Beyond PGA:

as recommended by Javier see PGA Considered As Neoist Invisible Theatre

Beyond ESF

Days & Nights of Communist ideas and action

A short analysis of the socio-political role of the PGA

Our consensus analysis decided that the PGA is incapable of achieving revolutionary change as this is something which can only be acheived by the working class at a global level. We speak for our group and no-one else.

These texts express our position following the workshops at the recent european Conference of Peoples' Global Action at Resnik.

At first we must understand Peoples Global Action (PGA) - and subsequently Peoples Global Action in Europe Process (PGA-e)) - as institutions which parallel the development of capitalist institutions of governance.

Over the last 30 years, capital expanded both horizontally (over the whole planet) and vertically (the commodification of everyday life i.e. leisure). New institutions were created to manage the dynamics of the world markets, such as the World Bank, the Group of 8 (G8), the World Trade Organisation (WTO) etc. The PGA was originally created as an "opposition" to such institutions, and more specifically as an "opposition" to the World Trade Organisation whose 2nd WTO ministerial conference took place in Geneva in May 1998. The PGA-e is the child of the PGA.

But what does the PGA really oppose? Having a look at its principles and objectives (and even worse taken part in its Europe process) we mainly see a concentration on manipulating formal decision making processes, and keeping information (and hence power) in hands of a small selection of white middle class people. These demands are basically systemic; they do not try and deal with social heirarchies, such as sexism, racism and imperialism - and above all class power but reproduce them. They try to control the "bad" effects of individualism, as if policies are the problem and not capitalism itself and its institutions as a whole system [1].

To put it differently, the PGA does not enable anti-systemic change. So, we can see the PGA as a new "reformist International", as "extra-institutional neo-libertarianism" which has adjusted itself to the new internationalised politics of capital (and the simultaneous decline of parliamentary politics at the level of the nation state).

Practically, the PGA-e, as an pseudo-governmental agent which tries to influence activist policies, must present itself as "a legitimate network". Thus, it promotes itself through its hallmarks, without challenging accepting these as anything other than advertising copy. Its co-operation with institutions of the status quo, such as the Serbian Police (handing them copies of the passports of all participants), and the condemnation of any anti-systemic movement that radically breaks the imposed limits of social control [2] are manifestations of its compliance.

The synthesis of the PGA is quite problematic. Its main characteristic is "plurality/diversity", as it results from a drive for inclusivity. This plurality/diversity helps the circulation of different experiences, ideas, struggles. Moreover, it manages to attract towards politics a lot of people who are starting out in their political activity. So, it seems to have positive aspects. Yet, it unavoidably displays a lack of a comprehensive, common social analysis and common action of participating PGA groups, which in turn drives the PGA-e, as a body of power [3], towards hidden objectives.

Let's take this point further, as differences in the analysis suggest different goals in the social struggle. Very briefly, we conceptualise capitalism as a system which develops through two dynamic streams - the first one has to do with "capitalists' competition"; the competition between capitalist institutions (such as companies) which is grounded on the market economy and leads to "economic development", to the commodification of every aspect of our lives (vertical expansion) and to the marketization of every part of the planet (horizontal expansion). The second trend, and more important for us, is "class struggle", the competition between capital and labour, related to the historical development of class society (i.e. from feudalism and its crises to the slave-based econonomies of early European imperialism to the "wage slavery"of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, to the digital slavery of the twenty first century.


The lack of such analysis by the PGA as a whole leads it to the fostering of uncritical individualism which indirectly facilitates heirarchical relations, in terms of gender, race and social class. In other words, it leads it to the inclusion of groups and organizations whose actions are not anti-capitalist at all [5].

Another problem regarding the lack of an accountability in the process is given by the following example: at the Peoples Global Action Conference In Belgrade in July 2004, the venue was changed from Resnik to Jajinci with out seeking to gain the consensus of all the people involved. The Resnik comrades were excluded from the Belgrade process and ridiculed by other long-standing PGA activists. In other words, DSM, the organising group wanted to protect their cultural capital. So the actions that the PGA-e undertook were basically a part of "capitalists' competition". While the most of the people involved in the PGA-e process were haoppy to go along with this, most of the PGA delegates did not seem to understand what they were really supporting.

Another frustrating aspect of many groups and organizations that participate in the PGA - as a result of their lack of a class analysis - is the fact that they seem to identify problems of power only at an individual level, and they neglect capitalist relationships and their consequences in our everyday life. The indirect effect of this stance is to focus on the personl dynamic of discussions as personal issues, rather than dealing with the collective issues which create institutional racism, sexiam and similar forms of discrimination.

This emphasis on the "individual" is also demonstrated by the PGA's organizational structures. Even if the PGA publicizes itself as "decentralised participatory democracy", it is in reality hierarchical and thus becomes a field where other hierarchical organizations, such as middle class careerists, try to control it in pursuit of their own interests.

To sum up, the PGA analysis criticizes heirarchy as an ideology promoted by the powerful of the world, and not capitalism as a whole, as a socio-economic system and an everyday relationship. Moreover, the PGA does not provide any comprehensive critique of other domination mechanisms like the social class, which is directly connected with capital. As a result of this analysis, it promotes reformist demands by using creating a network which is more earily accessed by young middle-class West-Europeans with a vague vision of an "anarchist society".

Thus, the PGA-e is the perfect "opponent" for the present networks and institutions of power - an opponent which does not really challenge, an opponent with minimalist objectives which perfectly matches the image of "good, pluralist democracy". And to take it further; the fact that the PGA-e has tried until now to represent the anti-globalisation movement [7] and "civil society" demonstrates its potentially dangerous role on the global scene - that of becoming the new "pool" where people will feel that they are active, political participants, but where their hope, disappointment or anger will be filtrated not to radical, emancipatory demands and visions, but to reformist ones.

As we believe that every person has the potential for radicalisation, both in thought and action, we want to organize events which promote communist ways of organization with a radical, class-based critique of the contemporary institutions of domination - and we consider the PGA-e as one of them.

The distinction of elements of the PGA from the main PGA-e procedures is, for us, a clear example of the radicalization processes. Thus, we accepted, after a lot of meetings, hesitation and skepticism, to work with the some groups at a loose level of co-ordination such as organising transport to Belgrade. Keeping our differences explicit, we consider that many of the groups in the PGA, but also many of the individuals who have been involved with them, will be interested in a more radical social analysis and direct action.

So, instead of letting the PGA become the new representative body of "sensitive, political activist", we want to demonstrate "another process is possibe" which is already here today

The world of... Self-Organisation - Solidarity - Community - Direct Action

SEE From Institutional Racism To Flirting With Fascism