I have been there as an activist. The romantics of non-hierarchal, leaderless, autonomous movements. The arguments for it amazingly sound. Imagining a reality were everyone knows what is to be done and they set forth doing it with the right practice and discipline.

Tried and tested, what are the lab results? Failed everywhere. There is no durability to it. Why? Because so long as the class struggle exists, and it does, there will never be a seamless movement of autonomous movements that will have a membership of equals according to the material conditions under capitalism. Our class positions, different educational advantages, etc. will have their say, and when they do, it's not as pretty as the posters and creative direct action campaigns.

When young college students rallied around Anarchism as more of an adventure than a will to change the system, we knew from analysis it was gonna be one or two weeks camping out and chanting slogans and then heading home to the suburbs or to a network of couches with like-minded rich kid friends. Revolution overturned on its head by ultra-leftism and liberal reform in a world turned inside out by corporate greed and a relentless class struggle. Through it all was the human mics, the shared community of mostly so called white radicals in a fancy little park maintained by black and brown workers. After the dust settles, everyone goes home and the think-pieces start coming out as to how the Left has generated a newness in leaderless movements, organizers of these events become the mouthpieces of the progressive masses and onwards the credits roll to nothing achieved. Eventually it triggers a line of movements across the world couched in social media branding and hashtags. A generation lost to the sauce. As Che Guevara’s face resurfaces once again and the market rejoices in this most opportune time – the relentless commodification of everything by neoliberalism.

We are urged constantly to hold onto the new trend because it will save the Left from its current rot. Its powerlessness, it is said, is in the centralization of power in vanguard style. That analysis usually doesn’t go any further. Sometimes, of course, it’s said the constant need for an ideology for struggle is the problem that indeed we have passed the stage of ideologies. That all that is needed is a list of demands and a restructuring of society based on the ethos that are within movements; herein then the action of movement, not usually derived from a sound analysis, becomes ideology. The chant becomes “we are the 99 percent”. This chant, and many like it, becomes the mass line of a lost generation. Any other mention of revolution that doesn’t fit the aesthetic of this new norm is booted out by a cancel culture that cancels both humans and ideologies. These movements, it is said, are our triumph, our road to greater glory.

But why don’t they win? Why have they given birth to new monsters wherever they have risen? Tahrir Square, Ferguson, Occupy Wall Street, etc. what went wrong? Oh, I will try telling you.

It is because mobilization isn’t organization; the former temporal, and the latter eternal, because human mics don’t denote equality, because hashtags and algorithms aren't the measure of a people's popular revolution. Because discipline is born out of struggle in an organized fashion; that we can’t win through spontaneous movements of muscle, blood and sweat. Revolution is not a high tech branding outfit by rebellious John Lennon-wannabe techies. Revolution is the destruction of one order of being for another. But those words and what they embody are too strong, too deterministic, not nuanced enough, too black and white for the liking of university students and academics masturbating to Foucault or Derrida. Because without the everyday masses, the workers and peasants, the ghetto dwellers and the productive forces of the real world at the forefront demanding power and an end to bourgeois usurpation, reform will be mistaken for revolution by a seamless movement of students and burnt-out radicals waking up to visions of Marx.

If you’re leaderless, you will have someone come takeover the leadership and hijack the little gains made – word to a post-Tahrir Egypt under the despot, El-Sisi. If you don’t have discipline in an organization when the crumbling begins there is no accountability and no criticism or self criticism to resolve contradiction amongst the people so they can keep moving progressively. No ideological unity, so as one fights for water, another fights for freedom of expression, and they converge eventually in the heart of the class struggle when, at long last, the naked nature of inequality amongst radicals is exposed and the center falls apart. Realizing the fight was, all along, different from each quarter. Then, a new fight emerges amongst the movements themselves, and the cycle of reaction reaches a new dramatic crescendo.

Movement must lead somewhere. We must not consciously move without reaching a conclusive point. The tipping point is here for us to either keep marching and protesting as the enemy wins or build the revolutionary party fortified by scientific analysis and discipline. We must organize, study, hold unto to an ideological core, unite with the masses, painstakingly understand the root of the problem is always material. Understand that no revolution is possible without an unpoetic destruction by the all consuming violence between oppressor and oppressed. Understand that there is determinism as the contradictions sharpen in and around capitalism-imperialism even as it is not mechanical. That direct action that is spontaneous has mostly been an adventure that leads to nothing but disorder without much gains. Organize for revolution. Because it won’t jump out of social media or hashtags. Go back to the 99 percent. They will teach you things you’ll never learn from the copious texts of the postmodernist prophets. Knowing that true knowledge comes from social practice and experience,  not from the wellsprings of academia.

This was by way of a love letter and a reminder that other worlds are still possible in the promise of time. Knowing that the arc of the moral universe doesn’t bend towards justice obediently, but must be forced there through struggle. It must bend through the replacement of one order for another that's progressive and classless, where the final say will be from the most oppressed in their fullness as a humanity restored by revolution.