So we come to the perennial question: What is the role of the revolutionary? First, to answer this, we have to ask regarding the role of the revolutionary party, or those that espouse to be such. Now, for the sake of clarification, let us define what I mean when I state “Party.” I do not refer to “Party” in the context of a state apparatus, a coalesced political organization or a body of management, an apparatchik; something akin to the political parties (democrat, republican), which dominate the American political landscape. When I state “Party,” I envision a “group” of free thinking, free forming individuals. And whatever this “group” is depends on the individuals involved. This group or “party” is not a case of the sum total being more than its parts, which is a mistake so called “parties” of the past have made , where the monolithic entity of the party was its own leviathan, creating its own identity while consuming all in its path for the sake of the survival of the beast. By this point it has lost sight of its original function. For one such perspective, we can consult with Marx. According to Marx, the revolutionary “Party” is a separate entity altogether from the proletarian (working) class, whose main purpose is to aid, abet, support and guide the proletarian in their main goal of liberation from the bourgeois class along with its influence in all affairs. Of course Marx stated that this is accomplished in degrees. Now this part is very important – the “Party” is not designed to take and hold power, thus becoming a class in itself. It’s task is to supply the tools, resources and education to the organic movement. I just use Marx and Marxist doctrine here as one example of many, but whatever the basis of the “Party” (anarchist, socialist, etc…) it has to do one thing those “Parties” of the past seem to not have understood; it has to get out of its own way, as it can be its own worst enemy, and therefore become the very enemy of those it claims to represent.
As mentioned previously we see just how easily any “Party” can lose its way. Any collection of individuals walk a very thin line, which often times can be blurred. This thin line is the difference between being on the right side or wrong side of history. As the individual has to deal with the complications of the human ego, with all of its pitfalls, the “Party,” itself just an extension of individuals, also has to deal with the issue of ego, magnified on a greater basis. This is the group ego, and again, many parties, on the cusp of history, making history or seeing itself destined by history, have fallen victim to the insidious nature of the ego, and in the process, lost its way. And the consequences of a Party lost can be grave. Filled with grandiosity, the group ego can sabotage or destroy as well if not better than any outside “imperialists.” The parts are always greater than the sum. The “Party” falls under both the personal and structural analysis categories, as it fulfills both needs in varying degrees. The “Party” is not just for the benefit of others, it exists to fulfill the needs of the individual; it is for their benefit as well. It equips the individual and allows the individual to grow through the combined factors of education and the shared experience. Plus as a sum total, the “Party” can be a facilitator for personal analysis. And that is the most apt description of the “Party” and it’s function – facilitator. That is it, it begins and ends there. It is the mere vessel, imbued by the spirit of the people, to educate, inspire, awaken and compel. It is simply support; when it attempts to step in as role of liberator, a role which the people themselves occupy, it has overstepped its boundaries and failed its purpose. Understanding this and placing the “Party” in its proper context will resist the poison of the group ego, which is always beckoning at the doorstep.