Developing a new anticapitalist movement
The following statement was passed at the Get Organised! meeting of the ACI on the 2nd December 2012. It is not a programmatic or constitutional document, but a collective statement of what we are trying to do and achieve in the period ahead. We welcome comments, feedback, and criticisms, and are keen to work with activist groups and networks who share some or all of the goals described below.
A report of the meeting can be read here.
The Anticapitalist Initiative is a network that enables anti-capitalist activists to debate current political issues. Where possible it aims to unite these activists to fight against capitalism, for the interests of working people, the unemployed and the oppressed.
We were established to work towards a realignment on the radical left. We want to help develop a revolutionary organisation capable of rising to the challenges of the 21st century, one that can help popularise anticapitalism again after the defeats of the last century. This is all the more important at a time of capitalist crisis, when working class communities are suffering the effects of austerity, but left wing ideas are still on the fringes. We want to overcome divisions between the socialist left and the new left movements by working together in a spirit of common activity and dialogue. We are not afraid of critical debate, but also don’t want to let dogmatism and sectarianism obstruct common action.
The organisation we want to build should should draw from the best elements across the radical traditions; the experience and ideas thrown up by struggles against racism, for women’s liberation, LGBT and disabled rights, and the intellectual legacies of all the radical political traditions. It will need to reappraise past differences undogmatically in light of new challenges. It will have to take care not to make the mistake of believing our new circumstances render obsolete the lessons of past struggles. And should equally be willing to learn from the numerous global struggles confronting all forms of social oppression and exploitation today. We want to see a process that ends in a left that is plural enough to allow differences to co-exist in the spirit of free and open debate, and united enough to develop a coherent revolutionary answer to a world in crisis.
We particularly want to help the development of grassroots local campaigns. The ACI acts as a network of autonomous local groups that each have their own life and dynamic. These local groups do not seek to replace the work of local anti-cuts campaigns, but bring together activists within the movements who want to see an organised anti-capitalist politics, one that overcomes some of the divisions which still blight the left.
To get involved in the ACI you don’t need to leave your existing organisation or party, and don’t have to be in an organisation either. We are an open project that want to bring people together in a process of unity and discussion. We have since our foundation emphasised the development of grassroots organisations in the unions and working class communities, and see overcoming the bureaucracy of the unions as one of the central challenges facing a new left.
We are a loose network, but we coordinate at a national level through a national coordination made up of delegates from local groups. We also set up national workgroups to develop ideas and activism on different themes, and run our website. Supporters of the ACI make a financial contribution to its work (at least annually at its national conference) and in return get a vote at that meeting. Our website seeks to provide a platform for a cross section of views debating the big questions of our time among those who share our concern to develop a more open and plural revolutionary left.
We seek to work collaboratively with wider layers of activists, campaigns and publications wherever possible.
Going forward the main tasks of the national coordination are to help the development of local groups and continue our collaboration with the organisations that supported the Up the Anti national event.
The conference also saw more debate over whether a founding set of principles, in the form of a political programme or similar, was necessary. This was referred for more discussion inside the local groups of the ACI and the coordination and will be returned to at a future meeting.