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Upstream


Oct 17, 2023

What Is To Be Done? This is the question so profoundly posed by the Russian Revolutionary and Bolshevik leader, Vladimir Lenin, in his landmark text of the same name. Although it was written well over a century ago, this text, the questions it asked, and the paths forward that it provided, are just as relevant today as they were a hundred years ago. And just as urgent.

What roles do spontaneity and disciplined organization have in leftist movements? Can we focus simply on economic reform, or do our actions need a larger political framework to structure, guide, and propel them? 

Why does it feel like even though so many of us are motivated to work towards structural change, that things continue to get worse? Why does it seem like potential revolutionary struggles in the West always seem to stall and fail to move from a singular moment to a protracted movement? 

These are old and familiar questions — a lot of ink has been spilled and speeches made exploring them — and in this Conversation, we’ve brought on two guests who've not only thought about these questions in depth, but who have some pretty compelling answers that draw from revolutionary theory and practice in both their personal lives and from the deep well of wisdom bequeathed by theorists Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Mao. 

Breht O’Shea is the host of the podcast Revolutionary Left Radio and a co-host of Guerrilla History. He’s been on the show multiple times so you may already be familiar with his voice. Alyson Escalate, who has also been on the show, is the co-host, along with Breht, of Red Menace, a podcast that explains and analyzes revolutionary theory and then applies its lessons to our contemporary conditions. 

Further Resources:

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