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posted 1 Mar 2018, 05:47 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 1 Mar 2018, 05:52 ]
Is Unity a means to an end, or an end unto itself? It is a tactic or strategy with historical limitations, or a principle that cannot be compromised?

There are various forms that unity can take. Some are tactical, some strategic and some are principled. Strategic unity such as a Patriotic Front is entered into for the purpose of defeating a common enemy or completing a particular stage in a people's struggle.

This is similar to the unity of the Zimbabwe African National Union and the Zimbabwe African People's Union resulting in the ZANU-PF it was a political and military alliance developed to defeat white minority rule in Zimbabwe. The goals of this alliance were further expanded to form a ruling party to govern independent Zimbabwe.

In Trinidad National Joint Action Committee (NJAC) joined with United National Congress (UNC) and other Parties to challenge the People's National Movement (PNM) in the national elections. Once this objective was reached the unity began to fall apart. While in Venezuela 26 regional Socialist Parties came together to form a national Party, PSUV, to defeat a fascist neo-colonial party and pursue the revolutionary transformation of society.

A coalition, and even a mass movement, can be described as a form of unity designed to achieve a minimal goal such as civil rights, policy reform or social equality. These employ tactics such as marches, boycotts and other limited actions. Unity of this type is temporary and can include forces who may otherwise be in opposition to one another or who have differing overall allegiances and aspirations.

Many mass movements were formed to combat colonialism. Some entered into these coalitions to empower the people while others sought to defeat colonizers in order to replace them and establish neo-colonies. They share the limited objective of defeating colonialism even though their reasons for wanting to expel the foreigners were quite different. The civil rights movement in the USA was also this type of tactical union. Those involved in these unions shared a common enemy but were informed by different aspirations, allegiances and long term objectives.

It is however, incorrect to say that all unity is temporary and or tactical, for the unity of the masses is in fact based in the principle of the primacy of the mass. This is the unity of the working classes, the unity of the oppressed and the exploited. This sector, composed of the youth, women and working masses with their shared aspirations, history, culture and struggle is what has been deemed the people's class.

It is opposed by the imperialists who exist as both external enemies and internal traitors to the people's cause called the anti-people's class. This type of unity poses the people against entrenched social economic systems which they seek to destroy. It seeks to abolish capitalism and imperialism for the purpose of establishing socialist societies aimed at meeting the needs of the broad masses of the people on a more or less permanent basis.

This unity of the people's class is principled and is not subject to compromise unless it is to be abandoned. Ethically it is based on the principle of egalitarianism which recognizes that we are each an end unto ourselves and not merely a means to the ends of others. It opposes elitism and upholds the conception of the inherent value of each human being.

Principled unity accepts that the condition for the development of each is the development of all. This is the Unity of the mass with itself. This is a mature conception of a people who are aware that they contain both positive and negative aspects and seek social development by upholding the positive and engaging in permanent struggle to decrease the impact and growth of the negative aspect of themselves.

All other forms of unity are merely means to an end. But the unity of the mass is both a means to an end and an end in itself. It is a means to an end because it directs the people's actions toward the achievement of our collective aspirations. It is an end unto itself because it alone can create the permanent conditions for our collective development.

Idealist philosophy holds positive and negative action as separate things that exist in conflict with one another. While the idea of conflict of opposing forces is correct, the process of engagement between the conflicting forces is in fact quite concrete.

Positive and negative actions are two aspects of the same thing and while each has internal and external realities these are interconnected and interrelated realities. For example imperialism is an external phenomenon. But imperialism has always had collaborators who exist within the people and work against the interest of the people. Similarly while resistance is primarily the consequence of the people's internal dynamic it has always had elements that are external which align with it and in fact fight on the side of the people.

Thus we see that there is positive in the negative and negative in the positive. Understanding this dialectic is the key to maintaining the permanent unity of the people in the fight against the people's enemies, the anti-people.

Finally tactical and strategic unity is a question of political expediency. People enter into these coalitions to achieve objective that is limited in time (temporary) and limited in effect (generally to reform existing systems). On the other hand principled unity is entered into as a matter of survival, that is to fight genocide, to end exploitation and inevitably to transform society. Tactical and strategic unity is useful. For African people everywhere, principled unity is a historically determined necessity.