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Capitalism Destablized – How Do We Prepare To Overthrow the U.S. Government
First Published: The 80’s, Vol. 1,
No. 3, October 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of AntiRevisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.
One year ago, at its Founding Congress, the Communist Workers Party pointed out that U.S. capitalist society was heading into a period of rapid destabilization. The working class, which for the previous three decades had been put half to sleep by the revisionism of the “C”PUSA (“Communist” Party, U.S.A.) and the false prosperity of the capitalists’ temporary stabilization, would be jarred awake
by the permanent economic crisis. At that time, we stated that the working class would open up to communism as never before. We further showed that this destabilization would last at least five years (now four years), as it would take the monopoly capitalist class that long to decide and unite on a plan to pull themselves out of this crisis if they can at all. These intermonopoly contradictions give us time to prepare for socialist revolution, time to make sure that the capitalists will not be able to stabilize their rule and again put the mass of workers back to sleep. Our task, formulated at that time was to win the majority and build up the Party “beyond defeat” in the next five years (now four years). This was called the five-year framework. To put it more concretely, since the era of imperialism began around the turn of the century, advanced capitalist countries go through periods of destabilization every 20 years or so and the working class wakes up, becoming very receptive to communism. During capitalist destabilization the possibility arises for the working class to seize state power and establish revolutionary socialism. But in between these destabilized periods, the working class is half asleep and the capitalist class effects its brutal dictatorship unchallenged. So the question that faces our Party is this: what should the character of our work be and how can we utilize this situation of rapid destabilization–this relatively short period of time–in order to ensure that another 20 years of stabilization and consequently deep sleep doesn’t engulf the working class? In this article, I would like to discuss some of the fabric and characteristics of U.S. society as compared to the third world and how this affects our preparation in periods of temporary stabilization and destabilization.
Party Core Formed From Advanced Elements of the 60s and 70s
The predecessor to the Communist Workers Party, the Workers Viewpoint Organization, took shape and grew up during the period of capitalist temporary stabilization. Our membership at that time was almost exclusively drawn from the pool of advanced elements from the student, anti-war and oppressed nationality movements of the sixties and early seventies. We set ourselves the task of forming a solid core of communists, highly consolidated and trained in Marxism. We engaged in polemics with opportunist organizations (some are still around, others are long forgotten) in order to get the best elements from these earlier, partial movements. Lenin said, “Our first step was to create a Communist Party so as to know whom we were talking to and whom we could fully trust. The slogan of the First and Second congresses was ’Down with the Centrists!’ We cannot hope to master even the ABC of communism, unless all along the line and throughout the world we make short shrift of the Centrists and semi-Centrists, whom in Russia we call Mensheviks. Our first task is to create a genuinely revolutionary party and to break with the Mensheviks.” (“Speech in Defence of the Tactics of the Communist International at the Third Congress of the Communist International,” Party Work Among the Masses, p. 150) As everyone knows now, we were highly successful in this task. Because of the attention we paid to grounding ourselves in the basics of Marxism–a granite theoretical foundation, as Lenin once put it–and the principle of universal and all around preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat, we have been able to keep our orientation in a very disoriented period. This is in sharp contrast to other, opportunist organization like the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) who now proclaim capitalism stronger than ever and the Revolutionary Communist Party who are driven to a petty bourgeois frenzy because of the economic crisis.
Therefore. This is because of the character of capitalist stabilization. During the last round of stabilization (1950s-1970s) the working class was politically asleep. and Boyles–had a stranglehold over the workers. Hoffas. . But our ability to propagate Marxism to the workers and win the advanced to the Party was limited by a number of factors. And because of the need to form a core of professional revolutionaries our work necessarily was focused on winning the existing pool of Marxists to our line. Second. In fact most workers considered themselves middle class. The labor aristocrats–the Meanys. To the extent of our capabilities we tried to lend a conscious character to the workers’ spontaneous struggles. brought on by the political and military hegemony of United States imperialism. the number of advanced workers and workers open to communism was very small. the bourgeoisie was able to morally corrupt the working class although they did not materially benefit from this wealth. So. and living off other countries (what Lenin called a rentier state). Using superprofits robbed from the third world to bribe the labor aristocrats. the number of advanced workers and the Party’s ability to win them over was very small indeed.The State of the Party and the Working Class During Capitalist Temporary Stabilization During this period our Party built up a tradition of boldly doing propaganda among the working class. we grew out of the spontaneous movements of the sixties and seventies. First. As stated before. Our early members consisted of these advanced elements who were striving for Marxism to answer the burning questions of their day. at that time we were not well situated in the working class. the historical limitations. although there were militant economic struggles during this time (like the perennial UMWA wildcats).
The maturity of the Party is a reflection of the maturity of the working class. there was no independent. Overall the working class is not open to communism. The working class at that time still had not awakened and made the transition to its present position. It is also most difficult to take advantage of the indirect reserves (inter-monopoly and inter-imperialist contradictions and contradictions among the opportunist misleaders) and they go largely unused.. was still under the ideological corruption of the labor aristocracy and the imperialist classes generally. It merely reflected that the working class. The number of workers who are is small and the Party is even smaller. students. aside form the partial movements of the working class (Miners for Democracy and others). the poor and all the other downtrodden masses. multinational working class movement fighting for itself and its interests. the revolutionary movement. In this period the Party was not mature. women’s movement. the Party cannot win all or even the majority of advanced workers. all strata of the oppressed nationalities. The Party’s strategy–since strategy presupposes the existence of reserves and the possibility of manoeuvring with them–was necessarily . but also because the working-class movement as a whole was young and because the revolutionary situation. The lack of a strong Party at that time was natural. Third.. it is very hard to deploy the proletariat’s direct reserves (oppressed nationalities. as a driving force. or little developed. was weak. was lacking. It was weak not only because it itself was young. Stalin said. particularly in the initial stages of this period. “In this period the Party. in the period of capitalist temporary stabilization. under the conditions that the main forces are not politically organized and are leaderless.From this situation follows three very important conclusions. First. Second. lower petty bourgeoisie) in such a way so as to strengthen and back up the working class. although being ruthlessly oppressed and impoverished.
. Vol. .” Works. The principal task of communism in Russia in that period was to recruit into the Party the best elements of the working class. Quite the contrary.. the Workers Viewpoint Organization had united in its ranks the best communists in the country that came from the earlier spontaneous movements. i. the route that the movement should take.narrow and restricted. since tactics presuppose the utilisation of all forms of the movement. those who were most active and most devoted to the cause of the proletariat. The Party confined itself to mapping the movement’s strategic plan. pp. too localized and its forms too restrictive.. etc. upon its own existence and preservation. etc. 103-104) Painstaking Accumulation of Revolutionary Forces Characterize the Party’s Task During Stabilization This is not to say that there was no class struggle or that the Party did not engage the class struggle in its formative years. By the fall of 1977. Comrade Lenin formulated this task as follows: “to win the vanguard of the proletariat to the side of communism’. owing to the weakness of the Party. We were then able to turn our full attention to the task of winning the advanced workers to the Party and we vigorously went into the various industrial concentrations. with the object of winning the masses and ensuring strategic success. or almost unused. There were quite a few single issues and different streamlets such as the black liberation movement. and the Party’s reserves–the contradictions within the camp of the enemies inside and outside of Russia–remained unused. were also necessarily narrow and without scope...e. One of the characteristics of temporary . 5.. forms of proletarian organisation. their combination and mutual supplementation. The main fight we had to wage was to put them in perspective and give a Marxist orientation to them so that the advanced elements from these spontaneous movements would not get burned out. contract strikes. The main problem at that time was that the class struggle was too diffuse. In this period the Party focused its attention and care upon the Party itself.. The Party’s tactics.” (“The Party Before and After Taking Power. to form the ranks of the proletarian party and put it firmly on its feet.
not the elimination of variety. not the abolition of national differences (that is a foolish dream at the present moment). correctly adapt and apply them to national and national-state differences. must correspond to these conditions. grasp that which is peculiarly national. Investigate. An Infantile Disorder. Work in this type of situation. in which it approaches the victory over opportunism and “left” doctrinairism within the working-class movement. That is why our Party started form the workers’ actual level at the time and picked up on these immediate struggles. and the establishment of a Soviet republic and a proletarian dictatorship–such is the main task of the historical period through which all the advanced countries (and not only the advanced countries) are now passing. a non-revolutionary situation.S. specifically national in the concrete manner in which each country approaches the fulfillment of the single international task. To Prepare for Workers’ Rule. Society–Some Differences Between Third World & Advanced Capitalist Countries As long as national and state differences exist among peoples and countries–and these differences will continue to exist for a very long time even after the dictatorship of the proletariat has been established on a world scale–the unity of international tactics of the Communist working-class movement of all countries demands. Through the ties. The recruitment of these workers was basically one by one. We Must Grasp the Characteristics of U. seek. but such an application of the fundamental principles of Communism (Soviet power and the dictatorship of the proletariat) as will correctly modify these principles in certain particulars. (“Left-Wing” Communism. the overthrow of the bourgeoisie. study. We concentrated on painstaking accumulation of revolutionary forces to prepare ourselves for the political flow to come. the confidence we gained. or near total absence of political struggle. 95-96) . and our organizing the workers in their day to day economic struggles we raised the political level of the advanced workers. pp.stabilization is partial economic struggles taking place with the total. gave leadership to them and in this context did propaganda to the advanced workers. divine.
As long as no direct political challenge is mounted to their rule.The existence of a relatively high degree of political liberty is a condition that maintains the separation of the mass movement of the working class from the communist movement. bourgeois democracy is ’almost complete’. they stay in power.1. reform is the principal strategy to divert the struggle of the working class from socialism.. 18) The bourgeoisie rules in this country indirectly. . Workers from all around an area are brought together to . especially dangerous.. for it breeds bourgeoisdemocratic illusions among the masses. In September.What are some of the particularities of the social structure of the United States that affect our preparation for workers’ rule? How does this differ from third world countries? The most important characteristic to take into account is the existence of bourgeois democracy. semi-colonial or autocratic states. p. “In an advanced capitalist country like the U. In the advanced capitalist countries. This condition of relatively broad political liberty and reform. therefore. unlike the peasantry (which is predominant in the third world) was born of modern industry.. The bourgeoisie has learned that generally speaking it is not to their advantage to use consistent repression to smash the workers’ movement.. such as serving the mass movement passively at each separate stage of its develop-ment.S. by default.” (Workers Viewpoint Journal. militant struggles which hurt the bourgeoisie economically.unlike semi-feudal. did not by any means endanger their rule. No. it makes economist and revisionist errors. 1974 we said. although bitter.. Vol. permits open political propaganda and agitation.2. The big strike waves of 1953-54 and 1969-70. they tolerate and do not fear economic struggles and struggles for partial gains. At the same time. The working class.. And as long as there is no direct challenge.
sophisticated (and for this reason. By bribing the trade union leaders with super profits and corrupting them both materially and ideologically. misleaders other partial movements and the ma media– particularly radio and TV.” stifling militant fights in the grievance pro cedure or turning burning issues to the legislature and government agencies (like Arnold Miller did with the miners’ struggle against Black Lung) the labor aristocracy destroy the workers’ basic organizations. Some of the important weapons in their arsenal are the labor aristocracy in the trade unions. Because of its social being. Whether it selling out strikes and organizing drives. why does the bourgeoisie not fear these partial struggles? The answer is that they have some very subtle. Today.work under one roof. So if the proletariat has such wonderful capabilities to organize. keep them tied to the bourgeoisie and stunt their political development and class consciousness. all the more brutal) means at their disposal to stop the proletariat. The power and potential of the working class lies in its capacity to organize. the bourgeoisie has developed an elaborate network of agents to sabotage the workers’ movement from within. most revolutionary class and has the power to sustain its revolutionary energy. which of course they cannot do. the working class is the most advanced. And here is where they organize and where their rudimentary forms of organization–the trade unions–are. things are decidedly changing as early as May 1978. Here is where the workers’ ties are. here is where their discipline is forged and wherein lays the basis for their consciousness. pushing bourgeois “political action. And the only way the bourgeoisie can rid the working class of this capacity is to shut down every factory. however. we predicted this process: . For the bourgeoisie to crush it with force (which they have tried to do) only calls forth more resistance.
sellout misleader. May 1978. while the leadership is wide open. Imperialist countries like the U. like Meany. Incorrect views are rapidly abandoned. This is different from the workers’ movement in the last 20 years. The more the government steps in. and the coal miners are dealing blows at the attempt of the bourgeoisie to attack the right to strike. the Pullman Standard workers. By promoting their pluralism. also have an exceptionally omnipotent mass media which they use to manipulate public opinion and dull the minds of the American people. the leading ideology changed rapidly. The wage settlements in these strikes have put a big dent in Carter’s “voluntary” wage control policy. They promote ‥special interest” groups and constituency politics.” second generation. Even Arnold Miller is being exposed after only brief 6 year stint as a “reform. The scattered strikes of the iron ore workers. from Kawaida nationalism to Nkrumaism and Pan-Africanism to Marxism. consumer councils) while consciously channeling them into reformism and parliamentarism and fencing them off from revolutionary socialism. From the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to the Black Panther Party. environmental. violence. Each of these “streamlets of discontent” has its own voice and organization– anti-nuke. the leadership the national movement has been fluid and has changed rapidly. women. the misleadership in the trade unions are far more deeply entrenched. the more the state being exposed and its authority being weakened. It is under these rapidly developing conditions that the diehard representatives of the labor aristocracy.Since the trade unions are far more stable organizations than the organizations of the national movements. consumer. Night after night of senseless plots.S. they keep these movements within the boundary of bourgeois legality. This enabled the communists to guide the national movement to a higher level as the WVO is doing today. sex. oppressed nationality. and the Abel/McBride gang. the longshoremen. (Workers Viewpoint. 27) The capitalists are also skilled at keeping different movements separated. Since the political awakening of the 60s. isolated a straightjacketed. are being shaken off their pedestals after twenty years of unchallenged reign. etc. p. reformism exposes a la . Fitzsimmons. The bourgeoisie builds these streamlets up and often funds them (poverty programs. The deepening economic crisis and the increasing attacks from the bourgeoisie has fueled the resistance of the working class.
the sooner they run out of tricks.Lou Grant and Quincy–all this serves to confuse the masses and tell them that heaven is backbreaking labor plus a little entertainment. The situation is generally always destabilized and the revolution’s target is clearly defined. All there is is naked force. Contrast this with the third world revolutions. And for the proletariat to make progress in our fight we must learn how to combat their rule tit for tat. The . Consequently the masses’ struggle is sharper and more focused against the ruling classes. They have a very large peasantry. as a part of their dual tactics. the CWP 5. parliamentary manoeuvring. In the third world the dominant classes rule directly with military force. for to do it openly would wake the masses up too much and very rapidly. etc. And the peasantry. The murders of Malcolm X. because of its social and economic position.). In addition to all this. And precisely because our preparation must be thorough (combating spies and terroristic attacks. etc. the bourgeoisie uses reactionary violence to keep the workers away from socialism. But the more advanced it is.. is not as capable as the working class to organize and sustain resistance. nor any poverty pimps to dupe the masses and suffocate their struggles. Fred Hampton. the bourgeoisie uses dual tactics of reform and repression to keep us down and maintain their rule. Their rule is ruthless and thoroughgoing. learning to attack and retreat. the dictatorship of the working class will be that much more thorough and effective. although it suffers great oppression. and their counter intelligence and spying activities are all designed to cut the most advanced leadership away from the masses. In short. learning to use the mass media. no labor aristocracy. this tactic is carried out covertly. But generally speaking. our dictatorship. There is no bourgeois democracy.
This truth may be expressed in other words: revolution is impossible without a nationwide crisis (affecting both the exploited and the exploiters). But because the main form of struggle is armed struggle and because of the large peasantry and small working class. He went on to say. the revolutionary class must be able to master all forms. it is essential for revolution that the exploiters should not be able to live and rule in the old way. Only when the ’lower classes’ do no want the old way. Further. after the capture of political power. first. It follows that for revolution it is essential. that a majority of the workers (or at least a majority of the class-conscious.” (“Left-Wing” Communism.third world has no social props. only military props and therefore the main form of struggle is armed. thinking. and particularly by all three Russian revolutions in the twentieth century. it is difficult or impossible to master all forms of struggle. or aspects. a sphere with which they had little experience. “in order to fulfill its task.. An Infantile Disorder. and when the ’upper classes’ cannot carry on in the old way–only then can revolution triumph.. what it did not complete before the capture of power). After years in the bush fighting a guerrilla war. of social activity without any exception (completing. 101) The Definition of a Revolutionary Situation The fundamental law of revolution. p. ZANU had to switch to parliamentary and diplomatic work. Lenin pointed out that one of the fundamental reasons for the success of the Bolshevik revolution was that they went through 15 years of tremendous struggle with many varied forms of revolutionary work. politically active workers) should fully understand that . sometimes at great risk and very great danger. is as follows: it is not enough for revolution that the exploited and oppressed masses should understand the impossibility of living in the old way and demand changes. because of these two reasons. Look at Zimbabwe. which has been confirmed by all revolutions. it will be relatively harder after seizing state power to consolidate the revolution although it was relatively easier to get started because the target was clear.
the revolutionary situation will develop.’ if it is not toppled over. Some Characteristics of a Pre-Revolutionary Situation . we cannot say.” (“The Collapse of the Second International. “Left-Wing” Communism. It could be a series of Watergate/Abscam scandals one after the other. in general terms. . Or it could be an attempted coup. The point here is not what specifically will touch off the revolutionary situation. not even in a period of crisis ’falls. which never. weakens the government and makes it possible for the revolutionaries to overthrow it rapidly. the ability of the revolutionary class to take revolutionary mass action strong enough to break (or dislocate) the old government. influential party that guides the work and oppressed every step of the way. revolution arises only out of a situation in which the above-mentioned objective changes are accompanied by a subjective change. p. But it is not every revolutionary situation that leads to revolution. but how. “. 86) How will this happen in the United States? As to what sort of governmental crisis will occur. which draws even the most backward masses into politics (a symptom of every real revolution is a rapid. (Lenin. ceaselessly raises its class consciousness.. constantly points out the final aim of the movement and leads them in the fight for that aim. that the ruling classes should be passing through a governmental crisis. Or any other sort of crisis. secondly. namely. 222) And what causes this subjective change? It is a strong. tenfold and even hundredfold increase in the number of members of the toiling and oppressed masses–hitherto apathetic–who are capable of waging the political struggle). Lenin said.” Against Revisionism. p. An Infantile Disorder.it is not eve revolutionary situation that gives rise to a revolution.revolution is necessary and be ready to sacrifice their lives for it.
better working conditions. conditions in the U. shows the working class’ desperation. During the temporary stabilization the questions were economic questions–more wages. they are seeing all their hopes slipping away. Precisely because of this questioning. asking is it all worth it. They are also much more militant and violent as in the Washington. never again to return. Indiana strike where the workers blew up the mayor’s house for assisting the scabs. much longer than before. what is it all about? What we’re seeing is the beginning of judgment day. which is becoming more typical.S. etc. there is a pre-revolutionary situation lying in between a non-revolutionary and a revolutionary situation. but the workers that do strike stay out longer. much different than in the third world. . the partial struggles. Strikes are at an all-time low. they are dwarfed by the larger questions of the workers’ whole lives and their future direction. We have consistently pointed out that the American workers are waking up under the impact of the economic crisis and this awakening is taking the form at this point of mass disorientation. After decades of dreaming of a better life. And while these questions still exist and in fact intensify because of the economic crisis. When capitalism becomes destabilized. This single strike. It has led to the workers questioning their whole lives. this thoroughgoing search for answers. the different “streamlets of discontent” do not hold the same interest and importance they once had. The disorientation. their growing awareness that they cannot live in the old way. winning a particular strike.” has not led yet to a nationwide upsurge. The pre-revolutionary situation will not necessarily take the form of a nationwide flow.As we have seen. The economic struggles that do go on now assume a whole new light. the disillusionment with the “American way of life. as in Russia in 1912-1914.
On this score there can be no doubt. If our scope of activity.So it is not yet a nationwide upsurge. we must effect all around military preparation for the revolutionary situation ahead. The pre-revolutionary situation caused by the rapid capitalist destabilization shows itself in the form of pockets of struggle. These tasks are designed so that we can become well situated in the working class to take advantage of the coming revolutionary situation. pockets of resistance. we must build our existing cadre core into a vanguard mass communist party through propaganda. we must participate in local and national agitation to swing the mood of the majority and change the political scenery. but groups and circles of advanced workers. our ability to win over the advanced workers and mobilize the reserves was restricted during temporary stabilization. Build the CWP into a Vanguard Mass Communist Party Through Propaganda . there Kokomo. We must broaden out to and reach the majority of American people. And this will mean several things for our work. Indiana. Here Miami and Levittown. and San Diego. A nationwide revolutionary situation will occur. it can come anytime within the next two years. The possibilities for all of this increases and it can be achieved if we do our work well and implement our tasks. Our recruitment in this period is not one by one. there Washington. in a pre-revolutionary situation to be in a good position when the revolutionary situation does come? Our Tasks in the Present Situation Our tasks in this period are as follows. here Greensboro. But the question at hand is how do we prepare now. This is what is required for our political and military preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat–workers’ rule in the United States. it is just the opposite in this period.
” (What Is To Be Done?) This means that they are won over to the side of seeing the necessity for workers’ rule–the dictatorship of the proletariat. lack of resoluteness on the part of the advanced workers. “The fact that the working class participates in the political struggle. It is therefore a gauge of how far the Party has come to becoming the decisive ideological and political leadership of the class as a whole. with the grip of the labor aristocrats being shattered. hesitancy. that. Lenin said. our Party now has the opportunity to win over the majority of the advanced workers in the country. During stabilization.First. or at least the majority of them–will put the . does not in itself make its politics Social-Democratic politics. as we have seen. But now. and even in political revolution. Winning over the advanced workers is important because the advanced workers determine the character and level of the workers’ movement and are its independent leaders. And to the extent that they do not see this fundamental aim. the number of advanced workers was small and our ability to win them over was limited. These workers are politically farsighted and revolutionary. This is and will be especially crucial in the Party’s attempt to lead the masses to seizing state power from the bourgeoisie in a revolutionary situation. to that extent the Party’s concrete ability to recruit them is hampered. but for the most part are not Marxist. doubt. The relationship between the advanced workers and communists is also a gauge of the development of the working class movement and the state of fusion between the working class and communist movements. discord. For at a time when the working class must move in unison under the Party’s leadership–when all the factors for a revolutionary situation are ripe–any vacillation. The Party must become the decisive ideological and political leadership of the working class. and under the impact of the economic crisis. the number of advanced workers is rapidly multiplying.
we must meet the polarization head-on. and even their cars. from their perspective. So you must run the line now. In addressing why the Party must recruit broadly in times of mass ferment. Otherwise the line will not be sharp enough and the leadership will not be strong enough for them. You cannot deal with it one issue at a time anymore. they won’t remember you six days later. . You have to explain to them the crisis of capitalism. in their lifetimes. the masses will do so thousand times more. People’s families are breaking apart. General Secretary of the Communist Workers Party. in terms of the character of the Party’s task. You cannot just talk about you’re affected by the crisis because you’re a worker. They face the danger of losing their houses. If the advanced vacillate. You have to run the full line. People’s families are being affected by the crisis in such a thoroughgoing way. In a situation like that.” We must boldly recruit these workers and expand our cadre core into a vanguard mass communist party. You’re affected by the crisis because you’re Afro-American or you’re affected by this crisis because nuclear power is coming. Comrade Jerry Tung. Lenin said. You must take propaganda. Their kids may never get jobs. Otherwise. recently had this to say about the importance of propaganda in building up the Party: “So our approach is that. Without the advanced workers in the Party or under its influence. if you don’t run the line now. You gotta run it. the Party’s line. out there and run the line from morning to evening. there is no way we can command the authority and respect needed to lead the masses in struggle. it will not be strong enough. The working class would remain leaderless and the Party would turn into an insignificant sect instead of the vital political force it must be. and then show the relation of all those other things to it. People are losing their jobs.seizure of state power in doubt. You’ll just be another person.
and they will submit to the influence of the steadfast and solid core of Social-Democrats. And now that the heroic proletariat has proved by deeds its readiness to fight. to fight in a purely Social-Democratic spirit. it would cease to be the conscious vanguard of its class. has created a trend and has built up cadres of Social-Democratic workers. If that occurred. The working class is instinctively. openly and straightforwardly against the slightest attempts at demagogy: we have demanded classconsciousness from those joining the Party. comrades. its role would be reduced to that of a tail. Vol. comrades! Don’t forget that in every live and growing party there will always be elements of instability. We have a firmly established Party programme which is officially recognised by all Social-Democrats and the fundamental propositions of which have not given rise to any criticism (criticism of individual points and formulations is quite legitimate and necessary in any live party). and its ability to fight consistently and in a body for clearly-understood aims. Don’t invent bugaboos. it would be simply ridiculous to doubt that the workers who belong to our Party. organisational experience) entirely. if we lacked party principles (programme. will be Social-Democrats in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred.Danger may be said to lie in a sudden influx of large numbers of non-Social Democrats into the Party. That would mean a very deplorable period indeed.” Collected Works. tactical rules. But these elements can be influenced. or if those principles were feeble and shaky. 31-32) Change Political Scenery Through Agitation and Action . We also have some organisational experience and an actual organisation. spontaneously Social-Democratic. “Let us not exaggerate this danger. a fact which may not be immediately apparent. We Bolsheviks have never shown any inclination towards demagogy. wavering. we have always fought resolutely. we have insisted on the tremendous importance of continuity in the Party’s development. we have preached discipline and demanded that every Party member be trained in one or other of the Party organisations. On the contrary. (“The Reorganization of the Party. But the fact is that no such ’ifs’ exist. 10. but which can be denied only by the blind or by the blinded. vacillation. SocialDemocracy has established a name for itself. the Party would be dissolved among the masses. and more than ten years of work put in by Social-Democracy has done a great deal to transform this spontaneity into consciousness. pp. or who will join it tomorrow at the invitation of the Central Committee. which has played an educational role and has undoubtedly borne fruit. And this danger could undoubtedly become a very serious one if we showed any inclination towards demagogy. We have resolutions on tactics which are consistently and systematically worked out at the Second and Third Congresses and in the course of many years’ work of the Social-Democratic press.
indeed. are of no avail. In these circumstances one must not count in thousands. revolutionary action against the bourgeoisie has arisen and begun vigorously to grow.As long as the question was (and in so far as it still is) one of winning over the vanguard of the proletariat to Communism. intermediate elements–the petty bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeois democrats as distinct from the bourgeoisie have sufficiently exposed themselves in the eyes of the people. In different parts of the country. are useful under these conditions and produce fruitful results. wavering. then. Then revolution is indeed ripe. the question confronts us: how can we win over the majority? All classes are going into motion now. unstable. then propaganda habits alone. With a nationwide resistance developing in pockets. even propaganda circles. the masses are waging a fight whose basic content is saying “we cannot live in the old way. if we have correctly gauged all the conditions indicated and briefly outlined above. of the alignment of all the class forces of the given society for the final and decisive battle. our victory is assured. but also whether the historically effective forces of all classes–positively of all the classes of the given society without exception–are aligned in such a way that everything is fully ripe for the decisive battle: in such a way that 1) all the class forces hostile to us have become sufficiently entangled. and that 3) among the proletariat a mass sentiment in favour of supporting the most determined. as the propagandist does who belongs to a small group that has not yet given leadership to the masses. and at different times. if one may so express it. 98-99) The final and decisive battle is not an immediate question for us now. In these circumstances we must not only ask ourselves whether we have convinced the vanguard of the revolutionary class. in these circumstances one must count in millions and tens of millions. have sufficiently weakened themselves in a struggle which is beyond their strength. so long. with all the defects of the circle spirit. supremely bold. have sufficiently exposed themselves through their practical bankruptcy. great attention should be paid to this passage by Lenin. (“Left-Wing” Communism. however. and if we have chosen the moment rightly. propaganda was in the forefront.” Not only is it also possible to win over the majority of advanced workers to the Party. of the disposition. pp. of vast armies. it is also possible to win over the majority . An Infantile Disorder. the mere repetition of the truths of “pure” Communism. that 2) all the vacillating. are sufficiently at loggerheads with each other. But when it is a question of practical action by the masses. and to that extent.
That is why they didn’t confine themselves to chauvinist propaganda. That. “The mutual position of the classes. p. Commenting on the political values of a 400.” Between the Two Revolutions. The Bolsheviks under Lenin learned this lesson. their correlation in the struggle against each other. particularly in comparison with the strength of the parties. so strikingly. is their only hope to guarantee any interest in the presidential elections. too. The purpose of this campaign was to focus the masses’ attention and public opinion of the brittleness of the capitalist system and point out that they have a fighting chance in following the CWP toward socialist revolution. too. is insufficient for this task. The bourgeoisie knows this. their strength.of the whole working class and its reserves. Lenin said.” (“The Eighteenth of June. they had to use anti-Iranian agitation and counterrevolutionary demonstrations in order to whip up chauvinism.000 strong march under Bolshevik slogans. The possibilities for work among all classes and strata is better than ever before. 293) The party has been able to crystallize the masses’ deepest sentiments through its campaign to serve notice to the politicians at the Democratic Convention. scapegoat foreigners for the problems and therefore change the whole mood of the country. Only agitation and action can crystallize the masses’ sentiment and change the political scenery. which is absolutely necessary to build the CWP into a mass communist party. Reagan’s and Carter’s campaign have no content but catchy slogans and blaming each other. so impressively by last Sunday’s demonstration that. were all revealed so distinctly. . Propaganda. whatever the course and pace of further developments. the gain in political awareness and clarity has been tremendous.
Agitation must be conducted over every concrete example of this oppression. .” (What Is To Be Done?.. family. which spoke for the American workers and oppressed. scientific.. exposed to the masses the brittleness of the capitalist system and showed them that they do have a fighting chance. inasmuch as it manifests itself in the most varied spheres of life and activity. was such political exposure.. laid the basis for our agitation and crystallization of the masses’ sentiment by our frontal assault on the Convention itself.. personal.And inasmuch as this oppression affects the most diverse classes of society. “It is not enough to explain to the workers that th ey are politically oppressed (no more than it was to explain to them that their interests were antagonistic to the interests of the employers). The Party was able to reach millions upon millions of people with its message. is it not evident that we shall not be fulfilling our task of developing the political consciousness of the workers if we do not undertake the organization of the political exposure of the autocracy in all its aspects! In order to carry on agitation around concrete examples of oppression. . pp. 70-71) Our agitation and action throughout the Democratic Convention. etc. etc.From the outset of the campaign the Party carried out mass propaganda explaining the economic crisis and why socialism is the only solution. we cut through the bourgeoisie’s media blockade.. culminating in the frontal assault. slapped them in the face. Our daily mass propaganda. Lenin said. civic. these examples must be exposed. religious. Propaganda posters went up in every major city–and then some–creating mass debates and forums on the merits of socialism versus capitalism. With the eyes of the whole country on the Democratic Convention. industrial.
” Party Work Among the Masses. The police department tried to box us in and even said they would give us a choice spot to demonstrate. This message succeeded in getting out to the whole country. The two roads in the 80’s and socialism must be put on the agenda of our agitation over each and every issue facing . with its long history of bourgeois pluralism. mass workers movement for socialism. This is especially true for the U. During the week of the Convention and the week prior to it.” (“New Tasks and New Forces. too must put forth socialist revolution as the only alternative to more suffering and win the broad masses to the movement for workers’ rule. The Party’s prestige and the masses’ openness to us has increased many times over as a result of our Serve Notice campaign. We cannot confine the ideas of socialism to propaganda–even mass propaganda. If we don’t reach the majority of Americans with the need for socialism. the capitalists’ main worry was the CWP. 20) Agitation must be linked with propaganda in that it. Engage in Socialist Agitation to Build A Communist Workers Movement Our aim in reaching out to the majority and bringing them under the leadership of the Party is to create an independent.This message rippled out beyond the demonstration. The news media all betrayed their concern with questions like. “What is the CWP up to?” The Party’s task was to bring out to the American people that we are the only effective opposition to the monopoly capitalist class. We must not delay this task. for the new streams are seeking an immediate outlet. then some other political trend will reach them with their solution. and if they do not find a Social-Democratic channel they will rush into a non-SocialDemocratic channel.S. The majority of people are disillusioned and have deep questions about the prospects of life under capitalism. p. “that every moment of delay in this task will play into the hands of the enemies of Social-Democracy. “Remember.” Lenin said.
The slogan “Down with the autocracy” which was first advanced by the “Emancipation of Labour” group in the ’eighties of the last century. But what unites them solidly behind the Party is our demonstrated ability to lead. of the proletariat. the masses. Stalin’s Collected Works. in the period of the Russo-Japanese war. for it was designed to win over vast masses of the toilers.Americans without exception. Most workers will not be clear about the aims of the movement. since its aim was to win over to the Party individuals and groups of the most steadfast and sturdy fighters. by its party.” (“Concerning the Question of Strategy and Tactics of the Russian Communists. when the instability of the autocracy became more or less evident to large sections of the working class. and the Party line up in this fashion? Because under capitalism it is impossible to create a “new socialist man” with socialist consciousness. And we must participate in pacesetting struggles to make this concrete for them. was a propaganda slogan. Slogans vary in accordance with the different aims of the struggle. 174) The Working Class Makes Revolution Out of Necessity Building up a mass workers’ movement for socialism does not mean that every worker must be Marxist and be theoretically clear on the principles of communism. with their diverse demands and requirements. many will have criticisms or disagree with all or part of our political program. P. though. A slogan is a concise and clear formulation of the aims of the struggle. aims embracing either a whole historical period or individual stages and episodes of the given historical period. 5. Stalin said. The daily grind. let us say. “Slogans are still more important in the political sphere. when one has to deal with tens and hundreds of millions of the population. What it does mean. is that the working class and oppressed feel that the Party is the only political force capable of leading them. near or remote. this slogan became an agitation slogan. our moral authority. Why will the workers. keeps people down and provides little or no opportunity for the masses to politically . the struggle just to survive. Vol. given by the leading group.
as well as deception of the workers. No one can do it for them. the only revolutionary class. we must seize state power when the opportunity arises. In fact. try to patch up the problems of capitalism and make life “better” for the workers. Only after we have state power can we begin in earnest the arduous task of raising the workers and oppressed to a communist level of consciousness. not by a long way. but out of a practical. it is only after the vanguard of the proletariat.. under the yoke of the bourgeoisie (which assumes an infinite variety of forms that become more subtle and at the same time more brutal and ruthless the higher the cultural level in a given capitalist country) is also idealisation of capitalism and of bourgeois democracy.the idea. And we cannot be “communist social workers” who. overthrows the exploiters. not out of a theoretical.. that the majority of the exploited toilers can achieve complete clarity of socialist consciousness and firm socialist convictions and character under capitalist slavery. But the working class must emancipate itself.develop and become convinced communists. common among the old parties and the old leaders of the Second International. supported by the whole or the majority of this. The overthrow of the capitalist class is just the first step of the revolution. emancipates the exploited from their state of slavery and immediately improves their conditions of life at the expense of . “. it is not the end. we cannot and will not demand that the whole working class be convinced Marxists before we seize power. Inherent in our method of preparation for workers’ rule is organizing the workers in their class struggle against the capitalists and in the course of this fight raise the political level of the working class as high as possible. Lenin said. From this follows several important conclusions. suppresses them. instead of organizing the workers themselves to fight for their interests. The masses make revolution out of necessity. understanding of the need for revolution. First.
Not only mass political action. Public opinion switches course in a matter of a day and in the course of a day. but united front work as well. p. and only in the actual process of an acute class struggle. but united front work as well. trained and organised around the proletariat under whose influence and guidance they can get rid of the selfishness. (Workers Viewpoint.the expropriated capitalists–it is only after this. Not only peaceful. Not only mass political action. union officials. p.” (“Theses on the Fundamental Tasks of the Second Congress of the Communist International. We are living in extremely volatile times and conditions change rapidly. but even more so in destabilization. . too.” To know the workers’ sentiments is most fundamental. Not only peaceful. These comrades must “influence their environment in the spirit of the whole Party and not allow the environment to swallow them up. This is true for all times.” Party Work Among the Masses. and all this must be done in the spirit of Partyism. 114) The Party Must Learn All Forms of Struggle We must utilize all forms of struggle in order to reach the masses. because we are carrying out a new type of preparation– So comrades who become. that the masses of the toilers and exploited can be educated. 28) We must utilize all forms of struggle in order to reach the masses. May 1978. cannot know just how every other union official carries out their tasks. Rip Van Winkle style. But they have to be bold in plunging into the superstructure work. but military. Not only direct Party work. say. Not only direct Party work. disunity. but parliamentary action as well. vices and weaknesses engendered by private property. but military. too. we can be looking at an entirely different situation. or a week at most. but we must use this form in a new way to serve all-rounded and systematic preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat. only then will they be converted into a free union of free workers. but parliamentary action as well. In May 1978 we said: We must learn to work in old (parliamentary and legal) and new (violent and illegal) forms in a new way.
by the class consciousness. will. spurred on by a most acute struggle of classes. as Lenin said. we must combine the strictest devotion to Communist ideas with the practical ability to manoeuvre. whereas revolutions are made. And with the whole world watching. compromise and retreat to reach the broad masses. passion and imagination of tens of millions. An Infantile Disorder. The government hoped to kill our Party on November 3 and either force us underground or turn us toward reformism by scaring us. The eyes of the whole country were upon us. at moments of upsurge and the exertion of all human capacities. Had we not skillfully utilized these different forms.” (“Left-Wing” Communism. All this and more led up to the Party’s armed funeral march where we combined the firm principle of armed selfdefense with negotiations and forced the state to back down before us.In addition. To get our message across to the American people and avenge our comrades’ deaths. and the history of revolutions in particular. the Party took the political offensive in many ways. more varied. passion and imagination of tens of thousands. A brief look at the Party’s work after the assassination of the CWP 5 will illustrate this. We did neither. 100) Therefore. Right after the Massacre. we . we must learn how to correctly combine these different forms of struggle and maximize the Party’s impact. we would not have succeeded in drawing the masses into the fight to avenge the CWP 5. This is understandable. because even the best vanguards express the class consciousness. will. p. more many-sided. more lively and ’subtle’ than even the best parties and the most class conscious vanguards of the most advanced classes imagine. is always richer in content. We correctly utilized the bourgeois media. Moreover. “History generally. We doubled and tripled our agitation and newspaper sales at the plant gates. we took vanguard actions around the country and confronted the FBI directly.
a mood of despair among the broad masses who feel that nothing can now be saved by half-measures.” (Lenin. destroy everything. and freedom is not yet socialism. They must be brought into such a position where there is “on the one hand. p. But they must be bent in such a way so as to lead the masses in the decisive battle for power. even anarchistically. these demands were for peace.’ if the Bolsheviks are not able to lead them in a decisive battle. Actually the scope of the revolution. that is. only under workers’ rule can these demands be met. its tasks and methods are much broader than this. All Power to the Soviets is not yet socialism. The demands and slogans are put forward to unleash the masses’ fighting ability and help them to realize that socialism is the only solution. In Russia.would have failed in showing it that the U. peace. the Party must put forth transitional demands. firm and unswerving resolve on the part of the class conscious elements to fight to the end. that you cannot ’influence’ anybody. But taken by themselves. monopoly capitalists can be beat and socialism is a real possibility in the U.” Between the Two Revolutions. . “Letter to Comrades. Bread. Seizing state power is only the first step. Transitional Demands and the Revolutionary Crisis As the pre-revolutionary situation develops and becomes a nationwide revolutionary crisis. and on the other. that the hungry will ’smash everything. transitional demands are not socialist demands.S. a conscious. 499) Transitional Demands Cannot Be Equated With Socialism The essence of the transitional demands are for socialism. bread and freedom and “All Power to the Soviets!” The Party must utilize the everyday needs of the masses and advance transitional slogans and partial demands corresponding to these needs.S.
Especially now–when we are building up the Party’s forces and the majority of workers and oppressed are open but disoriented–to define communism in terms of killer cops. Police murder or any immediate issue can be the starting point for communist agitation and propaganda. to say. But waging a vigorous fight against these manifestations of oppression in no way means we endorse worship of God or petty bourgeois exploitation. to equate our communist program for the dictatorship of the proletariat with the partial. It could be religious persecution. means depriving the vanguard of the sweep it needs to build itself up.It is not the end of the revolution. a black insurance salesman. transitional demands is to degrade communism. “Socialist revolution means death to killer cops. We do use inflammable material for propaganda and agitation. The whole political and economic situation today is so inflammable that any spark can set off a spontaneous revolutionary situation. by killer cops. It could be the murder of Arthur McDuffie.” would really throw us off course. because these demands are only used to bring the masses in a position to follow and support the Party in seizing power. or high food prices. the Communist Workers Party. For the Party to equate the two in a revolutionary situation would mean that it could very well lose orientation and be unable to move on to solve the much more complicated problems of continuing the revolution under workers’ rule. or gas shortages. not by a long way. or whatever. The leadership of the working class. To reduce communism to these demands. cannot define the tasks of the revolution in terms of the transitional demands. . And to do this now. But to reduce our propaganda and agitation to “Socialist revolution means death to killer cops” limits our work and in the case of this slogan will turn us into a terroristic sect.
Our propaganda must reach out to the majority and explain why socialism is the only solution. There is no one issue right now to crystallize the masses’ resistance. . from the standpoint of the extensive decay of capitalism. At the same time we must lead pacesetting fights. we will be able to take advantage of the excellent situation ahead and provide the working class the leadership it needs to seize state power and establish socialism. but this is an inevitable occurrence when they are just stirring and questioning literally everything. embassy. To be sure. People’s whole lives under capitalism is the issue. The Party’s main task now is to explain every aspect of the worker’s situation. But many of the same people who demonstrated against the Iranians also hit the streets against the draft. We must start from the appearance of things (“Iran is pushing us around bullying us. Everything is the issue. the biggest wave of chauvinism in decades was the temporary response of many Americans. clearly targeting the oil monopolies. every aspect of their oppression without exception. If we keep to this orientation. the disorientation is great. like the Kokomo action and the Democratic Convention campaign– struggles which establish the Party at the forefront of the working class and which establish its moral authority.The decade of the 80s was ushered in by the murder of the CWP 5. This is all a reflection of the American working class waking up from a three decade-long sleep. The next day.” or “socialism means oppression like in Russia”) and patiently explain again and again why capitalism is the source of the workers’ misery.S. Iranian students took over the U.
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