A new type of politics and political organisation




A new type of Politics


Old politics is doomed, as the accelerating internationalisation of the market economy is met by the continuous decline of representative ‘democracy’. The impotency of the state to effectively control the market forces, in order to tackle the fundamental problems of massive unemployment, poverty, rising concentration of income and wealth and the continuing destruction of the environment, has led to massive political apathy and cynicism, particularly among the underclass and the marginalized. As a result, all parties today compete for the vote of the middle classes which, effectively, determine the political process. At the same time, the pipe dreams of some parts of the ‘left’ for a democratisation of the civil society are, also, doomed since internationalisation of the market economy is being inevitably followed by the internationalisation of the civil society. In other words, competition imposes the least common denominator standards as far as social and ecological controls on markets is concerned. Therefore, that type of civil society is bound to prevail which is consistent with the degree of marketisation that characterises the most competitive parts of the global economy.


It is therefore clear that we need a new type of politics which would comprise the creation of local inclusive democracies, i.e. the creation of a new public realm that would involve citizens:

  • as citizens taking decisions on broad political, economic and social matters within the institutional framework of demotic assemblies

  • as workers taking decisions on the running of demotic enterprises within the institutional framework of workplace assemblies;

  • as students taking decisions on the running of colleges and schools etc.

This new Politics requires a new type of political organisation which will  play the role of the catalyst for its emergence. So, what form should this new political organisation take and how can we go about to create it?


A new type of political organisation


It is clear that the new type of political organisation should itself mirror the desired structure of society. This would not be the usual political party, but a form of ‘democracy in action’, which would undertake various forms of intervention at the local level, always as part of a comprehensive program for social transformation aiming at the eventual change of each local authority into an inclusive democracy. These forms of intervention should extend to every area of the broadly defined above public realm and could involve:

  • At the political level, the creation of ‘shadow’ political institutions based on direct democracy, (neighbourhood assemblies, etc) as well as various forms of direct action (marches, rallies, teach-ins and civil disobedience) against the existing political institutions and their activities;

  • At the economic level, the establishment of a ‘demotic’ sector, (i.e. a sector involving demotic production and distribution units which are owned and controlled collectively by the citizens, demotic welfare etc) as well as various forms of direct action (strikes, occupations etc) against the existing economic institutions and their activities;

  • At the social level, the creation of self-management institutions in  the workplace, the place of education etc, as well as participating in struggles for worker’s democracy, household democracy, democracy in the educational institutions and so on;

  • At the ecological level, the establishment of ecologically sound production and consumption units, as well as direct action against the corporate destruction of Nature;

  • At the cultural level, activities aiming at the creation of a community-controlled art (in place of the presently elite-controlled art activities) and alternative media activities that will help in making the value system which is consistent with an inclusive democracy the hegemonic culture in society.


How to build an ID organisation


The following is a general description of the steps that might be taken in building an ID organisation, although of course the concrete form that this procedure will take in practice will crucially depend on local conditions and practices.  

  • The first step in building such an organisation might be to initiate a meeting of a number of people in a particular area who are interested in the ID project with the aim to create a study group for the discussion of this project and in particular of the aims of the international ID network. If general agreement with the principles of the ID network is confirmed then the group could come in contact with the cells of the ID network in the same country and/or in other countries for the exchange of information, news etc. After a series of meetings between the people involved, and as a result of  discussions on the matter, the group could formulate a minimum program expressing the basic goals, means and strategy of the local ID group. The group should also formulate its organisational structure along non-hierarchical lines, as well as its decision-taking process on the basis of direct democracy principles

  • The next step might be the publication of a local newsletter, or in the case of big cities a local magazine, in which this minimum program would be published, as well as comments on local or national/international news from the ID perspective and brief theoretical texts on the goals, means, strategy of the ID project. News on relevant, local or not, activities should get particular prominence. At this stage, the ID group could begin getting involved in the organisation of public meetings in which issues of particular concern to the local people (economic, ecological, social  etc) are discussed. All these issues should be introduced by members of the group who express the ID angle and full discussions with local citizens should follow.

  • As the number of people involved in the ID group grows, it may start taking part in local struggles (or even initiate such struggles on various issues of concern for the establishment of an ID) and also in alliance with similar groups from other areas in struggles on regional, national or international issues. With this aim, the group should liaise with similar local groups in the same region, country and other countries to form  confederations of autonomous ID groups (at the regional, national and international levels) with the aim to coordinate the political activity of the groups involved. The creation of an ID electronic newsletter might play a significant role in this process. Alliances with other radical groups of the Left should also be encouraged on specific issues (e.g. to replace the present European Union of capitalists with a European Community of peoples) on which a consensus view on the demands to be raised could be reached.

  • Finally, once a sufficient number of activists has joined the group so that it can take the form of an ID political organisation (with organisational structure and decision-taking process similar to the ones of the original group) the ID organisation may start expanding its activities and be involved in the creation of local institutions of political, and economic democracy as well as democracy in the social realm (workplace, educational place etc), cultural activities etc. At the same time the ID organisation should start contesting local elections, Initially, with an educational aim, i.e. to familiarise citizens on a significant social scale about the ID project. Once however the ID organisation has won the elections in a particular area it should start implementing the transitional program for the building of an inclusive democracy. Needless to add that in all these stages the activists in the ID movement function not as ‘party cadres’ but as catalysts for the setting up of the new institutions. In other words, their commitment is to the democratic institutions themselves and not to the political organisation.