Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Thoughts on RASEL strategy

What is RASEL? Libertarian socialist school?

The question, 'what is RASEL?' has been raised a lot recently. My initial idea is that we should think of ourselves as a 'libertarian socialist school'. Firstly, let’s look at the 'libertarian socialist' (libsoc) aspect. For me, 'libsoc' means two things. Firstly, it means aiming to take action to create non-oppressive social institutions that manage society in a way which supports human flourishing (replacing the state, capitalism, patriarchy, racism, etc.). Secondly, it means organising in a way which reflects our values as far as possible (i.e. in a non-oppressive, inclusive, supportive way). As we've discussed, this dual goal of promoting social transformation whilst organising in a 'prefigurative' way (trying to create the future society in the present) is a traditional libertarian socialist aim. The 'school' aspect of the 'libsoc school' means that we help each other learn about (including through action) how systems of oppression work and how best to take action in pursuit of a libsoc society, paying attention to the successes and failures of other groups, as well as our own experiences.

External project ideas

If our goal is creating a libsoc society, our primary aim should be building or laying the foundations of participatory, inclusive social institutions that can manage society in line with our principles. Here are some projects which I think can help build or support these institutions, some of which we've already started working on:
* Supporting wage-place (AKA workplace) organising.
* Building or supporting alternative 'prefigurative spaces' such as the field, community gardens, co-ops, green energy projects etc.
* Apply popular pressure on local and national governments to devolve power downwards through participatory budgeting, and then we encourage marginalised people to participate.
* Propaganda/media work.
* Radical education projects and debate/discussion societies for everyone.
* Helping people organise collective direct actions such as eviction resistance or rent strikes or other political events - and trying to get them to form or join long-term organisations.
*Try to make our work replicable or scalable by creating written processes which others can use. 
*Networking with similar organisations on projects throughout London, the country, and eventually overseas, building a framework for organising joint actions effectively, and becoming capable of acting in moments of economic/social collapse to fill the void with a libsoc order.
* Community stalls to inform our work from the street level and also spread our ideas.

Noting that there are already groups doing similar type things, in terms of external actions which will come out of RASEL, I think there are three categories:
1) RASEL 'students' support projects or join groups we think are good (e.g. we might decide to help Solfed with a project). [Note that in this scenario, if people only come to a few meetings but it inspires them to move on to something else that is in line with our goals, we would have been successful.]

2) We change the way outside groups or projects function. For example, we might bring new meeting processes to outside groups we're involved with which we learn from RASEL. Or outside groups might hear about us and copy aspects of what we do, as other RA groups have done already.

3) We start new projects where we think there is a gap. Examples include the abortion clinic, college, and library projects.

What can RASEL contribute that isn't already out there? 

1. There are lots of political groups which only want change within the current system, or reject visions of systemic change on principle. Or they don't think of strategies for creating systemic change. RASEL can offer a (libsoc) vision and strategic ideas for creating change. 

2. There are groups (and individuals) which have a libsoc vision or strategies but don't have a localised network like the RA does.  We can use this network to both spread and feed into libsoc ideas and practices. We could eventually seek to decentralise even further.

Interested in other people's thoughts.   

1 comment:

  1. lottie writing: I agree with most of the aims BUT I am uncomfortable with the notion that RASEL would be a 'school' - schools work on the basis that someone has knowledge and they teach those that don't. I would like RASEL to have a much more collaborative approach to learning together and recognise that everyone can contribute in their own way. So in a similar vein, I would not want to be a RASEL 'student' and would be much happier just being a RASELLER