Category Archives: Theory

Left for Dead

It’s been a while. My original plan for “coming back” was to wait until immediately after the election, so I could write according to the outcome. But that didn’t work, because as I tried to write, more and more shit kept happening. Now, it would take a novel for me to give my thoughts on everything that has happened since my last entry. What I can do is give a run-down of events and try to find the thread I want to pluck that runs through it all.

First things first, we elected the fascist. Well, “we” didn’t, the bourgeoisie did. Well, maybe not even that, since it seems that big chunks of the bourgeoisie didn’t want him. What appears to have happened is, the Democrats failed miserably, so the other guy took the win. Because liberalism has never been capable of combating fascism properly.

Secondly, the “reasonable Left” immediately decided to bow down to and open their arms for the new administration. Even the “radical” Bernie Sanders has followed the Democrat establishment’s lead in this. This isn’t a surprise to the (actual) radical Left, as liberals have historically tried to work with fascists, especially when it came to putting down revolutionary movements, which have been growing here in the US. But it did come as a surprise to many liberal voters, who are now seeing the weakness in their once-beloved party. The amount of questions and comments I’ve received regarding Marxism over the past 2 weeks has been staggering.

Next, Trump began to pick out his cabinet. Judging from the words of most news outlets, many in this country are “shocked” that the fascist is doing fascist-y things, like appointing a white nationalist to be his chief strategist. But after the initial shock began to wear off, the media and the liberal leaders started the process of normalizing this behavior. Fascists aren’t called fascists, they’re the “alt-right,” in the same way a billionaire isn’t a billionaire, he’s an “outsider.”

I want to emphasize that I am not trying to be an alarmist. Yes, this should all be taken very seriously, but we can’t panic. We must prepare. Taking advice I and others have received from comrades abroad, who are currently dealing with fascist regimes in their respective countries, we need to keep our heads cool and our eyes wide open. We have to see how the various groups of people react, how they handle themselves. We need to build alliances with those groups which show that they are willing to pull their weight in the struggle and adapt to these new circumstances.

We need to separate the wheat from the chaff. By this I mean, there will be some on the Left who will be all too willing to play by bourgeois rules. The majority of liberals will show their true colors–they will, once again, prove themselves to be agents of the bourgeoisie. As I mentioned above, many will turn further Left after witnessing the failures of their former leaders to properly represent the people. But most will stick to the most reactionary tenants of modern liberal ideology: pacifism, rejection of class struggle, divisiveness, chauvinism, ultra-reformism.

Pacifism is nothing short of kneeling while the ruling powers oppress everyone around you. The rejection of class struggle is ultimately just unquestioning loyalty to bourgeois rule. Divisiveness is a by-product of the rejection of class struggle–rather than organizing along class lines and bringing the workers together, the liberals further divide the working class by organizing along racialist lines, or some other bourgeois concept of “otherness.” (You know, the same things right-wingers and white nationalists actively condone). Chauvinism is displayed in their mistrust of the average worker to be capable of accomplishing anything without the Democrats or liberal academics. And the proponents of reformism tell us to simply wait another 2 years, because surely the Democrats will make a comeback in the midterms (ignore the fact that their track record for “taking back control” in recent elections hasn’t been great, and even if they did succeed, there is no way for them to make sure that their control will last).

The aftermath of election day has been heavy (and, sadly, it’s only a taste of things to come), but there has been an effect that I didn’t consider before–the chaff is separating from the wheat all on its own. It is becoming clearer every day who is genuinely concerned with the liberation of the oppressed, and who is more attached to abstract, immaterial principles that all boil down to an attempted justification of the dictatorship of capital, imperialism, and bourgeois rule. The latter group has not been subtle in their disapproval of everything that runs contrary to their ideals. Judging from what I’ve heard and witnessed, they’ll storm out of meetings when they don’t get their way, they’ll shut down conversations if it seems to be veering outside of liberal dogma, they’ll even aid the police in arresting the more “rowdy” protesters.

These are the bearers of the liberal banner, and they are losing credibility to their own followers. Prior to the election, liberals talked a lot about the impending destruction of the GOP (and for good reason, it really did appear that the Republicans were imploding), but now it is the Democrats who are scrambling to keep their establishment together. Their tactics in doing so are only further alienating them from what used to be their base. In their eagerness to be “pragmatic” and cater to the new regime, they’re turning their backs on those who will be most oppressed in the coming years. The liberal activist groups are now losing ground as well, from what I can tell.

They may be desperate, but liberalism still controls Leftist dialogue and action, even after it blatantly revealed its bourgeois nature post-election. In fact, it is a heavier yoke now than it ever was. Desperate times, desperate measures.

The election fallout is not the only example of liberal treachery, though. The event that drove me to write this was the death of Comrade Fidel. The liberal reaction to this may be even more obvious than their reaction to a fascist coming to power. Pro-imperialist, chauvinistic, and reactionary.

You see, these liberals don’t come out and say “I support the US in its attempts to overthrow popular, democratically elected governments in Latin America.” What they do is use the proper American Leftist language to mask these imperialistic stances. Over the past 2 days, the trendy way of talking about Fidel Castro is for white American liberals to say “Listen to the Cubans,” which sounds fine and dandy (if you want to ignore the very racial undertones and the implication that all Cubans think alike), but it quickly became clear that the white liberals really mean “Listen to the few hundred Cubans celebrating in Miami, not the millions mourning in Cuba.”

The defense of this line comes in the form of claiming that those of us who are fond of Fidel Castro and Revolutionary Cuba are “silencing” the voices of Cuban immigrants. This defense of imperialism portrays itself as considerate and caring, while it silences the voices of an entire country. It is doing the very thing it claims to be opposing, and on a larger scale.

Another fallacy of this line is that it is just as weak as a racist saying that they have a Black friend. The white liberals might know a Cuban person, so they believe that this one person’s stance is the correct one and it cannot be questioned. Well, I know a few people from the island as well, and they don’t have a negative word to say about Fidel. Are you going to silence them, or try to de-legitimize their experiences?

cuba-mourns

Cubans mourning the death of Fidel Castro

I may be getting off track by now, but the point is that this is an example of liberal treachery. Masking pro-imperialist stances in Left-sounding lingo. They say they want to listen to “Cuban voices,” but only those voices which are already in agreement with the pre-constructed liberal ideas and stances. How convenient. When all is said and done, the current liberal stance on the issue of Cuba is that it was wrong for Cuba to gain independence, and things were “better off” when the US puppet regime was still in power in that country. It all boils down to the belief that the Cuban people only deserve a voice if they’re saying things that paint US imperialism in a good light. The entire country rose up and made their voices heard in 1959, but the American liberals have refused to listen.

This is the cancerous thread that runs through the Left: liberalism. To be clear, there are those who claim to be liberals who actually do fight for the people with all their strength, however misguided. I have worked and will continue to work with them, out of necessity. But that does not mean liberalism is not dangerous, and those who push for its control of the Left are continuously proving themselves to be traitors to the people. Traitors to the Left itself. They’ll concede to the most vile reactionaries, they’ll stomp on the images of those who risked their lives fighting US imperialism (often while claiming to be anti-imperialist), they’ll trade in the well-being of the people in favor of ensuring the continuance of bourgeois rule.

It is important to note that liberalism is not a line exclusive to members and supporters of the Democratic Party. Many self-proclaimed revolutionaries hold these traits just as closely as the mainstream liberals do. The traits of liberalism are found in the claim that “socialism has never existed.” Liberalism is present in anti-communist propaganda being accepted in “communist” groups. It is present in Utopianism and in holding every revolution to impossible standards, resulting in the liberal condemnation of every successful revolution. It is Right-deviationism and the Putinite trend.

How do we fight it? Well, I’m no theoretician, and I think that is obvious. There are thousands of others who have lived and fought and explained this all better than I ever could. The simplest way I can put it is: We need to engage with those willing to work through disagreements, because these are dangerous times we are entering. Those who are not willing are literally and figuratively walking out the door. However, working alongside those who disagree with the theories of Marxism-Leninism does not mean we need to be quiet. Some will try to silence us, but we will not let that happen.

The heart of liberalism is the defense of capital–that is what it has always been. Liberals will not hesitate to leave us for dead, whether they be pro-US anti-communists, or Putinite ultra-revisionists; capitalism-imperialism is the side they have chosen. This is an ideological battle we must fight, while also remaining practical in the bigger fight against fascism.

We will march with them against the rise of fascism, but we will not put down the banner of Marxism-Leninism. We must prove to all that we are more than willing to dive onto the frontlines of this struggle. We will risk our necks for the people. Fear is natural, but it is also a reminder of why this fight is necessary. Fascism cannot remain in power, and we must expose the fact that, at the end of the day, liberalism cannot save us. It never has.

“Liberalism stems from petty-bourgeois selfishness, it places personal interests first and the interests of the revolution second, and this gives rise to ideological, political and organizational liberalism.

People who are liberals look upon the principles of Marxism as abstract dogma. They approve of Marxism, but are not prepared to practice it or to practice it in full; they are not prepared to replace their liberalism by Marxism. These people have their Marxism, but they have their liberalism as well–they talk Marxism but practice liberalism; they apply Marxism to others but liberalism to themselves. They keep both kinds of goods in stock and find a use for each. This is how the minds of certain people work.

Liberalism is a manifestation of opportunism and conflicts fundamentally with Marxism. It is negative and objectively has the effect of helping the enemy; that is why the enemy welcomes its preservation in our midst. Such being its nature, there should be no place for it in the ranks of the revolution.

We must use Marxism, which is positive in spirit, to overcome liberalism, which is negative. A Communist should have largeness of mind and he should be staunch and active, looking upon the interests of the revolution as his very life and subordinating his personal interests to those of the revolution; always and everywhere he should adhere to principle and wage a tireless struggle against all incorrect ideas and actions, so as to consolidate the collective life of the Party and strengthen the ties between the Party and the masses; he should be more concerned about the Party and the masses than about any private person, and more concerned about others than about himself. Only thus can he be considered a Communist.

All loyal, honest, active and upright Communists must unite to oppose the liberal tendencies shown by certain people among us, and set them on the right path. This is one of the tasks on our ideological front.” -Mao Tse-Tung, Combat Liberalism

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Peace & Love & Liberal Nonsense

The face you make after you cut off your serf’s hand for marrying the wrong person.

A lot has been going on since my last entry. I haven’t been able to write anything in regards to the recent surge of mass activism because, for one, I am doing what I can to help or at least attend those actions in my area, but I also have a lot of personal stuff going on that’s neither here nor there.
But I have finally found the time to lay down some of my thoughts here. Specifically — and not for the first time — the liberal response to the aforementioned surge in activity. Yes, I’ve written about the liberal’s soft-spot for window panes and convenience stores before, but I haven’t really dug any deeper into the ideologies behind their — for lack of a better term — wet-noodlism. Pacifism, respectability politics, neo-hippy paternalism — each a bane to social progress.

The liberals of today like to think of themselves as the “reasonable Left,” and by that they mean they are pseudo-Leftists who are more than willing to reason with the oppressors. However, there are liberals of other sorts promoting similar or identical tactics, but from a seemingly “non-politicized” or “unbiased” point — in other words, the politically apathetic social-agnostics and/or spiritualists who don’t experience oppression (or just don’t acknowledge it) and therefore think of it as something much lighter than it really is. Lighter means easier to conquer, and that basically means asking the bourgeoisie to kindly lay off a little bit. Or not even ask at all, just ignore it and it will go away. Or, worst of all, they even tell the oppressed to love their oppressor. Striking workers should love those whom they are stiking against. Anti-racists should love white supremacists. And, regarding recent events, People of Color should love the police.

No matter the reasoning behind it, pacifism, in all its forms, serves the interests of the oppressors.

Two members of the liberal pantheon of posterchilds are George Orwell and Mahatma Gandhi — the former is well-regarded for his supposed “anti-authoritarianism” and the latter for his pacifism. Both figures are pretty well-suited to be canonized in liberal ideology: Orwell, the man who snitched on Communists for the British government; and Gandhi, British imperialism’s favorite kind of “activist.”

Liberal dogma has placed Gandhi on a pedestal as the prime example of what an activist should be — passive and non-violent. Decades of violent fighting for Indian independence has been overshadowed by this one man’s image. Hundreds — even thousands — of Indian revolutionaries are forgotten, while every imperialist ideologue sings high praises of this figure of pacifism as if he and he alone won independence for the country, not those actually fighting, bleeding, and dying for the cause.

There is a reason why the imperialist oppressors would rather praise the pacifists than the actual revolutionaries — the pacifists are not the real threat to their power. The other liberal idol I mentioned, George Orwell, was, as an anti-communist snitch, naturally well aware of why the British imperialists tolerated and endorsed the worship of someone like Gandhi, as he stated:

“As an ex-Indian civil servant, it always makes me shout with laughter to hear, for instance, Gandhi named as an example of the success of non-violence. As long as twenty years ago it was cynically admitted in Anglo-Indian circles that Gandhi was very useful to the British government. So he will be to the Japanese if they get there. Despotic governments can stand ‘moral force’ till the cows come home; what they fear is physical force.”

This realization should be taken into account along with that well-known quote from Assata Shakur:

“Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.”

That is precisely what the “reasonable Left” wants to do: appeal to the moral sense of the oppressor. We are told to respect the authority of a state which serves the interests of social parasites and exploiters. We can conduct sit-ins and form drum circles, but we are never to question the legitimacy of the oppressor class or its murderous state. Meaning liberation is out of the picture, for the pacifists see the oppression of the masses as less of a crime than the abolition of capitalist excess and exploitation.

This is why civilians who kill cops get blown to pieces by robots, but cops who kill civilians get paid administrative leave, despite the latter being paid to protect people, not the former. According to the dominant liberal ideology, the masses must behave, or they will face much harsher consequences than the pawns of the bourgeoisie who commit the very same crimes, and on a much larger scale. It is perfectly acceptable for a cop-killer to be blown up, but killer-cops “deserve a fair trial.”

Image by Carlos Latuff

Of course, I do not condone the attacks in Dallas or Baton Rouge, but I am saying that, when a community is facing death on a daily basis from an institution that acts with impunity, a backlash should be expected. The neo-hippies are always saying “Violence only creates more violence,” but then act surprised when a violent institution that is continuously murdering people receives a dose of violence against itself. This hypocritical contradiction boils down to something very simple: pacifism is an ideological tool to point blame at the oppressed while in the end defending the oppressor. It is not progressive. It is not revolutionary. It is condescending, chauvinistic, and patronizing to the oppressed.White folks telling Black folks how to behave “properly” in their anger; the wealthy telling the poor to “be content” and “ask nicely”; those who say “just ignore them and they will go away” in regards to neo-fascists, Klansmen, and racist cops — these are the tunes of the pacifist choir, and they all come from a place of privilege, safety, and plain old arrogance. Their subjectivity is almost post-modern, and just like post-modernism, it is useless at best, damaging at worst.

How is it useless? Gandhi’s letter to Hitler(in which he refers to the furor as his “friend” in the first fucking sentence) did a lot less to end the Nazi Party’s bloody reign than Soviet and partisan bullets. No revolution in history has ever succeeded by requesting liberation from the yoke of oppression. They have always and will always take the form of a violent overthrow, by necessity.

How is it damaging? Well, besides laying down in the face of a death, it also inspires apathy in the long run, leading to defeatism. It legitimizes inhumane rule and idolizes the rulers in its own way. Being an aspect of the liberal ideology, it picks and chooses in accordance with the interests of the ruling class. The early Soviet Union proved that socialism and predatory wars are mutually exclusive, but the Soviet Union is still demonized. On the other hand, Tibet, under the rule of the Dalai Lama was burdened under the yoke of feudalism, violent theocracy, serfdom, and even slavery, but the Dalai Lama himself is yet another posterboy for so-called “passive resistance,” even though what he supported was a system more oppressive than most of today’s world, and what he resists is the secularism and anti-feudalism that rose up post-liberation. (Note: This is not a defense of the Chinese state, but Buddhist rule of Tibet was not all meditation and unicorns.)

Pacifism is purely a tool of the bourgeoisie. It has never and will never be capable of properly combating classism, racism, patriarchy, or oppression of any kind when put into practice. Its most diehard disciples are complicit in the actions of the ruling system. The militantly neutral have, in reality, already picked a side (the wrong side), and the self-proclaimed “passive resistors” are nothing but a burden to the movement of liberation.

Do not tell us to love those in positions of power who are killing the people they are supposed to protect. Do not tell us to respect a system that wants to use the majority of us as disposable tools for profit. Do not tell those facing death because of the color of their skin to show love towards the institution that perpetuates the real violence towards them and their families.

Claiming to have aligned chakras, or knowing a couple of quotes from MLK, or pretending to be ideologically “above” all sides of the issue do not make you qualified to tell working and poor revolutionaries what to do or how to respond to acts of aggression from the bourgeois dictatorship. Heal yourself with crystals all you like. Post heart-warming cop stories on social media. Send out your thoughts and prayers. Just stop trying to act like anyone should listen to you, because what you’re proposing is essentially nothing more than inaction, so there is no point.

Stop using the issue-of-the-week to boost your own ego and preach about your “enlightenment.” You aren’t helping anyone.
-SFB

Turning the Tables: Short and Sweet

Bourgeois anti-Communism knows no bounds when it comes to unreliable, irrational and unfounded criticism. Anti-communists will jump onto anything they can find that makes communism out to be monstrous and bloodthirsty. I’ve written before about their use of “yellow media” and even Nazi propaganda. But that isn’t the only ridiculous source they have utilized. Recently, Snopes had to debunk an article from the fucking Onion about Cuba because anti-communists were leaping onto it as if it was true. It occasionally gets so bad that even bourgeois outlets like The Guardian have had to admit that most coverage of North Korea is bogus, as, time and again, those people reported to have been executed in the DPRK have shown up alive and well on television, and defectors are often offered higher pay for scarier stories. The same is true for the coverage of the socialist states of the past as well.

What most of this proves, also, is that socialist or perceived socialist states are held up to standards that the bourgeois intellectuals never set for their favored capitalist states. It is well known that the US has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, higher than the USSR ever had, and yet we are told to think of the Soviet Union as some bloated police state and the US as some bastion of freedom. Bourgeois historians often cite suicide rates as proof of “state oppression,” but only when it can be applied to socialist or “unfavorable” states. Suicide in capitalist countries are just “isolated incidents” of sadness, having nothing to do with the system as a whole, except when that system isn’t to the bourgeoisie’s liking. For bourgeois anti-communists, socialism must work absolutely perfectly in order to be considered anything other than barbaric, but capitalism’s crimes and inefficiencies are just quirks that are part of the beautiful unpredictability of the free market, or whatever.

Not only is socialism held to higher standards than capitalism in large-scale matters, but also, and most annoyingly, in anecdotal commentary. “It works on paper, but…”, “It goes against human nature,” “It discourages innovation.” If I were to point out how it raised the standards of living for the vast majority of people living under socialism, I am told it is inefficient. If I point out how socialism effectively industrialized backwater nations faster than capitalism ever has, proving its efficiency, I am told that it did so at the expense of the people’s well-being. Do you see the contradiction there?

All of this becomes even more clear when the workers in capitalist countries start fighting for their class interests. Every time there is a spike in the Fight for $15 movement, the anti-workerists start spouting off reasons why raising the minimum wage wouldn’t work, and in doing so they mistakenly provide support for socialism by proving that their precious system of exploitation doesn’t work, either in treatment of the people or economically. If a system is to be judged by how it provides for the people or in economic efficiency, the right-wingers’ are basically admitting that capitalism does neither very well.

Let’s take a minute to turn the tables on the various arguments that Rightists use in their opposition to workers’ rights, and put it up to the same standards against which they judge socialism. (Note: I am not trying to imply that the following is anything more than anecdotal. These are not legitimate or useful arguments when I use them, but they aren’t legitimate or useful when anti-communists use them either, which is my whole point.)

Rightist: “If workers are paid more, prices would sky-rocket.”
Response: Then capitalism isn’t efficient enough to care for the people–which is the whole point of every -ism.

Rightist: “If employers are forced to pay their workers higher wages, they will just cut jobs.”
Response: Then capitalism must only work on paper.

Rightist: “Fast food jobs are supposed to be temporary, but too many people are using them as full-time jobs.”
Response: Then capitalism must go against human nature.

Rightist: “No one has any work ethic anymore, they’re all lazy.”
Response: Same as above.

Rightist: “If workers have to be paid more, more jobs will just become automated.”
Response: Then. Capitalism. Doesn’t. Work.

How do these anti-worker reactionaries not see the logical conclusions of what they’re saying? In all of these standard arguments, they admit that capitalism lacks the efficiency to take care of the people, and they shout it like it’s a good thing. Like it somehow proves capitalism’s “inherent goodness,” when it does the very opposite. They are proving they care more about defending their ideology than about how well it works(or doesn’t work).

In all seriousness, anecdotal bullshit aside, the Rightists have to admit one of two things if they take their own words seriously: either 1) Capitalism isn’t capable of doing the very thing they claim it does best–providing equal opportunity and being efficient enough that the people’s basic needs are met, or 2) It is capable of providing a living wage and benefits, but such measures are being blocked by the capitalist owners of industry.

Because, you see, none of these reactionaries complain about price hikes when executives are given millions of dollars in bonuses or raises. No one complains about the bourgeois bosses making 5-digits every hour, when most of those bosses have never produced a single thing in their lives. No one whines when those who don’t produce reap the benefits of production. The arguments against a higher wage all revolve around “work ethic,” but where is the work ethic of the CEOs who profit from labor they don’t take part in?

This is the real capitalist work ethic: Try your best to get others to do the work for you so you can sit in an office and make a profit from their labor. Undeserved luxury, inherited wealth, exploitation–these are the virtues of capitalist “work ethic.” The workers making $7.25 an hour are not lazy for wanting a bigger piece of the pie for their labor, the bosses of industry are the lazy ones, and they’re who we are supposed to look up to. No one points a finger at them for not working while they rake in the profits. And yet, socialism allegedly “brainwashes” people into “blind acceptance of authority.”

No, the fact that the bourgeoisie has people pointing fingers at those who actually do the work is more than enough proof that it is they who are propagating falsehoods. It is they who despise any form of “work ethic,” and this is no more apparent than in their hatred of workers.

The above anecdotes may not be genuine, honest arguments, but the gist of them is essentially true when applied to capitalism. The argument that the capitalist economy can’t handle the pressure of providing for the people is just proof of a critical point Marx and Engels bring up in the Communist Manifesto:

“Hitherto, every form of society has been based, as we have already seen, on the antagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes. But in order to oppress a class certain conditions must be assured to it under which it can, at least, continue its slavish existence. The serf, in the period of serfdom, raised himself to membership in the commune, just as the petty bourgeoisie, under the yoke of feudal absolutism, managed to develop into a bourgeoisie. The modern laborer, on the contrary, instead of rising with the progress of industry sinks deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class. He becomes a pauper, and pauperism develops more rapidly than population and wealth. And here it becomes evident that the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as an over-riding law. It is unfit to rule because it is incompetent to ensure an existence to its slave within his slavery, because it cannot help letting him sink into such a state that it has to feed him instead of being fed by him. Society can no longer live under this bourgeoisie, in other words, its existence is no longer compatible with society.

So, just for a moment, let’s assume that raising the minimum wage under capitalism is impossible(it’s not impossible, just not favorable to the ruling class and its dictatorship). If we take the reactionary’s word for it, if we are to believe that it is, indeed, impossible for the wages to be raised without “destroying the economy,” then all this does is, once again, prove that Marx got it right over a century ago. It only further validates the theories of communism that the rule of the bourgeoisie, capitalism, has run its course and that it is no longer useful–but is, rather, a hindrance–to society’s development.

The reactionaries, with almost every breath, prove the necessity of a socialist revolution, even if they don’t realize it. Thanks for the ammunition. You are continuously giving the workers the tools we need to dig your grave.

-SFB

Socialism, Socialism, Socialism

Despite what your post-modernist buddy says as he sips herbal tea and speaks through his wool scarf on a July afternoon, words are not just facades for the expression of abstract, unfounded ideals. They have definitive meanings relating to material conditions and concepts. I’m no linguist, but I’m pretty certain that words have definitions and, for the sake of communication, shouldn’t be considered to be a veil of gibberish. I can’t say “I’m a horse” as a way to convey my taste for spicy food.

(I know this is sounding foolish so far, but hang in there).

Too often, people–usually angry people–will spout off words that have a meaning totally different from what it is they are actually trying to say, like when Sarah Palin called some other Republican (can’t recall which one it was, and I don’t care to look it up) a “Stalinist”, or when Glenn Beck calls Hitler a “socialist”, or whenever some new Leftist starts calling everything they dislike “fascism”. All of these are examples of words being used outside of their historically recognized meanings. The number of Republicans who can be considered “Stalinists” is a big fat zero. Hitler himself misused the word “socialism” to mislead people (he referred to actual Marxist socialism as “Judeo-Bolshevism”–he wasn’t a fan). And not every politician in existence is a fascist.

The word “fascism” is probably the most over-used of these words. People have referred to everything from classical conservatism to Marxism-Leninism as “fascist”, without any explanation or material basis for the use of such a label.

But, as you probably guessed from the title, the word I am going to focus on in this post is “socialism”.

One thing I want to say before I go any further: I am very, very happy that socialism has become a hot topic. Just 10 or 20 years ago, socialism was widely seen as a word fit for horror stories, and nothing more. It was unthinkable that it would ever enter into nationwide, public discourse in any kind of serious way. But now, thanks to a certain presidential candidate, socialism, and the meaning behind it, has re-entered the mainstream domain of ideas to be reckoned with. Less and less people are fearful of it, and the number of those who support it is growing by the day. Yes, many of those who claim to support it are still ignorant to the meaning behind it. No, this does not mean people are becoming Marxists. But, the discussion has been opened, and it is up to us Marxist-Leninists to dive in head-first. This is an opportunity for us to gain at least some headway among the masses. It is our duty to enter this discussion, with cool heads and friendly debate, and say what needs to be said.

But the first thing that needs to be said is something that is directed at some of our comrades. This may sound harsh, but please bear with me: Shut the fuck up with your pseudo-anarchistic rants. So many opportunities to win people over to genuine socialism have been squandered by your childish puritanism. No one is going to listen to you if all you have to offer is a verbal onslaught against them as people. No one is going to become a Marxist overnight, especially if their only contact with a Marxist is filled with insults and one-upsmanship. People are becoming genuinely open to the idea of socialism. That openness is likely gone the moment a Marxist insults their intelligence and personal character. This isn’t a dick measuring contest, it is a real life movement we are trying to build, basically from scratch. There is no room for your ego here.

Now, with all of that said, let’s begin with the discussion.

WHAT IS SOCIALISM?

I mentioned above that the word “socialism” is becoming something of a buzzword. Its meaning is being watered down by those who do not know the theory behind it. It is not public services, it is not taxes, it is not snow plows, it is not “redistribution”. One can read the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, etc. if they want the full and complete understanding, but here and now, I would rather use Bill Bland’s quick summation from the introduction to his amazing book The Restoration of Capitalism in the Soviet Union(I encourage everyone to read this work, and I will probably reference it a few more times in this post).

Bland’s very brief summation of socialism is in four points:

1) the means of production are owned collectively by the workers;
2) this class of workers holds political power by controlling the state apparatus;
3) production is planned by the state; and
4) exploitation–the process of living partly or wholly on the labour of others–has been eliminated.

None of the above four points are, in any way, linked to the aims of the “democratic socialists” who are gaining so much notoriety in this country. In contrast, let’s see how Bland sums up a capitalist society (from the same work):

1) the means of production–factories, land, etc.–are owned by individuals or corporate groups of individuals called capitalists;
2) this class of capitalists holds political power by controlling the state apparatus;
3) production is regulated by the profit motive; and
4) exploitation occurs, in that capitalists live, partly or wholly, on the labour of others, i.e. of their employed workers.

All four of these characteristics will be maintained under a so-called “democratic socialist” state, and they do exist in the current democratic-socialist states of Europe. No presidential candidate in their right mind would propose the actual policies of socialism, nor would they reject the basic policies of capitalism, if they plan on making any friends at all in a bourgeois-imperialist government. And even if they wanted to, they would be totally unable, due to the purely bourgeois structure of the state itself.

Regardless of all of this, the word “socialism” is being torn from its original meaning so as to make capitalist politicians seem “nicer” and more in-tune with the needs of the people. This isn’t to say that I will reject any and all reforms that would better the conditions of the working class–I would embrace and applaud such measures. But I won’t call them “socialist” or “revolutionary”, because that isn’t what they are. However, even if they aren’t socialist in its true sense, the things being proposed by these democratic-socialists are, for the most part, necessary and progressive. If the workers had more time to develop a class consciousness–rather than spending all of their time and energy on worrying about where they will get their next meal, how they will afford to educate themselves or their families, how they will afford to keep a roof over their heads and their bodies in good health–we would be one step closer to a real revolution. But, again, these measures in and of themselves are not revolutionary or socialist.

Does this mean we Marxist-Leninists should reject all suggested reforms, just because they aren’t as “pure” as we would like? Of course not! In his piece, Marxism and Reformism, Lenin says:

Unlike the anarchists, the Marxists recognize struggle for reform, i.e. for measures that improve the conditions of the working people without destroying the power of the ruling class.

That is, we Marxists support any measures which aid the working class in their day-to-day struggle, even if such measures are put into effect by bourgeois politicians through a bourgeois state. In other words, Sanders has my vote. However, Lenin continues:

At the same time, however, the Marxists wage a most resolute struggle against the reformists, who, directly or indirectly, restrict the aims and activities of the working class to the winning of reforms. Reformism is bourgeois deception of the workers, who, despite individual improvements, will always remain wage-slaves, as long as there is the domination of capital.

So, to put these pieces together, we Marxist-Leninists uphold the usefulness of reform, while also relentlessly waging a fight against “pure” reformism so as not to persuade the workers into thinking reformism is their only path to liberation. I mean, reformism is not the whole map, just a piece of it. And it is up to us to reveal the entire map of liberation to the people. Part of this means to not let them settle merely for those bourgeois politicians who use the word “socialism”, but to help light their way even further, towards real, worker-controlled socialism. To break the domination of capital, rather than settling for a more lenient version of this domination.

Another good point relating to the above quotes of Lenin is that the sentences, “Voting is pointless,” and, “Those who don’t vote have no right to speak,” are both equally annoying and ignorant things to say. So stop.

Anyway, the question “What is socialism?” has, nonetheless, been confused by the liberals. As I’ve already pointed out, even in their confusion, it is essential that we use this opportunity to clear some things up, since, at last, this discussion has reached the mainstream.

The following picture is what brought me to write this post, after I saw it being shared by some of my well-meaning friends:

image

This is way, way, way beyond a simple misuse of a word. It is overkill. It is so much of a distortion of both definition and historical fact that my head hurt after seeing it. My primary concerns are thus:

1) Socialism, as explained at the top of the picture, is obviously referring to Soviet-style socialism (Marxism-Leninism). It claims that this form of socialism–that is, real socialism–is a “failure”. Now, I could refer you to numerous pieces refuting this claim, including some of my original posts, but I will just stick with a simple refutation. The Soviet system did not collapse due to socialism. When it was on the socialist path (1917-1956) it became a super-power. Socialism made a backwater, semi-feudal society into an industrial powerhouse three times faster than capitalism has ever worked. It introduced millions of working people to a form of democracy that was, as Lenin put it, a million times more democratic than any bourgeois “democracy”. A formerly weak and chaotic area of the world was built up fast enough to rally itself against fourteen invasions within its first years of existence, as well as against the Nazi invaders less than 30 years after it was founded. The economic stagnation and eventual collapse of the USSR came after the “liberalisation” policies of Krushchev, Brezhnev, and Gorbachev. That is, the “failure” wasn’t due to socialism, but to capitalistic policies that very closely resembled what the picture above calls “democratic socialism”. (See the book by Bill Bland, which I cited above, for more information on these capitalistic policies and the resulting collapse of the USSR).

Secondly, on this point, state ownership does not equal workers collective ownership. If it did, Norway would be considered a Soviet-style socialist state. Hint: it’s not.

2) The second section of this picture, “Corporate Socialism”, is just capitalism as it has functioned throughout most of its existence. There is nothing remotely socialist about it. Every capitalist society has used the state to protect the interests of the bourgeois class. Again, the use of the state does not equate to socialism. This isn’t “corporate socialism”(which doesn’t even exist), this isn’t “crony capitalism”, it’s not even corporatism/fascism, it’s just capitalism.

3) The third part of the picture is exactly what Lenin was talking about in the second half of the quote given above–it is reformism as a tool for the domination of capital, to try to lead the people into believing that the bourgeois state is somehow capable of creating any form of socialism. For the millionth time: public services, welfare, taxes, etc. are not the sole requirements for a state to be socialist. This is simply capitalism with a smile. In its class character, it is no different than the “Corporate Socialism” also referred to. It is simply more willing to grant concessions to the working class. It is not socialist, because it does not meet any of the requirements to be a socialist system. The means of production are still owned by groups of capitalists, profit is still the main incentive behind production, and the workers are still exploited, no matter how much they receive from the bourgeois state.

In short, this picture encapsulates the hijacking of a word by the capitalists that does not belong to them or their interests, but is, in fact, in direct contradiction to their interests.

CONCLUSION

All of that being said and done, I want to emphasize that this post was not meant to attack or belittle those who are growing fond of the socialist cause. It is only to clear things up. Not just for the liberals, but for some of my fellow Marxist-Leninists who don’t seem to know how to make any argument without jumping into insults and “I’m-more-left-than-you” bullshit. The revolution is hindered by both the hijacking of the socialist cause and by the arrogance of the pseudo-anarchist anti-reformists, who have the opportunity to open up a real discussion, but instead play off of their own ego at the expense of spreading class consciousness.

Recent events and actions have brought the word “socialism” to the forefront of political discussion, something unheard of just a few years ago. And I’m very glad that I am around to take part.

-SFB

Who’s the Cynic?

I will admit, I have a tendency to sound more angry than rational in political debates. I curse, I laugh sarcastically, I even yell sometimes. I try my best to not do this around friends or at parties or get-togethers, with the result of me then seeming too quiet, shy, and nervous. But that last part is neither here nor there. Anyway, my personal methods of dealing with debates or even talking about political issues are a little on the harsh side, and now I’m starting to think that may not be a very good method. Not that there is anything wrong with passion or a fiery drive to achieve what needs to be acheived, but there is certainly a downside to always sounding like a grumpy asshole. And I’m begining to understand this.

My way of voicing my opinion has created a few healthy, civil debates, but it has also driven people away, not because of the points I am making, but because of how I go about trying to get those points across. This has led to those who I encounter almost daily viewing me as a kind of cynic, and therefore tie in my views with that of a cynic. This is not a good thing for me or for the communist movement. We are still a political minority, and I now realize that my harshness isn’t really making that much better. Those who have come to agree with me on certain issues have only done so in spite of my methods, not because me calling others “shitheads” changed anyone’s mind.

Consider this a self-criticism of my own actions. I shouldn’t immediately jump into defensive obscenities as soon as any social topic is brought up.

The other day, I surprised myself in a debate by not losing my shit, for once. I acknowledged the other person’s points and refuted them calmly and provided information without any additional name-calling or put-downs. When all was said and done, the other person thanked me for the information provided, admitted that they got some things wrong, and we ended the conversation on a very good note. To just give you an idea of what we were discussing: This other person, evidently a liberal of some sort, claimed that Putin was a communist. Instead of me calling this person a “moron” or saying that they’re “stupid”, I decided to simply point out all of the vast differences between Marxism-Leninism and Putin’s ideology, in both theory and practice. And this other person actually paid attention to what I had to say and thanked me for being civil while I was disagreeing with them. This wasn’t the first time this has happened, but it was the moment when I realized that there are more efficient ways to discuss political issues than being so abrasive and condescending.

Now, I do want to say that there are many people out there, who I have never spoken a word to, who believe any type of insurrectionary ideology is “cynical”, so it isn’t just because of me. This is the issue I really want to write about in this post: The perceived cynicism of rebellion.

Regardless of how I have, up until now, framed my pro-communist arguments, the ideology of working class revolution is not cynical. Those who claim it is like to point out how we revolutionaries are always talking about what is wrong with the current state of the world; we talk about corruption, war, murder, greed, the enslavement of the masses. They believe this means we will always look for an ulterior motive, a “reason to whine”. To them, we are forever locked in an outlook that is not trustful of any person from any background for any reason. That we only see the bad in everyone we meet and in everything we experience. And that these characteristics are inseparable from our ideology.

To be frank: this is completely untrue. Let me tell you why.

Yes, we do spend our time talking about and protesting against all those things mentioned above, as well as racism, sexism, homo- and transphobia, and everything else borne from the classist system of exploiters versus exploited(capitalism). But opposing these things does not mean it is some kind of chronic cynicism, nor does it mean we hate or distrust every other human. Let me ask you this: Why would a cynic even bother actively fighting these things? I am not going to give the dictionary definition of cynicism because I find that to be annoying whenever other people do that in arguments, but if you look it up, you will find that taking action against oppression is not in line with the common, accepted definition of what it is to be a cynic. Cynics do not see a way out, they consider all of these things to be totally connected to the human experience. We communists don’t see it like that, and that is why we fight. We wouldn’t bother fighting for a better world if we believed that every single human was guided by selfishness and ulterior motives, and that that is just the way it will always be.

Granted, there are some on the Left who just want to appear to be as edgy as possible. They will refuse to celebrate any victory until the whole world is a classless, stateless communist society. These kinds of Leftists can make for some good, loyal comrades when it comes to rallying around certain issues–they are sometimes a militant and dedicated bunch. But their refusal to take part in praising successes of the people will ultimately only alienate them from those they wish to help liberate.

For instance, when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality just the other day, there were some who refused to be even slightly enthused by a ruling that took decades of struggle by the people to push through. But, those people were a vast minority in the Leftist circles(at least, from what I could tell). The rest of us joined in to show our support for the LGBT community, and to praise all those who fought so long for this ruling to become acceptable and even necessary for the bourgeois government to pass. For this was not a creation of the ruling class, it was something for which people struggled for years and years, until it finally got the state’s attention and scared them into taking action before we got even more “unruly”. A small victory is still a victory. Yes, there is still a long way to go in this and other areas, but it is still an accomplishment.

But, again, these kinds of Leftists are not the majority, so I will get back to my original point.

The way I see it, it is our duty as humans living in a society to care about our fellow humans. To fight for a better life for the great masses of people. To struggle to lift and eventually dispose of the yokes of oppression weighing down the vast majority of human beings. To end exploitation of one human by another. To analyze the problems in our world so as to find ways to fix them. This is the opposite of a cynical view, because it sees greater possibilities, it rejects the belief that all humans are inherently selfish. There is no room for defeatism, hopelessness, or nihilism in revolutionary thought. There is no room for cynicism if we are fighting for a better future. And all of this struggle to build a better future would be meaningless if we didn’t analyze and try to rid the world of all that which oppresses, kills, exploits the majority of the earth’s population. We have to know what the problems are before we fix them. We have to spread the word of these problems to make others more aware. We have to care about these problems because we care about humanity’s well-being.

On the other hand, those who so often label revolutionary, anti-capitalist movements as “cynical” often show more signs of being cynics themselves. Those who refuse to talk about or even acknowledge what is happening in the world may seem more easy-going, but that doesn’t mean we are the cynics and they aren’t. Their inaction is purely cynical, even if they don’t act cynical in other areas of life. They evidently see no point in fighting for a better world, and are therefore hopeless defeatists in practice(even if they believe they aren’t practicing anything at all: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu)

Likewise, those who believe revolutionary socialists are just angsty cynics who trust and love no one are usually those same people who believe socialism “can’t work” because humans are “born selfish”. If you didn’t look up cynicism in the dictionary earlier, do it now, because that line of thought fits perfectly into the definition of a cynic.

So those who follow and act out on Marxist-Leninist revolutionary thought are the ones being labelled as “cynics”, despite we believing that humans are not inherently competitive or greedy, and fighting for a brighter future we believe to be entirely possible due to humantity’s enormous collective accomplishments, while those who are pointing their fingers at us are those who have given up or don’t even bother to try pushing for further liberation, and believe humans are not trustworthy enough to live in a more collective way. We look into the oppressions currently going on every second of every day in order to find ways to end them, while the self-proclaimed “anti-cynics” don’t want to lift a finger for their fellow humans, unless it’s to point at and laugh at and scold those who are attempting to make a difference.

I’m not going to be a cynic and say that all of these people are purposely trying to be cynical themselves. I am just saying their judgments are very misplaced.

So, to bring this entry to a close, I will now refrain from disrespectful forms of argument and misrepresenting the revolutionary movement with hurtful statements and insults(though I make no such promises for fascists). In return, I hope some people will read this and realize why we communists condemn terrible acts. We are not being cynics, we are doing what is necessary to eventually help to make life better for the people of this world.

To paraphrase that oft-used quote from Comrade Che: Every revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love. There is no place for cynicism, defeatism, or careless apathy in our movement.

-SFB

Why Defend Stalin?

Right off the bat, I want to go ahead and say that I was driven to write this due to a debate that recently took place online. However, I’m not one to dedicate an entire entry to an argument on social media. This was just the most recent argument I’ve had on this issue. I’ve had similar(or identical) discussions in many other places and with many different people, so I decided to write this so that, maybe, I won’t have to say the exact same things over and over again in the future.

These discussions usually begin with a “left”-communist asking – usually in a sarcastic or degrading manner – why Marxist-Leninists insist on talking about dead leaders and their contributions. Specifically, they wonder why we still uphold Stalin. According to them, this is a waste of time, a turn-off to those living in the present day. They say we need to put our minds on the matters at hand, rather than “worshipping” figures from the past.

These ultra-“leftists” seem to be ignorant to the fact that, if we were to ignore the successes and failures of the past, we will likely make mistakes that could put the entire movement in jeopardy. It took a lot of trial-and-error for the first socialist revolutions to take off. What these ultras are suggesting is we start from scratch and make the same, or even worse, errors, due to our lack of historical knowledge. In doing so, we will be making ourselves infants in the movement. We will be pushing the revolution back decades. Of course, each place and situation calls for different strategies and tactics, but Marxism-Leninism, being a science, is already open to and prepared for such differing methods and environments. What the ultras are suggesting is to throw out the science as a guide and put on blindfolds. They want the movement to learn everything all over again. Over a century of study and practice should be thrown out the window.

But, being the super-edgy ultras that they are, this only applies when they are speaking with Leninists.

In the recent online debate, the person suggesting these things was a self-proclaimed Trotskyist. He was telling we “Stalinists” to stop “living in the past” since Stalin is dead and can not physically do anything for us now, while proudly proclaiming himself to follow another -ism of another dead man. So, while telling us that we should “get over” or accept the bourgeois lies that have been heaped upon Stalin’s historical legacy, he was simultaneously complaining about how Trotsky was “denied justice”. That is, while he was telling “Stalinists” to stop talking about the past, he was bringing up the past for his own defense. When we try to refute bourgeois myths regarding Stalin, he said that doing so was “pointless”. When we brought up Trotsky’s treacherous actions, he suddenly was fine with talking about the past in order to legitimize his own stance. I can’t possibly be the only one to see the double standard there. He’s actually fine with talking about historical events(despite claiming otherwise), just so long as the discussion doesn’t trample on his stubborn beliefs.

But Trotskyites are not the only ones to do this kind of thing. Anarchists will say the same things to we “Stalinists”, but the moment you bring up, say, Bakunin’s power-hungry attitude, they’ll suddenly find it necessary to talk about and defend historical figures. Every group or movement, political or otherwise, looks to history for legitimacy. Religious people look to books written by people who have been dead for thousands of years. Capitalists still read and produce the works of John Locke. The philosophy sections of every bookstore are filled with works by dead people. What I’m getting at is, history is the key to understanding the present. Without a knowledge of the past, we would be lost in the current times. We will have no understanding of why things are the way they are and how we can move forward. You have to understand how something is constructed before deconstructing and building something new.

Therefore, it should be easy to understand why we Marxist-Leninists find it necessary to study the works and actions of Stalin or any other socialist leader, in order to find out what worked and why, as well as what didn’t work and why, and to assess how to implement what worked into the differing circumstances of our time and place. Literally every other group or movement does this very same thing, so pointing your finger at Leninists for it is just hypocritical.

Now, with all of that said, it’s time to get to the crux of why defending Stalin is so essential to the Communist movement today, 60 years after his death.

Stalin oversaw the world’s first implementation of the socialist system. This system had the international bourgeoisie shaking in their well-polished shoes(unlike any of the ultra-“left” ideologies, which have either been tolerated or even utilized by the capitalists). The slanders thrown at the figure of Stalin are not directed at a single man, but at communism in general. It would be downright ridiculous to say that if Stalin hadn’t been elected as General Secretary the borgeoisie wouldn’t have continued spreading lies about the “horrors of communism”. If Trotsky or Kropotkin or any other semi-leftist figure had somehow succeeded in implementing socialism, it would be they who would be labelled as mass-murderers by the bourgeois propagandists. But neither of those figures succeeded, so the capitalists have no qualms with them or the movements they helped to create, because they aren’t a threat to bourgeois power. Marxism-Leninism, however, is a threat to the capitalists. Capitalists despise communism as a whole, not just a single man. Therefore, the defense of Stalin is in fact the defense of the socialist system, the power of the masses.

Let’s take a look at some of the outrageous accusations made against Stalin(and therefore, communism in general).

STALIN, THE MONSTER

For the idea of Stalin being one of the most “ruthless dictators in history” being considered “common knowledge”, there sure does seem to be a lack of any kind of consensus regarding his supposed atrocities, even among bourgeois scholars. Those members of the anti-communist intelligentsia, who go into their “studies” with a pro-bourgeois bias already ingrained in their minds, can’t seem to come to a conclusion on just how “bad” Stalin supposedly was. There is a pretty damn clear-cut idea of the crimes of all of the individual fascist regimes – there are mountains of evidence, documentation, etc. detailing what was done and how. But when it comes to the Stalin-era USSR or any other socialist country, everything is jumbled. One can’t help but to think these anti-communist “experts” are just shoehorning in their deathtolls when each of them gives a different account and estimation. Usually these numbers differ from each other by hundreds of thousands, if not millions. I have heard everything from 50,000 people killed by communist states, to 600,000, to several millions, to even billions. That’s right, some claim Stalin was responsible for the deaths of billions of people(which would mean, considering the human population at the time, he would have killed off half of humanity). Where are these numbers coming from, and why are these “experts” in so much disagreement? If Stalin was truly the monster they claim him to be, shouldn’t they have some kind of concrete proof, something that slightly resembles a consensus?

The more diehard of the anti-communist “experts”(Robert Conquest and co.) have no problems with using the likes of Hearst media as their sources. Hearst was an open sympathizer of the Nazi regime in Germany, when such sympathies were trending in the American anti-communist movement. His outlets were not worried about hiding these sympathies or praising the German fascists as “protecters” against the “communist threat”. Hearst himself visited Nazi Germany, and that is where he got his estimations regarding the “atrocities” of Stalin’s USSR. He got the information he wanted from Nazi propagandists and republished these estimations in his American media outlets. This is where Conquest and many others go to for the sources of their works. So, the most prominent and popular accusations against the USSR come, not from first-hand accounts or even hard evidence, but from pro-Nazi “yellow media”, which in turn got its information from Nazi propagandists. If this isn’t shady then I don’t know what is.

And supposed deathtolls are not the only inconsistencies in anti-communist rhetoric. For instance, half of the anti-communists(the far-rightists) claim that Marxism-Leninism is actually a Jewish conspiracy to undermine democracy and rule the world in a secretive shadow-government of some kind. I don’t think I need to go into why this claim is utter and complete nonsense. On the other hand, the other half of anti-communists(liberals, ultras, etc.) claim that Marxism-Leninism, specifically Stalin, was anti-Semitic. This claim persists today by people who obviously know next to nothing about Marxism-Leninism or Stalin. They read the Wikipedia page and believe that’s all the information they need to make this sweeping condemnation. They apparently don’t know that two of Stalin’s children married Jews, and that his grandchildren were therefore Jewish. They can’t put two and two together and come to the realization that, if Stalin was anti-Semitic, he would never have wanted to label himself as Marxist, as Marx was a Jew. And chances are they never bothered to learn what the Jewish Autonomous Oblast was – the first haven for the oppressed Jewish people of Europe. If Stalin really did want to “kill the Jews”, he did a terrible job, as the population of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast(which he helped to create) consistently rose during his time as leader.

There are other, more minor, accusations against Stalin and communism in general that contradict each other completely. Some say that Stalin was a “Russian Nationalist” who pushed for “Russofication” of the various states and nationalities which existed within the USSR. One big problem with this theory: Stalin wasn’t Russian, he was Georgian, which was an oppressed nationality during the days of the Russian empire. Another accusation, which is more annoying than serious, is that communists are either chaste prudes with no taste for excitement, or we’re perverted, animalistic sexual deviants. It all depends on which flavor of anti-communist you’re talking to.

What this all boils down to is: Anti-communists are opportunists to the worst degree. Anti-communist rhetoric changes from “expert” to “expert”, from one day to the next. It is completely unworthy of any kind of scholarly trust. But respectful dialogue and research is not their priority. Their priority is simple: demonize communism in any way possible. Tell whoever is listening what you want them to think. Forget about facts and consistency: if you’re talking to a neo-Nazi, tell them communism is a Jewish conspiracy out to kill white people. If you’re talking to a gullible liberal, tell them Stalin and Hitler were “basically the same”. Just so long as you get people to despise communism, you can become an “expert” on the issue. That’s all that matters.

So, to go back to my earlier point, when it comes to anti-communism, facts frankly do not matter. Therefore, in the realm of anti-communism, Stalin is just a name on which the anti-communists can place all the blame so as to discredit communism. If he had never been born, or had never become leader of the CPSU, the name would be different, but the accusations would remain the same. Just as inconsistent and nonsensical, reaching for thin air just as much. For in their attempts to paint Stalin as a monster, they aren’t simply trying to demonize a single individual, but the whole of the communist movement and ideology. This is why defense of Stalin is important, because countering the slanders thrown against him is to counter anti-communist lies in general. This is about much more than just a single figure.

CATERING TO BOURGEOIS IDEAS

So we see that, no matter who gains any position in a socialist state, no matter where or when a revolution takes place, the bourgeoisie will always slander communism as a whole. Not just Stalin or Ho Chi Minh or Enver Hoxha or anyone else, communism is the bourgeoisie’s target.

However, the capitalists are very eager to utilize those anti-communist “leftists”, in an attempt to basically say, “SEE?? We were right all along! Even other communists admit that successful revolutions are doomed to tyranny!” And in return, the anti-communist “leftists”, in their ignorance to bourgeois class interests, will take this as a cue to propagate bourgeois lies in order to try to further their own positions in the movement. They believe that, if they take part in the slandering of the successes of socialist states, they will somehow make a revolution of their own. They believe that, if they cater to bourgeois sentiment, by helping to discredit socialism at every turn, they can somehow sneak through bourgeois hegemony and create a revolution that has no historical foundation and no scientific basis. This is nothing more than holding hands with capitalists in order to attack anything that ever gets accomplished in the communist movement.

Sure, in words they will admit that the bourgeoisie, its media and scholars, has its own class interests and portrays these interests as interests of the “whole people”. But in practice, the ultras seem to forget all about this fact. They’ll call the ruling bourgeois ideas lies one minute, but the moment a bourgeois anti-communist “expert” slanders a socialist or anti-imperialist state, suddenly the ultras say, “Well, this is something the bourgeoisie is actually being honest about.” It’s strange that pretty much the only times these ultras believe the bourgeoisie is when they attack socialism. It really makes one wonder who or what they are supposedly fighting for.

Before the fascists became a nuisance to liberal-capitalist power, the bourgeois media had no problems with them. In fact, liberal-capitalist media and leaders praised fascists on many occasions before the outbreak of the Second World War. This is because fascism and liberalism both cater to the bourgeois class. Socialism, on the other hand, being a theory and system fighting for working class power, has always been slandered and condemned by capitalists of all stripes(liberal and fascist). If these socialist states were really as capitalistic as the ultras claim, the international bourgeoisie would have been seeking an alliance with them(outside of war time), instead of, you know, invading post-revolutionary Russia fourteen times and trying to cripple it with sanctions and secretive acts of aggression. The bourgeoisie so feared the USSR and others because of the threat of worldwide proletarian revolution. If the successful revolutions weren’t examples of working class victory, the capitalists wouldn’t have had much to worry about.

The ultras – Trots, anarchists, councilists, syndicalists – claim that going along with bourgeois anti-communist rhetoric is the “best thing” for building a new proletarian movement. That the only way to bring about a revolution is to distance themselves from the successes of the past. To hold up the bourgeois anti-communist banner. This is just plain lazy – beating around the bush of defeatism. Aiding the capitalists in their suppression of “unsavory” forms of communism(i.e. those which have actually lead to the overthrow of bourgeois power). This, much like bourgeois anti-communism, is opportunist to the extreme.

CONCLUSION

So, what does this “leftist” anti-communism amount to? Nothing more than being in full compliance with the ruling ideas of capitalist society. It is “communists” joining hands with anti-communists. It is “revolutionaries” joining the bourgeois choir of slandering any and every revolution. None of their ideas for revolution are original or groundbreaking, because revolution, to them, is secondary to ridiculing those revolutions that ended in victory. Trotsky spent more time helping bourgeois governments track down communists, writing incomprehensible works slandering every revolution that happened during his time, and trying to solidify his place as a Great Leader of some sort in order to satisfy his ego. His followers are doing a good job of carrying on that legacy today.

And none of this is about “hero-worship”, as evey ultra claims. The “cult of personality” is a bourgeois creation which we Marxist-Leninists oppose, and which Stalin himself opposed. You see, we Marxist-Leninists don’t actually call ourselves “Stalinists”, because Stalin, though a strong and committed communist, did not formulate any new theories for a new epoch of development. Trotskyists, on the other hand, proudly proclaim themselves to be followers of Trotsky, and named their theories after him, while simultaneously saying M-L’s “worship” Stalin. Doesn’t make much sense, does it? Likewise, anarchists can’t stand to see anyone defending Stalin, but the moment you bring up the faults of Bakunin, Kropotkin, or Petrichenko, all gloves are off.

In the debate I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the Trot making all of the accusations continuously took pot-shots at the Left – how “fucked up” it is, how it’s wrong on almost every level, how it’s basically a lost cause. He said that maybe he should just become a liberal. I said that would be perfect, because “communists” who spend all of their time slandering and attacking the Left and successful revolutions might as well just join the ranks of bourgeois anti-communists. After all, they’re pretty much already there.

-SFB

On Forgiving the Mainstream “Left”

The Obama administration has been victimized, according to the radical liberal. The President has been blocked from putting the “change” he promised into full effect. The Republicans have formed a seemingly insurmountable road-block. In other words, the Obama administration has failed. But that is putting it too bluntly, for many people. As always, the Democratic Party is forgiven its losses and retreats, for it is, as is portrayed in bourgeois media, the “one and only hope” for the American Left. The only path left to take. Communism’s mistakes are unforgivable, but liberalism just needs time. More time to keep pushing for policies that can be destroyed or reversed, and indeed already have been in the past.

The democratic-socialists who saw the creation of FDR’s New Deal thought they were witnessing the founding of a new path to socialism, through the “open doors” of bourgeois democracy. Revolution was a barbaric idea of the past. The center-left bourgeois forces were considered the spearhead of progress. Little did they know, in their short-term and collaborationist view, what the future held – an expansion of imperialist endeavors, the Reagan and two generations of the Bush administrations, fucking Nixon too. To them, the founding-blocks of a new and equal society were being formed by the very same bourgeois hands that created the chains that continue to bind the working class. And still today, even after all of these failures and reversals, the Democratic Party and “radical liberalism” are seen as the only true voice for Leftism and the masses.

Of course, in a bourgeois society, the only options that are allowed by capital to be widely shown are bourgeois ideologies. Yes, the bourgeoisie does have disagreements within its ranks as a class, but the desire to continue bourgeois rule(i.e. to continue the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie) is a universal value in that class, despite their petty disagreements on concessions and tactical trickery.

In the USA, these differing bourgeois ideologies materialize as the “fight” between Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative. We are told that this is the primary contradiction in society, even though both sides of this “contradiction” represent the same class. The “baddies” are the Republicans, who are much more outright with their desires to maintain and solidify the dictatorship of capital around the world. The Democrats are the “good guys”, because their form of capitalism-imperialism is much “nicer” in words.

“Left liberals” are seen as the “heroes of the oppressed”, because they are given credit, by their own media, for every single step forward that has been made in this country ever. We are told to thank a liberal for minimum wage, despite the decades of thousands of workers fighting and dying for such a right before it was granted, as some kind of gracious gift, by the liberal bourgeoisie. The workers who fought and died are expected to thank the bourgeoisie for caving in after so many bloodstained years. We are supposed to “thank a liberal” for the Civil Rights Act, as if it was the brainchild of the white bourgeoisie of the time, and not due to the hundreds of years of struggle by primarily-socialist Black workers. If you do not see the obvious elitism and hijacking in all of this, then there is something severely wrong with your “Leftism”. None of these things – the Civil Rights movement, the labor movement, feminism, the LGBT+ liberation movement – were created by Left-ISH bourgeois politicians, but by the people themselves. It is downright offensive that the liberal(“liberal” was and is another word for “capitalist”) bourgeoisie expects the people to thank them for conceding rights that the people had been fighting for for decades and even centuries.

This attitude has continued tenfold under the Obama administration. Recently, President Obama has gotten his fans on a “look how progressive we are” roll on the issue of immigration, following his State of the Union speech. Again the horns are sounding to cheer on this new, über-radical turn we can also “thank a liberal” for. But it seems that the liberals have forgotten or conveniently ignored the fact that the Obama administration oversaw, in 2013, the highest recorded number of deportations in US history – 438,421 people in total. As of 2013, there have been over 2 million deportations since Obama took office. See the statistics here.

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This is just an example of liberal, pseudo-Left hypocrisy. Saving-face is not something to be praised. The millions deported in the last 7 years are surely not amused by this sudden rhetorical trend. And certainly none of them will be thanking any liberals for this shallow popularity-grab.

Not only are the Democrats and radical liberals failing to overcome their fellow bourgeois semi-nemises, the Republicans, they are failing and have always failed at even scaling back the United States’ imperialist adventures abroad. Hell, they’ve barely even had to condemn these bloody adventures, since, apparently, if bombs are dropped by a Democrat, it’s not as destructive as ones dropped by a Republican.

We were promised an end to the War in Iraq, which was kinda-sorta granted, but never an end to imperialism, regime change, or the so-called “spreading of democracy”. Those liberals who so vehemently condemned the wars under Bush Jr. were all too eager to fall for Obama’s reasoning behind his own overseas violence(reasoning nearly identical to that of the Bush administration).

Even the more “extreme” figures of the mainstream Left wholeheartedly support imperialism. Bernie Sanders, who is in a “socialist” party so “must be a socialist”, is a diehard supporter of US aid to the fascistic apartheid state of Israel. Elizabeth Warren voted for intervention in Syria. Hillary Clinton has been outspoken on her wish to overthrow the Iranian government. Bottomline, liberalism is unabashedly pro-imperialist, and, in that alone, bourgeois to the core.

All-in-all, if liberalism – a 100% bourgeois, capitalist-imperialist ideology and movement – is really the only hope for the American Left, then the American Left would be dead and rotting, because the forces of capitalism-imperialism cannot but be reactionary and regressive. But the Left isn’t dead; there is still progress being made, battles being fought, the class struggle continues. It is the people who are pushing society forward, and, not just the Republicans, but the bourgeois class in general which stands in the way of this progress. The bourgeoisie wants the people to believe that their victories are actually the bourgeoisie’s victories, in order to solidify bourgeois hegemony and distract the people from revolutionary, anti-capitalist activities. We will not thank any bourgeois entity for the work of the oppressed people and the progressive, truly socialist forces – those who are truly responsible for the victories of the movements of the poor and oppressed.

Unions were not made by the bourgeoisie, but by the working people using Marxist socialist theories. Women’s liberation was never won through bourgeois means, but by the fight of working women, and it was most realized following the socialist revolutions around the world. The list goes on and on.

It was the revolutions of the 20th century which won the most for the oppressed and downtrodden peoples of the world. It was the socialist states and movements which forced the bourgeois countries to try to keep up with the standards of living – and even under the most “lefty liberal” leaders, the bourgeois states never caught up. It was and is the working and oppressed people, guided by revolutionary thought, which has gained all of these small concessions, and it is these same forces that will eventually break the wall of bourgeois reaction and take the reigns of history for the people.

You see, liberalism condemns Marxism as a “failure”, and yet the liberals have a history of failure and outright bourgeois activity. Marxism lead people away from the system of exploitation, destroyed that system. The failures of the socialist states only manifested after liberalizations of the respective economies. Every historian speaks of these liberalizations, but rarely do they recognize its obvious connection to the failures of these states, which they inexplicably put on the shoulders of Marxism(yes – even after admitting to these economies’ liberalizations).

Liberalism has yet to even weaken the bourgeois dictatorship, and yet Marxism is the failure, having destroyed this dictatorship in many places and on many occassions? Liberalization drove formerly-socialist economies into the ground, and yet liberalism is considered the “victor” and Marxism is to blame for these downfalls?

It is far past time for the people to turn away from those members of the bourgeoisie wearing Leftist masks. They have betrayed us time and again. The truest examples of liberation they deem “unworkable” and “failed”, but, to paraphrase Castro, where is the victory of capitalism(liberalism) in Latin America, in Africa, in the Middle-East, in Asia, or even in the streets of the USA and Europe? The fallen Eastern Bloc is not a testament to the “unworkability” of Marxism-Leninism, the only ideology that has ever lead to the material victory of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie, the victory of the exploited over the exploiter, but, rather, it is a testament to the failures of liberalizations, of liberalism, of class-collaborationism – a testament to how this bourgeois ideology, no matter how Leftist it tries to sound, is a failure to the people at large.

It’s time to stop granting liberalism, and capitalism in general, these free-passes to our support. Working “within the system” means nothing more than working with a class that wants nothing more than the continuity of its own oppressive rule. Too many “socialists” and even self-proclaimed “Marxists” are open to these collaborationist methods that have historically only lead to betrayal and a watering-down of the revolutionary spirit, if not a complete onslaught against it.

It was the scientific theories and practices of Marxism-Leninism that liberated a third of the world, it was the fighting hands of the oppressed and exploited, on whose liberation Marxism-Leninism bases its ideology and practice, that have pushed society forward in every progressive step it has taken. We owe the oppressing classes nothing but our fury. Their fake play-nice attitude is being seen for what it really is – the greedy face behind the mask is becoming apparent to more and more people. The red tide will rise again, without and against the bourgeoisie, whether they’re conservative or liberal.

-SFB