If you subscribe to revolutionary politics than you not only must accept the independent organization approach, but you must belong to one. There can be no compromise on these two conditions because if you are truly revolutionary (and not just bumping your gums about it) then you have spent enough time studying revolution to know revolutions can only happen with mass participation and direction. No few people or individuals make revolution. That's only in the movies. The real life versions require the participation and leadership of millions of people working together on a collective level. The individualistic, macho rugged male leaders of the revolution you are always presented with are not the true leaders of any true revolution. In those cases, if you look closely, you will always see mass organization. You will see women in leadership of the revolution. You will see students, elders, workers, peasants, all playing their leadership roles. If you can't find all of that you either don't know how to find it or what you are looking at isn't a genuine revolutionary process. And if you, or anyone around you, attempts to argue that there has never been such a revolution, stop. Go back to the research box. Do some, and get back to us when you are ready.
That brings us to the question of leadership. What is leadership? Is it that macho guy killing everyone, having access to all the women, and giving everyone orders? In the movies produced under capitalism, yes, that's leadership, but in real life that's toxicity. In real life leadership looks like those people, young, old, in between, men, women, neither, all ethnic backgrounds of life. Those people who decide to place the interests of humanity in front. The decision to do this requires these fine people to engage in serious work to strengthen their humility, self-lessness, and courage. They need their attributes because those things will give them the vision, patience, and determination they need to keep fighting in the face of countless efforts to derail them. For example, this leader must understand that their objective is the advancement of the work, not personal recognition. That's why the true leader never organizes the work around themselves. Their work is never about featuring them in any way. They aren't concerned about getting interviews. This revolutionary leader would never run for bourgeois office. They would never attack others in the movement personally. In fact, this leader may not even become a local leader. What they will do is develop many local leaders, many of whom will never even realize who helped them develop. And this leader knows no one is going to give them any credit for anything. Actually, many people may even be challenged to articulate exactly what they did, but no one will doubt that they were and are a central part of everything productive that is taking place.
These virtues are fundamentally important. Especially in this age of social media. Where people can create themselves anyway they want. Where the truth is far less important than having the ability to make people feel something. Where the objective isn't justice, but well, whatever you want it to be. In this age there are people who actually have no organization to speak of. People who have nothing tangible in terms of organizing experience. People who have none of that, but who do have a very well polished social media presence. And because of that, many, many, people consider these social media folks leaders. And these folks believe this because they are weak on the virtues expressed here. They don't even have a gauge from where to evaluate the virtues because most of them don't possess any organizational experience themselves because social media doesn't require that. To proliferate in the social media universe all that's required is a computer, a title, and that all important ability to make people feel something. Unfortunately, most of those with any organizing experience today possess that of the non-profit variety. You know, that world of check ins and debriefs where people actually think those things are the same as revolutionary praise, criticism, self-criticism. Today, no self criticism is practiced. That's why so many of so-called new leaders splinter as soon as any significant level of criticism is waged against them. Not used to principled struggle. The type that takes place within any revolutionary organization on a daily basis.
So, since so many people lack the basic necessities of leadership today, it will be difficult at first for many of you to effectively identify leadership functioning around you. Here are some clues on what to look for. That person you take for granted who always shows up. That person who always seems to have what you need to make you look and feel better about what you are doing. That person who always encourages everyone that we can and will win. That person who's word is bond. That person who takes that extra time to nurture relationships. Who isn't gossiping. Who isn't tearing people down. The one everyone trusts who comes through time and time again. The one who always comes prepared. Always reads. The one who doesn't make excuses. Who values your time and efforts. The one no one ever credits for anything, but people are always hating on for completely insignificant reasons. The one who refuses to veer off course while so many of us are focusing on the drama creators and flakes. Those who continue to insist that our work be focused around their trauma. Who make all the work about them individually. If you stop giving this latter group all your attention you will begin to learn to recognize the true leaders who are operating around you all the time. And, maybe then you can begin to truly appreciate what they contribute to us. Hopefully, that will motivate you to begin your journey towards becoming a true leader. We are going to need you in 2018.