This zine collects three essays by the Black Orchid Collective on creating strategies for revolutionary reading groups. There are two shorter essays that explore important questions relating to literacy and education, while the bulk of the zine is the zine is the essay “Do-It-Yourself Strategies for Revolutionary Study Groups” that offers strategies and ideas for developing radical study groups. The suggestions are very specific, offering exercises that can be done to improve reading skills, build up confidence, and offer ideas for developing discussion points. There two appendixes that offer a sample curriculum and a bookmark that offers ideas for enhancing reading skills. This is a very detailed discussion that contains a lot of helpful suggestions.
Reading for Revolution
Before a new revolutionary strategy becomes a lived reality, it begins as an idea. Of course, ideas are not the driving force of history - human beings struggling for liberation make history through concrete, sensuous activity. Our creativity, life, labor, and struggle shape our social relationships and are shaped by them. But there are moments in history when we know we need to act and we are not yet able to, because we have not yet found comrades who want to act together. At these moments, the actions we imagine are held in reservoirs of thought sustained by a constellation of collectives, blogs, zines, hip hop cyphers, and stand-up comedy acts. Fresh revolutionary strategies percolate as “culture” and “theory,” pushing their way up through the crust of capitalist hegemony like a ballooning volcano, until the point where they can finally erupt into lived experience, where they can be tested in practice, evaluated, and refined. How do we nurture this process, so that it can happen as fast as possible, and so that as many people as possible can participate in it? That is the question this piece attempts to answer. In order to develop revolutionary strategies, we need to reflect on our practice. But it also helps to reflect on the practice of other revolutionaries throughout history, and that requires study. This article shares some concrete strategies for how we can study effectively, accessibly, and inclusively.