Some Anarchist Principles

May 1, 2009

anarchist-handThe local (Chicago) group I am involved with, Four Star Anarchist Organization, recently celebrated its one-year anniversary by publishing its guiding Statement of Principles. This is meant to be a short and accessible overview of our politics and goals, without going into detail on strategy or specific ideological points (we’ll address those, as they arise, in other published statements). It’s rather difficult to collectively write political statements –especially short ones — that aren’t laden with jargon or anarchist in-group terminology, but I think we did a decent job. We also made an effort to talk more about what we want, rather than just throwing out a laundry list of things we opposed.  Feedback is, of course, appreciated.

Here is the statement in full:

The Four Star Anarchist Organization believes all people must have control over the basic conditions of their lives. Core values of cooperation, equality, and direct democracy guide our struggle toward a free society that transforms our relationships with our neighborhoods, workplaces, culture, the world in which we live, and each other.

  • In our families, women, children, and all members must have equality and freedom from violence. We must be free to develop healthy, supportive relationships of our choosing as opposed to living conditions and arrangements resulting from economic, religious, cultural, or government coercion.
  • In our neighborhoods, community and economic development must be freely decided by all. All people are entitled to quality housing, safe communities, healthcare, education, and other necessities of life.
  • In our workplaces, we must have direct democratic control over the conditions of our labor and effort. Bosses must be replaced by the cooperative decisions and actions of those who work in homes, stores, offices, hospitals, schools, factories, and all other workplaces. This work must be based on fulfilling real needs rather than creating profits for the wealthy.
  • In our communities, people must be free to develop and maintain culture–art, music, sport, and food–that reflects the best part of daily life in our society. Justice, respect, and passion can only thrive in a world where our popular culture is both social and cooperative.
  • In our world as a whole, we must engage scientific principles and appropriate technologies to ensure a thriving and sustainable planet for all. Most people are experts on their own needs and we are able to solve even the biggest problems when we work together.

Four Star is committed to struggling against the lethal combination of oppression and domination that characterizes life in our society: capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy, environmental devastation, and the state. Our vision is to help develop affinity and empower people by providing direct support to groups, communities, and individuals who are identifying solutions in their lives. To make this happen, we involve ourselves with social movements and promote anarchism, direct democracy, and militant direct action.

4 Responses to “Some Anarchist Principles”

  1. Mark Conroy Says:

    Hi,

    I came across this from a link by Redjade in Hungary on Facebook, but I’m not sure if he’s related to you.

    Just to say, this is a great statement, very clear, focussed, precise, and one that, I think, many anarchist organisations could take a leaf out of.

    Well done, and good luck in your campaigning.

    Regards,
    Mark C.

  2. jones Says:

    As always, I’m in admiration of 4 Star and Infomorph’s work here. I was taken with the first principle: “all members must have equality and freedom from violence”. I share the vision that somehow violent hatred can be cured or healed through some kind of positive, therapeutic action…the arts or music…because otherwise, all my visions of revolution are violent, from class warfare to insurgency.

    My friends all seem less maimed by the violence of capitalist relationships, unscarred…but in all my experience, as a single parent, from working with Latinos working two jobs to support extended families, their treatment in the workplace, to the insanities of ICE, school, church, job-firings, work and income distributions, punishments meeted out by parents,priests,bosses,policemen and judges, all I’ve ever known is violence, as far back as I can remember.

    I simply don’t trust myself. I avoid confrontation because I’m afraid violence will break out. At one point, I just labeled myself a “not-nice” person who is incapable of living with other people, because I can’t stand the idea of hurting or disappointing a comrade. When there are children involved, non-violence is a must for a counter-cultural upbringing. I’m surprised I had any success at all.

    Constructive expression of anger seems to help blow-off steam from explosive situations. “How to say ‘I’m angry’ without accusing?” Taking and allowing others to take time-outs in order to get “OK”, before trying to solve a problem helps. Having green space in which to get a breath of fresh air helps.

    I think the commitment to non-violence and equality in homes and neighborhoods is essential for bringing about the next world. I send the 4 star group all the best wishes for their brilliant undertaking. The next world will come slow, but it will come with efforts like yours.

    All the best,

    jones

  3. jones (again) Says:

    This is something I posted on the anarchist discussion list. thought 4-star might like it.

    Notes toward a New Sociality:
    Post-Apocalyptic Michigan, 2009.

    The apocalypse has already happened in Michigan. The facts are pretty well known: the annual depopulation of the state; the loss of decent-paying work; the demise of the cities (Detroit, Flint, Saginaw and Lansing); Granholm’s decision to invest in a tourist economy (read third-world economy); the bankruptcy of the auto industry; etc., etc… But also, the same changes in society that’re happening everywhere: single-parent and second step-families becoming the norm and not the exception; increasing periods of precarity for children when parents separate; the total absence of this reality in the discourse of government and social services agency hierarchs; the anti-family ideology at work and within capitalism…
    It is becoming obvious that the industrial-based society, built on the ruins of the agricultural society has now ended (how long ago?), and we need new social tools with which a brighter future might be made. One wonders if the concept of “setting down roots” is helpful any longer, or if it is just more complicated than it used to be. Communities based on stability, tax-base, property ownership and stewardship are giving way to communities of temporary membership based on the subject’s ability to find adequate work, housing, food, clothing, transportation and daycare.
    The small-towns of Michigan look abandoned, too. Infrastructure is in pitiful condition. And weirdly enough, no one really wants to talk about it, as if working people are too harried to think about it and no one else cares that much. That’s another aspect of American, post-apocalyptic sociality: people seem unable to speak to each other (as if speech has been repressed for so long that its not worth the struggle anymore, and the “sides” in the struggle have become too vastly dissociated into “opposites”).
    So, as we think about what we want for ourselves and children (if we have them), it may be helpful to take a look at “rootedness, belonging to a place and belonging to a community” and determine the workable thresholds or limits within which we are and can be productive: of ourselves, of our children and youth , of our joy. As anarchists, we can be certain that these issues are being left to the authorities: the human resources departments; the academics; the family psychologists; the so-called liberals in government. But as always, we benefit most when we DIY, and every case will be different. Below is a list of topics which can be added to or scrapped as anyone sees fit. Please feel free to respond as you wish:

    – What is the minimum threshold of capital in which children do not become precarious? Health insurance? Day care? Dependence on extended family? Nutrition? Social interaction with other kids? Home-schooling or alternative student-centered learning ($$$) ? Access to green space? Access to productive technologies (like computer & video)?
    – How to avoid the pathological process of competition-based sociality in favor of a new socius of cooperation and sharing? What is the maximum threshold of exposure to a pathological socius or on the other hand, the necessary relationship in which cultural pathologies can be discussed and avoided?
    – At what point do public school and public institutions like pools, festivals, libraries and concerts begin their negative and repressive effects on the subject? Where it seems unreasonable to cloister-off a child, how also to prepare them? What does it mean to a child to have long-term friendships with peers from (perhaps) the dominant class?
    Anyway, these are just some thoughts.
    All the best, jones.

  4. (A) New World Says:

    Hi there, I just read the principles, good job. Don’t despair if things are moving slowly, we will get there, specially if we continue working on spreading the message. Even now I still find people which talk to me about Zeitgeist’s “Resource Based Economy” as if its a new idea which originated by Mr. Fresco. I generally recommend them books from Kropotkin, Goldman, Berkman.
    Keep it up comrade, and cheers from a southern neighbor!


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