[As forces were gathered, two years ago now, to capitalize on the mass revulsion at the GW Bush years and to elect Barack Obama, promises were made aplenty that Obama would bring historic change–ending the wars, elevating education and rectifying a considerable range of social and political injustices. There was wizardry in the hyperbole of the time, and tired reformists, many calling themselves revolutionary, joined forces to usher in the new day, and to suppress the nay-sayers. Activists from such groups as Freedom Road Socialist Organization united with paid organizers from NGOs, non-profits, and trade unions, as well as with old-line activists from the CPUSA and Committees of Correspondence, to direct people into “Progressives for Obama,” “US Social Forum”, “Right to the City,” “Grassroots Global Justice” and other post-radical reform initiatives.
As we now approach mid-term elections this fall, the bubble of the Obama “promise” is bursting, but these same forces are gathering to defend the discredited Democrats against the reactionary Republicans. As past history shows, the acceptance of such calls has always collapsed or dissipated the very forces who could have contributed to building a solid and independent political movement to challenge the crisis-ridden system on every front as part of preparing revolutionary forces for the opportunities ahead.
But growing numbers of radicals and revolutionaries are not going along with this program. From the membership of Freedom Road Socialist Organization comes the following resignation letter, protesting these developments. The issues to which Patrick Ryan speaks will undoubtedly resonate among many activists, not only in FRSO, and hopefully, serious discussions and debates on the issues raised will ensue–and new revolutionary pathways created.–ed.]
Letter of Resignation from Freedom Road Socialist Organization
by Patrick Ryan
“All resistance is a rupture with what is. And every rupture begins, for those engaged in it, through a rupture with oneself.”
— Alain Badiou.
This is a letter to all those who genuinely want to build a movement to overthrow oppression and establish a new society that aims for the transition to communism.
At present Freedom Road Socialist Organization is not on the path to accomplishing these goals, but rather finds itself focused tightly on partial demands, base building and Democratic Party politics that do not ultimately help organize and lead a movement to overthrow this capitalist and imperialist system. It leads us and the people deeper and deeper into the logic and rationalizations of bourgeois democracy.
After two years of being an active member, I have concluded that the current political trajectory of FRSO will only yield further from the goal of liberation and I now resign from that organization.
At the heart of this trajectory exists a bundle of assumptions about how fundamental radical social transformation can occur, and how we understand the role of the liberal-capitalist Democratic Party. This line promotes only structural reforms and defense of the capitalist welfare state, while obfuscating line differences within the organization. In practice this has meant concentration of cadres in NGOs, as board members in progressive nonprofits, and as union bureaucracies. This line is encapsulated in the statement:
“If the people don’t vote it [socialism] in or bring it about through mass national strikes and other popular forms, it will not happen!” 1 Continue reading