Paul Finch's Talk at the Lucy Parsons Center

James Herod
July 14, 2006

On Saturday, July 8, I got to hear Paul Finch from the Northwest Anarcho-Communist Federation. He came across as really dogmatic and rigid.
His talk confirmed for me that my critiques (1999, 2001, 2003) of England's Anarchist Federation's strategy proposals were on the mark. I did really enjoy Paul's trashing of Crimethinc, and so-called post-left anarchism, and primitivism. But otherwise his talk had many of the themes that I so thoroughly analyzed, evaluated, and demolished in my critique of AF's  strategy paper. I'm sure there is a way to build an organization of anarchists without all the leninist baggage, but Paul Finch certainly hasn't found it. He has even added some disastrous ideas of his own, like his insistence on a clean-cut appearance, his exclusion of all self-proclaimed anarchists who don't fit his own definition, his explicit endorsement of leadership structures (not just the leadership of ideas), his belief in the efficacy of guerrilla warfare, and the priority he assigned to "intervening" in (with the intent to "radicalize") reformist union struggles (which is what his talk was mostly about). He certainly was a self-assured thinker, to the point where it almost seemed like dogmatism. But that's okay. I wish I were more confident about my ideas. But from my point of view, he was inflating it a bit to claim that there were two anarchist movements, not one (platformists versus primitivists). Actually, there is hardly any genuinely anarchist activity going on at all in the US, in the sense of anarchists who are engaged in actually setting up anarchist social forms. We are pissing our lives away in Lpc, Nefac, Gpan, Baam, Badl, Abc, Fnb, bookfairs, demonstrations, and conferences (not to mention blogging).