Social Revolution Party

"Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways: The point, however, is to change it."

The Manual: A Brief What, Why, and How of the Popular Action Movement: Part 1

Posted by sorev on 30/08/2009

What:

Look upon the “Popular Action Movement” (PAM) as being the New State. Unlike the current State this new state would be us, the people ourselves, organised. There should be no State that stands above the people and governs them: for the state must in fact be the people. There should be no departments and ministries1. There will have to be people doing specific jobs at specific times, but this does not mean that there will need to be an administration; in fact, we must eliminate administration and management. In other words, we are not describing a protest movement here. Nor are we describing a political party. Thus the programme becomes: How do we provide goods and services for ourselves? How do we want to control the ownership of private and capital property? Do we want to outlaw interpersonal exploitation? We have to get used to thinking as a free people rather than as petitioners who beg the state for crumbs here-and-there. We are interested neither in begging the state to look after us nor in voting for which people will look after us. It is necessary that we get used to being free and having to figure out how to run society for ourselves. We will figure these things out in the process of doing them.

Why:

For some time now, in fact for longer than many care to admit, but especially for the last ten years and intensifying over the past four or five years, there has been a marked concentration of wealth in the hands of very few people. Entities referred to as Corporations are drawing the wealth of society into themselves. This concentration of wealth has been accompanied by very little actual wealth creation with the result that most people have been getting poorer while a few people have been getting much richer.

Where is this wealth coming from and where is it pooling? In general wealth is flowing away from wage and salary earners and towards people who are deemed to own capital. The situation is more nuanced than this of course. Corporate financial entities are gaining control over most of the wealth and the people who control these financial corporations are directing the use of this wealth. In other words there is a group or class of people who work for wages and salaries and a group or class of people who control and direct the wealth that is created. (There are also people who partake of both aspects and also those who fall beneath the entire process.) The two sets or classes of people mentioned first thus have an antagonistic relationship with each other and have different interests. The people controlling the wealth understand these things. Most of the people being stripped of their wealth don’t. Most of those being stripped of their wealth don’t want to understand these things. In fact, many working people don’t even want to be considered working people, and in spite of every sign of a shrinking personal and social wage, deny that this drift of wealth away from themselves is happening. Many people who acknowledge that it is happening claim that this drift of wealth into the hands of transnational bankster cartels is a good thing. Or others claim that nothing can be done about it: we can work to overcome the worst of the consequences but the process itself it untouchable and unstoppable (the NDP line).

Although most people know and understand, very few will acknowledge that the concentration of wealth in the hands of the very rich is a political decision, agreed to and supported by all of the major parties in Canada, and in fact does not have to be happening. Let me repeat: the impoverishment of working people is actively (actively!) sought by all of the major parties (Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, Bloc) in Canada. The mass media support the impoverishment of working people. Most of the supporters of the impoverishment of working people don’t claim to be supporters of this policy. The supporters of the concentration of wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer and fewer people mainly pretend that it is not happening, or that it has to happen, or even that it is a good thing.

Furthermore: Capital has to return 5% on investment; if the economy is not growing at 5% or better the stolen wealth can’t come from the pie getting bigger but rather has to come from some sector of society other than the bankster sector. It comes from a variety of places: the public sector through cut backs and profitisations; it comes from working people through the destruction of decent jobs and their replacement with low paying jobs and through the slow robbery of inflation; and it also comes from the industrial and commercial capitalists who are now the servants of the banksters. Social programmes are robbed. State owned businesses, for example: water, electrical, gas and medical delivery have to be profitised. The Third World has to be increasingly impoverished and their resources stolen. Countries with a large social sector: the National Socialist Ba’athist regimes, Eastern European countries, Iran, North Korea, China and so on have to be destroyed and their state enterprises, mineral resources etc. have to be internationalised and profitised. Their social programmes have to be wiped out in order for capital to survive. These activities are on the agenda of all major political parties in North America and most in Europe. The European governments are pursuing these policies even though they were elected not to. When people say that these policies have to be followed and that the best we can do is to minimise the damage they are partially correct. They are correct unless one is willing to strike at the cause of all of this destruction and suffering: the rule of capital over labour (called the Dictatorship of the Bourgeoisie).

Let’s return our gaze to capital stripping the state. This process is quite far advanced in the United States of America. The National Debt continues to rise. The interest on the National Debt for the month of June 2006 was US$ 98,255,216,240.82. There will come a time when they can’t even afford the interest on the debt. It is our contention that the system in the U.S. of A. will be destroyed by the forces of Capitalism itself. Capitalism is beset by periodic crises of overproduction which lead to crises of unemployment. These crises are chronicled; we know when they happened, the events leading up to them, the severity and the duration etc. At the time that this document was originally written, everyone was predicting an oncoming serious recession or depression. We are currently in the midst of the predicted depression. Unfortunately, the current depression will not destroy the current system; it will take two more downturns in the economy, each one more severe than the previous, to destroy this system. In other words we are three downturns away from the end of the system. One will happen almost immediately and two more will occur with eight to twelve years between them. As State services terminate chaos will develop.

This is where PAM: The New State comes in. There has never been a situation where poor people have made a Revolution to overthrow rich people. That is a romantic fantasy. A Revolution occurs when the Rich and Powerful do not control the State: for example, the English Revolution 1642 – 1649, the French Revolution 1789 – 1793, the U.S. Revolution 1776 – 1783. The other time a Revolution can occur is when the State ceases to function owing to general collapse of State Institutions: for example Russia 1917 – 1919, China 1924 – 1949. (At present there are several Revolutions going on in remote areas of the world where there is no effective State presence). We are building the Popular Action Movement now, so that it can be an organised force when the Institutions of State Power dissolve sometime between 2020 and 2050.

One should also take into account that the nature of the State is changing. Under pressure from capital to profitise the services provided by the State, it is returning to its pre-1860’s nature: that is to say a bare skeleton. Before the mid-nineteenth century the State owned very little and did very little. What there was of Social Services were mainly run by the Church. There was no Post Office. Many roads were private. Much of the army was private. We can look forward to a pre-Victorian State: a small group of people who award contracts to each other. Areas of the country which prove to be unprofitable (roads up North for example), or certain services (pensions and affordable housing for example), will just cease to exist. These services will only exist if the we are able to do it for ourselves. In a failed State situation capitalists will take the cream. For example there will only be a postal service where it makes money. Hospitals and procedures will only be found where they make money and only rich people will be able to afford to use them. Services will be a business like any other and will only be found where there is a return on investment.

Also we will have to be organised enough to compete with global capital in those areas in which they are profiting, that is where they will still be found. Further, working people will also have to contend with local capital moving in to replace global capital. Local capital merely replicates the system and renews interpersonal exploitation only with a lower living standard and less efficiently.

Coping Mechanisms and our self-willed decay:

Two mechanisms employed by people in the face of shrinking real wages, generally disguised as rising prices, are to do without and/or to go further into debt. People under thirty-five or so often find themselves going without. They often don’t know that they are going without because they aren’t fully aware of the sorts of options that were available to people in their situation twenty years ago. Houses, holidays, travel, home furnishings, wardrobes, cars and other toys for adults were more readily available. Higher education was open to a wider strata of society and upon completion the graduate was left with a smaller debt, more options and generally greater buying power.

People in their twenties find themselves tasting fewer of these pleasures and/or building a greater debt for themselves in order to have them. Their debt is accumulated mainly in the quest for a higher education. Other aspects of experience/acquisition are indulged in to a lesser extent than they were by people a generation ago. This is often true in the case of purchasing a house and of family life in general. For their part, older people often are drawing down the equity on their houses in order to maintain their “middle-class” life styles.2

The Result of these Coping Mechanisms:

Doing without, cutting back and going further into debt are nonsustainable mechanisms for the maintenance of a thriving economy.3 These non-sustainable coping mechanisms are the only reactions available to us as the objects of history.4 But in fact these reactions, these coping mechanisms, serve merely to undercut still further the already faltering economy. The economy is driven by what is referred to as effective demand. In other words, the housing industry is not driven by peoples’ need for houses but by people with ready cash who want to buy houses. That is, for the demand to be effective it has to be able to be put into effect.

Without cash (or credit) there is no effective demand. The problem of the concentration of wealth by the very rich and the impoverishing of most of society is continuing and is supported by the two major parties in the U.S. and by the four major parties in Canada. There is no reason for this trend to turn around. Over 99% of the voters in Canada and the U.S. support it. It will continue. It will destroy our society. In twenty or thirty years the social fabric will tear.5 The roads will fall apart. The school systems will cease to exist. The hospitals will close; in fact health care will cease to exist. The lights will go out. Food will not come through from the South. Fuel will be unattainable. This does not have to happen! It is merely a political decision, or political programme; one that is promoted by all four major political parties in Canada and one which almost every voter supports. It is a political decision that over 99% of Canadians and Yanks are in favour of. It will happen. We are witnessing the Fall of Rome. It is self willed and self caused. Everyone seems to support it and everyone supports political parties that are promoting it. It is very bizarre.

Self Organisation:

Thus our survival depends on our ability to organise ourselves to provide for ourselves. In other words, we must take our future into our own hands and to become actors rather than objects. As the current supply and command lines fall apart new ones will take their place. Thus we have an opportunity to replace a failed system of alienation and exploitation with a democratic collective response. One in which Labour rules. One in which millions of people can organise themselves without a new clique taking over.6

Our organisational norm must be Democracy. We are attempting, as individuals to work out our individual salvation. We are coming together not to acquire new supervisors and new bosses but to enhance our personal liberation through a pooling of resources. Further, and just as important, to live a full life in this climate people have to live in a community. It may be possible to live alone for a short period of time, but, as the saying goes, “heavy work calls for many hands.” We do not seek security, comfort and a social wage through collective action in order to be brought under someone else’s control. In fact one’s struggle against alienation is just as important as one’s struggle against economic scarcity. Many of us will gladly give up some worldly comfort in order to live a freer less alienated life.7

These reasons and many others spur us on to build Democracy into any collective response to social or economic problems. Let’s unite our desire for a self-actualising existence with Democratic practice, that is, let’s achieve Democratic Praxis.

End Notes

1. This introduces the question of “line command”.
2. The rich getting much richer and the poor getting much poorer are even stronger trends in the U.S. than they are in Canada. It should be noted that all three major political parties in English Canada (as well as the Bloc in Quebec) want Canada to integrate to a greater extent with the U.S. economy and to become more like the U.S. socially, politically and economically. With no force opposing and every force encouraging greater similarity and integration we have to assume that this is the way of the future. We can expect, at least over the next ten years, that we will become more warlike, have greater differences between rich and poor, have less access to health and education, higher unemployment, more people in jail, more crime, more racism, more interpersonal brutality, more pollution and more carcinogens among the many other benefits that being like Yanks will bring: including being hated by the rest of the world. The Conservatives are all over this. The Liberals are into “deep integration” and the NDP is convinced that becoming like Yanks will solve the problems in Auto, Steel, Lumber, Beef, Base Metals and advanced technology. Thus we can assume that the road we are on, that of the ruin of the working and middle classes, will continue and even accelerate. We are all agreed that the only option for Canada and Canadians is to copy the U.S. social and economic model. We should tie ourselves to the U.S. so that Parliament is no longer sovereign. We should be governed by treaties between the two countries rather than by the laws of our land. In other words Congress trumps Parliament. Thus we can posit a future in Canada controlled by the destiny of the U.S. The problems faced by Canadians with respect to health care, education, falling wages, increasing unemployment, jailing of people because they aren’t white, increased interpersonal brutality etc., etc. are more acute in the U.S. Over 99% of English Canadians support Political parties that work towards greater integration of Canadian Society into the social and political norms of the U.S. It will happen. There is absolutely no doubt about it. Ask Ignatieff. Ask Layton. They are totally in favour of the “Americanisation” of Canada. It will happen. It is happening. It will continue to happen.
3. One should note how anti-popular that sentence was. That is the type of wording one finds in essays on political economy. That’s because most essays concerning political economy are written by hirelings of the ruling class who don’t concern themselves with the plight of the masses. A popular essay such as this one written for and by working people has different concerns. We don’t look at the economy as some sort of computer model in which we juggle parameters. No, we look at how we can control the levers of production, and in harmony with nature, provide for our needs: physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual.
4. We seek to be the subjects, the actors. We have to make history and fashion our lives. We will no longer merely re-act to our circumstances. We will create our circumstances.
5. An explanation of how this estimate was arrived at appears later in The Manual.
6. A headline concerning the Zionist war-crimes in Lebanon read “Vigil in Liverpool Fails to Stop Bombing”. And yes, the article was even better. We are not alone in understanding that actual functioning structure on the ground, for example a Bicycle Co-op, is more valuable than peace Marches. If one were a police agent, one would be best to organise peace marches; they keep radicals from doing something useful. As someone said to me “But we have to do something! Well Marches are next to nothing. One should not confuse a peace march with getting organised. Only through the democratic Organisation of our class will we get anywhere.
7. Alienation comes in many sizes and models. One form that bedevils Canadians is alienation from community: we are often isolated individuals lacking the reality of Social Solidarity.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: