In socialist countries like Cuba, China, and the DPRK, people inhabit a very different political reality from the one that those in the capitalist countries
struggle through. They don’t have to go through life while being constantly manipulated by capitalist propaganda. They don’t have to fight against their own government to get human rights like healthcare, or contend with politicians who are controlled by corporate money. Despite their constant struggles against imperialism, they don’t have to beg their leaders to protect them from the evils of capitalism. This is because they live in countries where Marxist-Leninism has triumphed.
Three years ago, during the 2016 Democratic convention, Bernie Sanders supporters experienced the rigged nature of “democracy” under capitalism. They’d just seen the Democratic Party apparatus systemically undermine their candidate throughout the primaries; voter registrations had been broken into and switched by Clinton’s team, the results in numerous states had been digitally tampered with as evidenced by the statistically impossible exit poll discrepancies, and the DNC had been manipulating the primary debate schedule and colluding with the media to tip the race in Clinton’s favor. And when Sanders’ supporters poured in from around the country to protest outside the convention center, they were kept out by the tall fence that had been built around it while the candidate who’d cheated was installed as the nominee.
Many Sanders supporters haven’t forgotten the immense sense of injustice and disillusionment that this moment carried for them. They found out that America’s democracy is a sham, and that if they again tried to use the electoral process to win their economic rights, they’d hit up against the same wall. As the 2020 primary race shapes up to be a repeat of 2016, the American left should recognize that a different system of governance exists-one that would never allow the capitalist class to steal an election.
This is because under a Marxist-Leninist government, capital itself is never allowed to become politically dominant. The difference between bourgeois democracy and worker’s democracy, as Lenin said, is one where the power that the people have over their government is authentic rather than illusory. “Democracy” under capitalism, stated Lenin, “is bound to remain restricted, truncated, false and hypocritical, a paradise for the rich and a snare and deception for the exploited, for the poor.”
The path to worker’s democracy requires an unwillingness to let the capitalist class bargain their way into a continuation of their rule. It requires not an attempt to reform the government that the capitalists control, but a movement to smash the state and replace it with a socialist governmental apparatus. This isn’t what Bernie Sanders and the other social democrats want to do; they want to enact social reforms that won’t dismantle capitalism or imperialism, and that ultimately work to stop people from demanding an end to the current system. We need to reject their historically failed solution, and pursue the Marxist-Leninist model that’s been actually shown to combat imperialism and inequality.
At its peak during the mid-20th century, Marxist-Leninism was able to keep most of Asia, much of Europe, some of Africa, and some of Central America free from capitalism and imperialism. Private ownership over businesses persisted within parts of the socialist countries, and these countries were of course still the targets of imperialism, but these countries’ governments upheld worker ownership and anti-poverty programs as much as was possible for them to do under the circumstances.
Living standards in Soviet Russia, Mao’s China, Castro’s Cuba, and the other socialist states had all been raised massively, and the capitalists could no longer control vast swathes of the planet. The world’s communist movement has since freed poor and oppressed people on a scale that the social democrats haven’t ever come anywhere near close to doing.
Even after the counter-revolutions of the late 20th century, Marxism is now making a comeback. China has retained its socialist governing model, and it’s using its economic and military strength to protect the other existing socialist states from U.S./NATO aggressions. Neoliberalism and capitalist globalization have been discredited amid the Great Recession and widespread inequality, and the capitalist countries are ready to see the rise of a new predominant political ideology. If we build the Marxist-Leninist movement, new worker revolutions could very well soon happen throughout the globe.
Accomplishing this movement-building is largely a matter of bringing socialist ideas to the forefront of economic populist language. Right now the main solution to inequality that’s being discussed in the mainstream is social democracy, and that needs to change. By popularizing socialism within the anti-corporatist, anti-war, social justice, and environmental movements, we’ll be able to set society on the right track.
One way to do this is by showing ordinary left-leaning people that Marxist-Leninist strains exist within these movements, and that those within these strains are crucial players in the fight for justice. Within the black power movement, for example, the Marxist faction is represented by groups like TheBlackInternationalist, a YouTube channel which presents a perspective that ties in the struggle for black liberation with the anti-imperialist struggle of socialist nations like the DPRK.
“White supremacy manifests itself on a large scale in the relationship between core and peripheral countries that forms the basis of the capitalist imperialist world system,” the channel’s narrator states in a recent video titled Black Like Kim: Black Power, Juche Korea, & Internationalism. “Perhaps the most obvious example of this can be seen in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s relationship with the United States. The DPRK is always under threat of destruction at the hands of the global policeman that is America. U.S. news stations always misrepresent the country as a barbaric rogue state. Its economy is always under siege from the imperialists, who seek to impoverish its populace. And despite the fact that the Worker’s Party of the country has never done anything but try to improve the lives of the country’s people, the party leadership must constantly fear this attempted CIA overthrow of the government they lead while simultaneously being labeled bloodthirsty utopians by the U.S. government and media.”
This awareness that the struggle of America’s oppressed people is one and the same as the struggle of the foreign victims of imperialism is crucial for the success of socialism. “The reason why those parallels [between the anti-imperialist and black power struggles] exist is because the struggle against imperialism waged by the DPRK and the struggle against national oppression waged by black people are actually part of one struggle,” the video continues. “That is the global class struggle between exploited classes and nations against exploiter classes and nations, in which both the socialist revolutionaries in the DPRK and their black counterparts in the USA spearhead the struggle of the masses against capitalism and imperialism, so that they may strike down their oppressors and advance toward a future free from racism, imperialism, and class alike.”
In America, those who articulate truths like these may be on the margins, but they’re still a danger to the power of the capitalist class. The revolution they hope to bring has precedent in numerous anti-colonial and socialist uprisings throughout recent history, and if they get adequately organized while widely spreading their message, they can emerge victorious. They should redouble their movement-building efforts, because history is on their side.
— — — — — — — — — — — - — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
If you appreciate my work, I hope you become a one-time or regular donor to my Patreon account. Like most of us, I’m feeling the economic pinch during late-stage capitalism, and I need money to keep fighting for a new system that works for all of us. Go to my Patreon here: