Tag Archives: Johnson-Forrest Tendency

Unifying Revolutionary Forces in the Coming Year

We are some members of Advance the Struggle, a New York revolutionary collective, and Black Orchid Collective who have been travelling together and discussing during the lead up to the Everything for Everyone Conference in Seattle.  Through these conversations, we have been brainstorming ideas for how we can build together over the long term. The following is the results of these brainstorms.  To be clear, this is a discussion document, NOT a formal position representing our groups.  It is also not something we aim to push as an immediate outcome of the Everything for Everyone conference.  Instead, we hope it will prompt discussion about how to move forward during 2012 into 2013.  We also acknowledge that not everyone involved in E4E will agree with or be interested in this project, but we hope that those who are contact us so we can discuss further.

  1. Tensions of building a national formation
  2. Character of Occupy
  3. Rupture versus base building? Towards a new Revolutionary Organization
  4. Towards a working class insurrection

2012-2013 can be a year of unifying revolutionary militants from around the US. In order for this to happen we need to take the necessary preparatory steps in 2013 to develop a common political analysis and perspective on revolutionary work.  Our strength will come from unifying all of the militants that come out of left communism, anarcho-communism, Johnson-Forrest Tendency/Sojourner Truth, and like-minded revolutionary forces close to this constellation.

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Introducing “The Magical Blue Pamphlet”

Capital and Today’s Crisis by Raya Dunayevskaya

Magical Blue Pamphlet

Click Here to touch 5MB of the magic! (Blueness not shown.)

Millions of workers have been laid off since the 2007 crisis, creating a new political world where turbulence is to be expected in the coming period.  A new generation of activists has been reading Karl Marx’s Capital to understand our changing contemporary political reality.  This new political reality demands a political theory to explain and help transform it.  Who is building a revolutionary framework for this process?  The contemporary revolutionary left is largely an extension of 1960s Trotskyist and Maoist groups, fighting for correct leadership over movements, or anarchist and insurrectionist currents, trying to set a spark to the dry wood of the people.  Are these our only revolutionary political options? Raya Dunayevskaya, great but generally-ignored Marxist theorist, was at one point Trotsky’s secretary but later broke from and critiqued Trotskyism through the Marxist method.  Well-known Trinidadian co-thinker CLR James (author of The Black Jacobins on the Haitian slave revolution) has overshadowed her, and she is often dismissed as a cult leader.  One day, a member of Advance the Struggle found a Dunayevskaya pamphlet that AS militants informally labeled “The Magical Blue Pamphlet” (MBP).

It is often assumed that Marx’s Capital is a work that explains Capitalist economics.  And it does, but to reduce it to that ignores the revolutionary fire built into the text.  Raya recontextualizes Capital by demonstrating how it embodies the experience of revolutionary movements; this provides a direct challenge to theorists like famous Trotskyist Ernest Mandel, whose “vulgarization of Marx’s analysis of the dialectical relationship between production and its reflection in the market” Raya smashes on in “Today’s Epigones Who Try to Truncate Marx’s Capital.”  One of Dunayevskaya’s central points is that capital is not a thing that oppresses us but a relationship we are subjected to.  She explores how the American slave revolts and the Paris Commune formed and deepened Marx’s understanding of capital, summarizes the three volumes of Capital as a singular political unit of revolutionary logic, then finishes the pamphlet by exploring the Russian revolution.

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Rank-and-File Marxist Theory: The Sojourner Truth Organization Workplace Papers

A new generation of students and workers has inherited the crisis of capitalism.  Capital must always expand, but now it finds itself in one of its inevitable crises of reproduction that annihilates “the future and constructs the youth as a subject of social protest.”1 A new generation is seeking tools for coping with crisis and cuts, and some are turning towards political struggle as a solution.  The question then arises: what political method do we use for battle?  Which traditions do we draw from heavily and which do we mostly leave aside?  Huey Newton for instance dealt deeply with this question when he found no group he wanted to work with and decided to create a new method.

Click on the image to download the Full PDF

Reading revolutionary militant and decolonial theorist Frantz Fanon as well as Karl Marx and Mao Zedong transformed his political thinking, providing a framework for why and how to build the Black Panther Party.  The Panthers spread like wildfire through the US because the fighting history and readiness of the Black working class met its reflection in an anti-imperialist Marxist theory developed and propagated by Black militants.

Another US attempt to build a new approach was the Johnson-Forrest Tendency (JFT) started in 1940 by Trotskyist militants CLR James and Raya Dunayevskaya.   Continue reading