What do the most inspiring revolutionary experiences have in common?
By QMS, as inspired by Max Cafard, 2015/Year 2 Pachakuti
What do the Zapatistas have in common with the Sarvodaya movement?
The Havana malecon with the anarchist side-streets of Thessaloniki?
The NYC revolutionary arts scene with the Vermont Bread and Puppet Theater?
The Venezuelan ecosocialists with the South African shack-dweller movement?
Intentional communities/ecovillages with the radical labor movement?
International solidarity organizations with the prison abolition movement?
Radical environmentalists with the alternative/complementary currency movements?
Squatter movements with hacker collectives?
(An aspiringly surregionalistic schema of revolutionary qualities observed/derived in/from a little over a decade of searching for revolutionary movements on five continents... Sometimes these qualities appear only “in vanishing moments”... To the degree that they are magnified, extended, and elaborated, we are all better off... These can be manifest among “the masses” or among small collectives of individuals...)
- Revolution of everyday life – where the meaning of politics is constantly reborn and reinvigorated and reinvented in every-day life, not just in planned or spontaneous events.
- Challenging modernity – where people are challenging/reinventing/transforming not only the status quo/the powers that be, but on a more profound level are developing new practices and imaginations beyond the whole matrix of modernity, beyond its conditions of production and its forms of knowledge (including its foundational concepts like jobs, “progress” etc).
- Like water (this is Oscar Olivera's criteria): social movements should be like water; in motion, transparent and happy.
- Resistance and prefiguration – where politics encompasses both a rejection and an embrace; where practice is negative and positive, obstructive and constructive; where negation and affirmation complement each other and spur each other on, especially when the dialectics between these aspects are so tight that you can't say where one begins and the other ends. Where sacrifice and celebration share common cause and creed.
- Evolution – where the possibilities of humanity are unlocked, for individuals and for collectives, where people are doing qualitatively new things which would not otherwise be possible, and there is the genuine sense that humanity is evolving; where human nature is freed from the captivity of capital/patriarchy, to be and to become beyond what we already know...
- Revolutionary ontology – where there is attention and focus on Being, deeper than struggling for concessions, or resisting something, but where the struggle is for a new human being, and people are conscious of themselves as a site of that struggle and celebration.
- Revolutionary epistemology – where there is attention and focus on Knowing, deeper than reciting a political line or an ideology, but where the struggle is for a new way of understanding, and people are conscious of their own minds as a site of that struggle and celebration.
- Ancient and futuristic – where people have a reference or a rootedness in the ancient and the ancestral, both in terms of their daily practices and in their philosophies, but for whom tradition is not a shackle but a launch pad, which carries them toward bold, innovative, daring, even outlandish and otherworldly futures.
- Spirit – Movements/collectives which are “more than meets the eye” – which acknowledge and focus a dimension of politics beyond the strictly economic... With individuals who think and behave beyond the ego form of the self.
- International/Intergalactic – In two senses; both in terms of having concrete reference/relation to others who are far away, and also in the shared sense of both humility and responsibility of knowing that we all are connected and interrelated and interdependent; an openness, an anti-provincialism, which is not abstract but rooted in self awareness/self-consciousness.
- Matriarchy – where women are leading the way, and self-consciously taking control of affairs in concrete ways (control of resources, development of new theory, making decisions, recruiting and taking responsibility for training/development of new members, etc).
- Holistic – No distinction between means and ends. A simplicity of theory and practice that is comprehensive even as it tackles and engages in all the complexities of the world.
- Back to the basics – Human labor. Seeds. Land. Water. Shelter. Food. Movements that cut through the complexity and obfuscation of the information age... who remind us what it means to be human, and give us an angle to join in that struggle and celebration.
- The wild – A sense of surprise, the unexpected, a break from routine and routinization... not to be confused with randomness, but the way a garden surprises even a veteran gardener, social movements should surprise their practitioners.... a readiness for the unknown and unexpected and uncontrolled and uncontrollable.
Can you deduce it all to program? Probably a terrible idea... Never seems to work... But just in case:
RED BLACK AND GREEN:
A PROGRAM FOR (R)EVOLUTION
RED: For the sovereignty of the First Nations: For the original peoples of the world, the indigenous and aboriginal and tribal peoples on every continent. For the original communists, who lived in egalitarian and harmonious balance with all nature. For all struggles to reclaim the commons, past present and future. For the heroic revolutionary anti-capitalist traditions all over the world. Free the land.
BLACK: For the liberation of oppressed nations everywhere. For Black Power and Black Consciousness: For self-determination and for decolonization. For the emancipation of internal colonies and occupied territories. For Panafrican and Afrocentric ubuntu and ujamaa. Free the people.
GREEN: For Mother Earth, the Pachamama. For all our relations and ancestors and the next seven generations. For wind, water, fire and soil. For seeds and their guardians. For Earth Democracy. For agroecology and the production of integral ecosystems. For the preservation of biodiversity, and the struggle against desertification. For healing people and the planet. For the young and the new. Free life.