Towards a platform for Australian class struggle anarchists

Towards a platform for Australian class struggle anarchists

Draft text of a platform for class struggle anarchists in Australia. Aims to establish a clear basis for anarchist communist organising in Australia, particularly where using anarchist intersectionality to establish a clear link between various forms of privilege and the oppressive and unjust heirarchies they give rise to is concerned. UNPUBLISHED BY REQUEST

[Insert name here] is an organisation of class struggle anarchists who come into being for the purpose of pursuing social and workplace justice. We utilise solidarity, direct action and self-management, strategies and forms of organisation consistent with our libertarian socialist beliefs, to facilitate our goal of reclaiming control over our work and the various other material conditions of our lives.

We see the function of our organisation as facilitating this process. To this end we aim to build revolutionary critiques of class society, capitalism and the wage system as they manifest in Australia and elsewhere. On that basis we aim to develop the ways and means of actively combating all forms of economic and social privilege and the various oppressive and profoundly unjust hierarchies to which they give rise.

To fight injustice and inequality and in pursuit of a basically sane, just and free society where we do enjoy control over the course of our own work and our own lives, we work to build working class solidarity and militancy, as well as consciousness of ourselves as a class with a common economic and social interest in the abolition of economic and social privilege. We see direct democracy, collective decision-making and direct action as appropriate methods of organisation and struggle on the basis that means determine outcomes.

We also look for this reason to actively promote self-activity on the basis that a basically sane, just, orderly and otherwise free anarchist society can only come about when we as individuals and as lovers of social and workplace justice have ourselves developed the capacity for freedom. We see this first and foremost as the ability to be responsible for ourselves and to organise with and relate to one another harmoniously, constructively and empathetically.

Organisationally we include workers, students, the unemployed, home workers and any and all others with an interest in social and workplace justice in our organisation, and to organise in a way that protects our autonomy as individuals while maximising our ability for collective action on the basis of the understanding that our lives while varying in their specific details are united by common class interests and a common fight against economic and social privilege.

Because we are committed to the struggle against privilege and for equality in freedom and diversity, our goal as libertarian communists is a classless and non-hierarchical society where the management and government of people has been replaced by the administration of things. We envision basic sanity and justice to prevail in these circumstances by virtue of the fact that each of us retains control over the product of our labour and thus of the conditions of our work specifically as well as our lives more generally. From a practical point of view we expect a regime of workers’ control to manifest as an international confederation of radically democratic, self-managed communities and workplaces.

As a vital precursor to the establishment of such a society, we demand the abolition of the wage system and the socialisation of the means of production and distribution in all industries—which is to say that they be brought under the direct democratic control on a workplace to workplace basis of those of us present within each of them. We regard this as axiomatic not only on the basis that the abolition of markets and exchange value will allow for the satisfaction of human needs, adhering to the communist principle, "From each according to ability, to each according to need," but also because of the inherently autocratic nature of capitalist relations of production.

With the abolition of class monopolies over socially produced resources and the compulsive character of wage-labour we look forward to a society based on free labour based on cooperation and sharing in which each of us as individuals, rather than seeing our full creative potential sacrificed on the altar of private profit before the idol of the almighty dollar, have for first time in history a chance to see it realised.

We oppose all forms of capitalist autocracy, be they “free-market” capitalism where freedom means nothing more than the freedom to exploit and the freedom to be exploited, or so-called "socialist" state capitalism, socialist only to the extent that it grants all the equality of a barracks or internment camp. Capitalism as we see it creates a society divided into two antagonistic social classes: a small, predatory ruling class that owns and controls the means of production and distribution and monopolises wealth, and a large, exploited working class—the rest of us.

This situation is deeply problematic as far as we are concerned given that the monopoly over resources and class privileges of the opulent few, protected by the institutionalised violence of the state, enables them to focus production toward self-enrichment and not only to neglect social needs but to socialise the consequences of their neglect. The capitalist ruling class monopolises control over the means of production with the backing of the state, which has a monopoly on the means of violence and operates on the basis of laws written by and for the ruling class.

Given this ruling class monopoly, those of us who are not part of that class have no free access to the means of production and are thus obliged to work for wages to live, which as far as we are concerned in the final analysis means submitting to wage slavery. The ruling class monopoly gives rise to a severe power imbalance to the extent that power over someone’s subsistence is power over their will, as a philosopher once observed, and in being forced into wage labour we are coerced into giving up control over the product of our labour, which is the foundation of our economic freedom and thus our independence and our ability to control the conditions of our work.

We are therefore opposed to the wage system on principle and its abolition is the centrepiece of our politics. The wage system is profoundly hostile to individual freedom given that it can only exist within a context of economic monopoly and class oppression, and since the economic relationships that form its foundation (and which are for that matter inherent to the market economy) are based on class monopoly, coercion and the large-scale exploitation that comes with being paid less in wages than the value of the work that we do, they are also profoundly autocratic.

Since class privilege, class rule and the autocratic hierarchies and exploitation inherent to the wage system can only be maintained by the coercive power of the state, which is to its core a class institution by and for the opulent few, we are also opposed on principle to any and all forms of statism. The purpose as we see it of any state, whether "representative democracies" or totalitarian dictatorships, is to defend and perpetuate the class privileges of dominant economic and social cliques and protect said cliques against the threat of justice from below—sometimes by throwing the unemployed just enough crumbs to prevent them from rioting, sometimes by conducting surveillance on particularly uppity peasants, sometimes to crack skulls when people decide they no longer want to be rented slaves who spend their lives making other people rich.

To act as a bulwark against social and economic justice in defence of class privilege, the state must establish a pretext. This it does by identifying itself with society (when in actual fact as the sum total of all of the alienated relationships in society nothing could be further from the truth), and then deliberately confusing criticism of its class nature with attacks on society—hence the myth that because anarchists advocate the abolition of the state that we wish to sow disorder and bring about a state of chaos.

Furthermore defenders of capitalism are typically more than happy to accept responsibility for the fruits of the system when it serves the opulent few the way it was always designed to, but when the chaos always under the surface breaks out into the open in the form of social disorder capitalists disclaim responsibility for the pervasive chaos that derives from such a profoundly anti-social regime of production and describe it as ‘anarchy,’ though no anarchist was involved in the policies that created the disorder in the first place. To blame an anarchist for acknowledging the chaos inherent to capitalist society makes about as much sense to blame a feminist for acknowledging the sexism and misogyny characteristic of patriarchy or someone with a mental illness for the haughty militant ignorance that characterises ableism.

By engaging in systematic blame-shifting in this way all statists and all states blame ordinary people for our own oppression and exploitation at the hands of the centralisation and monopolisation of economic power in the hands of a corporate oligarchy and the centralisation and monopolisation of political power in the complex network of political, legislative, judiciary, military and financial institutions that makes up the various branches of the state.

The result of this is the disempowerment of ordinary people and our subjection to the tyranny of an unjust peace dominated by the capitalist class on the one hand, and said tyranny of an unjust peace on the other—which manifests of course as a society based on a variety of hierarchies based around numerous forms of economic and social privilege. By placing itself outside society while in control of society, the state negates the creative potential of the mass of society in the numerous instances in which it comes into conflict with the economic and social privileges of ruling cliques.

Furthermore it transforms all spontaneous and organic social functions into functions of bureaucracies both of the state as well as private concentrations of autocratic, centralised power. To the extent that this is so, to the extent that this is highly problematic given the threat it poses to the freedom of the individual and the ability of each to control the conditions of our work, of our lives and of our destiny, and to the extent that meaningful solutions to problems cannot be found using the same thinking that created them, we believe in making concrete demands both of the state and of dominant opulent cliques, whose economic privileges the state exists first and foremost to serve and defend.

While this is so we do not however participate in the shell game of parliamentary chicanery or engage with issues limited in scope to the ways and means of reforming and thereby extending the life of capitalism, a criminal system of class exploitation and oppression and systemised theft that exists in the final analysis as the result solely of institutionalised coercion. The social and economic problems we face as a result of the system we live under are cancerous, and we do not see putting band-aids on cancers as a viable solution.

In lieu of engaging with questions of this kind, which are really pretty asinine and meaningless, or engaging with those who think they have all the answers to them without appearing to have any appreciation for what constitutes a meaningful question, we advocate a praxis based on a more holistic and integral analysis of the myriad forms of injustice and oppression we see in society today. Rather than viewing various issues in isolation we seek to establish an understanding of the way the economic and social mechanisms of oppression work with one another to keep us in a state of subjection and how we can respond to all of them simultaneously to mount a meaningful defence of our freedoms and humanity.

Primarily this takes the form of what we refer to as anarchist intersectionality, a process that attempts to understand how various forms of economic and social privilege ‘intersect’ and what the meaning of these intersections are for those of us who wish to be free of them. Anarchist intersectionality exists in stringent opposition to things like what is known as class reductionism, or the idea that all struggles against injustice are reducible to the basic economic struggle against the capitalist class, and that once capitalism is overthrown, all other forms of social injustice will naturally disappear. We do not believe this is the case; we see no evidence to support this idea and we see no historical precedent to suggest that any might arise. We do see plenty of evidence against it particularly to the extent that such narrow approaches to social justice have borne precious little fruit in the way of positive gains for anyone.

Of all oppression in the world, the most entrenched is that of patriarchy, the domination of men over women. This domination expresses itself everywhere--in both private and public realms. Although it is perpetuated by capitalism and the State, patriarchy existed prior to them and without confrontation will exist beyond their abolition. Anarchist intersectionality is a theory and practice borne of anarchist feminism, by which we critique and attack the triple reign of patriarchy, capitalism, and the state, all of which represent sexual, economic and political subjugation that have at their core the common principle of hierarchical authority.

Only by uniting both the revolutionary class perspective of libertarian communism and the feminist critique of patriarchy can anarchism and feminism reach their common goal of human liberation. Similarly, only by embracing the insights available to us as a result of such critiques can we develop a thoroughgoing anarchist intersectionality that takes into account the damage all forms of economic and social privilege do to the freedom of the individual and our ability to reclaim control over the course of our own destiny as well as our ability to unite in pursuit of that goal.

Suffice it to say then that exploitation and oppression are also expressed through social inequalities and hierarchies based on such arbitrary factors as race and ethnic origin, sexual preference, ability and age, just to name a few. Like patriarchy, defenders of privilege and injustice take advantage of these other forms of social oppression to divide and weaken the working class (and intensify the exploitation of a particular group within the class) and we must oppose them at every level.

Capitalist patriarchy uses a specific set of gender roles in order to reproduce itself. These expectations breed homophobia and lead to an environment that limits an individual’s personal sexual development. We strive for an environment free from oppressive socialisation that traps us into a specific sexual identity and lifestyle. Capitalism also threatens the planet with ecological destruction. This only serves to benefit the wealthy elite, while the rest of us must endure the negative consequences. A rational society would be inherently linked to the natural world, where we must realise our needs and desires within a context of ecological sustainability.
We see an intimate connection then between the establishment of workers’ control and an ecologically sustainable economy; we must democratise the economy for the sake of the freedom and wellbeing of the productive stratas of society, but rather than entrusting the future of the planet to those who try to find an unholy compromise between the antisocial nature of their own greed and the need of the mass of humanity for ecologically sustainable production, we must bring production under the direct control of the productive classes while at the same time replacing the profit motive with the social motive to guarantee sustainability.

Capitalism further endangers humanity through imperialism and its manifestation: war. Imperialism expresses itself in two different ways: one uses brute force through direct state military intervention, while the other relies on economic coercion through transnational financial institutions. Although we support working class struggles against political and economic imperialism, racism, genocide and colonisation, we do not call for the creation of new ruling classes. We believe that the defeat of imperialism will only come about through the destruction of capitalism. We must encourage and develop international working class solidarity.

We are internationalists and believe that workers have no country. We seek international relationships, solidarity, and discussions with anarchist, libertarian communist and class struggle groups worldwide. We believe that workers’ self-organisation is essential to social revolution. It originates from the actions and interests of workers, not laws and regulations. The basis of workers organisation is direct democracy: in opposition to hierarchy, workers must directly and equally participate in any decision that affects them; direct action: not an appeal to power, but the direct self-empowerment of workers through strikes, slowdowns, sabotage and expropriation; and solidarity: the mutual aid of workers in struggle, to the highest degree possible. In the creation and transformation of these workers organisations we encourage and support maximum tactical flexibility.

We likewise hold that workers’ self-organisation is essential for winning victories in the here and now. In any struggle - in the workplace, community, or school - we aim to encourage, aid and assist any and all forms of organisation and action that spring up independently of capital, the state, and parliamentary parties. In way of contrast to this, the existing trade unions by their nature cannot be transformed into revolutionary organisations. Most trade unions today are not expressions of workers self-organisation but of representation of workers. Their roles as representatives of labour power within capitalism and mediators between labour and capital compel them to offer disciplined workforces to the employers.

Furthermore, they are based upon a division of workers by trade, and are limited by a host of laws as to what they are allowed to do. In most situations we recommend for members of our organisation to be union members as they are a limited expression of class struggle, contain other militant workers, and are often necessary to win or defend basic work rights.

However, when workplace struggle occurs we also encourage - where possible - the creation of alternative structures: regular assemblies of all the workers minus scabs and management, with any committees elected to be based on recallable delegates mandated to carry out the decisions of the assemblies. As another tactic we recommend workplace resistance groups; an informal group of workmates who meet privately to discuss work issues and plan actions. We support the promotion and development of revolutionary syndicalist and anarcho-syndicalist approaches to unionism.

Membership

Members must agree with the Aims and Principles to join.

Aims of Membership

To contribute to the collective theoretical development of the organisation and by contributing to discussions, such as at forums or film nights and by assisting in the production of publications such as leaflets, newsletters, websites, social media pages, newspapers and theoretical journals.

To involve ourselves in practical action around social and workplace justice issues such as union organising, attending rallies, occupations, pickets, striking, promoting and supporting rank and file union networks, etc.

Rights

Every member has an equal opportunity for presenting their ideas at meetings and an equal vote (where a consensus can’t be reached) in deciding on the actions and political positions of the group, the printed and online material, and electing members to positions such as secretary and treasurer.

Duties

Members should:

Assist where able in producing and distributing printed material.

Contribute financially to the organisation in the form of monthly dues (unwaged/$10, under $1500pcm/$15, $1500-2000pcm/$20, 2500pcm+/#30).

Attend and be involved in where able events, campaigns and struggles the organisation is involved in.

Attend all meetings where able.

Aid the development of organisational statutes that can facilitate and expedite the harmonious functioning of the organisation as it grows and enable the speedy resolution of any problems or conflicts that may arise.

Positions

Recognising "leadership" as a set of skills that can be learnt, the group encourages learning of such by all members so that skills as a general thing can be dispersed amongst the group rather than concentrated in an individual.

All members in organisational positions are subject to recall at any meeting of the group (where a majority of members are present). These positions are: secretary; treasurer; website; ‘bookshop.’

[i]Note: Probably needs a little more work especially where discussion of indigenous struggles for land rights is concerned and the need to take those into account especially when considering things like bioregionalism.

Posted By

ites
Jan 11 2013 05:53

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