I recently re-read this piece by the FdCA for a discussion with some folk. I’ve only read some of the FdCA’s organization documents but all of what I’ve read by them strikes me as worth taking seriously. One of these days I’ll read the rest, and these pamphlets and re-read this piece. For the mass organization piece, it’d be worth reading this document too, on the FdCA’s workplace/union work, and their related pieces.

Anyway, on the mass organization piece. I’m too tired right now to write a summary or review, but I’d like to eventually. For now just these four things.

“Mass organizations (…) do not have that clarity regarding the final goal that the political organization can have, though they potentially have the same goal as the political organization”

I don’t get that. Does this mean that actually existing mass organizations don’t have that clarity? Okay, fine. Or does it mean they *can’t* have that clarity? Because that doesn’t make sense to me.

“Their economic role is the basis on which they come together”, about the role of mass organizations. I sort of agree with this, but I think it’s important to note that the people who do the bulk of the important work in mass organizations don’t do so for their own economic benefit, but out of convictions and value systems that are as much like those held by members of political organizations as they are to a sort of narrow economic self interest. (I know I’ve written about this before, I think more than once, not sure if it’s on the blog or someplace else, will have to look, sometime later when I’m not so tired.) Elsewhere the document talks about the function of mass organizations as economic conflict, that makes more sense to me, but that function understood narrowly is not the *reason* for or the cause behind the organization. It’s what the organization should do, perhaps (not the narrow part, maybe), but it’s not the *cause* for people’s participation, it’s the aim not the animating force. That is, both mass organizations and political organizations are largely conviction and commitment driven and value laden organizations.

Third bit: ” the only process through which the proletariat weakens and destroys the mechanisms of class society takes place in the places where the exploiting is done. The actions which can blunt the weapons of exploitation and the structure which supports it can only take place on the terrain of alienation caused by work and the creation of surplus value. The only organizations which can bring about this attack are the mass organizations. And there is also another factor which gives consistency to what has been said thus far: if the attack on exploitation is carried out by the exploited class itself, this provides a strong guarantee of a parallel growth in their consciousness given that once they have understood the need to attack, they will have a solid base on which to develop a new level of revolutionary consciousness.”

I totally agree.

Fourth bit, the stuff at the end about how mass organizations draw from/benefit from political organizations and vice versa… that part toward the end suggests that the piece mostly talks about “the flow (…) from the anarchist communists’ political organizations to the mass organizations” but both directions matter. In my opinion, nowadays at least for people around my age or younger in the US, the opposite direction of flow is what most matters right now. Before we can talk meaningfully about flow in the other direction I think we need a good long while of flow from mass to political, in the sense of developing the abilities (the worth?) of political organization(s) through mass organizations/mass work. The short term focus of political organizations ought to be self-development of individual members and of the group as a collective, through mass work. After reaching a higher level, then start to talk about what the group – as a group – can do to make a contribution.