Big L writes:
So, Van Jones resigned and took one for the team by backing down from his position as “green jobs czar” for the Obama
Van Jones & Obama: representing the failure of "leftist" strategy in 2009
administration. This is happening after Glenn Beck, reactionary Fox News anchor, smashed on him and called him out on his show for being a “communist” and part of STORM.
Interestingly, Glenn Beck’s right-wing, reactionary red-baiting actually contains some useful, truthful facts about Van Jones’ strategy. Specifically, Beck’s racist-ass (and let’s be clear, this dude is completely reactionary) brings up the way that Van Jones saw his work alongside Obama as the way to be a “more effective revolutionary.” Van Jones, and many in the non-profitized left, see this “inside/outside” approach as the most effective way of organizing (and as we’ve seen this includes many post-STORM nonprofit organizations.)
What lessons will we draw from Van Jones’ effort to infiltrate the system and change it from within? Is it possible to have an “inside/outside” combination approach to revolutionary organizing (where we work within bourgeois electoral circuits, and outside of them) like the one that Bill Fletcher Jr. advocates for? This Van Jones example is yet another strong sign that it doesn’t work.
Unfortunately, many self-proclaimed revolutionaries see this type of strategy – basically, working within the system – as the only way to engage in day to day struggles: fighting budget cuts means working mostly within the existing student government/organizations and teacher’s union; battling exploitation on the job means working within the official union which is supposed to represent a particular group of workers interests. Etc, Etc.
Perhaps revolutionaries should consider taking the road of building autonomous organizations as vehicles capable of challenging budget cuts, exploitation on the job, police brutality, and other forms of capitalist oppression and exploitation. These autonomous organizations may relate to unions, student organizations, etc, but maintain ideological and organizational independence at the same time. This independence would allow revolutionary minded folks to actually create a magnetic pole of radicalism; providing space for individuals who are ready to take the system on more militantly, and also serve to pull existing organizations like unions and student orgs leftward.
These are some of the most burning questions revolutionaries should be discussing.