By Tom Watts 12/25/2017

Class War and Black Liberation

The Communist Party USA ultimately failed to become a revolutionary vanguard to lead the struggle in North America, but it was not without some good efforts made by sincere comrades: Comrades who sacrificed their lives and their freedom, comrades who went into the coal fields and the sweat shops, who organized among the poor white and Black sharecroppers, and the Chicano farmworkers and miners; who stood up to the KKK and the American Legion, to J. Edgar Hoover and police state. There is a rich legacy of struggle from the 1920’s, 30’s and the 40’s, from those who volunteered to go fight fascism in Spain and those who fought it in Mississippi and Alabama.

All over the world, millions have fought for the Red Flag of Revolution, have shed their blood, suffered in prisons and endured torture and privation. There have been great victories and great setbacks. Colonies were liberated from colonialism and masses were lifted out of poverty and hopelessness, but the capitalist-imperialist system was not overthrown, and today it seems we are at square one again, where we must go back to basics and build from the grass roots up. But we are not starting from nowhere, we stand on the shoulders of giants: Men and women who dared to struggle and who changed history and left behind a legacy for us to build upon.

I have heard people disparage that “all our heroes are dead, and the dead can do nothing to help us.” This is not true! Most of the great advances in medicine were made by people who are now dead. Disease is still with us, but we are not helpless before it, we are not blaming evil spirits or witchcraft. In every field of science we turn to the accumulated knowledge of those who went before and then add to it by our own efforts and summation of practice and experimentation. We learn from the past and make it serve the present and the future, discarding what is no longer applicable or erroneous and improving or superseding it with new ideas and methods.

Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is inherently revolutionary and anti-dogmatic. It demands we make fresh analysis of concrete conditions and develop new strategies and tactics to overcome obstacles and seize new opportunities. As Mao explained: “If a man wants to succeed in his work, that is, to achieve the anticipated results, he must bring his ideas into correspondence with the laws of the objective external world; if they do not correspond, he will fail in his practice. After he fails, he draws his lessons, corrects his ideas to make them correspond to the laws of the external world, and can thus turn failure into success; this is what is meant by ‘failure is the mother of success’ and ‘a fall into the pit, a gain in your wit.’” (“On Practice,” (July 1937), Selected Works, Vol. I, pp. 296-97.)

Today we have new kinds of bacteria resistant to old types of antibacterial medicine. We have super viruses that mutated because they were not killed by the old treatments, and so it is with capitalist-imperialism. Colonialism mutated into neo-colonialism and liberalism into neo-liberalism. The racism of today is unlike the racism of the past. The Alt-Right is different from the old KKK or Nazi Party. There is change but there is also continuity. How much different is Bernie Sanders from Eduard Bernstein? They even look alike. Summing up the essence of Marx’s theory Bernstein stated:

“The coercive laws of competition and the growing wealth of capital in society tend to lower constantly the profit rate, whilst this is delayed by forces working in opposite directions but is not permanently stopped. Overproduction of capital goes hand in hand with forces creating a superabundance of workers. Greater centralisation is always spreading in manufactures, commerce, and agriculture, and an expropriation of the smaller capitalists by the greater grows. Periodic crises brought about by the anarchy in production in conjunction with the under-consumption of the masses are always reappearing in a more violent and more destructive character; and they hasten the process of centralisation and expropriation by the ruin of innumerable small capitalists. On the one side is generalised the collective – cooperative – form of the process of work on an always growing scale, in an ascending degree; on the other side increases ‘with the constantly diminishing number of capitalist magnates who usurp and monopolise all the advantages of this process of transformation, the mass of misery, oppression, servitude, deterioration, exploitation, but also with it the revolt of the working class constantly increasing and taught, united and organised by the mechanism of the capitalist process of production itself.’ Thus the development reaches a point where the monopoly of capital becomes a fetter to the method of production that has thriven on it, when the centralisation of the means of production and the socialisation of labour become incompatible with their capitalist garment. This is then rent. The expropriators and usurpers are expropriated by the mass of the nation. Capitalist private property is done away with.

“This is the historical tendency of the manner of production and appropriation, according to Marx. The class which is called upon to carry out the expropriation of the capitalist class and the transformation of capitalist into public property, is the class of the wage earners, the proletariat. For this purpose must the class be organised as a political party. This party at a given moment seizes the power of the State and ‘changes the means of production first of all into State property. But therewith the proletariat negatives itself as a proletariat, therewith it puts an end to all differences of class and antagonisms of class, and consequently also puts an end to the State as a State.’ The struggle for individual existence with its conflicts and excesses is over, the State has nothing more to oppress ‘and dies off.’” – (Eduard Bernstein, Evolutionary Socialism: Chapter I: The Fundamental Doctrines of Marxist Socialism)

But then he endeavors to correct Marx and evolve a “Marxism” that proposes socialism could be achieved through peaceful means through legislative reform in democratic societies. Young people today who “feel the Bern,” who ardently believe that things would be so much different today if Hillary had not stolen the Democratic Party primaries and Sanders had defeated Trump in the general election, ignore the lessons of history, even recent history. Did Bernstein’s reformed SPD with its “peaceful road to socialism,” prevent or facilitate Hitler’s rise to power? Did electing Obama advance or retard the cause of Black liberation? Obama never even claimed to be a socialist, but he at least held out the illusion of change while continuing the trajectory set by his predecessors. He merely served as a “whipping boy” for the extreme right wing to attack “socialism” and mock the idea of Black leadership.

The basic analysis Marx outlined has NOT been proven wrong, but the evolution of capitalism into capitalist-imperialism has globalized the process. World wars created new conditions, the Russian and Chinese revolutions created new conditions, the rise of the hegemonic power of U.S. imperialism created new conditions, but the reality that the proletariat must seize power from the bourgeoisie to advance society to communism hasn’t changed. The necessity of preparing for and waging class war has not changed. Lenin and Mao have advanced Marxist theory in the course of waging this class war under these changing conditions. We MUST advance it further.

Mao called to our attention the key struggle of this period. Comrade Huey further illuminated it. We must stand on the shoulders of these giants and reach new heights. We must dare to challenge the whole imperialist, world-dominating, capitalist system and bring to bear the power of the people. Take a good look at Donald Trump – If he is not a “paper tiger” than such does not exist! Any empire that would have him as its leader is ready for the dust bin of history!

Never have the people had more to win and less to lose! Are we such pathetic creatures that we must bow down before these clowns and let them lead us to the destruction of humanity just because they are rich and we are poor? We may have nothing in our pockets, but that doesn’t mean we have nothing in our hearts and nothing in our heads!


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