Goals. Then Strategy. Then Tactics. Part I of II

Submitted by Juan Conatz on July 5, 2011

First we dream up our goals. Big goals and small Goals. Our “€˜ultimate goals’ are visionary. They are the grand ones written on the wall and they stare at us. They are our inspiration. Our “€˜intermediate goals’, are the stepping stones. These goals create the conditions for the grand ones. They lead us to the right path. Then we have our “€˜immediate goals’--day-to-day demands. These goals are the victories we achieve once a week or once every five years. Winning these demands makes our lives better and demonstrates our power, both to our enemies and to ourselves.

Next we draft a strategy. This strategy takes us to our goals. Our strategy is practical but anticipates huge possibilities. Our strategy aims us through the day-to-day goals on our way to the bigger ones. If our strategy builds workers’ power then we are unleashing the possibilities to achieve anything. However, if our strategy is aimed only at the day-to-day goals, without the stepping stones, we’ll never realize our grand vision.

Lastly, we select tactics. These tactics fit our strategy like a glove. By taking these actions as a group, we prepare for bigger things. Remember--goals. Then strategy. Then tactics. That’s the dope! Now let’s put them together in a fun example. The big goal is free food for every human being. No one should starve while there is food. No one should pay for a basic human right. We already have the ability to feed the world’s population yet the captains of industry stand in our way. They withhold food from the market in an effort to keep up the price--to keep food “€˜profitable.’ If workers held the whole operation, from the farms to the stores, we could decide how to produce food and distribute it--freely, democratically the world over. We could feed the world for free and shorten the workweek in the process! The intermediate goal is workers’ domination of the agriculture and food stuff Industry. If we run it, start to finish, we can do with it what we please. The immediate goal--what’s necessary to feed ourselves today--might happen to be a pay raise for a specific group of food stuff workers. The immediate goal doesn’t have to be directly connected to the larger goals. Workers need things to survive and thrive and we demand these things on a daily basis. We use the immediate goals to prepare for the bigger goals. How do we do it? Strategy!

The strategy is workers’ power. Workers power on every farm, in every processing plant, around every terminal and warehouse, at every grocery store and fruit stand. Workers’ power. We want the fighting spirit on every “€˜shop floor.’ We want that power coordinated across the entire industry worldwide. We want the power to change conditions and dominate an industry so that nothing happens in that industry unless the workers agree to it. To build power locally and industrially, workers will need shopfloor and industrial committees to make collective decisions and coordinate actions.

Getting a pay raise for a group of food stuff workers doesn’t mean capturing the industry. That pay raise only advances our movement if food stuff workers won it themselves. If someone else won it for the workers, then their confidence and power has not increased. This workers’ power extends past the organization itself. It outstrips a simple “union” and moves into a generalized and internalized culture of resistance where workers realize our power and act using that power constantly. We want agriculture and food stuff workers to be arrogant, ungovernable, and explosive. We want them to feel entitled to run the world. (Someday they’ll have to!)

Given that workers’ power is the strategy, we’ll need to develop the skills and experience of individual worker-organizers in the industry. Expanding leadership capabilities to more and more workers increases the power of each sub-body in the industry. Therefore, part of our strategy has to be actively training workers and building an ever-increasing pool of experienced and dedicated organizers. Remember our goal was free food for every human being? Getting to this goal will likely mean having to develop our organizers into conscious revolutionaries. Even more likely is that these worker-organizers will, through strikes and struggles, become more radical than the teachers of revolution. Therefore, that individual development must be part of the strategy. Our strategy calls for building workers into organizer and organizers into revolutionaries. We form shopfloor and industrial committees which help push the struggle forward. Next month we’ll talk about what tactics uppity agriculture and food stuff workers might employ. What do you suppose are the tactics that will multiply our power, deepen our resolve, increase our confidence, expand our consciousness, and set the stage for achieving our dreams?