Open Threads

Open Threads is an open blogging platform, for debate and exploration of ideas among communists and radicals. Content presented here is contributed by Kasama site users.

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As people “call each other out” to a chorus of finger snapping, we seem to be rapidly losing all sense of perspective and instead of building alliances, we are dismantling hard fought for coalitions...

Is this the way the world ends? When groups that share common cause, utopian dreams and a joined mission find fault with each other instead of tearing down the banks and the bankers, the politicians and the parliaments, the university presidents and the CEOs? Instead of realizing, as Moten and Hearny put it in The Undercommons, that “we owe each other everything,” we enact punishments on one another and stalk away from projects that should unite us...

This article has been circulating as part of a wider criticism of call-out culture with in the U.S. left. Without endorsing all of its politics, we think it valuable to make available here on Kasama. It first appeared on Bully Bloggers.

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by MIKE ELY

Glen writes:

"what about the terms 'semi-feudal' and 'semi-colonialism'? do what extent to these terms still hold. ie Is India 'semi-colonial, semi-feudal' in the way that the Indian Maoists describe correct? if not, how to describe India."

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This essay is part of a series over whether there is a basis for building a communist movement, and a mass movement for socialism, within the U.S.  over the political economy of the U.S. working class, and over whether there are class forces in the U.S. who might potential form a social base for socialist revolution.

It follows Part 1 on working class exploitation, and Part 2  "Identifying a potentially revolutionary social base."

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How Do We Rule? Direct Democracy and the Challenges of Revolutionary Power is audio of a talk delivered by Doug Enaa at the 2014 Left Forum on the panel "Direct Democracy: Describing It, Debating It, Achieving It." The talk touches on a number of questions such as: How do we make a revolution that lasts? What are some of the challenges and obstacles that we face in developing a society that is democratic and egalitarian which overcomes the inequalities and defects of capitalism? What type of institutions and decision-making bodies do we need? Is direct democracy an answer to these problems? What are its limitations? In general, what challenges, obstacles, and dangers do we face as we build a new order that truly is revolutionary, representative of the masses and can last?

On Wednesday thousands of people from all over the US descended on the McDonald’s headquarters in suburban Chicago as part of the movement to demand a $15.00 wage for fast food workers. The fast food chain had to close part of its headquarters and over 100 people were arrested. The event was national news.

It is certainly a positive thing that low wage workers are standing up and beginning to demand a decent life. That is the main thing. Though the emergence of the movement for a $15.00 minimum wage raises a number of questions and I'm very interested in what others think.

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Posted by on in Revolutionary Strategy

 

By ISH

It's May Day, the international workers' holiday, the communist holiday. (And you can read about the origins of the holiday here.)

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Posted by on in Revolutionary Strategy

Posted by on in Revolutionary Strategy

By Enaa

The previous two essays, 'The First Words of Common Sense' and 'Because We Want to Win, We Want the Means' were written to look specifically at some of the strengths of Blanquist theory and practice. While the weaknesses and deficiencies of Blanquism were not denied or glossed over, they were not given prominence. Too often, a focus by leftists on the weaknesses of Blanquism is meant to justify a conservative practice under a leftist guise. In this case, Blanquism is just an insult that reformers or revisionists call revolutionaries. Our focus on the weaknesses, deficiencies and omissions of Blanquism here has a different purpose - to look at what prevented Blanquism from realizing the goal it set out to achieve: the revolutionary seizure of power by the proletariat. To do this, it is not enough to look just at Blanqui, but to look beyond him to other communists who thought seriously about the conquest of power.

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By Doug Enaa Greene

Originally published at Open Media Boston here.

As an enthusiastic participant in the Occupy Movement I recognized, like many others, that it was time to act and “do something.” Here was a movement that, however inarticulately spoke the language of class struggle and questioned the way wealth and power in society was distributed. Yet I could never really hide a certain level frustration with what we were doing at Occupy. Despite the exciting exchange of ideas and the feeling of being a part of something important, the potential energy of Occupy never acquired adequate forms of organization with a set goal. Although Occupy has long since ended, the problems of a organization and the goal remain with the wider left.

Posted by on in Revolutionary Strategy

Some (underdeveloped) thoughts on strategy, crisis and communist organization inspired by some of my recent reading on Carl von Clausewitz's On War, Daniel Bensaid's An Impatient Life, and Richard Seymour's Against Austerity.


-Enaa

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“In short: I think ultra-left is what reformists call revolutionaries and militants of various kinds.  It comes from that left that has not broken with the politics of this system. It is their term, and we should let them have it. I don't think we should adopt it.”

By MIKE ELY

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Posted by on in Revolutionary Strategy



Jodi Dean, author of "The Communist Horizon," speaks about a party for the left, hosted by the Philly Socialists on February 22, 2014.

 

 

A close look at Blanquism: Part 2

Part one: First Words of Common Sense.

"We are revolutionaries, ie Communards , and because we want to win, we want the means. For including the conditions of the fight and wanting to fulfill them, we want the largest organization of combat, the combination of force, not their dispersion, but their centralization."

-Charles DaCosta, Blanquist member of the Paris Commune

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Posted by on in Revolutionary Strategy

 

 

A close look at Blanquism: Part One


By Enaa

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by Mike Ely

TNL writes:

"When banks and corporations, police departments and intelligence agencies, have their internal communications compromised they don't respond by saying "oh well, I guess secure internal communications are a pipedream, lets just throw open the doors." On the contrary they strive to keep abreast of the technology, and to protect themselves better both through the use of technological protections but also by consciously training and cultivating their staffs in the best practices they know."

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The  following is a response to Mr. M in a conversation about the fusing of communist ideas with a radicalizing women's movement.

by Nat Winn

Hello Mr. M. Sorry for taking so long to respond to your comment. Let's jump right in.

Posted by on in Revolutionary Strategy

Forming a Kasama party would be an abortion of whatever potential Kasama has. It is the usual mistake that groups like Kasama make. It is always advanced and defended with the implicit assumption that we are on the eve of a revolution, and that the Occupy-left is somehow comparable to a mature revolutionary movement. Both of these assumptions are total bullshit.

Before you can build a revolutionary party, you have to have a revolutionary movement. We don't. We have a sad collection of lobotomized protest ghetto clichés that occasionally interact with a large mass of angry people, usually with the effect of driving them away or running them into a brick wall.

It is one of the worst clichés of the new left to form a revolutionary party before you have a movement. It doesn't work. It reeks of the role playing game, not to mention white upper class privilege. It is a case of the organization actually becoming a Fetish, around which is erected a cargo-cult, complete with a whole slew of taboos and magical beliefs, not to mention all our precious rituals of scapegoating.

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Intro by Mike Ely

Zizek points out the basic truth, that Mandela is being honored because he opposed apartheid without opposing global capitalism. And adds that the people of South Africa still suffer great oppression and poverty.

It is Mandela's  rebellion that made him famous, but it is his moderation that wins him praise.

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Video shared by on in Revolutionary Strategy

http://bloggingheads.tv/videos/23678

This is an interview with political scientist Erica Chenoweth about the empirical evidence on the  effectiveness of non-violent protest. There is a short discussion of Nepal at about 39 minutes and then a longer discussion of Occupy.

 

Tagged in: nepal occupy

 

by Nat Winn

The following comment comes from a longer discussion on the recent US government shutdown, the potential openings it creates for talking about communism to broader sections of people, and the limitations in how communists have dealt with such opportunity.

Miles Ahead asks,

Let me say from the get, I don’t have a lot of answers…but is the mindset that you are proposing breaking with a false dichotomy? How do we, along with other revolutionary-minded people, “fuse communist ideas and create revolutionary sentiments among broad sections of the people”—and is our main problem that people are too much into being revolutionary activists (or organizers) or is it something else?


My feeling is that there are two wrong ways of thinking and doing among revolutionaries in regard to developing a social base. I mentioned these briefly in my first article on the shut down.