Nestor Makhno. Platform, June 1926
The general, constructive positions expressed above constitute the organisational platform of the revolutionary forces of anarchism.
This platform, containing a definite tactical and theoretical orientation, appears to be the minimum to which it is necessary and urgent to rally all the militants of the organised anarchist movement.
Its task is to group around itself all the healthy elements of the anarchist movement into one general organisation, active and agitating on a permanent basis: the General Union of Anarchists. The forces of all anarchist militants should be orientated towards the creation of this organisation.
The fundamental principles of organisation of a General Union of anarchists should be as follows:
Theory represents the force which directs the activity of persons and organisations along a defined path towards a determined goal. Naturally it should be common to all the persons and organisations 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.
In the same way the tactical methods employed by separate members and groups within the Union should be unitary, that is, be in rigorous concord both with each other and with the general theory and tactic of the Union.
A common tactical line in the movement is of decisive importance for the existence of the organisation and the whole movement: it removes the disastrous effect of several tactics in opposition to one another, it concentrates all the forces of the movement, gives them a common direction leading to a fixed objective.
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.
The executive organ of the general anarchist movement, the Anarchist Union, taking a firm line against the tactic of irresponsible individualism, introduces in its ranks the principle of collective responsibility: the entire Union will be responsible for the political and revolutionary activity of each member; in the same way, each member will be responsible for the political and revolutionary activity of the Union as a whole.
Anarchism has always denied centralised organisation, both in the area of the social life of the masses and in its political action. The centralised system relies on the diminution of the critical spirit, initiative and independence of each individual and on the blind submission of the masses to the 'centre'. The natural and inevitable consequences of this system are the enslavement and mechanisation of social life and the life of the organisation.
Against centralism, anarchism has always professed and defended the principle of federalism, which reconciles the independence and initiative of individuals and the organisation with service to the common cause.
In reconciling the idea of the independence and high degree of rights of each individual with the service of social needs and necessities, federalism opens the doors to every healthy manifestation of the faculties of every individual.
But quite often, the federalist principle has been deformed in anarchist ranks: it has too often been understood as the right, above all, to manifest one's 'ego':, without obligation to account for duties as regards the organisation.
This false interpretation disorganised our movement in the past. It is time to put an end to it in a firm and irreversible manner.
Federation signifies the free agreement of individuals and organisations to work collectively towards common objectives.
However, such an agreement and the federal union based on it, will only become reality, rather than fiction or illusion, on the conditions sine qua non that all the participants in the agreement and the Union fulfil most completely the duties undertaken, and conform to communal decisions. In a social project, however vast the federalist basis on which it is built, there can be no decisions without their execution. It is even less admissible in an anarchist organisation, which exclusively takes on obligations with regard to the workers and their social revolution. Consequently, the federalist type of anarchist organisation, while recognising each member's rights to independence, free opinion, individual liberty and initiative, requires each member to undertake fixed organisation duties, and demands execution of communal decisions.
On this condition alone will the federalist principle find life, and the anarchist organisation function correctly, and steer itself towards the defined objective.
The idea of the General Union of Anarchists poses the problem of the co-ordination and concurrence of the activities of all the forces of the anarchist movement.
Every organisation adhering to the Union represents a vital cell of the common organism. Every cell should have its secretariat, executing and guiding theoretically the political and technical work of the organisation.
With a view to the co-ordination of the activity of all the Union's adherent organisation, a special organ will be created: the executive committee of the Union. The committee will be in charge of the following functions: the execution of decisions taken by the Union with which it is entrusted; the theoretical and organisational orientation of the activity of isolated organisations consistent with the theoretical positions and the general tactical line of the Union; the monitoring of the general state of the movement; the maintenance of working and organisational links between all the organisations in the Union; and with other organisations.
The rights, responsibilities and practical tasks of the executive committee are fixed by the congress of the Union.
The General Union of Anarchists has a concrete and determined goal. In the name of the success of the social revolution it must above all attract and absorb the most revolutionary and strongly critical elements among the workers and peasants.
Extolling the social revolution, and further, being an anti- authoritarian organisation which aspires to the abolition of class society, the General Union of Anarchists depends equally on the two fundamental classes of society: the workers and the peasants. It lays equal stress on the work of emancipating these two classes.
As regards the workers trade unions and revolutionary organisations in the towns, the General Union of Anarchists will have to devote all its efforts to becoming their pioneer and their theoretical guide.
It adopts the same tasks with regard to the exploited peasant masses. As bases playing the same role as the revolutionary workers' trade unions, the Union strives to realise a network of revolutionary peasant economic organisations, furthermore, a specific peasants' union, founded on anti-authoritarian principles.
Born out of the mass of the labour people, the General Union must take part in all the manifestations of their life, bringing to them on every occasion the spirit of organisation, perseverance and offensive. Only in this way can it fulfil its task, its theoretical and historical mission in the social revolution of labour, and become the organised vanguard of their emancipating process.
Nestor Makhno, Ida Mett, Piotr Archinov, Valevsky, Linsky