‘Struggle is the very essence of a revolutionary party’
Based on a talk given at the Feb. 5 webinar “Global Class War: Lessons from Sam Marcy for workers struggles today.” Go to youtu.be/5Arb33Q8SN0 to view the webinar.
Today I’ll respond to the Sam Marcy quote, which ends with “Struggle is the very essence of a revolutionary party.” When I read that quote, I started thinking about my participation in the struggle for revolution. When we start thinking about what it’s going to take to overthrow capitalism and tear down the imperialist U.S. empire, we might feel overwhelmed.
We might feel like we don’t even know where to begin, because it seems daunting. But Sam Marcy taught us that we have to start somewhere, no matter how small, dull or routine it may be. As revolutionaries, we must be in the struggle every single day of our lives, which means we must make sacrifices to make that happen.
When building a revolutionary party and raising class consciousness among the masses of workers, it’s essential to start by getting to know your neighbors. So many of us live in major metropolitan cities, surrounded by hundreds or thousands of people. But how many of us know our neighbors who live in our buildings, on our blocks and in our neighborhoods?
So one of the first things we need to do is get out into the community, and start talking to our neighbors. We’ve got to start learning their names. We’ve got to start understanding what their struggles are. What are they worried about? What are they concerned about?
When you start becoming closely tied to your community and understanding its needs, you can really show up for the community. When you show up for the community, when you’re out there in the streets supporting the community in whatever struggle is occurring at the moment — whether it’s a struggle to free somebody who was wrongly incarcerated or a struggle to prevent the shutting down of a public high school — I’m naming some of the struggles that have happened in my local community of the South Bronx — people start to know you, and people begin to trust you.
So when you start talking about global class war and how it will take an international revolution to take down capitalism and imperialism, they will start taking you seriously, and most importantly, they will start joining you.
Last month, the United National Antiwar Coalition called for a week of organized antiwar and anti-imperialist actions during Martin Luther King week to build the movement against this U.S./NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. I responded by doing something a little bit uncomfortable, I will admit.
I invited everyone in my building to a meeting where we would discuss MLK’s opposition to war, imperialism and capitalism. It ended up being an easy way for folks to build community within the building and to introduce revolutionary ideology, theory and perspective on current events.
I’m going to end by referring to Sam Marcy’s quote one more time: It doesn’t matter “how small, dull or routine” your activism or participation in class conflict may be, but we got to start off somewhere.
We’ve got to do a little bit of work every single day, and that may mean that we have to make sacrifices here and there to further the work we’re doing in our communities, but that’s really how we build toward revolution and how we build a party to liberate the working class from all forms of oppression.
Every day, we must be in the struggle, because, as Sam Marcy said, “Struggle is the very essence of a revolutionary party.”