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The Ever Flowing River:

The Unfolding Strategy of an Anarchist Social Revolution
-Bill Burns
Part I Part II Part III

[In the last two issues, with a broad brush, our author explored the roots of anarchism in social groupings throughout history. This is part 3.]


Let's look at the unfolding strategy of an anarchist social revolution.

An anarchist social movement facilitates change by example and by creating tangible institutions and processes that give people a real alternative. THAT ANARCHIST SOCIAL MOVEMENT MUST NOT GHETTOIZE ITSELF, BUT MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO CONNECT, SUPPORT, AND ASSIST OTHER PEOPLES AS THEY STRUGGLE FOR BASIC NEEDS AND REAL CHANGE.

There are many aspects to the anarchist movement. Let's look at some of the main things that are happening.

Around the world collectives, cooperatives, and affinity groups have been set up. Many of them have existed for over thirty years. They address peoples needs for food, shelter, clothing, parenting and education. Many of them use consensus and direct democracy to make decisions. As international capitalism increasingly fragments peoples lives, more and more people will turn to collective solutions to survive both physically and psychologically. Out task as Anarchist revolutionaries is to inform these collectives that they must connect with other cultures, and that the State is a hierarchy that will crush these collectives, in time, if they do not work for its removal.

Consensus is a process for building united judgement. It is the means for group, institution, culture, and Federation-building that places emphasis on true cooperation. It stresses the value of common ownership of ideas, mutual trust, constructive conflict to arrive at truth, individual choice, collective responsibility, constructive criticism, feelings, and the empowerment of each person to participate. It builds a culture of POWER WITH rather than power over which occurs in majority, minority, and autocratic decision making. Consensus can be used successfully in large groups. For Anarchism to realize its fullest potential it must use consensus For those groups around the world if your consensus process is not working to be independent of all hierarchical structures-be it the State, a dominating individual or individuals, a boss, Executive director or board-then your consensus is fatally flawed. Anarchist principles allow true consensus to come into play. To learn more about Consensus Decision Making and to possibly participate in a study group call 773-338-9624.

Those of us who have resisted the dominant culture have been lucky. We have had over the years such outstanding publications as Libertarian Labor, 5th Estate, New Society, The Blast, and Anarchy to celebrate our struggles. We need more of them. Our media must be grassroots. The empty spaces, the cracks, the abandoned places must know our presence. Pirate radio stations throughout the world in such places as Springfield, Il., Chattanooga, Tenn,. and Chicago are challenging this dominant culture. Technology used in a thoughtful and effective way can build relationships and not obviate them. Anarchism has a proud history. It has a vision of a bright, vibrant culture. Anarchism can and will be shared.

The info shop (such as the Autonomous Zone) movement is occurring around the world. In some places we are small and struggling to hang on: but we know what we are about. There must be places for people to learn, share, cooperate, have fun, consent, and empower each other to resist that governing culture that desires to define, commodify, and shape us in ways so destructive to our 'humanity'!

History does repeat itself in patterns. As Anarchist revolutionaries and people working for social change, it is incumbent upon us to know and profit from the mistakes of the past. Meeting in study groups, exchanging ideas and feelings, enables us to sharpen our skills and take on 'the powers that be'. An Anarchist study group does meet -call 773-338-9624.

Anarchism is about building a culture of resistance to all forms of hierarchy. Such a culture needs to be capable of constructing solidarity with other peoples and cultures. The means of forming that culture and connecting with other folks around common needs uses specific principles of Anarchist community organizing. A pamphlet that will explore the development of Anarchist community organizing principals is currently being written by Chicago Anarchists and other Anarchists across the countryCommunity projects are currently being
developed in the areas of health care, tenant rights, housing and youth work.

As we build culture and work in solidarity with other peoples for revolution it is important that we learn and practice tactics of non-violence and self-defense where appropriate. Enough said!!

In our discussion of building a multi-faceted Anarchist strategy for Social Revolution, ANARCHISM ORGANIZING ON THE JOB IS GETTING SHORT SHRIFT! To many Anarchists and other anti-authoritarian folks it is enough to build culture. It is not. Most of us will spend most of our lives working. Many of us work as 'temps', or in the service industry, which are areas fertile for Anarchist organizing. As many of us already know; service jobs are the jobs of the future as Capitalism restructures itself worldwide. Ain't we lucky, low pay and few if any benefits. Bet more than a few of us will be working more than one of these jobs just to get by. Is it enough just to work to eliminate hierarchies from other aspects of our lives without taking on economic and class oppression? It pisses me off that a small percentage of people control this global capitalist economy. All of us know the misery it causes. I despise working for a boss who often times doesn't know his or her arse from a hole in the ground, but insists on hovering over me and making snide comments that devalue or humiliate me. I know, I can learn to work cooperatively with others, as we collectively run factories, transportation systems, or production or service institutions. Obviously much more can be said about how to build economic democracy and in future newsletter articles from various writers this subject will be explored more throughly. But for right now let it be pointed out that there is a worldwide movement for bringing Anarchism to the job and it is called Anarcho-Syndicalism. It is embodied in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and in the International Workers Association (IWA) established in the early 1920's. The IWA. has thousands of members throughout the world. We are presently organizing movements that are expanding into Africa (the Awareness League)(in Nigeria), and Southeast Asia.

It is crucial that our Anarchism be shared with regular workin folks just like us. Anarchism is given practical, concrete meaning when workers struggle on a job to eliminate hierarchy, save jobs, increase benefits-you name it.

THE SOCIAL REVOLUTION: ITS PROCESS AND STRATEGY IS YOU AND I NOW. As we build Anarchist culture, create viable institutions, learn, share, grow, and connect with other peoples, we make revolution. It is struggling together and making mistakes. Getting up and keeping on. From this social movement is born.
We look forward to exploring with you in future issues of Sandpaper, Anarchism, its culture, its strategy, and how an evolution/revolution is made.

So our Anarchism and the people who have resisted with us throughout the ages is very much an 'EVER FLOWING RIVER'. Often our efforts are small and fragmented. We are killed, brutalized and worn down. But we continue to resist and strive for a collectivity of freedom because it is us. We know no other. As I look around I see that our efforts are beginning to manifest themselves. THE RIVER IS BUILDING. WE WILL WASH AWAY THE WALLS OF HIERARCHY!!!

Part I Part II Part III


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