Developing the struggle means achieving one’s own tasks in the best manner

From Devrimci Sol No. 10, March 1998

41

How does one develop the struggle? From a strategic perspective, from the viewpoint of organisational development, from the perspective of the prevailing conditions, it is possible to answer this question in different forms. However, if the perspective of one of the chief factors in the struggle is taken, that is, the human perspective, the struggle develops through the way the diligence, heroism and readiness for self-sacrifice of thousands and thousands of cadres, fighters and sympathisers is formed.

What is the role, the place that a cadre, a fighter or a sympathiser has in this struggle? Is it simply measured by responsiblities given to them, by the tasks with which they are entrusted. If this is the yardstick, we encounter some remarkable viewpoints. “A mighty country, a great struggle; the progress and setbacks of the revolution do not just depend on what I do or don’t do.” This viewpoint denies the reality of organisation. A further variation on this denial is to constantly expect the development of the struggle and the organisation to be something “external to oneself, somewhere else”.
People with this attitude expect the solution of all questions to come from above and blows against the enemy to be struck only by the armed units. Their own participation – positive or negative – whether as a person or as a unit is not something they think about and no value is attached to it by them.
The organisation is something to be considered as a whole. The areas, units, even individual persons are part of this whole, connected to one another and influencing one another. Positive or negative things, enthusiasm, motivation or low morale are apt to be contagious in any living organisation. They are very rapidly transmitted from person to person, from unit to unit. Minor cases of paralysis, a unit’s omitting to do something while carrying out work, can lead to the whole task not being completed, and of course, depending on the nature of the task, such paralysis can lead to the arrest or massacre of people.
If this is borne in mind, the question of how to develop the struggle is taken from the field of strategy and employed in what we do in practice. Strategy by itself is abstract. What puts it into practice and brings it to life are the cadres, fighters, people in the areas and units, and the work they carry out. This is why our own development also develops the struggle. Carrying out a task in our unit, whatever it may be, means developing the struggle. Every cadre, everyone in an area must think in this way: if I stand still, so does the revolution. Clearly, revolution and organisation are independent of anybody. The revolution and the movement develop independently of everybody and everything. But this is only one side of reality. On the other side, the fate of the revolution is bound up with our activity. Whether the development of the revolution accelerates or is slowed down depends in the final analysis on the human factor – in other words, us.
This is what a revolutionary thinks about – the organisation is me, the struggle is me, the revolution is me. Developing the revolution and the struggleis not a matter of intending to do it. In words, we can want this so much but do our deeds correspond to it. This is the real question. In our own units, in our own areas the development of the struggle is not something abstract at all, it finds concrete expression and rflection: at its clearest this is the degree of organisation and the achievement of results. These two points are valid for all aspects, whether education work, the development of committees, councils, military units or actions. In a period in which this is not done, in other words, in a period which is not organised and no results are achieved, the development of the struggle is not possible, for no development has been secured within our unit.

Organising and achieving results

Our people have a saying: rowing a boat towards nothing. This is used to describe activity which has no aim or whose aim is not followed through to completion. Whoever rows a boat towards nothing is constantly in motion. He appears to be taking a lot of trouble. He rows and rows, but either he goes back to where he started from or does not reach his goal. Because in his head no aim is firmly anchored, or else the aim is clear but the way towards it is not. Of course nothing results from this. And then there are those who only pretend to be rowing. They do not even take the trouble to move the oars. They are simply going through the motions of rowing. Of course this too leads to nothing.
And finally there are those who sit in their boat and do not even touch the oars. They just talk about the necessity to row the boat. All they do is talk. Of course they do not move from the spot. Now let us look at how the units which are rowing deal with the tasks they are given. From time to time we can see a strange and indeed absurd picture not unlike what we described above. If there are no results, it is what can be expected from such a situation. Every kind of work done, every action carried out, every step which is taken without efforts made to organise it, or without present and past mistakes and weaknesses being taken into account, or without taking account of their significance from the beginning or without planning down to the last detail – all these are doomed to failure. A characteristic of many of our friends is to believe that work can be carried out with general explanations being made. Of course it is the task of a revolutionary to turn a problem, even a small one, into a means of education and present it in such a way that it can be understood. But if the presentation of the problem is not reflected in organisation, if it does not lead to a result, it will be empty and in vain, and those who do it this way are people who do not achieve results or offer a lead. They are merely good storytellers.
Turning education into organisation and the achievement of results is an indispensible rule and the aim of our work methods. This is valid for all kind of work, whether it is a criticism, a self-criticism, a meeting or an action.
For example, distributing our newspaper is a case that springs to mind in a quite striking way. Sometimes a lot of effort is made to distribute it more widely, special pains are taken. Some units achieve successes with it. Later they are stuck with this same level of achievement, or they let go of the threads and if they do not adopt a systematic form of distribution, the circulation of the paper drops again. We must pause for thought about this. A revolutionary who works in any unit, if he wants to organise and educate the masses, or says he wants this, why does he not make every effort to distribute the paper to the broadest possible mass of people, in greater numbers with every issue? This means not wanting to organise the masses, not giving it any importance. If this, the most simple task, is not taken in hand, how can the masses be organised, how can they be brought to contribute to the struggle?
For example, when we ask about what resulted from a criticism and self-criticism session, we receive the answer, “We discussed and talked about relations among the comrades.” When we look at the result, there is any amount of negative things, egoism, getting in each other’s way, defamation and deficiencies which are not looked into, their reasons are not uncovered and how to remove these mistakes and build up and control new relations is not discussed. Of course, in such a situation, a possible change in relations only lasts a few days. Then things go on as before. This criticism and self-criticism can go on for hours and even days and any number of things can be talked about in this or that form. But if that is all that is done, all the effort is condemned to remain futile.
Here, the responsible comrade has not tied the discussion to the question of revolution. There is not a trace of achieving results, no staying power or persistence. Work that is not done and problems are not urgent questions for him. What was done? Apparently, form was enough. We talked about it, that’s it. We could hold dozens of meetings like this, spend hundreds of hours of our time, but no result would be achieved.
Another example: somewhere an action or a campaign is organised. The instructions of the leader to the people under him, “You must do it in such and such a way, it will be an action like this,” express nothing at all. If the leader’s activities are restricted to communication and passing things on, results will either not be achieved at all or will end in failure. A responsible comrade who is serious and who gets results knows the intentions, possibilities and aims of people. And he will discuss the action with the people who have to carry it out and plan and discuss it with them in all the relevant details. He will show them the way to overcome things that might seem insuperable. And first he will patiently listen to the ideas and suggestions of the people under his authority. Bearing in mind their abilities, he will show them how to ovcercome obstacles. He defines what the results of the action or the campaign should be, what aims should be achieved. If that is not done, reports will come later such as “I looked for him but could not find him”, “I left some information behind but it has not been passed on”, or “I also do not understand why so few took part in the action.”
The task of a leader does not end with such things. If he wants results, he must control every step. He must see every positive and negative development, show the way, intervene if serious errors are about to take place, correct possible deviations from the correct pathand show the way to achieve the goal, to achieve a result.
Especially with regard to democracy, organisation, planning and the achievement of results, an attitude has become dominant which is backward and does not correspond to the period and our methods of work. There is a real tendency to honour spontaneity. We must know that no results can be achieved unless every type of work, right down to the smallest action is not organised, carried out and closely controlled. A responsible comrade must achieve results. Every responsible comrade understands that perfunctory instructions to “do it such and such a way” do not achieve a result. In conditions in which a great many of our people are young and inexperienced and lacking in theory, we cannot organise work solely with orders and instructions. In this situation we must organise in practical terms and also educate through practice. That must be our slogan: “Educate through practice”. People learn while they are engaged in struggle. This is the best and quickest way to learn. The view that “We first educate ourselves and then put what we have learned into practice” is a view that deserves to be condemned. It is the view of those who do not want to struggle. Of course it is not planned this way, but whatever is done without enthusiasm and without achieving results, is in any case betrayal and an offence, no matter who or what is the cause. But the problem is this: one can become content with what one has achieved, developments and events are not correctly analysed and the reasons for mistakes and weaknessesand there is no thought as to how things can be done better next time. If this is not done, there will be failure after failure, pessimism will set in and criticism will begin to sap morale. Failure will be followed by failure. The same mistakes will be made again and again. We cannot expect everything to be perfect. Revolutions have not taken place under perfectly prepared and suitable conditions. Nor will they in future. first we must learn to remain upright no matter how bad the conditions might be, and to deal with problems in a persistent manner, attacking them at their roots. This phase is at the same time educational for us. Nobody, no leader can educate himself simply by thinking about what he is, what failings and weaknesses he has and by finding theoretical answers to these questions.Fundamentally, the personality, dynamic in the struggle, talents, characteristics and creativity must be developed through practice. To think is a precondition. This effort must follow thought) If there was a failure in some place or other, if one of our people turned out badly, if a unit has lost ground or failed in its tasks in a particular area, and if the reasons for all this are said to be external, then it will be presented as though fate was responsible and these developments will last for several more months. But we should not put up with these things for even an hour, let alone for months, but we should go to work, find out the reasons for these developments and change them.
Achieving results depends above all on mechanisms for collectivism, as well as on the stability and lasting nature of activity in an area. A unit or an area which tends to neglect the small daily tasks, which forms units for the day which works in an unplanned way without concrete aims, will only achieve results with difficulty or will not achieve anything at all. For example, what are the signs of this? A work group on education is absolutely necessary. If there is no steady education work in a unit or its members do not take part in an education group, it is not difficult to guess that only things are only done on a short-term basis, even if the tasks that are given are more or less fulfilled. One way or another, work must be structured in a committee. If this committee does not meet regularly, if the problems of the unit or the area are not discussed, if no decisions are taken, then again it is not hard to tell that the work there is based on the initiative of individuals and on spontaneity. Excuses like there is no time for education and the establishment of committee structures, there is no suitable venue, other work has got in the way, all these are an expression of the fact that they are fleeing from having disciplined work methods or are at least have not understood the need for organisation and cadres and the need for work methods which achieve results. Whoever fails to create lasting work groups for education, whoever is not organised in his area, we say that quite openly that such people are using the organisation and serving the enemy. Their revolutionary enthusiasm and desire for revolutin must be doubted. Whoever does not achieve this cannot perform revolutionary work in any area and sooner or later they will return to the system.

Expecting to receive everything on a silver platter

One of the most obvious weaknesses arising from unorganised and unsuccessful work methods is found with rgard to material resources. Money is a big problem in those places where there is a lack of organisation and work has been fruitless, and this threatens to destroy their revolutionary activity.
For revolutionary organisations there are in general four main sources of income: monthly contributions, donations, collectivisation (expropriations) and trade. At different times and in different forms, all contribute to solving the problems. But essentially the same thing applies to them all: a revolutionary organisation can only solve its material problems through methods of work directed towardsthe people. In addition, any methods which are used only tentatively are doomed to failure. All four of the ways of raising money we have mentioned have another function apart from solving the money problem. Monthly contributions are a way of firming up day-to-day organisation, discipline and sense of responsibility. Donations are both a means and a result of work to set the masses in motion, to make them see the movement as their own and to make clear the necessity for self-sacrifice. (?Collectivisation (expropriations) are …..) Trade, whether involving small-scale traders or more comprehensive forms of trade, is on the one hand a way of educating our people as workers, to rid them of petit bourgeois pride and on the other hand, to institutionalise them. In other words, to find necessary sources for the revolutionary struggle and to create possibilities for the movement means in most cases forming unity with other forms of struggle, is a part of them and a result. Every unit, every area must take the material problem on board as a part of the whole, and solve it. With regard to this, it is the minimum requirement of each unit to cover at least its own needs. Whether a unit can do this or not is a serious criterion of its ties to the masses, how organised it is, its seriousness and sense of responsibility. Quite apart from the fact that a unit should have as a perspective covering not only its own needs but should also be creating resources for different needs of the movement. Units lacking such a perspective will also lack a perspective of covering their own needs.
Not fighting the idea that everything should be served to you on a plate also means not fighting the enemy properly. Every area is responsible for finding resources to cover their own expenses. A unit that laments about money problems should pause for thought. No money means no banner, no newspaper, it means selling your revolutionary attitude for money. Whoever wants to find sources for money and other needs must go to the masses. Whoever does not go to the masses will find neither money nor support nor cadres, nor indeed anything else. Money cannot solve anything. Many of our cadres and sympathisers have experienced this. In tasks in which the lack of money was seen as a big obstacle more than enough money was contributed, but the task were still not acomplished. Whoever laments at the beginning that there is “no money, no money” has seen that it was not the money that was really the problem.
To make money into a problem, to be merely a bystander when a problem arises is not a mentality arising from revolutionary culture, but an element of another culture. It is an element of the culture of capitalism, which measures everyything in money terms and instead of problems, instead of people prefers to talk about money. We revolutionaries plan the work that has to be done. In this programme money is merely incidental. How and where to find this money is determined by revolutionary principles. A mentality that puts money at the top of everything in planning work does not show a revolutionary spirit but rather a mentality of wanting everything served on a plate, that money will be provided and can be used to one’s heart’s desire. This mentality cannot train cadres. This mentality cannot carry out work among the masses. Because this is not done, the smallest demonstration becomes the biggest task in the world. As we said before, money is never the problem by itself. A money problem is certainly only the result of other problems. Whatever the problems posed by money, what is really important is what it brings into the foreground. A work method which has no sources of income and depends on outside help means rejecting the desire to become a mass movement. It menas saying we have no ties to the masses. That is not right. Almost everywhere there is potential,or ties to the masses already exist. Whoever does not work at this forgets to put into practice the idea that the revolution is based on the masses. The actual problem is one of not going to the masses. Not organising people or failing to train those who are organised means people not becoming cadres. Instead of this there is the mentality of everything coming from outside. In the end, this means dispensing with the revolution.

If in an area, in a unit the potential is not organised, it is impossible to find neither people, nor money nor anything else. Despite tens of thousands of sympathisers, relationships, thousands of people voluntarily connected to us, of course this cannot be organised. Nobody will find a function in a unit which corresponds to his place and his talents. If a relationship is not tied into a network, if nothing of this mighty potential is organised, so that when necessary money or when necessary sources for other needs of the movement are found, all there is is lamentation about the lack of money or lack of success. Collectivisations (expropriation) and other methods of finding money through the use of force can be employed when necessary, but in fact the voluntary support from thousands of people must be gathered together. More must be taken from those who can afford more. Money should be taken from those who are able to give money. Other necessary things should be taken from those who have other things to offer. City neighbourhoods are a rich source of this, in the history of the movement they have constantly produced new sources which have given new strength to the movement. If work in a city neighbourhood doesn’t go forward because of material problems, then this shows that there are no connections to the masses. And we can immediately conclude from this that whoever does not go to the masses produces neither politics, does not educate, does not broaden the struggle and cannot transmit revolutionary enthusiasm on a permanent basis.Everything is with the masses. Voluntary donations, semi-voluntary donations given on the basis of the organisation’s authority, making it an obligation for our people to give monthly donations, making use of the opportunities presented by relationships with our environment, getting people to carry out work, bringing money home, filling up free time with work, working constantly, etc, etc… In dozens of ways money can be found. All this is possible. But only relying on an existing network is not enough.

Expectations in education, the question of cadres who expect everything to be served up on a plate

Expecting everything to be served up on a silver platter is not a phenomenon restricted to education. Whoever is used to being “served”, whoever expects everything to be readily available would also like people to be ready to serve them.
A merely verbal culture means neither being able to give reports nor to carry out education and checking up on others, nor being able to utilise whatever has been done in a particular field, knowing what mistakes have been made and how they can be removed. “I told them, but nothing was done about it,” “There is a lot of work,” “I forgot,” are all the classical excuses that spring to mind. Our people who have this attitude have little or no revolutionary enthusiasm. And these people, who do not know what to do and how to do it feel no responsibility and no concern about the lack of education of thousands of our people, they have almost no idea of what education means. To educate, develop and adapt enthusiasm is something that is being forgotten about. And this state of mind has sometimes developed so much that there is not a revolutionary type of human being but rather an official or a consumer.
A revolutionary’s place is among the masses. We already learned this reality when we were at the start of our revolutionary existence. But it seems as if our people who have been working for 15 or 20 years have forgotten this reality. Being a revolutionary does not mean spending the whole day in one or two democratic institutions. “I called them but they did not come” is not the behaviour of revolutionaries but of those who do not want to achieve results, who have no revolutionary feelings and are pessimistic. If people do not come this means we could not make them come. But actually we know how we can bring them with us. Now let us look at the programme of some responsible and leading people. There is no concern about educating people, developing them, and even if for one day in the week, developing units and giving them guidance, even if at the lowest level. That is the task of every responsible person at every level. Whoever does not plan this and take the work in hand is not making the problems of the movement his own and is not carrying out his tasks. Leaving aside those who have to work in illegality, our people who work legally are able to move around freely for 24 hours a day, and if they cannot develop cadres and cannot educate the masses, they are just rowing their boat into a vacuum no matter what they do. And someone will not be able to educate the masses or sympathisers.
For a leader, a responsible comrade, a cadre, there is no life outside the revolution, 24 hours a day. If our thoughts, feelings, love, family, if everything serves the revolution, then we are revolutionaries. Everything that does not serve the revolution serves the counterrevolution. Above all we must get rid of the habit of “ifs” and “buts” and “impossible”, of having a pessimistic attitude to daily work. Whatever a leader, a cadre, a responsible comrade does, is reflected more strongly downwards. Every responsible comrade, every cadre must awaken enthusiasm among the masses, and be able to strengthen their morale. From him or her, people must derive creativity, the strength to find solutions, and see enthusiasm, discipline, readiness for self-sacrifice and justice. Leading cadres must do a lot of work.
Not going to the masses, saying “no money”, not educating people and then saying there are “no people” means halting the development of the revolution. This is the real problem, not money or people. The problem is one of understanding, one of developing the idea of needing to be served. Whoever works in a way that gets results, whoever organises the people where he works will also be able to solve the money and personnel problem…