Colorado Anarchist Federation Points of Unity

Solidarity: Solidarity is acting upon the recognition that all struggles are interconnected and that liberation will be incomplete until all beings are free from domination and exploitation. Acting in solidarity requires ongoing communication and consent but offers the only route through to emancipation of all; the only route to freedom is through solidarity.

Education: We recognize that liberation lies, in part, in education–through learning and unlearning. As anarchists we not only strive to create access to anarchist ideas for others to develop a political, class, and social consciousness, but also strive to educate ourselves and engage with anarchist theories, praxis, and other liberatory work. We are committed to an ongoing, critical examination of our assumptions and to learning both historical and developing aspects of anarchist theory and its applications to our own historical context. All of this we do in the interest of continuing the revolutionary tradition of anarchism and to build an anarchist society.  Moreover, we embrace the open source/open access movement because we champion a world where knowledge/information is not privatized.​​​​​​​

Mutual Aid:  Mutual aid is a millenia old practice in which humans, as well as non-human species, participate. It is also a factor of evolution, a natural tendency we as living beings have, as a result of millions of years of evolution. Thus, we recognize mutualism as being characteristic of nature. In the context of capitalist hegemony we are living in, it means that we recognize our survival and liberation are inherently tied to those around us. It manifests as helping actions without expectations of compensation (therefore it may seem simply uni-directional in appearance). It is “mutual” however, in that these helping actions foster community outside of capitalist relationships– a genuine comraderie one can rely upon in times of need. Mutual aid allows for greater personal capacity for the recipient, encouraging greater collective wellbeing, while capitalist charity restricts the recipient with undue requirements and fosters a relationship of domination through gatekeeping.

Collective Care: We value the physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health of individuals and communities and we strive to build spaces in which we can be honest with ourselves regarding our own boundaries and needs. This involves a caring environment in which we are not ashamed to reach out to our community for help in challenging moments. Further, it is a recognition that our healths are all connnected and that only through our collective labor can we function best.

Ecology: We must recognize the inherent linkage between human society and non-human nature. Thus, nature is not external to humanity– humanity is embedded within it.  An ecologically sustainable relationship between us and the rest of the biosphere must be reached in order to sustain this planet. We acknowledge that domination and hierarchy were the preconditions to the current and ongoing ecological crisis.  Also, we reject the dichotomy of human society vs the natural world. We believe that humans, our society, and our culture all belong on this planet, and that emphasis should be on embedding our existence within the rich matrix of ecological relationships, not on severing what ties we have left with the rest of the natural world in order to “preserve” nature. Moreover, we recognize that unity and diversity are exemplified by natural ecosystems.  We recognize the important role that Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island and around the world played in the stewardship of local ecologies and reaffirm our commitment to not just a decolonial future, but in our prefigurative actions to get there.

Accountability: Through accountability, we recognize the harms we may cause/have caused, as well as our position within the oppressive structure we seek to destroy. We must take seriously any instances of harm or abuse, and strive for healing processes whenever possible. This includes seeking to prevent further harm from happening. ​​​​​​​

Abolition:  We believe in the total destruction of the criminal punishment system, prison-industrial complex, and any carceral/police states– this includes carceral logic in all the ways it can show up in our lives. These so-called justice systems are not designed to truly bring justice to communities, but rather to force the domination of capital and the ruling class upon society. Further, we recognize the use of jails, prison, and policing–this includes immigration and juvenile prisons and the child welfare system, as being inherently racist systems in their disproportionate use on Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color. Instead we strive for a truly just society, through community accountability and transformative justice processes. Additionally, we acknowledge that policing is a system that extends outside of the carceral system and exists on micro and macro levels of interaction. We are mindful of not engaging in or perpetuating systems of policing at all levels (i.e. peace policing at protests, cop/fedjacketing, etc.)

Decolonization/ anticolonial: We believe that liberation will only follow after the destruction of settler-colonial states and the restoration of indigenous sovereignty. Only through purposeful, deliberate, and invited communication with colonized peoples should settlers participate in decisions about the use of land and natural resources. Additionally, we use “Colorado” in our name not because we believe in its legitimacy but to name one of the entities we are organizing against. In other words, as anarchists in so-called “Colorado”, we work to dismantle the colonial state of Colorado per se.

Horizontalism/ anti-hierarchy:  As anarchists, we reject the idea that hierarchies are innate to nature or humanity. Instead, we use a horizontal dissemination of power. That means no one member holds more power than others or another. We operate with the principle of “the equality of unequals”– meaning we acknowledge that everyone has different things to contribute and different abilities. ​​​​​​​This contributes to unity in diversity. This does not mean we lack structure but instead use structures that ensure any emerging hierarchies within the group are counteracted and dispelled.

Autonomy: Autonomy is a state in which an individual or a community is free from any form of domination. The person or the community is then bound to e​​​​​​​ach other only in a consensual relationship of interdependence with mutual respect. People, regardless of their gender, sexuality, age, ability, race, ethnicity, etc must be the sole power over their mind, bodies and labor. Within the context of this Anarchist Federation, this also means that all members are coming together through mutual respect and a shared vision of the future. We respect the autonomy of everyone involved, and each member reserves the right to withdraw from the group if their views no longer align with those of the group at large.

Consensus and Free Association: We must respect variation in opinions but strive for universal consent in decisions that affect the whole Federation. Further, we recognize that associations like the Federation are only valuable as far as they facilitate further organizing and development of our collective strength, so we reaffirm the rights of members to leave the Federation without question.

Anticapitalism: To be clear, our roles as revolutionaries includes our participation in fights to end capitalism, the social relationship of dispossession that has formed our existing world ecology. We also recognize that capitalism has the power to co-opt almost anything. Thus in our attempts to build alternatives, we are mindful of this reality. We recognize the ecological imperialism via unequal exchange (labor, resources, extraction, etc.) between the “global north” and “global south”. Thus, in our anti-capitalist and anti-colonial framings, we are mindful of the extractive processes that are required for the seemingly neutral word of “sustainability” (e.g. renewable energy for the global north that requires lithium/water mining in the global south). Indeed, we can see here how capitalism can almost effortlessly co-opt.

Criticality/ Radicality: In our efforts to build and rebuild, we recognize the need for critical thinking and radical sentiments. However, we do not want to only tear down, and in our criticality of the status quo we are committed to the process of not just offering critiques, but also reconstructing and transcending. In other words, we do not only recognize the limitations, but the potentialities and we use them to forge a path of prefigurative actions.

Imagination/ Creativity:  We believe in the creative agency of people, which capitalism and other systems of domination have stifled. We know that our inherent creativity and our capacity to imagine are crucial to liberation. We need our imaginations not only to envision alternatives and link them to actions, but to be able to make them embodied–to FEEL them! This ties into education– when we learn we start to see things differently. Additionally, imagination helps to protect against co-optation.

Utopianism/ building alternatives/ prefigurative politics: In using imagination/creativity we are better equipped to build alternatives in real-time–i.e prefiguratively. In doing so we are more deeply emboldened to challenge the status quo, to not just critic, but reconstruct, transcend, and act. Thus, utopianism–not in an unachievable sense–guides us towards liberation, assisting us to transcend structures, institutions, and “logics” that dominate us. Utopianism is what can come after we critique, enabling us to transcend, but it requires imagination and a desire to reconstruct. We also recognize that utopianism will look different to different cultures and geographies and honor an anarchist (non-hierarchical, anti-statist) vision of a pluriverse–or a world where many worlds fit.

International Solidarity: We acknowledge the cruciality of international solidarity in all struggles, especially as members of the Global North community who have access to numerous global institutions. We are dedicated to building international relationships and trust, which includes being mindful of when our local struggles can be connected to struggles elsewhere. Additionally, we are committed to amplifying international resistance whenever we can.