Every campaign season, political parties publish platforms detailing their promises plank by plank. These platforms are not binding—politicians rarely fulfill their promises, and it’s often worse when they do—but they do offer an outline of the vision each party claims to represent. Anarchists take a different approach: rather than offering a prefabricated blueprint, we propose to work things out together, dynamically, according to the principles of self-determination, horizontality, mutual aid, and solidarity. Still, whenever people encounter anarchist ideas for the first time, there is a certain kind of person who always demands to see a clear template. In response, one of our contributors has put together an example of an anarchist program—a set of proposals that could be put into effect in the course of a revolution—as an imaginative exercise, to make it easier to picture what sort of practical changes anarchists might aim to implement.
To be clear, this program does not represent our collective as a whole, nor the international anarchist movement. There should be as many such programs as there are anarchists. As you read this, reflect on what resonates and what does not; think about what changes you want to make in the world and what means of change are consistent with your values and desires.
How to Use this Program
What follows is the opposite of an ordinary political program. It is not written in stone; it does not pretend to represent a general will, the public, the people, or any such abstraction.
Anarchists understand freedom as arising from an ongoing process; it is something we create individually and communally every day of our lives. In our view, it cannot be defined via a piece of paper or granted to us by a powerful institution; each of these practices actually destroys freedom. We also believe that defining and obtaining freedom for ourselves is the best way to guarantee our well-being.
Anarchist analyses of capitalism, the state, patriarchy, and colonialism have proven useful in countless social struggles over the past several decades, as have our critiques of reformism, authoritarian revolution, and the institutional left—and perhaps most importantly, our practices of mutual aid and self-organization. Anarchist forms of struggle have also proven compatible with a number of other struggles that have left their mark on the world, as well as influencing and informing anarchism as a living concept.
We do not present a program on the premise that we could lay claim to an absolute truth, nor that this program could speak to all the visions of liberation that we act in solidarity with. Short of presenting a complete vision, we still find the need to express some vision, no matter how partial. Recent experience has shown that we cannot win a revolution that we are not even able to imagine.
That is the primary purpose of this document: to aid in imagining what sort of changes we would begin working towards right now if we were able to abolish the government or create an autonomous zone. None of these are absolute truths we would want to impose, forcing everyone to support a single vision of freedom and revolution. Rather, this offers a way of envisioning principles and goals that many of us would fight for, which will inevitably shift and grow along the way as we enter into conflict and dialogue with other people and other visions. The point is not to convince everyone that our vision of freedom is the correct one. We will be most free when each of us can imagine our own best possible world in every given moment.
Not even the people writing and publishing it think this document is a valid program or a complete proposal. Our hope is that it will serve as a point of departure for discussion and debate, helping people to articulate similar visions, conflicting visions, or visions that are simply different. The more people who imagine the world of their dreams and reflect on how countless such worlds can fit into a single world, breaking with the homogenizing Western project, the greater our collective intelligence will be.
This program deals with some painful topics that no single collective has the right to decide. We concluded that it would be less harmful to address those topics imperfectly than to avoid them and pretend they do not exist. We hope that our inadequate attempts will inspire others to do better. The incompleteness of this program expresses a fundamental anarchist principle: no one can ever express everyone’s needs. Whatever you find missing, it’s up to you to fill it in, and up to all of us to support each other through the process of accomplishing this together.
At the end, there is a short glossary that explains what we mean by certain terms.
An Anarchist Program
0. The Ends Are the Means
Those who support an anarchist program live and organize in a way that makes the program imminently possible, not in some distant future after a dictatorial party has acquired power. This represents a completely different way of creating power starting right now.
Nothing in this program, not even the abolition of the state, can justify means of struggle that would not be at home in the world we wish to inhabit, nor the postponing of questions of freedom and well-being until after some state of exception that we dress up as a revolution.
1. Mutual Survival
Under capitalism, no one has a right to survival. We are all forced to pay for the means of survival—and some of us can’t. Millions of people die every year from easily preventable causes; billions live in misery because they are denied the means for a healthy, dignified life. That ends now.
A. Every person and every community has a right to their means of survival.
B. It follows that persons and communities that choose to constitute themselves in a way that destroys others’ means of survival, or that withhold those means in exchange for some service (exploitation), are destroying the possibility for mutual survival. Therefore, their “way of life” does not constitute survival—it endangers survival.
C. Persons and communities are right to defend themselves against exploitation or threats to their means of survival, preferably by convincing those who threaten or exploit them to change their way of life to a more harmonious, mutually feasible pattern—but also, if necessary, by force.
D. Conflict and death have always been a part of life, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. With current technologies, attempts to stave off death are predicated on multiplying deaths among those who lack access to such technologies. It follows that survival is not the absence of death, but the possibility for a healthy and fulfilling life, as well as the possibility to pass something of that life on to future generations.
E. In this sense, the opposite of life is not death, but extermination, the total annihilation of a group, including even the destruction of the memory of that group. Extermination belongs to the state. It precludes the possibility of mutual survival.
Colonization is crucial to the global spread of capitalism and the devastation it has entailed. This devastation has ongoing repercussions at every level. Colonization is the basis of the United States; it has also been foundational to the major European states that functioned as the architects of the current global system of statism and capitalism. The partial revolutions of the 20th century did not alter the basic colonial frameworks they inherited. All of this must change.
A. Colonized peoples have a right to reconstitute their communities, their languages and knowledge systems, their territories, and their organizational systems. All of these are fluid realities that members of such communities adapt to their present needs.
B. Settler societies must be destroyed. Because they are so historically ingrained, their abolition will not be a single moment of compensation (as though a price tag could be attached to all the suffering that has been caused), but a complex and evolving process. Indigenous communities should be able to define what decolonization looks like from a position of strength and healing, such as the abolition of the United States (and Canada and other nations) will allow. This is also necessary to break with the gunboat diplomacy that has characterized much of settler colonialism.
C. By definition, we cannot and will not define the limits of decolonization from the present moment, from within the reality of a settler society. Anarchists, Indigenous and otherwise, favor models of decolonization that break with colonial logics and repudiate nation-states, ethnic essentialism, punitive and genocidal practices, and mere reforms regarding who holds state power.
D. Settler communities that have historically and to the present day played the role of an aggressive and hostile neighbor helping to police and exploit Native communities in the reservation system will be encouraged to disband, and will be treated as paramilitaries if they continue any form of hostility. All “Man Camps” will be disbanded immediately, and resources will be dedicated to helping find missing Indigenous women and two-spirit people.
E. Universities, museums, and other institutions will return all bodies, body parts, art, and artifacts stolen from Indigenous communities.
F. It is right for Indigenous communities to recover all the territory they need for their full cultural, spiritual, and material survival.
G. Priority might be given to recovering land of spiritual importance, land that had belonged to the government, and large commercial holdings—but again, preconceived limitations should not be placed on how decolonization will unfold.
H. Communities in countries that maintained external colonial projects (e.g., the United Kingdom, Spain, France) will facilitate a large-scale transfer of useful resources expropriated from their abolished governments, the wealthy, and institutions that existed to serve the wealthy (e.g., private hospitals). These resources will go to communities in the ex-colonies.
3. Reparations and Ending Anti-Blackness
Anti-Blackness and other forms of racism are fundamental to the current power structure. They grew out of colonialism and capitalism from the very beginning, to such an extent that capitalism is inseparable from racism, though the latter can take many forms. It is impossible to fully abolish these power structures without striking at the historically grounded legacies of racism.
A. Communities of people largely descended from the survivors of slavery are right to take over large landholdings that had previously been plantations, as well as the excess wealth of families and institutions that profited off of slave labor. This redistribution should be carried out on a communal rather than an individual basis, to avoid encouraging identitarian processes that declare individuals legitimate or illegitimate based on abstract criteria. Those who organize a collective or communal expropriation have the right to define their own experiences and how oppression has affected them historically, as well as to choose how to constitute themselves and whom to invite into their community.
B. Historically racialized neighborhoods that have been gentrified may be reclaimed. Because many neighborhoods, before gentrification, are in fact quite diverse and working class people of all races can lose their homes, those who are involved in housing and anti-racist struggles at the time of the revolution may form assemblies to organize the process of inviting people back into reclaimed neighborhoods, for example prioritizing prior residents or their children, and finding ways to strike a balance between revitalizing Black and other cultures of resistance and creating practices of cross-racial solidarity that break down the segregations and separations of racism.
C. People in neighborhoods that are infrastructurally unsound or unsanitary, that suffer from environmental racism or other harmful effects that will continue causing health problems into the foreseeable future, may expropriate and move into wealthy neighborhoods (preferentially targeting the wealthiest). The prior residents of those neighborhoods may move into the vacated, substandard neighborhood with an eye towards improving it through their own effort, or they may move into other unused housing, of which there is plenty, thanks to capitalist real estate markets.
D. Weapons taken from the disbanded police and military will be distributed among Black, Indigenous, and other racialized communities, and to volunteer militias that fought unambiguously on the anti-racist side during the entirety of the revolutionary conflict. The communities will decide what is to be done with the weapons—whether to distribute, store, or dismantle them.
E. Resources related to education and healthcare may be taken from wealthy neighborhoods for the benefit of racialized neighborhoods.
F. The onus is on white anti-capitalists, or more correctly, anti-capitalists in the process of definitively breaking with their whiteness, to work with other white people to achieve a process of reparations that is as peaceful as possible, to help them move to other neighborhoods or territories in the case that they are evicted, to soften their landing and help them find the means for dignified survival, without creating entrenched identities or resentment that might encourage intergenerational conflicts or keep whiteness alive.
G. Assemblies of people committed to the relevant causes at the time of the revolution will set up truth and reconciliation committees to deal with whatever racist atrocities are brought to their attention, such as the forced sterilizations carried out in ICE facilities. The processes for uncovering the truth of these atrocities and achieving some kind of reconciliation will not be purely symbolic, and they need not delegitimize personal acts of revenge, but they will strive for some form of collective healing and transformative justice rather than punitive and carceral measures.
All the following points of the program are contingent on points 1-3 being put in motion in a way that is satisfactory to those who have suffered white supremacy, colonization, and racial capitalism. The rights and principles in point 4, for example, about access to land, must not be used to thwart efforts by Indigenous communities to get their Land Back.
The Esselen Tribe inhabited this land across the Big Sur coast of California for more than 6000 years, until Spanish colonizers seized it. Their claim to it was only recently acknowledged by the courts.
The way capitalism and Western civilization have taught us to think about the land and the way to treat it has brought us to the brink of disaster. The paradigm of land as property, as a resource to be exploited, is simultaneously a failure and a travesty. The commodification of land has been instrumental to colonialism and exploitation, while the measuring, demarcation, and assertion of dominion over land has been central to the state throughout its history.
A. Land is a living thing. Land cannot be bought and sold.
B. Land belongs to those who belong to it, which is to say, those who take care of it and those whose survival is based on it.
C. Land should be respected. Communities should consider the personhood of the land and all other beings that exist in relation with it. The idea that only humans of a predetermined type have personhood is responsible for a large part of the disaster we face.
D. Land is the basis for survival, and all land is interconnected.
E. It follows that defense of the land is self-defense, and is therefore right.
F. A community that exists in an intimate, localized relationship with the land, or a community that historically has had such a relationship and proved to be good stewards of the land, will probably know best how to interrelate with a specific territory. Others should defer to them in questions regarding defending and caring for the land.
G. It is the responsibility of all communities to aid and accompany the land as it heals from centuries of capitalism and the state.
Water is life.
A. All communities must return the water they use to the river, lake, or aquifer as clean as they found it.
B. All communities have a responsibility to help their watershed heal and purify itself after centuries of capitalist aggression.
C. In view of climate change, desertification, and all the other forms of damage to the planet, all communities have a responsibility to adapt their lifeways in the event of water scarcity, and to help each other to migrate if increasing water scarcity and desertification render a dignified survival impossible.
D. In the event of water scarcity, priority for water use is given to localized forms of sustainable agriculture and to preserving the habitats of other forms of life.
E. Polluting the water or taking so much that others downstream or in the same aquifer do not have enough for a dignified survival is an act of aggression.
F. Communities should respond to assaults on their water with attempts at dialogue and negotiation, but if these attempts are fruitless, they are right to defend themselves.
The global system we are abolishing is based on states asserting sovereignty over clearly demarcated borders, alternately cooperating and competing in capitalist accumulation and warfare. Nation-states have always led to cultural and linguistic homogenization and genocide, and borders have revealed themselves to be increasingly murderous mechanisms. All that, henceforth, is abolished.
A. People and communities, in concert, decide what communities they want to be a part of, and how they wish to be constituted, respectively. This is the principle of voluntary association.
B. All together, as best we can, we will develop principles of Freedom of Movement, balanced with a respect for the communities that are the custodians of the territories others wish to move through. These two principles necessitate the abolition of borders, on the one hand, and the abolition of individualistic, entitled tourism on the other. It is reasonable for communities, which exist in relation to a specific territory, to expect privacy as well as basic respect from visitors; at the same time, it is good for people to be able to move freely in search of a better life or even simply because movement brings them joy and well-being. These two rights, such as they are, may come into conflict. Communities and individuals commit to resolving those conflicts as constructively as possible.
C. Communities commit to offering basic hospitality and safe conduct to migrants. This could include migrants who wish to return home, having been forced to emigrate by the effects of capitalism. It could include the migration of entire communities fleeing the long-term effects of environmental racism.
D. Communities will coordinate across territories as they see fit. This could include federations organized along linguistic lines (for the sake of convenience), coordinating bodies in a shared watershed, and more. Anarchists recommend redundant, overlapping forms of organization, as well as membership in multiple communities, to resist the potentially militaristic reproduction of bordered units or essentialist identities.
Even governments that enshrine the right to housing in their constitutions have failed to guarantee this basic need. As Malatesta pointed out, capitalism is the system in which builders go homeless because there are too many houses.
A. Houses belong to those who live in them.
B. No one has a right to more houses than they need. This should not be reduced to a principle of “one family, one house,” because of the danger in normalizing one model of the family, and because some dynamic families include movement between multiple nodes, and to respect pastoral and other societies organized around seasonal migrations. However, this does mean that the vacation houses of the rich are fair game for expropriation for those who need access to land or decent housing.
C. Housing is not a commodity to be bought and sold.
D. Communities will make sure all their own members have dignified housing, and then they will help neighboring communities find the resources they need to meet their housing needs.
E. Anarchists will encourage the transformation of housing, which capitalist real estate development and urban planning utilized specifically to promote patriarchal nuclear families. People are encouraged to change their vital spaces in a way that enables more communal practices of kinship, child-rearing practices not based in the heterosexual couple, and autonomous spaces for women and gender nonconforming people.
F. Anarchists will make it a priority to provide safe housing for people fleeing abusive relationships and circumstances.
G. Communities will begin immediately, within their means, to modify housing to be ecologically sustainable, and to modify settlement patterns so that housing nuclei correspond to ecological and cultural needs, moving away from the present reality in which existing housing corresponds to the imperatives of capitalism. As this process will take decades, communities should develop plans and share ideas for organizing the transition, taking into account that there will be a rapid shift away from fossil fuels and changes in the availability of different construction materials.
H. Evicting people from their houses is an emotionally traumatizing act that we do not want to form a part of the world we are building. However, many historically oppressed communities find themselves living in situations that directly shorten their lives, whereas the ostentatious housing of rich people represents generations of accumulated plunder; in those cases, it is better for them to take the housing of those who profited off their misery than to continue in misery. Under capitalism, there is no inalienable right to remain in a particular house, and we are not carrying out a revolution in order to give rights to rich people they did not even claim under their own chosen system.
A key aspect of capitalist accumulation has been the industrialization and hyper-exploitation of food producers, both human farmers and other forms of life, trying to squeeze out an ever-growing surplus. This has led to the acts of genocide associated with the commodification of the land, the total destruction of peasant societies, deforestation and monocrop deserts, mass starvation, mass extinction, pollution, climate change, dead zones in the ocean, the destruction and commodification of communities of different living beings, the murder of living soil, and the systematized imprisonment and torture of non-human animals. How we feed ourselves is a nexus that brings together how we organize our society and the relationships we create with the broader ecosystem.
A. Everyone has a right to all the food they need for a healthy, dignified life.
B. Making sure that everyone has enough food is a collective responsibility.
C. Arbitrarily placing limits on or destroying the food supply that others depend on is an assault on their survival. They may respond to this with legitimate self-defense.
D. Workers in food production industries at the time of the revolution will socialize the means of production under their control with the aim of ensuring everyone’s access to food.
E. Communities will begin the process of redistributing large tracts of farmland and reclaiming land in urban environments to enable food sovereignty and to share access to the means to feed ourselves.
F. Agriculture will transition away from the current petroleum-dependent, highly industrialized model to a localized, ecocentric model designed to fulfill two purposes: ensuring food security and restoring the health of the planet. The human diet will be resituated in an ecosystemic logic.
G. Particularly damaging technologies like factory trawlers and animal warehouses for industrial-scale meat and dairy production will be dismantled as quickly as possible.
Under capitalism and the state, healthcare has been used as a form of extortion to keep poor people in misery and in debt, to surveil, discipline, and control our bodies, and particularly to torture and control women, trans and non-binary people, racialized people, and people with different abilities and mental health difference. It is one of the most damning indictments of the present system that the practices that should focus on healing function as a venue for cruelty and profiteering.
A. Everyone has a right to preventive therapies and living conditions that guarantee them the best possible health.
B. Everyone has a right to define for themselves what constitutes health, in dialogue with their community. People who share a collective experience or identity related to gender, sexuality, physical ability, mental health, ethnicity, or anything else, may develop their own definition or ideal of health; members of those groups are free to subscribe to those definitions or not to subscribe to them.
C. Everyone has a right to alter their body, in line with their gender expression or for whatever reason, as they see fit. People have an unrestricted right to contraceptives and abortion.
D. No healthcare worker can be forced to perform a procedure that they do not agree with, but denying someone access to a medical procedure is an assault on their bodily autonomy. Training in skills related to healthcare will be spread as widely as possible so no one is ever in the position of gatekeeping access to healthcare.
E. Everyone has a right to the full extent of treatment available to them in their community, or to travel in search of better conditions or better treatment options.
F. Healthcare workers at the time of the revolution will socialize the hospitals and other institutions and infrastructures at their disposal, and do their best to ensure continuing access to healthcare, to universalize and improve access and quality of treatment, to equalize treatment for historically marginalized populations, to facilitate reconciliation processes to address the abuse of such populations by the medical profession, and to reorganize their profession to remove all capitalist influences and classist organization, while still weighting internal hierarchies to favor training and experience.
G. Trafficking in healthcare, including the threat to withhold healthcare, is an act of aggression.
H. As part of the process of self-definition of health, anarchists will encourage the formation of assemblies that center people’s own needs and experiences, breaking the tradition that establishes healthcare professionals as the protagonists and people as mere receptacles for illness or treatment. People will share and increase knowledge of their own bodies, availing themselves of the tools they need to be proactive in securing the greatest health and happiness possible.
Public education has been used to create patriotic, obedient, and white supremacist civil servants, soldiers, and citizens. For even longer, Catholic education in Europe and in the colonies was used to justify colonialism and state authority. Both public and private education are linked to systematic child abuse. Contrary to classist stereotypes, people with more formal education are often more able to dismiss facts that contradict their prejudices or worldview. Education as it stands is a cornerstone of oppression.
On the contrary, education should be an unending process of growth and self-actualization. Anarchists have always been at the forefront of experimenting with models of liberating education that break with the standard formulas of patriotic, patriarchal, colonial, capitalist education.
A. Knowledge must be free; it belongs to the community.
B. Everyone must be able to access whatever educational opportunities they desire. Anarchists will encourage specific projects that end the oppressions that limit people’s access to education because of their gender, sexuality, race, class, or other divisions. Examples might include intensive trainings in fields like math, sciences, and mechanics for people from groups that have historically been discouraged from entering those fields, or history and literature courses that center the voices and experiences of subjects other than upper-class heterosexual white men. Such projects will also deploy a diversity of learning environments that do not assume a single, normative standard of physical and mental abilities.
C. Anarchists will help ensure that historically marginalized groups can obtain the resources they need to identify and develop the body of knowledge that is important to their specific community and to spread it as they see fit.
D. Children are free to engage in educational settings as they see fit, in dialogue with their communities. Free children who have all their basic needs met are constantly engaged in their own education, independently of whether they do so in a formal setting.
E. Teachers and professors who want to continue working as such may organize basic education, but anarchists will encourage the emergence of new projects based on liberating models of education rather than rote memorization or the completion of preconceived modules, especially collective self-organized self-education projects.
F. Professions that prove to be useful and desirable after the demise of capitalism will organize educational programs to train new members of the profession, expropriating resources from schools and universities or taking over teaching spaces within them, in dialogue with other professions.
G. Scientific organizations may constitute themselves to provide for professional training in universities, and to maintain laboratories and peer-reviewed papers. They will discuss ways to raise the resources necessary to maintain laboratories and needed technologies without capitalizing on the processes of knowledge production. One possible solution is that scientific experimentation will have to respond largely to the needs voiced by communities as a whole.
H. The advanced education needed to become a scientist is a gift from the community to the individual; the knowledge the scientists help produce should be a gift back to the community. Scientists should also honor their responsibility to share tools for education as widely as possible. Scientific knowledge and training should not be concentrated in a few hands. Good science thrives on widespread participation in the process of research and review. For science to live, scientists must cease to treat other human beings as objects in a petri dish and focus on equipping them to participate in that process.
I. Scientists, teachers, and other educators will facilitate reconciliation processes to deal with forms of abuse they may have been complicit in before the revolution, from facilitating police violence against students to working with corporations that caused people harm. Accredited scientists who used their knowledge to aid fossil fuel, armaments, and similar industries should be stripped of their perceived legitimacy in the same way that doctors can be delicensed for malpractice.
J. Associations of scientists will decide if they actually need to use some form of licensing in order to assure the quality of their work. The answer may not be the same for heart surgeons as for botanists. This implies a balance between the needs of scientists to ensure standards of quality, the interests of people to prevent monopolies or gatekeepers that limit access to knowledge and training, as well as people’s need for transparency—ensuring, for example, that those they entrust with their medical care or technological projects that might pollute their environment have not been dangerously negligent in the past. Associations of laypeople will also organize to weigh in on these decisions.
Under capitalism, production is one of the chief means of accumulating capital for the wealthy—through alienated work, exploitation, and the destruction of the environment. In anarchy, the only question is how to meet socially defined needs, which include everything from collective survival to the need people feel to grow and enjoy life.
A. Ex-workers will seize their workplaces at the earliest convenience, studying whether the workplace (factory, workshop, office, store, restaurant, etc.) can be modified to produce something socially useful in a healthy way. If not, the workplace will be dismantled and its resources shared out among ex-workers, neighboring communities, and useful workplaces.
B. Ex-workers, excluding managers while welcoming unemployed people with pertinent skills who had been denied access to employment under capitalism, will create some form of collective, cooperative, or communal structure to organize their workplaces, federating with other workplaces across their industry in order to oversee the production of socially useful goods.
C. Delegates within these productive federations must be beholden to a specific collective mandate (promoting positions that arise from their base assembly), they must be immediately recallable if they fail that mandate, and they must continue to exercise their craft. Workplace assemblies will decide if delegates must carry out their normal work on a daily basis or if they may be excused for a limited number of months before returning to normal work, as demanded by the conditions of their work and the needs of the federative labor (for example, delegates may have to travel long distances and might not be able to work during certain periods).
D. Those who wish to be professional representatives, doing no other work but that of bureaucrats and politicians, may form their own federations of representatives in which to go about representing themselves and others to the best of their abilities. For this purpose, it is recommended that they paint their faces white, don berets and striped shirts, travel from community to community, and hold their committee meetings open to the public. People don’t need bureaucrats—but we will always need entertainment!
E. No one may be forced to work. Communities and productive federations will do their utmost to operate according to a logic of abundance rather than a logic of scarcity or monopoly. People who wish to carry out productive or creative labors in a more individual setting or manner will be encouraged to do so, and insofar as it is possible, they will be afforded the space and resources they need, though in moments of absolute scarcity, such as the difficult years of the transition, communities may prefer to favor more effective collective workplaces that are immediately responding to a community need.
F. The gendering of different productive activities is abolished. Anarchists encourage their communities to reflect on how different useful, necessary, and beneficial activities are unequally recognized and rewarded with status, and propose initiatives or new traditions by which to eliminate these vestiges of patriarchy.
G. Ex-workers are encouraged to fully transform their workplaces, deconstructing machinery into its component tools if need be in order to work at a safer pace and create an environment that is healthy in terms of noise, air quality, chemicals, and non-repetitive labors.
H. Workplaces will strike a balance between the creative or productive desires of the members, the needs of surrounding communities, and the needs of society as a whole. This means encouraging artisans in their creative development, making sure not to pollute nearby communities with harmful chemicals or excessive noise, and seeking to create things that others in society need, though embracing the logic of abundance means giving this latter directive the broadest possible interpretation except in cases of acute scarcity that threaten a community’s survival.
I. Destructive energy infrastructure will be phased out at the safest pace possible. Experts in the relevant fields will be encouraged to oversee the shutting down of nuclear power plants according to a schedule that leaves the smallest amount of highly radioactive waste and the plugging of oil wells so they do not contaminate ground water.
J. On a less urgent timeline, communities will explore the decommissioning of highly destructive “green energy” projects that endanger river populations, migratory birds, and other living things. This work will depend on the development of localized, ecological energy production and the drastic reduction of overall energy use, a part of which is the redesigning of buildings to allow for passive solar heating and cooling, a demanding endeavor that cannot be accomplished in a single decade.
K. Communities will decide what technologies and what kinds of scientific experimentation and development they will support. However, in all cases, the communities and scientific organizations involved must be able to absorb or remediate all the negative consequences of that technology. There is no justification for mining someone else’s territory or creating toxic substances that future generations will have to deal with.
12. Distribution, Communication, and Transportation
Localizing power in people and communities has an adjunct in organizing the material means of survival on as local a level as possible, for example through principles like food sovereignty. However, the danger of dependence on an exploitative socioeconomic system decreases dramatically when people can meet most of their survival needs through the resources and activity of a small local network of communities. For the remainder of those needs, as well as all the things that make life more enjoyable, it may be necessary to organize distribution across multiple regions of a continent and beyond. Additionally, travel is extremely important in an anarchist society to inculcate a global consciousness, encourage reciprocity and solidarity, prevent the emergence of borders, and collectivize knowledge as much as possible.
A. All state-backed currencies are abolished. All monetary debts are canceled.
B. Exchange of goods between communities shall be done in as equitable a manner as possible. Communities in close contact may prefer a free exchange or gift economy. Communities without the basis of trust that makes a gift economy easier to practice may decide to use quid pro quo trade, but trading up for profit (serial trading to capture a growth of value) or charging interest on the lending of goods can be considered attempts at coercion and exploitation.
C. Communities should pursue food sovereignty, meeting the majority of their survival needs from their local land base, but beyond that, infrastructures should be maintained to encourage exchange and travel.
D. Transport workers, together with affected communities, will collaborate to transform existing transportation infrastructure to be as ecologically sustainable as possible, while other infrastructures (e.g., airports and highways) are to be dismantled.
E. Already extracted fossil fuel reserves and existing infrastructures will be rationed, giving priority to the transition in agricultural production, global reparations of resources, and maintaining connectivity in rural areas with no transportation alternatives.
F. Communities, transportation workers, and those involved in fighting against patriarchal violence at the time of the revolution will work together to make sure that people can travel freely and safely regardless of their gender. Communities that enable or permit violence against women or gender non-conforming people traveling through their territory are considered to be in aggression against the rest of the world.
G. Communities will do their best to maintain existing communications infrastructure so that they can remain in touch to communicate globally and share the experiences of their respective revolutionary processes. In the long term, they will explore ways to maintain those infrastructures they find useful with recycled or non-harmful materials. They will also study whether addictive and depressive behaviors related to social networking technologies are intrinsic to those technologies or a maladaptive response to the alienations of capitalism.
13. Conflict Resolution and Transformative Justice
Prisons and police have existed for far too long, destroying people and communities. There are ways to deal with the inevitable conflicts of social existence that see people as capable of growth, redemption, and healing, and that are organized to meet the needs of the community rather than to protect a system of oppression and inequality. The revolution is a process of destroying state power; it is also a process of the rebirth of real communities. Capitalism forced us to be dependent on its mechanisms for our survival, but once it is abolished, our survival once again becomes something we create collectively.
A. Communities are reconstituted through the assemblies and other spaces through which they organize their territory and the survival of their members. A part of this means being accountable to the community on which our survival depends, and taking part in the healthy resolution of conflicts, the healing of harm, and the restoring of reciprocal relations.
B. Communities will do their best to enable fluid ways of being and relating that break with the closed, patriarchal, and micro-oppressive structures that have been traditional in many places. However, no leeway need be given to the dominant concept of fluidity of late capitalism in which people move through space without ever acknowledging their relations, their impact on others, or the simple fact that their survival is not their personal property.
C. People involved in mediation, conflict resolution, and transformative justice will share resources and encourage communities to deal with conflict and harm in a restorative way that promotes healing and reconciliation. We will also make sure that the burden of this work does not fall disproportionately along gender lines.
D. Communities will define norms and boundaries around harmful behaviors, but anarchists will encourage them to develop practices that center dialogue and processes of healing and reconciliation, rather than the codification of prohibited behaviors and punishment.
E. Communities that already have traditions of mediation and reconciliatory processes are encouraged to share their experience as they see fit.
F. All prisons will be dismantled, with communities taking in ex-prisoners who had been convicted of harming other people and committing to working with them on exploring the circumstances around the harm.
G. Committees of people experienced in transformative justice will work with ex-prisoners who are not taken in and vouched for by any community, together with the communities harmed by them, to try to find a solution.
H. Given that total opposition to prisons is not a widespread position, anarchists will organize debates on other possible responses to the worst scenarios of harm—the small minority of cases in which people repeatedly kill, abuse, or victimize others. One possible proposal is to always favor reconciliation with all resources available, but to never delegitimize autonomous acts of self-defense or revenge, especially in cases in which reconciliation is not a realistic outcome.
I. Special attention will be given to all acts of gender and sexual violence, especially those that had been normalized under the patriarchal, punitive regime that is to be abolished. People active in opposing such violence will suggest appropriate structures and practices for communities to adopt.
The state thrives on the lie that security and freedom constitute a dichotomy, two things that exist in inverse proportion and that we must sacrifice each in equal measure to strike a balance between them. Because security is connected with survival, the state can convince us that we would not be able to enjoy what little freedom we have if we did not prioritize security and accept its protection.
In truth, our survival, our safety, and our freedom all depend on how well we can take care of one another, not how high we build walls around ourselves. As long as states exist, even only as a projection in the minds of the power-hungry, we will need to defend ourselves from those who would subjugate and exploit us; sometimes, we will also need to defend ourselves from those who cause harm by not recognizing others’ boundaries, not empathizing with others, or not realizing the consequences of their own actions. How we organize our defense can be dangerous to our freedom. It is also a challenge to conceive of dangers and conflicts in a way that transforms us and others, rather than fixing our antagonists as permanent enemies we need to destroy.
A. All police forces are abolished, and their members should participate in reconciliation processes to address the harm they have caused. Those who refuse may be viewed as statist paramilitaries.
B. Communities may create some kind of volunteer service to protect against various forms of aggression or interpersonal harm. However, to prevent anything like a police force from emerging, whatever form this service takes, it must focus on de-escalation and reconciliation rather than punishment; it should focus on calling out the rest of the community to deal with the conflict or instance of harm rather than monopolizing the response; and the participants must not have special privileges in terms of the right to use force or access to weapons that the rest of the community does not have.
C. Communities are encouraged to create some kind of protective group, tradition, or structure specifically designed to respond to and deal with gender violence in all its forms. They may wish this force to be composed of people other than cis men.
D. Because the state will not be abolished everywhere at once, and because many communities with hierarchical values may continue to exist and may try to subordinate neighboring communities to their will, there may be a need to create anarchist militias or other fighting units—both to defend a free territory and to engage in revolutionary warfare against a statist, imperialist territory. To deserve the terms “free militia” and “revolutionary warfare,” these must be dedicated to several key principles that distinguish them from statist armies. Simply tacking on a red flag is not enough. The fighters must be volunteers; they must be able to choose their own leaders and leadership structures. There must be no officers with aristocratic privileges. The entirety of the force must decide together on acceptable measures of discipline. Assemblies that transcend the free militias—for example, federations of the communities from which the fighters come—will decide the broad strategic objectives and guidelines for humanitarian conduct. In other words the militias must not be fully autonomous: they exist to defend the needs of broader communities, rather than dominating those communities or promoting their own interests on anything but a tactical level.
E. Free militias will avoid the logic of territorial, aggressive warfare in which the objective is to conquer a space defined as enemy territory. The purpose should either be defensive warfare, defending the communities and dissuading others from attacking, or revolutionary warfare, supporting people in an oppressive society who are fighting for their own freedom. In the latter case, the initiative must come from those oppressed people and must not be organized primarily by the militias of a neighboring territory.
F. Free communities do not try to eliminate or annihilate enemies. They defend their freedom and dignity, and support others who are doing so, and then they try to make friends or at the very least make peace.
G. Safety, in an anarchist framework, is not the protection of the weak by the strong, it is the empowerment and cultivated capacity for self-defense of all, with priority given to those whose gender socialization, racialization, or physical and psychological difference has specifically disempowered them under current oppressive conditions.
H. Peace, in an anarchist framework, is not simply the absence of armed conflict, especially when such absence indicates acquiescence to oppression. Peace is an outgrowth of happiness, freedom, and self-actualization, which we hope this program will foster more than capitalism ever has, and a proactive effort. Anarchists will encourage communities to engage and exchange not just with their immediate neighbors, but transcontinentally, sharing and creating cultural bonds, affinities, and friendships on a global scale so as to make the wars of conquest and annihilation that states have been practicing for millennia inconceivable.
15. Community Organization and Coordination
In opposition to involuntary citizenship and dictatorial or representative decision-making that imposes homogenizing laws on all of society, anarchism posits the principles of voluntary association and self-organization, meaning people are free to form themselves into groups of their choosing, to organize those groups as they see fit, and to order their lives on a daily basis, with everyone’s participation.
A. Every community is autonomous and free to organize its own affairs. Every community should develop its own methods and structures of organization and subsistence.
B. Anarchists encourage models that prioritize well-being and prevent the reemergence of statist organization, including the gift economy within communities, and overlapping, redundant forms of organization that prevent the centralization of power, such as combinations of federated territorial assemblies, workplace assemblies, infrastructural organizations, and professional and educational organizations. The goal is to tie people together in a multiplicity of organizational spaces. This way, many different organizational models and cultures can be practiced, since none are neutral or equally accessible to everyone; conflict is mediated by multiplying relationships through numerous organizational and territorial bonds; and the emergence of a political class that is skilled in manipulating assemblies and that thrives in the alienated space of politics is discouraged. If there is no central space where all decisions and authority are legitimated, no matter how participatory that space pretends to be, there can be no political class. This is the difference between democracy and anarchy—not to mention the fact that anarchism has historically opposed slavery, capitalism, patriarchy, imperialism, and the like, whereas democracy has often relied upon them.
C. In order to prevent the return of authoritarian dynamics in the guise of democracy, anarchists would do well to facilitate community processes exploring how formal and informal mechanisms of decision-making distribute gendered power and how vital informal, non-legitimized spaces are to the organization of daily life—but also identifying which informal spaces enable the centralization of power and studying how different ways of organizing, opening, and diffusing formal spaces can serve to prevent rather than facilitate the centralization of power.
D. As a general rule, the only time it is acceptable to intervene in the affairs of a neighboring community is in matters of self-defense, when they do not respect their neighbors’ need for freedom and a dignified survival.
E. When a community does not respect its members’ need for food, water, shelter, healthcare, and bodily integrity, it is good for neighboring communities to offer those members support and refuge. The neighboring communities may support efforts by oppressed or exploited members of the first community to end their oppression, but liberation must always be the task of those who are most directly affected by oppression. Communities should try to avoid intervening directly or forcefully in the affairs of their neighbors.
F. Communities should strive to accept the inevitable differences they have with their neighbors, aiming to foster relations of dialogue and peace. In the case of communities that do not respect the dignity and survival of others, it may be preferable to seek mediation or cut off connections rather than escalating to physical conflict.
G. Many communities will find the need or the desire to join in larger associations for matters of culture, production, and distribution and in order to share common resources. It is preferable to form free federations or associations that maintain power at the local level, while also creating multiple, cross-cutting organizational ties so that every person in every community is a member of multiple groups—for example, the coordinating body to protect a shared watershed, a cultural-linguistic grouping, a scientific association and university system, a producers’ and consumers’ union for sharing resources, and a territorial confederation. In this way, each community has a richer web of relationships, and in the case of conflicts, disputes do not fracture into two belligerent sides, but everyone is tied together by other relationships so there is an abundance of mediators and a general interest in preserving the peace.
16. The Planet
Capitalism has brought the planet to the brink of collapse. It is not enough to destroy capitalism. We must also uproot the capitalist, Western way of relating with the land in favor of healthy, reciprocal, ecocentric relations, and we must do everything possible to heal the planet and all the living communities that share it.
A. It is our responsibility to help the planet heal and help ensure the survival and continuity of all living communities.
B. Communities will tend to their territories as best they can to remediate the destruction and pollution caused by capitalism, to identify and protect species and ecosystems that are in danger, to promote the rewilding of spaces, and to conceive of themselves as part of the ecosystem.
C. Communities and scientific associations will pool resources and share information in order to track problems of global concern, such as greenhouse gases, vulnerable species, dead zones and plastic pollution in the oceans, radiation, and other forms of long-term pollution. They will set targets and make recommendations to specific communities and territorial confederations with the goal of ameliorating these problems as thoroughly and fairly as possible.
A community is a group of people who live together, mutually creating their material and cultural survival. Because communities define and organize themselves, it is difficult to give them a specific definition. In some cases, community refers to the smaller group, between 30-150 people, that coordinates more closely for the organization of daily affairs, taking advantage of the small numbers and close relationships to decide their affairs smoothly and horizontally. In other cases, it can also refer to the supra-community of several, dozens, or even hundreds of communities that share common languages and culture and an identification with a territory, and that coordinate frequently for matters of subsistence, infrastructure, education, and other matters.
In some cases in the text, living communities does not refer exclusively to humans but to all living things that exist in a web of relationships.
Communities should decide for themselves what constitutes excess wealth or a wealthy person. However, the intention in this text is not at all to follow in the footsteps of left-wing populism and focus our disapproval on billionaires or even millionaires. On the contrary, we feel the bar should be set much lower. For determining wealthiness, we suggest the guidepost as having three times more wealth than is average in a given geographical region (e.g., those making more than three times the average wage in their country before the abolition of capitalism and nation-states). Excess wealth, after the abolition of money, is everything a wealthy person possesses that is not necessary for their dignified survival, especially what they had used to ostentatiously set themselves apart from the average.
A manager is someone whose job is to monitor and discipline other workers in order to increase their productivity and facilitate their exploitation. At each workplace, people can decide whether a person did something genuinely useful before the revolution and whether a part or the whole of their job category can be redeemed.
In this document, we do not use the concept of rights in the Christian or liberal fashion, as a set of properties guaranteed by God or nature, nor in the statist fashion, as a list of opportunities that a state must safeguard for all its citizens. We mean it strictly in an anti-authoritarian ethical sense: things that we consider it right for people to have, to take, or to defend, so much so that we would fight alongside them to help them protect or recover these things if they were threatened.
We do not understand territory as a dead, two-dimensional space demarcated on a map, with borders and a fixed area. Territory is the earth, it is alive, it is a web of relationships. The only rightful claim people have to a specific territory is if they are a part of that web of relationships and help keep the web vibrant and alive. Because memory is an important part of knowing and respecting a territory, people who had a strong relationship with a territory and were forced off that land still have a relationship with the territory.
Additionally, territory implies movement. This is not a proposal for allotting equal parcels to roughly interchangeable communities. All territory is specific, and the healthiest way to relate with the territory will change from region to region. Nomadic or semi-nomadic lifeways are just as legitimate, just as intimately connected with the territory, as sedentary ones (excluding, of course, those based on private property and exploitation). Following this logic, claims to territory can and do overlap, with different groups carrying out different activities related to subsistence, spirituality, play, and the like at different moments and in different ways.
The only kind of transition referred to in this document describes the transformation of existing capitalist infrastructure into the kind of infrastructure suited to a free society. This is simply a recognition that it will involve difficulties and a great deal of effort to make universal food, housing, and healthcare a reality by means of infrastructures and productive practices that do not harm the planet. We do not contemplate any kind of transitional state. The state never fades away; it must be destroyed.
Under capitalism, workers designates an alienated category: we are those who sell our activity in order to buy back a small part of the value we produce. We are the ones who carry out the labor that gives society life; yet it is important to emphasize that we do not seek to identify with our alienation, the quality that makes us workers, but rather to abolish it, especially since under capitalism, work creates so many useless or harmful things and is organized in a way that tends to be terrible for our health. Ex-workers, then, are those who had been forced to be workers under capitalism, but who, with the abolition of capitalism, abolish the category of wage work and other compulsory labors. They may deserve some special legitimacy when it comes to expropriating the resources of their former workplace or industry; like everyone else, they are engaged in the endeavor of transforming human activity in order to create abundance for all and to blur the distinctions between learning, work, and play.