Long Term: Network of Abolitionist Councils
Table of Contents
It is important to remember that our support will fail if it doesn’t prove effective. The long term project for the abolitionist movement must be to create a new political reality and establish infrastructure that can render the State and capitalist institutions obsolete. We must build the capacity to defend our gains while we defeat our opponents. If we can focus our struggle on defeating slavery, detention, and fascist organizing, then the underground railroad will build resolute militant networks to combat the State. By fighting for those in captivity we can gradually integrate larger, more diverse groups into our councils.
The first steps toward building a larger network are already in existence. Networks of social centers, squats, and militants already exist and are politically active. They have an important role to play by bringing in new people, providing infrastructure for organizing, and creating a political narrative for the local and larger public. This growth creates new groups and networks that can provide resources for those who have escaped and those who are in struggle.
As we liberate people from detention, we are simultaneously building networks outside the State, and creating new relationships based on solidarity. Essentially the qualities that allow for the underground railroad to flourish, are the same ones that create a strong revolutionary movement. The underground railroad is the beginning-network that becomes the councils, self-defense units, and conflict resolution bodies of the future.
Building the infrastructure of the future:
- Neighborhood defense units or anti-fascist squads train others, helping bolster a network of locally based self-defense units.
- Revolutionary groups or social centers organize neighborhood councils.
- Connections born from the underground railroad strengthen the relationship between councils.
Through this process we can escape some of the problems of the previous abolitionist and 20th century vanguardist movements. Instead of subordinating the collectives to authoritarian leadership, or focusing on the seizure of the State, the communes and centers – immersed in their local struggle–become the political bodies of revolutionary organization. These bodies can coordinate nationally to respond to challenges from the State, and share resources and strategies as necessary.
If we can free people from bondage, organize new political bodies, and prepare to defend our liberated communities, we can proudly take our place in the continuity of the Abolitionist struggle, from The Great Dismal Swamp to Harpers Ferry to Wounded Knee or to the liberation of Assata Shakur.
We intend for these operating principles to emphasize that we are building a revolutionary movement and take the wellbeing of participants the movement seriously.
- Express solidarity with all oppressed peoples.
- Support other revolutionary anti-state political organizations.
- Encourage a diversity of tactics utilizing direct action and mutual aid.
- Support our fighters.
- Support political prisoners.
- Aid militants who get injured or have legal troubles as a result of their revolutionary work.
- Non-collaboration: prohibit work with law enforcement, non-profit organizations, or government administration.
- Maintain personal anonymity unless collectively decided otherwise.
- Be wary of journalists, and generally prohibit their presence.
- Safeguard information about other revolutionaries.
- Keep disagreements out of public forums.
Good security measures are necessary given the scope of our struggle. However beyond the obvious structural reasons, consistent security practices helps foster a culture of trust. The more people trust those around them, the more risks they are able to collectively take, allowing the movement to progress.
Similarly, supporting imprisoned revolutionaries is not only our duty, but sends the message to new participants: we will stand behind you for the long haul.
In this vein, we show respect for other revolutionary groups and individuals by keeping disagreements private. There are many tactics and discourses used by different groups, and even if we find one path more applicable than another, it would be foolish for us to tell another group that what they are doing is incorrect. In other words, we don’t use criticism as a way to discredit other anti-authoritarian organizations. Such a practice only serves to demoralize potential collaborators and make the movement appear fractured and incapable in the eyes of the public. If we have criticism of certain approaches we only use it for our internal conversations: debating the benefits and potential pitfalls as we consider the next pragmatic steps we intend to take.
The success of the abolitionist movement depends on building a new political framework. By using direct action, that is, recuperating resources and destroying oppressive structures, communities in resistance begin enacting the very relationships and direct processes they intend to establish over the long run. The same goes for mutual aid. Neighbors and revolutionaries helping each other out with no other motivation than building a strong community is the ideal basis for the future of the resistance movement.
To create a community completely outside the overreaching arms of the State, it is imperative that we take a non-collaborationist stance with the State and all of its minions who seek to dampen our momentum, either by brute force, co-optation, or intimidation. This includes law enforcement, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. Our job is to dismantle them and the disgraceful system they uphold, while putting in place these principles in order to strengthen the relationships between people within the movement.
Towards a Revolutionary Future
In the US today political institutions are incredibly unpopular, and the major institutions that make up the political framework of the country—the Congress, the Supreme Court, the Executive branch, and the media—are all increasingly viewed as illegitimate. As we race towards an abrupt shift in the global order, hastened by economic instability, environmental catastrophe, and racial strife, the US populace has become extraordinarily polarized. This is what led to the elevation of explicit white nationalists into the executive office.
While the US races into a state of decline, it is now positioned in its traditional role as the vanguard of international white supremacy and authoritarianism. Far right groups are gaining in prominence, the government is actively attempting to ethnically cleanse large segments of the population, and the veneer of liberal legitimacy is now gone. With this state of flux and violence, the marginalized and criminalized desperately need a real political solution, and the support of people who will take an uncompromising stand. We must be ready to act in the opening created by the government’s own self-destruction.
As anti-authoritarians, we are poised at the front of the pivotal struggle of humanity: our world will either continue its descent towards the right and its desire for oppression, genocide, and intolerance, or we will organize for liberation, leaving behind any traces of hierarchy and domination. Our goal is to orient the struggle, to renew a widespread commitment towards revolutionary abolitionism and to reemerge from the sidelines of history. The prison and the detention center are merely the physical manifestations of the all-encompassing captivity the State seeks to force upon us. We must re-establish the underground railroad to liberate criminalized people from captivity. If constructed mindfully, this track, rather than lead to temporary refuge or perpetual hiding, has the potential to finally bring the plantation system to an end.
We have crafted this document as a call to all revolutionaries. To everyone who is oppressed, to all those striving to live with dignity, to the brave ones fighting in the struggle for liberation, and to those who have no choice but to fight every day: we ask for you to fight alongside us and struggle with us toward liberation.
A new paradigm for revolution has been established, to be taken up by dedicated revolutionaries, autonomous territories, guerrillas in armed struggle, and all those engaged in the global drive towards liberation and away from statehood, capitalism, patriarchy, and domination. Collective societies, from the maroons to Rojava, have fostered insurrectionary situations that build, from the inside out, indestructible communities. The success of such communities, from their duration to their territorial gains and continued autonomy, has set a standard we can strive towards.
Those who fought for liberation here in the US have left an important legacy. As we dig the trenches of our struggle, we draw from the lessons of this past, and proudly carry on the struggle in the memory of our fighters. It is their sacrifices that will propel us to the next stage of the struggle, and the resurgence of their fortitude and bravery that invigorates our commitments. We promise to all those who have previously risked everything for liberation, who have lived and died under the oppressive yoke of this country, and all those still struggling for a better life, that we will put all our strength towards building communities so powerful that they will repel any attempt, from within or without, to reestablish the oppressive power of white supremacy, patriarchy, the State and capital.
We will burn down the American plantation once and for all.