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The Tempest project

Who we are

As we write this, the Democratic Party has begun their Convention for the 2020 election. Hatred of Donald Trump has enabled them to pull together what, on the surface, seems like a show on unity, with socialist Bernie Sanders speaking to whip up support for the centrist canidacy of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. But the faultlines that run back through the Trump Administration and the Obama Administration before it, remain. They are the same faultlines of economic inequality, racism, and sexism that produced the Black Lives Matter movement, #MeToo, and the current wave of worker resistance.

The war drums of "Anyone but Trump" sound louder and louder, and many on the Left have answered the call to get behind Joe Biden. A number of our articles over the next week will address the debate about how the Left should attempt to thread the needle between connecting with the desire to rid this country of Donald Trump and the need for political independence. But the resignation to file in and support Biden among comrades reveals a larger problem: the weakness of left currents holding to class independence.

We've launched Tempest as a small contribution to fortifying the broader Left and rebuilding a revolutionary current, committed to the political independence of the working class and oppressed. Here we reprint a brief introduction to who we are and encourage you to join us.

The socialist movement in the United States has changed dramatically since 2015, shifting both the political and organizational common sense among socialist activists. A socialist movement now counts members in the tens of thousands, in every state in the country; socialist writers are featured in the New York Times, and socialist publications draw in millions of views; candidates are running as open socialists, with dozens seated now as elected officials.

But something is missing.

As this new socialist movement has developed, there’s a hole where something should be. New strategic questions have arisen, begging to be discussed, but the conversation seems absent or constrained. A new common sense is emerging among socialists based on assumptions and narratives about a “road to power”. Discourse over political positions (where it exists) swings between electoralism and maximalism, creating a false dichotomy that serves to reinforce one side or the other.

We think there’s room for something else. And so we are launching Tempest as our intervention into and contribution to the new socialist movement.

Tempest has two primary objectives: first, to create space in the newly radicalizing movement for structured discussion and debate, for reporting and assessment of our movement activities, to educate new socialists, and to seriously develop politics; second, though not subordinate, is the need to give voice to the political tradition of socialism from below and revolutionary Marxism. In the political ecosystem of the new socialist movement, there is no “home” for revolutionary socialists, and so long as this is the case many will give into the gravity of the socialist currents who embrace an electoral road to socialism or more generally have a reformist orientation.

Tempest tries to put forward a revolutionary viewpoint that is clear and understandable, that weighs in on strategic and tactical questions, offers concrete guidance as well as political theory, and presents a consistent politics “from below”. Our project is revolutionary and democratic, aspirational and rooted in daily life, rank and file-oriented, feminist, anti-racist, anti-capitalist and anti-bureaucratic.

Our collective produces this online publication, pursuing pieces from activists and writers that grapple with the emerging questions for the Left in the United States. We work on a series of broad agreements about political perspectives and don’t represent a line or a singular point of view, but rather a current of revolutionary socialism from below. Our editors don’t uniformly endorse every position represented in the articles published, and operate on the premise that genuine engagement and debate will strengthen our movement and politics. We organize public forums and events, seeking to engage with struggles, educate and discuss.

Tempest is modest compared to the scale of what we need, but a critical first step in the struggles to come.

Tempest is hosting a discussion on Sunday, August 30th, 1PT/4ET
Register in advance for this meeting

Socialist Strategy & Workers’ Resistance in the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic and the economic crisis it triggered have laid bare the priorities of the capitalist system. It is our lives vs. their profits. In the past five months, while the richest Americans have raked in $675 billion, millions of people out of work are on the brink of losing their homes, while many of those who still have jobs have been forced to work in unsafe conditions. But workers have also been fighting back with protests, walkouts, and strikes, from teachers successfully battling school reopenings to Amazon workers fighting for health and safety measures.

Join us for a discussion with workers who are on the frontlines of the resistance about strengthening and building solidarity with this movement and the role that socialists can play in it.

Jonathan Bailey, Amazonians United/DSA-NYC
Migrant Justice speaker, Vermont farm worker
Kirstin Roberts, Chicago Teachers Union/DSA-Chicago
Natalia Tylim, a founder of the Restaurant Organizing Project/NYC-DSA

Erica West, Oakland social worker who works with youth involved in the criminal justice system/East Bay DSA

(Organizations listed for identification purposes only)

We want to hear what you think. Contact us at
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