What follows is an interview that the comrades of “Die Platform” (German territory did with the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG), who are active on the british territory.
Originally published by Die Platform.
We are happy to present you our interview with the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG) from Great Britain. The organization is relatively new. They are active in four regions: West Yorshire, Leicestershire, Surry and London. To connect internationally with other organizations is an important part of our current work to establish our Federation. An interview of the ACG with us is also already in planning. For now we wish you a pleasant lecture with this one.
In international solidarity towards anarchistic communism!
Do you have a long term or short term strategy? If so what is it?
The long term strategy is to contribute to the building of an anarchist communist movement with firm roots in working class struggles, leading to a revolution and the creation of a new society.
In the short term, we seek to establish a new and dynamic organisation which can attract militants and begin to re-establish anarchist communist organisation in the UK.
What is your relation towards the Anarchist Federation?
Our origins are in the Anarchist Federation – IFA. The founders of the ACG were previously member of the AF and included the three of the remaining founder members of the precursor of the AF, the Anarchist Communist Federation (1986). Presently, we use the Aims and Principles of the AF and we consider ourselves the inheritors of what was best of the Anarchist Federation.
We feel the AF has lost its direction and has become more like a synthesis organisation that orientates towards the anarchist ‘scene’. However, there remain good militants within it and we work with them wherever that is possible.
What is your relation towards platformism? Are you in contact with other platformist groups in other countries? Whats your relation towards them?
We agree with the key tenets of the Organisational Platform of the Libertarian Communists: Tactical and Theoretical Unity, Collective Responsibility and Federalism. We reject the ‘synthesis’ and ‘Big Tent’ anarchism. But neither would be call ourselves a Platformist organisation.
This is because we have differences with the Platform, particularly the idea of creating a single General Union of Anarchists but also because we think there’s so much that has been learned before and since 1926 in the broader workers movement such as the experience of council communism, elements of autonomist Marxism etc. We have quite strong disagreements with the platform on some aspects of decision-making.
We are in contact with some of the groups which would describe themselves as Platformist or Especificist but we are also aware that the politics of some groups in that tradition are not ours, for example support for national liberation struggles, a reformist approach to trade unionism and, historically, electoralism.
In areas where we can work together with Platformist groups internationally, we wish to do so.
Which social or political struggles are currently fought in Great Britain? In which of those are you involved and how? Did you decide not to be involved in some of them and why?
Being a small and geographically dispersed group. We have had to consider seriously where we put our energies and resources.
We have been actively involved in the fight against Universal Credit, which is another austerity measure disguised as a benefit reform. It is impacting large numbers of working class people and is causing serious hardship. We are also active supporting the Youth Climate Change actions, where thousands of school students are taking to the streets. We have been involved in the Land Justice Network, which agitates around land reform. Many of our members are involved in organising in their workplace and in the IWW. Housing is also an area of struggle for us. Basically, the priority is to be involved with issues that affect the working class, which does include a wide variety of things.
How do you see the Brexit? Does it even matter to your political practice?
We have taken a neutral position on Brexit. We reject both the Remain and Brexit camps because neither offer anything for the vast majority of people in this country or in the rest of Europe. It is a political falling out between two factions of capital and is symbolic of the general crisis of ruling class thinking. In the UK there has been a Lexit or Left-wing Brexit campaign which points to the neo-liberal nature of the European Union and which defends the notion of national sovereignty. We agree that the EU is a neo-liberal project but to imagine that the UK is any different is bizarre. We have an alternative: working class struggle and active internationalism.
Whats the state of the anarchist movement in Britain? Is it increasing or decreasing in number and power? What is the relation between formally organized anarchists and non formally organized anarchists?
We do not believe there is an anarchist movement in the UK. There are several nationally organised groups, notably the Anarchist Federation, the Solidarity Federation (AIT-affiliate) and there is Plan C, which describes itself as ‘anti-authoritarian communist’ but part of which has an orientation towards social democracy via the Labour Party. These groups rarely work together, although there are local initiatives, particularly around anti-fascist actions.
The formally organised groups are relatively small. Most self-described anarchists prefer local, single-issue and, at worst, ghettoised activity or immersion in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). The latter has proved to be a pole of attraction for anarchists and libertarian left individuals, sometimes as an alternative to specific political organisation whether anarcho-syndicalist or anarcho-communist. ACG militants are also active in the IWW. This is, perhaps, both an expression of the failure of the organised class struggle anarchists to attract them and also a reflection of the influence of localism and anti-organisational tendency in British anarchism.
We work closely with the Revolutionary Anarchist Group, based in Birmingham. They are one of a number of local initiatives that are promising.
Hoe do you work on your public relations?
We have a central website, local websites for our Groups and we have Twitter. We try to hold regular public meetings, something which very few anarchist groups do and we have an annual Dayschool called Libertarian Communism. We produce a quarterly bulletin, Jackdaw, a pamphlet series, stickers and leaflets. The ACG tries to have a presence wherever we can. We are uninterested in looking inwards to some imaginary movement and only talking to those who are already on our side.
Here in Germany there is next to none class consciousness. What’s the situation in Britain? Which developments can be seen in the British working class?
The working class everywhere has been in retreat under the blows of a capitalism lurching from crisis to crisis, from war to war. Class consciousness has waned. There is confusion and disorientation and, indeed, false consciousness. Parts of the left have waved goodbye to the working class and see them as lost to socialism. We see the working class as diverse. We do not see it as simply industrial workers who, in the UK, are becoming fewer and fewer with changes in the composition of the class due to changes in employment. But, everywhere the working class has common interests. We must overcome hierarchies and power relations within it, but always with the aim of unification through common struggle.
Die Platform, May 25, 2019
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