Volatility

June 27, 2018

Note on Movement and Party

>

 
 
There’s a big difference between building a political, cultural, spiritual movement, and forming a political party, as proven by the historically proven relation between these. The point can’t be made often enough, especially these days when it really seems like every kind of dissenter has completely forgotten movement-building as the necessary strategy and the necessary basis of all future tactics. Mine is the only site I’m aware of which consistently has touted it year in year out. Most people never even heard of it and can think of no possible strategy other than electoralism and the whole tedious litany of proven-failure “reforms”, or else immediate spontaneous violent insurrection.
 
This latter is self-evidently absurd (at least in the US) and therefore people mention it only in order to underline how allegedly there is no alternative to electoralism. No doubt this is often a deliberate elision of the movement-building possibility, though I think more often the main objection to movement-building is that it’s long hard work. More horrific, in this society where almost everyone, including those who hold radical opinions, is fully indoctrinated and assimilated to the bourgeois system of individualism and the priority of private life (most importantly “the job”, if you have one; otherwise agonizing over the absence of one), is the proposition that one should dedicate one’s life to building a movement on behalf of an idea and a vision. Historically this is the way great revolutions happened, from Christianity and Islam to the Russian Revolution and beyond. These revolutions weren’t the work of part timers, and they weren’t the work of those who were hobbyists in their own minds. They were the work of those who were dedicated heart and soul. Those for whom “job” was at most a way to get the minimal sustenance necessary to carry on the real work. Those for whom even family was primarily a support structure for the great work.
 
That, I think, gets to the core of why no one wants to build a movement against the corporate technocratic system and to exalt the necessary ideas for the coming age of civilizational collapse and ecological cataclysm, and the great ecological way forward. As radical as these ideas are in themselves, and as unappealing to anyone who hasn’t burnt his luxury-materialistic ships, perhaps even more radical is the proposition that you should exalt this or any other self-chosen idea as the guiding star of your life and orchestrator of your actions. (Needless to say dedicating your life to carrying out the liberal-Randroid-capitalist Mammon idea is considered normal, since everyone was indoctrinated into it and no one had to choose it. It’s only choosing one’s guiding star which is unthinkable.)
 
All that goes to why every attempt to found an “alternative” political party runs aground or spins its wheels. We’ve had decades of fairly widespread and correct diagnosis of the situation, and many people have proclaimed their will radically to change it. So why has so little been accomplished against the worst of neoliberal corporate rule and imperialism? A major reason is this: Everyone always wants to put the party cart before the movement horse.
 
Trying to cobble together an “alternative” party (let alone a one-off presidential campaign) on the fly without having first put in the long, hard work of building a coherent cultural and ideological movement which then can serve as the solid foundation for a party, is doomed to failure. The failure may come through lack of a coherent political rationale, or lack of self-controlled publicity and organizational vehicles, or lack of institutional fortitude in the face of the inevitable set-backs and enemy attacks, or co-optation. Most commonly it’s all of these together.
 
This is reinforced when “alternative” candidates bring along as psychological baggage the assumption that they need to engage with every element of the system which the system itself insists is necessary – every agency, every “information” source, seeking to appease the corporate media – and to engage with these on the system’s own terms. This mistake is inherent in a party’s lack of a coherent movement-based world-view and the lack of an organizational foundation which itself is equipped to displace many of these system-demanded and -provided alleged needs.
 
Of course the “alternatives” on offer today aren’t offering much of an alternative at all. In America the likes of the Green Party offer little more than a proposed Democrat do-over, but honest and for true this time. If the likes of Jill Stein ever did attain high office they’d think only in terms of “getting things done” (“progressive” things, of course) according to the pre-existing rules of the system. And that’s where they’d get swamped and redirected and forced to cave in from day one.
 
The classical path of radical change is first to build a real movement, then to field a political party which seeks office in order to function as grid-locker and monkey-wrencher from within, in the service of the extra-legal action of the movement, which is where the real action is. But this remains unthinkable to today’s dissidents (at least in the West), which proves they’re not true radicals nor think radically at all.
 
 
 
 
 

3 Comments

  1. I like the idea of building a movement and want to understand your proposed methodology. How effective have you found it to prove that everybody else is wrong and only you understand what needs to happen?

    Comment by VernonHuffman — June 27, 2018 @ 11:23 pm

  2. […] on foot, is going to get sucked down.   (This is an addition to yesterday’s post about movements and parties.)   Lots of people are excited over the Democrat primary wins of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and […]

    Pingback by Appendix and Prediction | Volatility — June 28, 2018 @ 8:54 am


RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: