The launch of Red Flags is still a few weeks off, but in the meantime, something must-read does come across the wire. Andy Cornell and Dan Berger have shared their assessment of the current period and what is portends for anti-authoritarian activists. (By way of Kazembe who just launched what promises to be the blog of the year.)
Ten Questions for Movement Building and Reflections on the Current Period has a "movement-centered" orientation that ontologically equates organized political parties and groupings on the revolutionary left with sectarianism, no matter their actual practice -- but lacks some of the knuckle-headed shallowness that generally passes for original thinking in these circles.
Both are dedicated anti-racists, anti-imperialists and anti-capitalists. Both reject Leninism and feel little need to even engage what it is. And in this, they are typical of activists around the USA at this point in time. I post this not because I agree much at all with what it says, but rather because it is honest, is the product of hundreds of discussions around the country, and, perhaps most importantly — because they actually want to see some motion in the movement is everything.
The traditional anti-authoritarian mix of social-democracy and anarchism is fully evident here, with serious objectives not discussed -- and the myriad obvious ways that it has limited resistance movements (from within) is not addressed.
While Dan and Andy look to Latin America as an exception to this rule -- it is the very proof in the pudding. See Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia — and, yes, Mexico. If the proletariat cannot rule, according to the orthodoxies here, then it would seem the bourgeoisie is always up for the part.
In the same way that Berger's history of the Weather Underground takes their conceits at face value, this joint statement is rigorous only within the narrow limits it sets itself: anyone who has alternate answers to these questions is categorically denounced as "sectarian," fixated on "correct line," while the very line they agree on is always implicit. Quite a trick when looked at from outside, disheartening when its implications are grasped. And, it only works so long as proletarian politics don't have an organic presence... As Avakian remembered Lenin observing, anarchism remains payment for the sins of revisionism.
I would argue that the responsibility for this lies in the failures of the communist movement to fully break with what are genuinely authoritarian and reactionary ideological habits we've inherited. That revolutionary-minded thinkers such as these two remain divorced from the exciting developments among revolutionary communists is a tragedy. They continue to treat MLM as little more than a sectarian tic, which at this point I suspect is honest ignorance, and in so doing limit both themselves and the "range of the possible" among countless radicals looking to break on through.