There is a uncertainty within the imperialist center. To be accurate there are many uncertainties but if we wish to narrow these uncertainties down then we may say that the uncertainty we are dealing with concerns itself with revolutionaries; communist– theorist— revolutionaries to be exact. Unsurprisingly, this uncertainty is about theoretical uncertainty, of not knowing, of possessing a vague sense of how to navigate the waters, but being unable to know the way forward for sure. It is a conundrum.
I first noticed the deeper implications of this uncertainty as I was reading an exchange between M. Paul and Juarezjuan. It began, strictly speaking, with the birth of each, and escalated as polemics were issues: The latter published, on their own blog “The Rectification Rumpus Room“, a post attacking the “excremental thinking” of the former, by which the former responded to the latter by issuing his own defensive measure.
Now, I am not implying by any means that the exchange of polemics is a bad thing. Not at all. I have my own contribution towards revolutionary theory which, though not without significant issues, I stand by as a measure of contribution towards a debate. It is important to critique and expand upon what we know since otherwise we will never learn (obviously).
However, my issue here is not so much as the theory as it is the stance– of some– who claim a monopoly on theory when despite acknowledging what was the central issue between M. Paul and Juarezjuan, that we live in a vague epoch; one where due to the specific cultural and material realities of living in an advanced imperialist country, there are certain organizing contradictions which pop up as a result. These contradictions are, namely, that the practical application of theory to reality which, in turn, demonstrates the practicality of that theory in relation to resolving contradictions (whether they be among the people or within the party/organization). Contradictions which inhibit the recruitment of members, establishment of cells and branches and educational groups, as well as the launching of campaigns (both military and civilian in nature) against the bourgeois dictatorship (in whatever form or cultural sector it may manifest).
Such contradictions are inter-penetrative in nature, so they are hard to pin down. They deal with culture, perception of the past, ideology and propaganda, and class and social position. They “trickle down” to the proletariat creating a haze of false consciousness, within the “enlightened” revolutionist, however, they manage to manifest as well, only not as false consciousness but as a rigid refusal to admit the limits of theory parallel to material reality; hence, a discussion concerning the lack of a particular theory’s application in a situation, the perversion of a theory, the impracticality of theory, how a theory is revisionist or revolutionary, the degradation of theory (how it has since lost meaning in relation to a time in the past), and how a theory could evolve in the future under certain conditions.
At the end of the day this is what our current efforts have amounted to: wanderings among the historic masses in a fog of confusion, wondering how to proceed forward when we can barely find our feet. No one denies there is a vagueness in our direction: the dogmatic admit to difficulty in organizing due to confusion among the masses as well as difficulty in dispelling such difficulty, while those of us in the regroupment wing openly admit to not knowing what is to be believed (as Mike Ely once commented on a post of mine), or my own uncertainties concerning a practical approach to revolution. No one intended for such disarray to overtake our organizing but the point it that it has. And the goal should be to join and surmount the chaos and confusion.
Obviously not all would agree with my findings as they are presented but they exist, and ultimately exist along with these exchanges, because no one knows the route to socialism; the signpost got hijacked! The red-nosed theory leading the way on comrade Santa’s sleigh is missing, mired somewhere in a sinkpit, while the effort to rescue theory takes place as several teams competing among each other for the scarce amount of resources they have in order to build several different rescue tools. It is a lose-lose situation, one which due to the contradictions of imperialist civilization, even those “enlightened” have a severe inability to even practically cooperate (applying theory of the past towards the resolution of contradictions within the party) with each other (as exemplified by the New Communist Party split).
This is more than slightly ironic since both regroupment and dogmatists call for a “drawing in” of revolutionary organizations to form a sort of whole, pole, party, ad nausem.