My Resoc Interview
By Jonathan Grossman at Nov 18, 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?
"Ordinary institutions of everyday life - which are made extraordinary because what characterises them is not their institutional form - but the fact that they are made up of people treating each other with compassion, respect and humaneness. "
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?
"The goal - today and every tomorrow - is to do everything and anything possible to promote the organisations, self-activity and politics of the working class. It is only the working class which can act as the revolutionary agent to make that extraordinary vision of everyday life ordinary and possible. Almost everything in the capitalist world denigrates the working class and undermines the confidence of working class people in themselves and each other. I don't claim to accomplish anything. I do claim - with my comrades in the Socialist Group and others - to try to continue to resist that denigration and undermining, and hold up mirrors which can make it easier for ordinary working class people to see who they are, what they have done, and who and what they can become together: the collective agents of the revolution"
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?
"Anything and everything which helps in allowing ordinary working class people to interfere in history, make history and become what they can become deserves support. The condition is the politics of respect for the working class. Of course that means that we can't do it through emails"
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?
"Every movement of working class people in struggle embodies something of the future. It represents interference, involves some form of challenge to capitalist barbarism, individualism, competitiveness. It carries embryonic co-operative collectivism. All of this can be there despite the dominance of capitalism in everyday life, despite the way in which it infests the workers movement. The best of organisation comes when it most fully and consciously builds co-operative collectivism, the collectivism of hope and the hope of collectivism, in direct struggle against the capitalist class, their agents and their individualism and competitiveness."
5. Why did you answer this interview? Why do you think others did not answer it?
"I answered this interview because these are important questions and someone is trying hard to promote some form of comradely shared engagement with them. I wanted to say that I respect the attempt and thank you for that. There are many reasons for not answering. They can include the fact that some comrades are prioritising other, perhaps more immediate and perhaps more pressing ways of engaging with the same questions."