On the History of the Revolutionary Union

First Published: Theoretical Review No. 13, November-December 1979
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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This article will trace the beginnings of the Revolutionary Union (RU), later Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), and outline the history of the RU during its first six years (until 1974) commenting along the way on elements of that history that seem relevant to the party building efforts of today’s movement. Clearly the principal purpose of this article is to contribute to a more thorough understanding of the history of “left” errors in the party building movement. In my opinion, the strengths and weaknesses of this period have never been summed up in any unified and more than superficial way, even within the new “independent” trend. By and large the same conditions that facilitated the development of these errors continue to exist. Therefore, one can be almost sure that if the source and nature of these errors is not understood history will be repeated.

If the reader is even more inclined towards discouragement after reading this article, it may be timely to make this observation: it seems to be a fact of life, actually a fact of dialectics, that problems have to mount to the level of becoming qualitatively uncomfortable enough and the present solutions clearly unworkable enough that a point of crisis is reached, then we are ready to make a radical reappraisal and to change. Fortunately, our movement is at that point of crisis. It is in the nature of things that such reevaluation and openness to new directions cannot go on indefinitely. Some consensus will be reached and the movement will settle into a groove for several more years to see if those solutions work. Therefore the quality of our analysis now and the viability of our solutions are likely to be of decisive importance to the communist movement in this country for many years to come. So, with that awesome responsibility, let’s examine the past.

Throw open windows: Beginning a fresh communism

[From Kasama Project.  The original article comes from Ely’s presentation at Platypus convention in Chicago, on a panel about “Badiou and Post-Maoism: Marxism and Communism Today” and can be found here. – Ed.]

Chris Cutrone ended his talk just now with a fitting introduction to mine: When he complained about those who would “reduce communism to the perennial complaint of the subaltern.”

Well, by contrast, I want to take up for, and speak for, and represent the cry of the oppressed.

Appreciation for Leslie Feinberg

Leslie Feinberg’s last words were “remember me as a revolutionary communist.”

Feinberg passed away in November, 2014 leaving behind a profound work of writings and work contributing towards human liberation. She was a powerful role model for many young lesbians, transgendered people, and people who reject oppressive norms imposed by this society. Hir first novel Stone Butch Blues, published in 1993 describes the oppression of queer/butch lesbian life in the 1970s.

I care which pronoun is used, but people have been respectful to me with the wrong pronoun and disrespectful with the right one. It matters whether someone is using the pronoun as a bigot, or if they are trying to demonstrate respect.

Feinberg worked with great effort for the freedom of CeCe McDonald. Feinberg was the first theorist to advance a Marxist concept of “transgender liberation,” and hir work impacted popular culture, academic research, and political organizing. Many of Feinberg’s writings are available in a collection Lavender & Red.

There is no liberation without trans liberation.

For communist revolution and trans liberation.