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We need a strategy

Lambert Meertens
10th Jun 2014

One of the factors that may contribute to the slow growth of IOPS is the lack of a clear strategy. I think that a revolutionary organization without a revolutionary strategy is not credible. The Occupy Strategy volume in the Fanfare for the Future trilogy discusses strategy, but its content is not an agreed part of the IOPS strategy. Although I do not agree with all details of Occupy Strategy, what is described there contains many valuable ideas that can give us guidance. Our organizational approach should follow from our strategy. It is high time that we start discussing strategic issues and try to reach sufficient agreement to focus our energy where it will be most effective.

However you envision the transition process in the revolutionary phase and the potential importance of a “dual power” approach, it should be clear that a generally peaceful and orderly transition is only possible if it is supported by a revolutionary mass movement. Occupy Strategy suggests that about a third of the population should be engaged in a supportive way. That number seems more or less right to me if we may assume that no similarly large number is in vehement opposition.

The task of IOPS should then be to build, or help building, that mass movement. Occupy Strategy identifies “consciousness raising” and “commitment building” as crucial elements. I agree. We need a mass movement whose participants believe that a better world is within our reach if enough people work together to reach it (revolutionary consciousness) and who are willing to put their energy to that purpose (commitment). I think there is a missing factor, though. To be succesful, it is necessary that the participants in the movement have a sense of being part of a worldwide movement.

This is not going to happen all by itself. All over the world activists are engaged in struggles involving specific issues, and wherever I encounter them, many tend to have a much more encompassing and much more revolutionary consciousness than their specific, often revisionist, demands would suggest. And yet they don’t have a sense of belonging to a worldwide incipient revolutionary mass movement.

What should the characteristics of the movement be? Some people associate the term “movement” with a short-lived single-issue activity. But think of the term here as used in “the workers’ movement”. It can be any group of people and organizations working towards a common goal, and as long as that goal has not been realized but remains in sight, perceived as reachable, the movement can persist, if necessary across generations. The common goal is a better world, one in which we have overthrown all relations in which human beings are debased, enslaved, abandoned, or despised, but in which instead every person is equally valued. This perspective is necessarily revolutionary and transcends all single issues.

Furthermore, I am very doubtful of the possibility of “socialism in one country”, at least for most countries, and believe it will be imperative to have the transition take place in a large number of countries within a short time span, so the movement will have to be global and internationalist in spirit and in practice.

What is, or should be, the relationship between IOPS and the necessary revolutionary mass movement? Should IOPS be itself the seed from which the mass movement grows, or should we merely be a catalyst for the process? The first of these is a clear road to take, but can only offer hope for success if we present ourselves in a much more welcoming and inclusive way. For the second we need to further clarify what the actual relationship will be.