Some Thoughts on the Telos Conference
My reactions fall under two large categories I guess.
(1) A big step ahead on my critique of the vanguard party, largely by being exposed to the failure of Gorz and Marcuse to push their own attempts at a critique on to its completion and by their own admission that this was in their own minds still a huge puzzle. I still found much encouragement though, on the critique, along the lines I have been developing, by their remarks, and also from the speech by Martin Glaberman, which was in many ways much clearer and less compromised than those of Gorz or Marcuse, both of whom kept falling back on the vanguard in spite of themselves, Marcuse because he has this thing about `rational authority' as distinct from `irrational authority', thus preventing him from overcoming the leader/follower split in the direction of collective functioning, and Gorz because he continues to use vanguard terminology to refer to what is really not vanguard practice at all, and also however because he didn't push his own stress on the self-organization of the workers councils to its logical conclusion but somehow hung on to the party as a mediating force at the present stage. I became much more convinced that the basic direction on this in which the movement has been pushing is sound – its whole stress on `bottom-up' local struggles (i.e., radical egalitarianism, especially as seen in the women's movement).
So this is the main theoretical significance of the conference, at least for my own thinking. But to spell this out here would be impossible. It is a very involved question, essentially the whole problem I have been working on under the title of ``Revolution without Leaders.'' The clear image that has emerged in the last few weeks of what a nonvanguard strategy would look like is the last hurdle that had to be jumped. So now all the basic ingredients are present, and this can be worked up for wider distribution.
(2) The main thing I want to get down though is the significance of the conference itself (as an event peopled by individuals with certain attitudes, plans, strategies for revolution, socio-economic backgrounds, life-styles, and so forth) for the question of theory/practice (intellectual/worker), or what I have come to think about as `the perversion of the intellectual function'.
As a matter of fact, this conference was very revealing. It was monstrous and atrocious – a disaster. Petty, ego-tripping, pseudo, quasi, or would-be intellectuals (not all of them of course), or else heavy, status-laden intellectuals (like Marcuse), sparring and fighting it out. I was profoundly affected, in a negative way, by the whole performance.
The `perversion of the intellect' was apparent just everywhere, but it emerged in its clearest form on the panel about ``The Function of Radical Media.'' The panelists, each one representing a different journal – Telos, Radical America, Socialist Revolution, and so forth, ignored the question and merely stated instead the position, line, or theoretical orientations of their own journals. They presupposed the topic of discussion, not only not even seeing or considering the broader question of the role of the media in general (films, newspapers, tv), but even failing to consider how they felt their own journals would contribute to the revolution. They simply assumed that their work was useful. They took that as a given. They were completely blind to the claim by some that the usefulness of a journal might be seen as problematical. They didn't seem at all conscious of what they were doing. The question of `How we make the revolution' was certainly not in the forefront of their thinking. Rather, they were asking, ``How do we expand and improve our publication, develop this or that theory.''
This was significant it seems to me. Even after people in the audience brought the panel back to the question of the evening – the role of the radical media – they persistently and stubbornly refused to deal with it, almost as if they couldn't comprehend the question, couldn't understand what was being asked of them. It was a very bad case of self-serving rationalization. Piccone finally at one point came close to addressing the question, unconsciously I think, when he was complaining that the Left had no theory and that the Telos group was trying to provide the Left with sophisticated theory and then he proceeded to lay out his argument that Marx's theory of class had to be reformulated. It is not the relationship to the means of production that is really the basis for class, he said, but the results of the relationship to the means of production. And since in this country the results have been to make workers rich, they are therefore no longer a revolutionary force. This direct linking of his feeling that what the Left needs is a more sophisticated theory with his reformist tirade about class was a striking scream. Since he feels that the revolution is not on the agenda now anyway, no wonder he feels justified in spending his energy in putting out a theoretical journal.
This episode, and in fact the whole conference, highlighted for me the serious doubts that clearly arise about the usefulness of all this for the revolution. These intellectuals are deeply rooted in the university. They are trapped in a self-image of theorist or academician. They are unaware of how thoroughly they are embedded on one side of a most unfortunate division of labor between the intellectual and everyone else. They have not even thought, except abstractly perhaps, about transcending this split. These people's egos are involved in this and their attachment to their privileges is stubborn. Somehow there is really something wrong with this whole syndrome. These people act as a drag on the revolution, not a help. They are more than just a drag. They are a positive danger and handicap. They continue to derail the revolution into words, and so many of these ego-tripping muscle-brains have only words – endless streams of oppressive words. They are a danger in that not only do they themselves not go out and do things to further the revolution, but they keep others from doing it. Moreover, within their own circles even they perpetuate the whole syndrome of dominant and passive, verbal and non-verbal, smart versus not so smart, placing a premium on intellectual abilities, thus perpetuating in their own value structures and personalities the larger division of labor between thinkers and workers, which is the same thing as the oppression of the intellectual faculties of average people. What is needed is to restore thinking to average people, not concentrate it further in a super-intellectual, university-based elite of radical theorists.
My feeling is that this whole group has to be offed, not in the physical sense of course, but offed from their positions, deprived of their dominance. More than this however. An entirely different image of the revolution must be put forward with a stress on the primacy of the non-verbal, the primacy of action, the primacy of real relationships and the structure of those relationships, before being mediated through words. The things we are fighting for must be embodied in these real relations among people before anyone even utters a word. (Can this happen before the revolution? What about splits, which are based on theory/strategy?) And when people do start to talk, an entirely new pattern must be established, a pattern of thinking together, of theorizing together. The hierarchical format or structure of this conference was really offensive and reflected the `perversion of the intellectual function'. It is only by learning to theorize collectively that the intellectual function can be retrieved from the privileged specialists (who cannot be expected to abdicate on their own), and restored to ordinary people. (The other side of this is that at the present time ordinary people are profoundly mis-educated and steeped in ignorance, so that we also have an enormous educational job on our hands (e.g., astrology, Christianity, comic books, mysticism, and occultism of all sorts).
This whole conference stands as a prime example of what not to do. In fact, it seemed unreal to me from the very beginning. What are a group of so-called revolutionaries doing meeting at a university anyway? I felt strangely out of place from the very first day here. But I was shocked to find others feeling very much at home. This is where they have always been. This is where they plan to stay. They have comfortably devised an image of the revolution that fits nicely into their pre-established life-styles in the university. They have conveniently created roles for `intellectual revolutionaries' that allow them to continue writing their articles and publishing their books. They are people who read books and articles and write books and articles about books and articles. And this in spite of their own theory, at least as articulated by the Telos group, of the necessity of putting the pre-categorical world of real experience before the categorical world of words and theories. I got the feeling that most of them were living only in the categorical world, taking completely as a given their real socio-economic position in the society that permits them to do that, not even being aware that they are functioning as a privileged elite in the society and that this is why they get to spend their days writing Marxist theory in the first place.
And many of the issues they spend hours and hours haggling over are in fact very moot points that are hardly relevant at the present time to the actual struggles going on. They do of course consider also many important questions, but the context within which these things are debated is artificial and hence their deliberations are not very fruitful.
Many of the things that happened here can only be seen as an indication of the thorough decay or collapse of the radical movement. There was no sign here of the uprising, of the breaking out of old patterns that existed a year or two ago. People were even back to sitting in chairs again. There were no challenges to the incredible verbal lashings, at ear drum breaking levels of amplification, that we were subjected to in session after session, just really offensive verbal beatings – loud, shrill harangues. A year ago this conference would not have continued through the first morning unscathed. Even the workshop on sexism here was dominated by men, by the worst kind of male ego tripping with words, jockeying for position through verbal battles, battles so confused and so obviously perverted by the real emotional fights behind them as to have practically no real significance for the real theoretical problems that do confront us.
What a bad trip! One of the worst ever.
Where should I and people like me plug in to the revolutionary process? And what does all this, the Telos conference, have to say about this question.
There was not much in the way of concrete direction in Marcuse's remarks, except that ``all of us can be a part of the vanguard,'' and the image he sets forth of lots of people talking to other people and gradually spreading the new vision (spreading is an inaccurate word for this because it is really a matter of these ``transcending needs'' emerging from within people, perhaps aided somewhat through interaction with people who already have discovered these needs within themselves). Marcuse talked about the ``Long March Through The Institutions.'' His image seemed to be one of a leavening process, spreading the radical vision and undermining capitalism from within. Marcuse continues to place a high value on education.
Gorz had a much more concrete answer. The job of radical intellectuals is to leave the university, abandon sterile academic pursuits and go work with the low-income industrial proletariat because they hold the key to bringing down the system. Gorz put particular stress on the way in which these radical intellectuals were to relate to workers. They were to help the workers learn skills, and develop the capacity for self-articulation and collective behavior. They were not to preach a line, or bring workers a ready worked out theory. Sure there has to be a theory, the broad outlines of a radical critique, but beyond this, theory must emerge from the workers themselves and this is the job of radicals, to assist in this process. It is only in this way that the capacities for self-management in workers councils in the factories can be developed over a long revolutionary period. This work is absolutely critical for the revolution.
Glaberman also had a specific recommendation for radicals. The job of radical intellectuals he said is to do what radical intellectuals can do best – produce analyses, especially a running analysis of capitalist society, and to do the best they can to disseminate these views and to spread these analyses to all layers of the working population. He drew a distinction between organizations of Marxists, or the way radicals organize themselves in order to do this job of analysis and propaganda, and the organizations of workers themselves. It is not the job of radical intellectuals to organize workers or the society in general. The workers have their own organizations, namely factory councils, and whatever else they will create when the time comes. So the organizations that radicals create for themselves so that they can accomplish their work should not be confused with the self-organization and self-management that the workers will one day bring into being. Glaberman stressed however that obviously this did not mean that radicals could be off in an ivory tower somewhere. They have to be closely tied to workers and have to know what is going on.
The example of most of the other Marxist intellectuals at the conference shows clearly what not to do however. (And even Marcuse is guilty. Gorz and Glaberman more or less practice what they preach. Maybe Marcuse does too though. He preaches education in universities, and that's what he does.) These university-based, privileged, elitist, word-heavy, academicians have little to contribute to the revolution. On the contrary, their work probably distracts from the revolution. Their misplaced identities as `intellectuals' (as practiced by the Telos group for example) constitutes an enormous derailment of revolutionary energy. Worse than that, it perpetuates the very elitism and sterile intellectualism that we are trying to overcome.
Taking up the image that I have worked out in my Constitution of how workers councils will organize themselves (i.e., how they will establish communication networks and various linkages between their separate workers councils), it is clear that the task is to create the capacity to do this and not to build a party that will somehow tie all these councils together. The idea of a party tying all these revolting forces together under its own umbrella and hegemony is appalling. This is not a socialist ideal at all but merely the perpetuation of a hierarchical society. Having thus eliminated the whole fake job of trying to build a party to organize workers it becomes much clearer what people like myself, who want to help move the country toward revolution, should do and how we should relate to people who are not yet revolutionary.
From the whole general orientation that has been emerging it is clear what revolutionaries should do. The primary task of revolutionaries is to help the people overcome their condition of massification, to fight against the passivity of the people, to help develop the skills, knowledge, and capacity for self-management or self-government. In short, a higher level of human being must come into being, persons capable of living in an egalitarian and collective fashion, being neither dominant nor passive, intellectual nor worker, object nor subject, being neither a leader nor a follower. This aim can be seen most clearly in the functioning of small radical groups, especially during the upheavals of 1968-1970, when the whole structure of interpersonal relations was challenged – the dominance of the verbal over the non-verbal, the intelligent over the less intelligent, the theorists over the non-theorists. Some headway was made. We did not succeed in really breaking down these dualities but the direction was clear. We attempted to transcend these inequalities.
Much more headway was made toward stopping domination than toward stopping passivity. It is clear that the problem demands an attack on domination, but more than this, it also demands an attack on passivity. This is just as important and perhaps more difficult, because often the people who want to get rid of passivity are attacked for being dominating when they try to do so. Passivity has an autonomous syndrome of its own. The dilemma of the revolutionary is similar to that of the intelligent and capable person who has superior abilities and who does not want to dominate other people but who is nevertheless confronted with a group of passive people who related to this capable person as a leader, as dominant, as somehow different and deserving of deferential treatment.
This is a very complicated problem and a central one. How could people relate to each other so that the competent and less competent would both be respected and be treated by each other as equal human beings, not equal in skills or strength or intelligence or energy of course, but equal in worth. This is the trick. The problem of people being intimidated and becoming passive and withdrawn when faced with a person with outstanding capabilities is as much a problem of their own passivity as it is of the other's domination. What if the talented persons do not want to dominate and try explicitly to refrain from doing so but are still confronted with passive people who will relate to them only as `superior' persons, ones to be treated with deference. This places the talented persons in an impossible situation, with only two ways out: either to go ahead and dominate (i.e., accept leadership), or withdraw from the interaction. A relationship of reciprocity among equals is impossible when one of the parties is passive even when not confronted with any real domination by anyone.
This is the problem that must be overcome. This is essentially what we mean by learning to function in a collective fashion. This process, examined on the small group level, is essentially the same process as must be examined and overcome on the societal level – transcending the distinction between party/vanguard and the masses. `Vanguard' and `mass' are obviously bourgeois concepts because they are hierarchical. They do not embody or convey the radical egalitarianism that stands at the heart of the socialist vision.
On the way back from Buffalo (the Telos Conference) to New York I had a long, long argument (nearly 8 hours) with Michael Kosok about the whole question of theory and practice, the role of the intellectual in the revolution, the usefulness of journals like Telos, and the whole thing.
The question remains very complex. I'm not sure what my position is or that the arguments I have developed against the academic Marxists are completely defensible. In a way the argument with Kosok was also an argument with myself. At the present time I feel that the best thing for radicals to be doing is trying to relate directly to struggles on the local level at the workplace, as I have spelled out in ``On the Problem of the Vanguard'', and other pieces. But I also feel that there is a job, at least for a while longer, for some radicals to work to publicize the efforts of these other groups of radicals who are working on the local level in a non-vanguard fashion. Thus there seem to be two kinds of legitimate radical work at the present time – either be in a group linking up directly with workers struggles or be in a group reporting on such activities.
At the present time however I certainly haven't resolved the theory/practice issue satisfactorily in my own living patterns. So far I'm keeping a foot in both camps it seems. I keep my ties to the LG and other groups of people not particularly sympathetic to `high theory' who are more inclined to active revolutionary work. But of course the LG is not a direct form of active revolutionary work but is of the type two variety – publicizing – and the wrong things at that. The LG is a publication just like Telos. Both publications speak only to the movement, to the left, to radicals. They merely speak to different sectors of the left. If Telos can't be defended I don't see how the LG can be defended either. Neither of them do the kind of direct work with labor struggles that I argued for in ``On the Problem of the Vanguard.''
At present I remain hung between two unacceptable lives. I can no longer stand being a part of the elite (and moreover I have very serious reservations about the usefulness of intellectual work). On the other hand I cannot stand a 9-5 job, can't stand wasting all my energies on `earning a living', and will probably try to avoid doing so. In actual fact I continue to read and write a great deal of the time. As Roger rightfully pointed out, going into the factories is very likely to burn you out in 5-10 years. A lot of people used to do that but to no avail. But Roger misinterpreted what I said I think. I wasn't saying that I was going to work in a factory and try to organize from within. Rather I was going to (1) work with wage-earners from the outside, and (2) work with a small group of radicals who would support each other and share income and give each other strength. This is a very different image than going to work in a factory all alone. So the whole question of what to do with one's life remains very problematical. The key weakness of my idea about not working in the factory, but yet not working in the university, either is the difficulty of surviving financially. One is reduced to working part-time at low wages and this leads to a very precarious existence. It is possible to do it, at least at present wage levels (a serious depression would certainly knock this out as a strategy) but it is precarious. Income sharing in a group would help cushion the difficulty I suppose, but this is also quite complicated.
Nevertheless, the legitimacy of continuing to work in academia and write and publish theoretical articles (e.g., Telos) is more and more difficult to defend, at least to my mind. And this in spite of my own still strong propensities for this kind of work. I have three or four books I would like to write. This is why the question is so very painful for people like me and Kosok whose lives have been invested so completely in `scholarly work'. This question of the relation of intellectuals to the revolution is painful because it involves the possibility that we might have to completely redefine our lives, abandon scientific work in the universities and completely relocate ourselves in other parts of the society.
I want to summarize some of the arguments I used against Kosok and in criticism of the whole Telos project. (But these are going to be merely listed in no particular order because I don't want to try to develop a coherent critique.)
1. Kosok's style of thinking is typical of one of the dangers of intellectual work. He seemed to be playing with words. He manipulated symbols and words and built constructs and theories and arguments and images of reality out of symbols or words rather than out of real life experiences. Thus his thinking always seemed very abstract, one step removed from the real world and real life, and unconsciously so. There is a strong connection between this habit and his taking as a given his position in the intellectual elite (although this is hard to explain in a few words).
2. Academics have a hard time seeing what else they could do in life. They like to write books and consider this important. And there is a real problem here. The revolution does require theory. Marxism is a theory. Consciousness is needed for the revolution. But having this `theorizing' function located in a privileged group of intellectuals in the universities is treacherous. It distorts the whole thing somehow. But radical intellectuals have a very hard time imagining anything else that they could do, and an even harder time convincing themselves that they should do it after they have imagined it.
3. There is Aubrey's critique of Paul Sweezy's work and the function of the Monthly Review Press, namely, that it merely ``titillates'' the orthodox academic establishment and makes the liberal university a more exciting place to be. After all, can't the liberals now assign good Marxist books as well as their own works. It reinforces the liberal's pluralistic view. It strengthens the university. Radicals who work in the university in hopes of radicalizing students are merely deluding themselves. For the most part they will fail.
(There are problems here. It is certainly undeniable that the New Left Review had an enormous impact on my own thinking. In a very real sense I came to revolution by an intellectual route, although without Columbia '68 nothing would ever have come of it.)
4. The real impact of Telos might be to derail two or three thousand radicals and keep them happily integrated into the academic world. Now they have lots of exciting theoretical debates to hash out. This is no joke either. To the extent that Telos prevents radicals from shifting the focus of their activity from abstract theorizing (usually in a political vacuum) to the concrete task of helping people who work to develop the capacity for self-management at their workplaces then the revolution has been stopped, postponed, delayed, because it is amply clear that theory alone will not make the revolution. I don't care if everyone in the university is radical. If there are no connections between these radicals and the rest of the working population, if they all stay in the university, then nothing will happen. The revolution will only happen when workers take over the factories and offices. So now the revolution has Telos to contend with as well as all its other problems.
5. People who tend to theorize a lot tend to see the struggle as a conflict between theories rather than a struggle for power. This came out again and again at the Telos conference. Much of what was going on there was merely a battle of the egos (usually male egos) with words as the weapons. Unity of the left then comes to mean agreement on a particular line and getting agreement on a particular line comes to occupy the center of the stage rather than making the revolution. This usually involves an implicitly vanguard party strategy, and this explains why it is always said to be (by the vanguard) so important for radicals to get their heads together. Radicals like this have completely lost sight of the fact that it is working people who can make a revolution, not Marxists. Much energy is therefore consumed in really esoteric debates that have only a very indirect relevance to the revolution, if even that.
6. Liberal academics are not the real enemy. Radicals could spend their entire lives arguing with liberal orthodox theories and the revolution would never come into being. The attack must be directed toward the ruling class, not against its liberal academic lackeys.
7. A radical perspective will never prevail in the universities. So even if radicals write brilliant books, both attacking liberal theories and developing the Marxian analysis, these works will probably suffer the same fate that Marx's own works suffered – they will be systematically ignored.
8. On the other hand, what if the Marxian analysis did prevail in the university. It is perfectly possible to imagine a whole class of Marxists intellectuals who are perfectly integrated into the capitalist society, happily writing their Marxian analyses within the safe confines of their privileged sanctuaries in the universities. So even if Marxists do win the theoretical battles, the revolution to overturn the power structure still remains to be made.
9. The danger however is that these academic Marxists will not be really revolutionary in their theorizing. In light of their seriously compromised personal lives the tendency will be for them to redefine the revolutionary elements right out of Marxism. A good example of this at the Telos conference was Piccone's redefinition of class in such a way as to allow him to write off the working class as a revolutionary force. This is a round about way of rationalizing or justifying his own life-decisions to stay in the university and publish Telos. It is a self-serving definition. If we are not in a revolutionary epoch then perhaps there is nothing better to do than publish a journal.
10. Somehow, when radicals define their relationship to the revolution in intellectual terms they are perpetuating the division of labor between thinking and doing that is precisely what has to be overcome. It is only if these people make an attempt to bridge this gap in their own personal lives that progress can be made toward overcoming it in the society at large.
11. I might note the feeling I have about the deluge of written materials, and how difficult it is to make one's way through it. One's whole life could be consumed sorting through all this verbal production and fighting these theoretical battles, and capitalism would go rolling on. Why add another book to the deluge? The real job is to transform the society.
12. The above points somehow fail to catch the main argument. This particular crisis (of intellectuals and the revolution) has arisen because so many of the radicals of the 60's came out of a university based anti-war movement. Whether or not the universities will continue to generate radicals in the absence of the war issue is an open question, but for now the student movement seems to have collapsed all over the world. Since so many of these New Left radicals are highly educated or even technically trained, and since now they want to make the revolution, the problem arises about what they should do to further the revolution. The tendency has been, among the university wing of the movement, to begin to organize within one's own profession or occupation. Thus we have radical lawyers, economists, anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, computer professionals, doctors, scientists, therapists. What this amounts to is the attempt to hang on to their professions, which happen to be privileged niches in the society, and still be able to pursue their revolutionary goals.
Now at first sight this seems to be a good thing. After all isn't the goal to get people to struggle at their places of work to take over the society and fight the ruling class there. Isn't that exactly what these radical professionals are doing. A closer look however reveals some serious problems. First of all, at least within the teaching profession, the goal of taking over the university and reorganizing it democratically (i.e., seizing the means of production) fell by the way long ago. That goal was entertained when the students were occupying buildings, but not now. Now most radicals in the university think of radical activity only in terms of the contents of their disciplines and not in terms of the structure of power within which they practice their professions. They want to create a radical physics, a radical economics, a radical sociology, but within the hierarchical framework of the orthodox university. Thus their project is a purely educational one and has ceased to be any kind of political confrontation with established power.
The tendency for these technically trained elite-type radicals to focus on their own profession as the place to work for the revolution is certainly understandable because otherwise they might have to reexamine their whole life pattern, a process that is inevitably painful. But this tendency for professionals to try to hang on to their professions and still be revolutionary has had fairly disastrous consequences for the left in this country.
First of all, it generated a whole new theory of revolution to justify itself, the so-called `new working class' theory, whereby these technically educated workers (and they are indeed workers albeit highly paid workers) will spearhead the revolution. Never mind if all the evidence shows that the highest paid, best educated workers are generally the least radical and the most integrated, except perhaps for those radicals who emerged during the unique anti-war movement in the sixties.
Secondly, and most importantly, it has blinded the movement during an entire phase to the rest of the working class, preventing radicals from seeing beyond the confines of their own narrow (and protected) privileged sector. After all, if the affluent educated workers are going to spearhead the revolution why bother with anyone else right now.
Third, this in turn has given thousands of radicals a ready excuse for continuing in their privileged professions and avoiding the possibility that perhaps they should do something else if their primary goal is to make the revolution. Thus the whole phenomenon taken together has meant that the white radical movement has been successfully contained within an elite layer of society, among people who are in general unresponsive and hostile to the revolution. It has meant that white radicals have been absorbed within the status quo. They were derailed. They were prevented from breaking out of the bounds of their own positions and from establishing direct links with other sectors of the working class. (Some attempts were made. Why did they fail?)
This is not to say that educated workers, say chemists at Dupont, will not one day be revolutionary. They will very likely join the revolution as it gets underway. But to say that they will start moving in these early stages seems to be a pretty bad reading of the situation. It is a question of where the revolution is at, what stage. Does organizing among chemists and physicists make much sense at the present time?
It seems perfectly clear to me that what should have happened a long time ago and what must surely happen now is for many thousands of these university radicals to relocate themselves elsewhere in the society and establish direct links with struggles in other sectors of the society and try to help take the revolution to the working class in general. This is especially true for people trained in the orthodox social sciences or humanities, which are worthless anyway. For people in the physical sciences it is a more difficult question. It may be that they should continue at their jobs and do political work outside their own professions in their spare time. There are always going to be lots of people after all who are not at workplaces where very much struggling is going on and which are not yet ripe for political work.
One might say then that there are three kinds of useful revolutionary work.
(1) Revolutionary struggles within the workplace aimed at taking over the means of production and establishing workers control and self-management.
(2) Assisting this process from the outside, where revolutionaries establish direct ties with the radicals on the inside.
(3) Radicals who help publicize, articulate, analyze, and propagandize the work of the first two groups.
Now if a person is a radical and is employed full-time in a workplace where revolutionary struggle seems unlikely (say in a highly paid professional occupation) because there are no other radicals there, then that person has two choices it seems to me, if they wants to do political work: (1) change jobs and try to organize from within a workplace where revolution is more likely (type 1 above). (2) Engage in types 2 or 3 above, and this can be either full-time (working on the side to survive) or part-time in evenings after work.