Andrew Flood – Making anarchist organisations work — The Anarchist Library

Source:… Making anarchist organisations work — Dunbar’s number, administration and care — The Anarchist Library

Subtitle: Why Anarchist Organisations Often Fail

Examples Of Anarchist Ideas In Practice’.. FREE DOWNLOAD from Anarchist Library HERE:..

There is a strong tendency, almost a rule, that anarchist groups tend to fall apart once they have more than 20–30 members in any city or 50 to 60 overall. There is a theory about this called ‘Dunbar’s Number’.

….. ‘Modern anarchists have often built their organisational approaches around a negative reaction to the manipulative and authoritarian structures of the rest of the left. That is wherever the left put a plus we have tended to put a minus.

This hasn’t worked for us, rather than building a negative mirror of authoritarian left organisation we need to build an anti authoritarian model of organisation that fills our needs.

This isn’t just for us, in the sense of just for anarchist organisations. The challenges of good administration on a mass basis is the challenge of building a society without leaders and led, bosses and workers.

It’s a challenge that constantly rises in mass struggles with the danger that otherwise people default to either a tyranny of the best connected / loudest voices or copy the command systems they see in work or mainstream politics.

Very often it is already the case that the major contribution anarchists can bring into such organisations is a knowledge and experience of ways of organising that offer a genuine alternative.

Anarchists have both built mass organisations that minimise such problems, such as the anarcho-syndicalist unions. We have spent a lot of time understanding the work of others on the left that have developed their own similar skills, for instance the Zapatistas in Chiapas.


Delegation rather than representation and Federalism rather than Centralism being two of the key tools of such approaches.

It’s the challenge the left has always failed on, mostly because it turns administration into command and as tasks become complex the command becomes more distant and brutal. Again rule through money or brutality being the requirement of command administration systems.

Our task is to break from that and break from its cousin, administration through the invisible hand of the market.


Here we can stop and consider that we have in fact returned in a manner to one of the original anarchist slogans, the one on the rear of the WSM banner.

“Freedom without Socialism is privilege and injustice;
Socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality”

read full essay HERE ..

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