Nearly everybody is out of place in the present scheme of things. While some of us struggle to find work, others of us struggle to find time away from work. The majority of so many people’s lives are taken up with keeping afloat and making a wage in work that is often dangerous, stressful, boring, exhausting, pointless and frustrating. The little ‘leisure time’ we get costs us too, both in monetary terms and mentally – we are either escaping work, delaying work, or killing time until we have to go back to work.
Every society has to do a certain amount of work to maintain a standard of living, but the way we organise work has very little to do with living.
Many of the roots of the problems we see all around us today are the direct result of our deliberate disempowerment and exclusion from decision making power over our own lives and institutions. All over the place there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume. This is what we call alienation.
The domination of a powerful minority over the people has been brought about by great violence. Ritually, we’re allowed to vote in a set of state managers which act separately from, external to and ‘above’ the general population. The media, decision making power, resources and the things we need to survive are controlled by a tiny elite and their corporate empires that are private, unaccountable and beyond any meaningful level of popular control.
Whether we have Parliamentary democracy or dictatorship the seemingly insurmountable problems facing the planet and its peoples will not be solved by a few at the top issuing decrees, manipulating public opinion or pursuing their own agendas. Instead of buying into political games and parliamentary processes, we think its more important to learn how to organise with each other on a permanent basis within and across workplaces, industries and communities as a step towards democratising society down to its very roots.
The ills of capitalism and colonialism are reproduced daily in our everyday lives so it’s there that we have the real power to challenge them. For us this means:
As individuals we are relatively powerless. We are constantly encouraged to change the world by our individual consumption choices but in reality its when we act collectively that the tables are turned.
Workers and communities should control their own struggles through mass assemblies, both learning how to act without bosses, officials or leaders and ensuring that they can’t be sold out or demobilised from above. We can confront common concerns by getting together without the need for officials and bureaucrats. This can be done through consensus and direct democracy – using mandated, recallable and rotatable delegates rather than ‘representatives’ – controlling all struggles by the base.
Capitalist society is not a debating chamber based on rational arguments, butrather a power struggle betweendifferent groupsand classes with opposing interests. Direct action means to struggle independently without intermediaries – it means winning gains from aposition of power rather than through relyingon the ballot box or appeals to political or economic representatives.
Direct action means organising in a way that fosters confidence and self-activity and includes everything from occupations, strikes (general or otherwise), sabotage, economic blockades and boycotts, to disruptive action, grassroots education and distributing material.
It means fighting to improve our conditions while at the same time prefiguring (that is, embodying aspects of) the alternative types of social relationships we want to see. It means to contribute towards rebellious practices, experiments, cultures of hospitality and solidarity, spaces and structures of co-operation, self-education and self-rule– to have both a foot in this world and to step into one that we want.We call this ‘dual power’–Building the new world in the shell of the old