Freedom Road Socialist Organization

Freedom Road Revolutionary Book Club

Welcome to our new study series!

  1. Socialism and the Crisis of Socialism
  2. Historical Materialism and Marxist Theory of Knowledge
  3. The State and Hegemony
  4. White Supremacy, National Oppression/National Liberation
  5. Political Economy Part I. Capitalism
  6. Political Economy Part 2. Imperialism and Monopoly Capitalism
  7. Patriarchy, Women’s Liberation, Heteropatriarchy, Queer Liberation
  8. How We Fight: Mass Line and the United Front

Session 1

Name it and Claim It” by Steve Williams
A description of socialism by Steve Williams, currently a leader of the group Left Roots. 2010

Which Way is Left? FRSO/OSCL—pp.17-27
A Freedom Road pamphlet explaining our call to rebuild the left and a party – what we call “Left Refoundation”. 2010

We Can’t Save the Planet without flipping the Historical Script, Freedom Road Eco-Justice Commission
Freedom Road Eco-Commission speaks to the environmental crisis and calls for a socialism to address it, and for eco-justice in oppressed communities.

On the Crisis of Socialism, FRSO/OSCL
Freedom Road on the weaknesses of what’s been called “20th Century Socialism”. This eventually caused some more orthodox or “Stalinist” members to leave the organization. 1991

Optional, recommended:

Skim:

Frequently Asked questions about Freedom Road

Marxism, the 21st Century and Social Transformation
Bill Fletcher looks at the recent history of the socialist movement. 2012

Session 2

A Brief Introduction to Dialectical Materialism, from “Philosophy and Class Struggle”, South African Communist Party

A 1975 pamphlet by the South African Communist Party that was widely used during the anti-apartheid struggle.

On Contradiction, Mao Tse-tung, sections I-III and VI and VII (Conclusion)

Written by the leader of the Chinese Revolution, in 1937. Explains how things are constantly in motion and conflict. explaining dialectics as a key tool for understanding the world and developing strategy.

Contradictions Cheat Sheet, Vilanno

Session 3

State and Revolution,  Lenin, Chapt. 1

Written by the leader of the Russian Revolution in 1917, the chapter lays out a basic analysis of the state, as Russian revolutionaries understood it at the time.

Which Way is Left, pp.18-19

This excerpt from a FRSO/OSCL pamphlet from 2010 (also assigned in the first class) introduces the thinking of the Italian socialist Antonio Gramsci and how our rulers control society in the realm of ideas, what he called      “hegemony”.

FRSO Unity Point on Electoral Politics

Explains the importance FRSO puts on electoral politics as a basic unity point of the organization

Instructions  They Receive against Chile, Pablo Neruda

Chilean poet Pablo Neruda writes of the traitorous role of the Chilean generals, doing the bidding of the US in undermining the socialist movement there

Building Political Power, Sections 3.5 – 3.8.

From FRSO Strategic Orientation paper, 11th Congress. Explains the difference between gaining political power or influence in government through struggle, and actually holding state power.

Class Domination and Hegemony in American Society  video

More on Gramsci’s analysis of “hegemony” – why totally messed up ideas can seem so “normal”.

Session 4

Reparations: What’s the Idea of an African-American Nation Got to Do with It? , Meizhu Lui, 2014

Black self-determination and “nation”, as drivers of the demand for reparations

Why is We Americans, Amiri Baraka, “,” excerpt performed on Def Poetry Jam, (4 1/2 min video)

Unity Statement on National Oppression, National Liberation and Socialist Revolution, FRSO/OSCL  ( highlighted portions)  [12 pages;  Sections 1, 2, 3, 4.1 and 4.2, 4.5, 4.8; 5.1 and 5.2; 5.5; 6.1, 6.2, 6.5, 6.6, 7, 8.1, 8.2, 8.5. 9.1, 9.2, 11, 12.]

FRSO/OCL  analysis of national and racial oppression in the United States and strategy for freedom for oppressed people of color, and their relationship to multi-racial working class movement.

The Jackson Plan: A Struggle for Self-Determination, Participatory Democracy, and Economic Justice, (Malcolm X Grassroots Organization, up to “Alliance Building”, 6 pages) (Can be a summary from a participant)

A practical application of a self-determination struggle for the African American people in the US South.

The Cost of Privilege Taking on the System of White Supremacy and Racism, Chip Smith, Ch. 10  pp. 133-148 [COP can be a report/summary report for summary from one participant, focusing on the three conclusions and the conclusion on p. 148]

Excerpt from a Freedom Road book explain why “white privilege” matters, it’s effect on the workers’ movement in the US, and how socialists have misunderstood this in the past.

Session 5 Part 1

Labor Theory of Value:

Secret of Capitalist Exploitation, author unknown. 1970s

How much of our day’s work goes to our wages? – AT&T example  (data from 1975)

Who produces wealth, and where do they get their millions?

Tendency of Capitalism to Crisis:

Naming the System, Michael Yates, pp. 182-183. 2003

Naming the System, Michael Yates, pp. 184. 2003

Crisis of Capitalism , David Harvey video

Capitalism cannot be stable, always leads to crises

Bear Sterns B.S., Crosby

The Great Recession, caused by forces we don’t control, impacts a neighborhood.  How it happened.

Is Marxism Relevant-Some Uses and Misuses, David Gilbert 2017. Sections:  “Waged and Unwaged Labor”,

Sections: “Contradictions of Capitalism”, “Imperialism”, “National Liberation and Socialism”. Basic elements of Marxist economics, by political prisoner David Gilbert

 Session 5 Part 2

The Place of Imperialism in History, V. I Lenin. From Imperialism the Highest State of Capitalism, 1917. (1.5 pg.)

Why Imperialism Happens, Harry Magdoff  (1 pg)

Capitalism’s necessity to expand and compete with other economic and political competitors leads to imperialism

The Right of Nations to Self-Determination,  (Excerpts, 2 pg), 1914, and More from Right of Nations to Self-Determination, (2 paragraphs)

Lenin argues that nations of people have the right to self-determination, including independence, and compares the right to self-determination to the right to divorce in marriage

Unity Statement on National Oppression, National Liberation and Socialist Revolution, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Sect 10

An internationalist element of FRSO’s Unity Statement on National Oppression  

Silence on the Mountain. Daniel Wilkerson (4 pgs). 2004

The deliberate and savage impact of US Imperialism on Guatemala

Session 6

Points of Unity on Gender Liberation, FRSO/OSCL (especially highlighted sections) 2016

Freedom Road’s analysis of gender oppression and strategy for gender freedom and equality in the US

Poem About My Rights, June Jordan

We Stay, We Fight for A Better Tennessee, Anna Mason and Elizabeth Owen, United Campus Workers, Tennessee

The fight for queer rights as labor fighters in the South

Living, Not Just Surviving, Alyssa Battistoni, Jacobin magazine, Summer 2017

Social and ecological reproduction (not just a narrow view of reorganizing the economy) as part of our vision for the future
Optional, Additional Recommended Readings:

Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy: Rethinking Women of Color Organizing, Andrea Smith. 2016

Impact on white supremacy of slavery, colonialism/genocide of native peoples, and racist treatment of “foreign” peoples, and summary of heteropatriarchy

Serving the People While We’re in the Weeds: by Dina Yarmus

Materialist Intersectionality; applying the mass line and big ideas in everyday organizing

Session 7

Some Questions Concerning Methods of Leadership,  Mao Tse-Tung (especially point 4) 1943

Relations of revolutionary organizers to the people, and introducing the concept of “Mass Line”

Mass Line and How We Use It

Modern explanation by FRSO/OSCL of the mass line and how to use it

Working People’s Assemblies, Conclusion. FRSO/OSCL

Three things we do in all our organizing work, from a pamphlet by FRSO on labor organizing. 2014

Red Mass Work, from  Road Map 2013-2016

How we organize in the mass movements, from our 10th Congress.  2013

Our United Front Policy (adopted 2016) FRSO/OSCL. 2016 (4 pg)

Who are our Friends?  Who are our Enemies? (and what kind of friends and enemies) in building a United Front Against the New Confederacy