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(en) The Utopian #2 - 1) Who We Are

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>(http://www.utopianmag.com/)
Date Sat, 12 Oct 2002 03:29:52 -0400 (EDT)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

The Utopian is a website and magazine for people interested in anarchist,
 antiauthoritarian, and libertarian socialist thought. Our publishing group includes
 anarchist members of the former Revolutionary Socialist League and Love and
 Rage Revolutionary Anarchist Federation, and other activists.

 Below are the contents of Utopian no. 2. Click on any link to read the article. The
 articles are in PDF format and may take several minutes to download depending on
 your connection speed. Please be patient.

 1)   Who We Are, by the editors. (Click About The Utopian.)

 2)   On the World Trade Center Attack, by Christopher Z. Hobson,
      Wayne Price, W. H. Auden
 3)  Theses on the New Intifada, by Christopher Z. Hobson and
     Wayne Price
 4)  Reaching Out to a Challenging Community, by Sandy Young
 5)  Something is Rotten in Philadelphia, by William Schweizer
 6)  Anarchism and African American Liberation, by Wayne Price
 7)  Ralph Ellison's Juneteenth and African American Identity, by
     Christopher Z. Hobson
 8)  An Anarchist Critique of Marxism: Karl Marx's Theory of Capital, Part II, by Ronald Tabor

Who We Are

To look for Utopia means providing a vision for the
future--of a world worth living in, of a life beyond what
people settle for as experience clouds their hopes. It
means insisting that hope is real, counting on human
potential and dreams.

Utopians do not accept "what is" as "what must be." We
see potential for freedom even in the hardest of apparent
reality. Within our oppressive society are forces for hope,
freedom, and human solidarity, possibilities pressing
toward a self-managed, cooperative commonwealth. We
don't know if these forces will win out; we see them as
hopes, as moral norms by which to judge society today, as
challenges to all of us to act in such a way as to realize a
fully human community.

We can describe some of these possibilities: worldwide
opposition to the neocapitalist domination of the global
economy; protests against dictatorship from Indonesia to
China; movements for land and freedom in Mexico,
Palestine, South Africa; cultural movements like the
recovery of American Indian history, language, and eco-
nomic power; a slow change in society toward acceptance
of homosexuality and women's equality. The organized
labor movements and the U.S. Black movement, have--
we hope--new utopian phases ahead.

But beyond these specifics, we are talking about some-
thing familiar to everyone, but difficult to get a handle
on. In small ways, every day, people live by cooperation,
not competition. Filling in for a co-worker, caring for the
old woman upstairs, helping out at AA meetings, donat-
ing for hurricane relief--people know how to live cooper-
atively on a small scale. What we don't know, and no one
has found a blueprint for, is how to live cooperatively on
a national, international scale--even on the scale of a
mass political movement. Nobody has described how the
society we want will look, or how to get to it, though we
know what it will be--a society where people are free to
be good.

One thing we are certain of is that this society is not, as
Marxism claimed, inevitable. And a damned good thing,
too, because if the new society is inevitable then those
who are for it are free to shoot or imprison everyone who
stands in the way of the bright future. That is the key to
Marxism's development from utopia to dictatorship,
which everyone except Marxists is aware of. We believe,
instead, that the society we want is an ideal. We believe
people have to make ethical choices about whether to
accept life as it is or struggle for a new society, and then
about whether the society they are for will be democratic
or authoritarian.

This is a good time to publish a journal dedicated to
utopianism and revolutionary anarchism. The left is no
longer in retreat. The mass movements of organized labor,
the Black and Latino communities, organized feminism,
and environmentalism are coming off the defensive, and
are less disunited against conservative attacks. Within the
narrower world of the organized left, anarchist and anti-
authoritarians have greatly increased.

Utopians still face formidable obstacles. The parties of
reform--the Democrats in the U.S., the Social Democrats
in Europe, Christian Democrats in Latin America, the old
nationalist parties in Africa and Asia where they still
exist--have abandoned the ideals of social reform and
freedom from international capital. The collapse of the
Soviet Union and China's evolution toward a capitalist
economic system under a Communist political dictator-
ship have helped discredit Marxism's idealist image.

Unfortunately, these developments have also discredited,
for many, the very idea of changing society fundamentally.
As never since the early nineteenth century, many believe
that market capitalism is the only path to human progress.
Moreover, with a few exceptions, revolutionary anarchist
organizations remain small and their influence limited.
Various kinds of reformism and Marxism still attract radi-
cal-minded people, even anarchists. Despite its failures,
Marxism's seemingly impressive theory and even its polit-
ical record--now that the memory of Soviet atrocities is
fading--offer a way to be revolutionary while still accept-
ing the state, capital-labor relations, conventional technol-
ogy, and political authoritarianism.

But these are reasons why it is important to continue to
work for freedom and speak of utopia. This racist, author-
itarian society has not developed any new charms. It
remains exploitive and unstable, threatening collapse. It
wages wars around the globe, while nuclear weapons still
exist and even spread. It is deepening the world ecological
crisis. Even at its best--most stable and peaceful--it pro-
vides a way of life that should be intolerable: a life of
meaningless work and overwork; hatred and oppression
within the family; violence from the authorities; the con-
tinuing risk of sudden violent death for gays, women,
Blacks. For this society, from its inception, to call itself
"democracy" is a slap in the face of the English language.
This paradoxical situation--a society in obvious decay
without a mass movement to challenge it fundamentally--
is, we hope, coming to an end. As new mass movements
develop, liberal-reform and Marxist ideas will show new
life, but so have utopian and anarchist ideas. We work
with this in mind. We have to do what was not done dur-
ing the last period of really radical social struggle in the
1960s and 1970s. Among other things, revolutionary anar-
chist theory very much needs further development,
including its critique of Marxism and its ideas about how
to relate to mass struggles, democratic and socialist theo-
ry, and popular culture. And we need to reinvigorate the
ideal of anarchism and the threads in today's world that
may, if we can find them and follow them, lead to a future
worth dying for and living in.
That is who we are.

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