#81
To clarify my point further i value the thesis of the universality of PPW exactly as a bulwark against any kind of adventurist militarism. what Gonzalo forwarded is that the question of armed struggle cannot be in any way separated from the organisation of social bases, the development of dual power and formation & leadership of people's committees. this is instead the first stage of development that any further military action needs to be built on. the idea that this can simply be sidestepped (or is anywhere even close to being substantially organised in the developed world) is completely contrary to this line. like red_dead stated, this is a "people's war" that can be launched prior to anyone procuring a weapon.

the idea that the organisational questions of political development can be sidestepped, or that they're anywhere close to being effectively addressed in the developed world, betrays a focoist / tupamaro attitude in organisations like the RGA
#82

c_man posted:

i think red_dread's last long chapter is sort of bizarre because it seems to start by calling for material and social relations between communist groups in the imperial core (bnw also says this) and then meanders into guarded praise for rga and co (not sure if bnw also does this), who have expressed even less capacity for effective material solidarity on the international scale and seem committed entirely to farcical showboating and acting exactly like an organization made entirely out of the police. this guarded praise is expressed in what appear to be entirely idealist terms, referencing things like their outward expression of "class consciousness", notions of "energy", "vitality", etc and exactly the same fantasies of practicing ppw in the amerikan southwest that crow alluded to in the other thread (ironically, bnw made quite a show of claiming were views not actually held by anyone here)


my "guarded praise" for the red guards is really rooted in an attempt to demonstrate the basic historical and political validity of their ideas and practices, especially since the "copjacketing," or whatever, is really just a clunky moralistic catchphrase for denying that validity. i wanted to express how and why the red guards are presenting a cogent alternative to the marxist parties, internally and externally, in spite of all the political orthodoxy of the ML left. that's something i'm planning to elaborate on. however, my main point is either the critics of the maoists can seriously grasp why these things are happening, and what potential they hold, or they can keep accusing them of doing pig work indefinitely and never manage to pose any real political challenge to them. at this point, i think only the red guards' maoist critics can really articulate a clear political opposition and their criticisms are largely that the RGs are just going about it the wrong way. (even the revolutionary collectives are failing where the red guards have succeeded, and again the question they have to ask themselves is, "why and how is this happening?")

anyway, the RGs are no more or less the expressions of proletarian "class consciousness" than the marxist parties, imo. their "energy" and "vitality" are, on the contrary, material forces propelling the creative and critical developments within their organizations, which qualitatively distinguishes them from the marxist parties. if an organization doesn't have any consistent way of harnessing, replicating, and developing the energy and vitality of its membership in the course of organizational work, then its internal processes will stagnate. when you get into organizational work, especially without any kind of broader support, one of the first things you'll notice is that maintaining and advancing the expectations, enthusiasm, and anticipation of its members and supporters is a very difficult task.

the RGs manage to accomplish this in a systematic way that the marxist parties don't. a large part of this is due to their politico-military pretensions, which frame their activities in a manner consistent with the demands of their ideological line and orients their political development in an established direction with a loose historical precedence. my opinion is ultimately that this "works," not that it's good, and, outside of the orthodoxy of the marxist parties and the organized "left," people ought to be asking themselves why it does and what potential it has. (which i think the "marxist center" has already done in a weird way but idk.)

#83

blinkandwheeze posted:

the post explicitly disavows the fantastical revolutionary protagonism of the RGA. the value that's being presented of the universality of PPW is purely to do with the development of the concept by the PCP as a strategic approach that is directly applicable to political organisational questions and the development of a mass social base areas, not simply a narrow forwarding of military tactics. this is a relevance of the thesis i also defend, and it's clearly completely different from the schematic and adventurist proposition held by the RGA and their ilk. i think it's clearly the latter that you and Mr. Crow are suggesting is being forwarded here.

for what it's worth i've never said anything positive about anyone associated with the RGA in my life.


i think this is totally fair and i cant claim to know what crow was talking about in particular. on the other hand the rga has been singled out by both red_dread here and swampman in the other thread as having some sort of uniquely valuable vitality and representing valuable tendencies in maoist party building and organization, so i dont think the assessment of "guarded praise" is inaccurate. moreover, considering them as the most prominent example of maoist party building as is done here by red_dread does nothing at all to address the issue of meaningful (and robust, non-parasitic, etc) material solidarity with the international victims of imperial assault, which both you and red_dread raise as a crucial issue and a point on which i think we agree.

#84

stegosaurus posted:

let a hundred schools of thought contend imo


Bitch They Are Contending Right Now.

#85
i think that the red guards austin are are [good/bad/hitler]
#86
bless the rotting isle of the "united" KKKingdumb and its malignant trotskyite scourge for making the emergence of the "Condemned to Win" strategic dilemma functionally impossible beyond its shit-strewn shores.
#87

c_man posted:

moreover, considering them as the most prominent example of maoist party building as is done here by red_dread does nothing at all to address the issue of meaningful (and robust, non-parasitic, etc) material solidarity with the international victims of imperial assault, which both you and red_dread raise as a crucial issue and a point on which i think we agree.


something red_dead briefly mentioned here that i think is clearly instructive are the international fronts associated with the CPP-NDF which are generally more inclined to work with reformist organisations like (progressive) trade unions, developmental ngos, migrant workers associations etc. in the west that have tenuous if any associations to the western marxist parties. which i think is on account of their proximity to direct social interventions in areas where international solidarity can be built, even if they fall short of any kind of propagandist standards the like of bhpn demand. that is i think it's just a fairly boring and patient task of good faith activism and exchange of experience regarding shared issues rather than sloganeering.

#88
maybe a useful comparison w/ the red guards, scaled down, is the embryonic italian red brigades, who shocked the socdem italian imperialist-left. the early brigades evolved out of little more than a proletarian publishing circle, but getting nowhere, starting making physical action. the brigades did not spare existing parties (legal and illegal) from polemic and perceived themselves as the real heavies in a navel-gazing left.

there were key differences between brigades and guards: the red brigades trusted the masses to differentiate their actions from the bomb-rich italian political environment. what do i mean? when they bombed the cars of bosses and spies, they had already put their case to print, performed a secret trial, and then explained the results. do you trust the ATX red guards' caption in the video, or what's going on behind it, the burning solidarity signs? that's the words/deeds contradictory image they chose to upload, why confuse the masses like that? do they not trust us to interpret the action fairly? shit i've stapled+held signs w/ the PSL with my fucking hands!! what should i think?

another is class character, which was unmistakably proletarian w/ the red brigades, but is unstated/unknown w/ the guards. in a real way the brigades had already established a base area, the factory. the floor of the perelli plant was owned by our class and was the material basis of food/rent support for the brigades, analogous to the farm. the brigades had infiltrated the union, the floor of the factory was made a site of regular & ritualized struggle w/ semi-weekly walk-off demos. so when the brigades started bombing boss cars, they were able to continue the sequence and build. what is the source of food-energy and rent for the red guards? who even knows! the bomb, blowtorch, and handgun are weapons but when they're used carefully they can be brushes for illustrating better than any editorial cartoonist. if the guards aren't an encapsulated-gang they should take the political arts more seriously, cuz a fucking saxophone really??

Edited by toyotathon ()

#89

red_dread posted:

their "energy" and "vitality" are, on the contrary, material forces propelling the creative and critical developments within their organizations, which qualitatively distinguishes them from the marxist parties


This is pretty far from anything i would consider a "material" assessment of the driving forces in the development of their parties. Its not an explanation of the source of these developments in terms of the relations of their social base to capital, its breathless praise of them being proactive go-getters with vague, insubstantial gestures to this being rooted in their ideology. Claiming that this has to do with their self-identification as proletarians or whatever is a dodge, their organizational "successes", to the extent that they are taken at face value, as you note, have more to do with para-military aspirations than any relationship to the means of production. In my view this suggests a similar long term lack of viability as the marcyite parties, but coming from a different angle and doesnt suggest to me that the approach they appear to represent is any more valuable.

red_dread posted:

my opinion is ultimately that this "works," not that it's good, and, outside of the orthodoxy of the marxist parties and the organized "left," people ought to be asking themselves why it does and what potential it has


Id like to address this specifically. Lots of things "work" to the extent that they appear to produce results desirable to the people that performed the actions. There have been people here, i dont remember who, probably superabound or someone idk, who seriously suggested that it was important to study fascist organizations because they seemed more capable of achieving their goals than "the left". I think the other week on twitter i saw some dipshit with a podcast claim something similar about the mafia. Phil mirowski has wondered why "the left" (for him anyone who is morally repulsed by the republicans) doesnt get an ALEC of their own. These examples are goofy but i think its important to keep in mind that a coherent understanding of what your goals are should strongly constrain what sort of tactics and strategies are considered actually useful, potentially successful, or viable. Proletarian organization and class consciousness wont just arise from being aware of capitalism as an issue and identifying with the proletarian cause, it is necessary to consider tactics and strategies that will support a material base for further developlent of proletarian class consciousness. This means building some measure of control over the means of production, and developing that capacity as a guiding directive of the organization. I also think that this control needs to be founded in material solidarity between proletarians in the core and the periphery, and that this represents the central issue for developing a marxist, communist movement capable of developing into a meaningful political power in the 21st century. I cant say i have a good blueprint for how this is to be done, but i think its as alien from the RG groups as it is from the marcyites

#90

blinkandwheeze posted:

c_man posted:

moreover, considering them as the most prominent example of maoist party building as is done here by red_dread does nothing at all to address the issue of meaningful (and robust, non-parasitic, etc) material solidarity with the international victims of imperial assault, which both you and red_dread raise as a crucial issue and a point on which i think we agree.

something red_dead briefly mentioned here that i think is clearly instructive are the international fronts associated with the CPP-NDF which are generally more inclined to work with reformist organisations like (progressive) trade unions, developmental ngos, migrant workers associations etc. in the west that have tenuous if any associations to the western marxist parties. which i think is on account of their proximity to direct social interventions in areas where international solidarity can be built, even if they fall short of any kind of propagandist standards the like of bhpn demand. that is i think it's just a fairly boring and patient task of good faith activism and exchange of experience regarding shared issues rather than sloganeering.


I do think this tendency is meaningful and its part of the issue that communist groups aspiring to be more than hyperlocal cliques or simple propaganda fronts have to wrangle with. A way to address this constructively seems to me to be at least related to making communist parties in the core more than totally marginal political entities.

#91

c_man posted:

red_dread posted:

their "energy" and "vitality" are, on the contrary, material forces propelling the creative and critical developments within their organizations, which qualitatively distinguishes them from the marxist parties

This is pretty far from anything i would consider a "material" assessment of the driving forces in the development of their parties. Its not an explanation of the source of these developments in terms of the relations of their social base to capital, its breathless praise of them being proactive go-getters with vague, insubstantial gestures to this being rooted in their ideology. Claiming that this has to do with their self-identification as proletarians or whatever is a dodge, their organizational "successes", to the extent that they are taken at face value, as you note, have more to do with para-military aspirations than any relationship to the means of production. In my view this suggests a similar long term lack of viability as the marcyite parties, but coming from a different angle and doesnt suggest to me that the approach they appear to represent is any more valuable.

red_dread posted:

my opinion is ultimately that this "works," not that it's good, and, outside of the orthodoxy of the marxist parties and the organized "left," people ought to be asking themselves why it does and what potential it has


Id like to address this specifically. Lots of things "work" to the extent that they appear to produce results desirable to the people that performed the actions. There have been people here, i dont remember who, probably superabound or someone idk, who seriously suggested that it was important to study fascist organizations because they seemed more capable of achieving their goals than "the left". I think the other week on twitter i saw some dipshit with a podcast claim something similar about the mafia. Phil mirowski has wondered why "the left" (for him anyone who is morally repulsed by the republicans) doesnt get an ALEC of their own. These examples are goofy but i think its important to keep in mind that a coherent understanding of what your goals are should strongly constrain what sort of tactics and strategies are considered actually useful, potentially successful, or viable. Proletarian organization and class consciousness wont just arise from being aware of capitalism as an issue and identifying with the proletarian cause, it is necessary to consider tactics and strategies that will support a material base for further developlent of proletarian class consciousness. This means building some measure of control over the means of production, and developing that capacity as a guiding directive of the organization. I also think that this control needs to be founded in material solidarity between proletarians in the core and the periphery, and that this represents the central issue for developing a marxist, communist movement capable of developing into a meaningful political power in the 21st century. I cant say i have a good blueprint for how this is to be done, but i think its as alien from the RG groups as it is from the marcyites


1. as i mentioned, maintaining and advancing the expectations, enthusiasm, and anticipation of a group's members and supporters is an organizational feat derived from its organizers' ability to harness, replicate, and develop the energy and vitality of any social pool they draw from. organizing a young worker, for instance, is totally different from organizing a grad student, and in my experience one will generally have more inclinations towards public activity, practical work, engagement, etc., than the other. you can't articulate a relationship "from the social base to capital" from this kind of thing mechanistically, even if it's a product of it.

2. i stated earlier that the underpinnings of their sustained enthusiasm and intensification of political activity had to do with their strategic outlook as well as their emphasis on ideological struggle, which their collectives actually maintain the internal infrastructure to keep going. it's a kind of political-philosophical thing that encourages a large degree of openness in debate and relative simplicity in understanding the purpose and effects of political actions. that was also another difference that i drew between them and the marxist parties.

3. their "paramilitary aspirations" are a product of their proletarianization, which in my experience isn't exclusive to maoists whatsoever. their self-identification as proletarians is really just a recognition of their status and relation to the productive forces, which is accurate insofar as a proletariat exists in the u.s.. but i suppose the argument is that the PPW/NP-type framework they've adopted, what i think works for them, doesn't properly reflect their relationship to the means of production. the thing is they, and most other groups, don't work from job-to-job, focusing on the point of production, they work from block-to-block and then focus on economic struggles once they're acclimated with the demands of their bases.

4. i would disagree. the early revolutionary collectives and the now-RGs are valuable for laying out the successes and failures of any independent, revolutionary political force, demonstrating that it's possible to survive breaking from political orthodoxy, and organizing in hitherto neglected areas of the country. if nothing else, they're valuable for the possibilities they've opened up for future developments.

5. the mafia is a vehicle for making money and anyone who thinks fascists are more effective at organizing than leftists is just a fucking moron. the red guards, however, are explicitly staging themselves as opposition to the left of the marxist parties. i'm not contending that the only things that make a proletarian, marxist, communist movement are self-identification or explicit anti-capitalism; the central issue is the ability to conquer political power, and to conceive of what "power" is, which would obviously extend into building class consciousness, exercising control over the productive forces, etc.. between the now-dominant forces on the communist left, all i'm arguing is that the red guards are presenting an alternative to the marxist parties that eclipse their abilities and conceptions of organization, base-building, and ideological development. that's what makes them attractive to supporters and prospective members. i think it's obvious to say that the finished product of years of development and struggle won't look anything like maoism or marcyism but these things don't proceed from conjecture, only from analyzing qualitatively new developments like the RGs or marxist center.

Edited by red_dread ()

#92
i am not an incredible political theorist or anything but i think you can stage yourself as the opposition to anything on any side of it so long as you and your dumbass friends believe yourselves to be so. if there were a hypothetical clown troupe called mao's circus who threw pies at PSL and WWP and DSA and other roughly similarly deserving parties in the name of defeating social fascism and did nothing else they would be an amusing sideshow distraction but they would also just be that. The thing about the cult appelation to things like PSL and WWP is that it's trite because it's accurate and relates cleanly to it. they really operate like nothing more than the booming ashrams of the 60's, 70's and 80's (and other ones that you can still find today). And flocking towards the next, purer incarnation of distilled dialectical marxism and assuming that this time you've found The Answer is just going to lead you down a narrowing corridor.
#93

red_dread posted:

~snip~


youve said a lot about the RGs relationship to "political power" and posed it as somehow more effective than the marcyite angle. for example, you claim that they work "block to block" as though they have effective control over some geographical area, and can effectively dictate terms in these areas, and that they have succeeded in base-building in some sense. its really not apparent how any of these things are true. how effective have the RGs been against police aggression, or against fascist incursion? its certainly not the case that they are influential enough to prevent such conflicts. as for base-building, do they have any sort of wide-spread demonstrated support from the community? this also seems absent, as does any sort of work within the communities they inhabit. these are practical necessities to the development of a marxist, communist party with long-term viability but the relationship between their ideological makeup and their concrete effectiveness at these crucial tasks is totally absent from your understanding of what you want people to learn from them. and its not like these things are irreducibly complex, or totally confounded by the virtue of being in amerika. groups all over the country do these things constantly, its how they maintain themselves, even if they dont have a marxist perspective on class struggle which is important for ideological coherence in the longer term.

#94
im going to be myself. the amerikkkan Marxist parties are not for me, never will be.
#95
The ameriKKKan Marxist Parties & their Problems, Part Five

WHY THE ACTING CHAIRMAN REPLACED HIS BMW’S DRIVER-SIDE WINDOW

Amerika has a somewhat fraught relationship with violence. This is in spite of it being the largest purveyor of violence in the world, and the world-capital of weekly, “spontaneous” killing sprees. Here, guns are cheap, common retail items: one of the most propitious strategic conditions in this country is the existence of armories, in the form of pawn shops, gun stores, or even supermarkets, marking almost every square mile of developed land.

Our particular philosophy of private property, rooted in a history of sustained, settler-colonial annexation, extermination, and occupation, is inexorably tied to the right to bear arms. Every property owner is almost by definition a gun hoarder. Every victory in the development of u.s. imperialism has openly, and most often proudly, been won by violence. On one hand, this has contributed to a mass culture preoccupied with a very personalized and alienated form of violence, a zero-sum game of machismo-boosting antics. On the other hand, it’s produced a strong ideological aversion to any kind of violence with a political content, exercised in a political context. As a result of this contradiction, almost all violence that’s really committed seems to be violence in service of the state, whether this violence is either sanctioned or punished by its apparatuses.

The basic contradiction between Amerika’s violent mass culture and the application of political violence has given the organized “left” a moral prejudice that characterizes all violence as necessarily self-destructive, partially due to an accurate reading of prevailing conditions. There is no longer a “periphery” or a real counter-culture within imperialist society from which to launch assault a “center,” with any social or ideological basis. It seems that, beyond a reasonable doubt, nearly all acts of violence can easily be folded into the state’s totalizing counter-insurgency prerogatives. However, this is mechanically concluded under the blanket assumption that the state wields a “monopoly of force,” which is in reality not a monopoly but simply an overwhelming advantage.

When it comes to a political struggle, given a good standing on internal security, this overriding “political” concern reveals itself to be a purely moral one. In my experience, the most violent “focoists” turned into the biggest purveyors of “nonviolence” as soon as they found out that our organization actually dabbled in self-defense and reprisals. Rumors of terrorism didn’t make us respectable or amenable to the organized “left,” but it did have the effect of massively boosting our popularity and political leverage for a time. While this phenomenon doesn’t suggest that violence is consistently constructive, it does prove that it isn’t necessarily self-destructive. It also opens up the possibility that the ideological effects of imperialism’s repressive state apparatuses are slowly being reversed; consequently, there’s the idea that this reversal is emerging from a social base with a qualitatively new outlook.

Before the late 70’s and early 80’s, imperialism had very few programmatic ideas of how to suppress or contain radical politics, of which illegality and political violence were given components. Given the contemporary logic and prerogatives of bourgeois democracy, it’s almost inconceivable to think about the activities of the KPD in Weimar Germany or the Bolsheviks in Tsarist Russia co-existing with their legal and parliamentary movements. Even the Socialist-Revolutionary party in Russia followed a movement called “Land and Freedom,” which operated a number of underground terrorist cells comprised of “disorganizers,” and ran parallel to a number of assassinations and bombings as they were gaining a foothold in the new State Duma. These extraparliamentary activities were just part of a strategic path to power, operating on the periphery of the state’s control if not its surveillance.

The imperialist ruling classes faced a fairly intractable obstacle in pervasive revolutionary activity like this. The systematic extermination and oppression of colonial movements couldn’t be easily imported to restive conditions between the bourgeoisie and proletariat in the core. The raw, armed suppression of 19th century revolts seemed to produce its own worse jumble of contradictions, exemplified everywhere by a nagging fear of a new “Paris Commune.” The most innovative political police tried to manufacture alternatives, whether through the wholesale fabrication of “radical” labor unions or the legalization of “lesser evil” ideological texts, and penetrate the existing movements; but even when they succeeded in the short-term, they found themselves outwitted in the long-term by leadership that had learned to anticipate and account for their presence and maneuvers. The integration of social-democratic parties into a more or less formal mode of legal representation seemed to tame sections of the movement, especially with the redistribution of imperialist plunder and the development of the mass market; but then the Communist parties only went “deeper into the masses” and emerged with a cogent opposition movement to depose them.

At the time of its emergence, fascism was a fresh, attractive alternative to the dilemma posed by a recently redivided continent: between maintaining a parliamentary system or facing the emergence of a proletarian dictatorship that seemed to be eclipsing it in Russia. To forward-looking bourgeois and monopolists, the former was the ultimate capitulation to the latter. The development of the fascist system seemed to completely nullify the class question, in sum, and reduce the broader dimensions of society into well-oiled mechanisms of an all-encompassing, national party-state. Its more intensive functions included hyper-charging imperial conquest and exploitation, and adapting systems of colonial oppression to work inward, concomitant to increased expansion through Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Pacific. It was a systematic failure because it had the unfortunate effect of dissolving the body-politic of the nascent global bourgeoisie and reveling in atrocities that set almost the entire, planetary periphery against it.

Fascism seemed to negate the class question but ended up its victim. The post-war order of imperialism was, then, concerned with adapting certain key components of fascist innovations to a new constitutional framework for parliamentary democracy, which would also better serve as a standard to arbitrate global and internecine conflicts. When this conjuncture came to pass, the Red Army Faction and the Red Brigades emerged as the first real products, then subjects, of the contemporary police state.

In Italy, the victory of partisan guerrillas, represented by Communists, liberals, and reactionaries, integrated into a new bourgeois republic, along new constitutional lines, somewhat harmoniously. The Communists demobilized their armed units and quickly integrated into parliament with all its union ties intact. Recalcitrant Communist guerrillas in the country’s periphery were quietly put down over their objections that the party was disarming the movement. The active, militant anti-fascism of the war became a “constitutionalized” anti-fascism of tradition, by virtue of the new state’s mythology.

Italy largely missed out on the economic benefits of the Marshall Plan or the stability and growth afforded to West Germany. At the end of the war, it was left in a “sub-imperialist” condition, with a stagnant peasantry, relatively high levels of exploitation and inequalities between industries, and a corrupt and largely incompetent series of administrations. It was neither geographically vulnerable nor generally at risk of being subsumed by the Soviet bloc, but the militancy of its labor movement, the volatility of its class struggles, and the popularity of the Italian Communist Party made it an attractive laboratory for NATO’s continuous political interference. Another result of these conditions was that its intense and largely coherent working-class movement developed more solid ties with the late 60’s student upsurge, culminating in a strong, extraparliamentary movement of communists and autonomists.

The intellectual leaders of “Operaismo” ultimately failed to capitalize on the bridges they’d built with the labor movement or even prove themselves capable of advancing workers’ demands, despite their more “radical” approach to leveraging and organizing in disputes with unions or employers. Among other groups, the Red Brigades emerged to expose their political limitations by attempting to organize themselves into the “armed wing” of the proletarian movement.

They initially presided over a series of kidnappings, assassinations, bombings, and arsons against targets related to grievances in the factories, usually accompanying strikes and collective actions on the floors, as well as killing a number of neofascists. The Red Brigades organized autonomous cells inside and outside major manufacturing plants, compiled grievances and demands, then voted and acted on an armed action or two. Their intention was to form the nucleus of a revolutionary party through these cells and directly organize an armed proletarian movement at the point of production. Later, their strategy was fleshed out and their orientation became more explicitly political, by which point they gained the attention of the state security apparatus and NATO.

In West Germany, the Red Army Faction had developed a broader political strategy from the beginning. The establishment of the RAF and each of its subsequent cells would preside over the formation of new politico-military leadership that would interpenetrate attempts to build a revolutionary party. Its actions and extensive communiques would also heighten the contradictions between the bourgeois state and revolutionary forces, and hasten the emergence of both the fascist character of the state and the development of the vanguard party. The Red Army Faction placed responsibility on first-world revolutionaries to destroy imperialism from the inside out and anticipating world-revolution by initiating “armed struggle in the metropole.” In an international context, the victory of third-world revolutionary movements would be more quickly assured with the resumption of class warfare in the imperialist center.

They carried out a series of bombings against u.s. military bases, monopolies, and news corporation offices, funded by armed bank expropriations and aided by Palestinian revolutionary groups. Unlike their contemporaries, as with the more “proletarian” 2nd of June Movement or the Revolutionary Cells, they self-identified largely as students, professionals, and intellectuals. While they never had direct links to the working-class movement, they maintained ties with the student movement, which still aided strikes and conducted anti-imperialist support work, and the anti-psychiatric movement, represented almost exclusively by the SPK. It might go without saying that they were always deemed insufferable to the numerous, party-building “K-groups” at the time.

The RAF first emerged a few years after the original wave of armed struggle groups, like the “Roaming Hash Rebels” and the “Tupamaros-West Berlin,” subsequently absorbing their disillusioned members after it was apparent that those groups had no real political direction. Those groups themselves had been a part of a student movement with no concrete programs and no direct relationship to the working-class movement. They had inherited moribund party organizations like the youth wing of the Social-Democratic Party, or caught onto flurries of activity on the margins of the twice-banned KPD. In the end, the movement surged at the height of the anti-war effort, briefly promoted a “long march through the institutions,” then, realistically, tended to drop out into communal flats in attempts to start their own counter-culture. To anarchists and Marxist-Leninists, the failure of this movement to produce any political results was plainly demonstrated in broad daylight, when a young fascist shot the anti-imperialist student leader Rudy Dutschke in the face.

When the country was liberated and divided in half by the Allied powers, its “democratic” capitalist half was closely groomed by Amerikan and British intelligence, its constitution was pored over by domestic and foreign liberal legal analysts, and its economic foundations were built from the ground up by the new global, post-war capitalist order. Politically, its parliament was rebuilt as a boilerplate model for a new age of global governance; nazis and Communists were both barred from participation. With a state-monopoly partnership to account for its new economic growth and a retrograde parliament, the careful administration of its managerial state machine was put in the experienced hands of former Waffen-SS officers and Nazi party bureaucrats who risked being shot or imprisoned for life in the Soviet bloc. Both the police and the secret police were well-armed, well-funded, and dignified with a degree of institutional power to match their Amerikan counterparts. West Germany’s model status and exceptional strategic position in Europe made it a fantastic parking lot for a litany of u.s. military bases and contracts. In that time, West Germany seemed to have “neutralized” a potentially militant working-class movement, beyond the actually exploited class of guest-workers, but its contradictions nonetheless produced a radical politics with a hardline, anti-imperialist bent.

The Red Army Faction launched itself to the forefront of the anti-imperialist movement with their highly-publicized actions and the West German state’s counter-terrorist responses. After the first few actions, the state moved quickly to identify all of their members, running a series of aggressive public campaigns to expose them with wanted posters and appeals for information. Though the RAF hadn’t even surpassed the activity of previous armed groups, they had presented a far more coherent political line and analysis, challenging the anti-imperialist movement to attack the state directly. Legislation was passed enabling policemen to carry automatic machine guns and grenades; road checkpoints were implemented on and off in some areas; the state security services started relying on then-new computational matrices to narrow down suspects and sympathizers for future surveillance. One by one, the first nucleus of the Red Army Faction were isolated, entrapped, and captured while the remaining cells still held their ground.

The state’s first public-relations gambit was to characterize the Red Army Faction as criminals and emphasize the role of their armed robberies: this was the origin of the term, “the Baader-Meinhof gang.” They had hoped it would work to depoliticize their actions and legitimize the “rule of law”; really, the Springer Corporation did a better job just by spinning tabloid-level bullshit throughout their lifespan. Another tactic was to muddle their political message with false flag attacks, fabricated or conducted by neofascist groups attached to West German intelligence, which was also employed liberally against the Red Brigades in Italy at the time. The RAF tended to respond to the false flags very quickly and started anticipating them after a while, leading me to believe that they weren’t that successful. The last, and probably most characteristic, tactic was to convert the trial of the most prominent four members into a winding public debate on the “soul” of the Federal Republic. This was at the point where the state couldn’t broadly paint the RAF as an explicitly criminal organization – it had spent too much money, time, and effort – and intended to establish its legitimacy, authority, and humanity in court; which, on the other hand, provided the four members with an ideal platform to represent themselves, expound their views, and defend them.

To be honest, this last tactic was a stroke of brilliance on the part of the state. It was a part of a long-run strategy to beautify their treatment of the RAF prisoners who, in their previous confinement, managed to organize a large network of prisoner support groups on the outside. The four of them were at first lodged in sensory-depriving “white rooms” in almost total isolation. The RAF had successfully argued that the conditions were the product of an “extermination campaign” to kill them before they went to trial, and subsequently gained access to joint lodging, books, and visitation in a new complex. (This complex was actually built from the ground up to house them and stage their trial, which flattened the whole “criminalized” angle of the state’s narrative.) The state, eager to demonstrate that they weren’t the Nazis they were being accused of, attempted to put a human face on their efforts by framing the trial as a Nuremburg-esque morality play. This would’ve muddled the past few years of intense terrorist/counter-terrorist activity with navel-gazing, middlebrow horseshit – swaying liberals and boring everyone else into exasperation – and, most importantly, exonerated the state for establishing historically unprecedented violations of privacy as constitutional law. For the four members of the RAF, it would be an excellent opportunity to demonstrate that everything they were saying was right and everything they did was completely legitimate. With mounting support from the RAF’s legal team and prisoner support network, the trial seemed to produce a strategic equilibrium between the two.

During a campaign of two assassinations and one botched hijacking, the president of a prominent employer’s association was kidnapped by an RAF cell demanding the release of all their imprisoned members. The state refused to negotiate or back down from the trial, and after a number of days he was executed. Following the German Autumn, and particularly the successful GSG-9 operation against the Lufthansa hijackers, the state wouldn’t indulge the humanity that a trial would dignify the RAF members; there’d be no trial because the members would all be found dead in suspicious “suicides,” except for one who managed to outlive nearly a dozen stab wounds in her chest and dispute that narrative. Independent investigations into their cadavers later found that some of their brains had been harvested. No longer criminals, radicals, or human beings, the Red Army Faction were “the terrorists,” and the popular notions of their actions turned from crimes or propaganda into more of an obscure moral evil. This marked a dramatic shift in the state’s approach to political violence: it refused to concede anything to “the terrorists.”

Unlike the Red Army Faction, the Red Brigades frequently suffered from infiltrators and informants. They were plagued by the numerous false flags, imitators, and conspiracy theories that only Italy really excels at. They were more often weaponized against the Communist Party and “Operaismo” by politicians and the press, which made them despise the Red Brigades from very early on. The Red Brigades later found that the Italian state was adopting more or less the same hard line as the West Germans during the kidnapping of Aldo Moro.

A few years on in their development, the Red Brigades conceived of a general theory and strategy similar to the Red Army Faction’s attempts to play off the growing “fascist drift” in the West German state with the party-building tendency in the Communist movement. At this point they alleged that the Italian ruling classes were conspiring to develop a “neo-Gaullist” regime, which would embrace authoritarianism, centralism, and neutralize the political wings of parliament in order to codify itself as a global imperialist power. Predictably, this empowered the urgency of a revolutionary proletarian movement led by the Red Brigades. At the time, the Communist Party of Italy and the Christian Democrats were preparing a vote of confidence for a new coalition government. The situation of the Red Brigades wasn’t so dire as the Red Army Faction’s to liberate only a handful of imprisoned leaders; the kidnapping and later execution of Aldo Moro, as leader of the Christian Democrats, was a conscious strike against parliamentary cretinism intended to derail motions for a government that could’ve potentially neutralized all of their political gains under a purely managerial regime.

Like the hijacking of the Lufthansa during the German Autumn, the execution of Aldo Moro was roundly questioned by the Red Brigade’s supporters and former leaders. First of all, it was a public-relations disaster considering Aldo Moro wasn’t a figure of popular hatred. Secondly, the murder of a man who, for all intents and purposes, simply intended to introduce a level of stability into the ruling government would be their first, and last, attempt to effect any political change in the highest levels of the state, which would thwart the success and support of future strategic plays. On one hand, the action was morally appalling to the public; on the other, the Red Brigades were at a loss to advance their strategic goals with their waning support or achieve any future political actions of the same magnitude. The Lufthansa hijacking, and its failure, seemed to contradict the Red Army Faction’s close regard for human life and the historical success of their armed tactics, which placed them in the same political position in relation to West Germany.

If both the German Autumn and the execution of Aldo Moro shocked even the supporters of the Red Army Faction and the Red Brigades, they also served to publicly justify the underlying systems of repression that had been developed in their time and rationalize the conversion of the “guerrillas” into subhuman terrorists. Retroactively, these episodes have been retooled into inscrutable moral tragedies rather than explainable political phenomena. The state’s innovation in this regard was to convert a direct struggle for political power, which betrayed a crisis of legitimacy, into sentimental mythmaking. This ideological process overtook the real progress of sophisticated repressive technologies: the modern imperialist state would no longer meet terrorists on their own terms, therefore they weren’t responsible for what the terrorists might do if their demands weren’t met; when the demands weren’t met and something terrible happened, this was unavoidable and the moral onus of the “tragedy” lied on the terrorists themselves. Publicly, the modern imperialist state quickly turned itself into a moral arbiter tersely regulating the real dimensions of the whole political realm.

This was symptomatic of a nascent political regime that prized technocratic management over conflict and conflict resolution: neoliberalism. With the consecration of its hegemony, the social-political “periphery” that enabled both grassroots and radical organizations to launch political attacks into the “core” of the state disappeared into a matrix of political procedure and counter-insurgency measures. Class society was reconfigured into a split between the “haves” and “have-nots” of a bloated mass-consumer market. The state’s “social” character degenerated under the new rationality of global monopoly finance-capital, transforming a “democratic” obligation into a commodity sold by private companies. This was all permeated with the promise of personal wealth at the expense of political power, to substitute political power, which was a fleeting reality as literally every institution of the moribund labor movement in Europe was devoured and digested by the ruling classes and a new middle-class buoyed by the rise of the financial service industries. Ultimately, the development of this regime subverted the basis of recognition that the entire extraparliamentary movement relied on to force its demands onto the political class. This movement was left with no viable avenues other than integration into legal, moribund parliaments or otherwise left to rot among the grassroots.

The Red Army Faction and the Red Brigades both attempted to confront the more or less fascist character of imperialism’s transitional regime and failed. They failed because they never quite realized the extent to which they were actually fighting a war of attrition against the narrowing terrain of class struggle and imperialist complacency at large. Neither attempted to organize a social base outside of their throng of supporters because they assumed it already existed, waiting for a vanguard to initiate the continuation of the revolutionary process in Europe. As their bank-robbing, third-worldist contemporaries, the Blekingegade Group, correctly asserted, the modern imperialist nations were “parasite states” that had fractured the continuity of former class struggles and this social base was more amenable to the command of the superexploiting, mass-parasitical consumer market than anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist struggle. While the RAF and the Red Brigades subsisted well into the late 80’s, they could never politically overcome the German Autumn or Aldo Moro, in large part due to the fact that radicals themselves could no longer give a fuck about dedicating their lives to sustaining dying “underground” resistance movements.

In Amerika, the reconfiguration of the bourgeois political realm to fit the state’s new counter-terrorist imperatives anticipated the brief episode in which direct, armed actions predominated. The state, with its own historical basis in settler-colonialism, undertook a similar process with a number of unique tactics at its disposal:

1. The separation of the white, settler middle-class from support networks attached to the Black Panther Party and the New Afrikan liberation movement. This was relatively easy to achieve, not because of the FBI’s intense counter-propaganda efforts but mainly due to the status-privilege of white students and intellectuals that were quickly alienated from the Party and their social base.

2. Smear campaigns against the Party’s icons disseminated through the mass media. One of the unfortunate aspects of the Panthers’ strategy was a stringent application of “aboveground” vanguardism, which had the effect of casting its leaders as media personalities and celebrities. Rumor campaigns were devised to damage their reputations and alienate both their white and Black support bases. In general, this had the effect of casting the Party as a political sideshow.

3. Infiltration of the Party’s internal security and military apparatuses. The Party was consciously pursuing armed struggle as a key strategic goal; it intended to learn how to wage war and defend itself against internal threats. The clumsy implementation of this process led to an over-reliance on Vietnam vets and hard motherfuckers from the ghettos they organized in. Really, they were drawing their sensitive talents directly from the most volatile sections of the lumpenproletariat and populating key positions in the Party with a number of opportunistic sadists. The Party’s torturers and military experts proved to be an excellent pool for informants and saboteurs, who spearheaded the arrests and assassinations of leading Party figures.

4. The organization and promotion of “pseudo-Panther” groups. The Panthers’ original Oakland branch had been organized due to the failure of federal poverty relief efforts, which the Panthers later adapted to a revolutionary program. The state was attracted to the idea of subverting this phenomenon into a form of social-political containment. Street gangs, hitherto pitted against the Party in state-fabricated beefs, were promoted by a network of wealthy liberals and state subsidies to take command of the disintegrating programs produced by the “War on Poverty,” and politically enfranchised to serve as “community leaders”. The new political pull went to service militating popular agitation in the ghettos, and the new cashflows financed the booming heroin trade.

5. Revamping neocolonialism. Bourgeois and petit-bourgeois cultural nationalists were afforded more space in the white political establishment, concomitant to the development of a new Black middle class and intelligentsia. The establishment of a new Black “center” in prevailing social-political organizations and the organization of increasingly “non-political,” “grassroots” initiatives hedged out the more radical elements while their popular influence waned.

The demise of the handful of armed struggle groups that followed the Panthers’ slow and tumultuous breakdown is perfectly assessed in False Nationalism, False Internationalism, which I won’t even try to emulate. In FNFI, the development and fall of the armed struggle is correctly analyzed from an expressly political perspective, riding on the freshness of the Revolutionary Armed Task Force/May 19th Organization’s collapse. The political character of the armed opportunism that predominated at that point, and the state’s ability to adapt and overcome, has subsequently been lost in the movement’s internal mythology. The political and ideological dimensions of developments during that period have been reduced to moral fables – parables – against “military adventurism,” but really, against political violence as a whole.

What was first an inherent aspect of political action has been converted into an overriding “question” that the life and death of any revolutionary organization rests upon. The “question” of political violence presents itself less as a question of strategy and tactics, and more as a ride-or-die dilemma – either skate down the path of legal pragmatism or degenerate into anarchic illegalism. This mentality owes as much to the legacy of revisionism as it does to the internalization of the state’s extensive ideological apparatus. As a result, discussions about the application of violence or – god forbid – military strategy are roundly stifled in the Marxist parties. So, what follows is an ideological exodus from the parties to rearguard organizations or groups that serve as a dumping ground for crippled paramilitary fantasies. For a time, our organization’s meetings degenerated into these idiotic brainstorming sessions.

Aimless fantasizing about running to the hills and arming embryonic guerrilla cells to generate a “focoist,” insurrectionary force degenerates, in practice, into our mass-cultural default: a particularly malignant strain of macho bullshit. In lieu of a mature and militant perspective on political action, a stupidly competitive and individualistic outlook predominates. Instead of developing a dialectical understanding of coercion and nonviolent pragmatism, what we end up with is cliquish bullying and self-aggrandizing spectacle.

This became astonishingly clear during the first major upsurge of antifascist street-fighting during and following the 2016 election cycle. For a time, political violence became a mainstream topic. The brawls between antifascist grouplets and neofascist organizations were, at the time, completely necessary but ultimately limited by their reliance on media spectacle. Suddenly, newly-politicized social-democrats and anarchists, most of all, were thrown into a largely ideological, rather than political, arena mediated by fistfights. Their confrontations required extensive media coverage, self-glorifying propaganda, and garish costumes, rather than clearly articulated political visions – something that enabled the neofascists to outflank the antifascists at certain points.

The antifascist upsurge was necessary to establish a newer and more flexible political climate for “illegal” tactics, as well as putting enough blunt pressure on the neofascists to demoralize them. On the other hand, this also produced and reinforced an ideal of political violence rooted in brute physical force and celebrity. Spectacular propaganda actions were touted as “battles” and the subjects of these battles started to describe themselves as “veterans.” This was a uniquely Amerikan phenomenon. Where the Europeans had managed to organize actual political bases in their endless cycles of street-fighting, Amerikans had created a pool of “talent,” of half-famous figureheads who, while mostly evading the public eye, tended to try to mold themselves into prime movers within the organized “left.” Unfortunately, our locale had a guy who embodied this political abortion to its absolute extreme.

When Trump was elected, he had immediately jumped into the new “antifa” fad and attempted to opportunistically coast on local efforts to establish a DSA branch there. Basically his pattern was that he would go to almost every anti-fascist demo, dash to the front lines, and try to slug a fascist at the first chance he got. This was totally acceptable at first since that movement was itself on par with that level of political maturity. One of our comrades had essentially done the same thing. However, while our comrade was 16 years old, this guy was in his early 30’s, bipolar, and a notorious alcoholic. After he had established himself politically through relentless self-promotion, which had become a key component of his musical career at that point, he would then glorify the ground that he covered during his manic episodes and binders, rolling it into his own political mythology.

He had a tendency for jumping on Facebook and antagonizing fascists openly and, at first, with his real name attached. At some point he decided to challenge them to come down to his house and fight, doxxing himself in the process. Another episode saw him trying to rally a bunch of fascists to follow him through town and start a brawl at a show our organization put together. (Before it fell apart for other idiotic reasons, we planned to arm ourselves to the teeth and, barring the arrival of a fascist caravan, beat the fucker senseless if he showed up.) This all culminated in a spectacular “confrontation” with the nascent Proud Boys chapter, where guns were allegedly drawn and solidarity reached an all-time high when the fascists were kicked out of the venue! Which turned out to be total bullshit, but only after we had simply taken it at face value and tried to milk it for all the political capital it was worth to push a self-defense platform.

His “antifa” theatrics finally paid off after he went to Charlottesville and came back with a nice little news clip of him decking a neo-nazi in the face. After “Unite the Right” ballooned into a massive media spectacle on the dramatic weight of the sporadic, attempted lynchings and Heather Heyer’s murder, he went gold as a local political personality. His ego was so inflated by association that he would try to declare himself “Point Commander,” or whatever, at every subsequent antifascist demo he attended. The local Trotskyite sect immediately tailed, and tried to court, him as a growing political leader as he churned out bizarre, “radical chic” trap music on his Bandcamp. As a new center of gravity for the local organized “left,” his mere presence tended to pull the suburban, fascist pond scum into his immediate orbit and activate the more mindless and narcissistic instincts of the opportunists.

At the time, this behavior was normalized and even glorified by the organized “left”: a nodal point for “meeting the masses where they were at.” In reality, this presented a slew of practical issues and laid bare a core contradiction in the normative conception of political violence. In a truly Leninist turn, this new militant “antifascism” produced a more imminent and complex threat than the fascists themselves by endangering the lives of real activists and organizers and, to a large extent, deflating efforts to build credibility and support outside of that small locale. Really, this was violence disarticulated from proletarian politics, reassembled to serve individual whims and the systematic parasitism of “revolutionary” (a.k.a,, petit-bourgeois) organizations. To a lesser extent, there was a lot of resignation in maintaining the new status-quo, since this was the new standard for political militancy. The various organizations themselves would indulge it vicariously, while sticking to the same, compartmentalized forms of passive aggression between themselves or, in rare cases, against reactionaries outside of their cultivated political bubbles.

Ultimately, what really intimidated him and these organizations was the idea that political violence, militancy, and spectacle could be wielded to strategic ends, informing distinct tactical steps in practical work beyond antifascism. Rather, there’s a certain amount of value in manipulating the political terrain and extorting clear demands out of class enemies in a militant way. What’s often lost on the organized “left” is that nonviolent methods are usually only possible through establishing the ability to use violent means. The blunt brutality of the antifascist upsurge served two very particular purposes – enabling a greater degree of flexibility in tactics and suppressing the neofascists – but it couldn’t be expanded upon, or extended into other areas, without a broader strategic view. Altogether, without this political direction, it ended up encapsulating the same petit-bourgeois, macho mentality that tanked the early armed struggle groups in practice. What seemed dangerous and active on the ground for a time devolved into something as passive as doing nothing at all, or as detrimental as giving ground to opportunism and individualism.

What distinguishes a political strategy from pure tactics is a protracted and two-sided perspective on political practice. While a bout of classic Communist thuggery might appear appalling to any petit-bourgeois observer, in reality it has more strategic value than is assumed in supplicating future political advances that might be accomplished through more peaceful means. Sustained militant agitation may seem like unconscious posturing but this may be a ploy to soften up political opposition and stimulate the more radical elements, retain them, and introduce them to more shrewd and circumspect avenues to accomplish their aims. Jumping from one demo to the next or relegating the realm of action to a single nodal point is a narrow application of tactics; to practically mold the realm of action and the terrain to your liking and embrace a diversity of tactics necessitates strategic guidance that “walks on two legs.”

In any case, violence on the organized “left” doesn’t come easily or naturally. Again, this is partially due to a valid assessment of prevailing conditions and partially due to a mystified adherence to legalism. Outside of it, however, the “pacifist pathology” that looms over its historical failures are roundly, sometimes wantonly, disregarded. Activists and ideologues who have molded a large part of their productive lives around the movement itself tend to view the outside world through an “objective” lens colored by naivete and seemingly expansive – in reality, reductive – notions of how social lives are constructed. The minutes of an oppressive and hostile environment bearing down on the class are rounded out more by ideology than incisive critique and insight. Partially, this is a product of new forms of atomization that Marxist theory hasn’t quite caught up with; on the other hand, it’s a concession to the various forms of academic and activist discourse that followed the disarmament of the movement.

The “postmodern” thought that typically proliferates in activist circles, community organizations, and NGOs isn’t necessarily an aberration that lies on the shoulders of a handful of dead, CIA-funded Parisian intellectuals, as some Marxists like to argue. Postmodernism presents a perspective that presupposes an absolute regime of control and power, mediated primarily through discourse that places the intellectual above the practical. It’s an ideological formation with deep roots in essentially every aspect of “progressive” politics, with its own popular appeal and political direction, which presents a fairly compelling articulation of “power” and oppression in lieu of clear ideas of leadership or social relations. Essentially, while the practical activity of human beings, along with social relations, doesn’t change, its discursive dimensions are continually rearticulated to fashion particular regimes of power to justify the unchangeable. In this sense, the postmodern conception of historical movement is almost nonexistent outside of discursive regimes of power; likewise, exerting power is simply an attempt to refashion the immutable discursively.

The popularization of the theory itself was predicated on three things: the disarmament of not only the Communist movement but all social movements; the replacement of social institutions with academic institutions ultimately governed by the state; and intellectual leadership produced by the neocolonial relations of these institutions. This intellectual production propagates a prevailing worldview of innumerable oppressions bearing down on the individual, immovable by any kind of intellectual or practical critique. In the first instance, postmodern thought has the ability to elaborate every form of violence, humiliation, dread, and terrible minute of social existence; in the latter, it presupposes that all are absolute or innate to the corporal presence of social groups, on an almost biological level. The object of postmodernism isn’t to really understand or challenge these oppressions but to study them. This is appealing to a good number of disarmed and neocolonized movements, even among rank-and-file, as an accurate reflection of their political and social position; it also provides a kind of ideological catharsis – like picking a scab.

Postmodernism serves as a substitute for independent cultural and intellectual life within various social movements as well as the proletarian class. It presents a concession to the distinct powerlessness of those movements in contemporary life, and a psychological attachment to the vast superstructure of modern imperialism. This is obvious to a lot of people outside of the political “in-groups” of the left, who associate those groups with consistent political failures and inaction even if their source isn’t really known. The ideological and practical disarmament of the movement hasn’t necessarily pacified people by pacification itself, but by frustration.

The average exploited worker, rather than being propped up and calmed by some amount of institutional leverage and cushioning, will now generally concede that revolution is necessary to change society for the better but lacking any serious methods for achieving that, it appears impossible and therefore not worth daydreaming about. Nonetheless, when forced by circumstance to enter the political realm, the tension between the desire for freedom and the necessity of action in the absence of guidance or organization explodes into uprisings governed by intense class hatred, which is generally wasted without any strategic or tactical considerations.

While this hatred points to a revived sense of political consciousness among all social movements, hatred is only a sentiment; that is, without political development it’s only a manifestation of mass psychology. It’s easy for this sentimental violence to become personalized and, to a certain extent, mentally totalizing. All kinds of religious movements have basically subsisted on this raw emotionalism for centuries, with more or less success from a tactical standpoint. However, real political leadership requires an expansion, articulation, and understanding of that hatred and the ability to transform its fruits into effective political action, and into the broadening of the social and ideological base of proletarian class-consciousness.

The real development of revolutionary political consciousness is a violent process, driven internally by a combination of homicidal tendencies and concrete interests. In the best of cases, Marxism can present a relatively comprehensive grasp of political violence and its uses. On the other hand, Communists have failed to appreciate the catastrophic levels of social dysfunction stemming from a twilight-stage capitalism that has given rise to the renewed relevance of “revolutionary violence” in the first place. The sheer disintegration at work in the majority of social bodies populated by exploited and oppressed people – deprived of healthcare, community, and development on nearly every level, while sometimes literally being hunted in the process – doesn’t seem to have had much of an effect on the early imperialist-era theories and practices we’ve inherited. In some cases, communist organizations can produce a relationship to their bases from outside the “in-groups” similar to the one the Marxist parties form with those within them; only, where the parties supplement the absence of social organization with paternalism, these organizations do so with violent emotionalism.

The necessity for revolutionary violence as the principal means for establishing power, in itself, overtakes the demands of constructing a social base for substantiating that power, sustaining and expanding it. The willingness and ability to do violence doesn’t enable the construction of a social and ideological base to wage war on the imperialist center; the construction of a social and ideological base enables a willingness and develops an ability to do violence, and wage war, on the imperialist center. Whether this construction is initially conceived violently or nonviolently makes no difference, the “revolutionary” character of that violence can only be measured by the extent to which it can develop a new, parallel state and society on political, ideological, and even psychological grounds. Otherwise, it’s a suicidal fantasy.

No amount of platitudes about “the people’s army” can escape the fact that there’s no “army” to attribute to “the people” if "the people" don’t comprise a cohesive social body capable of holding ground in the class struggle, or avoid breaking down as a collective entity entirely. What “the people” have been robbed of by imperialism, leadership will have to organize and develop on “the people’s” terms before they can collectively defend or expand upon it in any politico-military dimensions. That was the harsh lesson that the old revolutionary movement had to learn after the defeat of the armed struggle movement. Their solidarity and community now seems completely natural only after several decades of relentless struggles that are almost forgotten, largely bound together by long-running campaigns to free political prisoners.

The “vanguard” and “mass” elements are now basically unified by a deranged class society without the means to diagnose its derangement, much less any methods to treat its effects. In a lot of cases, Communists will probably be surprised to find that the rising proletariat is at least as fucked up as they are, and everyone will generally become more fucked up over time. On the basis of this recognition, political self-consciousness first tends to grow but rarely extends to collective efforts to build social poles that are less fucked up and make more sense. Violence can either serve those purposes or make them drastically worse, especially with no political considerations. Nevertheless, without a full range of movement in the matter, no experiment or investigation can really advance any serious attempts to produce new analyses and critiques of modern imperialism or build social and ideological alternatives to it.

In the last instance, after decades of organized pacification it’s difficult to imagine that the slow resuscitation of revolutionary violence, and the combination of legal and illegal work, will develop neatly or "logically" along purported party lines. Any “communists” who believe otherwise are unfortunate victims of their own propaganda.

We revs are always way outgunned and outnumbered by the mercenary forces of the capitalist state, until the final stages of the struggle. In Old China way back then, the communist Red Army was outnumbered and outgunned more like five or ten to one, by both the rightist Chinese armies and the Japanese invaders, for many harsh years. True everywhere for anti-capitalist guerrillas, too, not just that particular Spain. It’s not an excuse, it’s just the usual violent environment of capitalist hegemony everywhere that we must to learn to survive in and grow in.

Everything we do, our tactics and strategies, our organizations and subcultures, all assume great imbalances in strength between us and the capitalist ruling class. Whether of mainstream propaganda, numbers, experience, money, guns, whatever. If it were only a contest of morality and justice, the capitalists would have been kicked out long ago. We all know all this, too. We just don’t always absorb the full meaning.

"Beginner's Kata," J. Sakai

Edited by red_dread ()

#96
anyway that's all the stuff. at some point, i'm definitely gonna revise most of the sections, add stuff that i forgot to tie in, and generally round it all out neatly before i probably put it up on a different webpage. i wanna focus on writing something on third-worldism next though.

let me know what other things i should write about in PMs if anyone wants to. i haven't had an outlet since all the groups i was in died (RIP).

edit: full post for easy reading

Edited by red_dread ()

#97
write more about how stupid and deranged everything is; madness permeates everything but no one can see it
#98
madness permeates everything and those who can see it are just, fucking astounded, aghast, jaws on the floor (and the rest of it)
#99
pretending there is something called "postmodernism" in the sense i see above, and see all too often in Marxist writing, is not only worthless, it's objectively fascist. good luck veering hard right on college courses, it won't work.
#100
it exists insofar as certain people believe it to exist. I don't think it's being discussed above as material reality but as an explicit part of the liberal superstructure, with the exact condemnation you're making here
#101

cars posted:

pretending there is something called "postmodernism" in the sense i see above, and see all too often in Marxist writing, is not only worthless, it's objectively fascist. good luck veering hard right on college courses, it won't work.



i thought the "presupposition of an absolute regime of power" stuff wasn't your usual blather about an end to objective truth?

#102
Have people been reading about the collapse of the ISO?

https://socialistworker.org/2019/03/29/we-must-continue-to-fight-for-socialism-from-below

Going exactly the same way as the SWP and presumably every Trotskyist party ever. Meanwhile the CPGB-ML has managed to piss everyone off one too many times

https://www.cpgb-ml.org/2019/03/23/news/the-reactionary-nightmare-of-gender-fluidity/

And will have a similar scandal assuming they even have enough members by year's end.

No love lost for the pro-imperialist Trots of course but considering both the PSL and WWP are built on a Trotskyist skeleton I fear for their survival. CPGB-ML I don't know what to think, they decided to shitpost in twitter and make it party policy and I have no idea why. But I'm not British, presumably anyone who was familiar with how they actually operated isn't surprised.
#103
the last time the cpgb-ml came up here it was for publishing a piece about how brexit was going to advance proletarian democracy in britain so even if they're not set on the SWP trajectory they dont appear to be going anywhere meaningful
#104

babyhueypnewton posted:

https://www.cpgb-ml.org/2019/03/23/news/the-reactionary-nightmare-of-gender-fluidity/


run of the mill transphobic bullshit but you gotta laugh at the article byline "Proletarian writers" when barely a sentence goes by without using the first person singular pronoun, often multiple times

#105
the feeling i get is that cpgb-ml are completely irrelevant in real world britain and just get people mad online
#106

babyhueypnewton posted:

CPGB-ML I don't know what to think, they decided to shitpost in twitter and make it party policy and I have no idea why.


the communist party of canada has been making a pretty big splash in the toilet bowl with high quality tweet action, but they're genuinely good at it and don't have an infestation of monomaniacal terfs. that one's a UK specialty I guess.

I should check in with the local "Socialist Fightback" and see if the trotpocalypse is affecting their ability to take over and utterly ruin every direct action in this city. that would be a relief. the constant shuffles of their local leadership over the past two years were never surprising but make even more sense now.

#107

psychicdriver posted:

the feeling i get is that cpgb-ml are completely irrelevant in real world britain and just get people mad online


real world britain is also completely irrelevant so brit trots are like some kind of 5th dimensional hypercube of irrelevancy

#108

babyhueypnewton posted:

https://www.cpgb-ml.org/2019/03/23/news/the-reactionary-nightmare-of-gender-fluidity/


lol what the hell

what is it with terf stuff and the uk?

#109
cee pee gee bee em el
#110

kinch posted:

babyhueypnewton posted:

https://www.cpgb-ml.org/2019/03/23/news/the-reactionary-nightmare-of-gender-fluidity/

lol what the hell

what is it with terf stuff and the uk?


they mistakenly think trans activism poses a threat to british comedy, their greatest cultural export, built as it is on a bedrock of men wearing dresses

#111

kinch posted:

babyhueypnewton posted:

https://www.cpgb-ml.org/2019/03/23/news/the-reactionary-nightmare-of-gender-fluidity/

lol what the hell

what is it with terf stuff and the uk?



my theory is its a result of british journalists getting the greatest quantity of fully justified abuse and trolling on twitter, which all british journalists are completely addicted to, and as such taking the opposite position to their tormentors as a defence mechanism

#112
the iso just voted to dissolve itself
#113

#114

ialdabaoth posted:

the iso just voted to dissolve itself


I would sometimes stumble across an article in Socialist Worker where the ISO would twist itself into knots supporting the Free Syrian Army or whatever Gulf monarchy-backed contingent of it still exists. Not even in 2011 either but like three months ago. Gibberish.

Not really sure what else to say. They seemed to fill this slot on college campuses for students interested in socialism but would otherwise have to learn about it on their own. But the ISO would be there with a spread of Haymarket books for you to buy at the suggested retail price and a suggested reading program (heavy on Paul D'Amato and Tony Cliff). But now there's the internet so you can construct whatever identity you want.

I also noticed David North of the deranged and perverted Socialist Equality Party doing a victory lap about the demise of the ISO, which he believes was animated by nothing more than a burning enmity of his party and website. None of these Trotskyist groups could stand each other and they liked to send spies to sit in the back of their rivals' conferences angrily writing up notes to turn into articles about how the other groups are mere factional provocateurs who should move back in with their parents.

Correction: This post made sweeping claims about internecine espionage among Trotskyists although this made the ISO a target, but not an actor, in said shenanigans.

Edited by trakfactri ()

#115
afaik the iso was the only one that didn't send 'spies' or try to infiltrate the other trot sects. the iso was so comparably large they didn't bother, and their political line was basically "edgier democrats" which is a p easy sell to their only source of new members: colleges. SE, the sparts, ect seemed more dependent on the iso as a source of fresh blood and so made a big deal of scoping out iso events to stage interventions

im glad to see iso realize its whole self is rotten. hopefully those kids will read settlers instead of jacobin
#116
neither washington nor moscow nor international socialism
#117

kinch posted:

babyhueypnewton posted:

https://www.cpgb-ml.org/2019/03/23/news/the-reactionary-nightmare-of-gender-fluidity/

lol what the hell

what is it with terf stuff and the uk?


im sure there are a few different reasons but one that i think is notable in having much broader application is right wing US groups spending lots of money to support it. its definitely not unique to the uk though, amerikan evangelicals have been playing the same game in uganda and other african countries for quite a while. i havent really done a deep dive on this but it at least wasnt surprising to me to see the source of global fascism exporting fascism.

#118
I remember reading about an attempt in Ireland last year with the abortion referendum to the extent that U.S. right-wing groups sent over paid canvassers to knock on doors, apparently in violation of the law. This might've backfired and contributed to the success of the referendum legalizing abortion, not that it was close. Anyways I remember going to some Irish subreddits at the time and reading comments from infuriated Irish people on a hate Amerikkka beat because Raylee Gribbles and her brother Kannon just trampled their flower garden. Bless their hearts.
#119
as lenin said, being transgender is just like the proton pump inhibitor which went on to be developed into the drug Omeprazole, further
#120

ialdabaoth posted:

the iso just voted to dissolve itself



Good.