Revolutionary Tact / Self Criticism

Revolution is not speaking truth to power. It is not about being right or feeling righteous. It is not heroic defiance. It is not about purity and virtue, or being pure and appearing virtuous.

Revolution is not about working out personal problems. It is not the expression of emotions, and not a screen on which to replay childhood trauma. It is not blowing off steam or going on adventures. Revolution is not about fantasy, escape, or finding solace. It is not lashing out or taking revenge; not catharsis or therapy.

Revolution is not romance, which is fickle; not passion, which arises quickly and dissipates quickly; nor hatred, which consumes and leads astray. It is also not nostalgia for past forms and episodes, nor rigid and blind adherence to inflexible dogma.

ShangHai 2020

Revolution is cold resolve, sober courage, and dispassionate will. It is adapting to, and strategising according to the particular material/social conditions of each place and time.

Revolution is the patient and diligent movement towards breaking the stranglehold of illegitimate power over life on on this planet. Revolution is work, all kinds of work, visible or not, seemingly significant or not, in service of the historical process of ending this bourgeois world order.

Revolution is about the defeat of counter-revolutionary ideas and elements, and the abolition of an arbitrary, unjust, and cruel arrangement, how ever many generations it might take, and by any means necessary, including, if needs be, temporary compromises and collaboration with moderates or even enemies.

Revolution is about swallowing pride, renouncing ego, and accepting the loss of battles if it might help us win the war.

I wrote these thoughts for myself, partially because I keep having clashes with liberal acquaintances and friends which are not productive and sometimes even destructive of personal and professional relationships.

Sure I can always say they are so fragile, so brainwashed, and only interested in truth and justice to the extent that their views are not challenged, privilege is not questioned, and comfort is not disturbed. And all of that would be true enough.

But the bigger, more radical truth is that I live (currently) in this Western world shaped by many generations of anti-communist lies which nearly everyone around have deeply internalised, and must get along in it, at the same time as do what I can to change it by spreading consciousness — and being hard headed is conducive to neither.

Because facts and reason alone can not win hearts and minds. Emotional intelligence is crucially necessary — something I often lack. I have already made progress in this regard, but must continue to learn to be much more measured, patient, and diplomatic like the CPC, and learn from their historical mistakes such as the Sino-Soviet Split: never allow ideological conflicts jeopardise concrete, material objectives.

I must also apply the wisdom I have learnt in business (and martial arts): do not meet a force directly from the opposite direction, but *embrace and pivot* — Initially go with, or at least do not antagonise, and then turn to align the momentum of the opponent with one’s own so that both are moving in the same direction (or in war, avert and use enemy energy to throw them). This is the good way to be persuasive and win new comrades — being preachy, didactic, or even worse, shouting at people leads to failure on all fronts.

It is easier said than done, for I not only have a fiery constitution, but my political subjectivity and modus operandi is unfortunately shaped by formative years in the USA and the “FUCK THE SYSTEM” anarchism of my youth — confrontational, individualist, and arrogant. So that I sometimes embody a total contradiction: aggressively bellowing about peaceful egalitarianism, communal cooperation, and putting the interests of the group above the egos of individuals. Or even worse, mansplaining feminism to women… Yikes.

In my defence, I have always had to forcefully push and fight to insert my subjectivity as an East Asian in Western society, especially with non-popular views that the vast majority dismisses and ridicules. But this is no excuse for repeating failed strategies, and I must evolve beyond the contentious way of engagement. At the start of a professional dinner recently, a woman said “We have to thank the USA for saving us from the Russians”. It’s very difficult to keep silent in a situation like this, but if necessary, I must learn to.

Radical Politics, Radical Design, Radical Rhythm, Radical Optimism.