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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?

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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:

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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

Dear Conservatives: Modern Russia is Exactly What You Wanted

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Reagan and Gorbachev

“If you’re a Communist and you hate America so much, why don’t you just move to Russia?”

The above question is something I have been asked way too much in my short 8 years of calling myself a Communist. Not only because it is annoying and probably the absolute laziest excuse for an argument ever uttered, but because it reflects a mass delusion in regards to communist theory, Russian history, world history, and the events of just a few decades ago. Granted, thanks to bourgeois hegemony, ignorance to the theories of Marxism-Leninism is a long-held tradition that took nearly a century to fully solidify in the minds of the masses of people living under capitalism, so I’m not exactly surprised by the anti-Communist sentiment within the above statement. What I’m suprised at is the embarrassingly ignorant forgetfulness of the people who say such things to me about what went down 26 to 27 years ago, especially when most of these people were old enough to pay attention to the news in those years.

I was born in 1990, in the midst of the chaos that ensued with the collapse of the USSR and the other socialist-turned-revisionist states of Eastern Europe. I wasn’t even old enough to walk by the time these states collapsed, and yet, for some odd reason, my memory seems to serve me better than those who were fully-functioning adults when all of this happened. Well, it’s not really my memory that has served me, but this little thing called history that we are supposed to learn about in school. But even that has failed many people, since it isn’t solely previous generations who tell me and others to “move to Russia”, many people around my age have told me the same thing.

I will make it easy for you and just tell you what happened (with a fancy link to the Wikipedia article so you can look for yourself): The USSR no longer exists and Russia is now a capitalist state.

It is astounding that I have to explain this very well-known fact to so many people, some of whom probably even watched the Berlin Wall fall on live television.

There seems to be a problem with understanding history, both among the Right and the Left. On one hand, we have folks who believe that today’s Communists must support Russia, because McCarthy said so half a century ago and his influence just won’t go away. On the other hand, we have angsty “Leftists” who support anything that even slightly rubs the US government the wrong way. I won’t really go into the latter here, as that would require another post entirely, but both sides are forgetting one simple fact: Imperialists are often in conflict with each other. Just because one capitalist-imperialist state is in conflict, or even at war, with another state, does not mean the other state is not capitalist-imperialist. Competition is a driving force of capitalism. Inter-capitalist or inter-imperialist conflicts aren’t just characteristics of capitalism, they are an intrinsic aspect of capitalism-imperialism. Meaning, just because the US and the Russian Federation are competing capitalist powers does not mean that one is somehow anti-capitalist, even if one of those powers is named “Russia”.

Back to my original point. Many of the conservatives and neoliberals who praised the fall of the Berlin Wall have since forgotten that today’s Russia is exactly what they had wished for, not something we Communists wanted. So–pardon my language–why the fuck would I, a communist, have any interest in moving to Russia? Why would I have any inclination to support a state full of traitors and oligarchs? Why would I praise a state which Reagan endorsed?

I have talked about the ironies of anti-Communism before, but isn’t it funny how the illogical conservatives will call the bourgeois US government “socialist”, praise the fall of the USSR, and yet still tell communists to “move to Russia”? Shouldn’t they be the ones packing their bags, if they are craving an impoverished, homophobic, xenophobic, ultra-nationalist, oligarchal, anti-Communist, ultra-conservative state, such as the current Russian state, which they adored so much not too long ago?

I mean, when you look at it, the Russian Federation is all these conservatives ever wanted: an anti-Communist, homophobic, xenophobic state with close ties to far-Right organizations and which is favored by right-wing figures within the US such as Alex Jones and Donald Trump.

In short, no, just because the US and Russia have their differences does not mean that I prefer one over the other, it simply means that imperialism is still functioning the same as it always has: greedy conflicts that inevitably only really hurt the oppressed people living on both sides of said conflict.

I understand that this is a rather random topic to bring up, and seemingly unimportant to many people. But its importance comes with espousing Marxism-Leninism. While Putin and his cronies are waving hammers and sickles for purely populist and nationalist reasons, he, and the state of which he is the head, is dragging the name of Communism through the mud. He will bash Marxist revolutionaries and leaders, especially Lenin, while stealing the imagery they inspired, attempting to separate the successes of the Soviet Union from the theory which guided those successes (Marxism-Leninism).

So what I am getting at is, the Russian Federation is precisely what the conservatives were dreaming of from 1917-1990, Putin’s rule is the logical outcome of what the conservatives supported 3 decades ago. Modern Russia is your ideal paradise, not ours. So stop equating Communist theory with the things you wanted to happen in Russia.

Now, either you can side with the pseudo-fascistic Russian oligarchy, or you can admit that capitalism is a failure and that the Russian people were better off living under the banner of Marxism-Leninism. And, for the love of god, stop telling us Communists where to move, because we are working class people who can barely afford a vacation 4 hours away from our homes, much less the ability (or desire) to move into the capitalist hellhole you helped to create.

-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 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