First, it must be stated that we define revolution as the complete transformation of the systems that organize and make up society from capitalist dominated institutions, structures, and values into revolutionary socialist centered societal institutions. To us, this distinction is critical because the role of socialism is to utilize state structures to facilitate the people's developing consciousness into that of the highest awareness and self consciousness so that state structures are no longer needed. So structures like child welfare, police, mental health institutions, colleges, universities, which under capitalism are utilized to feed the profit making mechanism and protect and advance the interests of the super rich are transformed under socialism to serve the people as a vehicle of preparing the people to serve themselves (communism). That's why education and health care are free under socialism so that they can serve to develop society in the ways mentioned. If this process is properly understood, then the next question is how do we achieve revolution? The answer is in order to have revolution, we must have revolutionaries. So then, the question is how do we transform people into revolutionaries?
We believe the solution to that last question is based in having a revolutionary ideology that can be spread among the people in an aggressive fashion to combat the reactionary capitalist ideology that dominates the world today. For us, that revolutionary ideology is Nkrumahism/Tureism, but any revolutionary ideology rooted in the culture of the people engaging in the struggle will serve the purpose if people are sincerely working to win the hearts and minds of the people over to the content of that revolutionary ideology. The work to facilitate this process is the revolutionary work that we are speaking of. So, how does this work look? As I was reminded during the seminar this morning, that question is an important one because organizing work is vastly misunderstood in a capitalist society. Even among so-called activists, even those who claim to be revolutionary, there is mass confusion around this work. We will attempt to give our interpretation here.
Mobilization or reform work is that in which is designed to win influence within the capitalist system. For example, there is rampant police terrorism so the people mobilize to come together and demand an end to the terrorism. If enough people are mobilized for a long enough period of time and the pressure builds to a strong enough level, then the power structure will take notice. This is especially true if the protests start to impact the ability of the capitalist system to function. Examples are the Montgomery bus boycotts of 1955, the uprisings of the women of Guinea-Bissau in 1973, the Soweto uprisings in 1976, the Occupy Movement of 2011, and Black Lives Matter protests today. These protests push the system to the point of agreeing to reforms e.g. police being individually held accountable, body cameras being worn, segregation laws lifted, etc. These are all very positive examples of activism, but they are mostly spontaneous - meaning people who have no common ideology or formal working relationship gather together to protest together. Since there are no formal relationships, often, the people at protests in the beginning are not necessarily the same people at protests later on during the campaign. The objectives within this context are always up for debate and actually, its remarkable if objectives are even discussed on any high level within these campaigns. Mostly, the focus is on expressing outrage at the issue. This is the process of mobilization. The strength in mobilizing work is it is often many people's first exposure to justice work and these activities are large enough and easy enough to access so that masses of people can find their way to participate. The weakness of mobilization work is that it is usually not sustainable because there is no common ideology and objectives. Plus, since its rooted in influencing the power structure, as opposed to changing it, the problems it seeks to address are never resolved through mobilization work. At best, those problems are challenged, maybe even confronted on some levels, but never resolved.
Revolutionary organizing work differs from mobilizing work in that it's purpose is long range solutions to the problems that impact society. Revolutionary organization isn't concerned about the immediate splash of attention. Nor is it focused on the flavor of the moment. Its more concerned about reaching people on an "each one teach one" basis and building consciousness that can transform people. This work is rooted in revolutionary ideology and consciousness that guides the persons participating into collective and ongoing action to change the system. A great example of this is the life of Kwame Ture, formally known as Stokely Carmichael. After making serious contributions to the movement as a member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee before then becoming the poster child of the Black power movement in the 1960s, Kwame went on to move to Guinea, West Africa and become a leading cadre in building the A-APRP. Essentially what this means is when he was working in SNCC and the Black Panther Party, Kwame was daily national, and often international news. His participation in protests and his speeches were broadcast widely and he was regularly featured on weekly television shows like "Face the Nation." Once he made the choice to work for revolutionary Pan-Africanism, his presence in the capitalist media evaporated, but his work intensified. He used his popularity (or lack of popularity) to travel tirelessly throughout the world talking to people and asking them to build work study circles for the A-APRP. He worked equally as intensely to build relationships with other revolutionary and progressive movements establishing high level work with the leadership of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement, the American Indian Movement, and the Palestinian movement. He established high level relationships with African revolutionary formations like the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau, the Pan-African Congress of Azania, South Africa, and the Democratic Party of Guinea, among others. He worked to ease tensions among African organizations in the U.S. He worked hard to insure Maulana Karenga from the US Organization was talking to other organizations in our community. He built relationships with Omari Obadele from the Republic of New Afrika and Chokwe Lumumba from the New African People's Organization (the organizations from which the current Malcolm X Grassroots Movement emerged). He did the same with Louis Farrakhan from the Nation of Islam and Omari Yeshitela from the African People's Socialist Party. In fact, one of the last physical acts Kwame carried out was aggressively seeking to get Julian Bond, who was President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Minister Farrakhan to sit down together instead of continuing to be pitted against one another by the capitalists and zionists. From 1968 until 1998 when he made his physical transition, Kwame did this work outside of the capitalist media and outside of the consciousness and awareness of most of you reading this. This is why many people ignorantly still believe he spent those last 30 years "not doing anything." We argue that the un-glamorous work of bringing people together and building relationships is the most difficult, but necessary work that needs to be done. It is also the work that most people don't want to do because it is thankless in the sense that no one is going to appreciate your work to pull meetings together on a consistent basis, but if you are successful, years later the quality of your contribution will shine through. We know this because although Kwame has been physically absent from us for going on 16 years, the foundation of the work he did is still growing. His message of revolutionary Pan-Africanism, scientific socialism, unity, and organization are all being trumpeted all over the world today in English, Twi, Creole, Swahili, French, Spanish, and many other languages Kwame couldn't speak. Organizers are all over the world continuing to do that critical work. Organizations are working together and the call for unity and organization is heard all across the land. The work people like Kwame did to institutionalize ideological concepts are strong today as well. The A-APRP initiated a "Smash the FBI/CIA" campaign in the 1970s. At that time, it was political suicide to speak out in public against those "sacred" organizations. Today, everyone knows the terrorist nature of those criminal organizations. How did this mass consciousness develop because it wasn't on CNN, FOX, CBS, or any of those CIA networks? You didn't learn this in school, not even college? How did you know to question the merits of those organizations the way you know it today? Another example is consciousness around the struggle of the Palestinian people. Youtube is full of videos demonstrating that Kwame was speaking militantly against zionism in the 80s, something no one else in the U.S. was doing at that time in the same way. Today, anti-zionist consciousness is spreading widely and we continue to inform about zionism's role in sabotaging African liberation. Kwame's not here today so where did this consciousness come from? Again, the television news isn't talking about zionism. Maybe you read about it on social media? Great, but even that wasn't happening 30 years ago on these questions. The point is people like Kwame Ture did the day to day work and built the necessary relationships to spread that revolutionary consciousness in ways that people have picked up on and continued to distribute, despite the fact they may or not may know who Kwame is or any of the people who laid the groundwork for this revolutionary consciousness to take hold.
Revolutionary organizing work is not for the faint of heart. It requires extreme patience and initiative. It will only work if your ego is in check and you are prepared to climb hills, fall back, keep climbing. You will have to do extensive work and no one is going to see it. In fact, the harder you work, the more people will tell you that you are not doing anything. If you have that common revolutionary ideology, that's when you rely on it to comfort you to the fact that you are doing what you do not to win any popularity contests, but to advance consciousness. You will know this is a protracted and eternal struggle and your responsibility is simply to contribute all you can to that struggle while you are still able. If you do this work, you will have to sit with the understanding that the work you do is setting the stage for that level of collective consciousness that will one day permit us to have the conditions for revolutionary change. That's enough for me.