Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Reason Why Wisconsin Won't Lead to a Revolution.

People who are familiar with the left/socialist movement here in the United States know that every time a huge protest happens or a school building is occupied by students that the left will start screaming "the revolution is coming" or "this could be the start of the revolution" and "see the people in the United States are class conscious/revolutionary."

The event we see happening in Wisconsin is very important to pay close attention to. What we see happening is a right wing tea party supported governor who is a champion of corporate American billionaires trying to attack the unions right to collectively bargain. The governor is doing this to gain more support from the upper capitalist class (millionaires and billionaires) for making it easier for corporations to make more profits by paying their employees shitty wages, and the employees not having the legal right to demand higher wages.

It should be noted that this is the second attack on public workers, all in the name of "needing to cut the budget." The first cuts that were proposed to public workers were actually agreed to by the public workers and their unions according to MSNBC tv(1). But these second cuts will do more than make collective bargaining illegal it will also force public workers to pay double for their health care and force the workers to contribute 5.8% of their checks to their pension(2).

It is very important to support the unions and their right to collectively bargain. Even though a lot of unions in the US are reactionary and often side with the bosses before they would call for a strike. They can in some instances be the last line of defense for workers rights. So this post should not be seen as a attempt to stand against the Wisconsin workers.

I do want to touch on the claim that somehow the protest in Wisconsin means workers "do understand politics and are the first to engage in mass political activity." And that somehow workers trying to keep their jobs in Wisconsin is a sign that workers are trying to rise up and defeat the ruling and other bourgeois classes. Many populist socialist have made bolder claims that somehow all people who go to work and get a wage for their labor are working class(3). So by that claim I guess people making 300,000 dollars a year and millionaire CEO's who get paid by the hour are working class as well.

The truth of the situation is that probably 70% or more of those protester are pro-capitalism and they are just trying to keep their jobs. They are not there to do anything other than fight for their right to a fair job. This situation does not mean workers in the US are revolutionary or class conscious and as the link above falsely claims that US workers make common cause with workers in other countries. I would tell readers to go read any Yahoo news article, youtube, etc etc go read the comments about videos/articles about other countries. These comments are left by average everyday Americans and you will see that 70-30% are reactionary, xenophobic, and racist and ignorant, these are the real average US citizens. The people in left circles are advanced and are indeed not most of those things, but to claim the majority of Americans are revolutionary and not backwards is to lie to the people you're talking to.

Every time some bit of disorder happens does not mean "the revolution is here!" Here is what will probably happen; one of two things will happen. The Governor will win and the unions will be busted and the workers will be pissed off but will go back home eventually and start looking for a new job so their family doesn't starve but no revolt will happen and people in other states won't stand up with the workers (after all they have jobs and families to feed). Or the unions will win and everyone will cheer than go home and celebrate. But neither will lead to a revolution or even a radicalization of workers in the US. I really wish it wasn't true and I wish this would spark the prairie fire but it just won't happen brothers and sisters the conditions just aren't right at the moment.

If every time the left claimed revolution was about to happen then we would have around 3-6 revolutions every year. But what is most important is that we support the union in their struggle and encourage them to call for a general strike as the WIL (Workers International League) and the SA (Socialist Alternative) have advocated for. The people and the people alone will be the driving force.

Support a general strike in Wisconsin and Ohio!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

On the Question of Allowing Factions in the Party.

I'd like to start by mentioning that I am referring to factions with in a party who's guiding system is Democratic Centralism. There are many sides to this argument and many differing reasons why one supports or does not support factions with in a party.

Most believe that factions within a party will only lead to an inevitable split within that party. There is no evidence to suggest that this would happen but there is no evidence to the contrary. I would like to take this subject from an objective stance. I would love to have comments on this post and see what others think on the subject.

One down side could be that important issues could cause a split or if a hot button issues is decided by only a few percentage like 55-45% on a vote it could cause anger and division among the party.

On the other hand, greater inner democracy could create a feeling of unity within the party and energize some members that would otherwise be down heartened with the bureaucracy of the normal democratic centralist party. I for one would enjoy a party where I could express my individual ideas behind closed doors with other members of my party that shared my same ideas. Then take those ideas to the central committee to be voted on at a congress. It would make me feel more empowered and give me a greater feeling of duty to the party.

Something that comes to mind when I think about a party that would allow multiple factions in it; is that with factions openly encouraged the party could grow larger. For example if a party let everyone in that adhered to any form of Marxist Leninist theory than everything from Leninist to Stalinist and Maoist could join the party. As a Maoist in this country at this time there is no party that truly represents my ideas as a Maoist. I would not and will not join a party that will not allow me to be openly Maoist and express my Maoist ideas and theories. I would join a party if I could openly propagate and advocate a Maoist line with in the party.

However I do not think this idea could work with all the communist tendencies, I do not see a world where Maoist and Trotskyist could be in the same party and peacefully exist. I think an attempt to do so would be a waste of time and resources.

I will touch a little more on this subject in an upcoming post that will be about "A Unified Communist Party of America."

Friday, February 4, 2011

Empty Rhetoric is Not What We Need!

I am noticing a trend. I see it with some groups more than with others. We have all heard the phrase "you're talking to big for your britches."

I was having a conversation that turned into a debate recently with a comrade about marching on Washington DC to demand a "stop to funding the Egyptian government." I was trying to debate him that this tactic has never worked and that the US government is not going to stop funding any of it's puppet governments just because the people take to the streets. It took me about ten minutes to realize that he was not debating me but rather just repeating democratic and the "they have to listen to us" rhetoric over and over again.

Just as a taste of what I mean (this was on a public site mind you) here are some clips of our discussion.

him- "Mubarak must step down now! Stop killing unarmed pro democracy protesters."(in reference to trying to get people to sign his petition found here. which is a petition 'telling' Obama to support democracy in Egypt.)

when has a US president ever supported democracy in a nation he controls?"

Only when the people in the U.S. stand up & demand it!"

I don't think even then he (Obama) will care *persons name. The riot police is all you will get."

him-"The U.S. gives Mubarak 2Billion dollars a year, we are funding the ones killing the pro democracy protesters. Cut off funding, and demand the dictator step down."(I hope by now my point is clear that while I'm trying to discuss/debate he is using empty slogans with no way to make these things happen)

No, I understand and agree with your rhetoric I'm just saying that Obama won't do it no matter what. His stake in having a Egyptian puppet is more important than what the people of the US (notoriously pacifist)say."

him-"Speak for yourself, but not all people in the U.S. are as cynical as you. Resist the War Machine! Solidarity with Egyptian Democracy Movement."

yes, nothing but solidarity with the Egyptian people! But it's called realistic and dialects not cynical. I speaking from historical and current stand point. If you can get the Obama administration to tell the government to resign and he stops sending them money because of your movement then I will give you a personal apology."(and I will if they do)

Our goal is to end the U.S. Imperialist War Machine's domination of the U.S. & much of the world. Remember the 60s? We gained social change, but not political change. We will continue the struggle for democracy in the U.S. The corporate media can't continue to ignore us. The U.S. peace & democracy movement is building. 131 Peace activists (mostly vets) were arrested in front of the White House last month & we will have many more in March. Join the revolution!"

I wouldn't call it a revolution yet brother. People need to understand that we have no democracy before they will revolt but most people in the US still believe we have democracy."(I didn't have the heart to tell him that the conditions are way off for revolt.)

Most of the conversation went on this way and it is something that I have noticed has become sort of a trend. Many people on the left have traded dialects for slogans (liberal ones at that.) I fear that rhetoric has come to replace logic in our communist movement. It seems like most people think if they repeat "we are winning! we are winning!" that somehow with out advancing even a little bit that we are in fact winning. Is this correct? NO, further more it makes the movement as a whole look silly. I recall a time where an ISO and a SP-USA member sat there and went back and forth for two hours and all they were really saying was "we are the vanguard" "nope, we are the vanguard" and both thought they were right because they believed their own rhetoric. But to someone unfamiliar with the movement they would probably roll their eyes and say something along the lines of "wow why are communist so full of themselves?"

So before we just go out yelling slogans at people instead of explaining ourselves, we need to ask ourselves: "Is what we are putting forward realistic?" "Is it achievable?" "If it is possible to attain this goal then what is the correct path to move the goal forward to a reality?" and most importantly; "how do the people want to carry this forward" and "Is this what is best for the people?" Because yes I have noticed that sometimes groups will do opportunistic campaigns to gain a few members even when if the campaign had succeeded that it would have been against the masses well being.

The masses well being should always be our number one driving force. Empty rhetoric and worthless slogans are not going to liberate the masses on it's own.

Logic shall be our only guiding light!

Written by: Dustin Slagle

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What are the differences between the fronts and when are they applicable?

There are different kinds of fronts that are created for different reasons in different places. Different situations and conditions in different places call for a formation of different fronts.

This post will be mainly discussing the two fronts that communist would be dealing with in different situations. The United Front and the Popular Front.

The idea of the United Front is thought to have originated from the Comintern who declared in their 1921 congress that a united front is "an initiative whereby the Communists propose to join with all workers belonging to other parties and groups and all unaligned workers in a common struggle to defend the immediate, basic interests of the working class against the bourgeoisie.”

The Popular Front was created to fight fascism and is more broad than the United Front, allowing liberal and bourgeois elements to join the front in order to fight a common enemy. The Popular Front was highly criticized by Leon Trotsky because he claimed that only United Fronts could be progressive and that Communist collaborating with liberal elements was betrayal of the working class. Big words from a man who was a liberal class champion before the Bolsheviks made it clear that they would be the winning force and Trotsky party jumped opportunistically again as it is explained here (1). And better explained here by Lenin (2).

I see a popular front as essential when fighting a imperialist army or trying to overthrow an oppressive dictator etc. For those who are opposed to popular fronts out right; I'd like to point out two great examples of why and when the Popular Front is needed.

One historical example would be in China when the Japanese invaded in 1937. Sometimes the coalition is referred to as a United Front, but seeing as there were pro-capitalist elements it was technically a Popular Front. If the communist and the Nationalist forces had never coupled with some Soviet volunteers and war lords to create a Popular Front then the Japanese would have easily smashed all forces separately. All the different groups knew that they had to join their forces together to defeat Japanese imperialism. China today would be either a US or Japanese colony if it wasn't for the Popular Front.

But China also teaches us another very important lesson when it comes to any kind of Front. The need to keep your ranks and stay an organization within the front. After the Japanese were defeated the civil war continued but it was keeping their ranks and their party together that allowed the communist to rise as the main power in China (after the long march the communist party gained a lot of respect from the people of China and after they showed their strength in the war against imperial Japan the communist were seen by the people as the party of and by the people) after defeating the Nationalist KMT.

A more recent example would be the situation in Palestine. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is a organization that is geared towards nothing less than the liberation and a free state of Palestine. They have joined with many forces through the years to fight the oppressive and imperialist puppet state of Israel. If it wasn't for the formation of these Popular Fronts joining their resources and armies together to fight the Israeli army then the Israeli's would have invaded and destroyed Palestine a long time ago. If they would have stayed Utopian purest like most Trotskyist would say they should have done and only formed United Fronts and only allowed communist, anarchist and socialist elements join then the Israeli Army would have played simple divide and conquer and the Palestinian people would be mostly extinct today.

Now that we have discussed why and when it is needed to create Popular Fronts let's talk about why and when it is needed to build a United Front.

The conditions arise only after the contradiction is primarily between the masses (poor and proletarian peasants and the working class) and the bourgeois (capitalist class, national bourgeois and petty bourgeoisie). A United Front is created when communist and other working class groups (anarchist, and other revolutionary working class movements) need to join forces to fight conservative and/or liberal elements. One example we can see is the United front between the ELN and FARC-EP. The two left-wing guerrilla armies have a common enemy in the neo-liberal government and have joined forces to combat the Colombian government.

Mexico is a place that could use a United Front, the EPR had suggested such a United Front with the EZLN but in a amazing betrayal of the Mexican people the EZLN refused the alliance. This keeps both groups smaller and less able to overthrow or even combat the current Mexican government. If these groups were to create a United Front then there would be a real possibility of destroying the current government.

To put it simply; different times call for different measures. It is always important to recognize the current contradictions in your nation and to organize and act accordingly to fix the current contradiction. If your nation is being oppressed or occupied then it may be needed to create and organize a Popular Front. If the main contradiction is between the people and the government and/or between the working class and bourgeois classes then you may need to create and organize a United Front.

Written by: Dustin Slagle