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(en) Australia, Sydney, Love and Rage "Collective of the Autonomous Left", influenced by Marxism and anarchism

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 9 Aug 2001 03:08:04 -0400 (EDT)


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      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E
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What is Love and Rage?
>  http://www.geocities.com/loveandrage_2000/

-Today more than ever capitalism is the main cause of  burden
in peoples' lives. The massive attack by the right on welfare,
education, trade unions and living standards all over the world
has further undermined the littlecontrol over our lives that we
have. For those in employment, we do not only have to deal
with longer and longer hours of work and lower and lower
wages, but also having the time to spend with our relatives,
friends and lovers reduced to the minimum for the sake of some
one else's benefit. For those out of employment, we do not only
have to put up with poverty but also being taunted as lazy or
dole bludger by those who are too busy playing the game our
rulers want them to play. Through its new push for "freedom",
"productivity" and "efficiency", the new order of capital is
destroying day by day social gains and rights that took us
decades of struggle to achieve. And this is happening
everywhere. The so called globalisation is recolonising the
planet for capital with unprecedented speed and intensity,
displacing people from their communal lands and traditional
life styles, rolling back reforms, destroying the environment,
propping up military repression, racism, sexism and ethnic
cleansing.

-Love and Rage is a political forum and space for those who
want to fight these attacks and become active. As such we
conceive ourselves as a militant organisation who seeks the
revolutionary transformation of society by means of the
collective self-organisation of ordinary people in their struggle
against all forms of oppression. We are active participants in a
variety of social struggles and we have come to the conclusion
that the real human needs can not be met unless there is a social
revolution that smashes the oppressive social relations and
institutions that keep people from exercising control over their
own lives.

-The new society we fight for is one based on the principles of
collective property of the means of production, social equality,
the fullest participatory democracy and solidarity among
people. This vision has nothing to do with the societies which
once were known as the "actually existing socialism" such as
Soviet Union, China or the Eastern block. We believe that these
were a variation of state capitalism based on the power of the
ruling bureaucracy of the communist parties. While we believe
on the genuine popular basis of the Russian revolution of 1917
and others, we acknowledge that their degeneration into
totalitarism was a consequence of the destruction of collective
organisation of the working class by a new ruling class. This
was the result of two set of factors. The "objective“  factors such
as the political isolation of the revolutions, the little
development of the productive forces, the human and material
destruction generated by protracted civil war and the
dismantling of the basis of grassroots support. And the
"subjective" factors such as the mistaken politics of
self-proclaimed revolutionary "leaderships" from day one
-despite some of the progressive reforms implemented- and the
lack of left alternative to them.

-While we come from Anarchist and Marxist traditions and
believe that both of them has important things to offer, we also
believe that we have much to learn from a variety of different
radical traditions. We take from anarchism our intolerance for
all forms of oppression, our refusal to accept that anybody's
fight for freedom needs to wait until "after the revolution," our
insistence on participatory democracy within mass movements,
our commitment to direct action and the creation of
counter-institutions, and our opposition to the state as an
instrument for social transformation. We also take from
revolutionary Marxism our understanding of the working of
capitalism and the centrality of autonomous action of the
working class as the necessary political basis for collective
self-organisation. But we also draw from radical feminism,
anti-colonial struggles of national liberation, queer politics and
radical ecology and as such, we are genuinely interested in
opening up lines of discussion with other organisations and
tendencies that share our desire in building the left of the 21st
century on a revolutionary and really democratic basis.

-We think that one of the fundamental types of oppression
which people live under capitalism is class domination, where
a minority of capitalists exploit the labor of the vast majority of
the population, subordinating human needs and desires to the
relentless expansion of profit. The greed of a few, however,
does not go on unopposed. The logic and dynamic of capitalism
is based fundamentally on the class struggle. If capital seeks
constantly to extract as much as surpluses from the working
class through exploitation, workers also seek to minimise that
extraction and liberate itself from the capitalist relation through
a multiplicity practices of individual and collective resistance
ranging from absenteeism to strike action, from picket lines to
revolutions.

-The power of the workers to resist capital lies in the fact that
they are the producers of the wealth and the resources needed
by capital to expand. We believe therefore that there is no
substitute for working class power as a main agency of social
transformation. That is the reason we support workers
self-management of the process of production.

-Our conception of working class, however, is not a restricted
one. Capitalism is based on the boundless imposition of work,
and therefore the working class is an inclusive category which
embraces not only the industrial workers or wage labor more
generally, but all the people whose work is directed to the
reproduction of labor itself playing a vital part on the process of
capitalist accumulation. We reject the orthodox marxist notion
of non-productive labor and recognise domestic labor, students,
the unemployed and others as equal partners in the struggle
with waged labor.

-The working class is never homogeneous, and is made up of
multitude of groups and sections with different relations of
power among themselves, whether the positioning of power is
based on gender, ethnicity, sexual preferences, disabilities or
others. A central component of our politics therefore is focusing
on the liberation and unity of the multitude by the overthrow of
all forms of oppression, including patriarchy, sexism,
heterosexism and racism.

-We support autonomous organising of oppressed groups and
minorities within left-wing and working class organisations, so
that these power relations within the working class are properly
addressed and overcome through solidarity in struggle, not
ideological unity imposed from the top. We believe that
oppressed groups should not just organise separately if they
desire to do so, but lead campaigns for their own liberation.  We
demand that socially dominant groups within a revolutionary
group, such as men in the case of women oppression, to
constantly engage with the manifestations of their own
privilege; this including respecting the political direction taken
by comrades struggling against their own oppression.

-We believe that revolutionary practice and organisation must
include the application in the present, to the extent of our means
and collective power, of the practices of the future society we
aspire. The end of oppression does not start in a mythical
revolutionary upsurge in the future; revolutionary change starts
with the collective empowerment of the struggle in the here and
now.

-The mass movements against capital and the State will
inevitably reflect the diversity and complexity of a new working
class. The struggles of women, people of colour, queers and
oppressed nationalities throughout the world are not secondary
to the struggle of "the proletariat". They  are consubstantial to it
and constitute the potential, in their plurality, to be the
foundation for a new mass movement and new society. What
will bring these diverse struggles and peoples together would
be the  deliberate effort by revolutionaries to unite them into a
radically democratic and plural movement which will maintain
their respective autonomies and challenge the existing power
structure as whole. We are therefore in support for
revolutionary pluralism.

-Our engagement with the ideas of autonomous organising
(autonomism) does not mean support for getthoism, life stylism
or shopping list politics. This is on the basis that they do not
present a strategy to directly challenge and defeat the
fundamental structures of state power and capital. Nor does it
suggest a way to democratically bring these multiple lifestyles
and oppressions together to collectively craft a vision of a free
society. Our focus is on campaigns, not merely political
programs. To that extend, disciplined organisational practice
and commitment to a level of unity in action are necessary.

-This vision is based on a new perception of what a 21st-century
mass movement against oppression will look like. While
movements aimed at organising factory workers may have been
appropriate in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries,
the ever-changing landscape of capital and imperialism has
grown much more complex today. For that reason, we are for
the constant reassessment and of revolutionary strategy and
organisation in the light of globalisation and changing
composition of proletariat (post-fordism). The current period
requires on the part of revolutionaries the willingness and
courage to experiment with new forms of organising to find the
way forward out of the mess created by capitalism through our
own actual experiences of struggle, and not pre-defined grand
ideological projects.

-We are for a vigorous internal debate and engagement, with the
toleration of difference within the organisation.  Emphasis on
political education should not be with the purpose of creating a
revolutionary elite, but to create the conditions for each
comrades to use theoretical tools so that they are able to
elaborate politics autonomously in concrete situations and
campaigns without having a leadership handing the "line"
down and controlling its members' political practice.

-The liberation of the working class would the result of the
self-activity of the working class itself, or it won't be at all. We
reject the leninist conception of class consciousness, where
revolutionary ideas are bought to the working class by the
"vanguard" revolutionary party. We believe that development
of political consciousness is the result of the self-reflective
collective experience which workers acquire autonomously
from their leaders when they become organised. In contrast, the
"vanguard" strategy of leninism, from the Russian Revolution to
the present, is to build an organisation of an elite of professional
militants who will guide the masses through a revolution and
lead them to a socialist society. This strategy has proven to be
an utter failure because it has failed to fulfil the promise of
freedom. By creating a highly centralised and undemocratic
organisation, vanguard approaches have reproduced these
same power structures in society, with the party as the new
ruling class.

-In so far as we are a collective of the most radically active and
committed individuals in relation to other section of the
working class, we are ourselves without any doubt part of the
social "vanguard” which makes up the entire left in Australia.
Our opposition to "vanguardism" is strictly in a political sense.
This means that our group seeks not to make ourselves a
hierarchical organisation which forces the entire social
movements to conform to its ideology and be subordinate to its
own organs of power, popping in and out of campaign where
there is no longer benefit for recruitment.

-This does not mean there is no role at all for a revolutionary
organisation. The role of a revolutionary organisation like Love
and Rage in a mass movement is not to lead the movement but
to participate in it as equals with other organisations and
people. Through such participation we seek to do two
fundamental things: 1) to argue for the most democratic and
militant mass movement possible, one that gives every person
the ability to participate in it fully and actively; and 2) to argue
for our anti-authoritarian politics within this plural movement
in order to influence it into struggling against all forms of
oppression, not to control it or disband it if we fail to control it
as other organisations in the left do so often.

-We seek to practice revolutionary activism without lapsing into
ultraleft posturing, attempting to establish the transitional link
between reformist demands with the maximum demand of
revolution. We are not against reforms; we are against
"reformists" such as ALP that looks at parliament, elections and
backdoor deals as the main avenue of social change. Our
strategy is to fight for reforms by revolutionary methods, that is,
through the collective and self-directed organisational power of
ordinary people at the grassroots level plus collective militant
action. Moderate gains are always achieved not so much by
moderate and respectable means, but by militant and
disrespectful activity of the multitude itself. It has been the
more implacable, the most oppositional struggle which have
undermined the existing basis of power to the point that the
political mechanism of the system accede to the most moderate
demands in order to protect itself from political position
considered more dangerous for the status quo.

-If you sympathise with these ideas and are willing to become
and activist for real social change, join us. We have regular
meetings where we discuss and develop our politics and
organise our partcipation in different political campaigns
concerning the campaign for free education, the environment,
trade unions, women's rights, anti-racism and so on. If your are
not sure, but would like to talk to us anyway, please feel free to
contact us so we can can have chat since we welcome anyone
interested in our politics.

                                         Love and Rage
                         Collective of the Autonomous Left



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