Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism, A Practical Outline
We are excited to announce the release of our new document, Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism, A Practical Outline.
Members of RAIM-Denver first came together less than two years ago with the intention of disseminating revolutionary anti-imperialist thought and action. Though we have certainly evolved since then, what has resulted is a type of political organizing unlike any other.
Locally, we have circumvented to norms of “left” activism, establishing ourselves as a relatively sizable group in the Denver activist scene. We have gained notoriety for both our unorthodox politics and our sometimes confrontational manner. We are an organized revolutionary anti-imperialist center for which a broader network of anti-imperialist supporters gravitate around. In Denver, in under two years, we have raised the bar for what passes for ‘radical‘ politics.
More important however is the larger effect we have. Our goal isn’t necessarily to make RAIM into a bigger organization. It is for revolutionary anti-imperialism to grow into a larger organized force. Based on what has happened in Denver, as well as what we have seen at larger events such as the Democratic National Convention, we know that there is potential for such national growth.
In this spirit, we have prepared Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism, A Practical Outline. In this document, we give a brief overview of the anti-imperialist outlook, as well as sum up our experiences and offer general lessons on anti-imperialist organizing. It is our hope that the experience we’ve gained will make a meaningful contribution towards a broader movement for revolutionary anti-imperialism. Serving to provide inspiration and practical advice to those considering anti-imperialist organizing, Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism, A Practical Outline is an important preliminary document in regards to building such a movement. .
Questions, comments and correspondence are encouraged and can either be posted on our blog at raimd.wordpress.com or sent to us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement- Denver
We want a better world. We want a world based on equality and mutuality. We envision a future in which the full potential of humanity is realized: one without unequal power relations and one of ecological harmony. Creating such a world is our common cause.
In finding direction on how to create this world, we must look at where we are now. What does the current, unsatisfactory world consist of? In regards to its totality, how do power structures operate today? We must look at the material implication: how do various groups relate to each other through existing power structures. Which social forces are undermining the current system, and which invariably act to maintain it? Lastly, we must take a realistic look as to where we fit in and how we can build a new world.
-All forms of oppression are not equal. Nor do they form some sort of swirling indecipherable mess. Instead, in each historical period for a given society, one form of oppression stands above all while others operate alongside. Today, in the globalized world, imperialism supersedes existing forms of oppression while forming the main basis of modern power structure.
Imperialism is a historically formed system and today it is everywhere. It is a system whereby a handful of First World nations exploit a majority Third World. Implied in this are massive value transfers from one part of the world to the other: immense amounts of wealth flowing from the Third World into the First. Not only is this system global, but it is deeply entrenched. There isn’t a place or people in the world which isn’t primarily affected in one way or the other by imperialism.
Whereas the majority of the world, the Third World masses, are deeply impoverished by imperialist theft, a minority living in countries such as Amerika material benefit. By in large, those within the First World have living standards made possible only through Third World exploitation. Amerikans and other First Worlders are beneficiaries of and are greatly dependent on existing relations of global power.
Imperialism simply cannot exist in the world we want. That much is clear. However, being that it is the main crux of existing social hierarchies, it is also the capital target for those wanting to create long-term, ever-evolving, positive change. Through the struggle against and victory over imperialism, new social forces will arise, making it possible to continue further into the world we wish to create.
In looking at what social forces are today most inclined towards overturning imperialism, we naturally look at the Third World. Being causatively tied to the imperialist power centers, the Third World periphery can deal the most direct blows. Its betterment comes directly at the expense of the First World. Living in induced poverty, the masses of the Third World have a material interest in overthrowing the existing imperialist power structure.
The First World has a material interest in maintaining imperialism. Not only do Amerikans routinely and conveniently go along with various international acts of aggression, but what passes for ‘left’ in this country more plainly resembles advocacy for a more equitable distribution of wealth extracted from the Third World. Through their wanton consumerism, Amerikans themselves are inextricably and directly wrapped up in an exploitative relationship with the Third World. In all, this leads to the undeniable conclusion that First Worlders, and in our particular case Amerikans, stand in the way of any sort of long-term revolutionary structural changes.
-We, on the other hand are revolutionaries in Amerika. Despite our benefiting from existing power structures, we strive to create a world void of all unequal power relationships. This itself opens up profound questions. Namely, how do we relate to existing social forces? How can we meaningfully intervene on the side of the oppressed? What can I do, starting today, that contributes to the creation of a better world?
These are all burning questions. Unfortunately, there are no concrete answers. Though the overall situation within Amerika is disfavorable to anti-imperialism generally, the summing up of past and present efforts does offer some general direction.
First, we shouldn’t hold back for the sake of appealing to the broad public. Rather, many situations warrant being ‘out-there’ with our social-political vision. While there is plenty of room for tone, style, mode and medium, downplaying fundamental understanding such a global class structure is beyond ineffective. Watering down our message for the sake of “mass appeal” makes us sound like the rest of the Amerikan ‘left.’ It also leads to demoralization when the “masses” don’t respond. Our honest revolutionary outlook, and expressions of such, gives us not only our distinctiveness but our basic unity. Our far-reaching, radical social-political vision is an asset.
On the opposite side, but equally capable of rendering us ineffective, is becoming an eclectic cheerleading section for various individual Third World movements. Supporting movements resisting imperialism is part of our program. However, we do not stop there. Doing so would be to commit the same error as above: brushing over any fundamental understanding of global power relations. Such an error also causes us to lose our far-sighted independent vision. We are an independent force in alliance with the Third World masses for the cause of overturning existing power relations and paving the way into a new, better world.
We must have a definite streak of intellectualism. Critical thinking is key to our movement. The intellectually honest, though highly unorthodox, orientation of our politics is an attribute solely our own. Being able to clearly articulate our outlook and vision is a critical part of our movement. Self-study of history, social sciences, global economics and radical philosophy, as well acquiring practical experience dealing with and analyzing real world phenomenon and evolutions, is part of the early political work we should all do.
We mustn’t hesitate to be active. Being active is the only way to accomplish anything. Even if you are the lone revolutionary in your city or campus, representing anti-imperialism is a great idea. Posting or distributing agitational and educational flyers and other materials, attending relevant lectures and asking piercing questions, attending solidarity demonstrations for Third World struggles are all great starting points. This is also a great way to connect with other revolutionary minded individuals in your area.
Be sociable. Much of representing anti-imperialism happens on an informal basis. Open up conversations about imperialism and global structure to people you meet and those in political settings. Make acquaintances with other ‘radicals,’ even if they are not on the same page. Such relationships can lead to many different benefits, as well as result in meeting other anti-imperialists. Likewise, any potential organized revolutionary effort happens on a level of social interaction. Keep this in mind.
Take basic security measures. We have to consider our situation here. We are amongst an oppressor population for which we advocate a revolution against. Security is a serious matter. Not taking basic precautions opens yourself up to potential violence from white supremacists, exposure from right-wing wing-nuts, ‘leftists’ who act more like cops and the few crazies within the movement. Except for some individual cases, it is highly recommended that you use an alias when representing anti-imperialism. Adopting a fake name is not as hard as it seems. Simply pick a name that you would like to use for political situations and start using it to introducing yourself. After a while, it becomes second nature. Follow up by using a separate email account for public anti-imperialist activity. Use common sense but don’t let an exagerated security practice get in the way of effective anti-imperialist organizing.
As part of being of Amerikan background we have, or potentially have, vast resources at our disposal. We should use this condition to our advantage. Leisure time, access to technology, formal educational opportunities, purchasing power, even things like pop-culture and civil liberties: when use effectively, can expand our influence beyond what our small numbers would normally yield. We should look for innovative ways to utilize First World conditions. Moreover, we should refine our abilities to exploit our given condition, thus making ourselves more effective.
-Part of being a First World revolutionary is that there are no successful revolutionary models. We essentially have no history, no direct experience by which to guide our work. Questions pertaining to organizing methods and group structure are up in the air. Likewise with the style of expressing revolutionary ideas. The same can be said in regards to the focus and direction of practical work. These questions are too large to be answered concretely by any one group or person. Their simply hasn’t been enough experience accumulated.
The best structures, styles and direction of work will be answered only through experimentation: dedicated efforts on the part of many diverse groups and individuals towards revolutionary organizing. In accumulating such experience, we must learn from whatever mistakes and mishaps take place. Refining our efforts through determined, varied efforts, as well as learning from such experiences, is the only means by which we can soundly the determine what works and what doesn‘t. Experimentation is the only way by which we can determine the best means by which to contribute to the struggle for revolutionary change.
Obviously one of our main goals is growth. Here and now, expanding our numbers is a means by which we can achieve a more optimal level of experimentation and innovation. Simply for this reason, now more than ever is it necessary for anti-imperialists to seriously engage themselves in the struggle. Likewise, now more than ever is it necessary for a new generation of anti-imperialists to become active. On the short-term, expansion and diffusion of revolutionary anti-imperialism towards the end of greater experimentation and accumulation of experience is a primary task.
The modern imperialist dynamic of First World – Third World will die. It is dying. At present, this death is taking place at a protracted pace, such that there is ample room for it to be supplanted by a worse version of itself. Thus, the general task of the modern international revolutionary movement is to first accelerate the death of imperialism and second to lead the way into the radical reorganization of society. We see ourselves as part of this revolutionary movement.
The global situation is always in a state of change. As we speak, new cracks are beginning to open in the system and old ones growing wider. In the period of change, the opportunities for a global revolutionary tide are growing. On one hand, the disparity between the First World and Third World continues to increase. As the weight of capitalist-imperialism continues to be felt by the peoples of the world, more and more have they began to resist. Likewise, the peoples of the world resisting imperialism, as diverse as they are, are more and more coming to understand the commonality of their struggle. At the same time, subtle divisions are forming within the imperialist camp between a U.S.-pole and an emergent one headed by Russia and China. Increasingly we are seeing the possibility, and need, of a broad global anti-imperialist revolutionary movement.
We are coming to a crossroads. One historical chapter will soon be closing and another one opening. However, the future has yet to be decided. What we do today- whether we struggle against imperialism or not- will have an impact on the future. The coming years and decades are too valuable to lose by doing nothing. In this time of great change, not only must we fight imperialism, but we must do so with sound determination and dedication. We must act now, seize the time, and fight to usher in a new world! Long Live Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism!