What is to be done today?
A libertarian socialist outlook on capitalism and the state
A spectre is haunting the United States, the spectre of Libertarian Socialism. All the powers of the United States have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre. Patriarchy has worked with the state, capitalism, White Supremacy, colonialism, LGBTQ+ phobia, and ableism to oppress all sectors of society. Yet there is a growing movement that is bubbling to fight back. This movement does not have a name and does not nor will ever belong to one group. This movement seeks to give workers more power in their lives and is seeking to democratize the economy. This movement is seeking to build mutual aid for all of those struck by the violence of the state — poverty.
A movement for a general strike is brewing. We have seen workers despite their lack of unionization in companies such as Amazon launch strikes on May 1st. So now we are at a point where we must ask ourselves what must we do from here or “What Is To Be Done Today?” As workers we must organize our workplaces, as neighbors we must organize our neighborhoods.
On the topic of neighborhoods we must create neighborhood assemblies. This is an institution that represents part of a neighborhood and is governed by direct democracy. To work together with others of our neighborhood we must create neighborhood councils. At this council each assembly sends 1 delegate to the council to coordinate and plan out what will be done with the other assemblies. Then we must go beyond and create a municipal council. This council will have 1 seat per neighborhood. This will function similarly as this will be how each city makes final decisions through bottom up direct democracy.
Before I continue however I must define the term “delegate” and it differs from a representative in liberal democracy. In this sense a delegate can not introduce anything that the assemblies have not given him/her/them to introduce. For example if one assembly comes to a decision that the roads in their neighborhood need to be repaired. The assembly agrees and sends a delegate to the neighborhood council to discuss this. The other delegates can not vote until they have talked to the assembly they represent. This allows each person that would be affected by this decision of repairing the roads to discuss, make suggestions etc and reach a consensus.
Then further if the delegates are making decisions without approval from the assembly they represent they are subject to instant recall. Now to contrast that with liberal democracy a representative can introduce a law that is not popular with their community and can get it passed. The representative is not able to be instantly recalled because of this. For example in California a Single Payer Healthcare Bill was introduced in the California State Legislature yet voted down despite the popularity of the bill and the help it would have given to millions who do not have adequate health insurance in California.
However we must remember that there are groups who can be unrepresented in a system that I propose. This includes colonized people such as Indigenous Peoples, New Afrikan (Black Americans) people, women, the LGBTQIA+ community, the disabled community (both mentally and physically). So I propose caucuses for each group then further to have one delegate per group per assembly along with each group having their own assemblies and the ability to discuss issues in their communities as they see fit. We must build these institutions to take back control of our neighborhoods, communities, etc… right now. That is what must be done in our neighborhoods.
Now what is to be done in our workplaces what must we do to take control of the workplace and abolish coercive work. To create the latter of course we must abolish capitalism, wage labor, commodity production, and guarantee the needs of all people such as housing, quality food, clean air, and clean water. For the former we must take over the firm through workers councils in many areas, radical unions in other areas, and simply provide the funds to buy the business and give it to the workers. Regardless of how worker control is brought about we must confederate (interconnect) with other workers councils in similar industries within our communities.
These many structures must all work together to meet the needs of the people. This will create loose anti-capitalist, and anti-state structures. We must, however, be ready for revolution at the same time, and not be willing to just become assimilated into the bureaucracy and the state. We must fight directly against this not just with words but with actions as well. We must arm those who want to be armed along with training in how to use a firearm properly. These new institutions, no matter how peaceful they appear, will be attacked by the state through the police. We must be ready for this. We cannot forget the MOVE bombing of 1985.
Through these structures we must assault the capitalist economy through the use of a tax strike, election boycotts, and a general strike. To feed the people we must use mutual aid networks, community gardens, guerrilla gardening, etc… To house the people we must create housing cooperatives, community land trusts, and the like, to free the people from state violence (homelessness, food insecurity, and the like). These structures will be governed by the people who live in them and use them. We must bring our homeless population into houses, bring them the things they need to survive and we can do this by using our new neighborhood structures that we have built. We can seize property that is not being used and through our worker owned structures turn them into new homes.
We can use alternative currencies such as mutual credit to deny the state revenue and fund our institutions. We can use mutual credit to build houses, buy land, etc… We must also incorporate cooperative banking (credit unions) within these structures until the revolution. Further we must embrace the criminal element that the anarchist/libertarian left has a rich tradition in. I will not describe these illegal methods in detail but they will have to be used to propagate our message and fund our projects of community self defense from the state (police), against the capitalists who will rob our land, against the industrialists who poison our food, air, and water.
Through a combination of mutual credit/cooperative banking and propaganda of the deed our projects will be funded. Of course once we are in the revolutionary phase mutual credit must be ended so we all have free access to what we need to live through local planning. Mutual credit while unfortunate will have to be with us through the transition to a moneyless society. This offers people a further incentive to join the new institutions that will be created. The people now will not see us as legitimate if we say “join us and you can have everything for free” they will join if we offer them a way to rebel through mutual credit will bring them on board. However other means such as expropriation to fund striking workers in capitalist firms or fund neighborhood assemblies and the like is also an acceptable means of raising money. Both of these methods can also be used to create additional cooperatives and assemblies.
In the end it is up to each assembly to decide how to fund themselves without state money. Another way is to use a GoFundMe (or similar sites) to buy land and form a community land trust. This will require a large amount of people and a large amount of money. Lastly, of course, mass squatting in tandem with guerilla gardening is a very acceptable means and way to take control over the land and create our food.
Within the authoritarian left, however, they advocate for a vanguard party to rule and take over the state as it currently exists. This party, however, is in charge. Creating rule by the party and not by the people in its supposed transition to a socialist “country.” The authoritarian left has only created state capitalism with a strong safety net in the best case or state capitalism with large human rights abuses. Most of the time, however, it seems to be both. Every state seeks to consolidate power; no state in the history of the world has ever voluntarily dismantled their own institutions and given power to the people directly. This won’t be true simply because the state is in control by the working class. Simply put, the lumpenproletariat will be oppressed by the “working class” being in charge. The lumpen proles by-and-large being the already oppressed groups in society such as New Afrikan people, immigrants, indigenous people etc. Keeping the working class in charge does not give these groups power.
The authoritarian left would have you believe that libertarian socialist methods don’t work. This simply is not true. We can see this through groups such as Cooperation Jackson, Barbacha, Rojava in the modern day. In the past Revolutionary Catalona, The Free Territories, the Shimin Commune, and more. One can even argue that the many indigenous societies in the pre-colonial Americas and pre-colonial Africa were examples of libertarian socialist societies. The history of these places have been suppressed oftentimes by “allies” in the cases of Revolutionary Catalonia and The Free Territories. Others were destroyed by colonialism and empires. Yet these societies were free in the case of the latter. In the case of the former groups such as Cooperation Jackson are fighting for a free society while others have achieved a free society and are defending themselves.
In the end Solidarity,
Black Flag Catalyst
May 22, 2020
A libertarian socialist outlook on The American Insurrection
“The state calls its own violence law, but that of the individual, crime.” — Max Stirner
Since I last posted we have seem significant developments in the so called United States of America. We have moved beyond the small actions by some workers to full scale open rebellion in many cities in the face of police brutality. These rebellions however can’t be quelled with just reforms now. No, we have reached a movement that seeks to abolish the police. A movement that is demanding the world recognizes that we are. black and that we are PEOPLE as well. Police precincts have been taken over and burned down,others are as I write this “under attack” by the people.
This is full blown spontaneous action that could NEVER have been planned let alone organized by a vanguard party. We are seeing what can only be summed up as democratic insurrection. We are launching full scale attacks on private property that is owned by the bourgeoisie,we are attacking the state house, we are building mutual aid. with the resources we have expropriated we are changing the narrative. We have experiences social death and now we are experiencing social rebirth.
Now if you have been living under a rock you may wonder: “How did we get here?” that question can be answered quickly. We got here because of George Floyd, Tony McDae, and Breonna Taylor. All 3 black PEOPLE who were murdered by the police. In the case of Tony McDae this shows not just the ongoing injustices faced by black men but also by the injustices faced by black TRANS PEOPLE. Breonna Taylor’s murder shows the injustice faced by BLACK WOMEN everyday. George Floyd’s murder shows that to be black in America means to have your humanity rejected.
Now the state is responding to our rebellions by cracking down further and attempting to push martial law. The state is attempting to being in the troops to Minneapolis to put down the rebellion. This will only launch us into a revolution. The state has in fact pushed many unconstitutional rules onto the people such as curfews. In Washington DC many believe that cell signals were jammed from 1 am to 6 am on May 31st 2020. In Philadelphia the National Guard has live rounds. In many cities around the country the police have been using rubber bullets. The police have still killed many and even left the body of David McTee in the street for 12 hours. The police have assaulted peaceful protesters, destroyed water of protesters along with reporters.
So this leads me to answer the question of this article. What is to be done today? We now must stockpile weapons by any means necessary, and commit to creating a Black people’s militia. We must also seek to create communes for our people during time. We must interconnect (confederate) them as well to bring true resistance to this fascist we will face. Within these communes we must have community councils, neighborhood assemblies, municipal councils, regional councils and the like. We must defend ourselves and we must stay militant. Their is no going back from here. The state has done it’s best to destroy peaceful change all this has done is make violent a necessity.
It is important to remember however that people are doing mutual aid and solidarity on their own. This includes giving out expropriated goods, donating them to people asking for food and more. The people may not realize it but they have created an Autonomous Zone. They have freed themselves from the police. This may be temporary but this is an important step. This is something we must seek to persevere the state can and will destroy it if they are able. This informal commune is only an extension of what we as black people have done before. This can be seen through the Ogeechee Insurrection and the like. However we as people are coming together and practicing solidarity when free of the state and it’s agents of destruction. We are fighting. We are winning and we shall overcome. To paraphrase Malcolm X The US has put a knife our back and for a long time has not acknowledged it. Now they have acknowledged that knife but only because we took it out ourselves. Now they are scared of what we are doing with it.
We are living through history now and we must remember history is written by the victors. For that it is necessary for us as colonized people to win this.
From the sidelines as someone not in a city with protests and an uprising I can only say this: Thank you and good luck we the people shall win and we shall overcome.
In solidarity and in struggle
Black Flag Catalyst
Autonomous Zone and their fallout
A significant amount has changed since my last article. In this article I talk about how the protests must take the next step and go to the creation of communes. This unfortunately did not happen. However autonomous zones were created. These zones were successful in some cases, and unsuccessful in others. However creating Temporary Autonomous Zones (TAZ) is a strategy I briefly mentioned in part 2 of this series. This strategy can be defined as “taking over areas and turning them into their own zone free from the state,capitalism and other oppressive hierarchies.” Within part two I mentioned that informal TAZs were being created. Naturally this culminated last month (June 2020) in the creation of formal TAZs. The most “famous” of which being CHAZ/CHOP. Both referring to the same place but both meaning different things. CHAZ meaning Capital Hill Autonomous Zone and CHOP meaning Capital Hill Occupied Protest.
For simplicity sake I will refer to this as just CHAZ from here on out. The failures of CHAZ are well documented. The lack of formal decision making in the form of direct democracy led to a large amount of confusion on the ground. However there are other places that do and do not call themselves Autonomous Zones but function similarly. From the Black Hill Autonomous Zone,The Rayshard Brooks Peace Center and many more. The most successful example is JTD Camp which is run by homeless people in Philly which is still running as of early July. Next I will be talking about why JTD Camp is succeeding where others have failed.
JTD Camp has what seems to be some form of consensus based, directly democratic decision making and is centered around concrete material demands. These demands all benefit the people directly through providing permanent low income housing along with addressing police mistreatment of unhoused people. The people of JTD Camp have repeatedly asked for city council members and other city officials to meet directly with them. City officials have not met with the people nor met a single demand. This area is being considered a No Cop Zone, something CHAZ tried to meet but failed at as police were repeatedly let back into the zone. No cops have come to JTD Camp. The people are showing they can take care of themselves. Further the Workers Revolutionary Collective is helping organize the people. The staunch anti-capitalism and demand that the city eliminate the police along with creating a community land trust create strong libertarian socialist/anarchic vibes and demands. These demands allow the people to have a foundation which CHAZ did not have unfortunately. Yet despite these gains the city is planning on demolishing JTD Camp on July 15th. To combat this I recommend to donate to the camp and to sign the change.org petition.
Lastly I will answer the title question: What is to be done today? What we must do today is create revolutionary collectives. These collectives can be used to create food cooperatives, community land trusts and the like. This does not need to be of people on the ground exclusively. This can take the form of twitch streams coming together and creating a collective where they use the money raised to develop food co-operatives that buy food in bulk then sell individual food at the lowest price possible. The goal would not be to have a profit but to meet the needs to buy food and sell food.
This can also be used to help create situations like JTD camp where they will be able to create permanent low income housing in the form of community land trusts (CLT). Yet once we have CLTs we must not stop. We must confederate (interconnect) these CLTs across state, and city lines. This will be used to take away from the private market and transition into a solidarity economy.
Then in addition to CLTs and food cooperatives we must create community self defense groups to protect our natural resources from the state, and private investors. We must oppose pipelines,we must oust “land developers” and other exploitative people from our communities. This will put us in a situation where we will be able to fight back against the state,capitalism, and other forms of violence such as white supremacy, LGBTQIA+phobia, patriarchy, ableism and more. This will allow us to bring the people to our side and allow them to fight for themselves on their own behalf. We must start this now we must win and we must fight.
So this leads to the question of “what is a revolutionary collective?.” A revolutionary collective can be defined as a group of revolutionaries in a group for a specific purpose that is designed to raise money and use that money to create on the ground projects. One such example is the Workers Revolutionary Collective which has helped organize JTD Camp, yet does not control the people of JTD Camp. This allows the people to still control themselves and create their own demands. This can be expanded to other sectors outside of work such as connecting tenant unions into one big collective. Or to create collectives that teach people to build their own internet to decrease and hopefully eliminate the need for big internet companies such as Comcast which exploits the workers and has a near monopoly on the industry. These collectives have a near infinite potential on what they can help build to defeat and overcome the capitalist class in the economic sense. Our next move must be to build revolutionary collectives where we live and where we work. In addition to the current protests with revolutionary collectives we will have a real chance to achieve collective liberation from capitalism,white supremacy, patriarchy, LGBTQIA+phobia, ableism and all future and current oppressive hierarchical forms of oppression. Through the creation of revolutionary collectives we will create free association and anarchy.
Black Flag Catalyst