Wednesday, March 21, 2007

PAN - Planetary Alternatives Network - Towards an Anarchist International

There has been a proposal made by various people who are active within the anti-capitalist, anti-globalisation or alternative globalisation movements for a non sectarian anarchist international. This proposal has been discussed in various contexts and we include here a draft text for comment and discussion. This proposal is at a very early stage and may yet flourish or fall by the wayside, we encourage everyone who might be interested in such an initaitive to join the discussion at our sister site.

The PAN initiative meant to provide a venue for anarchists in all parts of the world who wish to express their solidarity with each other, facilitate communication and coordination, learn from one another's efforts and experiences, and encourage a more powerful anarchist voice and perspective in radical politics everywhere, but who wish to do so in a form which rejects all traces of sectarianism, vanguardism, and revolutionary elitism. We do not see anarchism as a philosophy invented in 19th century Europe, but rather, as the very theory and practice of freedom - that genuine freedom which is not constructed on the backs of others - an ideal that has been endlessly rediscovered, dreamed and fought for on every continent and in every period of human history. Anarchism will always have a thousand strands, because diversity will always be part of the essence of freedom, but creating webs of solidarity can make all of them more powerful.


1) We are anarchists because we believe that human freedom and happiness would be best guaranteed by a society based on principles of self-organization, voluntary association, and mutual aid, and because we reject all forms of social relations based on systemic violence, such as the state or capitalism.

2) We are, however, profoundly anti-sectarian, by which we mean two things:

a) we do not attempt to enforce any particular form of anarchism on one other: Platformist, Syndicalist, Primitivist, Insurrectionist or any other. Neither do we wish to exclude anyone on this basis - we value diversity as a principle in itself, limited only by our common rejection of structures of domination such as racism, sexism, fundamentalism, etc.

b) since we see anarchism not as a doctrine so much as a process of movement towards a free, just, and sustainable, society, we believe anarchists should not limit themselves to cooperating with those who self-identify as anarchists, but should actively seek to cooperate with anyone who are working to create a world based on those same broad liberatory principles, and, in fact, to learn from them. One of the purposes of the International is to facilitate this: both to make it easier for us to bring some of those millions around the world who are, effectively, anarchists without knowing it, into touch with the thoughts of others who have worked in that same tradition, and, at the same time, to enrich the anarchist tradition itself through contact with their experiences

3) We reject all forms of vanguardism and believe that the proper role of the anarchist intellectual (a role that should be open to everyone) is to take part in an ongoing dialogue: to learn from the experience of popular community-building and struggle and offer back the fruits of reflection on that experience not in the spirit of the dictat, but of the gift.

4) Anyone who accepts these principles is a member of the Anarchist International and everyone who is a member of the Anarchist International is empowered to act as a spokesperson if they so desire. Because we value diversity, we do not expect uniformity of views other than acceptance of the principles themselves (and, of course, acknowledgement that such diversity exists)

5) Organization is neither a value in itself nor an evil in itself; the level of organizational structure appropriate to any given project or task can never be dictated in advance but can only be determined by those actually engaged in it. So with any project initiated within the International: it should be up to those undertaking it to determine the form and level of organization appropriate for that project. At this point, there is no need for a decision-making structure for the International itself but if in the future members feel there should be, it shall be up to the group itself to determine how that process should work, provided only that it be within the broad spirit of decentralization and direct democracy.

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