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(en) Beyond Resistance a Revolutionary Manifesto for the Future Fourth Edition, Spring 2003 I. (1/4)

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>(UK AF - www.af-north.org/Beyond_Resistancev4.txt)
Date Sat, 17 May 2003 09:41:05 +0200 (CEST)

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

> From Anarchist Federation Leaflets and Pamphlets
Beyond Resistance is the Anarchist Federation's analysis of the
capitalist world in crisis, suggestions about what the alternative
anarchist communist society could be like, and evaluation of those
social and organisational forces which play a part in any
revolutionary process.

We aim to do three things through this Manifesto:

1. To convincingly make the case for the creation of a libertarian
society through revolutionary social transformation.

2. To challenge those who already share this aim , that a revolution
can best be brought about by the creation of a globally united
anarchist communist movement.

3. To explain the role we see the AF playing in this process.

Preface to the fourth edition
Much has happened since the Spring 2000 edition of Beyond
Resistance. In our most recent edition we find ourselves in the new
millennium which gives this pamphlet its theme. Significant events for
our movement since 2000 have included September 11th and the
"war on terror" and the increasingly dominance of the international
corporations and their free market agendas. In response, while the
anti-capitalist movement has developed and spread, it is increasingly
directed by reformist blocs. Anarchism and libertarian ideas are
increasingly accepted as viable means of resistance and living across
the world and the vision of the future society being an anarchist
communist one is spreading steadily. The Anarchist Federation is
growing in stature with strong links to many parts of the global
movement, both formally through the International Anarchist
Federation and informally with resisting libertarian groups around the
world. Organise! remains an internationally-known and respected
magazine of anarcho-communist ideas while Resistance! has become
one of the most sought-after monthly bulletins in the islands. Strong
AF groups in Scotland and Ireland have developed and we hope to
strengthen our links with the US/Canadian North-Eastern Federation
of Anarchist Communists (NEFAC).

For revolution, the Anarchist Federation, Spring 2000
AF, c/o 84b Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7QX, England, UK.
E-mail : anarchistfederation@bigfoot.com Web:

> Introduction
The world as we enter the 21st Century is experiencing a crisis of
capitalism which could not have been foreseen at the beginning of the
workers movement in the 19th Century or during the great class
struggles subsequently. At this point in that struggle the movements
of which we are a part need the greatest clarity and unity about ends
and means. This pamphlet offers our understanding of the current
chaos and an optimistic and ultimately attainable programme for real
change. For while the oppressed working class the world over is
struggling daily against capitalism and the state, and is frequently
improving on its conditions of wage slavery, it is also looking beyond
struggle and at a world in which individuals are free and equal,
fulfilled and valued in society. Such a world can only be achieved by
the complete destruction of capitalism and the state by revolution.
The process of the revolution will inevitably involve violence and
destruction as the ruling classes try to hold on to what they have got.
But it will chiefly be an act of creation or better yet, millions of acts of
creation. ion. If the working class is to put an end to its wretched
conditions under capitalism and create an anarchist communist
society during the course of the new millennium, the coming years
must be years not only of class struggle but years during which we
create a united and global revolutionary movement. This pamphlet,
whose content we discussed and wrote as a collective body, is our
contribution to that movement in the first years of the emerging 21st

> Part A: The Capitalist World

The ending of the capitalist period in human history should not be
understood as an instant transformation from one historic phase to
another. In periods of change, elements of the past always coexist
with those of the present. New ways of living and emerging
tendencies and directions prefigure the possible outlines of the
future. We can talk of a new period of history beginning because of
the following features coming together simultaneously; the depth of
economic crisis; the end of a geopolitical 'equilibrium' in international
politics; crisis of the state as the instrument of economic regulation;
crises in western thought and culture; and a deepening ecological
crisis threatening the destruction of the ecosystem.

We have to be cautious, however. Although the previously dominant
form of capitalism (multinationals based on national capital, national
markets linked to 'imperial' blocs, and domination by two
superpowers) is collapsing, we cannot determine whether we are on
the brink of a 'new world order' with established and stable ways of
functioning, or if we are entering a long period of permanent crisis
and general disorder throughout the world.

The End of the Two Superpowers
The politics of the two superpowers (Cold War then peaceful
coexistence) was based on a shadowy agreement. Economic
imperialism would be operated by both blocs and conflict between
them would take place in and between proxy states in the Third World
or less-developed countries. While many Third World elites came to
power on the back of national liberation movements, they were soon
ground between the millstones of aggressive geo-political and
corporate agendas. National liberation soon gave way to
co-operation with one or other bloc, then the re-imposition of virtual
colonial status.

The economic, political and technological competition between the
two superpowers came to a head when the USA gained the upper
hand in the arms race and the ruling elites of the Soviet bloc realised
their bankrupt ideologies could no longer control their restive
populations. The Soviet bloc collapsed. The direct extension of
American power in the Middle East, the Asian Republics and China
would not have been possible without the end of the USSR as a
superpower. Everywhere, the USA imposes its solutions disguised as
international peacekeeping and the war on terror. The new period of
history is taking ominous shape. An economically declining but
immensely powerful imperial America. The increasing penetration of
national communities by international corporations. The emergence
of the 'surveillance state' based on authoritarian ideas about society
and how it should function. The increasing impotence of national
communities and their ruling elites. The rise of conservative,
reactionary and fundamentalist movements based on chauvinism and
religious fervour.

Capitalism in Profound Transformation
The capitalist crisis in the 1970s and 80s led to a great change in the
system's characteristics. 1975-1990 saw restructuring and
reorganisation at every level. Growth in the developed countries in
the thirty years after World War II rested on a particular form of
capitalist development - Keynesianism - summarised as follows:

1. The wages of the population, including those of the working class
had to be adequate and stable. Various social compromises took
place; the increase of collective bargaining, further institutionalisation
of the unions, social security measures etc.

2. Increase in production meant greater productivity which lowered
the cost of production. The buying power of the working class
increased at the same time as profits did. This increase of buying
power in itself became the source of a growth in profits.

3. This could not happen without the capitalists having full control
over the organisation of production, of investment and of work
conditions, in order to increase productivity. The unions by and large
agreed to this by dropping negotiation over work conditions, in return
for wage increases.

4. The State was the guarantor of this social consensus, but it also
played a very important economic role - public markets, direct
financing of investment, help with exports. In several Western
countries this led to state development of transport systems,
telecommunications, aviation, energy, nuclear power, road systems,
and the financing of research in these areas. The new modifications
of automation, concentration of capital, the increased parcelling of
work and the internationalisation of the productive process led to
huge transformations in the working class. The traditional base of
Capitalism mutated from the norm developed in the 19th Century.

This situation changed again in the mid-1970s towards a monetarist
policy, as many states and ruling classes attempted to pay for the
debts they had contracted from finance capital by passing more
serious austerity measures; wage freezes, reduction of
unemployment benefits, and by cutting back on other social security
benefits including those of pensioners. The process of production
was qualitatively changed. There was greatly increased use of
automation, dispersion of work outside of the factories,
containerisation, outwork etc. There was increased development of
advertising, publicity, specialised advisory companies etc. The
market became paramount and with it the increased trumpeting of the
freedom to exploit. Work flexibility, weekend work, night work,
overtime, partial unemployment were pushed, as were short-term
contracts and attacks on holidays and conditions. Restructuring has
led to mass unemployment, early retirement, and calls for women to
return to the home. It has led to pay freezes, attacks on guaranteed
minimum wages where they existed, and general temporary work and
low pay among the young.

In terms of production the number of part-time workers has
increased. So has the 'grey economy' and related crimes such as
burglary, car thefts, etc. On the international level restructuring has
effected the old-style imperialist exploitation where it was primarily
raw materials which were plundered. This is no longer exclusively so.
The 'under-developed' countries, now including Eastern and Central
Europe, have passed from unequal exchange to subordination by the
West primarily through the control of debts and corporate control of
national workforces. Alongside this there has been a mutation of the
multinationals which
were first established on 'national' bases (as in the USA, Japan,
France, Germany) but subsequently increased their co-operation
internationally through commercial agreements, technological
partnerships, co-operation of all sorts, creation of common affiliates

The 'Under-Developed' World
The gap between the rich and poor countries of the world continues
to widen. 40% of the world population must share 3.3% of world
revenue. Each day, 40,000 children die from poverty. There are more
people suffering from hunger world-wide than ever before in human
history and their number is increasing. However, in the light of global
capitalist restructuring the term Third World is a bit outdated. The
term 'developing' or 'under-developed' seems more appropriate for
the plans global capitalism has in store. For example, the 'Four
Dragons' - Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong - are more
like certain developing countries in Europe - Portugal, Greece,
Ireland - than many of the poorer countries such as Ethiopia, Somalia,

Apart from the pillage of raw materials, and the super-exploitation of
manual labour by multinationals, the under-developed countries are
controlled by financial institutions like the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. 'Third world debt' rose to $1355
billion dollars by 1990. Credit on these debts is given systematically
in the form of loans, higher than any 'aid' given. In exchange for these
loans, the IMF imposes its shock therapy on the debtor nations. This
consists of devaluation, abolishing price controls and wage
guarantees, and the 'rationalisation' of state enterprises - sackings,
closures etc. Once rationalised these enterprises are bought by
corporations and the revenues obtained from 'privatisation' are used
to pay off some of the debt (but only some of it). The national banking
systems of these countries are subject to quarterly investigations by
the IMF and have virtually no control national monetary policies
(witness the long-term financial chaos in Argentina). The rates of
interest fixed by the market provoke speculation leading to credit
rates rising, accelerating the ruin of the national economies.

Collapse of the 'Communist' Bloc
From the 1960s the Soviet economy was opened up to Western
Capitalism and this penetration of Western capital increased during
the 1970s. The development of the international division of labour in
the 60's and increase of international exchanges helped influence
certain sectors of the bureaucracy to push for 'reforms' to 'liberalise'
the economy. If Gorbachev had not existed, it would have been
necessary to invent him! Already integrated within the world
economy, the Soviet countries suffered the full consequences of the
monetarist direction taken by the West. The countries of Eastern
Europe went through a recession much worse than that of the West in
the 1930s. Under the 'structural adjustment' policies of the IMF these
countries, who believed that they were being incorporated into the
economy of the West, are suffering poverty from mass
unemployment, privatisation, adjustment of prices with the world
economy, brutal lowering of the standard of living and of industrial
production. The most profitable sectors of the economy have been
sold to international corporations and the 'aid' offered in millions of
dollars buys only political power and various Mafias who control the
channels of distribution and commerce. A good part of the 'real
economy' of Russia and Eastern Europe is nothing more than a
'street market economy', uncontrolled, untaxed and unproductive.
While in those places where the economic and political elites gather is
awash with money, elsewhere society is degenerating to Third World
levels of economic activity and organisation.

Collapse of 'Communism' aka State Capitalism
The end of familiar 'Communism' (which many people now realise
was nothing more than state capitalism or a bastard form of
socialism) has meant the ideological triumph of western capitalism
with its market economy and individualist ethos. The West was able
to show that its form of capitalism was undeniably superior to the
'Communist' copy. It also provided an example to discourage those of
us who might wish to change the system. The defensive strategy of
political and military containment while its industrial combines and
finance houses consolidated economic control of its 'empire' (the
Americas, Europe, the oil-rich Arab states and the Pacific Rim
countries), has been replaced by an aggressive and triumphalist
expansion into new (often former public) economies and countries.
The speed with which former enemies of capitalism - the USSR,
China, Eastern Europe, Vietnam and Mozambique for example - are
being integrated into the financial and economic system controlled by
the IMF and the WTO only serves to confirm what these societies
really were - societies of consumption without anything to consume,
imperfect dead-end forms of capitalism with hideous malformations
and paralysing dysfunctions. Their modes of exploiting the workforce
were no longer effective and their mode of domination and
administration, dating from the 1930's, was archaic with regard to
Western modernity. The end of 'Communism' has also meant the
collapse of a 'workers' movement linked to this model in the rest of
the world, and to the collapse of Leninism and 'historic' Social
Democracy, not only in the West, but in the 'under-developed' world
as well. This process is still in progress.

Crisis in The West
The victory of the West over state capitalism was won at a high cost.
A long lasting deep structural crisis menaces other equilibriums and
threatens to destabilise all economies. One of the main structural
contradictions of capitalism is now between the tendency to establish
a world economy and market, and maintenance of the 'nation state' as
an instrument of regulation. The nation states of the 'developed'
world, under pressure from the corporations, are consciously
establishing the free flow of international capital. They are deprived
of the means of controlling speculation and robbed of an important
part of their power. A national economic strategy can today function
only where it matches the interests of the world financial markets.

But the globalisation of the economy does not necessarily lead to
uniform economic order. The General Agreement on Trades and
Tariffs (GATT) negotiations (now managed by the WTO) show that
economic warfare (lowering of costs of production and controlling
profitable technologies leading to the accumulation of capital)
remains the driving force of the world economy. WTO negotiations
(together with parallel regulatory frameworks such as the Kyoto and
Doha accords) continue to be dominated by western corporations and
their drive to invade and dominate markets around the world where
there remains abundant resource or a subject workforce or both.

The end of State Capitalism means neither a defeat nor a victory for
revolutionaries. If it is full of potential dangers created by the
re-emergence of movements that had been suppressed and
concealed by it, it also marks the end
of a theoretical ice age, in which no one could think beyond the State
and the endless development of productive forces. The
disappearance of State Capitalism must be the occasion to speed up
the task of revolutionary reappraisal, and to develop a movement and
ideas rooted in the present. We now describe and appraise the
emerging responses to the crisis.

On the Ruins of State Capitalism

The Crisis of Humanist Thought in the West
Humanist thought considers nature as organiser of the world rather
than God. Under its rational organisation, 'Man' is at the centre. He
was born of the Renaissance, civilised by the Enlightenment and
spread throughout society under 19th Century Positivism and the
triumph of Capitalism. But Humanism is declining along with the
official end of utopias.

This crisis of Western thought has two distinct origins, both linked to
the crisis of civilisation. They are the relationship of humans to nature
and the relationships between humans. The ecological crisis is the
result of a planetary economy where the rhythm of exploitation
imposed by the world market is incompatible with the natural rhythms
of renewal of water, lakes, forests, soils. Even more the world
ecological crisis is the death-knell for the school of thought which sees
the world as made for Man, for his exclusive happiness, pleasure and

The Enlightenment and Democracy announced the Age of Man, who
would create a rational world based on Liberty and Equality. We are
far from this. Humanist thought, instrument of war against
obscurantism and the entrenched and reactionary ideas of the old
regime, has created its own myths of Science and Progress. It acts as
a veil to hide the violence of domination in all its aspects of everyday
life, from artificial births to death itself (the disposal of the dead has
not escaped the laws of supply and demand). The ideology of human
rights, one of the cornerstones of humanism, present throughout the
medias, amongst intellectuals and politicians, is now soft-pedalled via
humanitarianism. Humanitarianism does not seek to dispense with
the horrors of war and famine, but to make them more supportable. It
is no surprise that the corporations sponsor charity programmes. The
media circus, from Band Aid to the televised on-the-spot doling out of
foodstuffs, is not innocent. It's not about the 'under-developed' world
and the causes of its under-development, but about a good
conscience, the symbolic profit that the West gets from its charitable
interventions, where the poverty of others becomes a world of media

In the West, social decay, the fear of growing poverty and the lack of
any political thought or alternative has led to the growth of a new
totalitarianism founded on irrationality and obscurantism: tribalism,
ethnocentricity (the superiority of one's own race), Christian and
Islamic religious fundamentalism. In our rich cities new religions
emerge: workaholics worshipping the twin gods of money and status,
spiritualism, the desperate search for youth and beauty, astrology,
conspiracy and space age cults. Along with this paradigm shift come
alienation, anomie, loss of purpose, alcoholism, drug addiction,
mental illness and suicide.

Finally, the crisis of humanist thought and general confusion favours
attempts to reintroduce a reactionary moral order. Moral Majorities
and the New Right are two sides of the same coin. The crisis of
thought which can only see the future as the present continued or as
catastrophe, leads to a curious phenomenon where elements of the
past are recycled in the present. It appears as if society is trying to
retreat even as it moves forward: fashion, style, looks, art, are all
revisited and revived to occupy the frightful void in life and the agony
which it brings.

The Rise of Nationalism and Religious Fundamentalism
Elsewhere has seen the rise of mass religious fundamentalist
currents (Moslem and Hindu, for example). Most of these are national
in nature and led by national elites. They were supported by the
West as a means of undermining those elites who had formed
defensive international alliances, often orientated towards the Soviet
Union and China (Pan Arab League, for instance). Secular and
internationalist in outlook, they resisted penetration of their societies
by western finance and corporations. But as the Soviet Bloc
collapsed and populations restive for western commodities or
religious certainty arose, they tumbled one by one. These
newly-powerful fundamentalist movements are rarely anti-capitalist;
they merely criticise domination by the developed countries and fear
its consequences. The undeniable popular support they have has
deep-rooted causes. For these populations religion is an 'ideological'
means of relating to societies in perpetual transformation (where
traditional economies
are in the process of being dismantled; where the state functions only
as a brutal means of repression and in defence of a corrupt order;
where the frontiers, inherited from colonialism, are not really
recognised, where social rules are hardly established; where different
nations cohabit the same space) in a period when the old beliefs no
longer function or when they fail to make sense of reality. The
development of fundamentalist movements takes place because a
reply is needed to societies in disintegration. Excluded from mass
consumerism, the dominated peoples find in traditional religion the
'holy' and the supernatural that the West has for a long-time
transferred into its founding myths, Science and Progress, its
fetishism of the market, and the sacrament of property.

In the East, armed conflicts have multiplied since the fall of the Wall.
The ideological disorientation that has struck in the East is not just
due to the collapse of 'state socialism'. It has emerged from
disenchantment with capitalism because it failed to keep its promises
and functions only for corrupt minorities - ex-Party men, factory
managers converting themselves into 'bosses', 'black marketers',
'gangsters' etc. Rising alienation and irrationalism is the mark of a
period of deep crisis, not just economic, which transcends nationality
and different historic and political traditions - it is the crisis of
capitalist civilisation.

But Hold It!

Let's just summarise the failures of capitalism:

1. Social: Sackings; jobs with no security; poverty; unemployment.

2. Ecological: The sacking and plundering of the planet.

3. Economic: International division of work; industrial decline; local
economies destroyed; still born economies under the blows of
Western domination.

4. Human: famines; wars; repression.

5. Relations: Collapse of community spirit and solidarity; the false cult
of individualism as opposed to individuality; law of the jungle as the
rule of life.

6. Intellectual: Poverty of real thought; the reign of images and of the
Spectacle (e.g. consumerism, wars and famines as televised
'entertainment', the whole of life as a commercialised show); crisis of
artistic creation and recycling of old recipes in the market of culture
and spectacle; disenchantment and melancholy; cynicism.

But capitalism is not eternal, no more than the existence of humans
on the planet. Never has a civilisation manufactured so many means
for its own disappearance. To stop this path to suicide, change the
world order, and invent a new way of organising social life becomes
each day more urgent, because at the end of that road, lies perhaps
the end of humanity and the real 'end of history'. In the face of this we
have to focus our concentration, and explore new ways to social
liberation. We must adopt the goal of anarchist communism as not
just a future aim but a program for the here and now, the creation of a
new civilisation to replace this one.

Under whatever social order, a moment always arrives when the
dominant opinions fail to supply answers anymore and leave the way
open for critical opinions, to the organisation of new oppositions, to
the putting in place of resistance (intellectual, social, artistic) to the
invention of another possibility.

The Alternative
The old workers movement is dead. In the assault led by the ruling
class started in the early 1970s, the unions and the social democratic
parties passed more than ever over to the camp of the bosses.
Workers lost their jobs en masse. The old shock battalions of our
class, the miners, the dockers, the steel workers, were decimated. At
the same time an ideological assault was led by the servants
of the boss class, the intellectuals, who advanced the idea that the
working class was dead. These intellectuals were to be found as
much among the Left as the Right. Both within the social-democratic
parties and the Euro-Communist wings of the communist parties
were intellectuals willing to defend this myth. Some anarchists have
fallen for this nonsense as well.

> A New Working Class Movement
It is not our intention to wallow in nostalgia and pine for lost industrial
communities, the factory fortresses in great industrial regions where
millions of women, men and children had their lives mutilated and
where sense could be brought to life only from the struggle, against
the whims of the bosses, to work less, in better conditions and to earn
more. These struggles usually accepted the capitalist work system,
where wages were the due of the workers. For some
socialists/communists the proletariat became the subject of history,
ready to overthrow the bourgeoisie as they themselves had
overthrown the nobility, whether through a vanguard party or through
a revolutionary union. These struggles were to be based primarily on
the workplace.

If we as Anarchist Communists still see the working class movement
as decisive it is not because of its supposed capacities as an
emancipatory class but because workers are those who produce the
wealth and are at the heart of the mechanism of production of capital.
In the countries of the capitalist heartland, the numbers of the class
remain the same as they were about 20 years ago, especially if we
include all those wage earners in contemporary Capitalism. But our
class has lost importance in the capitalist heartlands because it is less
needed by capitalism to produce profit, and cannot so easily hold
capitalism to ransom, and to destroy it. The workers movement is still
strong only in France and Germany but these are the only European
capitalist countries to have preserved their industrial base (as has
Japan) and not to have seriously broken with Keynesianism - with the
boss class redistributing some of its profits to ensure social peace
and consumerism. But the free market regulations increasingly being
imposed by the WTO (hence the frequent threat of trade wars) may
change all this. In other countries the trade union movement has been
thoroughly integrated into capitalism as a recognised and consulted
mediator, and lost its importance when the rules of the game

Capitalism has changed - The Revolutionary Movement must change

For the worker of the sixties, the class struggle was within the walls of
the workplace and, except for unofficial and wildcat strikes, through
the trade union.

Nowadays the working class, who always faced problems outside of
work, has to put up with the general aggravation of life the landlord,
taxes, social security, transport, the health service for the young, the
education system, the workfare schemes etc., the difficulty of finding
a job or home. For women, there is the double day of work - in the
workplace and at home - aggravated by the attack on women going
out to work. For ethnic minorities and immigrants, there is an increase
in racist attacks and discrimination.

These multiple aspects of class experience and struggle are directly
political in the sense that they oppose political positions advanced by
the boss class, in the public space of the towns, and of society in
general, rather than in the private space of the workplaces. A new
working class movement has to have as its strategy the urgent need
to organise in all spheres of society. There will be no recomposition of
the class without the unity of struggle, without re-creating the sense
of a class in opposition to the social order. Revolutionaries must not
just throw themselves into these struggles on their own merits, they
must advance alternative perspectives. Otherwise these struggles
risk the danger of recuperation, where resistance is diverted so you
end up supporting the very people you're supposed to be fighting, for
instance when unions plead with government and people to 'Buy
British'. The new movement we are talking about must go beyond
defending wages and jobs (although it must do these as well). It must
question the legitimacy of the capitalist system, of production for
production's sake. It must question the logic of work under capitalism.
For many the need to work has become impossible because the
economic system has no need (or no regular need) of the work they
can do. To give cohesion to a new movement, we demand and
struggle for all the various forms of social liberation.

Utopian? Guilty Your Honour
"A map of the world that does not include Utopia, is not even worth
glancing at,
for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always
landing... Progress is the realisation of utopias." Oscar Wilde

Revolutionaries are often reproached for being utopian, of being
dreamers. Yes, we are dreamers, because like children, we don't like
nightmares. Yes, we are utopian. This utopia is not a heavenly
paradise come to Earth. Neither is it a return to a mythical Golden
Age. This 'other' place is a symbolic territory, based on our
revolutionary refusal to put up with a world founded on the violence
of class and ethnic or sexual domination, of the exploitation of labour
and the body, of alienation. This utopia is a reply to the crisis of
humanist thought. It is the place thanks to which it will be possible to
organise the resistance and revolutionise the Revolution. In Part C
we discuss how to bring about a revolution through the creation of a
revolutionary mass movement and the role of revolutionaries in this.
But first we discuss the kind of new society which this revolution will

** /2

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