Monday, June 29, 2009

Funny and brilliant direct action in the UK!


From libcom.org. A group of housing activists have entered and occupied the house of expenses-scandal hit husband and wife Anne and Alan Keene.

Both Labour MPs they were known as “Mr and Mrs Expenses” two years before the MP spending scandal broke; Mrs Keen, a health minister recently admitted making an expense claim for private hospital treatment for a member of her staff. At the centre of their scandal was their double mortgage claim, where they illegally used Parliamentary expenses to pay interest on the mortgages of both their homes – one of which has now been occupied by outraged locals along with activists from all backgrounds and nationalities.

It was revealed several days ago that they faced having their Hounslow constituency home repossessed by the council after leaving it empty for over a year. The £385,000 three-bedroom terrace was being renovated whilst they stayed in their central home London near Parliament which they billed the public £137,679 for. After an alleged falling out with the builders the house was left empty, but at a local residents meeting a member of the public alerted activists to the location of the house, and 2 days ago it was occupied.

Speaking by phone one of the occupants explained why they had taken the building and what they wanted to happen.

“We want to get back something that has been taken from us in the expenses scandal. Everyone pays taxes, either directly or through VAT on their shopping - we’ve all been taken from. There are 10,000 people on the housing waiting list in Hounslow alone – and people like the Keens are spending our money on keeping houses empty.”

“Everyone who is needs housing should occupy empty buildings, but as Anne Keene voted in favour of the war in Iraq, displacing and killing millions of people, we demand she gets in touch with refugee centres to make reparations. In the meantime, the house will hopefully become a refugee centre and home to some of the people she made homeless through poverty and war.”

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dead Dogma Sketch (apologies to Monty Python)


From anarchistwriters.com:

Revolutionary: 'Ello, I wish to register a complaint
(the SWP does not respond)
R: 'Ello, Stalinist?
SWP: What do you mean 'Stalinist'?
R: I'm sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint!
SWP: We don't have time for your contribution, sorry.
R: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this ideology what I embraced not half an hour ago at this very conference.
SWP: Oh yes, the, uh, the Russian Bolshevik... What's, uh... wrong with it?
R: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. Its dead, that's what's wrong with it!
SWP: No, no, its, uh, . . . its resting.
R: Look, matey, I know a dead ideology when I see one, I'm looking at one right now.
SWP: No no, its not dead, its resting! Remarkable ideology the Russian Bolshevik, idn'it, ay? Beautiful rhetoric.
R: The rhetoric don't enter into it. It's stone dead.
SWP: Nononononono, no, no, its resting!
R: All right then, if its resting, I'll wake it up!
(shouting at the meeting)
'Ello Mister Bolshevik! Do you know that Lenin and Trotsky advocated party dictatorship....
(SWP ignores point)
SWP: There, we replied to you.
R: No you didn't, that was you ignoring what I said.
SWP: We never!
R: Yes, you did!
SWP: We never, ever ignore anything...
R: (making the same point repeatedly)
Lenin and Trotsky eliminated workers democracy in the army and in the workplace. The Bolsheviks disbanded soviets with non-Bolshevik majorities. All before the start of the Civil War. Lenin and Trotsky both advocated party dictatorship. Moreover, they explicitly argued for it and against the idea of class dictatorship. This is your nine o'clock alarm call!
(raises points at meeting and watches them get ignored).
R: Now that's what I call a dead ideology.

SWP: No, no.... No, it was stunned by the counter-revolution!
R: STUNNED?!?
SWP: Yeah, counter-revolution stunned it, just as it was about to implement socialism, workers' power and democracy! The Russian Bolshevik stuns easily, comrade.
R: Um . . . now look ... now look mate, I've definitely 'ad enough of this. This ideology is definitely deceased and when I embraced it not 'alf an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of freedom and democracy in 1921 was due to it being tired and shagged out following a prolonged civil war, yet these events occurred before it started.
SWP: Well, its... its, ah ... probably pining for 1917.
R: PININ' for 1917!?!?!?! What kind of talk is that? Look, why did it overthrow soviet democracy the moment it got rejected in the soviet elections in spring 1918? Why did it abolish by decree elected soldier committees in March 1918? Why did it reject workers' self-management by factory committees and advocate one-man management with dictatorial powers in the spring of 1918?
SWP: The Russian Bolshevik prefers centralised power! Only that is true democracy-local elections, soldier councils and factory committees don't matter when you have a central government elected by the soviets. Remarkable ideology, id'nit, squire? Lovely rhetoric!
R: Look, I took the liberty of examining that ideology when I got home, and I discovered that the only reason that it was still in power in 1921 was that it had imposed a one party dictatorship, repressed all worker dissent, crushed waves of strikes and protests and, finally, suppressed the Kronstadt revolt (which was demanding free soviet elections). Moreover, it justified party dictatorship and claimed it had to be used in every revolution.
(pause)
SWP: Well, o'course it had to do that! If it hadn't crushed those popular movements then the Whites would have won and no more soviet power. Give it another chance and VOOM! Socialism!
R: VOOM!?! Mate, this ideology wouldn't go "voom" if you put four million volts through it! Soviet Power without soviet elections? Socialism without workers management of production? Secret Police? It is "childish nonsense" to draw a distinction between dictatorship by the party and by the class? (Lenin) The "dictatorship of the proletariat is at the same time the dictatorship of the Communist Party."? (Zinoviev) The "revolutionary dictatorship of a proletarian party" is "an objective necessity"? (Trotsky) Its bleeding demised!
SWP: No no, its pining!
R: Its not pining! Its passed on! This ideology is dead! It has long ceased to be revolutionary (if it ever was)! Its expired and become a dictatorship! It's a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! Its analytical processes are now history! It shuffled away from the socialist movement, imposed party dictatorship, and justified it time and time again! This is an ex-socialist theory!
SWP: Well, I had better ignore what you are saying and keep repeating the dogma.
(he takes a quick peek to the Central Committee)
SWP: Sorry comrade, I've checked and your three minutes are up and we're right out of time.
R: I see. I see, I get the picture.
SWP: Fancy a copy of Socialist Worker?
(pause)
R: Pray, does it talk about anarchism, the real socialism from below?
SWP: Nnnnot really.
R: WELL IT'S HARDLY A BLOODY REPLACEMENT, IS IT?!!???!!?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

National cuts Adult and Community Education funding


Cuts to Adult and Community Education funding (ACE) pushed through by the National Government is a grave issue and a real attack on a primary learning tool for workers.

The cuts kick in from January 1, 2010 and will result in a drop in funding to the sector of $152 million over four years –$19.4 million from January 1, 2010 to June 2010, $40.4 million in 2010-2011, $44.7 million in 2011-2012, and $48.4 million in 2012-2013.

From the Star on Friday:

"Many people will simply not be able to afford adult classes, so The Star believes the cuts are a brutally bad decision - particularly when the Government has just injected $35million into private schools..."

National has been making large cuts to a number of vital resources, including Sustainable Learning programs and Early Childhood Education (to name just a few among many). Naturally, when a vast majority of people have no control whatsoever over the decisions that most deeply and directly affect their lives, the few — who own or control the means of production, accumulate wealth, make the laws — will use the whole machinery of the State to perpetuate and reinforce their positions as it deems fit.

From Scoop:

"It was a neat cover-up on budget night. The government painted education as a winner because overall education funding increased by 2.9 percent from $10.5 billion to $10.8 billion. Not bad in the teeth of a developing recession. However most of the extra spending was for capital development for new schools and what was hidden from view was a wide range of savage cuts in all areas of public education.

The funding cuts for ACE are particularly harsh and it is here that the greatest community impact will be felt. Funding for these programmes in the tertiary sector has been almost halved while the subsidies high school night classes have been slashed by four fifths."


Not sure yet what kind of community resistance to these cuts is being formed (besides the Labour Party's petition) and calls for emailing your local National MP. Are ACE organising protest action? WEA? Trying to get in touch with ACE and community netwoks at the moment but please post if there is any community or workplace resistance/direct action being formed in your area.

In solidarity.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Quote of the Week


"The first thing we have to understand in order to understand capitalism is class. Class is not an economic category, as we are often led to believe. Class is determined by much more than how much money one makes.

In order to understand class, we have to first understand how we relate to the capitalist system through the work that we do. Does the work you do produce profit for someone? Do you receive only the equivalent of a small portion (if anything) of what you produce or enable to be produced? If you are a blue or white collar waged-worker, a student, an unemployed person, a homemaker, an artist, or a farmer the answer is most likely a resounding "YES!"

The second thing we have to understand in order to understand class is our power-relation to capitalism. Do you have the power to hire & fire people? Do you have the power to create and/or enforce laws, start wars, etc.? Do you have the power to impose wage-slavery? Do you own and control the means of production / reproduction? Do you have any real power over the people who do any of the above? If you are a blue or white collar waged-worker, a student, an unemployed person, a homemaker, an artist, or a farmer the answer is most likely a resounding "NO!".

Answering "yes" to the first question and "no" the second set of questions means that you are working class, a member of what is sometimes called the proletariat. It means that the majority of the fruits of your labor (whether that labor is producing and distributing commodities or reproducing the labor necessary for the production and distribution of commodities) are taken from you in exchange for a fraction (if anything) of what you deserve. It means that you have very little, if any, real social power over the capitalist system...

...Capitalism is the struggle that rages between two classes. The notion of middle class is invoked by the ruling class to obscure this struggle, but the middle class is a myth. There has been no middle class for a long time."


— from '(the) Mechanics for Disrepair: Globalization, Capitalism and Some Ideas on What to Do About It'.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Katipo Books: June Update


Katipo Books is pleased to announce the arrival of our latest shipment of books! With this in mind, we could write a big June update on new members, shop stuff, ideas on the Co-Op itself — or simply list a range of the new books... we chose the books. Have a look! www.katipo.net.nz

Reproduce and Revolt!: A Graphic Toolbox for the 21st Century Activist
Reproduce and Revolt! is a graphic toolbox for political activists all over the world. The book contains 300+ exciting high quality illustrations and graphics about social justice and political activism for use on flyers, posters, t-shirts, brochures, stencils, and any other graphic aspects of political campaigns...

Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman On Sexism And The Scapegoating Of Femininity
A provocative manifesto, Whipping Girl tells the powerful story of Julia Serano, a transsexual woman whose supremely intelligent writing reflects her diverse background as a lesbian transgender activist and professional biologist...

An Anarchist FAQ
This exhaustive volume, the first of two, seeks to provide answers for the curious and critical about anarchist theory, history, and practice. More a reference volume than a primer, An Anarchist FAQ eschews curt answers and engages with questions in a thorough, matter-of-fact style...

IWW: Its First One Hundred Years 1905-2005
The IWW: Its First 100 Years is the most comprehensive history of the union ever published. Written by two Wobblies who lived through many of the struggles they chronicle, it documents the famous struggles such as the Lawrence and Paterson strikes, the fight for decent conditions in the Pacific Northwest timber fields, the IWW's pioneering organizing among harvest hands in the 1910s and 1920s, and the wartime repression that sent thousands of IWW members to jail...

Visions Of Peace And Justice: San Francisco Bay Area: 1974-2007 - Over 30 Years Of Political Posters From The Archives Of Inkworks Press
Visions of Peace & Justice contains over 400 full color reproductions of political posters from the archives of Inkworks Press. Inkworks is a worker collective-union shop-green business in Berkeley, CA started in 1974...

We, The Anarchists!
Stuart Christie's analysis covers the history of Spanish anarchism and the Spanish Civil War, the affinity group organization of the FAI, and the misreadings and outright lies told about the FAI in numerous popular accounts of the period. We, the Anarchists! also provides lessons for today's largely neutered labor movement...

Essential Rosa Luxemburg
This new, authoritative introduction to Rosa Luxemburg's two most important works presents the full text of 'Reform or Revolution' and 'The Mass Strike', with explanatory notes, appendices, and introductions...

Land Before Honour: Palestinian Women In The Occupied Territories
Through interviews with women of all ages and social backgrounds, from grandmothers who grew up under the restrictions of traditional village life to educated young fighters, this book examines various key areas - agriculture, education, political action, expectations of marriage, religious and social ideologies - and reveals the different ways in which women see themselves, their experiences, and their place in the Palestine of the future...

Making A Killing: The Political Economy of Animal Rights
"Bob Torres' Making a Killing draws a very straight line between capitalism and the oppressive system of animal agribusiness. Drawing from social anarchist theory, Torres provides a convincing argument that in order to fight animal exploitation, we must also fight capitalism and, in doing so, animal rights activists will need to reconsider their methods and redirect their focus....

Please Don't Feed The Bears: A Vegan Cookbook
A vegan cookbook in the vein of Soy Not Oi with hundreds of recipes and a wide variety of interesting dishes in here, too many to even try and pick out a few favorites to mention...

Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice
"The publication of Rudolf Rocker's Anarcho-Syndicalism is an event of much importance for people who are concerned with problems of liberty and justice. Rocker expresses throughout his faith in the capacity of ordinary people to construct for themselves a world suited to their inner needs, to create and participate in an advancing culture of liberation in free communities, to discover through their own thought and engagement the institutional arrangements that can best satisfy their deeply rooted striving for freedom, justice, compassion and solidarity, at a particular historical moment...

Don't Need You: The Herstory Of Riot Grrrl DVD
"Don't Need You" is a documentary film that tells the story of the origins of Riot Grrrl in the American independent music scene of the 1990s, and how this feminist movement evolved into a revolutionary underground network of education and self-awareness through music, writing, activism, and women-friendly community....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Strategy and Struggle: Anarcho-Syndicalism in the 21st Century


A pamphlet produced in January 2009 by Brighton Solidarity Federation as a clarification of the meaning of anarcho-syndicalism in the 21st century, and as a contribution to the debate over strategy and organisation. Click here to read the full text.

Below I've included the main section from the text I found most valuable, especially in terms of form and content.


ON FORM AND CONTENT (THE PRIMACY OF STRUGGLE)

"Communist revolution is the creation of non-profit, non-mercantile, co-operative and fraternal social relations, which implies smashing the State apparatus and doing away with the division between firms, with money as the universal mediator (and master), and with work as a separate activity. That is the content… this content won’t come out of any kind of form. Some forms are incompatible with the content. We can’t reason like the end was the only thing that mattered: the end is made out of means."
– Gilles Dauvé (2008)

Anarcho-syndicalism is commonly associated with particular organisational forms, namely revolutionary unions, mass meetings and mandated, recallable delegate councils. But it cannot be forgotten that these forms are necessarily the expression of some content. This is much like how a pot-maker can fashion many forms from a single lump of clay, but cannot fashion anything without the clay to start with. Structure requires substance, content precedes form. However we are not philosophers interested in such niceties for their own sake, but for their practical implications. So what is this content to which anarcho-syndicalism seeks to give form?

Simply, it is class struggle. Conflict between classes is immanent to capitalism, since capital is defined by our exploitation. We understand class struggle as a process of self-organisation to collectively advance our concrete, human needs as workers. Since these needs are in conflict with the needs of capital accumulation, the rejection of inhuman conditions carries with it the seed of a future human community; libertarian communism, the revolution described by Dauvé above. With the Workmates collective, we have an example of this content – a certain level of militancy – being given an anarcho-syndicalist form; a form which subsequently dissipated as the level of militant participation ebbed with high staff turnover and several telling defeats.

So while class struggle has primacy over the particular forms it takes, which are only means to advance our concrete needs and ultimately establish a society based on those needs, we do seek to give this struggle particular forms. These forms cannot be created from scratch, but we can seek to give disparate content a particular form, in turn focussing and developing that content. This is where the pot-maker analogy breaks down, because some forms sustain and expand the struggle while others strangle and suppress it. The relationship is dialectical in that the particular form the struggle takes in turn affects the development of the struggle. Since it is the class struggle that will create libertarian communism, we must always give it primacy over the needs of particular organisational forms. This was a lesson drawn by the Friends of Durruti when they found themselves facing expulsion from the CNT for advocating revolutionary struggle against the state of which it had become a part.


SOME NECESSARY DISTINCTIONS

"The most important thing that I would to point out, is that [in Puerto Real] we managed to create a structure whereby there was a permanent assembly taking place. In other words decisions within this particular conflict were made by those people who were directly involved in the conflict."
– Pepe Gomez, CNT (1995)

Before we can proceed further, we will need to make three conceptual distinctions. The reasons for such precision will become apparent in the following sections, as well as for properly understanding the Industrial Strategy which completes this pamphlet.

Permanent/non-permanent organisations
Pepe Gomez above describes the assemblies in Puerto Real as “permanent”, yet he also notes how they were an expression of a “particular conflict.” Perhaps ‘regular’ captures this meaning better in English. We would define a permanent organisation as one which endures between cycles of struggle – political parties, trade unions and anarchist propaganda groups are all permanent organisations. We would define non-permanent organisations as those which are inexorably the expression of a certain level of struggle and cannot outlive it without becoming something else entirely. The assemblies described by Pepe Gomez would fit into this category. For us therefore regular meetings do not equal permanent organisation.

Mass/minority organisations
We call a mass organisation one which is open to essentially all workers in whatever area it operates (we would call a popular organisation one open to all people, regardless of class). We call a minority organisation one which maintains specific, usually political criteria of membership which preclude some from joining. A trade union is an example of a mass organisation. A political group such as the Solidarity Federation is a minority organisation, since it requires agreement with specific, revolutionary aims and principles which are necessarily minority views outside of revolutionary upsurges. Some of the anti-war groups in 2002-4, at least those which organised via open public meetings as was the case in Brighton would be examples of a popular organisations.

Revolutionary/pro-revolutionary organisations
The final distinction we must draw is between revolutionary and pro-revolutionary organisations. We call revolutionary organisations those which are actually capable of making a revolution. These are necessarily mass organisations since no minority can make a revolution on behalf of the class – the pitfalls of such Leninist vanguardism are well known and don’t need repeating here. We call pro-revolutionary organisations those which are in favour of revolution but which are in no position to make it themselves. Propaganda groups would be an example of this. We do find the term ‘pro-revolutionary’ less than ideal, and in fact something like ‘agitational’ might be better. However this doesn’t immediately capture the relationship of the organisation to revolution that we are trying to convey.


ORGANISATION AND ORGANISATIONAL ROLES

"To organise is always a necessity, but the fixation on your own organisation can be perilous. Against that we believe in the diversity of groups and organisations, that arises from different situations and fulfil different needs in the flow of class struggle. Some are more temporary, while others are continuous."
– Riff Raff (1999)

We can use the distinctions in the previous section to identify four ideal types of organisation. Of course many different forms of organisation are possible, but only some are of interest to anarcho-syndicalists since only some offer the potential to develop the class struggle both in the here-and-now and ultimately in the direction of social revolution and libertarian communism. Now while these are ideal types and therefore not all actually existing organisations fit neatly into one category or the other, they do identify the real tensions present in organisations that try to defy the logic inherent to their particular organisational form. We will discuss real-world examples below to help illustrate the argument.

Mass, permanent organisations
Mass, permanent organisations are by definition de-linked from the levels of militancy of their members and class struggle more broadly. Therefore, they are not expressions of the self-organisation of workers sought by anarcho-syndicalists, but for the representation of workers as workers. We therefore recognise that neither trade unions or so-called mass workers’ parties are revolutionary organisations. In the case of trade unions, their structural role as representatives of labour power within capitalism compels them to offer disciplined workforces to the employers.

If they cannot offer the promise of industrial peace, they are in no position to negotiate. Such social partnership is inherent to the idea of mass, permanent workers representation, de-linked from class struggle. Furthermore, they divide up the class by trade and in addition to their structural limitations are bound by a host of laws just to make sure they fulfil this function, such as restrictions on secondary action and the notice needed for industrial action, all on pain of the sequestration of funds and imprisonment of officials.

If levels of militancy are low, trade unions work hand-in-hand with management to impose cuts and restructuring. If levels of struggle are higher, they will posture more militantly and operate as a limited expression of that struggle in order to appear to workers to really 'represent' their interests, calling tokenistic one-day strikes and suchlike. There are numerous recent examples.22 As and when such struggles begin to take on a self-organised character and go beyond the institutional and legal limits of the trade union form - by the development of mass meetings, wildcat action, flying pickets etc – two things can happen. The trade union will either come into conflict with the workers (as in the isolation of the Liverpool postal wildcat during the national strikes of 200723), or effectively cease to exist as a permanent organisation as it is superseded by the structures of mass meetings and the like, which as expressions of the level of militancy represent a non-permanent, potentially revolutionary supersession of the mass/permanent trade union form.

Consequently, we hold that not only are permanent mass organisations not revolutionary, but that in the final analysis they are counter-revolutionary institutions (note, we are not saying trade unionists are counter-revolutionary, the institutions are). The counter-revolutionary nature of trade unions does not arise from bad leadership, bureaucratisation and a lack of internal democracy, rather the leadership, bureaucratisation and lack of internal democracy arise from the logic of permanent mass organisations representing workers as workers. As revolutionary forms are necessarily the expression of class struggle and so necessarily non-permanent, the de-linking of form from content represents a counter-revolutionary inertia.

Of course it does not follow that we reject membership or activity within the trade unions, as their ultimately counter-revolutionary nature does not mean revolution would break out tomorrow if they suddenly ceased to be. Rather, the unions only act as a brake on struggles when they develop a degree of self-organisation in contradiction to the permanent form. Until that point, they do act as a limited expression of struggles precisely to secure their role as representatives. Consequently as workers we think it makes sense to be union members in workplaces where a trade union is recognised.

But as anarcho-syndicalists we hold no illusions in reforming them in accordance with our principles; instead arguing for, and where possible implementing, an anarcho-syndicalist strategy of mass meetings, mandated recallable delegates, delegate councils and secondary solidarity action regardless of the wishes of the union. Reforming the trade unions would be a waste of time, because the very level of self-organisation required to force such reforms would render the reforms themselves redundant, since we’d already be doing the things independently we were lobbying to be allowed to do. In workplaces where there is no recognised union, we advocate alternative structures, which will be discussed below.

Minority, permanent organisations
These are the kinds of organisation familiar to us today. There are two distinct pro-revolutionary roles for minority permanent organisations of interest to anarcho-syndicalists: propaganda groups and networks of militants. We see these as two distinct roles that organisations can fulfil. This could be attempted as a single organisation – as is the case with the SF’s current attempts to operate a dual structure of locals and industrial networks – or separate organisations, each focusing on its own role. We will elaborate our preference in the following ‘how we see it’ section, for now it is sufficient to understand that within a given type of organisation there can be distinct roles. We do not find it useful to refer to any kind of minority organisation - even an industrial/workplace one - as a union as in English in particular this has the connotations of mass organisations, for which we reserve the term.

Minority, non-permanent organisations
This type of organisation essentially mirrors minority/permanent ones, except that they will be created out of the needs of the class struggle at given times and places rather then being something we could have a general strategy for building. Examples would be the Friends of Durruti as a hybrid propaganda group/network of militants, and arguably workplace groups like McDonalds Workers Resistance,24 the informal social networks of ‘faceless resistance’ described by the Swedish communist group Kämpa Tillsammans,here." href="#footnote25_4m2r2pd">25 or some of the groups of anti-war activists that formed during the upsurge in anti-war sentiments in 2002-3. On account of their varied and non-permanent nature the only strategic approach to such organisations we can offer is to support them where they form and to try and create them in our own workplaces or localities as and when conditions permit.

Mass, non-permanent organisations
Mass, non-permanent organisations are a product of a certain level of class struggle, and therefore they cannot simply be built piecemeal by recruitment. For us, these organisations are the only type that are potentially revolutionary, as they are the mass expression of heightened class conflict. The organisations we can build in the present are the pro-revolutionary, minority ones, which can network, propagandise and agitate to develop the class struggle and give it anarcho-syndicalist forms as it develops. We think failure to recognise the fundamental difference between mass revolutionary organisations and minority pro-revolutionary organisations can only lead to practical confusion and demoralisation. Only if we recognise the relationship of organisation to class struggle can we be clear about what is possible and practical in the here and now and also how this gets us closer to the mass, revolutionary unions we want to see (more on which in the following section ‘how we see it’).

Reprise
It must be borne in mind that these four organisational types are to a certain extent idealised ones. In reality, groups exist that are in fact combinations of them. However these ideal types represent real tensions. For instance the paradox of a mass, directly democratic revolutionary organisation in times when the majority of workers are not pro-revolutionary places real limits on the size of attempts to create revolutionary unions in the here and now. Take for example the split between the Spanish CNT and the CGT over participation in state-run class collaborationist works councils.

The departure of the Swedish SAC from the International Workers Association (IWA) for similar reasons also reflects this paradox: internal democracy in a mass organisation when the majority of workers are not pro-revolutionary means the organisation has to sacrifice either internal democracy or its revolutionary principles – either way breaking with anarcho-syndicalism - the only other alternative being implausibly successful internal education to turn all members into pro-revolutionaries. Furthermore, the very co-existence of revolutionary organisations with the state is a necessarily unstable, temporary situation of dual power, they either make a revolution, are repressed, or accommodate themselves to legal existence as a regularised trade union.

Consequently while the organisational types we have described are not definitive of all actually-existing organisations, they do demonstrate the distinct types that exist and the tensions present within organisations that try to combine them. The paradox is only resolved with increased levels of class struggle and class consciousness – hence revolutionary unions are necessarily non-permanent products of struggle, and attempts to maintain them beyond the struggle of which they are an expression will see them lapse into a counter-revolutionary role. Without militant struggle they couldn’t but become organs for the representation of workers within capitalism, not the ultimate abolition of the working class...