35-Point Practical Guide for Action

Insurgent American is primarily an intelligence asset, a strategic resource to organize information to support and guide practical action ergo out self-identification as a practical strategic resource. In one analytical piece here, we explained that strategy, tactics, and intelligence are interfused. One cannot develop intelligence without some point of view about the kinds of action that are required to achieve strategic objectives.

Some readers have suggested we publish a of list of practical actions that people can take. While this is a slightly different take on our original conception of supporting practical activity with intelligence development, if we acknowledge the interfusion of action and intelligence, then it makes sense for us to state those kinds of actions that we see as practical insurgency.

Action requires more than doing what everyone can already do. It requires the development of particular practical skills. An organization may be able to organize a march of half a million people on the DC Mall and still not be able to grow a cabbage, fix a flat tire on a bicycle, or start a blog. Implicit in our core convictions is that the belief that practical independence from the dependence-creating structures of the current system is a precondition of revolution. That independence is predicated on the ever more widespread development of particular skills maybe even skills that we have to invent ourselves.

Other methods and theories of revolution have attached greater significance to having the correct ideas, the correct program, and the correct organization. These ideas and this practice have made inroads in places, but they inevitably run into the wall of their own dependence, in particular, their attachment to the industrial model of social organization, the orthodoxy of their ideas and the demand for ideological conformity as a membership gauntlet, and financial dependency on institutional structures like non-profits whose activities are circumscribed by government charters. We do not advocate wholesale abandonment efforts or even organizations that are already there and in motion. But we do believe that the voids, weaknesses, and blind spots of these models require remedies that reach people who cannot or will not operate within the constraints of these ideas, programs, or organizations.

New practices create new forms of consciousness; and here are a few ideas on some practices. Anyone can do one, two, or as many as are workable in present circumstances. The mental test we use in trying to determine the whats appropriate is woman-burb-hood. Is this something that can relate to the capacities of a woman who lives in either a suburb or an urban neighborhood?

The order does not correspond to any valuation or priority. Find the 35-Point Practical Guide for Action here.

Derick Jensens Endgame

is part of the New Canon.

Here is an excerpt that resonates with Insurgent American.

I just got home from talking to a new friend, another longtime activist. She told me of a campaign she participated in a few years ago to try to stop the government and transnational timber corporations from spraying Agent Orange, a potent defoliant and teratogen, in the forests of Oregon. Whenever activists learned a hillside was going to be sprayed,they assembled there, hoping their presence would stop the poisoning. But each time, like clockwork, helicopters appeared, and each time, like clockwork, helicopters dumped loads of Agent Orange onto the hillside and onto protesting activists. The campaign did not succeed.

“But, ”she said to me, “I’ll tell you what did. A bunch of Vietnam vets lived in those hills, and they sent messages to the Bureau of Land Management and to Weyerhaeuser, Boise Cascade, and the other timber companies saying, �?We know the names of your helicopter pilots, and we know their addresses.’”

I waited for her to finish.

“You know what happened next?” she asked.

“I think I do,” I responded.

“Exactly, ”she said. “The spraying stopped.”

Endgame (Two Volumes), Derrick Jensen

The Cost of Privilege

The Cost of Privilege – Taking On the System of White Supremacy and Racism, by Chip Smith, (with Michelle Foy, Badili Jones, Elly Leary, Joe Navarro, and Juliet Ucelli) was written by leftists, active as leftists, most for decades. The book responds to the recurrent experience of these organizers: the continual re-emergence even in progressive sectors of white people of a thoroughly liberal account of race and white supremacy. In fact, liberalism eschews the latter term because it speaks to systemic oppression instead of defining racism as individual pathology.

The Cost of Privilege is a fine activists primer for understanding racism in the US from a revolutionary, democratic, working-class perspective. Writing in a down-to-earth style, Smith weaves theoretical insight, political history, and organizing practice together, shows how capitalism, racism, and patriarchy interconnect, and offers excellent ideas for movement-building.

-Johanna Brenner, author of Women and the Politics of Class

Full disclosure is that Chip is a friend and political collaborator, as are the rest. But if anyone is interested in a book that picks up with history where anti-racism training leaves off, the data tables are alone worth the cost of the book.

Many, many white organizers, and white people who would like to become more active anti-racists, yet who are intimidated by the public debate and political struggles around race, can use this book as as starting point as a kind of users guide for opposing white supremacy, rhetorically and practically. The book abounds with anecdotal insets, statistical tables, poetry, maps, and the superlative visual art of Malcolm Goff (not my relative, but my brother nonetheless).

A very fine contribution to revolutionary research and synthesis, The Cost of Privilege is also a very readable and accessible book.

Check it out; and pass it along.