Discussion questions: Kick ’em While They’re Down

The Following are discussion questions for Kick ‘en While They’re Down

Is the diagnosis of missed opportunities at the end of the introduction correct? Were/are there opportunities presented by the cascading crises that revolutionaries could take advantage of? And is the lack of a communist vanguard to blame for the missed opportunities?

Why is it that “At this point in human history, the international arena is overall decisive in shaping national conditions and crises that open the door to revolutionary advances”?

Does the analysis in the section “US imperialism is tripping over itself…” that the US remains militarily strong but is in decline economically and politically hold true today? How does the Russian invasion of Ukraine prove or disprove that thesis?

In what ways does the analysis that the “Social glue is flammable” differ from the fashionable trends on social media and among leftist activists? Why do communists pay attention to outbreaks of protest and rebellion among all classes and sections of society (not just the proletariat)?

Is it correct to say that the Trump presidency reflected the increasing fraying of the social fabric in the US, and therefore opportunities for the advance of revolutionary ideology, politics, and organization? How do events since this was written (anti-vax hysteria, increasingly fascistic laws against abortion and LGBT people in the US South, the failures of the Biden government, etc.) prove or disprove that thesis?

Is Pac-Man politics the hegemonic strategic thinking in the North American Left? What examples from your own experience can you add to the kites polemic here.?

Do you agree that “The US Left is principally an impediment to the emergence of a revolutionary movement”?

In your own experience, how have you seen the cycle of mini-crisis, protests, and no real resolution play out? What examples do you have of Leftists not leaving their comfort zone? Within your region, where should those of us who aspire to be communists be focused?

What is the connection between “classical” Khrushchevite revisionism and the “abolitionist” politics of Angela Davis and her ilk? Why is it important to criticize people like Davis? And is there anything more revoltingly opportunistic than staying in the decrepit anti-Mao CPUSA instead of joining the Black Panther Party?

How did postmodernism becoming hegemonic among large swaths of the petty-bourgeoisie with hardly anyone declaring their adherence to it (no one goes around with pictures of Foucault)? What are the ways that postmodernism and the larger anti-communist offensive serve to strangle revolutionary ideology and politics?

What examples of the dominance of postmodernism can you point to in political organizing that you’ve seen or been involved with?

How does the hegemony of postmodernism pave the way for a culture of unaccountable leaders, opportunists, and grifters?

What is Marxism-Leninism-Memism, and what examples of it have you seen in your own life? How does online Leftism fail to live up to the real contributions of its icons? And what is the difference between the lives and commitments of the genuine vanguards of humanity in the revolutionary people’s wars versus today’s online communists?

What would it mean for you (yes you!) “To be such a person”? What ideological, political, organizational, and personal transformations would you have to make to live up to the principles that you claim?