HOW DAVID BEATS GOLIATH

Posted: November 14, 2010 by revunity in Strategy

When Vivek Ranadivé decided to coach his daughter Anjali’s basketball team, he settled on two principles. The first was that he would never raise his voice. This was National Junior Basketball—the Little League of basketball. The team was made up mostly of twelve-year-olds, and twelve-year-olds, he knew from experience, did not respond well to shouting. He would conduct business on the basketball court, he decided, the same way he conducted business at his software firm. He would speak calmly and softly, and convince the girls of the wisdom of his approach with appeals to reason and common sense.

The second principle was more important. Ranadivé was puzzled by the way Americans played basketball. He is from Mumbai. He grew up with cricket and soccer. He would never forget the first time he saw a basketball game. He thought it was mindless. Team A would score and then immediately retreat to its own end of the court. Team B would inbound the ball and dribble it into Team A’s end, where Team A was patiently waiting. Then the process would reverse itself. A basketball court was ninety-four feet long. But most of the time a team defended only about twenty-four feet of that, conceding the other seventy feet. Occasionally, teams would play a full-court press—that is, they would contest their opponent’s attempt to advance the ball up the court. But they would do it for only a few minutes at a time. It was as if there were a kind of conspiracy in the basketball world about the way the game ought to be played, and Ranadivé thought that that conspiracy had the effect of widening the gap between good teams and weak teams. Good teams, after all, had players who were tall and could dribble and shoot well; they could crisply execute their carefully prepared plays in their opponent’s end. Why, then, did weak teams play in a way that made it easy for good teams to do the very things that made them so good? Read the rest of this entry »

THE TYRANNY of STRUCTURELESSNESS

Posted: November 14, 2010 by revunity in Problems of Organization
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by Jo Freeman aka Joreen
The earliest version of this article was given as a talk at a conference called by the Southern Female Rights Union, held in Beulah, Mississippi in May 1970. It was written up for Notes from the Third Year (1971), but the editors did not use it. It was then submitted to several movement publications, but only one asked permission to publish it; others did so without permission. The first official place of publication was in Vol. 2, No. 1 of The Second Wave (1972). This early version in movement publications was authored by Joreen. Different versions were published in the Berkeley Journal of Sociology, Vol. 17, 1972-73, pp. 151-165, and Ms. magazine, July 1973, pp. 76-78, 86-89, authored by Jo Freeman. This piece spread all over the world. Numerous people have edited, reprinted, cut, and translated “Tyranny” for magazines, books and web sites, usually without the permission or knowledge of the author. The version below is a blend of the three cited here.

During the years in which the women’s liberation movement has been taking shape, a great emphasis has been placed on what are called leaderless, structureless groups as the main–if not sole–organizational form of the movement. The source of this idea was a natural reaction against the over-structured society in which most of us found ourselves, and the inevitable control this gave others over our lives, and the continual elitism of the Left and similar groups among those who were supposedly fighting this overstructuredness.

The idea of “structurelessness,” however, has moved from a healthy counter to those tendencies to becoming a goddess in its own right. The idea is as little examined as the term is much used, but it has become an intrinsic and unquestioned part of women’s liberation ideology. For the early development of the movement this did not much matter. It early defined its main goal, and its main method, as consciousness-raising, and the “structureless” rap group was an excellent means to this end. The looseness and informality of it encouraged participation in discussion, and its often supportive atmosphere elicited personal insight. If nothing more concrete than personal insight ever resulted from these groups, that did not much matter, because their purpose did not really extend beyond this. Read the rest of this entry »

The class basis of US elections

Posted: November 14, 2010 by revunity in Uncategorized

Posted from Lenin’s Tomb

The Democrats have lost the House of Representatives but kept the Senate by a slim margin. The Tea Party ‘movement’ will be credited for giving the Republicans this energy in the polls, but in fact there will be little evidence when the dust settles that anything particularly remarkable happened here. A few whack jobs got elected, quite a few didn’t, turnout was probably around 40% (which will be hailed as a record high if true), and capitalism remains firmly in control of the political process. The dominant faction of the ‘political class’ will still comprise rich corporate lawyers, the majority of senators will still be millionaires, and Wall Street will still control the Treasury.

The Republican sweep, announcing a “seismic shift”, will be every bit as flimsy as the ‘revolution’ of 1994. This was when Gingrich’s hard right rump took control of both houses of Congress for the first time in fifty years. They added 54 seats to their total in the House of Representatives (2010 equivalent: 36, with 14 undecided), while adding 8 senate seats to their total to gain the upper house (2010 equivalent, 5, with 3 undecided – and no prospect of gaining control of the upper house). But the ‘Republican revolution’ took place with the support of less than 20% of eligible voters, with a turnout of less than 40%. Many of the same personnel who drove that ‘revolution’, and drafted the ‘Contract with America’ that few read or understood, are now ‘activists’ in the Tea Party movement. The FT calls Dick Armey an ‘activist’, for christ’s sake. Read the rest of this entry »

Susan’s Questionnaire

Posted: November 10, 2010 by revunity in Questionnaire Answers

1) What is your political background? How would you describe your current political orientation and practice–locally, nationally, and internationally?

During the 1950’s in Detroit, my political education consisted of admonitions to never cross a picket line and the expection to always vote a straight Democratic ticket. The Vietnam War radicalized me, and my mother (my father having died by then). My revolutionary consciousness started developing as a result of the Women’s Liberation movement of the mid-1970’s. Coping with significant personal changes kept me occupied during the 1980’s, but I also did a lot of labor solidarity work . I joined the Socialist Party in 1995 after attendingthe the SP National Convention in Boston as an observer. From 1999-2009, I did a lot of socialist feminist community organizing and anti-war action. I also engaged in education and agitation as a member of the IWW stuck in a UAW local that represented the child care center where I worked. I currently identify as a revolutionary socialist, increasingly focused on international work. Read the rest of this entry »

Lauren’s Questionnaire

Posted: November 10, 2010 by revunity in Questionnaire Answers

1) What is your political background?  How would you describe your current political orientation and practice–locally, nationally, and internationally?

I’m a red diaper baby. My family came from Cuba, and my family spoke a lot about socialism, mostly their perceived failures of it, however, I took a great interest in the topic. At about 15 years old, I started to learn as much about it as I could. I bought copies of the communist manifesto, Das Kapital, various articles and watched lectures. Then I learned about capitalism, communism, liberalism, democracy…just went head first into politics. From there, I decided I was a Marxist at about 16 and have been ever since. I joined the Socialist Party in 2008. I’m a communist in every possible aspect of the word—quite radical actually. Apparently I was too radical for the SPUSA in New Jersey. Locally I educate as many people as I can about socialism, try in the best of my abilities to “sell” party ideas, and encourage people to vote. Whenever I can, I attend party meetings and lectures. As far as nationally, I am notorious for last minute showing up at protests, promoting the anti-war mindset, and even starting my own one-womyn protests (oh yes, just little me standing outside on the street with a sign and bullhorn. Lmao). Internationally, I talk to as many people as I can. Mainly from Canada, Europe, and Cuba(as I still have family there) and preach the ideas of communism to conservatives and liberals, and exchange ideas with comrades who already hold a similar view. Read the rest of this entry »

chegitz’ questionnaire

Posted: November 10, 2010 by revunity in Questionnaire Answers

1)  What is your political background? How would you describe your current political orientation and practice–locally, nationally, and internationally?

I came to socialism as a freshman in college. I was walking through my campus thinking about the problem of unemployment when it occurred to me that under capitalism, we could never achieve full employment. This was five years before I read any Marx. At that time, I considered Sweden to be socialist, and considered myself that sort of socialist. When I began studying the history of the American Empire in Latin America, I realized that this government was not bound by legality or democracy, and that any attempt to institute socialism in the U.S. would be met by violence, military coup, and dictatorship. I did not yet accept revolutionary socialism, i.e., communism, as the only solution to capitalism, and became despondent at our ability to transform society. I soon met members of a small Trotskyist sect, The Spark, followers of the French organization, Lutte Ouvriere. I was in or around that organization for about four years (1990-4). During that time, along with the ISO, we organized a citywide student antiwar movement in Chicago. Read the rest of this entry »

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Posted: October 15, 2010 by revunity in Problems of Organization

Looking back on the wreckage of socialism in the 21st Century, it is clear that the old answers will no longer suffice, if they ever did.

We do not have all of the answers, and we likely have very few of them. We do know, however, that some answers are wrong, a dead end. There is no evidence to suggest that their time was not yet ripe. Social democracy and opportunism remain dead ends.

Social democracy has failed universally. When it tried to challenge the ruling class, it was overthrown militarily or confronted in such a way that it retreated. Mostly, it hasn’t tried, instead betraying the workers.

Read the rest of this entry »