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(en) Canada, A&S Documents, Building Self-Organization and Revolutionary Capacities - By the Sudbury Branch of the NSG

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 15 Sep 2004 08:35:46 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
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Central to the revolutionary project for us is the development of
workers and oppressed people's capacities for self-organization and
the establishment of their own forms of power in response to the
power of capitalists, bureaucratic hierarchies and professional
"experts". The development of party projects has historically taken
two major forms on the left. The first is the party of the moderate and
social democratic left seen clearly in the NDP that reproduces
hierarchy and bureaucracy in its own forms of organization (as in the
trade union bureaucracies) and also comes to stand over and against
the struggles of workers and oppressed people. This works against
self-organization and the development of socialist transformation.

The second is the revolutionary party of the Leninist kind that
presumes that it is the repository of revolutionary consciousness and
that workers and oppressed people cannot develop revolutionary
consciousness without the wisdom of this party. This party form of
organization designed, in the end to "seize power" on behalf of
workers and the oppressed, reproduces forms of hierarchy and
command within its mode of organization which also works against
self- organization and transformation from below. Even in tiny party
or pre-party formations forms of social privilege can emerge for the
"leadership" of the organization that stifle self-organization and
critical debate.

Some claim that only a revolutionary party can develop a synthesis of
all forms of oppression and exploitation in an overall revolutionary
strategy, but time after time it has been precisely these party and
party-type formations that have stood in the way of learning from
feminist, queer, anti-racist, disability, and other revolts and
movements. These revolts against oppression require their own
autonomous forms of organizing as movements and also within the
radical left where feminist, anti-racist, and queer revolts among
others must be kept alive. At the same time a perspective that can see
both the need for autonomy as well as how all the forms of
exploitation and oppression are constructed in and through each
other in a capitalist, white supremacist and patriarchal society needs
to be developed.

Since the Zapatista revolt, and especially in the global justice
movement, some of the historical differences between anti-statist
marxism and social/communist currents within anarchism have been
overcome in practice. This has led to the cooperation and
collaboration of anarchists and marxists in the radical wing of the
global justice movement and in radical anti-poverty organizing. One
of the obstacles to this collaboration and learning from each other
developing further is the hold that the belief in a revolutionary party or
parties still has among many marxists.

In our view revolutionary organizations that do not reproduce forms
of hierarchy, bureaucracy and power over others and that can bring to
struggles and movements a sense of the history and memories of
socialist/anarchist organizing are the best vehicles for facilitating and
developing forms of self-organization and the building of people's
revolutionary capacities. A radical socialist or anarchist
transformation of society can only be made by working class and
oppressed people themselves. It cannot be made by any party or
"leadership" from above. People themselves need to learn and
develop their own revolutionary consciousness and capacities through
their own experiences and struggles and from learning from and
interacting with others including activists in revolutionary
organizations. The focus of revolutionary organizations must
therefore be on facilitating self-organization and building
revolutionary capacities. Some of the acquisitions of parts of the
global justice movement with consensus decision making, affinity
groups, and spokes-councils can be very useful to this process.

Key to this will also be a politics of direct action (that includes mass
action as a central feature) that builds social and self transformation
into organizing and is designed to build people's power against the
power of capital, state and bureaucracy. A key aspect of organizing
has to be the developing and holding of experiences of a possible
future in our organizing in the present. This prefigurative dimension
of struggle not only provides us with more commitment in our
struggles today but also allows us to begin to build toward this future
today. The strongest sense a number of us have had of this was on
the front-lines in Quebec City in 2001 where in the midst of being
doused by tear gas we also witnessed solidarity and people caring for
each other combined with the moment of celebration and carnival
which is what revolutionary transformation from below needs to be all
about. We need forms of revolutionary organizing that can circulate
these kinds of experiences and struggles.

In making these comments we are drawing upon our own
experiences, Sheila Rowbotham's socialist feminist critique of
Leninism, the critique of the revolutionary party developed by CLR
James, anarchist-communism, and autonomist Marxism.

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