Trying to write this as a blog post was a bit reckless of me. Although these ideas have been distilling through my brain for a while now, it is clear now that there is a lot of rewriting that needs to be done to this piece to make it readable and, most importantly, clear and understandable. I will continue to post the rest of it, and than rewrite it, though. There are two reasons for that. One is simple continuity, and secondly I hope to get criticism that can help me improve the final piece. Also, there’s gotta be a sexier name for this piece than the one I have – Huerta Grande is nice and memorable, this name would probably become some ugly acronym like PCBEAPN. Ugh!
So, here’s to part 3:
Tracing Goals and Methods of Achieving Goals.
The objective of a political program is not victory in a concrete, specific struggle, or even victory per se. We must not believe that a good strategy assures victory – a good strategy simply enhances our chances of victory, but there is much in our work that is unpredictable and untangle, and cannot be made work simply by our clever assumptions.
The work of the revolutionist is much like the work of the farmer. Before planting a seed, a farmer will plow the land, fertilize it and clear aggressive weeds that might kill the seed before it germinates. When the seed does germinate, the farmer must control temperature, soil humidity, pests and a number of different environmental and plant behavior. Yet, through this whole process, even if the farmer does everything right, there’s no guarantee that the plant will survive or bear fruit. The farmer works to improve the plant’s chances of survival and reproduction – the farmer does not control the process but tries to influence it.
It is the same with the revolutionary, Leninist and Guevarist mythologies notwithstanding. Revolutions are acts of collective will exacted at precise material and historic conditions. As Malatesta once put it, we see Anarchy as the ultimate end of history not because history will inevitably end in Anarchy, but because Anarchy is the goal we think history ought to lead too.
All that being said, we then see the goal of the program of the anarchist organization to help ferment the favorable conditions for the revolutionary seeds to germinate. Yet it is quite a grandiose goal, and vague – in other others, useless beyond being a guiding principle. The specific organization of anarchists need specific goals that it wants to accomplish.
Goals of an anarchist organization are different of the goals for a larger movement organization because the function of the anarchist organization is different from the movement organization. The goals of the specific anarchist organization should relate to winning as the members of the the Dielo Trouda group put it, the leadership of ideas in the struggle in which they participate.
Goals should be divided in short, medium and long term. Short term goals refer to goals of a year or so, or that refer to an specific short term campaign. So, short term goals can be about the specific strategy around supporting a strike, or a campaign around a round of budget cuts to school or city services. Here, the objectives for the revolutionary organization should be around proposing solutions to the problem faced by the movement that broaden the realm of the possible and move people towards the realization of their own power, towards direct action.
Medium term goals for the revolutionary organization involve the growth of the sphere of influence of the ideas of the organization. That includes not only creation of a base with which the organization interacts and specific theaters of struggle in which the organization will act, but also internal goals such as growth and recruitment strategies, the kind and level of propaganda activities the organization wishes to engage in, and methods of creating theory and empowering the members of the organization to be both organizers and theoreticians on their own right.
Long-term goals for the anarchist organization refer mainly, I think, about the creation of lasting, effective alliances with social movements and with other anarchist organizations, and the creation of continental or transcontinental federations and strategies.
Two asides must be added to this. First, these goals reflect only the ideas around the practices of the organization regarding itself. Social movements, as the engine and brain of the revolution, subscribe to a different process. Second, this refers to local or regional organizations. Continental and transcontinental organizations are a different kind of monster, and I don’t wish neither have the capacity to tackle it.
* * * * * * * *
Ok. So I realized two things when I finished writing this. First, there is a lot I need to explain around Clausewitz’s theories on war and how they affect my look on strategy. I think I need to write something that specifically deals with strategy – maybe still as part of this, maybe as a companion piece. Secondly, I think I am done with this line of thought as a line; this outline has been sucked dry and I cannot just pile more things on top of it in without first coming back and really reworking this thing as a whole so it makes sense. Yet, there is still a lot I want to talk about on the subject or related to it, so expect more post coming out on the question of anarchist strategy and program.