On the occasion of May Day 2011, the 125th anniversary of the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago, I, the humble Goblin, do present to a world in turmoil this Manifesto. To wit:
For over a century, the first day of May has been set aside to commemorate both the events of the Haymarket Massacre and the struggle of workers for the eight-hour workday. Later this holiday, known more generally as international Workers Day, became associated with authoritarian socialist regimes throughout the world, familiar as the day when countries like the Soviet Union held massive military parades, shown on television in the west as evidence of the dangerous expansionist militarism of our erstwhile Cold War adversaries.
In recent years however, there has been a change in attitudes in some of the western capitalist countries, especially the United States, a country that has not had a functioning mainstream socialist movement since the 1930’s. Beginning in the late 1990’s, and brought to national prominence by the immigrant’s rights movement in 2006, May Day has enjoyed a renaissance, both for the working class and the broader progressive movement.
May Day 2011 may mark a turning point in world history. As both the continuing capitalist crisis and the social unrest provoked by decades of neoliberal dominance unfold across the globe, we see the gradual globalization of resistance to the established global order, the emergence of embryonic popular democratic movements, and the weakening and in some cases collapse of totalitarian regimes long considered safely stable by both the imperialists in Washington and the corporate managers on Wall Street.
While these gains are encouraging to be sure, and the images of popular resistance on the streets of the Middle East and North Africa are surely a source of hope and inspiration to activists everywhere, we see everywhere the shoots of liberty are swiftly attacked by the agents of imperial domination, and the system relentlessly attempts to bring these rebellious elements back under the control of it’s agents and stooges. But with every move by the system, there is a counter-move by the rebellious, an unwillingness to concede, a growing antipathy towards accommodation. As the system weakens itself through crisis, greed and arrogance, it becomes more and more difficult for it to fight the cancer of democracy, and as the global independent media shows people rising in resistance, others take inspiration from struggle, and the cancer continues to metastasize.
As a revolutionary, I am both encouraged and concerned by the ongoing struggles across the globe. These struggles simultaneously show both the system’s strength and vulnerability, and remind us that power and it’s constructs of control are persistent and ubiquitous. These systems have been built over a century and a half of capitalist domination to ensure the security of both capitalist institutions and state power, and will not be easily overcome.
The system’s great strength, however, gives hints as to it’s greatest weakness. Since it relies on total control of information, it’s vulnerability lies in the dissemination of accurate, truthful facts and valid moral perspectives, to counter the myths, omissions and distractions generated by the mainstream corporate media. Our movement’s alternative media institutions are strong, and we must endeavor to make them stronger and bring them to a wider audience.
Most importantly, we must remember that we retain the ultimate weapon against state and corporate domination of our lives.
That weapon is solidarity.
I would humbly suggest to the community of activists, organizers and concerned citizens of planet Earth, the following goals:
ONE: In recognizing both it’s incompatibility with democratic processes and forms and it’s ecologically unsustainable nature, our primary aim should be the dismantling of global neoliberal capitalism and capitalism generally.
TWO: In recognition of it’s active support and attempted legal legitimization of capitalist exploitation and imperialism, and it’s generally oppressive and anti-democratic tendencies, state power and the institutions which enforce it should be eliminated as far as is practical, and those that remain or that will be reformed must be democratically managed by direct popular democracy.
THREE: Given the necessity of resources to human and animal survival, including but not limited to water, land, food, etc., private ownership over any natural resource must be abolished.
FOUR: That the right of self-determination for indigenous peoples, ethnic or religious groups, or intentional communities of solidarity or affinity be permanently enshrined, provided it’s expression does not violate the rights of other individuals or groups.
FIVE: Complete, total and verifiable disarmament and an end to militarism and military spending except to provide a world-wide action force to provide disaster relief.
SIX: The transfer of all means of production into the hands of the workers themselves, without “parties,” “vanguards,” or any other authoritarian constructs. All of the resulting entities shall be democratically managed cooperatives with private ownership forbidden.
These are just the basic outlines of what is sure to be an ever-evolving experiment in decentralized, democratic, self-organized human governance. The basic ideas expressed here are nothing new, but I hope to provoke both thought and action by stating them here, and to give regular readers more concrete expressions of my thoughts on the state of the world.
To be sure, we as activists, radicals and concerned citizens face a difficult struggle ahead. We must remember however, to paraphrase The Matrix’s Morpheus, that we stand here today not because of the path before us, but because of the path that lies behind us. Like the denizens of the fictional Zion, after almost two centuries of class war, actual war, crisis capitalism, imperialist meddling and the suffocating din of the modern media, remember…..
We too, are still here.