My Resoc Interview
By Alex Foti at Nov 06, 2009
1. At a public talk someone asks you, "okay, I understand what you reject, but I wonder what you are for? What institutions do you want that you think will be better than what we have, for the economy, polity, gender, race, ecology, or whatever you think is central to have vision for?”
The Great Recession, just like the Great Depression three generations ago, is a major demand crisis leading to mass unemployment and underemployment. It won't be solved until the collective fruits of social productivity finally accrue to the employed and unemployed instead of managers and financiers. This requires massive fiscal redistribution from the tiny élites to the precarious multitudes. Free public health and education, basic income and leisure expansion, green jobs and new labor and property laws are the first-aid tools to address the crisis and ferry us toward a postcapitalist society, where corporations and investment banks are dismantled, credit is socialized, copyright is abolished, culture and knowledge are freely shared, the global economy is regionalized, food distribution networks are localized, energy production is decentralized, and political power is federalized, in regional and transnational federations of autonomous cities and liberated lands.
2. Next, someone at the same event asks, "Why do you do what you do? That is, you are speaking to us, and I know you write, and maybe you organize, but why do you do it? What do you think it accomplishes? What is your goal for your coming year, or for your next ten years?
Because I believe in real freedom, social equality, climate justice, and in activism, organizing, direct action to achieve these ends within the next decade.
3. You are at home and you get an email that says a new organization is trying to form, internationally, federating national chapters, etc. It asks you to join the effort. Can you imagine plausible conditions under which you would say, yes, I will give my energies to making it happen along with the rest of you who are already involved? If so, what are those conditions? Or - do you think instead that regardless of the content of the agenda and make up of the participants, the idea can't be worthy, now,or perhaps ever. If so, why?
Yes, I would join a revolutionary organization of some kind if: it were pink, black, green, i.e. postcommunist; it spoke to and organized the precarious, women, poor, immigrants at the european/ continental level; if its theory and practice were rooted in a radical vision of what the informational economy can be and immaterial labor can do to transform society and defend the biosphere; if its final aim wouldn't be the emancipation of the industrial proletariat, but global climate justice for the reconstruction of urban and rural society meeting social needs and thermodynamic constraints. Redistribution of wealth and power toward the precarious, growth of immaterial knowledge, cultural enrichment of society and massive expansion of leisure are fundamental social preconditions for the horizontal eco-social design of a resilient postcapitalist society, freeing the time to pursue ecohacktive and permacultural activities, giving the time and money back to precarized people to work for environmental remediation and think collectively about their own future, cutting the need for quick consumption and instant satisfaction.
4. Do you think efforts to organize movements, projects, and our own organizations should embody the seeds of the future in the present? If not, why? If yes, can you say what, very roughly, you think some of the implications would be for an organization you would favor?
Since I joined the antiglobalization movement a decade ago, and then with other fellow european radicals started the euromayday network, I have always looked at the t+1, which means seizing emerging social trends in the labor market and the economy, in order to plan and enact innovative forms of media activism and direct action syndicalism. Most of all, it means rejecting the ideological conservatism that has too often been the default response to neoliberalism of existing radical traditions. Since ideological differences dividing reds (a diehard breed in europe, but blossoming in South America) from greens (a rising force in Europe and North America, altho too often co-opted by dawning green capitalism), and - to a lesser degree - autonomists (those with the best new theory, but often too leninist for their own good) from anarchists (more in tune with the cyberlibertarian zeitgeit, but hobbled by their desire of unattainable political purity) are still too great to create a new radical political ideology that supersedes both socialism and anarchism, I think a revolutionary biosyndicalism based on natural and digital commons, that organizes people in communities, cities, workplaces, environments, probably stands a greater chance to see the day, altho it probably takes a longer time to structure itself than a new political movement (unions move at a slower speed than parties). We need something like the 21st equivalent of the IWW in early 1900s or the CIO in the 1930s to fight for global redistribution during the Great Recession. Existing unions are not gonna do it on their own, since they are too moderate, and mostly tied to the industrial fordism of yore; they have yet to come to terms with pink collars, knowledge workers, and indeed the whole precariat, which they treat either with paternalism or suspicion.
5. Why did you answer this interview? Why do you think others did not answer it?
Because it's the 3rd reminder;)