The Importance of Revolutionary Theory

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[Revolutionary History] [Struggle] [Theory] [Education] [ULK Issue 85]

The Importance of Revolutionary Theory

portrait Mao head

What is to be done? That’s the most important question for a revolutionary. “How can it be done?” is as important. Theory and practice are of equal importance when it comes to revolution. Theory without practice, ideas without action, are useless. Practice without theory leads to failure. That’s why Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels decided that scientific socialism will accomplish what utopian socialism could only dream of. An event such as the Great October Revolution of 1917 required a leader such as Lenin, a philosopher. Now, a revolution is for the people. That’s why we need to educate the people, and to do that we should educate ourselves. Study politics, history, science, psychology, philosophy, but most importantly study revolutionary history and the writings of past and present revolutionaries. It’s impossible to exaggerate the importance. We need well-educated revolutionaries.

The Black Panther Party was committed to educate the people and they required their members to study. They studied Mao, Lenin, Marx, and the works of Black radicals. The Black Panther newspaper was meant “to educate the oppressed”. That was its primary purpose. Che Guevara was a brilliant man who educated people through his speeches in a clear manner. Mao, Lenin, Marx, Engels, they all wrote extensively in order to guide their readers before, during, and after a revolution. Why wouldn’t we take advantage of all that wisdom?

Karl Marx was a philosopher, sociologist, economist and a voracious reader. Lenin too. And they studied the works of different types of radical thinkers. They studied, and admired, the French Revolution. Lenin was a fan of Peter Kropotkin’s history of the French Revolution. Karl Marx admired Charles Darwin’s work, and noticed how Darwin was influenced by Thomas R. Malthus. How can we claim to support scientific forms of socialism and never actually read any science, or economics at least?

I recommend the following: “Quotations From Chairman Mao Zedong” edited by Lin Biao, “Essential Works of Lenin” edited by Henry Christman, “Theories of Surplus Value”, “The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844”, and “The Poverty of Philosophy” by Karl Marx, “The Black Panthers Speak” edited by Philip Foner, and any other books on radical politics, history, science and philosophy.

And remember, comrades: “Hasta la victoria siempre!” -Che Guevara

MIM(Prisons) responds: We welcome this statement from the study group of the Iron Lung Collective, and we support its sentiments. Through our Free Political Books to Prisoners Program, comrades inside can receive any of the books Modern Cassius recommends, with the exception of Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong or “The Little Red Book.” We believe all of the historical texts of revolutionaries must be studied and understood in their historical context. The mish-mash of quotes from different periods of the Chinese revolution in “The Little Red Book” make it very difficult to do so.

As we work to re-ignite the prison movement, regular, local study groups are the base of our efforts to re-build. We have a guide for starting a local study group, and a decent stock of revolutionary and historical literature you can find on our literature list. Please see page 2 of ULK for more details on how to participate in the Free Political Books to Prisoners Program.