The World in Common (WiC) project was formed in November of 2002 as an effort by various participants in the libertarian left to overcome the sectarian divisions that have historically prevented any attempts toward common understanding or potential cooperation among them. This sectarianism was especially troublesome to those who saw that sharing the goals of abolishing Capitalism, whether in its private, corporate or state varieties, and the State along with it, as well as a rejection of the vitiating distraction of Reformist politics, was vastly more important than what the project terms ‘intra-sector’ quarrels, especially when faced with the more important struggle against all forms of class rule.
The ‘sector’ to which WiC’s statements frequently refer consists of what some have called the ‘Thin Red/Black Line’, a short-hand way of referring to the small but highly diverse sector of various non-market, anti-statist, libertarian socialists, whether organised or not, of, e.g., syndicalists, anarcho-communists, libertarian municipalists, world socialists, socialist industrial unionists, council communists, autonomists, platformists, situationists, ultra-leftists, etc.
Previous efforts to bring these various elements together, and, to a greater or lesser extent, inspiring those who founded the World in Common project, were the Discussion Bulletin http://libertariansocialism.4t.com/ of Frank Girard, the ‘Imagine International’ circular among these same groups in the late 1990s, The Red Menace http://www.connexions.org/RedMenace.htm, a Canadian publication of the 1970’s , as well as the writings of such thinkers as Maximilian Rubel http://www.libcom.org/history/articles/1914-1996-maximilien-rubel, John Crump, and not infrequent references to the commonalities in many of the classic anarchist and socialist thinkers.
The purpose of WiC (according to the WiC ‘Core Statement’) is to help inspire a ‘vision of an alternative way of living where all the world’s resources are owned in common and democratically controlled by communities on an ecologically sustainable and socially harmonious basis’. Of course, the many other groups and political parties in this sector have much the same objective, but the role that WiC envisions for itself is unique. In their view, one of the reasons that the anti-market, anti-statist sector remains relatively small and ineffectual has to do to the extent to which the various groups remain isolated from each other and regard each other with mutual suspicion, and even sectarian hostility. While explicitly not suggesting that all of these ‘strands’ of this sector submerge their differences and unite in some large organization, which is seen by WiC as both unrealistic, and even undesirable, they do support an intermediate position between that extreme and the other, of exclusionist hostility. On that basis, they do not see themselves as rivals of, or to, any group in the sector and some members belong to one or other such groups. Nor do they see themselves, in any sense, as a political party. Among the members currently are self-identified council communists, anrchocommunists, anarcho-socialists, socialist industrial unionists, libertarian communists, libertarian socialists, and world socialists, both with and without organised affiliations to their political positions. WiC also recognises that many of these different sector strands have arisen from different, and separate, traditions in the various countries and cultures, and have arrived at their many similarities by different routes.
World in Common was established to provide a meeting ground for the different groups and individuals from all around the world within the sector, as well as a means of facilitating practical collaboration between them at some level, while recognizing that there are sharp differences of opinion on many different subjects within our sector, but what they do not feel has been sufficiently recognised – and celebrated – is just how much these groups have in common with each other. It is these commonalities that are, in fact, rather more significant than the issues that divide us which the World in Common network attempts to highlight by means of various websites, internet discussion groups, an occasional journal, Common Voice, a collective blog, and various real world interactions with the various elements making up the ‘impossibilist’ non-market political sector, whether they prefer the term anarchist, communist, or socialist.
Membership in the World in Common project is open to anti-capitalists, anti-statists, anti-reformists, anti-authoritarians, anti-vanguardists, anarchists, communists, socialists, syndicalists, anarcho-communists, libertarian municipalists, world socialists, socialist industrial unionists, council communists, and any who reject capitalism’s wage, market, and money system as well as capitalist politics and capitalist unionism and who recognise that the above are on the same relative side in the struggle against all of capitalism’s forces, including capitalism’s statist left-wing of vanguardists and social democrats, and also seek ways to practically, in their local areas, to assist this political sector to grow as a whole while engaging in comradely discussion at all levels, if in broad agreement with the Core Statement .
The World in Common forum http://groups.yahoo.com/group/worldincommon/ has been specifically set up for individuals and groups within the broad non-market anti-statist sector to exchange ideas and strengthen ties within this sector. Anyone wishing to take this one step further is welcome to join the World in Common group itself which contains representatives from several different groups and strands of thinking within our sector. All list members are strongly urged to also periodically check the Files and Links sections of the Yahoogroup for matters of interest to our sector, as well as the Links and Theory sections of our website (currently under redevelopment).
NOTE: The discussion group is run by the World in Common project. That does not mean that every contributor, just by contributing, is a ‘member’ of World in Common. Views expressed there do not necessarily represent the views of a World in Common member, or the World in Common project as a whole.
We do, as the old saw goes, still have a world to win, comrades. And it is more important than ever it was. There is no point in trying to argue now about details that will only come under consideration when the working class as a whole is closer to ending this madness called capitalism. Those who truly desire this result will know what must be done. Those who support anything less, even if it be the easy-going continuance of a club of mutually re-enforcing self-satisfaction, participating in spreading falsehoods about others while basking in the glow of assurance of their own and self-validated wisdom will ever miss the point, and be of no use to our class, or anarchism/communism/socialism, or the future of humankind as a whole.
Is there any point in reinventing the wheel?