Build Base Communities

Marta Russell ap888 at
Tue May 30 11:19:01 MDT 2000

Hi Sue,

First this article on the janitor's strike wasn't representative of my
politics - rather I found it interesting that an extreme criticism did not
include the fate of the in home workers which are also organized by SEIU (at
least in part).

Base communities as you describe could be a powerful force against
oppression.  However, I've been active in the disability movement long
enough to be wary of anything which does not have a specific disability
platform.  Workers have not always included disabled persons in their
visions.  For me to support such a plan, there would need to be an
understanding that "workers" include disabled persons (reasonable
accommodations as laid out  byt the Americans with Disabilities Act).
Neither  capitalist nor communist countries have integrated blind, deaf,
mobility and other impaired persons into their economies.  We have been
segregated and forced to live in poverty.  Much of this is due to a
medicalized approach to disablement which is perpetuated in paternalistic
ways but it has also been due to bureaucracies in the communist countries
and to capitalist business practices which force us out of the labor market.

Also, all meetings  in the base communities would need to be made accessible
so that disabled persons have access to these local community politics.  My
experience has been that many unions are NOT accessible.  Since the
Disability movement is against institutionalization, there would need to be
in home community supports (attendants) to assist with daily needs.  We can
be productive people if our environment allows it.

The web site listed under my name below is how to contact my publisher Common
Courage Press.  I have written a book which, although not exhaustive, does
explore the political economy of disability.  You may be interested in
reading it.  Thanks very much for your comments and ideas, we do share a
similar vision of where we need to go. We just need to make sure everyone
can go there.

(BTW the word invalid is too suggestive of in-valid.  Not valid.  best not
to use it. And I would not assume that what you call the lumpens (whoever
you define them ) would  not join a movement for justice if given the
opportunity to be a part of it.


Sue T Simonson wrote:

> To achieve that,  we need to do is build base communities of workers.
> Sue Simonson
>  Base Communities -  people’s committees, neighborhood committees,
> workers’ and consumers’ cooperatives, soviets, communes, embryostates,
> microstates, agoraes, base organizations, defense committees.
> Base Communities are the embryo of the new State which implies the first
> stages of the various forms of the struggle for the conquest of political
> power by the working classes.
> BCs include:
> 1. Immediate programs:
> Crèches, consumer cooperatives, producer cooperatives, Citizens’
> Assembly.
> 2.  Intermediate programs:
> Community centers, youth programs, educational programs, .
> 3. Future programs -
> Full blown “Soviets” and  Peoples’ Councils.
> The goal - to conquer power ASAP and by all means at our disposal (legal,
> electoral, extra-legal, etc.). To uproot capitalism, to defeat all
> attempts to restore capitalism and through education and successive
> cultural revolutions arrive at a stateless and classless society:
> communism.
>      Enemies: the monopoly capitalists (“multi-national corporations”),
> its allied classes and sectors and the state - the bureaucracy, and
> myrmidons (armed personas)
>     Base Communities sharpen the contradictions between oppressed an
> oppressor. Provide the answer to the
> question: what is to be done?
>     By means of organizing in these arenas, as well as in trade unions,
> etc., we show
>      How the AFL/CIA, UAW. etc. are in fact tools of capital to divide,
> disinform and control the workers .
>      How instead of healing diseases, the AMA and medical boards are in
> cahoots with big pharmaceutical companies to maximize profits.
>      How the educational system is designed to block the acquisition of
> knowledge so that students will be satisfied with low paying jobs.
>    Base Communities
> Types of organizational structures;
> 1. Crèches (child care centers) to care for infants during parent’ work
> or school hours. Start in private homes, tended by non-working or retired
> persons,;
> Can be expanded to on-the-job training of care workers (including home
> health care workers) aiming at larger care centers tended by
> professionally trained care workers and nurses/medical staff. Not free,
> but at cost/
> 2. Consumers’ Cooperatives
> to buy food at wholesale prices from producers and wholesalers, by
> pre-paid re orders of cooperative consumers.
> Expansion: Cooperative Store in established locale, selling food plus all
> products as K-Mart or Wall-Mart stores sell, plus auto repair, appliance
> repair, products by labor cooperatives, selling to general public (not
> just to general community). Set asides to feed elderly, invalids, and
> unemployed.
> 3. Producers’ Cooperatives; Start with Community Gardens in empty lots
> filled with garbage and trash. general clean-up and sanitation of the
> neighborhood, recycling, then planting of trees and crops.
> Expansion: rental of farmland and pastures outside community. Cooperative
> factories: furniture, clothing and shoes, toys, curios, other consumer
> articles, appliance repair, etc. Collective labor unions: plumbing,
> electricity, masonry, welding, metalcrafts, painting, competing for
> government and private contracts as well as caring for needs inside the
> community. Free repair of elderly invalids homes and general maintenance
> and beautification of neighborhood.
> 4. Community Center
> Citizens’ Assembly decides everything and at all times commands Citizen’s
> Militia. Freely elected by majority vote, subject to recall at any time.
> Names commissions and tasks forces as need be.
> Expansion:
> Where weather allows it, close traffic on block to conduct open air
> assemblies or block parties. Or in neighborhood church or school
> building, eventually setting up pemanent locale.
> 5. Youth Programs
> Start organizing sports, musical and dance activities for youth.
> Expansion: “professionally” coached sports, athletics, dance, music,
> arts, theater, film showing, camping, etc.
> 6. Educational Programs;
> Student remedial course (mostly tutorial), adult literacy (tutorial and
> small groups), basic newsletter (photocopied sheets), email, computer
> groups, .
> Expansion; in community Center or schools, vocational programs, political
> awareness classes, later on to printing press and newsletters, posters,
> etc.
> 7. Health Care
> Trained “barefoot doctors” or home health care providers can start making
> house calls to check on general heatlh, vaccinations, teaching hygiene
> and preventive medicine, such as acupuncture, eye care,
> Expansion:
> Community Polyclinic for outpatient medical and dental care, not free by
> at cost. with neighboring communities, hospitals and other larger health
> facilities.
> We can go through “channels”” to comply with state and city regulations
> and bureaucratic measures up until that point where is deliberate
> blocking or attacks against the BC. Then follows a legal battle and a
> mass struggle. Plus at all time it is necessary to guard against attacks
> by lumpen elements or paid troublemakers from outside the community.
> .
> ________________________________________________________________
> Juno now offers FREE Internet Access!
> Try it today - there's no risk!  For your FREE software, visit:

Marta Russell
Los Angeles, CA
Beyond Ramps: Disability at the End of the Social Contract

More information about the Marxism mailing list