Is this love or just revolution?

by Rob Horning

14 February 2007


Via Scott McLemee at Crooked Timber comes these slogans from the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, ready-made for inscription on a card to your beloved (that is, if you are enough of a reactionary bourgeois to enslave another spirit in a property-based relation that negates the unbounded potentiality of your comrade for partcipatory joy):

  Proletarians And Oppressed Peoples,
  1. Progressive And Revolutionary People Everywhere, Resolutely Uphold The Militant Bolshevik Spirit And Revolutionary Romanticism Embodied In Comrade Valentine!
  2. Decisively Smash Retrograde And Joyless Ultra-Left Lines Which Disparage Proletarian Love And Desire!!
  3. Warmly Celebrate The 20th Anniversary Of ACT-UP, A Militant Organization Which Attacked The Bourgeois State and Big Capital On Behalf Of LGBTQ People And All AIDS-Affected Oppressed Communities Worldwide In 1987 And Has Remained On The Offensive For Two Decades! ! !

Ah, the inimitable tone poetry of Maoist jargon. Note how (1) every word is capitalized, (2) no verb can be left unadorned without an adverb to amplify it. The earnestness is extremely poignant, yet it brings out the reactionary bully in me who wants merely to mock it. I need to practice some revolutionary self-criticism and purge myself of my capitalist-roader ways.

If you go to the FRSO’s site looking for more Valentine’s Day fodder, I recommend you also read “Loving in the Movement: Revolutionary Task or Unity Crusher?” The post asks this essential question: “Does the person have to be a hard-core Marxist-Leninist for you to love them, or is anarchist, or simply anti-capitalist, enough?”  And this is useful advice when it comes time to extend the praxis of radical critique to your relationship: “The important thing to remember in all cases is that the person is someone you love or once loved. They are probably not intending to take power from the people or cause oppression (though they may be doing so). Please be very kind to each other even as you raise your criticisms in a principled way.”


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