On the one hand, we must combat the ideology of bourgeois (bush-wah) nationalism and on the other bourgeois liberalism and Anarchism. We must struggle to put proletarian ideology and politics in command. This is essential to re-establishing a revolutionary vanguard party and building a Worldwide United Front Against Capitalist-Imperialism, Racism and Police State Repression!
The dominant ideas in any period are those of the class that owns or otherwise controls the primary means of production. In this period, that is the ruling class of super-rich capitalists whose combined personal wealth is greater than the majority of the rest of us put together – who own the big banks, transnational corporations, monetary funds and global media. In short – “Wall Street” dominates the world culturally and ideologically as well as economically and politically.
WHO ARE THE PROLETARIANS?
The proletariat is the class of modern day “wage slaves,” who survive by selling our labor power to the capitalists for less than it is worth. Within the proletariat is the underclass of – lumpen proletarians – literally “raggedy slaves,” who have been marginalized and pushed to survive by any means necessary including hustling and other criminal means. As automation and “outsourcing” of production increasingly displaces workers in the U.S., as globalization enables the capitalists to shop the whole world for cheap labor, more and more workers are pushed into the ranks of the lumpen-proletariat. In the neo-colonial countries, mining companies, agribusiness and land speculators are pushing the peasants off their lands and into the urban centers, where they cannot all be absorbed into the working proletariat even at starvation “sweatshop wages.” Many are pushed to leave their homelands and migrate to the imperialist countries seeking employment and escape from wars and social chaos.
The proletariat is the first and the only “all-the-way revolutionary” class in history. This is because it can only free itself from exploitation and oppression by sweeping away all oppression, all exploitation and all class privileges and discrimination. The class struggle between the bourgeoisie (bush-wah-zee) and the proletariat can only be resolved in the replacement of class society by classless society or communism.
Human Society develops in waves or stages based upon revolutions in the mode of production around which society is organized. “Primitive Communalism” is the initial and formative stage of human social evolution. To give an idea how important culture is, it now appears that prior to developing speech, early humans developed their breath control and use of their vocal chords by singing, and singing together developed community.
Primitive people lived hand to mouth and consumed what was edible in Nature as they found it. Community facilitated survival as “each one taught one” as to what to eat and where to find it, and there was security and strength in numbers. Being “Communalists,” early humans thought as a group and caring and sharing were essential to the dynamics of community survival. Developing language enhanced communication and group identity. Climate change and depletion of food resources compelled early humans to migrate far and wide, eventually leaving Mother Afrika and spreading out to other lands and climates. When groups became too large or had differences, they split and went their separate ways, developing their own cultures and customs over time, and again dividing and moving, over and over until even the remotest regions and extreme climates became populated.
Quantitative changes give rise to qualitative leaps in evolution. And gradually, some groups evolved to where their collective individual labor was producing a surplus. Gathering developed into gardening and ultimately agriculture, and hunting developed into herding and domestication of animals. Property created theft and the conversion of common wealth into private property. The invention of private property divided society into classes – freeman and slave – and overturned the equality between men and women.
The Epoch of Exploitation was the “Dawn of Civilization,” and wars to obtain ultimate domination. Every ancient kingdom and empire was built on the backs of slave labor. But the World was so big back then, nobody could conquer all of it. The Romans came the closest. The Romans conquered the Barbarians of the West including more than half of the British Isles and to the Rhine in Germania. The Empire included all the lands bordering the Mediterranean Sea. A series of slave rebellions, including the one led by Spartacus in the last century BC rocked the Empire, which eventually fell before the invasion of Barbarian hordes in 476 AD.
The decentralization of power in the former Western Roman Empire led to the rise of a new system of feudalism which was based on a ruling class of warrior aristocracy whose wealth derived from agriculture and control of lands through a system of vassalage and serfdom. Serfdom was a step up from slavery in that peasant serfs could not be bought and sold outright but belonged to the land. From the king or duke down to the lowest serf, everyone was governed by a system of obligations and privileges that were hereditary. Society was divided into three primary Estates consisting of the Nobility, the Church and the Peasantry.
Feudalism was a time of continual warfare, and wars required financing and equipping and the rise of towns and cities and a new estate based on wealth and trade. The bourgeois arose from the burghers or townsmen of feudal society. Manufacturing and trading gradually became more important sources of wealth and power than land and tittles. In its turn feudalism was overthrown by capitalism. Nationalism played an important part in the defeat of feudalism. In establishing its own class dictatorship over a particular territory, the bourgeois state invests itself with a monopoly on the legitimate use of force and violence within a given geographical territory and the right to rule over the people and exploit the natural resources.
Patriotism amounts to loyalty to one’s own national bourgeoisie and their “national security” interests anywhere in the world. By around 1500, feudalism had decayed to where serfdom had been abolished in Western Europe, and it was abolished in Central and Eastern Europe by the 1850’s and finally in Russia in 1861. Colonialism and trafficking in slaves and the products of their unpaid labor gave the rising bourgeois all the clout they needed to push the old nobility out of their way. In contrast to hereditary privilege they promoted liberal democracy and the “Rights of Man,” ironically as they traded in slaves and committed genocide against non-Europeans. To justify this apparent contradiction, they invented the doctrine of white racial superiority and the “White Man’s Burden” to “civilize” the “barbaric races.”
The bourgeoisie also created their opposite in the proletariat, composed of former peasants and ruined artisans and tradesmen. The early proletarians were called into political life by the liberal democratic revolutions against the remnants of the old feudal regime. They fought on the barricades and in the new national armies. Then in 1871, they raised their own red flag and fought on the barricades of Paris to establish their own class dictatorship. The Paris Commune did not last long, from March 18 to May 28, 1871. It occurred in the wake of France’s defeat in the Franco-German War and the collapse of Napoleon III’s Second Empire (1852–70). But in those few weeks, they gave the World a glimpse into the future, a world based on equality and strict separation of Church and State, where the masses participated in running society and elected representatives were subject to recall by the people, and paid workmen’s wages.
Where the revolutionary bourgeoisie had only talked of the “Rights of Man” the proletarians talked of the rights of women too, and women communards shouldered muskets and fired cannons alongside the men. They created free food kitchens and bakeries and turned the church buildings into free schools and clinics. Shops and factories abandoned by the bourgeoisie were reopened and run by the workers. But they missed the opportunity to march on Versailles and crush the bourgeois headquarters while it was in confusion and gave them time to regroup and counterattack, drowning the Commune in blood.
In the 20th Century, the proletariat again seized state power in the Russian Revolution, in the midst of World War I. Again the bourgeoisie tried to drown the revolution in blood, but this time the proletariat prevailed and the first Socialist State was born – the Soviet Union. Other workers’ revolutions were attempted in Germany and elsewhere, but they were crushed, with the help of the “Social Democrats” who had betrayed Marxism for accommodation with their own national bourgeoisie. Under the leadership of Lenin and then Stalin, the Soviet Union advanced from a horse-drawn wooden plow agricultural economy to a world power, and a powerful rear area of the World Proletarian Socialist Revolution.
Stalin used to say that, “Social-Democracy is the liberal wing of fascism.” There is a lot of truth in that.
WHAT IS FASCISM?
According to Benito Mussolini, the “Father of Fascism,” “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” Lenin, more succinctly, summed it up as “fascism is capitalism in decay.” If we keep both these definitions in mind, we can see that fascism can adopt any form so long as it represents the merger of corporate and state power in the period of the decline of capitalist-imperialism.
“Shorn of all the verbiage and subterfuge, of all its nonsensical mystic wrappings, fascism is the violent attempt of decaying capitalism to defeat the proletarian revolution and forcibly retard its own demise. Fascism uses demagogy as a science for it dare not declare its aims openly, for it could build no mass support on the basis of its real aims.
“Bolshevism is knocking at our gates. We can’t afford to let it in. We have got to organise ourselves against it, and put our shoulders together and hold fast. We must keep America whole and safe and unspoiled. We must keep the worker away from red literature and red ruses; we must see that his mind remains healthy” (Al Capone).
“This appeal of a thief and gangster for the maintenance of the ‘existing’ social order against the menace of Bolshevism – proletarian revolution – is an apt introduction to the ideology of fascism. Neither can the fascists, like thieves and gangsters, for obvious reasons, openly and honestly proclaim their true aims, which are solely concerned with protecting the interests of monopoly capitalism. So they indulge in hypocritical moralist cant about keeping present-day society ‘unspoiled’ and keeping ‘healthy’ the workers’ minds. Gangster exploits accompanied by propaganda stuffed full of high moral tones is characteristic of a dominant class in a decadent society which has outlived its historical usefulness.” – Chairman Harpal Brar, CPGB (M-L), “Bourgeois Democracy and Fascism” (2010)
It was harder to see the “New Deal” as fascist in essence because of its social democratic appeal, but the objective threat of German fascism to the Soviet Union made it necessary to build a United Front Against Fascism that did not look too hard into the essence of the Western imperialist “democracies.” The revisionist leaders of the CPUSA were so enamored with the prospect of post-war cooperation between the US and the USSR that they were ready to disband the CP altogether in favor of “Communism is 20th Century Americanism.” The onset of the “Cold War” caught them completely “flat-footed,” and they have remained an appendage of the Democratic Party ever since.
As the decline of capitalism becomes more apparent, and the truth of Marxism is more substantiated, the dead weight of “Social Democracy” (and its ultra-left flip side), becomes more inhibiting and smothering. The more blatantly right-wing tendency of nationalism and “liberal (social-democratic) fascism” play off each other and even at times evoke the name of “revolution,” but you can search the whole gamut of “Left to Right” of this political spectrum and not find a genuine revolutionary strategy or even the serious intention of formulating one. There is a very scientific reason for this, these ideologies are not revolutionary and run counter to the idea of the proletariat overthrowing the bourgeoisie.
EVERYTHING REACTIONARY IS THE SAME…
That is, if you don’t hit it, it won’t fall. Cultural Revolution is the main way we combat reactionary ideas and ideologies. As Mao said: “Revolutionary culture is a powerful revolutionary weapon for the broad masses of the people. It prepares the ground ideologically before the revolution comes and is an important, indeed essential, fighting front in the general revolutionary front during the revolution.”
Culture is war. As Comrade Steve Biko noted: “The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” There is no such thing as art or culture that is apolitical. As Mao explained: “In the world today all culture, all literature and art belong to definite classes and are geared to definite political lines. There is in fact no such thing as art for art’s sake, art that stands above classes, art that is detached from or independent of politics. Proletarian literature and art are part of the whole proletarian revolutionary cause; they are, as Lenin said, cogs and wheels in the whole revolutionary machine.” [Our purpose is] “to ensure that literature and art fit well into the whole revolutionary machine as a component part, that they operate as powerful weapons for uniting and educating the people and for attacking and destroying the enemy, and that they help the people fight the enemy with one heart and one mind.” – Mao, “Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art” (May 1942)
Even after the proletariat seizes power, class struggle will continue and intensify, particularly in the realm of culture and public opinion. Every step forward to classless society will be opposed by those whose privilege is threatened and who cling to bourgeois ideas and aspirations. Those who are unwilling to commit class suicide will say, “the proletariat goes too far, they must have more patience and enjoy the victories they have achieved.” Petty bourgeois idealists will criticize the proletariat for having too much patience and not solving every problem with the stroke of a pen and for applying the mass line and applying a strategic plan.
Simply hitting at the most reactionary aspects of capitalist-imperialism is not enough. We must sweep the deck of reactionary thinking and all that holds us back from “all-the-way revolutionary” consciousness and struggle. We must hit all impotent thinking, outmoded strategies and all illusions of reform of capitalist-imperialism. In revolution one wins or dies, and this revolution will be global and won’t cease until the whole world is liberated. The days of national liberation have passed because capitalist-imperialism has made the world too small, and it has made the world too small for private ownership of the means of production. The people must take the power into their own hands – must take over everything – to set the world “right side up.”
Only a global planned economy can eliminate social injustice, poverty and war. Only the proletariat can command this economy to eliminate borders and nation states and resolve the basic survival issues we face as humanity. The proletariat has no country, no color and no gender. We are the harbingers of the new epoch of human social evolution – communism – and revolutionary intercommunalism is the path that will take us there. We are ordinary people, the “wretched of the Earth,” who own nothing but whose labor creates everything. Our struggle for survival compels us to play the vanguard role in this revolution without borders and people’s war to total victory over capitalist-imperialism.
DARE TO STRUGGLE DARE TO WIN!