portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article announcements united states

corporate dominance | human & civil rights | imperialism & war

Draft Proposal for a Continental Anti-Authoritarian Anti-Capitalist Network

On this tenth anniversary of the emergence of the Zapatistas from the Lacandon jungle, we call for the formation of a continental anti-authoritarian anti-capitalist network for North America. Our movements for liberation and freedom have met many challenges and our resistance continues to grow. It is now time to organize ourselves better through a de-centralized continental network of anti-capitalists.

Draft Proposal for a Continental Anti-Authoritarian Anti-Capitalist Network

North America - January 1, 2004

On this tenth anniversary of the emergence of the Zapatistas from the Lacandon jungle, we call for the formation of a continental anti-authoritarian anti-capitalist network for North America. Our movements for liberation and freedom have met many challenges and our resistance continues to grow. It is now time to organize ourselves better through a de-centralized continental network of anti-capitalists.

We are everywhere, and yet we remain alienated from each other. Confined to the margins of our communities, we live our daily lives without evidence of daily resistance. We know that we are everywhere. In the margins of cyberspace, we constantly communicate. On the city's walls, we scrawl our slogans. At the barricades, we lock eyes, knowing exactly why we are there: social revolution. We want a world free from capitalism and institutional hierarchy.

We see that the class war being waged against the working class and the poor is growing ever more intense. The U.S. Empire is literally destroying the planet. The Empire has made it clear that they will use endless amounts of capital to finance war regardless of the costs to working people. Not only are these wars for Empire being waged with the lives of the working class, but the Empire is conducting blatant assaults on the working class via cuts in the social safety net, tax cuts, downsizing, outsourcing, and the corporate defrauding of workers' retirement, health care, and other benefits. The recent events in Miami showed us that the regime will pursue economic empire and neocolonialism by assaulting not just the working class and people of color in other countries, but very much also here in the U.S. using military might and violence to do so. The U.S. Empire speaks hollow words about terrorism, yet fails to act against white supremacy in our police departments, the continued use of the racist death penalty, the criminalization of drugs, institutional racism in distribution of wealth, terrorism against the homeless and people without papers, and violence against women and lesbian-gay-bi-transgendered folks. The U.S. Empire continues to build its police state complete with PATRIOT Acts, the militarization of the police in major cities, COINTELPRO programs against dissenters, constant surveillance, Orange Alert fear-mongering--all leading to greater public awareness of the true nature of the State and growing discontent with it.

We have no choice but to fight back, and by putting forward an anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist analysis and making our resistance visible, more and more people will join the struggle.

Seattle, in 1999, marked the popular appearance of our movement. Yet, our struggle precedes Seattle and extends far beyond the United States. We oppose capitalist globalization while celebrating the globalization of resistance to capitalism. We belong to a protest movement. We choke on tear gas, curl from striking batons, dodge rubber bullets. When they march, we dance. When the ruling class announces the date and location of its next toast to capitalist domination, we converge to tear down their cowardly fences.

Since 1999, we in North America have consistently mobilized against capitalist summits, including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, the Free Trade of the Americas Agreement, and the World Economic Forum. Our strategy has been to confront the administrators of global capitalism wherever they meet. For a while, this strategy appeared to be yielding positive results. Even if we were not altering the progress of global capitalism, we were certainly inspiring great interest in our movement- interest which was reflected in the attention we received and still receive from corporate media and law enforcement. The strategy of protesting summits also sustained the momentum of our movement. The impact of momentum arguably culminated in July 2001 with the widescale rioting in Genova and the death of Carlo Guliani. The following September, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund were scheduled to meet in Washington, DC. An unprecedented buzz, many will remember, surrounded these protests.

Then, September 11th, 2001.

While the fundamental organization of our society- based upon capitalism and hierarchy - has proceeded uninterrupted since September 11th, the levels of violence and suffering which result from this organization (mess) have only become more extreme, both domestically and worldwide. Yet, our movement has mostly failed to adapt to the changes in our world since September 11th. In January, 2002, we boldly confronted the World Economic Forum in midtown Manhattan, just months after the attacks, just miles from Ground Zero. We were greeted by a formidable police-state which even used an ancient statute to forbid our wearing of masks. In January 2002, on the cold streets of Manhattan, we should have realized that our strategy needed to adjust itself to the post-911 climate.

Fast forward. Two years later, we meet in the streets of Miami. We recall the spirit of Seattle and Quebec City and Cancun. At the front lines, our understanding of the world crystallizes in a familiar spectacle: a sensationalist media hungry for a riot, an overbearing show of force by authorities, union members unwilling to embrace confrontation, liberals encouraging peace and calm, and angry young white kids dressed in black. After everybody returns home, we write and read furious critiques of the protests. We even find ourselves shocked by the extremity of police brutality. We convince ourselves that we won a small battle, that we are winning, that we will win.

We may be winning.

If we are indeed winning, we must consider the blunders of the ruling class- some might prefer to call it the 'crisis of global capitalism' - as a significant reason. Before September 11th, we often had to convince others that something was not entirely correct within America, that we lived in a decadent, violent society. Now, few Americans would disagree with this assertion. The system is rotten; now, we witness the process of rotting. It's in the headlines: interminable warfare, the layoffs, the corporate scandal, the erosion of civil liberties, the failure of the press, the corruption.

The most pressing challenge, then, for our movement, is how we should proceed in these volatile times. The strategy of summit-hopping, alone, cannot sustain a true movement for social revolution. If we must rely upon the ruling class to set the dates and locations of our manifestation, then we will remain an inherently reactive movement. If we rely upon moderate protest organizations to set the dates and obtain the permits to the protests that we attend, then we will remain marginalized as 'a fringe element' conducting 'break-away marches'.

Until now, anarchists and anti-authoritarian anti-capitalists in North America have lived as alienated fragments, relying upon mass mobilizations to make our greater existence evident to ourselves. Until now, reaching beyond the ghettos of our radicalism has proven extremely difficult. In the streets, we hide our faces. In cyberspace, we hide our names. How might we, as anti-authoritarian anti-capitalists and anarchists, establish trust and solidarity--with organized labor, for example--when our collective identity is plagued by the popular portrayal of corporate media and the anonymity that we require of ourselves?

It is in the belief that we can best extend and escalate our resistance if we maintain constant communication, coordination, and support throughout North America, that a continental network is hereby proposed, with the ultimate goal of creating social revolution in North America promoted by the following means:

- organizing protests and actions on our own terms
- agitating, utilizing various forms of media and distribution, street-level propaganda
- building relationships with local communities and groups
- supporting comrades in need of legal/fundraising
- sharing skills, such as medical training, self-defense, communication (i.e. low power radio), and technology
- intervening in ongoing struggles, such as strikes and labor unrest

The organizing principles for such a network would presumably mirror those used by People's Global Action. These organizing principles can be read at the following URL:
http://www.nadir.org/nadir/initiativ/agp/cocha/principles.htm

Some of you may ask the question: who is behind this call? We are several anti-capitalists who have collaborated to write this call. The next steps are now up to you and your friends. The creation of this network?if it happens?will be up to the people who read this call, agree to it's spirit and direction, and organize with other anti-capitalists to make its vision a reality.

The proposal of a continental network surfaces now because echoes within the movement and critiques of the movement, indicate that we live in urgent times which are ripe for revolutionary thought and social change within North America, and that we are not doing enough to promote revolutionary thought and social change. The proposal of a continental network assumes that individuals and groups, from coast to coast, are willing to participate in the creation, formation, and sustenance of a continental network.

We are everywhere.
Now let's prove it.

Please copy and distribute widely for suggestions, objections, and discussion.

If you can translate this call into additional languages for us, please contact us at deathofcats@ziplip.com.

This document is being discussed at the following web page:
http://www.infoshop.org/inews/stories.php?story=04/01/01/0303286

------------------

NOTES ON THE PROPOSED NETWORK

Meetings to Set Up Network

This network can only work if we meet face-to-face. We propose that a series of regional meetings happen in early 2004 that would set the groundwork for the first continental meeting in late 2004. For example, regional meetings could be called for Western Canada, Southern Mexico, Northern Mexico, American Southwest, the Great Plains, and so on. It's up to those of you who agree to this call to arrange these meetings?there is no current coordinating committee to organize these meetings for you.

Many Currents in the Anti-Capitalist Struggle

This continental network is not being organized to be THE organizer of anti-capitalism in North America. It must be recognized that there are going to be groups and individuals who desire to continue their work without participating in a continental network. The real threat of government repression also stipulates that a continental network not be the only voice in the growing clamor against international capitalism. Just as we fight against the capitalist monoculture on our farms, so must we be wary of any continental organization that puts too many eggs in one anti-capitalist basket.

The Many Faces of Our Struggle

It is all too easy for those of us who are in anti-capitalists in the United States to think that our activism and dissent is the center of the universe. As dissenters in the heart of American Empire, it is our duty to model another world that is possible by fighting the hegemony of American political dissent on other anti-capitalist struggles around the continent. This network will conduct its business in the many languages of the continent as much as possible. We will prioritize the everyday struggles of people of color around the continent and remind ourselves that North America includes Mexico and the areas of North America that look more like the Global South than our rich, comfortable U.S. suburbs.

Organizational

We propose that this network closely follow the excellent model used by People's Global Action that prioritizes communication and facilitation over organization building. Like PGA this network will serve as "an instrument for co-ordination, not an organization." This continental anti-authoritarian anti-capitalist network will only work if it serves to empower grassroots anti-capitalists and not the movement politicians and cliques that seek to use our networks and organizations to manipulate us. It's also important that the internal work of maintaining and forming the network not take time or work from the external work of fighting capitalism.

E-mail list

Comments about this proposal can be posted to Infoshop News and/or the acc-intl@lists.mutualaid.org mailing list. A working list for this network will be set up soon.


This text has been released into the public domain, as long as all of the text up to the point of this anti-copyright notice is included. Abolish intellectual property and all capitalist and statist fetters on the human imagination!


PEOPLES' GLOBAL ACTION (PGA)
Organisational Principles

(for the changes made at the conference in Cochabamba):

? That we would emphasize on autonomy and decentralization in each region. Therefore, each region will decide how they want to organize between the participating movements and organisations (one main convenor, different co-convenors, collective participants, etc.). Nevertheless, we agreed that it is necessary to have one point of contact and coordination for every region, known to all the participating movements and organisations;

? All proposals for actions, themes and issues discussed at the international conference will come from the regional conferences. We will have international conferences when necessary;

? There will be an equal participation of men and women in the international and regional conferences. The gender issue will be discussed at all of the PGA conferences, both at the international and regional levels;

? We will reinforce exchanges and debates at the regional level through caravans, exchange of people, products and experiences to initiate discussions at the local level and share the result of these debates on the global network;

? Reinforce technical support at the regional level by augmenting the number of people involved and giving them clear mandates and functions;

? Add an appendix to the organisational principles to clarify the first steps of each international conference;

? Add the struggles of the indigenous people to principle 1.3 (wording accepted by the plenary);

? Change principle 7 on information (wording accepted by the plenary).

Organisational Principles

1. The PGA is an instrument for co-ordination, not an organisation. Its main objectives are:

i. Inspiring the greatest possible number of persons and organisations to act against corporate domination through civil disobedience and people-oriented constructive actions.

ii. Offering an instrument for co-ordination and mutual support at global level for those resisting corporate rule and the capitalist development paradigm.

iii. Giving more international projection to the struggles against economic liberalisation and global capitalism, as well as to the struggles of indigenous people and original cultures.

2. The organisational philosophy of the PGA is based on decentralisation and autonomy. Hence, central structures are minimal. Following the same idea, each region's participating organisations and movements will decide how to organize locally. Nevertheless, there needs to be a point of contact and coordination for each of these regions, decided at regional level and known to all the participating organisations and movements of the network.

3. The PGA has no membership.

4. The PGA does not have and will not have a juridical personality. It will not be legalised or registered in any country. No organisation or person represents the PGA, nor does the PGA represent any organisation or person.

5. There will be conferences of the PGA when judged necessary by the participating organisations and movements. The functions of these conferences will be:

i. Updating the manifesto (if necessary)

ii. Advancing in the process of co-ordination at global level of the resistance against "free" trade

iii. Co-ordinating decentralised actions according to the global days of action and the sustained campaigns of the PGA.

There will be an equal participation of women and men in the international and regional conferences. The gender issue will be discussed at all of the PGA conferences, both at the international and regional levels.

6. The conferences of the PGA will be convened by a committee conformed by representative organisations and movements of each region, including the points of contact named for each of these regions. The composition of this committee must show a regional balance, and a balance regarding the areas of work of the organisations and movements that conform it. The local organisers will be part of the committee.

This committee will fulfil the following tasks:

i. Coordinating the programme of the conference according to the proposals for themes, actions and issues emerging from the regional conferences

ii. Coordinating the selection of the delegates, in respect with the principle of decentralization and autonomy of each region as well as in accordance with the decisions taken on this matter at the regional conferences

iii. Deciding about the use of resources; especially, deciding which organisations will receive help to pay the travel expenses to attend the conference

iv. Advising the local organisers in technical and organisational questions

v. Interpreting the manifesto if this would be necessary (the whole part on publications and info to be taken out)

The committee, just like any other participating organisation or movement, cannot speak in the name of the PGA.

Each conference of the PGA will be coordinated by a committee conformed of different organisations and movements. Also, the points of contact named for each region will change in each regional conference (used to be in each international conference but it is now a problem to leave it like that if we're going to have international conferences only when judged necessary...). The old committee will choose a small group that will act as advisers of the new committee. It will also provide technical support at the regional level. This advisory group will not have decision- making power.

7. (English)

In keeping with PGA's philosophy, all communication processes will be diverse, decentralised and coordinated. There will be at least one point of contact in each region to be decided at regional level.

Whilst recognising there are limits to the internet, the PGA website will comprise of PGA documents including conference notes and contact lists. All documents will be translated into as many diverse languages as possible. For all this communication to work effectively, responsibility must be taken at the regional level by as many groups as possible.

(Espanol)

En acuerdo con la filosofia del AGP, todos procesos de comunicaciones seran diversos, descentralizados y coordinados. Habra por lo menos un punto de contacto en cada region, que se decidra al nivel regional.

Mientras reconozcamos los limites del internet, la pagina web del AGP tendra todas las documentaciones del AGP, incluyendo relatorios de conferencias y listas de contactos. Todos los documentos seran traducidos en las mas diversas idiomas posibles. Para que toda esa comunicacion sea efectiva, debe ser responsabilidad del mas grande numero de grupos posible al nivel regional.

(Fran?ais)

En accord avec la philosophie de l'AMP, tous les processus de communications seront divers, d?centralis?s et coordonn?s. Il y aura au moins un point de contact pour chaque r?gion, choisi r?gionalement.

Bien que reconnaissant les limites du syst?me internet, le site web de l'AMP comprendra tous les documents du r?seau, incluant les notes de conf?rences et les listes de contact. Tous les documents seront traduits dans le plus de langues possibles. Afin de rendre cette communication effective, la responsabilit? sera assum?e par le plus grand nombre de groupes possible au niveau r?gional.

8. The PGA will not have any resources. The funds needed to pay the conferences and the information tools will have to be raised in a decentralised way. All the funds raised for the conference will be administered by the committee. The publications will have to be self-financed.

9. The PGA has a rotative secretariat, which changes every year. Each committee, during it's term, will decide where the secretariats will be.

10. The conferences of the PGA will not include the discussion of these organisational principles in the programme. If there is a concrete request, a discussion group on organisational questions will be formed. This discussion group will meet parallel to the programme of the conference, to elaborate concrete modification proposals which shall be voted upon in the plenary.

11. The PGA hopes that it will inspire the creation of different platforms (both regional and issue-based) against "free" trade and the different institutions that promote it. There will not be, however, a relationship of pertenence between these platforms and the PGA. The platforms will hence be completely autonomous.

The PGA also aims to initiate discussions at the regional level through various means, emphasizing on the organisation of caravans, as well as the exchange of people, products and experiences between regions. The results of these debates will then be shared at the global level with the whole network.

homepage: homepage: http://www.infoshop.org/inews/stories.php?story=04/01/01/0303286

utilizing a negative to turn a negative 01.Jan.2004 17:03

is not progression

You have good ideas and you make reference to People's Global Action several times. The suggestion to possibly mirror was also made. Why splinter? If you feel People's Global Action is a good working model, why create yet another faction. How about simply promoting more involvement with something already in place you agree with so it can grow. Starting from ground up is difficult, time consuming and a division of energies. Quite frankly, I don't believe you will get the momentum.

Another issue is the name you have suggested "Anti-Capitalist Network". Obviously you believe capitalism is a negative philosophy. I do too. Why fall into the trap of using a "negative" to turn a negative. Anti-anything is not forward motion. What do you believe in? Can you name it using a positive?

You also state: We have no choice but to fight back, and by putting forward an anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist analysis and making our resistance visible, more and more people will join the struggle.

This has already occurred with the inception of Indymedia and its global growth. It is an excellent tool for organizing and communicating.

The bottom line is, the more "groups" that are formed (even though they may not wish to be known as a "group") the more division there is. There is a responsibility in our "consumption" even for the resistance and the duplication that occurs is mind boggling. You cannot effectively resist capitalism if you simply change the items of consumption. Each activist has a personal responsibility to reduce consumption.

Example - take three different groups wallpapering a city with flyers for an event, all basically having the same agenda. Streamlined, consumption could be reduced by two thirds. That's a lot when it is all added up globally. Even if it means those three different groups coordinate to make ONE FLYER with alloted space for each of them, it is still a two thirds reduction in consumption. Egos have to shift away from the spotlight.

Example - take three different groups having a meeting or public lecture, all basically having the same agenda. Streamlined, those three groups could share meeting space and allotted time to hold function and reduce consumption by two thirds, i.e. transportation costs, flyering (again), finding childcare and the personal time to attend, etc..

Attention spans are limited. The ability to get the message out in a concise, yet in-depth manner is the key to success. I personally would rather attend a function that started with 45 minutes of one group's message - a 15 minute mind break - followed by 45 minutes of the second group's message - a 15 minute mind break and then a final 45 minutes of the third group's message.

People's lives are filled with family, work and activism. Consolidating dates relieves some of the overwhelming energy expenditure.

In summary, the key phrase is GROWTH IN THE MOVEMENT WITH VIABLE REDUCTIONS, you are after all, fighting consumption!

Towards the Creation of an Anarchist Movement 01.Jan.2004 18:05

against synthesism

If we are ever to succeed in our goal of creating an anarchist-communist society, we need to be asking ourselves first and foremost: how do we get there?
Towards the Creation of an Anarchist Movement:
From Reactive Politics to Proactive Struggle

by Beggar, Class Against Class (NEFAC-Boston)


In opposition to the current trend of offering only negative ideological developments in the movement, such as "giving up activism," which offer us needed self-criticism but no real path forward other than vague cries reminiscent of "go to the people," or engaging in purely semantic debates over the prioritization of 'activism' versus 'organizing,' it seems clear that a coherent and practical plan of action is necessary. If we are ever to succeed in our goal of creating an anarchist-communist society, we need to be asking ourselves first and foremost: how do we get there? Of course, praxis determines practice, and so theoretical development is necessary. However, we can develop the perfect theory and analysis of capitalism, and yet all will be for naught unless we have a tactical program to take us forward.

This is an attempt to provide such a program, or rather, a basic framework to give guidance to our activities. It is hoped that this will spark debate amongst revolutionary anarchists with a focus on the practical, and tactical, rather than the ideological or semantic.

Goals

It should be clear, as we are revolutionary anarchists, that our ultimate aim is for a revolution against the State and capitalism, and all forms of oppression, seeking to replace them with a world based on self-management, free association, federalism, communism, and freedom. We believe further, that this revolution can only take place through the emergence and development of a mass revolutionary anarchist movement.

Therefore, the intent of this article is to propose concrete means by which we will be able to achieve these goals. We do not believe that the anarchist revolution is an impossibility, nor do we conceptualize the class struggle as a vague abstracted notion which does not affect our lives; quite the opposite, we recognize that we are in the midst of a pervasive social war, and we intend to win. As such, we feel it is necessary to develop a long term strategy, and to place all our actions in the framework of that strategy: such is the intent of this document.

Ideological Points


As stated above, praxis determines practice, and therefore it seems only appropriate to declare the ideological assumptions from which this program draws. First, and probably most contentious, this framework draws most heavily from the platformist tradition within anarchism. This is not to say that one must, or even should, agree with the specifics of the original Organization Platform of the Libertarian Communists, but is rather a recognition of the importance of collective responsibility, discipline, and tactical unity which the platformist tradition puts forward. Clearly then, the framework laid out in this document recognizes that many of those who today identify as "anarchists" will strongly disagree with this most basic assumption, and therefore will find the entire framework less than satisfactory. However, our priority, as stated above, is the creation of a mass anarchist movement, and where we feel that building such a movement means alienating others who identify as anarchists, we should have no problem in doing so.

Further, this framework assumes that it is through the creation of dual power and a culture of resistance that a truly mass, working-class based, anarchist revolutionary movement will be born. Rather than rely on overused rhetoric, and to be especially clear, the existence of dual power implies a social condition where the community has managed to take over the functions normally relegated to the State and Capital; when people begin to run basic services and provide for necessities in the interest of all, rather than to create profit. For us as anarchists, this condition must also be complemented with a culture of resistance that instills a natural aversion in the community as a collective whole to the forces of the State and Capital. Only in this manner will the foundations of an anarchist revolution be laid. Finally, part of this framework requires the development of a strong and organized internal structure in the explicitly anarchist community. Beyond informal networks, we should strive to be able to make concrete decisions as a community so that we can coordinate all our individual activity. Ultimately, we need a strong explicitly anarchist infrastructure in order to be able to contribute to and intervene effectively in the overall class struggle.

Prioritizing Struggles

Continuing to think tactically, it seems clear that the current modus operandi in anarchist circles is not going to bring about a revolution anytime soon. Speaking from experience, we all too often get caught up in
minute details and end up wasting all our energy perpetuating the current anarchist scene, the stale and isolated creature that it is. In order to achieve our goals as anarchists, we need to begin examining how we can escalate, and eventually win, the class struggle. This means we need to look at how we can build a popular anarchist movement based in our neighborhoods and workplaces.

From experience, history, and common sense, the answer to these questions is abundantly clear: we, as anarchists, must work around issues which directly affect working class people. It is only by proving to non-politicized working class people that anarchists are capable of markedly improving their lives that our ideas will gain legitimacy outside of a narrow, white-dominated subculture.

However, we must still have an overall strategy to the issues which we choose to focus our energy around if we hope to move from resistance to revolution. There is no one particular aspect of the class struggle that all anarchists can or should involve themselves in with such a strategy, as different issues have different priorities in our respective locations and social situations. What we should be able to develop is a reasoned understanding of what qualifications to look at a variety of struggles with, in order to make a clear choice as to where we want to spend our energies. Such a set of qualifications should include all of the following:

(1) The struggle directly connects to the everyday lives of working class people: As stated above, the fact that anarchism will only become a mass movement when it connects with people’s needs and lives is manifest throughout history. Therefore, it is vitally important that the struggles we involve ourselves in are capable of connecting to people in this way. Primarily, this will be in relation to people’s economic well-being, but it is imperative to also look at the political and social realities of people’s lives.

(2) The struggle logically undermines the legitimacy of the state and capitalism: the struggles we prioritize and involve ourselves in must therefore be founded in a contradiction within capitalism. This qualification forces us to involve ourselves in struggles with real potential to go beyond resistance to insurrection and ultimately revolution. To elucidate on this point, one example of this would be involving ourselves in housing struggles; not because it is necessarily the easiest struggle to rhetorically connect to capitalism, but because the logical conclusion to solving a housing problem is community control over land and buildings which fundamentally contradicts the very basis of the state and capitalism. There are certainly ways of approaching most struggles which will lead to an undermining of the status-quo, though some are certainly easier than others. What we must avoid is asking the powers that be to improve our lot for us, but actively make the necessary changes in our lives without seeking permission from the state or legal system.

(3) The struggle is based on our own interests as working class people: The struggles we involve ourselves in must also have a direct impact on our own daily lives if we are to be reasonably capable of interacting with others who are affected by the same issue in a principled and non-paternalistic manner.

(4) The struggle involves as diverse a population, in terms of race, gender, and sexuality, as possible: In order to combat racism, sexism, and heterosexism, we should seek to build egalitarian and non-hierarchical organizations across all identity lines. Of course, we must be conscious of doing so in a highly principled manner, and should seek to empower those who have suffered from exclusion, oppression, and discrimination because of their identity. Ultimately, however, unless we are able to come together in struggle and learn from one another, we will not be capable of overcoming institutional forms of racism and sexism.

(5) Potential for militancy and direct action: Probably our greatest strength as anarchists is our willingness to ignore legality and engage in militant direct actions. It is via these means that we will be able to prove ourselves effective in winning ground in the class struggle. Unfortunately, there seems to be a general misunderstanding of the term "direct action," and what the difference between symbolic and direct actions is. To be absolutely clear, a direct action must directly accomplish our goals, thus defending working class people from evictions by blocking the police from getting into their residence is a direct action, whereas breaking the windows of Gap or Nike is generally purely symbolic.

Method of Intervention

(1) Formation of an anarchist issue-oriented organization: One of the most common problems encountered by anarchists who attempt to involve themselves in issue-oriented organizing is that they are quickly subsumed into the fold of reformist and hierarchical organizations, and become their grunt workers. Even those of us who are fortunate enough to find relatively radical, grassroots organizations to work within, we are almost always constrained by concerns of legality and public relations, and still find ourselves working towards reformist goals with reformist tactics.
Because of this, if we are to effectively intervene in specific instances of class struggle we need to form our own radical mass organizations. While it is probably not advantageous to use the term "anarchist" to publicly describe these organizations, as there is a lot of baggage associated with that term, the organizations should be run along anarchist principles (non-hierarchical, consensual democracy, federalism) and should have stated goals which are in line with revolutionary anarchism (self-management, community control of social wealth.) Ideally, non-politicized working class people will come to know about and have interest in our organizations because we are effective in real struggles. In this way the organizations we create should strive to supercede the original anarchist membership and become truly mass organizations.

(2) Direct Action: As alluded to above, it is our reliance on direct action that places us as anarchists in the unique position of being capable of making real and significant changes in our lives and the lives of all working class people. Thus, direct action must be an understood staple of the mass organizations we initiate.

(3) Secondary Coalitions: Far from thinking that we can, or should, win significant victories in isolation from the existing reformist or progressive organizations working on similar issues, it is imperative that secondary coalitions be formed with these groups. It is important to ensure that these groups know that we have the same general goals as they do (betterment of peoples’ lives), and that we are not interested in competing for membership with them, but that we have our own approach we want to try.
When at all possible we should strive to coordinate our efforts with these groups, as they often appreciate the presence of a more radical tactical force willing to take risks that they cannot.

(4) Large demonstrations: Rather than abandon the experience many of us have gathered over the past several years of large mass mobilizations, we should harness this tactic to fit our prioritization of local struggles. Furthermore, we should use these large demonstrations as an opportunity to engage in truly direct actions around the issues we are struggling around. While there is much to criticize in the anti-globalization "movement," it is undeniably remarkable that we are capable of mobilizing hundreds, if not thousands, of radical militants to travel across huge distances to participate in these demonstrations. Rather than view this purely as the negative "summit-hopping," we should also see in this great opportunity for inter-regional mutual aid. As we shift the focus of mass mobilizations from knee-jerk reactions brought on by the actions of the rich, to a calculated attack on the state and capital via our involvement in real struggles, we will end the validity of the criticism currently levied against mass mobilizations that they contradict local organizing. While radicals will still be traveling across great distances to participate in militant actions, they will no longer be removed from the community they are taking place in, and are therefore simply expressions of solidarity and mutual aid with revolutionaries in that city. This is still a necessary component of the overall struggle, as we currently lack the numbers required to engage in successful militant direct actions that will have lasting effects without converging from great distances onto one location.

ACTIVE REVOLUTION 01.Jan.2004 18:07

against synthesism

Dual Power, Activism, Grassroots Organizing, and much more... (from THE NORTHEASTERN ANARCHIST #4)
ACTIVE REVOLUTION

by James Mumm


Part I: Anarchist, Grassroots Dual Power

Dual Power Defined

The term "Dual Power" has been used in several ways since it was first coined. The following definition builds on the previous meanings of Dual Power, most importantly by articulating the equal and necessary relationship between counter-power and counter-institutions. In the original definition, dual power referred to the creation of an alternative, liberatory power to exist alongside and eventually overcome state/capitalist power.

Dual power theorizes a distinct and oppositional relationship between the forces of the state/capitalism and the revolutionary forces of oppressed people. The two can never be peacefully reconciled.

With the theory of dual power is a dual strategy of public resistance to oppression (counter-power) and building cooperative alternatives (counter-institutions). Public resistance to oppression encompasses all of the direct action and protest movements that fight authoritarianism, capitalism, racism, sexism, homophobia, and the other institutionalized oppressions. Building cooperative alternatives recreates the social and economic relationships of society to replace competitive with cooperative structures.

It is critical that these two general modes of action do not become isolated within a given movement. Counter-power and counter-institutional organizations must be in relationship to each other. The value of reconnecting counter-institutional organizations with explicitly oppositional counter-power organizations is a safeguard against the former's tendency to become less radical over time. As counter-power organizations are reconnected to their base, they ground their political analysis in the concrete experience of counter-institutions -- mitigating against the potential political "distance" between their rhetoric and the consciousness of their families, fellow workers and neighbors.

Dual power does not imply a dual set of principles, and therefore processes - one for public resistance and other for building cooperative alternatives. The process used for both strategic directions has the same set of principles at its root. The anarchist principles of direct democracy, cooperation and mutual aid have practical implications which inform the dual power strategies for revolution.

Direct democracy means that people accept the right and responsibility to participate in the decisions which affect their lives.

Cooperation means that our social and economic structure is egalitarian, that we cooperate instead of compete to fulfill our needs and desires.

Mutual aid means that we share our resources between individuals and groups toward universal need and desire fulfillment.

These principles lend us the foundation for creating inclusive, anti-authoritarian relationships as we work in grassroots organizations. Regardless of the strategic direction within dual power that is being pursued, we will follow the same process - building relationships, organizing these relationships into groups, and moving these groups toward collective action.

We organize in order to build power with others -- power that gives us the opportunity to participate in the decisions which affect our lives. It is in the conscious construction and use of this power that we find true democracy.


PART II: DEFINING A PROCESS FOR REVOLUTIONARY SOCIAL CHANGE

Liberation is the struggle to be fully present, to have the ability to act -- to become powerful, relevant and therefore historical. Liberation through action is one of the ways in which people experience such self-actualizing transformation. Of course, liberation can also take place through other means -- chief among these are popular education, cultural work and identity-based activity.
But, in our complex and oppressive society, a holistic strategy for liberation must be multi-faceted and geared toward some measure of action.

Once we get beyond this general agreement on the centrality of action to liberation, the debate on the specifics of action begins. There is a clear distinction between the three most common forms of action in the United States -- activism, advocacy and organizing. Their effectiveness as strategies for change is at the heart of this essay. First, a summary of each strategy.

Activism - An activist is a person who is responsible to a defined issue and who helps address that issue through mobilizing a base of people to take collective action. Activists are accountable to themselves as moral actors on a specific issue. Democratic structures are a utilitarian consequence of activities designed to win on the defined issue (my definition).

Advocacy - An advocate is a person who is responsible to a defined issue and who helps address that issue through collective action that uses the instruments of democracy to establish and implement laws and policies that will create a just and equitable society (Advocacy Institute).

Organizing - An organizer is a person who is responsible to a defined constituency and who helps build that constituency through leadership development, collective action and the development of democratic structures (National Organizers Alliance).

To clarify, power is simply the ability to act -- and it can be used over or with others. As anarchists, power with others forms the core of our belief system. In each of the above strategies, power is gained through collective action - how each uses that power begins to illuminate considerable differences. The democratic structures created to focus that power also shed light on these differences.

Relationships form the foundation of all collective action. The intentionality of those relationships determines if your primary commitment is to your constituency or to the issue around which a constituency is built.

People participate in collective action because they have a self-interest in doing so. Self-interest is a middle ground between selfishness and self-sacrifice, determined most practically by the activities in which people spend their time, energy and money. Self-interest is the activity of the individual in relation to others. It is in the self-interest of people to participate in social change because such activities resonate with a need or desire within themselves. Thus, people choose issues or organizations because something about them is in their self-interest.

In addition to a shared commitment to collective action - power, relationships and self-interest are all critical elements that the three strategies of action have in common. The differences emerge in the use of power, the degree of intentionality placed on relationship-building, and the emphasis on issue or organization as the point of connection between people.


(1) Use of Power

Activists and advocates use power primarily to win on issues. Given that power is currently derived from two sources - people and money - activists and advocates try to mobilize a quantity of each to affect change. More often than not this means mobilizing a lot of people, and a little bit of money. These two strategies differ in that advocacy is explicitly about altering the relations of power in the established institutions of society, while activism doesn't necessarily place its faith in the perfectibility of American democratic institutions.

Advocates make a serious error in not differentiating power over others and power with others. They try to negotiate for a change in the relations of power between oppressor and oppressed, failing to understand that these two conceptions of power cannot be peacefully reconciled. Advocates end up negotiating to share power over others, and in doing so find themselves transformed.

No longer are they building power with others, but power for others - which is just a lighter shade of power over others. The struggle between these two types of power is a zero sum game - as one wins, the other loses. Only power with others is limitless; power over others always implies a finite amount of power.

Activism's power is derived first from its ability to affect change on issues and secondly on the potential force for change embodied in organized people. Organizing uses power differently - by first building an organization. For organizers, issues are a means to an end (the development of peoples' capacity to affect change). Organizers' use of power with others to alter the relations of power over others inherent in government or capitalist corporations forces such authoritarian groups into a debilitating contradiction. Opening such contradictions creates room for change. Authoritarian institutions may well react with violence to preserve power over others, or these contradictions may result in real social change. Liberation and revolution take place as relationships change from authoritarian to egalitarian.

Too often organizers and their organizations fall prey to the same negative transformation as advocates -- in negotiation to alter the relations of power they begin to build power for others rather than power with others. The authoritarian government and capitalist system are frighteningly seductive. They promise to change incrementally, and then slowly lull organizers, advocates and activists into a reformist sleep. However, the strength of organizing lies in the deliberate construction of a constituency that holds itself, its organization and its organizers publicly accountable. A commitment to relationships rather than issues is key to public accountability, and to insuring a lasting dedication to building power with others.


(2) Relationship-Building

All action has the potential to be liberatory. However, it is the degree of intentionality placed on relationship-building that determines the quality of the learning that takes place. Organizers differentiate between public and private relationships. Public relationships are those in which there is an agreement between people to act and reflect together in the process of social change. Organizers cultivate deliberate public relationships and bring people together in situations that foster relationship-building among those taking action. Intentional reflection upon action is key to maximizing learning. In organizing, people recognize relationships - not issues - as the foundation of their organizations.

Activism and advocacy use relationships as a means to an end - victory on an issue. Relationships are an end in themselves for organizers. This element of the debate centers on the question of constituency. The constituency of activism is other activists and potential activists, motivated through their individual moral commitments to a given issue. Advocates have no primary constituency. The constituency of an organizer is the universe of people who are potential members of a given organization with a defined geographical area or non-geographical base (through affinity or identity).


(3) Issue vs. Organization

Relationships are built between people; only through abstraction can we say that people have relationships with institutions or issues. There is an inherent contradiction in activism's attempts to mobilize people around an issue, given that issues are conceptual while people actually exist. People are not in relationship with issues -- they can only be in relationship with other people.

Organizations provide the context for public relationships. As anarchists we build organizations based on the ‘power with others’, non-hierarchical model. We believe in organization - how much and in what form are the debatable points. But, as anarchists, we know that organization is necessary as a vehicle for collective action.

Multiple dynamic relationships (organizations) are the product of an organizer's work. For activists, organizations are a utilitarian consequence of their work on a given issue. And for advocates they are a utilitarian tool used to negotiate for power. Organizers trust in the ability of people to define their own issues, a faith that rests in the knowledge that maximizing the quantity and quality of relationships produces dynamic organizations and therefore dynamic change. Advocates synthesize issues from a dialogue between people and dominant institutions, and they struggle for practical changes to the "system." Activists engage in continuous analysis of issues, producing clear and poignant agendas for social change -- and then rally people around those agendas.

The problem of "distance" is primarily one of both activism and advocacy. People who spend a great deal of time developing an issue have a tendency to create an analysis that is significantly different than that of most other people. As the distance increases between the depth of understanding between an activist or advocate and that of other people, we find increasing polarization. Such distance can breed a vicious cycle of isolation.


(4) Revolutionary Social Change

Perhaps the greatest difference between these three strategies of action is in their ability over to time to create revolutionary change. In the final analysis -- primary commitment to an issue is in contradiction to a primary commitment to power with others. The faith of anarchists lies in the ability of people to govern themselves - on holding power with others. This faith implies a staggering level of trust in others, and a monumental commitment on a personal level to participate publicly in social change. Activism and advocacy have no such trust in others - their faith is in their analysis of, and moral commitment to, an issue. By putting their faith in an issue they are removing their faith from people. Relationships do not form the basis for their action, and therefore they cannot be said to have a primary commitment to power with others. Of the three strategies of action, only organizing has a primary commitment to people -- to power with others - and to anarchism.

The modern anarchist conception of dual power encourages us to build liberatory institutions while we fight the oppression of the dominant system. Activism and organizing exist in both arenas, while advocacy exists only in the latter.

There is room to construct and practice a fresh revolutionary organizing process that is relevant to our current historical context. Aspects of such a revolutionary program would certainly incorporate radical social service, counter-institutional economic development, counter-power, educational and cultural dimensions. To maximize our effectiveness, it is important to define our strategy for action clearly across the range of possible activities and organizations.

As a model approach, organizing offers a starting point for a strategic social change process. Advocacy, as a contradictory and liberal strategy, may be necessary in order to keep the system from degenerating at a faster pace but it is insufficient for anarchists interested in revolutionary change. Activism is flawed by its insistence on elevating issues over relationships and its tendency to use organization and people as means to an end.

Organizing begins when we make a commitment to develop the capacity of ourselves and those people with whom we work to affect change. The intensity of conscious action and reflection is the engine that drives organizers to build relationships, construct dynamic organizations, and move those relationships into collective action. As anarchists we must learn the theory and practice of organizing if we are truly committed to revolutionary change.


(5) Organizing Theory/Organizing Skills

A holistic framework of effective organizing (through community, labor or issue-based organizations) must include some conception of relationships, self-interest, power, and organization. Again, relationships are the means with which we communicate and regulate our social existence. Relationships are always political, and as such are the foundation of all conceptions of power. Self-interest is the self in relationship to others, and signifies our political bonds and individual priorities for how we spend our time, energy and money. Power is simply the ability to act, and can be used as either power with others or power over others. Organizations are social constructs with which power is exercised.

The skills of effective organizing are all geared toward building relationships, organizing those relationships into groups and moving those groups into collective action. One-on-one meetings are structured conversations that allow each person to share their experiences toward identifying their individual and mutual self-interests. These meetings may be scheduled, or they may take place going door-to-door, house-to-house, or over the phone. A network of one-on-one relationships can be increased exponentially by asking people to hold "house meetings" where people invite their own networks (family, friends, neighbors or co-workers). Through this process we can identify people who are potential leaders -- people with a sense of humor, a vision of a better world, a willingness to work with others, and a desire to learn and grow in the context of action. As relationships are built between leaders, organizations are formed which can move into action on collectively defined issues.

This is the critical point - it doesn't matter what issue people choose to work on. And we shouldn't steer people in a direction that we think is better or more radical. Organizing is not about identifying an issue and rallying or mobilizing people around it. Organizing is about building organizations that can wield collective power. Action may begin as reform to the existing system, and that is OK. We cannot expect people to take radical action if they have not yet given up on the "system." It is our job to encourage action in many forms, and to reflect upon that action in order to learn from it. We must trust that such action and reflection will radicalize people over time.

Finally, how do we organize non-anarchists, or more seriously, people with different class, race, cultural backgrounds from ourselves, or do we? We must begin by locating ourselves in the complex matrix of oppression. What is your identity, in what ways do you experience oppression? In this way we can identify the social networks in which we either have relationships, or because of our identity could readily form relationships.

Then we must ask ourselves -- where do we want to have an impact? In what communities can we identify a constituency for our organizing efforts? Do we have a common identity with these identified communities? If not, why do we consider them a possible constituency?

It is very important to identify the constituency in which we want to have an impact before we identify issues that we will work on. To do otherwise takes us backward, and initiates an authoritarian process in which we are dictating issues to a constituency.

Getting back to the question - is it wrong for an organizer to define a constituency that is not a part of their history or identity? Should we concentrate on organizing within our own communities? I cannot answer these questions for you - I simply don't have the answers. But, I do know that they are critical and must be resolved before an organizing or popular education project may begin.


(6) Active Participation by Anarchists in Community, Education, Labor and Issue-based Organizations

It is not a concession to liberalism, nor a descent into reformism, for revolutionaries to participate actively in organizations that are not explicitly radical. Neither are we their vanguard. The only realistic way to build a mass movement is to work directly with oppressed people -- in essence, we are transformed as we transform others.

We join existing organizations to build our skills in the realm of political action. Through immersion in grassroots struggles we develop an understanding of the process of radicalization - beginning where people are at, using dialogue and research to build our collective analysis, taking action, and reflecting upon that action in an ongoing circular process.

There are some hard learned truths in these ideas. First, your vision of a better world is incomplete and impotent without the participation of grassroots people in its construction.

Second, you cannot impose your ideas, however radical you think they are and however backward you think others' beliefs are, without compromising anarchist principles. So then, how do we move forward?

Participation in existing organizations allows us to gain experience in political action. We can then use this experience to create new organizations that are based more closely on anarchist principles, but which are still dedicated to a grassroots base. But, you should not presume that you are ready to start a grassroots organization without having a clear idea on how to build and sustain such a group. That is why I encourage you to learn from the many models of organizing and education that are currently operating in the world before you strike out on your own.


PART III: CONCRETE DIRECTIONS FOR DUAL POWER


(1) Current Anarchist Forms of Organization

Anarchists have used a wide array of organizational forms and strategies of action in the past one hundred and fifty years.

Collectives: Cadre organizations (or closed collectives) and open collectives closely resonate with an activist strategy. Infoshops, for example, operate as open collectives. As activist groups, they tend to coalesce around an issue - in this case anarchism itself. Most infoshops of the 1990s who attempted to move beyond the limitations of activism were hampered by theoretical and practical barriers. The Beehive (Washington, DC), Emma Center (Minneapolis, MN)and the A-Zone's (Chicago, IL) attempts at anti-gentrification organizing have been intermittent and rarely effective. Issues and analysis must be developed in conjunction with the people affected by those given issues, or the separation between people and analysis leads to vanguardist distance. You cannot be an ally without first choosing the method of alliance -- what is your relationship to the people affected by an issue, and how will your organizational form contribute to effective work on that issue? These are central questions for anarchists operating on a local level and who are interested in grassroots struggle.

Worker/Consumer Cooperatives: Worker cooperatives are a special category of closed collectives - as consumer cooperatives are of open collectives. As needs-based organizations, they combine elements of activist and organizing strategies. It is critical for grassroots cooperatives to commit themselves to organizing's participatory model of action, but it is also vital that they are allowed the space to try out new ideas. With a careful eye to the issue of distance, cooperatives are an effective means of organization.

Mass-based Organizations: Mass-based organizations, like the IWW, have the potential to be influential elements of a popular revolutionary movement. There is no effective way to build a mass-based organization except through organizing. A cursory reading of history shows mass-based organizations growing as movements spring up in response to injustice - and then they fade away when justice is met. This conception of history ignores the countless years of work that go into every "spontaneous" movement. Spain had a revolutionary anarchist movement in 1936 because of the incredible organizing that began there in the 1860s.

Intermediary Organizations: Organizations that directly encourage the creation and development of the above forms of organization are necessary adjuncts to a holistic conception of revolutionary organizing. In an anarchist model, intermediary organizations are most effective in the form of a confederation. Intermediaries can provide:

Dialogue and Action - as a political formation, counter-institutional and counter-power organizations would come together to engage in revolutionary praxis (action and reflection).

Training - on the basics of organizing, facilitation, issue analysis, direct action techniques, organizational, issue and membership development, etc.

Technical Assistance - participatory research on issues, access to technology, technical knowledge on the "how-tos" of things like forming economic or housing cooperatives (where to get money, how to get started, etc.).

Financial Assistance - grassroots fundraising, grant writing, and the investigation and implementation of resource pools.

The point is that anarchists must think strategically about their forms of organization and strategies of action within a particular historical context. We must make conscious and informed decisions about the prospects for effective revolutionary social change that are either enhanced or limited by our choices of organization and action.


(2) Becoming More Radical and More Grassroots

More than fifteen years of modern anarchist gatherings, conferences and events haven't led to a coherent anarchist movement - on a continental, regional or local level. This is significant because other groups of people, similarly collected together on the basis of political or issue affinity have developed a higher degree of movement organization. Why? First, anarchists have tended to form organizations that are not integrated with a grassroots base and, second, anarchists have not built effective intermediary organizations.

The lack of a grassroots base is the result of an anti-mass conception of organization among anarchists. Favoring collectives, anarchists have constructed insular groups that are simply not relevant to the lives of their families, neighbors and co-workers. While collective organization is useful under certain conditions, it is not conducive to building a movement, which implies a much higher level of mass participation. Learning organizing and popular education theories and skills is the answer for anarchists interested in building a broad-based and diverse movement.

Additionally, North American anarchists have not developed intermediary organizations to connect locally organized radical groups with each other, and then to regional/national/continental networks. Anarchists seem hellbent on remaining a collection of individual people and their individual groups due to a reluctance to be accountable to a wider constituency through engaging in the process of strategic organizing and popular education. Simply arguing for a network (locally or continentally), presumably for communication and mutual aid, also hasn't taken off despite numerous tries. And in the case of the Love and Rage Revolutionary Anarchist Federation, it did work for almost a decade, but at the expense of losing the local organizations. This does not have to be the case.

We need to develop massive resources of our own -- social and economic - if we want to make similarly massive changes in society. Our forms of organization must infect and transform society away from competition, capitalism and oppression.

The challenge is to initiate broad-based organizing and popular education to build both counter-power and counter-institutional organizations and to construct intermediary confederations to connect them. We must stop trying to build a movement of anarchists and instead fight for an anarchistic movement.


==================

EDITOR'S NOTE

Although we welcome James Mumm's insights and analysis around dual power and grassroots organizing, we reject his final conclusion which claims that anarchists must "stop trying to build a movement of anarchists, and instead fight for an anarchistic movement." Those of us from NEFAC would argue that both are equally necessary.

We do not believe that an activist strategy based solely on anarchist methods of organizing (self-organization, mutual aid, solidarity and direct action) will inevitably lead us any closer towards anarchism. Such a strategy, on its own, only serves to provide a radical veneer and egalitarian legitimacy for liberal-reformist or authoritarian activist trends.

A successful revolution will require that anarchist ideas become the leading ideas within the social movements and popular struggles of the working class. This will not happen spontaneously. We believe that, if only to wage the battle of ideas, anarchist organizations are necessary. The purpose of such organizations, for us, is to connect local grassroots activism to a larger strategy of social revolution; to create an organizational pole for anarchists to develop theory and practice, share skills and experiences, and agitate for explicitly anarchist demands (in opposition to liberal-reformist or authoritarian trends) within our activism.

A Peoples Maze... 01.Jan.2004 20:47

Pete simplegrowth@riseup.et

The times and the invisible world around me seem to be swirling faster then ever. The quality of healthy living seems to be diminishing which means the regard for life also diminishes. This equation is not something that is sustainable. This world, the countries, corporations, faiths and individuals collectively need to at least agree that each of us was created with some sort of divine intervention and we are not all living this life to dominate other beings or be dominated. This much is clear domination has not worked in human past or present.

Now I have only been alive for 27 calendar years and do not remember previous lives so this one that surrounds me is the one I focus on and the human past and present that effect the visual and invisible world I am able to relate with. I am aware that there is an invisible reality that is equally surrounding and that there is a vast universe that no one here has any comprehension of. Saying this prefaces me that as progressive earthlings we need to get on the same page about a few things before a piece of humanity can make its first steps together.

Or provide a visible and tangible reality for people who would like to take steps within themselves with others to collectively make progress through a sustained encompassing approach to social change through altering ones reality and therefore creating an international and local place for a being to grow together with other beings, the creation of a new shared reality where people are made to be comfortable with themselves. That simple.

This togetherness can be as diverse as the world is today but without the first recognition that domination does not work as a means for progression of the human soul. That is what we all want for ourselves, families and children is it not? The progression of our soul to another kinder, more benevolent, ethereal existence where our individual beings have freedoms, decreasing worries and we are able to have more understanding of self and the universe. Again can we all agree that we would like our souls to be able to live in a kinder more benevolent, ethereal existence where we are able to express our selves in whatever form we find ourselves in after getting through this difficult life on earth? We can make that happen in this life through a process that has not been undertaken and we have the tools, the people, the minds and most importantly the heart to build an international community made up of people wanting a way out from this suicide culture we currently exist in.

Most of the time I am scared to say what I truly believe since I do not want to affect my own reputation or effect others developing sense of self in their own developing interests and views in relation to life on this sphere. To me earth is a testing ground. We are all placed in a life that enables us to make decisions that I believe will confirm or deny our place in a more significant more diverse reality than we are prepared to imagine. The concept that people either go to heaven or hell is not something that seems real to me. The concept of nothingness seems possible. The concept of reincarnation in this existence seems very real. Regardless though I believe the dominating ways ends here. From my limited experience in this lifetime and the constant progression with slight regressions leads my soul my being to a place, a dangerous place a lovely place a lonely place that I firmly believe will fade as my physical body fades and the ideas and concepts take hold somewhere in this messy world. Eventually I will be able to move to a more balanced position in this universe. That's one of my beliefs, maybe I will become a star for a while watching over this great blue planet steering the events from an invisible but close surroundings. This is one of my beliefs.

Each of us have felt the effects of being dominated. It creates unnatural feelings that come from a lack of satisfaction by the people who chose to domintate others. That lack of satisfaction comes from living an empty life. At this point I may not be one to talk about the divine or the universe but am still alive after some intense struggles, experiences and lessons from individuals, the divine, the supernatural and of course my own human cultural ignorances the most embaressing teacher.

There are some things I will never say and that is the right thing. This lack of satisfaction is because the vast majority of us live outside of the reason why we are alive. This of course is my own prejudiced idea but another belief of mine is that all of us are born equipped to have a direct relationship with the greater universe, the divine, our source of living and dying. This connection gets slowly severed as the dramas of western life take us away from that eternal loving spirit that we are born with. A childs life is joyous and exploratory because it seems like a never-ending path that we are on learning meeting others and growing.

Only as we get older in this culture does the reality of sustaining a life somehow effect our day to day causing us to prepare to die rather than working to live. Sustaining of ones life has a lot to do with the comforts one surrounds themselves with. It is these comforts or so we are taught that helps to establish our reputation and rate of success in this culture. As a human being we are given a body at birth and also we are equipped with a soul that is a combination of our minds capacities, lessons we have learned, tolerance for pain of all kinds, the other beings we interact with and the visual images that surround our lives. This internally stored compilation of energies and efforts of ourselves, and others consistently guide us in everything we do. The unfortunate and most fortunate part of the human soul is in the above sentence "other beings we interact with" this small catch phase has a larger impact than anything I or anyone could ever write and the implications and responsibilities that comes with it have never been taught correctly from my experience as a human being. We by just living in this modern day interact with everyone who has ever lived. If this world should stay functioning for the next 200 years then you not only will interact with Shaekespeare and Napoleans means and ways of living but you also interact with Mazeys and Calluums ways through the social structure you will participate in, alter or create. Today, we as progressive individuals need to recognize that now is the time to create this new culture not through altering the masses ways, which would be wonderful but through building a new system for living within the corporate states we currently exist in. This system would be closer to an all-encompassing lifestyle covering every aspect of the true human spirit. Connecting people together intimately again through dropping fronts, in the name of getting to know someone else and yourself, dropping the cd or the internet to see a different type of music from another land, picking up the true news in Iraq, picking up on a tradition from different land. No one else knows what it feels like to be grounded in ones pitiful emotions quite like us Americans who all too often drug or are forced to drug our feelings and our souls lose touch with this tender reality we all share.







We have so much materialism to live for but so many of us truly feel this imaginary reality waiting to form. So many of us have compounds to live in, gardens to grow, music to listen to, projects to work on and that is wonderful but at the same time so many of us have rent due to a landlord, have loans to the banks and broken relationships to mend. It is of my opinion and I know so many others that we as progressives in this country and the world have a vision that we really truly OWE our efforts to. We owe this earth we utilize that protects us so, we OWE our children something since we are able to see something our neighbors cannot see because of their deep indoctrination and most importantly we will find that we OWE our own selves the amazingly divine souls inside of us a chance to move pass this constructed self contained, timely maze that keeps feeding us, taxing us, tolling us and changing us unto the toll-keepers and mazemapholders schedule and direction arriving us at protests at meetings and back just to pay that same toll.

Some of us have gotten out of this rut but it can be a lonely place and we as progressives have failed so far in making an infrastructure for others to get out of a system that is driven by dinasours.

This maze we live in really truly can steer us away from the way we were created to live. I firmly believe that we all were originally built to see through lies, to know when we are being taken advantage, to see when someone is dominating by intuitive knowledge we would find if we were nurtured throughout life and would immediately see through the empty dominators. To see when someone is coercing you to take advantage of another. To go even further away, I believe the sicknesses we get, the forms our bodies take, the pains we have, have a lot more to do with the way we live and how we interact with others and the world then they have to do with genetic makeup.

This change effects more than we notice because our senses of the divine in each other is also dimininshing because we are forced to see each other as tools for survival, employees, or people who make it harder to live because of ideologies rather then seeing each other as gifts to each other.

Right now we are living in a biq maze that by design narrows with age. This age forces us into niche specialties in order to fulfill the desires that we are taught to have. The maze can and does reach out and kill when one goes past certain points of it but no matter what, it does seem to dull you as you pass through somehow. Believe me I love the mysteries of life as much as the next but also would love to be wondering and wandering around this blue and green maze with a big smile on my face holding hands with others holding hands with others. To be forthright about 2 things about this maze humans before us and we create it everyday:
1. wish every human would be able to make it through it and come out with a deep deep appreciation for life but I do not see that happening.
2. do not see the mazekeepers(governing officials), owners(owners of "deeds", corporate shareholders) of the tolling and taxing system letting this maze operate sustainably, justly, and with respect to international human rights and equal international environmental, and labor laws for water food and medicine but please prove me wrong





This mindset of a person being a tool or impediment is the final straw in our letting go of the childlike gaze we once had. An analogy of what I am speaking about can be drawn easily if would look if internationally we preogressives could literally build ourselves a huge friendly maze, with many options all at once, forever: education, friends, growth the unknown, music, struggle, working with the other deadly maze, travel, governing are all options at each moment in this new self sustaining non-dominating maze we need to create. The pieces of this maze are being formed everyday. The living co-ops, food not bombs chapters, csa's, black blocs, urban renewal projects, protests are all wonderful corners each of us have taken in our existence in this maze that have given us a deeper understanding of ourselves but also have given us compassion for others from the education we receive while giving our times, hearts and souls to something that really does not exist yet.

The more professional we get the more compartmentalized some become to meet our own personal needs the less of these parts of the maze we can have because we in some strange way become collective owners of this maze the only one we currently live in. As an owner or renter of a section of maze you pick up responsibilities, stresses, dependencies, worries and aggravations. The other thing you pick up is the need for more money and tools to provide you with that. So your life in this potentially wonderful maze becomes one place, one way, over and over and over. The maze fades away from you and you are stuck with the opposite of being a child and that is being rooted, to something humans should not be rooted to constant needs.

Our insecurities, personas, fronts, passions are all expressions of our souls. Some of the most important conversations have come from homeless people after a protest in DC who for some reason were able to completely fulfill my day while I in part fulfilled theirs. At times a person can be one with another just for a minute but that minute can save a persons being their soul when the times get hard because of the storative nature we have been given. Think that at this point the global justice movement in various forms throughout human past (civil rights, labor rights, sustainability, Patent Releases, Anti-Capitalists) should instead of reinforce their own projects to build up their collective selves and identities should instead bring their viewpoints, skills and lifes together in one large international family working towards a similar way of being. Ultimately we are water and gas and that is the worth some people feel right now in and out of the movement but together completely we could have such a lively, colorful, music filled maze to build instead of run around in a decaying horror filled maze. That way people will be ready when confrontation comes in whatever form from the corporate and country oppression we all face in various forms. A way out and in.

Will be working on writing more about this concept sorry if you think the top pieces are baloney but that is the wonderful part of open publishing. If you have any ideas about the bringing together of peoples, ways, to create an international collective that gets past the labels to get to each others hearts then please contact me. This is what I will be focusing on.

With much love Still,
Pete


Zapatistas 02.Jan.2004 00:07

Bill

"We have no choice but to fight back"

Since you lean on the Zapatistas for credibility, you owe it to them to avoid statements which can be interpreted so inconsistently with their program as this one.

Who employs the riot police?!? 02.Jan.2004 17:46

Revolutionize Consciousness

There is little doubt who the organizers of Indy Media rally behind. Instead of performing actions that emply riot police and continue to portray societies struggle as codependent (us vs them) which scares most the people we need to reach. We need to come up with a succesful campaign that can gain media awareness and become universal. Anti-Capitalist is an afront to people that don't know any better, and what all victims of capitalism need is understanding not to be demonized for something they don't understood.

Let's work together to heal trauma, including the wounds we have created ourselves. Gandhi did more to change the world than anyone in history. He did it through Satyagraha and Ahimsa, which is something Indy Media people are way to in the world of fear to understand.

Truth is compassion. Love is Wisdom.

Stop the codependent madness.

 http://www.kucinich-oregon.us


Uh Bill 02.Jan.2004 18:32

mr. snrub

They mentioned the Zapatistas once, and that was merely a general statement of solidarity. If you would have read the article they specifically state they are trying to form a group which emulates People's Global Action, not the Zapatistas, I don't know how they could make it more clear than they did.

Clarity 03.Jan.2004 03:55

Bill

The Zapatistas are mentioned twice : once in the the first sentence of article summary; once in the first sentence of the first paragraph.

As you know, the summary "should give the readers a short introduction on what your article is about." Accordingly, one might legitimately expect the article to be about Zapatistas, and to be little or nothing about PGA at all.

The first paragraph reinforces this notion, not withstanding its witless replication of the summary.

It would be reasonable to follow this with an article about Zapatistas, or developing ideas from the Zapatistas, or even an honest critique of the Zapatistas. One hardly expects a sly shift to philosophy and tactics fundamentally contrary to those of the Zapatistas.


On the other hand, People's Global Action is mentioned once. Twelve paragraphs after the one from which I quoted. Sixteenth out of nineteen in the article.

Hardly up front. Is it?


If 'deathofcats' were selling used cars, instead of used rhetoric, this article would be labelled "bait and switch".

More clarity 03.Jan.2004 03:57

Bill

They could have made their emulation of People's Global Action much clearer :

by mentioning it in the summary and the first paragraph (or even the second),

as well as, or before, or (preferrably) instead of Zapatistas.

To think 03.Jan.2004 17:12

simplicity

"Thinking is easy. Actions are difficult. To act in accordance with ones thoughts is the most difficult act of all."
I couldn't tell you said it but it certainly wasn't me. Something I picked up from an old Job Corpe advisor. With all the talk of social revolution sometimes it seems that amongst all the intellectual babble you miss the most important key aspect. Don't be an asshole. I met several people in this community who call themselves activists or radicals. Well here's a radical concept for you, be decent. Don't swear at t.v. cameras. Don't cus me out me out because our ideas differ from one another. Don't get caught up in self pride because and get damn giddy running around on the streets with a picket sign. Don't come wearing some scary garb dressed all in black. Wear a suit, wear a tie. Look good maybe wear some cologne. Martin Luther King looked like a buisness man. That confused the social norm "the system". He refused to look like Uncle Tom. So let these words ring true. DON'T BE AN ASSHOLE!

Why not build existing PGA? 05.Jan.2004 16:21

Rico Pobre

Why keep reinventing the wheel? The authors of this call have an excellent proposal, there is a real need for an
anti-authoritarian (I prefer "horizontalist") anti-capitalist network in North America. My question is, why not build People's Global Action?

Other nagging questions...

Who do we want in this network? The usual suspects of Anarcho-communists-syndicalist-primitivists-blah-blah-blah? or do we include left NGO's, left trade unions, civil right orgs?

What does it hope to accomplish? facilitate communication? put up a website? newspaper? Common logo? Formation of a bloc at summit meetings?

It would be nice to know a little more about the folks who issued the call as well.

All that aside I can say that I know lots of activists who would jump on this if there was more info.