This is a short explanation of an idea I’m sure to refer back to in later articles. It was first presented to me in this format by my close comrade fleabite and it has since used as a practical and flexible rule-of-thumb by which I check my actions. Enjoy!
As anarchists everything we undertake in our lives should have some prefigurative quality – as in the methodology by which we organise our groups, campaign in the community or workplace, or the way in which we live our lives and choose to behave should all embody some small move away from our current dominant culture and towards our goal of a world organised along libertarian communist principles. We also have to acknowledge that we are in a less than ideal starting position and so this will not always be possible, though we should try and avoid or be aware of the circumstances that will hinder us. We also need to be open to revising our own positions as new information comes to light, constantly being anarchists to our own anarchism.
One way to judge whether our actions will be prefigurative is through how they relate to “The Three C’s”, not just for ourselves but also for everyone involved:
- Consciousness of our class situation under capital and state (in the communist sense of the term), and the role that different organisations and actions would play to support or oppose the twin yoke of exploitation and oppression.
- Confidence to take direct action to create a free and egalitarian world and to challenge ourselves and others to struggle against those who would stand in the way of those aims.
- Competence to evaluate a situation, to take good decisions and to forge the path of least resistance towards anarchist communism.
Anarchists should not only promote ideas that will encourage all three of these traits but should also actively critique and oppose those forms of action which would inhibit them. We should do this not only by discussing the flaws in others but by also acknowledging the flaws in our own positions, showing how they would be preferable to the alternatives, and then demonstrating the strong merits of our advocated position.