It doesn’t help that, with the defeat of the socialist experiments of the 20th century, two generations of organizers and activists have now come of age politically with few visible and viable alternatives to imperialism and neoliberalism. The fight against the enemy, as trying as it has been, has been no more difficult than our internal struggle with the troubling idea that noble, doomed resistance may be all that is left to us. I’ve spent too many sleepless hours haunted by the fear that victory may be nothing more than an unattainable dream.
The danger in this insidious notion is profound. Without a clear conviction that another world is indeed possible, we resign ourselves all too easily to the idea that simply “putting up a good fight” is enough. We absolve ourselves of the responsibility of finding ways forward. We forgive our own shoddy, sloppy practice, just as we forgive our comrades’. We quickly lose all incentive for rigorous reflection on and evaluation of our work. We stop striving for improvement and excellence. The doubt takes control.
We are at a critical point in history. With the dire condition of people and of the planet, the stakes are high and rising. Opportunities for socialist liberation are emerging, as are opportunities for reactionary barbarism. Harnecker insists that the quality of our organizing and movement-building work matters. The opposition is constantly revamping and refining, improving and innovating. Our success demands excellence. It is not enough for us to simply try; as Mao once warned, we have to dare to win.
— Adapted from Steve Williams’ review of Marta Harnecker’s Ideas for the Struggle