200,000 and the masses


We must take the power and the money away from the 1%



Developing the Fourth People's Power

Joost van Steenis
Complete book free to download, click here

  Chapter 27

Revolutions need movements, not organisations

Leaders of organisations restrict the creativity of individual 99%



Organisations have a pyramidal structure with leaders at the top and soldiers at the basis. They are not the right instrument to open the road to a society without a 1%, a society without a pyramid of power and money. Such organisations carry already the seeds from which a new 1% can grow. That is proven after communist revolutions. “Revolutionary” organisations are deeply influenced by the dominating money paradigm. They have paid leaders, offices, employees and costly possessions. Orders come from above as in the society they want to change. For a revolution we need something different. Mao Tse-tung saw that his best strategy in the guerrilla war was to defend nothing, that conceals the weakness of the communist forces and exploits their strength, the capacity to move at speed and appear at the time and the place of their choosing, surprising the enemy. That is not possible when the organisation has possessions.

In the new society the 99% have more freedom and an independent power. In the revolution they should not be controlled by leaders because the 99% must learn how to get individual power, they must not be dependent on what other people think but use their own ideas. Occupy failed from the beginning to become a leaderless movement. Decisions were taken in general meetings by people who had the time and the money to be present. Decisions were taken on the basis of consensus by a small group of would-be leaders. It denied that many different tactics could be used. But only peaceful demonstrations were allowed and activists who defended themselves against the violence of the police were attacked as not belonging to Occupy. General meetings should be scarce and used to exchange ideas, not to prescribe how people must behave in actions. It was the beginning of the transformation of the Movement Occupy in the Organisation Occupy.

Jean Paul Marat advanced two centuries ago ideas about Autonomous Clubs: “We will never be a club that is involved in the process of making decisions. That should be a serious mistake: a free union of citizens is not allowed to meddle in public affairs, to govern or to administrate”. In another society the 99% control, veto and punish leaders who “perpetrate crimes against the public and individual freedom and safety”. People decide when they control and then take action. That cannot be ordered by leading activists in general meetings.

The 99% should not listen to leaders that call upon them to become active on the way leaders are propagating. General guidelines should be discussed but actions are the responsibility of small Clubs of trusted people. These Clubs decide who is violating their safety and well-being. They decide when, where, how with whom and against whom they become active. In the revolution the 99% develop special skills that are needed in the new society to prevent that a new 1% arises. The Fourth People’s Power is not an organisation, it is a loose coalition of many small Autonomous Clubs that become active when they want that.

Partial political demands as a small raise in wages can also be reached by pressuring people involved in the wage structure but it does not change the structure of society. Autonomous Clubs are not involved in governing, giving guidelines how society should be organised but care that leaders do their work in the right way. That they not favour the already privileged with high bonuses while incomes on the floor hardly rise. Mass movements of the past had specific demands to improve society a little, Autonomous Clubs work to change the minds of decision-takers so they take into account all people in the same way.

Revolutionary movements are leaderless and demandless. They are unpredictable in their actions because there is no guideline how and where actions should be held. Except for the Golden Rule for Actions that the 99% should be hardly damaged. They are not guided by rules or orders from above but by basic ideas, by applying the idea that all people have the same status. The possibilities of revolutionaries are limited when their actions are restricted because of the danger for the existence of the organisation.

Robert Michels formulated more than a century ago his “Iron Law of Oligarchy” after the study and analysis of trade-unions and other big political organisations. After some time organisations of free people change in organisations with leaders who decide what members should do. They copy the hierarchical structure of the rest of society and do not belong to the new society. Common members have hardly influence on decisions that are taken in far off and unreachable places. Elections give citizens only in theory some power, in practice the influence is next to nothing.

Small Autonomous Clubs do not obey the Iron Law. Actions stand central and how these actions are carried out is the responsibility of individual activists. The binding factor is that all activities are concentrated on the 1% and on the defence of the interests of the 99%. Only the 1% are disturbed by such actions, the 99% remain out of range.

Movements should not get involved with organisations that are embedded in society even when they seem sympathetic. Trade-unions may have contributed to an increase in wages but they have done nothing to stop the increasing difference in incomes between the top of society and the bottom. They have the narrow goal of improving the situation of workers. When movements start to work with such organisations they wither away because the freedom to carry out actions is restricted.

The history of the Black Panther Party illustrates this process. Founded on the great idea of militant and armed defence of the rights of blacks the movement grew from the founding in 1965 to the top in 1969. Then it started to wither away, partly because it became strictly organised, partly because demands for partial improvements replaced revolutionary ideas that could lead to real equality. Community activities that started in 1971 could not prevent the demise of the Party. People lost the possibility to act individually as had been possible at the start of the Party. After 1970 all new initiatives were smothered by the demands of the organisation.

The same withering away occurred in the Occupy Movement when the idea to “Occupy the Financial Centres” was replaced by partial demands. Community activities replaced activities that could lead to a fundamental change. Demonstrations, petitions, strikes, attention for politicians and their political games do not change anything. Attacks on the 1% were suppressed by people who wanted the Movement Occupy to change in the Organisation Occupy. There were never actions in front of the private houses of bankers and only a few in front of banks, never in front of the houses of CEO’s but only a few in front of offices of corporations. Action goals were guided by the structure of society that had personalised corporations and not by the role of greedy people who used that structure for their own benefit.

The idea that each action should contribute to the great goal of taking the money and power away from the 1% was abandoned. New ideas as the demand that all people have the same status, new action tactics by intruding in the living sphere of the 1% and clear targets, the wealth of the 1%, are the only possibility to enter a Humane World.


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