|1.||See James Weinstein excellent The Decline of Socialism in America, 1912- 1925, for evidence of how intoxicating the Soviet revolution of 1917 was for American Leftists. I agree with Weinstein that the Left has made no major inroads into the American underclasses since that long-ago time.|
|2.||The shocking and bitterly ugly turn of events in Chile in September is only the most recent evidence for this basic axiom. In 1968, in a speech arguing for a continuance of nonviolent direct action, I noted that "everyone knows that any serious revolution must not only isolate the ruling social class and eliminate its economic base, but it must do away with the army that is its ultimate instrument." I then suggested the Left should oppose a standing army such as the power elite is now trying to create, and that as a movement grew in the United States, it would have to have members join the military and become advocates of "one thing and one thing only--the subservience of the military to the civilian government, the refusal to take sides in an internal political controversy."|
This is a call to organize the people and to act. We must now apply our analysis to our particular situation, mobilize the masses and fight. Our goal for this period is to help build a mass anti-imperialist movement and to build the armed struggle, the guerrilla forces. Legal and clandestine struggle are both necessary: agitation and attack, peaceful methods and violent methods, sometimes organizing the people step-by- step, and sometimes taking a leap thru action to a new level. Mass work and armed struggle are united in revolution: each needs to support and affirm and complement the other. These are different fronts, interdependent and allied against the common enemy.
Aboveground and underground, we face the same political questions: Who do we organize? How do we bring our politics to life in practice? How do we sustain the struggle?
Our enemy is US imperialism, the enemy of all humankind. Our goal is to attack imperialism's ability to exploit and wage war against all oppressed peoples. Our final goal is the complete destruction of imperialism, the seizure of the means of production and the building of socialism. To create the conditions in which we can take the offensive, destroy the old system and build a new life, we must weaken and at least partly destroy the empire. The weakest points of empire lie in its control of the colonies, and this is why Third World liberation is leading the struggle against imperialism.
We need organization. Activists are searching for direction--some common ideas, strategy, and practice to unite around. It is frustrating and crippling to individual revolutionaries and groups to have no unified impact on history as it is being made. We all feel the need to work as part of a whole, larger than ourselves, to see our individual contributions add up to something meaningful. Organization unites, gives direction and breadth to particular political work. Activists and militants want to build something bigger, where activity leads to shared results, where masses of people can organize their strength. Anti-imperialist organization is what is needed.
We believe that communist-minded organizers can take the initiative now and lead. Move from small to large. Practice and hard work, boldness and a willingness to intervene in every struggle, big or little. There is room for lots of creativity in application and choice of work. Go to the people. Organize and mobilize. Build the struggle. Read and study. Carry your books. There is no substitute for practice in determining the revolutionary path. Conditions are developing more rapidly than is easily realized. This is not yet a program; rather it is an ideological foundation and the tools for building agitational work.
The US people entered the 70's weary of war, skeptical of government leaders, uncertain about the future. Masses of people
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Publication information: Book title: Is America Necessary?Conservative, Liberal, & Socialist Perspectives of United States Political Institutions. Contributors: Henry Etzkowitz - Editor, Peter Schwab - Editor. Publisher: West Publishing. Place of publication: St. Paul, MN. Publication year: 1976. Page number: 602.
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