- Building a mass united socialist party
I’ve been in favor of this for a while, but it needs revisiting.
I can’t say I support it in precisely the same way, because I’ve been through some life experiences and some hard lessons learned. People may wonder if I still support the general idea though, and actually I do.
I just need to edit what it means. I still support socialist unity. It just needs to be clarified that not everyone who calls themselves socialist, actually is.
Why? I can’t say I support Stalinist or Maoist tendencies any longer being part of socialist unity projects, because their famed historic lack of respect for democratic norms in the past, turns out to continue very bluntly in the present as well. They make horrible coalition partners.
Turns out when you believe in dictatorship in the abstract, you act that way in practice, too. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.
So what does socialist unity mean in practice? Unity of people who actually want to abolish ruling classes instead of replacing them with a new bureaucratic one, ie democratic socialists, Trots, libertarian communists, and whatever anarchists are interested in this kind of thing. In practice it will probably be a big hulk of democratic socialists and the rest of us tagging along with them. That’s fine.
2. Nurturing a libertarian communist current in the United States, and wherever I happen to be living
For a long time I silenced my own political tendency in favor of being a unity-builder. Again direct life experiences have demonstrated to me that this was a mistake. Political coherence requires that a person engage honestly.
By libertarian communist I mean, borrowing from democratic socialism, anarchism, and leninism. But perhaps a bit more libertarian than leninism, a bit more radical than democratic socialism, and perhaps a bit more pragmatic/organized/statist than anarchism. I believe this is a unique, coherent, synthesizing tendency, also a uniting one which many can relate to, but distinct, which has its own specifics, important for its unique distinctions.
The question may be raised: what’s more important in times of mass radicalization, building a mass party, or building a specific current? For me they should mesh fairly seamlessly. Participate directly in the mass party; do not build the tendency separately. Build the tendency by increasing the political level within the mass party. Create a scene of basic political education. Get people reading the political classics. Start with things as basic as the Communist Manifesto. Build up from there.
Again, where do I envision this happening concretely? DSA. Get on it. If not, we’ll just build our own reading circles that also do political action.
3. The fusion of traditional organization-building with nihilism/politicized socializing/intentional community-building
When you are a political person, life itself fuses with your political activity.
The mere act of your circulation through your life processes brings you in contact with other human beings, whom you politicize.
The key is to systematize it and have an organization to bring people back to.
On the flipside, organizations need to be way less inhuman, and focus less on POLITICAL WORK, realizing that building webworks of connections between people is itself the political work, because rather than having to do anything, the main task of the socialist party is simply to gather, consolidate, and maintain the socialist faction in society until it grows to the point that overturning the old system and establishing a new system is possible. That is our main and really only job. The rest is just extra. So instead of burning ourselves out making us do stuff, branch life should focus far, far more on just connecting us to each other.
4. Rank-and-file democracy and genuine membership control in socialist organizations
Concomitant with building a libertarian communist current, based on the principle of working-class self-governance, is collective membership democracy in organizations as opposed to leaderships acting as factions for themselves, exercising one-sided control over their organizations’ politics and culture.
Therefore we can continue criticism of the Left, not as a purely nihilistic exercise out of the belief that no worthy Left is possible, but precisely out of the belief that it is possible to build a mass Left right now, and we should build one that is actually liberatory, instead of deceptive, manipulative, and stifling.
We need support communities of people who have struggled, and are struggling, against the self-appointed dictators and movement gatekeepers on the Left, whether they use bureaucratic procedures or cheap identity politics to police the boundaries.
But we also need smart, long-term building of communities for membership triumph instead of little factions that get expelled. We need good theory and clear protocols and cultures about how truly collective and democratic organizations function, instead of just yelling at organizations who fall short. This has been lacking. I’m working on it, and we should all work on it.
5. Economic justice as a focus within the broad Left
Finally as an aside I have entered into a debate, more by accident than intentionally, on the nature of messaging within the Left, and how focusing on economic and class issues successfully mobilizes and engages the uninvolved population more than intersectionality or identity politics does, and how creating organizations that focus on these issues also creates organizations that have a less dramatic, less divisive internal culture with better communication and understanding.
Here I say we must unite class and identity, probably in the context of the anti-Trump movement. Here I say instead we must retreat and build an economic justice movement separately. Like most things in life, it’s probably one of those issues that will be decided for us by the chaotic procession of mass events, not which we will decide consciously ourselves.
Am I actually doing any of this?
Some yes, some no.
A lot of this orientation alone is valuable to even have, and took a long time to get my thoughts together and even cohere. As such, I think this blog, as well as my nihilistic Leftbooking activity, is valuable insofar as it contributes to these projects.
Some of my in-person nihilistic unstructured socializing (and other) activity has contributed to these.
I think bringing the red flags to various demos helped amplify several of these objectives.
Ultimately I must transition from theory to more active in-person community-building. Some of this I have been doing, though it has been fairly informal and unstructured.
A lot of this has been hampered by personal work/financial situations.
Life is a marathon.
Sometimes you hit a snag. Sometimes you get fucked up by fucked up people.
All that said, I haven’t actually stopped.
As it happens, this, my new blog, is up to over 33,000 views after only about six months of existence. My last blog, Spread the Infestation, has had about 34,500 views over its entire ~3-year lifespan.