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It's Time for Change - By Anarchist POW Matthew "Rampage" Lamont

In the past two years that I've been locked up, I've used the time on my hands to analyze our movement and study the past histories of the struggle for liberation. I've come to many conclusions, sometimes backtracked and scrapped those conclusions and replaced them with others. One conclusion that has constantly come back to haunt me is that our movement has failed to prepare even in the smallest of ways for revolutionary struggle.
Not just for the inevitable armed struggle, but even preparing a strategy for the political and social struggle which is of primary importance. In this document I will give a critique of our current strategic errors, and give general solutions to kick people in the right direction. I leave the solutions general because I want people to take these ideas and study further in order to develop, perfect, change, or even find better solutions to these issues.


Goals:

In the introduction to the book "We Are Our Own Liberators" by Jalil Muntaqim, he states the primary questions that are the genesis for a political organization in the movement: "Where is the movement going, what is the ultimate objective of the movement? The answer to this question presents another question - how to best reach our objective/goal."

The first question has us setting our goals straight. We must be clear in what we want. We can't continue to just throw around slogans and rhetoric, because that will not lead to a foundation for a new society. We must show an alternative in clear and precise language.

We say we want a society without a government, than we leave it at that. The picture that we leave behind is that we want a world of chaos and destruction. In the hands of the current anarchist organizations (especially the anti-organizations) that's what it would be. We spend countless time listing the "isms" we are against then we throw one "ism" on top that we are for and expect everything to sort itself out. For the issue-hopping activists moving aimlessly from one issue to another, this is alright. However, if we want a social revolution we must aim higher than certain defeat. Some people have solved the issue (in their own minds) by turning the problem itself into a political ideology and general strategy. They claim to be waiting for the entire system to collapse and cling to the hope that if they learn enough survival skills they will survive this coming collapse. As if this doomsday non-solution isn't enough, they incorporate more flaws in the movement's strategy by claiming to be anti-organization. Not satisfied by hanging on the fringes, they lash out at people who organize by denouncing them as "Stalinists" with an "organization fetish." The institutionalization of these backwards tendencies into an actual ideology legitimizes the lazy, undisciplined and undedicated attitudes of middleclass activists. Like the Christian Identity militias, they'll forever be sitting around waiting for the end of the world.

For the rest of us, it is not a matter of surviving the coming doom. We don't want humanity to devolve, we want them to evolve to the next step in historical development. We want freedom and the power to control our means of survival. We want to end imperialism. We want an end to racism and all forms of oppression. We want to bring forth a new world and we must spell out exactly what it is, so people know what they're fighting for. We must show an alternative to the present system in clear and precise language. That's what is meant by long-term objective.

It's also good to make short-term goals which are steps leading to the achievement of the ultimate objectives. Most likely your short term goals will fall within your political, social, economic, and military strategies.


Strategy:

There are very few comrades in the US who have any experience as a revolutionary. Most of us have experience as activists and mistakenly carry over these strategies to the revolutionary struggle. Therefore it's necessary to study the writings of people who have the experience we desperately need. One of the most powerful tools to develop strategy is study groups. Study groups are unique in that you are moving forward together in the struggle. It's important to have cohesion when developing strategy. As the old saying goes, "two heads are better than one." As revolutionaries we must be well versed in political, economic, and military theory, as well as history. Only through a deep analysis of these subjects can we develop a strategy to win. Furthermore, study in these subjects must be constant, because our strategy must be in constant development.


Political/Social Strategy:

Popular support is the most important thing to have when developing a revolution. There are many factors in a movement winning popular support, which I will not get into here since most groups haven't even grasped the basic steps, which is having a political/social strategy. This is what we will cover.

Political theories seem to be born overnight, especially in America's drive-through activism. Like Burger King you can "have it your way." However, as revolutionaries we are fighting alongside the oppressed people, and their struggles must be at the forefront. We must also remember that we are anarchists, despite all the extras people want to throw on it to sidetrack us. We must look in the past and study the roots of anarchist theory, but remember at the same time that this is not 19th century Russia and apply theory and practice accordingly. Always keep politics in command.

For too long oppressed communities have had to rely on social institutions established by the government. These institutions not only degrade the people, but they do not provide adequately to meet their needs. Now, with more tax cuts for the wealthy, the little that the community had is being taken away. We must show the people that we are there for the community. We need to feed the hungry, house the homeless and clothe those without clothes. We need to open clinics, rehabilitation centers, and schools. We need to lead tenant strikes and work strikes. By doing these services, while simultaneously pointing out the government's failure to provide for the people, we draw a clear line in the sand between the classes.

We can't do this all alone, so we need to be constantly recruiting. Each person in the collective should be responsible to bring another person in, and that person should bring in another person. The days of small exclusive collectives need to be over with.

However, we are looking for permanent members. We can't just have people float in-and-out of our organizations, always on the move to the next hottest and newest thing going. Even worse is having these floaters involved in the decision-making process. Floating is a common tendency in activism, and is dangerous to the revolution. You can't tell if they are police agents, or if they are just the usual weekend warrior searching for a way to make a spectacle of themselves. In any case it doesn't matter. Their laziness, unaccountability, and unstable, disruptive attitudes have no place in a serious revolutionary organization.

Members must be screened by the organization. They need to give the organization their entire background and the organization must verify it. They must show that they are serious about building revolution in America, and must hold nothing above that goal. "Points of discipline" and "points of unity" must be established and prospective recruits must agree to these guidelines prior to joining. We should never have to be in a position where we have to second guess our comrades because we failed to make for certain that they were solid.

Lastly, recruits must be educated by the organization in anarchist theory, decision making processes, and the group procedures. They need to be tested to make sure they understand these subjects before having them participate in membership activity. Will this screening process scare some people away? Perhaps, but most who are unwilling to go through the process are not people we need anyway. Revolution is a dedication which may bring death or life in prison: If they can't go through a simple screening process, what would make us want them fighting alongside us?


Economic Strategy:

Much work needs to go into our economic strategy, both long-term and short-term. Our economic strategy at this point is worse than George Bush's. What anarchist organization isn't in desperate poverty, desperately grasping for pennies at the last minute for projects, attorneys, bail, etc.? We need collectively owned low risk businesses. By this I don't mean info-shops or bookstores - these don't raise money, they raise consciousness. I mean pubs, clubs, restaurants, laundromats, and any other type of small community-based business which can bring a steady cash flow. We need membership dues paid by the percentage of a person's income (this evens things out as far as class goes). We need work groups on a constant hustle jumping from event to event collecting donations. Groups can even take extreme measures and get funds the old school way - by stealing them in raids on capitalist businesses and banks. We need to open war-chests to keep money on the side in case our members get caught up.

Secondly, we need a long-term economic strategy to put forward an alternative to capitalism. We need people to study both direct economics and capitalist economics, so we can show the benefits of our economic plan in comparison to the highly flawed capitalist economy.


Military Strategy:

We are unprepared to win a fistfight let alone a protracted armed struggle with the most technologically advanced and trained military in history. What are people thinking? Are they serious about wanting to win or is this a game? Every collective active in the anarchist movement needs to develop a military doctrine. This means taking an hour out of each day to exercise and practice some form of martial arts (like Thai Boxing or Jujitsu, for instance). It means studying urban and rural guerrilla warfare by looking at current and past movements who have used this strategy. We need to know how to organize, structure, and administer a clandestine military wing.

Furthermore, at the very least, one day should be spent drilling. By this I mean practicing with weapons of warfare, carrying out movement formations, and carrying out various practice operation scenarios. You can't be too early when it comes to preparation, only too late. If we keep on going on in this current non-strategy mode, the only thing we'll need to be prepared for is failure, or a transition to electoral politics.


Conclusion:

Now is the time to get right. Not next month, not next season, not next year. I don't claim to have all the answers, only suggestions to the questions left hanging in the air for too long. I do know this: That a vast majority of anarchist groups are nothing more than small activist cliques and lack any revolutionary aspirations. It is not enough to say you are a revolutionary. We must actively work towards liberation, and with every act we must get one step closer. Last but not least, we must dedicate our every breath towards liberty.

Matthew Lamont T90251, A5-116, PO Box 901, Imperial, CA 92251

Here, here...Lamont 28.Mar.2004 08:04

Rebecca

Good analysis Lamont,

Structurelessness equals Tranny! If any man comes into my neighborhood or community (wither left or right leaning, socialist, anarchist, feminist etc.) and tells me the only way out of this mess is to "tear it all down", I walk away from that man. Yes, there are some women who are dupped enough to think that chaos is the only way. I am community centered, I am child centered, I am elder centered, I want a safe structure for community, children, elders, workers, animals, wildlife, ecosystems, the earth to thrive in.

If you come to me and say "NO RULES", I walk away because I have healthy boundaries and I know that what you are really telling me is that I must succumb to your tyranny. There is no such thing as no rules. If you say "NO RULES", you are really saying "you cannot make decisions anymore, you must live by my rules which thrive on chaos and doing whatever I want in the moment". That is tyranny. I will walk away because I am a woman who is community-centered, child-centered, elder-centered, and I have healthy boundaries.

If you want my help in your revolution, you will have be able to hear my voice, and the voice of the community, the child, the elder, the wildlife, the co-system, the earth.

Or...I will walk away.

Military strategy: infiltrate 28.Mar.2004 10:18

xyzzy

I have a very hard time seeing how a few ragtag revolutionary militas can have much effect confronting the world's most powerful military and police apparatus. Maybe in a few fleeting rear-guard actions of self-defense here or there, but that's about it.

It may have some symbolic effect to see rebels with guns drilling in the public park, similar to to what similar scenes of the Black Panthers did in the '60's. Which has to be balanced against feeding the myths of the violence fetishists with delusions of grandeur about taking the State on directly.

Probably the most effective strategy is to build our numbers, then to infiltrate the ranks of THEIR police and military, rendering it either mutinous or ineffectual (take your pick, or aren't they pretty much the same thing). And remember, the cops and soldiers tend to come from the ranks of the working class, those getting screwed the most.

Portland