- Capitalism and Alternatives -

How much active resistance have you actually done, Barry?

Posted by: Farinata ( UK ) on December 02, 1999 at 22:49:03:

In Reply to: Great---it's another liberal with a picket sign posted by Stoller on December 02, 1999 at 22:07:21:

: : A vanguard is a group that rejects the idea of participation by the "common people"...

: That's a distortion. Revolutionary parties would get NOWHERE without 'common people' (your scare quotes, not mine). Revolutionary parties, to specify, LEAD masses.

Reclaim the Streets doesn't; neither does London Greenpeace; neither does Peoples' Global Action. We don't *lead* anyone; we're anarchists, for Eris' sake...

We make suggestions and tell people exactly what we're going to do. If they think it looks like a good thing, just great. If not, we do it ourselves anyway.

We're as ready to listen to suggestions from the general public as we are from regular members; because we *do not believe* that you should tell the general public what to do. That's what groups like the much-derided SWP do - they envisage a new order in which they make the decisions and lead the populace to a brave new world. And that results in a small centralized clique of leaders and bosses; you end up swapping Farmer Jones for Napoleon the pig. Great. Just peachy for Mr. Average.

: Can I now count on your spontaneous movement actually ENDING the power relations that the WTO represents?

We've done a damn sight more than most to get the whole thing on the popular agenda; even the mass media are starting to discuss alternatives to capitalism now. We did this not by telling the people where to go and what to do, but by giving them the information, letting them judge for themselves and making peaceful public disorder fun.

Does that seem strange? - the anti-car street party, as pioneered by RTS, is the most successful way of politicising the apathetic we've found this decade. The people who form the adult population have spent most of their lives being fed and made comfortable; they're about as ready to rise up as sheep. The street party takes the young, the energetic, gives them the facts in a form that doesn't turn them off completely (the "let's have another lecture, Comrade" tendency) and gets them out there causing direct disruption on the streets. And once they see the police go into full-on fascist mode, as they did on Tuesday, the people start to realise that society is not run for their benefit. RTS is now seen as such a serious threat by the British Government that they have a special group in MI5 set up to deal with them; not that they've had much success so far.

Go on being worthy and literate if you like; debate exact meanings of labour theory if you like; but the vast majority of people learn about repressive regimes through personal experience of riot police on the streets; and pictures of stormtroopers firing tear gas at peaceful demonstrators only serve to recruit more to the Rebel Alliance.

When it comes down to it, the majority of people don't want to debate Marxist theory of alienation for hours; but they can relate to pollution and crime from the rich-poor divide on a personal level. And any successful revolution needs these people to be informed enough to make the choices for themselves.

It's not a case of "go there, do this, and we will achieve freedom"; it's a case of educating the person on the street in personal freedom as something they have to work for themselves. If you don't raise the popular consciousness to a level where ordinary people can form a cohesive society, you require a centralized leadership; and that leadership becomes a power base; and the power base becomes a state.

A real revolution requires delocalized resistance; a plan of attack that resembles the formless; because the current state is powerful enough to act against budding cells and silence them; like cutting out a signal in a radio spectrum; it's only when the dissent shows up as white noise that you can't identify "ringleaders" in the crowd.

Speaking from my own personal experience, anyway; 5 years active resistance, over 20 demos; and I'm still Red 3 clearance as far as the British intelligence services are concerned.

(i.e. not known to be involved in anything. There are times when it's damn useful being good with computers.)

: Or will it be yet another 'No Nukes' movement that did NOTHING IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS to end nukes?

Final analysis? Wasn't aware that there had been one yet.


Follow Ups:

The Debating Room Post a Followup