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(en) US, BAAM #33 of the Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement - Anti-Authoritarian Economy By Dimitri Konstantinou

Date Sat, 24 Jul 2010 13:50:53 +0300


The most extensive anti-authoritarian network of our country [Greece] is preparing for a national meeting on May 8th-9th, inaugurating a special time period which will be as crucial for the progress of itself as for the future of the financial organization of our society. From the brochure that was published with the framework and the propositions of the movement - an obvious sign of maturity and self-confidence—one phrase was engraved in my mind: “When rage breaks out, nothing is to be left unchanged.” That is the challenge. During times of disappointment and social crisis, the consciousness of society grows rapidly and searches for alternative solutions. Castoriadis has warned us: “To be socially
effective—this autonomous mass action cannot remain amorphous, fragmented and dispersed.

It will find expression in patterns of
action and forms of organization, in ways of
doing things and ultimately in institutions
which embody and reflect its purpose… If
libertarian revolutionaries remain blissfully
unaware of these problems and have not dis-
cussed or even envisaged them, they can rest
assured that others have.” He also adds that
in order to change this reality we must avoid
the shortcomings of various types of “anar-
chist” or “spontaneist” fetishism, which in
the belief that in the last resort, working-class
consciousness will determine everything,
takes little or no interest in the forms such
consciousness should take.
It is obvious. In critical instances, soci-
ety doesn’t have time to elaborate on newly
minted solutions; on the contrary, it resorts
desperately to the ready structures that have
been already realized, even in limited extent,
and to the political suggestions that might
have been buried by dominating ideology, but
never fully wiped out.
In one of my previous articles (Z-BABY-
LONIA, Sep. 2008) I wrote that one concrete,
radical political vision favors the overthrow
of the system, because it functions as connec-
tive material which will unite the people who
struggle and, at the same time, provides to
the broad masses of society what is needed in
order to make the big step—something tan-
gible, a sketchy plan of future organization.
I confess that I missed a very simple truth in
that article: when people don’t get definite
answers to their problems, they get bored.
People who have dedicated their lives in
the movements face this situation: they see
people coming in and out, engaging for just
a while and pretty soon withdrawing back
to their everyday routine. That’s the price of
costless criticism.
Our future hides surprises. The invasion
of the IMF on our economy will stir up the
stagnant waters of our underdeveloped enjoy-
ment. The correlations of bargaining power
will subvert rapidly for the advantage of the
already powerful, and this will wake up many
people. There are some historical moments,
like these, which give the opportunity to the
servants to reverse certain social conditions,
but usually they don’t take advantage of them.
Historical facts show us that the ebb tide of
revolutionary activity led us repetitively back
to (a slightly better) submission. C. Castori-
adis explained that fact with an argument that
goes pretty much like this: The revolutionary
societies didn’t have a network of adequate
structures in order to express their will and
the revolutionaries themselves didn’t have a
clue about how these structures could func-
tion and interact. In other words, didn’t both-
er to design a framework of operation in order
to cope with the demands of crucial moments,
instead they preferred to confine themselves
to costless criticism, hoping that people will
spontaneously and automatically create the
institutions. The act of instituting, though,
demands planning and vision, inoculation of
our consciousnesses.
That applies too for the way we organize
our economy. Obviously, society doesn’t split
into base and superstructure, but we must
never forget that economy is the sector that
feeds us. People, even in revolutionary times,
need to survive. Not at all accidentally, the
warnings of Castoriadis are included in an
essay where this great thinker is referring
exactly to the economical content of social-
ism, suggesting even from 1957, a very con-
crete system of financial self-management
based on direct democracy. It is very possible
that in the field of economy there will be the
chance for overthrow, and in this field it will
required of us to express concrete alternative
propositions and to make them come true.
The efforts for participatory agricultural
“self institutions” and their linking with urban
social centers for the distribution of goods (as
the network of farmers with Nosotros/Botani-
cal Garden) create anti-authoritarian micro
-economies which for sure will turn out to be
essential, first of all, for our survival. Getting
out of Euro zone, the cessation of our debt
payments, the participatory self-management
and the self sufficiency, are the fourfold prin-
ciples that not only will get us out from the
impasse, but they will help us also to make
the first steps in the uncharted area beyond
the given borders of capitalism.
(i) C. Castoriadis, “Sur Ie Contenu du So-
cialisme,” issue 22 “Socialisme ou Barbarie,”
1957.
[Translated from Greek to English by the
author.]

(Dimitris’ Bio from Z-Net)
Dimitris Konstantinou was born in Thes-
saloniki, Greece in 1972. The last 5 years he
lives in Athens with his wife and two kids.
He studies constantly sociology and he is a
co-editor of the annual collection of essays
called “nyktegersia.” He writes monthly
articles in the anti-authoritarian newspa-
per “Babylonia” and he is the editor of a
greek edition of Z Magazine-Z Net essays
as an inset in the newspaper. He has trans-
lated in greek language Howard Zinn’s book
“Declaration of Independence.” In April
2009 he co-founded the collective publishing
organization “Exarchia Press.” This May, he
participated vigorously in the organizing of
the international political, anti-authoritarian
festival B-FEST in Athens.
_________________________________________
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