Revolution #55, July 30, 2006


Two Excerpts from “Why We’re in the Situation We’re in Today… And What To Do About It: A Thoroughly Rotten System and the Need for Revolution”

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And all along, without overstepping things at any given time, and without getting off onto the wrong road and attempting things prematurely and inappropriately, it is necessary to be working consciously with strategic goals in mind, with the correct strategic orientation, so that even the development of political movements and political influence and organized ties when there is not yet a revolutionary situation among all strata of the people and stretching into every part of society is geared strategically toward the situation when the conditions for revolution will have emerged. Again, let me emphasize that it’s crucial to do this without overstepping things and acting as if you’re in one kind of situation when you’re not yet in that situation, which will lead to disaster. If there is to be a revolution, a fundamental element of that is there has to be a revolutionary people in masses, not in a few hundred or even a few thousand, but in the millions, and a revolutionary orientation, a strategic revolutionary orientation is grounded in that and leads toward working toward that objective because that’s the basis without which there can be no revolutionary struggle for the seizure of power. And any attempt, whatever the road is, any attempt to wage a struggle for power or to confront the other side in those terms, without a revolutionary people in masses, in millions, is bound to lead to defeat and to severe setbacks, not only practically, but politically and ideologically, leading to demoralization of the masses, to their being smashed organizationally and politically and their being disoriented and demoralized for a long period of time. So that’s a bedrock principle: if there is to be revolution there must be a revolutionary people, and that is dialectically related to the developments toward and then the emergence of a revolutionary situation, because you will not get a revolutionary people in the millions except in dialectical relation with the development of a revolutionary situation and its full ripening. But you have to be working toward that all along the way, without overstepping, without getting onto the wrong road and without acting in ways that are only appropriate when there is a revolutionary people and a revolutionary situation.

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So among other things…[terrorism is] a very wrong attempt at a solution, wrong in many dimensions, to the very real contradiction of technological disproportionality, if you will, or in the terminology of the imperialist military, the asymmetrical nature of the technological component of the contending sides. It is in every dimension a wrong, and worse than wrong, ultimately a reactionary response to that real phenomenon, and it is bound up with a whole ideological and political viewpoint and program which aims for things which are not fundamentally an alternative to, and insofar as they are an alternative to imperialism, are not a positive one. They are not a fundamental alternative, and insofar as they represent any kind of alternative, it is not a positive one. So this is an expression, terrorism is an expression overall, of an incorrect outlook and methodology serving a program and interests other than a thoroughgoing revolution leading to the abolition of all exploitation and oppression and ultimately the emancipation of all of humanity. It doesn’t aim for that and it’s not capable of achieving it. And both things are important. And that is why increasingly, as I said, it ends up targeting not the actual source of oppression of the people, but even sections of the people themselves, and it aims for something which would not lead to the emancipation of all of humanity. And the two are bound together: For the same reasons that the military approach, if you will, is wrong-headed, it is also part of an overall ideological viewpoint and program that is not in the final analysis emancipatory and cannot be emancipatory. Even if this were applied by people with a different outlook than, say, religious fundamentalism, there becomes, in the application of this approach, too much of a fundamental divide and contradiction between professed aims and actual means.

And it’s important to distinguish terrorism from a genuine people’s war—where that is possible and the appropriate strategy. This is an important point to stress because the imperialists deliberately set out to obliterate that distinction and to declare every kind of armed struggle against them, even one that has massive popular support and participation, to be a form of terrorism. And that’s particularly true in these days, so it’s very important to actually draw the objective distinction, to recognize and to emphasize the objective distinction and to combat the attempts of the imperialists to obliterate that distinction and to equate any kind of a revolutionary struggle, even that with massive popular support and involvement, as being an act of or a form of terrorism.

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