Imperial wars, environmental
disaster, covert operations, impoverishment, materialist hedonism, confined freedoms (schools, jails, jobs) and the social
control (TV, surveillance, repression) is far from liberation. We know that neither the conservative corporate vision of an
“ownership society” nor the liberal vision of bureaucratized services would realize our fullest technological,
intellectual, and cultural potential. Therefore, any aspiration for liberation can ask for no less than a radical, complete
transformation of the economy, the system of governance, and contemporary culture.
revolutionary program is laid out in front of them: organize a political party around laborers, take over the State, and instate
a dictatorship of the proletariat. But because the State is characterized by self-perpetuating violence, because it contains
excessive centralization and bureaucracy, and because it presumes “the people” need some conscientized minority
to govern them, Anarchists and other radicals reject the Socialists’ revolutionary program while sympathizing with their
critique of capitalism and their desire for change.
But what then is another
What does a revolution
What will exist after
How do we build a non-bureaucratic,
non-hierarchical, nonviolent society?
Of course, there are
many tributaries to the river of revolution—from direct action to ethical agriculture. Nevertheless, in the current
state of affairs, a revolutionary program can change the fundamental hierarchies in our society. By organizing around true
democracy and true health (in the full sense of the word), a radical agenda can have mass appeal. With the creative and energetic
potential that already exists today in the United States, we can enact a truly radical agenda into mainstream America by spreading
radical ideas, empowering neighborhoods, and localizing the radical agenda. It is a feasible project. It is a movement for
our times and in our context—it draws on a history that has contemporary relevance.
This revolutionary program
has three parts that are interconnected. There are the small consciousness-raising groups that explore reality as it is and
imagine the world as they want it to be. Secondly, there are town hall meetings that enable neighborhoods to set an agenda
and manage their own affairs. Thirdly, there is the Radical Popular Assembly that is open to all, and seeks radically minded
activists to work collectively towards profound social change.
groups are an attempt to develop a new paradigm for thinking about the world, and to reflect on the connection between one’s
ideals and actions. Paradigms are the lenses in which we see the world. These groups seek to shift currently accepted paradigms
by asking a new set of questions about society. As 1970s feminist consciousness-raising groups emphasized, these groups attempt
to bridge action and thought by encouraging liberating action that relate to the discussions. Also, as the French Revolutionists
kept the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity alive in small cabals, these groups also seek to preserve imagination
and idealism. Furthermore, this collective thought process will increase the social networks for those people interested in
In addition to proliferating
consciousness-raising groups, the radical program organizes and encourages town hall meetings. Town hall meetings are the
direct manifestation of true democracy. While they initially will not have much governing power, they can start with moral
decisions and constructive projects to improve their neighborhoods. With radical influence in these community meetings, the
neighborhoods will strive towards increased self-management. Drawing on the successes of Murray Bookchin’s ideas in
Vermont, this forum will politicize “the masses” by being involved in community decision making. Additionally,
it serves as experiential education in true democracy.
Thirdly, the radical
popular assembly has the formidable goal of unifying local leftists around local issues. The radical popular assembly will
serve as a place to concentrate on serving the local communities, engaging in constructive activities, and protesting injustice.
Depending on the direction of the assembly, it could respond to the neighborhood desires that are articulated in town hall
meetings. In this way, radicals help neighborhoods realize their desires, and the neighborhood learns to appreciate the work
and ideals of radicals. The practice of democratic assemblies and service towards community health will surely impress and
The concentrated energy
in the radical popular assembly can be focused on practical local initiatives such as a really really free market, housing
squats, community gardens, intersection repair, collaborating with collective businesses, and supporting picket lines and
unions. Efforts can be made to challenge the local manifestation of corporate and state power by challenging landlords, local
corporations, and the military and police apparatus. With hundreds of people involved, these local actions gains political
significance and media coverage. Thus, economic domination by unethical corporations, and the disempowering top-down approach
to governance will come to be questioned in the mainstream.
The vision of a revolutionary
program leads directly to an image of social revolution: ideas spread through small, consciousness-raising groups and the
proliferation of literature; neighborhoods self-organizing, practicing democracy,
and federating together to act in common towards inevitably larger issues; all along with the continued inspiration and leg
work by committed people collaborating in a popular assembly to solve problems, create a healthy culture, and spread the energy
to new locales and regions.
When the revolution
is over, whenever that might be, the political apparatus of federated collectives will be in place, and people will have experience
in direct democracy. Furthermore, efforts towards a shorter work week, ecological restoration, cultural production, and spiritual
awareness will continue as they did during the transformative process.
energy is potential, we must make it kinetic. The lacking liberal imagination and the fascism tendencies of the right wing
are making this obvious to more and more people. This revolutionary agenda tries to connect various streams of thought from
Gandhi to Delegate Zero to Thomas Paine to bell hooks to Karl Marx to Murray Bookchin and others. By directing all these tributaries
to the same revolutionary river, we encourage a free flow of ideas and practices that pursue an egalitarian, ecological society
based in freedom, health, and self-management.