The dilemma here is false if the real issue with the classic revolutionary wing is that it has no real platform beyond regurgitated marxism and leninism. The revolutionaries are so focused on the great moment of seizing power that they have forgotten to state what kind of society should come next and how it will evade stalinism.
A completely revamped framework and strategy might be far more appropriate at a time of terminal crisis. The revolutionary left is stuck in leninist confusion and can’t rethink its position. The ups and downs of ‘competing’ reformist and revolutionary sectors is illusory. At the very least reformists need the revolutionary idea in order to think holistically about a new kind of society.
The entire planet is at risk and the chances of reformist measures dealing with the issues seems a vanishing percentage, perhaps the same is true of the revolutionary angle. But it is false perhaps to polarize these two extremes: we need a revolutionary reformism and a reformist revolution, next to a project that can move along reformist lines toward a revolutionary transformation. Part of the problem is that the revolutionary brand is stale leninism, feckless marxism, in the context of an undefined platform.
If the revolutionary and reformist wings could reinvent the left in the sense of saying what kind of society they envision, the false dualism might moderate and the public could respond.
Right now, democratic socialism is on the rise in American society. Revolutionary socialists who have kept the torch of socialism burning during the lean years will now have to merge with democratic-socialist demands of the current moment.