Tactics for what?

There’s been a lot of heated debate about “diversity of tactics,” particularly since Occupy.

How many blog inches have been devoted to arguing about whether it’s wrong or awesome (or varying degrees of okay in which particular circumstances) to break windows at a demonstration? How many conflicts among demonstrators have occurred between those who want to do it and those who want to prevent it from being done?

By itself, the question is useless.

Focusing on tactics misses the point. We can argue with each other for a million years whether property destruction is violence or not, whether voting is violence or not, and whether violence in the abstract is good, bad, or a necessary evil. But it is all empty debate if we avoid the main topic we should be discussing: what’s it for?

Action for action’s sake is a stupid waste of time and energy. Everything we do should fit into an overall plan. A tactic cannot be judged outside its context. It should be a manifestation of a political line, in harmony with a strategy that has consistency between its short-term and long-term aspects. It should serve a specific goal.

If you argue for a tactic, you should be able to explain how it gets us where we need to go. This shouldn’t be vague, but worked out as a rational theory. Only with that understanding can the actual employment of that tactic, and its results, be judged as effective (or not).