Stop talking about revolution while not meaning it. Stop talking about revolution without making it. Stop talking about revolution without recognizing that it is not a dinner party, but a violent act, a violent overthrow of one class by another. Heed my advice, or you playin’. The “left” in the United States and the rest of the first world is so doped and duped by what passes for mainstream political discourse and “radical” rhetoric (ballots, elect a socialist to your city council, police permitted demonstrations every month, etc.) that they actually believe that a revolution can be made by a few artisanal coffee shop patronizing, ascot twirling, Trotsky reading gentrifiers with MAs in something useless, if only they can get enough members into their organizations, if only they can get enough people to hold their signs, if only they can get enough people to show up to their “mass meetings” (invariably 99% white and held at a local “radical” bookstore that used to be someone’s affordable housing), then the “political revolution” will be prepared and we will elect the government that we need. Gradual change. Get out the vote for some “activist” to get into City Hall to fight a brick wall and posture and pose and lie until they decide to just say “fuck it” and sell all the way out like Bobby Rush and Bobby Seale did. Inch slowly towards some “horizon”. Join every movement and pull it towards some opportunistic end, build up your own reformist/revisionist organization, to hell with the people, they’re bodies for protests and nothing more. Build coalitions of paid activists and wreck actual mass organizing efforts that actually dare to say “Fuck the Police”. Take over the DNC! Again, you playin’. The revolutionaries are the Black and Brown youth who struggled with that pig in Anaheim the other day and returned to fuck his house up. This is who holds the future. Not you. Those who are willing to use violence are those who will make revolution. Those who police them are…well, the police. In or out of uniform.
What is a revolution? Those that have made them, or who have encouraged us to make them, or who have died in the course of making them, naturally, are who we should listen to. Malcolm X speaks of revolution as something that is “never peaceful, never loving, never nonviolent. Nor are they compromising, but destructive and bloody”. This was a dig at the Ghandian tactics of Martin Luther King, Jr. (while we’re on Ghandi, read this great picking apart of his ridiculousness), who he had much respect for as a fellow leader of the New Afrikan nation and who he was willing to defend with his life, but whose tactics he saw as suicidal, pointless, harmful, and beggarish. X and King’s contention was a class contention and a line contention, one that has been raging as long as there has been an black revolutionary struggle in the United States. It was, essentially, a line struggle between the conservative, Southern, religious petit-bourgeoisie, represented by Dr. King, a minister from a petit-bourgeois background, and the urban black proletariat/lumpen-proletariat in the cities of the North and West, represented by X. Every idea and every line represents the interests and outlook of a certain class, and not all ideas or lines are correct, factual, or equal. King was rooted in idealism and metaphysics, he was anti-Communist, he rejected Communism as being cold and unfeeling and “making no room for Christ”. X, on the other hand, embraced Marxist inspired revolutions and spoke of revolutionary China as a country where the “uncle Tom Chinese” had been booted out. X had a correct understanding of revolution and of violence in them, he was uninhibited by dogma that was only introduced to our people to make us, essentially, easier to maintain in a weak position, and his background as a prisoner and lumpen-proletarian gave him an appreciation for and recognizance of the laws of human society, one of them being that an unarmed and defenseless people is subject to being prey and that there is no justice without bloodshed of the oppressor. The civil rights movement represented by King was not a revolution, it was a mass movement, of course, but one centered around bourgeois democratic demands (voting and desegregation), one that still saw promise in America, one that saw that things just needed to be “fixed” and laws passed. To call it a revolution is to toy with the word, and sap the essence from it, the essence of struggle.
A revolution, as defined and practiced by Mao and others who have actually made them, is a violent act, the overthrow of one class by another. Revolutions kill, revolutions suppress the rights of the enemy, revolutions are protracted. Revolutions sweep the old system, the old order, out the door, and bring in another one. To do this requires violence, because dying classes fight like hell to ensure their power remains “secure”. Even after all the old big bourgeois, comprador elements, lackeys of all sorts, and fascists are dead, there will still be revolution to be made, because old shit dies hard. Of course, there are ups and downs and ebbs and flows in levels of struggle, and not all struggle absolutely must be violent, especially during the socialist period, but the fact remains that new bourgeois or would-be bourgeois elements will pop up, old ideas will reappear, new erroneous lines ideas will appear. Struggle appears in all things, in nature, in societies, in the process of changing from one society to another. We don’t shun this or promote “all getting along”, we welcome it, cast off the old and welcome the new. To cast off the old system of capitalism-imperialism, the most violent and Earth destroying system known in human history, one that is willing to spray grandmothers with freezing water to remove them from their land, one that is willing to spray Palestinian crops with herbicide to starve them, one that bombs and massacres untold thousands every year, one that is willing to lock people in tiny cages for decades, we must recognize that the process of doing so simply will not be peaceful. Demonstrations and protests have their purpose in the revolutionary movement. They are threats, shows of force, shows of rage. In a revolutionary demonstration that has mobilized the revolutionary masses, cops are cursed out and if there are enough people, their windows are smashed and their cars flipped. There is no handshaking, permit asking, or meeting with beforehand or afterwards, the pigs are our enemies. In a revolutionary movement, there is no “critical engagement” with the electoral system. You can run all the candidates you want, even if they win, what happens? They’re swallowed up and get obsessed with remaining in office, ideals go out the window. The Black Panther Party ran people for office, this was a rightist deviation, one we shouldn’t repeat. Again, you playin’. To make revolution, ultimately, the American Left is going to have to come to hard terms with the fact that our strength is in the streets, among the masses of youth and working class people, with primary stress going to those from oppressed nations. If your organization does not practice the mass line method of leadership and you don’t know what a line is, you playin’. If you don’t know how to defend yourself, you playin’. If you do not go among and talk to the broad masses of people and learn how ready they are for this shit, you playin’. If you do not engage with and listen to the broad masses of people, you playin’. If you hear the words “peaceful protest” coming out of your mouth, you playin’. Playing is not what we need right now, we need people’s war and we need to smash this shit for good. Fuck Bernie, fuck Kshama, fuck whatever bullshit hack candidate you cook up and serve to us. We’ve seen them before, they give us indigestion. My people have been waiting for 400 years, and have been the most advanced at this revolutionary shit. You should take some lessons. The only people that are interested in a nonviolent revolution are the enemy, because they know what revolution is and a peaceful one is not it. Pick a line, pick a side, read Mao and Malcolm, and act accordingly.