You just have to read some of this. This book was written in 2004 as a history and summation of the group STORM, Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement, partly founded by our Green Jobs Czar Van Jones who has yet to recant his self-avowed communist ideology. It apparently disbanded in 2002 or 2003. That’s not that long ago. Does not a lot of this sound vaguely familiar to how our President won his campaign through various forms of community organizing? I’m just asking. Emphasis, bracketed insertions, non-indented commentary, and hyperlinks mine.
STORM’s Approach to Marxism (pg. 51)
“STORM was never formally a ‘Marxist-Leninist’ organization, and we never had a systematic Marxist theoretical framework. But we did have a political commitment to the fundamental ideas of Marxism-Leninism [Communist Manifesto PDF]. We upheld the Marxist critique of capitalist exploitation. We agreed with Lenin’s analysis of the state and the party. And we found inspiration and guidance in the insurgent revolutionary strategies developed by Third World revolutionaries like Mao Tse-tung and Amilcar Cabral.”
I do want to be fair here. Right after this they say:
“While we placed ourselves in the Marxist tradition, we also tried to critique that tradition and innovate within it. For example, we stressed the importance of revolutionary democracy. Too many post-revolutionary socialist societies were colossal failures on questions of democracy.”
Okay, fair enough. But what do they mean by the word democracy? We’ll get back to that later.
“Our commitment to revolutionary mass organizing reflected our concern that the Marxist Left (as we knew it) did not prioritize the hard work of building power in the working class.”
Really? That is one of the goals of Marxism, as I understand it. The proletariat (working class) are the heart of the revolution as well as the object of propaganda, in order to build them up and make them feel like they are serving in a utopian paradise. Or as President Obama put it a while back, “We are the change we seek.” Am I missing something? This is Marxism. STORM isn’t making a critique but rather an affirmation of classic Marxist theory! But here’s one actual critique of classic Marxism.
“And we consistently struggled to analyze and incorporate issues of women’s oppression that are often left out of or trivialized in Marxist analysis and practice.”
Okay so the one real critique here of Marxist theory is that it didn’t incorporate modern day concerns such as women’s (well, feminist) issues. So really, we could call their brand of Marxist theory 21st Century Postmodern Egalitarian Marxism. Is that really a critique of classic Marxist theory on issues of democracy though? I don’t believe so and fail to understand how it is, which gets back to how does this group use the word democracy in this context.
This group, as do other radical Socialist groups in the United States, seeks an inside-out coup d’etat of the traditional (may I say) Constitutional form of the United States government via national community organizing in vast grass-root networks making their way through the system, until as Van Jones has said earlier this year, we get an entirely new “system,” or as Obama said five days before the election last year, “We … fundamentally [transform] the United States of America.”
Remember, Obama nominated Van Jones. He had to know his history, if not possibly sympathize with it, seeing as how he is invoking many of the same revolutionary-style tactics to effect his brand of “change,” whatever that means. This is the nonsense conservatives have been warning about, not to use as a scare tactic, but as a legitimate wake up call that if we are complacent and lackadaisical toward our system of government, we could lose it to those who want power over the masses. They are out there and they are ready and willing to act.
“We saw our brand of Marxism as, in some ways, a reclamation. In the face of a stereotype of Marxism that racialized it as white, we wanted to reclaim the history of Third World communist struggle. After all, such struggles have made up the overwhelming majority of communist movements worldwide.”
Third World communists struggles? Does Burma come to mind? How many have died there under that wonderfully repressive regime so far? Cuba? Venezuela? Inspired by cult of personality leaders such as Che Guevara and, as cited above, Mao Tse-tung, whose lowest death toll estimate runs at 40 million people and the highest 70 million? Wonderful people and systems of government indeed. And the guy who founded this group is in charge of creating an entire new market of green energy? What exactly is he advising our President? One must wonder.
Moving from Resistance to Revolution (pg. 52)
“Our commitment to communist politics didn’t give us any easy answers about what we should be doing to advance a revolutionary movement in this country. Other organizations with a Marxist analysis seemed to lack a practical program for building the kind of power needed to win our people’s liberation.
“Several of these communist groups emphasized the immediate building of the revolutionary vanguard party. They thought the party should prepare to seize power when the people ‘spontaneously’ rise up during imperialism’s inevitable crises. We believed that these groups had badly misassessed the real state of imperialism and of social movements. They prematurely anticipated a peoples’ uprising (which we didn’t see on the immediate horizon) while underestimating the importance and difficulty of building power in oppressed communities to lay the groundwork for future uprisings.”
So what do they call for instead? Some might call it a slower, covert (yet ironically, conspicuous) revolution. Or as our President said in reference to the economy, “stimulate from the bottom-up.”
“To resolve this tension, STORM developed an innovative analysis about the role of revolutionaries in a non-revolutionary historical period. We called it ‘Moving from Resistance to Revolution.’
“We concluded that the current period is one of ‘resistance,’ not one of ‘revolution.’ We thought that the main work of revolutionaries at such times should be to build resistance fights. These fights would build power and consciousness in oppressed communities. But revolutionaries must design and craft this ‘resistance work’ so as to help lay the foundation for the long-term development of a revolutionary movement. As ‘conscious forces,’ we thought that revolutionaries should work intentionally to help the resistance movement mature into a revolutionary one.”
Wow. Stimulate from the bottom up. And it’s not just about economics for these people, it’s about social movements, politics, culture. All of it. This is what a revolution entails, which oddly enough is exactly what we’re seeing in Obama crossing boundaries no President has ever crossed before in this nations’ history.
STORM’s Points of Unity (pg. 53)
“STORM’s primary unity was around the need for the ‘liberation and solidarity for all oppressed people.”
- Revolutionary Democracy [here's their "clear" definition of democracy]: the belief that our movement will have to replace the falsely-democratic capitalist state with a truly democratic people’s government.
- Revolutionary Feminism: the belief that women’s oppression is fundamental to this society and that we have to place ‘Sisters at the Center’ of our struggle.
- Revolutionary Internationalism: the belief that white supremacy is a critical force impacting world politics, and that Third World communities – inside and outside of the United States – along with white anti-racist allies need to work solidarity build the power we need to overthrow the global system of white supremacy.
- Central Role of the Working Class [the Proletariat, according to Marx and Engels]: the belief that, in order to defeat capitalism and other forms of oppression, the working class will have to play the central role in the revolutionary struggle.
- Urban Marxism: the belief that the urban space was now the central site of revolutionary struggle, just as the factory and the point of production were in the days of Karl Marx.
- Third World Communism: drawing on the revolutionary communist traditions from Asia, Africa and Latin America, including the recognition of the need for a disciplined revolutionary party rooted among oppressed people.
What is going on behind the scenes in this administration? Would another 9/11 or similar type of crisis be the spark for this revolution to get underway they are advocating? Would a possible lost decade (in economic terms) or another Great Depression turn the resistance into a revolution? I don’t know. I’m just asking the questions, because the network of people Obama has amassed (though yes, his numbers are falling fast in the polls) and the media he seems to have free reign with to a large degree, is quite a large number of people and has quite a bit of influence. And if people are desperate enough in the wake of potential economic calamity down the road, what’s to say that if Obama isn’t the cult of personality to lead this revolution, that someone else won’t come along and pick up the slack? That is unless the American people get and stay involved as they seem to be doing on the health care front. These are wild times.
I was talking with my Grandmother last night and all of these things came up. I was thinking about how incredible it is that within her lifetime we had the witch hunt of the McCarthy hearings, where every nook and cranny of this country was inspected for communists in our government. And now, not only is all of that history, but now we have self-avowed communists in this administration advising our President. Astonishing.
One Congressman, not some nut job conspiracy theorist, a Congressman, has warned of the potential for a dictatorship now at a town hall meeting: http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/090309/new_489061975.shtml (Archive). He very well could be just pandering. And I’m not jumping on the conspiracy bandwagon, that this is the plan or that it will come to fruition, but as the Congressman notes, the ingredients are right.
I’m not sure why some seem content with the idea that these sorts of things could never happen to America the great. Well, Rome was great too … and it fell. The key word here is vigilance. We always need to be and stay vigilant about those who would seek to “fundamentally transform the United State of America,” into something unrecognizable, even if it is Obama, or Bush, or Reagan, or George Washington, or anyone else.
What makes America different and greater than all other nations in the history of man (though of course not perfect, nor will it ever be) is that we can (and should) question our leaders on their various stances lest we sit back and let the authorities oppress the people. If you have even a cursory reading of history, you would know that authoritarianism is the default style of governance.
What I find highly odd in all of this press on Fox News and in the alternative media in particular concerning this book and Van Jones is that the White House has absolutely zero to say, with the exception of a few quotable PR snippets.