Hi folks,

Today we’ll be discussing:

Revolution in the Revolution - Régis Debray

Today’s discussion is:

  • 1/11 - Discussion 1 - Preface and Chapter 1 “To Free the Present from the Past”. pp 1-91 in my edition.

I’m reading the Grove press edition translated by Bobbye Ortiz. These seem to be some digital copies, but please share if you find a better one!



Discussion Prompts

These are some ideas to address while considering this work. None of them are essential, and any of your own thoughts are very much welcome! I’ll be adding my own thoughts later today.

  • What is Debray saying and how is he saying it?

  • Is he persuasive?

  • What has he missed?

  • What would you say the theme of this work is?

  • Did anything surprise you?

  • Is this work applicable outside of the conditions of Latin America in the '60s? What parts are universally applicable?

  • Is this really a “nonessential” or would it be good for any communist to read it?

  • Does the book seem cool? Would you go camping in the mountains with it and share a wistful glance over the flickering embers of a dimming campfire?

Next Discussion

Next week will be:

  • 1/18 - Discussion 2 - “The Principle Lesson for the Present”, “Some Consequences for the Future”, summary discussion on the whole book.

Next Title

If you would like to suggest the next title, please put in a separate comment with the words “submission suggestion”. I think the highest voted title should win.

Books should be:

  • not suggested for beginners.
  • not overly technical or philosophical (I’m just not smart enough to lead those discussions).
  • relatively short (so as not to lose too much momentum).
  • regionally or subject specific (like Che’s Guerilla Warfare is topically specific, or Decolonization is Not a Metaphor is regionally specific?).
  • readily available.

Thanks for your time! :)

To be honest I did not finish the last part of section 1 that was about the party and the guerillas buuuuuut I still feel the need to discuss lol.

Now first, when we talk about the difference between essentials and non essentials my take is reading theory is like a skill tree in a video game. At the trunk of the the tree we have the core theory: Marx/Engels, Lenin (Stalin), and a little Mao. After that we see branching off of: military theory, histories of colonialism, overshadowed oppressed groups, actual building of socialism, etc. It’s all essential, as in it is needed for a complex understanding of Marxism-Leninism, but some parts of the tree are prerequisites to bear fruit on others.

On the actual book, what was most eye opening was “Armed self defense”. My favorite line was “Guerrilla Warfare is to peasant uprising what Marx is to Sorel”. I haven’t really thought about the guerrillas being a separate embryo from the party, which makes sense.

I haven’t much to add that you guys haven’t already mentioned, but I do have this.

In the age of information and surveillance it is impossible to fully conceal your location. Whether through direct spying or some dickhead posting the position of liberation forces on twitter, the State will know. So instead of hiding, the option liberation forces have is the art of confusion. If you can’t be nowhere, then be everywhere. Use the information war to your advantage. Maybe have a team dedicated to uploading false locations of the fighters. Have pre-made pictures of fighters in certain areas. Hell some AI generated images. Completely made up people. Only when they doubt the information of everyday life can the secretive operations be successful.

That’s a good point about the necessity of hiding. Even if it were a war in the countryside, satellites and drones could give any insurgents away. The new technological age certainly throws up some challenges that Debray could not have thought about.

non-diegetic screams

I really like your tree metaphor!!

Ah thanks, but its probably just how my brain organizes things can’t take too much credit lol

non-diegetic screams

You should take all the credit for the things your brain does! 🙂

fair :)

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