Revolution #224, February 6, 2011

A Profound Lesson...And A Deep Challenge

When a people endure oppression for years...and when those years stretch into decades, and even can begin to feel as if their righteous anger and aspirations are being held back by a terrible dam. This dam contains, blocks up and suppresses the currents that could lead to resistance and rebellion, the currents of change. And then the dam begins to seem eternal... and it begins to seem as if there are no currents...and it begins to seem as if there is no anger at all among the people, other than the anger that gets turned against each other and oneself. Change—positive change, at least—seems impossible.

But one day—suddenly—the dam breaks, and out come the floodwaters. Yesterday it seemed impossible. Today it seems to have been inevitable.

A man in Tunisia, Mohamed Bouazizi, having been abused by the police and having sought redress from one level of government after another, has enough. He feels that life is no longer worth living...or rather, he becomes convinced that the best way and the only way to live is to give his life in protest. He burns himself to death. And this action touches a chord that sounds throughout his city, his country, and then entire region. The downturned eyes of yesterday are—for now—replaced by faces that look at one another in solidarity and struggle and determination, and millions dare to brave the threat of death to say that WE CANNOT LIVE IN THIS WAY!

Such things have happened throughout history, and they will continue to happen. And very often they seem to come out of nowhere. When crises like this erupt, people question what they used to accept; they resist what they used to endure.

This is a profound lesson of what is now going on in Egypt and across the Middle East.

But then the question arises: will these waves and currents, in all their variety and fantastic complexity, give rise to a movement that can actually emancipate the people? Or will a new “dam” be put in place?

At times like these, revolutionary communists must bend every effort to reach out to and connect those who have been awakened. They must unite with them in resistance. They must expose the underlying dynamics that put the oppressive system in place and maintained it, and show the motive forces for changing it. But as they do this they must also, and above all, bring these essential truths to people:

With the dawn of the communist revolution, it finally became possible for people to not only struggle, but to actually set out on the road to full emancipation from all oppressive relations.

But this requires a leadership, a party, that is actively preparing the masses and itself for just such an opening... a party that is doing all it can to not only prepare for such an opening but to hasten it, through strengthening the political consciousness of the masses, as well as their fighting capacity and organization in carrying out political resistance against the crimes of this system.

Where such a party exists, it must be wholeheartedly supported and built. Where it does not exist, the situation urgently requires that it be brought into being.

This is the profound challenge posed by events.

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