Rip Open and Deprofessionalize the Apparatus

part of Post-ISO Reflections: Essays and proposals on democracy and organization

If Lenin said “every cook must learn to govern the state,” then surely every member of a group must know how to edit a newspaper, organize dues-collection, deal with tax issues, find meeting space, get a protest permit, publish a book, organize security, run the theoretical journal, and how to perform literally all behind-the-scenes work.  How could this be accomplished?  Training, “apprenticeship,” the buddy system, etc.

There is a total wall of even awareness of what the party professionals do.  Perhaps some decisions are too mundane and everyday to be submitted to the entire membership vote.  But to guarantee that this might not be the case, the leadership should at least provide a detailed report of all activity on a regular basis, so the membership can decide for itself which details are contentious and which aren’t.  It should cover every quantitative facet of the organization’s functioning, from treasury to membership figures.

Of course we could allow members to vote on a lot more actual specific details and policies than they currently do.  With the use of the Internet, and simple spreadsheets for tracking votes, this is increasingly possible.  Someone could make an app.  It seems non-objectionable, but is anyone pushing for this?

Groups keep their membership totally ignorant of the work of running the apparatus, then call rank-and-filers unappreciative when a criticism is raised.  No, we should want to know how to run the website, or the newspaper, or the carefully-constructed coalition of leftist groups that are the actual backbone of our demonstrations, because that knowledge is power, and in a socialist group power should be shared (and therefore knowledge should be shared too).

Of course this is madly undemocratic.  How are you supposed to vote on things you don’t even know are going on?  Or things you don’t know how to do – or things in which you will never be invited to participate in a hands-on way?

These skills need to be systematically shared through training, and organizations need completely transparent reports on everything.  Since the Edward Snowden/NSA leaks, there is no more excuse to keep members in the dark about organizational facts, figures, and statistics which the Feds already know, including every branch from the secret government death squads to the IRS.

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One thought on “Rip Open and Deprofessionalize the Apparatus

  1. Pingback: Post-ISO Reflections: Essays and proposals on democracy and organization | spreadtheinfestation

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