Granted, collective action is vital if we are to build a truly mass movement, and the Stop the War Coalition is a shining example of what can be achieved by this means. However, direct action can be equally effective in raising the consciousness of those to whom we need to appeal. Also, on a practical level, direct action by small groups can be quicker to enact and far easier to arrange.
Direct action has many purposes. It forces issues onto the public agenda when conventional lobbying has been ignored, it provokes thought and stimulates debate, thereby raising consciousness in the local area, and is far more than mere ‘elitism’ or just an ego boost for those involved.
Mass movements and direct action groups can work and have worked together sucessfully at a local level. The anti-Trident actions at Devonport Dockyard are proof of this. In order to advance our movement we must learn to work with our comrades in non-socialist circles, celebrating our differences instead of becoming divided by them.
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