What we want

We’re a group of distinct people, with different trajectories, that got together because we’re missing the same things. It’s no accident that we came together in the political moment when almost all the radical left from Brazil reunites with the workers party (PT – Partido dos Trabalhadores) – when different experiences that used to criticize the institutionalization of the left are repeating what they used to criticize. 2018 was the year when the limitations of the organizations and processes in which we believed or helped to build became clear.

That being said, some of our goals are common between us and some are particular.

Some of us seek to integrate a grassroots political practice that is continuous and built from below – something missing in a scene that consists mostly of sporadic, seasonal and superstructural practices.

Others look for the possibility to elaborate a program broader than what their spaces are able to promote, as the pressure over the institutionalized organizations – even when honestly combative – makes them support the practices that take the upheaval back to the boundaries of order.

We are also looking for a space that has a class composition that express what we have as perspective: that poor, black, indigenous, LGBTTs, “peripheric”[1], workers, laborers and women be the majority. We’re open to the possibility of integrating comrades with different origins and trajectories as long as they break up with their class situation and privileges. They also can’t be hegemonic or the majority, and can’t be the ones that elaborate about the storms that the working class endures without being directly affected by them.

That way, the sum of those needs could be the content of a political organization or a space for theoretical and political formulation inseparable from practical activities that can be the origin or goal of these formulations. But it’s clear that our community is what we miss, therefore our unity is closely knit, capable of acting together in a coordinated way without any intention of having homogeneous opinions, hierarchical hegemonies and secrets about our differences. In the same way, we do not intend to build an unified theory that embraces the unity of all our class and its historical or conjuntural challenges. More important than categorizing our organizational form, what we need is to design its content both in processes and in dynamics, so we won’t repeat old mistakes.

The horizon of radical rupture with the capitalist system is already evident, as well as the need of class unity to make that rupture. However, we don’t believe that any group alone can do it: only the unity of our organic activities with the intended class can enable it and, therefore, we act as a class searching for other parts of classes. In that way, the perspective of unity is not external. It’s internal and can only happen as we move, as only the class struggle can enable the class unity.

What our criticisms say about what we want?

Because it’s not helpful to criticize others in things that we reproduce through other means

a)  We criticize the class composition in many militant spaces, where the leaders are mainly petty bourgeoisie or even bourgeoise. This criticism leads us to a perspective of organizative construction that has its roots in the processes that are driven by the sectors of the most exploited and oppressed. Tending almost every time to the polarization of the capital, to move in the direction of the most exploited among the exploited and most oppressed among the oppressed.

This perspective of class composition can’t be present in the field of rules and criteria alone. It needs to be marked in the very DNA of what we are and how we think, act and conduct ourselves. The participation of the petty bourgeoisie or the bourgeoisie that have broken up with their classes can happen only when it’s very clear that the role of these comrades – if they start noticing their own privileges – is to integrate without repeating these same privileges. That means acting so that others who belong to the most exploited and oppressed sectors can assume the protagonist roles of the political processes, refusing those privileges to make stronger the activists of the different classes from those which they have rejected.

In practice, this presupposes that we plan all our tasks based on those who have more difficulty to accomplish, setting the pace based on methods that present themselves as the most efficient ones to guarantee that each one of us can understand and accomplish everything that looks essencial in the collective project that is permanently built.

This means, for example, that the more comfortable a militant’s life situation, the bigger is his/her responsibility in assuming tasks without asking for greater recognition. Therefore, the possibility to the debate, decide, accomplish and build together is not based in a comparative logic of how many tasks each person have accomplished. Given that these are the class circumstances, keeping among us comrades that have difficulties to accomplish tasks will be a great deal for us to precisely because they have a hard life, even if this implies that others should do a bit more. This inversion in the assignments of privilege is an attempt to have some minimal balance.

This shall be present from the smallest decisions (when choosing the places where events should happen, order of debates, tasks distribution, etc) to the apparently most complex ones (forms of communication, priority demands, public figures, etc). The place where a meeting happens, for example, should always privilege those who live farther away, work more time, have children, the women, etc. The molding of each concept into an atom that guards our deepest principles is our own coherence between project and practice, between what we say that we are and want to be and what we are and do in every dimension.  

b) Our criticisms regarding a tight, mechanistic reading of what are socio-economic classes nowadays leads us to act integrating gender, ethnic-racial, affective identity and territorial demarcation issues as required subject matters to be read using the lens of class struggle. As well as in the class privileges theme, they must be expressed in practices that are postulated from the point of view of the most exploited among the exploited and the most oppressed among the oppressed.

The perspective for the  organization of the working class is possible, not necessarily as a sindicalist organization – or better, preferably by means that don’t make reference to the sindicalist organization: marked by the corporatism of categories and institutionalized in state-incorporated apparatuses within the hegemonic representativity paradigms.

c) For a long time we’ve been criticizing the paralyzing university practice of making systematic analysis about society in a way that is disconnected from interventions on the reality, in an individualistic way that’s far from collective practices. This criticism led us to the understanding of theoretical practice as praxis. This means that, in the revolutionary perspective – that places itself at the heart of the contradictions, acting on them – every debate has to be completely flooded by elements from reality and has to follow tests and experiments, seeking to fill the blind spots and challenge the incomplete or idealized formulations produced by mere elaboration.

This means that our elaboration has to always be associated with our practice, meaning everything we do must be within our intention to elaborate. This way, all our theoretical conclusions are continuously remade based on the richness of the elements extracted from our practice in reality, from the simplest to the most complex decisions and positions.

Therefore, no criticism or adherence to lines of critical thinking – communist, anarchist, autonomist, libertarian or indigenous – is total. We relate to all of them in terms of content, expressing it in practices that require that we drink from every fountain, no matter the label. We do this without being eclectic, sectarian nor dogmatic, both in the way we move and in the way we act with other sectors, organizations, movements and collectives.

From that, we also conclude that there can’t be a task distribution among us in which some only elaborate and others only execute: the elaboration of the ones who act and the actions of the ones who elaborate will always be the most potent.

d) We also criticize the extremely rigid organizations that don’t contemplate the contradictory complexity of the reality or that reproduce answers mechanically, formulating them as absolute and universal truths. This should help us understand the logic of the dynamics and the flow of each militant space where we are inserted. We should always integrate with them, with elaborations and practices that respect their pacing and logic, however, always bringing the political principles that guide our revolutionary perspective to beyond the capital.

Our individual actions, our relations between ourselves and with others, as well as our collective function, should all respond to those necessities. The manner in which we intervene has to be paced by reality’s demands, also seeking – from within these experiences – to battle whatever promotes conservatism and to strengthen whatever promotes insurgencies.

That’s why our territorialization isn’t localist.

That’s why our classism is not scoped only to factories.

That’s why  our feminism and antiracism aren’t post-modern.

That’s why our grassrooting doesn’t hide itself behind popular conservatism.

That’s why our revolutionary perspective isn’t driven exclusively by superstructures.

That’s why our unity isn’t homogeneous.

That’s why, even if it isn’t homogeneous, our unity is engaged with the common execution of what we elaborate together.

That’s why our position is always connected to temporality and contexts.

e) Our criticism to the ephemeral, seasonal and discontinuous political practices leads us to choose practices and spaces where it’s possible to grow roots and expand ourselves. Our actions and interventions have to interconnect in a project that sustains itself continuously and that can always be evaluated and reviewed.

No action or proposition capable of impact can be organized as juxtaposed layers, they must instead be multiple instances that influence and transform each other. This way, for example, protests and big demonstrations are interesting when connected to daily constructions, questioning the superstructural and spectacular logic in which part of the left builds their actions.

All the processes have to be capable of involving the people with whom we’ve built, each one according to their own needs and capabilities. Therefore, the militants’ individual evaluation terms, practical propositions and political actions are variable. They organize themselves in different ways, allowing us to advance in diverse manners and pacing, embracing their particular qualities and integrating themselves in general perspectives that, for that reason, are not universalizing.

Translators’ notes:

[1] The word “peripheric” in Brazilian portuguese means not only the group of countries that are underdeveloped and exploited by developed countries, but also the areas in the cities that are far from the city centre and their residents. These areas are usually home to poor black and indigenous people, “commuter towns” with little access to public health, education and transportation and a huge presence of police violence, like the “blocks” in USA.