Democracy Is Direct

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Re: Democracy Is Direct

Postby American Dream » Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:17 pm ... on-future/

Anarcho-syndicalism: A Past Phenomenon, A Vision for the Future

December 17, 2016 By Geoff R

It’s common for many folks familiar with anarcho-syndicalism to look at it as both a set of ideas and a phenomenon which occurred at a certain period (in the early 1900s) as a result of certain conditions of capitalism at the time and a particular response to them. The experiment in libertarian Spain is the most famous and perhaps the most successful, although anarcho-syndicalist movements of note have also occurred in South America, Africa, and Asia. These historical movements had their own problems and successes which are important for modern socialists to learn from. Modern anarcho-syndicalists in large part reject the idea that anarcho-syndicalism is bound by the problems and failures of previous experiments. Instead, they see anarcho-syndicalism as a framework for powerful tactics that have the potential to abolish capitalism and replace it with a positive alternative; libertarian socialism. To this end, we seek to put together what a modern anarcho-syndicalist vision might look like, and this essay attempts a start in this regard.

A Focus on Modern Capitalism

The capitalism of today is different from that which anarcho-syndicalists in the early 1900s faced. In the U.S., while there is still a sizeable amount of local production, many industries have moved their factories to other countries due to capitalists shifting costs. In the U.S. a large service sector has emerged, membership in the business unions is in rapid decline and worker compensation in general is largely either stagnant or has decreased while profits for capitalists and employers is skyrocketing. This means that the divide in political/economic power here is widening at an alarming rate. In other countries in which the working class find themselves with these new factories, call centers, etc. they now have these new employers to struggle with as well as their domestic employers. Foreign capital pressures create cost problems for less dominant nation states due to imperialism, and these costs always get shifted onto the local working class population.

A New Unionism

The steady decline in business union membership, cost-shifting and various other factors present the need to build new networks and/or coalitions of directly combative working class organizations such as unions and solidarity networks to create powerful working class power from below to fight the bosses, win immediate demands and push forward to eventually fire the bosses and replace capitalism with socialism. These organizations may look to the past – for example the more radical and combative unionism of the late 1800s and early 1900s. But they also must focus around present issues for working class people, and be focused on the future goal of replacing capitalism with a positive alternative.

An International, Non-Eurocentric Movement

There is a need for the new organizations to not only be built but also to be networked internationally in a manner that is both democratic and not centric to any one country or continent. Eurocentrism has long been an issue with socialism in part because socialist thought largely came out of Europe. It’s important that an international federation of radical working class organizations be able to balance needs from various countries and continents and not be too heavily weighted to any one in particular. This is a delicate balance but it’s important since a successful international socialist movement isn’t likely to come from thoughts and ideas dominant within a particular country or continent. This is because the specific nature struggles against capitalism have varies greatly from country to country and only people struggling locally will be likely to understand their situations best. In addition toppling capitalism (a global system) and replacing it with libertarian socialism will take global coordination and organization of the working class majority throughout the world. This is important because workers in the U.S. for example whose companies may have outsourced particular departments can effectively coordinate actions more powerfully with their fellow workers abroad against their common bosses.

An Intersectional Focus on Class Struggle

The IWW slogan “An Injury to One is an Injury to all” is an excellent expression of intersectional working class solidarity. This means that we do not pick and choose which class injuries require solidarity, but rather we understand that all class injuries require solidarity. This means that we see the struggles against racism, ableism, homophobia, gender essentialism, patriarchy, ecological destruction, etc. as directly part of the class struggle against capitalism. This is because they are used by those with power to disempower the rest, ensure class divisions persist and divide the working class for the benefit of the bosses and capitalists. These injuries must be combatted as a focus of new libertarian organizations as well as within them.

A Replacement of Sub-cultural Politics with Popular Politics

Much of radical left politics, at least in the U.S., exist in a largely subcultural fashion, are not popular, and tend to prioritize a cliquey culture instead of a broad intersectional working class inclusion and outreach. This is a problem because it harms the ability to extend solidarity to working class people who need it, and harms the ability of making our ideas and actions popular and well-received. If our politics do not become popular, they will not be successful. So we need to focus on building local organizations that are inclusive of working class folks in a broad and intersectional fashion, and prioritize this, rather than small groups or cliques of friends who happen to share common political interests.

New Revolutionary Theory and Social Science

There’s also a strong need for modern anarcho-syndicalists to do new theoretical and social science work. While Proudhon, Marx, Bakunin and many others have done excellent work in theory and social science, we aren’t bound by their shortcomings and there’s a strong need for contemporary work in this area. This includes work in understanding modern advanced capitalism as well economic theory and developing ideas on how the positive alternative to capitalism might look and function. We will need to develop contemporary concrete proposals for libertarian socialism that may draw from folks who have done strong work in this area in the past like Cole, Kropotkin, Castoriadis and others.


While there’s much to be learned from anarcho-syndicalism historically, the ideas and focus of revolutionary libertarian unionism are still very much relevant to the possibility of creating new powerful anti-capitalist movements today. However, it’s important that activists and organizers not only learn from the past but also focus on understanding how capitalism has changed and build new combative working class organizations focused around immediate local struggles against capital. In addition it’s important that these organizations be organized internationally, have an intersectional class struggle focus and be able to make their politics popular instead of sub-cultural and cliquey. Finally, it’s important for folks to engage in new theoretical and social science work, to understand advanced capitalism and create new economic proposals among other important theoretical work.
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Re: Democracy Is Direct

Postby American Dream » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:14 pm

Deconstructing Hierarchies: On the Paradox of Contrived Leadership and Arbitrary Positions of Power

ImageWhile hierarchies serve a systemic purpose in regards to how they relate to broader society, they also develop internal cultures that mimic the unequal power relations that have come to characterize our society under capitalism. These internal cultures breed competition among workers by creating an exclusive, managerial class that must be filled by a select few. In order to satisfy the inherent power inequities that exist within all hierarchies, organizations create arbitrary positions of authority, advertise these positions as being available to those who "qualify," and encourage people to pursue these positions in exchange for material gain. In this pursuit, however, contradictions and inefficiencies naturally arise.

In a professional capacity, whether we're talking about a public or private organization, people climb the proverbial ladder for two reasons: 1) to make more money and 2) to work less. The narrow-minded pursuit of authority and power, whether conscious or subconscious, essentially lies within these two, fundamental objectives that are inherent to human beings who are placed within hierarchical (competitive, not cooperative) systems defined by capitalist/corporate culture. In other words, when forced into a top-down organizational structure, it becomes natural to want to make more (money) and work less (idleness). The often-subconsciously attractive idea of acquiring a position of authority is the singular casing around these material wants. While the uncivilized act of exerting power over another human being may boost self-esteem, this form of psychosis ultimately operates secondary to the material benefits that come with this power. Therefore, it is safe to assume that if material benefits did not accompany positions of authority, they likely would not exist.

Regardless of this inclination, there are still many people who have no interest in climbing the ladder. Ironically, these people, for one reason or another, are more beholden to the natural human attribute of cooperation. They are either able to see beyond the self-centered pursuit of power (money and idleness) and are simply turned off by it, or they are just not interested in climbing over (and eventually overseeing) others for personal gain. In turn, those who choose to seek power (money and idleness) - those who are willing to spend time and energy climbing the ladder - do so in a purely self-serving way. They simply want to make more and work less, have no qualms about taking positions of artificial superiority over their fellow workers, and thus do whatever it takes to obtain that status within the organization. This flow creates an interesting paradox, as the most self-serving members of an organization inevitably gravitate to the top of the hierarchy. Thus, while organizations theoretically consist of groups of people working toward a common goal, this natural phenomenon based in hierarchical ascendency inevitably destroys any hopes of a collective will, while also breeding a culture of incompetence (as those self-serving individuals take the reins).

This culture of incompetence almost always comes to the forefront, as a majority of workers will inevitably experience it through daily occurrences of redundancy, inefficiency, and frustration. When there is work to be done, bosses almost inevitably seek refuge in their offices. When crises arrive, bosses do not take it upon themselves to work, but rather demand more work from those below. In most cases, bosses become so far removed from the actual work and mission of an organization that they essentially alienate themselves. As this disconnect grows, so too does the culture of incompetency. And with the tendency for animosity to develop from the majority of the workforce that is perceived to be "at the bottom," the only option for those who seek to control, supervise, and "manage" other human beings is to instill fear in their subjects. At this stage, trust is non-existent, organizational problems are always reduced to workers not doing enough, and solutions are always rooted in disciplinary action.

Furthermore, this phenomenon creates a natural inefficiency as those who are paid more money are essentially contributing less to the mission. In the case of so-called "supervisory" and "management" positions, this inefficiency becomes two-fold by not only creating a scenario where the organization is getting less for more, but also seeking more for less from the majority of its workforce (since this void must be filled somewhere). With this realization, we can see that hierarchies are not only unnatural forms of organization, but also inefficient and incompetent ones. Their purpose for existing lies in controlling this unnatural environment predicated upon massive inequities of power and wealth. However, beyond this need to reinforce the coercive nature of society, they are useless from within. This paradoxical existence is thus forced to construct mythological purposes for the arbitrary power positions that serve no real purpose internally, yet must maintain and mimic the power relations that exist externally. Ironically, wielding fear through micromanagement and the constant threat of disciplinary action ultimately becomes this artificial purpose. And it convinces those who occupy these power positions that workers are inherently lazy and, therefore, must be prodded like cattle. The irony comes in the fact that any development of so-called laziness, or a lack of effort, that comes to fruition from below almost always is the result of widespread animosity toward those who exist "higher up" on the ladder for the sole purpose of making more and doing less. Human beings simply do not respond to arbitrary positions of authority (often candy-coated as "leadership positions") because such positions serve no purpose in any real sense of organizational operations. Frankly put, the mere existence of these positions is an insult to all of those who perform the brunt of the work from "below."

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Re: Democracy Is Direct

Postby American Dream » Sat Jan 14, 2017 11:59 am

Cornelius Castoriadis and the Politics of Autonomy.


“History does nothing, it ‘possesses no immense wealth’, it ‘wages no battles’. It is man, real, living man who does all that, who possesses and fights; ‘history’ is not, as it were, a person apart, using man as a means to achieve its own aims; history is nothing but the activity of man pursuing his aims.”

Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx. The Holy Family. 1844. (1)

A critical look at the politics of Cornelius Castoriadis, around, and beyond these recent publications:

Castoriadis. Une Vie. François Dosse. La Découverte. 2014. Looking for the Proletariat Socialisme ou Barbarie and the Problem of Worker Writing. Stephen Hastings-King. Brill 2014 Castoriadis. L’Imaginaire, Le Rationnel, et le Réel. Arnaud Tomès. Demapolis. 2015. Cornelius Castoriadis ou l’autonomie radicale. Segre Latouche. Le Passager Clandestin. 2014 Cornelius Castoriadis et Claude Lefort: L’expérience démocratique. Editor. Nicolas Poirier. Le Bord de l’eau. 2015. A Socialisme ou Barbarie Anthology. Autonomy, Critique, Revolution in the Age of Bureaucratic Capitalism. Beta Version. Anonymous. 2016. Autonomie ou barbarie. Edited Manuel Cervera-Marzal and Éric Fabri. Le Passager Clandestin. 2015.

Cornelius Castoriadis (1922 – 1997) was a landmark figure on the French political and intellectual left. A philosopher, a political theorist, a professional economist at the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), Castoriadis was a psychoanalyst (initially linked with the Lacanian school) to boot. He was also one of the founders, with Claude Lefort (1924 – 2010), of the group and publication, Socialisme ou Barbarie (SouB, 1949 – 1965, the group dissolved in 1967) whose legacy continues to be debated on the left. As Dosse’s biography, Stephen-Hasting King’s study of SouB, the essays published by Poirier, and by Cervera-Marzal and Éric Fabri, Latouche’s pamphlet, and the philosophical study by Arnaud Tomes demonstrate, Castoriadis remains a preoccupation for radical left thinkers.

To his admirers Castoriadis was the major radical left thinker of the 20th century. After his death Alex Honneth, of the Frankfurt Institut für Sozialforschung, and a student of Jürgen Habermas, compared his stature to that of Herbert Marcuse and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. He was, Honneth considered, a significant figure within the tradition of ‘Western Marxism’ that “tired to save the practical-political intuitions of Marx’s work through a resolute abandonment of its dogmatic kernel.” Edgar Morin, co-founder of the ‘heterodox’ left wing journal, Arguments (1956 – 1962), and for decades a respected figure on the French centre-left, wrote a vibrant tribute in le Monde in 1997. For Morin, Castoriadis’ path-breaking contribution to the left stemmed from his belief that “the continuation of Marx requires the destruction of Marxism, which had become, through its triumph, a reactionary ideology”. As Castoriadis put in 1962, to remain revolutionary one had to ditch Marxism. After the collapse of ‘Eastern’ state Marxism and Marxism, both geographically and theoretically ‘Marxism’ Western or otherwise, has further fragmented, geographically, theoretically, academically and politically. Where does it now stand? (2)

Castoriadis remarked in 1992 that, “the wholesale collapse of Marxism has been obvious to me for more than thirty years.” There was nothing worth salvaging in it. “We reject the Marxian insistence on “grounding” it in the “laws of history,” or attributing it to the workers’ movement if only, simply, because this movement is no more than one of the many interest groups that are fighting within rich capitalist societies”. Today 90% of the people could be expected to support the “project of autonomy”. Leftism can pass by not only Marxism, but also the concentration of this special constituency as a historical lever within democratic socialist movements. (3)

On the left Castoriadis is unimaginable without Socialisme ou Barbarie, although it was far from the mouthpiece of one individual. SouB offered an analysis of changes in the post-war Western capitalist society, the structures of ‘bureaucratic capitalism’ in the Eastern bloc. It tried to develop, with limited means, an emancipatory practice within the working class. Jacques Julliard in his influential history of the French lefts has described SouB as “remarkable”(Les Gauches Françaises. 2012) Amongst its achievements it offered a pioneering analysis of “Stalinist bureaucratic degeneration” and, breaking from its Trotskyist origins, “put into question the leading role of the Party in the revolutionary process”. It was, he goes onto declare, one of the “inspirations” of May 68. (4)

Other assessments have been no less unwilling to describe SouB as a significant current within key developments of the second half of the 20th century. Boltanski and Eve Chiappelo’s The New Spirit of Capitalism (1999) placed Castoriadis and the review within the challenge to authority that arose in the late ‘60’s. They identified it as part of the ‘artistic critique’ of capitalist alienation, the market society’s deformation of people’s wills and creative abilities, in SouB’s view reflected in the division between those who give commands and those who carry them out. Demands for “autonomy, spontaneity, authenticity self-fulfillment, creativity, life” took precedence over older attacks on capitalist exploitation and demands for state measures to remedy their effects. In Mai 68, l’héritage impossible (2002) Jean Pierre Le Goff describes the enduring insights offered by Castoriadis and his comrade Claude Lefort, from SouB to their later work. Their critique of Marxism and totalitarianism and the affirmation of the democratic potential of new forms of political struggle had a completely different statue to that of the “simplistic” anti-Marxist ‘nouvelle philosophie’ of the late 1970s (5)

First Biography.

Nearly two decades after the Greek-French philosopher passed away Castoriadis: Une Vie (2014) (CUV), is his first biography. Une Vie opens with Castoriadis’ birth in Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1922. His family were amongst the Greeks forced out of Atatürk’s Turkey and obliged to re-establish their lives in Athens. In 1937 Castoriadis joined the Youth Wing of the Greek Communists, and the party itself, the KKE, in 1941. He was swiftly a dissident, and part of a Trotskyist grouping around one of its competing leaders, Agis Stinas (1900 – 1997). After studies at the University of Athens – where he displayed an interest in Max Weber as well as being attracted to Marxism – he obtained a grant to study in Paris. In December 1945 Castoriadis left for France.

Castoriadis would later say that the experience of the authoritarian side of Greek official communism, combined with reading of dissident Marxist works by authors such as Victor Serge, left him prepared to defy any orthodoxy. Thus armoured he had no intention of dropping out of left activism. After finishing his academic studies he was employed as an economist for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Out of a very dissident current within French Trotskyist politics, led, with Claude Lefort, he formed SouB in 1949. Leftist political activity was abandoned in the 1960s, with the final dissolution of the group in 1967. He continued his engagement through prolific writing. Castoriadis had joined the École freudienne de Paris in 1964. Opposing the psychoanalytic views of its founder Jacques Lacan in 1969 Castoriadis left and participated in a different body, the Quatrième groupe. Retiring from OECD in 1970, he became a psychoanalytical analyst in 1973. During that decade, marked by the publication of L’institution imaginaire de la société (1975) and the collection and reprinting of SouB texts, his writings reached a wider audience, including academic circles. Castoriadis began to lecture and teach, eventually becoming part of the École de Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS).

François Dosse is a historian of ideas. He has written a study of the hermeneutic philosopher Paul Ricœur, who at Nanterre University was both supportive and at the receiving end of May 68 protests. Ricœur was a thinker with whom Castoriadis, he notes, enjoyed a relationship of “mutual esteem”. Dosse made a mark with the study of two other difficult thinkers in Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari. Biographie Croisée (2007), theorists whom Castoriadis did not hold in equally high regard. The professional philosopher and the radical psychiatrist’s joint writings, most notably L’Anti-Œdipe (1972) are celebrated for the theory of ‘desiring machines’, and critique of psychiatric approaches to schizophrenia. In their philosophical-political works such as Mille Plateaux (1980) they advocated the “creation of concepts” a “box of tools” (boîte à utiles). One of their most famous was the rhizome, a metaphor for the way ideas giving off stalks and shoots.

The pair had very distinct lives. Guattari’s was studded by engagements which brought him into contact with the ‘alternative’ French and European left, while Deleuze stayed largely within the Academy. The chapters covering their intellectual odyssey are held together by themes rather than time-lines, the creations of their “agencement” (their collaboration). One critic suggested that the Biographie Croisée resembled a “Polar”, a whodunit that ends up with the investigator uncovering Deleuze and Guattari’s conceptual apparatus. (6)

With this background Dosse is well-equipped to tackle another difficult subject in which the development of theory looms large, politics stand centre-stage, and psychoanalytical theories play a significant part. Castoriadis Une Vie is not a detective story nor is it arranged by concepts and arguments. The biography has a largely linear framework, within which the intellectual content often develops its own momentum. There is nothing resembling the Deleuze-Guattari tandem: Castoriadis’ important political and intellectual relationship with Claude Lefort was not a fusion of minds. To Dosse there was both “dialogue and confrontation” between the group’s top figures. Their work, political and theoretical, in the early 1950s ran a close parallel course, with Castoriadis the acknowledged chief in the Review, There was a split (1958) in SouB, renewed co-operation in the late 60s to the mid-1970s, followed by further falling outs. By the 1980s their political and theoretical approaches had diverged considerably. Yet it is, when we consider the nature and limits of democratic politics in the project of autonomy, hard to come to terms with the one thinker without the other.


To cover the different aspects of Castoriadis’ life, in which this was only one, but significant element, is not an easy task. Dosse uses the metaphor of a “labyrinth” (taken from the title of some of his collected writings, Les Carrefours du labyrinthe 1978 – 1999) to describe the intricate passages of his thought. Nevertheless, for the author, if Castoriadis never created a ‘system’ his ideas are “roborative” (tonic) and still form part of a “coherent bloc” resting on the theme of autonomy.

This suggests that we should follow his guiding thread through the different routes that his writings developed. Dosse also manages to convey a sense of the day-to-day detail of an intellectual’s existence – a hard feat – without losing attention of the important issues at stake. In view of his interest in relations of authority, one would have wished for more information about the Economist’s career as a high official in charge of scores of subordinates in the OECD. By contrast, there is a welcome wealth of detail on Castoriadis’ life in SouB and on the left. Castoriadis’ role as a theoretician and a potential political leader, as a dominant force within SouB, was, electric. Dosse cites member and contributor Sébastian de Diesbach, who said that this “extraordinary “ (hors du commun) individual was “Plato, Socrates, power did not interest him” (7)

Une Vie also notes Castoriadis’ polemical excesses during disputes, inside, or outside SouB. André Gorz talked of a drive to stand out as the only really critical thinker in the French left-wing intellectual village. A ‘force of Nature’, the biography ends with warmer tributes from the ranks of those affected by Castoriadis’ efforts to rouse his contemporaries and assume the full depth of the political dimension of human existence. (8)

Castoriadis Une Vie is more than a life history. François Dosse considers that Castoriadis’ writings were milestones on the way to emancipatory politics. Beginning with an implacable critique of official Communism Castoriadis first sketched an alternative, socialist self-management, a realm of possibility from the creative roots of a society at present warped by bureaucratic capitalism. Often neglected in academic circles, a “marginal” an “outsider”, Castoriadis, for Dosse, is an enduring source of inspiration, both theoretical and political. From a critique of “heteronomy” – the rule of alienated institutions – the groundwork for much broader liberating social arrangements emerged. As an often-employed explanation begins, autonomy, that is, ‘auto’, self, ‘nomos’, law, is the pursuit of a world where we make our own rules and order our own lives. Dosse considers that with this goal Castoriadis’ historical and psychoanalytical gaze helped open up the social imagination to the possibilities of a more convivial life beyond a “foreclosed” future dominated by profit. From SouB onwards, there was a consistent democratic drive, outlining the contours of “radicalised” self-determination through the “socialisation” of all decision-making.

Not everybody was, or is, convinced of this picture. Claude Lefort came to doubt the possibility of such a sweeping re-ordering of society. In the 1970s he posited the way it conceived the lifting of restraints on autonomy. With the introduction of self-management “the idea of being together, producing together, deciding and obeying together, communicating fully, satisfying the same needs, both here and there and everywhere simultaneously, became possible as soon as the alienation which ties the dominated to the dominator is removed; it is as if only some evil and complicit servitude had for centuries or millennia concealed from people the quite simple truth that they were the authors of their own institutions and, what is more, of their choice of society. If this is believed, there is no need to confront the problems posed on the frontiers of the history that we are living through.”

Jürgen Habermas trenchantly stated that Castoriadis entrusted “the rational content of socialism (that is, a form of life that is supposed to make autonomy and self-realisation in solidarity possible) to a demiurge creative of meaning, which brushes aside the difference between meaning and validity, and no longer relies on the profane and no longer relies on the profane verification of its creations.” He was unable to “provide us with a figure for the mediation between individual and society”. For Alex Callinicos this “voluntarist social theory” ended in what he considered, “wilfully obscure” writings, that began with L’insitution imaginaire de la société (1975). This book was “merely one example of a general trend in contemporary social theory, which was to detach Marx’s philosophical anthropology from historical materialism and transform it into a general theory of action positing a transhistorical human capacity to overturn social structures.” Perry Anderson dismissed Castoriadis’ political and theoretical ambitions as a “pious cult of creativity.”(9)

Approaches to Castoriadis’ Ideas.

Castoriadis’ relationship with the organisation and publication, Socialisme ou Barbarie should be the starting point of grasping his politics. SouB was a wider project that extended beyond his own imprint. No discussion of the philosophy and politics of autonomy can ignore the group, whose participants and activity extended beyond him in was engaged in efforts to intervene in the working class. Stephen Hasting King’s invaluable Looking for the Proletariat draws attention to SouB’s political projects and to other figures than Castoriadis. In Lefort’s writing and the activity of Daniel Mothé, the plan developed of recording “worker experience”. Lefort found his bearings in the work of his teacher, the existentialist-phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty. But the project of revolutionaries as “phenomenological observers” and the activity of a militant and his allies in the famous Billancourt car plant next to Paris was more than an attempt to register life in the factory.

SouB, King argues, went beyond, outsider’s plunges into working class life, represented by say Simone Weil’s 1930s plunge into the world of work (published posthumously in 1951 as La Condition Ouvrière). It was inspired by the first-hand account of class struggle in the car-industry The American Worker (1947: Paul Romano and Ria Stone – Phil Singer and Grace Lee Boggs – of the Johnson-Forest tendency, associated with C.L.R.James), which SouB translated and published. Mothé, who was to publish his own Journal recording his life at work (Journal d’un Ouvrier. 1959), was to develop reflections on the changing role of activists and how they might politicise everyday worker experience. Mothé came not only to outline how being such a “militant”, contesting both employers and unions, was a metier. He observed that their concerns were increasingly detached from non-factory political issues. One of the few members of SouB to consider the pre-Communist-led CGT ‘syndicalist’ trade unionism, he noted the erosion of their demands for control over the workplaces.

These and other SouB interventions were linked to practical political-class demands centred on activism, and not the product of industrial relations studies, ethnography or cultural studies. Tribune Ouvrière, a worker-activist paper was one result of their approach; intended to be a feedback loop co-ordinating and developing autonomous struggles. The basis lay in new types of informal organisation of “elementary groups” of workers, the co-operation needed to sustain production in the post-war phase of automation, and the unintended reaction against Fordist plans and Taylorist norms. King makes the point that for Lefort and the group, ‘autonomy’, initially referred to “strike actions that workers carried out beyond the control of, and in opposition to, the bureaucratic trade unions and political parties” It developed into “direct-democratic forms of self-organisation” Whether their strategic conclusions went far beyond opposition to all forms of authority, from bosses to unions, remains an open issue. Nevertheless many consider this not only a creative response to the post-war changes in work (in contrast to the traditional bread-and-butter demands of union activists) but perhaps one of the first efforts to develop a left-wing industrial politics that was not reduced to efforts to capture trade unions from the ‘reformist’ leadership and mobilise workers behind (their) party-led vanguards. (10)

In this view, the fundamental contradiction of capitalism was that it both needed workers’ creativity and yet sought to regiment it to order. Workers would always react to this, from the most modest refusal to obey or to doge round rules, to outright rebellion. Taylorism and other forms of managerial rationalisation, the post-war processes – the hey-day of “Fordism” – could never be imposed without day-to-day efforts by workers to maintain and improve their conditions as they saw fit. At some point these conflicts would condense into more global confrontations that would take a political edge. Francis-King draws these into their objectives, “A defining characteristic of this new form of political action was the reappropriation of direct-democratic worker councils. Workers’ councils formed within a sequence that moved from wildcat to an unlimited general strike. For Socialisme ou Barbarie, this sequence was a plausible trajectory for moving from worker control over production to that of society as a whole. The demands formulated by the councils linked the actions back to conflicts that unfolded in everyday life at the point of production.” This self-management became defined as the “content of socialism”, based on workers’ councils (‘soviets’) and not on planning and nationalisation, in one of Castoriadis’ best-known articles of the 1950s. (11)

And the Broader Independent French Left…

In accounts of SouB there is a tendency, which for all his merits King tends to reflect, to ignore other left independent currents that developed during the same period. Nevertheless the activist left of the period ended by forming a material embodiment of the New Left way beyond the review’s ambit. Bolstered by not just Suez, Hungary but in the developing struggle for Algerian national liberation, and the crises that culminated in a potential military take over in 1958, ended the Fourth Republic and brought de Gaulle back to power with the Fifth Republic, finally succeeded in creating an organised expression of their ideas, and a place where they hoped to be effective as a political force, the Parti Socialiste Unifié (PSU). This was the party that left a lasting trace in French politics, its anti-colonialism, support for autogestion, early championing of green issues and feminism, making it a magnet for a thick forest of leftist, radical reformist, democratic socialist ideas and individuals.

SouB was hostile to the founding tendencies of the PSU. It loathed the centre-left politician Pierre Mendès France who became associated with the party on the basis of its fight in defence of Algerian independence. It was, from its own creation in the 1940s, hostile to Yugoslavia, a model with some attractions to PSU members, SouB saw ‘Titoism’ as a variant of bureaucratic capitalism, despite its adoption of self-management in the 1950s. SouB’s dislike went beyond particular political stands, to the criticism that its founding currents stood candidates in Parliamentary and other contests. The fusion of a group of anti-parliamentarian ‘Bordgists’ with the organisation in the early 1950s, which may help explain how this attitude developed. If SouB was alone, that is, stood aside from this central part – intellectual and activist – of the developing new lefts, this was its own choice.

In the recent and valuable history of the PSU Quand la Gauche se réinventait (2016) Bernard Ravenel outlines the role of their key strategist Gilles Martinet, in promoting self-management in the context of a national – democratic and participative – “counter-plan”. Ideas, which influenced the PSU about autogestion, developed in relation to the theory of the “nouvelle class ouvrière” the new working class, devoted to research, and the preparation and organisation of production. This layer, to Serge Mallet, and other theorists such as André Gorz who placed its productive role within the terms of Marx’s concept of alienation, had a degree of “professional autonomy” (comparable to pre-mass production skilled workers). It could be the social base for wider autogestion. Castoriadis and SouB were resolutely hostile to the industrial sociology underpinning this approach, and its emphasis on the leading role of technicians and qualified workers. They pointed, as we have already cited, to another potential in informal but essential ‘elementary groups’ of workers at all levels of production. Castoriadis considered this a potential challenge to management’s existence. It is not surprising, collecting these views together, with their harsh stand against electoral interventions on the left, that SouB would not participate in the career of this central actor in the 1960s and 1970s French New Left. (12)

If SouB offered a series of important reflections on the evolution of bureaucratic capitalism, workers’ struggles, and self-management, its politics were sterile. They would appear to belong to the category of leftist groups known for permanent opposition. The range of their targets, within the left itself, was immense. To cite a typical statement by Castoriadis, “For a century the proletariat of all countries has been setting up organisations to help them in their struggle, and all these organisations, whether trade unions or political parties, ultimately have degenerated and become integrated into the system of exploitation. In this respect it matters little whether they have become purely and simply instruments of the State and of capitalist society (like the reformist organisations), or whether (like the Stalinist organisations) they aim to bring about a transformation of this society, concentrating economic and political power in the hands of a bureaucratic stratum while leaving unaltered the exploitation of the workers. The main point is that such organisations have become the strongest opponents of their original aim: the emancipation of the proletariat.” As “cogs in the machine” of exploitation and capitalist command they had to be constantly fought. Whether all at the same time, or only in the shape of their individual representatives, this is a hefty task. (13)

Castoriadis: from SouB onwards.

Internal clashes, and eventual scissions, began soon after SouB began publication, in 1951-2, reached one climax with Lefort’s departure in the late 1950s and resumed, in the wake of Castoriadis’ 1961 announcement that he has surpassed Marxism. In all these disputes one theme was to the fore: how can we organise to create this new society ? Was it a matter of linking together workers’ protests into one big surge that would challenge bureauratic capitalism, or was a party or a more closely knit form of organisation required ? Amongst the many issues that preoccupied Catrodis himself was the nuts and bolts of running an egalitarian society that could emergence from a succesful revolution in Le Contenu du socialisme (1979, from 1950s SouB originals). This was an effort he was to abandon to the decisions of the autonomous associated individuals in L’insitution imaginaire de la société (1975).

The approach to the ‘reforms’ offered by these associations also has the attractive characteristic of never being provably wrong. Nobody was able to offer the prospect of self-management. Nobody has found as way of abolishing the distinction between directors and executants. Nobody has solved the problem of bureaucracy. Nobody has abolished ‘heteronomy ’ and instituted personal and social autonomy.

Castoriadis himself moved on. Modern capitalism, he began to claim in the early 1960s had thwarted any attempt to constitute an independent class working movement. The emancipation of the proletariat was not on the cards. He was to announce, in lines that Dose, but not all of his admirers, take account of, that the whole world was becoming ‘totalitarian’. In Modern Capitalism and Revolution (1961) he reached his apogee. “Thus modern societies, whether “democratic” or “dictatorial,” are in fact totalitarian, for in order to maintain their domination, the exploiters have to invade all fields of human activity and try to bring them to submission. It makes no difference that totalitarianism today no longer takes the extreme forms it once took under Hitler or Stalin or that it no longer utilizes terror as its sole and special means. Terror is only one of the means by which power can break down the resilience of all opposition, and it is neither universally applicable nor necessarily the most profitable way of achieving its ends. “Peaceful” manipulation of the masses and the gradual assimilation of any organised opposition can be more effective.” (14)

Continues at: ... -autonomy/
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Re: Democracy Is Direct

Postby American Dream » Sat Feb 04, 2017 6:58 pm

Who Are the Anarchists?: Why Resistance Is Coming from Below

The grassroots resistance that has rocked the US since Trump’s election isn’t the work of paid or professional protesters—nor, by extension, of George Soros, the supposed “puppet master” of the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories Trump is referencing. It hasn’t come from the Democratic Party, the non-profit sector, or the various socialist splinter groups.

Resistance to Trump has come from ordinary people taking action on their own terms without waiting for leadership or instructions. It has come from the same people who breathed tear gas in Ferguson while facing down a militarized police force to defend their neighborhood. It has come from the tens of thousands who survived freezing water cannons and rubber bullets at Standing Rock to block a pipeline that Trump is now trying to railroad through. It has come from those who risked their lives to confront the KKK in Stone Mountain and Neo-Nazis in Sacramento. It has come from the people who disrupted Trump’s inauguration on January 20th, who shut down airports on January 28th and 29th to defy Trump’s Muslim ban, who shut down Milo Yiannopoulos on February 1st.

All of these efforts were organized horizontally according to broadly anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian frameworks. It’s not just a few people in masks: the spirit of the times is anarchistic.

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Re: Democracy Is Direct

Postby American Dream » Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:56 pm

Belated Schrödingerized Election Analysis: “What’s Left?”
February 2017, MRR #405


I started my self-publishing career writing, typing, and mimeographing an underground newspaper with a group of friends during my high school senior year—spring of 1970. We were a ragtag handful of students, more New Left than counterculture, with sympathies for anarchism, Third Worldism, Maoism, and guerrillaism. About the only thing we agreed on was our admiration for and desire to join Students for a Democratic Society, which was ironic because SDS had already crashed-and-burned due to sectarian infighting.

John McConnell, the principal, was a John Bircher who took the opportunity of our first issue to convene an evening presentation in the HS auditorium open to the public on “The Dangers of Communism in Our Schools,” and he used SDS and our newspaper as clear-and-present examples. Of course we were flattered, so we did an adulatory, pro-SDS article in our next issue superimposed on a raised fist graphic, which promptly got us busted not because we published it but because we distributed it on campus. McConnell called me and my parents into his school office where he proceeded to lecture my somewhat bewildered mom and dad about how I was hanging out with the wrong crowd, consorting with seditious characters, and flirting with the red menace. Both my parents, Polish refugees who’d experienced the horrors of the second World War first hand, told him that they had left Europe to get away from people like him and then walked out of the meeting.

Of course, mom and dad argued with me all the way home and through the night against my infantile leftism, naive utopianism, and abstract idealism that the USA to which we’d immigrated was a pretty sweet place to live. In particular I remember from that back-and-forth my dad pointing out that despite all my radical ideas from books and revolutionary examples from history about helping to liberate humanity, I didn’t really do much on a daily basis to make many other individual human lives much better. I remember my parents preparing thoughtful, compact “care packages” to be mailed to our relatives in Poland “behind the Iron Curtain.” Care, Inc, as a refugee relief agency started from the humanitarian disaster that was Europe after the second World War. I still lived at home, so my dad garnished a portion of my spending money for the next year to contribute to Care for African Famine Relief.

It was to teach me a lesson, that an abstract love of humanity should not come detached from loving real live human beings.

I spent the column before last (MRR #402) detailing how various pendulum swings into oppressive conservatism under the GOP resulted in increased misery but not overt fascism as a way of saying that if and when Trump wins it’s not the end of the world. No doubt we’re in for some heavy-duty repression. But Jon Stewart recently quipped regarding Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon as White House strategist: “You know, somebody was saying, ‘There might be an anti-Semite that is working in the White House.’ I was like, have you listened to the Nixon tapes? Like, forget about advising the president – the president. Like, have you read LBJ? Do you know our history?” What I learned from such previous political hard times is that it helps to do what you love to do, plus do a little bit of good in this world, in order to keep your sanity during the present shitstorm. My writing always comforts me, and while charity, mutual aid, or solidarity won’t save the world, it can help individuals—including myself—feel better and maybe even survive. I’m currently looking for somewhere to volunteer, but in the meantime let’s talk about how it all went south.

It felt like a Schrödinger’s cat election from the get go. For you quantum geeks, that’s when it’s yes or no or yes and no at the same time. Take the notion that the United States is a democracy. Out of the total population of the country as of 2016, approximately 28.6% were ineligible to vote due to age, court order, or felony record, and 29.9% of the remaining population simply didn’t vote. That means only 41.5% of the population actually voted, a clear case of minority rule. If we then realize that 19.8% voted for Clinton, 19.5% voted for Trump, and 2.2% voted for third party candidates, that means less than one fifth of the total population decided who would be president this last election. So, is the US a democracy? Yes, no, or maybe yes and no at the same time. Throw in the decidedly undemocratic results of the electoral college and we have to ask if Trump actually won the election? Yes according to the electoral college tally which Trump won by 74 votes and no according to the popular vote which Clinton won by some 2 million votes, further Schrödingerizing the elections.

Michael Moore warned early on that unless the Democrats paid attention to the blue collar, rust belt, American white working class savaged by neoliberalism and deindustrialization, Trump would win them and the election. Nate Silver remained the most conservative pollster throughout the run up to the election, predicting at one point that Clinton had a 60% chance of winning when other polls gave her a 90+% of winning, but also warning that Clinton’s lead remained within 3 percentage points of Trump in his polling algorithms which was well within his “margin of error.” I myself predicted that Clinton’s victory over Trump would be uncomfortably narrow. But then I read that Nate Silver gave both the Cubs and Trump one in four odds of winning, so when the Cubs won the World Series I feared we were in for an upset. For the most part, Trump duplicated Romney’s 2012 election results numerically and demographically, with Romney’s hold on 27 million white male voters shifting from more educated to less educated when it came to Trump in 2016. By contrast, Clinton couldn’t maintain the numbers or the demographics of the Obama coalition’s electoral victories. Her campaign saw a decline of some four million Democratic voters, and lost support among women and minorities and Democratic firewall states, especially the Big Blue Wall rust belt states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. It was Clinton’s election to lose, and she did just that.

Yet she also won the popular vote by 2 million votes, which is why I consider this electoral prediction of mine a Schrödinger one.

It was Clinton’s overconfidence that did her in. She was already an unpopular candidate and her hubris generated a corresponding complacency among her followers. She even repeated the same mistake she made in her 2008 run against Obama by not vigorously campaigning in the rust belt states she needed to win to maintain the Democratic Party’s Big Blue Wall in 2016. (Sanders also campaigned energetically in the rust belt states while Clinton kept flying out to California to sequester herself in the private homes of ultra-wealthy donors.) The canard perpetuated by her campaign—that Trump exploited the racism and sexism of the old white male working class to win—was particularly heinous. Trump’s most vociferous supporters were indeed older, white, and male, but they were predominantly small business owners and professionals, not the working class still loyal to a Democratic Party committed to free trade and stripping the country of its industrial base at the expense of American workers. Of the dwindling white working class, poorer rural white workers swung toward Trump while solidly blue collar urban white workers actually swung toward Clinton. Thus the American white working class continued to vote for Clinton and the Democrats, when they bothered to vote at all, despite being betrayed by the anti-worker policies of the Democratic Party. Clinton may have won the popular vote, but she played a lousy strategic game and lost the electoral college. The Republicans continue to control both the US Senate (51/48) and US House of Representatives (240/194). Combine this with Republican control over 33 State governorships and 32 State legislatures (up from 21 governors and 23 legislatures in 2009), and Trump’s promise to nominate conservative Supreme Court justices—what we have is a Republican clean sweep.

Of course, it’s never so monolithic or cut-and-dried. Because of the winner-take-all nature of US electoral politics, the appearance of overwhelming GOP control is belied by Republican fractiousness, and a persistent factionalism only increased by Trump’s own surprising victory. Combine this with the lack of governing experience in Trump’s transition team and I predict that, by the time Trump gets the hang of how to run things in Washington, the 2018 midterm elections will hand the US Senate back to the Democrats. Given the Democrats’ dismal performance to date, I’m tempted to say “Fuck the Democratic Party!” But I’m not at all sure whether the Democratic Party should be abolished, ignored, embraced, reformed, or rebuilt from the bottom up. Nor do I have my old ultraleft confidence that bourgeois political parties or even revolutionary parties have no role to play in bringing about social change, let alone social revolution. The whole issue of electoral politics is highly problematic from a number of perspectives, so I think it best to put aside the Democratic Party in discussing what is to be done in the wake of Trump’s win and the Republican Party’s victories.

What I am certain about is that an active and engaged mass social base is needed in order to take the next step, whether that is forming a progressive, labor, or revolutionary party; building an extra-parliamentary opposition; or attempting radical reforms or even social revolution. The two necessary components to an effective, vibrant mass social base are lively autonomous social movements and independent street politics based on direct action. And crucial to any mass social base with agency in my estimation will be an organized and organizing working class committed to direct action in the streets. Combine these two components, and true social power begins. I can endlessly debate the need for extra-parliamentary politics; what is absolutely necessary are broad, non-parliamentary social movements in the streets.

In order to challenge, combat, and eventually overthrow our society’s reactionary, autarchic government, we need to cultivate an independent, autonomous, rebellious social base. Maximize the potential for self-activity and self-organization at the base and you maximize the possibility for self-emancipatory politics to arise. In History and Class Consciousness, Georg Lukacs argued that action precedes consciousness. Or to flip Funkadelic’s famous album title: “Move your ass and your mind will follow.” ... 7-mrr-405/
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Re: Democracy Is Direct

Postby American Dream » Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:12 am

NavyJack - Operation HYPO After Action Report: Infiltrating Violent Protest Organizations - Oath Keepers

The anarchists are by far the most dangerous of these groups. They are organized like militias. They actively train and practice their operations. They have discipline and zero tolerance for weakness. They have a number of former military personnel providing expertise to enhance security, logistics and martial arts capabilities. The majority are physical fit, military age males. They are primarily white with few minority members. Their leadership tends to be either former military, a proven leader from the occupy movement or a highly educated alpha-male. They are far more capable than their recent activities would demonstrate. They have formed community defense organizations and are idolized for their willingness to take action from the other groups discussed above. They are however anarchists that despise communism as much as they despise capitalism. They see patriots and constitutionalists as their primary enemy. To them, everyone is a NAZI or a fascist unless they are an anarchist. There is no debate allowed on these issues, ever. They operate under various names, but the vast majority identify with the anti-fascist movement. With the election of President Trump, their membership has increased exponentially. There are at least 50,000 nationwide. They have been able to assimilate much of the “occupy” and “black-bloc” movements. Most of what these organizations accomplish are classified as direct actions. They will participate in a protest or a march, but they are not big fans of passive resistance.
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Re: Democracy Is Direct

Postby American Dream » Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:07 am


They Want You to Perfume the Sewers

by Meridel Le Sueur

(delivered in 1988, by video, to the Alliance for Cultural Democracy conference in San Francisco.)

I bring greetings from the Middle West and also from Time. On February 22, I’ll be 88 years old. I’ve been a writer, an artist in the Middle West, trying to find out what the true image is of our time and our country.

I believe that now is the most wonderful period of my life because for the first time we can think of a global world: a global world of art, a global world of expression, a global audience, a global people. Global was not a word in my time that you even spoke about. It wasn’t in your consciousness to be global. Today the consciousness, the rising of the global people, is so wonderful, so tremendous. Such energy is released and we are released as artists from servitude to the establishment, to the death force of imperialism.

Engels said in 1877 there were only two subjects for the artist, for the creator. One was the moribund dying society, ‘the corpse’ he called it. The other was the newborn, being born out of the corpse, the new people, the new consciousness, the young child, the image of humanism.

Now we see this actually happening. It’s no longer a theory to say “the rising of the working class ” as we used to say in 1916 in the First World War. It seemed like a dream. Today you look at your television in the evening and you see the people rising. You see the children throwing rocks at the army; you see the brutal resistance of the dying class, ‘the corpse’ as Engels said.

Imperialism is dying. I don’t think they have any way of even saving themselves. They’re committing suicide by cutting off the food, causing famines, exporting our products to other countries and selling them back to us. It would be like an Alice in Wonderland death if it wasn’t so horrible.

I don’t belittle the dangers of the bomb at all, but even these dangers very often bring us together in unity, in a global unity and certainly in a consciousness of the dangers. We see now that we didn’t even dream of the viciousness, of the deadliness, of the willingness to risk complete global and cosmic death; of the capitalist class. The middle class is also falling down into the working class and betraying its interests. They have too much to protect to move against death. Death is the only product of imperialism today. It’s an obvious problem. They tell us they are going to kill us, and they do kill us.

So the artist has a great wonder and a tremendous influx of new life and at the same time has a great responsibility, because he must bring his skills to the rising people who contain the creation of the new world. It no longer exists in the middle class. It no longer is any good to get the grants. They just want you to perfume the sewers. They need artists to bring perfume to the terrible stench of their death. It isn’t doing the artist any good. There is no place to go except to the struggle of the people today. There is no place for the artist. There is no artist arising except from the struggle of the people.

We see now that all culture comes from the people, comes from the struggle of the people. In America, middle-class culture has obscured the great vigor of American people’s culture. I came up from the farm culture. When I was young there was farm music, the farm songs, a great culture of the Midwest farm and the democratic forces in the Middle West, and radical organizations like the IWW.

The IWW is something for you to look at because, there, culture was part. It wasn’t separate. It was something you just brought out. Culture was part of the struggle. You could only be a poet or an artist if you were a worker, a revolutionary. The IWW taught me that culture is part of the struggle of the people. It’s not separate. They never had a meeting they didn’t open with poetry. They painted. They had cartoons. Their culture was immense, but more than that, it was a culture of the people. I once saw a group of IWWs learning poetry, learning Walt Whitman, in preparation for going to prison because they didn’t have books, so they learned poetry. When going to the same prison they each would learn a different poem so they could bring their culture to prison.

Culture was part—it created a tremendous audience. In 1913, John Reed worked on a tremendous production in Madison Square Garden, put on by the strikers of Patterson. We used to put on affairs here from the farm. We had music, poetry, books. There is a tremendous culture, which is almost unknown and is now in danger of disappearing, like the black culture, like the ethnic cultures of the Norwegians and the Scandinavians.

This is coming up in our culture like a Vesuvian release of energy and it’s just beginning. Recently in the Austin strike, there was a wonderful example of the artists emerging out of the struggle. They’ve had a mural, which the reactionaries destroyed.* They had wonderful music. They had theater that just came out of the struggle. This is where it comes from. Go where it is. Go there. That’s the only place there’s life. That’s the only place where there are any kind of images.

The new images are coming from these struggles. The farm struggle recently here, for example, was one of the greatest uprisings of culture in the Middle West. The grief, the tragedy, the images… People, farmers, committed suicide. They were looking for images of their struggle: seeing their struggle as a long history, for the first time, as inevitable.

In the thirties, the workers and farmers saw that the factories would open up again, saw that there would be again prosperity even. Today, they know there is not going to be a “good” war. They know the factories are not going to reopen. The work has been exported to cheap labor in foreign countries. The steelworkers know as they are struggling and struggling to open those mills. The worker knows that there is going to be no “good” war. That there is no prosperity. That there is not going to be an end to exploitation. This in itself is a great cultural vision, a vision that is true, a vision that is possible. It is not only possible, it is necessary; it is the only continuation of the struggle of man to exist.

So I feel wonderful for you young people. It’s a wonderful thing to be here now, stripping some of the illusions of bourgeois culture—the illusions of getting into those galleries, the illusion of becoming a prostitute to bourgeois culture. It’s not possible anymore, except maybe for a few. The grants are being cut off. They’re not going to give out these grants anymore. They didn’t work. You didn’t come in and perfume the sewers. And thank God, we’re not going to have those kinds of grants anymore.

What we need now is something like the WPA where a democratic culture can be supported, and a democratic audience. One of the great things about the WPA was its raising of the audiences’ consciousness. There was an audience for art; there was an audience for murals. We started here a farm collective, a painters’ group for the farmers to paint during the winter and have farm exhibits, this is where your audience is. The middle class is not a rich audience anymore. They don’t have the images anymore. They don’t have the truth.

The hearings (Iran-Contra) were the greatest thing to show you what the middle class does to support the lie. Culture is used to support the lie, to cover the lie. Language is used to cover the lie. In those hearings, language became a tool to cover not only lying, but the death and destruction of our whole society.

So this is what is happening. It’s revealed. It’s not a secret any longer. They can’t keep it a secret. What those bastards do in the morning is on TV in the evening. It’s impossible to be secretive. They tell upon each other, in fact. They can’t keep a secret from each other. You are living in a time when the front door is open, the road is open.

You don’t even hardly have to choose—it’s between life or death. It’s between what supports creative culture and what is death to it. It isn’t even a choice. It’s inevitable. It’s just there. You have to live it. You have to be it. You have a chance to become part of this struggle. As the Communist Manifesto ends; the only people who will save the world are those who have nothing to lose but their chains.

This is what we see in the colonial countries. People driven to hunger, to death, who literally have nothing to lose, who really rise up on the horizon on all scenes. Those great meetings are not any longer the little meetings, but the meetings of millions of people demanding life, demanding the image, the true image. So this is what you have now for your life; to go into this great life, this great new force.

We used to say, “Workers of the World, Unite.” Well now we have no choice. It’s inevitable. They have to unite or die. So it’s not a dream any longer. It’s not a hope any longer. It’s a presence, a wonderful living presence.

I’d just like to read a piece of mine that I wrote years ago, and this I hope would be the keystone in the temple of your meeting together:

Let us all return.
It is the people who give birth to us, to all culture, who by their labors create all material and spiritual values.

No art can develop until it perpetuates and penetrates deeply into the life of the people.

The source of American culture lies in the historic movement of our people, and the artist must become voice, messenger, organizer, a wakener, sparking the inflammable silence, reflection back to the courage and the beauty. He must return really to the people, partisan and alive, with warmth, abundance, excess, confidence: without reservations, being cold and merely reasonable; or craftiness, writing one thing, and believing another; not being a superior person, even superior in knowledge, in theoretical knowledge, an ideological giant, but bereft of heart and humanity.

Capitalism is a world of ruins, junk piles of machines, men, women, piles of dust, floods, erosions, masks to cover rapacity.

To these stinging sounds the people carry their young, in the shades of their grief, in the thin shadow of their hunger, hope and crops in their grief, in the dark of the machine, only they have the future in them.

Only they.

About the author: “Meridel Le Sueur (1900-1996) was one of the great women literary and communal voices of the twentieth century, which her long life spanned. As a young activist she lived for a time in Emma Goldman’s commune in New York City. She wrote from and was part of the great social and political movements of her time. Her writing encompasses proletarian novels, widely anthologized short stories, partisan reportage, children’s books, personal journals, and powerful feminist poetry.” (via This transcript of her speech is slightly edited from a version we found on the Community Arts and Murals website.

American Dream » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:47 pm wrote:I Light Your Streets

by Meridel Le Sueur

I am a crazy woman with a painted face
On the streets of Gallup
I invite men into my grave
for a little wine.
I am a painted grave
Owl woman hooting for callers in the night.
Black bats over the sun sing to me
The horned toad sleeps in my thighs

Meridel Le Sueur reads at the opening of the Guild Complex, May 1989
(Nelson Peery at right, Lew Rosenbaum at left)

My grandmothers gave me songs to heal
But the white man buys me cheap without song
or word.
My dead children appear and I play with them.
Ridge of time in my grief –remembering
Who will claim the ruins?
and the graves?
the corn maiden violated
As the land?
I am a child in my eroded dust.
I remember feathers of the hummingbird
And the virgin corn laughing on the cob.
Maize defend me
Prairie wheel around me
I run beneath the guns
and the greedy eye
And hurricanes of white faces knife me.
But like fox and smoke I gleam among the thrushes
And light your streets.

from Ripening: Selected Work, 1927-1980 (Feminist Press) ... m-mcgrath/
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Re: Democracy Is Direct

Postby American Dream » Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:17 am

Whether the mask is labeled Fascism, Democracy, or Dictatorship of the Proletariat, our great adversary remains the Apparatus - the bureaucracy, the police, the military. Not the one facing us across the frontier or the battle lines, which is not so much our enemy as our brother’s enemy, but the one that calls itself our protector and makes us its slaves. No matter what the circumstances, the worst betrayal will always be to subordinate ourselves to this Apparatus, and to trample underfoot, in its service, all human values in ourselves and in others.

-Simone Weil
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Re: Democracy Is Direct

Postby American Dream » Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:21 pm ... ey-cham-c/

Radical Language in the Mainstream, by Kelsey Cham C.

by pglavin16 on March 9, 2017
This essay appears in the current issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory (N. 29), available here, from AK Press!

As a person who did not come to radical perspectives from academia, I’ve had quite the challenge trying to find community with people whose politics I respect.

I grew up in the suburb of Newton, Surrey, territory of the Katzie, Kwantlen, Semiahmoo and Tsawwassen peoples. I was an athlete and last-minute procrastinator who never understood why school should be taken seriously. Though I read newspapers every day, I didn’t have the words to describe the injustices I could see and feel. My lack of trust in the school system, and my dwindling trust in the politics of high level sports led me to believe I didn’t need validation from institutions. In grade 8, I started skipping class to find freedom. A couple of years later I found myself getting into hard drugs and failing classes. Eventually, I failed out of high school completely and was pretty proud about it.

(Art by Bec Young; Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative)

More than a missing diploma, more than my struggle with addiction, my biggest barrier to finding community in radical circles was a lack of exposure to their social expectations. I found very little compassion and support, and was often met with harsh judgment. Coming into these communities, I felt not smart enough and like an outcast. It took me years to understand the everyday language used in radical activist communities. Some words were long, some were short, but everyone said these words so casually I thought I would come across as stupid to ask what they meant. I’d go to talks and workshops, and some really smart dude would talk for an hour and then open up the space for questions. I remember feeling so lost by the jargon that by the end, I didn’t even know what the talk had been about. Clearly, I wasn’t going to ask the questions running around in my brain. “What do you mean by colonization?” “What is queer theory?” “Who is Marx!?” “Why are you speaking to us like my boring geography teacher?”

Although I experienced some pretty traumatizing and violent times in my high school years and early twenties, I also experienced a lot of care, openness, respect, and trust. I will never forget the time I was hanging out at this meth house in a room covered in paranoid sharpie scribble – thoughts about death, killing, being followed, and the devil. The woman whose room we were in was smoking gak from a glass pipe telling me about her brain tumors. Her teenage daughter came in to share a hit. After I left their house they called me to let me know I left my zip lock bag with a few hundred dollars of meth in their bathroom. They didn’t judge me for being senseless or even take advantage by keeping my stash. When I came back to retrieve it, they let me know how much they appreciated the energy I brought to their home and invited me to come over whenever I liked. They had generosity, openness, and care in their spirit.

My addicted self has gotten me into a lot of intense, violent, and traumatizing situations. However, during my addiction, I also experienced caring dynamics in relationships with other addicts. In contrast, those kinds of relationships have taken a really long time to find in self-identified radical communities. Respect for one another was of highest value, and we watched each other’s backs. As much as there was fighting, people also had a lot of capacity for forgiveness. People would cheat, fight, rip each other off and then in a few months they would be chilling and having a good time. We’d help each other out even with little things. If I took too long in the bathroom my friend would text me “there’s nothing in your eye!” and I’d remember I was hallucinating so I would stop picking it.

When I came out as queer in Montreal, and as I got more and more clean, I started to find accurate words to describe how I felt about the world. Even though this skill was my entry into more political communities, I still felt incredibly judged. It was like an ultra-heightened experience of not being allowed in the cool-kid club in high school — but with all new rules that I had not learned and that no one took the time to explain to me. The language I grew up with could no longer be applied and would sometimes get me kicked out of social settings. My entire experience of growing up was judged and I felt totally isolated in trying to figure out why.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve figured out the “right way” to navigate in these communities by learning language, protocol, and radical terminology while dropping the offensive and oppressive slang. I don’t disagree with changing language to support systems we care about. I do disagree with judging people for not knowing the rules –especially since radicals are often organizing in favor of marginalized communities who are generally not aware of these rules.

If I wanted to fill out a form to describe my identity, I could check a bunch of boxes that would make my experience worth standing up for: Queer. Trans. Person of Color. Former Sex Trade Worker. Ironically, the biggest advocates for people like me — the people ready to throw down stats about harm reduction and youth, gender queer folks, and the vulnerable people in society — many of them had no patience for me. I came into their communities looking for support, friends, and direction. I came having left abusive and sexually manipulative partners. I came in hella lost, unaware, and not very educated. But I came in agreement with their political perspectives; because I knew society was fucked from the time I was twelve — maybe even younger. In high school, while other kids wrote about teen heartbreak, I wrote about injustices I saw everywhere. I came into these radical communities wanting to make change, but all my habits and the language I had learned to protect myself with got me in shit. When I was nineteen, I heard someone tell my older sister that they thought I spoke like I was “uneducated” and I lost it. Yes, I was uneducated, and they didn’t recognize I had experienced things they would probably never understand.

People, including myself, can write as many articles, blog posts, and books as we want about what it means to be an ally, organizer, activist, or whatever we want to call ourselves. At the end of the day, what we are is human. And at our best, we are humble. We are learning. We have jumped off the high horses that colonialism so badly wants us to ride, and we are supportive of each other. We are unlearning our horrible and self-destructive habits and we are doing our best not to take it personally when others are not there with us (yet). We are recognizing the destructiveness of the systems that cause these habits rather than pointing fingers and blaming each other for having them, because we all do. Whether or not we have learned to unlearn derogatory sayings like “crazy”, “gay” or “lame,” we are learning to recognize the internal work we each are doing and do our best to support it. I am lucky to have a sister who – despite my anger issues and aggressive attitude – recognized I was working on myself, and she went out of her way to support me.

I want to be thankful to the women and lesbians who came before me for their fight because straight up I’ll never know what it is to have so few rights, to not have a vote, or be in public with my partner. I want to let go of the resentment I feel towards people who don’t have the analysis, capacity, power, community, or education to unlearn specific internalized systems of oppression that I have learned to recognize in many privileges. I want to let go of the fact my first sponsor in AA disrupted my Step 5 to insert her political feminist perspectives, invalidating my experience as a queer trans person. I want to be aware that a lot of my survival has to do with the fact that I am able-bodied, thin, and hold conventionally attractive traits granting me cute privilege — which is very important in our society and is something a lot of people don’t spend enough time deconstructing: It means I can get decent jobs with fair bosses. I can meet people willing to hang out with me until five in the morning to tell me about the history of misogyny and women’s rights. My privilege allowed me to be a stranger in a bilingual city and still be offered a full-time job on the spot (minimum wage — but still, I could pay my rent).

One of the things I am saddest about is how I’ve changed the way I relate to cis-white-people, and cis-men in general. I used to mostly hang out with cis-guys, all my life, and now I hang out with very few. I notice when I meet new cis-dudes, my chest tenses up and I start to put together the different oppressive patterns I’ve learned to recognize many cis-men perpetuate, like for example how cis-white-dudes tend to take up space in conversations, meetings, at work, in art and music scenes, or how these men often refuse to acknowledge many difficult experiences they personally never have to feel as white men, but which are experienced daily by people living in the margins.

I know that we, humans of this colonial culture, are very susceptible to recognizing patterns and fitting things into boxes. I hope that these patterns and boxes start to change. Instead of primarily criticizing ways we are different, and not good enough — I hope we start changing our narratives to acknowledge and celebrate those differences, and to hear each other respectfully to be better in our differences. I see how deeply we criticize each other, and how that perpetuates segregation amongst our communities. The truth is we really need to come together and connect experiences. Changing things for the better will take everyone. Including everyone takes mindful openness and listening to hold and make space for people of diverse communities.

While writing this, my younger bro has voiced he finds my language exclusive and judgmental. I sometimes try to point out how certain terms he uses — the same terms I have learned to stop using — perpetuate oppressive stories about people of marginalized groups. I found his statement super interesting and timely, and told him about this paper — like “hey, I’m writing about this exact thing! I get it. I don’t want to act offended by your experience, or judge you, but also know I’m trying to get this message across to people in my community because I’ve felt their judgment too.” My brother, being the open-hearted person he is, heard my perspective and agreed that yes, it makes sense to change our language if we want to change the dominant narratives our language gives power to, but that people should also be sensitive to others’ experiences and be open to meet them where they’re at. To this, my older sister, being the great listener she is, summed it up and concluded that people who are using offensive language should also make an effort to unlearn terms that they can recognize are offensive — instead just avoiding saying “that’s gay!” around their queer siblings. To which my brother responded, “haha, word.”

Kelsey Cham C. is a community organizer and settler of Chinese and Irish descent. Being involved with projects like the Purple Thistle in Vancouver, Canada has brought depth and insight into trying to understand what the hell is going on in the world. Kelsey is focused on organizing experiential learning projects with youth and adults in gardening, mycology, fermentation, and “ki” (chi) based karate.
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Re: Democracy Is Direct

Postby American Dream » Wed May 24, 2017 5:00 pm

Bruce Cockburn - Call It Democracy

Padded with power here they come
International loan sharks backed by the guns
Of market hungry military profiteers
Whose word is a swamp and whose brow is smeared
With the blood of the poor

Who rob life of its quality
Who render rage a necessity
By turning countries into labour camps
Modern slavers in drag as champions of freedom

Sinister cynical instrument
Who makes the gun into a sacrament
The only response to the deification
Of tyranny by so called "developed" nations'
Idolatry of ideology

North, south, east, And it west
Kill the best and buy the rest
It's just spend a buck to make a buck
You don't really give a flying fuck
About the people in misery

I-M-F dirty M-F
Takes away everything it can get
Always making certain that there's one thing left
Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

See the paid off local bottom feeders
Passing themselves off as leaders
Kiss the ladies, shake hands with the fellows
And it's open for business like a cheap bordello

And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy

See the loaded eyes of the children too
Trying to make the best of it the way kids do
One day you're going to rise from your habitual feast
To find yourself staring down the throat of the beast
They call the revolution

I-M-F dirty M-F
Takes away everything it can get
Always making certain that there's one thing left
Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
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Re: Democracy Is Direct

Postby American Dream » Mon May 29, 2017 2:57 pm

Anti-Flag - You've Got to Die for the Government

You've gotta die, gotta die, gotta die for your government?
Die for your country? That's shit!
There's a Gulf War vet, dying a slow, cold death
And the government says, "We don't know the source of his sickness."
But don't believe what they say, because your government is lying
They've done it before and don't you know they'll do it again
A secret test, government built virus
"Subject Test Group: Gulf Battle Field Troops"
You've gotta die, gotta die, gotta die for your government?
Die for your country? That's shit!
First World War veterans slaughtered, by General Eisenhower
You give them your life, they give you a stab in the back
Radiation, agent orange, tested on US souls
Guinea pigs for Western corporations
I never have, I never will
Pledge allegiance to their flag
You're getting used, you'll end up dead!
You've gotta die, gotta die, gotta die for your government?
Die for your country? That's shit!
I don't need you to tell me what to do
And I don't need you to tell me what to be... FUCK YOU!
I don't need you to tell me what to say
And I don't need you to tell me what to think! What to think!
What to think, what to think, what to think, think, think, think!
You've gotta die, gotta die, gotta die for your government?
Die for your country? That's shit!
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Re: Democracy Is Direct

Postby American Dream » Tue May 30, 2017 9:37 am

Jamie Heckert embodies to me the spiritual and cultural qualities of left/libertarian thought:

Jamie Heckert

Anarchy without Opposition

To oppose something is to maintain it.
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

I have a memory. It was 1984: a presidential election year in the United States. We had a mock election in school. To learn about the process? To start practicing early? I was eight years old. Only one person in our class voted for Walter Mondale against Ronald Reagan. When these results were read aloud, the girl in front of me turned around and pointedly asked, “It was you, wasn’t it?” It wasn’t.

After school (that day? another?) a boy from my class asked me if I was a Democrat or a Republican. When I said, “Neither,” he was perplexed. “You have to be one or the other,” he responded, with all the assurance of one stating an obvious and unquestionable Truth. “Well I’m not,” I insisted. I knew you didn’t have to be; my parents voted, but they didn’t identify themselves with either party. In my mind’s eye, this boy’s face screws up with outraged and frustrated disbelief. “You have to be one or the other!”

Democrat or Republican? Gay or straight? Man or woman? Capitalist or anticapitalist? Anarchist or archist?

Us or them?

I have a memory from a very different time and place: London, 2002. I traveled down from Edinburgh with a woman from ACE, the social centre we were involved in, to attend Queeruption. It was my first queer anarchist event. On the way, I learned loads about menstruation. Once there, I remember chatting to another guy. He found out I identified as an anarchist and started asking me, were you at such and such summit protest? Nope. How about this one or that one? No. No. He looked really puzzled and maybe even asked how I could be an anarchist without converging outside the G8, WTO, IMF, or other gatherings of elites. Isn’t that what anarchists do?

Anarchist politics are usually defined by their opposition to state, capitalism, patriarchy, and other hierarchies. My aim in this essay is to queer that notion of anarchism in a number of ways. To queer is to make strange, unfamiliar, weird; it comes from an old German word meaning to cross. What new possibilities arise when we learn to cross, to blur, to undermine, or overflow the hierarchical and binary oppositions we have been taught to believe in?

Hierarchy relies on separation. Or rather, the belief in hierarchy relies on the belief in separation. Neither is fundamentally true. Human beings are extrusions of the ecosystem—we are not separate, independent beings. We are interdependent bodies, embedded in a natural world itself embedded in a vast universe. Likewise, all the various social patterns we create and come to believe in are imaginary (albeit with real effects on our bodyminds). Their exis- tence depends entirely on our belief, our obedience, our behavior. These in turn are shaped by imagined divisions. To realize that the intertwined hierarchical oppositions of hetero/homo, man/woman, whiteness/color, mind/body, rational/emotional, civilized/savage, social/natural, and more are all imaginary is perhaps a crucial step in letting go of them. How might we learn to cross the divide that does not really exist except in our embodied minds?

This, for me, is the point of queer: to learn to see the world through new eyes, to see not only what might be possible but also what already exists (despite the illusions of hierarchy). I write this essay as an invitation to perceive anarchism, to perceive life, differently. I’m neither interested in recruiting you, nor turning you queer. My anarchism is not better than your anarchism. Who am I to judge? Nor is my anarchism already queer. It is always becoming queer. How? By learning to keep queering, again and again, so that my perspective, my politics, and my presence can be fresh, alive.

Queering might allow recognition that life is never contained by the boxes and borders the mind invents. Taxonomies of species or sexualities, categories of race or citizenship, borders between nations or classes or types of politics—these are fictions. They are never necessary. To be sure, fictions have their uses. Perhaps in using them, we may learn to hold them lightly so that we, in turn, are not held by them.

Continues at: ... opposition
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Re: Democracy Is Direct

Postby American Dream » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:18 pm


Rival gangsters sit down to plan an after school program
A religious fanatic posts footage of an interfaith service project
A group of teenage boys watches a video of a father playing catch with his son
An adult film star paints thumbnail portraits of elderly couples fully clothed and smiling
A record executive records a demo of his apology
A policeman makes reverse 911 calls instructing residents to take to the streets
A patriarch reports for duty
She's wearing an orange jumpsuit and holding a picket sign
She's ashamed of her birthplace, but retreat is not an option

Women and children
Front line
Log on
Tune in
Stand and be counted, wounded, stationed
In the belly of the vulture watch your back
Theres no civilians
Women, children
Front line listen
Consider this a distant early warning
The fires imminent
Pollution gathering dust particles
Funneling through smokestacks, airways, bandwidth
This information tube fed
Check the labels
Delete the virus
Alert the masses

Butterfly wing cross wings, send black hawks toward hurricane survivors
Roses sprout from empty lots and sidewalk cracks
Pacifist guerillas move undetected, through concrete jungles
New forms are beginning to take shape
Once occupied minds are activating.
People are waking up!
The insurgency is alive and well

Rise of the flobots
Portrait of
The new American insurgent
Rattle and shake the foundations of the world order
Assembly line incent, resist, refuse
Inform, create
Direct loved one's to the trenches
Suit up forge rubble into fortress's
Plaster, cloth, aluminum
Broken porcelain
Rusted platinum
Burn blood stains from decompressed diamonds
Hammer the battle cry into braille studded armor

We are building up a new world
Do not sit idly by
Do not remain neutral
Do not rely on this broadcast, alone
We are only as strong as our signal
There is a war going on for your mind
If you are thinking, you are winning
Resistance is victory
Defeat is impossible
Your weapons are already in hand
Reach within you and find the means by which to gain your freedom
Fight with tools
Your fate, and that of everyone you know
Depends on it
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Re: Democracy Is Direct

Postby American Dream » Sat Jun 10, 2017 11:44 am



By Thomas Giovanni

In the wake of the use of militant street tactics at the Trump inauguration protests, the controversial shut down of two prominent right-wing speakers at the University of California, Berkeley, and a variety of high profile actions against the far right, anarchists have received increased media attention and sparked widespread debate, particularly around anti-fascist struggles. But many people are still confused about anarchism, associating it with indiscriminate violence, chaos, and disorder. This distorted image runs counter to more than a century of anarchist activity in and outside the United States. So if not chaos or disorder, what does anarchism stand for? What do anarchists believe in?

Core Anarchist Values
At the most basic level, anarchists believe in the equal value of all human beings. Anarchists also believe that hierarchical power relations are not only unjust, but corrupt those who have power and dehumanize those who don’t. Instead anarchists believe in direct democracy, cooperation, and solidarity. Anarchists oppose the state, capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy, imperialism and other forms of oppression, not because they believe in disorder; but rather because they believe in equal freedom for all and oppose all forms of exploitation, domination and hierarchy.

So if anarchists aren’t for disorder and chaos, what are they for? Anarchists recognize that the current social order promotes individualistic, competitive disorder and ecological destruction, not freedom for all. For example, under capitalism the wealthy elite have the freedom to dominate and exploit the rest of us, while taking away our freedom to control our work and lives, and taking away our ability to equitably share in the globally and historically created economic and technological advances of our world. In contrast to this, anarchists support the principles of solidarity and equal freedom for all, in all aspects of society.

Direct Democracy Replaces the State
The democratic state is a contradiction in terms to anarchists. The state is not truly participatory, but rather a governance system in which some govern and others are governed. It is made up of hierarchical institutions and relations of power in which a few, elected or otherwise (rather than the whole society), make binding, value-laden decisions for the rest of us, and enforce those decisions with the direct – or underlying – threat of violence. To govern ourselves without the state, anarchists propose directly democratic assemblies with mandated (i.e. they must bring the specific views and votes of all from the assembly) and immediately recallable delegates (not “representatives” who are elected and then make their own decisions) to engage in dialogue, negotiation and compromise with larger numbers of people. For example, instead of electing senators and representatives, anarchists propose neighborhood assemblies of perhaps between 200- 400 people to discuss, debate and dialogue directly regarding the various issues that arise in our society. Clusters of neighborhoods might send their mandated delegates with specific votes on each issue to do the same for sub-regional assemblies, regional assemblies and a global assembly. If each of those four levels of directly democratic assemblies were around 300 people, you could have directly democratic self-governance of 8.1 billion people. Of course this is only a theoretical example and this could take different forms and numerical quantities in practice; but these directly democratic forms would eliminate others making decisions for the global population and instead involve directly democratic participatory decision-making of all people on the planet.

Does this mean that we’d be against administrative agencies tasked with developing scientific research or coordinating health care or educating the population? Of course not. However, the system of elite control dominating and manipulating such agencies would be eliminated. Instead, these agencies would be accountable from the bottom-up through our assemblies and councils of mandated delegates and filled with voluntary cooperation amongst those active in their field just as many associations and agencies work today despite attempts at top-down governmental control.

An Egalitarian and Liberatory Global Economic Order
What about economics? All anarchists are anti-capitalists and we believe that the broad working class must end capitalism and replace it with an economic system that benefits us all. Most anarchists believe in communism (not the state dictatorships in places like the USSR, China, or Cuba led by “Communist” parties). As the term was originally used in the 19th century, to anarchists, communism instead means a stateless, classless society in which the land, machines, buildings, resources and other tools/infrastructure/locations by which and in which we engage in economic activity would be controlled from the bottom up through directly democratic assemblies of working people and mandated delegates in different coordinating roles similar to how our community assemblies would work. Specialization would likely occur, but job tasks would be divided more fairly so that work time would be reduced, work conditions would be improved and undesirable work would be eliminated or partially shared by many. The workplace would be driven by those doing the work with accountability to their local communities and the federations of communities sub-regionally, regionally and globally. The communist maxim “from each according to ability, to each according to need” means that each would be expected to contribute according to their ability in whatever capacity. Individuals would then be able to have all of their needs met (health, education, housing, transportation, food, clothing, etc.) and many of their wants met (entertainment, luxury items) on an egalitarian basis.

Unlike some historically top-down models, a bottom-up participatory economy would encourage diversity of production of goods and services for the diverse needs and wants of individuals. But all individuals would be given the opportunity to develop their skills and abilities according to their capacities, talents and desires so that they contribute in the most fulfilling and productive way possible to society. However, not all would be expected to work for the society (retirees, school-age children, parents on parental leave, those with incapacitating health issues, etc.). Different types and levels of societal work would be expected from single individuals vs. parents, or those differently-abled vs. others. Fulfilling differentiated levels of expected contribution would not mean differentiated levels of compensation. All needs and wants would be fulfilled in an egalitarian manner that doesn’t disadvantage someone because they have greater needs (such as health needs or requirements for their children) All in all, instead of a society basing social prestige on acquiring things, social prestige would turn towards those who contribute to society in meaningful ways according to their individual capacities.

Also the economy would be a global economy that seeks to develop and utilize the capacities, talents and skills of all for the benefit of all. This would involve a commitment to international solidarity and the sharing of technology, resources and knowledge to undo the historically, economically, politically and socially created inequalities of our world. Allowing for all to achieve their potential by providing the resources, opportunities and connections to do so will generate profound advances as we unlock the capacities of so many currently unable to contribute to their full capacities. This means the movement which we build must be global. However, revolutionary social change would likely be uneven due to gains in some areas and setbacks in others as we build connections around the globe to fight alongside each other and undermine reactionary, elite and oppressive forces led by those affected most directly by them.

The Elimination of Societal Oppression
Beyond politics and economics, there are still vast inequalities and dominating power relations that affect our world. Systems and cultures of white supremacy, religious prejudice, patriarchy, heterosexism, xenophobia, and many other forms of oppression still dominate our world. The destruction of these institutions, systems and oppressive elements of cultures is central to the anarchist vision. These systems must be destroyed and replaced with egalitarian relations that prioritize respect, liberation, solidarity, diversity and autonomy within various communities that allows for people to be free and fully human in a manner in which they choose as long as it doesn’t involve the domination, oppression or exploitation of others.

Continues at: ... anarchism/
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Re: Democracy Is Direct

Postby American Dream » Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:32 am

You Have to Deliver

Are these symbols outdated? That isn’t the right question to be asking. ... o-deliver/
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