Friday, December 31, 2010

Is 'fighting back' counter productive?

In the past and in the present whenever there are any cuts made to the education budget or cuts to government jobs you will find socialist in the streets protesting to "fight back" against the cuts. But after a hundred or so years, we as a movement in the United States need to sit back and think to ourselves "is this really working for us? is this really productive to our cause? is this really raising consciousness among workers? Or is this showing the average US citizen that reforism works?"

Is fighting back against the cuts working for us? (By 'us' meaning communist orgs and groups) There are a lot of ways to approach this question and many more ways to answer it. The short answer is no. When we do 'fight back' we do not gain members nor does it raise awareness to real communist theories and ideas, or even radical ideas for a matter of fact. Some say "well if we advance communist slogans and try to organize as communist than no one will show up to the protest" Well to that I would say: "What is the point of being a communist organizer if you never organize for communism?" Some people feel like if other people are not organizing a group of people to yell at the US government for whatever reason they can find then they are bad communist and "arm chair revolutionaries". But I do not see these people who organize liberals into protesting as any more revolutionary than actual arm chair revolutionaries. In fact these organizers do little but reassure liberals that reformism works and that there is no need to revolt against the current capitalist system. Why would liberals radicalize if they think it is possible to reform capitalism from the inside or outside? which we all know is not possible.

Is this productive for the communist cause? While getting into the streets may cause direct contact with other people it actually draws people away from revolutionary socialism. As said above it only leads people to believe that reformism is possible and thus kills the idea of the need for revolution in the minds of the people. Although getting into the streets along with other people who are screaming can be inspirational to the communist but this inspiration is founded on false grounds because the bulk of the people around you are not in any way revolutionary. It would actually be better for the cause if we took anti-reformist stances and didn't participate in the organizing of liberals into shout squads. If the woman of this nation knew what the communist did for her as far as woman rights goes, if the average worker knew what communist have gone through to win him/her their workers rights then maybe 'communist' wouldn't be such a bad work. If workers knew what the world would look like without the 'reds' before us that organized so hard for their minimum wage and workers rights then they would be flocking to our revolutionary cause. But some socialist's constant complacency to just organize and move liberals in the streets in the name of "fight the power" for mere reforms are keeping us at the same numbers in memberships. Yes we know some of the protester based orgs are growing right now but as soon as it comes time to revolt these same orgs that are now growing would lose most of their membership. But what else should these orgs actually expect? When you advance liberal slogans you attract a liberal following and liberals will always chose flight before revolt. If these groups advanced communist slogans they would attract communist and maybe even convert a few fence sitting liberals over to our side.

Is this type of campaigning raising workers consciousness? Well let us be serious and completely honest about this. The average American worker does not care about politics and are especially xenophobic to anything new or different. Doing a 'fight back' campaign mainly reaches out to people who work for the government. At first you want to think 'well if they work for the government, and the government is trying to fire them and they see us trying to fight for their jobs won't they be more open to our ideas?' Not really, they may be thankful but we must remember that most socialist groups do these campaigns behind their liberal front groups so while the group may get new supporters and members for its front group these campaigns do little to forward the cause and ideas of communism.

I think I answered the question already to "is this showing the average US citizen that reforism works?" which the answer would be yes.

It is worth mentioning that while we should not use our communist groups to attempt to achieve reformism. It is important that we as individuals participate in trying to get lower tuition fees for collage and trying to stop charter schools from taking over public school buildings. We as individuals before being communist can not stand aside while kids parents are paying top dollar for a bottom tier education. Even though today the schools are capitalist and teach capitalism because education is in the hands of the capitalist. We communist must ensure that the children can read and write. We cannot control education and we cannot educate the masses into revolution or even educate them to have revolutionary ideas because as it was said "education in today's world is capitalist education." (1) So if education of the masses to revolution is not possible then we must support our children getting the best education they can get. It will just be up to us as individuals to teach our kids correct history.

Now here are some things Ive had said to me regarding my stance on these issues. "We should stay where the masses are. Marxist don't create their own groups separate of the masses." Lenin did and it worked out well for him. This sentence makes me think "well then go join the democrats" the same people who say that about not separating from the masses turn around and attack the CP-USA line for joining the democrats but they only do it for opportunistic reasons because they use the rhetoric that supports this move seeing as that is where the majority of the working class are in this country, with the democrats. So creating fight back campaigns does not keep you with the masses but just a few workers who might lose their job.

Ive heard "well, protesting and fighting back is a way to stay in 'the struggle' and to be a leader in the struggle". First off it should be clear that there is little to no 'struggle' happening in the US at the moment. Once again when I hear "leader in the struggle" I go right back to the liberal problem. Liberals don't struggle they complain and gripe then give up. Ive heard leadership in a socialist party say "well we didn't win and they made the cuts anyway but we got some new members out of the deal so it was worth it" that's a direct quote.

Fighting back doesn't help "the struggle" for socialism, it doesn't raise awareness. It just gives socialist something to do in their free time and then they are inspired by the protest which gives them a false hope which keeps them in the reformism circle. Fight back campaigns help prop up this capitalist system. As Ive explained; doing fight back campaigns is counter-productive because it gives the outsiders the idea that reformism can fix the system when any real revolutionary can tell you that the only thing that can fix this messed up imperialist, racist, capitalist system is a proletarian revolution by putting guns and "politics in command".

Say no to reformism!

When a reformist group posing as revolutionaries ask you to join, JUST SAY NO!

Let the system fall and we communist will pick up the pieces!

They say cut backs? We say wait til the people are pissed and arm them!

Written by: Dustin Slagle

*this article is about campaigns aiming to "fight back" against budget cuts and should not be viewed as and was not a polemic about FRSO (FB)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Are we communist lying to the working class?

I'm going to take the liberty of guessing that if you are reading this on a computer that you probably do not live in conditions the same as you see here on this photo. In fact there is a good chance you do not even know anyone who lives in these conditions.

In this post I would like to discuss some things that the "communist"/socialist parties of the US promise the working class and if these promises are realistic or not.

First of all it is important to point out that it would depend on if there was a world revolution or simply a revolution here in the United States for the purpose of building socialism to achieve communism. Because that would create two very different scenarios.

We must stop telling the US worker about how horribly he/she has it in the world. Almost 99% of US Americans live above the world poverty line. In fact the government had to create a different poverty line specifically for our country. In the rest of the world if you live off of less than one dollar a day then you are in poverty according to UNICEF. Now in the US (according to our government) people living under 7 dollars a day are considered to be living in poverty. That means there are more than one billion five hundred million people in extreme poverty in the world (people living on less than one dollar a day). That is more than five times the population of the US. Most panhandlers get more than a dollar a day in this country. So it is very incorrect to tell anyone making thirty thousand dollars a year that they are bad off.

If there was a REAL international communist revolution the living standards in the US would actually go down. I mean we would have free health care, free education, nutrition rations for the poor to ensure malnutrition was wiped out, a right to work. But a lot of the little extra things that we are used to would have to stop in order to serve the greater masses of the earth. There are almost seven billion people in this world. Out of that seven billion the USA only has around three hundred and six million people and the US consumes 1/3 of the worlds resources. Now do the math. Three hundred million is not one third of the worlds population, there for if we had a egalitarian world socialist economy there is no way that the people in the US could keep up their current living standards with out keeping another part of the world under exploitation.

One thing that US socialist parties like to do is attack budget cuts when the government cuts their budget from education or public jobs etc. Which is good and understandable seeing as those government jobs are some peoples livelihoods and indeed our children's education is the most important thing after people not starving. But here is the problem; when the US government and state governments across the nation announced huge job cuts for public works the socialist parties were in an uproar and attacked the US government furiously calling out "Hands off public workers!" and "fight back against the budget cuts!". Which I would like to say again makes sense and this was correct in the most part to carry these slogans.

However we quickly see where these parties hearts lye when Cuba announced that it planned to cut almost one million jobs over the next couple of years (some parties only highlighted half a million scheduled this year and left out the rest). That is almost 1/11 of their entire work force in that nation. Go divide the US population into 1/11 and see how many people that would be getting laid off. Yet many "communist" parties simply brushed it off as necessary to keep the economy from falling. They seemed to miss (on purpose) the part where Raul said he planned on opening up the market for investors and private businesses. There was little critique put out by any party with any political sway in this country. This is simply a case of "four legs good, two legs better" when a capitalist government cuts jobs it is a "crime against the working class" but when a country that the "socialist" parties support it is "necessary" in "preserving socialism on the island". So why is it okay for Cuba to make job cuts on a huge scale? And why is it not being called a "attack on the working class"?

It is a simple answer; do as we say, not as we do. Why should the working class in the US believe that the socialist parties would seriously make "a right to a job" a constitutional amendment? When they support the job cuts in Cuba even if they do say it is to "preserve socialism". I once had a "socialist" say to me that "a right to a job, free education, and free health care are not necessarily a necessity in a nation being socialist/building socialism" this was what was said during a conversation about rather or not China was still socialist and this was the reason he gave for why he still sees China as socialist. And this was a man in a power position with in a larger socialist party.

I guess what I am trying to say is that it is ultra confusing to an average person when a group supports one nations right to budget cuts but calls another nations budget cuts "an attack on the working class". And these people are correct to be confused, especially when a group is claiming to be internationalist yet constantly spouts tankie slogans and is constantly taking tankie stances. It is anti-dialects to simply support anything and everything waving a red flag and to be an apologist for anything claiming to be socialist or anti-imperialist. Some times anti-imperialist end up support social imperialist in the name of anti-imperialism.

Why should the people of the United States of America want a socialist society if we can not iron clad promise them that we will deliver what a capitalist country can't? Isn't one of our most rallied around slogans "People before profit"? Then I say it is only correct to attack the Cuban state and the Chinese state for their putting profits over the peoples needs. Although obviously Cuba still does a much better job than China at this seeing as they still have their nutritional food rations that have helped eliminate childhood and adult malnutrition on the tiny impoverished island nation. Also they have many great peoples program's in Cuba and this post should not be seen as an attack on Cuba seeing as there are indeed many progressive things about Cuba. I'm simply using Cuba to point out the tankie politics of some socialist parties.

Another thing that I have personally seen turn people off of politics in the US is the call for revolution. Now it is not the call for revolution that turns people off of socialism it is the contrary. Most people are draw to the call of revolution. But they shortly after joining a group become disillusioned with the socialist movement because parties in the US have hijacked the word revolution to mean whatever they want it to. It used to mean something to be a revolutionary socialist, simply that you believed in revolution to overthrow the capitalist/feudal/colonial government to be replaced by the dictatorship of the proletariat. Now every group claiming to be socialist is "revolutionary" even while their platforms and actions are no more than that of a simple reformist.

It may break a lot of socialist hearts to hear this but participating in elections, calling for the formation of a labor party, carrying liberal slogans, creating front groups that carry forward liberal agendas, selling news papers (training paper boys), protesting, asking reactionary unions to split with the democrats, all these things are not and do not make a group revolutionary. They are lying to the masses and are as one man put it so well; "paper tigers". Carrying liberal slogans means that when it is time to revolt for workers democracy that the few communist will rush forward guns in hand and all the liberals they attracted with their parties liberal slogans will sit around in a circle singing "coumbia my lord coumbiaa" while the communist are gunned down.

To groups like that we should say "If you want to carry liberal slogans then join the liberals and do not waste the masses time". If you are a communist group or are claiming to be one, don't be worried that no one will pick up your slogan. It is better that a few pick up your correct communist slogan than it is for many to pick up your misleading liberal slogan. As Lenin said "better fewer, but better" meaning it is better to have a good few than it is to have a shitty lot. It is also better and a communist duty to be truthful and strait forward with the masses and not be misleading.

Stop carrying liberal slogans!

Struggle with in your group to put a stop to liberal slogans and liberalism as a whole.

Stop lying to the people you are trying to recruit!

Communist must carry communist slogans and put "politics in command!"

Written by; Dustin Slagle

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

US Communist Parties and Internationalism.

The definition of internationalism is easy. It can be summed up in "Workers of the world unite!". At its basic meaning internationalist means someone who see's all peoples struggles in the world are one in the same. They aim to build a world without borders where all people from all the nations are equal and united. But that is what an internationalist wants as the end result but what does a internationalist do and how do they act in today's world?

First of all let me be clear that while there are individuals who are internationalist within "communist" groups within the United States there are few actual internationalist groups. I will tip my hat to the FRSO as they have proven to be true internationalist by helping the people of less fortunate nations. Since there is currently an on going trail against some of its members for alleged ties to certain groups I will not comment further but recognize their true commitment to internationalism. Also groups like the IWW and the RSU are true internationalist because instead of simply talking about international situations they sent material supplies to Cuba, Palestine etc

Some groups claim they are internationalist simply because they have different party branches in different countries. This alone does not make a group internationalist. Writing articles in a parties news paper about things happening in other countries also does not count as being an internationalist.

For example, how can a groups here claim to be internationalist when they constantly fight for only the betterment of conditions in this nation? A few groups advocate for a 30 hour work week with out a decreasing wage. And while I admit that would be nice how can they call themselves internationalist? They advocate for better pay in the USA while not giving any material aid or real support to less fortunate nations? Other than offering "solidarity" (usually for opportunist reasons) and having liberal slogans such as "hands off _____" or "out of ____ now!" very few groups in the US are really doing anything to help the global proletariat.

The international situation outside of the US and most other imperialist nations is one of great poverty and hunger and hardships. No one in the US has an excuse to be complaining of their living situation if they are not sending any kind of material aid to less fortunate peoples around the world. Organizers can help train people online in the poorer nations so that they can train people in their own country. People are a lot more likely to rebel in a third world nation then they are in a country like India or Nigeria etc etc where there are larger wealth gaps than here in the states. More than 300 million people in India live on less than 0.80 cents a day. We communist should be trying to help people in these countries who's living conditions are mostly beyond our comprehension not trying to make our lives more comfy so we can have more free time.

I have decided that I personally will not carry any slogans calling for a better life here in the US until the proletarian of the world holds and average income of 10-15 thousand dollars a year. I think it is selfish to demand a better life when people are starving because they can not afford food. The average American has a car, a computer, heat, AC, running clean water and hot water. The average person in the world has maybe one of these things. How bad do we really have it compared to the rest of the world?