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Praxis and the "Report from the Real Minority"

This report needs a real breakdown from an experienced political analyst that isn’t just some neoliberal corporate sellout, but as I’m me and I’ve not slept in something like 24 hours now, I don’t feel qualified to do this. However, perhaps because I have not slept, or perhaps because I do believe it to be necessary, I want to write a quick piece about the false idea of praxis that is described in this “report.”

To set the scene here, we are living at the end of August, 2017, in the past month there have been significant anti-racist counter-protests organized or supported by DSA chapters and members, victims of the conditions in Houston have been able to find shelter due to online communication (including a large push to have Joel Osteen open the doors of his church), and well-known guards of the Democratic Party have begun to finally shift towards the left. This all shows two things:

  1. The DSA is comprised of many members with different ideas of praxis, a significant portion of whom have committed themselves to attending counter-protests knowing full well the potential of bodily harm or other consequences for themselves.
  2. Work that is done solely online is provably capable of effecting real change.

Fetonte’s statements represent a view on praxis and organization in general that we hip youths typically associate with the Old Guard. This being a perspective of traditionalism, wherein an organization online does not count, one must attend regular meetings, engage in physical confrontation regularly, speak in front of large crowds, etc. in order to meet some arbitrary standard of a “real” organization. There’s a lot to be said about the appeal to procedure over the will of the people as well, not to drag Momentum into this as well, but Fetonte himself even seems to believe that by democratic principles of his election he is owed something by the organization. Process is necessary, but this is not the organization it was even two years ago, the old process was merely a theory for possible situations, one in which we find ourselves, and it is clear that the process has failed with the failure of the NPC to vote Fetonte out. (Shoutout to DSA Accountability for working on some new measures to ensure this incident is not repeated) Mindsets like this begin to paint a fuller picture of the issue here, the belief that by the efforts of one’s past they are owed more than others. (This may border on me bashing on LTV soon so, uhh, just know that I don’t entirely agree with the Labor Theory of Value) This continues later on in the “Report” when Danny describes issues he believe there are with the “internet bullies” and “know it all’s,” he describes how they have not been physically beaten or incarcerated for their beliefs and as such are essentially all talk. Arguably, this perpetuates a toxic issue amongst a lot of the left (one that is in a lot of ways supports by the media and Democratic Party): thinking that praxis is like a point system where you must participate for your ideology to be validated.

For starters, an action has no inherent value, the value of an action is attributed to it by society. As we are talking about political praxis, this can be expanded upon to say that the value here is not one of sentiment or economics but in effected change. The value of praxis is not how much it serves to boost your ego, to raise you money, to convince others that you care, to prove that your ideology is superior, the value of praxis is purely based on its ability to enact change. We do not live in the 20th century, praxis then is not necessarily the same as it is now, both Fetonte and many centrists seem to share this idea that DSA members are just “keyboard warriors” who cannot enact change in the world because of this call to tradition. No, we live in the 21st century, you can work online, you can buy online, you can congregate online, you can go to school online, you can organize a political platform online, and you can damn well effect change online. We have proof of this, we exist, the DSA as it is exists in part because of our ability to communicate online, to organize and to make things happen in the real world based on what we discuss online.

To further the point of praxis not being for personal gain, we act as a movement for the good of society, individual praxis should mean nothing to us. Movements like Antifa or Black Bloc bank on anonymity, because acting as an individual serves only to push your personal beliefs onto the world, but acting as a continuous movement serves the beliefs and needs of the people. What praxis was done in the past does not matter to the praxis of today, experience is good as it will help to ensure success, but this experience should not be one of the individual but of the people just as the praxis itself. Do not flaunt what you’ve done in the past, share it, teach others the lessons you learned, take pride in the changes that were enacted, sure, but do not use them as weight in a pointless argument, move past them and look to change the future.

Also, as a libertarian socialist (s/o to the LSC) I feel inclined to mention that we are not an electoral party, we are not the DNC or the GOP, we must continue to focus on the actions of our local chapters. The vertical hierarchy that Fetonte has assumed the NPC to represent must not be allowed to exist, the rank-and-file members owe nothing to the NPC but the NPC owes everything to the members.

I feel like this is turning into an unorganized rant, maybe that’s fitting.