Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Our New Reading List!

Here it is comrades, all our planned reading on….

Ideology: Ideas, Action and Material Reality

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The Practice of Hope

This is a paper I submitted to the reader for A Regional Anarchist Convergence: Towards a Federation.

Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from premises now in existence.[i]

Meaningful action, for revolutionaries, is whatever increases the confidence, the autonomy, the initiative, the participation, the solidarity, the equalitarian tendencies and the self -activity of the masses and whatever assists in their demystification. Sterile and harmful action is whatever reinforces the passivity of the masses, their apathy, their cynicism, their differentiation through hierarchy, their alienation, their reliance on others to do things for them and the degree to which they can therefore be manipulated by others – even by those allegedly acting on their behalf.[ii]

The status of what we could, with reservations, call the “Left” in Australia is one of atrophy, denial, confusion and crass opportunism.[1] The various institutions of social democracy have little of their previous popular character and have been largely integrated into the neo-liberal consensus. The various tendencies of the far-left (though often full of people of good intentions) remain small and marginalised and equipped with deeply outdate ideologies.  Whilst over the last decade there have been some brilliant moments, some decent manifestation and rebellions, there have been few, if any, real victories. There have been stunning defeats.

Broadly speaking revolutionaries in Australia are caught in two traps that are forced on them by the context they live in. One is that due to the intolerable conditions of capital they engage in forms of activity that seem to offer immediate solutions but conform to the general co-ordinates of the society they live in: we must “do something!” Slavoj Zizek likens this to the Amish tradition of rumspringa : apparent rebellions that actually work to solidify the power of society. To quote “all (that) is needed is a light shift in our perspective, and all the activity of ‘resistance,’ of bombarding those in power with impossible ‘subversive’ (ecological feminist, antiracist, anti-globalist…) demands, looks like an internal process of feeding that machine of power, providing the material to keep it in motion.”[iii] The other error is to maintain a kind of capital ‘R’ revolutionary purity which means you never get involved in actual struggles but are permanently immobilised waiting for a tomorrow that never comes. The challenge rather is to work out a way to act today that actually breaks with the dominate co-ordinates and thus opens the possibility of emancipation: to have both a foot in this world and to step into one that we want.

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‘Ideology: Ideas, Action and Material Reality’ New “Semester” of Study

Hi Comrades, the Red Thread is currently working out our plans for what we are going to read next. At the moment we are looking at a whole ‘semester’ of readings and discussion around the concept of ‘Ideology: Ideas, Action and Material Reality’. Basically we want to look at the connections between the nature and structure of material and social reality and how and what we think. Considering the power of the plague of fantasies that dominate the social imagination this seems to be an important area of investigation for revolutionaries. On our Facebook Discussion page we are compiling a list of who we want to read. Please feel free to get involved.

Communism, Hope and the Future conference

The Red Thread is hosting a day of discussion and debate on communism in the 21st century on the 13th of February at Turnstyle, 13 Laura St Highgate Hill.  A number of people will be presenting papers, with lots of space for discussion and debate, which will be followed by a social event. An agenda of sorts will be posted shortly.