Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Communist Led Revolution, and Small Businesses!

I am writing this post because of a conversation I had with a comrade some time ago. He was saying that we (communist) shouldn't support a certain group (the Maoist Communist Party of China) because "they support capitalism." What he was referring to was point ten of their basic political program where it states:

"All privately owned enterprises and companies that do not rely on selling out the state, opportunism or gross exploitation, and do not harm the welfare of the public, can carry on running as before. At the same time, the law of the state protects the right of every person who wishes to engage in small-scale private businesses and will provide help when necessary."

But if one actually reads the language we can see that this is not supporting capitalism as much as recognizing that you can't destroy every business over night in a revolution. Also this was a moot point for two reasons; one being that the CPC has already opened up corporatist capitalism and two is answered by the MCPC which states in point one of their basic political program:

"We call for the overthrow of every big and small capitalist-roader and corrupt bureaucratic elements. We shall remove the capitalist constitution and law that has been imposed upon the peoples of China by the traitorous revisionist ruling bloc. We shall establish people’s supervisory councils, so that everyone takes part in the management and supervision of the state, army and government, so that the people are guaranteed to become the real rulers of the country."

They go on to mention this in point four: "People’s communes will be restored in the countryside. Concretely for each particular village, we shall respect the choices of the masses, those who wish to embark on the collectivist path the state shall give support, those who wish to keep things as they are will also be allowed to do so."(1) (2)

So what we see here (and I think is correct) is that small businesses would be allowed under socialism (not allowed to make profit under communism obviously.)

To kind of get to the main point here; some communist mistake the realization that small businesses will exist under socialism for a communist supporting capitalism. Allowing small businesses to exist is not supporting or encouraging capitalism. We would dismantle corporations that exploit the masses for the profit of the rich. We would nationalize the major corporations that use natural resources to make their profit. But companies that pay fair wages and are generally good to their workers, there would be no reason to destroy those companies under socialism.

In fact sometimes small businesses have an interest in proletarian revolution. Some small business owners make just enough to pay their shops rent and live off the rest. This is not to say that small business owners would stay on the side of socialist construction after a revolution, but with anti-corporate language that communist use it would certainly attract some small business supporters and small business owners. So theoretically some small businesses would initially side with the socialist revolution.

But what about after the initial stages? Where profit of any kind is starting to be shunned and exploitation is seen as a crime? Would these same small shop owners stay with in the revolution or would they succumb to reactionary elements?

My partner and I have a little disagreement here on this issue of small businesses and small business owners, their class orientation and their would be roles in social revolution.

She believes that the small business owners are usually among the proletarian class and do not make enough actual profits to be considered a bourgeoisie. Though she admits that a small portion do hold petty bourgeoisie ideologies she says that most small business owners are only trying to make ends meet and want to survive doing what they love doing. For example she believes that most people start small businesses because they wanna do what they love for a living such as if a person loves flowers they will open a flower shop. If someone loves cooking they will start up a restaurant etc.

She also believes in what I call her "nine million dollar theory" that is to say that any and almost every small business owner doesn't go into business to sell their business and make a lot of money. But if a chain restaurant or walmart offered to buy a persons business for nine million dollars, who wouldn't sell their company and retire early? Almost everyone including communist would take the nine million dollars. I personally would take that money and start a self sustaining commune wherever there was no land taxes.

She thinks that most small business owners would have every reason to side with a socialist/communist revolution. If for no other reason then that they wouldn't have to worry about competing with today's walmarts and other major corporations. Because these corporations would be destroyed or nationalized eventually, leaving small businesses secure from corporate competition. I agree with this point.

My major disagreement is that while some or even most people who start small businesses do it because they are following their passion. I believe that there is a significant amount of the small business owners who start a business strictly to become rich and who aspire to become the new walmart or McDonalds. I believe a sizable portion do it to become members of the capitalist class so that they can make money of the backs of workers that they exploit for their labor.

Her points and counter points (not all listed here) make it hard for me to make my own concrete analysis of the small businesses role as a whole in the occurrence of a communist led revolution. I think it would be important to have a "business by business" policy to research and feel out how the business owners feel towards proletarian revolution and emancipation before determining their possible role in a revolution.

I think at this point it goes without saying that there would have to be small businesses after a socialist revolution. I might even say that it would be useful propagandizing in support of small businesses before and during a revolution to gain support of both the small business and people who support small businesses. In my area the fight for small businesses are very popular among the population. Walmart in my area has been battling legally to expand to a supercenter for almost ten years. But do to petitions and other actions by the local population it has not been able to expand yet. It is amazing the level of resistance that my local walmart has been confronted with by the local population in defense of the local small businesses.

I'm not disillusioned that all small business owners are communist or want a socialist revolution. I'm just stating that if we got to the point to where the proletarian masses were revolting there would be a number of small business owners that would feel compelled to side with our cause. After and during the revolution undoubtedly some would side with the reactionary forces, but I find this question interesting. What role would small businesses and small business owners play in a communist led revolution? Both during and after?

I for one believe in what the MCPC states in point ten of their basic political program and I think that this is the most realistic stance a party or group can take during socialist construction.

(1) "The ten declarations of the Maoist Communist Party of China." Revolutionary Initiative. March 22 2009. Web. August 16 2011.
(2) "Maoist Communist Party of China on 2nd Socialist Revolution." Kasama Project. August 11 2010. Web. August 16 2011.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Back to Basics: What is a Profit Cap and How Would it Work?

so what is a profit cap? How would a profit cap be put into place? Here are some of my ideas:

The basic idea/principal behind the profit cap when used in a proletarian sense of the word is pretty self explanatory. It is a program that states that no one individual may profit X amount of money in a given year. And thus a cap is put on profit to where anyone making more many than X amount, their extra money is appropriated into different state/community programs.

After a fiscal year, a business tallies up their net profit after the cost of production, cost of labor, and cost of supplies you come out with you're over all profit (this is the money that ends up in the CEO's, presidents and the other capitalist of the companies pocket). Lets say as an example a company profits 3 million dollars in one year. I believe that $300,000 should be the maximum amount any one person should be able to profit off of any business (obviously there should be a smaller amount of profit after communist construction begins. and none after communism is achieved), because if you cant live off of 300,000 dollars a year there is something wrong with you. Anyway, two thirds of the profit that is left over should be split, one part of the left over profit should go back directly to the workers of that business to be evenly distributed among all the working class employees, no matter their rank. Now there is still a third of that profit left, so that money instead of siting in a rich mans bank would go back into the economy, to provide better schools, more grants for college, and it would help pay for the cost of health care, building streets etc. It is also important to state that in some companies the CEO's and all the higher ups might not take an even 1/3rd of the profit seeing as none of them would be allowed to take home more than 300,00 dollars a year. Keep in mind that this is the excess profit we are talking about so this is after everyone has received their yearly wages/salaries. The capitalist, bosses etc would not be allowed to take more than 1/3rd of the total profit so as to ensure the workers and the community get their fair share. So that would mean there would still be some left over money. That money should be evenly divided up into the workers and communities funds. If the shares of profit reach the point where even the workers hit the 300,000 dollar limit then the rest of the money should be put into social programs.

Now imagine a profit cap of this nature on the oil companies. We could put hundreds of billions of dollars back in the peoples hands and we could destroy debt in just a short amount of time. Since the oil companies wouldn't be able to profit massive amounts of money, they would have no reasons to keep giving us bullshit excuses for raising the cost of a gallon of gas while they are making record profits every year. They would have no incentive to strangle us for the cost of gas because higher prices wouldn't result in the higher profits for the bosses and capitalist.

Our children would get better, free education, all the way through collage. We could start paying firemen, Hell we could pay for universal health care. The money could go towards programs such as anti-malnutrition rations for the poor and needy much like the ones in Cuba and now Venezuela which have done wonders to help poor families get access to meats, dairies and other foods they otherwise wouldn't be able to afford.

Only we, the proletarian class can change the world, lets help the poor, lets give the oppressed a platform. Vote against greedy politicians, and openly advocate for communism. Unless you think capitalism will take care of your community? We all know how much the banks and oil companies have bent over backwards thus far to make our lives easier. The oil companies are giving so much back to our communities that they are only charging $3.50 to $4.00 for a gallon of gas. In most places it takes half of one hours pay per gallon, that's not just crazy, it is criminal. All while the oil companies are recording the biggest profits in history year after year. It is time for a profit cap! And under a socialist government or construction a profit cap should be of the highest priority.

I believe a profit cap would help lessen the class distinction and make the final jump into communism much easier, as one would assume that the further we would advance into communism the less the amount the capitalist and bosses would be allowed to profit.

Written by: Dustin Slagle

Monday, August 1, 2011

Socialist Parties With a High Member Turnover.

We have all seen it. Anyone that has been in the movement for a while has encountered it. One week a person is attacking you for your political line saying you are wrong and how his/her party has all the answers and his/her party is the vanguard leading the charge. When you raise a question about his/her parties line they attack back with blind rage calling you a stalinist/trotskyist (depending on which they think is a bad word) reactionary, revisionist and all kinds of names.

Then the next week they are out of the party openly attacking its line. Obviously this is only an overview from the outside of what is happening. But why do certain socialist parties seem to have large member turnover rates? More plainly put; why do some party's have so many people coming in and at the same time have many people leaving?

Bad Party Democracy!

Lets face it, sometimes socialist and communist parties are run by right leaning authoritarians. These are people who see democratic centralism as a form of control more than a tool of creativity and democracy to be used by the proletariat. These leaders seem to think that democratic centralism means 'what the leaders say goes and everyone who doesn't follow is a bad communist/Marxist' etc. Others take it to mean that you do not question party lines or else you are a traitor.

This kind of party "democracy" does many things to its (rank and file) members.

First it stifles creativity of the members and creates a bad image of the party from the outside. As Ive said before it makes you appear like your party is full of mindless drones not capable of self thought, just walking around parroting whatever the parties newspaper and leaders tell them to. This is the kind of "democracy" that will help you have a large member turnover in your party.

No one wants to have their creativity and thoughts be discarded. When people first join these parties they brush off not having any say in the parties line. "Hey, I'm brand new. I wouldn't give a lot of power to new people either" is what one comrade said to me about his party (he is no longer a member.) But what happens is that as time goes on the person starts to realize that he/she is never asked for votes except to nominate people to go to conferences/congresses in which it is always people with the most inside friends. And it becomes discouraging to feel like you have something to contribute and yet are expected to not question party lines and to not say things that have not appeared in your paper or on your webpage.

I think bad party democracy is one of the worse reasons for a high member turnover. Not to mention when members only know how to and are only allowed to parrot they become impotent in debate. Thus discrediting your whole group to everyone outside of your group.

Populist Marxism!

Although this is not technically a real term I know some of my readers will understand what I mean by the term.

These groups are one of the biggest groups for member turnover. These are the groups who have a steak in every issue facing the nation today. They are there to protest every action of the government using liberal slogans and language to attract more people so they can point to their protest and events and claim to be huge. Even though the majority at those events go home and vote democrat. They are anti-everything to ensure they can get a member out of every demographic. They claim they are participating in elections to spread the idea of socialism when really they just want a spot light for fifteen seconds.

Don't get me wrong these recruiting tactics work! But they don't keep everyone in the party. Eventually some members realize that protesting everything only makes you FEEL like you are getting something done and are winning. In all reality you are just yelling with a bunch of liberals who also hate (insert current pet issue here) but would never riot or even vote third party.

Populism in Marxism rarely works in keeping members because it is easy to be too spread out on issues. Your group will gain members because it supports or opposes everything but your organization wont be able to focus on certain issues long enough to keep those same members. For example if I join a group because they support Ireland unification, (just an example calm down) and then when I actually become a member I realized you don't actually organize around that issue then I am going to leave the group. So you would have lured me in with the issue of supporting Ireland unification but if that is the issue that I care about the most and you only support the issue in talk then I will go seek out a group that does organize around that issue.

Another problem I have with populist Marxism is that the groups who follow it tend to only organize around the current 'hot button issues'. They are always organizing around whatever is popular at that time (get it, popular. populist it makes sense) this is very opportunist and a huge turn off.

For an example most of these Marxist populist claim to be revolutionary socialist/communist who think reform doesn't work. Then they participate in elections. Or when the government makes program cuts they are there to "fight back" (AKA stand around with liberal democrats and chant but would never actually do anything) which means they hope to reform the system to be more helpful, but in the leftist world the word revolutionary attracts people and reformist doesn't. This is called lying in the real world and if people feel like they have been lied to then guess what? They will want to leave your group.

Culture of Hype!

Have you ever had a friend talk up a movie, TV show or a band they love? Only then to find out when you watch or listen to it yourself that it sucks? This is kind of the same thing here but with socialist/communist parties.

Some groups are so good at talking themselves up that many people believe that they are the leading force in revolution today. The facts: they aren't! These groups claim many things, such as; they are the most active, revolutionary, they are the only ones with the correct science to achieve revolution.

But after you get members by this chest beating hype, what happens? They hang around for a while and learn the truth; that the group is full of shit. This can be very disheartening for comrades to come to terms with. After believing the hype for a while and even parroting it yourself, it can become very discouraging to accept that your party is not advanced, leading the charge, or on the brink of spreading world wide proletarian revolution.

Written by: Dustin Slagle