1: Temporary

1: Temporary

We talk about TEMPORARY anti-Capitalist Teams, because we recognised from the start that we don’t have all the answers. We know that throughout history different struggles have come and gone, good ideas and bad ideas have sprung up, been tried, been left behind. The important thing seems to be to realise our mistakes, learn from them and move on. The very nature of our struggles emphasise the fleeting allegiances that are built: we are a fluid and changing dynamic of ideas, we could not stand still if we wanted to.

For most of the last century, and beyond, mainstream politics has almost been defined by the pursuit of permanence. In monolithic parties that cling to their dogmas and their belief in their ability to lead us. In the relentless accumulation of power by fossilised states. In the security blanket of redundant ideology. Politics has been stuck in the Stone Age. The fissures in the rock have been obvious for decades but in recent years they have simply become too large to ignore. The old ways of organising are no longer viable and new ways are emerging.

People throughout the world are realising that the established structures no longer have the answers. As Capital made its globalisation more explicit, so have the forms of our resistance spread around the world. In 1990 a group of activists and local people occupied a row of houses due for demolition to make way for the M11 link road to Stansted airport. Claremont Road in Leytonstone (East London) was transformed from a suburban street to an autonomous community space. The houses were splashed with murals. Cafes sprung up in living rooms. Those involved weren’t part of a group or a party. They just wanted to stop the link road. But Claremont Road also became a celebration of independence. When the bulldozers came, the activists chained themselves into the houses and onto a vast structure of scaffolding running across the roofs. The eviction took days. The celebration was temporary. Now a motorway slices through the heart of Leytonstone. But the legacy of Claremont Road has been longer lasting.

The road protests evolved into urban street parties. City arteries were taken over by a swarm of revellers who transformed the space from carbon-monoxide expressways to a temporary zone of free expression. Possibilities became realities. Trees were planted in the fast lane. Children played in sand pits on the hard shoulder. These were fleeting glimpses of hope which spurred future acts of defiance. Their vision was not limited to environmental issues, reaching out to striking Liverpool dockers and confronting the G8 when it came to Birmingham. An extraordinarily successful assault by thousands of people on the institutions of the City, on June 18th 1999, was perhaps the crescendo of this current of struggle.

On New Years Day 1994, the Zapatistas rose against the corrupt and racist Mexican State and the impending introduction of NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement). Although under daily attack by paramilitary forces their struggle has been extremely successful (all the more so since their calls for international assistance have been answered by struggles around the world). In Chiapas the autonomous town councils practice direct democracy as a means of daily resistance.

More recently in Italy, activists, inspired by the Zapatistas, have occupied vast tracts of urban land to make sprawling social centres. The centres are outside State control, they have their own nurseries, health centres and a range of facilities available to all. The Social Centres are an attempt at a more durable approach, a means to allow progressive ideas to take root. But at heart they are evolving and shifting to face new circumstances. They are not shackled to a given ideology or an organisation. They are infinitely flexible to new ideas. The Social centres have spread through Europe and are emerging as a new force for change and a powerbase for transformation.

Around the world ordinary working class people are making the links. We draw inspiration from a wide variety of struggles: social, political and economic. From links between peace activists in the UK and workers struggling with the harvest in Palestine; between action against the chain-stores on the high Street and the maquiladoras in the sweatshops of the 3rd World; anti-debt campaigners and anti-privatisation campaigners; community activists in Brighton working with striking SITA refuse workers to help them win a strike; the wide variety of anti-Capitalist positions that have come together against the war in Iraq. Wildcat strikes, local actions, sit-ins, occupations, the events at the G8 summit in Genoa, the European Social Consulta: all organised by changing networks of people, united temporarily for a purpose before moving on. None of these ideas are perfect, there is still so much more for us to do, but it’s all we have right now. We hope that the ideas around Temporary Anti-Capitalist Teams can help to circulate these struggles, bring them together and help our resistance to grow.

Across Europe autonomous groups are mobilising against ever more repressive immigration controls and the escalating persecution of refugees. The NoBorders network is a loose web of interaction that transforms disparate groups of activists into a single cohesive force. The network has no base and no office. The network is simply the information held by those involved and the communication between them. Border camps are agreed and direct actions are co-ordinated. The resistance has no centre. A series of temporary collections of people and ideas coalesce at one point in space and time to continue the struggle. Once the action is completed the elements melt back into the fabric, to reform some place else some time later in a new shape with new objectives.

In Argentina, economic collapse at the hands of the World Bank/IMF has seen millions spontaneously take to the streets. The anger of the people has built new political structures. Where the old politics hides in palaces and grand offices, the “assembleas populares” (pop-ular assemblies) meet in the parks. Common space for the politics of the commons. Ordinary Argentinians have learnt to organise without organisations. Food is distributed, services traded, local issues are discussed. Political parties have no part to play. Workers re-occupy their old factories. The jobless ‘piqueteros’ occupy the road. Banks workers block the security vans that syphon Argentina’s money to offshore bank accounts. The assemblies split and merge. They are fluid entities adapting to the fast deteriorating situation. They have become the expression of popular will as the old truths have been revealed as lies. They are temporary. They are anti-Capitalist. They are Teams.

Posted By

Twerkers Power
Oct 24 2014 17:26


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