“The workers’ movement for a long time allowed itself to be seduced by the false voices of reformism and by the siren songs of politics, which lead only to the emancipation of leaders and redeemers, who from being brothers turn abruptly into enemies”. (Isaac Puente, Libertarian Communism)

“The bourgeoisie controlled economic life long before it took state power; it had become the dominant class materially, culturally and ideologically before it asserted its dominance politically. The proletariat does not control economic life.” (Murray Bookchin, Listen Marxist)

How do we end capitalism? Not with reforms or manifestos written by small professional elites, we do it by creating dual power, not the type of dual power that is created in short blasts in a revolutionary uprising, but long-term dual power.

To achieve economic independence, we must demand real local democracy and oppose the present system that has created a hierarchy of professional politicians. We need to change the role of the delegate to an administrative role, not a policymaking role. It must be confined to coordinating and executing the policies adopted by the local assemblies, ensuring that power flows from the bottom up.

“This requires making the assemblies conscious that they are the ones entitled to legitimate decision-making power, so that they will be the ones to recall delegates if they overstep their mandates and the will of the assembly. In this way, the assembly structure abolishes the possibility of the ruling class of professional politicians that might emerge from large-scale policy-making unaccountable to the base.

“The decisions of popular assemblies across larger territories are coordinated and collaborated upon, allowing for region-wide decisions on economic, environmental, human rights, and other issues within a structure in which the delegate must always return to the base for instruction.” (The Confederation as the Commune of Communes Debbie Bookchin & Sixtine van Outryve)

To move forward we have to look back at our mistakes and understand how we got here, only then can we tailor our strategy to British conditions.

We have some historical problems that haunt us, Marxism, Stalinism, Leninism, the Russian revolution and Trotskyism. These have created a belief in elites that has led to hierarchy and bureaucracy.

Our thinking should not be dictated by ISMs. We need to change and adapt, movements like Trotskyism become confined in their thinking to the works of Trotsky or Trotskyists. This quickly becomes cult-like, the followers of Marx come from a diverse and tainted pool. While you couldn’t argue that Marx was not an important thinker, he was also quite divisive. I think this quote sums this up.

“We can say that theory and ideology are separate but articulated fields. Only Marxism can claim to build a “scientific socialism.” Socialism is not science, it is the will to change the people, to destroy an unjust society in order to implement a just and egalitarian society. Socialism is an aspiration, a utopia in the clearest and best sense of the word. Science is the construction of concepts. Marxism has sold its ideology as a science to validate it against other ideologies that it revalued, debated with them from contempt, not from polemics.” FAU (Federacion Anarquista Uruguaya)

The Russian Revolution is studied by Marxists and put forward as a template, Britain has no large peasantry and is not in a world war and ruled over by an autocratic dictatorship, yet we believe that what worked there will work here? The revolution is a snapshot; the 40 years of work that socialists did is left out of the picture.

The legacy of the Russian Revolution permeates left thinking from our organisations to how we pushed for top down centralised policies like nationalisation. The British labour organisations’ hierarchies became bureaucratic; bureaucrats as Trotsky rightly said are mediocrities and they want one thing to keep their positions.

The post-war boom lead to a stagnation in the union and Labour movement. The 1930s were vibrant, full of newspapers, pamphlets, books, workers’ education societies. The bureaucrats of the post-war period had no interest in raising the consciousness of workers or creating new talented leaders, as these threatened their positions. The massive resources of the movement were left dormant. From a personal perspective, my parents were Labour Party members for over 50 years, and in that time I don’t think the party meeting ever had an educational component? No history, philosophy, economics or politics.

We must re-learn the myth of the Labour Party ever being a socialist party. It is an imperialist party, an undemocratic party where the MPs rule, a party in a hierarchy.

My conclusion is that the left needs to reconnect with its libertarian roots and move away from hierarchy, centralisation and leaders. Good leaders and organisers will merge, but we shouldn’t applaud them, we should watch them closely, limit power through increased democracy

“To achieve economic independence, we must demand real local democracy and oppose the present system that has created a hierarchy of professional politicians. We need to change the role of the delegate to an administrative role, not a policymaking role. It must be confined to coordinating and executing the policies adopted by the local assemblies, ensuring that power flows from the bottom up.”

This should be our main demand. We should not be trying to lead people like sheep. Working people are a resource that will surprise with their ingenuity, I believe that, if we are to succeed, we must properly assess our enemy. Our ruling class is old and powerful. A frontal assault will lead to massive bloodshed. To succeed we need to take control of community, create dual power and give back democracy to the community.

While all forms of resistance are good, as struggle raises political consciousness, building a mass socialist consciousness takes time. We can work on building local democratic assemblies and controlling the budgets, then administering them in line with our interests, not of business interests but of families and community. People should not be excluded from decisions on how to spend the money, people prioritise education, healthcare, food, housing and clean water, not wars and policing, not profits.

I personally am impressed by the following

https://neweconomics.opendemocracy.net/preston-model-modern-politics-municipal-socialism

https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/debbie-bookchin-sixtine-van-outryve-the-confederation-as-the-commune-of-communes

https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/murray-bookchin-radicalizing-democracy

https://www.participatorybudgeting.org


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