Dual Power Is Not Passive

- Pamphlets

by Fiona M.


This text was written as part of the LSC Pamphlet Program. It reflects only the opinions of the author(s) and not the consensus of the Libertarian Socialist Caucus.

There is a critique of dual power which suggests it is a passive strategy, asking us to delay confronting capital and the state and, essentially, procrastinate on the revolution. Such critics argue that the system we live in is too powerful for any counter-state institution or network of institutions to stand against anyway; therefore, consciously attempting to build dual power, while not necessarily bad, is ultimately a distraction and not a serious revolutionary strategy.

Where I differ from these critics is that I see our current system as much closer to failing, with or without our assistance (although of course the clock is ticking here). In truth, it is losing power and legitimacy faster than I dreamt. I absolutely think an international network of working class counter-state institutions, each grounded in accountability to their community and unflinching in their solidarity and purpose, will in fact be able to stand in the face of almost any attack. And at this moment in time, we (and I mean the broadest possible "we" here) are being presented with the opportunity - like never before, and probably never again - to build exactly that. It’s an invitation we should accept.

We face a rabid, cornered beast with the devil's strength, but no matter how it snarls or how wide its arc of bloody destruction, it can't live forever - because it's already dying. We need to be building now because the current system will be falling soon. Dual power strategy doesn't say, "Hey, wait until you've built something equally powerful to the prevailing system and then act." It says, "Act act act - but also build build build. And our building empowers action, which helps us to keep building."

Something terrible dying doesn't mean something better will replace it. If we expect there to be a future, we must plan for one. And one day, if anything is left at all, we will look back on the ashes of the world that was, as we stand firm on the ground of the world that will be, and on that day this will all make sense. But for now, it's a goddamn mess, so we just have to keep experimenting and innovating, being passionate and angry and bold, and not narrow the possibilities of how we will get to that day.