The twentieth century went back and forth between two extremes. On one side, individualism would reign supreme in the ambitions of ‘great men’, in the excesses of Wall Street and in the quest for meaning in art and literature. On the other hand, the glorification of a caricature of the human community in the phony communism of nationalized industry under a party dictatorship. On both sides of the Iron Curtain, a battle raged between the need for social action on the parts of large groups of people and the debasement of humanity that happened in the name of this action. A simultaneous perversion of humanity and the individual occurred.
As We See It/As We Don’t See it stand out as one of the best attempts at expressing a politics that both reflects the battle between these poles and cuts to the nature of this tension. No doubt like anything that old, parts of it are now a bit dated, but the basic sentiment and approach are as relevant now as they ever were.
These texts were taken from the on-line Solidarity and Subversion archive at af-north.org
As we see it / Don’t see it
I. As We See It
Rage – contribution by M. Kostas
This week’s piece comes to us by fellow editor at Recomposition, Phineas Gage. In it, he analyzes three instances in different organizing scenarios where bluffing, whether premeditated or spontaneous, helped leverage reactions that would not have otherwise happened. A running theme through these experiences is the desire to struggle, but to struggle together, paired with the glaring fear that people won’t have each other’s backs when push comes to shove. His insight not only lets us in on the small details that can make or break actions, but also shines a light on how every step we take in our organizing, as in our life, is a gamble.
by Paul Bowman
We’re reposting this article from the Workers Solidarity Movement of Ireland: http://www.wsm.ie/c/class-recomposition-counterpower.
In Paul Bowman’s article ‘Rethinking Class: From Recomposition to Counter-Power’, he poses the question “Is class still a useful idea?” or “should we instead just dispense with it and go with the raw econometrics of inequality?” He draws a line between revolutionary class analysis and universalist utopianism and goes on to explore the history of different ideas of class and the elusive revolutionary subject. After exploring the intersecting lines of class and identity, he poses the challenge that we as libertarians face as we strive to create “cultural and organisational forms of class power [that] do not unconsciously recreate the… hierarchies of identity and exclusion” that are the hallmark of the present society.
If we were to strip the anarchist programme of the early 21st century down to its irreducible components, they would have to include at least these four – direct democracy, direct action, recomposition and full communism.
Most readers will have at least have heard of the first two and the last one – even if the latter passes nowadays, albeit undeservedly, more as a humorous internet meme, than a viable goal. However this article is about the less familiar third term, recomposition, and particularly around the category that gives it life – class.
Against universalism, against utopianism
The term class divides people into two camps. One which seems to uphold its validity with an almost cult-like intensity, and a much larger camp that is at best undecided, but mostly turned off entirely by it – and especially so by the apparently religious fervour of the small minority in the first camp.
A New Workers Movement in the US: A proposal for a refoundation through the intermediate level
By Scott Nappalos
It’s a tired truism that the workers movement in the US is floundering without a real base or path forward. A new generation of experimentation, struggle, and militants emerged from the ashes of the union’s most recent collaborationist strategy of labor-management partnership, contractualism, and labor’s historical parochialism of our-jobs-for-us.