I’ve used the term “communist” to describe myself and a small group of similarly minded folks. While I’m happy with this term as a reference to the historical communist left, a tendency which arose against what most people think of a communism, I certainly understand that for the average person just wanting a quick summary of what we’re about, the term might give a wrong and even an opposite impression of what I’m aiming for. If only the goal mattered when I was talking about our small, informal tendency, then “anarchist” would be just as informative. But neither would be very informative for our average person wanting that quick summary.
And there we have the quandary. The dynamics of this society produce a situation where just about any label one comes up with is going to be distorted into something awful by the need of every active salesman to attach his product to any given term having a positive spin to it – look at how horrible almost everything that is today label “community” really is.
There is more to this situation, however. Our critique, put into a full sentence rather than a single word, is that this society involves reducing nearly everyone’s activity to labor-power to be sold and reducing each person’s condition to the point that they (very barely) satisfy their needs by buying commodities – the product(s) of this alienated labor process. This situation means that “we” are reduced to workers and consumers (often simultaneously). And the reduction to consumers part here means there is no real “we” in the sense of a collective power, a collective decision making ability. So, if we look at the “average person” trying to understand our theory, we’ll see an “idea consumer”, a person wanting a discreet, cut dried recipe for “change”. However, our aim, which naturally goes along with our critique, is not to create a small in this society but to reverse the dominant order. The reverse of this world would be a society where an empowered collective, a community-minus-the-bs-versions-of-so-called-communities, would be the way people met their needs and the project of nearly everyone in the society. Further, since the main problem is how do we get there, our answer is through something like a spark of collective power (a spark that would have to become conflagration, though the transformation seems fated to be unpredictable). And thus, the point where people are taking action to create such a new world is the point where they will begin to active collectively and will stop being workers and consumers, stopping looking to recipes to solve XYZ problem so they can go back to work or back to shopping.
We aim to engage people at the point of, on-the-verge-of, real collective empowerment. What we want to be a part of and inspiration from is this process. My speculation is that dialogue, explanation and provocation will almost go hand-in-hand here. Further, when activity begin, what will be most important for our discussions is that we lay out our ideas clearly and succinctly for those willing to make the study. However, we may have to wait till then for many people to be interested in doing that. We reconciled.