Thursday, November 11, 2010


Change the World Without Taking Power

you contend that the possibility of revolution resides not in the seizure of state apparatuses, but in day-to-day acts of abject refusal of capitalist society, the struggle against power, not for power.

the possibility of revolution resides not in the seizure of state apparatuses, but in day-to-day acts of abject refusal of capitalist society

struggle against power, not for power

create cracks in capitalist domination
  • The Zapatistas
  • movement in Argentina in 2001/2002
  • MST in Brazil

walking in the opposite direction

focus on social movements, not political parties

drive against the logic of capitalist society

The problem with political parties is that they channel anti-capitalist anger back into a capitalist form, the form of the state. We need to give this anti-capitalist anger an anti-capitalist form of organisation
  • Paris Commune,
  • the soviets in Russia,
  • the anarchist councils in Spain,
  • the asambleas barriales in Argentina,
  • the communal councils of the Zapatistas with their mandar obedeciendo,
  • the cabildos in Bolivia

the state is a form of organisation that was constructed to subordinate social conflict to the dynamic of capital, it separates leaders from led, and that excludes people
state. It can be used to bring change on behalf of the people, but it cannot be the organisational form of change by the people.

Zapatista was a new way of organising against capitalism, of talking against capitalism, a new grammar of anti-capitalist revolution. The argentinazo of 2001/2002 was urban zapatismo.

Your work has irked left-leaning governments like Chavez, Evo Morales, FMLN backed government of El Salvador. Is there a conflict of interest between social movements and political parties? Is the electoral victory of left parties impacting negatively on the grassroots social movements?

I would rather have Chávez or Evo or Dilma or Christina Kirchner to the right wing alternatives, and I think AMLO would have been less disastrous than Calderón here in Mexico, but with capitalist form of government there are too many forces that pull governments back in to the logic of capitalist accumulation.

Left-wing governments champion Progress, we are the anti-progressive left, opposed to the destructive Progress that is at the core of capitalism. The great struggles of recent years against Progress –
  • the extension of the línea 12 of the Metro in Mexico City
  • paper mills in Uruguay
  • Walmarts in Cuernavaca and Puebla
  • mining of lithium in Bolivia
  • destruction of the Amazon in Peru

Right-wing attacks on left-wing governments are very clearly attacks on the people those governments claim to (but do not) represent. CONAIE in Ecuador defence of the President to criticise his failure to really implement measures of change.

the Zapatista example of the impossibility of attempting to build a revolution without deposing the existing state power

yes, the resonance of the movement is not as strong as it used to be and yes there is a failure to expand and multiply. This can be explained in many ways –
  • the growth of a climate of fear in Mexico,
  • the impact of the narcos and the growing militarization of the country,
  • the ebb of the global anti-capitalist movement for the moment

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