The question “what is to be done?” for anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian politics often invites the suggestion that there must be a single, unequivocal answer to it, at multiple levels: ends or goals, tactics and strategies, organisations, all supposedly grounded in some deep social ontology and human anthropology. Nothing of course could be farther from the “truth”.
If the oppressive social relations that characterise capitalism are changing, if the forms of accumulation, exploitation and domination that define it are constantly made and remade in and through the fabric of social life, then how to challenge it must also be constantly examined and re-thought.
It is not our pretension here then to propose any one answer to the question “what is to be done?”. That there are answers, we have no doubt, but they are answers; answers which if worthy of being acted upon, and if understood to call for permanent critical review, themselves grow out of the many current struggles against capitalist forms of social re-production.
To speak of post-1968 radical politics is not to make a fetish of the year. It is however to suggest that it serves as marker for changes in social relations, whose development began no doubt earlier, but the awareness of which only began to emerge in the 1960s. To summarise no doubt far too quickly, I will simply repeat what others have tried to demonstrate, and I believe very effectively, that older forms of anti-capitalist politics that predate this period are no longer effective, or even relevant (e.g. revolutionary and/or anarcho-syndicalism, vanguard communist political parties – militarised or parliamentary – or similar type organisations, social-democratic political parties, etc.). What follows on is what has proven to be a conundrum for many. But perhaps what all of the radical political-social movements of the post-1968 marker share is the idea-reality of autonomy, and the desire to create it in social life, here and now.
Again, how this is to be done remains a question, and what in some sense we at Autonomies have been trying to map are the ways in which “autonomy” has been thought and practiced in our time (never of course divorcing ourselves from our past).
Therefore, as one more example of this mapping, we share below a reflection on the contemporary Zapatista and MST movements (from libcom.org 18/02/2017) If we do so, it is not because we believe them to be the paths to follow, or that they are not without limitations, but because they are one more contribution to a debate from which we can learn and in which there will never be a last word …