System Change Not Climate Change as a directive – Sinan Eden

Talking from within, talking from without

§1. I am a climate activist. I am a climate activist since fifteen years ago, too long to pretend that longer experience means better equipped activism rather than longer failures. I have been in many groups, closely worked with many others. I’m part of the international networks that are mainly European but occasionally also genuinely global. As all members of the species, I participate in meetings – a lot of them.

In such international meetings, there’s one thing I do every now and then. I look at the participants. Sometimes I do this by standing up and strolling around the room to stretch my legs. Sometimes we are seated in a circle so I don’t need specific logistic excuses. In online conferences, you can pin a participant and zoom in.

I look at their faces, carefully. I search for what the movement and the struggle means for them. It’s obviously not the look on their face that gives me this impression. I already know them from previous meetings – we do a lot of meetings, really – so my look is more of a reminder of and focus on the individual rather than a primary source of information. I look at one, then slowly move on to another, then another. I take my time to go over the entire group. Sometimes, that’s all I do throughout the entire session.

This is a reality check for me. It works as a reminder of the state of the movement. It is a controlled environment where I consciously face my frustration, despair and anxiety. In all cases so far, the result was disillusionment, which I find healthy for it points to a preceding illusion.

More specifically, I get frustrated to see that virtually no one in the room has even half of Che’s ambitions on what they will achieve. To be sure, I myself do share Che’s ambitions while I probably have a quarter of his optimism: different context produces different hopes. But most people think that optimism – revolutionary optimism – and ambition come together. I disagree. I think those two can be almost fully decoupled. The emotional, strategic or ideological sources of your ambition to change the world can come from anger.

In fact, making optimism a prerequisite for ambition is a variant of conformism. When Marx thought the revolution would come (only) in a couple of generations, he had analytical reasons: capitalist integration would proletarianize the masses, and the party (whose manifesto he wrote) would organize them into a political subject that would then seize the power. However, one and a half centuries after Marx, revolutionaries still referred to the revolution as an act they were patiently building towards, a moment they themselves probably would not see. As certain as they were that the society was marching towards communism, they thought of revolution as a distant happening whose internal dynamics and practicalities were beyond their concern. But why wait?

§2. In 1848, the European working class rebelled spontaneously and internationally. In 1871, it took power in Paris but lost it shortly after. In 1917, it took power in one country but this time didn’t let it slip away. This power skipped the Great Depression and stopped Nazism. By 1950s half the world was part of the socialist camp. With all its conquests, mistakes and lessons, this experiment came to an end in 1989. Then in 2010s, the global working class rebelled spontaneously and internationally. With the Arab spring, the Occupy movement, the Indignados, later in Taksim (Turkey) and Brazil, the uprising was – as was in 1848 – uncoordinated, lacking ideological leadership, and genuinely a progressive working class phenomenon. As in 1848, there were minor victories and there were major backlashes. 2018 onward came the climate mobilizations, more coordinated but less politicized, lacking ideological leadership, and genuinely a working class phenomenon. Simultaneously, came the women’s strikes and the movement for black lives. Now we need an 1871 and a 1917 at the global scale. And the climate science says we need them quick. So why wait?

Some thing needs to be done

§3. The best part of being in a leftist opposition group is that you don’t need to follow a plan. It’s also the worst part of it.

I propose that it is time for “System change not climate change” to leave the propaganda stage and enter into the directive stage, not just a slogan in a protest or a guiding principle in a campaign, but as an item in a to-do list.

§4. Identifying the root cause of the climate crisis as capitalism motivates one to do something. Motivated were many of the communists in the past. Their convictions (and perhaps also optimism) were enough to make them do something, but not the thing. We need to do the thing itself, now. We need a party to make that happen. So we need a party model. Historical experience shows that no party model successfully led two revolutions. So all of this will be messy, contingent on non-provable intuition, and full of childish mistakes. But that’s what we need. Then again, to run this discussion, we need party leaders.1

§5. We need leaderful parties. And we need party leaders. We need militants who assume full agency on the future of humanity, people who don’t postpone any bit of the change to an unspecific future, activists who take the responsibility of actually executing system change, who have the ambition to see that another world that is possible, with their own eyes. In short, we need climate realism in order to realize that anything less than the above is climate denial.

So we need to talk about agency: who will bring about the change?

Where are you at?

§6. There is a lot of talk about “social movements”. In mainstream discourse, “movement” became the buzzword to refer to any discontentment. In political spheres, it’s shorthand for acting welcoming toward other groups you disagree with (“we are diverse movement” etc.). In the theory, the movement is replacing the party: the argument goes: we need a global organization and we need to mobilize all kinds of people everywhere; but, even if everyone agrees on the program, different issues touch different people at different times (While in one district people revolt against the Islamist foundation in whose dormitories dozens of children were raped for months, farmers in another region are suffocating with a drought, another city far away is flooded by hurricanes and a multinational fires hundreds of workers in another corner of the world. People may be all angry. They may all think the root case as capitalism. They are still mobilized by different situations at any given moment.), this is particularly true of climate impacts; hence we need a party model that allows for organizational heterogeneity and strategic diversity. This is a valid concern and the movements approach may indeed unleash enormous potentials. But for this to work, the movement must agree on why it exists and what it’s supposed to achieve. This is where agency comes in and this is where strategies diverge to the point where collective efforts cancel each other out rather than strengthen a force vector.

§7. All organizations in the climate movement tell us that we need to “take action.” Though true, this is of course a highly loaded statement. Some organizations actually mean that some politicians should take action, others mean that we the consumers should take action, yet others mean the society itself should organize and mobilize. So the subject who takes action is ideologically framed. Then comes the “action” that is supposed to be taken: some organizations mean you to take action by donating them, others mean signing a petition, others ask you to contact your political representatives, others invite you to a protest, yet others call for civil disobedience. This apparent diversity in tactics manifests the ideological, political and strategic divergences within the movement.

This happens because there is the climate movement, in which some belong to the climate justice movement, in which some are anti-capitalist, in which some are revolutionaries (in which some are honest about their revolutionary mission). 2

§8. Each organization in the movement is looking for its place: its role and its function within the larger ecosystem of the movement.

However, the questions we ask ourselves and the way we frame them condition and guide the answers. So in this essay I will try to go into the details of how we can talk about the movement ecology and how we can continue paying attention to the ideological hegemony surrounding the issue.

I would like to study three ways of looking at movement typologies.3

Activism on the surface

§9. The first typology was presented by Bill Moyer in his influential book Doing Democracy. Moyer suggests four key roles in the movement: rebel, reformer, citizen, and change agent.4

In simplified terms,

  • the rebels are the people who do direct action,

  • the reformers are the people who lobby the politicians,

  • the citizens are the ordinary people or the people who are seen to represent the ordinary people, and

  • the change agents are the people who engage the general public in the problem and its solution.

Moyer says: “Activists need to become aware of the roles they and their organizations are playing in the larger social movement. There are four different roles activists and social movements need to play in order to successfully create social change: the citizen, rebel, change agent, and reformer. Each role has different purposes, styles, skills, and needs and can be played effectively or ineffectively.”

Accordingly, the citizens are considered effective in that they promote positive national values, principles and symbols (e.g. democracy, freedom, justice, nonviolence), represent the normal citizen, are grounded in center of society, and promote active citizen-based society where citizens act with disinterest to assure the common good. They are ineffective when they are naïve in that they believe the official policies and don’t realize that the powerholders and institutions serve special elite interests at the expense of the majority and the common good or when they become super-patriot by giving automatic obedience to powerholders and the country.

Reformers are effective in using official mainstream system and institutions (e.g. courts, legislature, city hall, corporations) to get the movement’s goals, values, alternatives adopted into official laws, policies and conventional wisdom and watchdog successes to assure enforcement, expand success, and protect against backlash. They are ineffective when they use the dominator/patriarchal model of organizational structure and leadership, when they put organizational maintenance over movement needs, when they promotes minor reforms rather than social changes, and because they run the risk of being co-opted as their culture identifies more with official powerholders than with movement’s grassroots.

Rebels are effective in saying “No!” to violations of positive, widely held values through nonviolent direct action and attitude; demonstrations, rallies, and marches including civil disobedience. They are also effective in putting powerholders and their institutions (e.g. government, corporations) in the target, bringing issues and policies in public spotlight and on society’s agenda through empowered, exciting, courageous, risky actions. They are ineffective when they become anti-organization structures and rules, when they self-identify as militant radical, a lonely voice on society’s fringe, thereby isolating from grassroots mass-base, and when they employ tactics without realistic strategy.

Finally, change agents are effective in that they organize People Power, creating participatory democracy for the common good, they educates and involve majority of citizens and whole society on the issue, they involve pre-existing mass-based grassroots organizations, networks, coalitions, and activists on the issue, they create and support grassroots activism and organizations for the long term and promote alternatives. They are ineffective when they become too utopian by promoting visions of perfectionistic alternatives in isolation from practical political and social action, and when they promote only minor reform or limit change into a single issue.

So far so good. This model seems to reflect a real-life observation in terms of people’s or groups’ preferences and tactics.

Then, Moyer goes on the explain how social change happens, by drawing a graph of the influence each role has over time. Here is Moyer’s “Movement Action Plan”.

Moyer does not think of this plan as linear or unidirectional. But he does think that the progress of a movement can be seen in this graph.

§10. Before talking about the meaning of the graph, I want to point out a technical issue that I will repeat later. In science classes, the students are disciplined to mark the axes in their graphs. What is the unit? How stretched or how compressed should it actually look? When you are drawing two graphs, how do their units compare in your image? Moyer cannot be blamed for not having the technical honesty to draw a rigorous graph. But the reader can be blamed for accepting this kind of visual support material uncritically. I close the parenthesis and go back to the graph itself.

§11. According to the Movement Action Plan, status quo can be infinitely flexible (it can accommodate any change if sufficiently pressured) and is infinitely flexible (it always does give in to pressure). Consequently, the October Revolution or the Cuban Revolution are not social change (as they did not end with reformers taking over the work of the rebels). In general, his Movement Action Plan can perhaps describe a change in the system but not system change.

Thus, groups critical of the capitalist system use this model with a grain of salt, and use it only in a tactical sense. Even in this lighter version, I find this typology counter-productive.

§12. First of all, it tells activists to welcome pro-system elements into the system. This thus changes the ideological basis of the movement itself and thereby its political demands. It flops the movement to the surface: to a level where system change is automatically out of question and where only superficial activism is possible.

Secondly, it identifies different moments for different actors. These actors are thus encouraged to wait for their turn. Virtually all spontaneous revolts saw this dynamics: hundreds of thousands are on the street but institutionalized actors (NGOs, unions and parliamentary parties) are just waiting on the line for the activist failure so they can take over. This means they will strategically pull back their resources. This in turn limits what the revolt itself can achieve.

Thirdly, as actors and their windows of action are categorically separated, the model actively discourages strategic coordination: everyone does their own thing and somehow change happens because it just does – that’s basically the theory of change behind this typology.

Fourthly, the Movement Action Plan guides activists to think in single-issue terms. One change happens, then we move on to the next cycle, etc. . Nothing substantial can ever be aimed at. The typology disciplines everyone in the movement to think in tactical terms and therefore we should always think in tactical terms, make unexpected and perhaps incoherent alliances, and tone down the critique to the system in our strategies.

§13. In fact, the core problem is that the whole social movements theory tries to exist outside of ideology and outside of class analysis. In practice, this attitude almost always means reproducing the hegemonic ideology, which is what the Moyer’s typology also does.

Even if you originally come with an anti-capitalist basis, the Movement Action Plan trains you to think in reformist terms, in mechanical terms and without structural class conflict considerations. The dialectics thus does the rest of the job: first your words, then your concepts, then your framework and gradually your political goals are trained to liberal bourgeois ideals.

§14. I couldn’t find a way of reinterpreting or reformulating Moyer’s typology so it could be productive for a revolutionary agenda. I find it too loaded to be useful outside of its ideological context.

Next, I would like to introduce the movement typology based on strategies of transformation.

Activism through the wave

§15. In his rigorous, anti-dialectic, comprehensive, politically brave and ideologically timid book Envisioning Real Utopias, Eric O. Wright identifies three strategies of transformation: ruptural, interstitial and symbiotic.

Ruptural strategies focus on direct confrontation with the status quo. The interstitial metamorphosis aims at building alternatives outside the system. And the symbiotic strategy focuses on creating alternatives within the system. Wright summarizes these traditions as follows:

Wright gives a good amount of intellectual effort to formulate and exemplify how each of these strategies can contribute to social transformation.

§16. He starts with a guess of what a median person’s expected trajectory of material interests would be in a business as usual scenario.

Wright acknowledges that this is about hegemony. He points out to the possibility of a capitalist crisis – prolonged or abrupt – that can change this expectation, which in turn open doors for a ruptural strategy. These crisis hypotheses are also compatible with strategic model of the October Revolution. Wright dismisses the possibility of a long term intensification of the capitalist crisis based on the historical observations: cyclical economic crises have not been intensifying and the ruling class has created enough flexibility in the status quo to contain them without major political crises.

According to this image, there is an expected reduction in material welfare of median person in the future and therefore a socialist trajectory could be more appealing.

Now, do you remember me telling you about marking the axes? This is where I want to come back to that. Wright draws these graphs but he has not even an ambiguous idea of what the units and scales of the axes would be. They are just auxiliary graphs to pass an abstract idea. He can be excused for that. The reader, on the other hand, cannot be excused for accepting such graphs as representations of reality. And that’s because of the climate crisis.

Look at the long term intensification of capitalist crisis that Wright hypothesizes to enter into a stage of catastrophic collapse. Then look at climate news. Wright wrote his book in 2010 and he passed away in the meantime, so we cannot ask him to update his position, but we can update ours.

The truth is that the climate breakdown is not just more fucked up than all predictions, it’s also a whole different kind fucked up than the limits of our imagination. As I said, I do climate stuff since fifteen years. But a fire tornado was beyond my imagination until I saw the photo of California wildfires in 2020. It’s a whirlwind made of and by the fire. The wildfire changes the pressure zones, creates its own wind and produces a tornado which in turn takes up the flames into it. It’s a magic spell I would expect a sorceress in Diablo II to cast, not some news item in real life. And my mind is supposedly trained for climate catastrophe. Now I have the fire tornado as my phone’s screensaver, to remind myself how I cannot even conceive how fucked up we are. Then in 2021, the Tower Bridge in London got flooded in heavy rains. A bridge. Got. Flooded. A bridge. Every year I add a new kind of fucked up to my imagery of “catastrophic collapse” Wright seems to talk about. So the problem is not whether the collapse will happen, the problem is at which point of the graph we are and how much time is left if any before it is irreversible.

I would also not be as optimistic as Wright’s graph that a socialist alternative could lift us to a state of well-being doubly better than today. If we stop emissions now, we will be living in a world of fire tornadoes and flooding bridges for a long time. But, by this point, it would be climate denialism to stick to his prediction that a collapse is highly unlikely.

Thus the ruptural graph that Wright dismisses due to his own ideological timidity not only corresponds to reality in a profoundly disturbing way, it also underestimates reality.

Wright further talks about interstitial and symbiotic transformations. These correspond to real actors in the anti-capitalist movement and these people can genuinely be anti-systemic while not necessarily revolutionary. I would like to explore these strategies as well.

§17. The interstitial metamorphosis focuses on the crack and blind spots of the system to build alternatives. Wright identifies two different approaches: evolutionary or revolutionary.

In the evolutionary interstitial metamorphosis, there is no limit to what people can improve. One self-managed factory after another, or one community center after another, the movement would be building people’s power from the bottom up. At some point, it would be theoretically incoherent to call the resulting society as capitalist.

The revolutionary approach says that a couple of self-managed spaces are fine but eventually the capitalists will fight back. Then there will be a revolution like the ruptural strategy proposes. Thus, according to the revolutionary interstitial strategy, the main objective is to increase grassroots power for the movement to be in favorable conditions when the rupture starts. This would be a better path than trying to convince people to a hypothetical socialist rupture because the interstitial strategy creates more resilience for the communities and for the movement.

Once again, all the graphs are wrong but the general idea is fruitful. The graph are wrong, because we are already in a downhill road. Interstitial transformations can perhaps make the slope slightly less steep. But the key point here is that adaptation to climate breakdown does not exist. After massive mitigation and a rapid transition to a zero emission economy, the resulting climate might be adaptable for human civilization. This is why politically-oriented climate activists get frustrated by the ecovillage and permaculture projects: they cannot work unless we win climate policy first and until we win climate policy they are diverting activist resources.

On the other hand, the general idea that building movement resilience and thereby starting disruption at a more favorable position is relevant for both the interstitial and the ruptural strategies.

§18. Finally, Wright presents symbiotic transformation. He talks about how increasing working class power can have positive impacts on capitalism as a system, by increasing productivity as well as creating legitimacy.

Accordingly, a graph is drawn that joins these two scenarios.

I will obviously give up on units and scales in the axes. But the graphs are supposed to be more complicated as Wright develops his argument.

Finally, he notes that the limits of this graph are practically unattainable as it would be impossible to build consensus around them without a rupture from the status quo.

As you may notice, when presenting the symbiotic transformations, Wright discards his “material interest of the median person” graphs. The symbiotic transformations are designed to be completely within the system and therefore everything is static: the graphs stop having an axis for time.

§19. What I like in Wright’s typology is that his categories can be identified by their theories of change and their ideologies. So it’s easier to imagine compatibilities and conflicts among actors. In contrast to Moyer, Wrights typology allows us to see the underlying fundamental contradictions within social movements. Instead of treating the movement as one single entity with “diversity”, we can see various entities working on the same subject in completely different, mutually incompatible frameworks.

With Wright’s typology, groups can decide what to do with a wave: surf over the surface, swim through it, or dive into it.

§20. But how is this useful for creating a party which is the movement? Well, it really isn’t. It does tell us how incompatible frameworks can still see each other’s work as genuinely useful and complementary. But it doesn’t tell us how different organizations and struggles within an agreed-upon ideological framework can work together. That’s where a third typology becomes useful.

Activism on the terrain

§21. A third typology is provided by Zeynep Tüfekçi in her Twitter and Teargas. Instead of fixing actors into specific roles, Tüfekçi looks at the movement as a whole and identifies three capabilities: narrative, disruptive and institutional.

The Narrative Capability is about telling stories: who we are, what the problem is, what is underlying the problem, where do we want to be, what should we do, etc. The Disruptive Capability is the capacity to disrupt the business as usual. At various points of intervention, movements with strong disruptive capabilities build pressure on the normal reproduction of the system. The Institutional Capability is about engaging in systematizing the demands and institutionalizing the victories.

A few clarifications before we move on. According to the capabilities typology,

  • Movements that have strong disruptive capability but lacking narrative capabilities are generally called “violent clashes with the police” while the exact same movements can become “massive popular dissent” if they control the narrative.

  • Movements that actively divest from institutional capabilities fail to consolidate change and risk being co-opted when they lose momentum.

  • Without disruptive power, movements cannot create pressure on the status quo and negotiate their demands even if they controlled the narrative and had dialogue to decision makers.

So movements are expected to invest in all three capabilities.

This is better than Moyer’s typology because capabilities don’t have to precede the movement while roles do. Once a movement forms itself in more or less coherent terms, it can analyze its strengths and weaknesses and channel resources to certain aspects. Some groups may be stronger in the narrative while others can mobilize for disruption.

§22. I do believe that thinking in narrative, disruptive and institutional terms helps. However, there are two serious drawbacks in the model.

First of all, Tüfekçi’s understanding of the institutional capabilities is definitely mainstream (read: bourgeois liberal) in that she considers them as engaging with the institutions. She seems to be referring to the movement’s skills to use existing institutional structures like elections, legislation and negotiation. But we don’t have to accept her interpretation. I propose to think of institutional capabilities as engaging with institutionalization. A revolutionary movement would need to know how to write a constitution, how to build a democratic public administration and how to run a sociopolitical transition. These are institutional capabilities. Even from a phased perspective, an anti-capitalist movement would need to consolidate its position after each battle. Minimum wage, universal healthcare, public education, universal suffrage were such institutionalized victories, which did not change the system but did change the power configuration in favor of the working class. In short, a reinterpretation of the institutional capabilities would allow this typology to encompass anti-systemic movements.

Secondly, the movement capabilities are generally presented as opposed to the capabilities of the status quo. Reality is much more complicated. There are competing capabilities within the movement (competing narratives, competing institutional proposals, competing tactics). And sometimes the separation between the movement and the status quo is not that clear. Think about the “violent clashes” example above. In many cases, certain mobilizations are considered “mass protest” rather than “violent clashes” because the US imperialism decides to support the movement. Inside the country, the narratives of the movement and the status quo can be clearly distinct, but international intervention can and does influence the narrative and the institutions. To give another example, during Allende’s government in Chile, the right-wing had a disproportionate disruptive capability (strikes of truck drivers) because of external support, but we wouldn’t really consider that external support as part of the anti-socialist movement per se. In other cases, life is simpler and the situation more difficult: at any given moment, who has more narrative capabilities is by definition who is already telling the mainstream story. So the same ideological degeneration as in Moyer’s model is fostered in Tüfekçi’s model.

§23. Therefore, I believe that Tüfekçi’s capabilities framework can be useful within an anti-capitalist or revolutionary movement but it is reactionary for movements in general as it augments the voices of pro-systemic elements. On the terrain (that is, while doing activism at the social level, beyond the internal meetings of organizers), the capabilities framework can provide a powerful tool for strategic thinking.

Thus, for instance, within the climate movement, anti-capitalists can look at (1) whether it is the European Commission or the movement who controls the narrative (which is what Tüfekçi focuses on), and then further look at (2) inside the movement whether it is the anti-capitalists or the liberal elements that control the narrative. This way, they can run a struggle in two different layers of abstraction.

§24. Yet, if we are to look at the movement as a party model, then the movement is supposed to coordinate a change. It is not enough to have such and such capabilities. These capabilities should actively feed each other under a broad strategy. None of the three typologies above refer to the need of ideological leadership. This is understandable: they all originate from a within the system point of view and therefore the movement’s objectives (as analyzed in the typologies) are not ideological. Ours are. So the model is still missing something essential.

I would like to tentatively call it the Coordination Capability. By this I mean the following. A movement can have diverse groups organizing loads of disruptive actions while others are consolidating some of its victories inside meeting rooms. Meanwhile, others can be transmitting the message. All these groups can be very powerful, simultaneously. They will still fail if they are not talking to each other. And they will not talk to each other if they don’t invest in resources to talk to each other. And their talk won’t serve a purpose if the groups don’t create a mandate for that talking to produce decisions on each group. In short, if the movement does not coordinate its strategy, it will fail. In the previous party models, this coordination was done by some kind of Politburo structure. In the movement model this can be more complex and organic, but the need for coordination still exists. By Coordination Capability, I mean the movement’s capacity to build coherent interactions between its strengths and weaknesses to guide the movement as a whole towards victory. The climate justice movement never had this capability, although several attempts were made to build it. I think the reason behind our failure to build it is that we don’t really take ourselves seriously.

Why we do what we do

§25. Moyer’s NGO logic is deeply embedded into our social change paradigm. Even people who regularly risk arrest are telling me that they do it to put pressure on the government. So when they say that kind of a thing in a meeting (remember my looking-at-faces exercise in international meetings?), I feel very lonely. I further feel confused when the same people refer to themselves as anti-capitalists.

We have to seriously ask ourselves why we do the things we do.

We can acknowledge that we mostly do them to feel good: to feel that we did something, so we can sleep at night. We can acknowledge that we don’t really know why we are doing things: other, seemingly more intelligent people are doing things, so we do with them.

But we cannot not have a full plan for victory.

Not anymore.

We don’t have time to act without a plan. Why wait?

Surely we can have many plans, contingent on various possibilities. But we need those plans, anti-capitalist plans, actually-dismantling-capitalism-in-the-short-term kind of plans. “System change not climate change” is not an agitation tool, it’s a directive for our generation.

We need to fill the ambition gap in our movement, in all movements.

And for that, we need people who think in these terms.

Strategy Guidelines for the Ambitious

§26. We don’t have a party model. The closest thing that responds to the complex, financialized, global, post-Soviet capitalist system is the movement ecology approach. But we also don’t have a movement typology compatible with a revolutionary agenda.

Here is my proposal to move forward toward a party model:

  1. Ignore if not outright reject Moyer’s Movement Action Plan.

  2. Use Wright’s strategies of transformation to locate your distance to the ideologies and theories of change of other groups, and calculate compatibility based on that distance.

  3. Distort Tüfekçi’s capabilities approach to include dual power structures as institutional capability, and then apply it to the revolutionary movement only.

  4. Add a forth capability of coordination and invest in it.

An ambiguous mixture of these can then give us a blurred vision of what kind of movement building we have to do.

§27. What remains is, still, walking the walk.

This article was originally published in Dossier #9 of the journal Abstrakt in November 2021.

1 As should be clear, I use the word party neither in the widest sense (taking a side in a dispute, conflict or issue) not in the strictest sense (parliamentary organization). By party I mean an organization with rules and procedures on internal functioning, that has a full-fetched proposal for the society. A revolutionary party, then, would be that organization that guides and leads the society towards that proposal via a revolution.

2 This one-way nested explanation is of course limited; we could run it the other way around: some revolutionaries are anti-capitalist, some anti-capitalists incorporate the climate justice agenda in their plans, and some climate justice people genuinely understand the deadlines of the climate crisis.

3 The typologies framework below is informed by Gee’s notes on Leaderful Organising and Building Leaderful Movements for the Ulex project. The interpretation and the critique (and therefore the mistakes in them) of the typologies are mine. Gee includes a fourth typology based on the movement’s interface with everyday life by Laurence Cox. Cox’s model seems less relevant for strategy and more relevant to understand organizational cultures. For the purposes of this article, I excluded this typology.

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