Anarchist Communist Realities
- Anarchist-Communist Realities
June 30th, 2010 Regarding the Anarchists taking over the country, I don't seriously think Anarchists would ever be able to do such a thing. Anarchists have no plan, no strategy for taking power and nothing but vague notions as to what to do after taking power. How could any serious minded citizen follow the leadership of a group that has no place to take them? Anarchists promise paradise on earth, but they have no pathway to get there. They talk about different ideal ways to structure a society, based on committees, consensus or at best a town council. But they have no concrete proposals as to how to deal with the current set of problems we encounter or do they? Perhaps we are simply looking in the wrong place.
Anarchists believe in a volunteer based society. But so do Libertarians. How do you maintain a sufficient level of services when you have a totally volunteer society? The Libertarian answer is simply let the market take care of it. If there is a need some bright entrepreneur with figure out how to provide that service and make a profit at it. That is market capitalism. Privatize hospitals, utilities, road maintenance, welfare for the poor, prisons, the military, you name it and it can be privatized. We have seen quite a bit of that under the Carter/Bush deregulate and privatize presidencies.
What do Anarchists propose? Well we have coop bookstores and some coop groceries still exist. There is "Food Not Bombs" a free food for the homeless program that serves a vegetarian meal to people on the street once a week in various cities. There is the "Homes Not Jails" housing rights group in San Francisco and Boston, that occupies abandoned buildings and lets homeless people squat in them. They do secret and publicly notified occupations to advertise the plight of the homeless. More interesting is the "Take Back the Land" based in Miami who occupy foreclosed homes. This group initially built Umoja Village on public land with the help of local anarchists. It was burned down mysteriously 6 months later. But these activities in the USA are small potatoes compared to the activity going on in Latin America and South Africa.
Latin America has the liberated zone of the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico where there has been a stand-off with the Mexican Army since 1994. At this time the Zapatistas are more of a consciousness razing and propaganda organization than an active military and political presence with some 32 villages under their control in and around the Lacandon Forest. Their politics are reminiscent of the original Zapatista Liberation Army with its slogans of Land & Liberty, they represent agrarian peasant and indigenous peoples interests. In Mexico that is a big deal there are some 20 million Native Americans. But although they now claim libertarian socialist goals, their founders were from a Maoist group based in Mexico City. Liberation theologians in the 1980's helped them and brought them to Chiapas in 1983 where they worked with the indigenous population to defend their rights and foment revolt.
But as much as people like the EZLN, they are small potatoes compared to the South African "Poor People's Alliance" which is made up of several direct action organizations that are specifically anti-hierarchical, democratic and will not participate in electoral politics. They don't call themselves Anarchists, but they have taken on a lot of the principals of Anarchism through the Left Marxist Jaques Ranciere, who is considered a theoretical source for much of their ideology. One group based in Kwa-Zulu-Natal is "Abahla base Mjondolo" which has battled with the city authorities in Durban to gain recognition of the rights for the shantytown dwellers to exist and for the implementation of government services including water and electricity. They also fight evictions and have gained in principal the government's aid in improving the housing for the poor. They are autonomous, have no NGO control, their goal is living Communism by recreating the commons from below with a series of communes.
Another group is the "Anti Eviction Campaign" based in Cape Town. They are the oldest of this new wave of anti-hierarchical, anti-NGO, anti-political party groups. They have 15 chapters and their leaders are called coordinators because they are facilitators not Leninist style bosses. They do direct action sit-ins and demonstrations at homes where people are to be evicted to stop the authorities. If that fails and people are evicted they move them back in and if they are removed permanently they destroy the property to make sure that it won't be used again by the ruling classes. These groups are working with thousands of people in South Africa.
Again if you want to get big you have to go to Brazil where the MSI or "Landless Workers Movement" has some 1.5 million members. They have their own university the "Florestan Fernandes School" in Sao Palo. This organization founded in 1984 with a mixture of Liberation Theology, Palo Freire Pedagogy, Marxism and admiration for Cuba, yet they came up with a relatively anti-hierarchical structure. Each member has to be part what is called the `nucleo de base', a grouping of 10 to 15 families who select a man and a woman as representatives to the 'settlement group', and in turn they are part of the `regional group'. This regional group elects members of the "State Coordinating Body" which is made up of about 20 members from each state with a total of about 400 members 90% of whom are active members of a nucleo de base. The theory being that this keeps them grounded in the real needs of the people. They fight Monsanto and against the spreading of genetically modified seeds in Brazil. They occupy abandoned land and then fight in court for the right of the people to stay there and win. They have an environmental plan and have support groups around the world. Anarchist, no but pretty damn close for a Marxist based group. These are heavyweights in World Social Forum and the Global Justice Movement.
We in the USA need to look to these models in the so called third world to see where the future of the social revolution is to come. The beast is being surrounded by a pack of radical dogs and pretty soon it will be stuck up in a tree. Then we can just shoot it or wait for it to starve.
Anarchism may not have the answers but it is part of a current that includes a lot of people who identify as Marxists. I think we are coming to a time where both of those theoretical systems will be outmoded and some new synthesis will be the working theoretical frame for the future.