Is community action a load of bullshit for most people?

Yes
39% (9 votes)
No
61% (14 votes)
Total votes: 23

Posted By

Devrim
Jul 5 2006 22:52

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the button
Jul 6 2006 13:17

Thanks for answering my question so promptly. 8)

revolutionrugger
Jul 6 2006 13:22

I never said I was against workplace struggles. I've been on more picket lines than i can remember. I was an organizer for UNITE HERE. I'm aware of all of those things. I'm just sick of them being prioritized and being told that any thing else is a waste of time. fucker.

Rob Ray
Jul 6 2006 13:24
Quote:
How about campaigning to force the businesses which use it to pay for a by-pass

Excellent!

cantdocartwheels
Jul 6 2006 13:24
revolutionrugger wrote:
the button wrote:
revolutionrugger wrote:
Finally, I'd like to add, you stupid straight men that the 'community issues' also includes things like, CLINIC ACCESS, ANTI-RAPE PATROLS, LIBERATING PUBLIC SEX, TRACKING AND CONFRONTING QUEER BASHERS, AND A HOST OF OTHER THINGS YOU'RE PRIVELEDGE LETS YOU IGNORE. Fuckers.

This bit is either a joke, or you're an utter prick.

Shall I start a poll?

Why should this be a joke? The fact that Straight Men have consistently told me that "workplace issues are key" is the fucking joke. But I guess trannies getting raped and murdered by the police in Philly is clearly less important then someone's $.50 an hour raise. Community issues are clearly bullshit. Or a 1 in 4 rape rate is clearly less pressing a concern than the newsletter your "workplace resistance group" put out. Or the consistent brutality and violence of the police on blacks, the homophobic, transphobic, and racist policies of homeless shelters, landlords, and hospitals are clearly less important than yet another failed attempt at forming a "local union of precarious workers". So yes. I was joking. Really funny. hah .hah. hah.

The majority of people on here don't think that anything no directly in the workplace is a waste of time, where did you get that impressio from???

And jesus, calm down mate. I don't think anyone said anything personally against you, even if some of the ultraleftist dogma on here can get a little irritating heres no need to react like that.

ps writing in capitals isn't EXTRA convincing tongue tongue wink

cantdocartwheels
Jul 6 2006 13:28
Jack wrote:
So you don't think people should prioritise things that affect them the most?

confused who's that aimed at, don't get what you mean here

revolutionrugger
Jul 6 2006 13:35
Jack wrote:
So you don't think people should prioritise things that affect them the most?

Which means that, as a minority, issues that affect me will always be deprioritized by any revolutionary organization i'm a member of. thanks.

the button
Jul 6 2006 13:37

roll eyes

cantdocartwheels
Jul 6 2006 13:41
Jack wrote:
RR, not you.

He said he was sick of workplace issues being prioritised.

ah ok

Devrim
Jul 6 2006 13:45
cantdocartwheels wrote:
Devrim wrote:
At work though, I as a worker have collective interests with the people a work with, and we also have some power. Earlier this year we prevented the sacking of a fellow worker by going on strike.

Basically your ideas here seem to fall into a particularly bourgeois ideological stance that there are somehow two seperate spheres, in this case labelled ''work'' and ''community'' and that there are no common interests and interactions between these two environments, tis seems to me to be extremely reactionary.

This is to a certain extent because it is how most people are faced with capital. There are to some extent two spheres, one in which I am part of a collective group, where we can act together to change things in however small a way, and one in which I am an atomized individual. That doesn't mean that there are no common interests and interactions between these two environments, but there is a difference in my power to act with others collectively.

Alf wrote:

Alf wrote:
The 'workplace' (not so much the individual palce where you work, but workers defined by their role in production/distribution, etc) will always be the central focus of the class struggle.

Does anybody deny this?

cantdocartwheels wrote:
Take the looming prospects of NHS strikes, are you suggesting that these are somehow purely work based, and that communities and users groups who identify with hospitals have no role to play because in this scenario they are not ''workers'' fitting into some bizarre homogenised labour fetishised model of ''the proletarian''.

Nobody is suggesting that there are purely work based struggles, and for a struggle to become successful, it must ultimately break out of those constraints. However the example that you chose there, and the example that Saii used

Saii wrote:
Do I need to even mention the massive support given to the miners in their geographical strongholds?

both revolve around communities supporting workers in struggle, and in both of them the lead comes from workers as workers.

You ask:

cantdocartwheels wrote:
How for example, do you get to and from work, and when you finsih work, where do you meet people for a drink afetrwards. I'm sorry but i completely fail to understand how you can seperate the two like this.

Actually, I walk to work, but I appreciate your point here that transport is a class issue. When you ask about where I drink, I do have a point to make though. I have drunk in the same pub for over ten years now. I have good relations with the staff, and know all of the regulars there. However, pubs in this country are not like the local pubs in the UK. Most of them are in the centre of town apart form the new ones springing up in the nicer parts of the city. The pub that I drink in is in the centre, and although it has the 'feel' of a local pub, the people who drink there are from all over the city. The UK still has pubs where people from the locality meet though even there that is being eroded. In this country the focal point of the community used to be the mosque or the cemevi, depending on your religion, but mass urbanisation is destroying this too (no bad thing in my opinion). It leaves, however communities without any focus, and results in decomposition of 'society'.

A lot of the problems that people have talked about on this thread simply don't exist for us. I have never heard of anybody getting mugged in Ankara for example. Even as recently as ten years ago the idea of being burgled was completely unreal, now it happens all too frequently, but not with anywhere near the frequency that I would imagine it happens in UK cities. On the point of burglaries though what can one do? How can you organise against it? It is a result of the genuine decomposition of society, and is a trend which is near impossible to stop.

cantdocartwheels wrote:
Quote:
For most people, and I realise there are some exceptions, what does community organising mean?

''An interest in local affairs'' ie being able to grasp the concrete ways in which capital affects your day to day life, either in work, on the way to work, at home, at school or watching your nan struggle to pay rent and heating bills. Identifying a concrete class enemy in your lcoal areas, be they local businessmen and politicians, rather than vaguely grasping at an abstract concept that ''capitalism is bad'', which is compleely unempowering.

I didn't ask what 'an interest in local affairs' was. I asked what 'community organising' meant. As for 'Identifying a concrete class enemy in your lcoal areas, be they local businessmen and politicians', I can't imagine that any politicians live round here, and I actually quite like the people who run the corner shop, and the guy who owns the second hand furniture stall on a personal level. I certainly don't see them as 'a concrete class enemy'.

Alf also wrote:

Quote:
The problem today is:

- in recent decades the 'working class community' has been increasingly atomised in many parts of the world, so it is difficult to see how collective responses would occur in many areas, outside of a more general class movement

- we live under the reign of state capitalism. What applies to the trade unions applies to the attempt to create permanent mass organisations outside the workplace. They are easily recuperated by capital and its state. As a result a lot of 'community action' politics, libertarian or not, functions as an appendage to local state services.

I think that this is quite true. What is revolutionary about campaigning about 'dangerous roads' for example?

Devrim

revolutionrugger
Jul 6 2006 13:59
"Jack" wrote:
revolutionrugger wrote:

Or should the focus be one the primary place, gay, stragiht, black, white, male or female that the vast majority of people are being most shit upon - the workplace.

This supposed "ecumenicalism" of workplace struggles is a lie reductionists throw at queers and women in meetings to silence their complaints. Why not let the oppressed choose the terrain of their struggle, rather than foist one on them thats convienant to your ideology? Clearly the workplace is A terrain upon which liberation may be fought, but pretending is the only one, or even the most important for many many peoples lived experience of oppression and exploitation is based in false assumptions about the needs and desires of a whole chunk of the working class.

Rob Ray
Jul 6 2006 14:13

Devrim -

Actually the NHS struggle has categorically not been led by its workers. As recently as two months ago Unison had not even fully come out against privatisation of the service, and the most vocal faction of the doctors has been the pro-marketeers. However, marches against Walnuttree hospital closing have been going on for the last two years, the Bartlet for a year, the General in Felixstowe for a year, Ipswich for eight or nine months. And we’re in an area with a fairly low organisational basis and pretty much zero penetration of organised groups. In terms of the miners, who was leading is irrelevant, the point was that communities were able to shed a Nimby outlook for the sake of a wider cause, a level of sophistication you seemed to have decided was impossible when postulating that community organising has little potential for concrete class benefit.

NB// There’s nothing revolutionary about campaigning against dangerous roads, in itself, and no particular reason for a campaign on it from people living one road over. But then, the same could be said by a ship builder when asked about the car factory across the way closing down eh? Revolution is not an abstracted concept, it is the highest expression of peoples’ solidarity – on any issue of note.

revolutionrugger
Jul 6 2006 14:15
Devrim wrote:

Alf wrote:

Alf wrote:
The 'workplace' (not so much the individual palce where you work, but workers defined by their role in production/distribution, etc) will always be the central focus of the class struggle.

Does anybody deny this?

[Devrim

Yeah. I do. I don't want a self-managed hetero-capitalism. I want communism. And that means taking the struggle into the bedroom, the school, the neighborhood, and everywhere in between. And none of them take priority.

cantdocartwheels
Jul 6 2006 14:22
Devrim wrote:
cantdocartwheels wrote:
Devrim wrote:
At work though, I as a worker have collective interests with the people a work with, and we also have some power. Earlier this year we prevented the sacking of a fellow worker by going on strike.

Basically your ideas here seem to fall into a particularly bourgeois ideological stance that there are somehow two seperate spheres, in this case labelled ''work'' and ''community'' and that there are no common interests and interactions between these two environments, tis seems to me to be extremely reactionary.

This is to a certain extent because it is how most people are faced with capital. There are to some extent two spheres, one in which I am part of a collective group, where we can act together to change things in however small a way, and one in which I am an atomized individual. That doesn't mean that there are no common interests and interactions between these two environments, but there is a difference in my power to act with others collectively.

Well i can't agree with that, most people are not faced with two seperate enviornments, you work with the people you socialise with. Your work environment does not end at 5 o clock, it shapes the rest of your life, likewise, your community and environment shapes your workplace.

The notion of public and private spheres is as far as i can see irredeemably bourgeois.

Quote:

both revolve around communities supporting workers in struggle, and in both of them the lead comes from workers as workers.

Quite clearly that isn't the case at all, when looking at NHS related actions, since campaigns against hospital closures such as the one that saved that suffolk hopsital a while back are generally lead by what you would see as the community not the workplace.

Also in this case demand for a service and pressure from working class communities is stronger and more effective than sheer workplace ability to stop production.

Quote:

Actually, I walk to work, but I appreciate your point here that transport is a class issue. When you ask about where I drink, I do have a point to make though. I have drunk in the same pub for over ten years now. I have good relations with the staff, and know all of the regulars there. However, pubs in this country are not like the local pubs in the UK. Most of them are in the centre of town apart form the new ones springing up in the nicer parts of the city. The pub that I drink in is in the centre, and although it has the 'feel' of a local pub, the people who drink there are from all over the city. The UK still has pubs where people from the locality meet though even there that is being eroded. In this country the focal point of the community used to be the mosque or the cemevi, depending on your religion, but mass urbanisation is destroying this too (no bad thing in my opinion). It leaves, however communities without any focus, and results in decomposition of 'society'.

Well yes, but we're not exactly talking about the ''village pub'', in an average UK town the chances are you grew up with some of your workmates in that town, or new a bunch of them for years, and you went to similar clubs and bars, this forms a collective experience. Last shop i worked in, sot people would have gone to a similar aset of schools, in fact a lot of them had a hopuse share, most of us went out to the same club after a shift and took the same busses to work, people new the same social groups outisde work, the idea that community was a seperate sphere to work would have to be seen as farcical.

Quote:
A lot of the problems that people have talked about on this thread simply don't exist for us. I have never heard of anybody getting mugged in Ankara for example. Even as recently as ten years ago the idea of being burgled was completely unreal, now it happens all too frequently, but not with anywhere near the frequency that I would imagine it happens in UK cities. On the point of burglaries though what can one do? How can you organise against it? It is a result of the genuine decomposition of society, and is a trend which is near impossible to stop.

Well i think the plan was that faced with smalltime crack dealers in a neighbourhood, one group went and stuck photos of them identifying what they'd done around the area, unsurpisingly, they left. Of course there are limits to this kind of vigilateism, but then right now, the working class in the UK is disorganised and weak, so its obvious tere are going to be limits in everything we do.

I mean last place i lived we had our lawnmower nicked and smashed up, we knew who it was, evryone on the street knew which pair of teenagers were repsonsible for a string of random acts liek that, a good kicking would be what they'd deserve.

Oh yeah and you can organise youth clubs, sport based activities or whatever, its all small chips away at it, and no i doesn't directly deliver us into communism, but it increases our unity as a class because anti-social behaviour brought on by our fragmentted communituies and lack of class cohesion is a major weapon in the hands of the ruling class.

Quote:
I didn't ask what 'an interest in local affairs' was. I asked what 'community organising' meant. As for 'Identifying a concrete class enemy in your lcoal areas, be they local businessmen and politicians', I can't imagine that any politicians live round here, and I actually quite like the people who run the corner shop, and the guy who owns the second hand furniture stall on a personal level. I certainly don't see them as 'a concrete class enemy'.

Na, i knew who was on the board of executives for our NHS trust, i know who's behind various gentrification projects in colchester and what slaries they're on, i knew who the council officers and tory/labour gropup leaders were, i even knew where they lived in a lot of cases, fuck i think i shook the hand of the tory leader once (shudders). Not to sound too crazy or something, but these are real people, not just an abtract concept of capital. They are an extremely concrete class enemy.

Battlescarred
Jul 6 2006 14:29

Jack:"And of course the biggie, the Poll Tax. Altho from what I've read the SWP get really misrepresented on this and weren't as anti non-payment as most anarchists claim. Wasn't their line just "1000 council workers refusing to collect are just as powerful as 1 million people not paying"? Which is entirely accurate, and so it was hardly ridiculous to orientate towards. In the event proven wrong, but without hindsight, it was entirely understandable"

From what you've read? But you weren't there, and yes it is totally true about the SWP. Theoretically "1,000 council workers not collecting etc" might be true, but it didn't happen did it and the SWP TOTALLY misjudged the situation.

For me , as an anarchocommunist (and noyt a syndicalist) one of the important differences between anarchist communism and anarchosyndicalism was that there was no narrow fixation on the workplace, and that although struggle in the workplace was vitally important, struggle in other areas should never be neglected. Now with a falling back of much of the social movements in this country, there now seems to be a daft polarisation between the workplace and activity outside it.

And remember, the Poll Tax riots (and any other riots) were written off completely in the ICC press.

raw
Jul 6 2006 15:40

"Community" campaigns are so false and are easily manipulated. I hate it when people write about comunities as if they exist without any historical context.

Real community is created through a process of struggle for a common interest which produces common identities, they constitute themselves.

So what do people mean when they talk about "community"? 'cos no one seems to mention why/how these "communities" exist, how they came into existence. This leads onto problematic debates like who is the community? How long do you have to live in an area to be considered a local. Which leads onto the issue of migrantion and racism. These debates come up time again in "community activistism" without any answers. I saw it with the broadway market campaign and Hackney Independent (who I have alot of respect for), one of their members didn't want me to take their leaflets outside hackney! It seems "community" builds a sense of enclosure and fundementally division, especially with migration.

So why don't we ditch the word, it doesn't describe fuck all, it is problematic, governments/states manipulate the idea to mobilise support for what ever poxy policy they initiate, and ultimately community is about creating division and seperation.

I said at the CAG; why should I speak to my nieghbours? I'm not against them, I don't hate them, I treat them with respect and a (default) sense of solidarity, but why as a political person should I speak to them beyond this. I then went on and said that I'd been involved in 3 occupied social centres in camden, where I spent my days speaking and communicating with people (hundreds of people in fact), I have made friends with people, I have formed political relationships with people, I do infact do all the things that are suggested by the "community activists" the difference is that the latter example existed only because the real community was constructed thru a common experience as opposed to assuming the community in the former example.

I argued for this. Don't assume it construct it, otherwise it all falls down into a diluted heap of apolitical shite.

I liked the comment about relating it to working class recomposition (i.e. working class for it self), isn't that the IWCA line in some ways, that the working class cannot recompose itself within the workplace and needs to articulate a recomposition within the community instead?

Anyway, I prefer use the term "radical public spaces" as opposed to "communities" as they describe alot more and are less loaded. Radical public space is a conceptual term that decribes situations where consciousness is constructed, its a space of conflict and confrontation against the present order, its public in that it is open and unrestrictive, a laboratory of political experimentation and relations. I saw Broadway Market Squat as having those qualities, on a much larger scale so did the anti-war movement. Potentially the "workplaces" may become such a space (i.e. from just been seen as a mere place to work and be bored it could in times of struggle be a very nice place to be!). Social Centres can also develop into being Radical Public Spaces though its dependent on the activity (like anything).

Anyway I know I'm gonna get flamed <---awaits flaming

Raw

For example,

Rob Ray
Jul 6 2006 15:52

Off home so can't respond now but wouldn't worry bout flaming, this is a non-flame forum wink.

revolutionrugger
Jul 6 2006 17:04
the button wrote:

roll eyes

Yeah because this shit isn't flaming. Fucking hypocrites.

EdmontonWobbly
Jul 6 2006 17:15

I agree that it is important to qualify what you mean by 'community' before you throw the word around. Also I would most vehemently disagree with anyone that identifies a community with a simple geographic area.

However some of the best radical activism in Canada (maybe even North America) is coming out of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. I think they are an excellent example of effective radical organising, that is still decidedly working class without many of the problems that say a neighbourhood based campaign would.

A community near as I can tell is simply a self identified group of people, some of these groups may be mostly working class, some may be a total mixed bag, and (such as the community associations or my condo board) are largely bourgeois.

Mike Harman
Jul 6 2006 17:23
Devrim wrote:

Alf wrote:

Alf wrote:
The 'workplace' (not so much the individual palce where you work, but workers defined by their role in production/distribution, etc) will always be the central focus of the class struggle.

Does anybody deny this?

I think a lot of workers don't have a role in production or distribution - they neither produce nor distribute, and this has led to a lot of workplaces where they're just as weak and atomised as they are in their neighbourhoods.

Quote:

I didn't ask what 'an interest in local affairs' was. I asked what 'community organising' meant. As for 'Identifying a concrete class enemy in your lcoal areas, be they local businessmen and politicians', I can't imagine that any politicians live round here, and I actually quite like the people who run the corner shop, and the guy who owns the second hand furniture stall on a personal level. I certainly don't see them as 'a concrete class enemy'.

How about your landlord?

Quote:

I think that this is quite true. What is revolutionary about campaigning about 'dangerous roads' for example?

Devrim

What's revolutionary about campaigning about 'dangerous scaffolding'?

fort-da game
Jul 6 2006 17:35

If a ‘community’ blocks a street then this certainly confounds capitalism up to the point where it has to weigh up the logistics of circumvention or a strategy of outright force. However, the social relation remains essentially unchanged, production continues, and thus value, the raison d’etre of capitalist society, is preserved (‘social control’ as happened in the CPE riots may be relatively easily abandoned if the factories are unaffected).

If a workforce occupies a factory, and the surrounding area then the problem for capital is doubled – not only does an area of a city fall outside of its control but also production will have been halted. In this case, circumvention is impossible and outright force has to be used... by its actions know its priorities.

On the other hand, involvement in issues of life remain important, activity is what defines human beings (Theses on Feuerbach) and theory has to be derived from actual experiences. I would suggest that there are many small temporary victories to be won in community struggles. If you have the vision and the drive it is possible to push hostile interests back in certain areas. It is through involvement in social/community activities that you may begin to define what the human is. The question is though, the manner of this ‘involvement’.

In my experience community campaigns are largely deserted and unengaged, it doesn't take much effort to have a (relatively) big impact although I accept this is still just 'tinkering'. I think It is unfortunate that politicos tend only to involve themselves in 'autonomous' projects, ie that with their own brandname, and therefore only talk to those who share their alienated politics. I think this is a tactical mistake as their insight into struggle, and life, becomes unrealistic. I always involve myself in those campaigns which I think are to my/our advantage... it would be ridiculous not to engage in this informal 'reformism'.

That being said, none of this necessarily advances our material interest objectively. We cannot see from our position what has an impact and what does not. All we can say is that community campaigns lack leverage in the productive sphere and are therefore unable to threaten capital directly.

This is not to say that ideas generated in one place may not be transferred elsewhere. Cultural influences are important, although ambiguous and unquantifiable. I have known workplace militants who have derived the theory for their resistance from Pink Floyd and Bruce Springsteen and, in my opinion, this was to their advantage as it allowed them to sidestep the marxists.

Objectively, most activity, no matter where it is located, is useless but a minimum level must be maintained just in case the wind changes. Therefore, I would say, involvement in community matters should be undertaken with a clear understanding of 'interest', with a light heart, and a strong sense of absurdity... this way it is possible to deal with the lunatics and careerists who dominate these areas in the absence of everyone else.

cheers

fd

jef costello
Jul 6 2006 17:39
revolutionrugger wrote:
Devrim wrote:

Alf wrote:

Alf wrote:
The 'workplace' (not so much the individual palce where you work, but workers defined by their role in production/distribution, etc) will always be the central focus of the class struggle.

Does anybody deny this?

[Devrim

Yeah. I do. I don't want a self-managed hetero-capitalism. I want communism. And that means taking the struggle into the bedroom, the school, the neighborhood, and everywhere in between. And none of them take priority.

What on earth is this supposed to mean? Are you suggesting that workplace struggle is what straights do? You are being offensive inaccurate and you don't seem to have a point.

revolutionrugger
Jul 6 2006 17:46

NO. I'm saying that those that advocate the priority of workplace struggles are necessarily devaluing queer working class struggle, as the workplace only constitutes a small section of the terrain our struggle has to be fought on. Work place reductionism is heteronormative, and its rapid defense is homophobic.

revolutionrugger
Jul 6 2006 17:48

Seeing as how workplace reductionism fails to organize against the police I'd also say its quite Racist in its priorities as well.

Mike Harman
Jul 6 2006 18:00

So you're claiming that half the people on this thread are racist and homophobic now are you?

Nice.

revolutionrugger
Jul 6 2006 18:02

If they dogmatically assert that the workplace is THE only or THE most important point of struggle then yes. Yes I am.

EdmontonWobbly
Jul 6 2006 18:05

Catch you really should address his point. I think it is a valid one. If community activism is a priori bourgeois then how do we plan on addressing issues that exist outside the workplace in class conscious manner without falling back on some kind of a rediculous economism?

Red Marriott
Jul 6 2006 19:34
Saai wrote:
Sorry to keep banging on about this in thread after thread, but I'm getting really fed up with this 'either or' bollocks that seems to be seeping everywhere, from conversations about the unions, to communities, to how fascism should ro should not be dealt with. These are NOT black and white issues. There can be no set position on any of them because each situation, the people within it, their actions and reactions, is completely fucking different.

I agree about the simplistic black'n'white polarising of complex issues. Underlying it is often a 'my tradition/theory/organisational form/team is better than yours' position, which comes more from the most entrenched left comms, unfortunately. Which makes you look a bit reactive, if so much of your identity can only be defined negatively in contrast to variants of anarchism. Unlike others who critique the same ideas by engaging and developing, you seem to mainly try and act as a 'corrective', as if it's always as simplistic as a clash of absolute right and wrong views. You pay lip service to the undeniable fact that the line between revolutionary and counterrevolutionary practice runs right through both anarchism and marxism, but tend to contradict that in your ongoing interaction by attempting to prove a superior and inferior view of theory. (See, e.g., the double standards in dealing with Kronstadt and Barcelona.)

Saai wrote:
You can't build a position on any of this and reasonably expect it to apply often even in a majority, let alone all cases. Community activism is exactly the same. Depending on who is involved, and what their alleigances, organising style, bosses, friends, environment etc might be, the outcome of any situation will be utterly different in each case. It's lazy, wishful thinking to imagine that you can define this stuff as good, bad, pointless etc, you can only work with what presents itself.

I was involved in a fight to save my local hospital a few years ago. In that struggle, the community participants were considerably more radical than the workers on strike. They had to be pushed to allow us to occupy a ward, and they remained under the manipulation of the SWP branch stewards throughout the strike, who also stitched us up eventually. The union officials and some, not all, workers were patronising to us because they had their own version of prioritising workers struggle over all other. It's a division of geography and labour imposed by capital - and to the degree that it is overcome in struggle will probably be a sign of how radical that struggle is.

If Dev was to get sick and become dependent on the health service, benefits, his neighbours etc - would he think he had no options for struggle anymore? Would that change the orientation of his group at all? Or if a large number of the group became unemployed? Would they sacrifice pursuing their own immediate needs for a subsidiary role supporting the 'greater cause' of the heroic worker? I hope not. The priority for struggle is where you are at - the majority of the working class is not even in the workplace - it's too young, too old, too sick, too occupied in child (or other) caring or too unemployed. There can't be any hierarchy made of whose struggle is most important. What was the largest wildcat strike of recent times? The schoolkids strikes against the war. How many workers went on strike against the war in the UK? A few dozen teachers, to their credit. (The rest tried to stop the kids getting out...)

Obviously, some community activism is shit. For example, some tenants/residents groups fulfill a role similar to trade unions in policing 'community' activities. Or they try to mediate all conflict into compromise.

Catch wrote:
I think a lot of workers don't have a role in production or distribution - they neither produce nor distribute, and this has led to a lot of workplaces where they're just as weak and atomised as they are in their neighbourhoods.

Yes - the means of production are a crucial pivot of social relations ultimately - but the wider reproduction of social relations throughout society that flows from that is equally as important. The question of housing is inseparable from working class struggle. Whether its a 19thC miners tied cottage or a 21stC call centre worker's mortgage, the question of housing security and percentage of income that goes on housing is a crucial determinant of standard of living and and also, often, of the degree of confidence and determination to strike. As is the likely degree of support from the wider 'community' and other workers. Struggle can create community - but it can also reveal an extreme weakness of its absence.

revolutionrugger
Jul 6 2006 20:16

are there, or are there not, people on this thread saying that the workplace is THE site of struggle and that community organizing is irrelevant. What are the foundational assumptions of this perspective and what are the consequences of structuring the revolutionary movement this way?

Seeing as workplace struggles cannot address: reproductive rights, the unwaged work of women and children, the gendersystem, police violence, housing discrimination, and sexual violence. AT ALL.

I would say that anyone subscribing to the idea, and expounding that, the workplace is the key node of struggle, or the even worse, the ONLY relevant site of resistance is clearly operating from a bigotted perspective. I know everyone here KNOWS about these issues, so they're clearly choosing to ignore them or deprioritize them. I call that racist, sexist and homophobic. What do you call it?

Deezer
Jul 6 2006 20:23

I will assert (dogmatically) that the workplace is the most important area of struggle against capitalism. How else can we take over and transform the economy from one based on capitalist exploitation to one based on fulfilling human needs? Basically in order to overthrow what is fundamentally an economic system we need workplace organisation. This does not mean not challenging other oppressive hierarchies, the police, homophobia or racism (as examples) nor does it preclude working class organising in neighbourhoods.

As for use of the term 'community' is very problematic as are the lost 'working class communities' that so many seem to lament. Where I live we have what are largely regarded as two main working class 'communities' (made smaller parts in various geographic areas), these communities are quite strong and can be very supportive of their 'members'. They are also based on exclusion, fear and demonisation of the 'other' community. 'Community' in this sense is in no way useful to revolutionaries, we should be arguing against the creation, let alone maintainance of these types of communities.

Other uses of the word have been mentioned on here, if its a geographic area then people with all sorts of different interests and class position get bunched in together. So community can both appear to 'unite' those with nothing in common or divide those who really should have the same interests as working class people.

Really I believe that it is easier to build a sense of, what, class conciousness on the basis of shared experience of exploitation at work, a sense of working class 'community' in the workplace. This is certainly the case in Northern Ireland (and I don't think we're actually all that unusual in this). There are working class neighbourhoods where the inhabitants face, to pretty a significant degree, the same problems and we should and must try and organise around such issues.

But really give me the unapologetic dogma that prioritises workplace organising anyday - and call me homophobic and racist for it if ye want. roll eyes Its not like I've actually ever been involved in confronting homophobia and racism anywhere I worked so I probably deserve that wall

circle A red n black star

revolutionrugger
Jul 6 2006 20:34
Jack wrote:
revolutionrugger wrote:
Seeing as how workplace reductionism fails to organize against the police I'd also say its quite Racist in its priorities as well.

...I hadn't seen this.

Absolutly fucking disgusting. You should be fucking ashamed.

Why? for saying that violent police brutality is part of the lived experience of working people of color, and that any revolutionary politic that doesn't address that is one based in white priveledge? Why would I ever be ashamed of that?