Coming up with a strategy and set of principles

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Advice and information on devising a basic political and strategic programme for your organisation.

If you are going to be involved in struggles as an organisation (rather then a loose collection of individuals), and you want to have an influence on them that you will then need to act in unity. To do this you need to agree what it is your fighting for and what tactics you think that struggle or movement should be using.

Furthermore, over the course of the last 150 years of working class struggles, many lessons can be learned about what sort of ideas and strategies have failed and which have been successful. It is important to learn these lessons and distil them into the theoretical foundation of your organisation, so that you don't end up repeating the mistakes of the past.

We recommend, therefore, coming up with a basic set of aims and principles to your organisation which briefly and clearly outline your understanding of the world and how you believe you can go about changing it.

Some find the best way of putting this together is to start by a process of education and discussion around some key issues or historical lessons and then move onto creating written policy that can be debated, amended and if necessary voted on point by point. We have a sample basic set of aims and principles for revolutionary organisations here, which you could use as a model to work from.

The big advantage of this method is that once things are written down in this way it becomes very clear what exactly has been decided. But it should be understood that these positions should never be seen as 'the end' of a particular debate. They don't represent perfection but rather the best collective understanding and tactics the organisation could generate at that particular time. They should always be open to further debate and amendment as circumstances and knowledge changes. Although it is a good idea to limit major modifications to national conferences so when there is a lot of disagreement you don't end up doing anything but amending position papers!

You'll also want to work out how much agreement you will expect new members to have with the aims and principles before they join. You could consider having a "supporter status" for your organisation so that sympathetic individuals can get involved even though there has not been time to educate them sufficiently on the intricacies of your ideas.

libcom.org 2010