The Professional Protester #21 When Being Anti Authoritarian Gets Toxic | The Professional Protester on Patreon

Official Post from The Professional Protester : I will be blunt, if you call yourself a socialist, or anarchist, or leftist, or whatever only to validate your idenitiy as an anti-authoritarian, then you suck.Ending oppression and providing for the material demands of the working class should be the only thing socialists and leftists care about, n
— Read on

In Defense of Martov

I love Lenin. That said, this is probably going to annoy some of my Lenin-loyalist comrades.

But here it goes, I would like to say something in the defense of Julius Martov, leader of the Mensheviks and one of Lenin’s political rivals.

Lenin and Martov

I want to stress that I do love Lenin, but to pretend that Lenin’s ideas were perfect would be shallow and nearsighted. While I think Lenin’s ideas for a centralized party with strong leadership should be the heart of any socialist organization, where I disagree with Lenin is where I think Martov was right.

A Brief History Lesson

The split between the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks began when Lenin and Martov disagreed about the structural model of the Social Democratic Labour Party. Lenin wanted party membership to only be open to people dedicated to committing time and labor to the party. Martov was open to a broader party membership, his idea was that anyone who was willing to adopt the party platform as their own should be allowed to call themselves party members.

Why Martov was Right

As someone who believes the future of socialism depends on a mass movement of the working class engaging in class politics and revolutionary organizing, I see a wide membership as a necessity to revolution. This is one of the reasons why the Democratic Socialists of America is now the most popular socialist organization, there are no bars to entry and the organization meets members where they are at.

It is important to have dedicated members committed to the internal mechanisms of the organization, those individuals deserve as much praise as the people who are constantly taking on forward facing positions within the movement, such as writers or direct action leaders. We do not give enough support to organizers who dedicate their time to internal work like volunteer their time to make organizations run.

However, having both dedicated members and on paper members increases the ground one organization can cover. The dues paid by on paper members can supplement the labor of the dedicated membership, it is both a more sustainable model of organization and a more democratic one.

Lenin is right about many things, but limiting membership of the party was not one of them.

Why Lenin Was Right

With that said, I do think Lenin was on to something by limiting party membership to those who dedicate the energy, heart and soul, into the party. While I do not think organizational membership should be limited to anyone, I do think that organizing power from the bottom on up means that a large organizational membership comes back to a strong organizational center where leadership is elected and that leadership both operates the organization and is subject to the democratic scrutiny of the membership.

Yes, this is an argument for a revolutionary vanguard but it is also an argument for making sure that the vanguard is facing constant scrutiny from their constituents.

Some will disagree with that model / definition of “organizing from the bottom on up” and will instead argue in favor of a more anarchist, horizontal model of organization. This reasoning is flawed because all horizontal models of organization lead to a tyranny of structurelessness.

I support Lenin’s idea of the vanguard and I think a vanguard should be the people who dedicate their time and energy to building the mechanisms of the party, but it is up to the masses of the organization to hold leadership accountable.

The Best of Both Worlds

One cannot hope to do anything for the working class, especially in America, unless a majoritarian mass movement is driving the work. This is why Martov’s model is important, a wide party / organizational membership increases public legitimacy of the word socialism and puts socialists in a stronger bargaining position. We need a dedicated vanguard leadership, and we need a large party / organizational membership to take action on behalf of that vanguard.

Martov had a perfectly valid point about party membership. The more people on paper calling themselves socialists the stronger the socialist movement is. Lenin had a point that leaders of a party should be the people who are the most dedicated, but limiting membership to socialist organizations limits democractic capabilites. If your socialism lacks democracy, it is not socialism. This is why organizations like the Party of Socialism and Liberation will never evolve into a mass movement. To join the party you are required to go through a 6 month education process. Their organization will never be larger than what it already is because while you will end up with a dedicated membership, there will inevitably be massive drop-off because making demands of your membership is far less democratic that meeting them where they are at.

It should also be noted this one analysis of one school of socialism in one country from a century ago. The scope of socialism is bigger than Lenin and the Russian Revolution, especially in America and especially now as the George Floyd Rebellion continues to dismantle the institutions of white supremacy in America. Socialists should do their due diligence and look to thinkers and socialist histories of other organizations, especially the Black Panthers or the Pan African Movement. However I will always maintain that the Russian Revolution was without a doubt one of the most successful revolutions in world history and at such a revolutionary time as this moment, it makes perfect sense to study the theories of men like Lenin or Martov.

The Professional Protester #20 Why Organizing Will Become Harder If Biden Wins | The Professional Protester on Patreon

Official Post from The Professional Protester : The complacency of liberals is always at its worst when they win, when democrats win or are in the lead they get lazy.  It is going to take intense amounts of public pressure, more than we ever put on Bush, Obama, and Trump, to make things happen under a Biden presidency.Consider the fact that even
— Read on

Mutual Aid As Charity

The concept of mutual aid is more prevalent than ever since the COVID pandemic took over our lives.

Many leftists do not understand what mutual aid actually is. Mutual aid that is not connected to raising the class consciousness of the individual you are helping is not in fact mutual aid, it is charity.

Many self-proclaimed leftists think they are practicing mutual aid when in fact they are doing nothing more than perpetuating top down philanthropy. While helping people with material goods in the short-term, they perpetuate the very system of class control in the long run.

For the layman, mutual aid is a concept that is meant to counter charity. Leftists argue that charity, while helpful to a small amount of people in the short term, perpetuates a power dynamic that keeps the poor in a position of begging. Dean Spade defines the differences between mutual aid and charity as such:

  • Whereas charity differentiates those who have from those who need and puts those who have in a position of power to make decisions about how to meet others’ needs, mutual aid emphasizes working cooperatively to meet each others needs. Charity is vertical; mutual aid is horizontal.

  • Where as charity addresses symptoms of systemic issues, mutual aid analyzes the causes of those issues and builds new social relations to help society be more survivable in the long-term.

  • Whereas charity is often professionalized work performed through legislated nonprofit organizations, posing onerous bureaucratic accounting and compliance obligations, mutual aid projects avoid formalization to retain autonomy and flexibility.

  • Whereas the charity funding model relies on the donations of rich individuals and profitable corporations, requiring the charity to publicize those donations to boost the public image of donors and for donors to continue to make sufficient profit to have enough left over to donate, mutual aid utilizes the resources available in their communities, often creatively seeking free supplies.

  • Whereas charity implements criteria for who is deserving of assistance, mutual aid is offered to anyone.

I am not against mutual aid, I am strongly in favor of it. Socialists should be less worried about flexing their ideology and should focus on the material needs of the working class. All organizing should be oriented around the immediate material needs of the working class. This is the power of mutual aid, it does exactly that provided you are raising the class consciousness of the people you are helping.

If are not raising the class consciousness of the people you help you are not advancing their liberation, you are not teaching them their class power.

I see this toxic model of mutual aid all over the place in my hometown.

In Sacramento several organizations will collect donations; diapers, money, food, any standard necessities that are often too expensive for the most vulnerable of classes. These materials are then distributed, either uniformly and equally, or they are distributed on a first come first serve basis.

Let’s say an individual receives a bag of groceries from one of these organizations. That person will have groceries for a few days, that’s great, and they can save that money for other necessities, also great, and the burden of capitalism is no longer something they are dealing with alone!

But what is not great is that at no point is the individual taught that they can and should be demanding more. They are never taught about their own power. At no point is the individual who is providing the help explaining mutual aid to them. There is no reciprocity, just a perpetuation of top down charity.

If you provide mutual aid to someone without elevating their class consciousness and teaching them the power they have to offer a collective, you are not actually practicing mutual aid.

This model of mutual aid that I have laid out satisfies a need to see immediate results from organizing. I both understand and respect that, and I am all for distributing materials to satisfy immediate needs. What I am not in favor of is doing so without raising class consciousness.

Mutual aid is not “I have extra, you have nothing, so take the extra bit I have and dont expect anything in return.” That is the top down form of class control I mentioned before. Mutual aid is “I have something to offer you, but you have something to offer the world.” If you distribute materials you absolutely should expect people to have a conversation with you to raise political consciousness. Mutual aid and organizing conversations should be inherent to each other, the minute you abandon organizing conversations just to focus on distributing materials, you have abandoned mutual aid and are now practicing charity.

This is not to say the person you are helping owes it to you to join your cause, free will is still very much a real thing. However you build no one up just by handing them materials alone, give them materials and at the same time give them the ideas and wherewithal that empowers them.

When distributing resources it should always be down in a way that elevates the individual and teaches them they deserve more, that they deserve to control the wealth they generate, that a collective is stronger than one person. Any mutual aid that lacks these element is nothing more than charity dressed up as mutual aid.

To be honest I think it is pure laziness. I think it is easier for people to distribute “mutual aid” without having difficult organizing conversations so people fall back on this model of aid, enabling themselves to never grow as an organizer and otherwise dooming socialism and the left to the same position of complacency.

Have the challenging conversations, practice true mutual aid!

The Professional Protester #19 It’s Okay to Be Sad When A Famous Person Dies | The Professional Protester on Patreon

Official Post from The Professional Protester : I write this while thinking of the hilarious spirit that was Carl Reiner, may he rest in peace.Tell me if this sounds familiar.You’re hanging out with a friend, one of you is scrolling through the news on your phone.You: “Oh man did you hear? (Insert dead celebrity here) died.Friend: “Oh, bummer.”Yo
— Read on

Less Pundits and Podcasts, More Public Intellectuals

The importance of public intellectuals to the cause of socialism cannot be understated. People like Cornel West, Noam Chomsky, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, are essential to legitimizing leftism and anti oppression politics and will always be more vital to our movement than Chapo Trap House or pundits like Angela Nagle or Michael Tracy.

We need more public intellectuals, and less pundits and podcasters.

I do not want to sound like I am coming down on leftist podcasts by the way, I am not a kill joy. However I will say that it’s a fine line between podcasting and punditry. I also acknowledge that some public intellectuals do in fact live stream or podcast, such as Tim Black or Benjamin Dixon. Hell I used to vlog about socialism, but vlogging was too time consuming, I was not able to met the production standards I wanted, and for the record I would never claim to be either a pundit or a public intellectual. I’m just an organizer who likes to write about socialism.

Now, you might be wondering how I define who is a pundit vs who is a public intellectual. I define them as such;


A pundit is someone who sits outside of the cause and reflects on it as an outsider, however they present it in a way that makes it seem like they are offering insider knowledge. They reflect publicly on the cause while not actively participating in it.

If you are on left twitter you know for a fact that this is true. A pundit is someone who sells themselves as an expert on a topic but in fact has no authority on the subject because they merely reflect on the work being done, they do not actually engage in it. Angela Nagle and Michael Tracey’s post mortem of the Bernie campaign was classic punditry, both individuals make their living selling themselves as experts about the left with insider knowledge, yet neither one has ever been active in DSA nor did either contribute labor to the Bernie campaign, nor has either done any campaign work whatsoever for any leftist cause.

This does not stop either from constantly reflecting on other organizations’ work.

Public Intellectuals

Counter to punditry, a public intellectual is someone who both organizes on the front lines for the cause and can elaborate on their efforts to the public in a way that connects with them and both elevates and educates the public.

Public intellectuals use their words to bring people into the cause, whereas pundits have no cause except their own self validation as experts. Public intellectuals want to talk to the public about the cause, pundits just want to talk.

The best example of a public intellectual I can think of is Cornel West, a man who actively shows up to the front lines for justice yet simultaneously can connect with large groups of people in a manner that both gets him heard and enables his audience to be heard. Before I read Marx I was reading West, and it was his work that first made me realize I was a socialist.

This, to me, demonstrates the importance of public intellectuals. If I had never discovered the work of Cornel West when I was 16, I would never have joined DSA as an adult.

That is the key difference, not only are public intellectuals qualified they engage with their audience and increase the collective power of the cause. Pundits talk at you, public intellectuals talk to you. There is no socratic dialogue with punditry, the opposite is the case with public intellectuals.

Which one is more likely to recruit someone to socialism? A lecture or a dialogue?

So we don’t need more Michael Tracey’s and podcasters, we need more Cornel Wests. We don’t need to hear disapproval over the latest DSA vote on twitter, we need to hear how you engaged and excite people to organize, march, and strike.

Punditry is not socialism, and it will never advance the cause.

The Professional Protester #18 Don’t Get Lazy Just Because Trump is Slipping | The Professional Protester on Patreon

Official Post from The Professional Protester : Donald Trump is floundering.  His Tulsa rally, marketed as his comeback from COVID, yielded one of the most pathetic turnouts in the history of his tenure.  Further, while I am no fan of Joe Biden, it is nice to see Trump’s favorability rates fall behind Biden by double digits.Combine that with the
— Read on

For The Love of God Liberals, Stfu and Get to Organizing!

Liberals need to stop obsessing about the stupid things said by Donald Trump and need to be talking about the effects his actions have on the most vulnerable in our society.

The tedious personality cults and hero worship in politics need to end.

The left will always be reacting to the right wing because the laws of capital and power will always disporportionally benefit its defenders, unless the left seizes state power and moblizes the working class into a mass movement.

We cannot organize a mass movement oriented simply around reacting to the powers that be, and those reactions cannot be limited to jokes about Trump’s name or retweeting Stephen Colbert or John Oliver monologues.

Trumps day to day moronic actions mean nothing, but the bills he signs, the executive orders he makes, and the judges he will appoint all will have irreversible effects on our government for generations.

Yet, liberals would rather talk about his hair or his weight, why?

Because then they would have to confront their own hypocrisy. Then liberals would see that because they defend people in their party like Joe Biden, a right winger accused of rape, they have no moral high ground against Donald Trump, another right winger accused of rape.

Although, this is a funny way to treat your “opposition” liberals. Please point to the picture where you are actually “resisting” but I digress.

Hillary Clinton “resisting”
Bill Clinton and Mike Bloomberg “resisting”
Nancy Pelosi “resisting”

Actual organizing is too hard and requires too much thought, so it is much easier for liberals to knit a pussy hat, post a “Yas Queen” status about Pelosi, and call it a day.

This is why I am a socialist, a communist, and a Marxist. Its not enough to just say you hate the powers that be, it not enough to focus on your opposition, and you should never use your oppositions frames. The world needs to be changed, and we must be the agents of that change.

But please, no more fat jokes about Trump, or at least if you are going to make them, stop saying, “When they go low, we go high.” Because that is a fucking lie.

The Professional Protester #17 Corrupt Leadership in the George Floyd Rebellion | The Professional Protester on Patreon

Official Post from The Professional Protester : In Russia 1917, Tsarism was overthrown by a revolution very similar in style to the George Floyd rebellion.  Leon Trotsky notes in his History of the Russian Revolution that no single organization took the lead on calling for the rebellion and demonstrations that eventually forced the Tsar to abdica
— Read on

No Liberals, Biden Won’t Protect the Supreme Court

We hear this argument from the Blue No Matter Who voters, constantly.

“You have to vote for Biden to protect Ginsberg’s seat on the court!”

“Don’t vote to help Biden, do it to help us save RGB’s seat!”

“Save RBG!!!”

This is an insufficient and illogical justification to vote for Joe Biden. It’s time for liberals to accept their hard to swallow pill, protecting the Supreme Court is a useless endeavour at this point. The court will need to be packed to reverse the conservative takeover, even under a Biden presidency.

First, let’s look at the math. The court is currently stacked to favor conservatives 5-4, and if Ginsberg leaves the position with Trump still in office, the court will inevitably be stacked 6-3. But even if we “protect” RGB’s seat, the conservatives still have control of the court 5-4. I fail to see how losing supreme court cases by 1 vote is any better than losing by 2. A lost case is a lost case, the vote count is inconsequential to the people who have to live with the effects of the ruling.

Further, why is it that liberals have faith that the man who 1. Smeared Anita Hill, 2. Whipped votes for Antonin Scalia and 3. Openly brags about how much he likes Republicans, will appoint a progressive judge!? Do liberals learn nothing from experience? Does institutional memory just not exist for Democrats anymore?

“Scalia is one of our most influential judges!” – Joe Biden

When someone shows you who you are, believe them. Biden showed us that he is willing to compromise with the fascist GOP his entire career, yes that includes the time he spent as Obama’s VP (a position he received as a gesture to appease the right-wing of the Democratic Party I might add.)

If Joe Biden is the one to pick Ginsberg’s replacement, expect another Scalia to join the court. Oh but I’m sure he’ll pick a woman so that will make it okay, right? Ugh…

And one last thing, and this will really upset any liberal reading this but I stand by it, RGB isn’t that great, in fact, she’s terrible, the entire Supreme Court is garbage.

The entire Supreme Court is terrible and should be abolished along with the Senate. Quite frankly I do not understand why we put so much faith in an institution that protected slavery, attacked the indigenous, and is run by unelected lifelong appointees. How in the hell is a body like that going to protect democracy?

RGB has voted against the autonomy of Native reservations multiple times, and she chided Colin Kapernick’s protest calling it “disrespectful.” (Liberals crack me up when the perpetuate the same right-wing talking points they claim to be against.) Let us not forget this so called icon of feminism said there is “too much controversy” attached to the Equal Rights Amendment.

An unelected body is never a good guardian of democracy, a man who has spent his political career appeasing the right is not going to protect that body from the right, and even if he did it would be inconsequential, that body would still lean conservative and will continue to lean to the right until more judges are appointed. There is no “saving” the Supreme Court at this point without packing it, liberals should realize and rally behind this.

When you vote for Joe Biden you aren’t really voting to protect the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court is already lost, and will remain lost even if Ginsberg is replaced with a hardcore progressive.

We need to pack the court.

The Professional Protester #16 Gatekeeper Activism | The Professional Protester on Patreon

Official Post from The Professional Protester : Does anyone else have a problem with gatekeeper activism in their communities?In Sacramento, where I live and organize, any coalition work that might be to the benefit of the working class has a serious hurdle to overcome.  Old guard activists acting as gatekeepers and cliquish behaviors.Sacramento,
— Read on

The Professional Protester #15 Amy Cooper got what she deserved | The Professional Protester on Patreon

Official Post from The Professional Protester : As the George Floyd Rebellion Rages on I am reminded by the events that happened the week before in Central Park when Amy Cooper tried to call the police on a black man for asking her to follow park rules.Since then she has lost her job and become a global social media pariah.  In addition to this i
— Read on

Is the George Floyd Rebellion the Beginning of the Revolution?

Rest in Power George Floyd, you will never be forgotten.

We’ve all either seen the news or have been to the frontlines. We are seeing a rebellion the likes of which this nation has not seen for generations. This could very well be the beginning of the revolution that we have waited for.

As long as we don’t get in the way.

When I say “we” I mean the gatekeeper activists. The professional organizers and lifestyle activists, such as myself, do in fact represent an old guard of revolution at this point. There will be people of our kind who will say, don’t join a protest unless you have a plan, or a bailfund set up, or use this tactic but not this tactic, and you should coordinate like this but not this and etc.

This sort of gatekeeping is what stops every revolution before it starts. Instead of elevating the voices of the oppressed who now rage against police and capitalist properties, we end up silencing them because people feel it is more important to flex their own ideology.

Those who have studied revolution know that revolt in a nation-state goes through phases, a demonstrable example, though cliché for a socialist blog I will admit, is the Russian Revolution.

First there was the over throw of Tsarism, the February Revolution of 1917. In this revolt the police tried to suppress demonstrations and uprisings, and much like how the National Guard is called in for George Floyd protests the Cossacks and Russian army was called in as well. The army was however unable to help the police because the citizenry would outnumber the military and soldiers would refuse to fire on civilians.

This is the first step in a true revolution. The uprising of the people and the failure of the police to suppress it and insubordination in the military all eventually forced the Tsar to abidcate.

The longer it takes for Donald Trump and the liberals to take back control, the more likely he and his kind will be taken out of office.

What is most important about this phase of revolution is the structurelessness. Trotsky notes in the History of the Russian Revolution that no single organization was calling for the strikes and demonstrations that eventually led to the Tsars abdication.

However the lack of structure left a power vacuum that enabled the provisional liberal government of Alexander Kerensky to take hold.

The liberal bourgeois elite of the provisional government in Russia refused to met the material demands of the working class, so inevitably in the October revolution the Bolsheviks were victorious.

We are in the phase of revolution were if we, the old guard, allow the new revolutionaries who have been born out of this crisis to thrive, to take down the mechanisms that oppress them and offer them any support they need, then the new world can be built from the ashes of the old.

I am not saying we step in amidst the chaos, I refuse to perpetuate a savior narrative. I am saying that if we avoid reductionism of these protests and avoid intellectualizing reasons not to get involved, then the flames of the rebellion will flourish.

Do not let our old guard, gatekeeper activism, and sense of professionalism as organizers prevent an oppressed mass from speaking out.

What I see when I take to the streets is truly revolutionary. Organizers of these protests are giving space and a voice to people who have been ignored and oppressed their whole lives. There was structure and resources such as masks to prevent covid and security tips and know your rights trainings. But the most revolutionary thing was that when the marches started it was initiated by the masses, the people, not the organizers, the organizers of the action themselves said, “We respect a diversity of tactics. We are not going to tell you how to protest.”

That is how you let a revolution flourish. When a people finds its voice it has a lot to say, so let them say it. What will this rebellion yield? Who is to say, but now is not the time to get in the way.

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