Thursday, 19 September 2013

Our Autonomy

• English Autonomy - UK devolution and calls for independence among the Home Nations requires that people of England consider their future position too and address the urgent need to break the ruling class and monopoly-capitalist stranglehold. Our 'nationalism' differs from that of the traditional nation-state. We reject the United Kingdom and its institutions (i.e. The Monarchy, British Parliament, foreign wars, etc.) Instead, we advocate a devolved England based on regional and community self-government, within a British and Irish Confederation. The English identity is not a racial construct but one based on place, community and shared experience/goals. Just as people of all ethnic backgrounds can support and participate in representative sport so too can all work together to celebrate their shared land and build working communities. We are against all forms of fascism, whether overt or disguised. We are English but also British, European and world citizens and therefore we stand against bigotry and chauvinism. We would like to continue to work closely with our neighbours and those with which we share a common history and values. Sovereignty, however, must rest in the people and should not be handed over to institutions like the European Union, which serve only the interests of a rich and powerful elite. In principal we support the liberation struggles and self-determination of all people and believe we must all think locally to affect positive change globally.

• Working Class Autonomy - By this we mean self-government for the working class, as opposed to the so-called 'representative democracy' of the ruling elite. We emphasise the ability of the working class to force changes to the organization of the capitalist system independent of the state, trade unions or political parties. Our definition of the working class includes both white collar and blue collar wage-earning workers as well as the unwaged (students, the unemployed, homemakers, etc.) All other definitions seek to divide us against ourselves and end up only serving the interests of the privileged few. Class autonomy would be realised through direct democracy, not only in the social/political sphere but also, and crucially, in the workplace. In everyday life this would mean Libertarian Communalism in the form of democratic assemblies and free confederation. We believe local people should have direct say in the issues that affect their own communities. Work and production should be reorganised along traditional Guild Socialist principles in which industry and services are publicly-owned and worker-managed on a communal level in the spirit of cooperation rather than competition. Democracy cannot simply be installed at a structural level but also requires changing individuals from ‘passive citizens’ to ‘active citizens’ who have the ability and drive to demand and use their democratic rights. This can only be achieved by democratic ownership of the workplace so to empower the workforce to take ownership of the key activity in their lives.

• Personal Autonomy - We advocate the autonomy of the individual but this does not mean complete individualism separated from the community. Autonomy refers to life in society by one's own rule and the capacity of rational individuals to make informed, un-coerced decisions about their own lives as well as the communities and social world in which they live. No one is an island and we must work in co-operation with others and with nature to realise our potential. More and more our lives are being determined by unelected, unrepresentative individuals and multinational bodies which rob humanity of their decision-making powers. We are under constant monitoring and censorship, not for our own benefit but to protect commercial and political interests whilst suppressing dissent. We call for an end to the attack on civil liberties but acknowledge that individual rights must come with responsibilities to oneself and society. Blame and compensation culture must be reversed. Lawyers often exploit both the legal system and victims, lowering the dignity of individuals and society and appropriating vast amounts of public wealth. The legal system has a duty to protect individuals but must also protect the accused from 'mob justice'. Everyone should have the right to defend themselves and the responsibility not to unnecessarily harm others. Group rights should only facilitate and not infringe upon individual rights whilst individual rights must not be allowed to harm social cohesion. The most fundamental individual rights are safety, shelter, healthcare, access to education, a living wage and the freedom (i.e. the time and means) to pursue one's own happiness.

• The Autonomous Social Movement - In recent years we have seen the rise of such social movements as Occupy and Anonymous. Both have great strengths but also weaknesses. Occupy shows that large numbers of people feel at odds with the capitalist system, especially where that system is most entrenched, but Occupy itself lacks meaningful goals and coherent critique. Anonymous has offered hope in the potential of subverting new technologies towards liberatory goals and destabilising power structures but especially suffers from a lack of political orientation, which has led to some ill thought-out campaigns. There has also been a growth of far-right nationalist movements around Europe. We believe this is largely due to the abandonment of the working class by the established political left and the inevitable consequences of global capitalism. A void has been created by consensus politics, economic crisis and the failure of any effective alternative. Ordinary people are desperate for change and empowerment. They should be offered a meaningful and progressive alternative to the current system and anti-democratic ideologies. We propose that economic globalisation represents the most pervasive form of imperialism today. It severely and negatively affects the traditional way of life of people worldwide and destroys their environments through ruthless greed. It must be fought on all fronts and replaced. It is time to reclaim, to liberate and organise our own lives on a personal, civic, national and ultimately global level. There is more meaning to human life than its labour and purchasing power. We place society, culture and the environment before profit and strive to raise human civilisation beyond its current stage.

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