Saturday, January 7, 2012

What is the role of revolutionaries in a non revolutionary period?

As I was recording section 11 of the STORM handbook (Moving from Resistance to Revolution, page 52 Reclaiming Revolution, full text, PDF, etc. versions ) it struck me that this was an important question to ask, I should've thought further ahead and realized that the question needed to be asked, but that's why it's important to read their words. You never know what benefit it will have. We need to keep an eye on people like this. And it starts with asking the correct questions. Anyways, below I'll post the full text of section 11 where the role is explained, generally speaking anyways. The audio version is here and here.
Our commitment to communist politics didn't give us any easy answers about what we should be doing to advance a revolutionary movement in this country. Other organizations with a Marxist analysis seemed to lack a practical program for building the kind of power needed to win our people's liberation.

Several of these communist groups emphasized the immediate building of the revolutionary vanguard party.They thought the party should prepare to seize power when the people "spontaneously" rise up during imperialism's inevitable crises. We believed that these groups had badly misassessed the real state of imperialism and of social movements. They prematurely anticipated a peoples' uprising (which we didn't see on the immediate horizon) while underestimating the importance and difficulty of building power in oppressed communities to lay the groundwork for future uprisings.

Other communist organizations - and many individual activists - were questioning the possibility of a revolutionary movement ever succeeding. They emphasized immersion in unions and mass struggles to the exclusion of intentional work to develop a revolutionary movement.

We wanted an approach that resolved the contradiction between the need for building immediate (and inevitably reform-based) power in disorganized oppressed communities on the one hand and the need to lay the ground work for the long-term development of a revolutionary movement on the other.

To resolve this tension, STORM developed an innovative analysis about the role of revolutionaries in a non-revolutionary historical period. We called it "Moving from Resistance to Revolution."

We concluded that the current period is one of "resistance," not one of "revolution." We thought that the main work of revolutionaries at such times should be to build resistance fights.These fights would build power and consciousness in oppressed communities. But revolutionaries must design and craft this "resistance work" so as to help lay the foundation for the long-term development of a revolutionary movement. As "conscious forces," we thought that revolutionaries should work intentionally to help the resistance movement mature into a revolutionary one.

This "Moving from Resistance to Revolution" framework was STORM's attempt to negotiate the contradiction between reformism and ultra-leftism.

We cannot afford anymore to turn a blind eye to the people working in the shadows trying to take our liberty. Some examples of what they mean by resistance fights, 'lay the foundation', and groundwork and so forth can be found earlier in the handbook. Thinks like 'Bay Area Police Watch', which became the Ella Baker Center(Van Jones' outfit). Non profits. Unions are listed right in this very section, above. At all times these people are working to steal our liberty. We need to at all times need to be shining flashlights in their direction. These people thrive on shadows. If we want to protect our liberty, we need to deprive them of shadows.


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  2. As a side note, several of the oldest sections of the reclaiming revolution audiobook are going to be re-recorded. Two are already done.