A manifesto and program from an almost forgotten group of anarchists and left communists that existed in Tampa, FL in the '80s.
The primary existential question facing humanity today is the world-historic crisis of the capitalist system & its necessary abolition. All of the overriding features of human misery -- poverty, famine, disease, urban crime, ecological ruination, unemployment, inflation, indebtedness, general descent of human survival standards, & finally ethnic & national wars--are directly traceable to the internal contradictions of the socio-economic system based on wage-labor& profit: CAPITALISM
The uncertain position of our species, the possibility of total destruction of the planet via nuclear war brings again the Social Question to the fore--Why do we "live" the way we do? What are the mechanisms which govern social & daily life? How can they be fundamentally changed, brought under conscious control, humanized?
We must begin with a clear recognition of the socio-economic process which runs the planet. Its name is CAPITALISM--a system predicated on human exploitation, on the buying & selling of labor power & its objects, on the production of goods & services for individual profit, on the maintenance of a world divided into the alien category of classes. In the 20th century, capitalism has fallen into its decadent cycle of crisis-war-reconstruction & new crisis.
All of the irrational characteristics of modern barbarity--trench warfare, howitzers, poison gas, Ypres & Verdun, Berlin & Kronstadt, the Gulag, Badajoz & Guernica, Warsaw & Stalingrad, Auschwitz & Dachau, London & Dresden, Hiroshima, Beirut--are the real loci, the essence of the deadliness of the capitalist system. But is there a human agency, a force, a Historical Subject which has the potential to put a stop to this cycle of social insanity & destruction? Yes! It is the class which suffers the most from this imperialist dreadnought, this mercantile plague; all those whose daily existence is purchased (or maybe not purchased) by the marketplace, those who are nothing but pawns & vassals to the owners of the means of production: the contemporary WORLD PROLETARIAT.
Since the time of Marx & Bakunin, that is, since the period of consolidation of the power of the bourgeoisie, the working-class has constantly fought the system of wage-labor & capital-gain. The workers understand, they feel the social reality which reduces them to mere human integers of blind production--much life the inert silicon micro-ships of a computer. It is this class of producers which contains both the subjective need & the objective role of constructing the material world that can & must cancel out forever the social system which enslaves them.
The reality of CLASS STRUGGLE is the over-arching reality today for all human self-emancipation, the starting point for each individual who wishes to be truly & materially free. Class Struggle--the duel between the functionaries of the global capitalist system & the international working-class has not "disappeared," been "superceded" by "new" or "marginal" forces. Such notions are the lies of ideologues of the old order. Since the late 1960's the world proletariat has re-emerged as the generically revolutionary anti-power on our planet. France 1968, & earlier Hungary 1956, announced that something was indeed rotten in post-WWII Europe--that social contradictions had again matured after the phase of reconstruction, that capitalism had transfigured & perpetuated itself into the new & equally Imperialist Blocs of East & West (of Russia & the U.S.), & that the Old Mole (the radicality of the workers) was still at work.
The original trajectory of the workers' movement, the real communist movement, had been deflected & truncated in the late 19th century with the intrusion & ascendancy of bourgeois intellectuals within the European Social Democracy. The connivance of these middle-class "thinkers," politicos, pen-pushers & union hacks resulted in a blunting of the revolutionary edge of class struggle, the collapse & integration of the movement for human self-emancipation into the waiting gears of the capitalist State, tooth by reformist tooth. Social Democratic treachery & cowardice then delivered over a tamed working-class to the slaughter of WWI, & then further combined with its "militant" sibling, Leninism, to crush the genuine revolutionary upheavals of 1917-1921. From these defeats rose the round of state-capitalist Spartanism & irrationality of the 20's & 30's--Stalinism, fascism, Keynesianism, Peronism, Zionism, etc.--culminating with a second Imperialist World war, 1939-1945.
In the wake of this nightmarish period, the world bourgeoisie used this epochal respite to retrench its rule, to mobilize all of its technical & scientific resources to attempt to blot out the very recognition of classes & their necessary conflict. The false image of a "New Deal" & then later "The Great Society" were ideologically promoted by the new advances in communications control--radio, motion pictures, advertising, phonograph & T.V. The stick of "mass communications" is still pounding the brains of the workers even though the thin carrot of reconstruction has shrivelled to a miniature. While the Big Lie of capitalist harmony & unity remains, its objective underpinning is falling apart due to its
Own internal flaws of over-production & market saturation of commodities.
Capitalism has historically shown that its inherent tendency of rate of Profit to fall will never reduced itself to zero, that as it sees a downward flight of overall accumulation taking place, as its expansive telos recedes, it unconsciously or reflexively prepares for a new apogee of capital devaluation--national & Bloc wars, Imperialist Holocaust!
Before generalized war reaches its climax, the ruling class of each capitalist bloc attempts to squeeze extra (surplus) value for itself by chopping the living standard of the working-class. This is what all of the measures of global austerity signify: an increase of destitution for humanity as a whole. But no amount of sacrifices can stave off disaster--unemployment, inflation, trade decline, tariff wards, & shortages amidst a sea of unsold commodities & productive capacity will continue to rise until the physical plant of capitalism self-immolates by real global warfare. No matter what they claim, no faction of the bourgeoisie--Thatcher/Reagan/Kohl or Mitterand/Gonzalez/Craxi can reverse this inexorable tide toward the ultimate "End-Game."
The sole force which stands in the way of Capital's final agony for humanity is the world proletariat. In their present struggles against the crisis--lay-offs, wage cuts & freezes, "restructuring" plans, etc.--the workers can begin to see the universal nature of the system & the universal nature of a solution to the crisis: the ridding of wage-slavery & the State which sponsors it, & the creation of an international system of communist democracy--a WORLD SOVIET.
Right now, workers everywhere are rebelling against further belt-tightening. From Yorkshire to Sao Paulo, from Las Vegas to Lima, from Longwy to Milan, from Hamburg to Gijon, it is the skilled workers of the metropoles who are contesting the reign of capitalism. And where are the marginals--peaceniks, Greens, punks, feminists, URPE professors--when our class moves? Nowhere to be found! Only the most sightless of New Left modernists could fail to appreciate the paramount radicality of the industrial workers.
The workers are unleashing their initial weapons fo the Wildcat & Mass Strikes against the bosses, the politicos & their trade union stooges. But no workers' action which takes place along trade or sectoral, or even national, lines can succeed. Strike assemblies & committees must link-up & merge with other beleagued workers (especially the unemployed), outside of all union & leftist party tutelage, & reach across all frontiers: we are the truly Internationalist Class of Humanity!
We, the already revolutionary minority of our class, must likewise organize ourselves internationally as a special & transitory detachment of the class movement which has the specific political tasks & responsibilities of absorbing the main lessons of the class struggle & conveying these lessons—practical directions for self-liberation, & away from the dangers of entrapment & wheel-spinning (leftist fronts, rank & file unionism, nationalism, self-management, etc.)--to the class as a whole during its resistances to the crisis.
Our goal is the complete uprooting of capitalism & its State, & the building of a New World of freely associated producers (human beings). Our subject is the global proletariat: those whole labor-power supports the foundations, the "wealth" of modern society. Our means are the democratic expressions of the Mass Strike & the Workers' Councils. Our duties as the revolutionary minority is to unify ourselves as an international & militant political body for the purposes of helping to generalize revolutionary consciousness. Our theoretical & practical traditions are the most intransigent & negative ideas of Marx & Bakunin, & the organized movements of uncontrollable anarchism & left-communism.
We oppose & seek to eliminate all institutions of the bourgeoisie: wage-labor, commodity production, the capitalist market & its financial tentacles, division of labor (hierarchy), the State & its military & juridical tentacles, national borders, electoralism & political parties of every sort, trade unions of every type, the mass media & the cultural industry.
Nationalism: The working men & women have no country. Nationalism & patriotism are bourgeois ideologies used to mobilize workers behind the flag of the capitalist State. During the 19th century national consolidation was supported by some revolutionaries (Marx & Engels) as a way of promoting the victory of the bourgeois class over feudalism & the rapid expansion of the capitalist order which in turn was engendering its own negation--the proletariat. Other comrades, & especially the anarchists, saw the dangers in this accommodation to bourgeois objectives & steadfastly upheld more decidedly internationalist principles. Today there can be no more debate: "National liberation" is a life & a sham, an ideological device used to institute larger degrees of exploitation, or as a cover in switching imperialist bloc allegiances.
Frontism: The working-class can unite with liberals, "progressives" & peaceniks in nothing because all of these formations, coalitions, etc, are laden with capitalist illusions & bullshit, i.e., beg your masters for "peace," pray for social harmony, do not resist in kind, & and so on. Such are the repeated dead-ends of bourgeois "humanism" which have in fact facilitated all of the monstrosities of the 20th century.
Syndicalism: Unions have never been revolutionary expressions of the working-class, nor can they be. The intrinsic purpose of the union-form is to orchestrate & regularize the legal sale of human labor-power to the employer class. As leftist policemen watching over the workers, as a complementary pillar of State authority, as wrechers & recuperators of autonomous strike movements, all unions are counter-revolutionary.
Anarcho-Syndicalism: Once a movement with a potential for social revolution, anarcho-syndicalism is now hopelessly decayed, almost indistinguishable from any other type of diversionary "base unionism." Anarcho-syndicalist ideology is caught in a limbo between the need as a union to juridically fix a price on human labor for the boss/State, & its liberatory rhetoric. Regarding autonomous assembly & strike activities, anarcho-syndicalism is always in the rear-guard, having little to say to the workers on how to strengthen & extend their struggle. Any call to join a mere anarcho-syndicalist organization, including the impotent A.I.T., must be rejected.
Self-Management: Another in a long list of bourgeois snares. Never a central part of anarchist doctrine, self-management, along with the "lectura" system & other libertarian experiments like Esperanto, was seen as an attempt to prepare the workers for the replacement of capitalist top-down management & "expertise" on the morrow of the revolution. The notion of self-management was derived from the reformist package of P.J. Proudhon--like his "People's Bank," producer/consumer co-ops, etc.--all of which are varied modes of self-divestment under wage-slavery. Self-management today always appeals to those who would like to have their own little shop to run themselves.
Workers' Assemblies & Councils: Assemblyism by itself is not sufficient for proper class struggle; it is, however, the first step of a marathon contest. General assemblies of workers & strike committees cannot be content to remain simply "autonomous" from the unions & leftist parties, although this they must indeed do from the outset. The assembly movement must advance beyond all local & trade limitations & fuse with other workers' sectors via the method of delegated councils, formed through direct democratic elections, subject to strict mandates of activity, immediately recallable by the base (the assemblies), & with an insistence for a regular rotation of all delegated responsibility. These Workers' Councils are the lever by which proletarian/free communist consciousness can be realized, & the old order overturned. As the aims of our class are international, so the Workers' Councils must escalate to global proportions in order to secure final victory over Capital.
Political Parties: A major source of capitalist mystification & diversion are the electoral parties of bourgeois democracy. It makes no difference whether these institutions label themselves Liberal or Conservative, Socialist or Christian, "Communist" or Fascist--all function to prevent & substitute themselves for the self-activity of the workers; all operate as agencies, overt or covert, of the capitalist mode of market/State domination. The bigger parties--Democratic & Republican in the U.S.. & Social & Christian Democrats & "communists" in Europe & Latin America--slide hand-in-glove with the statist mass media machinery (T.V., radio, newspapers, cinema) to mesmerize the working class with a false representation image of social interests. Smaller bureaucratic grouplets like Trotskyists, Maoists, super-nationalists, etc., cater to a parallel audience more attuned to stricter & more obvious versions of hierarchal power. All electoral parties are reactionary & must be expunged by the rising proletariat.
Social Democracy & Leninism (Stalinism): Two sides of the same state-capitalist coin. The former has been counter-revolutionary for 100 years & the later for 65 years. Social Democracy & Leninism represent the bureaucratic & putrid essence of capitalism in statist comatose. Those who want to hold the ideological hand of Kautsky, of Brandt, of Alfonsin, or of Trotsky, of Castro, of Gaddafi, such individuals need a follow-up private audience with Durruti & Ascaso!
Marginalism: When the proletariat talks, the marginals listen! The revolutionary movement cannot correct all of the million & one manifestations of social/species alienation & unfreedom overnight. Only a peevish child would think that full communist emancipation & creative unity will come about instantaneously when, under the ontology of scarcity, the social war of all against all, the span of pre-humanized history has been with us since homo sapiens first walked the savannas of Africa. Familial patterns & sexuality will begin to alter in a collectively liberatory sense to the extent that bourgeois/repressive civilization has been dismantled. Proletarian revolution is like the lights on a libertarian communist Christmas tree--when it is plugged in all of the particular bulbs of oppression will flash & be freed thereby. The opposite sequence, however, is not true.
Modern Culture: The most obvious sign of the decadence of present-day society is the repulsive & je june nature of mass culture. A civilization where assault, murder, rape & drug abuse are daily occurrences & constantly growing, where the high-tech "art" of automated destruction is celebrated in movie houses, a society obsessed with a sociopathic android like Michale Jackson, or who many guys Joan Collins has fucked, or with how many games the Tigers have won, or how "queer" is Boy George--that "civilization" is oozing the foul vapors of decomposition.
Feminism: Of all the "secondary" problems facing the revolutionary workers' movement, the historical domination of man over women is the most important. Women's self-emancipation has always been an integral part of the libertarian communist project & remains so today. The critique of the male-authoritarian personality is not really a "secondary" question, because the macho-character not only lowers women to men, but, along with its racial & ethnic variants, divides the entire working-class against itself. In a practical fashion, only within the revolutionary organization can formal & informal accords of equality & dignity between men & women (& every nationality) be approximated. But all other expressions of modern "feminism" are terminally reformist & utopian, & thus bourgeois & reactionary.
Revolutionary Organization: The revolutionary organization must be an activist, internationalist body whose very being is a direct product & agency of the working-class proper. It is composed of all those, from whatever class, who have committed themselves to the material freeing of our species from all pre-historical fetters; it is a moment of the future within the present. The revolutionary organization serves as a human receptacle of the memory of the proletariat's struggles & their meaning for the present. Its function are twofold: 1. to analyze all of the machinations of the dominant class to keep the workers suppressed, & 2. to assist in the generalization of libertarian communist attitudes among the rest of the class through participation & intervention in concurrent workers' struggles, always pointing the road forward toward self-emancipation.