Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Identity Politics Ala Mode

On Organization and oppressive social relationships
by Joaquin Cienfuegos - SCAF-LA

Building a Revolutionary Movement

A revolutionary movement is needed and must be built in order for us to free ourselves and we need to build solidarity with each other and oppressed people everywhere -- with that being said, we also need revolutionary organization.

On Organization

I think we need to change the oppressive social relationships while we're building a revolutionary organization and a revolutionary movement.

Some anarchists do focus only on the organization and not on the actual politics, revolutionary vision, or challenging capitalist social relations.

They take on an obscure anti-statist position, without looking at imperialism and the specific conditions that have devoloped because of capitalism. For example, in the US, one cannot just take on the issue of class, with out discussing issues of culture, race, gender -- because this is how capitalism has developed -- on the backs of racially, culturally, and all oppressed people and with a white heterosexual male supremacist ideology.

These are the specific conditions to the US.

The solution to these problems and strategy should be always a topic and priority in revolutionary organizing. The overall strategy should come from our actual experience in collective experience in struggle -- not from sitting in a room theorizing. Theory is complimentary to our actual experience in struggle. Organization I think is necessary to actually carry out the revolutionary process -- otherwise we will not be successful in defeating imperialism.

At the same time we cannot become who we are trying to defeat in the process, we should not take on the oppressive social relationships that exist and we should not be a reflection of the capitalists. We should build the structures and relationships that we would like to replace capitalism with. This should not be confused with building more national bureaucracies that reflect the state or building a network that is too incoherent to be effective in anything besides within the activist subculture.

The issue of land and regional autonomy is important and I think in different parts of the world where feudal neocolonial conditions exist -- the question of land is key to revolution. The struggle for self-determination is part of the struggle of human liberation in general. In the US and other imperialist countries (there is a difference with countries like the US, Britain, France and other imperialist countries who exploit the people and the resources of the "Third World" through military force) the question of land is different -- because they do not have a peasantry who's livelihood is rooted in land (there's more industrialized agricultural regions in imperialist societies). There are however communities and regions that have develped historically and historically oppressed regions and communities. There is also unevenness between regions and communities -- where there is a lack of resources and great deal of state repression. Those communities are usually working class and people of color communities. Autonomy will give oppressed people, regions, and communities the opportunity to develop their way of life and culture that has been stolen and suppressed because of colonialism.

This though will require organization, and you cannot build revolutionary communities in isolation. These communities can connect, communicate, share resources, unite in tactics and develop a clear vision and strategy (program) to take on the capitalist and imperialist system through a federation. They can connect and build in solidarity with other regions nationally and internationally. A federation will also allow specific regions with specific histories and conditions, for example the South West and the history of the oppression of indigenous people, Chicanos and Mexicanos, the South and the oppression of Black people. Although people of color, women, queer people, working class people, immigrants, are oppressed everywhere there are specific histories and conditions in different communities.

Organizations that are built anywhere in the world should strategize around their own specific conditions -- there won't be one formula for the revolution internationally.



Anonymous said...

I don't think I was promoting identity politics. I was stating the actual social relationships that exist in society. I didn't want to separate into different camps based on your identity -- build a revolutionary organization that is conscious about their politics and oppression (not just the state). I wasn't trying to create a hiearchy of oppressions.

in response,


P-CRAC said...

P-CRAC would like to extend this thought to our good friend Joaquin...

lighten up dumbass. It was a mild jab meant in fun.

If P-CRAC was patriarchal we would think of calling you a whiny pussy. Luckily we aren't so we won't call you that.