The worker must live revolution through the reality of the economy, The difference between a trade union or syndicalist organisation and autonomous groups at the level of the base can only be understood at the concrete level of economic relations, not through the filter of an ideological interpretation. In this sense there is an element of guarantee in the above suggestion that one should work to cut the worker off from his union, or to disorganise it but to make him see the limits of all unions and their essence as a public service.
The economic situation could be organised without any oppressive structure controlling or directing it or deciding on the aims to be attained. This the worker understands very well. He knows exactly how the factory is structured and that) this barrier overcome, he would be able to work the economy in his own interest. He knows perfectly well that the collapse of this obstacle would mean the transformation of relationships both inside and outside the factory, the school, the land, and the whole of society. For the worker the concept of proletarian management is above all that of the management of production. Capitalist or State management on the contrary means the exploitation of production on behalf of someone else, on behalf of small groups of capitalists, party bureaucrats or managers. It is therefore control over the product which is lacking in this perspective, and with it decisions on lines of production, choices to be made, etc. Distribution is also linked to production. The worker knows it would be possible to establish a simple relationship between one’s personal contribution to production and the product obtained, establish agreements between sectors correlating the workshops producing the same things. He also knows that this relationship could give him the right to the distribution of the products obtained. This reasoning is technically complex, but it is one which is alive in the workers’ imagination. What is required is to explain to him the way this mechanism could be brought about in a communist economy, how he can come into possession of as many products as we his “real” needs and how he can participate in “useful” production according to his own potential.
In this perspective the question of an alternative form of organisation to the union or syndicalist structure becomes quite simple. In fact it is impossible to conceive of a programme of direct struggle in terms of contact between the workshop and the various sectors including the conquest of technical information and the exchange and improvement of this information, except from within a dimension of workers organised autonomously at the base. To filter all this through the union no matter how pure it had become, would result in the base receiving deformed information quite unsuitable to the aims to be achieved.
The primary necessity today is direct struggle organised by the base; small groups of workers who attack the centres of production. This would be an exercise in cohesion for further developments in the struggle which could come about following the obtaining of increasingly detailed information and the decision to pass to the filial expropriation of capital, i.e. to the revolution. It would be the worker who established the terms of the relationship between labour and the product. This done he would have no other solution than to ignore any kind of organisation that asserts capitalist or any other kind of power and proceed to the construction of production nuclei, possibly making them last through the whole period of the struggle, to the final elimination of exploitation.
To put it more simply, given that the relationship between producer and product is the basis of the revolutionary project it is clear that this must be egalitarian (to each according to his needs, from each according to his capabilities), managed by the base, and be simple and elementary (abolition of the market mechanism which not only increases needs artificially, but also the financial aspect of production).
To fight for an autonomous organisation of the struggle means to fight for the autonomous organisation of production at the same time. It is not possible to make a quantitative difference. In a sense, even a distinction in time phases is impossible. When workers organise their own autonomous production nuclei they are taking road that is quite different to that of the syndicalist organisation or the party. In so doing they have already taken a decisive step towards managing not only the struggle in the sense of the choice of instruments to be used, but also in the choice of aims to be reached, and not only the aims of the struggle, but also those of production.
During the revolutionary event the presence of a strong syndicalist organisation or party in the traditional sense has the immediate consequence of the proletariat being declared immature, and the conclusion that someone — syndicalist or party leaders — must decide for them. A structure for intervention is imposed on the base. Syndicalist or party meetings are always led by the same bureaucrats and specialists. Everything ends up passing over the heads of the workers. Any anarchist comrades who might eventually object to this should remember what happened in Spain at the time of the decision to enter the government, or of the struggle for the collectives. The main operative elements of the base nuclei should therefore be:
1. The struggle. This is where the class spirit is born and developed. Here the real intentions of the parties and unions are also clarified. Methods of direct action are developed: sabotage, absenteeism, attempts at self-management destruction of work, etc.
2. Organisation. This grows from the need for confrontation and verification. It differs greatly according to time and place, but is substantially unified on the basis of common interests in the production process. Nuclei grow up, each one on a different social, economic and political grounding, but all within the limits circumscribed by the reality’ of production. This is the essence of organisation which gives the possibility of a constant reference to something unitary.
3. Information. This must be gained through a gradual reversal of the relations of production, modifications in the division of labour and sabotage of production, with analyses of effects and limits. The gaining of information thus becomes the awakening of a political consciousness within the concrete dimension of the economy and production.
But these problems go beyond our task here and require far deeper analysis. It is to this that we recommend the reader.