Firebrand is a communist organization in the tradition of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, and Luxemburg. We began as a group of former branches and members of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) after that organization dissolved in 2019.
The dissolution of the ISO followed revelations that the old leadership had engaged in the cover-up of at least one sexual assault by a prominent member. More broadly, they had failed to effectively enact democratic and anti-oppression practices at an organizational level. The organization could not survive the rot and voted to dissolve itself.
The early core of Firebrand resisted two dominant currents among former members of the ISO — dropping out of politics or moving rightward, with many joining the DSA and campaigning for Democrats. We continued to organize around revolutionary Marxism, building on the best of the tradition while critically examining our politics and methods in order to correct the mistakes and avoid the failures of the past.
To that end, we began to evaluate the possibility of forming a new revolutionary group on more solid political and organizational ground. We founded the Revolutionary Socialist Network (RSN) with the Central Ohio Revolutionary Socialists in 2019. We studied politics together, developed and shared our experiences and perspectives, and sought out engagement with other groups with similar priorities for the far left. While welcoming Socialist Resurgence, Workers’ Voice, and Speak Out Socialists into the RSN, we began to cohere as a tendency with our own distinct politics and strategic orientation.
After the RSN resulted in a merger of Socialist Resurgence and Workers’ Voice, we founded the Revolutionary Socialist Organizing Project (RSOP) with like-minded ex-ISO members and other comrades who were coming into motion around the need for revolutionary organization. By this point, our membership had expanded well beyond our initial group, with local organizations now consisting of more new members than former members of any previous group. Through these experiences of collaboration, debate, and discussion, in late 2022, we developed sufficient political agreement to transform the RSOP from an organizing project into an organization, which we named Firebrand.
Committed to class independence
Chief among the requirements for Firebrand membership is a commitment to the political independence of the working class. No one is coming to save us, especially not representatives of the two main capitalist parties, or members of organizations oriented on changing them. To paraphrase Marx, we in the working class must liberate ourselves. Therefore, Firebrand is committed to building a working-class revolutionary organization that stands outside of and in constant opposition to the parties of the ruling class, with no illusions that they can ever be reformed.
Because we see communism as the self-emancipation of the working class, we reject the idea that it can be brought about by any enlightened minority, including ourselves. The role of Firebrand is to build toward revolution by participating in the real movement toward liberation, and winning as many people as possible to Marxist politics. We aim to unite the most active and combative people in the working class to form the basis for a revolutionary party, in order to lead the ultimate struggle against capitalism. We aim to build an organization of revolutionary leaders, rather than an organization divided between an entrenched leadership and a passive rank-and-file.
We oppose oppression in all its forms and stand for the abolition of all the oppressive structures of capitalism, including sexism, racism, anti-LGBTQ ideology, the carceral system, and national borders. We also understand that the fight against oppression is not a fight that happens only outside of our group, but within it as well, and are committed to striking against the complacency exhibited in many parts of the left toward the reproduction of oppression in our ranks.
Because capitalism is an international system, it must be overthrown internationally. We oppose all capitalist governments, especially here in the US, but also those which seek to position themselves as allies of the international working class. There is no such thing as a socialist government today, and we stand in solidarity with the workers and oppressed of all nations. The main enemy is indeed at home, but the enemy is also global.
We are eager to work with any and all groups and individuals committed to the fight for human liberation. There are more of us all the time, and we need to get organized.