June 20: What relationship should anarchists and maoists have?

A conversation event at the Tower, Saturday June 20 at 2pm.

Preceded by a short presentation and Q&A on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism in the Canadian context.

In this part of the world, Maoists are a perennial topic of conversation among anarchists. There’s not much that can be said in general about these conversations, but let’s try to say two. First: anarchists rarely speak with a great deal of knowledge about what Maoists specifically (as opposed to Marxists generally) think, do, or say, and sometimes with no knowledge at all. Second: the focus of these conversations often alternates between two main points: that we can’t trust Maoists, that they’ll have us up against the wall “after the revolution”; but also that they are organized, effective, “good in the streets”, and in other ways “worth working with” for specific projects that some of us have put time and effort into.

What is the point of having these conversations? We hope it’s not just intellectual masturbation. We hope that, instead, we talk about Maoists because we are trying to figure something out, because we are seeking some answers to questions about strategy, tactics, making our lives less miserable, and whatever else. Because we want to get a sense of our comrades’ ideas about these things, and see how well we hold to our own ideas when challenged. Because we are share projects of struggle with at least some of the people with whom we are discussing these things, and so we are concerned about making sure that these struggles develop in the ways that we want them to.

There are lots of possible ways to frame a conversation about Maoists, but we want to start from the question of “what relationships should anarchists and Maoists have with one another?” because it assumes that anarchists, for all of their diversity, might be able to have a collective position on this, and it also has a practical application: what do we get out of certain kinds of interactions versus others? Alliance, communication, indifference, unrelenting conflict… We want to argue about it, and hope others will say what they actually think.

And there are lots of ways to do this conversation. One way would be to have no Maoists present at all, but that’d be boring, and maybe less useful too. We’ve invited Josh Moufawad-Paul, a supporter of the Revolutionary Communist Party and a fairly prominent blogger, to present on Maoism and then lead a short Q&A. A few other Maoists might be present too. We’ll see how it goes!

So this is supposed to be a conversation, but hopefully an intentional one. If you have something to say, come, and say it. Although there’s no guarantee that everyone else in the room will want to pursue a certain line of conversation, we will not set an agenda of what can and can’t be brought up. If group conversation ever grows tiresome, we may break up into smaller groups, Saturda