Wednesday, May 23, 2012

From The Memory Vault: Autonomous Theses 1981

From Fire and Flames: A History of the German Autonomist movement, recently published by PM Press:
In 1981, some autonomous activists who attended a meeting in Padua, Italy, formulated eight theses that tried to capture the most common characteristics of the diverse crowd of activists that had begun to call themselves "Autonome." The theses were never formalized, and different revised and updated versions have appeared - for example, in radikal no. 97 extra (August 1981) and in the 1995 reader Der Stand der Bewegung - but to this day the straightforward convictions and sentiments listed in the original paper remain at the core of autonomous identity, even if every single one of them has been passionately discussed and, at times, decidedly rejected by parts of the movement.

1. We fight for ourselves and others fight for themselves. However, connecting our struggles makes us all stronger. We do not engage in "representative struggles." Our activities are based on our own affectedness, "politics of the first person." We do not fight for ideology, or for the proletariat, or for "the people." We fight for a self-determined life in all aspects of our existence, knowing that we can only be free if all are free.

2. We do not engage in dialogue with those in power! We only formulate demands. Those in power can heed them or not.

3. We have not found one another at the workplace. Engaging in wage labor is an exception for us. We have found one another through punk, the "scene," and the subculture we move in.

4. We all embrace a "vague anarchism" but we are not anarchists in a traditional sense. Some of us see communism/Marxism as an ideology of order and domination - an ideology that supports the state while we reject it. Others believe in an "original" communist idea that has been distorted. All of us, however, have great problems with the term "communism" due to the experiences with the K-groups [West Germany's Maoist parties, analagous to the North American New Communist Movement], East Germany, etc.

5. No power to no one! This also means "no power to the workers," "no power to the people," and "no counterpower." No power to no one!

6. Our ideas are very different from those of the alternative movement, but we use the alternative movement’s infrastructure. We are aware that capitalism is using the alternative scene to create a new cycle of capital and labor, both by providing employment for unemployed youth and as a testing field for solving economic problems and pacifying social tensions.

7. We are uncertain whether we want a revolt or a revolution. Some want a "permanent revolution," but others say that this wouldn’t be any different from a "permanent revolt." Those who mistrust the term "revolution" think it suggests freedom to be realized at a certain point in time, while they don’t believe that this is possible. According to them, freedom is the short moment between throwing a rock and the rock hitting its target. However, we all agree that, in the first place, we want to dismantle and to destroy - to formulate affirmative ideals is not our priority.

8. We have no organization per se. Our forms of organization are all more or less spontaneous. There are squatters’ councils, telephone chains, autonomous assemblies, and many, many small groups. Short-term groups form to carry out an action or to attend a protests. Long-term groups form to work on continuous projects like radikal, Radio Utopia, or very illegal actions. There aren’t any more solid structures than that, no parties and the like, and there is no hierarchy either.
There will be a Montreal book launch of Fire and Flames, with a discussion about the book and the relevance of the German experience to what is going on today, next Monday, May 28, at 7pm at La Belle Epoque (1984 Wellington). Here is the facebook event page.

No comments:

Post a Comment