Tuesday, April 28, 2009

African Anarchism - Zimbabwe, Toyi Toyi Artz Kollektive

Ujamaa:Ten-Points of Cooperation and Self-Management

-these ten points outline the characteristics of the people's cooperative political economy we strive for in the revolution.

a). Self-Management: Do not delegate power in others.

b). Harmony: Unite the whole and the parts in the Rugare/Uhuru Network.

c). Federation: The movement should not be chaotic but coherent, with unity between the whole and the parts on a regional, national and international levels.

d). Direct Action: Anti-capitalist, anti-bureaucratic, so that the people are the active subjects through direct democracy.

e).Coordinated Self-Defense: Freedom and self-management must be defended against the totalitarian bureaucracy and the imperialist bourgeoisie.

f). Cooperation in the countryside and self-management in the city: Agriculture can be based on the self-managed company whose model can be the agro-industrial complex. In the city, industries and services should be self-managed and their administrative councils should be constituted by direct producers, with no ruling class or intermediaries.

g). Production: Unionised work should be converted into freely associated work without the bourgeoisie or bureaucracy.

h). All power to the assembly: No-one should decide on behalf of the people or usurp their functions by means of professional politics. Delegation of powers should not be permanent but should be given to delegates who are elected and recallable by the assembly.

i). No delegation of politics: There should be no parties, no vanguards, elites,
directors, managers. Bureaucracy kills the spontaneity of the masses and destroys their creative capacity and revolutionary activity, converting them into a passive people and a docile instrument of the power elites.

j). Socialisation and not rationalisation of wealth: The following must take the most important roles: the syndicates, the co-operatives, local self-managed societies, popular organisations, all kinds of associations, local, regional, national, continental and world federal self-governments.

a) Rugare/ Uhuru

Rugare/Uhuru is the absence of all forms of domination and exploitation. All people are fundamentally equal, and should have the freedom to live their lives as they see fit, as long as they do not harm the freedom of others. It is opposed to capitalism because capitalism is a vicious profit system that is based on the exploitation of the workers and the poor to the benefit of a small class of bosses and top government figures. It is opposed to the state (courts, army, bureaucracy) because the state is not there to look after everyone; instead its role is to keep the ruling class in power. Racism, sexism and other forms of special oppression are primarily the product of capitalism and the state. In Rhodesia, racism was created to "justify", strengthen and deepen the exploitation of the Black Working Class in the farms, mines and factories. Capitalism and the state cannot be reformed away. They must be resisted and defeated. The only people who can fight and overthrow capitalism, the state and all forms of oppression, are the working and poor people. This is so because they have no vested interest in the system. Also they have power in their ability to organise (particularly at their work-places), and because they produce the wealth of the world. Only a productive class can build a free, anti-authoritarian society because only such a class is not based on exploitation.

Instead of capitalism, Rugare/Uhuru stems from a free people's economic system in which workers and peasants directly manage the land, and factories, and use these resources to produce for the benefit of all. In place of the state, Uhuru relies on people's management of their own affairs through grassroots, workplace and community councils, united at the local, regional and international levels.



Monday, April 06, 2009

The Function Of Political Ideologies

Pretend that you are an anthropologist from another planet, one considerably more advanced than our own. Your notion of time is also different, as you live thousands of Earth years and one hundred of these is equal to about a week of your time. You arrived three weeks (300 Earth years) ago in a place called Europe and immediately began looking for signs of civilization. At first there were none. Humans were divided into two groups, masters and slaves or near-slaves who were cruelly treated by their overlords. Women and children had no rights whatsoever, and no one cared a bit for the animals and forests. Then you discovered a tiny group who thought slavery an abomination and sought to eliminate it. "Ah, the first spark of civilization", you thought.

As your days rolled by, humans struggled in new directions, for the rights of women, for the right of the worker-slaves to organize. At the end of three weeks these human creatures had accomplished a great deal, but were far from reaching a civilized state. There were wars, people starved, the environment was devastated and vast inequality reigned. However, there was a substantial minority who yearned for the type of life that you and other ET's now almost took for granted. These civilizing factions formed different groups and called themselves reformers, eco-activists, feminists, socialists and anarchists.

Looking back on the three weeks of changes, as a social scientist, you could not help but notice that a process was occurring. Progressive change involved a number of stages and the participants played differing but effective roles in this process.

Change occured this way: A minority, either from the worker-slaves or advanced thinkers from the upper classes, have a break-through idea, such as "Let's abolish slavery." or "Let's form a workers' union." They promote this idea through speeches, press and small demonstrations and large numbers of people are won over. The mass increases the agitation and the rulers resist making any changes. They attack the reformers and mass demonstrations, riots and strikes ensue. Ultimately, the rulers cannot stop the desire for change. At this point a group within parliament takes up the issues, often modifying the demand in the process. But they are in a minority. Finally, after an immense amount of pressure from below, which often involves people using direct action to make the changes parliament or no parliament, laws are passed which put into practice the new way of being. i.e., slavery is abolished, women are recognized as persons, workers can unionize without being jailed, etc.,

You conclude that all effective change among the Earthlings comes from below, from the masses, even though a minority might have the initial ideas. The main action takes place outside of the governmental realm and the groups who function best in this are the populists, revolutionary socialists and anarchists. Anthropologically, this is their function within Earth society – to push for mass and direct action. The final step, a form of legitmation through parliament, is the result of the parliamentary socialists and reformers. This is their anthropological function.

You soon recognize that this process only occurs within societies flexible enough to allow change. Societies that are too rigid or in a severe crisis, can only be changed through revolution. In such a situation, the mass movement from below and the ideologies related to it are even more important than before. The difference now, is that since the old system cannot continue, a new system of governance and economy has to be introduced. The populists, revolutionary socialists and anarchists are involved in the promotion of these new ways of being and defending them from those who would re-institute the old system. This is their new function. The parliamentary socialists and reformers are now a brake on such a movement and will be pushed aside if they don't stand down and join the masses. The parliamentary group no longer has a function.

Revolutions are quite rare on Earth and are usually usurpted by new rulers. But this is not inevitable, you conclude, and is only a function of the underdeveloped nature of Earthling society. Earth society is on a knife edge and could either become truly civilized or fall into complete destruction. With a sigh, you hop aboard your space craft and head home to where despotism, war and inequality were abolished thousands of years (your years) ago.

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