Congresses and delegate meetings
IAF-IFA brings together its member federations every 3-4 years at the IFA Congress which takes place in one of the countries of its members. This is the main decision-making gathering of the international. Non-IFA members and friendly organisations are welcomed to the Congress by invitation.
In between congresses, decisions (joint activities, positions and policies) are developed in delegate meetings of the member federations which are coordinated by the IFA Secretariat, a role which is rotated at each Congress. The delegate meetings are termed CRIFA (from the French, Commission de relations de l’Internationale des fédérations anarchistes). CRIFAs take place 3-4 times a year and include both face-to-face meetings in different member countries and online (virtual) meetings. These are closed meetings of the IFA membership and associated projects.
Frankfurt, German, 2016
St. Imier, France, 2012
Carrara, Italy, 2008
Besançon, France, 2004
Report from Frankfurt Congress 2016
IFA Congress report (as published in the AF (Britain) magazine Organise! issue 87 (Winter 2016)
The tenth Congress of the International of Anarchist Federations (IAF-IFA http://i-f-a.org ) took place in Frankfurt on 4th-7th August 2016. IFA Congress is held approximately every four years and is hosted by one of the international’s member federations, this time by the German-speaking Anarchist Federation (FdA https://fda-ifa.org ). IFA itself was founded in Carrara, Italy in 1968.
The FdA provided an excellent welcome pack for everyone with the agenda and other information. Prior to the Congress, proposals and suggested amendments had been presented to delegate meetings (CRIFAs).
From the existing IFA membership, all organisations were able to attend except for the Iberian FAI and the Bulgarian Federation who gave their apologies. An individual from Belarus Anarchist Black Cross was also present. The Anarchist Federation of Belarus, affiliated to IFA, was forced to disband in recent years due to intense state repression (see previous issues of Organise! about this and online about UK solidarity speaking tours in association with Belarus ABC).
An important feature of the tenth IAF-IFA Congress was the much expanded affiliation of Latin American organisations, three of which (from Chile, Mexico and Brazil). The Anarchist Federation of Mexico (FAM), Local Anarchist Federation of Valdivia (Federacion Anarquista Local de Valdivia), Southern Chile (FALV) and Anarchist Federative Initiative (Iniciativa Federalista Anarquista), Brazil (IFAb) all completed their processes of joining the international on the first day with unanimous agreement of the existing federations. More information about these federations can be found on the IFA website.
As well as the existing and prospective members, a great feature of IFA Congresses is the participation of many other anarchist organisations, groups, projects and individuals. The Frankfurt congress also attracted a good number of our host’s member groups from all over Germany. In total more than 80 anarchists were involved over the weekend. A number of professional interpreters also attended, allowing for instantaneous translations during discussions. This was in addition to talented multilingual individuals who assisted, including some from amongst our guests.
Member federations present/apologies
- Anarchist Federation of Britain (AF)
- Anarchist Federation Czech (AF)
- Federation of Anarchist Organising (Slovenia/Croatia) (FAO)
- Federation of German-speaking anarchists (FdA)
- Federation Anarchiste (French-speaking) (FA)
- Italian Anarchist Federation (FAI)
- Libertarian Federation Argentina (FLA)
- Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI) – apologies
- Bulgarian Anarchist Federation – apologies
New members ratified at Congress
- Anarchist Federation of Mexico (FAM)
- Local Anarchist Federation of Valdivia (Federacion Anarquista Local de Valdivia), Southern Chile (FALV)
- Anarchist Federative Initiative (Iniciativa Federalista Anarquista), Brazil (IFAb)
- Vrije Bond (VB), Netherlands
- Anarchist Federation of Central America and the Caribbean (FACC)
- Taller Libertario Alfredo Lopez (TLAL) Cuba
- Kiskeya Libertaria (Kiskeya) Dominican Republic
- Agrupaciaon Concienca Anarquista (ACA), El Salvador
- Freie ArbeiterInnen- Union (FAU) Germany
- Individual from BOESG, library project and social centre, Portugal
- Anarchist Political Organisation (APO) Greece
- Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement (AWSM) New Zealand
- DAF (Devrimci Anarsist Faaliyet / Revolutionary Anarchist Action), Turkey
- Individual from Azerbaijan
- Kurdish-speaking Anarchist Forum (KAF, recently renamed)
- El Libertario, anarchist newspaper, Venezuela
At the Congress, the Anarchist Political Organisation, based in Greece, announced their plan to join. Also, of the groups close to IFA who may join in the future, the Anarchist Federation of Central America and the Caribbean (FACC) is a newer coordination consisting of groups in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, El Salvador and others. (2018 note: In Cuba there was an ongoing project to purchase a social centre which is now open). Groups that are coordinating themselves towards joining IFA are said to be in a ‘federative process’ and this is a precondition for applying to join. In addition the groups supply their constitutional and political principles which are translated).
IFA Congress 2016 in Frankfurt passed two major structural proposals which member federations have worked hard on over the last four years, to improve IFA’s decision-making process and to develop its membership. The second of these included a mechanism for the formal association of groups that are not in a federative process. At the Congress, the Vrije Bond (in the Netherlands), a long time contact of IFA and observer at many delegate meetings, announced its intention to be the first such group. In addition to these two proposals, with the joining of the Latin American federations, the structure of delegate meetings was discussed focussing on practical issues of language, distance and how best to coordinate delegate meetings with the European federations.
Considering the future growth of IFA a series of ‘perspectives’ sessions were held to look at recent contacts and areas where IFA has little current contact or where there is no anarchist organisation or little appreciation of anarchism.
The main political themes on the agenda included migration, war and nationalism, ‘fight for the city’, against patriarchy and, separately, safer spaces, organised in workshop format. The migration workshop was productive in initiating a commitment to the collaboration of IFA member federations which has now started. The workshop was introduced by the Federation of Anarchist Organising (FAO) who operate in Slovenia and Croatia. They have previously introduced their migrant solidarity and coordinated activism along the ‘Balkans route’ into Europe. IFA members will first share their perspectives on migration in their own territories.
War and nationalism explored the ‘war on terror’ theme since 9-11 and post-Iraq War, and considered militarisation of everyday life, including Brazil around the Olympics, and state responses to terrorism in European cities.
‘Fight for the city’ examined increased control of urban spaces by government and local authorities and commercial interest. Themes included local corruption, gentrification threats to autonomy and radical spaces.
Against Patriarchy examined cultural pressures, sexuality and reproduction of patriarchal relations in daily life, struggles around abortion rights e.g. in Ireland and El Salvador and the effect of casualisation in the workplace, creating spaces in anarchist organisation for gender oppressed groups. Reflecting on the AFEM conference that took place in London after the St. Imier IFA congress, there was interest in organising another international feminist conference.
Safer Spaces introduced the developments in the AF to consider our proposal for IFA to adopt a policy for ‘deconstructing power relationships in anarchist spaces’ which would be relevant to delegate meetings and congresses. Some progress was made on this which will be continued at forthcoming meetings. Any policy is not intended to be a substitute for awareness of consent issues and structural oppressions but a practical tool to organise our response to oppressive behaviours in our own spaces.
Earlier on in the Congress, invited guests had a chance to introduce their group or project. We will mention just three of these. One of these was a social centre and library project in Portugal. BOESG, Biblioteca e Observatório dos Estragos da Sociedade Globalizada translates to ‘library and observatory of the damages of global society’ and we heard the amazing story of its history as a workers’ library and discovery by anarchists in the 1980s (see http://www.thesparrowsnest.org.uk/index.php/14-news-and-events/105-books-birds-and-both-at-an-anarchist-international-congress-in-frankfurt-germany-4-7-august-2016 article for all the details). We also heard about the severe ongoing repression in Azerbaijan where anarchist activists graffiting anti-state messages have been fitted up (drugs planted) and detained – drugs charges carry up to 12 years compared to 1 year for ‘hooliganism’ (see http://www.brightonabc.org.uk/campaigns.html#14 for details). A comrade from Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement gave a talk about indigenous community struggles and life in general. Housing is a major issue with people paying vast amounts to live in garages or sleep in their cars. Emergency B&B housing is now provided as a loan. The comrade also highlighted climate as a growing issue in the Pacific islands.
It is usual for Congress to agree some joint statements. One of these was to support the difficult work of DAF which IFA has supported in their work in Rojava (across the Turkish border into Kurdish Syria) but is now facing hardship following the attempted military coup in Turkey and latest state of emergency. Another was a statement on war and terrorism affirming IFA anti-terrorism stance. Finally, in solidarity with comrades in Japan (some of which had attended the previous IFA Congress in France), a new anti-nuclear statement was agreed, at the time of the annual remembrance of the WWII atom bombings.
Congress is a working conference but is also a social occasion. All of the food for congress was provided by a supporting group, which meant that attendees were mostly together during mealtimes to plan for forthcoming sessions, continue informal discussions and get to know each other better. Some discussions ensued over washing up as well. The cafe bar at the venue was a place of merriment in the evenings and upstairs on one evening, delegates were treated to the Punk Choir from Leipzig (this inspired an impromptu on-stage rendition of political songs by AF members!). In fact, most evenings included song-singing and drinking, although not necessarily in that order. Another social aspect of IFA Congress is in the exchange of publications, and this was facilitated by having lunchtime and evening stalls.
At the end of the Congress the French-speaking Anarchist Federation (FA) had completed their period as Secretariat and handed over to … us.
The AF became the new Secretariat and looking forward to facilitating the next stage in IFA’s development along with our expanded membership. We will also look forward to the next Congress which the FAO agreed to plan for to take place in Slovenia in 3-4 years time.
Congress joint statements
IFA call for solidarity with DAF in Turkey & Kurdistan
Since the coup in Turkey and the imposition of the state of emergency, we have seen increased repression of many groups and movements operating there. This is not only aimed at the organisers of the coup, but a wide repression of democratic, socialist, kurdish groups and including our anarchist comrades of the DAF (Devrimci Anarsist Faaliyet / Revolutionary Anarchist Action).
On two occasions, in 2010 and 2012, DAF had already been investigated by the state as a terror organisation but these cases were dropped. Now, because of the state of emergency, the ability of DAF to organise is even more difficult. Their newspaper Meydan has been closed down and three new investigations have been started. This has also had serious economic impact for DAF.
In recent years DAF has been involved in many struggles including Gezi Park and supporting the kurdish revolutionary process in Rojava and Bakur including refugee support. They are involved in workers’ and youth movement activities, ecological actions and anti-militarism, opposing patriarchy and supporting the LGBTI movement, and have been developing practices of collective living and economy and self-organisation.
IFA has already been involved in the solidarity movement with Rojava in many respects and in close cooperation with DAF. Now, due to the changed situation in Turkey, we must expand our support to DAF in more concrete ways. We also have to be vigilant of the real possibility of increased repression of DAF and the wider anarchist movement in the region and to be able to respond rapidly with strong solidarity actions. IFA is committed to this and we call on all friendly organisations to join us and also provide financial solidarity to DAF.
To support the call for solidarity & concrete support, you can contact the IFA secretariat
DAF website: anarsistfaaliyet.org
Their wars, our dead! Against terrorism and for freedom of all people!
The federations of the International of Anarchist Federations (IAF) and the organisations participating in the Tenth Congress of the IAF, Frankfurt (Germany), 4-7 August 2016, stand against war. We stand against the terrorism which is used by states, with the help of the police and the army. We stand against the violence applied by nationalist and/or religious groups or by isolated acts from racist, homophobic, and/or fundamentalist individuals.
We oppose the murderous activities of these governments, groups, or individuals.
The media and states may use the word terrorism to condemn social movements, but this is not how we understand it. What we oppose is the use of violence and terror against civilians to create fear in the population and impose authority. This terrorism goes hand in hand with the strengthening of state security and authoritarian state policies.
In many countries a state of emergency has been declared, reinforcing the powers of the police and army, which serves mostly to repress social opposition. Walls are built to prevent the movement of people, detention camps are built, and governments, capitalists and smugglers take the opportunity to get rich at the expense of migrants.
Terrorism by religious and/or nationalist groups and state terrorism feed each other. For example, the arms deals by regional and world powers have skyrocketed since their involvement in foreign wars. These interventionist policies help to maintain the terrorism of religious and/or nationalist groups.
Meanwhile, capitalism continues its devastating work and those affected are always the same: the people.
We live in an era of global terrorist threat, of generalised war, and reactionary politics in which race, religion and terrorism are conflated. We fight to keep racism from spreading. We support the migrants who seek the freedom to move and to settle down. We stand in solidarity with those targeted on the ground of their ethnicity and beliefs.
That said, we stand by all those around the world who seek to shake off the influence of religion in their lives, actions, and thoughts.
Our struggle for freedom is directed against state, capitalism, and religion.
Against the nuclear power industry and everything that it entails. Against state imperialism and against war
6th August 2016
The federations making up the International of Anarchist Federations (IFA) and the organisations present in the 10th congress of the IFA, in Frankfurt (Germany) on the 4th-7th of August 2016, salute the initiative of the Anarchist Gathering at Hiroshima (Japan).
This event marks the anniversary of the nuclear bomb attack in Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945, and in Nagasaki on August 9th. It helps us remember the double threat that lingers on to affect human populations: war and nuclear power.
Nuclear power is dangerous. It contaminates natural resources, and is the cause of all kinds of conflicts. Japan’s population is particularly knowledgeable about its potential risks, due to the recent nuclear disaster in Fukushima.
Nuclear power is an integral part of the war industry.
During these times of global terrorist threats and continuous war, it is important to reaffirm our position against the military industrial complex.
The murderous and imperialist policies of states are to the detriment of populations who are the first victims of war. They suffer directly in these conflicts, and are often forced to migrate.
Imperialist countries take advantage of these conflicts by selling arms and waging war in different parts of the world, such as the military interventions in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere for resources. This situation cannot be tolerated.
It is up to us to initiate, pursue and intensify actions against militarism and its related industries, but also against nuclear power that entails. In the spirit of international solidarity, we send revolutionary anarchist greetings to our friends and comrades gathered in Hiroshima. We look forward to working together to fight for a future society of mutual aid and solidarity, without war.