by Patrick Ryan
[Note: Revolutionary Initiative does not have a position on Freedom Road Socialist Organization and cannot vouch for the accuracy of the author’s criticisms of that particular organization. However, the letter raises many important issues for people and organizations committed to making revolution in imperialist countries, particularly regarding how engaging in mass work relates to building a revolutionary movement.]
[Edit: This letter has been responded to by a supporter of FRSO here. That response was criticized by a supporter of the FIRE Collective here.]
“All resistance is a rupture with what is. And every rupture begins, for those engaged in it, through a rupture with oneself.”
— Alain Badiou.
This is a letter to all those who genuinely want to build a movement to overthrow oppression and establish a new society that aims for the transition to communism.
At present Freedom Road Socialist Organization is not on the path to accomplishing these goals, but rather finds itself focused tightly on partial demands, base building and Democratic Party politics that do not ultimately help organize and lead a movement to overthrow this capitalist and imperialist system. It leads us and the people deeper and deeper into the logic and rationalizations of bourgeois democracy.
After two years of being an active member, I have concluded that the current political trajectory of FRSO will only yield further from the goal of liberation and I now resign from that organization.
At the heart of this trajectory exists a bundle of assumptions about how fundamental radical social transformation can occur, and how we understand the role of the liberal-capitalist Democratic Party. This line promotes only structural reforms and defense of the capitalist welfare state, while obfuscating line differences within the organization. In practice this has meant concentration of cadres in NGOs, as board members in progressive nonprofits, and as union bureaucracies. This line is encapsulated in the statement:
“If the people don’t vote it [socialism] in or bring it about through mass national strikes and other popular forms, it will not happen!” 1
This political line cannot imagine rebellions, insurrections, and protracted conflicts that would make the old system ungovernable. Instead, stubbornly insists that voting or mass strikes will be the only possible methods for achieving state power. In a revisionist CP-style politics, we are told to “beat the far-right,” when in practice we know this always meant that we capitulate to liberals and surrender any radical or revolutionary aims. The enemy is defined as the far-right Republicans and Tea Party drones, and not the capitalist system and its empire. Continue reading “Letter of Resignation from Freedom Road Socialist Organization”