The following originally appeared on Kasama. It is a response to a recent polemic that appeared on the Club Jacobin blog.
by Eric Ribellarsi
New Beginnings Need New Methods
Kasama is a communist project – which means we have united around our end goal, a radically changed and liberated world without exploitation or oppression. Meanwhile, we are engaged in a creative struggle to define the means and strategies for getting there. For three years we have tried to make a contribution toward creating a new revolutionary movement in the U.S., and a new communist pole within it.
We think that means breaking with a lot of past thinking and activity. We have pointed to two things that are missing: At this moment in the U.S., communists don’t have a core organization to unite our work, and we don’t have a creative strategy for fusing revolutionary politics with the people who rise in struggle.
To deal with these absences, our Kasama project has consciously tried to avoid two common pulls: First we have resisted rushing to form a new small sect based on pre-existing and inherited politics. And second we have resisted losing ourselves in a flurry of generic activism.
Both of those things (sect-building and generic activism) would recreate those methods and routines that have, time and time again, led scattered radical forces to stop far short of a revolution.
In the document that follows, I would like to talk about what we have been doing – which has been, admittedly, primitive and tentative. Many people reading this will be familiar with our Kasama discussion site, but may not be aware of how this site fits into building a new revolutionary movement.
As part of that, I want to respond to a recent polemic written by GM of the Club Jacobin blog – which makes a negative summation of our Kasama Project. Despite our sharp differences, I suspect part of the issue here is that some observers, including the CJ author, may honestly misunderstand Kasama’s politics or activities. And so I’m excited for this chance to clarify.
While I was a bit disappointed in the way that CJ’s piece relied heavily on speculation regarding the non-public work of the Kasama organization, mainly I am excited and welcoming of this opportunity to clarify our politics in response to this comrade.
To be fair, I believe that the Club Jacobin piece points to a number of places where Kasama has real weaknesses – we are a very young and primitive project that is just starting our theoretical and practical work. To deny this would be a mistake. Nonetheless, we are trying to develop a common language for revolutionaries who are, often, coming from very different places and experiences, and we have made some progress in this important work.
But, at the same time I also feel the CJ piece is based on a rather different view of what revolutionaries need to be doing.