Thoughts on ‘Which Way Is Left?’ by FRSO

April 10, 2009 Note: Right-wing bloggers  quote and link this article in their attempt to attack individual members of some of the left-wing organizations discussed below. This blog condemns these shameful acts of McCarthy-esque red-baiting and in no way supports them.

Below are some thoughts on what seems to be a minor upstart today in third-world Maoism drawing inspiration from the New Communist Movement. Here I offer some thoughts on this through commentary on the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and the now defunct Bay Area-based STORM. I close with a few thoughts on an November 3, 2007 forum FRSO held to discuss their recently released “Which Way Is Left?” pamplet. Also see the link for the audio panel at the 2007 US World Social Forum held in Atlanta, GA which featured former or current members of these orgs. -AW

Download a PDF of “Which Way Is Left?”

US Social Forum Panel on Revolutionary Strategy ~>lin

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Perhaps an interesting development on the left is a flare up of discussion and effort on the part of those on the left who identify as revolutionaries and Marxist, yet are independent of the traditional left parties such as Communist Party-USA, the New Communist Movement (NCM) [1] or the fractured family of Trotskyist parties that descend from the Socialist Workers Party. Many are late 20’s to early 30’s activists involved in recent bursts of social movements over the last decade and include many people of color. I don’t see it as a large discussion, but it certainly has the ears of certain layers of radical activists across the country who feeling stronger affinity and interest in revolutionary politics, though who don’t identify with any particular strand of revolutionary politics specifically.

Freedom Road Socialist Organization/Organización Socialista del Camino para la Libertad [2] (or just FRSO for short, not to be confused with a more hard-line split several years ago FRSO- Fight Back! based largely in the Mid-west) is maybe the only organization that managed to catch a certain layer of these folks into their ranks. To give an example of this, if you remember following the break up of Love and Rage Anarchist Federation in 1998,[3] a small group emerged called Fire by Night Organizing Committee. This included members of L&R who were part of the working class student organizing at SUNY and after criticizing anarchism[4] wound up merging into FRSO. The politics of the group are a sort of “Mao-light” if you will. They have origins in a merger between several NCM groups, but have adopted a more pluralistic set of politics which draw from Gramsci, Fanon and feminism among others. Like many Maoists they carry a more nuanced perspective on popular organizing then much of the Marxist left, but their main emphasis is the process they call Left Refoundation, whereby left socialist organizations build political and practical unity in an effort to reach a future merger into a larger party formation or umbrella type organization (they are open to where the process might take them).

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