You can't have a movement that is all emotion and passion and muscle and no...brains! It's a tragedy waiting to happen.
That's what we see these days throughout the Middle East and elsewhere. A lot of emotion, a lot of courage, but little in the form of seasoned revolutionary leadership, and it ain't no accident. Chalk it up to the perfidious CIA and its nonstop intrigues in this region, courtesy of our hijacked taxes. Over generations the Agency always made sure that "our" tyrants would always smash and murder the true left, that no real democratic/republican/progressive subculture could emerge. They did that in Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and so on. In Afghanistan they conspired to overthrow the only modernizing/egalitarian/anti-chauvinist socialist party (main tendency the Khalq, led by Taraki) to come to the fore in that martyred nation in modern times, if not ever. The systematic elimination of the true left forces in each land delivered the masses to the arms of the only possible "opposition", the religious reactionaries, the Talibans, the Mullahs in Iran, which, at leas, and to the eternal surprise of their "handlers" in Washington, have played a desultory role as crude nationalists/anti-neocolonialists with thoughts and visions of their own.
Now these poor people are basically leaderless, and it takes time to "grow" a new seasoned revolutionary cadre. We're talking profound changes to how society is organized, not just tweaks and reforms that leave the rotten dynamic and old power social relations in place.
One of the sins of the so-called "democratic socialist" left in the US (locus: The Nation), not to mention mainstream liberals (locus: The New York Times et al), was their craven anti-communism which made it easy to block any serious study of history and especially revolutionary tactics and strategies. Leninism was of course excoriated as "useless", "anachronistic" and similar idiotic epithets. As true, I guess, as the notion that we had reached "the end of ideology"--the coy wording used by establishmentarians in the Western world to signify the end of class struggle. As if the latter could be dictated to history. They only wish!
Maybe the lessons being learned by the common people throughout the Arab world, and now in Britain, France, Greece, and even Wisconsin, USA, will teach a new generation of social change activists how to confront the status quo, and, perhaps equally important, how to prepare the soil so that revolutionary seeds can fructify. This is gaining an education on the run, as the capitalist-induced crisis is sprouting rebellions in almost every continent due to the severity of the exploitation and brutality introduced by the new overlords. In this context, sooner, rather than later, the masses must start debating whether a real revolution can be waged successfully without the aid of a vanguard party. Depending on how they answer that critical question, they will also see the potential and limitations of sponatneous revolts.