Saturday, June 6, 2009


The idea of a world that is not simply imposed from above is
quite appealing at first but then we have to address the idea of
escape form that dialectic; the model Cleaver argues for is one in
which working class struggle wins its victories on the terrain of the
ruling class, in other words it is a dialectic in which the antithesis
operates as a function of the way things are, every resistance
feeds into domination, and allows it to penetrate further and more
effectively. Every victory of this apparent autonomy is manifested
in the world of capitalist determination. Perhaps Cleaver is, in
effect, making a case for the autonomy of political values and
principles that float free of economics, he wants to salvage the
political ideals of the 1960's, it is the same kind of argument used
by those who advocate 'real' democracy, like Castoriadis or
Bookchin. The question being with: is autonomy an ideological
mirage generated by capital in the heads of its rebels; how does
this politicized set of practices called autonomy, escape economic
determination? How should the working class be organized when
they are already organized by capital?

Capitalism itself has given the revolutionary role to the working
class, so what need is there for another tier of middle management

The autonomists mode of struggle seems to agruge for acts that will
register only in the world the way it is but how is it possible to judge
them as advances for the revolutionary tendency when they also
become weapons of the ruling class against us (equal
opportunities policies, for example, which have facilitated the idea
of worker participation in management, touchy-feely personnel
strategies and anti-racist and anti-sexist capitalism generally), how
is it possible to escape the donations set by the unofficial dialogue
that this sort of struggle becomes?

Much of the argument from communists against us has come from
this 'autonomist' direction. We think it would be helpful if some
of these claims were made more explicit, for example one communist
has argued to us that white workers must come to respect black
workers before there can be a revolution, it is the sort of position
Cleaver takes is his book, where he argues white workers' racism
oppresses black workers and impedes the communist movement.

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