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ISR Issue 47, May–June 2006

Socialists and movements


OVER THE past year mass consciousness has shifted to the left, as the now majority sentiment against the war and the mass immigrant rights movement show. For socialists this welcome turn is also a challenge: the radicalization of mass consciousness is a necessary precondition for creating a revolutionary socialist party. To build such an organization, radicals have to master the art of how revolutionaries function within mass movements.

Often in history, when mass movements came to socialist consciousness the potential for building a revolutionary party was missed because of the absence of the necessary cadres with the experience to provide socialist leadership. Aware of that history, we socialists have acknowledged the need for party building long before such mass radicalization occurs.

Yet for understandable reasons, party building in non-revolutionary situations has often been neglected. In reactionary periods, the unfavorable balance of class forces and the strength of capitalist ideology, as well as the low level of consciousness and struggle, can preclude party building. That was the reality of the 1950s during the era of the McCarthy witch-hunts, as well as during the Reagan era of the 1980s. The best socialist organizing was restricted to keeping revolutionary ideas alive, and recruits were a handful. But in radical situations like 1968, when the movement from below explodes, revolutionary organizations grow enormously. But without prior party building, the chance of success may be lost.

Crucial for success are the periods when a radicalization process has only just started. At those junctures the Left is still weak and recovering from past defeats. There is not the momentum of mass struggles, yet openings for organizing appear that form essential building blocks to lay the foundation of future struggles. In times like today, when consciousness starts to move left as new movements develop, socialists can ally in coalitions with others, organize small struggles, overcome isolation, and find a response in a radicalizing minority. We are now in a transitional period between conservative reaction and mass radicalization. It is a preparatory period in which revolutionaries can provide leadership in small struggles, build a left-wing base, and initiate the process of party building. Unfortunately, this continues to be a minority opinion in the socialist Left.

Party building, while no longer precluded, is not easy in a transitional period. Movement activity begins in fits and starts and radical consciousness emerges in fragile shape, difficult to retain or sustain. The conservative baggage of past setbacks and defeats weighs on the present. Confirmation of revolutionary perspectives by reality—i.e., by advancing, successful mass struggles—is still in the future. But the first signs of radical ferment are a wake-up call for socialists to grasp the potential.

That was demonstrated in the last period of mass struggle, the 1960s. First a warning: Romantic views of the 1960s lead some to conclude that it is impossible to organize under today’s conditions. Turn the clock back to 1959 for a reality check. Politics then were defined by the Cold War, an anti-communist crusade, and Jim Crow segregation enforced by police terror in the South. Abortion was illegal, and gays were still deep in the closet. The 1960s radicalization emerged from a more conservative social setting than today. Yet the potential for radical leadership and organization was apparent to those involved at the early stages of the movement.

The upsurge begins

The beginning of the upsurge began on February 1, 1960, when four Black students sat in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. Sit-ins quickly spread throughout the South, supported by boycotts in the North. But the movement was small; at most 10–20,000 people took part in its early stage. There is no revolutionary immaculate conception. As in all new movements, the activists had an extreme form of what Marxists call mixed consciousness. Their politics were an amalgam of liberal, conservative, and radical ideas. Elements of each existed in confused and uneasy collision within the same minds. Militants battled segregation courageously, but believed non-violence, Christian love, or alliance with the northern Democratic Party, could win the struggle.

Much of the Left dismissed the new movement on the grounds that the activists were Christian reformists with illusions in the Democratic Party. Revolutionaries, so went the argument, shouldn’t compromise their principles by involvement in such a movement. This static sectarian logic made them blind to the dialectic of struggle. Those who abstained from the existing struggle, while passively awaiting more radical struggle, were left behind. Some Left groups have quietly buried this part of their history because it seems so absurd. How could you go through the 1960s and not take part in the civil rights movement? But most Left groups then thought the movement not radical enough for their participation.

But ten years of civil rights, antiwar, women’s rights, and other struggles raised the consciousness of many of its participants, who began with liberal, bourgeois ideas and ended up embracing anti-imperialism, hostility to the Democratic Party, and sympathy to socialist ideas. As consciousness rose, and the movement became increasingly combative and confident, its radicalism deepened. In 1970, 40 percent of all Blacks under twenty-five identified themselves with the Black Panther Party, 40 percent of all college students said that a revolution in the United States was necessary, and more than 25 percent of the American army were AWOL or deserters. Soldiers within the army revolted against the war in Vietnam, refused to fight, and fragged [killed with fragmentation grenades] officers who tried to lead them into battle.

Each emerging movement took inspiration from, and was politically influenced by, other struggles—the movement for civil rights and later Black Power, the fight against the Vietnam War, the women’s liberation movement, the gay liberation movement, and the struggle for Latino and Native American rights. As the movements began to involve young workers, activists also began to question the meaning and nature of work under capitalism. Movement activists demanded control over the crucial decisions that affected their daily lives, and started to pose an alternative for a society without oppression and exploitation.

Consciousness changes in struggle, but there is no preordained level, or particular content, that rising consciousness automatically takes. Socialist consciousness emerges as the movement matures. Until then consciousness takes many different forms, including ideas that turn out to be dead-ends, which can derail a movement before it ever attains socialist consciousness. There are no inevitable lessons people mechanically learn from struggle. There has to be debate and clarification in the struggle over lessons of past fights and what is the best way forward, in which various arguments contend for influence. The active intervention of revolutionary Marxists in struggle sets out to generalize from the struggle, clarify its political lessons, formulate strategies to win, and pose initiatives for the movement that move it leftward, toward socialist consciousness.
Movement activists are not blank slates whose heads are waiting to be filled up. They carry ideological baggage from their past experiences and they are influenced by the clash of contending ideas and leaders that always exist within every struggle. Different political currents combat for the direction of the movement. Whether or not their ideas are appropriate or beneficial, most sincerely believe that what they are proposing is in the best interest of the movement. Revolutionaries are one contender among others for leadership, having to prove their ideas in practice and building a base of collaborators to struggle for the direction, policy, and perspectives of the movement.

For example, within the current antiwar movement, the International Socialist Organization (ISO) presented a principled left-wing political alternative based on its characterization of the American war on Iraq as one for oil and empire. It argued for an antiwar perspective centered on immediate withdrawal, self-determination for Iraq, mass mobilizations, non-exclusion of participants, defending Arabs and Muslims from racism, and no reliance on the Democrats. That perspective lost to the liberal politics presented by the popular front leftists that lead United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ). The movement, still at a very low level of consciousness, accepted their argument that the realistic way to end the war was by supporting the Democratic Party and its congressional wing.

The consequences of that policy was that the dynamic, massive movement of 2003 was subordinated to supporting a prowar candidate who called for more troops to Iraq, and a better way to fight American imperialism’s “war on terror.” This “realism” led to movement demoralization, and to its demobilization and disintegration in 2004. If the socialist Left were stronger, its alternative might have won, and the antiwar movement would have continued demonstrating, mobilizing, and gotten stronger and more radical. That is why the struggle of revolutionaries politically inside the movement is key to strengthening the movement.

Some radicals confine their movement work not to “antagonize anyone.” They are movement good guys. They go along to get along—“do good movement building work, but don’t raise politically controversial issues.” They are unwilling or unable to challenge existing movement consciousness. They are afraid to raise disagreements with liberals who might charge the Left with disrupting unity, or having “an outside agenda.” That often intimidates radicals who have not fully broken with liberal consciousness, are insecure about their radical ideas, or their ability to win other people to those ideas.
The right wing of the movement often red-baits anyone to their left, trying to restrict democratic debate to the confines of what the liberal party line defines as respectable politics. They claim that socialists’ attempts to raise consciousness hurt the unity and growth of the movement. Radicals don’t do the movement or themselves any good by capitulating to these movement policemen. If socialists don’t struggle for a set of political ideas to shape that movement, others will. Movements as well as nature abhor a vacuum. A policy and leadership will win out. If radicals fail, the movement will go in a more conservative direction that will set back its growth and hold it under the political control of the Democrats, and the liberal wing of imperialism.

Our ideas for the movement are based on our principles. The ways we introduce those politics are our tactics. We follow Lenin’s guideline, “firm principles; flexible tactics.” We don’t weaken our principles for popularity; we try to find the most effective way to win support for them, using the appropriate, totally flexible, tactics to do so. “By any means necessary,” as Malcolm X said.

In the early 1960s, at the beginning of the civil rights movement, radicalism first expressed itself around the question of tactics rather than politics. Not every movement is going to develop this way, but there is some similarity with today. From the beginning, activists accepted direct action, mass mobilizations, sit-ins, and arrests as legitimate and necessary tactics in the struggle. The most important lesson that a new movement has to learn is to rely upon itself, not to subordinate its struggle to the courts, politicians, or established institutions and authority. This is key to whether it will develop as a movement from below for social change, or whether it will be trapped in the politics of reform from above.

The civil rights movement began with self-reliance in 1960 because the Supreme Court had come out for Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, and six years later there were no integrated schools, public accommodations, or the right to vote in the South. It was obvious to the new activists that it was useless to wait for the courts or the liberal politicians, and that if you didn’t rely upon yourselves segregation would continue.
That sentiment of self-reliance has relevance to current struggles. After the appointments of archconservatives John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court without any serious resistance from Democrats, many activists are beginning to understand that you can’t wait for the Supreme Court and the Democratic Party to defend abortion rights. Even people who are going to vote Democratic are disgusted with the party and know it won’t fight for them. Rather than tapping into the mass antiwar sentiment, Democratic Party leaders are positioning themselves to the right of President Bush on matters of “national security.” One of the first steps in the process of radicalization is for the movement to accept that we have to rely upon ourselves, that we have to establish a course independent of the Democratic Party and not rely upon the liberal institutions and spokespeople of the established status quo. In the civil rights movement, people were prepared at the very beginning to break the law, to go to jail, and not to accept the authority of the American government. Today, some of the counter-recruitment demonstrations have shown a similar spirit.

An important aspect of socialist work in movements is to always be proposing ways to expand them. As the movement goes to the left, socialists always have to be sensitive not to create barriers that exclude new people from entering. Socialism can only occur by masses of people determining their own fate. We put that into practice inside struggles by always attempting to expand the movement to draw in more people, to involve them in the process of their own self-emancipation.

We reject elitism, the self-congratulatory feeling of some political tendencies that they are the elect few, superior to the “backward masses” around them. We are no different than other working class and student activists. We are just among the first people in this process of radicalization. Our job is to listen to those with whom we are in struggle, to hear what they’re saying, to be able to learn from them, but also to teach them what we have learned.

You cannot accept whatever the current level of struggle is. Our job is always to try to raise consciousness, awareness, and the level of struggle, wherever possible. We do not bow down to the current level of struggle nor opportunistically flatter the movement, by saying: “Whatever your doing, that’s right, that’s great, this is the best of all possible struggles, it could not possibly get any better.” We are always looking for ways to strengthen the movement, by expanding the number of its participants, raising its level of struggle, enriching its understanding, its politics, its combativeness, and its confidence. We always have to try and create a bridge between ourselves and movement activists, to move them closer to socialist politics.

Trotsky, to paraphrase, summarized it very simply: “We will work with anyone but we are going all the way.” We will work with anyone for however far they’re willing to go in the struggle. If they only want to go three steps, to achieve a particular aim, we work with them. Knowing that we are going all the way means we are not threatened by anyone else’s hesitancy. We don’t moralistically denounce them, saying, “We know that you really are sellouts who won’t go more than three steps.” We don’t blame them. It’s the job of the advanced always to try and get them to go further.

We try to develop the critical mass and political sophistication of the revolutionary organization so that we are capable of convincing them. But even if they don’t go further to begin with, we’re prepared to go with them as far as they are capable of at that time, having confidence in knowing where we’re going and what our direction is and that we will fight future battles in alliance with them.

The Berkeley Free Speech Movement

To illustrate how revolutionaries function in mass movements, I want to examine a chapter from our history—the role the International Socialists (IS), the predecessor to the ISO, played in the Berkeley Free Speech Movement (FSM). In that four-month-long struggle the radicals who led it won the active support and involvement of the entire campus. For the first time since the 1930s, the Left proved that it could lead and gain the allegiance of thousands. Following the FSM as radicalization spread through the national student movement it became clear that we were at a turning point in the New Left of the 1960s, that a whole generation was open to radical politics.

It was also a turning point for the IS. We formed as an organization on September 17, 1964, the same night that the FSM was organized. We started as a local, Berkeley group with eighteen people. Our founding meeting was by invitation only, to explain to our substantial periphery in the civil rights movement why we were setting up a new socialist organization. We had to move our scheduled meeting to an earlier time, so that participants, who included Mario Savio and Jack Weinberg, who were to become the most important FSM leaders, could attend the founding meeting of the FSM.

In 1960, there were two socialist groups at Berkeley. When we formed, we were the ninth socialist group on campus. After four years of movement struggle, the New Left had begun the process of developing an ideology, and had overcome the McCarthyism of the 1950s, when liberal and even some “Left” groups had helped the Right in red-baiting and policing the movement to keep out more radical socialist ideas. The result was that socialist ideas began to get a greater hearing.

There were substantial principled differences between the IS and the other Left groups. For example, the Communist Party, in its support for Stalinism, identified socialism as something bureaucratic and top-down, whereas our watchword was “socialism from below.” Other groups were utterly sectarian, refusing to have anything to do with those with whom they had any disagreements. Nevertheless, it was a problem to explain to people: “How do you differ from the eight other socialist groups,” or “why can’t all you socialists get together?” The fact that the ISO today is often the only socialist group in a city or at a school is an added reason to build an authentic socialist organization as rapidly as possible, before a host of other groups arise making socialist organization look like alphabet soup. People who are becoming socialists today don’t have to decide between the ISO and eight other groups, or worse, to use that confusion as the barrier for not committing themselves to any revolutionary politics.

Within weeks of its formation, the IS became not the largest but the most important left-wing group on campus. A student survey during the FSM revealed that the IS was better known than any other student organization at Berkeley. Our rapid prominence was a result of the role we played in the mass movement, a role we were prepared for by our involvement in the local civil rights movement.

The FSM was an outgrowth of the civil rights movement. Segregation de jure—legal segregation—existed in the South. In the North there was de facto segregation—racism in practice. In the liberal San Francisco Bay Area employers refused to hire Blacks as bank tellers, car salesmen, hotel waiters, supermarket clerks, among other jobs. Berkeley students had been mobilized in 1963–64 by the civil rights organizations to fight the employers’ racist hiring practices, gaining victories through mass demonstrations, sit-ins, and mass arrests.

The Berkeley Campus CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) chapter introduced a new tactic called the “shop-in” to open jobs for Blacks in the supermarkets. We would go into a store, load groceries into shopping carts, and wheel them to the cash register. The clerk would ring them up, and then we would say, “Oh gee, I forgot to bring any money.” We shut the stores down that way, until they would negotiate hiring with us. The university came under intense pressure from the employers, and their political representatives in the two capitalist parties, to clamp down on student political activity as a way to cripple the civil rights movement.

In September 1964, Clark Kerr, the university president, introduced new rules to restrict political activity on campus, banning on-campus meetings and fundraising for “off-campus political and social action.” Under the new university rules students could not raise money for the “illegal” Southern struggles, and those arrested at sit-ins, in addition to facing jail time, would also receive university discipline including expulsion, which the FSM labeled double jeopardy.

The main reason for the IS’s large role in the FSM was that the comrades who started the IS had the previous year organized the main student civil rights organization, Campus CORE. When the IS began it was already a leading political tendency in the Bay Area civil rights movement. We had struggled within the movement for over a year to train, educate and raise the political consciousness of the student civil rights activists. They were won to our perspectives and politics on civil rights, and on American politics. They agreed with our analysis on how the institutional racism of American capitalism and its political parties functioned.

They were our sympathizers and periphery. We had an ongoing political relationship with them and they looked to us for political direction and leadership. It was the CORE veterans who became the backbone, the militants, and the leadership of the Free Speech Movement. It is an important lesson. Some of the work the ISO has accomplished in educating and training activists in the current antiwar movement will carry over into the next phase of the radicalization, where they will have an ongoing and deepened political relationship to socialists.

The second reason the IS did so well was because the FSM began as a broad-based coalition, committed to the non-exclusion of any political tendency. Overcoming the ingrained red-baiting habits of American politics, we carried the argument that all groups, no matter their politics and ideology, should work together for a common aim. In fact, for the first three weeks of its existence the FSM was not called the FSM. Its original name was “The United Front.” It took in all campus organizations that were against the university rules that attempted to restrict student political activity. So, of course, that included the nine socialist clubs and the civil rights groups, but it also took in the Young Democrats, the Young Republicans, and Students for Goldwater, and Young Libertarians—everybody! All of the student groups that opposed restrictions on their own organizing were part of the movement. That was the bond that overcame exclusion and that held the united front together. Since it was the radicals who were most committed to the aims of the movement, the dynamic of the movement propelled them to leadership of the united front that became the FSM.

The third reason why we were so important inside the mass movement was that we helped shape its ideology, its major political principles, from its inception. The FSM began when Jack Weinberg—who had just joined the IS—was arrested at the Campus CORE table, and hundreds of students sat down around the police car in which he was held prisoner, preventing the police from hauling him off to jail. Mario Savio emerged as the main student leader, articulating the sentiments of the crowd as he spoke from the rooftop of the car.

The previous night, the IS had held its first public meeting with Hal Draper speaking on “Clark Kerr’s Vision of the University.” Both Jack and Mario, and other newly emerging FSM leaders, were at that meeting, and spoke to the crowd echoing what Hal had laid out. He argued that Kerr’s bureaucratic vision of the university—as a knowledge factory, with the students as raw material to be worked into an end product of middle management and civil servants—merged with the needs of the corporations.

After the first sit-in ended, we immediately published a pamphlet called The Mind of Clark Kerr, written by Hal Draper. It became the bible of the FSM. It was the most effective agit-prop pamphlet of the 1960s. The original press run was 2,000 copies, and in the first day, two of us sold 1,500 copies. The leadership and activists inside the FSM took up the ideas in it. They were saying, “We have to stop the factory, the bureaucratic machine, we’re human beings, not raw material to be processed.”

Our commitment to civil rights, free speech, mass movements from below, and no reliance on existing structures and politicians, allowed us to play an uncompromising role in the FSM, and to gain a reputation among the best militants, the best builders of the movement. That is a wonderful reputation to have, a necessity if an organization is to be accepted and contend for leadership. But by itself, being the best builder does not raise the political consciousness of the people in struggle. The respect we won for our activity gave us the credibility to argue for our politics, our ideas. We used that opening to show in practice that those ideas made sense, that our understanding of what was going on related to a basic socialist analysis of American society, and that our commitment to the movement was tied to our political principles.

We constantly, and publicly, analyzed all the events of these four months. The newly formed IS did not have a newspaper, so we put out leaflets for mass distribution that analyzed the unfolding struggle—the role of the administration; who the Board of Regents were, their politics, and ties to the economic and political establishment of California; the vacillations of the liberals; and the role of the liberal Democratic governor, Pat Brown, whose police were called in to brutalize students, make arrests, and try to break the movement. We explained events to people and their own feelings about these events in a better way than the mass movement with all of its different political currents and ambiguity could explain itself. The leaflets gave us a huge audience. There was tremendous sympathy for our political analysis of the movement and how to achieve its goals. We put into practice Marx’s method on revolutionaries in movement struggles. Marx stated in the Communist Manifesto that, “The Communists fight for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the enforcement of the momentary interests of the working class; but in the movement of the present, they also represent and take care of the future of that movement.”

At every major stage of the struggle we held a public meeting where in addition to IS speakers we tried to draw in speakers from the movement. Many of whom, like Mario Savio, were sympathizers. Others represented the major trends and disagreements that existed within the movement. We provided the opportunity for an open, sophisticated political forum to debate and discuss movement problems and direction. It provided a non-sectarian space in which people could come and talk, and it put us at the center of movement dialogue.

At each stage of the movement we used leaflets, public meetings, and interventions at FSM meetings to argue for what the next step of the movement should be. It is more difficult to lay out the next step than to come up with a program to cover all future steps. Radicals sometimes substitute their own consciousness for a realistic and honest assessment of where consciousness actually is. The most important thing in any struggle is to pick out the key link, of exactly what the movement should do next, to focus in on that, explain it to people, and win them to it so you’re not the only ones who are proposing this next step. We try to search for the next step so that we can win the movement to its next practice. There were many next steps during the FSM. But to illustrate the approach we will discuss the most important, the student strike.

The student strike

There was a huge student sit-in on December 2, 1964, in which 800 students were arrested. It was the largest student sit-in and mass arrest in U.S. history until then. Before this, the IS had proposed that there be a student strike to broaden the movement beyond the committed activists and to draw the whole campus into action.

There hadn’t been student strikes since the antiwar strikes led by socialists and communists of the 1930s. A student strike should never be proposed if only a small minority will go out. The strike will lose, people will be demoralized, and the movement set back. You have to have a down-to-earth assessment that says if a strike is called, at least a decisive minority, with the potential to gain majority support, will respond to the call, giving the strike a realistic chance of winning.

We had proposed a strike in the weeks leading up to December 2, but the FSM leadership bodies voted it down in favor of the more familiar tactic of a sit-in. But in the middle of the sit-in the steering committee of the FSM met and decided they also wanted a strike. Since the strike had been proposed by the IS, they requested that I leave the sit-in and start to organize the strike. The FSM asked us to organize the strike, which eventually brought us victory in the free speech fight, because we had been the people proposing it, and we were prepared to take responsibility for our proposal. As a result of our activity, we became known nationally.

Any honest assessment of socialist functioning has to review and evaluate everything that was done. Success is wonderful, but examining mistakes can be more productive—not to self-flagellate, or wallow in doubt and confusion, but to correct errors and learn from the mistakes. The biggest mistake was that we did not recruit. We did not build our organization. Even though the IS’s reputation and influence grew, the organization did not.

It was not because we adapted politically. The worst error socialists can make inside a mass movement is to adapt to its political level, depriving it of potential leadership for further development. We fought for radical politics within the movement in a principled and effective manner. But in 1964 we still carried political baggage from the 1950s. We didn’t believe that the period allowed for the building of a revolutionary party. It took the events of 1968 to bring us to that conclusion. So in 1964, out mindset was: Isn’t it better to gain mass influence than to recruit a few more people?

Mass struggle, when your influence is rising, is precisely the time to grow. One mistake that revolutionaries make is to get so caught up in the hectic pace and excitement of movement work that they don’t do the equally important job of winning people to revolutionary politics and its organizational expression. When you’re fighting for politics inside a mass movement and shaping it, you’re creating a political bridge between the mass movement and socialist organization. When consciousness is shifting leftward, when mass struggle convinces people that another world is possible, people are most willing to examine socialist ideas and organization.

If revolutionaries don’t reap what they have sown, others will. Democrats, anarchists, social democrats, authoritarians, elitists, sectarians, and opportunists will all present their alternatives. In the course of struggle—at its high points and at its culmination—activists search for a channel, an organized expression for their newfound radicalism. Without socialist organization, a vacuum is left that some other political tendency is going to fill.
Many activists who don’t join socialist organizations are going to disappear. They will have done something heroic for a couple of months of their life and then they’ll go back to the pressures of daily life and their personal problems. And all of us have personal problems—that’s a given in every stage of our lives. They go back to all the conservative pressures on them—from their friends and their family. They gave the antiwar movement two or three months and American imperialism didn’t collapse—“it was more difficult than I thought, so pass the joint.” They will be wasting their lives if we don’t recruit them. They will sink back into the liberal swamp.

The right wing of the movement may try to prevent socialist recruitment through red-baiting slander—“your poaching on the movement,” or, “you have another agenda.” We are not poaching on the movement; when we recruit we are building the movement, because socialist organization is the continuity between the struggles.

Even in the 1960s, there wasn’t just a rising tide of continuous struggle. There were ups and downs. After big struggles, there were three- or six-month lulls before another struggle. Mass movements have their ups and downs, but the revolutionaries—whose aim is to provide leadership—should not go up and down with the mass movements. We use lulls in one movement to shift resources into building another. We use lulls in the struggle for reading, discussing, educating, and training ourselves politically and organizationally to be stronger for the new upturn of struggle. We maintain a link between the struggles of the past and the future ones. We draw the lessons, and we train people so that when the next struggle begins, it doesn’t begin on the same primitive level as the preceding one.

Socialist organization trains new recruits to be organizers and leaders in various social struggles. If our educational work is successful, then the movement does not start from scratch each time. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel in each new struggle, because it starts with more people who are better trained. Our answer to critics who claim we “poach from the movement” is that they, not us, are holding the movement back. Whom do they educate? What do they do when the immediate struggle is over? We’re going to continue to organize, to educate, to train. We are building the basis for the movement, not just building the basis for socialist organization. The two of them go together. We have no interests separate from those of the movement to liberate the exploited and oppressed.

Joel Geier is associate editor of the ISR. This article is based on a series of presentations the author made in New England in January 2006.
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