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<html>
<HEAD>

<TITLE>I.2 Is this a blueprint for an anarchist society?</TITLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY>
<h1>I.2 Is this a blueprint for an anarchist society?</h1>
<p>
No, far from it. There can be no such thing as a <i>"blueprint"</i> 
for a free society. All we can do here is indicate those general 
features that we believe a free society <b>must</b> have in order to 
qualify as truly libertarian. For example, a society based on 
hierarchical management in the workplace (like capitalism) would 
not be libertarian and would soon see private or public states 
developing to protect the power of those at the top hierarchical 
positions (<i>"Anarchy without socialism. . . [is] impossible to
us, for in such case it could not be other than the domination
of the strongest, and would therefore set in motion right away
the organisation and consolidation of this domination, that is
to the constitution of government."</i> [Errico Malatesta, <b>Life 
and Ideas</b>, p. 148]). Beyond such general considerations, however, 
the specifics of how to structure a non-hierarchical society 
must remain open for discussion and experimentation:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Anarchism, meaning Liberty, is compatible with the most diverse 
economic [and social] conditions, on the premise that these cannot 
imply, as under capitalist monopoly, the negation of liberty."</i> 
[D. A. de Santillan, <b>After the Revolution</b>, p. 95]
</blockquote><p>
So, this section of the anarchist FAQ should not be regarded as a 
detailed plan. Anarchists have always been reticent about spelling 
out their vision of the future in too much detail for it would be 
contrary to anarchist principles to be dogmatic about the precise 
forms the new society must take. Free people will create their own 
alternative institutions in response to conditions specific to their 
area and it would be presumptuous of us to attempt to set forth 
universal policies in advance. In Kropotkin's words:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Once expropriation [of social wealth by the masses] has been
carried through . . . then, after a period of grouping, there
will necessarily arise a new system of organising production and
exchange . . . and that system will be a lot more attuned to
popular aspirations and the requirements of co-existence and 
mutual relations than any theory, however splendid, devised
by the thinking and imagination of reformers. . ."</i> [<b>No Gods,
No Masters</b>, vol. 1, p. 232]
</blockquote><p>
This, however, did not stop him <i>"predicting right now that 
[in some areas influenced by anarchists]. . . the foundations 
of the new organisation will be the free federation of producers' 
groups and the free federation of Communes and groups in independent
Communes."</i> [<b>Ibid.</b>] This is because what we think now will influence 
the future just as real experience will influence and change how we 
think. Moreover, given the ways in which our own unfree society has 
shaped our ways of thinking, it is probably impossible for us to 
imagine what new forms will arise once humanity's ingenuity and 
creativity is unleashed by the removal of its present authoritarian 
fetters. Thus any attempts to paint a detailed picture of the future 
will be doomed to failure. Ultimately, anarchists think that <i>"the
new society should be organised with the direct participation
of all concerned, from the periphery to the centre, freely and
spontaneously, at the prompting of the sentiment of solidarity
and under pressure of the natural needs of society."</i> [E. Malatesta
and A. Hamon, <b>No Gods, No Masters</b>, vol. 2, p. 20]
<p>
Nevertheless, anarchists have been willing to specify some broad
principles indicating the general framework within which they expect 
the institutions of the new society to grow. It is important to 
emphasise that these principles are not the arbitrary creations of 
intellectuals in ivory towers. Rather, they are based on the actual 
political, social and economic structures that have arisen <b>spontaneously</b> 
whenever working class people have attempted to throw off its chains 
during eras of heightened revolutionary activity, such as the Paris 
Commune, the Russian Revolution, the Spanish Revolution, and the 
Hungarian uprising of 1956, to name just a few. Thus, for example, 
it is clear that self-managed, democratic workers' councils are 
basic libertarian-socialist forms, since they have appeared during 
all revolutionary periods -- a fact that is not surprising considering 
that they are rooted in traditions of communal labour, shared resources, 
and participatory decision making that stretch back tens of thousands 
of years, from the clans and tribes of prehistoric times through the 
<i>"barbarian"</i> agrarian village of the post-Roman world to the free 
medieval city, as Kropotkin documents in his classic study <b>Mutual Aid</b>.
Ultimately, such organisations are the only alternatives to government.
Unless we make our own decisions ourselves, someone else will.
<p>
So, when reading these sections, please remember that this is just an
attempt to sketch the outline of a possible future. It is in no way an
attempt to determine <b>exactly</b> what a free society would be like, for 
such a free society will be the result of the actions of all of society, 
not just anarchists. As Malatesta argued:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"None can judge with certainty who is right and who is wrong, who 
is nearest to the truth, or which is the best way to achieve the 
greatest good for each and everyone. Freedom, coupled by experience, 
is the only way of discovering the truth and what is best; and there 
is no freedom if there is a denial of the freedom to err."</i> 
[<b>Life and Ideas</b>, p. 49]
</blockquote><p>
And, of course, real life has a habit of over-turning even the
most realistic sounding theories, ideas and ideologies. Marxism, 
Leninism, Monetarism, laissez-faire capitalism (among others) have 
proven time and time again that ideology applied to real life has 
effects not predicted by the theory before hand (although in all 
four cases, their negative effects where predicted by others; in 
the case of Marxism and Leninism by anarchists). Anarchists are
aware of this, which is why we reject ideology in favour of theory
and why we are hesitant to create blue-prints for the future.
After all, history has proven Proudhon right when he stated that
<i>"every society declines the moment it falls into the hands of the
ideologists."</i> [<b>System of Economical Contradictions</b>, p. 115]
<p>
Only life, as Bakunin stressed, can create and so life must
inform theory -- and so if the theory is producing adverse
results it is better to revise the theory than deny reality
or justify the evil effects it creates on real people. Thus
this section of the FAQ is not a blue print, rather it is a
series of suggestions (suggestions drawn, we stress, from 
actual experiences of working class revolt and organisation).
These suggestions may be right or wrong and informed by 
Malatesta's comments that:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"We do not boast that we possess absolute truth, on the
contrary, we believe that <b>social truth</b> is not a fixed
quantity, good for all times, universally applicable or
determinable in advance, but that instead, once freedom
has been secured, mankind will go forward discovering and
acting gradually with the least number of upheavals and
with a minimum of friction. Thus our solutions always leave
the door open to different and, one hopes, better solutions."</i> 
[<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p.21]
</blockquote><p>
It is for this reason that anarchists, to quote Bakunin,
think that the <i>"revolution should not only be made for
the people's sake; it should also be made by the people."</i> 
[<b>No Gods, No Masters</b>, vol. 1, p. 141] Social problems
will be solved in the interests of the working class only
if working class people solve them themselves. This applies
to a social revolution -- it will only liberate the working
class if working class people make it themselves, using 
their own organisations and power. Indeed, it is the course
of struggling for social change, to correct social problems,
by, say, strikes, occupations, demonstrations and other
forms of direct action, that people can transform their 
assumptions about what is possible, necessary and desirable. 
The necessity of organising their struggles and their 
actions ensures the development of assemblies and other
organs of popular power in order to manage their activity.
These create, potentially, an alternative means by which
society can be organised. As Kropotkin argued, <i>"[a]ny strike
trains the participants for a common management of affairs."</i>
[quoted by Caroline Cahm, <b>Kropotkin and the Rise of
Revolutionary Anarchism</b>, p. 233] The ability of people to 
manage their own lives, and so society, becomes increasingly
apparent and the existence of hierarchical authority,
the state, the boss or a ruling class, becomes clearly
undesirable and unnecessary. Thus the framework of the
free society will be created by the very process of class
struggle, as working class people create the organisations
required to fight for improvements and change within capitalism
(for more discussion, see section <a href="secI2.html#seci23">I.2.3</a>).
<p>
Thus, the <b>actual</b> framework of an anarchist society and how it
develops and shapes itself is dependent on the needs and desires
of those who live in such a society or are trying to create one.
This is why anarchists stress the need for mass assemblies in
both the community and workplace and their federation from the
bottom up to manage common affairs. Anarchy can only be created
by the active participation of the mass of people. In the words 
of Malatesta, an anarchist society would be based on <i>"decisions 
taken at popular assemblies and carried out by groups and 
individuals who have volunteered or are duly delegated."</i> The 
<i>"success of the revolution"</i> depends on <i>"a large number of 
individuals with initiative and the ability to tackle practical 
tasks: by accustoming the masses not to leave the common cause 
in the hands of a few, and to delegate, when delegation is 
necessary, only for specific missions and for limited duration."</i>
[<b>Life and Ideas</b>, p. 129] This self-management would be the
basis on which an anarchist society would change and develop,
with the new society created by those who live within it. 
Thus Bakunin:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"revolution everywhere must be created by the people, and 
supreme control must always belong to people organised into 
a free federation of agricultural and industrial associations 
. . . organised from the bottom upwards by means of revolutionary 
delegation."</i> [<b>Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings</b>, p. 172]
</blockquote><p>
And, we must not forget that while we may be able to roughly
guess the way an anarchist society could start initially,
we cannot pretend to predict how it will develop in the long
term. A social revolution is just the beginning of a process 
that will soon lead to such a different society that we cannot 
predict how it will look. Unfortunately, we have to start where 
we are now, not where we hope to end up! Therefore our discussion 
will, by necessity, reflect the current society as this is the
society we will be transforming. While, for some, this outlook 
may not be of a sufficient qualitative break with the world we 
now inhabit, it is essential. We need to offer and discuss 
suggestions for action in the <b>here and now</b>, not for some 
future pie in the sky world which can only possibly exist
years, even decades, <b>after</b> a successful revolution. 
<p>
For example, the ultimate goal of anarchism, we stress, is 
<b>not</b> the self-management of existing workplaces or industries.
However, a revolution will undoubtedly see the occupation
and placing under self-management much of existing industry
and we start our discussion assuming a similar set-up as
exists today. This does not mean that an anarchist society
will continue to be like this, we simply present the initial
stages using examples we are all familiar with. It is the 
simply the first stage of transforming industry into 
something more ecologically safe, socially integrated and
individually and collectively empowering for people.
<p>
These words of the strikers just before the 1919 Seattle
General Strike expresses this perspective well:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Labour will not only SHUT DOWN the industries, but Labour 
will REOPEN, under the management of the appropriate trades, 
such activities as are needed to preserve public health and 
public peace. If the strike continues, Labour may feel led 
to avoid public suffering by reopening more and more activities, 
<p>
"UNDER ITS OWN MANAGEMENT. 
<p>
"And that is why we say that we are starting on a road that 
leads -- NO ONE KNOWS WHERE!"</i> [quoted by Jeremy Brecher,
<b>Strike!</b>, p. 110]
</blockquote><p>
Some people <b>seriously</b> seem to think that after a social revolution 
working people will continue using the same technology, in the same old
workplaces, in the same old ways and not change a single thing (except, 
perhaps, electing their managers). They simply transfer their own lack 
of imagination onto the rest of humanity. We have little doubt that
working people will quickly transform their work, workplaces and
society into one suitable for human beings, rejecting the legacy
of capitalism and create a society we simply cannot predict. The
occupying of workplaces is, we stress, simply the first stage of
the process of transforming them and the rest of society.
<p>
People's lives in a post-revolutionary society will not centre around 
fixed jobs and workplaces as they do now. Productive activity will
go on, but not in the alienated way it does today. Similarly, in
their communities people will apply their imaginations, skills and
hopes to transform them into better places to live (the beautification
of the commune, as the CNT put it). The first stage, of course, will
be to take over their existing communities and place them under
community control. Therefore, it is essential to remember that 
our discussion can only provide an indication on how an anarchist 
society will operate in the months and years after a successful 
revolution, an anarchist society still marked by the legacy of 
capitalism. However, it would be a great mistake to think that 
anarchists do not seek to transform all aspects of society to 
eliminate that legacy and create a society fit for unique 
individuals to live in. As an anarchist society develops it
will, we stress, transform society in ways we cannot guess at
now, based on the talents, hopes, dreams and imaginations of 
those living in it.
<p>
Lastly, it could be argued that we spend too much time discussing 
the <i>"form"</i> (i.e. the types of organisation and how they make 
decisions) rather than the <i>"content"</i> of an anarchist society 
(the nature of the decisions reached). Moreover, the implication 
of this distinction also extends to the organisations created in 
the class struggle that would, in all likelihood, become the 
framework of a free society. However, form is as, perhaps more, 
important than content. This is because <i>"form"</i> and <i>"content"</i> are 
inter-related -- a libertarian, participatory <i>"form"</i> of organisation 
allows the <i>"content"</i> of a decision, society or struggle to change. 
Self-management has an educational effect on those involved, as they 
are made aware of different ideas, think about them and decide between 
them (and, of course, formula and present their own ones). Thus the 
nature of these decisions can and will evolve. Thus form has a decisive 
impact on <i>"content"</i> and so we make no apologies for discussing the
form of a free society. As Murray Bookchin argues:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"To assume that the forms of freedom can be treated merely as forms
would be as absurd as to assume that legal concepts can be treated
merely as questions of jurisprudence. The form and content of
freedom, like law and society, are mutually determined. By the 
same token, there are forms of organisation that promote and
forms that vitiate the goal of freedom . . . To one degree or
another, these forms either alter the individual who uses them
or inhibit his [or her] further development."</i> [<b>Post-Scarcity
Anarchism</b>, p. 147]
</blockquote><p>
And the <b>content</b> of decisions are determined by the individuals
involved. Thus participatory, decentralised, self-managed organisations
are essential for the development of the content of decisions because
they develop the individuals who make them.
<p>
<a name="seci21"><h2>I.2.1 Why discuss what an anarchist society would be like at all?</h2>
<p>
Partly, in order to indicate why people should become anarchists. Most
people do not like making jumps in the dark, so an indication of what
anarchists think a desirable society would look like may help those people
who are attracted intellectually by anarchism, inspiring them to become
committed to its practical realisation. Partly, it's a case of learning 
from past mistakes. There have been numerous anarchistic social 
experiments on varying scales, and its useful to understand what
happened, what worked and what did not. In that way, hopefully, we 
will not make the same mistakes twice. 
<p>
However, the most important reason for discussing what an anarchist
society would look like is to ensure that the creation of such a 
society is the action of as many people as possible. As Errico Malatesta 
indicated in the middle of the Italian revolutionary <i>"Two Red Years"</i> 
(see <a href="secA5.html#seca55">section A.5.5</a>), 
<i>"either we all apply our minds to thinking about 
social reorganisation, and right away, at the very same moment that 
the old structures are being swept away, and we shall have a more 
humane and more just society, open to future advances, or we shall 
leave such matters to the 'leaders' and we shall have a new government."</i> 
[<b>The Anarchist Revolution</b>, p. 69] 
<p>
Hence the importance of discussing what the future will be like in the
here and now. The more people who have a fairly clear idea of what a free
society would look like the easier it will be to create that society and
ensure that no important matters are left to the <i>"leaders"</i> to decide for
us. The example of the Spanish Revolution comes to mind. For many years
before 1936, the C.N.T. and F.A.I. put out publications discussing what an
anarchist society would look like (for example, <b>After the Revolution</b> 
by Diego Abel de Santillan and <b>Libertarian Communism</b> by Isaac Puente). 
In fact, anarchists had been organising and educating in Spain for almost
seventy years before the revolution. When it finally occurred, the millions 
of people who participated already shared a similar vision and started to 
build a society based on it, thus learning firsthand where their books were 
wrong and which areas of life they did not adequately cover. 
<p>
So, this discussion of what an anarchist society might look like is 
not a drawing up of blueprints, nor is it an attempt to force the future 
into the shapes created in past revolts. It is purely and simply an 
attempt to start people discussing what a free society would be like 
and to learn from previous experiments. However, as anarchists recognise 
the importance of building the new world in the shell of the old, our 
ideas of what a free society would be like can feed into how we organise 
and struggle today. And vice versa; for how we organise and struggle today
will have an impact on the future.
<p>
As Malatesta pointed out, such discussions are necessary and essential,
for <i>"[i]t is absurd to believe that, once government has been destroyed
and the capitalists expropriated, 'things will look after themselves'
without the intervention of those who already have an idea on what has 
to be done and who immediately set about doing it. . . . [for] social life,
as the life of individuals, does not permit of interruption."</i> He stresses
that <i>"[t]o neglect all the problems of reconstruction or to pre-arrange
complete and uniform plans are both errors, excesses which, by different
routes, would led to our defeat as anarchists and to the victory of
new or old authoritarian regime. The truth lies in the middle."</i> 
[<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 121] 
<p>
Moreover, the importance of discussing the future can help indicate
whether our activities are actually creating a better world. After all,
if Karl Marx had been more willing to discuss his vision of a socialist
society then the Stalinists would have found it much harder to claim
that their hellish system was, in fact, socialism. Unfortunately he
failed to understand this. Given that anarchists like Proudhon and 
Bakunin gave a board outline of their vision of a free society it
would have been impossible for anarchism to be twisted as Marxism was.
<p>
We hope that this Section of the FAQ, in its own small way, will encourage
as many people as possible to discuss what a libertarian society would be
like and use that discussion to bring it closer. 
<p>
<a name="seci22"><h2>I.2.2 Will it be possible to go straight to an anarchist society from
      capitalism?</h2>
<p>
Possibly, it depends what is meant by an anarchist society. 
<p>
If it is meant a fully classless society (what some people, 
inaccurately, would call a <i>"utopia"</i>) then the answer is a clear 
<i>"no, that would be impossible."</i> Anarchists are well aware that 
<i>"class difference do not vanish at the stroke of a pen whether
that pen belongs to the theoreticians or to the pen-pushers who 
set out laws or decrees. Only action, that is to say direct action 
(not through government) expropriation by the proletarians, 
directed against the privileged class, can wipe out class 
difference."</i> [Luigi Fabbri, <i>"Anarchy and 'Scientific' Communism"</i>, 
in <b>The Poverty of Statism</b>, pp. 13-49, Albert Meltzer (ed.), 
p. 30] 
<p>
For anarchists, a social revolution is a <b>process</b> and not an 
event (although, of course, a process marked by such events as 
general strikes, uprisings, insurrections and so on). As 
Kropotkin argued:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"It is a whole insurrectionary period of three, four, perhaps 
five years  that we must traverse to accomplish our revolution 
in the property system and in social organisation."</i> 
[<b>Words of a Rebel</b>, p. 72]
</blockquote><p>
His famous work <b>The Conquest of Bread</b> aimed, to use his words, at 
<i>"prov[ing] that communism -- at least partial -- has more chance of
being established than collectivism, especially in communes taking 
the lead . . . [and] tried . . . to indicate how, during a 
revolutionary period, a large city -- if its inhabitants have 
accepted the  idea -- could organise itself on the lines of free 
communism."</i> [<b>Kropotkin's Revolutionary Pamphlets</b>, p. 298] Indeed, 
he stresses in <b>The Conquest of Bread</b> that anarchists <i>"do not believe 
that in any country the Revolution will be accomplished at a stroke, 
in the twinkling of a eye, as some socialists dream."</i> [<b>The Conquest 
of Bread</b>, p. 81] Indeed, he stressed that <i>"[n]o fallacy more harmful
has ever been spread than the fallacy of a 'One-day Revolution.'"</i> 
[<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 81f] The revolution, in other words, would progress 
towards communism after the initial revolt:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"we know that an <b>uprising</b> can overthrow and change a government
in one day, while a <b>revolution</b> needs three or four years of
revolutionary convulsion to arrive at tangible results . . . if 
we should expect the revolution, from its <b>earliest</b> insurrections,
to have a communist character, we would have to relinquish the
possibility of a revolution, since in that case there would be
need of a strong majority to agree on carrying through a change
in the direction of communism."</i> [Kropotkin, quoted by Max Nettlau, 
<b>A Short History of Anarchism</b>, pp. 282-3]
</blockquote><p>
In addition, different areas will develop in different speeds and 
in different ways, depending on the influences dominant in the 
area. <i>"Side by side with the revolutionised communes,"</i> argued 
Kropotkin, <i>"[other] places would remain in an expectant attitude, 
and would go on living on the Individualist system . . . revolution 
would break out everywhere, but revolution under different aspects; 
in one country State Socialism, in another Federation; everywhere 
more or less Socialism, not conforming to any particular rule."</i> 
Thus <i>"the Revolution will take a different character in each of 
the different European nations; the point attained in the 
socialisation of wealth will not be everywhere the same."</i> 
[<b>The Conquest of Bread</b>, pp. 81-2 and p. 81] In this, as we 
shall see, he followed Bakunin.
<p>
Kropotkin was also aware that a revolution would face many
problems, including the disruption of economic activity,
civil war and isolation. He argued that it was <i>"certain that 
the coming Revolution . . . will burst upon us in the 
middle of a great industrial crisis . . . There are 
millions of unemployed workers in Europe at this moment. 
It will be worse when Revolution has burst upon us . . . 
The number of the out-of-works will be doubled as soon 
as barricades are erected in Europe and the United 
States . . . we know that in time of Revolution exchange 
and industry suffer most from the general upheaval . . . 
A Revolution in Europe means, then, the unavoidable 
stoppage of at least half the factories and workshops."</i> 
He stressed that there would be <i>"the complete 
disorganisation"</i> of the capitalist economy and that 
during a revolution <i>"[i]nternational commerce will come 
to a standstill"</i> and <i>"the circulation of commodities and 
of provisions will be paralysed."</i> This would, of course, 
have an impact on the development of a revolution and so 
the <i>"circumstances will dictate the measures."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, 
pp. 69-70, p. 191 and p. 79]
<p>
Thus we have anarcho-communism being introduced <i>"during a 
revolutionary period"</i> rather than instantly and the possibility 
that it will be <i>"partial"</i> in many, if not all areas, depending
on the <i>"circumstances"</i> encountered. Therefore the (Marxist 
inspired) claim that anarchists think a fully communist 
society is possible overnight is simply false -- we recognise 
that a social revolution takes time to develop after it 
starts. As Malatesta put it, <i>"after the revolution, that
is after the defeat of the existing powers and the overwhelming
victory of the forces of insurrection, . . . then . . . 
gradualism really comes into operation. We shall have to study
all the practical problems of life: production, exchange, the
means of communication, relations between anarchist groupings
and those living under some kind of authority, between 
communist collectives and those living in an individualistic
way; relations between town and country . . . -- and so on."</i> 
[<b>Life and Ideas</b>, p. 173]
<p>
However, if by <i>"anarchist society"</i> it is meant a society that has
abolished the state and started the process of transforming society
from below then anarchists argue that such a society is not only
possible after a successful revolution, it is essential. Thus
the anarchist social revolution would be political (abolition
of the state), economic (abolition of capitalism) and social
(abolition of hierarchical social relationships). Or, more
positively, the introduction of self-management into every
aspect of life. In other words, <i>"political transformation 
. . . [and] economic transformation . . . must be accomplished 
together and simultaneously."</i> [Bakunin, <b>The Basic Bakunin</b>, 
p. 106] This transformation would be based upon the organisations
created by working class people in their struggle against
capitalism and the state (see <a href="secI2.html#seci23">next section</a>). 
Thus the
framework of a free society would be created by the 
struggle for freedom itself, by the class struggle <b>within</b>
but <b>against</b> hierarchical society. This revolution would
come <b><i>"from below"</i></b> and would expropriate capital as well as
smash the state:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"the revolution must set out from the first to radically
and totally destroy the State . . . The natural and necessary 
consequence of this destruction will be . . . [among others, 
the] dissolution of army, magistracy, bureaucracy, police 
and priesthood. . . confiscation of all productive capital 
and means of production on behalf of workers' associations, 
who are to put them to use . . . the federative Alliance 
of all working men's associations . . . will constitute 
the Commune."</i> [<b>Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings</b>, p. 170] 
</blockquote><p>
As can be seen, anarchists have long argued that a social
revolution must be directed against both capitalism <b>and</b>
the state. Moreover, we have always stressed the key role
that workers' councils (or <i>"soviets"</i>) would play in a 
socialist revolution as both a means of struggle and the
basis of a free society.
<p>
Such a society, as Bakunin argued, will not be <i>"perfect"</i> by any 
means:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"I do not say that the peasants [and workers], freely organised 
from the bottom up, will miraculously create an ideal organisation,
confirming in all respects to our dreams. But I am convinced
that what they construct will be living and vibrant, a thousands
times better and more just than any existing organisation.
Moreover, this . . . organisation, being on the one hand open
to revolutionary propaganda . . . , and on the other, not
petrified by the intervention of the State . . . will develop
and perfect itself through free experimentation as fully as
one can reasonably expect in our times.
<p>
"With the abolition of the State, the spontaneous self-organisation
of popular life . . . will revert to the communes. The development
of each commune will take its point of departure the actual
condition of its civilisation . . ."</i> [<b>Bakunin on Anarchism</b>,
p. 207]
</blockquote><p>
The degree which a society which has abolished the state can
progress towards free communism depends on objective conditions.
Bakunin and other collectivists doubted the possibility of 
introducing a communistic system instantly after a revolution. 
For Kropotkin and many other anarcho-communists, communistic 
anarchy can, and must, be introduced as far as possible and 
as soon as possible in order to ensure a successful revolution. 
We should mention here that some anarchists, like the 
individualists, do not support the idea of revolution 
and instead see anarchist alternatives growing within 
capitalism and slowly replacing it.
<p>
So, clearly, the idea of <i>"one-day revolution"</i> is one rejected as a 
harmful fallacy by anarchists. We are aware that revolutions are a 
<b>process</b> and not an event (or series of events). However, one thing 
that anarchists do agree on is that it's essential for both the state 
and capitalism to be undermined as quickly as possible. It is true 
that, in the course of social revolution, we anarchists may not be 
able to stop a new state being created or the old one from surviving. 
It all depends on the balance of support for anarchist ideas in the 
population and how willing people are to introduce them. There is no 
doubt, though, that for a social revolt to be fully anarchist, the 
state and capitalism must be destroyed and new forms of oppression 
and exploitation not put in their place. How quickly after such a 
destruction we move to a fully communist-anarchist society is a moot 
point, dependent on the conditions the revolution is facing and the 
ideas and wants of the people making it.
<p>
In other words anarchists agree that an anarchist society cannot be
created overnight, for to assume so would be to imagine that anarchists
could enforce their ideas on a pliable population. Libertarian socialism
can only be created from below, by people who want it and understand it,
organising and liberating themselves. <i>"Communist organisations,"</i> 
argued Kropotkin, <i>"must be the work of all, a natural growth, a 
product of the constructive genius of the great mass. Communism
cannot be imposed from above; it could not live even for a
few months if the constant and daily co-operation of all did not
uphold it. It must be free."</i> [<b>Kropotkin's Revolutionary Pamphlets</b>,
p. 140] The results of the Russian Revolution should have cleared 
away long ago any contrary illusions about how to create "socialist" 
societies. The lesson from every revolution is that the mistakes 
made by people in liberating themselves and transforming society 
are always minor compared to the results of creating authorities, 
who eliminate such "ideological errors" by destroying the freedom 
to make mistakes (and so freedom as such). Freedom is the only real basis on which socialism 
can be built (<i>"Experience through freedom is the only means to
arrive at the truth and the best solutions; and there is no
freedom if there is not the freedom to be wrong."</i> [Malatesta,
<b>Life and Ideas</b>, p. 72]).
<p>
Therefore, most anarchists would support Malatesta's claim that <i>"[t]o
organise a [libertarian] communist society on a large scale it would be
necessary to transform all economic life radically, such as methods of
production, of exchange and consumption; and all this could not be
achieved other than gradually, as the objective circumstances permitted
and to the extent that the masses understood what advantages could be
gained and were able to act for themselves."</i> [<b>Malatesta: Life and Ideas</b>,
p. 36] 
<p>
This means that while the conditions necessary of a free society would 
be created in a broad way by a social revolution, it would be utopian
to imagine everything will be perfect immediately. Few anarchists
have argued that such a jump would be possible -- rather they have
argued that revolutions create the conditions for the evolution towards
an anarchist society by abolishing state and capitalism. <i>"Besides,"</i> 
argued Alexander Berkman, <i>"you must not confuse the social
revolution with anarchy. Revolution, in some of its stages, is
a violent upheaval; anarchy is a social condition of freedom and
peace. The revolution is the <b>means</b> of bringing anarchy about
but it is not anarchy itself. It is to pave the road to anarchy,
to establish conditions which will make a life of liberty possible."</i> 
However, <i>"to achieve its purpose the revolution must be imbued with
and directed by the anarchist spirit and ideas. The end shapes the
means. . . the social revolution must be anarchist in method as 
in aim."</i> [<b>The ABC of Anarchism</b>, p. 81] 
<p>
This means that while acknowledging the possibility of a transitional 
<b>society</b>, anarchists reject the notion of a transitional <b>state</b> as 
confused in the extreme (and, as can be seen from the experience of 
Marxism, dangerous as well). An anarchist society can only be achieved 
by anarchist means. Hence French Syndicalist Fernand Pelloutier's 
comments:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Nobody believes or expects that the coming revolution . . . will
realise unadulterated anarchist-communism. . . it will erupt, no
doubt, before the work of anarchist education has been completed . . .
[and as] a result . . . , while we do preach perfect communism,
it is not in the certainty or expectation of [libertarian] communism's 
being the social form of the future: it is in order to further men's
[and women's] education . . . so that, by the time of the day of
conflagration comes, they will have attained maximum emancipation.
But must the transitional state to be endured necessarily or
inevitability be the collectivist [i.e. state socialist/capitalist]
jail? Might it not consist of libertarian organisation confined
to the needs of production and consumption alone, with all political
institutions having been done away with?"</i> [<b>No Gods, No Masters</b>,
vol. 2, p. 55]
</blockquote><p>
One thing <b>is</b> certain: an anarchist social revolution or mass movement
will need to defend itself against attempts by statists and capitalists 
to defeat it. Every popular movement, revolt, or revolution has had to 
face a backlash from the supporters of the status quo. An anarchist 
revolution or mass movement will face (and indeed has faced) such 
counter-revolutionary movements. However, this does not mean that 
the destruction of the state and capitalism need be put off until 
after the forces of reaction are defeated (as Marxists usually 
claim). For anarchists, a social revolution and free society can 
only be defended by anti-statist means, for example, by <i>"arming
everyone . . . and of interesting the mass of the population in
the victory of the revolution."</i> This would involve the <i>"creation
of a voluntary militia, without powers to interfere as militia
in the life of the community, but only to deal with any armed
attacks by the forces of reaction to re-establish themselves,
or to resist outside intervention by countries as yet not in
a state of revolution."</i> [Malatesta, <b>Life and Ideas</b>, p. 173 and
p. 166] For more discussion of this important subject see sections 
<a href="secI5.html#seci514">I.5.14</a> 
and <a href="secJ7.html#secj76">J.7.6</a>.
<p>
So, given an anarchist revolution which destroys the state, the type 
and nature of the economic system created by it will depend on local
circumstances and the level of awareness in society. The individualists
are correct in the sense that what we do now will determine how the future
develops. Obviously, any <i>"transition period"</i> starts in the <b>here and now,</b>
as this helps determine the future. Thus, while social anarchists usually
reject the idea that capitalism can be reformed away, we agree with the
individualists that it is essential for anarchists to be active today in
constructing the ideas, ideals and new liberatory institutions of the
future society within the current one. The notion of waiting for the
<i>"glorious day"</i> of total revolution is not one held by anarchists.
<p>
Thus, all the positions outlined at the start of this section have a grain
of truth in them. This is because, as Malatesta put it, <i>"[w]e are, in any
case, only one of the forces acting in society, and history will advance,
as always, in the direction of the resultant of all the [social] forces."</i> 
[<b>Malatesta: Life and Ideas</b>, p. 109] This means that different areas will
experiment in different ways, depending on the level of awareness which
exists there -- as would be expected in a free society which is created by
the mass of the people.
<p>
Ultimately, the most we can say about the timing and necessary 
conditions of revolution is that an anarchist society can only 
come about once people liberate themselves (and this implies an 
ethical and psychological transformation), but that this does not 
mean that people need to be <i>"perfect"</i> nor that an anarchist society 
will come about <i>"overnight,"</i> without a period of self-activity by 
which individuals reshape and change themselves as they are reshaping 
and changing the world about them.
<p>
<a name="seci23"><h2>I.2.3 How is the framework of an anarchist society created?</h2>
<p>
Anarchists do not abstractly compare a free society with the
current one. Rather, we see an <b>organic</b> connection between
what is and what could be. In other words, anarchists see the
initial framework of an anarchist society as being created
under statism and capitalism when working class people 
organise themselves to resist hierarchy. As Kropotkin argued:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"To make a revolution it is not . . . enough that there should 
be . . . [popular] risings . . . It is necessary that after the 
risings there should be something new in the institutions [that
make up society], which would permit new forms of life to be 
elaborated and established."</i> [<b>The Great French Revolution</b>,
vol. 1, p. 200]
</blockquote><p>
Anarchists have seen these new institutions as being linked
with the need of working class people to resist the evils
of capitalism and statism. In other words, as being the 
product of the class struggle and attempts by working class
people to resist state and capitalist authority. Thus the
struggle of working class people to protect and enhance
their liberty under hierarchical society will be the basis
for a society <b>without</b> hierarchy. This basic insight allowed
anarchists like Bakunin and Proudhon to predict future
developments in the class struggle such as workers'
councils (such as those which developed during the 1905
and 1917 Russian Revolutions). As Oskar Anweiler
notes in his definitive work on the Russian Soviets
(Workers' Councils):
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Proudhon's views are often directly associated with the
Russian councils . . . Bakunin . . ., much more than
Proudhon, linked anarchist principles directly to
revolutionary action, thus arriving at remarkable 
insights into the revolutionary process that contribute
to an understanding of later events in Russia . . .
<p>
"In 1863 Proudhon declared . . . 'All my economic ideas 
as developed over twenty-five years can be summed up in 
the words: agricultural-industrial federation. All my 
political ideas boil down to a similar formula: political 
federation or decentralisation.' . . . Proudhon's conception 
of a self-governing state [sic!] founded on producers'
corporations [i.e. federations of co-operatives], is
certainly related to the idea of 'a democracy of
producers' which emerged in the factory soviets. To
this extent Proudhon can be regarded as an ideological
precursor of the councils . . . 
<p>
"Bakunin . . . suggested the formation of revolutionary 
committees with representatives from the barricades, the 
streets, and the city districts, who would be given binding 
mandates, held accountable to the masses, and subject to 
recall. These revolutionary deputies were to form the 
'federation of the barricades,' organising a revolutionary 
commune to immediately unite with other centres of 
rebellion . . . 
<p>
"Bakunin proposed the formation of revolutionary committees
to elect communal councils, and a pyramidal organisation
of society 'through free federation from the bottom upward,
the association of workers in industry and agriculture --
first in the communities, then through federation of 
communities into districts, districts into nations, and
nations into international brotherhood.' These proposals 
are indeed strikingly similar to the structure of the
subsequent Russian system of councils . . .
<p>
"Bakunin's ideas about spontaneous development of the
revolution and the masses' capacity for elementary
organisation undoubtedly were echoed in part by the
subsequent soviet movement. . . Because Bakunin . . .
was always very close to the reality of social struggle,
he was able to foresee concrete aspects of the revolution.
The council movement during the Russian Revolution,
though not a result of Bakunin's theories, often
corresponded in form and progress to his revolutionary
concepts and predictions."</i> [<b>The Soviets</b>, pp. 8-11]
</blockquote><p>
Paul Avrich also notes this:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"As early as the 1860's and 1870's, the followers of
Proudhon and Bakunin in the First International were
proposing the formation of workers' councils designed
both as a weapon of class struggle against capitalists 
and as the structural basis of the future libertarian
society."</i> [<b>The Russian Anarchists</b>, p. 73]
</blockquote><p>
In this sense, anarchy is not some distant goal but rather an 
aspect of the current struggles against domination, oppression 
and exploitation (i.e. the class struggle, to use an all-embracing 
term, although we must stress that anarchists use this term to 
cover all struggles against domination). <i>"Anarchism,"</i> argued
Kropotkin, <i>"is not a mere insight into a remote future. Already 
now, whatever the sphere of action of the individual, he [or she] 
can act, either in accordance with anarchist principles or on an 
opposite line."</i> It was <i>"born among the people -- in the struggles
of real life"</i> and <i>"owes its origin to the constructive, creative
activity of the people."</i> [<b>Kropotkin's Revolutionary Pamphlets</b>, 
p. 75, p. 150 and p. 149] 
<p>
Thus, <i>"Anarchism is not . . . a theory of the future to be
realised by divine inspiration. It is a living force in the 
affairs of our life, constantly creating new conditions."</i> It 
<i>"stands for the spirit of revolt"</i> and so <i>"[d]irect action 
against the authority in the shop, direct action against the 
authority of the law, of direct action against the invasive, 
meddlesome authority of our moral code, is the logical, 
consistent method of Anarchism."</i> [Emma Goldman, <b>Anarchism 
and Other Essays</b>, p. 63 and p. 66]
<p>
Anarchism draws upon the autonomous self-activity and spontaneity 
of working class people in struggle to inform both its political 
theory and its vision of a free society. The struggle against 
hierarchy, in other words, teaches us not only how to be anarchists 
but also gives us a glimpse of what an anarchist society would be 
like, what its initial framework could be and the experience 
of managing our own activities which is required for such a 
society to function successfully. 
<p>
Therefore, as is clear, anarchists have long had a clear
vision of what an anarchist society would look like and,
equally as important, where such a society would spring
from. Which means, of course, that Lenin's assertion
in <b>The State and Revolution</b> that anarchists <i>"have 
absolutely no clear idea of <b>what</b> the proletariat will 
put in its [the states] place"</i> is simply false. [<b>Essential 
Works of Lenin</b>, p. 358] Anarchists supported the idea
of a federation of workers' councils as the means to
destroy the state over 50 years before Lenin argued
that the soviets would be the basis of his <i>"workers"</i> 
state.
<p>
It would, therefore, be useful to give a quick summary
of anarchist views on this subject.
<p>
Proudhon, for example, looked to the self-activity of 
French workers, artisans and peasants and used that as
the basis of his ideas on anarchism. While seeing such
activity as essentially reformist in nature, he saw the
germs of anarchy as being the result of <i>"generating from 
the bowels of the people, from the depths of labour, a 
greater authority, a more potent fact, which shall envelop 
capital and the State and subjugate them"</i> as <i>"it is of no 
use to change the holders of power or introduce some variation 
into its workings: an agricultural and industrial combination 
must be found by means of which power, today the ruler of 
society, shall become its slave."</i> [<b>System of Economical
Contradictions</b>, p. 399 and p. 398] What, decades later,
Proudhon called an <i>"agro-industrial federation"</i> in his
<b>Principal of Federation</b>.
<p>
He argued that workers should follow the example of those 
already creating Mutual Banks and co-operatives. He stressed
the importance of co-operatives:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Do not the workmen's unions at this moment serve as the
cradle for the social revolution, as the early Christian
communities served as the cradle of Catholicity? Are they
not always the open school, both theoretical and practical,
where the workman learns the science of the production and
distribution of wealth, where he studies, without masters
and without books, by his own experience solely, the laws
of that industrial organisation, which was the ultimate
aim of the Revolution of '89 . . . ?"</i> [<b>The General Idea
of the Revolution</b>, p. 78] 
</blockquote><p>
Proudhon linked his ideas to what working people were already
doing:
<blockquote><p>
<i>"labour associations . . . hav[e] grasped spontaneously . . . 
[that] merely by liasing with one another and making loans to 
one another, [they] have organised labour . . . So that, 
organisation of credit and organisation of labour amount 
to one and the same. It is no school and no theoretician 
that is saying this: the proof of it, rather, lies in current 
practice, revolutionary practice . . . If it were to come 
about that the workers were to come to some arrangement
throughout the Republic and organise themselves along 
similar lines, it is obvious that, as masters of labour, 
constantly generating fresh capital through work, they 
would soon have wrested alienated capital back again, 
through their organisation and competition . . . We want
the mines, canals, railways handed over to democratically 
organised workers' associations . . . We want these 
associations to be models for agriculture, industry 
and trade, the pioneering core of that vast federation 
of companies and societies woven into the common cloth 
of the democratic social Republic."</i> [<b>No Gods, No Masters</b>, 
vol. 1, pp. 59-61]
</blockquote><p>
This linking of the present and the future through the
self-activity and self-organisation of working class people
is also found in Bakunin. Unlike Proudhon, Bakunin stressed
<b>revolutionary</b> activity and so he saw the militant labour 
movement, and the revolution itself, as providing the basic
structure of a free society. As he put it, <i>"the organisation 
of the trade sections and their representation in the Chambers 
of Labour . . . bear in themselves the living seeds of the new 
society which is to replace the old one. They are creating not
only the ideas, but also the facts of the future itself."</i> 
[<b>Bakunin on Anarchism</b>, p. 255]
<p>
The needs of the class struggle would create the framework of 
a new society, a federation of workers councils, as <i>"strikes 
indicate a certain collective strength already, a certain 
understanding among the workers . . . each strike becomes 
the point of departure for the formation of new groups."</i> 
[<b>The Basic Bakunin</b>, pp. 149-50] This pre-revolutionary
development would be accelerated by the revolution itself:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"the federative alliance of all working men's associations . . . 
[will] constitute the Commune . . . [the] Communal Council [will 
be] composed of . . . delegates  . . . vested with plenary but
accountable and removable mandates. . . all provinces, communes 
and associations . . . by first reorganising on revolutionary lines 
. . . [will] constitute the federation of insurgent associations, 
communes and provinces . . . [and] organise a revolutionary force 
capable defeating reaction . . . [and for] self-defence . . . 
[The] revolution everywhere must be created by the people, and 
supreme control must always belong to the people organised into a 
free federation of agricultural and industrial associations . . . 
organised from the bottom upwards by means of revolutionary 
delegation. . ."</i> [<b>Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings</b>, 
pp. 170-2]
</blockquote><p>
Like Bakunin, Kropotkin stressed that revolution transformed
those taking part in it. As he noted in his classic account
of the French Revolution, <i>"by degrees, the revolutionary
education of the people was being accomplished by the
revolution itself."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, vol. 1, p. 261] Part of
this process involved creating new organisations which
allowed the mass of people to take part in the decision
making of the revolution. He pointed to <i>"the popular Commune,"</i> 
arguing that <i>"the Revolution began by creating the Commune . . . 
and through this institution it gained . . . immense power."</i> 
He stressed that it was <i>"by means of the 'districts' [of the 
Communes] that . . . the masses, accustoming themselves to 
act without receiving orders from the national representatives, 
were practising what was to be described later as Direct
Self-Government."</i> Such a system did not imply isolation,
for while <i>"the districts strove to maintain their own 
independence"</i> they also <i>"sought for unity of action,
not in subjection to a Central Committee, but in a
federative union."</i> The Commune <i>"was thus made <b>from below
upward</b>, by the federation of the district organisations;
it spring up in a revolutionary way, from popular initiative."</i> 
[<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 200 and p. 203]
<p>
Thus the process of class struggle, of the needs of the 
fighting against the existing system, generated the framework 
of an anarchist society -- <i>"the districts of Paris laid the 
foundations of a new, free, social organisation."</i> Little wonder 
he argued that <i>"the principles of anarchism . . . already dated 
from 1789, and that they had their origin, not in theoretical 
speculations, but in the <b>deeds</b> of the Great French Revolution"</i> 
and that <i>"the libertarians would no doubt do the same to-day."</i> 
[<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 206, p. 204 and p. 206] 
<p>
Similarly, we discover him arguing in <b>Mutual Aid</b> that strikes 
and labour unions were an expression of mutual aid in capitalist 
society and of <i>"the worker's need of mutual support."</i> [<b>Mutual 
Aid</b>, p. 213] Elsewhere Kropotkin argued that <i>"labour combinations"</i> 
like the <i>"Sections"</i> of French revolution were one of the <i>"main 
popular anarchist currents"</i> in history, expressing the <i>"same 
popular resistance to the growing power of the few."</i> 
[<b>Kropotkin's Revolutionary Pamphlets</b>, p. 159] For Kropotkin,
like Bakunin, libertarian labour unions were <i>"natural organs
for the direct struggle with capitalism and for the composition
of the future social order."</i> [quoted by Paul Avrich, <b>The
Russian Anarchists</b>, p. 81]
<p>
As can be seen, the major anarchist thinkers pointed to
forms of organisation autonomously created and managed by
the working class as the framework of an anarchist society.
Both Bakunin and Kropotkin pointed to militant, direct
action based labour unions while Proudhon pointed towards
workers' experiments in co-operative production and mutual
credit.
<p>
Later anarchists followed them. The anarcho-syndicalists,
like Bakunin and Kropotkin, pointed to the developing labour 
movement as the framework of an anarchist society, as providing 
the basis for the free federation of workers' associations 
which would constitute the commune. Others, such as the Russians 
Maximov, Arshinov, Voline and Makhno, saw the spontaneously 
created workers' councils (soviets) of 1905 and 1917 as the 
basis of a free society, as another example of Bakunin's 
federation of workers' associations. 
<p>
Thus, for all anarchists, the structural framework of an
anarchist society was created by the class struggle, by
the needs of working class people to resist oppression,
exploitation and hierarchy. As Kropotkin stressed, 
<i>"[d]uring a revolution new forms of life will always 
germinate on the ruins of the old forms . . . It is 
impossible to legislate for the future. All we can 
do is vaguely guess its essential tendencies and clear 
the road for it."</i> [<b>Evolution and Environment</b>, pp. 101-2]
<p>
These essential tendencies were discovered, in practice,
by the needs of the class struggle. The necessity of 
practising mutual aid and solidarity to survive under 
capitalism (as in any other hostile environment) makes 
working people and other oppressed groups organise together to 
fight their oppressors and exploiters. Thus the co-operation 
necessary for a libertarian socialist society, like its 
organisational framework, would be generated by the need to 
resist oppression and exploitation under capitalism. The 
process of resistance produces organisation on a wider and 
wider scale which, in turn, can become the framework of a free 
society as the needs of the struggle promote libertarian forms 
of organisation such as decision making from the bottom
up, autonomy, federalism, delegates subject to instant
recall and so on. 
<p>
For example, a strikers' assembly would be the basic 
decision-making forum in a struggle for improved wages 
and working conditions. It would create a strike committee 
to implement its decisions and send delegates to spread the 
strike. These delegates inspire other strikes, requiring
a new organisation to co-ordinate the struggle. This 
results in delegates from all the strikes meeting and 
forming a federation (i.e. a workers' council). The
strikers decide to occupy the workplace and the strike 
assemblies take over the means of production. The strike
committees becomes the basis for factory committees which
could administer the workplaces, based on workers'
self-management via workplace assemblies (the former
strikers' assemblies). The federation of strikers' delegates
becomes the local communal council, replacing the existing
state with a self-managed federation of workers' associations.
In this way, the class struggle creates the framework of
a free society.
<p>
This, obviously, means that any suggestions of how an anarchist
society would look like are based on the fact that the <i><b>actual</b></i> 
framework of a free society will be the product of <i><b>actual</b></i> 
struggles. This means that the form of the free society will 
be shaped by the process of social change and the organs 
it creates. This is an important point and worth repeating.
<p>
So, as well as changing themselves while they change the world,
a people in struggle also create the means by which they
can manage society. By having to organise and manage their 
struggles, they become accustomed to self-management and 
self-activity and create the possibility of a free society 
and the organisations which will exist within it. Thus
the framework of an anarchist society comes from the class
struggle and the process of revolution itself. Anarchy is
not a jump into the dark but rather a natural progression
of the struggle for freedom in an unfree society. The
contours of a free society will be shaped by the process
of creating it and, therefore, will not be an artificial
construction imposed on society. Rather, it will be created
from below up by society itself as working class people
start to break free of hierarchy. The class struggle thus
transforms those involved as well as society <b>and</b> creates
the organisational structure and people required for a
libertarian society.
<p>
This clearly suggests that the <b>means</b> anarchists support
are important as they are have a direct impact on the ends
they create. In other words, means influence ends and so
our means must reflect the ends we seek and empower those
who use them. In the words of Malatesta:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"In our opinion all action which is directed toward the
destruction of economic and political oppression, which
serves to raise the moral and intellectual level of the
people; which gives them an awareness of their individual
rights and their power, and persuades them themselves to
act on their own behalf . . . brings us closer to our
ends and is therefore a good thing. On the other hand
all activity which tends to preserve the present state
of affairs, that tends to sacrifice man against his will
for the triumph of a principle, is bad because it is a
denial of our ends."</i> [<b>Life and Ideas</b>, p. 69]
</blockquote><p>
The present state of affairs is based on the oppression,
exploitation and alienation of the working class. This means
that any tactics used in the pursuit of a free society
must be based on resisting and destroying those evils. 
This is why anarchists stress tactics and organisations
which increase the power, confidence, autonomy, initiative,
participation and self-activity of oppressed people. As
we indicate in section J 
(<a href="secJcon.html"><i>"What Do Anarchists Do?"</i></a>) this
means supporting direct action, solidarity and self-managed 
organisations built and run from the bottom-up. Only by
fighting our own battles, relying on ourselves and our own
abilities and power, in organisations we create and run 
ourselves, can we gain the power and confidence and experience 
needed to change society for the better and, hopefully, create 
a new society in place of the current one.
<p>
Needless to say, a revolutionary movement will never, at
its start, be purely anarchist:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"All of the workers' and peasants' movements which have
taken place . . . have been movements within the limits
of the capitalist regime, and have been more of less
tinged with anarchism. This is perfectly natural and
understandable. The working class do not act within a
world of wishes, but in the real world where they are
daily subjected to the physical and psychological blows
of hostile forces . . . the workers continually feel
the influence of all the real conditions of the
capitalist regime and of intermediate groups . . . 
Consequently it is natural that the struggle which
they undertake inevitably carries the stamp of various
conditions and characteristics of contemporary society.
The struggle can never be born in the finished and
perfected anarchist form which would correspond to
all the requirements of the ideas . . . When the
popular masses engage in a struggle of large dimensions,
they inevitably start by committing errors, they
allow contradictions and deviations, and only through
the process of this struggle do they direct their 
efforts in the direction of the ideal for which they
are struggling."</i> [Peter Arshinov, <b>The History of
the Makhnovist Movement</b>, pp. 239-40]
</blockquote><p>
The role of anarchists is <i>"to help the masses to take
the right road in the struggle and in the construction
of the new society"</i> and <i>"support their first constructive
efforts, assist them intellectually."</i> However, the 
working class <i>"once it has mastered the struggle and
begins its social construction, will no longer surrender
to anyone the initiative in creative work. The working
class will then direct itself by its own thought; it
will create its society according to its own plans."</i> 
[Arshinov, <b>Op. Cit.</b>, pp. 240-1] All anarchists can do 
is help this process by being part of it, arguing our 
case and winning people over to anarchist ideas (see 
<a href="secJ3.html">section J.3</a> for more details). Thus the process of
struggle and debate will, hopefully, turn a struggle
<b>against</b> capitalism and statism into one <b>for</b> 
anarchism. In other words, anarchists seek to 
preserve and extend the anarchistic elements that
exist in every struggle and to help them become 
consciously libertarian by discussion and debate
as members of those struggles.
<p>
Lastly, we must stress that it is only the <b>initial</b> framework
of a free society which is created in the class struggle. As
an anarchist society develops, it will start to change and
develop in ways we cannot predict. The forms in which people
express their freedom and their control over their own lives
will, by necessity, change as these requirements and needs
change. As Bakunin argued:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Even the most rational and profound science cannot divine
the form social life will take in the future. It can only
determine the <b>negative</b> conditions, which follow logically
from a rigorous critique of existing society. Thus, by means
of such a critique, social and economic science rejected
hereditary individual property and, consequently, took the
abstract and, so to speak, <b>negative</b> position of collective
property as a necessary condition of the future social 
order. In the same way, it rejected the very idea of the
state or statism, meaning government of society from above
downward . . . Therefore, it took the opposite, or 
negative, position: anarchy, meaning the free and 
independent organisation of all the units and parts of
the community and their voluntary federation from below
upward, not by the orders of any authority, even an
elected one, and not by the dictates of any scientific
theory, but as the natural development of all the
varied demands put forth by life itself.
<p>
"Therefore no scholar can teach the people or even define
for himself how they will and must life on the morrow of
the social revolution. That will be determined first by
the situation of each people, and secondly  by the desires
that manifest themselves and operate most strongly within
them."</i> [<b>Statism and Anarchy</b>, pp. 198-9]
</blockquote><p>
Therefore, while it will be reasonable to conclude that, for
example, the federation of strike/factory assemblies and their
councils/committees will be the framework by which production
will initially be organised, this framework will mutate to
take into account changing production and social needs. The
actual structures created will, by necessity, will be 
transformed as industry is transformed from below upwards
to meet the real needs of society and producers. As Kropotkin
argued, <i>"the 'concentration' [of capital into bigger and
bigger units] so much spoken of is often nothing but an
amalgamation of capitalists for the purpose of <b>dominating
the market,</b> not for cheapening the technical process."</i> 
[<b>Fields, Factories and Workshops Tomorrow</b>, p. 154] This
means that the first task of any libertarian society will 
be to transform both the structure and nature of work and 
industry developed under capitalism. 
<p>
Anarchists have long argued that that capitalist methods 
cannot be used for socialist ends. In our battle to democratise 
the workplace, in our awareness of the importance of collective 
initiatives by the direct producers in transforming the work 
situation and the economic infrastructure, we show that 
factories are not merely sites of production, but also of 
reproduction -- the reproduction of a certain structure of 
social relations based on the division between those who give 
orders and those who take them, between those who direct and 
those who execute. Therefore, under workers' self-management
industry, work and the whole structure and organisation of
production will be transformed in ways we can only guess at
today. We can point the general direction (i.e. self-managed,
ecologically balanced, decentralised, federal, empowering, 
creative and so on) but that is all. 
<p>
Similarly, as cities and towns are transformed into ecologically
integrated communes, the initial community assemblies and their
federations will transform along with the transformation of our
surroundings. What they will evolve into we cannot predict, but
their fundamentals of instant recall, delegation over representation,
decision making from the bottom up, and so on will remain.
<p>
So, while anarchists see <i>"the future in the present"</i> as the initial
framework of a free society, we recognise that such a society will
evolve and change. However, the fundamental principles of a free
society will not change and so it is useful to present a summary
of how such a society could work, based on these principles. 
<p>
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