On revolutionary tactics, strategy and vision

Taimur Rahman is an academic, political activist and the lead musician of Laal Band of Pakistan. He is based in Lahore. For details, visit the band’s site and facebook page.

Taimur Rahman

Tactics provide the means by which a strategy may be successful. A strategy provides the means by which a vision may be achieved. The vision influences strategic choices which in turn affect tactical choices.

To provide an example, a broad-Left party may not have a Socialist revolution (the abolition of private property) as its vision. I am not talking about the tall slogans made in speeches, I am talking about the nature of the program – think Syriza. A broad-left party may prefer to restrict itself to struggling for reforms that may enable the country to “grow into socialism” while keeping within the capitalist framework (an impossibility under present circumstances). So, such a party’s strategy may center around securing parliamentary electoral success to achieve reforms as an end. This may in turn involve various tactical choices pertaining to the method of work of the party, its name, its membership criteria (anybody can join), it’s flag or identifying colors, its political positions, the nature of its involvement with the labor movement, the nature of its relationship with the state.

c04_RTR2O6L3However, there can and often is significant overlap between the tactical and strategic choices of both the Communist Left and the Social-Democratic/Broad Left.

Communist Parties have frequently participated in parliamentary elections and still do (to much gain). Communist Parties have tinkered with symbolism and colors that they feel will provide a mass appeal while keeping within the aims of a revolution. Previously it was the case that it was a tactical requirement for a Communist Party to be named “the Communist Party of ……. (insert Country name)”. This was because it was a requirement to gain entry into the Communist International. Today that is no longer the case and Communists are open to experimentation. Marx_and_Engels

In other cases where tactical choices may differ, it will be because of the differences in vision. Tactical differences such as membership requirements, the organizational structure, discipline and mechanics of the party, the Marxist materials used in teaching the workers, the fronts, the temporary alliances, these are all necessitated by the differences in vision (of a Socialist revolution). This is partly because of the requirement that to reach a socialist revolution, one cannot skip teaching people Marxism (which emphasizes revolution) and partly because the state views and treats the Communist Left quite differently (severely) from the Social-democratic/Broad Left – which is guaranteed to be without the Communist solution to the capitalist problem and hence, by the limitations of its scope, is not quite as potentially dangerous as the Communist Left.

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