The North Star
Connexions Directory of Groups & Websites 2018
Purpose: The North Star website was named after the newspaper that Frederick Douglass published from December 1849 to June 1851 in the belief that the American Left must adopt the symbols, language and traditions of our national experience rather than those of another time and another place. Frederick Douglass, Eugene V. Debs, Emma Goldman and Malcolm X#these are the people who lived and fought in the belly of the beast and who should inspire us.
For too long the Left has drawn upon the iconography of the Russian Revolution, including the hammer and sickle that was meaningful to the people who fought against Czarist oppression. It is also necessary for us to stop idealizing V.I. Lenin as if his writings can be mechanically applied to our own experience. Likewise we must avoid treating other such figures as if they had some special insights into the challenges we face, including Mao Zedong or Fidel Castro who fought guerrilla wars based on the peasantry. If we are to succeed in developing the leadership so urgently needed in our own struggle for a new and more just society, it will only be through the process of overcoming the obstacles that the American one percent puts in our path. We are in a highly advanced industrialized system and we have to employ means that are appropriate to our environment, especially the Internet.
Being engaged with American realities means taking an open-minded approach to connecting with humanity. The only people the Left typically engages with are activist circles. What if we reached beyond that? How do we interact with social spaces like cafés, sidewalks, bars, nightclubs, our neighborhoods, our schools, our workplaces? Who should we be connecting with? What role does social media and the Internet play in real, serious organizing? What are the social dynamics of organizations, and how do they influence its endurance? Instead of lowering our hopes to thinking only the typical activists will sympathize with what we do, we should realize that every aspect of our lives is politically relevant because it is made of capitalist fabric that is now ripping apart under the impact of a prolonged economic crisis.
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