A Note On Demands

 

relevant commentary behind the link

relevant commentary behind the link

 

 

The need for strategy, as a series of thought experiments, seems to derive itself from the nature of our demands.

I see these demands as being preformed on ourselves, other within our communities and those outside of our communities whom we would hope to organize in solidarity with. Thus, demands need to take into account the intellectual climate of each of these communities and the capability for praxis. For instance if by direct action we mean creating a community space or taking over a house, our ability to do these things effectively means that we need to first demand the necessary actions from ourselves and then make demands (or in a less militant way, ask) our communities and others that we would be in solidarity with to support us.

Strategy, then, is how we would get from point A (having desires) to point B (seeing them realized). Our demands, whether on ourselves or others, therefore have to be understood. With out a basic comprehension of what we are asking (demanding) we cannot hope to organize others, much less ourselves. Being understood, is then a basic starting point for communication and further, education. If we are making demands which the communities we are targeting do not understand, if our demands are not communicable (Obama 08, No Borders, No State), we must do the necessary work to make them so.

this is why I believe that agitation is a necessary component of social change and movement building. We must reach outside of ourselves and ready the earth for our more coherent statements or demands. Much of the times this means asking questions that spur critical thought, that challenge the assumptions on which our demands would otherwise be rejected. By doing this we build infrastructure for critical reflection, communication and solidarity. This infrastructure would be primarily relationships.

The establishment of intellectual infrastructure, prepares networks and infrastructure for action. This is what makes the term “preaching to the choir” relevant. By simply speaking with those already engaged in action ground is not prepared for more widespread action, just deeper actions for those already immersed in the intellectual infrastructure.

This has profound impacts for strategy and demands. Demands need to be made communicable not only by speaking in the language of others, but by doing the dirty work of parsing through the intellectual foundations of ourselves, or communities and other communities. By tilling the soil.

PS: this is not to argue for political pragmatism, simply clarity.

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