In Solidarity with Paul La Blanc’s “Revolutionary Organization
and the ‘Occupy Moment’”

By Lynn Henderson

This is a note I sent to Paul expressing my solidarity with his article.


I have read your article “Revolutionary Organization and the ‘Occupy Moment,’” which was forwarded to me by Nat Weinstein. I believe it to be the most cogent evaluation of the Occupy movement and the relation of revolutionary socialist to it that I have yet seen. You correctly state that today there exist no Leninist party in the United States; not even a nucleus or embryo of one. This is a truly fearful situation. We are in the midst of the most sweeping and fundamental crisis of U.S. and world capitalism ever, even eclipsing that of the Great Depression. This poses both the potential for socialist transformations, but failing that, disastrous developments for all humankind. And as you write, such working-class revolution and socialist transformation will not come about spontaneously. It would require, as you put it, a U.S. equivalent to what Bolshevism was in Russia. “A creative interplay of genuine mass struggles and a serious party of the socialist vanguard to bring about the revolutionary power shift...”

However, we cannot wish such a socialist vanguard party into existence. You are absolutely correct in writing that such a party cannot be created at present, no matter how desperate the need, either through self-appointment or some sort of artificial regroupment process. Where does that leave revolutionary socialists; both members of various existing tendencies and independents? Cooperative united front type efforts is precisely the course that is both possible and necessary at the present juncture. Your 1905 Lenin quote was excellent advice then and now. Lenin urged Russian activists “not to spoil things by vainly trying to lump together heterogeneous elements. We shall inevitably have to ... march separately, but we can strike together more than once and particularly now.” Such united front actions by socialists and their allies in support of the Occupy movement is the best opportunity for both advancing the struggle and creating the necessary pre-conditions leading to a unified revolutionary party.

It is the explosive emergence of the Occupy movement; beginning in New York’s Wall Street and quickly spreading worldwide that presents revolutionary socialism with this opportunity. The Occupy movement has some roots in the free speech, civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960’s, but it is also fundamentally different. The movements of the 1960’s were focused on social and political injustice but this one is focused on class injustice. By directly focusing on the inherent conflict between the 99 percent and the one percent the Occupy movement, unlike the never-the-less important movements of the 1960’s is explicitly anti-capitalist. It is revealing that it has not grown out of an initiative by either the trade unions or organized socialists. It is a largely spontaneous, grassroots, and fundamentally working class response to the growing worldwide capitalist crisis.

What forms these united front type actions can take is something that socialists and their allies should be seriously and concretely thinking through. In general they should be actions that deepen the initial anti-capitalist, working class momentum of the movement that directs it away from dead ends like the utopian communities’ approach or masked minority confrontations against the one percent independently of the 99 percent that you describe. And the most deadly of all dead ends—diverting the movement into pro-capitalist Democratic Party electoral politics.

—February 24, 2012