3: Teams

3: Teams

There has been an underestimation - at times, by ourselves - in our own ability to get things done through collective organisation; indeed, in today's fragmented and individualistic society, the idea of acting collectively is often seen as revolutionary a concept as the revolution we are ultimately working towards!

Throughout our lives we've been told what to do and how and when to do it - or that we're not clever enough to make effective change and should leave things for 'those who know better'. Not surprising perhaps, that a bit of self-doubt creeps in - if you're told you're shit and stupid for long enough, it's easy to believe it's true - but are we to allow the journey to our better society to be no different?

We have no need for leaders to tell us what to do; nor indeed, for Parties of professional revolutionaries. We know where they've led us in the past - history is littered with examples of the parties and people who thought they knew what was best for us, and look where it's got us! We know what to do - we need to organise ourselves, to work together collectively, and to have confidence in our own abilities. It is equal and active participation - not 'title' or 'position' - that’s important. And it's the struggle which counts, not whose name is on it.

The secret to success, as the saying goes, is through teamwork. Strength in numbers. Everyone working together. While doubtless true, teams may be constructed in any number of different ways, and the nature and organisational structure underlying them will have an impact on how ultimately successful - or not - they may be. There is no pre-determined method or formula of how people should come together and organise, and what works today may well not work tomorrow - that's the beauty of it! What's important is that the people involved decide themselves how the team should be organised - collectively, democratically and equally. Undoubtedly there will be mistakes - indeed, failures along the way - though there will be many successes too.

Teams, we think, are best when they're non-hierarchical (some call it horizontal organisation) and inclusive, with the nature and methodology of the team reflecting the ultimate goal - a truly democratic and dynamic society. A society in which diversity, equality, mutual respect and change are welcomed. Formal hierarchies - committees, leaders, chains of command - are stifling and restrictive structures, often not allowing the free-flow of ideas or information, nor bringing out peoples' true potential. Hierarchies (including the informal “invisible” kind) allow the 'leadership' to steer the team towards their own ends, rather than meeting the needs and goals of the collective from which it is comprised.

Though a team could be formed from what at first glance might appear to be a disparate set of groups and individuals, what draws them together is a commonality of purpose - an idea, an action, a struggle. Indeed, a team might not need to be together in the same room, city or even country, for people to feel part of the collective! Often, the traditional Left has only looked to the workplace as the vehicle of struggle, neglecting the “social factory” outside. Inclusive teams can bridge this gap. Teams can be a convergence of commonality, of shared experience of struggle: organised bottom-up rather than top-down, from grassroots community organisations to rank and file workplace organisations.

As working class people, we know that individually we are denied access to power and that, correspondingly, unity is strength. Ultimately we know that it is the working class who will decide the best ways and means of its own organisation; underlying this is our refusal to accept that any one individual or social group be allowed to impose their vision of social organisation on others. Successful teams reflect this and will respect the diversity within the group, treating everyone as equals with the potential to contribute and shape success.

What's important is that we learn through a shared experience of the struggle. We need to learn from past successes - the soviets of 1905, the workers councils of 1956, the Assembleas Populares in Argentina right now - but we need to be ready to cast aside old methods when they are no longer productive, continually inventing new forms of organisation by making new links and connections, and absorbing new approaches. We need to learn to be fast, creative and dynamic - to be unpredictable, innovative and untrappable. Temporary Anti-Capitalist Teams allow us to link the local, the international and the global perspective at the same time: relating the work of one team to another, making real the networks that connect us.

We learn by making connections, sharing experiences, and forming temporary - albeit at times tentative - alliances with other autonomous groups or teams. Groups will sometimes follow parallel courses, sometimes diverge, sometimes converge; sometimes touching others, sometimes going along side-by-side, sometimes separating. While this is important, we should not allow group chauvinism to continue to divide and weaken us.

The resulting empowerment can bring forth a flux of new ideas - we can learn things through working together collectively as equals which we couldn't do through fighting on our own. Collective action can alter people's perception of power, as it changes their situation from atomised individuals, cut off from each other, to the real power of worker solidarity. Especially when the action and solidarity among working class people spreads beyond "normal" channels and unites, bringing into active participation ever larger sections of our class and allowing us to speak of real change, not just dreams of change.

Posted By

Twerkers Power
Oct 24 2014 17:30


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