U.S. Left: Revolution or Reformism (3)
lquispe at blythe.org
Sun Aug 18 20:50:32 MDT 1996
Unity & Struggle: Revolution or Reformism
HOW DO THE MASSES IN THE U.S. VIEW ELECTIONS?
Part 3 of a series of 4 articles
In general, the poor are less likely to vote. Revisionists
attempt to bring them to the ballots to vote for the "lesser of
the two evils," the Democratic Party or for a "Rainbow
Coalition," however, these reactionary efforts have been futile.
Younger people are also increasingly skeptical about voting,
causing much consternation among the ruling class. The fact that
the masses already have some understanding of the bankruptcy of
bourgeois democracy works in our favor. We should not give them
false hopes by urging them to participate in elections. Do Not
Vote, Build the Communist Party for Revolution!
THE TWO PARTY SYSTEM.
Yes. Lenin participated in the reactionary parliament, as long as
Communist parliamentarians upheld principles and did not become
traitors and social chauvinists. However, the old Russian Duma at
least allowed for multiple parties to be elected parliamentary
representatives based on their share of the vote. Thus, they
have measured their strength among the masses in
non-revolutionary times. However, the two party system practiced
by the U.S. ruling class virtually eliminates the chance of
participation and the illusory "victory" through the ballots.
Only opportunists and revisionists would believe otherwise.
VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVES
Whenever the oppressed masses rebel against imperialism, isn't
there always an effort by the bourgeois media and the people's
"representatives" to stress voter registration? Is this a way of
focussing the anger of the oppressed to bring them to a higher
level of political consciousness and activity? Or does it serve
to deliver the political energy of the masses into a harmless
effort? Only Communists can take up the task of turning
spontaneous anger into organized rebellion. How can voter
registration serve as something more than a tool to strengthen
bourgeois illusions among the masses?
Opportunists and revisionists have been saying for decades that
some voter registration drives are important because they
mobilize the masses. For example, the Jesse Jackson campaigns of
1984 and 1988, mobilized masses of Black people to vote, many for
the first time. Most of the tiny Left tailed after this movement
in some way or another, like the CPUSA, the New Alliance Party,
SWP, WWP, etc. The question we raise is: how many of the Black
people mobilized by "leftist" activists in support of Jesse
Jackson later became Communists? Lenin was clear on the need to
work in reactionary parliaments and elections, under certain
conditions, with the goal of winning over the backward workers to
revolution and Communism; but after participating in each
election, how many were won over to Communist positions through
these campaigns? The fact of the matter is that these
participations have served only the interests of the Democratic
Party. It seems to us that an emphasis on voter registration
merely puts Communists at the service of the bourgeoisie.
In instances where the masses are actively prevented from voting
by the bourgeoisie (such as the struggles in South Africa or
during the Civil Rights movement in the U.S.,) may have served to
foment revolutionary aspirations, but we must learn from the
relative flexibility of the racist bourgeoisie in channeling
these movements, to recognize what tactics are helpful and what
are not. Their tactics have changed, so ours must change too.
If the masses are "legally" curtailed to vote, struggles for the
right to vote, like elections themselves, are not reactionary in
principle. There have been times, chiefly in relation to the
national liberation struggles such as during Reconstruction and
during the Civil Rights movement, where these were important mass
movements that served as the concrete form of struggle of the
masses. However, nowadays, the question is how to lead these
struggles for economic and political demands, toward
revolutionary goals, mainly to conquer power. As part of the
national liberation movement of the 1960s, many embraced the
strategy of electing Black officials, many of them more avowed
anti-communists, which has clearly enabled the bourgeoisie to
create a more "legitimate" and "colorblind" form of oppression
and exploitation that sought to neutralize the class rage of
Black people, especially the youth. For Communists today, the
question of participation in elections is a reformist issue that
educates the masses in legal illusions and leads to the
conservation of the capitalism system. In this context, the
participation of U&S and other groups will be irrelevant to the
class interests, since there is nothing to gain from it.
WHY THE "LEFT" IS IRRELEVANT IN THE U.S.
Have U&S studied and learned the lessons of history? Why did the
revisionist CPUSA collapse? Why can't the RCP (not to mention the
reactionary sects MIM or SWP) uphold the red flag of proletarian
internationalism? Have U&S made an objective study of U.S.
imperialism? What must to be done in this imperialist country?
Let's begin with the subjective factors we believe have caused
the failure of the "left."
1. The revisionist ideology. The poisonous influence and
dependence on Soviet-imperialists of the ilk of Khrushchev and
its surrogates: Castro, Che Guevara, etc. The revisionist
ideology has liquidated all the mass organizations in which the
CPUSA had influence. [For ideological preparation study the
program of the CP of China, 1976, and the Program of the PCP,
2. The petit-bourgeois component of the leadership that reflected
its petit-bourgeois conceptions in the masses.
3. The bulk of the militants who suffered from the grave
inadequacy of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, primarily a Maoist
ideology. Maoist literature was officially banned by the
4. No mass work. A Party cannot consist of masses, but must have
a mass character. If not, the Party will be dominated by
abstractedness and subjectivity. The PCP teaches that first comes
action, then theory is straightened and corrected. First, ingrain
yourself in the masses, then develop and apply the theory.
Under the above conditions, it is not possible to form the United
Front. And it is impossible to undertake the constitution or
reconstitution of the Party. Without working with the correct
ideology (MLM), without the oppressed masses being involved,
which is the real future of the Party to be formed, and its only
possible sound foundation, any effort to unite the "advance" will
In addition to the danger of imperialist ideology, the main
danger of U&S and its young allies now is Revisionism, which is
the form of opportunism in the working class and communist
movement. It is capitalist ideology which revises basic Marxist
principles adopting the phraseology and appearance of Marxism in
order to do so.
Here, we list the revolutionary tasks to be done:
1. The working class must have a vanguard party based on MLM,
mainly Maoism. Both leadership and cadre must grasp the basis of
2. Create new forms of struggle. The great majority of the old
and rotten "Communist Parties" are naturally dying in the U.S.
Let's learn from their mistakes. Create new forms of struggle.
Don't do what they did wrong. We know that they lacked a correct
line, that should be our focus.
3. Practice proletarian internationalism. The Marxist-Leninist
concept has been abandoned. It has developed into Marxism-
Leninism-Maoism, it's a scientific advance. It is proven in
practice. Look and learn the theory of the People's War in Peru
and the World People's War. Uphold the PCP's red flag, and do not
hesitate a minute in doing so, it is also yours!
4. Build a Party. Patch work with splinters groups paralyzes
work. Work with what you have. Practice determines a correct
line. This is proven by the dialectics of social development.
Masses make history. In the course of the mass struggle, the
Party (or the leading organizing Committee of the Party), works
to impart its higher consciousness to the backward segments of
the masses, but in order to do this, the Party must learn from
the masses, must understand each stage of consciousness of all
social strata of the working class as well as the other social
classes, must study and "follow" each initiative of the working
class. The Party does not invent forms of struggle, the masses
do. The Party leads and channels it. For example, how were the
People's Committees and the New Power generated? The PCP did not
invent them, but it has analyzed the initiative of the masses.
How were the Soviets developed? Neither Lenin nor the Bolshevik
Party invented them. They were created spontaneously by the
masses to be the form of future Proletarian dictatorship. Lenin
knew how to learn from the masses, that's why he became their
greatest teacher. That's why, Chairman Gonzalo, the President of
the New Power in Peru states: "Leadership must be forged from the
masses to the masses." This is very consistent with the PCP mass
"Thus, emphasizing the necessity, importance and immensity of the
theoretical work of the Social Democrats, I do not have the least
desire to suggest that this work must take precedence over
practical work (1), still less that the latter be postponed until
the former is completed. Only those who admire the `subjective
method in Sociology' or the followers of Utopian Socialism could
arrive at such a conclusion." [Lenin's footnote. On the contrary,
the practical work of propaganda and agitation must always take
1) theoretical work only provides a reply to the problems that
practical work raises and,
2) the Social Democrats, for reasons over which they have no
control, are too often compelled to confine themselves to
theoretical work not to value highly every moment when practical
work becomes possible."
The New Flag.
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