Saturday, 11 January 2014

What I believe

"On the contrary, we do not boast that we possess absolute truth; we believe that social truth is not a fixed quantity, good for all times, universally applicable, or determinable in advance, but that instead, once freedom has been secured, mankind will go forward discovering and acting gradually with the least number of upheavals and with a minimum of friction. Thus our solutions always leave the door open to different and, one hopes, better solutions. "-Errico Malatesta.

There has been much speculation about my political beliefs so I hope to quell the rumours. Let me briefly but unequivocally answer. 

I am not  a supporter of the SNP, The Soviet Union, Chávez, Castro, Morales, or any other existing government. I oppose those mentioned and all others- past, present and future.  

 I  AM NOT a nationalist, a socialist, a democratic socialist, a Bolshevik , a Trotskyist or a Leninist. While I may work with those with beliefs mentioned above in specific contexts, I oppose the above political ideas.
I am Left wing, Working class, a descendant of miners and relative to them,  An Anti-Capitalist, A revolutionary, A Feminist, and have been in the Occupy Movement.

Left Unity: There's been a lot of talk bout left unity and I understand the motivation. Yet I'm skeptical and fairly critical.  I do not say this to arguing for sectarianism or keeping to 'your own' . I definitely believe in working alongside others who you disagree with.Tactically I will work longside anyone.  However when ends and means becomes a problem then that 'left unity' breaks down. I'm not against being divisive when necessary. When unity is "shut up and tolerate misogyny" for example. It's not sectarian of us to criticize the SWP for it's rape apology and purges or criticize Trotskyists who are supporters of The Butcher of Kronstadt (Leon Trotsky).

I am opposed to all political parties because theory tells me they are not the solution we need and my own experience has confirmed to me, in working with them, that they are useless. political  parties were never  a meaningful way of achieving social change but slowly the rest of the world is catching up to this fact  as expressed in the Occupy, Indignados etc movements.

I am opposed to reformism which is the idea that changes of law or of political parties or of politicians amount to  actual social change or that accumulated changes to the law would change what society is. NO. I favour reform but know it will only change minor details of the capitalist system but capitalism will continue. I demand reform but still demand revolution whereas the reformist demands reform and nothing else - often afraid of revolution as dangerous. Yet the longest lasting reforms were achieved when the alternative threatened ,was revolution.
I oppose voting. I do not think it is deeply moral or immoral to do so. I don't  put importance on it. It is irrelevant. The oppressed must take the struggle into their own hands and directly participate in the creation of a better world. anything less is mystification .“Never be deceived that the rich will allow you to vote away their wealth.” said. Lucy parsons.

I believe there is no single source of oppression. Oppression cannot be reduced solely to capitalism. There can and has been oppression before capitalism( e.g. in tribal societies)  and could be post-capitalism. Capitalism makes use of / works alongside with  Patriarchy and white supremacy etc. but does not create those systems of oppression.

I am opposed to those who believe in a state and direct democracy. I view them as opposites. If the people are capable of deciding amongst themselves they're also capable of carrying out those decisions and enforcing them. Therefore the state is unnecessary.
I have a complex relationship to the issue of Scottish Independence. I oppose the Unionist side but do not have an hope in the Independence Side. I totally reject the Yes Campaign group. But also I part from my fellow Travellers in the Radical Independence Campaign(RIC) Unlike RIC, I do not think Scottish Independence will usher in a new era of Scottish democracy or lead to an 'anti-capitalist government' as the Scottish Socialist Party hope. At best it MAY allow for some good reforms but it is the best of a bad set of options and I do not obsess over it or fixate on it. I have seen a number of comrades focus on it to the exclusion of all other criticisms of the system and so become reformist.
I completely expect to protest the Scottish government whatever the result of the referendum. I maintain my call for worldwide revolution- there are no revolutionary states, no good governments....

Where I set off.

The best society requires  freedom, equality and solidarity and the realization of those principles .

All forms of oppression are opposed to these principles.

The best society sets as it's goal the well being of all by which I mean the most complete development and flourishing of each individual and of society  taken as a whole. Insofar as it fails in this aim, it is not adequately expressing it's principles.
There can be no freedom  without equality. Without freedom, there is  only subjection, repression and domination I.E. there is inequality. Freedom is both 'negative' and 'positive' and no meaningful distinction can be made between the two. Freedom is both absence of domination and repression and freedom to flourish, to be autonomous, to have the means necessary for satisfaction of needs and flourishing.
 Without equality there is hierarchy, there is master and slave, capitalist and proletariat. Without equality there cannot be anything worthy of calling, democracy. Without equality there is no meaningful solidarity or sense of unity among people. We must abolish class society, patriarchy etc to unite humanity.

The IWW explain it clearly, "The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.
Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth...."-IWW preamble.
Without democracy there cannot be equality. Without democracy there is not freedom.  I believe in working for full participation in democratic decision making as opposed to hierarchical command structure. I oppose formal and informal hierarchy and always seek to challenge it whenever and where ever it arises.

My central argument.


I will explain how I arrive at my conclusion then the implication of it.
At it's most simplistic level the argument goes like this : In a society in which money is given such status and so has the most influence then those with the most money will inevitably have the most power in society (At it's most simple, that's what capitalism is in reality)Because of this influence, government systems will seek favour from and seek the favour of,  the wealthy i.e. democracy will not exist rather there will be a plutocracy(rule by the rich with 'democracy' in name only.)  The wealthy will have the overriding influence on government rather than the poorest in society. This cannot be otherwise while there is capitalism.


Even if the politician had noble intentions and refuses to consciously be swayed by the wealthy, they must bend to the wishes of the rich and the market because government intervenes in the economy and the wealthy demand it does so to their favour. Industry, the economy and technology among other things in present society rely on government intervention to it's favour. . Those who ultimately control society are those with most wealth.
Government bends to their will and protects their interests. The governments interests are overlapping with those of economic elites. The government has no interest in it being otherwise. It merely wishes to keep the whole thing going with minimal disturbance and will occasionally throw the masses some demanded breadcrumbs back to pacify dissent.   
 it's hard to see how it's likely for the above to be otherwise in  ANY society with money or government or a market economy or consumerism.   
 Government will do whatever it takes to destroy those who threaten the existing order in a fundamental way. Government will co-opt criticism of the existing order and change minor details to quell dissent(reformism) to prevent wider deeper rebellion and revolution. 
Reforms do not solve the cause of the problems only the symptoms and are easily done away with by the ruling class when they become inconvenient.
 The problem is the existing order and the government only tweaks the existing order with the help of naïve willing 'radicals' . It never seeks to change or challenge it's very basis, it's fundamental core or reasoning. And why would it? 
 No government is democratic. No government can be. No government can solve the environmental crisis, no reform no law passed can solve  or stop it. No government can defeat bosses.  government is itself inequality, oppression, undemocratic. Government only seeks to protect the wealthy and powerful and maintain the existing order.
 Government is the enemy of freedom, equality and solidarity. Government is the protector of the capitalist class. It's purpose is to maintain the system at all costs.

Since Fossil fuels are desperately needed by the capitalist system, it is the dark heart of the system.

 I only have to look at my local area to see the proof of all that I believe in, all that I have said here positive and negative.
my beliefs can be understood broadly under the labels of
  •  Anarchist. Total opposition to all systems of oppression, domination, exploitation and privilege. This means absolute uncompromising opposition to the state, political parties ,capitalism( especially private property), Patriarchy, White Supremacy,  bosses, wage labour, landlords, union bureaucrats, abuse of animals and environmental degradation etc . Anarchism is opposition to Archon(rulers) and Archy(rulership). Anarchism does not seek different rulership. It wants to end all forms of ruler ship, all forms of domination and oppression , to put an end to positions of ruler, to make rulership cease to exist.Reforms can only be short term goals but they do not alleviate the fundamental flaws inbuilt into  the existing system.  Reforms but not reformism which opposes or avoids revolution.   We propose revolution as the means to work towards the creation of  alternatives( anarchy) . That revolution can only be carried out by the oppressed themselves and not by claimed representatives whether you call them politicians or the vanguard party or ‘the dictatorship of the proletariat’ as Leninists such as Trotskyists do. I am opposed to any and all states whether argued for by social democrats, democratic socialists, Old Labour, Leninists, Bolsheviks, Trotskyists etc. These are all State Capitalist by varying degrees. I am opposed to capitalism- private or state controlled.
a just society requires freedom, equality, solidarity, the abolition of private property, democracy.. in short, anarchism.
I believe anarchism to be the natural logical conclusion for those who believe in democracy, freedom, equality and solidarity.  There can be no freedom, equality and solidarity while society is constructed so that  it's   rulers vs. ruled, 99% vs. The One Percent,  capitalist vs. proletariat   boss vs. workers, landlord vs. tenant...




anarchism is the ultimate form of direct democracy.
 anarchism IS NOT disorder or chaos or terrorism.
anarchism IS NOT opposed to organisation but opposed to forms of organisation which are hierarchical,  authoritarian and exploitative which by definition means The state, Capitalism, patriarchy etc. 

Since the biggest opponents to my position are Trotskyists I will contrast my position to them.Trotskyists believe vanguards will led the working class and oppressed and form a dictatorship of the proletariat or workers government or whatever phrase they're using these days.
we anarchists oppose vanguards and dictatorship even  so called ' dictatorship of proletariat' which is nothing but minority rule once more. We believe the oppressed themselves will carry out their struggle and anarchists will be part of that but must not lead that. We find the idea of a working class government or workers state laughable. There can be no such thing. Government is minority rule by a privileged few. Whereas Trotskyists say the problem is a "crisis of leadership"  ,we anarchists argue the problem is hierarchy and Trotskyist ends and means re part of that problem.

 No state, however democratic – not even the reddest republic – can ever give the people what they really want, i.e., the free self-organization and administration of their own affairs from the bottom upward, without any interference or violence from above, because every state, even the pseudo-People’s State concocted by Mr. Marx, is in essence only a machine ruling the masses from above, through a privileged minority of conceited intellectuals, who imagine that they know what the people need and want better than do the people themselves..."-Bakunin,Statism and Anarchy.
  •  Anarcha-Feminist.  Opposition to everything anarchism opposes while understanding Patriarchy is tied into all of it.   Anarcha-Feminism is Feminist taken to it’s fullest extent. Emplicit linkage of Feminism with Anarchism. Anarchist understanding applied to feminism(I.e. opposition to non class struggle kinds of feminism like liberal feminism or reformist feminism like Second Wave feminism) . Revolution not female bosses or female politicians. Female rulers are still oppressive. There should be no rulers. This is Intersectionality taken to it's logical conclusion. Intersectionality properly understood implies that female rulers just head patriarchy, capitalism etc and therefore are not better than anyone else. The problem is these systems of oppression NOT the person or political party which heads them. This is a very important point. Modern Anarcha-Feminism involves Queer  anarchism  and  Queer  theory.Therefore Anarcha-feminism includes opposition to the Gender Binary  and includes within itself opposition to compulsory monogamy, support for polyamory , support for bisexuality ,Support for Trans issues. I reject the idea privilege theory is liberal and think it's an important part of the liberation struggle.  Anarcha-feminism opposes all forms of privilege and will call them out. We demand worldwide safer spaces policies. Patriarchy existed prior to Capitalism but with the rise of Capitalism became intertwined with it. Patriarchy could exist post-capitalism.
  • Anarcha-Communist.  Since Capitalism is horrific, putting greed before need and a market economy will still have a number of problems including consumerism, I favour Anarcho Communism. Anarcho Communism is  a stateless classless moneyless marketless wageless  society based on production and distribution for need instead of profit  with decisionmaking  from the grassroots in democratic structures. abolition of private property, In it's place,  property would be collectively run and open to all, while possessions would remain untouched. The necessities of life would not be denied to anyone. Communism is not total state control. Communism is not cuba or the soviet union or south korea etc . Communism cannot be true to its name if it is run by a government of any kind. Communism cannot be imposed. Communism must come from below, from the people themselves. While this is my preference I am willing to allow for other economic systems and mixes of them to be tried as long as they uphold the anarchist opposition to oppression previously mentioned.  I am willing to be wrong in my belief that communism is the best society possible and especially, the most just, fair and equal.  I am willing to accept it might take time to transition to this system from a collectivist contribution based system knowing that such a system is imperfect and still has inequality.
I believe without Communism, complete human flourishing is impossible and will be denied.
Communism allows for the most expansive development.  Communism is the concept of 'positive freedom', of 'freedom to' in it's truest form. Anything less does not deserve the name.

Without Communism, I believe freedom, equality, democracy  and solidarity can never be meaningful.

" The construction by each person of her own individual life — the realization of what she really wants — implies the end of the economy as a separate sector and its integration into a collective creation that ensures free access to all the means of survival (food, clothing, housing, utilities, health care) and to all the means necessary for the realization of passions, encounters, adventures and games".

"People’s right to goods will not depend on whether they have produced or created them. We will replace “To each according to his work” with “To each according to his desires.” The system of exchange must be wiped out by the universal practice of giving. "

"The end of the commodity system means the end of the reign of the quantitative. As production gives way to collective creation, quality will become the dominant factor in the games of passional emulation and the generalization of luxury. Just as the art of fine cuisine should replace the mere need for nourishment, the quest for quality in products, techniques and lifestyles will become the essential occupation of everyone. The progress of the long revolution will be reflected in the transition from the stage of “Minimum work and equal distribution for everyone” to the more advanced stage of “Universal creativity and maximum gifts for everyone.We want the enjoyment of all rights, or what amounts to the same thing, the right to all enjoyments. "-RAOUL VANEIGEM .

" There is no risk of poverty unless we make the mistake of concentrating exclusively on survival, instead of striving for a qualitative rise in the standard of life. "

"Lies, separations, prestige, passivity, private property, and all the habits inherited from the commodity system will not disappear as a result of constraints or punishments or noble exhortations, but by the harmonious organization of passions and desires for personal fulfillment. "
  • Green Anarchist.  Green Anarchism:   The Application of anarchism  to Environmental thinking and animal rights politics. The idea that environmental degradation especially climate change and animal mistreatment cannot be abolished without the abolition of the state, capitalism and all other forms of oppression. The idea that reforms while helpful do not touch on the fundamental causes and incentives which lead to these problems in the first place. There can be no 'green capitalism' , there can be no 'green government', there can be no 'green consumerism'. This approach rejects the idea ethical consumerism can help us 'grow out of capitalism' or that cap and trade, carbon trading or ANY market based solutions etc  can solve these problems. The problem is much deeper and wider than being solvable by laws or agreements. There would likely be some form of 'precautionary principle.'  We favour  Decentralization, Localism, Organic food, Radical Veganism etc.
I believe Communism ties well to Green Anarchism. Therefore you could describe my preference as Green Communism.

"To speak of disaster communism is to recognise that if communism is to emerge, it will do so in the anthropocene. As capitalism accelerates climate change, ‘possible’ reforms become utopian and ‘impossible’ revolution becomes realistic. We live in strange times. The bourgeoisie is blasting and ruining not just its world, but the Earth systems which sustain human civilisation. We are going to inherit ruins and abandoned cities, there is only the slightest doubt about that. But we still also know how to build, and to build better."

What I favour
1.        Complete abolition of all systems of domination, of oppression, of privilege to be replaced by a society guided by the principles of freedom, equality and solidarity with respect for all beings . This requires the abolition of the state and all it’s institutions, marriage, Patriarchy(which I include to mean the gender binary  etc), White Supremacy, Animal use and destruction of the Earth among other systems. Such a complete abolition of oppression will require a complete transformation of society and a radical re-thinking of how society is organised.     

2.       The revolution must come from below from the grassroots and no where else. I am against dictatorship of the proletariat or vanguards. Marxist-Leninism and  Bolshevism  is in direct opposition to all I favour.           "we anarchists do not want to emancipate the people; we want the people to emancipate themselves. We do not believe in the good that comes from above and imposed by force; we want the new way of life to emerge from the body of the people and correspond to the state of their development and advance as they advance"-Errico Malatesta.

3.        Grassroots (direct?) democracy or delegate democracy in federated structures from the grassroots local to coordination cross the world. 

4.        worker control via anarcho-syndicalism ending wage labour with an aim towards abolition of the wage system and the end of all work except that which is voluntarily done as required for the function of society.  No to bureaucratic unionism, to union bureaucrats. Yes to solidarity unions, Yes to industrial Unionism e.g. the IWW.
 The IWW preamble states "...The trade unions foster a state of affairs which allows one set of workers to be pitted against another set of workers in the same industry, thereby helping defeat one another in wage wars. Moreover, the trade unions aid the employing class to mislead the workers into the belief that the working class have interests in common with their employers.
These conditions can be changed and the interest of the working class upheld only by an organization formed in such a way that all its members in any one industry, or in all industries if necessary, cease work whenever a strike or lockout is on in any department thereof, thus making an injury to one an injury to all. Instead of the conservative motto, "A fair day's wage for a fair day's work," we must inscribe on our banner the revolutionary watchword, "Abolition of the wage system."

5.       I accept that full free communism may not be possible straight away but I think it best to aim for a society of   Anarcho-Communism – which will be a stateless classless marketless moneyless society. Production and distribution based on need not on profit. Need meaning more than just basic subsistence needs but also psychological needs. The fullest possible development of individuals and society's potential. An end to consumerism once and for all.

6.       Anarcho-Communism is I believe the best way to achieve a Green Society. I am critical of Mutualism and Individualist anarchism.

7.       I accept other forms of anarchism will be tried and while I may disagree with them I accept them in the spirit of toleration as long as they do not make use of oppression or exploitation, formal or informal , systematic or institutional.

8.       I claim no right to give a blueprint of the future society.  it is neither democratic to do so nor I am no prophet and so I cannot predict the future. This is what I favour only and I would not force it on others.
 Anarchy will be unlikely to come in my lifetime. It will take years of preparation maybe decades maybe centuries.

The Future Society.

It would be wrong for me to give a blueprint for a future society because it would be (A) undemocratic to decide for future generations and (B) a claim to prophecy. Those who are alive at the time must make the decisions. I do however believe the society formed must hold to anarchism and it's principles of freedom, equality and solidarity. It must oppose All oppression wherever it is found and work to create cultures which support these principles. It's interesting that the support of these principles would not require a hive mind or uniformity but become a logic into themselves.

I recognise not all may favour the specific future society I prefer ('Green Communism') and despite my misgivings, I accept this.

 I have seen glimpses of anarchy in Occupy. The world has seen anarchy  in Makhno's Ukraine ,in anarchist Catalonia, in The Diggers...

Getting there.

 "For us, as revolutionaries, meaningful action is whatever increases the confidence, autonomy, initiative, participation, solidarity, egalitarian tendencies and self-activity of the masses, and whatever assists in their demystification. Sterile and harmful action is whatever reinforces the passivity of the masses, their apathy, cynicism, differentiation through hierarchy, alienation, reliance on others to do things for them, and the degree to which they can therefore be manipulated by others, even those acting on their behalf." ( Maurice Brinton, About Ourselves)

as the Preamble to the IWW Constitution states,  "It is the historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism. The army of production must be organized, not only for everyday struggle with capitalists, but also to carry on production when capitalism shall have been overthrown. By organizing industrially we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old".

"So, what I'm talking about is a long-term process, a series of actions in which we unlearn passivity and learn to take control over our own lives. I am talking about a "hollowing out" of the present system through the formation of mental and physical (concrete) alternatives to the way things are. The romantic image of a small band of armed guerrillas overthrowing the U.S. government is obsolete (as is all male politics)... "-Peggy Kornegger.

"The revolution is the creation of new living institutions, new groupings, new social relationships; it is the destruction of privileges and monopolies; it is the new spirit of justice, of brotherhood, of freedom which must renew the whole of social life, raise the moral level and the material conditions of the masses by calling on them to provide, through their direct and conscientious action, for their own futures. Revolution is the organization of all public services by those who work in them in their own interest as well as the public’s; Revolution is the destruction of all coercive ties; it is the autonomy of groups, of communes, of regions; Revolution is the free federation brought about by desire for brotherhood, by individual and collective interests, by the needs of production and defense; Revolution is the constitution of innumerable free groupings based on ideas, wishes, and tastes of all kinds that exist among the people; Revolution is the forming and disbanding of thousands of representative, district, communal, regional, national bodies which, without having any legislative power, serve to make known and to coordinate the desires and interests of people near and far and which act through information, advice and example. Revolution is freedom proved in the crucible of facts"-Errico Malatesta.

We must remember that violence, unfortunately necessary to resist violence, is no use to build anything good: it is the natural enemy of freedom, the procreator of tyranny, therefore it must be kept within the limits of strict necessity.
Revolution is useful, necessary to tear down the violence of governments and privileged people; however, the establishment of a society of free people can only result from a free evolution.
It is the task of the anarchists to watch over the freedom of evolution, which is always at risk as long as men are thirsty for domination and privileges. "-Malatesta.

"The social revolution, therefore, is not an accident, not a sudden happening. There is nothing sudden about it, for ideas don't change suddenly. They grow slowly, gradually, like the plant or flower. Hence the social revolution is a result, a development, which means that it is evolutionary. It develops to the point when considerable numbers of people have embraced the new ideas and are determined to put them into practice. When they attempt to do so and meet with opposition, then the slow, quiet, and peaceful social evolution becomes quick, militant, and violent. Evolution becomes revolution"-Berkman

" Because revolution is evolution at its boiling point you cannot "make" a real revolution any more than you can hasten the boiling of a tea kettle. It is the fire underneath that makes it boil: how quickly it will come to the boiling point will depend on how strong the fire is."-Alexander Berkman.

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