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Founding of a New Organization: Miami Autonomy & Solidarity
north america / mexico | anarchist movement | press release Friday May 15, 2009 21:28 by s. nappalos - Miami Autonomy & Solidarity logos at riseup dot net
Points of Unity and Constitution of Miami Autonomy & Solidarity
In May 2009 Miami Autonomy & Solidarity was founded with the included Points of Unity and Constitution. We are distributing these to get feedback from those in the movement, and let others know of our founding.
Miami Autonomy and Solidarity is an organization of people whom have come together for the purpose of developing a revolutionary organization that works within social movements, as well as on the revolutionary level with the ultimate goal of contributing to an autonomous popular class movement of the oppressed that will overthrow capitalism and the state, as well as ending all forms of oppression.
Role of the Specific Revolutionary OrganizationOur specific revolutionary organization is a group founded on and working towards theoretical and strategic unity, as well as tactical coordination amongst its members. These organizational principles serve to strengthen our efficiency and effectiveness in developing our ideas and strategies within the broader working class movement. It must be stated that the need for such a group arises out of the practical struggles of the working class to transform itself into a revolutionary class capable of overthrowing capitalism and the state; as well as building society along egalitarian, self-managed, and directly democratic lines.
Through our specific revolutionary organization we seek to contribute to the theoretical development of revolutionary social struggles. We engage in the creation of media that communicates the views and political line of the organization, and we directly participate in struggles based on a common strategic program and coordinated activity. The political organization helps keep a historical memory of struggle and ongoing organizational strategic assessments of struggle in mass movements . We strive to retain experiences of success and failures in order to strengthen the social struggle.
However, unlike some political parties that try to use social movements as a tool to develop their own power, our organization’s relation to the social movement’s is reversed: our organization is a tool of our members and sympathizers within the social movement used to contribute towards the power of the social movements through the development of the autonomous consciousness, capacity, and solidarity of these movements. We never seek to dominate, impose upon, manipulate, command or control the movements we’re a part of. Rather we seek to participate as equals within the struggle, offering our ideas and methods as short and long term proposals for the movements towards liberation.
Against RacismRacism is more than just a set of attitudes and behaviors, but a systemic phenomenon that is built into and executed by numerous institutions throughout society. Historically, white supremacy in the US has used the notion of whiteness to oppress people of color, while simultaneously rewarding groups and individuals who embrace and promote white supremacist rule.
From a working class perspective, racism serves to keep the oppressed classes divided and disorganized to the detriment of the all within the oppressed classes. Thus, we must fight racism and prejudice of all kinds, for the unity and liberation of the oppressed classes depends on it.
We believe that race and class in the United States are intrinsically connected, though they may affect certain groups of people differently. As such, we respect and support the need of certain groups of people to struggle autonomously. As class struggle militants we seek to actively build rapport with these movements, so as to help connect such struggles, and give them expression as part of a larger working class movement. We feel that more experimentation is needed to develop tools and practices which will aid in the development of a genuine multi-racial, working class movement in the US. We believe that building such a movement is the task of all serious anti-racist, anti-statist, anti-capitalist revolutionaries.
Against PatriarchyPatriarchy is a system of oppression of women, of which the primary beneficiaries, as a group, are men. As a system, it depends upon the recreation of patriarchical values and beliefs, by both men and women, in order to perpetuate the dominance of men over women throughout society. Historically, men have benefited from patriarchy, as it has been used to exclude women from positions of power and influence, as well as naturalizing the role of men as leaders and decision makers. The global legacy of such oppression of women has meant that women are some of the poorest, and thus, most socially vulnerable people on the planet. Today, in our society, patriarchy is reproduced through sophisticated mechanisms of repression and consent. Such mechanisms allow for the participation of women in the system, but in such a way that men as a group still end up with a greater degree of power in relation to women as a group.
We see women's liberation as a movement in itself, but also see the need to have it linked with other struggles against domination. The end of patriarchy is liberatory for both men and women. It means the end of imposed gender roles, practices, behaviors, social relationships etc. and the end of domination of women by men, the state, and capitalism. We aim to practice this in our personal relationships and groups as well as work collectively against these oppressive power relations.
Queer liberationQueer liberation is the struggle against queer oppression that manifests itself through homophobia, heterosexism, trans-phobia, and other forms of domination. It intersects with other forms of oppression, as well as manifesting its own forms of systemic, cultural and personal oppression. We support the struggles of working class queers in their fight for free sexuality between consenting adults; free gender expression; equal and appropriate access to health care and other social institutions and other struggles for respect. We also support working class queers’ opposition to “queer assimilation” – the struggle for an autonomous movement that is not co-opted by the state, capitalism and privileged classes that try to dominate the queer movement.
Ending Capitalism and Constructing a Classless SocietyCapitalism is an economic system of organized class oppression. Capitalism is primarily a social relationship between classes that must work, and the classes that direct and employ. It is a relationship that is reproduced at every level of society by workers, managers, and bosses, within the workplace and everywhere else.
A small class of capitalists own the companies, production equipment, apartment buildings, and other economic assets. The dictatorship of the capitalists derives from their direct control over all of the property of society, and locks out the oppressed classes. Within the working class we are forced to sell our time, our bodies, and minds in order to survive. Our lives and time are used up reluctantly in the ebb and flow of capital’s cycles. Capitalism can only be sustained by increasing profit through increasing production and draining more wealth from the oppressed classes and the Earth. This relentless drive for profits has caused capital to overlook human and environmental devastation in the pursuit of short term gains.
The capitalists’ efforts to increase control over work and extract greater wealth, led to the creation of a distinct section of the economy— the managers and elite professionals who staff the hierarchies of the corporations and the state. Management is a tool of repression in the workplace, speeding up our work, policing the workplace, and keeping the interests of the owners as the driving force on the job. The subordination of the working class to the capitalist and bureaucratic classes is a system of oppression because it denies us control over our lives and subordinates life to the meaningless drive for profit.
In the process of building a class that can only survive through selling its time and labor, capitalism locked some people out of the workforce. Some are held in near permanent unemployment, others like housewives help contribute to society's wealth but aren't paid for it.
Not everyone who is in a class knows they're in a class. In fact the opposite is true. There is a difference between the class you are in objectively, and how you perceive yourself and the way you behave. In practice, we see a world of infinite divisions, continuously blurred and reorganized by capitalists and the state, and oppressed classes divided for innumerable reasons.
We organize to build class unity through struggle, and build a united working class movement for the abolition of classes altogether. We recognize that only through the unity of the oppressed against capital and the state will the abolition of oppression for all be possible, it is only through building common struggle and class organization that we will succeed.
The ability of the elite classes to exploit our labor and dominate us has been limited throughout the history of capitalism by revolts and mass struggles of ordinary people. The oppressed classes can liberate themselves through the development of self-managed mass organizations, which are developed through class struggle. Ultimately, we can only be rid of class dictatorships when we destroy the basis for economic classes all together, and live in a society where we control our own neighborhoods and jobs through collective democracy. We advocate a strategy for social change "from below" based on mass participation, direct democracy, collective direct action, and self-managed mass organizations, aimed towards the end of class rule and oppression.
Abolition of the StateThe state is an institution of minority class rule held through a monopoly of violence and centralized decision-making, which is reproduced as a social relationship throughout society. The modern state as we know it co-developed with capitalism in Western Europe and has spread to nearly everywhere across the globe, and in almost all instances sided with economic power against the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population. Today, the position of the state, both in terms of power and its participation in the market, creates divisions amongst the ruling class in competing for control. The ruling class and the state are therefore not identical.
The level of centralization both of power and wealth in the hands of the state makes any hope of change through working within the state only an illusion. History has been clear in showing that the state transforms rebels into masters or destroys those who try to defend the oppressed classes. Revolutionary change won’t come by changing who’s in power, only the eradication of hierarchy will achieve this.
We seek a social revolution that will overthrow the state and capitalism. Yet a society-wide transformation can't happen overnight, since we have seen that the state is inside us too. Without an internal transformation, we will continue to reproduce the dominating and exploitative relations of the state and capital daily. It is only through the process of collective struggle that we can both draw out the potential for change and see the kernel of its realization.
To organize a revolutionary society, we must have popular institutions that replace the necessary functions which the state and capital distorted and monopolized. After defending ourselves in revolution and achieving greater stability, the re-organization of society for human needs rather than the profit-driven production of capitalism will increasingly become our task.
Against ImperialismImperialism is a system where the state and elite classes of some countries use their superior economic and military power to dominate and exploit the people and resources of other countries. The imperialist powers drain wealth from less powerful countries through debt, corporate investment, unequal power in trade, and military intervention.
As countries compete for greater dominance and market control, a global power struggle and military race rises and falls again and again, while the oppressed classes are the bodies, minds, and hearts that are used up and discarded. We support popular progressive struggles against both military and economic expressions of imperialism.
Today, modern warfare, combined with modern science, is used to pursue ever increasing means of torment for humanity. War is increasingly waged, not merely on bodies, but on the minds, hearts, and land of dominated countries. Torture, rape, genocide, poisoning and destroying of land are the mark of our time. Only through eradicating the root cause which drives countries to imperialist aggression, will we see an end to limitless war.
Our fight is both internal and external. Internally we fight the foundations of the imperialist economy and state which provides the basis for imperialism. Externally we seek to build concrete unity, through action and solidarity with movements that struggle to end imperialism and capitalism. In countries resisting invasion or domination by the major capitalist powers, we support movements of the oppressed classes in these countries, not their local states or local elites. We don't support the national bourgeoisie and bureaucracies in their bid for power in these struggles. The history of the completed revolutions throughout Latin America, Africa and throughout the globe demonstrate the peril and vital mistake in supporting these forces.
In situations where a “national liberation movement” aims to oust a pro-imperialist leadership in a country or fight an occupation, we support mass movements of workers, peasants, and others of the oppressed classes in their struggle against imperialism, but not the state-building project of a “national liberation” political party. Self-determination requires the autonomy of the popular organizations from the ruling classes and party bureaucracies.
Imperialism can only be brought to an end by a social and economic transformation throughout the planet, which eliminates the system of competing states and exploitative class systems. The human species needs to evolve a new form of world association that respects the autonomy and differences of all communities or ethnic groups while allowing for democratic decision-making, rooted in grassroots institutions such as delegate congresses, to resolve global problems.
The Necessity of Social RevolutionCapitalism, the State and other systems of oppression cannot be voted or convinced out of existence. The oppressed classes must lead a revolutionary struggle against the systems of domination of the elite classes and their defenders. This struggle will involve the destruction of the state; the expropriation of all land, capital, social institutions and wealth from capital;the ending of class-based economic systems; and the elimination of all forms of oppression.
The old oppressive political, economic and social orders must be replaced by directly-democratic , egalitarian, and self-managed decision-making institutions. These popular institutions must be federally linked from the local level to the global level, in order to organize for common needs and around common issues. We seek an economic system that will be controlled socially through these directly-democratic, self-managed, egalitarian and cooperative structures that bases economic contribution according to individuals’ abilities and economic distribution according to individuals’ needs.
However, the elite classes will not give up their privileges without a fight and will use violence, lies, withholding of resources and whatever other means of maintaining the state, capitalism and other forms of privilege and oppression as they can. There will also likely be various parties and organizations that may try to co-opt the broad struggle of the oppressed classes by trying to centralize power in their hands supposedly "on behalf of" the revolutionary struggle. The popular revolutionary struggle of the oppressed classes must defend its autonomy against both these elite classes and against any political groups trying to take the revolution under their control.
The revolutionary struggle must be organized to defend itself. Popular militias should be formed accountable to and ultimately controlled directly democratically by the popular revolutionary movment communes. We’re against isolated acts of violence or terrorism in the name of popular struggle. While defense of our struggle will likely necessitate violence; all violence must be liberatory violence that seeks to end systems and manifestations of oppression, not violence that seeks to reintroduce or recreate systems of oppression with different oppressors.
The role of members of our revolutionary organization in this struggle is one of equals making arguments and seeking influence through persuasion within the popular revolutionary struggle; as active militants on behalf of the directly democratic revolutionary struggles; and trying to defend against those who would seek to dominate within these popular revolutionary struggles through coercion or by seeking to institute systems of control, domination or exploitation.
EnvironmentTo achieve a sustainable and healthy relationship between humanity and the natural world, we must create a society which is based on the satisfaction of social needs such as food, shelter, water, and community. Modern environmental destruction is largely a result of capitalism’s need to commodify the natural world and continually expand production for the wealth of a small minority. While production expands and contracts, the vast majority of the world and our environments suffer the decimation of the senseless drive to profit. We recognize that social transformation is the first step towards ecological balance, not individual lifestyle changes or technological innovations.
1. Name:(a) The name of the organization is Miami Autonomy & Solidarity.
2. Membership:(a) Membership of the organization requires: agreeing with the Points of Unity; abiding by the organizational constitution, code of conduct and collective decisions; working for and arguing for the organizational policies in political activity; and paying required dues
(b) Members must be approved by a consensus vote at an official organizational membership meeting.
(c) Memberships may be temporarily or permanently removed by a majority vote at an official membership meeting.
(d) Members are held to the standard of collective discipline and action. Every member is answerable for their behaviors, actions and opinions expressed within and outside the organization. Every member of the organization is also responsible for holding accountable any other member who’s behavior, actions or opinions expressed within or outside the organization contradict the organization’s Points of Unity, constitution, policies or collective decisions.
3. Organizational Functions:(a) The organization will hold official meetings at least once a month. Meetings will preferably occur at a regular time and place, and will consist of at least 60% of the membership for quorum.
(b) An agenda must be sent out to the membership by the internal secretary 3 days in advance of all official organizational meetings, excluding any business that arises following that deadline. Any items not included in the agenda sent out by the internal secretary can be included with a majority vote of the members at a meeting. However, any decisions made on such late added business are held a provisional decisions for 3 days after the meeting notes are distributed, until all members vote or until a super-majority of all membership approves the vote (whichever of these three comes first), so members not attending the meeting can vote on the matter. Any members not voting 3 days after the notes have been distributed to them (through e-mail or by hard copy) are deemed to have abstained.
(c) All decisions unable to be resolved by a consensus of the membership are taken by super majority vote (which is 2/3 of those voting) unless otherwise noted in this constitution. Abstentions are not to count against quorum or to be counted as no votes.
(d) Members may submit proxy votes for any meeting that they cannot attend.
(e) Position papers must be decided by at least 2/3 majority vote at a regular meeting, and the proposal must be given to members 1 week in advance of the vote.
(f) Minutes are to be typed and distributed preferably within 48 hours of any meeting, but no later than one week after a meeting. Archived copies are to be kept of all meeting minutes and other organizational documents by the internal secretary and are available to any member for inspection.
(g) Official policy is that that has been ratified by the organization at its official meetings.
(h) If organizational decisions need to be made between official membership meetings (emergency response, statement endorsements) any member can propose a inter-meeting membership referendum. The vote must include a vote by a quorum of the membership (60% of the membership). The person making the proposal is responsible for informing all members by phone/ in person/ or by text and sending the proposal over the organizational e-mail list serve. All members are then responsible for submitting their votes by to the Internal Secretary preferably within 48 hours but no longer than within one week of the proposal being submitted to them. Any votes not tallied by this time are considered an abstention. Once a super-majority of all members has approved an organizational decision through a referendum, it is deemed approved even if some members have not yet submitted their vote.
4. Minority rights:(a) Members who hold minority views within the organization on an issue for which no policy exists, have the right to act as they see fit as long as they make it clear that their position does not reflect that of the organization, and as long as such a position does not take them outside the constitution, Points of Unity, established policies or collective decisions of the organization.
5. Delegated Positions:(a) Positions are: an External Secretary, an Internal Secretary, an Internet Secretary, and a Treasurer.
(b) All members delegated to organizational positions are subject to both an election to their positions as well as a recall vote by regular organizational decision-making processes.
(c) It is recommended that positions rotate yearly. No position within the organization may be held by the same member for more than three years in succession.
(d) Positions may be held by more than one member at a time.
(e) Members delegated to specific positions are to be mandated with specific duties and tasks by the organization, not given the representative power of making decisions on value-laden issues on behalf of the organization.
(f) The responsibilities of the delegated positions include:
External Secretary(i) To be the spokesperson for the organization to the outside world as mandated by the organization.
(ii) To keep a record of all public correspondence.
(iii) To write reports for the press, allied organizations, etc.. However all reports must be submitted for organizational vote at organizational meetings or through inter-meeting membership referendum processes.
(iv) To foster contacts that live outside existing areas of activity for the purposes of recruitment.
Internal Secretary(i) To coordinate and organize regular meetings
(ii) To check in with working groups, campaigns, and members about activity, development, and needs for the purpose of writing a report for the organization.
(iii) To keep updated paper records of all organizational documents including: the constitution, the points of unity, position papers, all organizational decisions made, all organizational policies, all educational curriculum material, all group produced literature and all membership meeting minutes
Treasurer(i) To keep a record of all funds and financial transactions for the organization.
(ii) To collect and distribute dues monies as decided by the organization.
(iii) To make regular reports of the status of all organizational funds at membership meetings and as requested by any member of the organization.
Internet Secretary(i) to be responsible for creating and maintaining the organizational mailing lists and web pages.
6. Finance:6.1 Membership dues are collected quarterly.
6.2 All members pay an increasing percent on every 15,000 that they make after the first 30,000. Members making15,000 to 30,000 pay 1%. Members making 30,000-45,000 pay 1% on their first 30,000 and then 2% on anything made after and so on.
6.3 For anyone making 15k or below they pay on a sliding scale based on individual judgment of their situation held to the standards of comradely trust; but no less than $5 quarterly.
6.4 People with dependents or paying child support take all costs of their dependents out of their initial income "x"
6.5 The basic structure with range outcomes would be:
x= yearly income
Income Dues Equation yearly dues paid range
0-15,000 sliding scale $20-$150
15,000-30,000 .01x=y $150-$300
30,000- 45,000 .02x-300=y $300- $600
45,000- 60,000 .03x-750=y $600- $1050
60,000- 75,000 .04x-1350=y $1050- $1650
75,000- 90,000 .05x-2100=y $1650- $2400
90,000- 105,000 .06x-3000=y $2400-$3300
6.6 Any member more than 2 quarters behind in their dues is deemed to have resigned.
6.7 In times of financial hardship (unemployment, jail time, medical emergencies, family or personal financial crisis, etc.), members can inform the local treasurer (members don't have to tell any reason or give any specifics besides that they’re claiming financial hardship since they’re held to the standards of comradely trust). By claiming financial hardship, members owe nothing or a reduced rate of what they feel they can pay.
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