Freedom Road Socialist Organization
has put out a strategy document
that raises some very important questions about the tragic failure of the revolutionary left to build any kind of base in this country, and what it would take to change that. I find it refreshing in its honesty and its willingness to re-examine just about everything. The whole thing is worth reading, but here are a few of the points (and questions) that struck me:
- Among the obstacles to the building of a real revolutionary movement is "a factor that often goes unmentioned: the lack of a sense of what it will take to actually build a movement that can challenge for power in the US. Specifically, a failure to appreciate the scale of organization that will be needed and, therefore, the steps necessary to bring such an organization into existence."
- "What do healthy and accountable relationships between people’s movements and the organized Left—whether parties or small left collectives and cadres—look like? How do we rethink the relationship between a party and organizations of workers, neighbors, etc., including the relationship between a party and spontaneous action?"
- "There is a constant need to revolutionize organizations. This need exists irrespective of the period. It includes leadership development (emphasizing working-class women of color and building organizational models where they can lead as women); the personal development of individuals..."
- "Ultimately, we need to be thinking in terms of a party of hundreds of thousands of members. This means, among other things, that those forces committed to the building of a party must themselves have roots in progressive social movements and mass struggles."
- "The Left cannot afford to sit back in the role of perpetual naysayer."
I believe these five points are deeply connected. The crux of the issue, as I see it, is that real revolutionaries must commit themselves in a serious way to organizing and must have a much deeper respect for the social movement organizations (which may or may not identify as explicitly socialist or revolutionary) that are developing working-class leaders on a large scale. Out of this respect must come a practical vision of how a revolutionary organization, whose members are working full-time in these social movement organizations, can help bring the social movements to another level.