Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Need For Revolution Outweighs The Need For “Peace”

Americans in the anti-capitalist movement are looking towards different outcomes for the years ahead, outcomes that will be vastly influenced by what those in our political strain choose to do. Great responsibility is placed upon us, because we’re the ones tasked with rallying the country’s millions of disaffected workers and poor people towards fighting neoliberal capitalism. Should we take the path of reformism, trying to pursue our goals through electoral politics while doing all we can to avoid violence? Or should we move towards an overthrow effort that potentially consists of civil war?

Which approach you want to take depends on what exactly your goals are. Do you want to create a different version of America, one that has expanded social services, more business regulations, and higher taxes on the wealthy? Or do you want to abolish the United States government and create an entirely new system, one where a bourgeois class is no longer allowed to exist and where the means of production are controlled by a proletarian democracy? If you want to go with a peaceful route for attempting to defeat capitalism, the former outcome is the best you can hope for.

Many on the American left have recognized this reality, and since the idea of going to war against the government sounds initially unappealing to them, they’ve convinced themselves that Bernie Sanders-style reforms are all that the country needs. This vision of reforming capitalism to make it less unequal certainly appeals to the rich people who see that the present levels of inequality aren’t sustainable. A more Scandinavian version of America would put at ease the “Patriotic Millionaires” who want to pay higher taxes, the pro-wealth tax billionaire Warren Buffet, and the multi-millionaire Nick Hanauer, who’s stated in spite of his desire to redistribute wealth that “I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist.”

And for those who’ve embraced Bernie Sanders’ line, there’s nothing wrong with this vision. It would certainly improve living standards for Americans, so from the perspective of many Americans-especially bourgeois Americans like Hanauer-Sanders’ social democracy would be perfect. But this paradise that social democracy promises is an illusion. It would only benefit the bourgeoisie, and the First World proletarians who get much of their wealth from the spoils of U.S. imperialism.

This is the reality that social democrats in the First World want people to ignore. Not only would a more “fair” version of American capitalism perpetuate the system that inevitably leads to social safety net expansions and pro-worker reforms being undone, but it would result in continued violence and subjugation against those in the Third World. Sanders, Warren, Ocasio-Cortez, and the other “progressive” Democrats don’t want to dismantle the American imperialist project. Among them, there’s a mostly shared embrace of economic sanctionsdrone warfare, and imperialist narratives about anti-imperialist countries like Venezuela and Syria. They also support Israel’s colonial project, advocating for the unfeasible notion of a “two-state solution” rather than supporting the decolonization of Palestine. These politicians may want to do away with neoliberalism within the United States, but they don’t seek to end the militarized global corporatocracy that’s killing and exploiting those in the Middle East and the global south.

We shouldn’t pretend that this re-arrangement of the structures of capitalist and colonial oppression is an acceptable alternative to the present system. At this point, we shouldn’t even be arguing about it. It’s long been apparent, especially for the indigenous Americans whose lands have been stolen from them through an ongoing campaign of genocide, that the United States can’t have its violent and oppressive nature “reformed” out of it. The United States needs to be overthrown and replaced with a decolonized territory that’s run as a socialist proletarian democracy.

And this can only be achieved through a war. A war that not always necessarily consists of military combat, but that’s nonetheless waged with the intent of bringing down the bourgeois and colonial power structures through any means necessary. Such wars for indigenous independence and class liberation have been victoriously waged before; Zimbabwe used to be a colonial country called Rhodesia until its indigenous people waged a civil war that turned it into an independent state in 1979, one that was long led by the communist Robert Mugabe. Cubans used a combination of movement-building and guerilla warfare to overthrow their capitalist dictatorship and create the remarkably successful socialist Cuban nation we know today. We in the U.S. have the potential to do the same, but it will take a level of commitment to revolutionary militancy that most of us haven’t yet developed.

It will take the realization that a revolution, as Mao said, “is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.”

Liberals like Sanders claim that revolution means a reconciliation between the classes, one where capitalism is made stable through higher taxes on the wealthy. But we don’t need to ask the wealthy for more money, we need to take the wealthy out of their position in society in a process of class warfare that results in a dictatorship of the proletariat. In a dictatorship of the proletariat-which is to say a true form of democracy where the proletariat solidifies its place in power-the bourgeoisie is the class that becomes suppressed. As Lenin wrote, “The dictatorship of the proletariat is a most determined and most ruthless war waged by the new class against a more powerful enemy, the bourgeoisie, whose resistance is increased tenfold by its overthrow.”

We’ll wage the first part of this war by organizing mass civil disobedience efforts, similar to the strikes and protests that have gripped France, Chile, and other capitalist countries throughout the last year. As this unrest continues, the proletariat will be presented with opportunities to win territory away from the bourgeoisie. The corporate and political elites could be forced to evacuate from certain areas amid intensive demonstrations, like happened this year in Ecuador when the neoliberal Moreno government relocated the capital in the face of relentless anti-government protests. We must both work to cultivate such scenarios by organizing blockades of streets and buildings, and equip the movement’s participants to defend the momentarily ceded areas from being retaken by the capitalist state.

I’m talking about a series of situations comparable to the one which appeared in Standing Rock in 1973, wherein the American Indian Movement carried out an armed occupation of a reservation. Except in this uprising, millions of proletarians from all ethnicities will need to be involved, and they’ll need to have a strategy for permanently winning territory. Failing a quick takeover of America’s governmental apparatus, we’ll need to first carve out zones controlled by the revolutionaries, like how India’s Maoist militias have done in the communist-run region known as the Red Corridor.

These tasks may be monumental, but the first step towards them can very easily and quickly be realized. This step is the outbreak of major social unrest, which has long been waiting to happen in the United States amid the country’s exceptional inequality and continually declining post-recession living standards. All that needs to happen for this unrest to break out is a catalyst event for lower class outrage, which could appear with the upcoming economic crash.

When this chaos erupts, the job of those who’ve been already educated about class struggle and anti-colonialism will be to rally the masses towards overthrowing and replacing the bourgeois state. This, along with decolonization, needs to be the essence of our goal if we’re serious about wanting a revolution. The bourgeois figures who claim that “revolution” means class reconciliation rather than the elimination of the bourgeoisie are trying to manipulate people’s common desire for peace. They hope that we’ll continue to fear the prospect of actual class confrontation enough that we accept a series of reforms within the First World.

But this “peaceful” solution will inevitably result in continued violence against the many groups who won’t be sharing in American social programs: Palestinians, Venezuelans, Syrians, north Koreans, and the other billions of people-both in the Third World and the First World-who will become victims of the future imperialist and capitalist projects that social democrats seek to perpetuate. This “peace” that the bourgeoisie offers is an illusion, and peace isn’t even a justifiable pretext for avoiding revolutionary confrontation. As the Korean revolutionary Kim Il-Sung said: “It is wrong to try and avoid the struggle against imperialism under the pretext that independence and revolution are important, but that peace is still more precious.”

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1 comment:

  1. I agree with the analysis of mass mobilization and then taking territory likely in rural areas first similar to Mao's strategy. But the chances of communists being the ones to lead the movement seems so unlikely. Even in third world protests like Iraq right now I really don't see these as turning socialist unfortunately.