In Support of “Turning the Tide”
Like Black Rose/Rosa Negra, we also see new possibilities arising for the development of Popular Power by combining the organized forces of the exploited, dominated, and oppressed classes together. The I-5AF supports "Turning the Tide".
Just like Black Rose/Rosa Negra (BRRN) in their recently released political program “Turning the Tide: An Anarchist Program for Popular Power”, in our own regional organization – the I-5AF – we have often compared general strategy to a compass. Strategy serves as our north star. It helps us get to where we’re going, but it isn’t the actual destination, just a tool to help us triangulate our position and approximate our heading. A long-term political project on the international level is not at all in opposition to establishing anarchism as an influential force in the US and, concerning our own project, more specifically along the I-5 corridor. Because of this, we are in full agreement with BRRN that our longest-term strategies must be oriented by our ends and that our shortest-term, most immediately relevant strategy must always be framed by time and place. As organized anarchism continues to grow internationally, it becomes even more necessary for political organizations to have methods for adapting general strategies to current conditions locally. It is this flexibility and dynamism to respond to specific demands which allows an org to stay focused on its final objectives and long-term strategy. Because periods of upheaval and deadly crises will continue, our movements need to be supported by dependable organizations, the kind of orgs capable of maintaining a revolutionary perspective during both ebbs and flows.
Today, most leftist organizations are limited by capacity, both of membership and of stamina. The countless repetitions of protests, followed by burnout and fatigue, have erased not only the know-how but also our desire to "move together". And activists are only propagating individualism when they don’t concern themselves with chronicling and promoting the collective history of struggle. Like BRRN, we too see flaws in this endless cycle of activism motivated by nothing more than moral outrage, and we completely agree that the coordination of militants involved in social struggle is essential for the development of effective political strategy. Beyond mobilizing, for popular movements to effectively confront the ruling class, there is a need to organize the active minority. This means a steady flow of militants from various orgs towards a unified perspective, in the form of a grouping of tendency or a social-political organization. This is with the medium-term goal of unifying different sectors of society into a broader movement by politically and strategically connecting real sites of struggle. We see this as the role of theory, and it is why we think that theory must be developed in context, while doing politics, not idealistically, and definitely not just online.
In our own especifismo current of anarchism, of which BRRN is currently the largest org in the US, the political organization assists in bringing movements together, forging solidarity through struggle amongst a broad spectrum of organized, emancipatory social forces. For this reason, we support non-ideological mass movements. Autonomous movements that employ direct action instead of representation and direct democracy of the rank-and-file, not cults of personality or demagoguery. Movements that are militant, self-managed, and federalist. Movements that are engaged in struggle and reach beyond both localism and nationalism.
We want to see anarchism plant its seeds and grow its politics in rural, suburban, and urban locales across the entire continent. But the limited strategies necessary in these contexts will have to be based on immediate, specific conditions. And as things stand, while the two-party system continues, unthreatened by the ebbing tides of “progressive” candidates, the socialist movement in the US has stalled. The democratic socialism of the Bernie Sanders movement and the DSA never sufficiently grappled with the fact that it is impossible for elected representatives to change the State's policies enough to avert catastrophes that are already occurring globally. We need a revolution! Nevertheless, we must admit that libertarian socialism is itself entirely overshadowed by the pervasiveness of dem soc rhetoric in the US left. Today, anarchists are rarely organized politically. This is why anarchism doesn't usually have an explicit presence in leftist spaces, unions, or community organizations. In most of the country, there is no political organization raising the strategic question: how do we popularize social movements that produce grassroots organizations and militant culture that endures beyond mobilizations and protests?
As BRRN says, our movements lack the “muscle memory” required to work together and develop political lines through open debate. And though this is an ever-increasing problem given the multiple systemic crises whose effects are already overlapping in our daily lives, like BRRN, we see new possibilities arising for the development of Popular Power. But it will only be possible by combining the organized forces of the exploited, dominated, and oppressed classes together. A counter power protagonized by the social movements themselves depends on broad social influence, not on opportunistic leadership from a party, a church, a corporation, or the State.