The original article is here
Comparisons and Introductions
Agorism vs. Dual Power
In many ways the ideas of dual power are like the ideas behind agorism. It’s about building alternative structures to the current one to promote more autonomy within society against unjust authority. However similar these two things may be however it is my belief that they certainly have their differences in what they do and do not emphasize. Otherwise I’d think I’d be hearing a lot more right-wing libertarians and so on start talking about dual power instead of talking about agorism without really knowing what it means. A lot of the time the an-caps like to put agorism into practice but only to make a profit. It’s not about building a new society within the shell of the old (and if it is it’s never made clear that this is the ultimate intention) it’s just about making money for a product their selling without getting government (too) involved. Now I do think this is an admirable goal and agorism is certainly a good way of going about it but to focus on the idea of making profit and not pay tribute to the larger great idea of just building new social structures because the current ones are failing seems to me to be missing the point of a lot of Konkin’s ideas.
Instead I think that’s sort of how dual power comes into play, specifically for the more left-leaning libertarians or anarchists (though left-libertarians in general I think can still do and practice agorism). Because dual power isn’t as focused on profit or the “market place of ideas” and other terms such as those it has time to stretch its ideological legs out and see what it can accomplish more in different ways. Another one of the things that seems to be pointing to differences in dual power and agorism is that dual power (and the people who seem to advocate it) seek a much broader change than just the people advocating counter-economics. And while counter-economics are good in changing the economic structures and that’s definitely important, again it seems short sighted to only focus on the economics section when there are other power structures out there that reinforce oppression. That’s not to say that agorism fails as a philosophy or a strategy but only that it should be complimented by these ideas (which is why it’s left-libertarian to begin with in my view, because to some degree or another it accepts such a notion of thickness). And so even though agorism has some things going for them and so does dual power I think it’s safe to say that both have their place in the anarchists repertoire if they so choose to have both. Is only one necessary? Perhaps. But it depends on what your main focuses are.
“Any serious anarchist with an intent to alter society for the better seeks radical change in: social attitudes, economic and political arrangements, interpersonal relations and the like. We seek a new social paradigm to alter society and the individuals in it to reflect the values and reality of: voluntarism, free association, mutual aid, cooperation, workers self-management and the freedom to do what one wants with the fruits of his labor. So it is cultural change we desire. And from this change a radical shift in the way society is organized.”
So in some ways agorism focuses more on an economic change with counter-economics though interpersonal relations, political and cultural ones can definitely be also changed I’m unsure of how much of deliberateness goes into such an effort if it happens. Again, this seems to me where dual power can come in to the picture. It can add to those extra sections agorists might not have time to get into or may not want to stress. As an anarchist without adjectives I think there’s room for both tactics within the anarchist philosophy. Neither one is necessarily always going to be better and both seem to have their own unique and individual appeal. But enough differentiating let’s try to better individualize this strategy of dual power and see what we can find.
Introducing Dual Power
For introducing dual power I could not only rely on LaughingMan’s video that I’ve linked above (which I of course recommend as a great short but well thought out introduction) or I could rely on this introduction to dual power. I think that a combination of using both links will best serve our interest in discovering what dual power is and further along in the post what it can do for us as anarchists.
So what does LaughingMan say?
He says that to answer the question of how such radical cultural change will occur we must understand dual power. Dual power he says is,
“…the carefully calculated and purposeful creation of a new set of institutions in the old society one seeks to change. These institutions are designed for changing the old society. Crafted to erode their power structure by superimposing the new power structure. Dual power seeks to compete with and overtake the preexisting state. It challenges the mono-centric power system of the state by creating an economic, political and cultural power structure of its own. Thus creating a dual power system in a formerly mono-centric power system.”
He says a bit more after that about what sorts of new power structures these would be but I think this will suffice for now. Later on in the post I will get more into these new power structures. But really what’s going on here if I can explain this quote a bit more briefly is this: the old power structure in whatever forms it takes is seen as inadequate for meeting your needs so you erect new ones. These new ones act as an alternative social arrangement that you hope will win out. Basically it’s a battle of ideas and not necessarily one of violence. Which for me makes perfect sense because as I’ve said quite a few times already the real enemies are not the people in the government, et. al. but the ideas they represent. I think it’s telling that even the anarchist Alexander Berkman who I mentioned in the last article changed his mind from his previously pro-violence stance in his 1929 book, “ABC of Anarchism”:
“It is very necessary that you get this straight. Most people have very confused notions about revolution. To them it means just fighting, smashing things, destroying. It is the same as if rolling up your sleeves for work should be considered as the work itself that you have to do. The fighting part of revolution is merely the rolling up of your sleeves. The real, actual task is ahead.
What is that task?
“The destruction of the existing conditions,” you reply.
True. But conditions are not destroyed by breaking and smashing things. You can’t destroy wage slavery by wrecking the machinery in mills and factories, can you? You won’t destroy government by setting fire to the White House.
To think of revolution in terms of violence and destruction is to misinterpret and falsify the whole idea of it. In practical application such a conception is bound to lead to disastrous results.
When a great thinker, like the famous Anarchist Bakunin, speaks of revolution as destruction, he has in mind the ideas of authority and obedience which are to be destroyed. It is for this reason that he said that destruction means construction, for to destroy a false belief is indeed most constructive work.”
(Chapter 9. Preparation, thanks to Scott Forster for bringing that to my attention.)
So I think that my case for being against and working against ideas as a result has quite a bit to do with the strategy of dual power. But how does the article, “An Introduction to Dual Power Strategy” (which is also linked under the “introduction to dual power” section) describe it?
To start, in this article the author Brian Dominick has a bit more of a developed sort of dual power with specific institutions in mind. This article is also probably a fairly more substantial read than LaughingMan’s was. And so while LaughingMan gave us the nutshell Dominick appears to want to give us a big slice of the nut itself if not more…bad metaphor?….I’ll move on then. Anyways, my point is that he comes at this from different angles and perspectives, his definition of dual power goes likes this though,
“The great task of grassroots dual power is to seek out and create social spaces and fill them with liberatory institutions and relationships. Where there is room for us to act for ourselves, we form institutions conducive not only to catalyzing revolution, but also to the present conditions of a fulfilling life, including economic and political self-management to the greatest degree achievable. We seek not to seize power, but to seize opportunity vis a vis the exercise of our power.”
Both of these approaches to defining dual power describe them as strategies which first and foremost promote the autonomy of the person trying it as well as whoever they can influence. However Dominick for himself personally has something more specific in mind than LaughingMan does in his video:
“Here the status quo consists of a market capitalist economy, an authoritarian republic, patriarchy, adultarchy, judeo-christian eurocentricity, white supremacy, etc. These are the ideologies and institutions which make up the oppressive system according to which our society operates. By necessity, then, our oppositional dual power, our alternative infrastructure, must be based on decentralized socialist economics, a participatory democratic polity, feminist and youthist kinship, and a secular yet spiritual, intercommunal culture.”
I don’t think within the context of this post it’s good for me to spend considerable time dedicating to whether I think he’s right or wrong here. Instead, I’d just like to point out that him saying this only reveals that different anarchists will enact the dual power strategy in many different ways. These different ways will often express how one individual who adheres to the anarchist philosophy feels about the current relations in society. Some may focus more on patriarchy than racism or others may focus on economic disparities in wealth that they see as artificially created and so on. There’s no reason to also not try to focus on multiple issues equally if you can do that as well. So versatility not only comes with direct action but also with the strategy of dual power.
So with all of that I think dual power has been defined enough. But there’s another sort of way of expressing similar ideas and it’s called counter-power.
The idea of counter-power is not one that’s too widely discussed to my knowledge so I don’t have much to say except quote Darian Worden’s article “Build Counter-Power, Create an Authority Vacuum”,
“The very concept of having no rulers often encounters fears of a power vacuum — an unsustainable, dangerous situation that can only end in the re-establishment of rulers. But the rejection of authority does not mean that power is up for grabs — it means that power is widely distributed, making it harder for tyrants to usurp.
The practice of anarchism fills society with empowered individuals, diffusing power throughout society so that no authority can take it over. Interactions of free individuals — the everyday pursuit of needs and desires combined with the recognition that mutual respect for freedom is the best way to realize needs and desires — build counter-power. Organizations of social cooperation established for the mutual benefit of participants, not for the power of some at the expense of others, help keep power dispersed in a fashion that safeguards individual liberty. Institutions of authority can be subverted or seized for the purpose of dispersing power.”
Is this dual power by just by another name? In some ways it seems to be the case. Building counter-power or the relatons that Worden talks about in his article seem pretty much spot on to the ideas of dual power. I think it’s worth mentioning though that Worden’s ideas of how counter-power relations would exist as opposed to the largely artificial ones that exist today is excellent. I think that this general overview of what they would look like as opposed to Dominick’s more personal and specific view (though I’m sure some share his vision or something close to it no doubt) is a lot more likely to be supported by anarchists.
David S. D’Amato adds to this conversation in his article, “Counter-Power and the Arab Spring”,
“Martin Buber’s thesis, that “[p]ower abdicates only under the stress of counter-power,” is central to the questions raised by the Arab Spring. There can be no doubt now that counter-power has the ability to supplant despots and transform governments, but it need not stop there.
As Buber also observed, Marx and Engels were right that, assuming the state actually represented the whole of society, it would be rendered superfluous and therefore unnecessary; their mistake, however, was to maintain the necessity of a total state helmed by the working class itself — to maintain that such a state was even possible, let alone a necessary step toward a stateless society.
Rather than seeking to capture the machinery of the state from the hands of the elite few for the productive majority in society, market anarchists argue that we should begin to make it obsolete right now. Our means of accomplishing that end need not and should not incorporate violence, instead peacefully protesting and competing with the state.”
Counter-power therefore can certainly take from even recent history to see why it works in certain ways and it certainly is not a reformist or a violent way either necessarily. This holds true as well for dual power. It seems to me that the difference between dual and counter power is that dual power may be acting along side the old society to some degree and competing but counter power is directly working against the current system instead of focusing more on the relationship between the two. However I may be incorrect here and there may be nothing really of substantial difference between the two. As far as I can see the difference between these to (if there are any) are certainly not being expressed. Nevertheless I do think it’s important to empathize that even if counter-power is more or less the same thing as dual power that it’s just as legitimate either way.
Finally I want to quote Worden one last time from his article “Putting the Nation Before the Human”, where he again outlines counter-power in brief:
“The state primarily serves people with political power and those who can deliver more — like prison industry lobbyists, for example. Those without political power can develop counter-power by creating networks of informed individuals that make it easier to live apart from, and eventually in opposition to, state power.
If these networks seek to neutralize all impositions of authority of one person over another — to disperse political power — then they are working toward anarchism. Anarchy empowers peaceable individuals. Incentives toward actual crimes would be reduced by a dynamic economy and social norms that discourage coercion, while victimization could be reduced by systems that don’t instead focus on victimless activity.”
Again, it seems to be very centered on dispersing power as equally as possible among people. Making sure that these counter-power organizations are mutually beneficial and certainly working towards anarchist ends. On that note however we will return to the idea of counter-power later on. I now want to continue with a brief discussion of the history of dual power.
A Brief History of Dual Power
First it should be pointed out what the Wikipedia article points out (and I don’t want to hear anything about how I’m citing them a lot because they’re about as reliable as the Britannica apparently) that Vladimir Lenin first explained. I think this is also probably why many an-caps and other right-libertarians aren’t talking about this as much. I don’t exactly seeing them reading State and Revolution and then going deeper than that to see what else they can find. So I think this also explains the more libertarian-socialist arena that you usually see dual power being discussed in. In this case however it was a government vs. government dual power situation and not acting within the anarchist context. The article reads,
‘”The Dual Power,” (dvoevlastie) which described a situation in the wake of the February Revolution in which two powers, the workers councils (or Soviets, particularly the Petrograd Soviet) and the official state apparatus of the Provisional Government coexisted with each other and competed for legitimacy. Lenin argued that this essentially unstable situation constituted a unique opportunity for the Soviets to seize power by smashing the Provisional Government and establishing themselves as the basis of a new form of state power.”
So the root of dual power (that is competing social systems) has just been adopted by anarchists in a non-state context. Really it makes sense to me because if you can do one alternative social arrangement competing with another but with the same root…what does it matter? It has the same root problems for the anarchist either way so it doesn’t make much of a difference. One might be more preferable than another but either way this strategy seems like a good idea within an anarchist context and it’s not hard to see why with how it’s been used in history.
The article smartly in my opinion notes that,
“Dual power is a strategy, rather than an ideology, and it could plausibly be used to advance a variety of forms of social change. However, the advantages of the strategy make it most compatible with perspectives that emphasize the exercise of power at the community level, that seek to make the revolutionary movement accountable to the people, that see the capability to revision and transform society as common rather than rare, and that seek decentralized forms of power. Call this version of the strategy grassroots dual power, the bottom-up transformation and replacement of the mechanisms of society.”
This is what Dominick was talking about in his article earlier. A much more grassroots, pro-democratic movement that is trying to benefit the community the most. This seems to be compatible for not only the historical emphasis that probably occurred for state-communists (at least in rhetoric) but also how it’s grown in the social-anarchist circles since then. To quote Dominick at length and his explanations of what dual power mean to him and how he sees it manifest is especially relevant to how dual power has historically grown as an idea within anarchists:
“This essay is about basic democracy. I am not introducing a radical new ideology, I am talking about building a social framework, or infrastructure, which is responsive to the actual will of the people.
What I am proposing is a system whereby decisions of social policy and economic relations are made by those affected by them: citizens and workers.
Such is the essence of grassroots dual power. It is foremost a revolutionary strategy, the procedure by which we can sustain radical social change during and after insurrectionary upheavals — even to manage those upheavals; but dual power is also a situation we create for ourselves as communities. Whether the insurrection happens in the next decade or takes 3 more generations to occur, we can create revolutionary circumstances now, and we can exercise power to the greatest possible extent.
Thus, grassroots dual power is a situation wherein a self-defined community has created for itself a political/economic system which is an operating alternative to the dominant state/capitalist establishment. The dual power consists of alternative institutions which provide for the needs of the community, both material and social, including food, clothing, housing, health care, communication, energy, transportation, educational opportunities and political organization. The dual power is necessarily autonomous from, and competitive with, the dominant system, seeking to encroach upon the latter’s domain, and, eventually, to replace it.”
Here Dominick gives a pretty in depth look at how he sees democracy and other things that would presumably require communities and collectives of people to function within a dual power strategy. But again the point of quoting Dominick isn’t whether I agree with him or not (though for what it’s worth I do like quite a bit of what he is saying either way) but to show how the development of the idea of dual power has come about historically. Clearly people like Dominick may have a different idea of it than LaughingMan did in his brief video and it’s definitely more specific than Worden or D’Amato’s case for counter-power. This isn’t to say that this is a good thing or a bad thing but just something to keep in mind when talking about dual power strategy in general.
Historically it’s not only developed in certain ways but manifested in a few as well. Again, citing the Wikipedia page where the Zapatista movement in Mexico is briefly discussed,
“This local democracy has been extended by the creation of autonomous local governments, systems of alternative institutions that effectively replace local structures of power. On February 3, 1994, Manuel Camacho Solís, the conciliator between the government and the Zapatistas, announced the creation of two free zones in which the International Red Cross would operate and the militaries would not, unwittingly providing the Zapatista communities with a bit of national territory. On December 19, 1995, the EZLN broke the Mexican Federal Army’s encirclement and carried out the political and military seizure of dozens of towns, demonstrating that its influence went far beyond the small existing conflict zone. In this expanded area, Zapatista communities formed 38 autonomous municipalities covering more than a third of the state of Chiapas.”
And of course this is just one example and one sort of use of dual power. Certainly the Zapitistas are not necessarily the most peaceful bunch (to say the least) but this is one historical manifestation of the idea of dual power and we can now see how it’s played out and continues to play out. Looking at things like this helps us better determine what we should do when we’re using the strategy of dual power and what not to do. Some may decide that what the Zapatistas did was not right for them and others might, I think this again just proves the versatility and flexibility of dual power in action.
So now that the history has been briefly laid out how do we build on these ideas?
Dual/Counter Power and The Struggle
Building Dual Power
So sure you’ve got all this info…what’cha gonna do with it though? I suppose the only thing to do now is to build upwards and try to put it into practice. To that end I quote from an article titled, “Where they Retreat We Must Advance: Building Dual Power” by Wesley Morgan and I just want to make it clear that I love that title and think it’s pretty awesome…but besides that since I shall only quote this article once I want to do it at length and try to drive home some of the main arguments it has:
“It is not sufficient to create a negative contradiction within society, that is, to create a revolutionary rupture through organized opposition. This is necessary, but not sufficient. It is necessary to move from an insurrectionary strategy, focused on the creation of a negative contradiction (against all forms of social domination), to a revolutionary strategy, the creation of a positive contradiction.
It is difficult to understate the revolutionary effect of organizing to create, and support, self-managed community services. There are even examples of this in North America— the Black Panther Party, at their strongest, ran over 60 social programs, such as schools, meal programs, and shoe programs. While the Black Panthers fell victim to their marginalization in ghetto communities, police repression, and internal power struggles that were partially related to the effects of the FBI’s counter-intelligence program (COINTELPRO), this model of community organization is one that still holds a great deal of potential.
By advancing where the state has retreated, by beginning to create a community-based, self-managed, anti-State public sector, anarchists can begin to generate a broad-based movement that has the organizational capacity to create a fully self-managed society.
This is the general strategy, to attempt to create dual power in the public sector, to build autonomous, community-based, self-managed social infrastructure—schools, clinics, mutual aid organizations, perhaps hospitals one day—to help a create a revolutionary process of organizing without hierarchy or domination. Where the state has retreated, we must advance, and begin organizing to fill the gap in a liberatory manner, to build the revolutionary capacity and potential for an end to all forms of domination and hierarchy.”
Now that first one cannot be emphasized enough for me personally. The idea that anarchism wants to destroy and not create anything in its place is one of the central theme anarchists have to deal with it. In the first article of Worden’s I cited, “Build Counter-Power, Create an Authority Vacuum” he had to deal with this exact issue. Likewise for the Berkman quote and the article I just quoted from as well and as well as many anarchists in general. We all have to deal with the perception that anarchists don’t want to do much but destroy most of the current ways people go about their lives and then not replace it with anything. This is where the ideas of counter and dual power explicitly challenge such a notion. Because it is inherent in the theory itself that this cannot be the case. But if it’s not the case, if the organizations like the Black Panther Party have done it, the Zapatistas have done it and so on, what main institutions should be found in a dual power strategy? I again return to LaughingMan’s video on dual power and quote him at length multiple times:
“In dual power there are two kinds of institutions and they each have a set of institutional roles designed for creating a new society. The first kind of institution is an alternative institution. Alternative institutions seek to break the monopoly of the old mono-centric system by giving the general public choice in the kinds of institutions they participate in. These institutions are typically a radically new revision of a kind of institutions that make economic, cultural and political life possible. We can understand what these kinds of proto-institutions are by understanding what state institutions or statist institutions they would seek to offer an alternative to and or replace.
A few examples? State police could be replaced with a community defensive network. State central banks could be replaced with mutualist banking. State subsidized super-stores like Wal-Mart could be replaced with anarchist grocery story co-ops. … In this way the alternative institutions that are part of a dual power strategy form a kind of dialectical relation with the status quo. Their role is one of negation and synthesis. They seek to void the old institutions by out-competing them. Offering the public a more preferable and pragmatic means to achieve their own self-interest.”
LaughingMan goes on to describe how this is and why but I won’t quote him anymore than this because I think the reader has gotten the idea. And if you haven’t you can always watch the video itself. Still, there is one more institution that remains to be talked about. LaughingMan again on counter-institutions,
“Counter-institutions are institutions that are designed to protect alternative institutions from the status quo while simultaneously promoting their growth. The purpose of counter-institutions is to grant alternative institutions functional space to carry out their day to day business operations without being subject to the coercion of the state or the lies of its propaganda machine. The real world instantiation of counter-institutions may take the form of people’s law collectives i.e. groups of lawyers who support the anarchist movement and seek to protect them from state intervention. Political protest, civil disobedience, leafleting or distribution of anarchist literature or, in a possible circumstance, armed resistance to state violence and direct appropriation of illegitimate state institutions.”
And finally the relation between the two:
“It should be noted that there is no strict dichotomy between the alternative institutions and counter-institutions. These categories are merely useful distinctions not rules of classification. Indeed, many alternative institutions may be able to defend and promote themselves. However, both kinds of institutions work together in order to initiate a social revolution to replace the old authoritarian society with the libertarian one.”
I think LaughingMan really did a wonderful job summing up what the dual power strategy would be made of. Furthermore it’s my belief that any dual power strategy must necessarily have these two components or else it is not dual power at all. If all you’re doing is promoting alternatives but have no way to defend them or actually institute them then it’s not dual power. Furthermore the relation between the old society and the new one is spot on here as well as the relation within the new dual power system itself. I really don’t have much to add to what LaughingMan has said in his video besides that I agree with him. All of these points he makes help us get an idea of how to further build upon things in the spirit of things like the Black Panther Party with their social programs, the IWW with their direct action, the Zapatistas for their ideas on resistance and some may argue the Spanish revolution that the anarchists had as well. And despite the flaws with all of these things (and I’ll definitely admit they exist) the point is that we can learn from them so we don’t have to repeat them and keep building up dual power in an incorrect way.
But through what manner do we exactly build it? I think Dominick has some well thought out ideas on the matter:
“The problem of scale is a simple one, but one without easy solutions: we want to radically reorganize all of society, but in a decentralized manner. This means there can be no central committee on the national or continental or global level which dictates or directs the development of individual communities. The revolution must come about from the bottom up, from the outside in. If there are to be institutions and associations which extend beyond the neighborhood and community, they must be put together after the autonomous units (ie, neighborhoods, municipalities, etc) are defined.
Should we decide to set up an elaborate system of strata (eg, neighborhood, municipality, county, state, region, nation, etc), each unit must come about, from smallest and most intimate, first. And then we can affiliate with other so-developed units to form networks. For example, we organize our neighborhood into a dual power network, and that neighborhood association seeks out nearby neighborhoods and develops another network to form a municipal network, which networks with other local municipalities to form a city or county dual power, and on up the list.”
The key to all of this is of course do it in such a way that doesn’t violate our principles. And not only that but is also pragmatic and can benefit the most people possible. By doing things through bottom up decentralized, voluntary and mutually-beneficial ways we ensure that this can be the case or at the least make it much more likely. Dominick points out that we also need communities to grow alongside each other and this is another important point because if we want the most benefit for the most people possible we don’t want dual power acting in a vacuum. Instead, dual power should be built upon the successes of education and other tactics that show solidarity with a struggling community and the like. We should arouse people’s interest through informing them either through our own actions or through showing them that something is wrong with how they live. And of course we should go much further than the state but starting at one of the most explicit structures of oppression may be a good starting point.
Dominick also suggests as much about not starting from scratch when he says,
“When we talk about forming dual power institutions, we don’t simply mean organizing them from scratch, or radicalizing existing AIs. Especially where economic institutions are concerned, we are talking in many cases about transforming existing firms and entire industries. Labor organizations are good, general examples of XIs. Their job, when they carry it out properly, is to represent labor in opposition to management/ownership. A radical union seeks not only cosmetic and quality-of-life gains for workers, but also more power structurally. As bosses’ control of the workplace decreases, workers’ power increase. And when this can be done structurally, such as through the formation of various kinds of workers’ councils, a radical change has occured. A firm undergoing such structural alteration may be well on its way to becoming a workers’ cooperative, collectively managed and thus eligible for membership in the dual power community.”
Dominick indeed has many things to say about how the community is best organized from a dual power strategy and I feel to quote him any more would start to take a lot from what reading the article will do for the reader. It’s important to note however that while we’re discussing how to build dual power it should be built on already recognized and loved structures but just done more along anarchist lines. This not only inures better results for the anarchist not the least of which philosophically but presumably also in practice for everyone. To get a better idea of this however I do recommend the reader continues to check out Dominick’s article, it’s pretty lengthy and in depth but worth the time.
Now to move on to counter-power.
Building Counter Power
Again, there’s not too much to discuss here but what I find interesting is that Darian Worden discusses some of the same bottom up things in “Building Liberty From the Ground Up”. And while not explicitly advocating counter-power the in the whole article I do find it a good fit of how to build it up. At one point however Worden does discuss the ideas of counter-power again.
“Withdraw allegiance and support from authoritarian structures. Build the new world in the shell of the old.
Build “counter-power” – that which helps empower people to resist outside authority and live free. This could mean a radical union, a trade or gifting network, a group of people holding cops accountable with video cameras, a community militia, or any other consensual organization that makes it easier for individuals to resist people trying to control their lives.
Subvert the messages, organizations, and institutions of would-be oppressors. Turn authoritarian things into libertarian things.
Engineer mass defections from authoritarian structures. That which is pulled from authority combines with the free world built from below.
Keep individual freedom, equal liberty, and consensual relations primary goals. Work against anything that restricts the freedom of any individual who did not interfere with another’s liberty. Help individuals liberate themselves so they may find their own way to flourish, find their own relation to the rest of the universe, and create the best world possible by living the best lives possible.”
Again, this all has to do with keeping in principle with your ideas and acting on them as best as you can. It’s also about having a diversity of tactics and especially being able to apply them in many different ways. Keeping in mind other people’s wants and needs, as well as making sure the organizations are for the mutual benefit of all and not just your own interest. It’s also worth noticing that Worden actually gives examples of counter-power this time around, he said,
“This could mean a radical union, a trade or gifting network, a group of people holding cops accountable with video cameras, a community militia, or any other consensual organization that makes it easier for individuals to resist people trying to control their lives.” (emphasis mine)
It seems like counter-power is just a more slim version of dual power but it’s clear to me that at the same time it’s also taking a lot of cues from it as well which I think is a good thing.
I have to say that while education and direct action may be a bit easier to set up than agorism or dual power both agorism and dual power to me both seem satisfying in their own ways. For agorism it seems more of a good way to promote better trading and profits actually going to the people who put in the labor to their business. It’s also a good way of promoting a counter institution (in this case a market place) to the state. For dual power it’s much more broad but usually more to do with specific social arrangements rather than one dominated by a market place. I think each have their strengths and weaknesses but I won’t get into either at this point. I do want to try to make clear though that I think there’s room for both strategies in the anarchist movement.
Where one succeeds the other can help bolster that success in another way and where another fails the other can help pick up the slack.
And finally where the state withdraws we must advance and for that we have things like dual power.