Some time ago The Kasama Project published a new statement entitled “This Vision is not just a Dream“. It is, in every conception, what one usually expects when reading about an organization: they have their beliefs all summarized and in a polemical manner. In terms of Leftist milieu it is conventional, but, short and sweet at the same time. Not meant to be a protracted platform, this short post will tell you all you need to about Kasama. However, what it won’t tell you should be expounded upon.
I have always thought Kasama to be a great organization and it still is: there remains within it the promise of developing a original, hope-holding strategy for organizing the masses of the imperialist centers. In many ways this is a strength of Kasama– that while many organizations are caught in unrealistic dogma or romanticize revolutionary struggle and theory, Kasama remains practical and level-headed. Even so, however, there are some quips which should be said. Things which, while basic, need be spoken in order to fully understand Kasama’s nature.
Here is a brief summery:
(1) Lack of progress; and (2) lack of theory.
Each of those are the drawbacks to the Kasama Project. Now, it needs to be said that both of these drawbacks are not for lack of effort, nor because there is a lack of theoretical discussion; Kasama does have collectives in addition to being modestly known in the international revolutionary community (as seen through their participation in Nepal). The website is able to raise the funds it needs without going for want and is able to fend off reactionary hacker rather well, but, for all of this there is very little to show for it on the political scene.
The collectives websites are irregularly updated, outside of some journalistic adventures Kasama is still mostly known as the RCP-USA splinter cell whose internal organization may, or may not be, different from their Cult-father (it is different, by the way). This is in addition to what I view as the more worrying aspect: no stern theory has been seen.
Kasama is constituted from various tendencies. Some are Trotskyists, others Anarchist, but many are Maoists or those new to the Left. As one can imagine there is a great deal of debate regarding subjects of a varied nature. For a project that has been founded on exactly this premise, however, and one which has been going for a number of years, there is a lack of tangible pay-off. I do not mean to imply that Kasama should have a manifesto concretely outlining a theoretical program which should, in turn, be rigidly stuck to; that would be killing the point. No. I imply otherwise: that for a regroupment project basing its self in building new modes of communist organization, there is almost a ineligible net-result.
Certainly not all is to be blamed on Kasama. North America (United States) is a place where, yes, struggles and injustices transpire, but one which, paradoxically, due to some of the most brutal class and ideological warfare in history, have reduced (dramatically) the potential for revolutionaries to practice and subsequently gain from the disturbances and periods of decay. An event comes only to be quickly resolved by the bourgeois state: the aftereffects remain but the period which it may be used to further the construction of organizations and theory passes by like a ship in the night. Even so, it is not at all impossible to build something with the material conditions one has at their disposal. Collectives, yes, theory… not so much.
One may say that Kasama’s theory is rooted in their collectives. To an extent this is true: the collectives do display a theoretical tinge which is not evident in similar sects of the same flavor. That being said, however, most of this originality is merely the surface gleam. On the inside the collectives tend to possess the same filler as is to be expected from the inspired tendencies. This is to say that most of Kasama is still composed of the theory of old. Many critiques have come from Kasama, including several of my own, and questions of organization and theory have come under fire which would not have otherwise been investigated; plus, Kasama has been able to offer itself as part of that anti-dogmatic alternative which still struggles to gain a foothold within the Maoist movement. But–again–despite all this there still is no firm concept of what should be done in terms of organization and theory.
Vague points exist. Theoretical screws and gears which are accepted as part of a basic orientation but not connected to a wider machine. Though this “wider machine” does not have to yet exist, and indeed, the frenzied search for building such a machine can result in a plethora of ill-fated positions and assumptions, it is my feeling that there should just be a bit more in terms of new, solid theoretical showings.
It is not my intend to deride what is by its nature a protracted process made even more onerous by the conditions one has to work with. However, it is my intent to say that something more needs to happen. Admittedly, I do not know that that more is: it could be many different things. I do not claim to know all the secrets of the universe, or even of Kasama, but I do know that a more focused effort should be made regarding the development and practical application of theory; how to do this, however, is the prime question.