The #EndSARS protest movement has raised issues around the phenomenon of leaderless movements and leaderless revolutions and even so-called classless revolution.

The concept of leaderless movements is alien to socialism, and so is the concept of so-called leaderless revolution. It is not only alien to socialism, it is a deliberate historically contrived myth by the capitalist ruling classes to maintain and sustain the hegemony of capitalism in the 21st century, beginning from the late 20th century.

This cooptation by capitalism of the notion of leaderless movements and leaderless revolutions gained momentum in the course capitalism’s response to the rampant autonomism that evolved in the context of the Social Forums Movement. It became fashionable to disavow the structured ‘authoritarianism’ of traditional socialist organisations and revolutions.

As part of the promotion and consolidation of this hegemonic myth, references have been made to the Arab Spring, and more recently to the Sudanese, Algerian, Honk Kong, Malian, Thaian, and Lebanese Uprisings.

However, let us be very clear, in none of these instance have we witnessed the overthrow and supplanting of the ruling classes as the dominant class or of the capitalist free market system as an economic system.  And in reality, none of these movements or consequent revolutions have been leaderless.

Oftentimes, individual figures emerge as hegemonic figures within the movements – they are unaccountable and responsible to no one. Eventually a structure and visible organisation is built around these hegemonic leaders. The movements become authoritarian and undemocratic.

Yet, if we insist that the ruling class has failed as a class, that is responsible for superintending this exploitative and repressive system; if we insist that problems are systemic and structural, and that what is ultimately required is a radical overhaul and transformation of the system; if we insist that capitalism and its ruling class has failed; how can we promote the notion of leaderless movements, leaderless revolution, and classless revolutions?

This is an extreme contradiction between the end we seek, and means we’re promoting towards that end.

It is like saying and believing, and promoting the notion that under present global and national conditions, what is required are leaderless nations and countries, made up of leaderless societies and communities!

In the past, and at the inception of scientific socialism as a practical historical movement, those who promote such ideas used to call themselves anarchist. But even at that they accepted the necessity for a socialist revolution, and for the working class to lead society. They were tendencies within the left and of socialism.

However, it is also important to note that where left leaning political and even social revolutions have taken place over the sane historical period as the leaderless movements and leaderless revolutions, the movements have been mass, they have been structured and openly organised, they have openly taken on political forces of the ruling classes, and have gone on to win ruling class organised and supervised elections, against ruling class parties, and have gone on to undertake deep seated social revolutions, radically reorganising their societies.

To promote and help to reinforce the notion of leaderless movements, leaderless revolutions, and classless revolutions, under the current situation, and given the historical context, is to consciously abdicate leadership, and abandon commitment to our own ideas and aspirations.

To engage with the ongoing protest movement requires us to engage with the leading ideas of the movement, to join the battle of ideas and contest for the minds of the masses.

To engage with the ongoing protest movement, and endorse its demands should not mean the same thing as embracing its ideas, and leaving uncontested the space for the debate of strategy and tactics of the movement. Our role and our duty is to engage this movement, boldly and robustly, and to seek to influence the direction of flow of the movement and its outcome, not to surrender our political autonomy


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