Turning the Tide: An Anarchist Program for Popular Power

On May 1, 2023, Black Rose/Rosa Negra released the first edition of our organization’s political program: Turning the Tide: An Anarchist Program for Popular Power. The writing it contains is the product of nearly two years of collective research, discussion, and debate among the members of our organization.

We built this program with the intent of establishing for ourselves a clear picture of the world we inhabit, the social structures that dominate us, and a strategy for accomplishing our short and medium term objectives in the present conjuncture. All of this toward the end of achieving our ultimate objectives of social revolution and libertarian socialism. 

Our program is a living document, not meant to stand above reproach, but to be updated and revised in accordance with the real and changing conditions of the world around us.

Below you will find each section of Turning the Tide laid out for reading on a browser. We have also made available for download a printable PDF version of the document.

We invite those from the US and beyond to read the document and to provide your thoughts, reactions, and constructive criticisms. If you find yourself in agreement with our program’s contents, we invite you to reach out to us directly.

For popular power!
For a world free of domination!
For libertarian socialism!

1. General Introduction

This is the political program of our organization, Black Rose Anarchist Federation / Federación Anarquista Rosa Negra (BRRN). The writings it contains are the result of nearly two years of collective analysis, discussion, and debate. The content of the program is divided into three parts: sections that detail our understanding of the social, political, and economic structures of domination that give shape to our society; a description of the world we are fighting to bring into existence; and sections that outline the strategic and tactical means by which we intend to achieve our aims.

Our world is divided between the few who dominate and the many who are dominated. This deep-seated division is the product of the core structures that define our society: capitalism, the state, heteropatriarchy, imperialism, settler colonialism, and white supremacy. Although we will analyze these structures individually, we see each as mutually reinforcing expressions of a broader system of domination. These structures have changed over time, but their fundamental features have remained resilient.

So far, we have analyzed the general structures, relationships, and mechanisms of domination that give shape to the society in which we live. Now we will establish our prescription for uprooting these structures—social revolution—and describe in broad terms the form of social organization that we are struggling to bring into existence—libertarian socialism.

To guide us through the highs and lows of struggle along the path toward our ultimate objective—social revolution and libertarian socialism—we need a compass to keep us aligned with our North Star. In other words, we need a general strategy, a durable revolutionary orientation aimed at both dismantling the system of domination and laying the groundwork for a new society.

We are in an era of compounding crises. Crises are not coming one by one. In the past three years, multiple systemic crises have been hitting at the same time, creating unexpected interactions and magnifying effects: Pandemic compounding with supply chain breakdowns, compounding with racist police murders, compounding with global climate disaster, compounding with war and imperial rivalry, compounding with out-of-control inflation. The political system is failing to solve any one of these crises, as the major parties drift farther to the right, the Supreme Court is captured by far-right reaction, paralysis is the daily operating standard of government, and the far right grows in institutional and international power.

The current conjuncture contains a wide range of obstacles for anarchists aiming at a libertarian-socialist horizon. The cascading crises that mark this moment, from the ecological to the economic, can be both daunting and disorienting. Without any meaningful solutions from political elites, the process of polarization and politicization continues. While the far-right has grown in size and strength in and outside the United States, the organized left remains frail and fractured, with a marginal revolutionary faction largely overshadowed by the politics of democratic socialism. We have witnessed inspiring waves of mass mobilization in recent years, but decades of neoliberal capitalism have eroded many of the social and political organizations needed to expand the radical potential of street protests.