Aims and Principles of Black Swan (2013 – 2015)

Uploaded as part of the Anarchism in Australia project.

Author: Black Swan
Originally Published: 2013
Obtained from: Black Swan SA

Aims and Principles
1. The working class and the capitalist class have opposing class interests. The vast majority of society have no control whatsoever over the decisions that most deeply and directly affect their lives, while the parasitical few, who own or control the means of production, accumulate wealth, make laws and use the whole machinery of the State to perpetuate and reinforce their privileged positions. There can be no peace as long as hunger, deprivation and boredom are found among millions of working people while the capitalists and the managers of society enrich themselves from our labour and their control of resources.

2. We advocate the abolition of capitalism, wage slavery and all economic systems of oppression and exploitation, through direct action, solidarity, and mutual aid. We aim to create a free and classless society, based on workers’ self-management of the means and relations of production, distribution for need not profit, free association, mutual aid, and federation — libertarian communism.

3. We believe the state, like capitalism, cannot be reformed, and do not support participation in parliamentary elections. We advocate the abolition of all forms of government and the state and the replacement of hierarchical political structures with those based on direct, participatory democracy.

4. The only revolutionary body able to end capitalism is the working class itself, in the form of mass, self-organised struggle from below. Meaningful action, as pro-revolutionaries, is whatever assists in the building of a culture of self-organised struggle for improved freedom and living conditions. We advocate for mass meetings in workplaces, campuses and neighbourhoods.

5. We reject patriarchy and fight for the empowerment and liberation of women. We stand in solidarity with feminist struggles, and believe that actively challenging the personal and interpersonal manifestations of patriarchy is equally as important as working towards structural changes. Both need to happen together to create a new society free of male domination.

6. We reject compulsory heterosexuality and gender roles and support LGBTQIA struggles.

7. We work for the creation of a society that encourages cultural diversity. We reject all forms of racial and ethnic prejudice, nation states, nationalism and patriotism: we are not patriots, we are internationalists.

8. We reject the marginalisation of participants because of age, experience, mental or physical ability.

9. We recognise the ongoing history of Indigenous self-organisation and resistance to both capitalism and colonisation, and we support Indigenous peoples who wish to fight on their own terms with their own organisations. As a group that is focused on class and anti-authoritarianism, what we have to offer is a critique of corporate and representative approaches to social change. We aim to work alongside grassroots Indigenous struggle in Australia.

10. We recognise that our natural environment is under continual assault from the forces of excessive and unsustainable production. Instead, we envision a world where common ownership of the earth and the direct democracy of communities act as the guardian of ecological sustainability.

11. The forms and content thrown up by class struggle cannot be fully known in advance, therefore we aim to allow room for reflection, criticism and change within the group.

12. We operate on the free agreement between those who think it useful to unite and co-operate to achieve the goals above. Members have an organisational duty to support the enterprises undertaken as a collective (when decided by legitimate decision making). Members have an organisational duty to do nothing that would go against these accepted aims and principles.


A person becomes eligible for membership after attending 3 of the group’s General Meetings, events or supported events; such as a film, reading group or rally.

A person becomes a member by approval at a General Meeting, after a brief personal introduction.

A member must agree to the Aims and Principles of Black Swan, and do nothing which goes against these.

A member must pay dues of $5 per month. If a member cannot pay the dues, the dues shall be waived until they are able to (a member can express their inability to pay to any member of the organisation, who can tell the treasurer). Unpaid dues in the period the member cannot afford them will not accrue.

Suspension and expulsion:
A member can be suspended or expelled by a majority vote at a General Meeting. Grounds for this include stalking; rape; sexual harassment; domestic violence; violence or assault; intimidation; discrimination (on the basis of race, gender, sex, sexual orientation, class, religion); theft of possessions; harassment & bullying.

These should be occupied for no longer than 6 months. Roles are recallable at any time at a General Meeting.

Responsible for word processing and e-mailing minutes.
Responsible for the organisation of General Meetings.
Responsible for maintaining a membership list.
Responsible for maintaining a contact list.

Responsible for the collection of dues.
Responsible for keeping group funds safe.

Web & Social Media person:
Responsible for maintaining the group website.
Responsible for maintaining the group social media pages.
All edits to the website must be ratified by a General Meeting.
Posts to social media pages can be recalled by a General Meeting.

Bookshop Person:
Responsible for stocking and staffing the book stall.
Responsible for handling bookshop money.
Items in the bookshop must be approved at a General Meeting.

Grievance Officers:
There will be two grievance officers, one male and one female.
Responsible for conflict resolution, external and internal.
Responsible for conciliation with the interested parties separately, and in confidence.
In the event that an agreement cannot be reached between the conflicting parties, a General Meeting will decide their fate.

In the event that a GO has a Conflict of Interest, a new GO will be elected at a General Meeting.

Principles of decision making:

Meeting Quorum is 50% of financial members.
Quorum is 70% of members for constitutional or Aims and Principles changes or financial decisions over $100.

We use consensus decision making.
Per 10 people, we tolerate two consenting with reservations and one abstention.

If consensus cannot be reached in a General Meeting:
1) The proposal will be sent back to the proposer or;
1a) The proposal will be workshopped by a working group;
2) The proposal will be brought to a second meeting.
2a) If consensus cannot be reached at the second General Meeting, the proposal is voted on by 70:30.

In the case of a proposal with a deadline, the proposal will be workshopped by the proposer or working group during the General Meeting.

Meeting Conduct:
At the beginning of a General Meeting, the following must be chosen:

A facilitator; keeps discussion on topic; cuts-off speakers who take too much time; actively engages meeting participants who haven’t spoken; actively engages meeting participants who have spoken too much, by informing them of this; engages meeting participants if their behaviour is offensive, disrespectful or rude.

A minutes taker; arranges agenda according to priority; records the business of the meeting and any decisions made or actions taken. Must provide hard or electronic copy to Secretary.

A time-keeper; works with minutes taker to set time-limits on agenda items; alerts the meeting to how long they have spoken for. If an agenda item or meeting runs over-time, there must be a formal decision by the meeting to continue on that item or meeting.

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