Rethinking Anarchism

What We Say We Are
May 16, 2009, 12:33 am
Filed under: Analysis | Tags: , , , , , , ,

There is a gap between what we are and what we say we are. This is the gap between reality and representation. The reality: we are a collective of workers seeking to undermine the very foundations of the capitalist system. The representation: we are the oppressed, seeking gradual reform within the system, making use of the provisions of liberal democracy to better our lot in life.

We seek tactical allies. Priests, politicians, cops, lawyers, liberals, and bureaucrats come to our aid. We do not turn them away. We polarize society against one boss after another, dividing and conquering the ruling class. This is the air war, the corporate campaign, the liberal cause.

We build our strategic base. Workers unite on the job and in the community. We build our power. We reach a tipping point. The proletariat comes into its own. We take off the training wheels and ride. We turn the world upside down. This is the ground war, the revolution itself. The reality destroys the representation. We lose our allies and win the war.

There are dangers to this strategy. We can mistake the representation for reality. We can become dependent on our allies, the means altering the ends. We can lose our best people to our tactical allies. Nevertheless, as we rebuild our power, we must use every weapon available against the bourgeoisie, including their own.

There is more to be said about this. Particularly about the subjective effect on workers of winning struggles largely through corporate campaigning or NLRB process. I wanted to get a few thoughts out there to help me sort through this stuff. I’m also not so sure that building community coalitions with liberal groups or bureaucratic organizations is the right way to go, although it’s hard to imagine organizing these days without doing so.