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Fwd: RAC-LA Celebrating 5 Years of Organizing the Members of the MacArthur Park Community

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  • John A Imani
    ... From: John A Imani Date: Mon, Nov 12, 2012 at 10:28 AM Subject: RAC-LA Celebrating 5 Years of Organizing the Members of the
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 12 10:52 AM
      ---------- Forwarded message ----------
      From: John A Imani <johnaimani3@...>
      Date: Mon, Nov 12, 2012 at 10:28 AM
      Subject: RAC-LA Celebrating 5 Years of Organizing the Members of the
      MacArthur Park Community
      To: rac-lasupporters@...


      The Revolutionary Autonomous Communities-Los Angeles--formed in the wake of
      the Police Riot in MacArthur Park on May Day 2007--was initiated as a
      response to demonstrate that the right of human laborers to go where ever
      it is that we might find work w/o regard to man-made inventions such as

      On May Day 2007 the LAPD took a position that should one demonstrate for
      this (and other) human rights then that one (and all who do so) will be
      attacked by the armed power of the state. The radicals who formed RAC-LA,
      in opposition to this, did so with the express intention of organizing not
      only paper-less migrants but the lowest economic rung of the working class,
      the homeless, the hungry, the work-less, the lowest paid members of our
      class so as to:

      1.) provide mutual aid with and to each other through RAC's 'Programa
      Comida', our 'Food Program' which weekly provides fresh vegetables and
      fruits free of charge to now over 200 of those in need; and,

      2.) lay the plans and develop a model of revolutionary resistance that
      ought serve as an example of new ways of thinking, new methods of work.

      Below our announcement, you will find a political-economic description of
      the methods and manners of RAC-LA's organization.

      Join us Sunday Nov 18th to celebrate 5 years of the efforts towards
      achieving these goals.


      RAC-LA�s Participation in The Circuits of Production

      *1st Circuit*

      *(First Circulation Circuit)*


      */ \*

      2**nd** Circuit*

      * Consumption

      * a. individual*

      * b. productive


      * \ /*

      *3rd Circuit*
      *Allocation and Distribution*

      *(Second Circulation Circuit) *

      The circuits of capitalist production, indeed those of any and all modes
      of production (e.g. slavery, feudalism, socialism, communism, even
      hunter-gathering) consist of 1.) Planning; 2.) Production; 3.) Allocation
      and Distribution; and, 4.) Consumption. In Planning, decisions are made as
      to what things are to be produced and therefore what factors of production
      (materials, tools and labor), necessary to produce them, have to be
      allocated (in capitalism this means purchased) and arrayed before
      production can begin. In the circuit of Production, these factors are
      combined so as to fabricate or grow or mine, etc. the desired objects. In
      distribution, the items are apportioned to their end-users (in capitalism
      this means sold to the end-users). And, in consumption the end-users make
      use of them either for direct consumption as consumers or indirect
      consumption, that is productive consumption, by making these goods
      available as factors for the allocation decisions made in circuit 1 as
      means of production.

      Though RAC-LA hardly represents the might, mass and complexity of the
      coming socialist commonwealth, it does have, albeit in microcosm, similar
      economic problems in each of its circuits that it too must solve.

      *The First Circulation Circuit-The Factors Market*

      In order to understand RAC-LA�s participation in its own Circuit 1, the
      planning of production, it is necessary to understand the product that is
      being produced. That product is not this or that fruit nor these or those
      vegetables, rather it is the bundles of food themselves which are composed
      of the fruits and vegetables. Up until this time, as we have now acquired a
      small garden space, RAC-LA has not itself manufactured nor farmed any item
      save T-shirts. Instead, what is planned and what is done is the assembling
      of the packages that for 4 � years we have distributed to an average of
      more than 175 people every Sunday in MacArthur Park in Los Angeles. Items
      that, while still healthy and nutritious, might bear some blemish that make
      them un-saleable but not un-consumable. These items form the raw material
      for RAC-LA workers� production, in our Circuit 2, of bundles that contain
      items that we have salvaged from being tossed. The first phase of RAC-LA�s
      planning therefore consists therefore of allocation of its labor-powers to
      make the pick-ups. Now, as there are no waged-workers who might do this,
      nor are there bosses who might have ordered these last to do so, this is
      and has been accomplished by the free and voluntary acceptance of these
      tasks by comrades who take upon themselves particular assignments. Should,
      for any reason, the comrade who is scheduled for a pick-up is unable to
      perform, her place is immediately taken by another comrade. This voluntary
      association will implicitly color much of what follows below.

      The second phase of RAC-LA�s planning comes with the preparations for the
      assembly of the parcels. An assessment is made of 1.) the number of people
      who will desire the parcels; and, 2.) the number of items of each kind that
      we can allocate to each basket. The first is obtained by passing out
      numbers *(�boletas�)* that, in addition, provides the sequence for an
      orderly distribution, as those who have received their numbered tickets
      earliest will also receive their parcels earlier. The second judgment comes
      about as the result of consultation amongst the workers and a �best guess�
      assessment of how many of x vegetable or y fruit to place in each box. This
      is hardly exact economic calculation�as the oftimes at end existence of a
      surplus or deficit of this or that foodstuff that makes itself known�but it
      is economic calculation. It is a calculation decision arrived at as a
      result of a �Conspiracy of
      Equals�1<#13af5e16bf74c1b5_13af5ddd5094926f_sdfootnote1sym>as to how
      best to allocate this and/or that so as to achieve a simple
      economic goal: that every box ought contain an equal amount of sustenance.
      However, the fact is that even with the achievement of this equal
      allocation there is the certainty that all who receive these equal parcels
      will not derive equal amounts of utility as one may have more dependants
      than another, say, responsible only for herself. This cannot be helped as
      RAC-LA, in this paradox, is caught in the vise of an ages-old quandary: the
      discussion of exactly what �equality� is. Below it is asserted that this
      riddle can be solved.

      What is exceptional about what RAC-LA doing is the transformation of those
      who have come to us seeking the assistance we provide, seeing what we are
      doing and, while they wait, take it upon themselves to, say, help break
      down the cardboard boxes (which are recycled), unload the truck or measure
      out and bag the rice and beans, etc. Soon we find that we have been joined
      by another *companera(o)* enamored by the self-empowerment of voluntary
      workers in action without thoughts of private profits and without the boss
      who takes it.

      *The Second Circuit-Production*

      In RAC-LA�s 2nd Circuit, the production of the bundles, the first order of
      business is the unloading of the vehicles bringing the raw materials of
      RAC-LA�s production to our location on the west side of MacArthur Park near
      Wilshire Bl. In this, regular RAC-LA members and sympathizers are almost
      always joined by some of those waiting to receive the foodstuffs. No one is
      required to do this and, yet, it almost always occurs.

      Next comes the triaging of the food whereby the items are shorn of,
      perhaps, wilted outer leaves, etc. Again, comrades (and sometimes
      bystanders) take up these duties on their own volition. Separately, a group
      of 4-6 *companera(o)s* measure and package quart size packets of rice and
      beans. And in a third sector, comrades tend to both the disposal of trash
      as well as the aforementioned breaking down of the cardboard containers
      that the fruits and vegetables have arrived in. No one assigns anyone to
      any sector. Anyone can do any job. Of course, someone joining us for the
      first or second or even a third time might inquire as to where her services
      could best be used but after this they know where to go: to where they are
      best used (i.e. most needed). This voluntary work *sans* the incentive of
      payment (though, most workers also opt to receive baskets at end) gives
      evidence that cooperative production (i.e. where one works for the benefit
      of all and is, in turn, benefited by the work of all) is no
      �pie-in-the-sky�, is no mass hallucination brought on by fits of ague borne
      of a system that demeans human beings into beasts of burden activated only
      by the �carrot� (pay) or the �stick� (the threat of firing) false dichotomy
      of capitalism.

      The workers being the judge of who is, who remains and who ought not be a
      fellow in this effort is a prime fundamental of our mode of production. The
      �ill-fit� is a serious question and not taken lightly by members and
      expulsion from the program has happened only once. Decisions necessitated
      by the possible �ill-fit� of this or that person are made in a
      post-production �circle� wherein also are analyses of how this day�s work
      transpired and how might things have been done better are discussed. Such
      �post-production� worker-evaluations demonstrate how it is that
      �planning��normally a 1st Circuit activity�can take place after and in
      light of the 2nd Circuit, Production. Indeed, because of the flexibility
      inherent in worker-controlled activities such changes can occur at any time
      in any phase. Such ability to �change-on-the-fly� initiated by those
      directly involved, one might think, stamps this proto-cooperative
      production as superior to the inherent inertia of �one-mind, one-brain�
      systems dominated by a �commanding will�.

      *The Third Circuit (2nd Circulation circuit)-Allocation and Distribution*

      RAC-LA�s 3rd Circuit, Allocation and Distribution, is simple. The products
      assembled by RAC-LA are distributed to those who have received their *
      �boletas�* in the order in which the tickets were obtained. In capitalism,
      this �*boleta*" would find its Hyde-to-its-Jekyll doppelganger in money.
      Though in this micro-economy that is the RAC-LA Food Program this �*boleta*�,
      this �money��this �wherewithal to buy�is in no way connected to the efforts
      required to obtain it. Although one may work, one is not required to do so.
      By cutting this tie between effort and reward, the 3rd Circuit of
      Distribution, in the Food Program�s circuits of production, is RAC-LA�s
      microcosmic on-going experiment in the realms and regions of pure

      The �exchange� which occurs is that of the bundles for the return of the �*
      boleta*� and, most-times a smile. There is a codicil to this in that there
      is a syndicalist aspect to one feature of the program, the bags rice and
      beans. Upon signing up for their �*boleta*� the patrons are asked for a $1
      donation. Inability or unwillingness to part with this sum is no grounds
      for denial of aid. Those who do not donate receive exactly the same as the
      others save for the rice and beans (which means that these are still
      �rationed� (i.e. to be exchanged for a requisite chit, in this case the
      dollar.)) With these contributions (averaging appx $60/week) RAC-LA
      purchases 50lb sacks of the staples. What the donor receives back, if
      purchased separately by the individuals, would be rice and beans that would
      have cost appx $2-2.50. And when we find that the collections from our
      various points of �salvage� are lacking, then all�even those who did not
      part with the donation�receive these staples.

      *The Fourth Circuit-Consumption*

      In RAC-LA�s 4th Circuit, consumption of the boxes of foodstuffs handed out
      to the �Food Program�s clients and workers not only aid in the reproduction
      of these workers� labor-powers, it increases it beyond what it would have
      been without such aid. By providing free of charge healthy, if not pretty,
      vegetables and staples, the parcels� consumption injects needed nutrition
      into these under-paid, and thereby ill-fed, members of the world-wide
      working class and their dependents. It is as if an additional (ballpark
      figure) $10 had been handed to each and that the money had been totally
      spent upon neither soda nor chips but to obtain the vitamins richly
      inhabiting vegetables.

      It might also be remarked, at this point, that RAC-LA�s circuits of
      production though anarchist in form, are socialist/communist in their

      1 <#13af5e16bf74c1b5_13af5ddd5094926f_sdfootnote1anc> *

      Films on RAC-LA
      "We're Still Here, We Never Left" (The Founding of RAC-LA)


      "An Experiment in Socialism: RAC's Free Food Program"

      "R.A.C: Gentrification, Anarchism, Community Organizing"



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