Our Points of Unity
Anarchy, the negation of hierarchy, is the method of those who wish to build a liberatory world based on equality and autonomy. Part of our mission to build this world is the formation of a lasting organization to promote anarchism and autonomous institutions in our communities. This organization must empower anarchists to act collectively while also ensuring freedom of initiative within our organization and community. As anarchists, we do not seek to impose a program on others; doing so would make us no better than the authoritarians we oppose. We seek instead to create a framework for a society in which multiple worlds can coexist. The anarchist movement's developmental core is theoretical unity, tactical unity, collective responsibility, and federalism.
Theoretical unity arises from our desire to collaborate with those who pursue compatible methods in both organization and action, rather than being divided over the most basic ideas.
Tactical unity means striving for united activities rather than fragmenting into contradictory actions and goals.
Collective responsibility necessitates that each member is accountable for the activities of the organization, and the organization is responsible for the actions of each member acting on its behalf.
Federalism ensures that we function within a decentralized and horizontally structured system that stifles the formation of internal hierarchy.
Intersectionality and Power -
Power and its abuse take many forms in our lives and must be fought at every turn. White supremacy, colonialism, cisheteronormativity, patriarchy, institutionalized religion, and capitalism all shape our lives, weaving an intersecting web that keeps us entangled in the structures that are destroying the earth and killing untold millions. We cannot break free by cutting one strand. All must be attacked and severed for any of us to be free. We seek nothing less than the destitution of power and the abolition of all hierarchical institutions and social relationships.
Capitalism and the State -
The goal of our program is the total destruction of capitalism and the state. As long as either remains, it is impossible to disentangle our lives from the web of intersecting oppressions that surrounds us. Capitalism in the United States is built on a system of racialized slavery and exploited labor that is maintained to this day, through the prison-industrial complex. At the core, it holds a privileged property-owning class over the rest of society, who are forced to either sell their lives and bodies or be ground between its gears. Those who are perceived as less "productive" face a society fundamentally uninterested in accounting for their needs or remaining accessible, and they are often made dependent on structures that bureaucratize and measure their existence, to avoid even providing the necessities of survival. In the grasp of capital, our lives are made precarious and alienated. Even the most ascendant of the working class are only one disaster from economic ruin, and the communities and social support that once offered a safety net have been dissolved over centuries of capitalist dominion, leaving us with no protection from the crises so common under capitalism.
The state is the guard dog of capital. Even the actions of the state to regulate the worst excesses of capitalism serve to protect it from itself, to redirect energy away from a departure from capitalism entirely and towards a lifeless reformism, whose victories can be just as easily dismantled once they are no longer necessary to assuage the anger of the exploited. No matter who claims the mantle of the state, it remains an engine of subjugation and class stratification, seeking nothing more than to maintain its hegemony, and any project to wield the state against capitalism will inevitably recreate the society we wish to escape. To bring about a free and equitable world, both capitalism and the state must be abolished in kind.
Protests, the establishment of institutions committed to reducing the burdens of the exploited, the formation of unions to create worker power, and other peaceful tactics are essential to improving conditions and building the foundations of a free world. However, such tactics will never be fully sufficient to overthrow the current system of domination. In particular, while protests to the seats of power call attention to the ways in which we are oppressed, these tactics are merely a plea to those in power, rather than a true expression of our will. The state, capitalism, and white supremacy will constantly endeavor to suffocate and destroy any attempt by the oppressed to construct a better world. As a result, the exploited must not only build the new world but also defend it, carving out zones of autonomy where the new society can resist and push back against the old, initiating a struggle to abolish the state, expropriate the means of life, and build a society free of exploitation and domination, one where all beings receive the full dignities of existence, regardless of their perceived ability to produce value.
Anti-Colonialism and White Supremacy -
The modern state derives its power and authority from the capitalist domination of this continent, which is built on the ideology of white supremacy. The stolen land and labor of Indigenous and African descended peoples, through genocide and enslavement, are the foundation of capitalism. Throughout history, white supremacy, capitalism, western civilization, colonization, and so on have all been interchangeable forces of human suffering. As anarchists, we recognize that fighting any of these forces is synonymous with fighting any of the others, hence Indigenous and Black liberation are essential for anarchist analysis, theory, and activity. The state and all of the misery it sows are founded on white supremacy and whiteness. As a result, we regard whiteness and white supremacy as something that must be abolished totally.
Since its inception, the United States has laid on a foundation of slavery and extraction, targeted towards people of color, particularly black people. Through the struggle of abolitionist movements of the past, chattel slavery was abolished, but the USA could not let go of its free labor so easily, and enslavement took a new form, in the prison-industrial complex, where a disproportionatly black and brown population of prisoners have their labor exploited in these modern-day plantations for mere pennies by a system that treats them like refuse.To enforce this system of domination and extraction, the modern police force was created, inspired by slave-catcher posses. While they claim to "protect and serve," one must only look at what this protection and service looks like in black communities to see this falsehood for what it is. In truth, the police are nothing more than a force for social control and counter-insurgence, the armed thugs of the state.
To justify and perpetuate these atrocities, the modern state has split society into two categories, "criminal" and "not-yet-criminal." Complicated social issues, often created by the systems of domination that surround all of us, are individualized and treated as personal failings. The criminal is dehumanized and treated as an inherent stain on the fabric of society and while the state speaks of rehabilitation, it makes every effort to trap the criminal inside a labyrinth of incarceration, even after they have left the prison. The not-yet-criminal does not escape the carceral state's attention, either. Their every move is monitored for the moment they cross the line, and particularly in black and non-white communities, systems of debt and exploitation push them towards the very criminality that the state eagerly awaits to punish.
There can be no reform for the carceral system, nor is there any way to create a police free of brutality, no matter how much they are defunded. The abolitionist movements of the present must seek to utterly rid ourselves of these structures, to seek a method of dealing with social ills that does not attempt to lock them away in a box but looks to address the root causes and centers the agency of everyone involved. There will be no peace until we've toppled every wall, shattered every gate, razed every prison, and this slave state is nothing but ash.
Solidarity and Internationalism -
Anarchists must stand in solidarity with and join in the struggles of the exploited, whether or not the movement is explicitly anarchist or not. Anarchists must always be on the side of the oppressed, whether it is in the fight for indigenous liberation, queer liberation, black liberation, women's liberation, ecological defense, or any other cause in the fight for a better world. Because the institutions of domination are not restricted by national lines, anarchists must not limit their efforts to the destruction of these systems in the country they reside within. Rather, we advocate for a global revolutionary struggle against the ruling classes and the mechanisms that maintain their power. Only by uniting the oppressed will we be able to build a truly free and equal society.
The destruction of our environment and our relationship to it as humans cannot be separated from the social relations and collective assumptions within human society. Hierarchical institutions and ideologies such as the state, capitalism, speciesism, anthropocentrism, patriarchy, white supremacy, colonialism, etc. are made of a complex system of command and control that wields the threat of institutionalized and culturally accepted violence if one disobeys and seeks to normalize, recreate, and expand itself. This system projects its ideas of domination onto something incompatible with that logic; the natural world and the animals, both human and non-human, that live within it.
What command does humanity have over the phytoplankton, or the soil we fill with toxic pesticides? Can we command our lakes to handle more and more industrial waste and pollutants? Why is it that humans can demand consent and bodily autonomy but willfully ignore the concept when applied to non-human animals? Why must the value of nature and its non-human inhabitants be based upon the benefit they provide to humans? The projection of hierarchy onto a plane that thrives from multiplicity, biological diversity, and mutualistic relations leads to nothing but destruction. The path to re-harmonization between the non-human and the human worlds, and acknowledging and embracing our inherent place as part of the natural world, is paved with anti-hierarchical and anti-speciesist action, the complete eradication of anthropocentrist views, the dismantling of all forms of non-human animal oppression and exploitation, unity in diversity, the end of capitalism and commodity production, a return to indigenous stewardship, and the abolition of the state and all forms of domination.
Direct Action - Only through the united action of oppressed classes, inspired by anarchism and organized into social libertarian institutions, can the anarchist social revolution be achieved. We reject any attempt at state power because, regardless of who claims the mantle, the state will always lead to class segregation and violent oppression. Therefore we oppose anyone seeking state power under the cover of a "workers'" party because no free society can be built using the means of the state, which are intrinsically domineering and ineffective to the goal of freedom. Rather, we encourage the oppressed to take the struggle into their own hands, through an anti-hierarchical movement eager to combat the state on all levels, free of politicians and vanguard party parasites. We must support and organize our communities, create institutions to serve the interests of the exploited, combat white supremacy, push authoritarian influences out of our lives and educate ourselves and our communities on how to organize in ways that enable us to build the new world rather than shackle us to the old. We declare direct action to be the oppressed's only effective tool, both in the defense of immediate material interests as well as the building of a free society through the social revolution.
Dual Power - We believe it is critical to create and strengthen autonomous, anti-hierarchical structures to incite revolutionary passion among the oppressed masses while also striving to alleviate existing material demands. Community councils, mutual aid groups, self-defense councils, cop watches, and other libertarian institutions are critical for demonstrating the exploited people's organizational strength and fighting authoritarian control in our communities. To thwart cooption by the state or parties, anarchists must join and build these dual power groups, imbuing them with an anti-authoritarian ethos.
Propaganda & Community Education - The creation and distribution of coordinated propaganda, whether directly, via means such as flyers or tabling, or through the example of our deeds is crucial to the anarchist project. Our efforts to establish an anarchist consciousness in our communities would be hampered if we only committed to direct action without any means of spreading our ideas. As part of our efforts, community education events are being developed where participants can socialize with anarchists and be exposed to our ideas while also learning essential skills that will enable them to be less reliant on state and capitalist structures.
Current Goals & Tactics - Our immediate objectives are to increase contact and organization with our fellow anarchists, to form alliances with local groups that share our ideals, to spread and develop anarchist infrastructure, to build anarchist educational structures within the broader community, to form popular organizations such as community councils and mutual aid groups, to create and distribute anarchist propaganda, and the creation of an anarchist space that can facilitate greater organizing within our communities.
Our Organizational Principles
The Federation - The Phoenix Anarchist Federation is a decentralized and horizontally organized organization made up of a collection of collectives, committees, and working groups, each dedicated to their own purposes in the development of anarchism and the alleviation of suffering in our communities.
Non-Hierarchical Organization - The Phoenix Anarchist Federation operates through the combined will of equal members. All decisions are made through consensus (and in some rare cases voting), whether in the committee meetings or the larger organization-wide monthly general meetings. The member presenting the agenda for each general meeting switches to a random member to ensure no member can simply dominate the agenda at each meeting. Members are free to engage with committees and working groups and can flow in and out of them depending on their availability and desire.
Membership - To join the Phoenix Anarchist Federation, potential members must agree to the federation's goals, methods, and structure outlined in the platform. While we would like to see the anarchist movement grow as much as possible, we recognize that to maintain a well-functioning organization, we must limit membership to individuals who share our ideals and means.
Committees/Collectives/Working Groups - The committees are sections of the organization dedicated to certain goals, such as propaganda, community outreach, or self-defense. Each committee's general structure must be horizontal and open to all members, and its overarching objective must be authorized by the Federation as a whole. Collectives are groups of people who have opted to collaborate closely and, in many circumstances, organize under the Federation's umbrella. The federation as a whole must authorize the admission of collectives into the organization. Working Groups are ad hoc committees with a specific goal in mind that simply disband once they've achieved their goal.