Category Archives: Struggle Against Revisionism

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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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

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

On Ultra-“Leftism” and Shitty “Comedy”

Criticism and self-criticism are key aspects of any logical and scientific revolutionary theory. It is one of the ways revolutionary theory does not stay stagnate, static, isolated in one place and time. Without criticism and self-criticism, any movement or organization is bound to suffer greatly. Without it, there is no chance of anything moving forward whatsoever. But there is a difference between criticism and pure shaming.

Criticism is made when ignorance or deviation from the proper scientific path is noticed, and whoever notices it gives critical advice, so as to help the ignorant see the error of their ways and the logic in the truly scientific approach. It is done, not with raging anger or demeaning arrogance, but with the goal of helping whoever has committed the fallacy, and in order to prevent the same fallacy from being committed in the future.

Shaming, on the other hand, is argument for argument’s sake. It is ruthless and cold. It has no goal but to make the target feel internally guilty and flawed. It is telling the other that they are incurably wrong in every way. It does not aim to fix any issue, but only to garner self-gratification by attempting to mentally and emotionally destroy another person or group.

In some cases, it is true, when the criticized party continues their usually-reactionary actions, criticism takes a much harsher form. But that is for the purposes of warning others of any dangers this person or group raises to the movement for working class revolution. That isn’t to say that most of us are not guilty of shaming: I am guilty of this. Consider this a self-criticism as well as an outward criticism.

So-called ultra-leftism has historically been a tool of reactionary forces; from Bakunin’s anti-Semitic arguments against “authoritarianism”, to the Krostadt Rebellion(which was aided by the proto-fascistic White Army), to Trotsky working with the Mexican and US governments in trying to liquidate the communist forces. Today, some elements of the various ultra-leftist trends are doing their own kind of sectarian, counterrevolutionary work.

Now, I want to say this while(or if) I still have your attention: I do not consider all of those who label themselves as one of the ultra-leftist tendencies(anarchists, libertarian socialists, etc.) as being guilty of these actions I am about to criticize. Though I, of course, have some pretty big differences with these tendencies in general, I do not consider every ultra-leftist to be a full-on reactionary.

Shaming is now, evidently, a hot new trend within some small factions of the ultra-“left”. Some childish adults with too much time on their hands have taken it upon themselves to “purify” the Left by outright slandering the tendencies and individuals they personally dislike. Though these factions have created some semblance of “officialdom” by forming parties and organizations each consisting of tiny cliques of politically-identical people, they do not seem to take part in any form of political activity other than slandering and shaming every other section of the Left.

These aren’t genuine, civil criticisms, they are grade-school bullying tactics on steroids. The self-righteous perpetrators are not looking to point out flaws from a scientific position, but are only wishing to demean, to belittle, to shame. Basic psychology proves that these kinds of attacks do not fix the problem within the individual, much less in the grander scheme of societal norms.

We Marxist-Leninists, the primary targets of these immature attacks, are not opposed to working with other tendencies or organizations, so long as they do not act in ways identical to the fucking FBI. I work locally with many libertarian socialists and a few anarchists, people I consider friends, who I would trust with my life. There aren’t even a handful of Marxist-Leninists in my city. I work with the revolutionary(as opposed to reformist) folks in my city, and most of them are not even Marxist-Leninists.

But, to the ultra-leftist ultra-sectarians, working with Marxist-Leninists, or anyone outside of their personal preferred clique, is totally out of the question, which leaves them with zero actual revolutionary activity to be done. The only political work they accomplish is the creation of unfunny memes slandering anyone and everyone they disagree with. There is even a Facebook page(Facebook page just rings of real political work) called “Antita” – meaning, “anti-Tankie”, “Tankie” being a new popular word referring to anyone these five dudes on social-media hate.

There are imperialists slaughtering innocents all over the world, bourgeois dictatorships the world over, but these factionalists can find no other target for their rage besides anti-imperialist, pro-proletarian parties, individuals, and movements. One of the reasons for these slanderous, shameful attacks is the Marxist-Leninist assumed-uncritical support for anti-imperialist states in the world. There are two very big problems with the “reasoning” of the attackers: 1) it naturally comes with the assumption that the revolutionary forces of the world should take “neither side”, no matter what, and on any and every issue in almost any and every place; and 2) it is a claim that would mean the targeted parties, individuals, and movements are all physically and materially supporting all of the various anti-imperialist states(and their so-called “atrocities”). Not to mention that this all comes with another assumption: that the reactionary, bourgeois media and intelligentsia is 100% correct in their accusations against regimes they do not like.

Another large hole in these “uncritical criticisms” is the fact that many, or most, of the targeted parties have their own criticisms of the various anti-imperialist states. The American Party of Labor is a frequent target of these attacks(how flattering that you’ll think of the APL while attempting your amateur insult-comedy and creating your memes), despite taking a completely scientific approach to analyzing the existing revolutionary, anti-imperialist states. Indeed, as I pointed out at the beginning of this entry, a crucial part of Marxism-Leninism is this kind of cautionary approach to calling anything truly socialistic.

But these slanderers’ view of the anti-imperialist states is entirely bourgeois and chauvinistic. Therefore, so is their view of pretty much every socialist organization. When a person’s or group’s sole goal is the attack and shaming of the entire Left, it should be pretty damn clear who they are fighting for. Whether they’ll admit it to themselves or not, they are, in any case, doing the work of the capitalist-imperialists for them. If they aren’t feds, they might as well be.

In this day of social upheaval and unrest, of the masses taking action and rising up, of the imperialists upping their oppression domestically and abroad, it is critical that the revolutionary Left not split hairs or take part in such counter-productive and despicable infighting. Those supposed “leftists” who do, and in such immature and petty ways, spend every waking moment trying to rip the revolutionary forces to pieces, must be exposed and rightfully criticized for working towards the very same goals as the bourgeois-imperialist states – that is, the factionalizing of the Left and the annihilation of any force actively fighting imperialism. And when these childish slanderers do not cease in their anti-leftism(in a transparently-fake “leftist” disguise), they must be likewise attacked as the bourgeois-liquidators that they are. For, while the revolutionary movement should stay civil in criticisms within itself, the bourgeoisie and its allies deserve no mercy.

I look forward to this post possibly being featured on one of the “anti-tankie” pages. It would be an honor to be shown in a meme-based comedy sketch, and it will only prove the point of this criticism I have given even more. So, thanks, bro, for the affirmation of my analysis. It really wasn’t very hard – your reactionary characteristics speak for themselves.

-SFB.

The Functions of the Anti-Stalin “Left”

revolution!

 

“We in all countries who have taken on the task of rebuilding the international communist movement must see the defence of Stalin as a part of the defence of Marxism-Leninism.

There can be no greater compliment for anyone who aspires to be a Marxist-Leninist than to be called a Stalinist.” -Bill Bland

 

The realm of the socialist movement within the US has recently been undergoing a storm of debate, argument, counter-argument, change and disappointment. The 30th convention of the CPUSA saw an overflow of revisionist rhetoric, liberal class-collaborationism, so-called “anti-dogmatism”(aka, anti-Marxism) and the official rejection of Leninism. Indeed, there were comrades present who – the remaining revolutionary elements of the Party – fought for Leninism and true class struggle, against the Obama-supporting “left wing of the Democratic Party”, as I would like to call the predominantly reformist leadership of the Party. These comrades within the CPUSA who remain faithful to the tried and true theories of Lenin and who defend the revolutionary legacy of Joseph Stalin and the “Stalin-era” Soviet Union must be applauded and honored, for they are fighting the  beast tooth and nail, in its own home. Though my personal opinion is that the CPUSA, being now a hornets-nest of revisionism and opportunism to its deepest core, is beyond any feasible repair, and that the creation of a new, militantly anti-revisionist revolutionary vanguard party should be established at the helm of the socialist proletarian movement, I still have the highest and most profound respect for the strong and fearless comrades currently combating Browderite revisionism from within the CPUSA itself.

In addition to its recent push even further into revisionism, it is common knowledge that the CPUSA has long been active in their own struggle to distance themselves and the name of Communism away from the figure of Joseph Stalin and the successful construction of socialism within the USSR beginning in 1928 and lasting until around 1956. Ever since Krushchevite revisionism betrayed the socialist movement the world over in the mid 1950’s, the CPUSA has followed this route away from socialism and towards liberalization and class-collaborationism. And in doing so, they have given up the battle of propaganda against the bourgeoisie media. They have ceased the fight to counter bourgeois-imperialist lies and falsifications of history. They have said, “We were wrong! The capitalists were telling the truth about the evils of socialism! We’re different from that; our form of socialism has not yet been achieved and can only be achieved by more cooperation and peaceful existence between the classes!”

Of course, the Krushchev-Browderite revisionists have not been the only ones “within the left” to attack Stalin and any form of socialism that has ever been achieved. Anarchists, council-communists, Trotskyites, etc., have all been shouting along with the bourgeoisie the lies regarding socialism and those socialist states which had the imperialists sleeping with one eye open each night. For decades the so-called “left” libertarians have been attacking any and all examples of working class victory. They have been denying socialism’s existence even when socialist states were granting freedom and democracy to the working people and relentlessly fighting capitalist-imperialist hostilities – hostilities which the “left” libertarians were all too eager to help along: the Black Army breaking with the Red Army at a crucial time during the Russian Civil War, the anarchists of Catalonia executing and imprisoning “authoritarian” socialists helping the fight against the Francoite fascists, George Orwell – a “libertarian socialist” – working for British intelligence and writing fictional propaganda pieces meant to demonize Soviet socialism when he had never stepped foot in the USSR and at a time when the Soviet Union was constructing a proletarian-controlled society, Trotsky helping the US and Mexican governments locate and track “Stalinists”. The imperialist governments the world over routinely use these “socialists'” criticisms of successful socialist societies against the revolutionary socialist movement.

Now, a small yet annoying new trend of anti-socialist revisionism is forming: people who call themselves “Marxists-Leninists” are denouncing Stalin and Soviet socialism, even more vigorously than other ultra-“left” trends. They deem true anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninists “tankies” and even go so far as to publicly post personal information about the anti-revisionists who they particularly hate. They make this information available for any violent and/or fascistic anti-communist to see, and have even released the city, address and name of one of their target’s family member. Such vile acts are far beyond the anti-communist actions of most hardline conservatives. Calling themselves “Maoists”, they are the most despicable group of the revisionist camp and are its logical conclusion – vehemently anti-communist, comparably indifferent to capitalist oppression, and quite possibly dangerous to the well-being of certain individuals within the movement.

All three of these trends have this in common: ruthless condemnations of Stalin, and therefore, socialism as well. As said above, each of them caters to bourgeois propaganda, tries to appease capitalist hegemony rather than combat it. They each claim to be fighting on the side of socialism and the proletariat, but agree with the bourgeois picture of socialism as it has existed. Indeed, they aided in painting this portrait of “communist atrocities” and the “tyranny of socialism”. They cover their tracks, so to speak, by posturing themselves as “anti-capitalists” who want to create a “different” kind of socialism, separating themselves from the rich legacies of socialist leaders and proletarian victories. They believe the bourgeoisie correct in its condemnations of real-world socialism, and advocate some kind of “never existing socialism”.

A favorite excuse for the right-wing side of revisionism in separating from the examples of Soviet socialism and the figure of Stalin is that mentioning Stalin’s name would “drive the people away” from supporting their own class interests in the form of socialism. The ultra-“leftists”(who are “leftists” only in words) also believe this. They all believe this to be a logical approach to garnering the people’s support.

There are two very big flaws to this tactic:

1) The bourgeoisie and its media opposes socialism, not simply Stalin. Neglecting to associate with Stalin’s actions and his application of Marxism-Leninism does nothing whatsoever to lessen the bourgeoisie’s relentless slandering of communism and proletarian revolution. It does nothing to defeat the ruling ideas of communism in this society, for, as Marx says, the ruling ideas of a society are always the ideas of the ruling class, and the present ruling class(the capitalists) will always oppose the interests of the proletariat. There will never be a day when the dominant ideology of a capitalist society is proletarian socialism, so this populism is simply a liberal dream. It is delusional to believe that in such a discourse, the bourgeois intelligentsia will at some point suddenly say, “Well, I always thought socialism was about Stalin, but since you’ve convinced me of Stalin’s non-socialistic character, proletarian revolution is a-okay!”

As long as the bourgeoisie holds power, we cannot expect to somehow move around its ideological hegemony or evade its anti-revolutionary attacks. We must face it all head-on and expose it as a lie of the exploiting masters.

2) The naive dream of the ultra-“lefts” of creating a communist society without revolutionary theory is a problem in and of itself. But part of this is their strategy of repeating the same bullshit we hear every day from the bourgeoisie, except they say their “socialism”(of which they can give no concrete examples or in-depth explanation – planning and theorizing are for “authoritarians”) is “nicer” than the forms of socialism(what they call “state-capitalism”) which actually succeeded. This does nothing but aid two bourgeois anti-socialist pieces of propaganda: the notion that socialism is “illogical” and “impossible”, and the notion that socialism, when attempted, is “despotic” and “totalitarian”. Again, it does nothing in the fight against bourgeois power.

When taking into account these implications, it should be easy to see that the anti-Stalin, “socialism wasn’t socialism but let’s try again!” isn’t a pro-worker, revolutionary stance, but, at best, useless. However, uselessness isn’t this line of thought’s most dominant characteristic. It’s primary outcome is the helping of the bourgeoisie in its attacks against socialist ideology.

When the Soviet records were finally released over the past two decades, and the truth was revealed to all who wished to learn, socialists of every stripe should have rejoiced, for now it could be proven that socialism as the bourgeoisie taught it was not at all tyrannical or oppressive towards the working people, but was indeed a true worker’s state until 1956. They should have cherished the fact that it had no longer become “necessary” for them to distance themselves from Stalin and Soviet socialism, that they could now point to an example of true, real socialist victory and proletarian liberation, and that they could prove to the world that not only did socialism free the working people from the dictatorship of capital in the past, but it worked. And it worked so profoundly well so as to advance beyond the level of every capitalist power of its day, to succeed in the quickest modernizations known to humankind, to provide for every citizen every necessity required to live comfortably, while the capitalist countries let its own citizens rot in misery, poverty, starvation and homelessness.

But no, even after the proof of Marxism-Leninism’s victory and accomplishments was made readily available, the revisionists and anarchists and anti-Stalinists continue to preach a history identical to that of the bourgeois media. They continue to slander socialism and its victories, while pretending that they are not the ones promoting sectarianism within the socialist movement. No, no, no – they are “opposing sectarianism” by slandering the world’s greatest examples of people’s victory. They are “opposing sectarianism” by condemning the “authoritarian” movements all over the globe – you know, the Naxalites carrying out a revolution in India, the Communist Party of the Philippines militantly fighting US imperialism in their homeland, the government of North Korea defending itself against a half-century long occupation, Borotba of Ukraine fighting, bleeding and dying on the front lines in the fight against Banderite fascism. Yes, all of these organized forces of revolution are “wrong” in the eyes of the anti-Stalinists, just as they are “wrong” in the eyes of the imperial bourgeoisie. How convenient.

Because of the anti-Stalinist’s and bourgeoisie’s shared hostility towards “authoritarian(i.e. successful, accomplished, working) socialism”, it is no wonder that bourgeois propaganda never speaks of the “Anarchist Menace”, the “Council Communist Threat”, the “Browderite Terror”. Because none of these trends are legitimate threats to bourgeois power, and the bourgeoisie knows it. Even the capitalist class has learned from history, in that they know that the only true menace to their rulership is Marxism-Leninism, and that the deviationist anti-Stalin “socialist” trends are doomed to implosion, disorganization, ideological weakness, and total stagnation. After all, the Red Army fighting for “authoritarian” socialism drove off fourteen foreign imperialist invasions after the October Revolution, but the anarchists couldn’t defend a single city(Catalonia) from outside forces.

In the end, the anti-Stalin “left” is more focused on attempting to discredit socialism than building it. It is theoretically lifeless and a convenient force of factionalism for bourgeois interests. It lacks any form of solidarity and organization. It is “socialist” in appearance, and bourgeois in practice.

 

-SFB

Pseudo-Leftism and Ignoring the Class Struggle

 

WORKERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!

WORKERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!

“The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.”

-Karl Marx, German Ideology

 

In his brilliant book, Black Shirts and Reds, Michael Parenti dedicates a section to observing and defining what he calls the “ABC Theorists” among the “left”. Here, “ABC” means “Anything-But-Class”. These theorists of which he speaks – centrist liberals posing as “progressive” scholars, the shallow and vague “social justice warriors” – are those who erect a facade of what they cautiously term “progressivism” around their somewhat hidden opposition to class consciousness and fairly blatant bourgeois bias.

“Many who pretend to be on the Left are so rabidly anti-Marxist as to seize upon any conceivable notion except class power to explain what is happening in the world. They are the Anything-But-Class (ABC) theorists who, while not allied with conservatives on most political issues, do their part in stunting class consciousness.” -Michael Parenti

These are class enemies posing as “leaders of the Left”. They will speak forever regarding the injustices of racism, sexism, anti-LGBT bigotry, etc., but never will they get to the root of these issues. It is right to oppose oppression on all fronts; racism, sexism, homophobia are all oppressive and should be combated. But simply saying you are against these things does not make you a fighter for liberation or progress. Attempting to find a true answer to these horrendous problems is what is needed, not the simple verbal support of some overpaid pundit. And by ignoring the issue of class, by sweeping class struggle under the rug, so to speak, even outright ridiculing those calling for a wider class consciousness, these watered-down self-proclaimed “progressive” liberals(liberal is another word for capitalist, by the way) don’t do any help for the causes which they claim to support, and in fact hinder them by avoiding the class roots of all reactionism.

To ignore the class struggle, to shrug it off as a non-issue, is to stagnate the movement for progress. For every form of modern oppression and exploitation stems from the system of class antagonisms. Racism is a product of the bourgeois class and its domination. It was created as a means to garner support for chattel slavery, in the name of profit and bourgeois class interests. The abolition of slavery, enforced by the people themselves, not some “golden-hearted” bourgeois “progressives”, did not mean the abolition of racism, which will always exist as long as the capitalist class has power and needs to disrupt any form of working class solidarity and unity. Racism is a tool of class warfare used by the exploiting class. Sexism is the oldest form of exploitation and also has an important place in the bourgeois arsenal of class war. Homophobia is a propaganda tool for the same reasons. Scapegoating, the delusion of cultural division, taking the aim of the people away from their oppressors and making them point their weapons at each other.

If we are to ignore the class nature of these injustices, we ignore the roots of the problem and do nothing for the abolition of these oppressive ideologies and practices. Therefore, these liberal and ABC commentators are not in true opposition to these ideas and policies, but are doing almost all they can to prevent the people from attacking the roots of these inhumane practices and institutions.

“The ‘left’ ABC theorists say we are giving too much attention to class. Who exactly is doing that? Surveying the mainstream academic publications, radical journals, and socialist scholars conferences, one is hard put to find much class analysis of any kind. Far from giving too much attention to class power, most U.S. writers and commentators have yet to discover the subject. While pummeling a rather minuscule Marxist Left, the ABC theorists would have us think they are doing courageous battle against hordes of Marxists who dominate intellectual discourse in this country—yet another hallucination they hold in common with conservatives.” -Michael Parenti

But the problem is not solely in the liberal camp, even so-called “communists” and “revolutionary socialists” fall into this anti-Marxist, non-class rhetoric. As the wave of Marxism-Leninism rises more and more every day, as more and more comrades are coming out against the plague of revisionism and becoming more militant and hardline both in theory and practice, the revisionist, bourgeois-in-denial elements within the socialist movement are being ever more reactionary and hardline in their own anti-proletariat stance. They are attempting to replace the theory of national self-determination with national chauvinism. To replace genuine anti-imperialism with shallow and simplistic anti-Americanism.  To replace class struggle and class analysis with identity politics and liberalistic reformism.

In this, they share several similarities with conservatives and the class-ignorant liberals, they simply turn these trends on their heads. They do not see culture as a class phenomenon, but base culture on “race”, just as conservatives and bourgeois media does. To them, “white culture” is the problem, not bourgeois culture. This is a profoundly segregationist attitude, and, just as the bourgeoisie wants, it divides the working class along racial/ethnic lines. They put proletarian revolution – the only true cure for racial and any other kind of discrimination – on the back-burner. They do not analyze material conditions, class antagonisms, or the nature of racism, but run with emotionalism and shock-value instead, and in most cases openly support racism in their own way(i.e. in the notion that one race or another is inherently “bad” and that all of society’s contradictions and culture stem from “race”).

These are, indeed, very complex situations. On the one hand, racism in today’s society is geared towards white supremacism, and that means people with white skin are taught that they are somehow “superior”. But again, this ideology does not come automatically to those born with white skin, but is a learned concept taught by bourgeois society and culture, not “white culture”. It is a tool to divide the proletariat, to make it more difficult to build class unity. But in reality, class, not “race”, determines a society’s functionality. A white agricultural worker living in the countryside slums of Alabama does not share the same culture or class interests as a white member of the bourgeoisie. The worker may indeed be effected by the racism created by the bourgeoisie, but the worker is not the creator of racism, nor is racism truly in his/her interests as a member of the working class, even if that worker is duped into agreeing with bourgeois racist hegemony.

None of this is to say that racism, sexism, etc. are not true material forms of oppression. Indeed, they are very real and very reactionary. But they cannot be defeated one at a time while the bourgeoisie still holds political, economic and cultural power, as they are consequences of bourgeois cultural hegemony and sociopolitical dictatorship.

We cannot fight racism by upholding segregationist theories. We cannot defeat sexism while ignoring the system of exploitation. We cannot end homophobia without destroying bourgeois-conservative traditionalism and the system that gives it power. These issues, indeed, must be confronted on all sides, but we must also remember that they cannot be fully eradicated until this system of exploitation of one class by another is overthrown and smashed. Working class solidarity, and the realization of its own interests as a class, is the only way to defeat these social oppressions.

 

“Class gets its significance from the process of surplus extraction. The relationship between worker and owner is essentially an exploita­tive one, involving the constant transfer of wealth from those who labor (but do not own) to those who own (but do not labor). This is how some people get richer and richer without working, or with doing only a fraction of the work that enriches them, while others toil hard for an entire lifetime only to end up with little or nothing.

Both orthodox social scientists and ‘left’ ABC theorists treat the diverse social factions within the non-capitalist class as classes unto themselves; so they speak of a ‘blue-collar class,’ a ‘professional class,’ and the like. In doing so, they claim to be moving beyond a ‘reductionist,’ Marxist dualistic model of classes. But what is more reductionist than to ignore the underlying dynamics of economic power and the conflict between capital and labor? What is more misleading than to treat occupational groups as autonomous classes, giving attention to every social group in capitalist society except the capitalist class itself, to every social conflict except class conflict?

Both conventional and ‘left’ ABC theorists have difficulty understanding that the creation of a managerial or technocratic social for­mation constitutes no basic change in the property relations of capitalism, no creation of new classes. Professionals and managers are not an autonomous class as such. Rather they are mental workers who live much better than most other employees but who still serve the accumulation process on behalf of corporate owners.”

 -Michael Parenti

 

We’ve got to face the fact that some people say you fight fire best with fire, but we say you put fire out best with water. We say you don’t fight racism with racism. We’re gonna fight racism with solidarity.”

-Fred Hampton

 

“Since there can be no talk of an independent ideology formulated by the working masses themselves in the process of their movement, the only choice is – either bourgeois or socialist ideology. There is no middle course (for mankind has not created a “third” ideology).”

-V.I. Lenin

All Parenti quotes from: http://www.skeptic.ca/C_Word_Class.htm

 

-SFB