Transition statement FvA becomes FvGA
Fv(G)A - Transition statement
With the small group that was still active within FvA it was decided to take a different course than the current one. After 3 years of existence we came to certain insights about FvA but also about the current anarchist landscape in the Netherlands.
FvA started with a few core objectives to strengthen anarchist movement and spread anarchist thoughts properly. To some extent, we were able to deliver some value on some of these objectives. But we also ran into a ceiling of further development and a sense of directionlessness.
Even though there were a few softly expressed objectives within FvA. Much revolved around a spontaneity of availability, time and energy of the active members within FvA. The participation of those involved was fairly dynamic which made the output and activities of FvA fairly dynamic as well.
But even though we may have been able to add value with some things, it was time for us to reflect on the goals themselves and how we can use our time and energy in a more strategic way to seriously think and work on building a revolutionary power from below that can bring us to a social libertarian society.
Brief reflection on our activities until now
FvA started with the idea of creating an online place for community, as a place for education, discussion, exchange of info/news and coordination. For this we had set up several Telegram groups and bridged them with our Discord. In the first 1.5 years, there was reasonable activity within the chat groups, but the conversations were far from productive. There is a fair amount to be said about the dynamics of anonymous online chats, but to be brief, we are not convinced that it is the right format for valuable discussion and communication.
Spreading anarchist thought
The second goal was to spread anarchist propaganda and attract new people into the movement. We aimed to reach a wide audience even if it meant being active on capitalist data mining platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. And it also didn't shy us from occasionally shitposting to feed the algorithm monster. Sometimes resulting in online social media drama. Especially with authoritarian leftists. Looking back, this was pretty childish and we didn't make much of a difference. But we were also able to establish a decent online presence and our reach is considerable for a radical left platform. Through this we were able to spread quite a bit of anarchist propaganda and call-outs and events.
Recruitment for the anarchist movement
Our original idea was to put people in touch with local groups so they could flow to them, but unfortunately that never really took off. However, it is fairly safe to say that through FvA people were introduced to anarchism and contacts were made among newcomers and with established groups in the early stages.
Perhaps what provided the most value - and was also the most work for us - was spreading news, events and call outs through our channels. Whether that was through our RSS aggregator The Anarchokrant or through social media. With our wide reach, we did manage to reach and mobilize a fair number of people. A lot of time and energy went into sharing spontaneous protests which often resembled what we call panic footbal or firefighter politics. And often the energy and input died out before the fire was extinguished and little had changed in the meantime. It's partly the nature of activism, of course, but it got us thinking about more sustainable and effective ways to make an impact.
Much of what FvA did focused primarily on the battleground of political ideas to spread anarchist ideas and convince people of them in the hopes of creating more sympathizers. Only we have come to realize that in many ways it is more about strategically building power from the bottom up rather than the quantity of people we can reach.
This is not to say that we don't think spreading anarchism is not important. But that we think the focus should be more on strategically applying our capacity. The anarchist movement has grown considerably since the pandemic, but this has not directly let to a growing social force. That is, a force that can drive social transformation. We believe this has several causes, but one of the main causes is the lack or way of organizing.
Therefore, with our new course under the new name of Forum for Organized Anarchism (Forum voor Georganiseerd Anarchisme, FvGA in Dutch), we hope to be able to better explore criticism and self-criticism. In order to lay a foundation for a new organized nation wide anarchist organization. Using as reference and inspiration historical and contemporary successful anarchist organization models, such as federalism, dualism, especifismo and other social libertarian movements such as the revolutionary Kurdish movement.
This also means abandoning the idea that you automatically build a social force by uniting anarchists together simply around an identity of being an anarchist. It takes more than that and if we want to organize it helps if we are all on the same page about what this anarchism actually is that we adhere to, what we actually want to achieve and what our strategy is to achieve that. This is something we also want to develop further with the forum.
The task we set out for ourselves here is no small task, which is why we are going for the long haul and know that any shortcuts can cost us dearly later on. That is why we want to grow and expand gradually in order to also properly guide and inform the new militants coming on board.
Since the forum is the basis for a new organization, it will also already partly consist of a federation of affiliated groups and members. In this sense, it will function not only as a discussion and education platform, but also for collective coordination and further development of strategy.
We know that this form of organization is not for everyone and sets a high bar on responsibility of your comrades but also for the project as a whole. All around us we see people slipping more and more quickly into precarious situations, we are facing an extreme right-wing government, many people are living in ever greater uncertainties and the climate issue is a ticking time bomb. The time to get serious about building social force that can make a stand against growing injustice is today and not a day later.
If you are interested in joining let us know via email or talk to us when you see us. We will be happy to engage with you. In the meantime there is still a lot for us to do, but we are happy to make contact to look ahead together. And we are especially interested in people who are (or want to be) active in social movements. This is the field where we think we as anarchists can make the most impact, but only if we organize among ourselves.
We can be reached at fva[at]riseup.net.
Our first activity as FvGA is already planned, on 2Dh.5 we will hold the workshop "Social insertion: anarchists within social movements”. In this we will elaborate on a main strategy we want to focus on with FvGA.
Practical announcements: We will for now just keep our old name on the website (forumvooranarchisme.nl) and on social media for practical reasons. The telegram channel and chats will probably just stay the same because there are several people using those. This can then continue to be used by the movement as to categorize things. The discord server and some of the telegram chats will probably disappear. But we need to discuss and work this out further with the people who use it.
FIGHT TO ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE TO FIGHT!
FORUM FOR ORGANIZED ANARCHISM - FvGA