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Dual Power, Revolution and Symbiosis – March Reading Group

Sunday, March 3, 2019, 2 PM – 4 PM @ 115 Legion Way SE, Olympia, WA

This month we’ll be discussing three different pieces on Dual Power: Revolution is not a metaphor by Sophia Burns, Base-Building: Activist Networking or Organizing the Unorganized? by Tim Horras, and an excerpt from Community, Democracy, and Mutual Aid: Toward Dual Power and Beyond by the Symbiosis Research Collective.

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Olympia Assembly has recently voted to join Symbiosis, an organization which seeks to connect municipalist organizations across the globe to fight for socialism using the tactic of dual power. An Olympia Assembly member (Paige) has brought up that the definition of dual Power used by Symbiosis misrepresents that tactic and portrays it as a method of replacing the economy one co-op at a time rather than a means to build capacity for a revolutionary movement. As stated on the Symbiosis website, “This dual power strategy can help sustain our communities under capitalism, channel our collective action to fight back more effectively, and eventually supplant the institutions of capitalism to become the governing structures of the liberated society.”

Dual power is a term first used by Lenin and Trotsky during the Russian socialist revolution in 1917. To them, the goal of dual power was not to “supplant” the economy, but a means of building an alternative to win a contestation for power, overthrow the Duma government in an insurrection, and establish a socialist government. While the conditions of the world today have changed, and socialists cannot seek to simply copy and paste the tactics of past revolutionaries, a tradition of dual power has been carried on by various Marxist tendencies.

I am recommending two short pieces of reading for this discussion, all that deal with the long term goal of dual power (referred to as base-building in the first article). While the differences may not seem that large, the long term trajectory of a socialist project is very important. Supplanting an economy through co-ops and building revolutionary power share similar tactics in the short term, but without a plan, we very well may lose the class struggle. I hope this can lead to some thoughtful discussion.

~Paige

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