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(en) Germany, FAU, direkte aktion: ANARCH@-SYNDICALISM AND (ANTI-)POLITICS[PART 2], A contribution to the political theory of anarchism. By: Jonathan Eibisch (ca, de, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Wed, 21 Sep 2022 08:57:17 +0300


THE POLITICAL GAME ---- In reflecting on an anarchist understanding of politics, I have chosen to use a governmental, conflict-oriented, and ultra-realistic definition, which I would like to briefly illustrate here: In my understanding, politics consists in the negotiation of conflicting interests represented by different actors will. This representation already eliminates many social groups, for example those without citizenship in a certain country. Furthermore, there is a containment of the respective interests and ways of acting, so that they are considered politically acceptable and negotiable at all. Whoever then sits at the negotiating table usually represents a relatively privileged minority, especially if we think globally.

Although we can at least imagine a round table in a democratic system of government around which politicians sit, they actually have very different power resources at their disposal. In the picture of a deck, some have a number of trumps and high-ranking cards, while others have mostly suckers. Some are dealt cards by their servants. It is also possible that powerful actors leave the negotiation room, go into an adjoining room and then present a decision that can no longer be agreed. And, of course, powerful actors can bribe others, threaten to throw them out of the room, and force them into their proposed decision. Are decisions then made which certain participants go too far (e.g. because they mean too much social balance for them), they can still veto, while others cannot. Finally, after a game in several processing stages, a vague compromise is reached. When this resistance is met, coercion and violence are used to enforce the decision.
Ultimately, the whole procedure served to change nothing in the existing class relationships. The enormous wealth of the economic and political elite, acquired through exploitation, was not touched by this, but was often increased and secured. A few adjustments that are as small as possible are made or innovative projects are funded if they are usable. When the decision is announced in front of the assembly hall, the people of the state are told that this is an expression of their will. The game itself is not questioned at any point, but presented as a necessity.

With this description I want to express that the political terrain is highly shaped by the political order of government and is dominated by powerful political players. Politics is governmental because it relates to governing. That there were and can be 'complex' communities that are not governed and in which people can organize themselves quite well is a basic anarchist assumption. Politics is conflict-oriented because it is essentially about asserting interests instead of communicating the concerns and needs of all those involved on an equal footing. And the concept of politics used here is ultra-realistic, meaning that politics not only, not always and not in every case takes on this brutal, 'Machiavellian' form.
The social-democratic answer to the political game is to accept the rules of the game and play along as best you can in order to get the best out of your own clientele. The authoritarian-communist answer is: We play the game in order to exploit it and then impose our rules on others. The anarchist answer, on the other hand, is that the game sucks, but there's no need to play it either. Even if we are told very emphatically that we could achieve something there, it is much more worthwhile to go out the door and see that there are a lot of people there who are mastering their lives, who come together in groups, not primarily with political interests and sometimes even organized into alternative communities.

The problem of many leftists is that they expect far too much from politics - and that also applies to the extra-parliamentary leftist movement and sometimes also to scene politics that revolve around itself. With the belief that the political game is so important that we measure our own successes in political categories, that we believe that only political organizations are effective or that our campaign only makes sense if politicians take it up, we fall into the " Trap of politics," as Emma Goldman called it. Only when we work our way out of this and start striving for autonomy do we achieve self-determined and socially revolutionary action. In anarchism as a whole, alternative ways of thinking and options for action become 'leftist', 'democratic', 'grassroots-democratic', 'radical',

THE POLITICAL VOID: REALITY OF POLITICAL POWER, POLITICAL DOMINANCE...
So now we could say anarch@-syndicalists reject politics, for which they can give good reasons. They organize themselves in syndicates, lead labor disputes, make no appeals to politicians, spread their ideas of self-organization, autonomy, etc., and that's the end of the matter. It is not unlikely that with this approach they will become more capable and effective than people who rely on conventional party politics and wonder why the "right" politicians keep breaking their election promises. Things like that disillusion people who, without a critical understanding of politics, often give up wanting to change anything at all. Self-organization, direct action, emancipating awareness-raising - that's all already happening in the syndicates.
Unfortunately, there are five problems that make it at least difficult and perhaps not strategically sensible for anarch@-syndicalists to ignore politics at all.

Firstly, most people can hardly imagine that they can organize themselves in 'complex' forms of society - contrary to the form of politics under the existing system of rule. However, this is not due (according to the definition used) to the fact that people are 'political beings' and that the modern nation-state is more or less automatically the unwelcome but logical consequence of this allegedly anthropological disposition towards authority, hierarchy and centralization would have evolved. It is a form of political domination, usually brutally imposed and enforced, linked to capitalist class interests, which determines the framework and functioning of the political terrain. Anarch@-syndicalism is intended to act outside and against politics. The importance of nationalized politics for the production of publicity, joint decision-making and their implementation is therefore partly an ideological fiction (as it is also a fiction that political power resides in parliament rather than in the ministerial bureaucracies).
At the same time, however, the nationalization of politics is manifest. Many people must necessarily remain attached to the belief in the necessity of state politics because other forms of organization are marginalized, that is, kept small and marginalized. This happens, for example, with anarch@-syndicalist trade unions because they do not appear in the dominant political logic. If they want to become more (potentially) social-revolutionary minorities, it is sometimes necessary to dock on to people's political consciousness in order to offer plausible explanations as to why "the" policy is permanently failing, does not represent its own interests and what alternative forms it can take you give.

Second, it has come and continues to come through political actors' co-optation of anarch@-syndicalist unions. This can e.g. For example, even today at the local level there can be social-democratic, Leninist or Trotskyist groups that offer themselves openly or covertly as political representatives and speak of "division" when their claims to leadership are rejected. Historically, the formation of the Third International Working Men's Association was about subjecting all trade union federations to the Bolshevik Party doctrine. For this reason, anarch@-syndicalists founded their own International Working Men's Association in 1922 - in doing so, they explicitly felt committed to the anti-political aims of the First International. In any case, the experiences of the grassroots trade unions with the political dimension have always been bad. The problem, however, is that this is partly due to a lack of concern for politics and occasionally a narrow focus on the economy. Whether there can and should therefore be a double structure of economic and political organizations is discussed below.

... INNER CONFLICTS, OTHER BATTLEFIELDS AND PREFIGURATION
Third, there are occasional political conflicts within syndicates. This is due to the different economic positions and situations of its members, as well as their different political and ideological backgrounds. The basic idea is that these should be put aside by synthesizing the common interest. In fact, however, this cannot simply be defined 'objectively' and there are differing ideas as to the strategies with which it can be produced. Differing views regularly lead to conflicts. And in some cases this also means understanding and handling them as political conflicts. How to behave towards left-wing parties, movement-left groups or other socialist groups on the basis of specific issues (e.g.

Fourth, in different syndicates, the question arises again and again in different forms as to the importance of other battlefields for one's own practice. Industrial struggles and union organizing are in the foreground in anarch@-syndicalist activity - that is clear. But how should anarch@-syndicalists* deal with the topics and battlefields of feminism, anti-racism, ecology and other social struggles, e.g. B. Tenant initiatives? It is argued that there are other political groups dedicated to these issues, but hardly any self-organized trade union work. Effectively working in this field requires focus and a recognizable profile. Although the argument is understandable, it does not change the that FLINTA and migrants are systematically exploited more, get worse jobs and are discriminated against in their workplaces. It does not change the fact that ecological destruction is also a class issue and that rising rents particularly affect those social classes and milieus that anarch@-syndicalists want to reach. My answer to that would be to refer to an intersectional understanding of economic struggles. The other subject areas should not be dealt with by the grassroots trade unions, but should be considered and included in the analysis and - where appropriate - in their own communication. To this end, a fundamental political debate would have to be held at least at longer intervals. It does not change the fact that ecological destruction is also a class issue and that rising rents particularly affect those social classes and milieus that anarch@-syndicalists want to reach. My answer to that would be to refer to an intersectional understanding of economic struggles. The other subject areas should not be dealt with by the grassroots trade unions, but should be considered and included in the analysis and - where appropriate - in their own communication. To this end, a fundamental political debate would have to be held at least at longer intervals. It does not change the fact that ecological destruction is also a class issue and that rising rents particularly affect those social classes and milieus that anarch@-syndicalists want to reach. My answer to that would be to refer to an intersectional understanding of economic struggles. The other subject areas should not be dealt with by the grassroots trade unions, but should be considered and included in the analysis and - where appropriate - in their own communication. To this end, a fundamental political debate would have to be held at least at longer intervals. My answer to that would be to refer to an intersectional understanding of economic struggles. The other subject areas should not be dealt with by the grassroots trade unions, but should be considered and included in the analysis and - where appropriate - in their own communication. To this end, a fundamental political debate would have to be held at least at longer intervals. My answer to that would be to refer to an intersectional understanding of economic struggles. The other subject areas should not be dealt with by the grassroots trade unions, but should be considered and included in the analysis and - where appropriate - in their own communication. To this end, a fundamental political debate would have to be held at least at longer intervals.

Finally, the question of the prefiguration of a desirable society also arises in anarch@-syndicalism. That means: How can a libertarian socialism be conceived as a concrete utopia and incorporated into our current practices so that we are already realizing it? From an economic point of view, private property should be socialized and companies should be self-managed. The work should be distributed as similarly as possible according to the respective skills, feel meaningful and be done voluntarily. In order to be able to realize this, the anarch@-syndicalist perspective needs at least a basic idea of how communities are organized. This is about their organizational forms, the creation of a divided public, joint decision-making processes etc. starting with the neighbourhoods. Whether we ultimately call these matters a political dimension is of little importance if libertarian socialist forces actually succeed in realizing a qualitatively different mode of self-organization in autonomous and decentralized communities. If anarch@-syndicalists want to stay true to their claim to be the germ cells of the coming society (with all the contradictions and shortcomings that this entails, which does not make the claim any less correct), the emergence of a shared basic understanding seems to me to be in view to make sense on alternative communities. is of little importance if libertarian socialist forces should actually succeed in realizing a qualitatively different mode of self-organization in autonomous and decentralized communities. If anarch@-syndicalists want to stay true to their claim to be the germ cells of the coming society (with all the contradictions and shortcomings that this entails, which does not make the claim any less correct), the emergence of a shared basic understanding seems to me to be in view to make sense on alternative communities. is of little importance if libertarian socialist forces should actually succeed in realizing a qualitatively different mode of self-organization in autonomous and decentralized communities. If anarch@-syndicalists want to stay true to their claim to be the germ cells of the coming society (with all the contradictions and shortcomings that this entails, which does not make the claim any less correct), the emergence of a shared basic understanding seems to me to be in view to make sense on alternative communities.

The thoughts formulated come from a doctoral thesis on the political theory of anarchism that Jonathan Eibisch submitted in early 2022. In addition, he regularly gives events on related topics in self-organized contexts and writes on paradox-a.de.

https://direkteaktion.org/kategorie/hintergrund/
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