by Don Hamerquist
"[C]apitalism will not topple “through… exhaustion.” It will not “stop running on its own.” It must be overthrown by a politically conscious, mass counter-force, and the primary issue for us concerns how such a force might develop..." — from “Financialization and Hegemony”
From the Communist Party of the 1950s, to autonomous European movements in 68 and the revolutionary armed liberation movements of the ’70s and ’80s, to the antifascist organizing of ARA in the ’90s, to cutting-edge analysis of the fallout of on-going capitalist crisis, right up to today, Don Hamerquist’s biography reads like a history of the post-war US radical left. But Hamerquist is not some political scenester, being blown by the winds of whatever latest fashion. Instead, he uses his decades of experience in collective struggle to analyze a world constantly in motion, always living his own advice to “look at what is new” – not a simple quest for novelty, but a prophylactic against getting mired in old left debates which are grounded in a world that no longer exists. Bridging gaps, sorting wheat from chaff, Hamerquist calls on those who (like him) still identify as Leninists to recognize the failures of the vanguard party and “actually existing socialism,” while also calling on anarchists, who share his commitment to a struggle outside of and against the state, to recognize the necessity of disciplined organization and a rejection of purity politics.
In this book, a selection of Hamerquist’s writings from 2000 to 2022 – some of his contribution to this creative “effort of will and analysis” – have been collected together for the first time. Written as emails to comrades or for the websites of various collective, radical left projects, these essays touch on the anti-globalization movement, anti-fascism, revolutionary organization, Occupy, the 2008 financial crisis, changes in global capitalism, Ferguson, state repression, and more. Along with their specific content, Hamerquist’s work offers a model for conducting revolutionary analysis: always in conversation, humble without retreating disagreement, historically-informed without being stuck in the past, moving fluidly between the specific and the general, the global and the local, the theory and the practice.
With Introductions from both Hamerquist and Dave Ranney (with whom he has been in conversation since their days in the Sojourner Truth Organization together in the ’70s and ’80s) and editorial material designed to make Hamerquist’s wide-ranging references accessible to any reader, this book is an invaluable tool for anyone who want to make a contribution to the development of a left capable of committed and unrelenting struggle against the logic of capital, while also being “accessible to regular-assed people.”
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