Category Archives: Revolution

Uniting With Comrades: Our Decision to Become a Kasama Collective

 

[Originally posted to thefirecollective.org]

After careful study and consideration, our collective, the FIRE Collective, has decided to formally affiliate ourselves with the Kasama Project. Kasama is a communist network in the US dedicated to a revolutionary reconception of communism. Further, we have decided to announce ourselves as a Kasama Collective.

In September of 2009, a group of us in Houston, Texas formed an independent communist collective, The FIRE Collective (standing for Fight Imperialism, Rethink and Experiment).

In both the US and around the world, we saw there was a process of refounding the communist movement that was both deeply necessary and at a beginning. This included a process of reconceiving the communist project, and we wanted to make our own contributions to that process together with our comrades.

We have been engaged in study and struggle for over a year. We’ve grown in numbers, developed our understanding of revolutionary theory and history, and forged a higher degree of political unity.

Revolution is not only a local exercise. It requires the strategic thinking, study, and coordinated practice of comrades throughout the country (and ultimately the world). The work of reconceiving cannot be confined to a locality, but rather it needs forms that can give expression to its fearless journey to places still unexplored, and questions unsettled. We believe there needs to be a combination of our local contributions to theory and practice with that which is developing on the national plane.

For these reasons, we are excited to join with the work the Kasama network has been engaged in, and contributing to charting an uncharted course to a communist future. Other similar collectives have also started to form as part of Kasama’s network, and we look forward to sharing theory and practice, learning from one another as we move.

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Filed under Anti-Imperialism, class struggle, Communism, Gulf States, Houston, Revolution, Southern Strategy, Southern United States, Texas, Uncategorized, United States

Organize The South! Dante Strobino, co-founder Raleigh, North Carolina, FIST, and UE field organizer. Nov. 13, 2010

[blip.tv ?posts_id=4436671&dest=-1]

This is a great, short talk by Dante Strobino from the Workers World Party national conference. He discusses the specific conditions facing the South, as well as the centrality of developing the revolutionary movement in this part of the country if we are to overthrow capitalism. – hastenawait

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Filed under African Americans, Alabama, North Carolina, Race, Revolution, Southern Strategy, Southern United States, The Left, United States, workers, Workers World Party

The Mountains Tremble: A Reportback from the Revolution in Nepal

Friday, November 12 · 1:00pm – 2:30pm

Southeastern Louisiana University Student Union (room 223)

N. Oak Street

Hammond, Louisiana

 

Nepal is a small land-locked country where communist revolution is changing everything. People are rising up against kings, castes and imperialism. Women are rising to lead. The revolution is related to the revolution unfolding in India.

In the first half of 2010, two revolutionary journalists, Eric Ribellarsi and Jed Brandt of the Kasama Project traveled to Nepal to report on these events. Their presentation will tell the story of this revolution, the current situation in Nepal, and feature video and photography from their journey.

Presented by the Southeastern Sociological Association (SSA) and the National Organization for Change (NOC) at Southeastern Louisiana University (SELU).

Click here for the flyer.

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Filed under class struggle, Communism, Event Announcement, Louisiana, Maoism, Nepal, Revolution, Solidarity, Southern United States, The Left, Uncategorized, United States, Upcoming Events

Party for Socialism and Liberation Classes in South Florida

South Florida PSL Class Series on Socialism & Revolution

Monthly, Every Second Wednesday at 7:00pm | Free

The PSL in South Florida is hosting a winter series of monthly socialism classes (see below for the full schedule and more information). All classes are discussion based and free of charge.

The first class of the series beings on November 10th.

=====================================
Spanish River Library — Lakeside Patio
1501 NW Spanish River Blvd
Boca Raton, FL 33431

MAP: http://goo.gl/maps/W5cB
FLYER: http://answerfl.org/flyers/PSL_SoFla_Winter2010classes.pdf
RSVP on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=160851793947962

Tri Rail: Boca Raton stop

CONTACT: 305-710-3189 or miami@pslweb.org
=====================================

Class #1
11/10: Capitalism vs. Socialism: Myths and Facts
Understanding the capitalist economic crisis and making the case for socialist revolution

Class #2
12/08: Imperialism, War, & U.S. Empire
The real history behind U.S. imperialist foreign policy and the legacy of anti-colonial resistance

Class #3
01/12: Defeating racism & building class unity
From police brutality to immigrant rights, taking a look at our task of unity in the face of racism, sexism and bigotry

Class #4
02/09: Is a revolution possible in the U.S.?
Discussing the role of organization and the necessity of a multinational working class party.

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Filed under ANSWER Coalition, Event Announcement, Florida, Gulf States, Revolution, Southern United States, Uncategorized, United States, Upcoming Events

FIRE Collective Event: Reportback from the Revolution in Nepal

by KurtFF8

(Taken from Kasama:)

This was originally on thefirecollective.org.

Austin, TX Event: Reportback from the Revolution in Nepal

The Mountains Tremble: A Reportback from the Revolution in Nepal

Nepal is a small land-locked country where communist revolution is changing everything. People are rising up against kings, castes and imperialism. Women are rising to lead. The revolution is related to the revolution unfolding in India. In May and June of 2010, Eric Ribellarsi traveled to Nepal to report on these events. Eric Ribellarsi’s presentation will tell the story of this revolution, the current situation in Nepal, and feature video and photography from his journey.

Saturday, November 6, 2010 @ 1PM

ACC Pinnacle Campus, Room 1013

7748 Highway 290 West

Austin, TX 78736

Presented by The FIRE Collective and Twelfth Revolution

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Filed under Event Announcement, Revolution, Texas, The Left, Upcoming Events, Women, workers

Cultural Politics and Resignification: The Case of July 4th

By hastenawait

A couple of years ago when July 4th rolled around, I began thinking about the contradiction between my celebration of the holiday and my leftist politics. Those who oppose racism, imperialism, genocide (e.g. the slaughter of the indigenous population of North America) and other forms of oppression perpetrated by the United States have many reasons to be critical of the holiday.(1) Despite the more manifest meaning of the holiday (the celebration of values like freedom, liberty and so forth), for many it has come to represent oppression, and there are ample reasons for that; like other social phenomena, it is contradictory. At the immediate, personal level, I was faced with the question: Should I opt out of my family’s holiday celebration, one of the few times during the year when we all get together to enjoy one another’s company? Ultimately I decided not to opt out, and here’s why.

The celebration of a holiday is a cultural practice, which can be analyzed as a performance (or rather collection of performances) which bear meaning. To say that a holiday has inherent meanings which cannot be changed is essentialist and ahistorical. A holiday, like any other cultural practice, can be submitted to a process of resignification. Todd Holden describes resignification as follows.

As its name implies, resignification is a semiotic process—meaning that it involves the creation of meaning from signs. However, resignification is a particular kind of semiosis: one where new sign elements (signifiers, signifieds, signs, significations) are lifted from their original contexts and inserted into other semiotic sequences, though not always (indeed seldom) in the position they occupied in their prior incarnation.

Two aspects are most salient about resignification: first, strung together in unrelenting sequence, such recycling amounts to a phenomenon of sociological import. Most especially, because, procedurally, resignification both reflects and assists cultural mutation. [Italics added by the present author.](2)

In other words, the concept of resignification – an extension of the concept of signification – has been developed to indicate that not only is meaning dependent upon the social context, but that meaning changes over time. The social radically conditions the ability of individual actors (or even groups of actors) to create meaning, but agency is also involved in the production of meaning. Critical intervention is always possible. Despite his emphasis on the determining power of social structure (particularly the economic base) Marx still said that “History does nothing; it does not possess immense riches, it does not fight battles. It is men [sic.], real, living, who do all this.”

In terms of holidays, the history of Christianity offers an instructive example of successful resignification. It is well known that as the influence of the Catholic Church spread across Europe, many indigenous traditions, including holidays, were transformed into Christian traditions (but at the same time the emerging “Christianity” was also modified by the absorption). An uneven, dialectical synthesis took place, in which Christianity was the dominant force. That the early Church was able to do this was an important factor in its ability to transform the European continent after its own image, in other words, to establish a hegemony which lasted over 2,000 years. Whatever we think about it today, Christianity was certainly a successful revolutionary force that changed the course of world history.

When I was thinking about the 4th of July a few years ago, I wrote

…it’s undeniable that this country has a lot going for it, things that are worth celebrating. War hawks often say, with a sense of deep satisfaction, that the freedoms and stability we enjoy were won through blood and sacrifice. They’re right, but not in the sense that they intend. They usually say such things to defend an imperialist foreign policy and the military industrial complex, things which I believe have done nothing but curtail freedom and stability around the world. But there are altogether different struggles and sacrifices that have given us something to be proud of.

…That we have anything close to a system with a human face, in other words democracy, is absolutely the result of popular struggle. Democracy doesn’t come from anywhere else.

I’m talking about the struggles to end slavery, racism, exploitation and sexism. I’m talking about struggles for peace and equality. I’m talking about the movement for LGBT rights. The list goes on.

…For all these reasons I’m celebrating the Forth of July this year. I’m celebrating the democratic rights that we have, and the people who fought to make them a reality. I am celebrating to embolden myself for the future, because the fight for democracy, really, is just beginning; what we have now is just a taste of what we can achieve if we put forth the collective effort. The Right doesn’t own this holiday any more than they own this country. In fact, let me say something that will infuriate right-wing patriots: It is Left-wing and progressive forces that have made the United States live up to its promises of freedom and democracy [to the limited extent that it has], and we’re the ones who should be celebrating; it’s our victory.

In other words, I was suggesting that we could celebrate the 4th of July in a radically different way. We could resignify it. I ask: Would the Catholic Church have been as successful in its efforts to conqueor Europe if it hadn’t transformed some existing cultural practices, instead of simply trying to wipe them out? Would the process have gone less smoothly if they had taken the latter course?

I honestly don’t think that it will do for the left to simply tell working people that their holiday is racist and imperialist. It is a deeply embedded cultural institution, in which people of various classes, nationalities, genders, sexualities, and more, have made powerful libidinal investments. In fact, most of the African Americans that I know here in southern Louisiana celebrate the holiday very enthusiastically, and wouldn’t be too impressed if I told them that they should give it up in the name of struggle. Communists and other progressives should realize that many of the traditions which have developed around the holiday are the expressions of oppressed and working people (contradictory though they are), and should not, therefore, be dismissed in a heavy-handed or patronizing way.

Let me juxtapose two hypothetical cultural activist interventions in regard to this holiday.

Imagine a leftist group on a street corner, protesting the 4th of July, chanting angrily and holding up provocative signs. Then, imagine a leftist group throwing a big 4th of July celebration in a major park, in which the workers’ movement, the civil rights movement, the American Indian movement, the LGBTQI movement, the immigrant’s rights movement, the women’s movement, etc. were celebrated. Imagine an event which popularized the history of struggle in this country, brought attention to those who have really worked to bring about the modicum of freedom and equality that we enjoy. What if we held up banners with the faces of great U.S. Americans like Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, John Brown and Cesar Chavez?

I ask: Which of these interventions would be more alienating to working people raised in a culture of patriotism? Which of these is more patronizing? Conversely, which of these is more subversive? Which would help to win more people over to the side of radical social transformation, i.e., revolution?

(1) Check out Frederick Douglass’ Independence Day Speech at Rochester, 1841.

(2) http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0104/japtele.php

In addition to the works of Ferdinand de Saussare and Roland Barthes(semiotics), Judith Butler (performativity) and Mao Zedong (the mass line), I am also influenced in my thinking on this matter by Alain Badiou’s insistence that we remember that, in the process of revolutionary dialectics, it is not enough to negate an existing condition, but also to affirm or create something new. All too often this is a weak point on the left, whether reformist or revolutionary. See, for example, his lecture, Destruction, Negation and Subtraction, which you can watch on YouTube.

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Filed under African Americans, Anti-Imperialism, Anti-War, class struggle, Imperialism, labor movement, Leftists in the U.S. South, National Oppression, Native Americans, Prison Industrial Complex, Prisoners, Queer, Race, Revolution, Southern Strategy, Southern United States, The Left, Uncategorized, United States, Women, workers

Sooo…the United States is the greatest country in the world, you say? Best place on earth to live, you say?

Submitted by Dustin Getz, of Alabama

A few days ago a conservative told me that only the radical left saw immense problems at home in the U.S., and that the rest of the country was content to just live their lives as best they could. I gave this some thought, and I think this is far from the truth. I think there are many, many people that sense a huge problem but aren’t quite sure what it is.

Just ask the mother with a nursing baby that was evicted from her apartment despite the fact that she has no family nearby, or perhaps her family is in a position hardly better than her own? Would she say there are no big problems facing this nation? What about the homeless man who can’t get on government programs because of having been convicted of a drug felony?

What about the grandmother that had her home payed off and is raising her grandchildren because their mother is in prison for having to sell her body because she couldn’t find a “real” job and their father is serving a life sentence for selling crack cocaine, and then joined the refinancing craze only to be swallowed up by the adjustable rate trap and had her home she had lived in for 30 years taken from her? What about the family with their credit destroyed to the point of not being able to rent or buy a house because of medical bills?

These people, and millions more, see a problem. Oh yes, they see a problem. It is only a matter of time and effort till we can make them see the solution. A Socialist society is the answer. When this large group of disenfranchised Americans come to realize this on a mass scale, the fat cats in Washington D.C. and the state capitols should tremble. For on that day, the age of capitalism in the U.S. will be in it’s last throes.

Sooo…the United States is the greatest country in the world, you say? Best place on Earth to live, you say?

Lets take a look at the truth of that sentiment. I’m not saying we have it bad off here compared to a lot of nations, it’s just that I tire of people thinking we’re all that. The fact is we’re average on most things, decent at some things and below average on some things. Anyway, I’ll shut up and let the facts speak for themselves.

Life expectancy: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_lif_exp_at_bir_tot_pop-life-expectancy-birth-total-population

Infant mortlity rate:  https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2091rank.html

Abortion rates: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_abo_percap-health-abortions-per-capita

Crime: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita

Overall crime rates:  http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_tot_cri_percap-crime-total-crimes-per-capita

Education: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/11/26/world/main530872.shtml

“South Korea has the most effective education system in the world’s richest countries, with Japan in second place and the United States and Germany near the bottom, a United Nations study said Tuesday.”

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Filed under Alabama, class struggle, Communism, Revolution, The Left, Uncategorized, United States