Here is selection of workplace and community organising texts to get you started. The method to achieve this form of organising is that of workers inquiry, which uses the method of Italian Workerism and Autonomism to guide workers towards the principle of co-research, where workers lead the production of knowledge along with militant intellectuals.
The best current organising strategy is the one developed by the Angry Workers Collective in the UK. This strategy, from their book ‘Class Power On Zero Hours’, is based on a workplace orientation, solidarity networks, having a newspaper and being well organised. Notes From Below is another important organisation in the UK that can help get you going and is also important to showing the method of workers inquiry.
The strategy is based on local areas with solidarity networks in industrial areas and corridors. These would be based in a part of your city that is manageable in size and localised to a section of your city or town, for example by quarters and based on the layout of your city.
For example, this could have each large city council area divided into quarters for a city like Brisbane, several city councils merged together for cities like Sydney or Melbourne, or it could be based on different city councils.
These networks would engage in solidarity network tactics to build working-class power. The newspaper would be used as an organising tool to be handed out at workplaces and neighbourhoods. The other essential part of this strategy is to build rank and file networks in your industry based on the same principles of localised organising.
If it is becomes difficult to set up a broader solidarity network, then it would be a good strategy to work towards a rank and file network first in your industry in the city or town where you live. These strategies can lead to more direct organising based on workplaces and neighbourhoods.
You can start by joining a union. Try to find the most militant one you can. Then, you can write a newspaper or bulletin based on your local area or workplace. This can lead to the fight for regular workplace mass meetings, perhaps in your lunch hour. After gaining this you can build workplace based, multi-union shop committees representing each shift and or section of the workplace.
These shop committees can help you build the capacity for workers councils in your city, town or region, leading to councils in each state, each country and globally. With these democratic organisations we can build the base for the revolutionary struggle against capitalism.
In the neighbourhoods you can start by working towards holding mass meetings of the neighbourhood workers and their middle class supporters. You could do this through handing out a newspaper or bulletin. After doing this you can form a committee based on representatives from each block or apartment building. Local shop committees could also send delegates to coordinate their activities with the neighbourhood assemblies and committees.
By focusing on economic issues first such as rents, prices and mortgages you can build a base for solidarity with racial, feminist and queer struggles. Then, together with a solid economic foundation of better living conditions you can begin to wage effective class struggle in the community. This must waged in concert with the shop committees and linked together in local, state, national and international workers councils.
To reclaim our lives and communities, it is essential to put economic leverage on the oppressor, to regain our liberty.
Organising Reading List:
Libcom Organise from Libcom.org
Angry Workers – Class Power On Zero Hours
Lydia Hughes and Jamie Woodcock – Troublemaking: Why You Should Organise Your Workplace
Stan Weir – Singlejack Solidarity
Martin Glaberman and Staughton Lynd – Punching Out and other Writings
Emile Pouget – Direct Action
Emile Pouget – Sabotage
Fernand Pelloutier – History of the Bourses du Travail
IWW – Rustys Rules Cheat Sheet
IWW – Organize Your IWW Branch
Immanuel Ness and Dario Azzellini – Ours to Master and to Own: Workers’ Control from the Commune to the Present
Dan Georgakas and Marvin Surkin – Detroit, I do mind dying
Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Selma James – The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community
Daniel and Gabriel Cohn-Bendit – Obsolete Communism: The Left-wing alternative
Robert Lumley – States of Emergency: Cultures of Revolt in Italy from 1968 to 1978
Red Notes – Italy 1977-8: Living with an earthquake
Prole.info – Class Struggle in Italy: 1960s and 1970s
Emilio Mentasti – The Magneti Marelli Workers Committee – The Red Guard Tells Its Story
Porto Marghera: The Last Firebrands Pamphlet
Sojourner Truth Organization – Workplace Papers
Sojourner Truth Organization – Shop Leaflets
Big Flame – Workplace Commission – Organising To Win
Verity Burgmann, Ray Jureidini Meredith Burgmann – Doing without the Boss, Workers’ Control Experiments in Australia in the 1970s, Chapter inside: Immanuel Ness – New Forms of Worker Organization: The Syndicalist and Autonomist Restoration of Class Struggle Unionism
Robert Michels- Political Parties
Marina Sitrin – Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina
Lorenzo komboa Ervin – Anarchism and the Black Revolution
A. G. Schwarz, Tasos Sagris, Void Network – We Are an Image From the Future: The Greek Revolt of December 2008
Essential theory reading:
Michael Heinrich – An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx’s Capital
Harry Cleaver – Reading Capital Politically
Karl Marx – Early Writings
Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels – The German Ideology
Karl Marx – Wage Labour and Capital and Value Price and Profit
Karl Marx – The Civil War in France
Karl Marx – The Political Writings
Karl Marx- Dispatches For the New York Tribune
Karl Marx – Capital Volume I, II and III
Tom Bottomore – A Dictionary of Marxist Thought
Anton Pannekoek – Workers Councils
Anton Pannekoek – The Essential Pannekoek
C. L. R. James – A History Of Pan-african Revolt
C. L. R. James – State Capitalism and World Revolution
C. L. R. James – A New Notion: Two Works By
C. L. R. James, Every Cook Can Govern and The Invading Socialist Society
C. L. R. James – Modern Politics
C. L. R. James – Facing Reality
Andy Anderson – Hungary ‘56
Cornelius Castoriadis – Workers’ councils and the economics of self-managed society
Guy Debord – The Society of the Spectacle
Maurice Brinton – For Workers’ Power: The Selected Writings of Maurice Brinton
Panzieri, Sohn-Rethel, Palloix, Bologna, Tronti- The Labour Process & Class Strategies
Mario Tronti – Workers and Capital
Antonio Negri – Books For Burning
Romano Alquati – Organic Composition of Capital and Labor-Power at Olivetti
Sergio Bologna – The Tribe of Moles
Paulo Virno – Grammar of the Multitude
Antonio Negri & Michael Hardt – Empire
Sojourner Truth Organization’s Pamphlets
George Caffentzis – In Letters of Blood and Fire
Big Flame – Paul Thompson & Guy Lewis – The Revolution Unfinished? A Critique of Trotskyism
Werner Bonefeld and Sergio Tischler ed. – What is to be Done? Leninism, anti-Leninist Marxism and the Question of Revolution Today
Sam Dolgoff – Bakunin on Anarchy (1971)
Peter Kropotkin – Words of a Rebel
Peter Kropotkin – The Conquest of Bread
Peter Kropotkin The Great French Revolution 1789-1793