Saturday, October 30, 2021

Global crises & the growing new Hitlerian extermination campaign

Colombian paramilitary members

Colombian paramilitary members

In Discourses on Colonialism, Aimé Césaire wrote that “At the end of capitalism, which is eager to outlive its day, there is Hitler. at the end of formal humanism and philosophic renunciation, there is Hitler.” Today’s communists must pay attention to this quote, because it could save our lives. If Hitler is what comes at the end of capitalism, what’s coming is a repeat of Hitler’s purges, which killed not just millions of Jews and Romas but nearly 100% of the communists in Nazi-controlled areas.

These new purges are going to take place throughout every corner of the capitalist world, aside from the parts where the resistance manages to carve out refuges. And they’ve already begun in the places where the bourgeoisie are most frantic to wage war. In the shadow of the mass exterminations within Latin America’s 20th century U.S.-installed dictatorships, and of the political genocide that Colombia has since undergone where thousands have been killed for their communist affiliations, Colombian police have killed over fifty protesters throughout this year’s anti-austerity demonstrations. These and other dissidents, disproportionately African and indigenous ones, have beenkilled or disappeared. And these are only the political murders that are hardest for the country’s narco-regime to downplay; since 2016, over 400 human rights defenders have been killed in Colombia, with the paramilitaries largely doing the dirty work in disappearing these and other undesirables. This purge is being aided by capitalism’s intensifying crises, with Colombian paramilitaries taking advantage of the pandemic lockdown to kill activists. The fact that this crackdown’s scorched-earth strategy is designed by a self-identified neo-Nazi proves Césaire‘s Hitler prediction right.

Despite Washington’s optical limitations on aid to Colombian law enforcement this year in response to international outcry over the country’s police abuses, the U.S. is perpetuating the purge in key ways. By continuing to refuse to take the main FARC branch off the terrorist watch list despite this branch cooperating with the peace deal, Washington is inflaming Colombia’s civil war. By continuing to aid Israel, Washington is enabling a key source for Colombia’s military technologies. And by continuing to exploit Colombia as a neo-colony, Washington is keeping the country in the conditions that perpetuate settler-colonialism, paramilitarism, and state violence.

Across Washington’s other fronts for warfare, the globe’s crises are being exploited for terror and extermination in the same ways. In Ukraine, where a fascist regime has ruled since 2014 following the U.S. coup, the outlawing of communist organizing and the governmental promotion of fabricated Soviet atrocity stories have gone along with a parallel extermination campaign. This month, journalist Russel Bentley described the regime’s atrocities, and the horrific conditions that have made them possible:

I recently witnessed the exhumation of human remains from a mass grave that contains over 200 bodies. It was a profound and profoundly disturbing experience. Each body in this grave represents an unnecessary and unjust death, a murder, and each of these over 200 murders can never be forgotten or forgiven. There is a message that cries out from these bones that must be heard and understood, and acted upon by all good people in the world. Otherwise, history will repeat itself, and again, the killers and the killing will continue, and more mass graves will be filled. After seven years of war, a war that continues to this day, these 200 bodies are being exhumed from the mass grave that the war forced them into back in summer 2014, during the heaviest attacks and siege by the Ukrainian "punishers" against the people of Lugansk. In those terrible days and nights of constant shelling and ever-present danger, there was no water or electricity, no safe place to process the bodies, no chance at all for a regular funeral.

History is repeating itself because the imperialists have strategically designed events to make things unfold in this way. By refusing to even condemn the Ukrainian regime’s open glorification of Nazi collaborators (this year the Biden administration completely sidestepped the matter following a march to commemorate Ukrainian Holocaust perpetrators), Washington has let the fascists operate with total impunity. As Ukraine’s severe corruption from extreme neoliberal shock policies, along with the country’s costly participation in Washington’s anti-Russian proxy war, have combined to turn Ukraine into a failed state, the fascists have been empowered even more. They’ve been able to send in their militias to target Jews, Romas, the LGBT community, ethnic Russians, and political dissidents, taking advantage of the power vacuum that’s appeared amid the breakdown of social structures.

It’s the same tactic the Nazis used in Poland: create a lawless environment, then swoop in with the death squads. In a power vacuum, the oppressors can carry out violence with impunity. This is why destabilizing states is such a common tactic for the imperialists, especially during the recent decades of imperial decline; with the failures of the “nation-building” insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the rise of multipolarity and class struggle, Washington has increasingly come to view the destruction of states as its only route towards holding onto hegemony. Or rather a new definition of “hegemony” where global civilization has largely collapsed at the hands of the imperialists, leaving the rich countries and the corporations that rule them the only remaining rulers of a burning planet.

This is the dystopian vision that the imperialists have for most of the world, including (in the long term) countries like China. Washington wants its backing of Uyghur separatist terrorists to bring about the Balkanization of China via the establishment of an ethno-state called “East Turkestan” in Xinjiang, and the creation of an anti-communist proxy war mirroring the proxy war in Ukraine. The imperialists have similar visions for Iran, as indicated by Washington’s backing of the Iranian terrorist group the MEK. They’ll no doubt apply this kind of destabilization project to Russia, if it ever becomes remotely feasible there. NATO’s media appendages have already been covertly meddlingin Russia to sow instability, correlating with Washington’s narrative backing of the fascist Russian “anti-corruption” leader Navalny.

They’ve already succeeded at destabilizing the horn of Africa. They continue their destabilization of Syria via ever-tightening sanctions against the country. They’re destabilizing anti-imperialist Latin American countries like NicaraguaCuba, and Bolivia via coups, proxies, and mercenaries. They’ve manufactured a political crisis via assassination in Haiti with the goal of preemptive counterrevolution. They’re perpetuating violence in Colombia, and in a Brazil that’s led by the CIA-tied Bolsonaro. Through their “humanitarian” NGOs, they’re backing the Hindutva fascist regime in India, which is perpetrating genocide against Muslims while enabling vigilantes to massacrestriking farmers with impunity. Afghanistan, Lebanon, Myanmar, and Yemen continue to suffer humanitarian crises due to Washington’s differing uses of blockades and warfare as applied to these countries. 

The imperialists aim to replicate these horrors in the strongholds of multi-polarity. This is the future they want for places like China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and Belarus, all of whom Washington is sanctioning to the effect of vastly exacerbating the pandemic. Human cost is irrelevant to Washington’s goal to hold onto power.

“Racial terror, violence, and genocide, is and always has been the point of the Western (and American) project,” writes the Hampton Institute’s Joshua Briond. “It is built into the fabric of the of the West—it is all Euro-American’s have ever known, culturally and politically. And they will, as we have seen, continue their terror and violence because the political economy is sustained on such; until the entire project is brought to a halt. The global capitalist political economy is predicated on and sustained through racialized violence…What we are seeing now, and have been seeing for the last four years is simply a declining empire doing anything and everything it can to maintain its tight (but loosening) grip on its own people—as well as the rest of the world. As evidenced by not just the uprisings and rebellions happening across the country and the world at-large, but the failed coup d’etat attempts—namely in Venezuela and Bolivia.”

If the imperialists don’t succeed at turning Washington’s rival superpowers into failed states stalked by imperialist terror forces, they’ll apply this treatment to the countries which profit from imperialism. The United States is well along in this process. The severe neoliberal shock policies that have skyrocketed inequality, the deliberate negligence that’s made likely close to a million Americans die from Covid, the militarization and Israelification of police, the militarization of border policies and the construction of the abusive migrant camps, the emergence of far-right vigilantes that have been murdering racial justice protesters with impunity—it’s all part of the inward turn of imperialism. The unmasking of the ugliest parts of colonialism and capitalism. These realities can only lead Briond to conclude: “The empire lives. For now. And Hitler is not dead.”


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.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

All communists must properly grasp geopolitics in order to win

The global class and anti-colonial war is a conflict that the imperialists have been able to rig at every turn. In the era of imperialism, where capital has gotten its tentacles into virtually every corner of the planet, those who seek to supplant capital must at all times carefully anticipate the next maneuvers of the forces of counterrevolution. This is because for as long as imperialism remains dominant, for as long as monopoly capital and finance capital have more leverage than the revolutionaries, the revolutionaries must navigate global markets.

This requires compromises. This requires tact, level headedness, and pragmatism. At this stage, to try to bypass these compromises in the name of ideological purity, to rush ahead with notions of immediately abolishing the state, money, nations, or all business, is to condemn the revolutionary struggle. As Michael Parenti wrote, this is what utopian socialist thinkers don’t grasp:

Real socialism, it is argued, would be controlled by the workers themselves through direct participation instead of being run by Leninists, Stalinists, Castroites, or other ill-willed, power-hungry, bureaucratic, cabals of evil men who betray revolutions. Unfortunately, this ‘pure socialism’ view is ahistorical and nonfalsifiable; it cannot be tested against the actualities of history. It compares an ideal against an imperfect reality, and the reality comes off a poor second. It imagines what socialism would be like in a world far better than this one, where no strong state structure or security force is required, where none of the value produced by workers needs to be expropriated to rebuild society and defend it from invasion and internal sabotage.

“Dengists” are now another one of those categories of supposed villains that get accused of corrupting socialism. At the core of the attacks against Deng Xiaoping’s approach towards building socialism in China—which range from flimsy charges of Chinese imperialism to outright CIA disinformation about Uyghur ethnic cleansing—is the idea that the Dengists have embraced a “revisionist” vision of Marxism. This charge is propagated not just by sectarians within the communist movement, but by the U.S. media at large; the concept that China is an imperialist oligarchy that’s socialist only in name prevails within how pundits frame the country. Whatever real or imagined contradictions exist within China—or within the other socialist countries—get exploited to hammer in this argument. The argument that gets interpreted by much of the U.S. left as a call for geopolitical neutrality, where we should take the stance of “neither Washington nor Beijing.” 

The same applies to the questions of whether to defend Assad, or Iran, or Venezuela, or Cuba, or the DPRK, or Russia, or the anti-imperialist government in Belarus. Because the CIA’s narratives about these countries can’t be questioned without provoking accusations of atrocity denial, “authoritarianism,” “campism,” or (within the sectarian leftist facet of this rhetoric) “revisionism,” the default Western leftist stance is to not take sides when it comes to geopolitics. This is the approach advocated for by the Democratic Socialists of America, which has put forth the statement: “Against Campism, for International Working-Class Solidarity.” Numerous other sources within the U.S. left, from Jacobin to Haymarket, have endorsed this sentiment.

There’s something deeply suspect about all of this. Foremost, why does this divisive backlash against “campism” exist at all, and why has it gained such prominence within leftist discourse specifically during the recent years when Washington has launched a full-on hybrid asymmetrical war against China? Why does the rhetoric of this backlash paint things so simplistically, portraying solidarity with besieged anti-imperialist countries not as the nuanced stance that it is but as an uncritical endorsement of everything these countries do? International workers solidarity and anti-imperialist solidarity aren’t mutually exclusive. We can view China as a socialist country while supporting the struggle of China’s workers to overcome the contradictions they continue to face. We can defend Russia from Washington‘s propaganda while supporting the struggle of its proletariat to restore the Soviet Union.

And why do these calls for “nuance” in discussing anti-imperialist countries consistently exaggerate or fabricate the transgressions of these countries, resorting to Western media tropes like the one about Chinese “neo-colonialism” in Africa? Nothing about these arguments comes across as good faith. They all take on the characteristics of concern-trolling, where someone raises an issue of “concern” simply for the sake of raising an issue.

What happens when a communist lets this rhetoric control the narrative? When they accept the flawed arguments about China being imperialist, and about today’s great geopolitical conflict therefore being an inter-imperialist rivalry rather than the class war that it is? What happens is they sabotage their own cause. They can even become pawns in Washington’s cold war machinations, whether in propaganda terms or in more destructive areas. Last year the Philippine communist party, a Maoist entity which subscribes to the narrative that Dengists betrayed socialism, began a campaign to use its armed wing for attacking Chinese firms within the country.

Look at how enthusiastic the CIA’s propaganda outlet Radio Free Asia was to report this news, and to emphasize the overlap in interests that Washington has with the Maoists in sabotaging China’s projects: 

[The Maoists] target Chinese companies involved in infrastructure projects, including state-backed firms that the United States has blacklisted for their part in Beijing’s militarization in the South China Sea. The communists announced the move six weeks after the Philippine government – their enemy for the past half-century – declared that it would not follow Washington’s lead by cutting ties with firms involved in China’s building of artificial islands and military installations in the disputed waterway. At least one of those 24 firms sanctioned by the U.S. is involved in Philippine infrastructure projects.

These terrorist attacks against China’s firms—firms which serve the national interests of the Philippines by enabling it to usher in a “golden age of infrastructure”—come on the heels of fifty years of guerrilla warfare waged by the Maoists. This war could have ended with the country’s 2016 peace deal, but the Maoists have continued to deprive the country of peace, ironically to the consequence of setting back the victory for proletarian revolution in the Philippines; like the infamous “Gonzaloist” Maoists in Peru, they’ve pursued and continued violence to an excessive degree, one that the material conditions don’t call for. All rationalized by their core belief that existing socialism is the enemy, and that the Maoist splinter ideology (along with its adventurist impulses) must therefore be adhered to at all costs.

It’s no wonder why in addition to anarchism, Maoism is historically one of the ideologies that the FBI’s counterintelligence program has promoted in order to splinter the left, and to attack existing socialism from a “socialist” position. Maoism, and ultra-leftism generally, have always posed a risk of destabilizing the proletarian movement. In regards to the Naxalites, India’s branch of this Maoist sectarian faction, the Communist Party of India has featured a 1985 article which affirms that this faction is a threat to the global proletarian movement:

[It’s] the time-tested experience of the international communist movement that left – sectarianism and ultra-left adventurism is the observation of right-reformism and revisionism and ends up serving the interests of the ruling classes. Ultra – leftism of any variety of which naxalism is type, contains within itself the seeds of disruption and self-destruction.

It is well known that the naxalite movement disintegrated into myriad groups and factions in the early seventies within five years of its birth. Along with this organizational disintegration, and preceding it, was the ideological disarray and confusion. In this article, the focus is on the ideological deadend these groups have reached, which is the basis for the continuing derailment of the left-adventurist stream. After continuously grappling with the ideologically bankrupt positions taken at the outset, the naxalite groups are nowhere near resolving the problems, which began when they abandoned their Marxist-Leninist moorings. Every theoretical and political issue, which confronts them, leads [to] further ideological confusion and consequent organisational splintering. Despite their decade-long struggle to “reorient and rectify” their positions none of these groups have come anywhere near correcting their dogmatic errors. On the other hand, these groups have further degenerated into anti-left anarchic groups subject to the worst forms of petty-bourgeois deviations.

And these problems still apply to the Naxalites, who are fighting a perpetual decades-long guerrilla war in parallel to the situation of the Philippine Maoists. This is the consequence of failing to properly grasp geopolitics. Because the original Maoists made the mistake in their geopolitical analysis of concluding that the USSR was “social imperialist,” they splintered the global communist movement upon the introduction of the Deng reforms, seeing any deviation from Mao’s approach as a repeat of the Soviet Union’s mistakes (mistakes which they exaggerated in the first place). Now they’re promoting the narrative that China has become imperialist due to its market reforms, and are using this as a rationale for militarily attacking Chinese firms to Washington’s delight.

Without a careful geopolitical analysis, one that allows for building the necessary bonds with socialist countries like China and learning from China’s socioeconomic development, communists will find themselves running in circles of guerrilla struggle, splintering into quarreling factions, and acting as warfare proxies for the imperialists. And should they ever win their endless guerrilla wars, the socialist states they’ll try to build will be constrained by dogma, with these states’ leaders refusing to utilize private business like every existing socialist state has done.


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.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

NATO’s cognitive warfare & the preemptive counterrevolution

One of the graphics from NATO’s 2020 report on the future of warfare

One of the graphics from NATO’s 2020 report on the future of warfare

Since the 2008 financial crisis, where inequality has gotten so monstrous that class conflict is more palpable than it’s been in living memory, the U.S. ruling class has grown more open in treating society as a battlefield. The recent wave of U.S. strikes is the latest indication that capital is under growing threat, a threat that capital is responding to with paranoia and brutality. 

A ruling class preparing for war

The militarization of police, the training of police in Israeli repressive techniques, the black-bagging of protesters by unidentified officers, the direct collaboration between big banks and law enforcement, have given off the impression that our government is coming to view the masses as enemy combatants. It’s the logical conclusion of the War on Terror’s human rights abuses, a development where imperialism’s tactics get brought home in reaction to imperial decline and the weakening of capital.

The U.S. military shares this drive towards treating class politics in the country’s borders as a war. A war in the same sense that Washington frequently treats it in places like Colombia, where the U.S. tacitly backs the fascist death squads. U.S. militia culture is morphing into an early version of when those death squads are replicated here, and sent in to try to crush this country’s growing social movements. Law enforcement, which regularly collaborates with militias in countering protests and is deeply tied to white supremacist groups, is standing by to assist in this coming anti-communist purge. And the military and intelligence centers are preparing to integrate America’s brewing right-wing vigilante violence into their designs.

Pentagon documents from recent years have described a near-future domestic conflict as “inevitable” and “unavoidable,” citing the growth in poverty and social dysfunction that the country is going to continue to experience under neoliberalism. The capitalist state knows its socioeconomic system, as well as its intensifying military occupation of colonized communities, are going to provoke mass backlash. And it sees domestic warfare as the cost of keeping these oppressive structures in place. Utilizing the fascist militias as proxies will be as much a believable tactic for the government to take up as bombing neighborhoods, which Philadelphia police actually did in 1985.

If the ruling class sees our situation as one of imminent physical war, we must learn to anticipate their warfare maneuvers. Maneuvers that have already been in place for many decades in non-physical forms, and that are now ramping up as the capitalist reaction intensifies. These tactics are the covert dividing and weakening of liberation movements, which have taken on even more insidious forms than the COINTELPRO approach of infiltrating organizing spaces. Sabotaging a social movement can be as broad and hard to pin down as spreading a lie among the general public, one designed to blunt the spread of class consciousness.

The Xinjiang genocide narrative as a weapon in cognitive warfare

A recent example is the lie that China is committing a genocide against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. This narrative, which has been objected to by many Xinjiang Uyghurs themselves, originates from the kind of source that the CIA and NATO are now especially pivoting towards the use of: an academic. Adrian Zenz, a German anthropologist with a Master's degree in development studies, has had his blatantly biased research (which is motivated by his extreme Christian ideology) promoted uncritically throughout the entire bourgeois media, as well as by virtually all of Western academia. The Western academia outlet Research Gate has even featured an article which states (not inaccurately) that “Scholars and Activists Increasingly Fear a Uyghur Genocide in Xinjiang,” and justifies this widespread failure of academic integrity by uncritically promoting the baseless assertion that “upwards of one million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims have been forced into internment camps.”

This narrative manipulation fits with the model of warfare that a NATO-sponsored study from last year laid down for the imperialist governments to utilize, wherein the minds of the masses are turned into weapons for whatever wars—externally or internally—the imperialists seek to win:

Today’s progresses in nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science (NBIC), boosted by the seemingly unstoppable march of a triumphant troika made of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and civilisational ‘digital addiction’ have created a much more ominous prospect: an embedded fifth column, where everyone, unbeknownst to him or her, is behaving according to the plans of one of our competitors…The modern concept of war is not about weapons but about influence. Victory in the long run will remain solely dependent on the ability to influence, affect, change or impact the cognitive domain…Cognitive warfare may well be the missing element that allows the transition from military victory on the battlefield to lasting political success. The human domain might well be the decisive domain, wherein multi-domain operations achieve the commander’s effect.

What does this mean when it comes to the U.S. government’s strategy for stopping proletarian revolution? It means preemptively sabotaging the Marxist-Leninist movement within U.S. borders by convincing the public to hate Marxism-Leninism. Which can be done through a myriad of narrative approaches, with the Uyghur narrative being just one facet in this vast, overarching psychological warfare campaign. By propagating the Xinjiang genocide lie, the U.S. government has convinced around 70% of its citizens to agree with the following answer in a Pew Research question from this year: “Try to promote human rights in China, even if it harms economic relations with China.” 

Most Americans now believe that the world’s largest and most geopolitically influential Marxist-Leninist party has been committing a genocide, which gives great propaganda ammunition for U.S. cognitive warfare’s more important anti-communist tactic: the manufacturing and weaponization of divisions within the U.S. left. It’s more important because while the masses will continue to radicalize against capitalism despite their largely swallowing the CIA’s geopolitical narratives, the ruling class can stop the masses from gaining access to the communist organizations which can help them gain liberation. This can be done by subjecting these organizations to concerted attacks by saboteurs from anti-communist sectarian factions within the left.

Cultivating anti-communist wreckers

This combination of class warfare tactics—emotionally charged disinformation about communism and stoking of sectarian rifts within social movements—applies not just to the U.S., but to all the other countries in Washington’s sphere of influence. Especially since the start of the campaign to scapegoat China for the pandemic, Sinophobia has been made into the center of foreign affairs thinking throughout the entire liberal world. And before the communist organizations that seek to challenge this Sinophobia experience direct state repression, they have the state’s movement wreckers in the anti-communist left to deal with.

Reporting on the documents from the FBI’s Cold War era counterintelligence programs, journalist Ben Norton has described how the feds have used these sectarians as anti-communist proxies:

US police used anarchist talking points and ideology to “disrupt” the left and demonize Vietnam, the Soviet Union, and other targets of imperialism, according to internal FBI documents released through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. “The anarchists point of view is the most disruptive element in the New Left and should be capitalized on in the most confusing ways,” the FBI wrote. In its Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO), which aimed to destabilize and destroy the socialist, anti-imperialist left in the United States, the FBI realized that anarchism and other ultra-left movements could be an effective weapon…The feds also created a Maoist, staunchly anti-Soviet newspaper called Chevara News. This later turned into a right-wing, Ayn Rand-adoring objectivist publication under the name The Rational Observer.

When you’ve studied how the imperialists dismembered Yugoslavian socialism, these details feel familiar. By the admission of some of their own former agents, the CIA scapegoated the Serbs, painting them and their leader Milosevic as perpetrators of genocide and as the source of the conflict. The CIA manufactured ethnic tensions throughout the Balkans, explained by atrocity propaganda that’s since been debunked with Milosevic’s 2016 exoneration on his war crimes charges. And as Michael Parenti observed, the imperialists even got a handful of anarchists and other such sectarian leftists to cheer for Yugoslavia’s destruction, believing Milosevic to be a fraudulent socialist who was guilty of the CIA’s atrocity accusations.

If the imperialists succeeded at Balkanizing China in the same way through their propagandistic inflaming of Han-Uyghur ethnic tensions, these kinds of sectarians would no doubt cheer it on as well, claiming the tragedy to be a victory against China’s “authoritarianism.” This is how the imperialists win: by convincing the masses, including the “leftist” ideological factions that are supposed to stand in solidarity with class and national liberation movements, that there’s a moral imperative to break apart the nations Washington targets. Even if the imperialists won’t succeed at doing to China what they did to Yugoslavia, they’re determined to preemptively sabotage socialist development within the core imperialist countries. And their narrative weapons in the campaign to Balkanize China have served as useful weapons in this fight against communism at home.


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.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

China and Cuba’s market reforms aren’t “revisionist”

In his work Critique of the Gotha Programme, Karl Marx took his objection to the analysis of some other communists as an opportunity to put forth an analysis of what needs to happen within communist development. At least in regards to the means of production, this analysis consists of the following ideas:

-That labor is not the source of all wealth; even without labor, we would have the wealth that nature gives us. Therefore, whether society has wealth doesn’t necessarily stem from whether labor is present.

-That there’s a difference between “labor” as it’s defined under the capitalist means of production, and labor as it would be defined under fully developed communism. Whereas labor under capitalism centers around business and the acquisition of property, labor under fully developed communism would not involve these things. 

As Marx articulates this: “In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life's prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly – only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

The steps towards such an outcome include the abolition of money and the abolition of the state, which reinforce the capitalist model of production. As Marx implies, such a shift would not take away society’s wealth and prosperity. It would only take away the inequalities that the capitalist model of production creates.

Under the capitalist model of production, the fact that people have different productive capacities makes them bound to become unequal. This is what he means by “bourgeois right”; the ability which the capitalist model of production gives individuals to unequally accrue resources. As Marx says, this right “tacitly recognizes unequal individual endowment, and thus productive capacity, as a natural privilege.”

During the initial stage of a socialist revolution, where the state and money haven’t yet been abolished, the bourgeois right is still recognized, because the capitalist model of production hasn’t yet been phased out. The workers now control the means of production, but they haven’t so far replaced it. As Marx writes, “What we have to deal with here is a communist society, not as it has developed on its own foundations, but, on the contrary, just as it emerges from capitalist society; which is thus in every respect, economically, morally, and intellectually, still stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it emerges.”

This facet in the steps towards communism, where Marx acknowledges that capitalism needs to be developed beyond in increments, applies to current events within the countries that are governed by Marxist-Leninist parties. Events that pertain to a crucial debate within today’s global communist movement: whether or not a communist party allowing private businesses to exist under its governance is revisionist.

The five modern socialist states China, Cuba, Laos, Vietnam, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea all allow private businesses within their borders to differing extents. And to the ire of some factions within the communist movement, China and Cuba in particular have responded to the imperialist sabotage of their economies by economically opening up. After Mao’s death, China decided to utilize markets to grow its economy (an approach that’s been behind the lifting of 850 million Chinese out of poverty, according to the research of Peking University’s Yao Yang). And this year, Cuba opened up its economy to private businesses to alleviate the costs of the pandemic and of U.S. sanctions.

The communist faction that believes Cuba’s economic policies to be revisionist is significant, at least enough to considerably impact mainstream thought within the movement., which describes itself as the “Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line,” features a 1983 article titled Cuba: What Went Wrong? It claims that it’s “clear that the Cuba of today is not a revolutionary country,” citing in part Cuba’s economic dysfunction and the consequential woes regarding the country’s living standards.

No doubt the “anti-revisionist” camp holds the same view of today’s Cuba in light of its recent reforms, as this camp continues to frequently decry modern China for its own utilizations of markets. But just as was the case in the 1980s, this camp is wrong. The central basis for the “anti-revisionist” position—and for the 1983 Cuba article’s argument—is  that the Soviet Union became not just revisionist, but “social imperialist,” and that Cuba in turn became a sugar colony for this imperialism. According to the article, this made Cuba’s leadership complicit in a neo-colonial project, indicating that it’s willing to betray Marxism in other ways.

But this characterization of the USSR’s socioeconomic role, which these “anti-revisionists” now apply to China with their accusations of the PRC engaging in “neo-colonialism,” is erroneous when directed at both countries. Neither fit the criteria for Lenin’s definition of imperialism, nor for the type of definition that one can apply in the 21st century. The PRC lacks the characteristic of a monopoly capitalist class that’s crucial for a country to be imperialist in the era of capitalism, as did the USSR.

This is why those who seek to paint existing socialism as “revisionist” hold tightly to the narrative about Soviet and Chinese imperialism; without it, their argument holds no theoretical or historical weight. There’s a difference between the actually revisionist domestic policies of the USSR’s post-Stalin leadership—which actively weakened the state’s role as an instrument of class struggle—and the policies of the modern socialist countries, which retain the proletariat dictatorship model laid down by Lenin and Stalin. Xi Jinping himself has stated that the post-Stalin USSR made a fatal mistake in abandoning the parameters provided by Marxism-Leninism. And the structure of today’s Communist Party of China continues to follow these parameters, despite the misleading attempts from the “anti-revisionists” to paint the party as controlled by capitalists.

When you peel back the misleading accusations of “social imperialism,” and of communist parties serving as fronts for capitalist oligarchies, you find that the existing communist countries are merely following in the path that Marx explained will be necessary for reaching communism: retain the capitalist model of production during the initial stage, and make that model extinct when the conditions allow for it. In the current conditions of imperialism, where all attempts to build communism are perpetually under siege, the state needs to be utilized by revolutionaries. This is the basis for Marxism-Leninism. 

And so long as a communist party doesn’t repeat the mistakes of the Soviet leadership, it can utilize markets without being revisionist. Given Cuba’s current conditions, where the imperialists are weaponizing the pandemic and the subsequent economic crisis to incite counterrevolutionary sabotage within the country, utilizing markets could turn out to be the country’s route out of counterrevolution. Because if market reforms have been indispensable for bringing China out of poverty, they’ll likely be indispensable for improving Cuba’s conditions, and therefore for weakening the leverage of the imperialists. They’ll also help address the legitimate internal shortcomings with Cuba’s economic model that the “anti-revisionists” have seized upon.


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