On George Floyd, Racial Justice and Dismantling Institutions of Oppressive Violence
We, as members of Milwaukee DSA Libertarian Socialist Caucus, support and stand in solidarity with community-led efforts that have arose due to the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minnepolis Police. These community-led efforts are confronting the racist, abusive structure of the police here in Milwaukee and throughout the country. Perpetuating racism from chattel-slavery through to today, modern policing in the US arose out of the slave catching patrols. Authoritarian, hierarchical, and inherently violent, they serve to protect the institutions of class rule and private property over human life. Modern policing is rooted in physical, often violent, repression of the working class, specifically working-class communities of color. Redlining, deindustrialization, and whites-only racial covenants, created substantial segregation in our City, as well as the predominantly white suburbs. This has led to police tactics targeted at communities of color which have led to cycles of mass incarceration. Wisconsin leads the country in the mass incarceration of black men, and Milwaukee, specifically 53206, is the largest contributor to this statistic. (1)
We, as members of a socialist organization, are committed to societal transformation and the eradication of a predatory and racialized capitalist system. We are international, antiracist, feminist, and believe in a broad, multi-cultural coalition that will help lead us out of an unjust, and exploitative system. Moving forward from protest to building counter-power requires coalition building and institutional practices that can flourish, meeting people’s needs immediately, while providing space beyond capitalism and the State.
Working-class, socialist institutions must be continually self-examining, be free, open and transparent spaces that are egalitarian, anti-racist, feminist and dedicated to direct democracy. Below, we address three future-focused practices and formations; popular assemblies, solidarity economy, and mutual aid. This can feasibly work together to extend and expand the on-the-ground organizing efforts that we see today in our streets, mobilizing into sustained advancement for those most marginalized by capitalism, society-wide improvements, massive structural changes, and the broadening of current popular social movements fighting for racial, social, and environmental justice.
(1) Popular assemblies (2) are directly democratic vehicles organized from the ground up, arising from working class communities, involving as many people as possible and organized with minimal hierarchy. Democractic decision making processes, which seek to de-emphasize privileges afforded via the capitalist system based on male domination or white skin privilege. These assemblies can act as vehicles to vocalize our demands and build power to challenge and confront racist policing, private capital and repressive governmental policies. Because these policies and institutions currently comprise the status quo, it can be difficult for people to imagine a world without them. But we must think about what we want, not only what currently is. We must address and disempower these institutions that favor ruling class elites over workers, and that tear apart the communities in which we live. Assemblies build collective power that we can leverage to craft policies for the people not for elites and their political lackeys. By assembling in a directly democratically way, occupying public spaces and/or buildings of the current government, we can craft platforms demanding the defunding, divestment and disarming of police and reinvestment into working class communities of color. (3) These counter-institutions help to vocalize our most immediate needs, and, as we experience greater success, will enjoy greater legitimacy.
(2) Solidarity economy is a collection of people-focused, rather than capital-focused practices that envision a federation of worker-owned cooperatives, time banking initiatives, and community land trusts which prioritize the commons (rather than private property),skill sharing, internal democracy, community need, and equitable distribution of profits to all workers involved. Building cooperation and trust rather than competition and rivalry will move us toward a better society. We support the rich tradition of black cooperatives and mutual aid societies that led the fight for community self-determination. (4)
(3) Mutual aid is a way in which we can support one another, without relying on markets, charities or the State. In a very real sense, sharing our resources and talents with one other as we each need assistance from each other — that is, mutual aid. This is one of the most essential building blocks in the creation of a just and equitable world. The world we envision is a world where the needs of all are prioritized, not just wealthy elites, corporate “persons,” and their political professionals. Mutual aid is the surest means for our species survival during moments of crisis and beyond.
We stand in solidarity with protestors fighting for a new world, a world free from domination, hierarchy, racism, sexism, and all forms of systemic oppression.
A new world is possible!
For more information, please reach out via 414-410-9714 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
4.https://thenextsystem.org/building-cooperative-solidarity-commonwealth?link_id=6&can_id=60ee63c3895a2fcf3aa060 fd90cb4542&source=email-asian-american-solidarity-economies-co-op-housing-win-black-food-sovereignty-demands&em ail_referrer=email_823205&email_subject=in-defense-of-black-life-we-demand-community-control
Who We Are
The Libertarian Socialist Caucus is an organization of members of the Democratic Socialists of America who believe that libertarian socialist values are the fullest embodiment of this democratic socialist vision. We cherish the DSA’s status as a multi-tendency mass socialist organization and wish to create a space within the DSA to discuss and organize for the development of socialism beyond the state.
We take libertarian socialism to encompass those parts of the socialist movement (including syndicalists, council communists, anarchists, cooperativists, communalists and libertarian municipalists, among many others) which have historically seen the surest path to socialism as residing in the creation of independent institutions in civil society that give the working class and ordinary people direct power over their lives.
We believe in the socialist principles of common ownership and that worker control over workplaces can only be advanced through the creation and support of worker-owned firms, radical trade unions, workers’ and neighborhood councils, popular assemblies, credit unions and alternative banking systems, community land trusts, and other directly democratic non-state institutions. The power of socialist parties and socialist governments should be subordinate to these more decentralized grassroots formations.
Our particular vision of a libertarian socialist society—and the specific path we intend to take to get there—will emerge out of the discussions and activities of the LSC itself. We believe radical democracy is an ongoing participatory process of deliberation, renegotiation, and collective self-determination. It is for the people themselves to decide what the world they wish to live in is to be. Our inability to describe the precise contours of the liberated society is rooted in the simple fact that democracy is inherently a work in progress, continually created and recreated by its participants.
In short, wherever domination exists—of bosses over workers, of men over women and gender nonconformists, of states over subjects, of whites over people of color, of human society over the rest of the web of life—we seek to replace it with equality, cooperation, love, and mutual respect. Ours is a vision of total liberation, not just in some far-flung revolutionary future but here and now.
Recommended Reading of MKE LSC
Dual Power: Building Socialism In Our Time by DSA Libertarian Socialist Caucus
Socialism Will Be Free, Or It Will Not Be At All! – An Introduction to Libertarian Socialism by Black Rose Anarchist Federation
An Anarchist Program by Ericco Malatesta
The Jackson-Cush Plan: The Struggle fo Black Self-Determination and Economic Democracy by Cooperation Jackson
The Next Revolution: Popular Assemblies & The Promise of Direct Democracy by Murray Bookchin
On Dual Power by ROAR Magazine
Black Anarchism Reader by Black Rose Anarchist Federation
Community, Democracy and Mutual Aid by Symbiosis Federation
Worker’s Councils and the Economics of a Self-Managed Society by Cornelius Castoriadis
The Revolutionary Potential of Solidarity Economy by Yavor Tarinski
Mutual Aid: A Factor In Evolution by Peter Kropotkin
Recommended Podcasts and Videos:
Groups that DSA-LSC is Affiliated With:
If in the Milwaukee area and are interested in the work of MKE DSA-LSC, please email us at email@example.com