Submitted by Lucky Black Cat on January 23, 2022

During a revolutionary period, any or all of the following three things might occur:

1. People might organize neighborhood assemblies to address their local needs.
2. Neighborhood groups might organize armed patrols for public safety.
3. Neighborhood assemblies might federate various neighborhoods across a city, and form councils.

Neighborhoods have a mixed class character. So unlike workers councils, any council for a federation of neighborhoods might have a mixed class character.

With that in mind, what's your opinion on each of the three things mentioned above? Considering each item independently, do you think it's something that proletarian organizations should welcome and embrace, or should they instead see it as a potential threat?

Or do you think the attitude should depend on the class character of the specific neighborhood? (Which then raises the question of how to judge what the class character is, where to draw the line, etc.)

I'll post my thoughts in a reply.

Lucky Black Cat

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Regarding #1: I think neighborhood organizing is important so people can manage their community's needs. Also, wider participation in a revolution will increase support for it.

Regarding #2: If this develops an armed power aspect, I wonder if it may pose a threat to the revolution, due to the mixed class character of neighborhoods.

But on the other other hand, if workers councils sent militias to try to disarm and repress neighborhood armed patrols simply for existing, that could also go very badly, leading to a violent clash and deaths of civilians, which in addition to being bad in itself could also make the revolution lose popular support. This loss of popular support could even occur if the disarming occurred without violent incident.

If I had to finalize my thoughts it would be this: I think the armed power aspect should be tolerated or even welcome in general, but any neighborhood militia that showed signs of counterrevolutionary tendencies should be forcefully disarmed and disbanded, and close watch should be kept on neighborhoods that have a low proportion of working-class people.

Regarding #3: I think this could be a positive thing because it mobilizes more popular participation, energy, and activity in the revolutionary process, and it gives people a platform to put forward proposals for their needs as members of a municipal community, such as, to give one example, putting forward ideas for improving public transit, which would then be coordinated with the transit workers industrial council.

On the other hand, again, the mixed class character could be a potential problem so I have some reservations. Perhaps I'm being too paranoid in thinking this would be a problem. Or perhaps I'm not being paranoid enough to think that it wouldn't.

klas batalo

3 months 1 week ago

In reply to by libcom.org

In general I think any sort of neighborhood assemblies should be rooted in the work of tenant unions or community unions (generally I'm in favor of what is known as "community syndicalism").

The way this could work for either TUs or CUs is that varius building associations of working class tenants can form block clubs or associations within the radius of a few blocks and those could internal to the TU or CU form neighborhood councils that could call for neighborhood assemblies rooted in their own membership but open beyond that. Hopefully working class hegemony over the assembly space can generally be maintained this way, avoiding too much influence by other class elements.

I'm also in support of these developing in this direction primarily because eventually a successful TU or CU could have their own union halls, etc that could host such assemblies/council meetings, or have the funds / connections to secure larger meeting spaces.

In general before capacity has been built calling for open neighborhood assemblies can definitely lead to the problem of that sort of cross class character, they will also be limited in regards operations if they must meet outside, though I'm not against that option if weather permits and it seems like something that community or neighborhood wanted to do occasionaly.

You might be interested in the history of the CNT Defense Committees and Revolutionary Neighborhood Committees and their various attempts at tenant organizing and rent strikes.