Saturday, March 11, 2023

We have an opportunity to rebuild the communist movement, & thereby make the class struggle vastly escalate

The working class has not yet carried out a revolution in response to the last half-century’s cruel neoliberal policies because the working class has lacked the means that would be needed for it to fight back. This disarming of the proletariat was carried out through the suppression of American communism, where an environment of intimidation got cultivated and the communist movement became demobilized. For us to rebuild the movement, and have it overcome the present campaign of repression, we’ll need to not just win over the people, but all the while operate with the knowledge of a certain fact about our conditions. This fact is that as soon as we gain enough power, the class conflict will escalate, to the point where the state is waging anti-communist war to a greater degree than it ever has. And that to overthrow the capitalist state, we’ll need to have cadres ready which have been made into effective armies. Not “armies” in an exclusive sense, rather entities with numerous functions that are capable of taking on such a role should the circumstances mandate they do. 

In the present moment, the outward role a communist cadre needs to take on is one of building mass power: organizing within the labor movement, expanding the antiwar movement, furthering education on anti-imperialism and the ways capital imprisons the people. This is because even though we’re not yet at the stage in our revolutionary crisis where tactical tools are needed beyond self-defense, we are at a stage where the system’s crises have rendered the people desperate for an outlet to assert their material interests. Fifteen years of post-2008 proletarian economic depression, a pandemic that’s permanently diminished wages and the job market, and an inflation crisis exacerbated by imperialist militarism have brought the workers to what could be their breaking point. That is, so long as we provide them with the tools to mobilize and educate themselves, making them able to defy the system while expecting this to bring actual change.

This model of practice, where we respond to the people’s immediate practical needs within our mass work while preparing to respond to something more dire in our inner work, is about more than protecting ourselves. It’s about doing the equivalent of what the U.S. empire’s geopolitical challengers are now doing, which is changing the balance of power by acting against the dominator. Russia’s military strategists, informed by the lessons from their forebears in fighting fascism, know that to stop Ukraine’s fascist U.S. puppet regime from again menacing the Donbass Russian speakers, more must be done than the immediate defense of the threatened communities. Ukraine’s military itself has to be destroyed, eliminating the potential for Ukraine’s Donbass shelling campaign to continue. Not just self-defense has had to be employed in order for anti-imperialism to triumph. The anti-imperialists have also had to make use of offense, after the moment when this became the strategically sound option.

The same logic of “don’t merely block, also punch” applies to class warfare. The state is guaranteed to use force to try to crush the revolutionaries, therefore the revolutionaries can’t crush the state without using force themselves to some degree. This isn’t voluntarism, where theoretically mal-developed radicals act like fools and rush into action without consideration for what the circumstances call for. So long as one has a serious analysis of their conditions, they’ll avoid voluntarism and adventurism, and be capable of utilizing tactical means in the ways that can actually bring victory to the workers. This is a matter I’ve raised with other Marxists who seek to properly understand our conditions. And I haven’t needed to try to convince them for them to ultimately come to the same conclusion I have: that our social reality in the imperial center is one where the forces which oppose revolution have an amount of strength which necessitates we fully develop our cadres in the physical sense. 

American capitalism gets its strength not just from external imperialism, but from internal imperialism, where it extracts stolen indigenous resources. When a bourgeois state can fortify itself in this way, a revolutionary project can only succeed when it’s gained the proportionate amount of strength. Strength that comes both from popular support, and from cadres that are capable of being versatile in the tasks they take on.

Our present task of winning the people is what will make us need to fulfill the types of tasks detailed in Che and Mao’s literature on the practical logistics of overthrowing a state. Because once we get successful enough at organizing our communities and gaining numbers, the state will intensify its counterinsurgency against us, and we’ll have to either take decisive action or be defeated. This moment of confrontation won’t look exactly like that of a peripheral country like Cuba, but it will have enough similarities to Cuba’s story that we must be ready to face the most extreme situations Cuba’s revolutionaries faced. That’s the kind of strategic, long-term thinking which we must have from the outset of our operations. A liberal activist thinks in reactive terms, not considering more than how they can contribute to whatever social cause is popular at the moment. A similar mindset can be found in the types of Marxists who comprehend the need for building a mass movement, but haven’t thought of what exactly they’ll need to do to win power after this movement has been built. A serious Marxist thinks in terms of how they can reach the end goal of defeating the state, which means they view activism as only one of the tools they’re going to need to use.

We’re at a point where even though activism continues to be the foremost tool that’s necessary for us to employ, a scenario in which other tools become called for is no longer as distant as it used to be. Should we be successful enough at building an anti-imperialist coalition, and at making communism mainstream again, we’ll have broken through the first layer in the state’s counterinsurgency. This layer is activism gatekeeping, where left anti-communists try to keep Marxist-Leninists from gaining influence within popular movements. When this layer is overcome, the next layer will become our responsibility to overcome, and so on until we’ve won.

With the failure of Washington’s Ukraine proxy war having produced this generation’s biggest anti-imperialist backlash, and our dire socioeconomic conditions provoking an increase in class struggle, a rise in revolutionary politics is much more possible than it was only a few years ago. The idea of a revitalized communist movement is no longer theoretical, because these combined factors of capitalist collapse and imperial hubris have created an opening for us. A mass movement against the proxy war has emerged, and captured the attention of the broad public. The job of Marxists is to build this movement’s communist flank, bringing in those from across the many ideological tendencies of the anti-imperialist coalition. As we expand our outreach efforts beyond the left, especially the imperialism-compatible modern version of the “left” that COINTELPRO has set up, we take organizing influence away from those who oppose the class struggle.

To be effective communists, we must come to a synthesis between prioritizing the organizing-focused immediate stage of the struggle, and prioritizing the later stages of the struggle in which we may have to use all of our tactical skills. When one discounts neither of these components of our fight, and has learned how to incorporate them into their practice where appropriate, they become the ideal type of revolutionary. That’s why I’ve not only covered why hope exists for the class struggle, but articulated the things we must do in order to take advantage of this hope. As after we’ve made communism mainstream again, we’ll have a new job, the job of using our new influence to take the bourgeoisie out of power.


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