Here is my “list of reminders” more or less as it currently stands. I started this list around 6 years ago when I decided that I needed to begin consciously and disciplinedly changing my whole life. The idea is that this is a list of things I have noticed that it’s helpful for me to remember, but which I forget regularly, so I read the list regularly to keep myself functioning in a way I think is best. The list has evolved a lot, and I continue to add to it. I wanted to share the list because I think transforming oneself with a lot of these things in mind can greatly contribute to being an effective communist organizer.
I would like to read and engage with this more often and deeply than I have been. Part of the problem is the length of the list, and redundancies in the list. But I think I’m on my way. The list would benefit from a great deal of editing. In the past I split it up according to how often I thought I needed to read a particular reminder–some are essential and should be constantly returned to, while others are more auxiliary suggestions for improving one’s way of being in the world. The section at the top, I deemed more important a few years ago, but I haven’t taken the trouble to add new important reminders to that section, and the end of that section is not delineated either.
First, I want to say that I wrote a lot of these before I fully understood Marxism, and continued to use them without rewording them even after I did understand Marxism because I was able to read the “problematic” ones and nevertheless know what I meant and extract the rational kernel. I have marked various parts of the reminders with these symbols below to let *you* know that *I* know something is problematic, so that people don’t waste their time nitpicking. Editing to be absolutely correct while also universally graspable is a difficult, time-consuming process, and I didn’t want to delay releasing these any longer.
If you want to give me criticism and feedback, or ask questions, absolutely feel encouraged to do that by emailing the name of this blog at google mail. But I invite everyone interested in doing this to focus on scraping off the finer chaff that is directly attached to the rational kernel, instead of the big, obvious chunks of chaff that surround some of the points that someone who knows the basics of Marxism know need to be removed.
[[[]]] – Contains an important kernel of truth—maybe when only applied for contradictions among the people and not for contradictions between the people and the enemy—*but* needs more Marxist stand, viewpoint, and/or method
//// – I think this is true in an important sense but I think it can relatively easily be harmfully misinterpreted.
&&&& – This may not be harmful if misinterpreted but I think it could still use more nuance.
Second, it should be said that in many (not all or most but many) I am quoting something I read verbatim, or with very minor rewording—or sometimes paraphrasing something someone told me—without attribution, and often without quotation marks. The collecting and curating is mine, but the wisdom isn’t.
Third, understand that when something refers to “God,” think instead that it means something completely material—which is the awe-inspiring genius of life in its diversity and creativity, and in the fact that humanity arose from the ranks of life; and think that it can also be seen, as something not different from that, in the accumulated sacrifice and gift-giving that are handed down to us in human culture, language, and concepts from the previous 100 billion humans who have lived and died, and also in the brilliant, beautiful, raw genuineness we perceive in babies and toddlers who are not yet heavily conditioned by society; and think that it also means, as something not different from that, the communist society that is to come, where fear and trauma have been almost entirely extinguished and trust and compassion have become principal in almost all relationships and societal structures. Think that this is what you are bowing to, and grateful for, and nothing without, and willing to give your life for.
Fourth, note that the final 30% or so is a section for political reminders (not all of which are separate from most of the list’s “intra-psychological” reminders).
Listen to yourself. Try to understand what needs or wants you’re having that aren’t being met. Root for yourself and have patience with yourself.
Ask yourself what you love and what you love doing.
You will probably be happier the fewer expectations you have.
You have never been to this moment before.
This is the one and only real world, and you are in it.
The world and you, in it and part of it, are eternally new.
Practice stepping down/out of your mind for ten minutes at a time, whether to just take a break or to offer it to the universe.
You are entitled to the time to meditate. No one on earth can gainsay it. You can just feel that way if you want and decide that fuck anyone who thinks you don’t. You really can decide that and just feel that way if you want and decide you have a right to be angry with anyone who tells you you it is unethical to use 10 minutes or even an hour of your free time to meditate/re-center/self-care each and every day.
You are ignorant. There are worlds of truth and wisdom you don’t know or even know of.
[[[[Ill-will toward others will make *you* unhappy.]]]]
Return your attention to your breathing.
Really rooting for everyone (on at least some level) will make you happy.
It can help you do that if you take a moment to focus more on and listen more to what people are feeling than on what they’re thinking at the moment.
Truly not thinking of yourself as better than anyone else will make you happier.
Truly thinking of yourself as worth as much as everyone else will make you happier.
Be in your whole body.
Don’t deceive yourself; don’t trick yourself into thinking something you don’t know to be true.
Instead of nothing, there is a whole world, infinitely detailed.
The world is a planet spinning in outer space while orbiting the sun, which is a star.
There is no final stake. Nothing lasts forever.
Chew each bite thoroughly.
Practice slowing down. It helps calm you down and re-centers you.
Breathe not only deeply but slowly. Take the time you really and truly need to do it in a truly calm way.
When meditating, if you think, just watch the thoughts as they happen and let them go by. Don’t worry if you’re going to meditate “badly”—the point is to just do it.
Bow in surrender, humility, and gratefulness for a few minutes each morning.
See the beauty.
Attend fully to what is occurring right where you are in this very moment—that is presence.
The reason for regularly reading the reminders is not only to remember upon reading but also to absorb them into your habitual mental state. A reason to edit the reminders from time to time is to shrink them, collapse similar things, to make them shorter and easier to read and less objectionable because more fully true.
To observe with no motive or expectation is to truly learn of a thing. (Ready to consider the actual specific sequence of events that will occur specifically and only as they actually occur.) Observe not to try to get some predetermined thing out of it. Observe humbly.
[[[[No one’s idea about a person is actually that person.]]]]
Look ever anew to entirely rediscover what everything and especially everyone is like as they truly are each moment.
Abandon the tool of thought and all you hope to attain through it for just 10 minutes and let occur what occurs when you do not attempt to use thought.
Part of humility is to not feel entitled to anything different from what anyone else is.
Say to your imagination of the future “It may not be so” and let go of the thought of it.
It is not easy for a clever person to try and become innocent. If one can develop anything it is only to abstain from trying to be clever and know that a clever person, with all their ability to get the best of another, sooner or later comes across a person cleverer than they are. It is gladdening and liberating to give up your unrelenting attempt to be the cleverest person.
Every mistake is a lesson.
One has to meet with selfishness and inconsideration everywhere. One is best served by thinking that it is like a lot of drunken people, all falling upon each other, fighting each other, offending each other. A sober person who is thoughtful will not make trouble with those who are drunk—that person will help them, but will not take seriously what they say or do. They will tolerate and give in and understand, because they know that the others are drunk and it is unreasonable and unfair to expect better from them.
Say to your judgments of and assumptions about yourself and others, “It may not be so.”
It’s when you’re taking risks that you feel alive.
Every interaction you have with someone is an example of a way that someone can treat others, an experience about the way things can go, that they will carry with them into the world and the rest of their lives.
It is refreshing and relieving to rinse your mind completely of all lingering thoughts and impressions by letting your whole mind fully perceive the present, which is completely new.
Remember all that others have done for you.
Understanding: being understanding with others; the attitude that recognizes that anything that a person has felt makes sense, is acceptable, is normal, is not bad, is not to be used against them, is not to be used as anything other than a way to relate and find commonality.
It is a joy to be shed of the rude, disdainful, haughty mind. We despise it in others—and we despise it in ourselves as well. It may be very saddening to recognize it in ourselves, but it is a relief to let it go.
You are not the source of any of the good in your own life. Anything you have that you might think yourself more valuable for, you were given. Even if you feel you worked toward it, you were given the opportunity, talent, motivation, and will to do that work. You came up with none of it yourself.////
[[[[If you find yourself thinking egotistical (self-aggrandizing or other-belittling) thoughts, remind yourself that it was people going around with raging egos, thinking themselves morally better or in some other way superior, that made the world such a horrible place.]]]]
If you can’t find anything to like about someone, you can at least empathize with them that they, like you, are trying to find a way to be happy—to meet the same universal human needs as you have.
Ask what things you’d like to get in order, in the near term or in your life, that you don’t feel are in order now. Ask yourself what plans you’re planning on that don’t yet feel accomplished. Ask yourself what you’re trying to achieve that you haven’t yet managed to achieve. Ask yourself whether it’s okay to return to the present moment knowing that, as of the present moment, you have more or less done your best to accomplish those things.
You almost never have any idea what other people are thinking and feeling—and never fully. You’re deceiving yourself if you’re just guessing or assuming. Remind yourself of that in good humor and accept that all you can really understand is what’s going on with you.
Attend / be present to doesn’t mean just “don’t be distracted from.” It means “watch (or listen, and so on) attentively and carefully like you’re interested in and curious about it.”
Take a minute to hold in your mind images of experiences/people/things that bring you joy and make you smile.
Take a moment to take some deep breaths and make a noise as you exhale. Try emptying your lungs out quite fully.
Look around where you are.
See what the world sounds like when your mind is silent. It will sometimes be a deep and soothing quiet.
Remember that anger, arrogance, and judgmentalness come from a place of fear and unmet needs.
Even if you became rich and famous or if your dreams came true, you would still only be a human being here and now, existing exactly where you are existing each moment.
Practice chilling out.
Practice turning off your problem-solving apparatus for a while.
Practice yelling (roaring, snarling, wailing, just plain screaming, etc.) however loud you want/need into a bunch of pillows to get discharge the emotions you’re struggling with. Also practice making whatever horrible faces or hisses or whatever you need to do, and writhe however you need to in a closed and empty room.
If you find yourself thinking negatively about yourself, ask yourself, “When I behaved in the way I now regret, what need of mine was I trying to meet?” You are always acting in the service of your needs. This is true whether the action does or does not meet the need, or whether it’s one you end up celebrating or regretting. When you listen empathically to yourself, you will be able to hear the underlying need. Self-forgiveness occurs the moment this empathic connection is made. Then you can recognize how our choice was an attempt to serve life, even as the mourning process teaches you how it fell short of fulfilling your needs. An important aspect of self-compassion is to be able to empathically hold both parts of yourself—the self that regrets a past action and the self that took the action in the first place. The process of mourning and self-forgiveness frees you in the direction of learning and growing.
Try to express your feelings with the form “I felt [internal emotion] when [someone’s action] because I [an expression of one of the basic human needs or desires from the list in NVC].”
Ask yourself whether there’s anything you’re waiting for before you feel you can feel glad.
[[[[[Empathy for everyone on all sides—*always* with yourself included, regardless of what you’re feeling—is the solvent to the constant worry that can take up in your heart.]]]]
When you’re exhausted and low on willpower and are strongly considering making a choice that, rationally and less tired, you might recognize is more comforting than restful, ask yourself if there’s a step you can take—such as realizing you’re sometimes you’re thirsty when you think you’re hungry and drinking water instead of hastily eating something—that will help clarify the issue and maybe resolve it, and see if you can train yourself to do this step when instead of betraying your discipline.
One has to learn to reverse one’s usual way of viewing things. The human being is never the one who knows or wills or becomes, nor even the object seen or transformed; he/she can only lend him/herself to the divine action. “It is not by self-realization that one realizes God, it is by God-realization that one realizes self.” —That is, you can best transform yourself and overcome your narrow self-interests if you cultivate a habit of remembering that you are most when you are a servant to humanity, that you were made by humanity, and be grateful for what humanity has given to you by struggling for so long to create language and create proletarian theory—and that you are what you like least when you are gratifying your consumptive impulses.— One cannot satisfactorily improve one’s personality without calling into action all the dimensions of the web of reality.
Ask yourself how conformity to the bourgeois world tortures what you are, even in the moment to moment compromise of what you really are, what you know to be true, what you value and what you love—how existing in it leads you to both starve for not expressing what you are and be disgusted with yourself when you speak in order to misrepresent what you are. And let that awareness be part of what cautions you and speeds you and guides you in your struggle.
To better find the ways that communism is a necessity to you, imagine what you would be desperate for if you gave in to all your cravings and addictions, if you took back up drinking and smoking and video games. Imagine how you would feel trapped back within that, what you would be desperately longing for. And then make sure that you are indeed acting from a place of understanding these needs even though they are not as sharp because you are sober and in the movement.
Although your hurt ego will try every trick in the book to have you believe otherwise, there is nothing you can do to fix it, kill it, ignore it or bury it. You can’t make it disappear by achieving, earning, educating, marrying, divorcing, dieting or negotiating your way out of it. You can’t manipulate, manage or control it. But you can give it what it actually wants: safety, compassion, kindness, understanding, love, and reconnection with your whole self.
A good therapist/counselor helps you find your strengths and sources of self-confidence. They feed your resilience and focus on your core strengths that will help you overcome difficulties.
The patient shifts from feeling horror and self-disgust to holding the firm belief that, “I survived it and I am strong.”
Every feeling has a message. Maybe that message is simply to allow yourself to feel the emotion until it dissipates. Maybe the feeling is guiding you toward some action. If something persists—anger, fear, anxiety—simply ask it what it wants to tell you. Sit quietly and allow the answer to appear. When you feel peaceful, you have your answer, whether or not you like what that answer says.
It may help to think of certain emotions as being trapped and coming out in many other ways but boomeranging around, and that this emotion has to come out properly to ever be truly diminished, that we cannot get past it until the relevant feelings are aimed in the right direction rather than at our whole selves or at the wrong habit or pattern in ourselves.
When you are making a point to remember that you are going to die, realize what it really means—it is not some problem that will happen in the future. It means that one day, this thing that you have right now, your ongoing experience, will stop, and you will have no more of it—at least not in any, any, any kind of form you recognize. The amount you have of this day-to-day, flowing, ongoing experience is finite. It will stop.
Almost all your vices of checking-out and comfort-seeking are isolating and alienating, and so in this way tend to reinforce the lack of connection that is leading to these problems in the first place.
If you’re tempted to check out because you’ve got something you resent looming on you, see if you can look beyond it and find power in a sense of dignity and determination to press through that on behalf of the further goal you’re working on, setting the undignifying thing aside or seeing if you might instead set your ego that is feeling hurt, and take it in good spirits.
Take some time to look at your home and your living space and surrounding areas not as a functional or instrumental thing but with fresh eyes, but as it is right now, holistically.
With addiction, it may help to look deeper into it and ask yourself what sort of pain you’re dealing with in those moments of craving that you want to turn to a vice, and then really give that some deep thought about whether there’s some better habit/pattern of behavior you could substitute there to potentially help you handle the stress you’re under while strengthening you.
also it helps to just do one foot in front of another, getting through each day, or each test, instead of thinking about it like “never again or i totally fucked up,”
to dig deeper: when you’re in the moment, try to sit with the discomfort even if just for a little bit.
see what images pop into your head, what associations. pay careful and non-judgmental attention to the feelings that pop up, whatever they are. it will probably take a few rounds of this and careful attention, but you could focus on one element each time. one image, or one emotion, that comes up and your desires and fears associated with that thing. this will probably branch off into other things, too. but sooner or later some of the overall forces and motivations and habits etc. etc. at work inside of you will come clearer, which can’t necessarily help you tear out the roots of them, but it can help you learn how to *manage* things better.
be kind and not cruel with yourself in this process. if you notice an inclination to be cruel, that is another thread to sit with and follow and see where it takes you.
possibly, try to figure out what you’re craving or longing for that you feel you can’t get, so you instead decide to do something that doesn’t meet the need but it does help take away some of the pain. that may help you figure out what sort of new patterns you might be able to construct in your life.
For all addictions, strengthen the parts of you that genuinely don’t want to use it. The substance is secondary to the feeling driving the desire to use. Addictions says to nullify our image in others’ eyes first so it’s easier to not worry about them thinking about oneself.
Stay afraid but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.
If you’re having a problem with someone or something in your life, make an inventory of triggers, history, relapses, etc. Go thru it and lay it out in front of yourself. It makes it harder to deny. in AA they call it a “fearless moral inventory.”
You can’t be guilty and future-facing at the same time. It’s impossible.
often you are reluctant to get present or meditate because you think that you won’t be able to reload all the necessary stuff back into your mind that you are for the moment setting down, so find an informational and mental procedure you can go to to (a) concretely stow all the stuff you need to remember and (b) convince yourself—*all* of yourself—that you have in fact concretely stowed it all, so you can take a moment and forget about it in confidence.
Think that someone’s useless (in your mind) idiosyncrasies are probably the other side of skills or talents that you don’t have.
When you’re feeling sort of down about how long it took you to get where you are, remember that in order to get there you had to reach a limit with all of the things you were trying before, and that you bring your life and political experience of all of those things forward with you, and that is concretely valuable.
Something you can literally always spare the time for, and should do at least once a day, is ten deep, reach-deep-down-to-catch-your-breath breaths with your eyes closed.
Think about what checking out is.
Addiction begins as a response to pain that our bodies just don’t know how to integrate. When we can’t cope, we do the next best thing: We leave our bodies. . . . Once the addictive patterning gets integrated into our lives, its fundamental action is turning away from experience. It can be very subtle. It points to those parts of ourselves we’d rather kill than face. . . . We practice with addiction by slowing down enough to feel the underlying urge. To simply be with it, to listen to it, to cradle it like a crying baby. Through choosing over and over to be with the urge, to stay with ourselves in that fire, life begins to open up. . . . “We could think of this whole process in terms of four R’s: recognizing the shenpa, refraining from scratching, relaxing into the underlying urge to scratch and then resolving to continue to interrupt our habitual patterns like this for the rest of our lives. What do you do when you don’t do the habitual thing? You’re left with your urge. That’s how you become more in touch with the craving and the wanting to move away. You learn to relax with it. Then you resolve to keep practicing this way.”
If you’re shaming yourself for giving in to addiction, or having trouble resisting it, have some compassion for yourself. Think back to times when you were facing a strong urge to, say, eat, and remember how hard it is, and then realize that the person before you (you) is now in that same situation, and have some compassion for them.
If you’re feeling depressed and you’re using lots of stress relief (e.g., recreational eating, watching a lot of tv, whatever it may be), consider whether those things themselves might not be the things getting you down, and quit if you have even a few days’ time to try it, and see how it goes. also, it may help you find other, more beneficial things for you to do if you can’t resort to those unproductive things that can make you feel ashamed.
Ask yourself whether you’re focusing on what you appreciate and which is going well, or on what you wish were going better, and how that might be affecting your mood.
Ask yourself whether you ever find yourself thinking that your life is already over.
the one and only thing we must do when our lives are turned upside down: grieve.
It can help make someone real to tell at least one other person. Otherwise it’s possible to go through a whole day and tell yourself that the day didn’t really happen.
For humanity’s sake stop what you’re doing
And go inside
Stop what you’re doing
And fall in love with yourself
For humanity’s sake be who you are
And not who you think you must be for others’ approval
For humanity’s sake
Breathe. Deeply. Feel the air caress your insides.
Feel your body’s gratitude for breathing.
Thank your body for being alive.
Feel the radiance you create simply by being.
In every cell that keeps you alive
Don’t question why you matter.
FEEL why you matter!
Notice what your soul cries out for.
Is it love?
Realizing the endless depth of who you are?
Who are you?
The world is begging you to paint it on the clouds.
For humanity’s sake
Fall in love with who you are.////
Sometimes close your laptop and look at it for the little square box that it materially is.
If you’re having intrusive, repetitive thoughts, it may be much more useful to you, instead of constantly thinking how to stop having them, to just accept that you’re having them and try to live in the moment with them coming. This will probably allow them to slip away more easily than focusing on them over and over.
The whole world is really there.
Time doesn’t heal everything, the pain won’t just go away. Take your time and feel and grieve any way that you need.
Ask yourself if you died now if you felt like you did enough other than like look at a screen and focus on organizing and stuff. Ask yourself what if anything you would be frustrating you didn’t get to do enough of.
If you find yourself lonely, try being present and looking at nature, especially things in the sunlight blowing in the wind.
Your idea of other people’s idea of you is not you. What you’re currently thinking that other people are thinking about you is not what you actually are. Take a moment to check and see what precisely you are at the moment.
Accept that you will misunderstand, that you will sometimes do things that you later regret, just like literally everyone else. Forgive yourself.
Each moment is a unique moment in your one and only finite life.
If you’re concerned about spending some of your precious most-awake, most-alert time meditating (or reading the reminders), that’s okay. Do it with less precious time—it will still help.
Ask yourself what would feel liberating.
Practice saying to yourself not “I am thinking these thoughts” but “I seem to be in a mind where these thoughts are occurring in this place and time.” &&&&
If you stare at the physical world for a second, you will remember that it is real, and it will seem realer and it will seem more meaningful that it physically exists and you physically exist in it. And you will enjoy this feeling of increased meaningfulness.
Even the thought “I’m thinking, so I’m not in the present moment” is happening in the present moment.
Ask yourself whether you’re worrying about what someone thinks or might think or is going to think about you. If you are, remind yourself of what you like and respect about them. If you’re worried *for* someone, remind yourself that things would work out okay for them if you vanished.
Think of how strange and nonsensical it would seem to you to have someone scoff to themselves at you because of their perception of your inferiority (inferior coolness, knowledgeability, interestingness, etc.). Now think of how you scoff at others sometimes and think how justified/accurate they would be in—from a place of security/confidence with themselves and self-evidence of their justifiedness in loving themselves—finding your judgmentalness strange and nonsensical and silly. They know they’re fine, that there is no reason for you to expect them to be how you’re disappointed they’re not.
Remember how far the stars are and how many of them there are, but that they’re all real.
Pay attention to what you’re doing.
Take 5–30 slow, deep breaths, sometimes trying to catch your breath more deeply. Stretch and relax your neck and shoulders.
Any time you persecute a trait in the world, any time you think that some other person has it and you don’t or vice versa, you are setting yourself up an ego and persecuting something in yourself. ////
What you’re thinking about isn’t what’s happening—only your thoughts are happening.
There but for circumstance go you.
If you want to feel like you belong here, everyone among the people belongs here.
Complexity of thought and intensity of feeling are not correlated.
[[[[Let go of resentment.]]]]
You have no idea what anyone is like at a glance. &&&&
You have no idea what it’s like to be anyone else. &&&&
If you can, let the face you show the world be one that conveys your love.
Everything is becoming. Everything is moving, headed to where it will be tomorrow.
Being present to each moment will best prepare you to perform as best you can in each moment.
The miracle that is life. The oneness of all life.
If not for the good in each present, then what is anything for?
You can do anything you want.
Do pull-ups, push-ups, and squats.
Maintain good posture. Like a string is attached to your sternum, pulling it upright. And one attached to the base of your skull, pulling it level.
Wear sunscreen if you’ll be outside long.
Ask yourself what problems you feel you have.
The more you see, accept, and understand your mistakes, the easier it is to be humble.
Are you thinking into the future? Are you piling up treasure in the future? If you are, ask yourself why.
You are always in a specific when and where.
If you find yourself unable to forgive someone’s bad behavior, it may help to imagine how ugly and unlovable you must have looked when you did similar things in the past and realize that you, too, would like forgiveness.
If you’re afraid of what someone is thinking of you, it can help to remember what you love about them.
Accept that you have been and will be foolish, selfish, cruel, and arrogant, just like everyone else—including anyone who might ever judge you.
It can be helpful to think, “Fuck what I was thinking then,” even if then was just a moment ago.
Get interested in where and when you are. Get curious about the present.
There is nothing solid. There is nothing that can be achieved for all time.
[[[[Practice focusing on your similarities and commonalities with people instead of your differences.]]]]
Sexual objectification and ethical self-awareness are mutually exclusive: A man cannot reflect on what he is doing and its real consequences for real people and at the same time fully accomplish the act of sexual objectifying. There’s no way it can be done, because his own subjective reality is too contingent upon the unreality of someone else. All that can be left “out there” in his field of awareness is the other person’s sexedness—an abstract representation of a gender.
Consider whether your suspicion that other people are judging you—or your judgment of them—is a projection of disappointment you are avoiding feeling with yourself.
Meditation can relieve both physiological stress and mental distress.
Even if you are busy, even if you think you’ll think during most of it, you will likely be more than compensated in effectiveness in whatever you’re working on for the rest of the day (or the next few hours, at least) if you take 10 minutes to meditate.
There is no anyone.
When you stop thinking, nothing you truly are goes away.
Know that present alongside/underneath anyone’s judgmentalness, anger, worry, or unacceptingness is a sanguine, good-humored, understanding self. If someone is upset with you, don’t feel found guilty permanently by the entirety of someone—only a temporary, provisional part of you is found guilty by a temporary, provisional part of them that has arisen out of fear—a part that could go away at any moment if the world seemed safe again, leaving only the sympathetic, understanding, good-natured self that finds both itself and others to be totally, fundamentally, and immaculately okay, acceptable, appropriate, fitting, correct, unproblematic, and as they should be. Never fear you’re found horrible to the core by the core of someone else. What is fundamental in them does not and cannot find what is fundamental in you to be fundamentally wrong. [[[[Respect every single person knowing that their fundamental, good-natured self is always there. Let the understanding that that self is always there in every single person inform your interactions with all people. ]]]]
You will be less able to do right by people in the present if you’re worried about what you didn’t do right in the past.
If you can, try not to go into examining your feelings feeling obligated to end up feeling any particular way.
Practice getting everyone and everything out of your head.
When you pay attention (attend), there is no center from which you are attending.
Nobody knows everything, but everybody knows something.
The less afraid and worried you are, the more available you are to sympathize, respect, understand, and care.
The following may be helpful in a certain way, but try to see the helpful message it is conveying and not take away that it thinks you should feel shame or think bad thoughts—just that it can be deeply helpful to recognize the thing that it is pointing to that is real and valuable.
I knew my own weakness, knew the weakness of humanity to the addictions we’ve devised for ourselves. Knew that I had looked on the selfishness of others so much more harshly than I had my own. Pride and arrogance are abuse of both the self and other. I was betrayed by the part of me that was most sure of itself.
I had put my intelligence in the service of my arrogance and insecurity and greed. I treated my pain and loneliness (caused by Babylon) with harmful addictions (offered by Babylon). I had accepted Babylon into myself, that very thing I was fighting against precisely what I had been tricked into pursuing. I saw that in pain we treat the symptoms of our sickness with things that make us sicker. I saw the captivity of humanity to addiction and fear and that I was no different. I wished to lower my head to the ground and surrender to the grace that had revealed this to me, silencing my mind knowing that I had not done it, that all my contrivance had only defeated me, had only defeated itself. Offered my silence, offered my surrender knowing that I had nothing else to offer. ////
Acknowledge that if someone or even everyone felt they had good reason to think poorly of you and didn’t ever want to see you again, because you love them, you would accept it.
Practice paying attention to paying attention—right here and now, ongoingly, as you pay it—look at attention/looking itself. Look not at its content but at the faculty (the faculty of looking-at that is at our mind’s disposal) itself.
When meditating, observe each moment and each part of each breath.
If you really intend to be fully present, let yourself quit thinking even one second ahead or one second behind where and when you are right now. Ask yourself whether, if you didn’t have to go where you’re going or do what you plan on doing, this is what you’d be thinking about and doing.
Never suppress or discipline desire, but probe into the nature of it—the origin, the purpose, the intricacies of it. Then you can understand, not verbally, nor intellectually, the whole causation of desire, the root of desire.
It can really help you grow and be grateful to see people and situations that you have difficulty with as special teachers for you.
If some part of you won’t be quiet, ask yourself what in you that voice is, and try to be the voice so that, as it, you can stop thinking whatever you’re thinking.
Accept people’s right to be upset with you.
[[[[Nothing will make the world a better place but a fundamental change in the hearts of the individuals in it—nothing will make the change real or permanent or total or not subverted in some way but if it consists in and results from people whose hearts are genuinely and qualitatively good-willed. You will not really improve the world unless you stand ready to improve all the moments you are in it. You will compromise both your own life and your desired political change if you do one as a distraction from the other.]]]]
If you find yourself thinking of the future, the past, or some other place, ask yourself whether the situation you’re imagining is here and now before you. If it isn’t, then notice and inspect and inquire into what is actually here. Have a look (and listen etc.) around you.
Beware being betrayed into delusional thinking by the thrill of entertaining a delusional thought.
This “thrill” seems like dopamine. The literal good-feeling-rush-ness of the thing is a drug in your brain. Pay attention when you’re tantalizing yourself with scenes of an allegedly possible future life where some dopamine-generating activity (e.g., sex or adulation) will be in abundance.
If you think you’ve really got it together, try shikantaza (just-sitting) meditation.
Consider cold showers.
If there is a song or other audio stuck in your head, let that be a reminder that you are not being present to the sounds around you and an opportunity to pay attention to them. If you’re imagining other scenes, let that be a reminder that you are not being present to the sights around you and an opportunity to pay attention to them.
Think that it might be a relief to stop thinking about what you’re doing tomorrow or farther in the future.
Think that it might be a relief to stop thinking about what you’re doing later today.
Think that it might be a relief to stop thinking about who you are or who you’re supposed to be and what you’re supposed to be doing, right now and in your life.
Pull your objects off the world—practice not seeing the world as discrete objects or blocks of text and instead see at it as a field of color. Do this in as many ways with your senses as you can try.
Practice loosening your perceptual focus and taking in the whole scene.
Try to figure out what it might mean to be completely yourself—to feel and so be truly able to express yourself. To act without blocking yourself whatsoever. ////
Work to make sure that your time with others has a politically productive element.
Make sure you understand mobility and unencumbrance as “items” you can pack when thinking of what to bring to any given occasion by not packing too many other items. Think of flexibility and preparedness to improvise as “resources” you can consciously include in a strategy by not overplanning or by becoming too brittle or mechanical by planning for what you can’t control.
Think of what you would say to people if you were being completely honest, and think about how you would have to live for that to not be your honest feelings if you find it troublesome. That is, live in such a way that when you think of what you would say if you had to speak honestly, you find it acceptable and good.
Your desires determine what you look for in the world (and therefore what you see). If you want sex, you look for people to have sex with. If you desire fame or power, you look for people who can help you become famous or powerful. Your desires determine the “scene” you perceive as going on whenever you look at the world.
This “what you’re looking for in the world” thing is one fairly major aspect of addiction; you will probably be overall happiest in the world if the scene you’re putting conscious effort into making of the world is overall how you can be the best servant of the people.
… and this such that doing what is best for communism and doing what is in your deepest, purest, healthiest interests becomes, relievingly, completely synonymous and this can be seen in clearest context when if you have an objectifying or narrow-self-interest thought come up, remember how this is just not the sort of person you want to be
Fears of judgment, harm, and death underlie many of your difficulties. Ask yourself whether you’re experiencing any of them.
Exercise is a good way to burn off excess energy.
When stretching, relax your muscles on exhalations.
When doing squats: legs shoulder-length apart with room for your body to fall into, butt out, and chest up, and be sure not to tuck your butt under you at the bottom of the squat.
When rolling your head around to stretch your neck, it works better if you move/lean your whole torso around too in whatever direction you’re bending your head. Also, try pulling back your shoulders, holding them open by holding on to something behind you, stretching your neck forward/down.
Hold stretches for 10 to 20 seconds and repeat them three times each.
Ask yourself what you feel obligated to do, and then explore those feelings.
The observer is put together by words, experience, and knowledge—is made up of the past.
On meditating: It doesn’t matter how successful you are. The point is to do it, not to succeed. The point is not necessarily to achieve a certain state of mind. It’s also to just sit with yourself.
Think about how you feel about people who voluntarily do genuinely good and helpful things.
Practice not making sense of your perception/senses.
What if something was going on right where you are at this very moment that would excite you if you recognized that it was going on? Usually you think nothing of your own thoughts, but occasionally you have a thought or read or hear someone else’s thought that really stops you in your tracks and catches the attention of *more* of you, somehow. Like, whoa, that changes things for how *I*—the I-est I in me—think about the world.
Look for what every person is trying to convey, whether or not they’re saying it in words.
When you acknowledge qualities in yourself like fear of suffering or loss of control, your instinct may be to judge yourself. Found selfish, uncaring, impatient, unworthy … you may feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. But acknowledging that you are feeling this way about yourself can soften your defensiveness. You may become less busy trying to protect yourself. You are more likely able to be there for anyone who is wrestling with their own sense of weakness, unworthiness, or fear, and you’ll be able to hear each other.
[[[[Ask yourself whom if anyone you’re not forgiving, including yourself for anything.]]]]
Think that people can learn about their patterns of behavior that trouble you other than through encountering total ruin because of them—and cease to wish that their behavior bring bad things on them. They may discover these things (if that is even necessary) in the midst of the most supportive and loving of interactions and relationships.
A person who, because he is afraid of getting hurt or being oppressed by someone, is always keeping his thoughts and feelings suppressed might if he had expressed them have become a very bad man; but by not having been able to express them he is ruined. Therefore one should develop one’s discrimination in order to analyze one’s reaction, to understand it before it is expressed. One should always ask oneself, “That which is in my hand now, shall I not throw it away? By throwing it away, shall I do something wrong? Where shall I throw it? Will it fall on my head? What will become of it?” A person should know what he has in his hand. If in order to avoid breaking another person’s head he breaks his own head, he has done wrong too.
Then what should he do? Instead of throwing the impulses that come to him out automatically, he should first weigh them, analyze them, measure them and use them to the best advantage in life. A stone is not used only to break another person’s head or to break one’s own head, it is also used to build houses. Use everything where it will be most useful, where it will be of some advantage. All such things as passion and anger and irritation one looks upon as very bad, as evil; but if that evil were kept in hand it could be used for a good purpose, because it is a power, it is an energy. In other words evil, properly used, becomes a virtue; and virtue wrongly used becomes an evil. For instance, when a person is in a rage, or when he really feels like being angry, if he controls that thought and does not express it in words, that gives him great power. Otherwise the expression has a bad effect upon his nerves. His control of it has given him an extra strength that will remain with him. A person who has anger and control is to be preferred to the person who has neither.
Periodically read “Emotions—How To Understand, Identify Release Your Emotions” and “How to Break Through Toxic Emotions.” If you ever feel like you have true privacy, take these seriously and really go through them. ////
Ask yourself how your heart feels. Ask yourself how your guts feel.
Practice spending some time trying to totally chill out with regard to your gut muscles and say you’re just gonna let them totally relax, whatever happens.
There are no permanent waves. There are no perfect waves. At no point is a wave complete, even at its peak. Nature is a dynamic whole to be admired and appreciated.
You do not know what is going to happen next.
Do the “see what it sounds like when you stop thinking” thing only for your vision and other senses. See what you perceive when you understand that you don’t know what you’re going to perceive.
It can help to practice thinking about your worries as though you were yourself at 90 years old looking back.
Ask yourself whether you’re even in any way averse to the corny, cheesy, or mushy, and if so why and whether there’s any connection to vulnerability and/or the imagining of how such things might inspire others to want to destroy or troll or belittle or compromise or make seem ridiculous the cheesiness—especially if it was me being cheesy somehow.
List your pains and one by one go through them and turn your attention to them.
Part of being present is having your emotional state connected to what you’re perceiving each moment.
You don’t have to dedicate all your thoughts to things you think will be useful for interacting with other people.
Practice relaxing, in order, one by one, every part of your body.
Even if you’re a martyr, it doesn’t make you Jesus. But what good is a Jesus over another martyr? Among other things, focusing on Jesus’ martyrdom can make you ignore the suffering of all other martyrs.
Investigate what specifically it is you’re afraid of when it comes to people being mean to you, derogatory, derisive of you.
Ask yourself what would allow your conscience to truly rest.
Sometimes practice being like a monkey looking for a way out of a cage.
The fact that you like or dislike someone or something is a fact about you, not about them or it.
At least at some times, pity is the strange deal a person makes when deluding themselves—the agreement to feel bad/guilt and flagellate themselves in exchange for seeing the pitied person and then not actually doing anything. People who pity let themselves off easy. Pity is ridiculous. And that’s the most usual kind of pity in this country—if not the only kind of pity there is. Either help people or quit lying to yourself.
THIS IS IT!!
THIS IS ALL THERE IS
IF IT’S NOT GOOD ENUF, MAN, IT’S NOT GOOD ENUF
WHEN YOU CAN CENTER AND SEE YOUR WHOLE LIFE
AS A STORY IN WHICH CHAPTERS ARE
THEN: THE MOMENT TO MOMENT EGO INVOLVEMENT
“AM I GETTING ENOUGH AT THIS MOMENT?”
CEASES TO BE A DOMINANT THEME
AND: YOU START TO LIVE IN THE
JESUS SAID: I AM THE WAY
IT’S THE SAME WAY!
AN ICE CREAM CONE GOES BY … WILL IT EVER BE
THE BIG ICE CREAM CONE
IN THE SKY?
WILL IT EVER BE AN ETERNAL ICE CREAM CONE?
OR … IS IT ALWAYS GOING TO MELT?
YOU GOTTA KEEP EATING IT YET IT MELTS & MELTS
THAT’S ITS PROBLEM
YOU GOTTA KEEP EATING IT CUZ IT WILL MELT
… & THEN IT’S GONE
& YOU KNOW THAT TASTE IN YOUR MOUTH WHEN YOU
FINISH & … YOU WANT A GLASS OF WATER? RIGHT? …
THEN YOU HAVE A GLASS OF WATER & THERE’S THAT
THEN YOU’RE READY FOR THE NEXT ONE …
TO GET RID OF THAT ONE …
LET’S TAKE A WALK … & YOU TAKE A WALK …
IT’S COLD OUT. LET’S HAVE SOME HOT CHOCOLATE.
YES, LET’S HAVE SOME, & ON & ON & ON & IT’S CALLED
YOU SEE: THE OPPOSITE OF CRAVING IS SAYING
BABY, THIS IS THE WAY IT IS YEAH
OK HERE & NOW THIS IS IT
I ACCEPT THE HERE & NOW
AS IT IS
RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT!!! ////
Make a list of all the things you like about your life and all the things you don’t like. You alone are responsible for figuring this out. No one else can.
Moral flaws are not real, but even if you catch yourself thinking that others have them, other people’s alleged moral flaws are neither your problem nor your business.
Just because someone isn’t interested in the same things as you doesn’t mean they aren’t as smart as you.
Sometimes go over your whole body part by part, asking yourself how each part of your body feels.
Now and then practice fucking off completely from trying to solve Future You’s problems.
See whether there are any notes (or other types of exhalation) at all you feel like singing (or enacting) loudly (or, specifically, forcefully). If there are any, try to do them. Same for any facial expressions, gestures/motions, and body postures.
If someone were you, raised as you were, they would only be what you are.
Think carefully about the conclusions you draw about people based on their clothing and attire.
We all think shitty, resentful thoughts about other people. It’s okay. You are not bad for having those thoughts. It’s not even really them that the thought is about.
Practice breathing through both your nose and your mouth. Use both to breathe, and try to breathe more fully because you’re using both.
Maybe not “I’m neurotic” but “I [sometimes] have [have had] neurotic [or verging-on-neurotic] thoughts.”
You are in some way always going to be liable to seem ridiculous or able to be caricatured.
Remember that just because someone annoys you or you don’t like their sense of humor doesn’t mean they would be best erased from the universe. Understand that nothing aesthetic that annoys you is a moral matter. Bear that in mind when you get judgmental.
So if the idea is you crave the thing your brain associates dopamine rewards with, then try leveling out (fast from everything you’ve ever used to relieve stress, including reading/internet/researching thereby lowering your average dopamine stimulus) and then giving yourself something really healthy to want as a reward (good conversation; doing work for communism; meditation; soccer; a game of go) so that’s what your brain drives you to do when it wants dopamine.
If you’re having hard cravings as you’re trying to go to sleep, try getting up and stretching your major muscles while taking deep breaths. Remember also it helps you fall asleep if you exercise during the day.
Your breath is linked to your mind state. If your thoughts go out of control, use your diaphragm to breathe in deep and out slowly. You will become euphoric after a while of doing this and it should help calm all your thoughts down.
If you find you’re not being present because you know you’ll have to feel some kind of pain, accept that fact. You don’t have to get present to the pain, just get present to that fact and take several slow deep breaths and then maybe ask yourself what the specific pain is and what you might do for yourself to ease it a little.
However fast you want to be changing, wherever and whatever you want to be however soon, you cannot help but being what you are right now. You can’t be faulted for being whatever you are at the moment, so if anyone tries to tell you you should feel ashamed, you don’t have to take it personally.
False guilt derives from fear of social judgement and the disapproval of others, but true guilt (shame) derives from not being faithful to ourselves. You should make sure you live up to your own standards, but you don’t owe it to anyone to whip yourself.
Your idea of what you’re like—your idea of your personality—is not you. It is a mistake to believe that this conception of “what you’re like” is actually you.
Sometimes practice seeing people as the “opposite” assigned sex at birth (ASAB) your brain tries to lump them into; or, alternatively, force it into your consciousness that you don’t really know what ASAB someone is.
Behind any message you feel intimidated by from someone you want to treat well is just an individual with unmet needs appealing to you to contribute to their well-being. When you receive messages with this awareness, you never feel dehumanized by what others have to say to you. You only feel dehumanized when you get trapped in derogatory images of other people or thoughts of wrongness about you.
That is, you may find people to be less threatening if you practice, for a moment, hearing what they’re needing rather than what they’re thinking about you.
If you’re feeling dissatisfied or unhappy and you’re not sure why, ask yourself one by one whether your need for them is being unmet. For each one you discover is unmet, take the time to go into each and honestly talk it over with yourself, really listening to your responses about what you’re really wanting, thinking, and feeling.
- to choose one’s dreams, goals, values
- to choose one’s plan for fulfilling one’s dreams, goals, values
- to celebrate the creation of life and dreams fulfilled
- to celebrate losses: loved ones, dreams, etc. (mourning)
- contribution to the enrichment of life (to exercise one’s power by giving that which contributes to life)
- emotional safety
- honesty (the empowering honesty that enables us to learn from our limitations)
- movement, exercise
- protection from life-threatening forms of life: viruses, bacteria, insects, predatory animals
- expression of physical intimacy
If you find yourself hung up on some dream or plan that you can no longer fulfill, understand that by acknowledging what needs you wanted to meet by achieving that dream, you can better move forward in fulfilling that need in the future and realize that you continue to have plenty of chances to meet that need.
Try rephrasing all your “have to”s in the form “I choose to because I want .” And really go into what you want, probing as deeply as necessary to discover what fundamental and universal human desire is behind it.
List the judgments that float most frequently in your head by using the cue, “I don’t like people who are. . . .” Collect all such negative judgments in your head and then ask yourself, “When I make that judgment of a person, what am I needing and not getting?”
Ask yourself whether there’s anyone you’re not empathizing with and are instead feeling fear in relation to. If there is, try to empathize with them.
If you find yourself worrying about people’s prejudice toward you as a relatively more privileged person, remember that their apprehension comes from learned strategies of resistance to a lifetime of oppression, and that you love resistance.
Sometimes practice asking yourself who is asking each thought, including whoever is inquiring into who is thinking each thought, and so on, layer after layer.
If you find yourself thinking that someone is only materialistic, remember that that’s not true—that every single human has depth, cares about the world, thinks about people and big things, has hopes for themselves and the world.
It is vigilance that brings liberation.
If you’re feeling down and overwhelmed, try to think about the bigger picture, what you’re working toward and the fact that you are working effectively toward it, how it won’t be too long until you get there, or at least closer in some meaningful way.
If you find yourself dwelling on the violent and cruel things you’ve done, remind yourself that you’re not dead yet, and these things give you more reason to understand that you are not better than anyone else, most including people whom you may often find yourself judgmental about.
You are in history.
You are going to die.
Realizing you’re going to die one day, and that in truth you could die at any moment, is not a bad thing. It will make you realize the shortness of life and help you value each moment you’re in and person you meet. It also helps you empathize better with the suffering of others and is also something deep you have in common with all living things. If you’re having a hard time empathizing with others’ oppression, you may have forgotten that you’re really going to die.
Whenever you catch yourself wanting to distract yourself, consider stretching instead, like stretching your neck or legs or shoulders, or just figure out what part of your body would enjoy stretching most. Also do some deep breathing.
You can do this breathing exercise to dramatically raise your body temperature and resistance to cold:
* Fairly fast big/deep in, but no pushing out (let it fall out) x 30
* Breathe in really deep and push everything out, then close your throat.
* When you really need air, inhale, deep and full, then hold that for 10-15 seconds.
* Repeat 3-5 times, or more as you like.
Consider whether part of what you find erotic is intersubjectivity in the context of an anticipated relief from the threat you usually feel around others, and whether that is part of what some part of you finds “erotic” about the performance of submissiveness.
Consider whether part of what checking out is, is momentarily encapsulating your mind into a world where you will not have to encounter the beings of complexity and difficulty that are human beings.
Ask yourself whether you’re protecting someone’s comfort or shying away from discussing something to avoid discomforting yourself or them—to the detriment of your or their growth or both.
It is healthy to cry regularly. If you haven’t cried lately, check in with yourself.
If you find yourself finding it hard to like or accept people, ask yourself whether it might be because of certain things you don’t like about yourself, and try to forgive both of you for being something that, really, you can’t totally help being at the moment.
Long bike rides, walks at night (or something similar*) to clear your head, help you process stuff, and solve your problems.
Thought takes time. Have patience with your own mind and with everyone’s mind.
It doesn’t help anyone to constantly be thinking poorly of yourself for “not doing enough.” Do all you can, definitely—but you will ALWAYS only ever be able to do so much. Be glad for the opportunity to do what you can and do it happily knowing that you are.
The decision to not * can be a psychedelic decision. (drum on stuff; eat from boredom) [*do something you would normally do or do by habit or addiction] ////
The ideal reminder list is NOT one you need to pore and fret over and instead a take-it-or-leave-it, if-it-helps-it-helps deal. That way you actually read it. ////
Being present means having no preconceptions or expectations at all about what a particular moment might offer. Really not telling yourself anything at all about what is happening or is about to happen. Really being as open as possible to literally anything that is happening or may be about to happen. Practice achieving that state ever more fully.
You will probably be hurting physically if you’re consuming lots of unhealthy things. You may not want to exercise if you’re hurting physically. Think about the connection between those two things.
Ask yourself whether you’re stuck in the past in some way.
Life is painful and causes suffering. . . . We actually can create more suffering in our lives by trying to avoid or suppress difficult emotions. . . . rather than fear our suffering or seek an ultimate resolution to it (and become frustrated by our lack of finding one), we can learn simply to recognize our suffering. Try not to buy into the idea that you’re broken. Expect that death, aging, sickness, suffering, and loss are part of life. Practice acceptance in the face of strife. Stop attaching to the idea that life should be easy and pain free, both emotionally and physically.
Ask yourself whether the absolute and overall intensity with which anything matters to you, in any way, has fallen over time. If it has, think about this.
If you feel like you hate yourself, or things that you do or have done, and understand that you didn’t do them in a vacuum. Ask yourself what you hate yourself for and think about what pressures there were on you and how you could channel the energy that’s becoming your hate into a more helpful and positive direction.
Ask yourself whether there’s any pain or discomfort you’re tensing in response to, and if so try to relax that tension despite the pain.
Consider whether the only way you will feel completely worthy (or, in other words, avoid having a feeling of incomplete self-worth) is if you abandon the idea of a separate yourself other than the perceiver you are and just value what you are and seem to be as though you were not separate from the other things you are perceiving, and just appreciate the beauty of it no differently and no more attachedly as you do the other stuff.
Ask yourself whether abandoning the idea of achieving self-worth through perception of your accomplishments is difficult in the same way abandoning an addiction is difficult.
When you’re feeling frustrated with someone’s behavior, you might ask yourself, “What would Mr. Rogers do?”
Remind yourself that you are doing the things you love in a person, and gently correct yourself if you are doing things you don’t love in a person. And so also take care of yourself like someone you love.
If you’re feeling lonely, “complete the circle”—you’re waiting on someone else’s approval before you can like yourself—just take a leap and like yourself and don’t put it on someone else and objectify them like that by making them complete the circuit for you.
If you’re feeling despondent, ask yourself whether you’re waiting on external factors to change, or whether it’s possible for you to make a radical leap toward taking responsibility for changing your own attitude toward your situation, whether as an end in itself or as a means to changing the situation to make it how you need it.
Practice thinking about the way you would feel if a man disparaged you behind your back versus if a woman did it, or if a man is demeaning you to your face versus if a non-man is doing it. It seems like part of what you feel anger toward when a man is belittling you is their sort of implicit attitude that they’re emasculating you, but it may help to remember that you have no desire to be masculine in the way they’re ridiculing you for not being.
Is it not the case that these men are acting from fear, because patriarchal masculinity is all this big game of treating others “tough”ly so that we aren’t seen as weak and easily hurt and are therefore less likely to be made targets. Are they in their belittling attitude actually themselves acting from fear of other aggressive men? Does this not make them less loathsome, less needing to be struck back in anger?
If you find yourself thinking or acting egotistically, ask yourself whether the egotism isn’t rooted in a fear due to a lack of confidence in your own strength.
It will help you in life and political work to remember that the most important factor, when you’re doing movement work, is to approach all potential allies with the attitude you want them to associate with communism.
Prioritize social education over reading: study groups, short-presentation-then-discussion groups.
Criticism is a gift. Really listen to how they’re correct in some way and extract that kernel. If someone criticizing in bad faith is just totally incorrect, that’s okay, too—it makes them look bad to criticize on useless things.
“This work can disable me for a minute afterwards. That’s alright. It’s welcome to it. It can have it all. So many gave so much more than I did.”
People in leadership are supposed to hold themselves to a higher standard than mass members bc they are responsible for shaping the behaviour of people in the org who are lower ranking
“Who are our propagandists? they include not only teachers, journalists, writers and artists, but all of our cadres. Take military commanders, for instance. thought they make no public statements, they have to talk to the soldiers and have dealings with the people. What is this if not propaganda? Whenever a person speaks to others, they are doing propaganda work.”
– Whatever you’re working on or building, do it hard. Even if the good it does is very limited, doing more of it will still do the most good, and it will also more quickly reveal the limitations and suggest ways to transcend them.
– Encourage people to talk some real shit after each meeting; like the preacher “who wants to be saved today?”—sometimes people WANT/NEED that hard ask, it can help bring them forward.
Anyone should be allowed to speak out, whoever they may be, so long as they are not a hostile element and do not make malicious attacks, and it does not matter if they say something wrong. Leaders at all levels have the duty to listen to others. Two principles must be observed: (1) Say all you know and say it without reserve; (2) don’t blame the speaker but take their words as a warning. Unless the principle of “Don’t blame the speaker” is observed genuinely and not falsely, the result will not be “Say all you know and say it without reserve”.
If when having public political conversations you encounter someone who’s saying chauvinist things or making arguments whose logic you find offensive or who even insults you, try to have sympathy for them by being aware that their life experiences and education really and truly have confirmed for them the things they’re saying. They believe it, and even though they’re wrong, they’re being sincere and wholehearted, and that is not a bad thing. &&&&
If you dislike and live in fear because of political judginess and inquisitorialness (condemnatory judgmentalness), then do your best to live without it and uphold the living without it.
Politically, the world really is where it really is right now. Don’t fret over work you could be doing if it were different, and chill out on yourself if there really (after investigation) is nowhere better than where you are.
In looking at how socialist society will be organized in the future, several related questions should be posed.
Do these proposals strengthen the ability of the leading communist party to constantly renew its revolutionary character? Do they raise the political consciousness of the masses and strengthen their ability to distinguish between the socialist and capitalist roads? Will they restrict to the maximum extent possible the class differences and inequalities in socialist society? Do they promote the ability of the masses to supervise and point out defects in the party’s work? Do they promote the understanding that socialism cannot advance in one or more countries without actively supporting the development of struggles to overthrow capitalism and imperialism around the world? On such questions the development of socialism today is often focused and debated.
if people’s opinions are much better formed, sturdy, and persuasive if they’ve taken an interest and done the research themselves, you would do much better to focus on instilling an interest in them and then provide the resources rather than on just providing the facts. so focus on what you think will get them interested in understanding the issue better and wanting to look it up themselves.
The fundamental teaching of mass line is for us to have complete trust and reliance on the masses. It emphasizes that the revolution must depend on the masses of the people and on the mobilization of the majority. It opposes pinning one’s hope on a handful of leaders, geniuses, heroes or saviors. It upholds the view that the masses, and only the masses, are the makers of history.
At all times and places, the Party must ensure that all comrades in whatever position of responsibility are linked firmly with the masses. Each comrade must be taught to love the people and to listen to the voice of the masses; to unite with them wherever they are and to mingle with them instead of hovering above them; and to rouse them, or else, raise their political consciousness based on their level; to help them to organize themselves; and to help them launch all the important struggles which can be launched at a given time and place.
“The aim was to advance a process of protracted mass work, to forge real mass links—not to gather once and disperse, or march once and disperse, as if the masses are an object that one periodically mobilizes. Such is the tactic of reformists and revisionists of all stripes.A few tactical questions regarding this neighborhood meeting arose and were resolved through debates in the following way:—The politics of obtaining a space: against corporatism—no collaboration with or dependence on NGOs for a space. We made the decision to take up a collection to secure an independent space.—The means of announcement: against the lazy method of ‘organizing’ through social media. We adapted our practice of regular leaflet distribution to the needs of the meeting by organizing direct conversations with hundreds of neighborhood residents on the street and around transit sites. We have since adopted the practice of announcing meetings primarily through leaflet distribution. One important result of this practice is that our meetings have been composed almost entirely of proletarian residents of the neighborhood, not ‘professional’ activists or members of the small-group left.
When it comes to the topic of what “revolutionary reform” is, I see a focus which is primarily based around gratification, less than it is about building space for the growth of a revolutionary movement. More people are talking about increasing wages than they are releasing political prisoners, banning the death penalty, ending force-feeding, and solitary confinement. I think that is a measurable failure of the left to reconcile the meaning of revolutionary reform and viable concessions. When we want to approach it in such a way that we will benefit from the success of a reform, as a movement not just as individuals, we have to confront the question: does it create a more favorable environment for our struggle?
Now this should not be confused with the accelerationist policy of “worsen conditions, heighten consciousness” because that’s not what I am talking about. I mean, what will assist our struggle in achieving stability, that’s something that worsened conditions cannot do for us. When we talk about the recognition of our imprisoned comrades as political prisoners, this is one such victory. Alternatively, an end to the death penalty along with all cruel and unusual punishments is also vital to creating a stronger and more stable struggle, as it ensures our political prisoners will not be silenced, and will have rights with accordance to their status. Moving away from simply prisoners, there are many other places where this kind of thinking becomes important.
Particularly on land and border issues to do with the refugees coming from Latin Amerika, as well as generally with migrants whom find themselves locked in the constant threat of deportation for lack of papers, or for political activities in general. We must oppose it not only to liquidate the interests of the amerikkkan labor aristocracy, but also because of the possible benefits this grants us within our political work. Secondly, as with land in regards to the indigenous population, there are a plethora of moves by various political forces for the return of sacred lands to the indigenous people, and while of course this is not even scratching the surface as far as what is owed, the physical land which grants autonomy to indigenous people and their political movements is what is important, as well as the benefit of uniting various groups on an issue which has an implicit rejection of US colonialism that must be taken to its logical conclusion.
Our overall understanding of what “revolutionary reform” is, should not be limited to what we think increases the standard of living of amerikkkans, but what truly encompasses the ideological motions we are making, as well as practical movements made toward a more stable struggle in the future. None of this is supposed to be seen as “victory” but it is incorporated political work, something that a nationally-centered wage raise cannot accomplish, and something that will create a greater political space for us to continue organizing. &&&&
Members of communist organization must continuously remould themselves to focus their thoughts and actions on the central interest of the proletariat and the oppressed masses in the world proletarian revolution. We must possess and constantly strengthen the basic revolutionary attitudes of serving the people wholeheartedly; considering the welfare of the people above self-interest; carrying out self-remoulding through revolutionary work and struggle against bourgeois ideology; recognizing that hardship and sacrifice is a necessary part of the struggle of the proletariat and the oppressed masses; developing boldness that avoids unnecessary sacrifices; possessing a deep understanding of duty and responsibility in political work; promoting proletarian internationalism; combating various forms of liberalism and building principled unity; and carrying out criticism and self-criticism based on facts and putting politics in command.
Mass organizational education should use open forms of mass education for all topics permissible without attracting the attention of the state. We should try to adopt and adapt all locally prevalent forms used by the ruling classes and other classes. These can be like libraries, street corner reading posts and other such means which can be used to disseminate progressive literature among other general books; lecture series during festivals, debate competitions, elocution competitions, etc. where our comrades express progressive views; public speaking courses, personality development courses, etc. with political topics included in the syllabus; mass organization training camps, and the like. The level of political education possible through such methods will of course be very low, but it is very essential to be conducted on a regular basis to keep up a political atmosphere among even the more backward sections within the mass organization. For the more advanced sections we have of course to use different forums and methods – e.g. the activist group.
These are joint fronts of various unions and political organizations formed to oppose particular policies or actions of the government or to take up particular trade union, social or political issues. Our approach in such joint fronts is to build the broadest possible struggling unity of all organizations that have a minimum common stand on the issue. At the same time there should be no compromise on basic principles. Very often joint front bodies tend to become ineffective top-heavy bodies, or forums for endless debate. Our approach should be to see that the joint front builds the broadest possible unity of the masses and is not merely the joint front of a few leaders. The attempt should be to take the masses forward in militant struggle and politicize them in the process.
the “urban perspective” document talks about how to shape the classes to fit the overall alliance. we cannot think about how to organize any given class without thinking how it will fit in with the movement/alliance with other classes we are trying to build. so then bearing this in mind, what is the appropriate or optimal relationship between the various potentially revolutionary classes, and all the social classes and sub-classes?
A people, after all, who can boycott the entire city bus system, who set up systems of armed self-defense, are a people who can potentially take the power in their own hands.
no revolutionaries find conveniently ready-made, pre-packaged social bases but must develop and build the masses and themselves in the same process.
WUO never understood the need for socialist nation-building of their own. Another nation or an imperialist conflict may topple your own nation’s government or ruling class—but only your own people can defeat capitalism amongst themselves by building socialism. Imperial Japan was smashed by external forces in World War II, but without socialism from within Japanese imperialism was quickly restored. Revolution for us means socialism. As Mao pointed out, construction and destruction are linked. To build we must destroy. But it is equally true that to destroy (imperialism) we must build (socialism among the people). Only Euro-Amerikans could do this for their nation, even though other nation’s revolutions may chop down the U.S. Empire in size and power. Just as settlers cannot build the Black Nation, so the Black Nation cannot rebuild Euro-Amerikan society. Internationalism is built on the foundation of self-reliance.
There is sometimes an instinct not to promote events or struggles if the main organizers are revisionists or reformists, but this is an anti-masses line. Instead, if there is any mass character to the event at all (that is, if people who are strangers to the organizers will likely be showing up), do promote the event, and couple your promotion of the event with criticism of what you consider incorrect in the politics of the those who have organized it. And then, once you’re there, support the initiative of the masses, provide material support to help them deepen their struggle, talk with them and form ties with them, and do what you can to help a Maoist line (anti-revisionist, anti-reformist) take hegemony of the event.
“if a piece of your behavior remains consistent (in fencing), it can probably be used to hit you.”
Be careful, when you call liberals and reformists and revisionists out, that you are not shaming them for indulging in escapist relief just as you do. Be sure that you are calling them to rise to their full abilities, not shaming them for not doing things they are unable to do. ////
Since CPN (Maoist) is at present in war path, the rightist capitulationist tendency cannot dare to come out in open, hence it takes the mask of dogmato-revisionist tendency, whereby it appears left in appearance, but right in essence. It does this by advocating radical slogans, extreme positions, swearing by class and class alone etc. By swearing with what is literally written in classical books and by not relating to the specific situation of the country and its gender-relation they undermine women’s specific problems and gender discriminations in combat zone. They tend to look at pregnancy and reproductive function of women combatants as an opportunity given to them to prove their metal, to prove themselves as the true vanguard of the revolution. Thus, it romanticises the practical difficulties women have to additionally bear. And when their expectations of women combatants don’t match with the result, then they are gradually transferred into non-combat departments of the army or in other fields in the name of necessity. Thus, they too fall into the trap of negating women’s strategic role in PLA. By relying too much on the subjective efforts at the cost of objective reality, they fail to transform their righteous ideology into physical force, thus inviting militarist outlook in PLA.
. . .
The CPN(M) look at women’s pregnancy, reproductive functions as not women- specific problem, but as a challenge for the whole revolution and hence for the Party. They try to solve these problems dialectically by controlling them, or spacing them, depending upon the nature of women’s work, the positions they hold in their work, and on the nature of the place where they are stationed, and most significantly, they protect the freedom of women-combatants to bear child or not to.
Ask yourself whether, when you find yourself angry at someone, it’s not instead that you’re sad, scared, and/or frustrated at something not exactly related to what the person has just done. For example, if you’re angry after hearing a member of the masses espouse an opposing political view, are you not actually just sad and scared that the world isn’t going to change as fast as you’d like, or that because of deep-seated intransigence that there will be more pain and suffering involved in the change than you like to think usually?
Look for ways to draw similarities between the oppression people in your context are facing and the oppression other people are dealing with. The crisis of polluted water in Flint is like the crisis of water scarcity in Yemen. You might even find the prevailing issues of the day and search the current and preceding 4-5 years of news to see what parallels can be drawn.
Acting kind and humble helps leftism because it helps other communists realize that it is possible and acceptable to be this way.
We should rid our ranks of all impotent thinking. All views that overestimate the strength of the enemy and underestimate the strength of the people are wrong.
Believe that you will win, in some way or another. Believe that you will make advances against the state. Believe that the more daring you are, the faster you will bring victory to your side. Think that you can afford to dare because the state underestimates you, and the people underestimate themselves.
We can’t possibly think that because someone holds reactionary bourgeois ideas that they are totally backwards. That is the ideology we are socialized under. Have patience and compassion for the masses. They desperately need to be able to understand and trust you.
Patience on your part really helps people come to the necessary conclusions on their own, and that is the absolute best way to help raise someone’s political consciousness.
if your programs don’t build power eventually, orient toward the lower and deeper sections. there will always be a masses—look for them, go to them, serve them, learn from them. as long as you continue to orient toward the masses and genuinely meet their demand, you will keep growing.
Look in the masses also where you can find more militancy, more of the correct orientation toward the state. They are people who you cannot afford to not orient toward, and you must seek to better understand the root of their militancy and boldness. But you must also look in the masses for how to build something to support, transform, and win over militants. You need both militants and people who will build a place for them to come to and support they can draw on.
Acting while ignoring bourgeois law keeps you from right-opportunism.
They want you to react with anger instead of patience—it is what keeps all who can be united apart. It is pro-revolutionary to have patience instead of anger, when dealing with someone with whom one does not have an antagonistic contradiction.
You don’t have to show why a revisionist is wrong if you are not 100% sure you can (e.g., if you can’t go toe to toe with them on the historical facts), but you can say, “Maoists see it this way.” and speak honestly why you believe it.
When bringing up new cadre, tell people to read about things that get them stoked, or that satisfy their curiosity.
Go to theory for questions that emerge in your work.
Be hyper-conscious of boisterous patriarchal behavior, it can make people uncomfortable.
You will continue to have “anticapitalisms” and “misinformednesses-about-Stalins”—that is, major, groundbreaking ways you have been wrong—that you will have to accept. Look on your political growth in the future with humility and far-sightedness.
The fear is when the cops come, you will be alone against them. The tide will draw out. The streets will clear. The cop is armed, armored, trained, and sadistic, and has lost patience. And you will say “no” there alone on a hot day in the empty streets. Sit with this fear, and do not be afraid of the anger that comes.
But also know that this will so rarely be the case—that the masses will never quit, they will always resist. You must be at the front with the bravest, but you will have comrades.
Don’t do it for just abstract reasons, for just a crumb. Do it for a base area. Do it for a real taste of it. Do it for more than just your own internal defiance, do it to be among a whole troop of emboldened and brilliant comrades.
Often sectarianism results from a liberalism that is looking for a way to avoid struggling.
Before starting a conversation or responding to anyone—at basically any time—try to answer and unite with their CONCERNS in addition to any questions they may have asked.
The first step in the mass line is to take in EVERYTHING—the good and the bad, literally everything that the masses are thinking and doing, exactly as it is. We have to accept it all into consideration without prejudice or judgment, in order to make the absolutely most accurate assessment possible.
If we don’t correct the masses, we’re failing to bring them up and to support the long-term interests of the masses. If you hear a line you disagree with, respectfully tell them how and why you disagree.
When trying to combat your liberalism and opportunist instincts, meditate on all the specific situations you’re scared of and inquire into them.
Recognize that if you are truly to act like Malcolm X, truly to spiritually give yourself to the revolution, you cannot be opportunist or rightist. That will betray it and betray the people. If you turn away from what is necessary, you cannot achieve the grace that alone completely nourishes you.
If we fight we might lose, but if we don’t fight we’ve already lost.
The only alternative to a political campaign is to build a completely self-reliant structure to solve people’s problems. Build it so good and so concretely that it becomes obvious to the masses that we don’t have to ask city council for shit.
If you’re worried about being revisionist or liberal, ask yourself what the PCP would do.
When you’re feeling critical or angry or ultra or unkind, think of what kind of example you’ll set. Think of Mr. Rogers or Malcolm X and your wish that all the party could be like them. And be like them to help influence people to be.
If you find yourself feeling angry at an individual for something they *are*, ask yourself what it is in them that they represent from the general population that frustrates or scares you, and then, instead of acting unprincipledly and taking it out on that specific individual, allow yourself to think that you are doing work to abolish that type of individual wholly, including reforming all the existing ones who can be reformed. That should help you chill out and do what’s in the people’s interest. Because even taking your anger out on someone and being ultra is being liberal, because it serves you and gratifying your desire to discharge your pain instead of serving the people.
During organizing fatigue, focus on and talk about whatever parts of communism you love and keep you going.
You may be tired, and you may feel less hopeful at the moment, and you may not be able to do everything you want to or thought you would be able to at any given moment, but remember that no one else is going to step up if you step down. No one is going to replace the labor that you can add. Your quitting or burning out will not inspire anyone to work harder. Be real, stay in the game, and keep at it.
Remember that the masses know where resources to help themselves and others survive are, often far better than we do.
The struggle between the two lines is there within the Party and will continue to be there. We must oppose and defeat the incorrect line. But we must be on our guard against centrism. Centrism is a brand of revisionism.
Apply this in your personal life, in your organizing:
In many ways, then, Maoist ideology rejects the capitalist principle of building on the best, even though the principle cannot help but be followed to some extent in any effort at economic development. However, the Maoist departures from the principle are the important thing. While capitalism, in their view, strives one-sidedly for efficiency in producing goods, Maoism, while also seeking some high degree of efficiency, at the same time, in numerous ways, builds on “the worst.” Experts are pushed aside in favor of decision-making by “the masses”; new industries are established in rural areas; the educational system favors the disadvantaged; expertise (and hence work proficiency in a narrow sense) is discouraged; new products are domestically produced rather than being imported “more efficiently”; the growth of cities as centers of industrial and cultural life is discouraged; steel, for a time, is made by “everyone” instead of by only the much more efficient steel industry.
bring a deep and genuine curiosity to your interactions with the people, they probably grasp the social class structure in ways you wouldn’t guess, even if they frame it in oblique or unusual ways.
Weigh it out; what will happen with each course of action, in each section of the population (including the state)? make the prediction, and this will give you the ability to learn how things work through scientific method
“Since it is necessary to determine the actual results which would follow from any suggested course of action, it is necessary for the party to have a firm grasp of the actual situation the masses find themselves in. All the objective factors must be known: the relative strengths of the different class forces, the various forms of struggle which are possible in the situation, the arenas of struggle where the strength of the masses can best be brought to bear, the mood and resolve of the masses, etc. ”
Thing I wouldn’t have thought to do:
– Post up the polemic against NGOism; to attack NGOism ruthlessly as soon as it showed its face
– Specifically tailoring the polemic to directly call out how the NGO behaved, just really pushing directly on the contradiction
– Start up a newspaper as a way of initiating the mass line
– There was room for a local paper
– Give them space to write stuff for it themselves
– They already *had* given us their concerns, so we can start to offer them back revolutionary articles that pertain to those concerns
– To pivot so quickly and aggressively to jump into the housing struggle
– providing material support to people as they help reach decisions, not just giving them speeches and information, e.g., Make attending the political meetings genuinely pleasurable for the residents by buying them really enticing food, like fried chicken.
– Harness the PB and the broader masses to help the housing struggle, as the point of struggle, the hole in the dam that if it is plugged, helps them, too.
– Even if you’ve never done the thing you’re doing before, err on the side of doing something bold.
– Give them the facts they need to draw the conclusions they need that will lead them to fight
* Proactively and ongoingly respond to other collectives’ statements and interventions.
- As you write for mass political education, lay bare the contradictions and the processes—e.g., first hipster businesses, then developers who can sell to hipsters; and, gentrifiers and gentrified cannot coexist.
- Respond *fully* and *quickly*. Fascists on campus, don’t alert and rely on the authorities; and don’t just put up flyers summoning the masses to deal with them—organize a flyer-taking-down event and use it to promote a no-platform-for-fascists full-on *event* or maybe small campaign.
- When evaluating people in your orbit who aren’t in your collective (or even who are), look not just at what they are and at what their intentions are—look at what their subconscious or semi-conscious motivations are and how their current habits and environment will likely lead those habits to become more and more conscious and acceptable, and how their environment will combat or help justify those habits.
– If you talk about something and don’t do anything about it quickly, that’s bad, you will lose support and credibility. Be prompt, pay attention to timing and how you are riding the wave of public opinion in all matters based on your timing.
– Part of planning an event and a campaign is not just deciding what is to be done but also deciding on roles and making sure those roles get filled.
– Decide whether you need follow-up meetings or discussions with the planners to keep the campaign/event on track.
– Can the pigs surround it?
– If you’re not doing SICA and on-the-ground investigation at every step of planning the event, you’re not planning it in a Maoist way.
– If you’re picking a detail for the event, such as a starting place for a march, *ask the masses for their ideas!*
What you must overcome in bringing someone into Serve the People is not just to answer certain political questions (e.g., “is capitalism really the problem?”) And in fact that is probably less important. What you really have to address are attitudes and personality types and ways of being in the world. You should develop generalized strategies for answering questions, but much more important and a deeper and harder and more fruitful task will be developing generalized awareness of and responses to types of attitudes toward STP and anticapitalist work in general. And someone with questions or suggestions that seem foolish may have failed to do something you consider trivial (e.g., simply read the posts on the group), in truth there is always something you could be doing proactively. You should take on as much of the responsibility for their failure to understand as possible, if you want to build something revolutionary.
If you find yourself feeling sad or afraid, also remember anger. Remember that the suffering on this planet isn’t abstract, but is being run by powerful, almost unimaginably entitled, corrupted people, and think that your work is helping to shake the ground beneath their feet, that it is helping to overthrow them entirely.
Since one of the main purposes in using in propaganda is to develop your relationships with advanced and intermediate workers, you want to try and talk about something connected with the pamphlet, drawing out this person’s life history and consciousness and in the process sharing your own. If you do not know the article well that you give someone you will lose opportunities to refer back to the article and so the process becomes less of a bridge uniting two lives and more of something interesting to read, less of a move towards organization and more of a communist merchant selling his wares. I have observed precisely this different use of propaganda at my union shop where a communist from another organization sold maybe twenty copies of his organization’s newspaper every month, but still couldn’t get a single person from his department to join the plant caucus. Neither did he appear to have a true friend in the entire plant and I witnessed that the way he used propaganda eventually drove people away from him. What he did not realize here is that the personal is political and so guys came to see him as someone who had a lot of interesting things to say about politics, but was other than that pretty much a bore. So you don’t want to fall into the mistake this comrade made—judging his performance on the basis of quantity, how many newspapers or pamphlets you have given out, or simply the correctness of the line in everything you pass out, but primarily on the quality of relationship with advanced and intermediate workers you are able to develop and the space that this opens up for more conversations between you.
I have also learned from my mistakes. With C, I had talked a lot about the Vietnam War. I gave him a pamphlet on Vietnam to read and he practically refused to read it. He is black and I later realized that his personal interest in imperialism was much stronger when we discussed South Africa or guerrilla struggles in Africa, which I myself had been neglecting. It’s true that there are some unique lessons to be learned from the experience of the Vietnamese Revolution, but these were things I wanted him to learn and not necessarily needs he felt. I remember feeling pissed at him for not reading it and acting like “who can be bothered with Vietnam.” My response was pretty moralistic and based on too high expectations of him. I was not starting from his needs but from my own desires.
We must not, because we are undergoing the suffering of a war more cruel than any seen in the past, immediately capitulate; nor must we, under the influence of a long war, suddenly lose our endurance and give way to lassitude. We must inspire ourselves with the most resolute spirit of unyielding struggle, with the most burning revolutionary sentiments, and with the will to endurance, and carry out a protracted struggle against the enemy. We must know that, although the circumstances and the duration of the war are cruel and protracted, this is nothing compared to what would happen if the war were lost; if our country were destroyed and the whole of our people reduced to a position of irretrievable ruin, the suffering would be even more cruel and would never come to an end. Therefore, however cruel the war may be, we must absolutely and firmly endure until the last five minutes of struggle. This is especially the case with our present enemy, who finds their advantage in a rapid decision in the war, whereas our advantage is to be found in the strategy of a protracted war.
Be grateful for your comrades. they do not have to have you, but they do, and they care about you and want to work with you. Always try to be humble and grateful in the thought that they are choosing to work with you, not that they have to. &&&&
Consider all criticisms in the moment, but also take them away with you and consider them later, honestly, with your ego less in the way, when you can really stop to ask yourself about them in a more all-around fashion, then get back to someone.
Criticisms, defeats, and struggle sessions help us get at the internal, invisible-to-us contradictions. It is possible to manage or compensate for one’s errors by borrowing resources from areas in one’s life or mind that are producing abundance or doing well. But when one is confronted with something more direct than usual, one is less prepared to sugarcoat or butter anything up or polish anything and one’s raw instincts and unvarnished understandings come out, that is one of the quickest ways to get at the deeper nature, the root of a mental pattern or line of reasoning or justification for a behavior. And these concealings are often invisible even to the thinker themselves until that moment.
If you’re feeling unappreciated for treating someone decently when they’re being stressed out or whatever, remember that the thank-you for treating others well is an improved relationship with them.
Sincerely wish full recovery and rectification for all people. This is also a way to feel humble. Like, *know* that they can, and nothing about you at all makes you more able to change and grow. ////
Political errors spring from theoretical deficiencies, or a failure to apply theory, which amounts to the same thing.
Be on guard that you are living in the real world, finding your joy in reality and in other people, and not still just finding more things like literature to consume, e.g., perhaps, more communist theory or analyses to consume, or more mass line data to process instead of human beings to engage with as human beings.
It might be wise to take turns putting people in charge of micro-teams, so that they learn what being on the receiving end of non-accountability feels like, and thereby learn discipline.
When criticized, be excited about the way your work will improve when you correct your mistakes.
Exploit loose logistical chains in the enemy’s apparatuses.
Break with bourgeois society. Electoral politics goes on, but burn the ballot boxes. Intend to openly overturn the existing order.
It is important to challenge everyone. Those on the capitalist road will remain on the capitalist road unless they are stopped. As Mao taught so well, everything that is reactionary is the same: if you do not hit it, it will not fall.
If it would advance the overall movement, it is a form of revisionism to proceed cautiously, as though preserving the existing revolutionary collective with all its resources intact is more important than advancing the struggle. This was the error made by the Soviet Union—to see itself as a consolidated base area that everything must be subordinated to to protect. To the contrary, the most successful revolutionaries must continue to take bold risks on behalf of advancing the struggle they are embedded in. Take actions that will risk things—not unreasonably, but take risks.
Getting off of an addiction (say, to sugar) gives you more clarity with which to serve the people. The better you are at serving the people, the more rewarding it will be. The more rewarding it is, the easier it will be to stay off of the addiction. &&&&
If you are having trouble seeing the big picture or keeping politics in command, or are looking for the anger you once had but can’t find it in media, just go for a long walk by yourself.
It is easy to get caught up in the camaraderie and the sociality of having people to be alongside as you do political work, but making this primary is dangerous because it can cloud your judgment about line, lead to liberalism and sectarianism and pettiness, and even more harmfully, distract your focus from the even deeper reasons why you want to be doing the work you are doing—because in all the world this is not a thing higher than to do something good and productive for the people of this planet, to give your life for them. There is nothing else here to do that is good besides it. You will be happiest if you remember and center your deepest reason for wanting to do this work: because you want to have served the people to come in world history, and the few who can be helped who are alive today. &&&& This is especially true when it comes to internet comrades, but it is also true about overemphasizing enjoyment of the company of one’s comrades on the ground.
If someone you’re supposed to be conducting the mass line with—even someone who you think is backward—don’t argue with assertions they make that they think are incorrect. Instead, ask *why* they think what they think, and ask what we (a small group of working-class people with no outside funding) can do to *improve* the situation.
Your instinct to head toward the city center, and all that you desire in it, is probably a bourgeois impulse. Consider instead heading away from it and all centers like it, toward where the working class lives.
the fundamental work of a revolutionary party … consists in helping the masses to organize themselves and to transform, through their own practice, their consciousness of their capacity for action, and also to discover the forms this action needs to take.
Just stop and think about when you first learned about the mass line, like why you thought that it would obviously work, how it was so distinctly different from all other strategies. Go among the masses, learn their ideas, sharpen them, return them. It is an exciting process, and an effective one. Retain your excitement about it as you implement it.
We must remind gentrifiers that they are NOT SAFE in those areas. This is what works in LA.
Encourage line struggle.
Feeling bad about yourself is part of what perpetuates the errors and problems you’re causing with your erros in thinking, because self-loathing or self-hatred justifies harming the masses. Part of loving the masses is loving yourself, thinking that you are the same as the masses, if you make exceptions to not like yourself you are making exceptions to not like parts of the masses.
You’ll be more inclined to fight because you’ll be more inclined to accept death generally if you spend more time being present and grateful for the world.
Think in your heart the simple facts: if we can get everyone what they materially need to flourish, we can get everyone to grow up to be a truly good, kind, patient person. If you feel sectarianism, you are coming from doubt of this possibility. But *know* it is possible and begin to live as you know it is possible for everyone to live.
Always be modest. Get rid of “great power chauvinism” in your work.
Don’t be too excited by the exhilaration of anti-imperialist struggles, and commit to the patient work of organizing white workers. The work is there to be done; only you can undertake the task of organizing the white proletariat. Take it up with enthusiasm, take it up with a long historical view in mind, take it up with the enthusiasm (not necessarily the attitude) with which Malcolm took up the task of black liberation.
If you’re feeling anxious about moving forward for fear of being adventurist but also not avoiding it because you don’t want to feel ashamed, remember that there is a way to do it. You may not have some comrades’ brilliant insight, but you can find that way forward, or something that very plausibly looks like it, using the mass line and careful synthesis. You can find it. You can find that place just one step ahead of the masses, and that is in fact the safest place to be. And you can find it. You know exactly how. Breathe, embrace the fact of the uncertainty, and move forward boldly and with confidence.
“Our Party leaders often complain that there are no people, that they are short of people for agitational and propaganda work, for the newspapers, the trade unions, for work among the youth, among women. Not enough, not enough – that is the cry. We simply haven’t got the people. To this we could reply in the old yet eternally new words of Lenin:
“There are no people – yet there are enormous numbers of people. There are enormous numbers of people, because the working class and ever more diverse strata of society, year after year, throw up from their ranks an increasing number of discontented people who desire to protest…. At the same time we have no people, because we have… no talented organizers capable of organizing extensive and at the same time uniform and harmonious work that would give employment to all forces, even the most inconsiderable.””
The difference between riding a bike and biking. Riding a bike you can do mechanically, drunk. Biking in a city, you have to constantly be alert, sometimes making radical changes in course and sharp decisions based on very suddenly emerging factors, and you will need to act as immediately as possible in some cases. You must not do a single thing mechanically when conducting an organization and running strategy—you have to adapt IN FULL to every change and to every realization, as soon as you have it. This is how you can learn the strategy to lead. If you do this and try and fail and try again, this is how you will learn to do it.
A part of being materialist is not waiting until we’re stoked on something but doing it first knowing that the feeling of being stoked will catch up later.
Those who are alive with you in this time are the busmates you will always have. Get to know them and think of yourself as on this journey with them.
It may help to remember that every last individual cop has fucked-up politics.
You can take the masses that are backward in some way (having machismo, for instance) and use the mass line bring them forward on the basis of their interests. Because by bringing people along for the things that they do indeed want, it can be shown through their own experiences of the necessity not only of unifying people they previously felt uncomfortable around but in fact of changing themselves, and of realizing that at the root of some exclusive desires is an even deeper, more inclusive desire. This can all be shown through the mass line. There is a thread, or rather there is a branching tree of threads, to bring the very broad masses all together culturally, socially, psychologically
There aren’t some wholly good ideas, and some wholly bad ideas, from the masses; all ideas are contradictory and contain both correct and incorrect components. One has to approach them all-sidedly, and realize that there are correct aspects in all of them that can be drawn out and expanded on, but even the incorrect aspects can tell you something correct about the world that the person has lived in—that they have lived in concrete conditions that have given them the specific, concrete understandings that they currently have, even if they’re incorrect. You are gathering all the ideas of the masses, looking at them all-sidedly, and then drawing conclusions from this much more thorough, thoughtful analysis of all the masses’ ideas.
Very often, something you’re thinking of criticizing or polemicizing, other people are also thinking. You can bring the movement forward by exposing your line against that thing, which will produce material consolidation behind your line on behalf of everyone who’s already thinking it. Even if it’s in an incorrect line, you also bring the movement forward because you reveal misguided thinking that must be transformed.
ALWAYS get the masses’ contact info; do not just give them your info and wait for them to contact you.
when you bring a campaign to the masses, in the literature and in your presentation, no matter how more militant it is than everyday society, don’t hem or haw—make it legit! do it all the way, present it with confidence. this will give people the chance to believe more deeply in their own line.
When you’re in a place you find hard to bear, like suburbia, look at it as though you’re a scout or a partisan anthropologist, trying to look for weaknesses, weak links, strategic information, and anything else that will help you do political work. This can help you feel not trapped but instead proactive, partisan, engaged, and investigative.
Certain choices are hard but increase your capacity to do something you want. Exercising is hard but it can increase your overall energy level. Empathy or extra care—e.g., loving someone just for being who they are—can be hard but it can increase your overall ability to empathize and to care, and it feels good to live one’s life that way. The idea that there is a zero-sum of energy that can’t be expanded is not strictly true—one must understand this and vigilantly try to do more.
Idealism, or bad ideology, causes people to think, say, and do disgusting things. For instance, if someone doesn’t see that Islam is a religion primarily of oppressed nations, they may well perceive it as dangerous, exceptionally chauvinist, or as the cause of backwardness. But these are the same people you must try to win to Maoism. There will be VERY few people who are wrong but kindhearted, who make it easy to approach them with empathy to help them overcome their errors. In truth, virtually all the people you must win over will have some sort of disgusting ideas *that lead them to have bad attitudes*. Don’t come looking for some ideal member of the masses to work with who “deserves” your humility—your humility is all the more necessary with people who are arrogant in their incorrectness. Don’t give yourself that excuse, the error you seek to correct is part of what makes it difficult to correct, and your reaction determines a great deal.
Remember that doing your work to make a living should actually be treated and understood as political work, because it’s necessary to keep you alive and able to do the rest of the work. Take it seriously, do it well and efficiently.
Rebelliousness and envelope-pushing at every step is the answer to walking the line between growth and ultra-leftism. Keep that in command, to ensure you are neither wasting your time/life (in devoting your life to something not genuinely revolutionary) nor counterproductively risky.
Although it is very good practice to be cautious, it is harmful to dwell on what you imagine repression will look like. It will demoralize you without even helpfully preparing you to confront it—remember that your imagination of what the agents of the bourgeoisie look like are only imaginations, and don’t torment yourself with them.
Try to wake up every morning and remember that the faster you do your work to do it sooner things will get better for the people of the planet and the environment. Try to remember what you’re fighting for. Remember that in addition to the human beings who are alive in the world right now that you are maybe even more than that fighting for humanity and what it is capable of being, and remember that you love that desperately.
If you’re really taking time to rest, make it like “true to yourself” time, not just scrolling through Facebook but really giving your deepest self what you truly need.
First bold lines win everyone in the city to the movement, and then the city’s bold line wins everyone in the country to the movement.
When you have outreach to do, don’t worry too much about doing it perfectly. Do it a LOT, dial a LOT. You can’t perfect or predict what will work, so all you can do is do a lot of outreach. The people who are ready to get to work and get things going well let you know so long as your approach is just basically okay.
Have the courage to stick your neck out first.
In general err toward over-tasking people and letting them to you their limits, than letting worry about overtasking them lead you to leave them isolated, underedeveloped, and underutilized.
In a time of emboldened fascists, we have to be morally upright. We have to show in our genuinely upbeat and optimistic attitude the real power of communism to bring humanity into the future. The beauty, and the moral groundedness and true humility, of the masses and their raw power and genius to come is what can and *will* make that future. Think of that when you need to know how to behave.
Against the betrayals of the trade union and tenants’ association, the JRSC took up the worker and tenant struggles in a more or less militant fashion. *However, to militate hard at a practical-concrete level against reformist practices is something other than breaking with the bourgeois political and ideological basis of those practices*. The JRSC took up the trade union struggle outside the trade union, and the tenant’s association struggle outside the tenants’ association, and thus remained stuck in the logic of demand economism. At most, it served as a kind of ‘hard’ social force, auxiliary in relation to the trade union and the tenants’ association.
The core of the problem was indicated by the incomprehension of tenants regarding the spreading of trash outside the building. Contradictions among the people remained unresolved, both those between the tenants and the workers – reinforced by the ‘demand’ nature of each struggle – and those among the tenants. The masses did not engage the process of taking power *over themselves* in order to transform the concrete situation.
There may well be a solution to the problem of your feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of doing political reading in making sure that what you’re reading is direct research into theory and/or history about solving the problems that you’re concretely presented with. Because then it will be both interesting (because you are probably pretty curious how to solve your problem) and you won’t have to load your brain up with a bunch of new perspectives just to engage with the text—you’re already working in most of the realms of thought the text will engage in, so there’s no painful, mentally costly “switching gears” to get into the article.
Stress that people need to prioritize doing work for the orgs instead of their own personal projects.
Do everything you can to build a party. Take initiative.
Workers learn by their own experiences … the relationship of classes in present-day society. … They learn the role of the henchmen of the bourgeoisie in the ranks of the working class, they learn the role of the reformist leaders of the trade unions and of the Socialist Party. In other words, the proletarian masses learn through their own experiences that their class, the working class, has class enemies-the bosses, the exploiters, the capitalists and their henchmen. They learn that there is only one way out of misery, insecurity, unemployment, etc.-the way of the final overthrow of the old order, and the establishment of the new-the proletarian dictatorship. …
The masses will learn in these struggles who their enemies are. They will see the police with their clubs and revolvers and gas bombs, the militia with their machine guns; the extra-legal forces of the bourgeoisie (Ku Klux Klan, Vigilantes, etc.) with their lynch law; the press with its poisonous anti-working class propaganda; they will recognize the role of the church; the judges with their injunctions and vicious sentences against workers; the mayor of the city or town, the governor of the state, the President of the United States, always supporting the capitalists. They will see the reactionary leaders in the A. F. of L. unions treacherously helping the bosses to crush the struggles of the workers for a decent living and against capitalism. They will see the efforts of the Socialist Party leaders to fuse themselves more and more with the leaders of the A. F. of L. unions. They will see the cynically conciliatory policy of the Right wing of the S.P. toward the bourgeoisie and A. F. of L. bureaucrats. They will see the role of the Trotskyites as the advance guard of the counter-revolution, supplying the capitalists with “arguments” against Communism and the Workers’ Fatherland, the Soviet Union. …
The workers learn through their own experiences that they must have a Communist Party, which leads them in their struggles, which draws the correct conclusions from these struggles, and which, in the preparation for, and in the midst of, the struggles, continuously exposes every move of the enemy and teaches the workers the lessons that should be learned in their struggles.
In order to win the confidence of the workers, the Unit must be able to give a correct answer to every question which bothers the workers. However, this is possible only if the Unit systematically gathers as much material about the given situation as possible. With the help of the Section Committee, the Unit should equip itself with material about the profits of a company, e.g., the dividends paid out to the coupon clippers, the income of the bosses, how they live (house, apartment), how many servants and automobiles they have, and their political connections with the city, state and federal government. If a Unit is armed with such important material, it will be easier for it to bring these facts to the attention of the workers, in connection with their grievances, through shop paper, leaflet and Daily Worker.
The shop paper could and should be distributed from outside also (Street Unit), but it must be emphasized that the workers will react more favorably to the paper if they get it from the inside, if they know that the paper is given to them by one who may be working in their department. The workers will have great respect for a Party which is skilled enough to spread the paper inside, in spite of the strenuous effort of the boss to keep it out.
The Street Unit … must remember that a vital task of the Party is to establish strong bonds with the broadest masses. … This can be done best by penetrating the … churches, fraternal organizations, societies, etc. In order to carry out this task it is essential that every member of a Street Unit in the … territory be a member of [such] organization[s]. The best solution to this problem is for the majority of a Unit to join one such organization-the most important and biggest … organization[s] in the territory. The Party members in these organizations will work as a fraction under the guidance of the Street Unit. It is understood, however, that Street Units will not give up the work in the neighborhood generally while the main attention is directed towards the work in the organizations where the Party members belong.
When you doorknock, have something to invite people to—have an ask for them, in addition to whatever you may want to tell them about or give them.
There’s this moment in human history yet to come that i imagine sometimes, this moment like, just five years after we seal our win over capitalism, like we’re not at full communism yet (which i can’t even imagine), but this moment it sets in on the broad masses of humanity that we did it, that the nightmare is over, and the realization dawning on the broad masses of humanity that we collectively have saved ourselves, and the creativity and joy that that will spread across the whole species, in all our work, how invigorated and grateful and excited we will all feel. when i remember in gratefulness that that is the master i serve, when we remember that, i think it shines through us, and the masses can see that in us and see that we are different from the world that they have seen up to this point, and we can show them that they can see that in themselves as well, and that is how it will spread. i hear from my comrades who know the revolutionaries in the Philippines well that you can see this light shining through them.
I don’t want to keep losing sight of that beautiful sight, which grounds me and gives my life the deepest purpose it can have.
Don’t wait until problems pile up and cause a lot of trouble before trying to solve them. LEADERS must march ahead of the movement, not lag behind it.
We want to destroy the ideology of bourgeois right, the lordly pose, the three styles [the bureaucratic, the sectarian, and the subjective] and the five airs [the officious, the arrogant, the apathetic, the extravagant, and the precious].
Why must a true collectivist demand humility from himself?
First, because he understands that although he plays a part in the achievements of knowledge or other results, the part the masses play is far greater. Without the help and support of the masses, he would not be able to have knowledge; nor would his work be successful. As a collectivist, he must not discount the merits of the masses, or ‘rob other people of their merits’. He knows that it is shameful to be conceited.
Second, he understands that what he has learnt and done forms only a tiny drop in the ocean of revolutionary knowledge and work: it is infinitesimal. Moreover, revolutionary knowledge and work are incessantly developing. As a collectivist, he must do his utmost to acquire the knowledge which is useful to the people and to devote his ability to the revolution. Therefore, he must feel that there is no room for complacency, for becoming stagnant.
Third, he knows that work is constructed like a huge machine with its wheels, screws, steel frames, and other parts of different sizes and shapes, each being indispensable. As a collectivism he should respect each man’s work and each man’s achievement. For the perfection of the revolutionary work, he must co-ordinate his own work with that of others. He must feel that he cannot bear to be left out of the collective, and that he passionately loves his colleagues. Because of this, he must treat people with modesty, never with pride or conceit.
Fourth, he understands that the scope of an individual view is narrow and limited, whereas the scope of revolutionary work and knowledge is broad and their contents extremely rich and complex. Thus he understands that it is inevitable for an individual to have faults and be ‘likely to commit mistakes. These faults and mistakes open escape his full attention. Since he is a collectivist, he would demand of himself a deeper and wider vision to detect he own faults and mistakes in time and to correct them quickly, so that he can do revolutionary work well and be responsible to the people. Because of this, he is modest, humbly learns from others, and sincerely welcomes other people’s criticism.
. . .
Marxism-Leninism tells us: all achievement is the result of the strength of the collective, no individual can detach himself from a collective, and an individual, without the party to lead him or an organization and the masses to support him, cannot accomplish anything. If we do really understand the part played by the masses and the individual in history and their mutual relationship, we automatically become modest.
Marxism-Leninism can raise our understanding of the future and the destination we are going to, can widen our scope, and can free our thought from parochialism. When people see only what is under their feet, not what lies above the mountains and beyond the seas, they are likely to be as boastful as ‘the frog at the bottom of a well’. But when they raise their heads to see the immensity of the world, the kaleidoscope of man’s affairs, the splendour and magnificence of the cause of humanity, the richness of man’s talents, and the breadth of knowledge, they become modest. What we are dedicated to is a world-shaking task. We must focus not just on the world and happiness in front of our eyes, but also on the work and happiness of all of us in the distant future. Marxism-Leninism helps us to overcome self-satisfaction of a small producer due to a small success or a small achievement. It arouses our desire for ceaseless progress. At the same time, it helps us to eliminate our idealistic subjective way of thinking.
Don’t be afraid to be a revolutionary, to behave like PCP. Figure out a way to get into it as you can get being bold at demos. Be confident because of people’s war tactics, not just in the sense of 10 people will do it, but also, as with antifa work countrywide, because even if a small group does the boldest part, 10 times as many people can come out and support them—let this principle embolden you also and make you able to rebel and defy.
* Whenever and wherever you can, constantly look for how to turn bad events that arise into as good of things as they can be.
Struggle in itself is valuable, not to be avoided but to be embraced. Even though it is unpleasant, it is a great opportunity.
The real like, the frank, “this saved my ass, for real” realness of the kind of person communism asks you to become, of overcoming addiction, of really overcoming the bourgeois self, and how that allows for like real, soul-nourishing love, realize that the realness of communism also requires real struggle, real criticism of comrades, and what’s more real violence against the enemies of the people. But recognize that there is none of that realness without that realness manifesting all along, at every point. The violence is requisite for that realness, that violence against class enemies will keep you alive, because that violence against class enemies, and the criticism, and the clean, ego-forgetting love for comrades that is so nourishing and “this saved my life, for real” (adj) are *all the same thing*. So if you want to really love your comrades, and if you want your ass saved for real, (a) for real you have to go hard against the enemies of that love, that realness, against the enemies of the people and communism. But also find that anger in its rightful, real place—as being destructive of something truly pure. And this will give you the bravery to go against it from the bottom of you—because it will give you the one and only real kind of love you really want—because it will save your ass, for real.
Sweep away the colossal heap of garbage that is revisionism and opportunism, principally electoralism. None of these revisionists and opportunists, nor any of their varieties, can represent, much less defend, the masses.
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. &&&&
Now, within that, there’s also the question of understanding the different strata and the stratification within the proletariat. It’s not simply the case that the people who are most desperate are, in a one-to-one sense, the most revolutionary. But there is something that was brought out in the Morality* writings, which is very important. It’s also something that the comrades in Peru have emphasized: they call it the scientific organization of poverty. I think they may be referring to the statement by Marx when he’s criticizing Proudhon in the “Poverty of Philosophy.” Marx says Proudhon’s failure was that he didn’t see the revolutionary destructive aspect in poverty. He only saw the misery. This is a problem for a lot of intellectuals, including some of the people who do some very good work—people like Jonathan Kozol and others—they don’t see the revolutionary destructive aspect in poverty. In other words, they don’t see the revolutionary potential that arises from, and is bound up with, the impoverished condition of the proletarian masses. And this is what we have to see, scientifically—and, in fact, especially today, it can *only* be seen, at least in any kind of thorough and consistent way, by applying our science.
So, there does have to be a class for whom the world is a ghetto, but also people whose material interests correspond in a general way—not some abstract, absolute “pure” way—to the outlook and the interests of the proletariat. And the point is, there *is* such a force. With all the dislocations, upheavals, with all the disastrous consequences for the masses that they’re being dragged through and the disorientation and demoralization spontaneously arising in connection with this, there *is* a class, a class whose objective interests and outlook—together with our work to give this class-conscious expression as a material force—represent the bridge across that *yawning chasm between what’s needed to resolve the contradictions*, not only in a particular country but on a world scale, *and what, in fact, the conditions are today and how they are impinging upon the lives of the people, the great majority of humanity.
Protecting yourself against mistakes in your “mundane” work *is* protecting yourself against the state and fascists. Do not take slip-ups lightly—the health of the organization is precisely what protects people from fascists and the state. Resisting attacks draws on those same resources.
Avoid being tempted into taking certain aspects of your work lightly–do not let yourself discharge tasks in a not-all-around, not-fully-thought-through manner because of cockiness or an overestimation of your abilities. Be humble in order to be real, when approaching your tasks.
Dedicate yourself to the well-being of all the organizations around you, of the well-being of the whole left in the area and in the country and in the world. Take responsibility for it, you are a part of it, you depend on it and it calls upon you to do your best by it.
One reason your comrades overall want to hear criticisms and feedback is because it keeps them connected—and they like to serve, serve the living movement as it actually is, and don’t want to be assumed to not want to serve.