This upsurge in the movement comes against a backdrop of a fierce onslaught on the part of the main capitalist powers against working people and the weaker capitalists, following the bankruptcy and collapse of the state capitalist system in the countries of the ex-communist block. The label of this onslaught is globalization and neo-liberalism. Behind these labels lie the efforts of big Transnational capital conglomerates to remove governmental restrictions (Globalization) and the shrinking of the social wage and other improvements which have been gained through past class struggles (Neo-Liberalism). Reformist, nationalist and protectionist groups have wanted to dominate this upsurge in the movement through the slogan "anti-globalization. The more authentic rebels have rejected it, and call for opposition to capitalist globalization through our globalization of struggle.
As the anti-authoritarian sentiments within the movement are significant, the composition of a clear text on anarchist theory is urgently needed. It is required as a basis for the development of strategic and tactical decisions in propaganda and in the organizational efforts of anarchists within the broad movement. Sound theory will help us to focus our propaganda efforts and organizational behavior in the best possible way in order to promote anarchist ideas among the minds of the masses of the working class people. The following text will focus on the following points:
Class societies, and in particular the modern capitalist class society, are characterized by acute contradictions among the people. Again and again, the system becomes unbalanced and rebellions arise.
Uprisings of the masses occurred in various ways in the past. There were uprisings targeted at a specific act of the ruling class, against a specific ruler or person in charge, and there were revolutionary ones - uprisings that sought to abolish the specific system of class society of that time. Many of those involved described what the new social order they wanted to achieve was... though many of them used it only as a propaganda tool without really meaning to implement it after victory.
Uprisings in less well-developed class societies have a large spectrum of potential modes of uprising including ones that strive to abolish the system of class society. Uprisings in the most developed class societies certainly have a smaller and different spectrum of potential modes of uprising. The reason is that the systems of the developed countries are of a very high level with regard to communications and integration. Thus, it is hard to imagine that a revolutionary uprising to abolish the system which may occur in a town or even a large city or small region would be able to survive for long - unless the uprising expands to include a geographical region of many millions of inhabitants.
The beginning of an uprising does not have to be under the flag of abolishing class society from the start. It can begin due to acute grievances and, like over-saturated conditions, change swiftly after a catalyst is added. The most recent one to receive media cover was the uprising of the people of southern Albania in the late '90s, which followed the collapse of the pyramid fraud the ruling elite was involved with. For various reasons, it did not last more than a few months. (The main reason for this failure as for that of many other uprisings is that they failed to organize the various local struggles into a general entity and to function as a united entity in order to replace the previous system of power.)
There are many ways that a social struggle can develop into a mass uprising of the people but few of them that can develop into a total uprising for the abolition of the class system. In the past, the vicious response of the authorities to not-so-extreme acts of rebellion or demands, ignited general uprisings. (Maybe the mild means implemented by Albania's neighboring capitalist states contributed to the extinguishing of its last uprising.) We cannot predict all of them. We cannot predict which will be aborted in the initial stages or will degenerate along the way, and it would also be a waste of time to try to write a detailed scenario of even one of them.
Like in the daily struggles that may lead to an uprising, there are many things that anarchists and other libertarian communists can do within the minor uprisings and the total mass uprising. We can act by educating through example while participating within the struggles and by various other educational activities. We can act through initiatives that may further develop the uprising with which we are involved towards a higher level even as far as transforming it into an uprising aimed at abolishing the class system. We can contribute more than in any other way by stressing the need to organize local and single-issue struggles, through a cohesive network that can put an end to the class system, and can defend the emerging classless order from the powers who will surely try to revert to class society.
We should never forget that the acceptance by the masses of the authoritarian mode of interpersonal relations is the real glue that has kept the various systems of class societies in place, both in the past and the present. We should never forget that throughout history, the failure of local groups involved in an uprising to organize a cohesive network of their local struggles, one which will substitute the authoritarian mode of social organization, was the main factor leading to the defeat of most of them. In contrast, we can see that the present upsurge in struggles is tending towards being, even more so than in the past, anti-authoritarian and with strong shades of direct democracy, a fact which contributes to their enhancement. We can also see that the lesson has been learned and from the beginning the call is for weaving an international, non-authoritarian network of all the local struggles. We can be sure that, like previous uprisings in industrialized countries, they will start by people whose mentalities have been to some extent freed from the authoritarian hold. Thus, we can expect that the mode of operation will tend towards being both of a popular, grass-roots, non-hierarchical nature, and universal. But, we can also be sure that the social activists who still hold fast to the authoritarian mode will try as best they can to usurp the leadership of each struggle and as a result lead it to one defeat or another. An important part of our educational activity at present and in every future struggle - the uprising included will be to reinforce the popular, grass-roots, non-hierarchical, and universal tendencies and fight the authoritarian one.
Promoting this mode of interpersonal relations and organization is the most important task as there are competing modes of organization, inherited from the classi
cal ideologies of class-society. And as we have seen again and again, struggles that are strongly influenced by the authoritarian mode of thinking, of interpersonal relations and organization quickly degenerate even if they had initially achieved some success.
The proponents of the alternatives to the networking of grass-roots direct democracy who are mainly the so-called authoritarians of the left , are regarded by many as part of the left. However, they preach for a hierarchical and authoritarian kind of organization, which is an integral part of the class society. They use many arguments all of which stink of capitalist i
deology. The "success" of these trends contributed more than any other factor to the failure of previous uprisings of the working people to put an end to the system of class society.
We must never forget that the main weapon of the promoters of class society is "the policeman in the head" of the people. The contribution to the dissolution of these mental shackles is the essence of our mission. Even if we act so, and be most successfull in it, we can still be sure that the future revolution will come about much earlier than will the final victory of the libertarian communist ideology/theory over the "authoritarian policeman in the heads". It will take the experience of the revolution and the struggles to make it irrevocable to make libertarian communism become the dominant mode of thought and behavior of the masses of the working people. Thus, the anti-authoritarian educational task of libertarian communist activists and collectives is, and will continue to be, the most important one for a prolonged period even after the initial victory.
As the regions and places people live in differ greatly, on the same principles, a city of several million inhabitants will be organized somewhat differently than in a small village.... However, if the principles are clear and simple, it will not be a problem.
The work required to make the products and to supply the services people need, will be done by individuals and collectives, organizations or workplace groups. It will be done in the form of tasks delegated to them by the grass-roots community they are part of. Within the boundaries of the delegated task, people will have enough autonomy to allow them to feel as free as they can and to be as creative as possible. Like the delegates for the tasks of social organization, individuals and workplace collectives will be always accountable to the community members, will act within the boundaries of the assembly decisions of the grass-root community, and will be subject to immediate recall.
(The optimal size of the grass-root communities will be around few hundred people so there will be possible a meaningful discussion before decision taken, and at least some interpersonal relations between all the members.)
The allocation of work tasks to people, will be either the decision of the assembly of the community members in the more important decisions, or a delegated task for the trivial daily placements like the need to allocate an immediate replacement for a worker who is too ill to do an important task. The allocation of tasks to persons will strive to find a balance (based on solidarity) between the needs of society and the wishes of each member. For the small number of tasks where agreed compromises cannot be reached, the community assembly will be required to choose from among the many willing candidates. The community will also have to decide about people taking turns in tasks that no one is willing to be delegated.
Distribution of products and services will be based on the same principles of freedom, equality and solidarity. The community will care for people who have special needs. Those who cannot contribute in the same manner, as can other mature, able people will contribute less. Most of people's needs will be met through social "free" distribution according to their needs and desires, like basic foods, roads, cultural facilities, recreational facilities, health facilities, educational facilities, child-raising facilities and care facilities for the ill or the old, and so on.
Many products and services will always be in short supply, as demand and wishes will always be greater than materials can supply. There will always be environmental restrictions, and contradictions between the desire for free time, and the work and other materials necessary for producing the desired goods or services.
Thus, production and services of the society will be organized according to a quota of weekly work hours. The supply of products and services will be according to what can be supplied by that quota. People will have the ability to distribute their working hours as much as possible to their liking as long as it does not interfere with the system too much. For example, people will be able to accumulate their working hours in one season and have a long vacation in another. People will have the ability to choose from among various products and services according to what can be supplied by that quota. People will have the freedom to contribute more working hours than the socially agreed quota in order to increase their quota of goods and services, which are not distributed for free.
For example, a person who has the urge to visit the South Pole, but who has not been delegated any task that will take hir there, will be able to contribute additional working hours to cover the extra work needed for services and products needed to enable hir trip.
The freedom, equality and solidarity referred to, will be based on the planet Earth as a single entity. The level of consumption and supply of necessities will be the same the whole world over. People in various regions will not be dependent on differential historical achievements, accumulation of wealth or natural conditions. Whenever objective conditions are the same, communities and regions will be expected to give the equivalent to what they get, in return for the products and services they receive from other communities and regions. The balance will not be decided according to equality in effort invested, nor to any other mechanical quantity or quality principle the accounting unit will be the most precious thing: freedom. The unit will be the working hour.
It is clear that, living as we do in one world, we will have to organize many things in bigger units than the grass-roots community. It is also obvious that assemblies of all the inhabitants cannot manage big units such as cities or regions. Thus, in addition to the grass-roots community units, there will be higher-level units with assemblies of delegates from the grass-roots communities or from lower-level assemblies of delegates. These delegates will only have the task of coordinating the communities and regions, and to implement the decisions which may be adopted by the assemblies of members of the grass-roots communities the only source of power and authority.
People who refuse to be part of the network of direct democracy grass-roots communities, but who are able to take care of themselves will be allocated reservations in which they will be able to live their own mode of life as long as it does not involve encroaching on the freedom and well-being of other people or harm and exploit people who do not consent to that particular mode of life.
The various struggles that express the contradictions in class society, can function both to achieve certain immediate gains and to educate people towards the revolution, which will eventually abolish authoritarian class society. By joining struggles that have an anti-capitalist aspect, we can contribute both to a weakening of the class enemy and to the promotion of anti-authoritarian revolutionary ideas. This contribution can have many aspects, the essence of which, however, is the empowerment of people and the promotion of the ideas of freedom, equality and solidarity. Thus, when we join struggles and initiate struggles it would be counterproductive and irrational if this activity were to contradict our basic aims and strengthen in any way the authoritarian mode of thinking of the people.
As mentioned earlier, the main task we have is to promote anti-authoritarian ideas, ideas that contradict the core of the ideology of the class society, which has always been the strongest weapon in the hands of the exploiting classes throughout history. When we join struggles initiated by others, we must strive to promote the most democratic steps possible and struggle against those who, perhaps in the name of efficiency, want to promote hierarchical modes of organization.
When we initiate coalitions and wider organizations we must do our best to exclude those groups and activists who promote hierarchies. Special treatment must be reserved for opposing the "authoritarians of the left" the vanguardists-elitists who pose as anti-capitalist revolutionaries, but who, both in the past and at present, promote the principle of authoritarian hierarchy, which is the core of class society. As a result of their activities during the 20th century, their credibility as opponents of class society and capitalism has diminished. They try to obtain a "certificate of honesty" from the anti-authoritarian movement in order to regain their recruiting ability among the more naive activists.
Of all the mistakes we can make, cooperation with activists and organizations that promote hierarchy and authoritarian modes, because they pretend to be part of the anti capitalist movement, is the most self-defeating.
Though, subjectively, a large part of the working class supports the capitalist system, it is in contradiction to their basic interests. People struggle constantly against the capitalist system, which always wants more from them for less. Some are more enraged than others about the wages and workplace contradictions. In addition, some are enraged, maybe more so, by other aspects of the system like those people (including males) who are enraged by special exploitation, suppression and persecution based on gender. Some struggle in the sphere of the "social wage", which is expressed in social services, unemployment insurance/benefits. Some are enraged by damage to the environment, which lowers the quality of life and endangers the world ecosystem. Some are enraged by cruelty towards people or animals. Some are enraged by the suppression and persecution of various minorities. Many struggle because they feel solidarity with the people of the the less industrialized countries who because of the capitalist system are suffering the most. Some are enraged mainly because of the authoritarian aspects of the system. Whether people integrate the various struggles and are sure it is the fault of the whole capitalist system or are only interested in and aware of a narrow aspect of it, they are all part of the general struggle against the capitalist system.
Struggling against aspects of the capitalist system is the best method of empowerment and education. Joining it and contributing to the enlightening aspect is the best thing anarchists and other libertarian communists can do.
We can contribute greatly by raising questions, by shedding light on various aspects of social life, by initiating direct struggle, and by explaining libertarian communist theory at every opportunity; by promoting direct democracy of recallable and rotated delegates within our organizations and the wider initiatives we participate in; by constantly pointing to the relationship between the various struggles; by pointing to the relationship of each struggle with the capitalist system; by pointing to the solution, that the abolition of class society and the building of libertarian communism will bring to each and every problem on the agenda; by providing a sample how organization can be both anti authoritarian and universal at the same time.... and by combining the creativity of the individual comrades with the wisdom of the collective.
We shall never forget that the basic urge of nearly every human being is a society of freedom, equality and fraternity, or solidarity. We can be of real value, by ceaselessly pointing to the contribution of the capitalist system towards the frustration of these urges and by promoting the idea of the possibility of satisfying these urges under a different social system.
Unity in action of the collectives and the movement as a whole, based on solidarity, equality and freedom, that will resemble in its direct democracy the grass-roots communities of the libertarian communist society, is the best way to apply the leadership of ideas to education by deed.