Lately I’ve found I have a lot of trouble deciding on revolutionary issues. I’ve spoken to different groups–Maoist, Trotskyist, Luxemburgist, anarchist, Left Communist, Stalinist, Anarcho-Syndicalist, and others–for insights about the questions that plague me. The questions are both abstract and concrete, philosophical and practical, and reveal quite clearly that in the science of revolution, the space between abstract and concrete and philosophical and practical is extremely small. Here are some of the questions.

1) Move to communism all at once or in phases (transition)?

2) If all at once, does entire working class need to be class-conscious first (aware of function of class under capitalism)?

2a) If so, doesn’t that necessarily mean that the spreading of class-consciousness will be transitional (or gradual) in nature?

2b) If not, doesn’t THAT mean that part of the nature of the revolution will be coercive? Is there a level of coercion that we must be willing to accept, or can there truly be a level of class-consciousness whereby ALL workers hasten revolution? Won’t that take, like, 200 years to bring about? (see 2a)

3) What about the petit-bourgeoisie (bosses but not owners of means of production)? Will they be included in the struggle, or must they be overthrown?

4) What about non-proletarian radicals (members of bourgeois or petit-bourgeois who actively oppose capitalism)? Can they take part in the revolution or must they be overthrown in the service of smashing class privilege, or to prevent subversion/revisionism?

5) Who will lead the effort to spread class consciousness among the working class, and will it include bourgeois and/or petit-bourgeois radicals? Couldn’t this group of revolutionaries conceivably constitute a “vanguard” whether the word “vanguard” is used or not?

6) Will labor unions be central to the revolution or peripheral to it?

7) In situations like Syria and Ukraine, where both sides of the conflict are problematic, what position can anti-imperialist revolutionaries take besides “we hope a true revolutionary group eventually takes control and corrects this destructive situation” as I see in so many socialist papers (often said when there is no strong revolutionary force in that country)? In the cases I mention, is it worth alienating populations who hate Assad or who hate Putin/Russia by siding with them as “anti-imperialist forces”? Doesn’t it diminish our credibility as radicals by siding with them when, in Assad’s case, he has sold out Palestine and collaborated with NATO, and in Putin’s case, led a slaughter in Chechnya, suppressed political dissent, and discriminated against LGBTQ people?

7a) However, it doesn’t make sense either to by default side with any and all “opposition forces,” because they are capable of being just as flawed and evil as the figures/governments they’re opposing. So what do we do?!?!?! Is it necessary to, in the service of the material reality, side with the “anti-imperialist figure” as a “lesser of two evils”? Isn’t that kind of like leftists voting for Democrats, though?

8) Is it a good idea to form new socialist/leftist/communist groups rather than rely on the old ones who are perpetually at war with each other? Or must we be so afraid of forgetting our history and thereby repeating it that we remain paralyzed during its unfolding?

9) Is it necessary for “communist” or “leftist” or “anarchist” groups to form alliances with one-issue groups? What if those alliances lead to compulsions to cut back on radical rhetoric? For instance, a pro-immigrant rights group marches with a Communist group. The Communist group’s chants are about “Burn the Rich, Smash the state” while the Immigrant Rights group chants “Hey, Obama, Don’t Deport My Mama.” The Immigrant Rights group doesn’t want to be perceived as destructive, violent, or irrational, so they avoid slogans about burning rich people and smashing things. As a result, the groups don’t intermingle, don’t unite, chant over each other, and generally illustrate the segmentation of the Left. What do we do about this?

I know I could probably learn all of this from reading Marx/Engels, Lenin, et cetera at the source itself, but I’m not the best reader in the world. I have trouble focusing and absorbing, and it takes me forever to finish one book, because I need to underline and annotate and reread constantly in order to get anything out of it. Either that or I get bored of focusing on one subject and don’t finish the book at all. But links and insights as to which readings would be helpful, would be helpful.

Sometimes it just seems like society and reality are made to be so confused and complex intentionally in order to prevent moral/hesitant people like myself from taking a side and ACTING. Maybe that is to overestimate my own importance; but, see the thing is, I *have* no importance to the revolution because I can’t take a side and act on it with conviction. It is paradoxical. It is the pleasant paralysis of the privileged radical: nothing is black or white because privileged folks have never been materially desperate. Mounting disgust soon leads to inactivity, and eventually, selling out. I don’t want that to happen to me.

Anyway, answers/insights appreciated. Of course, I know that idealism and absolute answers/truths are a Western social construct intended to manipulate. Really, I just seek conversation.