01.Our Principles: Self-Organization, Collectivism, Solidarity
The Chto Delat? platform unites artists, philosophers, social researchers, activists, and all those whose aim is the collaborative realization of critical and independent research, publication, artistic, educational and activist projects. All of the platform’s initiatives are based on the principles of self-organization and collectivism. These principles are realized through the political coordination of working groups—the contemporary analogue of soviets. The projects undertaken by any of these groups represent the entire platform and are closely coordinated with one another. At the same time, the existence of the platform creates a common context for interpreting the projects of its individual participants.
We are likewise guided by the principle of solidarity. We organize and support mutual assistance networks with all grassroots groups who share the principles of internationalism, feminism, and equality.
DV: Everyone has long ago given up wracking their brains over the question of whether it is possible to elaborate precise rules for organizing the work of a collective. It is now quite rare to come across a new manifesto or declaration. The cult of spontaneity, reactivity, and tactics—the rejection of readymade rules—is the order of the day. Tactics, however, is something less than method. Only by uniting tactics and strategy can we arrive at method. Hence it is a good thing to try one’s hand at writing declarations from time to time.
DR: But why now this declaration? I think it marks an important point in Chto Delat’s evolution from collective to counter-institution. We are trying to translate things we learned to (dis)agree upon over the last years into a broadened context with new constituents; to outline the principles of counter-institutional behavior very different from the extremely hierarchical and exploitative institutions that produce the social relations of the art world today. The main use of such an admittedly utopian endeavor is arguably that it shows us how far we have to go to realize our dreams of solidarity. That, and not the outlining of “rules,” is the whole point of writing declarations in the first place.
DV: These are the basic principles of the structure of the platform – I would also call them as ideal structure of work that unfortunately in reality function differently. The main problem is the lack of collective initiative, the growing passivity of the most of the participants. So at the moment the platform functions more as the space of identification, as a kind of identity that marks all people who are openly involved with it with a certain basic position. Also I hope that during the possible change of general political situation from repressive-reactionary towards progressive the platform could play a role of a trigger of different process and facilitate the growing number of its members with the tool for collective work.