Family Tree: Introduction

What Is This Thing?

First, this family tree is a work in progress. So is the movement it maps. The tree centers on the organizational history of our group, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. To put that history in context, the tree is being expanded –in breadth, to cover the full range of groups making up what has been called the new communist movement, and chronologically, to dig deeper into the historical roots of that movement. In addition, as it develops, you’ll be able to click on the buttons for many of the groups and find a summary of each organization’s history and excerpts from significant documents. Only a few such links are active so far, but more will be added gradually.

Second, it is in part an answer to the question, “Who are you folks?” When people ask this of FRSO, or of any group, they’re generally asking a number of questions packed into one. One question is “What do you believe?” (To learn more about this, look at our organization’s basic documents.) Another question is “What you do?” (While we cannot cover this in significant depth for a variety of reasons, including security, you can get at least an initial idea by looking at the strategy adopted at our most recent Congress, or at some of the work that we have done around Mumia Abu-Jamal.) A third such question, the one that this section answers, is “Where do you come from?” And finally, this family tree is intended to serve as a contribution to the understanding of how revolutionary socialist organization develops, flourishes and, sometimes, declines, and revives. This is an urgent question for our movement. In particular we hope that it will be of use to folks in the young revolutionary collectives that began to develop during the last half of the ’90s. The men and women who began building Marxist-Leninist collectives and organizations some 30 years ago found ourselves starting from scratch, cut off from lessons of struggle hard won by earlier generations. Those FRSO members who are veterans of that period feel we have an obligation to pass on what we can of what we have learned so the new generation of revolutionaries, in Freedom Road and elsewhere does not have to reinvent the wheel all over again.

We Can Use Some Help

The bulk of this family tree has been constructed based mainly on failing memories and old documents. Even the section pertaining directly to the history of Freedom Road is not yet complete. Other sections of the diagram may be inaccurate; some are currently missing entirely. Veterans and students of the new communist movement, we need your help. (And a big shout out to Ethan, Johnny, Bob, and John for the contributions they’ve already made.) If you have information that can correct, clarify or add to the family tree, please share it with us. If you are willing to contribute documents for posting here, let us know. If you have questions, we’ll try and answer them. Finally, if we receive enough responses commenting on the family tree or on the short essay highlighting lessons from the family tree which accompanies this, we will start a page on this site, or even a list-serve, to promote discussion of the lessons of the new communist movement. Please e-mail your responses to doneil@freedomroad.org. Thanks.

Some lessons from the family tree of the new communist movement

Discussion of lessons from the new communist movement

View basic Freedom Road family tree

View mega family tree (very big—your browser may have trouble)

View legend

last updated 2/29/00

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