- Robert Wogatzke, 06 Sep 96 05:11:29 EDT
- Email: email@example.com
Anarchist Black Cross, Denmark
Normally we don't dissociate ourselves from other anarchist groups, but we want to warn the international anarchist movement against the so-called "Anarkistenes Organisation" (ANORG) in Norway. In the 1970es and the early 80es it was a federation of several Norwegian anarchist and published a regular magazine called "Folkebladet" (Paper of the people). Now it has declined to a small group of academics theorizing about a possible future anarchist society. "Folkebladet" is reduced to a one sheet newsletter. ANORG claims to be part of the Anarchist Black Cross which is far from the truth as they have never lifted a finger to help prisoners (but maybe they have discussed the relevance of prisons in an anarchist society?!) and also claims to be affiliated to the IFA (International of Anarchist Federations) which unfortunately seems to be more likely - in this respect they maintain that they represent an all Scandinavian anarchist federation although the IFA only accept national federations and no anarchists in Denmark or Sweden accept this Scandinavian/Nordic anarchist federation.
In 1983 ANORG made a resolution which contained the following gem: "It is not possible for Norway, Denmark and Iceland to keep out of a major battle between the americans and the russians. We have to choose one of them as our ally, and we allready have. Then we should not undermine the West Alliance." This pro-NATO communique was called "The Peace Action" - Orwell would have loved it!
In 1985 ANORG draw the logical conclusion of the above mentioned resolution and declared in a report that "... unilateral weakening of the western defence - whether it is by terror-attacks or unilateral arms reduction and conscientious objectors - endangers both democracy and the anarchist society (...) To enjoy the goods of the defence of the democracy while you run away and leave the necessary and unpleasent military service is and still will be authoritarian, bourgeois individualism." A statement which probably would have been of interest to the bunch of anti-militarists and conscientious objectors in the IFA federations in Spain, Italy and France. For obvious reasons this report was written in Norwegian language and never translated. But their attitude finally discredited ANORG in the Scandinavian anarchist movement.
ANORG continued as a peculiarity and after their 9th "congress" in 1989 they issued a resolution against the independent youth culture house "Blitz" in Oslo (capital of Norway). Blitz gives accomodation to many activist groups, also ANORG though they have now been thrown out. ANORG see this as a marxist plot which it might be or maybe their level of activity was simply to low. The important thing however is the fearless way ANORG still take unusual stands: "The marxism also penetrate the Blitz-ideology: There is for example many anarchists and libertarian kibbutz in Israel, but noone in PLO. Blitz is one-sided pro-PLO and has among other things destroyed Israely property wantonly. Blitz is blind to the fact that the Moslem fanatics send their children out to be cannon fodder in the war against Israel." Besides the obvious lie about the "many anarchist" in Israel we think that it is a blatant expression of racism to describe the Palestinian Intifada in this manner and it is an insult to the 800 Palestinians killed by the Israeli Army to label them "cannon fodder" of "Moslem fanatics".
Although they use some anarchist phrases ANORG also airs some extreme rightwing opinions. Frankly we think they are a fucking disgrace to the anarchist movement, and that is why we - as a rare exception - proceed to warn you against them. We know that the above quotations from ANORG are separated from their contexts; we feel that they speak for themselves. However if anyone (especially the IFA federations) feel the need for further documentation, we will be happy to provide you with copies of the documents with a translation.
(Signature: Peter Bach)
Anarchy in Norway,
Lighthouses for the rest of the world
and other obscurities ...
Usually we do not disassociate ourselves from anarchist groups or speculate about whether they meet their own libertarian demands or not. If however, as in the following case, a group deludes others into thinking that they are acting as representatives of various international anarchist organisations and causes damage to us and to others by deliberately spreading desinformation, we do not want to leave this uncontradicted.
We are speaking of a norwegian group called ANORG (ANarkistines ORGanisation). Originally a federation of norwegian anarchists that regularly published the magazine "Folkebladet" (Peoples paper), ANORG shrank to a small circle of people in the 80ies that henceforth dealt with the needs of an anarchist society mainly theoretically. "Folkebladet" became a one page bulletin.
From then on ANORG s positions isolated them within the anarchist movement in Scandinavia. In 1983 they declared: "It is not possible for Norway, Denmark and Iceland to keep out of a major battle between the Americans and the Russians. We have to choose one side of them as our ally, and we already have. Then we should not undermine the West Alliance." Two years later in a declaration that was only published in norwegian language they wrote: "... unilateral weakening of the western defence - whether it is by terror-attacks or unilateral arms-reduction and conscious-objectors - endangers both democracy and the anarchist society [...] To enjoy the goods of the defence of democracy while running away from the necessary and unpleasent military service is and will be authoritarian, bourgeois individualism."
As a practical example for an anarchist society ANORG refer to Norway: "The successful revolution of 1905 indicated a considerable autonomous shift, i.e. less statism. However, it took 89 years before the system, after a major set back in 1940-45, and later many years characterized by marxist state socialism, in 1994 became anarchist [...] 28.11.1995 marked one year of anarchy in Norway". In another piece of hack writing the current situation in Norway is described as follows: "Although the system by now is significantly anarchist, [...] it is somewhat far from the anarchist ideal [...] The revolution must be fought permanent, in the daily life, to sustain and develope further. However, as long as a) Norway stays out of EU, b) populist and nationalist tendencies are put at place, and c) the left and right tendencies outbalance each other reasonable as by now, Norway will probably stay anarchist, and be a lighthouse for EU and the rest of the world."
The fact that they pass no opportunity to diffame libertarian groups and individuals who criticise their positions or simply have a different practice or theory as "marxists", "chaotics" or "populists" did not win them many friends either. ANORG installed an "Anarchist Press-Tribunal" for this purpose which hands out "Brown-Cards" to people or organisations who, according to ANORG, use the word "anarchy" in a wrong sense. Characteristically, the Tribunal mainly deals with anarchist projects such as the electronic anarchive "Spunk Press" or the US-american Love and Rage Federationen, who are accused of promoting chaos not anarchy. The norwegian magazin "Gateavisa" was denied the right to call itself "anarchist Organ" since ANORG claim its contents are counter-cultural, not anarchist. The striking evidence for this claim is that drug liberalism "is not part of the anarchist concept". And in the next sentence they inform the world that "the only mandated and publicly registered political organ of the anarchist movement is not "Gateavisa" or any other libertarian magazine but "Folkebladet"". To pick out one last example among the long list of groups ANORG spread lies and diffamations about, let us mention the A-Infos network, an international association of anarchist individuals and groups working on the aim of improving the flow of news and informations between the world-wide anarchist movements. ANORG claim this network was set up by the IFA to by-pass their own network. In truth, the A-Infos network is independant of any anarchist organisations and all groups and individuals working within it act autonomously.
Most insideous about all this is the fact that ANORG pose as representatives of several international anarchist organisations that have nothing to do with them and speak out their declarations and diffamations in their name. They claim amongst other things to be international secretariat of the anarcho-syndicalist IWA (International Workers Association) and part of the international libertarian anti-repression network ABC (Anarchist Black Cross). Most frequent is their claim to be associated to the IFA (International of Anarchist Federations) and to act as its international secretariat. A homepage published by the group in mid-1996 and containing pages on their positions and the "Anarchist Press Tribunal" which they claim is mandated by the IFA is called "the official pages of IFA". Fact is, that ANORG tried to be taken up into the IFA in 1986 but their application was turned down by the other IFA sections because of their positions, some of which are quoted above. ANORG have lanced a wealth of incorrect claims about all of these organisations and about several others which we can not possibly all mention here. A comrade who set up an Internet-site to counter ANORG s desinformation and help spread information about the real IFA has recently been subjected to continuous threats by ANORG. He was told that he would be investigated by their agents and that he should stop publishing the site if he did not want to be black-listed personally by their Tribunal.
We think that the above named quotes from ANORG speak for themselves. As anarchists we should develop a culture of discussion that is open to a range of different ideas and diverting practices and keep up a constant debate about strategies and results. But this does not mean tolerating a group that plays up as central committee, hands out directives as to the correct party line, tries to exclude and diffame deveationists from the "correct concept" and causes confusion to people new to anarchism but also to people already part of the movement who believe ANORG are part of other organisations.
Though they have adopted some anarchist phrases, much of ANORG s writings have been and are system-stabilising and by speaking and writing on behalf of organisations that would not want to have anything to do with those positions they are not only discrediting themselves but large parts of the anarchist movement. We would not pay this much attention to them if they had not been so acitve in publishing their lies on the internet and confused many people who did not know about them or the anarchists groups and organisations they claim to represent. Therefore we wanted to inform you about the group and ask you not to assist them in spreading their lies.
In December 1996
International Bureau of the I-AFD/IFA
c/o Buecherladen am Rathaus, Stephanstr. 84,
47798 Krefeld, Germany
Fax: +49-2151-951806, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are the real addresses of two of the international organisations ANORG claim to represent:
International Secretary of the IFA
C.R.I.F.A., Publico, 145 rue Amelot, 75011 Paris, France
Tel: +33-1-49299859, Fax: +33-1-492998
International Secretary of the IWA
IWA Secretariat, Passeo de Alberto Palacios 2, 28021 Madrid, Spain
Tel: +34-1-7970424, Fax: +34-1-5052183, E-mail: email@example.com
Unofficial Homepage: http://flag.blackened.net/liberty/iwa.html
Normaly it would be a waste of time to even pay any attention to ANORG, but because they are claiming out-of-the-blue to represent other anarchist organizations without their consent, the record must be set straight. The spokesperson for ANORG on the Internet seems to use several (presumibly fake) names such as "H. Ibsen, Jr.", "A. Olsen", "S. Olsen", and "Anna Quist" (all use email addresses "firstname.lastname@example.org" and "email@example.com") who runs a World Wide Web page at address "http.//www.anarchy.no/anarchy/". They also reportedly publish "FB@-International Journal of Anarchism", ISSN 0800-0220. Various front groups this person or persons claims to represent include: the Anarchist International Information Service, Anarchist Press Tribunal, International Anarchist Tribunal of IFA, International Journal of Anarchism, and the Permanent World Secretariate and Comission in Oslo, in addition to the International of the Federations of Anarchists mentioned above. ANORG even uses the French name of the IFA, "l'Internationale des Federations Anarchistes", even though they claim the secretariat is not located in France!)
ANORG also claims "copyright" on such things as one version of the IFA's logo, restrictions on such things as the anarchist "circle-A" symbol, and even uses the red & black anarcho-syndicalist flag symbol to represent themselves. ANORG even appopriated and altered one essay "May Day--The Real Labor Day" for use on their web page, without even crediting the source (Luthor Gaylord of the Industrial Workers of the World).
ANORG has also threatened at least one individual presenting this information with "investigation" by a so-called "anarchist tribunal" (shades of George Orwell's "1984"!) and predictably accused Peter Bach (a highly reputable anarchist individual) of being part to "marxist intrugues" (though "marxist intrugues" would describe ANORG's activities quite well).
Another individual associated with ANORG is said to be "Harald Fagerhus", who has a simmilar web page at "http.//www.hedning.no/~haraldfa/anarchy.html". It is unknown how much confusion and disruption they may have already spread, but anarchists are advised to be aware of this group's existance and it's unethical activities. The final irony: Several anarchists from Norway recently noted that ANORG consists of only 2 individuals!
It should be noted that the term "International Workers of the World" is redundant, and has only been used by people confused about the IWW and giving it the wrong name. For more info about this sort of mix-up, see: http://fletcher.iww.org/International.html . The ANORG individual is doing what he has done in the past, that is, creating yet another fantasy "large anarchist organization" which exists only in the mind of this person, but pretty much nobody else, even Norway anarchists, sees any validity in this group, it's claims, or it's (falsified) history.
The accusation that the Industrial Workers of the World is a "Marxist" or "non libertarian" organization and thus a "true" anarchist IWW must be created is worth discussing: For one thing, an organization does not have to say it is explicitly of one ideological bent or another to be sufficiently libertarian. What is important are the policies of the organization, it'sd history, and it's value to working people. The fact that huge numbers of the (traditional) IWW membership are anarchists, and the fact that the actual IWW has close relations with pretty much all of the real anarcho-syndicalist groups in the world suggests strongly that the IWW has proven it is fully compatible with anarchist ideas. Having some members who have read Marx, called themselves marxists, etc. does not suggest anything sinister or "Marxist" about the original IWW, it simply shows how the IWW is a non-sectarian organization with the goal of workers emancipation from capitalism. It is very dangerous for anarchists to always assume that simply because an organization has some kind of important-sounding name, uses anarchist symbols or flags, quotes Bakunin or makes references to history that it actualy represents some kind of worthwhile anarchist movement. The fact is, anyone can create a group with any name they want, and pretend they are big and important... but what is important is reality, not what exists on a web page or on paper.
People who might wish to "join" one of the ANORG organizations will find themselves forced to deal with a quirky, somewhat irrational leadership. On one hand, ANORG claims to be anarchist, and opposes "Marxism", statism, authoritarianism, etc.. yet it has it's own set of inflexible rules and regulations for what is truely anarchist, who can or cannot be an anarchist, and issues "Red card warnings" to people who do not follow these strict rules.
The ANORG email announcements that talk about the newly-created "International Workers of the World" mention specific members of the Industrial Workers of the World by name, blaming them for attacks on ANORG or accusing them of being false libertarians, etc. It should be noted that the criticisms of ANORG have come from a number of anarchists from different organizations and parts of the world, such as the IFA, the IWA, ABC, etc. All organizations that ANORG has attempted to displace by creating "clone" organizations and acting like they are the legitimate leader of these organizations.
Send all responses or updates to: firstname.lastname@example.org