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Developing a Workstyle for Working Class Victories

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This is the third article of a 7-part series that will focus on the issues in our radical movements that I think need our immediate and ongoing attention. I am using the ancient eastern concept of chakras for the body as a parallel to our movement’s energy wheel. Healers believe sickness occurs when the body’s chakras are blocked or out of alignment. Likewise, the U.S. Left and our social justice movements need our collective introspection, analysis and adjustments that lead to unblocking our energy/chi points. A weakened Left, and especially the Black Left, have been unable to provide this critical guidance over the last twenty years. I do not have the space to go too deep into my thinking although I have been pondering and talking about this very subject for a few years now. I am looking to stimulate a higher level of principled discussion about how to energize and organize the social forces coming into play at this pivotal juncture in history and how we can rebuild a formidable radical movement in this country.

 

“Nothing will work unless you do.” – Maya Angelou

 

Our movement for freedom, justice and equality needs to raise the bar of our excellence. Clearly, there are people in the social movements who develop and practice good—even exemplary– workstyles. However, our struggle against the empire has not been optimized because of our attitude and approach towards the work. What is a radical workstyle and what does it look like in our movement spaces? We must unblock this chakra so that it leads to the full intensity of the collective chi.

Work is how we carry out the plans emanating from our strategy and tactics. The way in which we carry out that work is connecting to an ideological worldview; it is a vivid reflection of our belief that our struggle is both worthy and winnable. Read more

Unblocking our Movement Chakras: Strategy and Tactics

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Strategy and Tactics: Get to know them in a personal way.

This is the second article of a 7-part series that will focus on the issues in our radical movements that I think need our immediate and ongoing attention. I am using the ancient eastern concept of chakras for the body as a parallel to our movement’s energy wheel. Healers believe sickness occurs when the body’s chakras are blocked or out of alignment. Likewise, the U.S. Left and our social justice movements need our collective introspection, analysis and adjustments that lead to unblocking our energy/chi points. A weakened Left, and especially the Black Left, have been unable to provide this critical guidance over the last twenty years. I do not have the space to go too deep into my thinking although I have been pondering and talking about this very subject for a few years now. I am looking to stimulate a higher level of principled discussion about how to energize and organize the social forces coming into play at this pivotal juncture in history and how we can rebuild a formidable radical movement in this country.

 

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

 

In recent years, movement strategy has become synonymous with tactics. We’ve sunk a lot of energy and resources into mobilizations that are devoid of strategy. A tactic of the trump administration and the organized right-wing is to hurl us into a dizzying spin, mobilizing against every reactionary commentary, policy, legislation that’s thrown at us. This tactic will effectively quickly lead to battle fatigue and demoralization – a victory for neo-liberalism. Sharpening our understanding of strategy will open this movement chakra. The chi will move us forward in a more precise and unified manner.

Over the past decade or so, I have watched us running to protests from one city to the next. We may get a cop fired here or there or temporarily stop a pipeline. Where’s our vision for state repression? We don’t have a national strategy on one of the most persistent and rampant issues in the U.S. Where’s our vision for the assault on the planet that gives us life? The corporatocracy is poisoning the air, the water and the land and making us pay for it. The price is high for being disorganized and unorganized. Read more

Unblocking our Movement Chakras: Vision

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Vision: Another World is Possible

This is the first of a 7-part series that will focus on the issues in our radical movements that I think need our immediate and ongoing attention. I am using the ancient eastern concept of chakras for the body as a parallel to our movement’s energy wheel. Healers believe sickness occurs when the body’s chakras are blocked or out of alignment. Likewise, the U.S. Left and our social justice movements need our collective introspection, analysis and adjustments that lead to unblocking our energy/chi points. A weakened Left, and especially the Black Left, have been unable to provide this critical guidance over the last twenty years. I do not have the space to go too deep into my thinking although I have been pondering and talking about this very subject for a few years now. I am looking to stimulate a higher level of principled discussion about how to energize and organize the social forces coming into play at this pivotal juncture in history and how we can rebuild a formidable radical movement in this country.

 

Where there is no vision, there is no hope.

-George Washington Carver

 

One thing that our radical movement is clear about: We are staunchly anti-. We are anti-capitalist, anti-sexist, anti-racist, anti-heterosexist, anti-ageist, anti-patriarchal, anti, anti. We are quite articulate about the features of capitalism that we vehemently oppose. But we are generally vague about what we are for. Vision is the long-term view of what we want for our families, what we want this country to be, what it should look like in the future. Vision is what we are asking the masses of people to fight for. That vision helps to shape and define the strategy, tactics, guiding principles and other elements that move our struggle from aspirational to transformational. Vision is the first chakra that our Freedom Movement needs to blast wide open.

One of the few encouraging lights of the U.S. presidential election was the percentage of the electorate who were not just anti-capitalist but who openly claimed to be socialist or leaning towards socialism. No doubt, the Bernie Sanders campaign for president helped to elevate the S word to a higher place in public discourse. Several polls pointed out that nearly 50% of Americans favored a socialist candidate. In other polls, as high as 60% of Democratic voters had a positive view of socialism. These facts shout out organizing opportunities! Read more