We’ve had a wave of activity hit our blog in the past month due to the debates around “the union question.” Due to this, we’ve been bombarded with many people’s quality positions regarding the question of whether or not, and how, to intervene in unions. We’ve also received some critiques that the wave of blog posts around unions was not theoretically and historically rigorous enough. We can only agree with this critique and acknowledge the limitations of our current position as a group to immediately churn out analyses that meet the academic standards of some of our graduate school comrades.
With that said, we’d like to emphasize a few points about where AS is at as a collective, as well as where our current thinking is at so that we can clarify for folks near and far.
Within our collective we’ve been having ongoing debates around strategy and program that center around such topics as Trotskyism and Ultra-left communism. Ultimately, we see a need to transcend the limitations of all these tendencies, as well as the important insights that both tendencies provide. For instance, some of us in AS see the last great communist program to have impacted history to be the Transitional Program of 1938. We’ve been debating the merits of the Transitional Program, the centrality of a transitional method, and the notion of unifying the minimum and maximum program as a method for engaging in the class struggles we’re involved in and see unfolding around us.
At the same time, we’ve also been discussing the limitations of the Transitional Program as a historical program and the way in which many Trotskyist groups apply the program as if it were frozen in time and eternally valuable. Marxist programmatic theory has been in crisis for quite some time, frozen in the categories of the past and not acknowledging its limitations in understanding the structural changes in capital, the proletariat, and the corresponding need for an updated theory and strategy.
Similarly, we’ve done collective study, discussion and debate over the contributions of the Ultra-left communist tendencies toward our understanding of the shifting structure of capital and the composition of the working class.
We’re in a situation where we need to thaw out Marxist theory and determine what there is to keep, update, and apply, as well as what we identify as needing to be left behind, and what areas need to be developed from the ground up. This is not an easy task, and we appreciate the critical and supportive thoughts of comrades who are contributing toward developing this process.
In addition to struggling to understand and apply these questions of Marxist theory in the realm of written pieces, we are also working on applying our emerging understandings through our concrete political work in Bay Area struggles. We’re also doing this while holding down jobs in transportation, high schools, and restaurants in addition to being students in nursing and machining programs. These are some of the strengths and limitations of our organization – our commitment to praxis as well our composition as non-academic/university employed workers. Our real capacity for theoretical production is limited given the position we have in society; at the same time, we have determination to systematically explore ideas and theory in relationship to our practical proletarian operations in the transportation & education sectors, among immigrant workers, and recently in the struggle to keep the City College of San Francisco open.
In the free time we do have, we read, write, and develop as much communist programmatic material as possible. The pace of the production of this content is at a rate that is slower than what is demanded of us. There is no way to speed up that process simply with eagerness and will. We have been struggling to be born, survive, grow and mature. Still, the development of revolutionary programmatic communist material really means to move above and beyond this underdeveloped position.
This is what we’re striving for and where we’re starting from.
If you’re not in touch with us already, email us to collaborate: firstname.lastname@example.org