Grassroots Revolutionary Strategy
The Revolutionary Endeavor
by Brian Dominick article link
Maxim One: Personal change is vital to the revolutionary endeavor. We should accept that revolution is by its nature a set of personal acts, subjective transformations of the self being indispensible. We cannot hope to change relationships unless we also change all their components, ie, the individuals who constitute social institutions in the first place. The days of looking at revolution as a cold process or event carried out by "masses" of individuals who are personally no different than when completely subjugated by various oppressions, are fading into history. The new outlook demands that we also look inward, toward each other and ourselves.
Maxim Two: Institutional change is the basis of revolutionary change. We need to look at revolution as an inherently social act, with its basis in the changing of institutions. This is the counter-point to maxim one. While it is a new kind of person who brings about radical social upheavals of all sizes, it is those changes, as they effect institutions and society as a whole, that are the actual evidence of a revolution in progress.
Maxim Three: Populations make revolutions, so control should be actively democratic. True revolution is a participatory and directly democratic undertaking -- guided not by vanguardist elites but by people as a whole. Too many times in the past people have fallen in line behind charismatic leaders with promises of a pre-paved future. The truth is, though, that any revolutionary advances will be made collectively by common people, not those to whom credit is normally afforded. The people who shall be expected to do the work of tearing down the old society and building the New should have full managerial control over the directions their movement takes.
Maxim Four: Revolution is a premeditated process. Rather than being something spontaneous, revolution is a historical "phenomenon" we plan for, patiently, cautiously, hopefully. It is not an event that comes about as a result of historical circumstances. Revolution is not a moment to be seized but a continuing set of struggles which happen because two forces are in conflict. That is, it doesn't land in our lap as a consequence of history, at the appropriate time. We make the time appropriate by planning and building revolution, of which the insurrectionary period is but one phase, not the pinacle or definition of revolution.
Maxim Five: Revolution relies on holistic change throughout the many aspects of social life. Radical changes in any sphere of social relationships do not in themselves make up a revolution, which instead comes about only when economic, political, kinship and cultural life are all fundamentally altered. Major advances for women, queers and young people, while noteworthy advances, are not revolutionary if they are not accompanied by radical alterations of culture, economic changes and also a reorganization of the state. The dominant institutions and ideologies in other spheres will manage to accommodate the advances in kinship and continue oppression. What we need is an all-out, broad-based social change.
Maxim Six: The present, not merely the future, is revolutionary. The revolutionary endeavor is something we experience as we make it, even if the action we are taking and lives we're leading are not acknowledged as "revolutionary" at the time -- however premeditated the process, revolution is not something we wait for. This is why the concept of dual power, building while we resist, is so vital. We may or may not be living in a revolutionary time. Only history will decide that. We may not see an insurrection, the proving grounds of revolutionists, in our lifetime. Again, something we must accept before the fact. However, none of this means we cannot live revolutionary lives, as activists with vision and ideals. So we treat everyday as if it is in the midst of revolution, and we build, and we benefit from what we build, hoping so too will future generations.
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