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 Post subject: An Autopsy of the Wisconsin Uprising
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:58 pm 
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http://anti-capital21stcentury.blogspot ... ising.html

Is there necessarily a distinction between socialist practice in outbursts of mass action and those much smaller and more common episodes and manifestations of the class struggle-- and what does the Wisconsin uprising tell us about the socialist movement?


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 Post subject: Re: An Autopsy of the Wisconsin Uprising
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 1:02 am 
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Quote:
"I've only read the article on Wisconsin but thought it was idealistic. It posits a platonic ideal of some perfect socialist movement which all of our existing movements fall short of. It also puts out the idea that the Madison teacher's sickouts were the key foundation for the possibility of a general strike, but doesn't ask how they were actually organized, or why they stopped after only three days.

ETA: I also think more effort should be put into production value and accessibility. I'm not sure what the goal or target audience for the blog are though."
—Comment on Libcom about An Autopsy of the Wisconsin Uprising

I appreciate the comment, and invite you or anyone else to come to Red Marx to discuss any criticism of the article. I’ll start with the goal/target audience for Anti-Capital. It’s a collaborative project, so I’m speaking for myself.

Common Work

Beyond the obvious answer as to who it is directed (“workers and revolutionaries”), the tendencies toward political isolation-- which are increasingly emphasized online with the emergence of isolated blogs, discussion forums and newer social media platforms-- produces surrogate communities to replace tangible organization. That can’t be helped, because of larger trends in the wider working-class (ever increasing tendency toward atomization and disorganization) and because the internet provides an alternative means to politicization: individuals with no real-world connection to a tangible revolutionary organization can connect with the socialist movement and never leave the bubble of their geographic isolation from like-minded folks. The goal for Anti-Capital is to adapt to this environment, and try to use the existing tools of communication to draw otherwise isolated individuals and small groups into the shared experience of common work, which at the moment means drawing more people into writing and publishing content on the blog and centralizing discussion of this content on the Red Marx forum, though the end-goal is to use this project as a means to facilitate real-world organization.

The people involved in the project so far have diverse political backgrounds and experiences. There is no political litmus test for participants and contributors, in the sense that you don’t have to share “our” views to have a submission published or to engage with us on the Red Marx forum. Putting out quality, relevant content is the only test, even if 1 or all participants in the Anti-Capital project have specific disagreements with a piece (which would be addressed as rebuttal articles or polemics, or brought out in the Anti-Capital subforum on Red Marx).

Comments and feedback on the aesthetic quality of the blog are welcome, no different from comments and feedback on any other aspect of it. Like most projects, it’s a work-in-progress. Any suggestions on that?

Wisconsin

I take issue with the characterization of the article as being idealistic, largely because the criticisms within it were always linked to very specific statements, actions, theories, events, etc. and occupied solely with their practical implications.

In the case of the communist organizations, their published analyses of the Wisconsin uprising were tied together through their shared position that trade unions and trade unionism are organs of capital and no longer organs of labor (even if they all reached that position through different theoretical frameworks). It was pointed out that this a priori political position, in each case, led to the facts on the ground being ignored—because these facts didn’t (and in that framework couldn’t) change the a priori political position and so were politically irrelevant. That in itself is a frightening abdication from the class struggle. If the origin of the mass demonstrations, the general strike slogan, etc. weren’t relevant to an analysis of the Wisconsin uprising, it’s like saying that what actually happens in any episode of the class struggle is irrelevant to existing political positions. Exposing and rejecting that methodology for one which is concerned first and foremost with the real-existing class struggle-- the facts on the ground, the balance of forces, the situation and circumstances as they really present themselves—as the basis for constructing socialist practice is not idealistic.

In the case of the IWW, which again was singled out for being the largest and most significant intervention of a revolutionary group in the events, the question of the general strike as a tactic vs. a form of struggle with inherently revolutionary potential, or the relative importance of ideological unity in the class (“everyone’s talking about the general strike”) absent its activation and consolidation in material unity (“this is how we’re going to escalate the struggle, with these forces, for this end”), are essentially practical questions.

All of which is within the collective capacity of ‘us’—socialists, revolutionaries—to do. How we conceive the class struggle is a political question, as is questioning whether or not existing and particular frameworks, methods and theories are fetters on being a constructive and determining influence within it. If existing organizations of any size or background fall short, it’s linked to these frameworks, methods, theories and positions. Critiques of them, on the basis of these conceptions, is reasonably within the capacity of an individual to produce. The point isn’t to tear any particular group down, but to engage on these terms. If the Wisconsin article included a blueprint of a fictional new-and-improved socialist organization, or a recipe for a do-over of the Wisconsin uprising, I’d agree with you that that would be idealistic.

The Sick-Out

The sick-out tactic itself was considered a centrally important issue in the article, in the sense that the Madison teachers put the tactic on the agenda in the struggle. I don’t think that the teachers themselves were the key to escalating the struggle. Do you think that the particular circumstances of their brief sick-out mean that the sick-out tactic wouldn’t have been an appropriate issue to agitate around for the purpose of escalating the struggle among the rest of the public sector workers?


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 Post subject: Re: An Autopsy of the Wisconsin Uprising
PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:27 pm 
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First as tragedy, then as farce, then as...

https://capitolfax.com/2017/01/26/raune ... e-strikes/

The strike authorization vote was recently announced as 81% in favor of giving AFSCME Council 31's bargaining committee the authority to call a strike of its 28,000 members, in a fight that's been building for years (at least since 2014). We may see a Governor's provocations answered this time, in an environment of mass political struggles in response to the Trump administration and all that has come with it.


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