In 2012, at the founding conference of our organization, First of May Anarchist Alliance (M1), members of the anarchist and libertarian journal, The Utopian, were in attendance. There were several discussions of affiliation and movement towards building a collaborative political tendency between M1 and The Utopian. The reality being that there already existed crossover between the groups with some members being part of both projects and other individuals having been supportive of each others work over the past years.
Over the next few years there has been support, aid and solidarity between our projects. Increasingly however there have also been questions and differences in both political priorities and approaches to organizing. It is unfortunate that these differences were not constructively raised or worked through. In June, members of The Utopian issued a letter outlining their differences and the break in political solidarity with M1. Several days later they issued another message announcing the end of collaboration with M1. We are issuing our response.
Below our response you will find the link to The Utopian letter and announcement.
First of May Anarchist Alliance
July 22, 2015
1. At its founding, supporters of the First of May Anarchist Alliance (M1), entered into an agreement with supporters of the journal, The Utopian, to work together and develop common efforts to build a revolutionary and anarchist organization. Those efforts have ended and supporters of The Utopian are no longer supporters of M1. The two organizations go their separate ways.
2. From the beginning, it was not clear as to how the two organizations would work together. M1 is and has been an organization of anarchists, actively involved in the struggles of the working class. We emphasize this with our principles of affinity, specifically point two, “A working class orientation”. The Utopian is and has been a group of anarchists who work together to put out a journal.
3. The strength of M1 is being an organization of anarchists, actively involved in the struggles of the working class, but this also is a weakness, as M1 has not been disciplined enough in developing its political approach, its propaganda, drawing out lessons from its work and in developing the framework for its view of the world.
4. Supporters of The Utopian have not been active in M1 for the past year, so the collaboration ended some time ago. Now it has formally ended.
5. The Utopian has published the letter it sent to formally end the relationship between the two organizations, which letter was sent in response to a request from M1 for clarification of certain issues, questions related to the work of the two organizations and whether supporters of The Utopian would participate in the upcoming M1 conference/meet up. The Utopian letter pointed to three main issues as the basis for the split: the lack of written response from M1 supporters to a nature of the period document written by a supporter of The Utopian for M1’s founding conference in 2012; the issue of defense of the right of Ukraine to self-determination in response to attacks by the Russian imperialists; and the fight of the Kurdish people and the PKK and its affiliated organizations in Rojava against ISIS.
6. On the nature of the period document from 2012, it was a useful document. It covered some issues related to the decline of the hegemonic power of the U.S. and was helpful in discussing the outlook of Marxists, the likely rebound of Marxist groups and the inability of Marxism to offer solutions or alternatives to capitalism. No one has or had a crystal ball, so the 2012 document is dated and did not forsee the collapse of the Arab spring, the resurgence of reactionary forces in Egypt and elsewhere, and the growth of ISIS. More troubling is the document’s failure to recognize the depth of despair among precarious workers in the U.S. and other advanced countries and level of attacks underway against communities of color and the Black community, in particular, in the U.S. and the danger of the resurgence of white supremacy. Now, among the central issues we face in the U.S. are the growth and development of the movement against police violence, what is called the Black Lives Matter movement, and the resurgence of white supremacy and racist violence and fascist organizing in response to that movement.
7. A supporter of The Utopian, also a founding member of M1, worked on developing a political response on the issue of Ukraine and the Russian attacks on the integrity of Ukraine. M1, as an organization, devoted considerable time and effort to this discussion. There were various concerns and approaches discussed. At a meet up in Chicago a year ago, the approach on Ukraine was one of the most important discussions. There was general agreement on the approach of defending the right of Ukraine and the people of Ukraine to self determination and opposition to the attacks of the Russian imperialists against Ukraine and developing the approach of military support to the people of Ukraine in this fight despite the role and involvement of right wing nationalists and even fascist forces along with the government of Ukraine in the fight against Russian imperialism. The person who was both a supporter of The Utopian and M1 was tasked with writing up the results of the discussion for M1 and to provide the basis for an M1 statement in defense of the right to the people of Ukraine to self determination and our support and defense of their fight against Russian imperialism even though we had no political agreement with the capitalist government of Ukraine or the right wing nationalist forces involved in the fight against Russian imperialism. The supporter of The Utopian chose, instead, to write an article for The Utopian on Ukraine and ceased activity with M1. That was a year ago.
8. M1 supporters should have completed this discussion on Ukraine on our own and should have stated our position and approach more clearly. The discussion on Ukraine and the right to self determination and the concept of military support without political support to the forces opposing Russian imperialism, helped to inform the discussions on Kobane and Rojava and the fight of the Kurds against ISIS in Syria. M1 did develop its approach on this fight and express its support for the fight of the Kurds against ISIS and held public meetings and discussions on this fight. Supporters of The Utopian were not involved in these discussions or these efforts and did not attend the public discussions on these issues. Contrary to statements in The Utopian letter, M1 did not offer any type of political support to the PKK and its affiliated organizations or attempt to downplay the history of the PKK as a Marxist/Leninist organization. M1 discussed and sought to encourage discussion of the role of Ocalan, the changes in political philosophy announced by the PKK and its affiliated organizations related to the fight against patriarchy, the role of women in the fight, the changes in the approach to national liberation and issues related to a Kurdish state, local autonomy and many other issues. At no point did M1 claim that the PKK and its affiliated organizations had ceased to be a Marxist organization or had become an anarchist organization or that M1 was in political agreement with Ocalan or the PKK and its affiliated organizations. This is false. M1 attempted to participate in discussions related to these issues, in the necessity of fighting the ISIS forces, the role of women in the fight, issues related to local autonomy and the fight for anarchist revolution, the issue of borders and ending borders, and the role of the maximum leader and why that is and was counter to all conceptions of anarchist organizing.
9. M1 continues to discuss and develop its approach on self determination, opposing imperialism, opposing ISIS, opposing U.S. imperialism, offering military support even where we are not in political agreement and so forth. Where The Utopian letter says M1 should “be ashamed” of our approach on Ukraine, we are not ashamed and we continue to develop our approach. We reject the allegation that M1 capitulated to the PKK and its affiliated organizations or downplayed the history of the PKK in the fight of the Kurdish people, while M1 continues its discussions of supporting and defending the fight of the Kurds and others against ISIS even though M1 is not in political support of the PKK and its affiliated organizations.
10. M1 will continue to work to build an anarchist organization based in the actual struggles of the working class and oppressed people. M1 is aware of the need to continue discussions to develop its political approach and to see those discussions through within our organization. These discussions are necessary in order to develop the political approaches and the framework of political agreement for building a fighting and revolutionary anarchist organization. Our forces are small, but we are determined to continue to develop our propaganda and our approach and our beliefs and our organization. We urge individuals and groupings who seek to build a revolutionary and anarchist organization based in the struggles of the working class and oppressed peoples to join with us.
Follow the below link to The Utopian,