Resolving Contradictions, Developing Cadre for a Protracted Struggle
I had some thoughts on an article that i read in ULK 37 entitled "Elevate the Prison Struggle Beyond Day to Day Goals". In this article a comrade voiced the frustration of the disarray or disfuction of the movement. I fully understand this.
There are times when i get frustrated at those who just don't get it. What seems like it is crystal clear to me is not grasped by so many. But remember this is what separates levels of consciousness. We have to remember most of us were knuckleheads at one time; at least i was. And i'm sure those wiser than me were stressed out about me as well. We don't have to like it, but we do have to understand it if we ever seek to change it. I must know that what i understand and grasp may not be the same for others, but people develop consciously at different rates, even two cellmates will not be totally on the same level.
A protracted struggle is not simply performing and being victorious, rather it is a long drawn out struggle. It does not matter what one is struggling for. If i am trying to get better health care or healthier food to eat and i am up against a medical corporation or a prison policy that prevents me from getting what i want, it will be a struggle. We are not talking about just filing a grievance or refusing to go back in my cell, we are talking about possibly YEARS of struggle.
One of the things a protracted struggle means is that it will be long and rough. Not only that but it is a stop and go struggle where, in between efforts for human rights when there is "down time," the people use this time to sharpen up educationally and learn more about the human rights they are shooting for by studying similar historical struggles. A protracted struggle then is struggle first in the physical realm THEN in the ideological realm so that the people are struggling - preparing - struggling.
Disarray and disfunction are signs of a lack of political education and nothing more. This is why there is a great important necessity for political education and building cadre. The lack of cadre in any group, prison or organization will be the difference between obtaining human rights or settling for a bigger variety of cookies on commissary; of the revolution moving closer to reality or being extinguished.
Mao spoke of cadre and summed it up as follows:
"In order to guarantee that our party and country do not change their color, we must not only have a correct line and correct policies but must train and bring up millions of successors who will carry on the cause of proletarian revolution.
"In the final analysis, the question of training successors for the revolutionary cause of the proletariat is one of whether or not there will be people who can carry on the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary cause started by the older generation of proletarian revolutionaries, whether or not the leadership of our party and state will remain in the hands of proletarian revolutionaries, whether or not our descendents will continue to march along the correct road laid down by Marxism-Leninism, or, in other words, whether or not we can successfully prevent the emergence of Kruschev's revisionism in China. In short, it is an extremely important question, a matter of life and death for our party and our country. It is a question of fundamental importance to the proletarian revolutionary cause for a hundred, a thousand, nay ten thousand years. Basing themselves on the changes in the Soviet Union, the imperialist prophets are pinning their hopes of "peaceful evolution" on the third or fourth generation of the Chinese party. We must shatter these imperialist prophecies. From our highest organizations down to the grass-roots, we must everywhere give constant attention to the training and upbringing of sucessors to the revolutionary cause."(1)
Here Mao is referring to how a bourgeoisie arose within the Bolshevik Party, taking the Soviet Union down the revisionist road after Stalin's death. The younger generations, not having a deep enough understanding of revolutionary science allowed such preposterous ideas as a peaceful evolution from capitalism to communism to be promoted and accepted as guiding principles. Mao's solution to this was the Cultural Revolution, which advanced socialism to its furthest stage of development to date. It is not good enough for the wise, the vets, the double O.G.s to be up on game as far as what it means to come together in peace and struggling for human rights. It's important that the young buck must also be educated on the importance of peace and the United Front for Peace in Prisons. Young people must be taught why human rights are important and what ways to acquire human rights.
What many forget is education comes in many forms, conversing with someone about social justice can be just as effective as passing a political newsletter down the tier. Sharing an article one tailored for a specific bunch can be just as effective as giving a fiery speech on the tier and, well, doing all of the above is good too. Without one studying him/herself one is unable to learn ways to improve one's environment and instead is left in a chaotic atmosphere which never moves forward.
Educating those who never listened to anyone in their life is no walk in the park. I get this. The thing is i know it must be done.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This essay is a good introduction to the focus of this issue of Under Lock & Key, which is an update on the theory and practice of building the United Front for Peace in Prisons. Cipactli gives us some good theory to chew on here, but we would not go so far as to say that problems in the movement are "signs of a lack of political education and nothing more." While every prisoner is oppressed by the same state, there are contradictions within the imprisoned lumpen that contribute to disorder and conflict. Some of these contradictions may not be resolved by education. These contradictions must be recognized, it must be determined whether or not they are contradictions among the people and they must be pushed to resolution. Hashing this out is a big part of the process of building an effective united front. These are tasks that we are working with USW leaders to take on in addition to outreach and education work. At the same time these tasks will serve to train and develop leaders within USW.