An Ongoing Discussion on Organizing Strategy
What’s up comrades, friends, and supporters? i wanted to provide a response both to USW Comrade N’s and MIM(Prisons)’s commentary that was published in ULK 72: “Orientating USW Organizing Strategy in Light of TX Victory.” Really, my comments are more general rather than a direct disagreement with either Comrade N or MIM(Prisons).
First, ‘N’ asserts that “from an organizers perspective, these are not battles in which we can effectively push anti-imperialism forward, much less MLM.” The comrade mentioned phone access as an example of a battle ey was speaking of.
i’ll argue that the above assertion is incorrect and unscientific. MLM, dialectical materialism, is universal, meaning it can be applied to all phenomena. Further, dialectics shows us the true interconnected nature of social phenomena and if we acknowledge that is true, than how can we then deem that prison struggles aren’t aligned with anti-imperialism? Like MIM(Prisons) added, “with the correct leadership, and keeping our eyes on bigger goals like the UFPP, and uniting others around a list of more impactful demands, reformist campaigns like phone access could be productive.”
As organizers, we are focused on inspiring commitment within the masses. Looking at the psychology of the masses under imperialism, we’ll observe that the most effective way to capture the masses attention is to organize around their immediate interests. The more mature and in-depth communist outlook will develop in stages as study and struggle continue. However, the first hurdle is to establish principled unity in furtherance of an objective/program.
Our most pressing strategic goal as anti-imperialist/Maoist organizers behind enemy lines, is developing cadres to re-enter society with the ability to be impactful in the “free world” anti-imperialist struggle. This is our link to a totalizing revolutionary strategy outside the walls. The quality-of-life reforms are connected to the strategy of cadre development because PE (political education) is made up of 3 parts. Those 3 parts are 1) organizing, 2) educating and 3) mobilizing. So in undergoing/providing proper PE we must study and practice organizing, educating, mobilizing. We must observe the knowledge-practice-knowledge method in all aspects of our development to ensure we achieve our highest potential. So there’s an identity between study and struggle, they go hand-in-hand and because we’re not in a ‘revolutionary situation’ our struggle, or practice, will undoubtedly include (some) reforms.
However, it must be noted and articulated to the masses involved in that struggle that whatever particular battle is being waged at the moment isn’t the end-all be-all, but is only a tactical maneuver that was set in motion with the strategy in mind of advancing the organizational, educational and mobilizing capabilities for all involved. The real crux of the issue is never the demands in the prison setting. The real crux of the issue, as it pertains to linking a totalizing revolutionary strategy, lies in the practical experience gained by the masses in asserting their collective power. For, how will we seize state power if the people lack the strategic confidence to assert their power? We have to increase the collective practical experience of contesting the state as a united body. From a lead organizer’s perspective, putting campaigns into motion, communicating internally, advancing understanding of self and the people, practicing discipline, teaching discipline etc., all this does what? It prepares you for your return to the semi-colonies and general public with experience in organizing, educating, mobilizing people to assert their collective power. The differences in context have little effect on the objective advancement of a comrade’s development.
Additionally, we must also account for other aspects of the fundamental contradiction within prisons, which is badge versus captive. In our efforts to organize, educate and mobilize, the badge is not gonna remain still or unmoved. The badge, like the bourgeoisie on the outs, is gonna utilize both coercive and brutal methods to maintain complacency with the social order among the social classes, or in this case the captives. Also, we must acknowledge that the lumpen is a vacillating class anyway and in prison the masses of lumpen will vacillate between escapism, complacency, underground capitalism, etc. anyways. Therefore, acknowledging that these currents will continue with or without our efforts of revolutionary organizing because we still operate under imperialist, bourgeois dictatorship, it is imperative that we exercise every opportunity to advance our aspect of the fundamental contradiction in prison. In doing so, we work towards manufacturing conditions within prison that will be more conducive to our anti-imperialist goals.
While organizing around more impactful demands, the badge is still gonna utilize its double-pronged strategy of coercing or abusing. When the latter won’t work, the former will come in the form of cosmetic reforms. Those cosmetic reforms, even when they’re not demanded by organizers, still hold the possibility of pacifying individuals, making them complacent sleep walkers again. My point is that, at present, we can’t escape these tendencies from either side or the results they may or may not render, but we can’t allow these tendencies to keep us on the sideline, all “study” no struggle.
Lastly, i wanna clarify that none of the above is to assert that we should chase after any old reform or ‘change.’ As MIM(Prisons) states, leaders must make that determination, and furthermore, should educate the masses on why we will or will not seek certain reforms or campaigns.
In this process, i’ve learned the necessity of adequate communication with the masses and unity-struggle-unity internally among cadres, as a tool in struggling against a tendency towards tailism. What has come of this is a re-organizing of the TX Team One under a clearer program and a better understanding (a collective understanding) of what our strategic and tactical goals are, uniting the most committed partisans around those goals, and developing these partisan’s PE. We’ve downsized, what one may call ‘purging,’ but i like to call ‘cutting the fat’ and we are working on our next courses of action.
Provide Phone Access and Video Visits in RHU during COVID-19