Organizing the Revolution: Decentralized and Automated Coordination
The people have to be organized. A highly organized revolution has higher chances of success. This builds on strategizing and planning.
The revolution has to be organized. A very high level of organization is needed to revolt against the system that oppresses us. Coordination must be automatic. It must not be a manual process
Somebody somewhere has to rise up to the occasion. A savior among us, must rise up and organize us. There are two levels of “organizing” needed in this struggle. At first, those in favor of the revolution, the revolutionary brothers and sisters, have to be organized. Secondly, the revolutionaries have to organize the masses.
An organized mass is a powerful force, so difficult to defeat. The oppressive machinery cannot withstand the power of a million-strong organized revolution.
The following characteristics are key:
- Self-organizing smaller units
- Decentralized organization
- Technologically enabled automated coordination
The revolution must be composed of small units that can organize themselves. These numerous small structures need to be interconnected to form one massive organism. This is the only way to defeat the organized forces of the oppressor. Smaller units are agile and nimble in carrying out the tasks of the revolution. To reiterate, what is needed in Zimbabwe is a revolution rather than piecemeal political changes at the ballot box.
The idea that the revolution must be decentralized has been expressed countless times and the benefits of decentralization have been mentioned.
The revolution must make use of technology to automate coordination. Coordination of activities is key for a revolution that is decentralized. Actions can easily be antagonistic if there are no unifiers amongst the groups. For past revolutions, the unifier has always been one political or social group spearheading the revolution. For our purposes, in Zimbabwe, in this era of technology, the unifier must be technology itself, used by the revolutionary brothers and sisters.
Using managerial theory parlance, the revolution must have a flat, non-hierarchical organizational structure whereby roles and responsibilities are not infused with or confused with authority. Participants within the revolution have roles to play and responsibilities to take care of. They do not necessarily have bosses and subordinates. Leaders of the revolution merely play a role, a leadership role. They are not bosses.
The flatter the organizational structure, the harder it is to hammer down from the top. If it is already flat, it cannot be easily collapsed by hammering down the top layers that usually centralize information, ideas, strategy, power, and everything else.
For a very long time, the unorganized people of Zimbabwe have tried to confront a highly organized oppressor, without any success. The fact that unorganized or poorly organized outfits expect success against an oppressor who is highly organized shows our lack of maturity and lack of seriousness.
The MDC, for example, does not have a vibrant intelligence service of its own. The Vanguard is not really an intelligence service. That shows a lack of organization. How do you organize the masses if your organization is not highly organized by itself?
The several outfits that have cried out against corruption are also poorly organized. A very high level of organization is required to liberate the people of Zimbabwe.
A good example of unorganized efforts is the doctors and nurses. They strike at different times. The doctors call their own strike, they have their own union. The nurses call for their own strike and they have their own union. Doctors and nurses work together on an everyday basis. They work hand-in-hand. The division of labor amongst them should not result in the division of interests.
The oppressor made sure that the two don't unite and come out as one front of health workers as they used to in the old days. Lack of organization between the two leads us to a situation whereby doctors are striking this month, whilst the nurses are on duty, and the nurses will be striking next month whilst the doctors are on duty. A combined strike for two months by both doctors and nurses would be more powerful in getting the attention they deserve from their paymasters.
The same goes for teachers. All government workers should strike at the same time. The point here is there are a lot of pockets of the population that have interests that they want to protect or present. All these pockets need to be organized into one revolutionary force.
The following are examples of pockets of the population that need to be brought together into one giant organization that makes coordinated efforts:
- Nurses and doctors
- Ghetto Youths
- Zanu PF Youths
- MDC Youths
- War Vets
- Small scale miners (makorokoza)
- the diaspora
All these groups have grievances that they think are unique and peculiar to their group. The reality is that whatever their grievances are, they are rooted in the economic mismanagement by the tiny group of men and women who are oppressing us.
Organizing calls for the need to unite all these groups. Organizing means coordinated efforts. It means these groups need to be educated to identify who their real oppressor is. The role of the revolutionary brother, thus becomes that of political education for these groups to be politicized and attain class consciousness.
Oftentimes these groups, due to lack of class consciousness and political education, end up fighting against each other and treating each other as enemies, when they are in fact all victims of bad governance. When the doctors get a raise, the nurses look at the doctors as the privileged ones. This is a form of “othering”. Teachers and health workers think the police receive preferential treatment. The police view the soldiers as the most advantaged civil servants. This “othering” of anyone who is not part of your immediate group results in a defragment society that cannot organize itself against the common enemy.
Take Zanu PF youths, for example, 99% of them are suffering. They linger around, waiting patiently to benefit. Only the tiny 1% that occupies leadership positions benefit. This is the very same 1% that is connected with higher-ups in the party echelons. The rest of the youths are not really benefiting. In terms of material positions, the average Zanu PF youth is not any different from the average MDC youth. It's the 1% that makes the difference. This 1% is so eminent, prominent, vocal, and celebrated to an extent that it overshadows the 99% that are wallowing in poverty. Because of obnoxiously excessive light shone on the 1%, society reaches a conclusion that Zanu PF youths are enjoying the fruits of the country. The reality is that Zanu PF youths (the foolish 99%) are not enjoying anything. These youths are trained to view everyone else as others.
What is needed is a revolution within the Zanu PF party structures that forces the 99% to realize that within the party, they need to be treated better. They need to benefit, just the same as the 1%. The efforts of this group of foolish men and women, need to be harnessed towards the goals of the revolution. When the Zanu PF youths are politically educated (within Zanu PF), they would call for an end to corruption, they would fight for job creation, they would champion getting land with title deeds. All of this happening within the party. This is what I mean by being “organized”. Right now, the Zanu PF youths are not organized, they are just a bunch of energy to be utilized by whoever wields political power at the time.
When organized, the interests of Zanu PF youths are not that different from the interests of the MDC youths, the ghetto youths, and the church youths. Even though their orientation and worldviews differ, they all want jobs, empowerment, growth, development, etc. and they all agree that corruption must end for them to get what they want.
The soldiers too, are tired. Who is going to organize them and harness their energies towards the goals of the revolution? Who can pull stunts like these? Being organized means ensuring that the interests of the soldiers align with the interest of the ghetto youths. Their interests are actually naturally aligned. The oppressor mis-aligned the interest of these two groups.
A high level of organization entails the alignment of interests and the coordination of efforts for all these groupings that exist within the Zimbabwean society.
Organizing the revolution is a matter of making use of the resource that is available for the revolution and how they should be used. The most important resource is the human resource, the people. All these pockets of people, their actions, and energies need to be harnessed in furtherance of the revolution’s goals.
At the practical execution layer, organizing the revolution entails having numerous coordination committees, steering committees, and other forms of committees that plan and implement the distribution and use of resources.
Going back to the silly blockade example, if you are to blockade Harare’s major roads, you will have to be highly organized in the use of human resources and material resources. Being organized means probably using locally source materials such as stone boulders, trees, burning tires, et cetera whilst making use of non-local human resources so that it becomes difficult for the oppressive forces and local persons to point out the perpetrators. This is just an example. The point is, these things need to be organized. Spontaneous, poorly organized acts work in countries where there is some semblance of democracy. In countries, such as the motherland of Zimbabwe, organized acts are needed.
A lot can be said about the need to be organized. To do that, the revolution needs organizers. It takes organizers to make a revolution.
An organizer is able to digest raw intellectual ideas such as the ones propagated herein and pass them onto the masses in a palatable manner as messages ready for action. Organizers action the ideas of thinkers and strategists. Organizers are able to talk to the people in the language they understand, which is obviously not the language that the articles like this one are written in.
Organizers are essentially leaders. This will be partly covered later.
Under what form should the organizers of the revolution gather? Although the revolution ought to be decentralized, a form of centralization of organizers' activities must exist to spark the revolution, create the decentralized units, and interconnect those decentralized units together. In essence, decentralization cannot happen before centralization. A centralized body must exist first. When it is solid, and the revolutionary fire is lit, the body can then decentralize. It is almost difficult for the revolution to start in a decentralized format. That can only happen in countries that are already democratic and free.
The organizers of the revolution must be organized as a body that establishes the revolution, not as a body that seeks to take over the governance of the nation. That distinction is very important. The organizers should merely be facilitators and not rebel leaders that seek to grab power. Zimbabwe needs a revolution that is different from the revolutions that are described throughout the history of the civilized world. We need a democratic revolution. Oftentimes, what sets out as a democratic revolution turns out to be a mere power grab that replaces one group of tyrants with another. Zimbabwe’s war of liberation was described in revolutionary terms but it turned out to be exactly swapping an Ian Smith-led dictatorship for a Robert Mugabe-led dictatorship. Both are minority rules. The majority has no voice.
This is to be avoided from the onset. The organizers of the revolution should not become super-heroes that will become impediments to establishing a democracy once the revolution has succeeded.
The crux of the matter is that the revolution must be organized. Things don't just happen on their own. Too many people are waiting for things to happen. The message is that people have to step up and be organized. The nation at large, special interest groups, narrow segments of the population, etc. must be organized. Goals can be attained by groups that are organized. The same applies to the national level. We have to be organized better. We can achieve what we want to achieve if we are organized.
We are used to be organized along political party lines. Such a form of being organized will not work in transforming the country. The political party-led democracy will work once the revolution has been successful. Right now, a political party will not liberate the country, only a mass revolution can.