Saturday, 26 December 2009

Permanent Bases of Power

We always maintain that the core bases of working class power are the workplace and the community. But we should be careful not to fall into the positivist mindset where we see the revitalisation of organisation in these bases as being restricted to them and their existing organisations. We should bear in mind that movements that restore energy to these bases may arise externally to them, i.e. they may arise as external social movements whcih then invest themselves in the core bases. This could be particularly relevant in the confluence of anenvironmentalist agenda with community-based organisation, as the latter would provide the former with a set of specific sites of struggle, foundation of the agenda in daily life etc.

Strategically, our emphasis in social movements should, where possible, be to aim for their directed engagement in such core and permanent bases.

What is important about these two core sectors is:
1) They take up most of the average person's daily environment.
2) These environments are widely shared among the class - everyone has a workplace and a neighbourhood, not everyone has a local environmental group or whatever.
3) As they involve inequal allocation of power, they are necessarily a site of class conflict.
4) The fact that they have this power, means that they are potentially a site of class power.
This, especially 4) indicates that social movements need to orient themselves to such bases in order to be sustainable. Much of the problems of activism, after all, seem to stem from the lack of any viable base of power.