Revolution #225, February 27, 2011
Responding To—and Getting Out—the RCP's Statement "ON THE STRATEGY FOR REVOLUTION"
The next issue of Revolution will be focused on the Party's new statement, "On the Strategy for Revolution." This will be a two-week issue—one that must get out everywhere. At a time when people are inspired by, and in many cases closely following and thinking about, the uprisings in the Middle East... when tens of thousands take to the streets in Madison, Wisconsin and this too raises people's sights, and questions, as to what is possible... this statement should be getting everywhere!
Many of the ideas printed last week about getting out Bob Avakian's statement on Egypt apply here. But we also want to highlight some responses from readers of this paper—responses which both engage the content of the statement itself, and give ideas on how to spread it. These responses were not originally written for publication, but were more in the nature of reflections. It is not as though each and every notion is correct or necessarily even fully worked out, or that absolutely every suggestion should be taken up. But there ARE in fact many good and important ideas in what follows, that people can sift and bounce off of and apply to their situations. And there are also some interesting reflections on the statement itself, that should help spark further wrangling and digging.
What follows are excerpts from these responses, lightly edited for publication:
This is really fucking good!! It concentrates an incredibly synthesized understanding of our strategy—without oversimplification. It captures the motion, and the need for tenseness... and that this is working on real world contradictions which can't be willed into being, but can be affected by revolutionary forces. It is understandable, concretely applicable—and measurable (not measurable in an empiricist sense, but measurable in terms of "oh, I see how this newspaper, promoting this book from BA, being part of [different initiatives the Party is involved in] is part of an overall strategy for actually making revolution") for the Party and the masses.
I was just batting around with someone a few days before we got this how to break down in basic terms what our strategy is. I get asked a lot what it means to be a Revolutionary Communist, "what that looks like in your day to day," and I will often answer both in relation to a lot of what I do, and that I am a supporter of a Party that has an overall strategy for revolution. But I have found myself beginning the answer to what this is, "well, there's a whole ensemble of revolutionary work." And then frankly, fall into a list of what that means... I don't feel I've really been able to "connect" this, make it plain for people so they see the full coherent, "synthetic" (as in synthesized) approach... and how that is working on and interpenetrates with the objective situation.
This is concentrated here.
I also think it importantly speaks to how sentiments among the broad masses can change, and who the social base for revolution is, on two levels (in the "accumulating forces" paragraph). This is something that people don't see, and that is systematically covered over and distorted.
In terms of how to make use of this...
- I think it should be inserted as a double sided flyer in all the copies of the message and call...
- in projects where people have done real saturation with the message and call previously, they should do a round of putting this under every door in places they've been (I know in the projects in one area, they've been twice through a number of buildings putting the message and call under every door... this should be done with this statement)
- the newspaper should do a special email of it (nicely laid out with a call to spread this)
- people who are designated to speak for the Party, as well as people who do political work over the internet, should do a mass email, and snail mail/direct email of it to a number of key people ([I know of dozens of] individuals who have posed this question that should get this).
- it should be regularly "backpacked" by all revolutionaries and become an essential part of what we get to people...
- [party collectivities] should discuss how to systematically get this to all Party ties... It also could be an opportunity to reach back to people with whom we're not as much in regular connection, or have lost connection with—who have fallen away, who we've not worked with as systematically etc, and get this to them... it should serve to re-pose the questions of the viability, and desirability for revolution... and it's a synergistic part of getting out the Constitution, the message and call... and newspaper overall.
- Without narrowing this piece... it could also be linked to discussion of contributions. Giving to the newspaper or work around [promotion of Bob Avakian's works] should be seen in this strategic context.
- What if the stores had a special session every two to three months or so, "what is the strategy for revolution?" Something that would be an ["on-ramp"] for new people to come find out, they would get this piece to read before the discussion began (and/or it could be read out loud), and making these events known would be part of making known the Party has a strategy.
- we should also be ready for parts of this [to be attacked and distorted by reactionaries].
Those are my thoughts for now... this does fill a great need... and as BA has discussed, making our strategy known (and now in this powerful, concentrated form)... is part of the overall strategy for revolution, it's part of people seeing "there is no permanent necessity," it's part of repolarizing and this movement for revolution becoming a magnetic, shaping pole in society.
I have had a chance to study over the statement. It is quite good, amazingly succinct yet concentrates what it means to be hastening while awaiting in both senses: what are the developments being awaited and how those result from the very workings of the system itself, the outlines of how a legitimacy crisis can take shape in scientific, living terms and how all the work, especially around the two mainstays [spreading the Party's newspaper and promoting the leadership and work of Bob Avakian] can shape the terrain and how a revolution can be hastened and wrenched out of those objective conditions. How for instance the jolts along the way, even if they do not plunge society completely into a revolutionary crisis are the situations where the revolutionary forces have to make as many leaps as possible. This piece concentrates why the two mainstays are the foundation and how together with "fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution" give a good sense of what these together have to do with transforming the situation to one as favorable for revolution as possible, so that when the objective conditions emerge that do not exist now, it will be a real possibility.
It cuts against the idea that this can not be done, showing how things make leaps as well as [being] an objective polemic against an evolutionary view. Critical to all this is leadership—both BA, and the Party and its newspaper—and it is a powerful and poetic call for people to join this movement for revolution and it really conveys what difference this makes as part of hastening, while awaiting (and in all the ways big and small—the sense of the Ohio comes through). [editor's note: Ohio refers to a metaphor involving the Ohio state marching band—how people in the band seem to move through the letters to spell out Ohio—and it pertains to the process of people getting involved in the movement for revolution on many different levels and from many different sources, and moving through the movement, deepening their understanding and involvement as they do.]
This fills a big need—do people know we have a strategy? And the question that comes up whenever people come to seriously consider the possibility—how could you possibly do that in a country like this?
I have been trying to figure out how in a scientific judicious way can we maximize its impact. In terms of pathways—I do think this is an important pathway that is currently an obstacle for many who are desirous of seeing a far better world brought into being and that it weighs on people and keeps reinforcing that they keep their heads down.
Here are some suggestions:
1) The newspaper website—[the website needs] an easily navigable section that could feature this, "Some Crucial Points of Revolutionary Orientation in Opposition to Infantile Posturing and Distortions of Revolution," "There Is No 'Permanent Necessity' for Things to be This Way—A Radically Different and Better World Can Be Brought Into Being Through Revolution," and a few other core things– [like] an FAQ type section but without that name...
2) This next suggestion relates to a point I have been thinking about which is it seems like there is a beginning awakening from the Obama kool-aid coming from different quarters and that it would be very worth our while to have [some people who speak for the Party] seek out some key people both in relationship to the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America and to [the upcoming book] BAsics, from the Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian with this new piece as part of the package—it helps make it real that there is a strategy. I think it would be good to do these before BAsics comes out so that people can see how that fits into the revolutionary strategy and be part of making the event in April and the use of it a success.
I noted the following in Ted Rall's book, Anti-American Manifesto...: "Though small in numbers, anarchists and 'deep green' anti-civilization environmentalists are highly influential in what passes for the American Left, publishing well-regarded books, magazines, and blogs that inspire many people. Deep-green types fantasize about a collapse scenario that will save the world without anyone having to lift a finger. They imagine an involuntarily de-industrializing economy that allows the earth to heal while people gather to form small clans and low impact villages based on ideals of equality."
Literally a primitive communalism. [I heard] one such deep green theorist who blurbed Rall's book on the radio. He seems genuinely agonized about the environmental crisis and 'that we keep losing ground.' I don't know how much [he] was counting on Obama, but he seemed to expect at least some positive changes around the environment among the population as a whole that has not happened.
While there are undoubtedly huge questions about what kind of revolution, for what ends and with what goals, [and about] the desirability of Communism—I wonder if the combination of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic of North America AND this piece on revolutionary strategy would open up discussion/debate with these forces. There is genuine urgency and no solutions on the environment.
Part of the objective should be to see if there are people in these movements who will open the door to serious engagement over the problem/solution and the strategy (which reflects the vision of the solution and the ultimate aims) to get there and how do we get these materials out before people who feel very strongly about the crisis the planet is facing? Some of these might be people we should debate/dialogue with publicly...
(As an aside, [there is a recent college graduate] who is with Greenpeace which does regular work on the campus—he has the Constitution and the environment issue and wants to sit down and talk because he is very frustrated with the fact that even though they do really good things that it is not enough to deal with the scope of the problem; an undergrad doing Pakistan flood relief tabling asked to speak to our people in the wake of a social justice conference asking—how would you change the productive forces? The person showed him the part on the economy in the Constitution, said read this while I go deal with some things and then came back and had some beginning discussion.)
Similarly, there seems to be an increasing number of Black intellectuals and others who are dismayed at the destruction of the youth in unprecedented numbers going on multiple generations to whom we should take this too. Obviously Cornel West is a very prominent example, but there are others who are agonized and while not necessarily for revolution I think would be open to a discussion from the most sweeping perspective. [There are many people we've worked with around October 22 and the prison ban on Revolution newspaper that we should be talking with.]
I don't know who are the forces among the immigrant rights movement and in particular the students and youth who are being hit from all sides and in particular in Arizona, but of course not only there—but I think our Constitution and the whole approach to this question, bi-linguality etc. is enormously liberating. The fact that even talking about the borders not being sacred is being ruled off the agenda in Arizona education should stand in contrast. I wonder if there should be another billboard in Tucson—in Spanish advertising the Constitution?
3) My last suggestion is that after the two-week push with this piece as called for that we print up this piece in a little tract like the one done on Willy Mobile Shaw that would make it easy to back pack, cheap to print and so it could be used for some time. It would not be cost prohibitive to give... people a few copies to use with others. All circles forming up around the paper should discuss and wield it...
4) Finally, the developments in the Middle East—Tunisia and Egypt—these illustrate the phenomenon of how societies can erupt into legitimacy crisis. I was listening to an Egyptian reporter who was explaining that he knew many people who just a few weeks ago were fed up but resigned and apolitical; would never have considered going to a demonstration—but as a result of what happened in Tunisia, now have begun to think that major societal change is possible and that what they do can make a difference and so have leapt into political life. The programs and strength of the contending forces that will be seeking resolution of the crisis that has erupted points to the importance of the strategy of hasten while awaiting for revolution. Whether or not outcome is a good one for humanity will be determined by everything that led into those kinds of situations.
5) I wanted to propose that we have a short box that runs frequently in the newspaper that points people to this piece online.
I have been thinking about the youth and how great the centerfolds have been but don't get used anywhere near enough. One idea on this would be to do not just a centerfold but 4 pages that "stand alone" even 1 or 2 times a month for now...
We could print extra... of the 4 pages and start to use them at key high schools, youth centers etc. very systematically...
The new piece, "On the Strategy for Revolution," is very powerful and fills an important gap in our revolutionary literature. This document is part of our Enriched What-Is-To-Be-Done-ist approach–putting the questions of the revolution to the masses and drawing them into working on these questions and finding solutions to them practically and theoretically. This piece combats some of the myths about not being able to make revolution because the other side is all-powerful, that people are too messed up and the revolutionary forces are too small, while bringing out in a living and dynamic way "how revolution could come about as conditions and people are moved to change because of developments in the world and because of the work of revolutionaries..."
"On Strategy..." is written in a very poetic and powerful way and presents a whole process of making revolution in a way that will be accessible to someone who is new to the movement for revolution and to masses who are coming forward with a more advanced understanding of the problem and the solution but who do not have a comprehensive understanding of our strategy. It struck me in discussing "Some Principles for Building a Movement for Revolution" that work needs to go on to deepen the understanding of [revolutionary-minded] people around us in what we mean by a "strategic approach to making revolution."
But this new piece will enable people to get into the whole sweep of what it means to have a strategy for revolution and to grapple with key elements of that strategy. The document is the equivalent of Strategy 101; it is written accessibly but it is at the same time rich and textured and anyone who grapples seriously with it will gain a deep understanding of a process of making revolution and the decisive role of a vanguard Party in that process, creating public opinion for the seizure of power and preparing mind and organizing forces for revolution.
I want to give more thought to how the strategic orientation of Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution is presented. Of course, this is not new, but it is given significant emphasis in what is presented. This is also not new because in "Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity" the point is made that this whole orientation is crucial and without it things can tend toward scholasticism. In any case, the emphasis given to this slogan is correct, and I want to think more about its juxtaposition within the overall piece, which gives added emphasis to it. The events in the world of late—including what is going on now—do bring home how important it is for the masses of people to stand up and what impact that can have globally, causing people in that area and indeed throughout the world to stand up and take note.
(I thought what was written in the newspaper about a dam suddenly breaking was important and illustrates how it can be relatively quiet over decades and then something leads to the bursting of the dam. But the point is that there needs to be a vanguard which is actively preparing all along the way, hastening while awaiting, in order to seize on such situations when they arise. Clearly this is a case of the legitimacy of the regime being called into question. While following events in the Middle East, I have been thinking about what driving out the Bush Regime might have looked like and what possibilities it might have opened up if that struggle had been successful. Events such as those going on in Egypt do cause one to think about things like this and more, including what would be the impact of vanguard leadership in a situation like that. I know there is a lot involved in the situation, but these are some of the things that I have been thinking about and trying to learn more deeply through watching events unfold in Egypt. I think the call for people to translate the Manifesto into many languages is right on time and necessary, as is the guidance in this issue of the newspaper for people to take out the Manifesto together with coverage in the newspaper of what is going on in Egypt and beyond.)
In terms of what we should do with "On Strategy for Revolution," I think it is correct and important that it is going to be printed in the newspaper. While this piece is written in a very accessible way, the understanding of strategy in it is a major breakthrough in terms of making revolution in a country like this one, a breakthrough not dissimilar from the breakthrough that Mao Tsetung made in bringing forward the strategic understanding of revolution in colonial and dependent countries. Before the breakthrough that BA made in terms of strategy, there was not understanding of this question in relation to a country like this one. This understanding of revolution in an advanced imperialist country has been missing until the breakthrough that BA made and is continuing to deepen.
"On the Strategy for Revolution" has [some of] the feel and texture of the statement: "The Revolution We Need...the Leadership We Have." And I think we need to get it out there really broadly in society in a concentrated way through the publication of it in the newspaper...and also through periodically publishing it. Making it into a pamphlet would also be a way to get it out there broadly, but having it appear at regular intervals in the newspaper is one way to get it out there in a way that does not work against [being] "scientific, systematic and judicious." I think it would also be important to have bookstore programs on this piece when it is published in a few weeks.
It objectively is a polemic against rightist/revisionist notions of building a mass movement that goes over to revolution or other notions of slow patient economist work, even as it objectively argues secondarily against tendencies toward "another strategy," which, of course, is not a big trend right now. There is also a role for this piece on the world level where there are tendencies, even in the ICM [international communist movement], to give up on the prospect of revolution in an advanced country like this one.
This new piece should be circulating among the base, among the youth, and on the campuses, including among students but also academics. It would really be important for this piece to become part of the youth scene in various cities.
It should be prominently displayed in the bookstores.
It should be distributed among nationalist forces and sections of oppressed nationalities. What about distribution of it among African students and students from the Middle East?
Most striking to me is how this statement is filling a great need in the world—in the broadest sense among people who either have given up on, or never really considered (or even encountered) revolution as something that "could happen here" and "could happen in our lifetimes"; among those who are beginning to relate to the vanguard and the movement for revolution and weigh their own involvement and relation to it; and among the vanguard itself in more deeply rooting our own understanding and guiding our work in carrying out this strategy.
To speak to the third level of this first: In the last year or so, we have been going through a lot of struggle repeatedly to not merely "do a bunch of good things" but to carry out revolutionary work in a way that is actually strategically advancing towards revolution. Up until really wrangling with this statement, this tendency had struck me as being due mainly to positivism and getting buried into "movement is everything" thinking (even towards things like the Campaign, to say nothing of parts of the campaign). And, while I do think these revisionist tendencies are very much part of what have asserted themselves, it also strikes me that there has been a need for us to make a leap in our own understanding of our strategy and all of the dynamisms involved in it.
This statement doesn't only distill and make popular our understanding—it is actually much more integrated and synthesized than most of us were understanding. I recall, for instance, ...a couple months ago [in thinking about efforts to explain the role of the paper] telling others, "I can make a list of all the things our paper is part of in terms of our strategy... but capturing the dynamism involved in all of it as a coherent approach is very hard." But here, in this very short and extremely popular statement, there is an even greater scope (our full strategy—not just one mainstay, as important as that is) and even more complexity—and it is all an integral whole that fits together and makes sense as part of a process. Frankly, one of the biggest things I felt in reading it is that it requires, and enables, people to think differently about change and how it happens than anyone does spontaneously. And it does this without any "premises" that you have to accept to think about and evaluate and begin to relate to this strategy (i.e. you don't have to already agree that revolution is the only way out, or have studied Lenin on what the three conditions of a revolutionary situation are, or have already been won over to the need for leadership or a party or BA in particular, etc.)...
Informally, one comrade told me that this statement gave her a whole deeper appreciation of the "Katrina criticism" [Editor's note: This refers to a criticism that was made of the Party's work during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 by Bob Avakian in, among other places, "Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity, part 2"] and this really got me thinking as well. I think, up until now, my thinking has still been a bit flat, or a bit "all or nothing" about how to view crises. Like, the problem with how we responded to Katrina was mainly (or only) because no one could say in advance that it might not have developed into an all-out legitimacy crisis or even revolutionary crisis. And, that we never will know because the vanguard didn't act on it as it should have.
Now, that is certainly true. But, that is still flat. Even if it hadn't ripened all the way to the full revolutionary crisis, it was a context and a situation in which leaps on all fronts of hastening and awaiting—of leading people to fight the power and transform themselves for revolution, of bringing forward and tempering various levels of a revolutionary people, of making advances in making our Party and our leader and our strategy and future known, of enabling people to break with the sense of "permanent necessity," and various other ways of "creating in this way a stronger basis from which to work for further advances."
The point of the "no one can say in advance" point is not merely relevant to the fact that some crisis at some point will go all the way—and therefore you have to spring into motion to the maximum degree around each (with the corresponding, if not consciously recognized, thought that, "Most likely this one won't be the one that goes all the way... and we have a lot of really important other work we are responsible for and advances we need to be making"). The fact is, there is a fundamental unity in the way that revolutionary forces must approach any significant break and rupture in the "normal routine" of things—maximizing advances and making leaps in hastening and awaiting, fighting the power and transforming the people, accumulating forces and repolarizing, etc.—that is not preconditioned by how far we think that particular break in the routine might go. And, it is only by acting in this way that maximum advances can be made—whether that means leaps along the way towards revolutionary preparation or a full out revolutionary crisis (which will never ripen if revolutionary forces are not working on it in this way... and through that whole process, big leaps in forging a revolutionary people and organization can be telescoped).
The world is not like different levels in a video game, you pass one and then you start the next level which is preset in the same way each time and you see if you can pass that one. (Probably video games are more complex these days, but that is how the video games were back when I was in high school.) What we do at every stage is part of shaping the terrain. And, the way we interact with it, and what we do to accumulate forces and deepen and train those forces at various levels, at every point is shaping what strengths we have in continuing to influence the terrain and make leaps and advances. So, the Katrina mistakes were not just because we may have squandered the biggest level crisis (not to dismiss that possibility), but while no one can say in advance how far things will go—you can know for sure that how you respond and what you are able to wrench out of every [crisis] is going to be a factor all the way going forward, including in the ripening of a full out revolutionary crisis when that does become possible.
It's important that the statement puts these kinds of crises and breaks in the routine ahead of the ongoing work of the revolutionaries all the way along. Contrary to most people's thinking, we are not expecting revolution to come about primarily through our efforts and "good organizing"—BUT, our ongoing revolutionary work and forging of organization is going to be decisive in shaping the terrain, hastening the development of a revolutionary situation, and being able to wrench something positive out of it for humanity. In that context, at that time, everything leading up to that and continuing in a heightened way in the intensity of a developing revolutionary crisis will prove to be key. How this is the case is usually big news to people and makes them take not just us, but the possibility of revolution and their involvement in it, much more seriously...
Even among folks who are closer to the movement and weighing their involvement, a lot of them still think of us as well-intentioned people doing something good but something very unlikely to come to fruition in their lifetimes. One of the biggest things that people said after [some sessions devoted to getting into our strategy] was, "The Revolution got real!" This was linked up with them beginning to get, through those sessions, a sense that we actually have a strategy. And that our strategy is reality-based and they could begin to see how things might come together in a way where revolution could succeed. And, because they began to understand this strategy, they could offer ideas and contributions to it, their involvement and their potential contributions, meant more—and the corresponding responsibility they felt was much greater, as well as the inspiration that many felt.
BA has been making the point that letting people know we have a strategy is part of our strategy—this is extremely important! When people think revolution is just an idea and that the revolutionaries are just well-intentioned people, they cannot—and are not moved to—play the kind of active role that many can be playing even now. The more that they see there is a strategy for revolution, and begin to understand what that strategy is and how it can work (both of these are important and while they overlap and interpenetrate they are not the same, even when people don't fully grasp our strategy themselves yet, even their sense that we have one makes a huge difference—but obviously, the more they grasp the strategy the more they are compelled and enabled to play a dynamic role in it) the more this revolution gets real to them. This is a big part of challenging the sense of "permanent necessity" for the existing order. And, it changes how they consider their own involvement, whether it is just a "morally good thing to do" or whether the fate of humanity will actually be influenced by how they and others act, and that there is the leadership and organization with some sense of how that can have a real impact. And, it influences what kind of contributions people can make—just "helping us with our thing" or dynamically contributing both to the things that we have identified as key links as well as through many other channels as part of a whole growing revolutionary movement and broader spirit.
But [even most people who have a sense that we have a strategy] still don't really have a good sense of what that strategy is as an integral whole and really utilizing this statement with them is going to be tremendously important in [strengthening the core of this movement].
There is also, in this statement on strategy, a much more integral role that accumulating forces plays—and this statement and its approach is a very important tool and method for doing so. It is not an "add-on" to our work (which is still too much the approach). By giving people the whole strategy—we both work at knocking down some of the biggest obstacles in the way of them taking up the revolution—and let them relate to the whole thing and contribute to that. Over and over again, this statement poses the process of making revolution and challenges/invites people into it—around the Party, around the Chair, around the newspaper, around the questions of further learning how to win, around fighting the power and transforming the people... in many ways. This is very different than calling on people to "help us" with "our thing" around different projects without any strategic sense of how they make revolution more possible.
The end of the statement, in particular, models this...: "For those who have hungered for, who have dreamed of, a whole different world, without the madness and torment of what this system brings every day... those who have dared to hope that such a world could be possible... and even those who, up to now, would like to see this, but have accepted that this could never happen... there is a place and a role, a need and a means, for thousands now and ultimately millions to contribute to building this movement for revolution, in many different ways, big and small—with ideas and with practical involvement, with support, and with questions and criticisms. Get together with our Party, learn more about this movement and become a part of it as you learn, acting in unity with others in this country, and throughout the world, aiming for the very challenging but tremendously inspiring and liberating—and, yes, possible—goal of emancipating all of humanity through revolution and advancing to a communist world, free of exploitation and oppression."
There is no "jacking people up" to participate—there is laying bare a very materialist understanding of how all this can be changed and the conscious dynamic role of revolutionaries and many others in this—and then a very embracing invitation/challenge to participate at the highest level people are ready to.
I think this can actually accelerate the process of making revolution—and be a key part of anchoring this Party and our movement as we are really continuing to push out in the world with the campaign and relying on a lot more of the Party—and growing sections of the masses—to take a lot more initiative in doing this.
Also, together with the Constitution, these two things really provide a huge answer to a lot of what is standing in the way of people taking up and getting involved in this revolution. People won't consider a different world because "you'll never get there"... or they won't consider trying to get there (i.e. working for revolution) because "communism either won't work or will be a disaster." Add into this mix BAsics, from the Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian and the possibility of actually succeeding in this strategy and where it can go, and a whole lot of levels for people to come into and relate to this, and we have a tremendously powerful answer and challenge to the whole ideological and political ceiling that is fixed on people's thinking and action.
One idea is to really get the ideological challenge and impact of these three things together—not just see them as "materials to get out," but actually the statement that could be made, and the process begun, by stepping out with big displays on campuses and busy spots in neighborhoods, at conferences and concerts, along with a table with mounds of each of these items. The display could be simple, maybe just three big panels (I mean really big) with the titles of each of these three works and then beneath the display have three big mounds of each of these items. People could get any single item, but they would encounter them in the context of each other and the full effect of that.
I think we have to make use of this statement—together with the Constitution and BAsics—in particular among gatherings of the types of folks who were attracted to the U.S. Social Forum. Folks who have a line against states that is both influenced by their verdict on the first wave [of socialist revolutions] (which is challenged indirectly but in a very effective and visionary way through the Constitution) and their recoiling from the current state (which is challenged by the piece on strategy and that there IS a way that a revolutionary force and revolutionary people could get into a position to win) and in their celebration of the "leaderless" approach (which needs to be gone at theoretically in its own right—but also through straight up "meeting" BA). Those who are seeking to build up alternatives on the margins—many of them are coming from very good intentions and need to be challenged by this combination. Things like the events sponsored by Platypus around the country, but also some of the environmental models. A LOT of radical-minded young people spend their summers on organic farms... or the folks who have relocated to New Orleans and are part of alternative schools and other small community projects there. Obviously, there are those who are entrenched in a different model and hostile to what we are about—but a great many of them are not entrenched but are seeking to live their lives in the most meaningful and impactful way they can. Can we do some research and plan some excursions to some of these places (organic farms and other alternative marginal communities, especially where there are young people concentrated)—and look into when they are holding conferences or gatherings of various types? A lot of this seems to be connected with key schools and departments (there were students strategizing on these models and planning semesters on organic farms at U of C, for instance).
Also, there are still periodically gatherings of former Black Panthers or art or movies about them or people who have been inspired by them. The question of a strategy for revolution is a lot of what they ran up against and couldn't answer. This statement could have a big impact—attracting and engaging the best in those scenes (both among the older generation but also the youth who are attracted to this, and the positive synergy that could come between some of them getting into this).
Even where major societal efforts are being made with BAsics and the Constitution—these things will be strengthened by being combined with this piece on strategy and we should be sure that this doesn't get underplayed or left out.
There are, in the very immediate sense, the gatherings and questions posed and sights that are raised by the events in Egypt and the Middle East lately and these are places—especially on campuses—where we need to be bringing in our newspaper, the Manifesto, but also this strategy statement. As one student put it to us, they had heard us talk about things changing suddenly but never really believed it till now. It seems—especially where we have had some ongoing presence—there is a moment to seize here.
Comments on, making maximum use of, and giving maximum impact to:
ON THE STRATEGY FOR REVOLUTION
This is really an important statement! And much needed (a fact that jumps out at you when you read it!). It does build off of the Message and Call, which provides a more sweeping, and very concrete (new) synthesis of the need for revolution, and the leadership we have. This new statement on the strategy elaborates in a very accessible, scientific, and compelling way why and how to make revolution today, linking the urgent work of today in preparing the ground for revolution to being in a position to actually make revolution when the necessary conditions come together.
And with the publishing of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal), it provides an important pathway to those inspired by the Constitution, and trying to understand how to work toward that today.
Overall this statement clarifies, and gives direction to those stepping forward and taking up as their mission making revolution! In that sense, it can contribute significantly to achieving the third objective of the campaign; and with the emphasis it gives to the two mainstays, it will contribute to advancing all three objectives, and the campaign as a whole. [editor's note: The three objectives of the campaign "The Revolution We Need...The Leadership We Have" include making this revolution known far and wide; making Bob Avakian a major point of reference among politically awakening people in this society; and bringing forward cores, even if small at first, of initiators of a new stage of communist revolution.]
This statement at the same time provides further clarity for the Party in carrying out "hastening" while awaiting in a more focused, and disciplined way.
Making Maximum Use, and Having Maximum Impact
An important aspect of this, without looking at it in a stage-ist way, is the impact it can have on [people who are coming around and getting involved in the movement for revolution]. That would include having forms for organizing collective discussions/grappling... Some of these could be incorporated into a major event organized by the bookstores; but others would take place separately. And out of this there should be an enthusiasm among [some of those who come] to want to take this everywhere as an important statement that answers the question about how to work today for revolution.
Plans should be made ahead of time for where to distribute this two-week issue: to high schools; to campuses; to key neighborhoods of the oppressed. But also getting it out among all strata, and into the superstructure. Carrying out the 'two maximizings' orientation will also be important; having politically conscious basic masses coming to campuses, as part of forays to distribute the statement more broadly, and then joining in discussions with the more advanced students who come forward. And in the other direction, having college students coming to discussions with youth from the high schools/middle schools, and the neighborhoods.
The discussions should also incorporate "Some Principles for Building a Movement for Revolution," and discuss some of the concrete examples of social contradictions, e.g. Detroit, Arizona, and the oil spill into the Gulf, enabling the masses to grapple with this strategic approach themselves, and appreciate the role of the newspaper in erecting the scaffolding and giving direction to the movement for revolution everywhere.
I don't know the plans for the form in which BAsics will be published, but I think it would be good, after it comes out in our paper, for this statement to be produced in a small, back pocket-able pamphlet form so the masses, especially the youth, can have it on them constantly. It would also be good to have a recording of it made quickly, so that this work can be most accessible to those that have difficulty reading. Getting this on Youtube, and many other of the 'social network' methods on the internet [in a conscious way], could make a major difference enabling many new forces to hear it and take it up.
And as we are expanding the core of people on a mission to make this revolution, they should be unleashedto use all of their forms for networking, and popularizing, and spreading the word.
There need to be concrete plans and goals that incorporate those who are coming forward, while giving play to the initiative of the masses to develop/use their own forms for getting this out very broadly.
A significant aspect of this statement is that it is a 'primer' for those who see the need to make revolution today, that can be taken up by people in areas of the country (or beyond) where the Party and the revolution don't yet reach. This can synergize with the promotion of the two mainstays, the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) as people leap from theory to practice, guided by the statement, as well as the other crucial works concentrating the new synthesis.
This is very initial thought on the statement which I've read a couple of times to date and would like to study much more closely and send further thoughts then. But I did want to convey now that I think it is extremely powerfully done and NEEDED. I like the way it starts out highlighting the importance of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) and then goes right to a concentrated answer in why revolution is possible and then lays out the process/strategy to get there—objective conditions and the work of the subjective forces to hasten and await, including the emphasis on hasten. The sharp way it speaks to and links the (relationship of) key aspects of "the ensemble"—fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution and the two mainstays (including the needed elements of both projecting AND protecting BA) will be great popular guidance for broad masses, [as well as the more conscious forces] for traversing this specific juncture of our revolution...
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