“Hi friends and comrades.
This is addressed to all the various anarchists, libertarian socialists, independently minded activists, malcontents and trouble makers around the country!!
There have been a number of failed attempts at local activist co-ordination in various places of the last 20 years
They last for a year or 2 then fade away as people do their own thing. Only in Haringey has one group lasted.
But we have reached a period of history where this issue of working together locally must be resolved once and for all.
We now have no choice but to co-ordinate, work together, formally.
We are at a crux in history.
We are at a period which could become revolutionary and could end up fascist, or of course, maybe it will bobble along grimly.
Capitalism in the West is in crisis, countries may default, 2 countries have unelected leaders, general strikes across Europe ..
BUT, whatever way, either way, local organisation is no longer an option but a necessity
If these are revolutionary times; we need to think about starting to create forms of counter power, to start
to undercut the state and capitalism and to move things on to where WE, not THEY, want them to be.
We need to be thinking about what we do when law and order, services etc start to break down.
We need to be thinking beyond the immediate to the future
If we are headed into fascism; we need to think about how we can resist what could be a violent reaction that will see many of us attacked and locked up. We will need defence campaigns and lots and lots of mutual aid
And if it is still bobbling on we will need to do all of the above!
In the 1980s, a small Trot group called the RCP produced 2 pamphlet entitled, ‘Taking Control’ and ‘Preparing for Power’.
About the same time Class War had a seminal article entitled “What do we do when the cops fuck off”.
What both, radically different, groups had in common was, and what few groups around appear to take seriously have is that they were thinking there and then about how to take power. [or destroy state power, same thing. We mean power at the base, with the people]
And this is the crux.
If we genuinely believe in our politics we have come to a period in history when we must make it count or we may as well give up.
There are a number of different things that need to be done, not tomorrow but now, imho, from forming physical defence committees, to having one national libertarian federation and one national libertarian newspaper and internet hub. Those things need to happen, now.
But my priority is the necessity of local organisation.
And to repeat, imho, it is not now just an option, not now just a idea, not now just a desire;
It is now a necessity that we organise collectively locally
Of course we all will want to keep doing where our political (and personal) backgrounds, education, work, beliefs and desires lead us
.. some activists want, know how to, and believe it is most important to organise as anarcho-syndicalists, some activists see organising around housing as the most important issue, and that is all fine.
And what people have been doing with LCAP, UnCut, SolFeD, etc etc is all great and has all helped pushed things on immeasurably.
BUT it needs to come together on the local level. All of these tactics are essential. But if they are not co-ordinated, locally, they impotent.
Fundamentally we need to look at, think deeply about, analyse, how, IF society was to change, for the better, what we would be doing, how we would be organising, and that must involve thinking about running society where we live
We need to look at where groups have been amazingly resilient or have become hegemonic in their society against the odds and almost always it is when the have deep links in the community and amongst themselves; so the Miners in 1984-5, the republican community in the North of Ireland or Hamas in Palestine. There are plenty of smaller groups that have achieved limited changes but have never threatened to change society as a whole as we must.
The Trotskyists believe small groups can change society but imho they can only exchange one set of rulers for another.
But remember, the Trots trump us every time now, as whatever dispute, whatever campaign we are involved with, however many times people agree with us than them, those people end up gravitating toward the Trot groups as they have the organisation that we do not have.
We have the politics but no local organisation.
And we need to think deeply about the reaction that is coming our way. In Italy by 1979, after the uprisings of the 1970s, there were 10,000 activists in Italian jails, overwhelmingly detained without charge. In Germany in the 1930s, in Spain in 1936 in Iran in 1978, the mass popular/ communist movements were wiped out. [and there is an element of truth that they did not prioritize local working! ]
We need to study and learn what they did right and what they did wrong.
So we need to keep on doing what we are doing, and work as affinity groups, but create additional deep and strong local networks to support each other, as well as immersing ourselves in the local community, something we are currently deeply lacking.
Of course borough boundaries do not define our politics but everyone works on different levels and the local level is simply fundamental.
So, now, immediately, urgently, we need to re-launch some sort of local coordination.
It does not matter what it is called, but that it does what we need. Co-ordinate, network, provide a way in for people, .. co-ordination lists, forums, meetings, have reading groups, take action, social events, a centre, a cycling club, a newspaper, a website, whatever ..
Some people got hung up on whether we do this thing or do that thing. That is not important. Do anything and everything.
The critical aspect, the fundamental issue is unity, is co-ordination, is working together. If not now when?