sign up here under your preferred topic(s).
Anna, Jenny, Lola, Silvia
Richard, Dan, Alexey
Anna, Richard, Dan
Dickey, Barry (maybe on non-violence?), Richard
Sam (maybe?), Richard, Fred
(Suggested outline of topics below. Teams can change them)
(Nov 12) Was any solution to the ecological, financial, and other global crises possible, other than a planetary one? Was a better world possible within the world state system of 2017? The state as locus of war and organized class repression (versus “government” which may be democratic, participative and useful). History of the lever of international solidarity. Rise and fall of past Worker’s International’s. How did people organize globally? Planetary strikes? Boycotts? Demonstrations? Risings? Planetary flash mobs organized through Internet and social media? World labor federation? World women’s organizations? Human rights leagues? How did democratic self-organization of the world economy develop out of these social movements? Assuming the victory of significant reforms and/or the flourishing of alternative societies in one or more localities, how did they contribute to the resolution of the world crisis (e.g. as examples or starting points)? Relation between reform movements and world revolution. Alternatives to the world state system: regionalism, federation,etc. The Internet as platform for international decision making and economic coordination, etc.
Violence and Nonviolence [Dropbox folder: ViolenceTexts]
Is another world possible through armed struggle? Increasing militarization of states and law enforcement in early 21st century. Permanent state of emergency. Brutalization and proliferation of civil wars and proxy wars. Increasing barbarity. Barrel bombs dropped on civilians. Torture. Women’s bodies as military terrain. Overwhelming technological killing superiority of nation states. Probable futility of armed resistance. Fate of earlier armed struggles achieving power within a nation state. What kinds of new societies emerged? Forms of “nonviolent struggle” (vs. “passive resistance.”) Legitimate self-defense. Strength of numbers, 10 billions humans vs 400 billionaires and their paid guards. Splits within ranks, mutinies. Soldiers won over or neutralized. Nonviolence more hospitable to participation of women, the majority. Egalitarian relations among masses involved in nonviolent struggle prefigured democratic self organization of post-capitalist societies.
Labor and the Future of Work.Date TBA: Dec 17 or Jan 7, 2018 [Dropbox folder: WorkTexts]
Composition of 2017 (largely female) world labor force. Industrial working class remained stable in absolute numbers, while declining as a percentage of world labor force because of automation. Robotization and 3D printing promised an end to scarcity, but in fact provoked ever more massive global unemployment, thus reducing consumer demand and contributing to financial collapse. Meanwhile, some types od workers retained their strategic role in production, transportation and communication. Strategic bottlenecks as vulnerabilities in the global supply chain. Worker strikes were the backbone of coordinated global rising to overthrow the corporations and their armed thugs (police etc.). The peasants, who were still feeding the world, were also declining in numbers under pressure from corporate agriculture, seed monopoly and enforced debt. Their revolt, backed by the workers and the ecologists, succeeded just when their skills were needed to replace the unsustainable industrial model of agriculture imposed by capitalism. Desperate youth the world over, facing a future of unemployment, precarity, and hopelessness, were the first to throw themselves into the struggle, contributing their IT and other technological skills, spreading information and coordinating movements.
Women as Vanguard. (Dec. 10) [Dropbox folder: WomenTexts]
Womens’ role as majority of working humanity in social reproduction (domestic labor), peasant agriculture, and waged labor. Women as most oppressed and exploited half of humanity. The slaves of the slaves. Their vanguard role in historic revolutions (1789, 1917, 2011). Their creativity, courage and determination once committed to struggle. Their connection with non violent struggle. Their practical good sense and connection with daily realities. No “better world” could have been possible without their mass participation and leadership role. Womens’ self-development, increased questioning of gender binaries and social roles based on traditional gender-stereotypes leads to full emergence of their potential.
Organization: horizontal or vertical? (Nov 19) [Dropbox folder: OrgQuesTexts]
The types of peaceful, democratic, egalitarian societies that prosper here in planetary federation, were largely formed by and emerged from the vast social movements that united to overcome capitalism. By 2017, a century after the Soviet Revolution in Russia, the advantages and disadvantages of the then historically known forms of organization were well-known (see grid below). How did the movements of the 21st century, aided by the connectivity of the Internet, international labor solidarity, and emerging planetary consciousness overcome these dichotomies?
• Pros of horizontal organizations (workers’ councils, mass assemblies): Power and information upward from the base. Participants took initiative. Information was pooled. Decisions were democratic and evolved rapidly to changing circumstances (tactical flexibility). Close to mass base. They had the ability to federate, strike, occupy factories and farms, take over army units and rule society from below, on the example of the Paris Commune. • Cons of horizontal organizations: They tended to be short-lived or ephemeral (e.g. the Paris Commune, Occupy). They went underground when revolutionary waves receded (but may remained latent like the Soviets of 1905). • Pros of vertical organizations: Withstood repression, remained active underground and in exile, developed professional cadres, devised strategies and tactics, raised money, cultivated sympathizers, sustained propaganda, enforced unity, discipline and hierarchy in face of adversaries. • Cons of vertical organizations : All historical political parties (including parliamentary groups, revolutionary vangards and armed liberation fronts) aimed at conquering state power by legal or illegal means. Their leaders, once in power, did everything they could to hold on to it and were soon corrupted by its privileges. They became heads of national states and consequently put the interests of the nation they incarnated and their own power ahead of international revolutionary solidarity and the wishes of their subjects. They tended to degenerate as multiple examples testify. Visible leaders easily picked off as targets of repression.