The way forward

Keeping in mind all of the problems and challenges described throughout this essay, the way forward is something that must be addressed. It isn’t enough to simply act as a democratic body within the masses. It isn’t enough to just be good organizers. We must work to build new and innovative organizations that will do what the others can’t or won’t, and work to avoid falling into the same traps as the organizations that came before us such as the unions, the ex-grassroots organizations, the anarchist cliques, and the ten billion Bolshevik-esque parties.

As stated before, any new organization must be completely democratic. Its officials, and even staff (if staff is necessary), must be subject to direct and immediate recall if it is the will of the members. Anyone on the payroll of the organization must not be paid anymore than the average member or worker. It is worth mentioning that democratic organizations, rare as they are these days, already exist, so it isn’t necessarily a completely inventive idea, but it is a good idea to start with.

Any new organization must strive to be self-sustaining. Of course, there are already such organizations out there. Off the top of my head I can think of many groups that are able to sustain themselves financially through monthly dues, yearly fundraisers, and annual pledges from their members. Many student organizations have mastered the art of kicking ass and taking names on a shoe-string budget. With that said, being self-sustaining isn’t necessarily a revolutionary quality, but it is necessary if your organization is to maintain its full independence of thought and action. Learn to work within a budget, and remember that some of the most successful battles in history were won by actions and members’ strong commitment not only to their cause but to each other. In other words, the people made history with little to no money in their coffers. Then remember how commitment to an organization is built. Also remember that the best propaganda is action, and efforts and money would be better spent on actions that actually make a difference and not on merchandise and downtown offices.

The way forward is not to recreate the organizations of the past. We don’t need new labor unions and we don’t need new political parties. We need entirely new organizations adapted to modern conditions that will do what the existing organizations won’t do or are afraid to do. Perhaps the words “entirely new” are misleading. Chances are it really has all been done and thought of before. After all, human beings have been around for thousands and thousands of years. As long as civilization has been divided into classes, into haves and have nots, there has always been organizing and class conflict. It is worth it to learn from history, but history is made by those who adopt the lessons of history instead of its dogmas. Start something new and unseen in recent years, even if someone already tried something like it before any of us were born. What it should look like, of course, depends on your struggles and your conditions.

This isn’t to say that all existing organizations are horrible. There are a few worthwhile unions left in this country, though they aren’t exactly gigantic or well-known. Organizations that refuse to bow down to the major politicians and businesses face such an uphill battle. I know a lot about the American unions, but I never considered myself and expert. When it comes to the multitude of locals across this country, it is impossible for anyone to be an expert. If you want to work within a worthwhile union, union local, or grassroots community organization, then it is up to you to find them if you so choose. For me to make that decision for you would be against the message of this essay.

Authentic organizing knows no boundaries because the oppression of class society knows no boundaries. We must organize in the workplace, in our neighborhoods, in the community at large, in the high schools, in the universities, and anywhere else there is a chance to bring people together for justice. If capitalism colonizes Hell, then we must organize the minions and the lost souls. A worthwhile organizer or organization would at least try to fight everywhere. We must show each other what the power of an organized people can do and what the power of real democracy can do. Contrary to what the government and the corporations that own it would have you believe, real democracy is not a once every four years thing. Real democracy doesn’t stop at the beginning of November. Real democracy is an all day, all night, all week, every month, every space, and every location battle. Elections don’t bring change. Politicians don’t bring change. Collective bargaining agreements don’t bring change. Regular, working people united and ready to fight the good fight no matter what the cost and no matter where the fight takes them are what make change.