Tag Archives: socialism

Turning the Tables: Short and Sweet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-SFB

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Rightists Are Too Fucking Sensitive

In my last post, I discussed the current state of the American Left. I talked about the problems stemming from lazy discourse and the refusal of some to face the world head-on, as we are supposed to if we want to call ourselves revolutionaries. My main issues with that mindset are 1) the sectarianism of “call-out culture”, and 2) the rejection of the class struggle in favor of identitarianism. But I did not mean it to be an attack against my comrades. I simply don’t want us to lose sight of our goals.

But today I want to go a little deeper into this issue of sensitivity. How it affects discourse, how it shuts down conversations, and who is actually doing all the damage. I’m about to say something that goes against the mainstream portrayal of who’s “too sensitive,” but it is something that has become more and more obvious as the days go by:

No one is more sensitive, whiny, mouth-foamingly insecure as right-wingers. They win the Biggest Cry Baby Award by a longshot. Seriously, it’s gotten so bad that talking to them is almost pointless. They will get offended at even the most innocent claim or question. They will call others names like they think they’re in a VH1 reality show shouting match rather than a debate. They’ll use sarcasm rather than argument. They’ll cry about “MY TAX MONEY!!” when that doesn’t have anything to do with the discussion (it’s like their default response when backed into a corner).

Don’t believe me? Ok, next time a Rightist tells you that the Left is “too sensitive,” remind them that Harriet Tubman is going to be on our currency, or that cops sometimes murder innocent people, or just show them a Beyonce music video. When they’re done flipping the fuck out and shivering with anger, ask them who’s too sensitive.

While the Left is getting mad and fighting back against racism, misogynistic violence, discrimination, murder-by-cop, and perpetual war, the Rightists are collectively crying about having to eventually see someone’s face on a piece of paper that looks different than them, or who gets to take a shit in which bathroom, or science being taught in science class, or someone using an EBT card, or other people following a religion of their choice (or none at all), or the existence of humans who think differently than them. They’ll laugh at those suffering from PTSD, and then get “triggered” themselves just because *GASP* there are people out there who aren’t exactly like them. THE HORROR!

Besides everything listed above, there is a new demon the right-wingers feel the need to exorcise: the dreaded millenials. Yes, apparently all of the world’s problems can be blamed on a generation that has only been in adulthood for less than a decade. None of us hold any public office. None of us are writing legislation. None of us really have any political power–as far as the bourgeois state goes. We’ve been of voting age for two presidential elections at most, in races run by boomers. But I guess at some point in our childhood or teen years, we really fucked up. I’m not sure how we put the economy in the tank while we were on the school playground, or how we incarcerated millions of people while we were at summer camp, or how we started so many wars and acts of military aggression while we were learning how to drive. But, apparently, it’s all our fault.

Not really, though.

This is just an example of the Rightists shifting the blame onto others, and it has got to be one of the strangest cases of scapegoating in history. For you right-wingers who seem to have forgotten all about the concept of time, let me spell it out for you in the simplest way I can: As far as the political/economic/social scene goes, we just got here. It’s like we millenials were forced to go to a house party that we really didn’t want to attend because the people throwing it are notorious for making everything terrible, and before we even arrived some shitbag from Texas broke a lamp and pissed all over the living room floor. Then, as soon as we walked through the door, the hosts of the party started screaming at us to clean up the mess and telling us that Texas Shitbag wouldn’t have done any of that if we had dressed appropriately and didn’t use our goddamn phones so much. (By the way, who invented the smart-phone? Which generation created such an evil device and sold it for profit?)

Blaming any specific generation for society’s shortcomings is a new level of ignorance. The boomers can’t be entirely blamed for the actions of the past–many of them fought against the issues of their time, and continue to do so. Same with us and every other generation. Not a single generation in history was monolithic when it came to political ideology or action. Economic crises, imperialist war, class oppression–none of these are the fault of any given generation, they are the products of capitalism. But millenials are seen as the exception to this fact, for reasons that are never given.

Ok, I’m getting off of this whole generation thing now. I just have one more thing to say on the subject: Right-wingers, please, please, PLEASE keep doing this. By demonizing the up-and-coming generations, by alienating them, by ridiculing them, by rejecting them, you are basically ensuring your own downfall. You are doing the Left’s job for us. I may call you an ignorant asshole for it, but I also want to thank you for isolating yourselves. It’s probably the best thing you have ever done for the people and our future. Good work.

Anyway. We can clearly see that it isn’t the Left that is “too sensitive.” The Right is mistaking “sensitivity” for “not gonna take your shit anymore.” If anything, when looking at the history of the Left, and the struggles we have waged in past and present, it is us who have the stronger backbone. Revolutions, mass strikes, facing off against the most powerful institutions in existence–this is our legacy. The legacy of the reactionaries? Fear of change, complacency, stepping on the downtrodden, hiding behind the barricades of the bourgeoisie’s military and police apparatus–the actions of cowards. When college students want to prevent and put an end to rape on campus, they are laughed at. When a Rightist witnesses something as simple as a parent using food stamps to feed their children, they act so traumatized that they feel the need to explode in rage. So, sexual violence is “no big deal” and the Leftists “need to stop whining about it,” but GOD FUCKING FORBID ANYONE BUY A SNICKERS BAR WITH EBT.

All of this is an example of the more general problems with bourgeois, reactionary ideology. There are plenty of others. For instance, last month, when millions of workers around the world protested low wages and demanded higher pay and a union, the Rightists, once again, got all worked up. At the demonstration in my city, hundreds of people stood outside of a McDonald’s, holding signs and chanting. We received mostly positive responses from those driving by, but we also got a few pieces of that sage right-wing advice from drivers who were so upset at what they saw that they felt the need to take their eyes off the road, roll down their windows, scream at us while giving us the finger and almost cause a wreck. Now that is what I would call “too sensitive.” We all laughed at them and just chanted louder.

But reactionary inconsistency doesn’t end with their whining. Something else I noticed in the reactions to the Fight for $15 protests were the oddly familiar arguments the capitalists used. They said that fast food jobs are supposed to be temporary, but that “lazy people” weren’t moving on. Now, if I were to turn the tables, I could say that, by their own arguments, they are proving two things: 1) Capitalism isn’t working the way it’s supposed to (or, “it only works on paper”), and 2) Then capitalism must go against “human nature.” Strange how I feel like I’ve heard these two arguments used before, except they were used against socialism. Very weird, but that is a subject for another day.

So, in conclusion, I hope this rambling, disorganized rant of mine set some things straight. The Left isn’t “weak,” or “too sensitive,” or “sheltered” by fighting and speaking out against oppression and exploitation. It is the Right that has filled its ranks with people who are utterly terrified of change, who shake at the thought of anyone being different than them, who cry when they aren’t allowed to control the bodies and lives of others. They even go so far as being afraid of people who are younger than them.

As the political environment becomes more and more polarized and the Left grows by the day, the reactionaries are shaking in their boots while they laugh nervously. They may be playing arrogant right now, but when that horrifying Red Tide comes to shore, they’ll be clamoring for a safe space of their own. Good luck.

-SFB

Fascism and the State of the Left

I have been wanting to write this piece for a while, but wanted to wait to see what more could be dug up, what more could happen in the days or weeks since I originally thought about it. After the events that took place in Chicago last night, I figured the time had come.

In my previous post, I briefly mentioned how “fascism” or “fascist” is one of the most over-used terms people use in political discussions and debates. It has gotten to the point that the word is used almost always outside of its historically recognized context. I mentioned how anything from classical conservatism to Marxism-Leninism has been labeled as “fascism” without any explanation of how those things are connected to the very real fascist movements and regimes of history, and the ones that exist today. This has to stop because fascism is not something to be taken lightly. It is a real issue and a real threat, and it should not be confused with things that it is not, so we don’t lose sight of this threat and what it could entail.

But there are movements and people who could be called fascist, without us needing to part from historical reality. And we are watching one such movement gain strength here in the US.

I’m sure you know what I am talking about, and who is at the forefront of this ultra-reactionary movement. No, I am not being hyperbolic, and no, this isn’t a case of me and other Leftists simply not liking Trump and his supporters. There are very legitimate reasons for the Trumpites to be labeled as such. Let’s get into those reasons.

FASCISM IN THE USA

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Worth a thousand words. From: the Chicago Tribune

First of all, I would like to direct you to this piece from the Red Phoenix which goes into a good bit of detail regarding the history of fascism and its ideological staples. I am not going to talk much history here. I am focused on the characteristics of fascism and how they match up to the current Trumpite movement.

Though, as I have said above, fascism has a historically recognized meaning, it never comes to power in the same way twice, and there were quite a lot of differences between the various fascist regimes. This is due to fascism’s ultra-nationalist character–the method used in one nation won’t necessarily work in another, as it is bound up in the most reactionary elements of each nation it takes a hold of. However, there are enough similarities between each of these movements that we can say that fascism is an ideology in and of itself, and not just pure, mob-like populism.

These similarities include:

-A strong emphasis on nationhood and unquestioning patriotism.
-Violent and repressive anti-Communism and anti-liberalism.
-A hatred of immigrants, including calls for mass deportation.
-A romanticized idea of the “Great Nation”, often exaggerated to mythical proportions.
-Highly institutionalized misogyny and repression of women.
-Unquestioning loyalty to the nation’s charismatic leader, who is seen as the personification of the “Great Nation”.
-Using religious and/or racial minorities as scapegoats.
-The rejection of class struggle, replacing it with a veil of collaborationism in the form of nationalism.
-Romanticization of conflict, imperialist and expansionist adventures, militarism, and “direct action” through the use of violence.
-An emphasis on vitalism, national energy, youth, and nationalist heroism.
-A rejection of rationalism in favor of irrationalism and romanticism.
-The promotion of a “Third Way” that is supposed to be above both capitalism and communism.

Now, one might say that the US already has many, if not all, of these characteristics, but that is false. While these characteristics are present, they are on a relatively small scale compared to the fascist regimes of history. I am allowed to run this blog, criticism of the nation’s leader is still held as a protected right, etc. etc.

However, since fascism is the most reactionary and violent form of bourgeois rule, it is possible for it to rise up from within the bourgeois state (which is exactly how Hitler came to power). And I believe that is what we are witnessing right now.

Trump’s supporters might point out that he isn’t calling for mass genocide and he doesn’t label himself as a fascist, so there’s no way he is anything like Hitler. What they fail to realize is, Hitler didn’t talk about murdering millions of people during his rise. What he did call for was a cleansing that involved the deportation of the “undesirable” people living in Germany(see: the Madagascar Plan). Secondly, of course Trump isn’t going to call himself a fascist–like I said, fascism takes a different form depending on the nation the fascists are trying to control, and it would only hinder Trump’s nationalist goals if he labeled himself after the regimes the US fought in World War II. Whatever he calls himself does not matter–his actions and promises do.

I don’t think I need to say much about Trump’s obvious romantic nationalism–his campaign slogan already says everything that needs to be said on that subject. “Make America Great Again”. Again, as in, “let’s go back to the days of segregation, traditional values, when the patriarchy was at its strongest.” He, like every fascist leader of the past, plays off of a romantic view of national history. He stands firmly on the foundation of a mythical idea of Americanism.

Then there are the other characteristics of fascism that he holds to. Scapegoating religious minorities? Check. Hatred of immigrants? Check. Demanding unquestioning loyalty to him? Check. Romanticization of violence? Check. Calling for imperialist war? Double check. A misogynistic view of women? Check. Anti-Communism coupled with anti-liberalism? Check. I would go on, but I really don’t think I need to.

And then there is apparent fondness for openly self-proclaimed fascists, like when he retweeted a post from a white-supremacist neo-Nazi twitter account, or when he tweeted a quote attributed to Mussolini, or when he refused to condemn the fucking KKK, claiming that he “doesn’t know enough about them”(I think it’s safe to say that if he doesn’t know enough about the Klan, he doesn’t know enough about US history to be allowed into the Oval Office).

Then there is his terrifying charisma and rhetoric, which has lead to his followers committing acts of violence, both during his rallies and outside of them. It doesn’t matter if the anti-Trump protesters are loud and harsh or quiet and peaceful–if you have any objection to the potential rule of Il Duce 2.0, you are a target. Mussolini had his blackshirts, Hitler had his brownshirts. Trump’s supporters might not have an official uniform, but their actions are the same–mobs of reactionary thugs terrorizing anyone who dares to question their leader.

And he doesn’t just get support from fascists and neo-Nazis here in the US. Far-right reactionaries around the world are applauding his campaign, including both Vladimir Putin and the creator of the fascist “Fourth Way” ideology, Alexander Dugin.

Many still consider Trump’s campaign to be a joke, sometimes attending his rallies expecting to get a few laughs in, only to come to the realization that this is no joke after they witness the chaos firsthand. The man rarely says anything of substance–he, much like the fascist dictators of history, relies on repetition, fiery rhetoric, and irrationality coated with romanticism–but that doesn’t stop his followers from sticking to his words to the point of assaulting people, screaming for him to “get rid of” those who disagree with him once he becomes president, or basically worshipping him.

I used to think that he didn’t have a chance in hell of winning the election, but I am beginning to think otherwise. There is a very real possibility that we could see a Trump victory this November. There are several reasons why I think this, which I am about to get to. But we Leftists should be preparing for such an event. Not only because of the terror he will likely try to inflict against us as a movement, but also because of the danger he poses to so many people who are already oppressed and beaten down.

WHAT CAN THE LEFT DO?

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Someone buy that person a beer.

First and foremost, it should be clear that this rise of the reactionaries is just that–a reaction. It is the bourgeois far-right’s reaction to escalating unrest among the oppressed masses. It is a reaction against the various people’s movements that have been sparked over the past few years(Black Lives Matter, the fight for a higher minimum wage, the fight for the rights of immigrants and refugees, the struggle to defend unions and the rights of the working class). The people are rising up and they are speaking out, taking to the streets, demanding justice.

Last night in Chicago, the comrades there forced Trump to cancel his rally. They stood up against the reaction and shut him down. The hammer and sickle was even flashed on live television, right behind a CNN reporter. I was ecstatic when I heard this news and I want to, again, congratulate those fighters in Chicago for their victory. That is something that needs to be emulated at every Trump event. Fascism deserves no platform, and it is up to us to make sure they don’t get one.

But then there are the golden-heart liberals who, any time a window is broken, cry for the people to “be peaceful”. Yes, be peaceful in the face of violent fascists. Be peaceful in the face of murderous police. Be peaceful towards a system that wants to oppress, exploit, and kill you if you disobey. Those who hold power can swing and take shots all they wish, but we are the ones who need to learn some respect. Sure.

The reasons given for this condemnation of the people is Trump’s “right” to free speech. If you weren’t paying attention before, it is obvious that Trump is parroting the fascist dictators of the past. What does this mean when it comes to free speech? It means they don’t have it. Let me explain.

Following WWII, at the Nuremberg Trials, it was decided that fascism, since it always went hand-in-hand with mass genocide and illegal wars, is not a legitimate political ideology, but, rather, a criminal movement. This means that it is the political equivalent to the mafia. Most of the sane world recognizes this–it is why Nazi symbolism is not allowed to be spread or shown in Germany, for instance. The proposals and rhetoric of fascism are just as protected under the banner of “free speech” as the mafia’s illegal business deals are protected by “free enterprise”. That is, it’s not.

To paraphrase something a comrade of mine heard from a lawyer and passed on: Freedom of speech is like the freedom to swing your arm–you can swing it all you like, but your freedom to do so ends at the tip of my nose.

The liberals and ultra-leftists who are whining about the freedom of fascists to have a platform so as to gain traction are spitting on the graves of the countless victims of fascism all around the world. They have apparently learned nothing from history, and seem to have no problem with risking the same thing all over again. Freedom of speech protected the Nazi Party, allowed it to gain a following, then to gain political power, because how dare we prevent genocidal war-mongers from spreading their hate far and wide? How dare we think about the very possible consequences of their actions? Luckily, Germany has at least some laws to prevent another fall back into that sort of state. Too bad some “Leftists” here in the States think such a movement should be protected from the people it wishes to fucking kill.

Hell, the man even brags about wanting to commit war-crimes. If someone makes a legitimate physical threat against another person, they are arrested, but you want to tell us that a politician doing the same thing–except he wants to kill thousands, including whole families–is protected because of “free speech”? No, he is not. Threatening to break international law and to commit atrocities does not fall under the umbrella of “free speech”.

Lenin said it best, in regards to “freedom of speech”:

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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

Mr. Jones and Me Look into the Future

image

The face of humanity's salvation

Throughout my childhood and a few years into my teenage years, I didn’t care at all to break out of the political/social bubble of views I was born into. I was more worried about listening to music, eventually making music, and contributing in the normal shenanigans of one of the angsty “outsiders”. But, as my family went from middle-bourgeois to working class with barely enough food in the cabinet to feed my mother, my sister, and myself, I began to question everything I had been taught. The ideology of “freedom” and patriotism I was indoctrinated into seemed like a complete failure. The money stopped “trickling down” when we hit the bottom. I found out that all my mentors were not just flawed, but were pretty abhorrent human beings. I would still attend my conservative mega-church only to hear politicized rhetoric about how poor people, like my family, were nothing but leeches. I listened to sermons that seemed to be based more on the philosophy of Ayn Rand than any old gospel. By this time I had an entirely new group of friends, being shunned by the well-to-do kids I had hung out with previously. These new friends of mine were what would be called(and what was called, by the church’s “elders”) degenerates. In reality, we were sick of the elitism that surrounded us. One of the breaking points was when the security personnel at this church made several racially-charged accusations against three of my African-American friends. We stopped holding back after that, and were banned from church grounds within a month.

Now, the above may seem entirely insignificant – just a short story about angsty teenagers vandalizing and taking what revenge we could against the micro-establishment that was that church. But the fact is, for my whole life up until that point, me and these friends of mine were sheltered, homeschooled brats whose only form of outside interaction was through this church. Being kicked out, coupled with my family’s “fall from grace”, meant that, as it seemed to me, everything I had thought to be stable parts of my life – and indeed the whole world – was crashing down under the weight of the lies which were its essence. This is all relevant because this is when I first began to poke holes in the bubble of my childhood ideas about the world.

And so it was at this point that I began to look outside of the standard neoconservative worldview. Being that I had not completely given up many of my right-wing capitalistic views, libertarianism was what first drew me into what I had believed to be “rebellious” or “new” views and ideas. And if we know anything about libertarianism, we know that it is a breeding ground for conspiracy theories, some truly outlandish claims about everything that was happening in the world. The biggest name in the world of conspiracy theories is Alex Jones. I fell pretty deep into the his theories and those propagated by sites like infowars.

Of course, I now know the extent of Jones’s reactionary stances and almost fascistic rhetoric, but when I was a fan, I didn’t see it that way. Some of the things that drew me to Jones were: his opposition to the War in Iraq, his opposition to the War on Drugs, his opposition to the various oppressive measures of our bourgeois state(the Patriot Act and such). To this day I stand in opposition to these things, though for more rational reasons. But I now know that the solutions to these problems won’t come from a wealthy, attention-craving radio rambler. Here’s why:

THE REACTIONARY HISTORY OF CONSPIRACY THEORIES

As I stated above, I was still upholding capitalistic values when I fell into the hole of Jones-like paranoia. Indeed, all of the most outspoken conspiracy theorists are hardcore capitalists: libertarians, ancaps, patriotic traditionalists. However, conspiracy theories, while remaining about the same in theory and rhetoric, have not always been so bourgeois. The book “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, a disgustingly anti-Semitic and fictitious account of a Jewish cabal out to control the world, was a popular read among the Russian aristocracy and the nobility of the other various empires, for it was an attempt to demonize and slander the rising bourgeois class, the birth of capitalism from feudalism. It slandered this progressivism by tying it to a group of people hated throughout Europe. This new politico-economic form of rule, which threatened to topple tyrannical monarchies all over the world, was portrayed as a Jewish conspiracy to gain complete control and liquidate or enslave those of non-Jewish descent. Any rational person living today knows that this is total bullshit, but to the aristocracies of yesterday, it was an important piece of propaganda, created to make the masses fear the capitalist republicans who were starting to over-power the nobility.

Likewise, the myth of the Illumimati trying to take control of the world was also a product of monarchist propaganda against democratic uprisings. The actual Illuminati – properly called the Bavarian Illuminati – was a secretive group of democratic republicans founded in 1776. Their secrecy didn’t come from a desire to create some sort of “shadow government”, but was a necessary tactic in an environment which was very hostile to new ideas – ideas which went against the grain of monarchist tyranny and religious superstition. By the year 1790, the Bavarian Illuminati was abolished following a harsh crackdown on democratic movements by the aristocratic rulers.

These ideas which got the Bavarian Illuminati into so much trouble were ideas standard to the Enlightenment era democratic movements against monarchal rule. To quote Wikipedia: “The society’s goals were to oppose superstition, obscurantism, religious influence over public life and abuses of state power.” That is to say, the Bavarian Illuminati was a society dedicated to the very same ideals as the American revolutionaries – and we all know how much Alex Jones and other conspiracy theorists basically worship the American revolution and its fighters. The last two of the four points of their purpose – to oppose religious power over public life and to oppose abuses of state power – were essential aspects of the ideologies behind the American Revolution. They were ideas which Alex Jones himself promotes. This is the first big indication of the man’s ignorance.

Even after the erradication of the Bavarian Illuminati as a working society, the monarchists continued to use them as a scapegoat, a fictional fear-base to drive the masses away from bourgeois progressivism. These monarchists claimed that the Illuminati still existed in now total secrecy, and were responsible for the French Revolution. Why would they claim such a thing? Well, much like their use of “Protocols”, they needed to scare the masses away from the revolutions which were knocking aristocrats from their thrones of absolute power all across Europe and in the colonies, including the American Revolution Jones loves so much.

To be more clear: the conspiracy theories used today by capitalism-praising libertarians and patriots have their source in anti-capitalist, anti-democracy, pro-monarchist propaganda. If that doesn’t prove the ignorance behind conspiracy theories, I don’t know what will. But I’ll go on.

In essence, the history of conspiracy theories can’t be traced back to truth-seeking freedom-fighters, but quite the opposite. They were creations from the thrones of power meant to demonize those fighting for more freedom and more societal representation. The conspiracy theorists of today, if they had lived in the 18th or 19th centuries, wouldn’t be the “freedom-loving” bourgeois democrats they are today, they would be throne-worshiping monarchists, Red Coats, anti-republicans(I’m talking system of governance here, not the Republican Party).

Despite their ignorant change of stance over time, conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones still uphold the most reactionary, regressive stances they can, but this time they’re doing it in the name of bourgeois power rather than monarchal power. Quite ironic, don’t you think?

CONSPIRACY THEORIES TODAY: SAME REACTIONISM, DIFFERENT TARGET

So, the history of the most popular conspiracy theories is in total contradiction to the values held by conspiracy theorists today. At first, they were tools of propaganda to warn people away from bourgeois-democratic revolutions. Now, they are tools of distraction to warn people away from continual progress. If these theories were personified, that would make for one very confused person. “Oh, well,” this person would say, “I was apparently wrong about the dangers of democracy and the righteousness of aristocratic rule, but now…now I know that the new system is better, and anything that tries to push any further forward is wrongwrongwrong!! Trust me this time.”

Conspiracy theorists today have been smart to try to distance themselves from the previous “hiccup” that was “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” But really, they only just refuse to mention the name or to reference that book(with the exception of neo-Nazis and Klansmen, as well as the christian fundamentalist Kent Hovind). But the anti-Semitism is still there. For instance, the Rothschild family is still a popular target for conspiracy theorists, despite the fact that the family’s importance has fallen drastically since the start of the era of imperialism. They are no longer one of the big players in the game of acquisition, though they are still members of the class of large capitalists. This very specific demonization is a left-over of the old monarchist anti-democratic ideology. There are plenty of wealthy capitalists controlling governments and media, but to oppose them all would be almost like opposing capitalism itself, which the conspiracy theorists would never do(unless they lived a couple of hundred years ago). So instead, these theorists nit-pick which cappies to oppose, and, being as ideologically lazy as they are, they just stuck with blaming the capitalists who happen to be Jews, and not many more.

I would also like to point out another scrap of dumbass-ery left over from the old days of pro-throne conspiracy theories: the condemnation of the French Revolution. Now, it is(or should be) common knowledge that the French Revolution was a bourgeois revolution which sought to replace aristocratic rule with bourgeois democratic rule(bourgeois democratic rule being the form of governance today’s conspiracy theorists hold up as a system of “freedom and liberty”). It was fought for the same reasons why the American Revolution was fought – to overthrow aristocratic power and install some form of representative government. It should be noted here that the monarchists blamed the American Revolution for the same things they blamed the French Revolution, but Mr. Jones is apparently picking and choosing which accusations(from the same sources) he wants to use for his own fame. So, why does he so often name the French Revolution in his lists of things he hates? Well, the French Revolution was a little different from the other bourgeois revolutions – it was more radical, its sights were set on an egalitarian future, it did not hold itself back from giving the aristocrats what they deserved. It pushed hardest for progress and liberation. This is what Alex Jones and others fear so much – moving forward.

Today’s conspiracy theorists, as we have seen, are much the same as their monarchist predecessors in that they despise and fear anything that could possibly be seen as progressive, as going against the grain of the existing economic power structure. Only, this time around, they are protecting the bourgeoisie and slandering the true progressives – we socialists. The capitalists are the new monarchs, and the conspiracy theorists are still working for the rulers as propagandists and fear-mongerers. “Fear democracy” has become “fear workers’ democracy”. “Fear capitalism” has become “fear socialism”.

Having solidified a history of opposing the growth and further liberation of society, conspiracy theorists are now claiming everything considered progressive today are a part of some big diabolical plan – anti-racism, women’s rights, LGBT+ liberation, etc, etc are all “evils” that are trying to “destroy all of our great traditions”. Capitalism is their new idol, and socialism is their new target.

However, being conspiracy theorists, they’re not very accurate or consistent at all. “Socialism”, to them, is anything and everything they dislike. It is capitalist corporations who “go green”. It is the bourgeois US government with its mail service and stop signs. These theorists don’t actually know what socialism is, they just slap that label on almost everything. They do this because they are the most diehard pieces of left-overs from the Red Scares. They think labelling things as “socialist” will scare people into imagining pictures of “Orwellian Totalitarianism”. And often times these scare-tactics work – Alex Jones didn’t make a fortune by being laughed at.

Recently, Jones had a guest on his show: a man named Michael Savage. Michael Savage is a self-proclaimed anti-progressive “conservative nationalist”. That’s right, Mr. Jones seems to be fine with the horrific, oppressive history of right-wing nationalism(which has branches such as Nazism, fascism, Peronism, etc.), probably because nationalists are hardline enemies of socialism(progress, working class liberation, internationalist solidarity, etc.). Savage is also rabidly anti-immigration and a strong supporter of the English-only movement. It is frightening to me that such people, who want to oppress, deport, or even kill foreigners, are considered by so many to be “freedom-loving rebels”. I guess they forget that “conservativism” means the conservation of the ruling status quo. What these people are really “rebelling” against is rebellion itself.

In many ways, Savage’s ideology is linked to that of Hitler’s and the Nazi Party. He sums up his main topics of concern thusly: borders, language, and culture. That is, he wants closed borders due to his hatred and distrust of foreign peoples; he wants the language and culture of the USA to remain “pure”. I don’t think it can be denied that this is straight up Hitler-style nationalism.

Now, about that interview Jones gave to this crypto-fascist Michael Savage: In it, Savage makes the claim that Obama(whom both ignorantly consider to be a “socialist”) is arming the Crips and the Bloods(he probably thinks all Black people are members of one or the other) for the “coming race war”. Just a reminder: this was not an interview with Charles Manson. And Alex Jones totally fell in line with this outrageous claim. Savage made this claim because of the recent truce between the two gangs in Baltimore, a truce meant to bring them together in order to protest the police murder of People of Color.

Of course, in the interview, the French Revolution was brought up as a tool for demonization. Savage says “the guillotines are ready” and that the “blades are being greased”. He’s saying that Obama is using the anti-cop-murder protesters in order to ignite a “race war” in which white people will be erradicated.

Let me put this into perspective: These so-called “anti-authoritarians” are helping the murderous cops in demonizing protesting civillians. They are essentially taking the side of the state they claim to hate because they fear Black people who want freedom. Anti-racist protests scare them because it goes against their version of the “freedoms” of America’s yester-years, when people like Jones and Savage could own slaves, when it was illegal for women to vote, when starving children had to go into the mines to help their families afford the most basic necessities. These are the “freedoms” these two wealthy, white men long for. These are the “freedoms” they want to reinstall: their freedom to own another human being, their freedom to oppress immigrants, their freedom to make half of the population the proletariat of the home(as Engels termed the state of the female sex in patriarchal capitalist society).

There is plenty more wrong with pretty much all of Jones’s assumptions and claims, but his reactionism is most evident in his not-so-subtle racism, sexism, and homophobia. He is also profoundly anti-science, and makes some really ridiculous statements almost religiously, like when he made a video claiming that the Pyramid in Memphis, TN was an occult symbol where occultists would go to a room at the top to worship a dancing demon monkey, or something. He then ends the video by saying the “country boys” had won because the massive corporation, Bass Pro, bought the Pyramid. Another instance of this “anti-authoritarian” taking the side of the powerful against imaginary enemies.

CONCLUSION: CONSPIRACY THEORISTS ARE NOT REBELS

Observing the history of the most popular conspiracy theories and its consistently reactionary nature, it should be clear that these “activists” are fighting for anything but freedom and liberation. In the 18th and 19th centuries, they fought for absolute rule by monarch. Today, they fight for absolute control by the bourgeoisie. They pretend to be fighting against the upper-strata of society, when in fact, as is evidenced in Jones’s and Savage’s condemnations of the Baltimore protesters as “tools for evil”, they are opposing anyone who is oppressed struggling for a better life. They veil their worship of the status quo in pretend-stories about invisible enemies. They claim the powers that be are the opposite of what they really are, so as to be able to demonize the true rebels and uphold the system that protects them and their riches.

As more and more people are growing disenchanted with the current structures of power, more and more are being deceived by the flip-flopped rhetoric of Jones and his peers. People are falling for the false belief that all of society’s problems are coming from “socialism” or “progressivism”, when the US and other powerful countries are the opposite of socialist or progressive. The conspiracy theorists stand for the very same things these “big governments” stand for: white supremacy, nationalism, xenophobia, and so on.

What is “liberating” about shooting people at the border? What is “liberating” about wanting society to regress? Where is the “freedom” in constant paranoia, race-hatred, nationalist chauvenism?

Alex Jones is by no means oppressed or a member of the downtrodden, with his fortune gathered through fear-mongering. A revolutionary leftist could only wish to gain the fame he has in this society. A socialist would be blacklisted the second s/he gained that kind of notoriety. While the FBI is raiding the headquarters of socialist anti-war factions, Jones is sitting comfy in his studio spewing hate and fear.

If you are unsatisfied or angry at the system that oppresses, kills, tortures, be careful not to fall into false “rebellions” that advocate the very same things(or much worse) as this system.

-SFB

Culture and Education in the U.S.S.R.

Soviet poster emphasizing the importance of education

Soviet poster emphasizing the importance of education

From: Public Education in the U.S.S.R.  (1950)

by Y.N. Medinsky

(translated from Russian, 1954)

 

THE CULTURAL REVOLUTION IN THE U.S.S.R.

Pre-revolutionary Russia was among the most backward countries as regards the general level of literacy of the population and the number of schools and pupils. In 1913 Vladimir Ilyich Lenin wrote that four-fifths of the children of school age had no opportunity to get an education. The census for 1897 shows that only 24 per cent of the population over nine years of age could read and write. Literacy among the non-Russian peoples in the outlying regions of the country was at a staggeringly low level. Thus, according to the same census, only 1-3 per cent of the peoples of Central Asia – Uzbeks, Tajiks, Kazakhs, Kirghiz, Turkmenians – were literate, and in a number of districts the figure was even below 1 per cent. Forty nationalities had no written language. Such was the situation in pre-revolutionary Russia, where, as Lenin said, the tsarist government was the most malevolent and irreconcilable enemy of public education.

This bitter heritage of tsarism was abolished under Soviet power. In an appeal to the population several days after the seizure of power by the working class in November 1917, the Soviet Government outlined the basic principles for organizing public education: universal and compulsory education for children of both sexes, free tuition, material provision for schools, teachers, and so on.

Despite the economic hardship brought about by the Civil War and military intervention, the young Soviet Republic already in the first years of its existence did much to promote public education. A large number of new schools were opened and courses started for training teachers.

On December 26, 1919, the Council of People’s Commissars issued a decree on the abolition of illiteracy. The decree made it compulsory for all the people of the Soviet Republic between the ages of 8 and 50 to learn to read and write in their native language, or in Russian if they so desired. Tens of thousands of people – teachers, students, secondary-school pupils, and other representatives of the Soviet intelligentsia – took part in the work to abolish illiteracy. The outstanding role in this work by the Young Communist League merits special mention. Members of the Y.C.L. carried on propaganda for the liquidation of illiteracy in all parts of the country, helped to open schools, and taught the illiterate and semi-literate.

The country became covered by a dense network of schools for the abolition of illiteracy. As a rule, in all enterprises and in all villages studies were conducted in the evenings – in school buildings, workers’ clubs, etc. These classes were attended by large groups (20-30 persons) and by groups of three-five persons; there were numerous cases of individual coaching. It was really a nation-wide crusade against illiteracy.

Literacy among the population (up to 50 years of age) increased form 56.6 per cent in 1926 to 89.1 per cent by the beginning of 1939. Nearly 50 million adults learned to read and write between 1920 and 1940.

Today the Soviet Union is a country of universal literacy.

Parallel with this nation-wide movement to abolish illiteracy, measures were taken to extend the network of general educational schools.

The development of school education proceeded at a particularly rapid rate during the years of the first five-year plan (1928-32).

On August 14, 1930, the Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the U.S.S.R. passed a decision introducing universal and compulsory education of not less than four grades for all children of eight years and up, and making seven-grade education compulsory in industrial towns and areas and workers’ settlements.

The constructions of schools was launched on a big scale, the number of teachers’ training courses and colleges increased sharply, as did the publication of text-books.

Between 1930 and 1932 school enrolment rose annually by 3-4 million, as the following figures show:

1928/29 1929/30 1930/31 1931/32
Number of elementary, middle and secondary schools (in thousands). 124.8   133.2   152.8   168.1
Enrolment (in millions)…. 12.0 13.5 17.6 20.9

To properly appreciate how quickly the law on universal education was implemented, it is sufficient to point out that in four years alone (1929-33) school enrolment in the U.S.S.R. increased by 9.3 million; this figure is far in excess of that ever reached by tsarist Russia, which in 1914-15 had only 7.9 million school children.

The number of schools and pupils steadily increased in subsequent years. More than 20,000 schools were built during the five-year period of 1933-38 alone. School enrolment in 1938-39 was more than 31.5 million as against the 20.9 million in 1931-32. This was four times the number before the Revolution.

The mighty upsurge of industry, agriculture and culture in the U.S.S.R. pre-conditioned the rapid advance of higher education in the country. While in 1914 tsarist Russia had 91 institutions of higher learning with an enrolment of 112,000 students, in 1939 there were in the U.S.S.R. 750 institutions of higher learning with a student body of 620,000. A new, Soviet intelligentsia was created from among the workers and peasants.

Thus, the years of the pre-war five-year plans witnessed a veritable cultural revolution, as a result of which education and science were placed within the reach of the broadest strata of the population.

The war and the German-fascist occupation inflicted extremely heavy damage on the Soviet school. In the temporarily-occupied Soviet regions the Hitlerite vandals ruthlessly destroyed schools, children’s homes, museums, libraries, and universities. The German fascists burned, destroyed and pillaged 82,000 schools (which had been attended by 15 million pupils), 334 institutions of higher learning, hundreds of museums, thousands of recreation clubs and libraries. Although the network of schools shrank considerably during the war, the Soviet school did not stop its activity for a single day. The Soviet Government continued to pay considerable attention to public education. During the war it passed a number of important decisions aimed at promoting universal and compulsory education and strengthening the school. At the beginning of the 1944-45 school year the school age was lowered from eight to seven in the R.S.F.S.R. and other republics. This increased the number of pupils in the first grade by several million. Special school-leaving certificates were introduced for secondary-school graduates, also gold and silver medals for honour pupils. In some cities and towns separate schools were opened for boys and girls.

The country quickly recovered form the ravages wrought by the war. Not only was the pre-war network of schools restored, but by the end of 1952 there were 23,500 new schools. Already by the end of the fourth (first post-war) five-year plan (1950) enrolment in general educational schools and technical schools was higher than pre-war and comprised 37 million pupils. In 1950 the institutions of higher learning (including correspondence courses) had 1,247,000 students; in 1940 the figure was 812,000. The student body increased steadily during the fifth five-year plan, its number reaching 1,562,000 in 1953.

Already before World War II the Soviet Union had more students and institutions of higher learning than all the bourgeois countries in Europe taken together, to say nothing of any single capitalist state. Today, Moscow alone has considerably more students than, for example, the whole of Britain and France.

At present more than 57 million pupils and students are attending different schools and institutes in the U.S.S.R.

These remarkable successes are due to the great attention the Communist Party and the Soviet Government give to public education in the U.S.S.R.

Education continues to develop in the U.S.S.R. Very much has been done, but Soviet people do not stop at what has been attained. The fifth five-year plan for the development of the U.S.S.R. in 1951-55 provides for a substantial increase in the number of schools and pupils; a big rise in the number of institutions of higher learning and in the number of specialists they train; introduction in the large cities of universal secondary (ten-year) education and preparing the conditions for the introduction of secondary education on a nation-wide scale in the next five-year plan period; starting the implementation of polytechnical education; a considerable growth in the number of libraries, and so on.

That plan opens up a grand perspective for the growth and development of the entire system of public education – from the lowest pre-school link to institutions of higher learning and scientific-research establishments.

 

[Entire work can be found here: http://revolutionarydemocracy.org/ ]

 

"Honor and Glory to a Soviet Teacher!"

“Honor and Glory to a Soviet Teacher!”

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