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The (Im)Possibilities of Winning with Coercion and Resistance?

Blog posts are the work of individual contributors, reflecting their thoughts, opinions and research.

Cooperatives, →Dominion Stories

The essay [PDF link] below covers lessons from past revolutionary movements, in such a way as to point out what it takes to win, mostly via what lessons there are for us today to enable better eyes towards better directions. It uses much of its historic and contemporary examples (from the Anti-Nuke, to Battle of Seattle, to Toronto G20) to spur us towards creating a stronger movement and our own strong-holds, or rather, alternative models which can build our own capacity and allow us and our rationales their own ground to stand on… Alternative models that allow us to fight within our own paradigm, which provides the firm ground of our own internally consistent rationales… so that we aren’t tearing at the edges of capitalism’ rationales from within their theory… If we’re saying no to parts of their overall model from within it, then even if we succeed in shredding the parts, we still land within their model.

If we cut through enough strands of rationale which make up the rope that is the current system, then we just send ourselves and society falling into an abyss when the rope breaks. This is why resistance movements will and must be fought by the general population. Without an inspiring model which people can jump over to we will not move policy to our ground. Read and explore with me what this means for how social-organizers and activists might re-orientate strategic footings.

The PDF below points out that we must plant the seed of the system we want. Or rather that using tactical-strategy (methods) which aren’t consistent with the end visions we have is unlikely to propagate the nourishing fruit we’d like to eventually eat. There are no short-cuts. A new society means a new culture, which means new venues to enable deep practice of hopeful cultural methods for ensuring the matter-of-course outcome of our values and processes for equitable decision making and allocation of wealth.

The piece also invites you, reader, to explore coercion and insurrection and understand how they’re practicably contradictory within anarchist frameworks. Also, I point to a basic criteria for knowing how to prioritize our actions and investment of limited resources. The (Im)Possibilities ofWinning with Coercion and Resistance doesn’t point to what vision but that vision is the only thing that can give direction and why we must look to set up our own institutions within a complete alternative methodology, even just from a tactical stand-point. How we build the strong-holds and paradigm of our own model (for reciprocal freedom) within the overall society is left for pieces (a book?) that I will post some snippets for.  But you can start with parecon (by Chomsky’ protégé from MIT in the late 60s) if you’re eager to wrap your head around how a good society can be operated by all its members for systematically good, and just results.

I understand that my seemingly myopic focus on one model can seem almost like special interest advocacy (which is an illogical suspicion when you think about it). But I’ve searched high and low for an alternative system since my communist-Marxist childhood… I have been through market logic, market socialism, social democratic, liberalism, etc., etc. And I can say that parecon is the only complete and consistent method for economy and decision making ever devised (not just some end vision, but how we do micro to macro decision making in such a way to ensure we’re good to each other and can successfully box out competitive exploitation). It is the ambitious transition methodology by which we might get from here to a true communism. And if we don’t make it all the way to communism, it’s a perfectly complete libertarian socialism that I’d be happy to spend life times in.

The (Im)Possibilities of Winning with Coercion and ‘Resistance’? Download PDF (with special thanks to Andre Guimond)

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Fuck yeah!

Fantastic work, so glad it finally saw the light of day! Having read it many times, I strongly urge anyone that cares deeply about both the state we're in and the decent society that we want (and need, frankly) to read this carefully, and get seriously fucking involved (whether here, at home, within your crew, at work, wherever!) in the discussion around direction, strategy/methods and vision.

Also, for anyone interested in the parecon (participatory economics) ideas that Greg mentioned above, either pick up a copy of Parecon: Life After Capitalism by Michael Albert, or check out the parecon mecca here and a good intro video here. Of course, it's just one of many potential visions for a humanist economy, but like Greg said, it's a great place to start.

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