancipation of all to band together under a new united front. It is time to restructure the way that we go about organizing in preparation for the social revolution. The planet is dying, and we can no longer afford to waste time on reformism or the state. The spontaneous revolution will arise when the exploited of the world are informed, empowered, and prepared. The movement of liberation will not be stopped, and the sigh of the oppressed will become the breath of freedom!