Organizing 101, Part II

I posted the first 4 points about organizing here. This is my condensed presentation of the 14 pages, the full presentation that is available here. This website title – The End of Capitalism – suggests that the folks behind this project are thinking like I am. I think that unfettered capitalism, free market globalism, is an abject failure. Read and think carefully. I think that free market energy, style, human waves of fashion and style, free enterprise are forces like weather. They do good things if they are harnessed and fettered. Free market globalism, the elevation of the free market as an end in itself, the commodification of the natural world, the exploitation of people and nature that is a natural byproduct of unfettered, unregulated free market economy is a bad thing. Environmental degradation, exploitation of individuals are economic activities that can be very profitable. Regulation of free markets, of globalism, runaway capitalism must happen or we face a bleak future. There are powerful, minority forces working against regulation and for profit as the primary goal. I hope the end of that form of capitalism is coming.

Ok, back to the Organizing Points. I did the first four points in Part I. I expect this will take 3 parts, so here we go: Part II.

5. What Does Solidarity Mean, Especially with the Immigrant Justice Movement?

A. Solidarity is not just financial or administrative support of other people’s struggles but fundamentally recognizing the ways in which we all would benefit by the successes of movements of oppressed people

B. Demonstrating an active notion of solidarity where people with privilege don’t sideline themselves but instead endeavor the difficult task of both providing and respecting other’s leadership in the movement

C. Managing the conflict between political analysis and understanding of successful movement building strategies and letting local immigrant communities set the terms of their movement

6. What Is the State of the Struggle Today, Particularly Internationally

A. National liberation struggles are not the primary mode of struggle today because capitalist globalization has weakened the state as a means of achieving self- determination

B. “Three-way fight” politics argue that the struggle today consists of the global capitalist/imperialist ruling class (of liberal, moderate, and conservative persuasions), the revolutionary left, and the revolutionary right (al-Qaeda, neo-Nazis, etc.) See for background
C. Recognizing ideas about direct and participatory forms of democracy that arise from local and indigenous traditions of self-governance and self-management and the under- theorized state of the the struggle

7. How Do We Organize Simultaneously on Local, Regional, National, and International Levels?

A. Many activists express the desire to organize as a national or international movement, but are not certain how to make the connections.

B. We need to continue to make connections between groups that are arising and working toward closely aligned goals.

C. We can look at various organizations that have made headway with local, regional and inter/national organizing. These include Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) that is largely active on college campuses, Northeast Federation of Anarcho-communists (NEFAC) that is active in union organization in Boston and Montreal, and Project South, a Black training and leadership development group based in Atlanta, that was key to the 2007 US Social Forum.

The underlying piece at the End of Capitalism is from November 2009 so it is a little dated. The Social Forums and events like the April 2011 Power Shift conference may reflect the current best practice for organizing simultaneously at local, regional, national and international levels.

The solutions and changes that we desire require that we work in cooperative manner. With an open attitude toward groups whose ideas and tactics may make us uncomfortable, but whose visions and goals are closely aligned with our own. Liberals, progressives, radicals, whatever we choose to call ourselves are not a group that likes to walk in lockstep. We must demonstrate solidarity and resist a puritanical call for any distinct set of ideas or tactics that are mandatory or absolutely prohibited. I would suggest in this regard that points 3. C. and 3. E. are very important to keep in mind.

We must

3. C. Maintain relationships with other activists and groups who may not have engaged in the same tactics but who remained committed and sympathetic

3. E. Build mass movements where militant tactics can be present without dividing the movement

I don’t need to stress 3. D. about helping increase militancy because I am pretty mainstream in my radicalism. I am in touch with enough folks who share my visions and goals and are more militant in their tactics, so 3. D. is not critical to me.

I do not feel that I can tell the more militant that their tactics are wrong. We face police in riot gear at peaceful demonstrations as a regular event. We can get roughed up and arrested for dancing at the Jefferson Memorial. We face an electoral system that is wildly degraded now by unlimited corporate money and that continues to resist the accountability of paper ballots that can be used to make sure that votes are counted accurately. In this environment, I am not certain about how we should proceed, but I think we liberals, progressives, and radicals need to proceed together, in solidarity.


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