The Professional Protester Episode 45 | Why I Prefer To Be Called an Organizer

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3 Texts that Leftists Should Read That Aren’t About Leftism

We can read Marx, Rosa, Lenin, and all of our leftist favorites until we’re bleeding and vomiting theory. However, there are texts that leftists, especially leftists who consider themselves organizers, should read which have nothing to do with leftism. Despite lacking our theoretical lens they do still bring a depth of important knowledge that many people who organize are lacking.

Reading texts that are pertinent to us and our praxis is important to developing our organizing abilities and the scope of our message. However if we supplement our knowledge of socialism with these other texts, then we can all be better organizers and then there will be no stopping the coming Red Tide.

So here are three non leftist texts that leftists and organizers should be familiar with:

1. Declaration of Independance, The Constititution, Bill of Rights, and All Amendments

Please don’t quit reading the article! I am not advocating for the watered down social democracy that comes with the all too common liberal American acceptionalist fetishization of the founding of America. Nay, far from it. I am suggesting we read this material because we need to know what we are up against. We need to know what the law of the land actually if we want to cultivate it for revolution. In war one makes no assumptions about the enemy, and information is the key to winning all wars. Make no mistake, we are indeed locked in a class war against racism, ablism, and patriarchy. Therefore we must take nothing for granted. We easily can point out the inherent racism and patriarchy in the documents written by white slave owning men, but eventually you get to a point where that is merely stating the obvious. What will help us win is understanding the laws written by these agents of colonialist elitism so that we can show how revolting they really are. We need to know what the enemy will use against us when we point out how “free” this world actually is. As said in the Art of War, “information is the key to victory.”

And speaking of the Art of War…

2. The Art of War

Everyone should read and reread Sun Tzu’s Art of War. It is a sort of unofficial guide to successful organizing against your enemy. It emphasizes strategic thinking over reactionary thinking, a problem that the left needs to expiedently address. We are quick to protest and react when we see an injustice in our workplace or our community and we should be, however we often forget certain truths about our capitalist enemy when we put all our energy into our reaction instead of figuring out their tactics.

We forget such truths as, “Appear at points where the enemy must hasten to defend,” an example of why workplace and general strikes are more effective than symbolic marches or gestures. Or for those who romanticize anarchic revolts over anything peaceful or procedureal, they could learn from Sun Tzu’s words, “the skillful leader subdues the enemy’s army without any fighting… he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field.” Do not get me wrong, I am not against armed or militant uprising, I simply do not romantize it nor should any leftist. Because it is even in the Art of War that a physical battle, “is nothing to take lightly, and must always be a general’s last resort.”

3. Robert’s Rules of Parlimentary Proceudre.

Those in organizations such as the Democratic Socialists of America are familiar with this debate all to well. On the one side you have people who refuse to use Robert’s Rules because they find the language problematic or they simply reject structuralism in their organizing, not to mention those who find the jargon all together inaccessible and therfore they are alienated from the decision making body. There is also the fact that in order for Robert’s Rules to be effective you need a strong and knowledgable chairperson using them. This in turn forsakes the people who our society has taught they need to be quieter and meeker than others. Others favor Robert’s Rules as a way to streamline decision making and assure that meetings are productive and follow a sense of structure.

Personally I am on both sides of this issue, I will defend Robert’s Rules as a tool as much as I can but I am not insensitive to how alienating or regressive it can be at times. Robert’s Rules is effective yet it is often used to silence people who try to speak truth to power. I think the balance that is needed is making the language more open and accessible while acknowledging that Robert’s Rules does not have to be followed for every single decision made by a democratic body.

However every leftist and organizer should familiarize themselves with Robert’s Rules for similar reasons as to why they should study the Constitution. We have to know the enemy to defeat the enemy, and a harsh truth is that our enemy, in the form of the legislative bodies in this country, use Robert’s Rules. From city council meetings to Congress, this parliamentary procedure is what gets used to run their meetings and the people who are less knowledgable about it are at the mercy of the knowledgable. The enemy is dependant on our ignorance of the law and parlimentary procedure to keep us subjected to their rule. If we come to any governing body with knowledge about the materials they use against us, then we are forcing the enemy to “hasten” to defend a place they did not think they would have to defend.

So there you are, three texts that leftists and organizers should read which have little to do with leftism but still make one a better leftist for knowing them. In order to defeat American Imperialism we must understand the documents which American Imperialism is founded on. In order to defeat our enemy we need to acknowledge that this is class war and we therefore need the knowledge that wins a war. In order to defeat our political enemies we need to understand the procedures that they exploit in order to silence us.

If we want to win, we need to do our homework.

Russiagate Does Nothing To Solve Our Actual Problems

Before I say anything else, let me just say that I do indeed believe there was some form of collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government that had influence on the 2016 election. I am however not a conspiracy theorist nor a liberal apologist, so I do not think that this collusion changes the fact that Trump’s victory and the victory of all fascists is born out of institutionalized racism, institutionalized patriarchy, and economic disparity.

Even though they have found more conclusive evidence that there was some kind of direct collusion, I really just don’t care and can’t ever care about Russiagate the way that so many loyalists to the Democratic Party do.

I am not saying that the FBI should stop the investigation, au contraire. I believe that anything that inconviences the Trump administration is well worth the time. However I am not dependant on a racist organization like the FBI to be the one to oust what is arguably the most publicly racist president since Nixon. No matter what the FBI does to inconvenience Trump, it will never change the fact that the FBI was born out of prohibition laws that were racist and disproportionally enforced against Italian immigrants. Nor can anything make up for the blacklisting of freedom fighters like Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King Jr.

I also think that the interference in our election is a bit of the U.S. getting a taste of our own medicine. If you do not like a competitive superpower interfering in the affairs of your state, then I can introduce you to some people from Egypt, Chile, Libya, El Salvador, and Honduras who would agree with you. Any conversation about democracy and foreign interference in elections that does not include a conversation about Salvador Allende is another tedious case of American acceptionalism.

No, my lack of interest in the Russiagate fiasco is as such; even if Robert Mueller develops a rock solid case, even if the House moves to impeach Trump, even if Pence decides not to pull a President Ford and not pardon Trump, none of these things will end the problems the nation and world faces that gave us Trump.

There is a harsh reality that Russia obsessed liberals need to face, that even if the investigation is a success in ousting Trump, it will not be the end of Trumpism. Trump has opened the Pandora’s box that has always been subtly hidden by the right wing. We can expect the unsubtle racism and sexism of Trump from every Republican candidate in the forseeable future. We can expect to see more reactionary populist rhetoric from future candidates. We can expect to see more inexperienced billionaires running for president. The sad truth is that the fascist wing of conservatism is the new normal for conservatives, and Trump resigning or being jailed will not end that. The foundation for this was laid down by his Republican predecessors, but Trump built his tower on it and until the right wing is eradicated it is here to stay long after he goes.

I must also point out that Trump falling because of Russiagate does nothing to solve the problems our country, and for that matter the world, faces. Will Trump’s impeachment attack the corporations responsible for our climate crisis? Will Trump resigning finally give the overdue reparations to our Indegenous and black comrades? Will Trump doing time end queerphobia or sexism? Will it protect sex workers? Will it stop police brutality? Will give us the healthcare we need to survive? Will it insure employment for the struggling masses of my gaslit generation?

The answer to all of those questions is a simple and straightforward, no. Now do not misunderstand me, I am not against the Russia investigation nor am I against the idea of this man doing time. I do however feel that people who think that Trump’s fall will be the end of the hatred he has unleashed, that his fall marks the end of all our nation’s woes, are being delusional.

Let the FBI focus on Trump, to whatever it may avail. Let the rest of us focus on ending the climate crisis, let us build a community where police stop slaughtering black people and detaining brown children. Let us get healthcare to every living being. Let us stop the everlasting genocide of the indeginous. Let us organize and defend sex workers, trans people, and women’s health. These are issues that can not be solved by simply blaming Trump and Russia.

Power is a Predator (a socialist poem about living in the colonialist, racist patriarchy)

Power is a Predator

Escape is never possible,

For a mind that never shuts off.

Constant and endless flow,

Ideas upon ideas,

Questions arising ever second.

Existence is not a question,

It never was.

Existence simply is,

And survival is the question.

How do you survive,

When the powers are your predator?

So many never ask,

But many more have to.