'Subversion in Capitalist America: A User's Manual'

This is from 'The Will to Intervene,' the final doc in the upcoming book 'Subversion in Capitalist America: A User's Manual':"For most of the past hundred years various forms of Marxism-Leninism and Trotskyism effectively occupied all political space to the left of the Democratic Party. Marxism-Leninism and Trotskyism were the politics of the counter-revolution in Russia, but the Leninist left often attracted energetic, capable, dedicated people of a caliber not found among today's anarchists and ultra-leftists and militants of these forms of left capitalist politics often played a central role, and sometimes a positive one, in real world social struggles. With the collapse of the Soviet Union the Leninist branch of the left-wing of capital effectively became defunct. Most of the M-L and Trotskyist groups went belly-up a generation ago. Nothing has arisen to fill that corresponding empty space. More significantly, liberal democracy no longer has the ideological allegiance of the majority of the populace. An opportunity without historical precedent is being neglected. This must change now. We are in a unique position. Authentic anti-capitalists can assert an entirely new kind of mass politics in a rapidly deteriorating society ruled by an ever-more inept and self-discrediting political apparatus. Some of the specifics of how a small, organized and energetic extremist tendency can come into being, establish rigorous internal political cohesion and contribute effectively to a larger society-wide dynamic are examined in an article titled, ‘The Anarchist Subculture and the Leftist Protest Ghetto,´ available in various places on the internet.

We now need:

  1. Collective reading and discussion of texts, beginning with the Situationists -- ignoring Vaneigem -- and after this works by Gilles Dauve and 'Unions Against Revolution,'
  2. Combined with ongoing public action among wage earners, not protesty-protester shit.

We should get involved in fights of wage earners against employers. We should assert direct action solidarity with immigrants against the U.S. government. We should take part in fights over housing, gentrification and public space. But our central ongoing emphasis should be on public transit system operators and riders in major cities -- and on enlisted people in the Armed Forces.

A well-organized group of anti-capitalists can spread its message, with an effective reach out of all proportion to its small numbers, and reach a strategically significant segment of the wage-earning class, by maintaining an extremely narrow focus among employees of public transit systems. Along with this, we can reach the widest and most diverse working class audience possible through low tech mass communication among transit system riders. A widespread self-organized movement emerging from joint action between transit system employees and riders can effect an entire urban region. Good ideas of this kind can spread from transit system to transit system, from city to city, and into non-transit workplaces.

These are examinations of attempts to put this into practice in the San Francisco Bay Area: infoshop.org infoshop.org infoshop.org

We need to think big. This is about the working class recovering the political autonomy from capital that was lost in the U.S. eighty-plus years ago with the New Deal. And we should be wildly visionary: self-organized and extremely self-aware mass wildcat actions growing out of labor strife in metropolitan transit systems could conceivably develop, in depth and breath, and in ways that cannot be predicted at present, to create a working class-propelled political crisis for the regime we live under. A combative working class must become the central force in the unfolding crisis in this society. Mass action on mass transit could be the way that a new social movement begins.

  1. We will also need an internal discussion bulletin, in photocopy form to avoid our exchanges deteriorating into empty online chit-chat, and,
  2. A series of conferences assessing the strengths and weaknesses of our ongoing efforts and ever-evolving ways to tighten our focus and move forward.

Aspects of my analysis have changed with time, but it has always been clear that we need to create a network, based around a shared set of distinct perspectives, outside of and against liberalism, against identity politics, against the left, and indifferent to the protest ghetto and related fringe phenomena. This means gathering together the most capable, persevering and inventive troublemakers, people with drive and nerve -- we do not need a social club for college Marxist pedants and anarchist subculture scenesters. A self-styled minority tendency of this type is not a minority out of any desire to lead or manipulate others, or impart a Kautskyian-Leninist gift of socialist consciousness to working people. Until the moment when the capitalist mode of production is being scrapped only a small number of individuals are going to see that the world must be transformed in a communist way. A revolutionary mass movement cannot be organized -- but a small highly visible network of groups of people contributing to the rise of one must be organized, especially under ever more favorable conditions in the U.S. With ongoing involvement in mainstream working people's social struggles, and transparently clear shared perspectives, a high profile minority communist tendency can help give rise to a 21st century version of what the real IWW was at its best -- an anti-wage labor social movement of the wage-earning class. Paraphrasing Marx in ‘The Poverty of Philosophy’ we cannot forget that the social struggle is also a political one. We must prepare now for great events to come. And people should have started preparing for these future great events during the Jimmy Carter era.

I have always been eager to see the revolutionary event as being right around the corner. I have always been wrong. I am now more confident that I am less wrong than I have been in the past. A crisis that might take a mass revolutionary turn may not be right around the corner -- but it might be around the corner after that, or the next corner after that. The increasingly poor judgment-making skills of our rulers are giving us phenomenal opportunities that did not exist in the past.

A combination of class struggle anarchism and ultra-left Marxism is indispensable for an authentic anti-capitalist politics of our time..."