This is a transcription of Mike Davis’ speech and closing remarks at the ISO’s “Socialism” conference which took place in San Francisco this summer. We’re posting it here cos we know some local activists that couldn’t get into the talk . . .
About the speech: Mike rightfully calls out the Democratic Party for enabling the gutting of social services despite their majority in Sacramento. So many folks in progressive orgs, unions, etc are caught up in a paradigm that accepts the Democrats as the party of the people, and Mike smashes on this illusion.
Also, he brings up the fact that social movements alone cannot rise to the challenge of combatting the crisis. The missing ingredient is fresh cadre organizations. Here’s a snippet and then the whole speech:
“Even if you say that the whole legacy of Leninism was a historical disaster, you’re still faced with exactly the same questions posed in Lenin’s What Is To Be Done. That is, the need to create some organization of organizers that provides a framework for young people willing to make extraordinary sacrifices and dedicate their lives solely to the fight of the poor and the working class. The need organize a cadre of people able to exchange and generalize and coordinate experiences across the struggle so that some kind of genuinely left agenda–which means a pro-working class agenda–becomes possible.
The Bolshevik Party may not be the only route to this. The anarchists in Barcelona did a pretty good job in a different way of bringing together and coordinating a relentless struggle for their principles and the principles of the working class.
But the question is inescapable. You have to talk about this question. You have to talk about the creation of organizations. I’m not arguing to revive the little red book or the thoughts of Leon Trotsky, but we need organizations that can allow such dedication to exist.”