Tuesday, November 30, 2010
My Views on Maoist Third Worldism.
There are many reasons why I am inspired to write a blog post about Maoist Third Worldism (MTWist). One main reason is the high amount of chauvinism and xenophobia shown by first worldist communist toward the MTW movement. Another few reasons is their theory of what a proletariat is, their ideas of international proletarian revolution, and their attitude towards the present conditions in imperialist countries and finally just the heavy amount of myths that surround this ideology are some reasons why I am writing this blog post.
Let me start by saying as a Marxist it is important to take a scientific approach to all ideas, situations and circumstances. Please keep this in mind while reading this. This post is not meant a promotion nor a condemnation of Maoist Third Worldism (MTW).
One thing I find very interesting about MTW is their idea that not everyone who is part of the working class is a proletariat. While most communist refer to all workers or anyone who sells their labor as a proletarian the MTWist see this as incorrect as did Marx. The proletarian is someone who has nothing to lose but their chains, who has nothing to sell but his labor. The proletarian is also someone who produces value or engages in productive labor. Now this hardly applies to many people in the united states let alone anyone in the first world. As the LLCO correctly point out in one of their blogs "This effect is magnified even more by the relative ease with which First World peoples gain access to large amounts of credit. Significantly, First World workers also receive a share of imperialist super profits extracted from the Third World–just because they are from the First World. Furthermore, First World workers are generally not involved in productive labor as Marx’s model proletarian is. Rather, First World people are employed in non-value-creating positions such as management, merchant capital enterprises, white-collar work, distribution, the service industry, etc. They are often employed in positions that are purely parasitic and drain value. Also, they are often employed in work that may be necessary to realize value, but is not itself value creating."(1)
"global median is about $2.50 a day. There are more people in India earning less than $0.80 a day than people living in the USA." These are staggering numbers that knock me to the floor. It is hard to believe that anyone thinks a revolution will happen in a place where the minimum wage is $5.50 higher then what the average worker in the rest of the world makes. A person making $10,000 a year is in the top 13.3% of the worlds wealthiest people annual income wise. The average American home brings in around $50,000 dollars a year that would put you in the top 1% of the wealthiest people in the world. Now try to imagine you were given only $3,000 dollars to live off of for a whole year, just $3,000 you would still be in the top 15% of wealthiest people on earth annual income wise. The MTWist actually make more sense the more of the ideas I explore.
Their idea of international revolution is easy to follow and makes a lot of sense. They basically follow the ideas of Lin Biao set out in the book "Long Live the Victory of People's War". In the book Lin Biao puts forward that in an international revolution the smaller third world countries would act as the rural areas and that imperialist first world countries would be the cities, and in order to win the international revolution the proletarian army would have to first gain control of the rural country sides (poor, third world countries). After they gained control of the international country sides then the people's army would have to encircle and take over the cities of the world (the first world imperialist nations).
This takes me into one of the myths Ive heard over and over not just about MTWist but Maoist in general. That they are nationalist. I have no clue where this notion came from and I don't care. As a Maoist I can say that not only are we not nationalist but we are the strongest internationalist in the world ideologically. Every Maoist has called for international proletarian revolution. From Mao in China to Fred Hampton in the US we have always called for the start of an international revolution. MTW are no different in fact they are more internationalist than most people claiming to be communist because those who even live in the first world call for the freedom and empowerment of the third world before focusing on their own-selves. That is real internationalism, they call on themselves to uphold the need to lower their living standards so that the people of the world can live more equally. In my opinion that is about as far away from nationalism as possible.
Ive heard so many myths swirling around this ideology that it is hard to chose one to talk about. One time some one said they had heard that MTWist want to "enslave the first world workers" not only is this silly but this is a case of one "socialist" party trying to cause xenophobia towards MTWism. After reading through the LLCO/MSH material I think where the idea of this came from is that the LLCO (correctly) asserts that in order for socialist redistribution to work the workers in the first world imperialist nations would have to lower their standards of living in order for the standards of living in the third world to go up. I agree because we can not pull random nonexistent value from no where. The earth can only produce so much value at a time and in order for everyone on earth to live up to the living standards of the US we would need like 2-3 earths.
Last thing I wanna touch on is what the MTWist mean by "first worldist". A first worldist is someone who thinks that workers in the first world imperialist nations are more advanced than workers in the second and third worlds. Advanced meaning they think the first world workers have more revolutionary potential and that the first world worker is more class conscious. This is mainly just childish chauvinism but where it is dangerous is that it is anti-dialectal. It instills a false sense into the "communist" of the first world that a revolution is not only possible in their country but that if one happens that it will happen in a advanced first world nation. Now lets be clear that with Russia being the one exception (and it is debated rather they were even a first world nation during 1917) there has never been a successful proletarian/communist revolution in a first world country. All great proletarian revolutions took place in third world countries. So it is anti-dialects if a leader of you party/ORG tells you otherwise.
Other times they refer to FWist as people who fight for gains for the first world workers but the MTWist warn that these gains are not free and that the gains won by these struggles come on the backs of third world proletarians. And the MTWist claim that first world worker gain from their nations imperialist exploitation. The counter argument Ive heard to this is that "No imperialist CORP is going to share its profits with the people of their nation" on this issue I am torn. I think we in the first world do slightly benefit from the exploitation of the third world by our government. But I also think that most of the profits stolen from the third world end up in the banks or the big CORP's pockets for the most part.
I think MTWism is something that is a hint of fresh air to a rather stale and old movement. They have a lot to contribute to the movement and I believe their use of Marxism as a science is as good as anybodies. I would encourage my reader to check out their site and read some for themselves before turning their nose up at the Maoist third worldist. You can find the link to the Leading Light Communist Organization at the side of this page I invite you to go and read their material you might like what you see.
By: Dustin Slagle
(1)http://llco.org/archives/4911, FEB, 1, 2010