How to achieve a society without power?

power to the people

The ultimate goal of anarcho-communists is the radical change of the social and economic system throughout the world - we will call this change revolution. In the desired society there should be no power of either individuals or organizations. It must be based on voluntary cooperation between free individuals. The ultimate goal shows that this society cannot be achieved unless at least the majority of people are convinced of it.

We will start with a brief definition of the terms used in the text below.
The ultimate goal of anarcho-communists is the radical change of the social and economic system throughout the world - we will call this change revolution. In the desired society there should be no power of either individuals or organizations. It must be based on voluntary cooperation between free individuals. The ultimate goal shows that this society cannot be achieved unless at least the majority of people are convinced of it.
In my view, the most important condition for achieving an anarcho-communist society follows directly from the definition above. The main goal of those wishing to achieve the described society must be to convince the majority of people that a society without government is in their interest.
As far as I am aware there are currently two main theories/strategies - both seem to be inspired by Bakunin's writings on how revolution should be achieved. Below I will attempt to explain why I believe they are both insufficient to achieve lasting change if the condition described above is not met.
Both presuppose the creation of an organization of people fully committed to the cause. They are required to put the revolution above their personal lives in all its aspects. The primary goal of these revolutionaries must be to find and bring new members into the organization. Furthermore, the organization is supposed to be secretive in order to protect it from the authorities it is fighting against.
Once such an organization is established, two approaches to revolution are suggested. The first approach implies a direct struggle against the authorities, armed or peaceful. The second approach implies waiting, without ceasing to strengthen and expand the organization, until the revolutionary situation presents itself. Once the revolution has been started by the people, the clandestine organization must try to steer it in the right direction.
What is the basic problem of a secret organization of apostles who have given their lives entirely to the cause?
In my opinion, any organization that relies on the actions of a small number of individuals, even of the highest quality, is too susceptible to direct blows from the authorities. The crushing of one or a few people poses no problem to the vast repressive apparatus. The consequences are all the more severe the more responsibilities and obligations the revolutionary has. A good example of this problem is perhaps what happened to the revolutionary organization after the capture and hanging of Levski (Bulgarian revolutionary and a national hero, caught and hanged by the Ottoman empire). All the tremendous work done by the apostle fell apart almost completely and no one worthy to take his place was ever found.
The supporters of the theory of the small organization will immediately say:but it is secret, only verified and proven comrades enter there, that is what will protect it from the blows of the authorities! Yes, a deep conspiracy can help such a group avoid reprisals, at least for a while, but this approach also has a significant amount of problems. Maintaining a deep conspiracy permanently requires a very serious effort, i.e. less time and resources are left for the main activity of the revolutionary. Even strict adherence to conspiratorial practices does not guarantee complete security. As far as I know, most if not all organizations of this type have been infiltrated by agents of the government. This is even more difficult these days when new and increasingly powerful means of total surveillance of everything and everyone are available to the state apparatus. Moreover, today's society has considerably more limited freedoms than even under a fascist dictatorship.
A good example of this can be found in the memoirs of Hristo Kolev (the Big One , famous Bulgarian anarchist active from 1931 to 1935). When he was chased by the tsarist-fascist repressive machine in Sofia, he decided to hide in... Vitosha mountain (a small mountain right next to the capital city)! He spends almost a year there, and even manages to secure work for a living. In the same book, it is seen that the change of documents was done literally without preparation, and moving to another city or even just another workplace was enough to escape police persecution. I leave it to the reader to imagine how effective or even possible this would be in modern society, even assuming that the government does not yet have the technology for mass automatic facial recognition from cameras placed everywhere. In addition to the serious resources involved, maintaining a conspiracy significantly slows the rate of organizational growth. First, members of such an organization cannot openly state their ideas and directly seek supporters among as many people as possible. Second, even if they find suitable candidates, the conspiracy requires that these people be vetted most thoroughly before the existence of such an organization is even revealed to them. The high requirements for candidates greatly reduce the number of potential ones, even assuming that we somehow come across them, despite all the limitations imposed by the very nature of the organization.
All of the problems listed so far lead to the conclusion that when the time comes, we will at best have - albeit a cohesive and well-functioning - very small group of apostles whose task it will be to steer events in the direction of full social revolution.
Here are the problems I see with that plan:
Starting a real revolution, not just another protest about the price of utilities, although that could start one too, requires the breakdown of existing social norms and mechanisms of power. In this situation, even assuming that an open civil war does not break out, thousands of people, from every strata of the society, immediately emerge, eager to take power into their own hands. These would-be satraps will promise the people everything from the shabby bright future, to order, law and justice, to a society of full equality, even true communism and people power.
And so, in the face of social chaos and uncertainty, the revolutionary organization will have to rise to the task of preventing power-hungry tyrants from imposing their rule by force on everyone else, and populists from misleading the people with empty promises to give them power. At least a part of both is likely to come from the ranks of the powerful by the revolution. This means that they will have many more resources than any other organisation, including the secret revolutionary organisation we are talking about. That is, it follows from the very set-up that this tactic will put the revolutionaries at an extreme disadvantage in achieving their goals.
However, I can think of at least one historical example of a small but well-organized group succeeding in seizing power in the context of a spontaneous revolution. The Bolshevik Party was indeed small in number on the scale of the Russian Empire, but firstly, it enjoyed considerable support from outside forces and secondly, it was able to impose its power through brutal force and terror against almost the entire population of the country. It is the example of Lenin's gang that can give us a good idea of the kind of opponents our organisation will face. Nor do I think such a strategy is justified from a purely pragmatic point of view - there is no way to achieve a free society through violence. Such an approach would set a large section of society against the one exercising it and give way to a concentration of power in the hands of those using it. After all, a not bad definition of a state is: "An organization holding a monopoly over violence in a territory".
Another approach would be for the revolutionaries to try, through propaganda, to attract the majority of the population to the side of the revolution. This again would be very difficult in the conditions already described. A major problem would be the short time they would have for propaganda before power would be seized by some counter-revolutionary group that would end free speech through repression. In addition, in a revolutionary situation there will be an enormous amount of other tasks requiring action on the part of the organization, such as securing the production of food and necessities, fending off external threats - force or otherwise - the organization of the new society, etc. A good example of this is the Spanish Civil War - anarchist columns rushed to the front to stop the advance of fascist troops, with little or even no training or armaments. At the same time, there remained in the rear the authoritarian organisations, which immediately set about destroying the communes and preparing an army with which to reassert their power over the people.
So, assuming that the small secret organization approach has serious flaws, what is the alternative?
I believe that the main strengths of the organisation should be directed towards spreading the ideas of anarchism to as many people as possible, whether or not these people eventually become revolutionaries who devote their lives to the idea of revolution. It is also not necessary to expect that all these people will join the organization. I even think that the creation of a very large organisation has a number of disadvantages, such as vulnerability to attacks from the authorities, difficulties in organising joint actions, group decision-making, interpersonal conflicts, etc.
A decentralised organisation has a number of advantages on its side. It offers everyone interested in the ideas of anarchism to try to spread them in a way as close as possible to their own capacities and skills. Clearly not everyone will have the gift, the desire or the ability to write long and complex treatises on the nature of property and power or long historical treatises on the origins of capitalism. Any person possessing some standing among a certain group of people, relatives or simply sharing the same interests, can spread the ideas of anarchism among them.
The only important thing in this case is to spread precisely the basic principles of anarcho-communism. Specific interpretations, for example defending a particular group of people selected by gender, ethnicity, social or any other reason, should be avoided at all costs. Anarchism must always defend the interests of the great mass of all people, coincidentally at the moment this is the class of people selling their labour to secure their existence.
So before an organisation takes any action it must answer the basic question: how many new people will be initiated into the ideas of anarcho-communism by this action, and how many anarchists we may loose performing it? If the balance is negative, the action is harmful rather than helpful.