In this article on providing direction within the revolutionary party we can learn from the ideas/writings of a host of established revolutionaries. Inclusion and a feeling of self-worth among all members should be fostered, which not only leads to an increased spirit of comradeship, it preserves the revolutionary self worth of the party member and in turn aids the party collectively. All members, where practical, should be involved in as many aspects of party activities as possible.
The ability to motivate party members is an essential component of the revolutionary party but it is a sensitive area that requires sensitive measures. As a rule, motivation is achieved from a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors, put simply, the party member should be possessed of self-motivation but also externally motivated by their comrades/cadre and of course by the leadership. For instance, in the field of political education, the goal of which is to create better activists (and therefore a better party) if an activist were to perform badly at a particular activity, the result should not be a demoralising of the individual but encouragement in a kind of “praise sandwich” that is aimed at pointing out mistakes but in a constructive fashion, that also eg, praises their motivation, their loyalty to the party and it’s goals. In short, demoralising individuals, eventually has a knock on effect that if not remedied eventually demoralises the revolutionary party. Lenin in “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back” recognises the ‘praise sandwich’ as a means of negating the festering of contradictions within a revolutionary party:
“every little difference may become a big one if it is insisted on.”
Establishing Discipline and Promoting Adherence to a Revolutionary Party
It goes without saying that those in leadership should provide as close to the desired example of the revolutionary as possible. It is human nature that party members will follow the lead of positive leadership and of course by the same token follow negative examples. Lenin, in ‘What is to be done’ stated:
“an organization that will consist of professional revolutionaries and be led by the real political leaders of the entire people. This stands to reason. The character of any organization is naturally and inevitably determined by the content of its activity.”
Put simply, the revolutionary party should be ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’ on matters of critical policy and ideological importance. Both Lenin and Ta Power were highly critical of amateurism within the revolutionary party.
Construction Not Demolition
In simple terms, revolutionaries in a revolutionary party should welcome what is popularly known as constructive ‘feedback’ from members. (However, we can certainly afford to ignore those who are constantly negative yet do little to assist the party, individuals of such entrenched dispositions only sap moral.) As Ta Power stated:
“we must constantly review, criticise and self criticise all aspects of our actions, policies, tactics etc keep appraising the whole situation.”
In short, if eg a business were not to regularly stock take, take in depth inventories of it’s performance, it’s future would be bleak. Likewise, Ta Power’s words quoted above are of paramount importance for the health of the revolutionary party. The IRSP whose membership has had the benefit of the guidance of such talented revolutionaries as Seamus Costello, Miriam Daly, Ronnie Bunting, Ta Power, Gino Gallagher, to name only a few, has a potential head start (not to mention 40 years of revolutionary history) in providing direction as a revolutionary party.