New Pamphlet: Sites of a Communist Beginning

 How should today's newly emerging communist movement prepare for future revolutionary opportunities? How do communists determine where to dig in? How do they identify those sections of the people to base themselves on? This pamphlet is an attempt to create a framework for answering those questions.

Special thanks to PN and Jed Brandt for their work in designing this pamphlet.

Download the online PDF, or the print version.


There is a difference between a structural and an evental view of revolutionary opportunity. If our opportunities are structural, then they might emerge wherever the interface exists between the oppressed and the oppressor, the rich and the poor. And so we can each disperse to our local site of that interface.

But if revolutionary opportunities are evental (i.e. conjunctural), then we could disperse ourselves all along that interface and nothing will happen (at least nothing
revolutionary). And we will be trying to make local issues and concerns into something they refuse to become. And we may find ourselves entrenched, pinned down and dispersed there along that interface when some major opening pops up in a concentrated and unexpected way.

I am a believer in the evental (conjunctural) view. The eruption is in sites that are not simply defned by the class structure of society or the structure of national-racial oppression. These sites (which are not merely locations geographically) are often unexpected, and even shocking in the forms the eruption adopts.


New pamphlet: The occupy moment, daring to dream dangerously

Special thanks to Ish Daniels for assembling this collection of Kasama pieces on Occupy.

Download it here, or order it in full color!

the occupy moment:

Within moments of its beginning, cynics declared the movement that came to be known simply as “Occupy” irrelevant, dead, or worse. Those of us around the Kasama Project thought otherwise, and many of us jumped right in. Others of us actually came to Kasama via Occupy. For us, Occupy was an incredibly important watershed moment that served as a reminder that resistance to capitalism is possible, and, more signifcantly, that resistance can, if only for a moment, capture the imagination of a broad segment of the population.

What the long-term legacy of Occupy will be is a story yet to be written. Now, long after the smashing of the Occupy encampments, and now that the movement has morphed into a broad milieu of activists without quite the same determination, excitement, or numbers of late 2011, a lot of Occupy veterans are fguring out what to make of what just happened, and trying to fgure out what to do next. This pamphlet is not the necessary last word and evaluation of the Occupy experience: that remains to be written. Instead, it’s a series of writings taken mostly from the Kasama Project’s website as Occupy was unfolding. Here is inspiration, context, intervention, reportage and critique from activists themselves. From communists looking to analyze and motivate. From revolutionary thinkers trying to understand and explain a sudden apparent rupture in capitalism. From dreamers daring to imagine a new world.

Upon their appearance on the Kasama Project website, many of these pieces were discussed and expanded upon by readers in the comments. We urge interested readers not only to engage these articles in new study and discussion, but to go back and read the original discussions they sparked. Keeping that discussion going is one of the ways
revolutionaries will be ready for the next rupture we know is coming.

This pamphlet is just the beginning of a necessary process of evaluating what happened and preparing for the future. The articles in this pamphlet just scratch the surface of topics and issues made relevant by the Occupy movement: there are many more subjects to be discussed, many more lessons to be drawn. The discussion needs to continue. What can activists, revolutionaries, communists, do to be ready? You can be a part of continuing and deepening that crucial discussion. — ISH Daniels

New pamphlet: A fresh start to change everything - Nepal's revolution

Nepal's Maoists have re-emerged as a coherent and determined revolutionary force, charting a new course in the face of betrayal and encirclement from powerful states hostile toward their movement. Special thanks to Ish Daniels for assembling this collection of new pieces on Nepal, just in time for the Left Forum.

Download it here, or order it in full color!

Greece’s Communist Organization: Learning to Swim in Stormy Weather

Two essays on the Communist Organization of Greece. — a creative revolutionary formation playing a leading role within Greece’s “movement of the squares.” It is now available for download in printable PDF format. And will soon be available in epubs format for e-readers.

Download the pdf pamphlet

The pamphlet features Eric Ribellarsi’s essay Greece’s Communist Organization: Learning to Swim in Stormy Weather.

The one thing in this experience that I have been most impressed with was the KOE’s creativity and willingness to shift when something unexpected happens, and at the same time holding on to a revolutionary strategy.

In addition this new pamphlet also contains the KOE’s own essay on their communist regroupment and subsequent development: “The influence of the Chinese Revolution on the Communist Movement of Greece May 2006.”

“Instead of a heavy and cumbersome organizational form with very insufficient content of internal discussion, what was necessary was a political operation that would arm the whole organization for the particular needs of an ideological, political and organizational strengthening.

“At the same time, measures should be taken

  • against the creation of ‘independent kingdoms’ inside the organization in several Greek cities,
  • against the strangling of the desire for study and research,
  • against dogmatism and blind self-confidence,
  • against the cultivation of several ‘mythologies’.”

Kasama pamphlet: Out of the red closet

Downloadable PDF pamphlet


From the pamphlet introduction:

One of the most remarkable events on the Kasama site during the summer of 2011 has been the outpouring of discussion over the treatment of gay people in the previous communist movement.

Libri Devrim opened the door with her piece “My life in a red closet” – a heartfelt remembrance written with deliberate restraint.

There was a heartening outpouring of interest, experience and discussion. Kasama published several different, unsolicited new posts.

Three of them detailed experiences with the red closet in the Revolutionary Communist Party (a relatively small communist organization in the U.S.) : “Working with the RCP, Opposing the homophobia,” “Rejected by comrades: My love was just love,”and“Suzie’s story: Queer, isolated, invisible.”

Other posts dealt with experiences and summations from outside the RCP, including “Closet Rules: My Story of Survival” and “The Cahokian: Homophobia & the value of thoughtful excavation.”

There were (all together) about 200 comments and over 6,000 page views of these threads.

In this pamphlet, we gather and reprint these posts and some of the comments that followed.



May First: High Noon in Nepal

Report from Kathmandu, April 2010. Available in web form on Kasama and on Jed’s own blog.

(b-&-w) (color)

Excerpt from opening:

APRIL 21 — There are moments when Kathmandu does not feel like a city on the edge of revolution. People go about all the normal business of life. Venders sell vegetables, nail-clippers and bootleg Bollywood from the dirt, cramping the already crowded streets. Uniformed kids tumble out of schools with neat ties in the hot weather. Municipal police loiter at the intersections while traffic ignores them, their armed counter-parts patrol in platoons through the city with wood-stocked rifles and dust-masks as they have for years. New slogans are painted over the old, almost all in Maoist red. Daily blackouts and dry-season water shortages are the normal daily of Nepal’s primitive infrastructure, not the sign of crisis. Revolutions don’t happen outside of life, like an asteroid from space – but from right up the middle, out of the people themselves.

Passing through Kathmandu’s Trichandra college campus after meeting with students in a nearby media program, I walked into the aftermath of bloody attack. Thugs allied with the Congress party student group had cut up leaders of a rival student group with khukuri knives leaving one in critical condition. Hundreds of technical students were clustered in the street when I arrived by chance. The conflict most often described through the positioning of political leaders is breaking out everywhere.

Indefinite bandhs are paralyzing large parts of the country after the arrest of Young Communist League (YCL) cadre in the isolated far west and Maoist student leaders in Pokhora, the central gateway to the Annapurna mountain range. The southern Terai is in chaos, with several power centers competing and basic security has broken down with banditry, extortion and kidnapping are now endemic. Government ministers cannot appear anywhere without Maoist pickets waving black flags and throwing rocks.

Into the Wild: Badiou, Actually-Existing Maoism, and the “Vital Mix” of Yesterday and Tomorrow

From the opening:

Can we fashion an approach to the communist project that allows us to sift through certain experiences and ideas and evaluate them without becoming stuck in a backward-looking posture?  Can we forge some new roads, or find these roads, or perhaps let these roads find us, without entirely forgetting some of the places where we have been?  Can we truly go someplace new, “into the wild”?

For those of us who want to set out on this journey, and who see the necessity of it, it might help to have a “workbook” of sorts (or several of them).  Our theoretical work in this phase cannot help but be a bit “raw,” which is not to say that we should not aim for as much refinement as we can attain along the way.  But the point is that it is “theory” done “along the way,” in something closer to “real time,” what Edward Said called “traveling theory.”

 Two somewhat rough-and-ready terms that I would like to introduce in what follows are “actually-existing Maoism” and the “vital mix.”  I will also introduce the term “socialist hypothesis,” in contrast to Badiou’s term, the “communist hypothesis.”  I hope that these terms will help our work and that they might gain some currency.

Click for the pamphlet

A Letter from Kathmandu

We now have Jed’s first report from Nepal available in printable PDF pamphlet form. The is tabloid sized and folds into an illustrated pamphlet. The original first appeared in English on

March 7, 2010 — I can’t leave home for a few weeks without everything going crazy.

It took a bit for my time to adjust, to see things as they are coming here and where they’re coming from. Not the instant back-and-forth rhythm of New York multi-tasking anxiety time. Most days the electricity is out in Kathmandu. You can hear chickens in the morning, children playing after school and quiet talk at night when the old women laugh and call across the rooftops. Blackouts make working a computer hard, but the pace of people living by hands and minds alone, without so much mediation, is not a place I’ve ever spent much time. And I do love it here. The city is dirty. The people are upright, direct and curious. I’ve made friends quickly, though I’ve gotten the impression its easier to get married than find a date…..

Did I mention there is a revolution going on?

We haven’t seen a revolution in our lifetime. Not a communist revolution anyway, with broad support and participation sustained, growing over such a short period of time.

The Maoists are unorthodox, to be sure. They have defied everyone’s expectations, friend and foe alike. To their credit, they haven’t let their enemies tell them who they are or been confined to some historical script handed down by the Comintern in 1930-whatever. After a 10-year People’s War, starting in 1996, they grew exponentially among the rural people who make up the heart and body of Nepal.

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Walking with the Comrades

This is a brilliantly written and subtle journalist’s description of this living revolutionary movement, its activists and their hopes.

Who needs to see this? Where should this be posted?

Email this pdf to friends. Share it on e-lists. Post it on significant related discussions.

This piece is also available here on Kasama in web format.

An Excerpt:

I arrived at the Ma Danteshwari mandir well in time for my appointment (first day, first show). I had my camera, my small coconut and a powdery red tika on my forehead. I wondered if someone was watching me and having a laugh. Within minutes a young boy approached me. He had a cap and a backpack schoolbag. Chipped red nail-polish on his fingernails. No Hindi Outlook, no bananas. “Are you the one who’s going in?” he asked me. No Namashkar Guruji. I didn’t know what to say. He took out a soggy note from his pocket and handed it to me. It said “Outlook nahi mila.” (Couldn’t find Outlook)

“And the bananas?”

“I ate them”, he said, “I got hungry.”

He really was a security threat.

His backpack said Charlie Brown — Not your ordinary blockhead. He said his name was Mangtu. I soon learned that Dandakaranya, the forest I was about to enter, was full of people who had many names and fluid identities. It was like balm to me, that idea. How lovely not to be stuck with yourself, to become someone else for a while.

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The Historical Failure of Anarchism: Implications for the Future of the Revolutionary Project

[Available in a web version on Kasama.]

[Also available in a smaller version suitable for saddle stapling.]

Chris Day’s essay “The Historical Failure of Anarchism” was written for a conference on anarchist strategy in 1996 — and quickly sparked a far ranging ideological struggle theLove and Rage Revolutionary Anarchist Federation. It was seen as a call for a break with inherited anarchism. But the importance of this essay is not just its critique of anarchism’s weaknesses and complacencies. It starts with a challenge to those who refuse to acknowledge or learn from their own failures… and who simply ascribe their own setbacks to the evil of others. But to advance the revolutionary project we need to learn from our own shortcomings and setbacks — and find fearless ways to transcend our own previous self-defeating assumptions. In that sense, this essay is not just about “the historic failure of anarchism” but precisely about “the future of the revolutionary project.”

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