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Autonomous England

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Post 11 Oct 2013, 09:38
We are a new workerist organisation in England. We are looking to spread the word and find new activists to help build the movement. Our ideology is broadly Libertarian Socialist, Workerist and Anti-Globalisation. We are Internationalist but not anti-nationalist. We believe in self-determination. Please have a read of some of our articles/statements for a better idea of what we stand for. Thanks.

No links until we get to know you. Please, explain a little more about your organization. - Che B.
Post 11 Oct 2013, 13:14
Our Autonomism

• English Autonomy - The prerequisite of social revolution is self-determination. The first step on this road is national liberation from imperialism. 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 English Republic based on regional and community self-government, within a British and Irish Confederation. The English Republican 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.

Developing Locally

Autonomous England is not a political party. As such there is no formal membership (no cards, no fees) and there are no leaders. The Autonomous Movement seeks to exert change on government and put pressure on exploitative capitalism through protest and civil resistance. To achieve any success in this we must become a mass movement but one that is based on decentralized power. Autonomous England is a banner and set of guiding aspirations under which to unite. The onus then is on all of us to act locally, find like-minded people and begin building a movement.

Firstly, we must organize local groups. These could also be referred to as Chapters or Divisions. These local groups work as part of the whole along the decentralized principles of Federalism. Power rests with the members of the group who make decisions democratically (decisions are made by those who do the work) – each group is autonomous and can consist of about 2 to 20 people (or more). Sometimes, group members are irregulars who participate in some group activities, but not others. They coordinate their activities through re-callable delegates who have no authority themselves.

When a group becomes sufficiently large, it may choose to break up into smaller groups or simply have smaller project groups within the larger collective. The emphasis of local groups is organizing and education work at the local level. Local Groups can then build informal working relationships with other groups in their region for the purposes of mutual aid and cooperation on major projects. As they become established, more permanent regional and national federations are developed which then can undertake the coordination of large-scale protests.

The advantage of local groups is that they are formed of people who have common goals, objectives and experiences – groups survive because individuals are committed to these objectives. Because they are small, people know and trust each other on a personal basis. Small working groups enable a group to communicate more efficiently and to operate by consensus. Local Groups should seek to be economically self-sufficient and fund all their own activities. If you want something done, Do-It-Yourself – You don’t need money when you can donate your labour. The advantage of a D.I.Y. approach is that people don’t have to have a lot of money to be politically and economically effective. It is an ongoing educational experience where we learn what works by doing the work, develop our own skills and abilities, and get to spend time with others in our community and learn from each other. Local groups should be active and productive in their communities demonstrating to people what is possible by doing it and inspiring others to get involved in changing the society.

It is our hope to encourage other Autonomous Groups to form in Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and around the world, creating an international Autonomous Social Movement and uniting all who stand for local working class autonomy against economic globalization.

Great, now we can discuss it. Please read the forum rules, we don't appreciate double posting. - Che B.
Post 11 Oct 2013, 18:41
Is this really necessary? Yet another split in an already shattered workers' movement? And why are you so obsessed with English autonomy? Why not just have it encompass all of Britain? At the moment you just sound like English nationalists, not revolutionary socialists. Nations are bullshit, they are bourgeois constructs which need to be fought against ideologically. Just because there is a tiny Cornish independence movement doesn't mean you have to respect them and see Cornwall as a separate nation.

The prerequisite of social revolution is self-determination.

No it isn't. The prerequisite of social revolution it's the contradictory nature of a class society.

The first step on this road is national liberation from imperialism.

So England is exploited by British imperialism?
Post 17 Nov 2013, 10:41
Just because there is a tiny Cornish independence movement doesn't mean you have to respect them and see Cornwall as a separate nation.

I've noticed it's generally outsiders that press these issues further (sometimes forcefully) than what the people in question actually want. No-one here really wants independence and why would we?! It wouldn't mean anything.
Post 19 Nov 2013, 12:14
It's much like there now being a small and continually growing "Yorkshire Devolution Movement" which is going to start applying pressure for a devolved Parliament for the region to better spend any money that is available in the area, and to lobby central government for the money we should be rightly getting. Thatcher's paranoid crackdown on the democratic, popular and reasonably powerful local governments/authorities in the 1980s has led to huge shortfalls in funding that could be sourced from inside the UK actually coming from EU regeneration funds in recent years. A lot of "regeneration" work in my home city has been funded largely from these funds. The same is across the rest of the North and in the West Country.
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