Continued from part one: Theory of the Offensive.
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.
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.
As various people's movements grow in India including a Maoist insurgency in the countryside and a growing anti-rape movement, Narendra Modi, a leader of the fascistic Bharatiya Janata Party seems likely to become India's next prime minister. The Indian ruling class is throwing their support behind this fascist in the hope that he will ruthlessly crush these growing movements. It is very possible that Modi's election will serve to intensify the struggles between the people and the state. Let's watch these events closely. - Nat Winn
The following article is from the Guardian.
Narendra Modi as prime minister would roll back women's rights in India
If Modi is elected, the many struggles rocking India – including violence against women and state repression – look likely to intensify...
It is with sad news that Kasama has heard that the Brecht Forum will be closing its doors. The Brecht Forum was a Marxist School in New York City that has existed for 39 years and was a real fixture in the radical community. Many people young and old came to the Brecht Forum to take classes on radical thinkers and history, to learn about radical art movements and music, or to attend events on a broad range of subjects concerning the liberation of society.
It is always sad when a radical space is lost. Such spaces are real points of contact, where people young, old, and in between connect with others who are sick of the drudgery and alienation of our contemporary society and are thinking about how this world can be changed for the better....
Long live the memory of justice Chinnappa Reddy on 1st death anniversary!
This is part of the series “Journals of a lumpen-proletariat.” The idea is to relate real working class experiences for the benefit of Marxists and Maoists who are studying the theories, but may not be familiar with the actual people these theories were intended to improve the lives of. Most of my 20s I spent as a member of the lumpen-proletariat class. I worked full or part-time jobs that paid only minimum wage. I tried to sell drugs to help stretch my money and to get drugs cheap or free. One year I landed a job working at the Stokely-Van Camp’s pork and bean factory in Lawrence, KS. It was one of the few times when I actually earned enough money to live comfortable. For that one half a year I was a member of the actual proletariat. (Real names are not used here and some details may be fuzzy as I am writing this from memory, mostly.)
I also joined the Teamsters Union while I was at the plant and it gave me an opportunity to experience actual class struggle through union activities. By December of 1979, the Union and its members were tired of their contract coming up for approval right before Christmas. There was an issue of pay, but every union member agreed that the main reason talks broke down between the union and the company was a union demand for changing the negotiation date.
“No one wants to go on strike before Christmas,” a tall elderly man said at a union meeting I attended. “The company knows we can’t afford to go on strike before then and they use it as leverage to keep us from pushing our demands on them.”
There was real anger among the union members of the plant. The local newspaper,the Lawrence Journal World said the strike was divisive to the town. At one point a woman in the union complained that company official’s referred to us as monkeys. For people as myself it was a real eye opener to see these corporate rulers exposed as the creeps they are.
by Miles Ahead
Haven’t we all experienced those moments—spurred on by not only events, but within literature (fiction and non-fiction), music, film, the arts, when something resonates so deeply, that it impacts our lives, view of the world, way of thinking, and that changes our consciousness--where there’s no going back? We may have an epiphany, and that epiphany isn’t necessarily based on an individual’s direct experience. There is something very powerful with a shared collective and cumulative experience—that goes beyond one particular story.
On April 5th, Peter Matthiessen, author of In the Spirit of Crazy Horse died....
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.
Today on 12th April we dip our blood in memory of the late Comrade Anuradha Gandhy who expired exactly 6 years ago
She was .one of the greatest women comrades ever in the history of the Indian revolutionary movement who harnessed her entire energy towards the emancipation of mankind.She would traverse the most turbulent of seas with the coolest mind and relentless determination and no obstacle could block her endeavour in lighting the flame of Maoism.She had the creative flair of a poet ,the skills of a doctor and the theoretical mastery of a professor.Anuradha sowed the seeds for the sprouting of many revolutionary cadres resembling a red rose blooming.She was a powerhouse of energy and would inspire all sections of people.The author remembers the meetings of fronts like the Naujwan Bharat Sabha which she inspired.She proved that MLM ideology was not mechanical but a powerful creative treasurehouse.Above all she was not mechanical and was creative in her perspective.Her writings on the Dalit movement reflected this.I can never forget how she made so many red flowers bloom in the 1980's and 1990's.She withstood the most turbulent of seas,the steepest of mountains and the densest of jungles in treading her path and defying any obstacle .Her life was an abject lesson in the invincibility of Marxism-Lenism-Maoism and it's creative essence.Above all she depicted that it is revolutionaries who are morally the most spiritual of people.She was a thorn in the flesh for the ruling classes and their culture.Her vast reserves of energy carried her towards becoming the only women central Commitee member of the C.P.I.(Maoist)The most remarkable journey she made was in Dandkaranya where she illuminated the red torch of Maoism more than ever before.
.Today comrades still remember her.She posessed the unique spiritual qualities of a revolutionary.Red Salutes to Anuradha Gandhy!...
In memory of Com.Gunadahar Murmu.
5 years ago on April 12th,2009 a veteran revolutionary comrade Gunadhar Murmu, expired who till his last breadth served the cause of the Indian revolution .Today cadres dip their blood in his memory. Throughout his life he was a crusader in establishing the mass line, treading the most turbulent or hazardous of paths.. Revolutionaries never forget his immortal contribution in Debra in West Bengal. It is particularly relevant in light of deviations of the right and the left in the Communist revolutionary movement in West Bengal.In the agrarian revolutionary front no comrade practiced the massline as much as Comrade Murmu.
He was born in June 1927in Bela village of Debra and studied till the Higher Secondary certificate stage. After independence he became a member of the Communist Party of India and became the secretary of the Krishak Samitiin Debra area. In 1962 he built up the movement of workers, peasants, students and youth .However it could not develop into a revolutionary movement. He stood by China in the 1962 war and was arrested during the Indo-Pak war when he was upholding the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Later he was arrested for opposing the Indo-Pak war.
Gunadahr took a firm stand supporting the CPC in the great debate, upholding the general line laid down in 1963....
I wrote this essay around the time when the Iraq war was in full gear. I post it hear as part of the dialogue that we have had recently on Kasama about revolutionary strategy and communist orientation, particularly the recent pieces by Enaa on Blanqui and his Rock beats scissors piece.
Here I look at the German political philosopher and jurist Carl Schmitt and his ideas about the distinction between friend and enemy and contrast them to Mao's understanding of friends and enemies and the actual experience of the Chinese revolution. Carl Schmitt had a strong influence on the Nazis and at one point joined them as they rose to power. Some leftists have argued that there are things we can incorporate from his prolific body of work but this has been contested by others like Zizek. Some of that is touched on here.
The paper was an academic paper, though I was never too good at sticking to academic concerns. At the time I wrote it part of my goal was to persuade academics to look more at Mao tse-tung’s political theory (something still needed) and that comes out a bit at the end of the piece. I was also just coming into familiarity with thinkers like Zizek and Badiou. Believing the piece still has some theoretical value, I’m posting the pieces here slightly edited from its original edition, warts and all. I think the points made about the period of the Iraq War regarding how we can conceive of friend and enemy still hold up in today's international situation.
On April 5 at the Center for Marxist Education in Cambridge MA, Communist historian Doug Enaa Greene lectured on the activist, historian and novelist Victor Serge (1890-1947) at the Center for Marxist Education. Serge was originally an anarchist in his youth, who became a communist after 1917, an ally of Leon Trotsky and a heterodox Marxist. Victor Serge's many works chronicle, in eloquent and brutal honesty, the revolutionary experience of his generation.
A recent discussion has broke out, provoked by Enaa's short essay "Stalinism: What's in a name?" on the differences and nuances within the communist movements of the 20th century, particularly the differences between China and the Soviet Union. I will make my small contribution to this discussion by posting an excerpt from a longer article I wrote shortly before I became part of the Kasama Project. The essay is on Mao's contributions to the understanding of socialist society forged in the actual engagement of construction of such a society. Although today I may word some things differently and leave out some of the jargon, I think this excerpt can still shed light on some of the key breaks Mao and his comrades made with the Soviet model. - Nat Winn
One of the most useless terms thrown around on the left is “Stalinism” (statist and totalitarianism are two others that rank up there).
Stalinism is often utilized as a swear word by leftists against anything they disagree with. And this means that Stalinism is used to refer to such differing figures, ideologies, movements and governments that it loses all coherent meaning. For example, I've known leftists who refer to both Mao and Deng as 'Stalinists.' Never mind that these two figures had opposite politics (Mao led a socialist revolution and Deng reversed one).
Comrades & Friends-
We are excited to announce the publication of the second issue of Red Skies At Night: A journal of Revolutionary Strategy and Praxis. We hope that this project can serve as a platform for comradely and non-sectarian dialogue and debate among those forces seeking to build a revolutionary movement against capitalism and for the emancipation of humanity.
Table of contents:...
The following report was posted on The Wire. Kasama will continue to post on this story as it develops.
Hundreds Protest Albuquerque's Trigger-Happy Police Department
MAR 30, 2014 10:52PM ET / NATIONAL
In the last three years, Albuquerque police department officers have shot and killed 23 people -- one of the highest per capita fatal police shooting rates in the country. One of the most recent was James Boyd, a mentally ill homeless man. The incident was captured on video, and shows Boyd, armed with two knives, standing several feet away from officers. He is turning away from them when he is shot. As he lay on the ground, officers fired beanbags at him and set a police dog on him. He died the next day.
I was watching paleo-conservative Pat Buchanan enthuse over Putin last night. He just vibes with this nationalist strongman defending his ethnicity and imposing his sphere of influence. (Iron and blood -- the Bismark motto).
It struck me: Putin is a litmus test for authoritarianism.
There are those (on both left and right) who just "like Putin" -- and secretly wish they could BE him. It says a lot about their underlying WORLD VIEW, and how reactionary it is.
Admiring Putin is a confession of secret leanings. It is white ethno-fascist in Buchanan's case. And it is "red-brown" on the nominal left. ["Red brown" is a fusion of communist lingo with fascist-imperialist politics inside Russia.)
Whose secret heart has a soft spot for bully hardness?