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Comments on Agriculture and Food in Crisis

Comments on Agriculture and Food in Crisis (2010, Monthly Review Press) ed. by Fred Magdoff and Brian Tokar.

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In the period between 2006 and 2008, a world food crisis emerged. Agriculture and Food in Crisis (2010, Monthly Review Press) is an anthology of articles describing the causes and effects of this crisis. The collection is edited by Fred Magdoff and Brian Tokar. Since the book contains the works of so many authors, many views are presented. The articles contain the typical liberal problems of academic treatments of oppression. Even so, the work contains useful information on how neoliberalism intersects with the growing food crisis, especially in the Third World. Rather than looking at each author, this review comments on useful information found throughout the volume.

Global food shortages have become a major issue, especially for the poorest peoples, those living in the Third World. Food prices are rising. Over the last few years, millions have gone hungry, unable to afford basic nutrition. In the poorest countries, 125 million more people fell into extreme poverty in just the years between 2006 and 2008. Many declared a global food crisis. The World Food Program worried that food reserves would not be able to meet the urgent demand. (33) However, what was not recognized was that this food crisis is part of a larger crisis, the crisis of capitalism itself. Capitalism regularly creates artificial crises. Marx called this the anarchy of capitalist production. The current methods of agricultural production and food distribution, formed and maintained by capitalism, are crises in and of themselves. Global food production is decreasing even though current human needs are not being met, especially in the Third World. Grain and soybeans previously grown for human consumption are being diverted into industrial meat production, factory farms, to maintain profit margins and First World consumption patterns. Third World countries are compelled to accept neoliberal structural-adjustment policies, turning them into food importers. This leads to lower food production and higher food prices in the Third World. Due to depeasantificaiton, one sixth of humanity now lives in slum conditions, mostly in the megacities of the Third World. (10) The transformation of peasants into slumdwellers takes place at the same time as corporate domination of the world’s food system increases on an unprecedented scale. More than one billion people suffer from severe hunger. Nearly two billion more, almost all of the Third World, suffer from food insecurity. (12) The current systems of agriculture production and food distribution are failing at least half of the planet’s people. Yet, even with decreases in food production, the world still produces enough food to feed everyone. (13) Although this should not be taken to mean that either infinite population growth,  population and consumption levels are necessarily sustainable. The work details the grim realities of food production under capitalism today. The global poor cannot compete in terms of purchasing power with multinational corporations, global institutions, and First World states that wish to see the world’s food supply appropriated for meat production, fuel production, or simply consumed by populations in the wealthier countries. The global capitalist economy distributes wealth in a vastly uneven manner both between individuals within countries, and between countries themselves. (14) The current system is unsustainable, ecologically and socially. What most of treatments of the issue fail to understand is that the solutions to such problems require going beyond capitalism itself.

The essays describe how the neoliberal power holders interact to ensure their control of the food system. The IMF and World Bank have both created and maintained the neoliberal policies behind the food crises. Structural adjustment policies, forced upon indebted countries, have contributed to a global “capitalist transformation of the countryside.” (43) Structural adjustment means power accumulates in the hands of the few. A handful of corporations increasingly monopolize the food system. (211) The number of corporations controlling food production and distribution has contracted. Two companies control two-thirds of the world’s grain market. (211) Three companies — Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta — have cornered the commercial seeds trade, controlling 40 percent of that market. (21) These corporations have declared themselves owners of the very seeds that humanity has been forced to rely on by patenting their genetic modifications. Yet their genetically modified crops have not shown increases in yields. (23) Even so, farmers from Mexico to India find themselves forced to purchase these seeds. Once producers, Indian farmers today find themselves as consumers, forced to purchase expensive corporate-owned seeds from landlords and lenders to get by. (46) Moreover, ten companies control 75 percent of the agrochemical market. Thus dependency of growers and the power of corporations are increased. Traditional producers have little options within a global system that is increasingly rigged against them.

Truly free markets are a myth. Despite neoliberal propaganda touting the power of the free market, control of food supplies has been anything but free. Open markets by themselves are not enough for corporations to profit in the Third World. Governments must intervene to ensure and increase corporate profits. The rich countries of the First World rely on subsidizing their own population while muscling Third World states against such policies. Domestic production of food is subsidized by First World governments so too are  crops billed as ecofriendly. The 2008 Mitchell Report, a suppressed report from an economist at the World Bank, alleges that increases in biofuel production in the United States and the EU were to blame for three-fourths of the huge increase in food prices in the years between 2002 and 2008. (36) For the purported reason of “energy independence,” and to placate First Worldist environmentalists, the US government offers subsidies that promote shifting the production of corn to agrofuel, making the shift a profitable venture. (122) In addition, profits are made by exporting subsidized, non-nutritious foods from the First World to the poor countries of Third World. These corporations have had to wage campaigns with state help to change the diets of people in the Third World. For example, people in the Third World seldom consumed wheat. With wheat-producing corporations looking to expand their markets, the US government provided “charitable” wheat for countries that had never produced it. A United Nations report describes similar campaigns. First World states and their corporate allies through “massive marketing and advocacy” made “high-fat, high sugar and low-fiber fast foods and soft drinks” palatable to a new base of consumers in the Third World. Predictably, the influx of these foods and the changing of diet coincided with an “escalating trend” of non-communicable disease in poor countries. (22)

First World government policies have turned food production upside down. Mexico was the first country to domesticate corn. Corn was a staple of Mexico’s ancient indigenous cultures. Corn only reached the “old world” after contact with European explorers and settlers. Yet by 2007, Mexico was dependent on importing its corn from the United States. According to one set of authors in the volume, this is the result of IMF and World Bank structural-adjustment polices that began in the 1980s. The result was trade liberalization, land privatization of formerly-collective land, and elimination of various government protections for peasants that had been in place since the Mexican Revolution. NAFTA further solidified this shift. Mexico, traditionally a country with a rich tradition of food production, soon became a net importer of its food. (40)

The neoliberal impact on food production and distribution has resulted in vast demographic changes in the Third World. Depeasantization and its correlate slumification have been major trends over the last decade. Modern primitive accumulation drives peasants from their land to undeveloped urban areas. In Marx’s day, capitalism forced the peasantry into the factories of new urban production zones. Migration to cities today does not correspond to any industrial need. Thus, today’s peasants are driven into informal slum economies. (27) Nearly one-sixth of humanity lives in slums. The peasants who migrate to the slums essentially drop out of the economy, they are cut off from society. The slumification of the peasantry correlates with an increase of corporate control of agriculture as well as the massive increase in the number of people facing food insecurity. Depeasantization takes other forms as well. In the countryside, farmer suicides have increased dramatically. In rural Maharashtra India, suicide rates tripled from 1995 to 2005. Some 150,000 Indian farmers took their lives over the last few years alone. (46) The depeasantization and slummification that results, in part, from neoliberal control of the food supply has created a vast, new social and geographic base for revolution. The course of future revolutions will surely be imprinted by the neoliberal food policies.

There are numerous suggestions about how to challenge the neoliberal control of the global food supply. “NGOs will save the world,” say many liberals. Since the 1980s, the number of “development-oriented” NGOs in the Third World has increased dramatically. NGOs have attracted vast sums of investment from foreign donors by creating the impression that NGOs are less corrupt, more innovative, more efficient, and closer to the community than states and corporations. NGOs advocates claim that NGOs allow knowledge of sustainable agriculture practices to travel between various “social worlds,” allowing these disparate groups to “unite,” to offer alternatives to current agricultural practices. (276) Having to satisfy the interests of foreign donors and the local elites, NGOs do little to challenge the economic system as such. NGOs’ focus on their local projects rather than the broader social change necessary to solve the problem and protect such gains. NGOs end up as social bandaids that fail to offer any real alternative to the system. Instead NGOs form a pillar of the system within those communities most oppressed by the system. NGOs, consciously or not, often come to occupy the social space ripe for revolutionary activism and the creation of the revolutionary institutions of New Power. NGOs come to compete with and block New Power. Thus, despite themselves, NGOs end up serving the very system they criticize. Other recommendations in the volume end up reinventing the wheel. For example, two authors advise that looking to certain aspects of centuries-old traditional food production practices can inform new agricultural practices that do not rely on corporate agrochemicals or monoculture. The current system of food distribution is inefficient. Currently, food items travel an average of 1,300 miles before reaching someone’s plate. (47) Keeping food production close to its consumers is one part of the solution, a solution pioneered, in part, by past socialist societies. Decentralization combined with collectivism of agricultural was part of the socialist model pursued in China during the Cultural Revolution. Self-reliance was pushed by China’s people’s communes. However, it is hard to see how such recommendations could be implemented without a revolutionary, proletarian state dedicated to protecting such localization from neoliberal domination.

The essays emphasize not only today’s aspects of imperial control, but also the continuity with imperialism’s past. The extractive policies of the colonial era share commonalities with the neoliberal policies of today. Just as in the past, raw materials flowed from the Third World to the First World, where they were transformed into finished goods, today, the First World has transformed the Third World into a “world farm.” (51) The wealthy countries of the First World, representing a minority of global consumers, feed, quite literally, on the labor and resources of the Third World. Today’s imperialism, like earlier forms, transfers power and wealth to the top, leaving the vast majority impoverished. The solution is not found within a system driven by profit and expansion. The nature of capitalism is to place profit above the vast majority of humanity. Capitalism’s nature is to continually expand even if the consequences threaten humanity and the Earth itself. Just as the bourgeois state is not the answer, neither can NGOs and small-scale community organizations upend the extractive relationship between the First World and the Third World that drives the modern food system. The best intentions of liberals do little to really solve the crisis facing the global poor. The crises caused by today’s capitalist agriculture and food systems require revolutionary change. A real solution requires an alternative system that serves the interests of the poor and the Earth itself. The people of the Third World suffer. The earth suffers. The system is rotten. No one should starve. No one should go hungry. Food production should empower, not exploit the people. The answer is not reformism of any kind. Oppression leads to resistance. In response to the global food crisis, popular eruptions occurred in dozens of countries, from Bangladesh to Mexico. In Haiti, riots in 2008 led to the ousting of the prime minister. These policies also led to reinvigorated resistance movements across Mexico, notably the Zapatistas and the Popular Revolutionary Army. However, to truly restructure global society, we need global people’s war waged by the poor of the Third World led by the most advanced revolutionary science, Leading Light Communism.

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On patriarchy, coconuts, and feminism

On patriarchy, coconuts, and feminismpalm-trees-on-the-island

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First Worldism is a bag of dogmas that are uncritically accepted by most so-called revolutionaries today. In its most general form, First Worldism is the belief that there is a significant proletariat, a significant social base for revolution in the First World. It would be a mistake to think that First Worldism is simply about First World workers. There are many other ways that First Worldism is smuggled into the revolutionary movement. For example, one form of First Worldism looks to cobble together a stand-in proletariat from national minorities or oppressed nation populations in the First World. Yet another is to cobble together a stand-in proletariat from First World queers. Yet another is to try to cobble together a stand-in proletariat from First World women.These latter political lines are some of the last bastions of First Worldism. Perhaps because First Worldist organizations are dominated by men who want to do right by their women comrades, perhaps because of lingering guilt of male activists, perhaps because of identity politics, First Worldist feminism is considered sacrosanct. It is considered off limits even by those who might otherwise considered themselves “Third Worldists.” It is a strange “Third Worldism” that considers the majority of the First World population, First World women, to be so oppressed to be a revolutionary agent. So more and more First Worldists turn to First Worldist feminism and gender activism. First Worldism gets a second or third life. So First Worldism must die yet again. Only, this time, ever greater levels of farce that surrounds its demise.

How can First World women benefit by the patriarchal oppression of Third World women? Let’s explain it by imagining  two, small islands. One island is called “Fiwo.” It has a male and a female on it, Jack and Jacky. The second island is called “Tiwo.” It has a male and a female on it, Pat and Patricia. Jack and Jacky both like coconuts. However, it is very difficult to get coconuts. Gathering Coconuts is hard work. Jack and Jacky happen to have a gun that washed up one day on their island. Jack and Jacky pay an armed visit to Tiwo. There, they threaten the population of Tiwo. “Ten coconuts a day or you will both die!” Pat and Patricia are forced to meet their demands. Pat gathers three coconuts, but then gets tired. Pat comes up with a plan. Since Tiwo has strong traditions that demand women must do what men say, Pat demands Patricia gather the remaining seven coconuts. After all, Pat says, “You must follow my commands. We can’t go against tradition.” Furthermore, Pat, being a male, is a bit larger than Patricia. He adds, “and if you don’t gather the seven, I will beat you.” In the face of so much pressure, Patricia relents. She spend her day gathering the seven coconuts for Jack and Jacky who then distribute the full ten coconuts evenly. Since Jack and Jacky do not have to spend their time gathering coconuts, they use their free time to hunt and gather. The standard of living of all the inhabitants of Fiwo increase because of the imperialist and patriarchal oppression of Tiwo. Even though Jacky is a women, she benefits from the imperialist and patriarchal oppression of another women, Patricia.

In this simple thought experiment, it is easy to see how a woman can benefit from the patriarchal oppression of another women. It should not be too difficult to imagine how a woman in an imperialist country can benefit not simply through economic oppression of a woman in the Third World, but also the patriarchal oppression of a woman in the Third World. It should be easy to see how women in the Third World are pressed into working some of the worst jobs, pressed into maintaining the domestic sphere in an unfair way, pressed sometimes into horrible marriages where they are forced to be slaves to their husbands, etc. And, this patriarchal oppression squeezes even more out of the Third World woman than economic oppression by itself. There is a extra value that is consumed by the First World population, both male and female, that is over and above what would be generated by the economic oppression of of Third World women by itself, above what would be generated if men and women in the Third World were equally exploited. This extra value can, in part, be accounted for by patriarchal oppression of the Third World working woman. This extra value can, in part, be account for by the patriarchal oppression of the Third World woman in the domestic sphere also.

This idea should not be that big a leap for those who are familiar with Maoist thinking. Imperialism created a divided world. Imperialism creates a group of wealthy countries at the expense of poor countries. The populations of the wealthy countries have so lavish a lifestyle that the revolutions in those countries are, as Lin Biao famously said, “delayed.” Maoists called these countries “the global city.” These countries are also called “the First World.” Imperialism also creates a group of poor countries, “the global countryside,” “the Third World.” Imperialism transfers wealth from the Third World in order to keep the First World happy. In order to maintain First World development, imperialism interrupts the development of these Third World economies. In order to continue exploiting the Third World for the benefit of the First World, imperialism imposes a unique mode of production, a kind of mal-development, onto the Third World. This is both a mode of production and a political order that combines the worst elements of capitalism with feudalism. The order that results is a fusion of capitalism and feudalism that rejects the progressive, developmental aspects of capitalism. It is a comprador capitalism that does not bring progressive development that benefits the Third World combined with feudal aspects of production and political control. The most barbaric aspects of capitalism are combined with the barbarism of feudalism in order to keep value flowing from the Third World to the First World.

One aspect of feudalism is extreme patriarchy. Historically, feudalism is bound up with a gender apartheid where women are valued much lower than men. The feudal order justifies itself by reference to the family. Feudal lords are seen as father figures whose rule is as natural, it is said, as that of the father over the family. Women and children are often seen as property of the father. This extreme patriarchy is a pillar of semi-feudalism just as it is of traditional feudalism. Extreme patriarchy, as part of semi-feudalism, is propped up and sustained by imperialism. Thus this extreme patriarchy is imposed on the Third World for the benefit of the First World. It should not be hard to see how patriarchal oppression of women in one part of the world can benefit men and women in another part of the world. The brutality that women face in the Third World is part of a global system that provides a lavish lifestyle to people in the First World. Both men and women in the First World have their life options increased by the restriction of life options in the Third World. In this way, we can see how these ideas are not completely alien to the Maoist tradition. In fact, we could even say that this view of gender is implied by Maoist theory, even if it took Leading Light to unpack it.

Most so-called Marxists are no different than liberals when it comes to gender. Although they claim they uphold “proletarian feminism,” the reality is they merely repeat the talking points of liberals, of social democrats. Their feminism is one that looks at the world from the standpoint of the woman in the First World. They then take the outlook and condition of the First World woman to be universal. Just as they mistakenly believe First World men to be their enemy, they see the main enemy of Third World women to be Third World men. They grossly exaggerate the importance of the relatively small gender skirmishes between the First World genders. Then they go on to project their own condition onto the Third World. They claim there is no First World nor Third World women. They claim there is only women. And all women look like themselves, related to the world as they do, should share their interests, etc. And, when women of the Third World do not share their outlook, as they so often do not, First Worldist feminists think Third World women are deeply confused. First Worldist feminism, often masquerading as “proletarian feminism,” takes on the paternalist role of telling Third World women they are backward and in need of education. In its worst form, this is why First Worldist feminists support imperialist wars that target Third World peoples. Imperialists bomb Third World men and women for their own good, so the First Worldist feminist says.

Real proletarian feminism rejects this First Worldist dogma. Real proletarian feminism looks at the world through the eyes of the vast majority of women, the poor masses of the Third World. It is a feminism that understands that what Lenin called “the divide in the working class” is mirrored in the female population globally. There is no reason to simply assume that all women are equally oppressed by patriarchy. There is no reason to assume that women are all oppressed in the same ways. There is no reason to assume that some women cannot benefit from patriarchy just as some workers benefit from capitalism-imperialism. First World women benefit from the oppression of Third World women just as First World workers benefit from the economic oppression of Third World workers. Proletarian feminism understands that life options of First World women are increased often by the restriction of life options for Third World women. Real proletarian feminism, just as real global class analysis, is a guide to what Mao called the “first question” of revolution: “Who are our enemies? Who are our friends?”

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Our General Line on the Environment

Our General Line on the Environment

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Capitalism, in its quest for profits, has led us to a point where there are several global environmental catastrophes on the horizon: global warming, dead zones in the oceans, mass extinctions, etc. Capitalism is the problem, not the solution to environmental problems. Capitalism is pushing the planet’s ecosystem to the brink of destruction.

Capitalism has created a situation where the minority benefits by the massive exploitation of the vast majority of humanity. The continued existence of the First World is one of the main problems facing the planet. The lifestyles maintained by the vast majority of First World people are incompatible with humanity’s continued ability to inhabit this planet. The eco-footprint of First World populations is many times that of Third World populations. Because production is concentrated in the Third World, it is the people there who suffer most from poisoned environments. The Third World pays the price for the consumption and waste of the First World. Capitalism, and the continued existence of the First World, is incompatible with the survival of the planet. This is yet another reason to wipe the First World off the map. Our survival necessitates revolution.

What kind of revolution?

A positive, radical reorganization of society is not going to happen under capitalism. Also, utopian schemes like anarchism and primitivism, while well-meaning, are completely ineffectual and unrealistic. It is only by resolving the principal contradiction between the First World and the Third World in our favor that we can move to resolve other contradictions. The struggle against the First World by the Third World masses is the only struggle that can unleash the social energy to make social revolution and environmental revolution possible. The anti-imperialist struggle is the key that unlocks other struggles. This has been shown over and over again in the last half-century of revolution.

The only realistic way to achieve fundamental, lasting environmental change is to defeat imperialism and capture state power. Then, the dictatorship of the proletariat can push forward with social and environmental revolution. Leading Light Communism is the path to communism in the current epoch. Thus, Leading Light Communists are the real environmentalists. No movement is objectively greener than Leading Light Communism. Those whose concerns center on environmental issues should support the Leading Light Communist global people’s war against the First World as the best vehicle for addressing their concerns.

In the past, revolutionaries did not fully understand the role that environmental revolution played in socialist construction. Socialist societies have a mixed record on the environment. Socialist societies had successes as well as failures. Like capitalism, past attempts at socialism were dominated by a productionist outlook that pitted humanity against nature. This outlook saw greater and greater production, greater domination of nature, as the key to human happiness. This outlook is connected to the revisionist Theory of Productive Forces that sees socialism as mainly a matter of development of productive forces, particularly, advances in technology. The Theory of Productive Forces is also the theory behind First Worldism, the various theories that claim that there is a First World proletariat. Leading Light Communism rejects the Theory of Productive Forces, including the view that human happiness is connected to dominating an enemy, hostile natural world. Instead, Leading Light Communism understands human society as a part of the natural world, not something that is separate, above and opposed to nature. Leading Light Communism understands that protecting natural systems, sustaining the natural world, will be a part of any future socialist construction. The dictatorship of the proletariat involves sustainable development, and protecting and preserving nature. After all, the survival of the human species, including proletariat itself, is linked to sustaining our environment.

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Thoughts on Stalin

Thoughts on Stalinstalin-bio

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Many revolutionaries still stumble on the question of Stalin. They just can’t get by the Stalin issue, even though Stalin is still revered in much of the world despite the best efforts of the bourgeoisie to tarnish him. Stalin is a controversial figure, even within our own movement. Yet we say that he was still more right than wrong. Mao said that Stalin was 70 percent good, 30 percent bad. Perhaps Mao’s number is too positive, perhaps too negative. Mao made many errors too. Regardless, the thing we always have to remember about Stalin is that he faced problems which are unimaginable for most First World peoples.

From day one, the Soviet Union was encircled by the imperialists. There we inherited a country that was ravaged by violence and poverty. There the first breakthrough was made. There we built sustained socialism for the first time. Only a few decades after socialism was born, we were hit by the catastrophe of another world war. Twenty six million or so Soviet people died in World War 2. Had Stalin not industrialized as he did, with all the sacrifice that required, Hitler may  have been able to roll on to the Pacific ocean exterminating everything in his path. Or the conflict would have been more long and drawn out. More lives would have been lost. One of the most important lessons of Stalin that we must learn is that we revolutionaries will have to face problems for which there is no perfect solution. Sometimes the world presents us with hard choices. Stalin represents the hard choice.

Making revolution is not going to be easy. We are going up again thousands of years of reactionary social programming. We are going up against thousands of years of reactionary culture and social inequality. For thousands of years we have been taught that one group is better than another: rich better than poor, whites better than blacks, men better than women, etc. It is going to take a lot of hard work to overcome these and other divisions. The road will be long. There will be many twists and turns. Errors will be made, big errors. And, sometimes, we will be faced with hard choices. This is the sad reality of revolution.

Like most things, there is another side to Stalin than the one portrayed in the reactionary media. Many of the finest revolutionaries of the last century spoke well of him. Black communist W. E. B. Du Bois said of him:

“Stalin was not a man of conventional learning; he was much more than that: he was a man who thought deeply, read understandingly and listened to wisdom, no matter whence it came. He was attacked and slandered as few men of power have been; yet he seldom lost his courtesy or balance; nor did he let attack drive him from his convictions nor induce him to surrender positions which he knew were correct. As one of the despised minorities of man, he first set Russia on the road to conquer race prejudice and make one nation out of its 140 groups without destroying their individuality.”

“His judgment of men was profound. He early saw through the flamboyance and exhibitionism of Trotsky, who fooled the world, and especially America. The whole ill-bred and insulting attitude of Liberals in the U.S. today began with our naive acceptance of Trotsky’s magnificent lying propaganda, which he carried around the world. Against it, Stalin stood like a rock and moved neither right nor left, as he continued to advance toward a real socialism instead of the sham Trotsky offered.” (1)

When looking at history, we have to take a sophisticated view. Things are rarely simple when it comes to revolution. Was the Stalin era a harsh one? No one should deny that. But, as Mao said, revolution is not a dinner party. When we take power again, we too will be faced with hard decisions. Enemies will try to destroy us, just as they always have. We will, at times, need to deal with them harshly. This has been shown again and again. Enemies do not simply go away because we wish them to. The enemy will try to drown us in blood. We are not foolish utopians.

One thing about Stalin’s approach that we should try to avoid, which was also common during the  Mao era too, is looking at the problem of counter-revolution through the police paradigm. Now, the Chinese revolutionaries did reject the police approach on the level of theory, but the reality is that they did not always reject it fully in practice.  Usually their practice was muddled. A quick look at material from the period reveals that all of those leaders denounced in the period, both communist and capitalist, were seen through the police paradigm. They were seen as spies, wreckers, agents on the payroll of foreign states. The verdicts against them were police verdicts. Counter-revolution was seen through the lenses of the police. This is the wrong approach.

Of course there are real spies. Of course there is real wrecking. We are not fools. In fact, there are probably more FBI and CIA agents in the US than activists organized in self-described “socialist” organizations; there are probably more Hare Krishnas too — a sad indicator  of the lack of revolutionary social base in the First World.  While there are genuine cases of infiltration by spies and wrecking, such infiltration is not the main reason for counter-revolution. Maoists in China began to see the problem structurally, even if they were not always consistent. They saw that the continuation of inequalities and the continuation of  backwards ideas will solidify, congeal and spread if not continually attacked. Those structural and ideological problems will result in a new capitalist class arising within the organs of power, within the Communist Party and state. The problem of counter-revolution, therefore, is not mainly an issue of perfecting policing measures. Rather, combating counter-revolution and advancing socialism are a matter reducing inequalities in power, privilege and decision making. And, it is a matter of combating the backward culture, the backward social programming. Replacing old culture with new culture. This is part of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is continuous revolution, Cultural Revolution. It is key that we look at the problem of counter-revolution through the lenses of power, of structure, not through the lenses of the police. In many ways, the police paradigm of counter-revolution shares similarities with the Great Man theory of history, the idealist conception that historical progress is achieved by the acts of individual great men. The Leading Light Communist approach to counter-revolution is really just Marx’s historical materialism applied to the problem of counter-revolution.

We uphold the Stalin period in a general, but non-dogmatic way. Their errors are our errors, so to speak. We do not simply wash our hands. We do not simply walk away. Accepting this is part of what being a real leader is. Yet, we see the limitations of Stalin’s approach, one that was also shared by Maoists to an extent. However, the Maoists began to break with that, even if they did not break with it consistently and even if their practice lagged. Revolution is a long road. We will make many mistakes, twists and turns, false starts, retreats. This is why it is so important to put revolutionary science in command. Today, this means putting Leading Light Communism in command. Science learns. And, quite frankly, we have learned many powerful lessons from Stalin. Let’s not shrug our responsibility. We are Leading Light Communists, the vanguard of the world revolution. The people deserve an honest accounting  from us.

Red Salute to all those who came before!

Sources
1. W.E.B. Du Bois, The Oxford W.E.B. Du Bois Reader (NY: Oxford University
Press, 1996), p. 287.

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Simple questions by the numbers..

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Simple questions by the numbers.. the majority in the United States: revolutionary or not?

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The median annual household income for 2006 was $48,201 (USD) according to the United States Census Bureau. (1) Per household member (including all working and non-working members above the age of 14) it was $26,036 (USD). (2)

What is a median? A median is found by arranging all incomes from poorest to wealthiest and, then, picking the income in the middle, the income that separates the poorest half from the wealthiest half. Half of all households in the United States make more than $48,201 (USD). Per household member, half make more than $26,036 (USD).

Okay. Let’s convert these numbers using current exchange rates as of February 28, 2008. Let’s ask some questions:

Is someone in Myanmar that makes 26,778,000 Kyats per year part of the proletariat? Is a person in the United States that has access to 26,778,000 Kyats in income or capital a year part of the proletariat?

Is a Filipino that makes 1,054,000 Philippine pesos (PHP) per year part of the proletariat? Is a person in the United States that has access to 1,054,000 Philippine pesos (PHP) in income or capital a year part of the proletariat?

Is an Indian that makes 1,038,000 Indian Rupees (INR) per year part of the proletariat? Is a person in the United States that has access to 1,038,000 Indian Rupees (INR) in income or capital a year part of the proletariat?

Is a Nepalese that makes 1,690,000 Nepalese Rupee (NPR) per year part of the proletariat? Is a person in the United States that has access to 1,690,000 Nepalese Rupee (NPR) in income or capital a year part of the proletariat?

Is a Mexican that makes 278,000 Mexican Pesos (MXN) per year part of the proletariat? Is a person in the United States that has access to 278,000 Mexican Pesos (MXN) in income or capital a year part of the proletariat?

Is a Sri Lankan that makes 2,812,000 Sri Lankan Rupees (LKR) per year part of the proletariat? Is a person in the United States that has access to 2,812,000 Sri Lankan Rupees (LKR) in income or capital a year part of the proletariat?

Is a Peruvian that makes 76,065 Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN) per year part of the proletariat? Is a person in the United States that has access to 76,065 Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN) in income or capital a year part of the proletariat?

If you answered “yes” to the above questions, then you are very deluded. You think people with household incomes of $100,000 (USD), 4,049,000 Philippine Pesos (PHP), 3,985,000 Indian Rupees (INP), 6,493,000 Nepalese Rupees (NPR), 1,070,000 Mexican Pesos (MXN), 10,800,000 Sri Lankan Rupees (LKR), 292,000 Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN), are  part of the revolutionary forces in the United States. (3)

If you answered “no” to the above questions, then you are more scientifically inclined or, maybe, you just have a knack for seeing the obvious fact that there is no broad social base for revolution in the United States. You to ought take up Leading Light Communism.

If you refuse to answer these questions publicly, even though you know the correct answers are “no,” then you should consider yourself a coward and a fence-sitter. You should not consider yourself a Marxist. Revolutionary scientists are not afraid to speak the truth.

Who are our friends? Who are our enemies? This is a question of first importance. These are the opening words of Mao’s Selected Works. Those who cannot distinguish friends from enemies globally are not scientific communists. Without revolutionary science, carrying out communist revolution is impossible in the long term.  The main dynamic that shapes our world is the Bourgeois World as a whole oppresses and exploits the Proletarian  World as a whole. Those who can’t see this obvious fact are not communists.

Notes.

1. http://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032007/hhinc/new04_001.htm
2. http://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032007/hhinc/new02_001.htm
3. http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/h01ar.html (using a rough estimate slightly over the bottom of the fourth quintile)

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Americans, First Worlders waste food, Third Worlders starve

supermarket-aisle

Americans, First Worlders waste food, Third Worlders starve

(llco.org)

Karl Marx described the proletariat as the dispossessed, as earning only enough to survive to the next day and having nothing to lose but its chains. However, this hardly describes the American, or the First World, working class. The First World working class doesn’t have chains to lose, rather what they stand to lose under socialism is their decadent lifestyles. Nowhere is this decadence more apparent than in the food that Americans, and First World peoples, waste every year.

Americans are throwing away at least 75 billion dollars in food each year.  (1) In other words, Americans waste more food than the Gross Domestic Products (GDPs) of Albania, Nepal, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Mozambique, Laos and Niger combined.  (2) 14-15 percent of all edible food is discarded, untouched or unopened. This accounts for  43 billion dollars worth of discarded food by American households alone.  A shocking 40 to 50 percent of all food ready for harvest in the United States never gets eaten. (3) In addition, the United States spends about 1 billion dollars just disposing of its food waste. (4)

The United States is not the only wasteful society. Other First World countries have similar behaviors. People in Britain throw away a third of all the food they purchase. In Sweden, families with small children throw away about a quarter of their food. (5)

According to the World Health Organization, starvation is the greatest single threat to the public health. Starvation is the biggest factor contributing to child mortality, being present in half of all cases. Starvation currently affects more than a billion people, 1 out of every 6 people worldwide. Starving people reside almost exclusively in the Third World. This is the case even though the world produces enough food to feed the entire 6 billion population. In fact, enough food is produced to feed twice as many people. (6) (7)

The distribution and waste of food are yet more indications of global class divisions. The peoples of the wealthiest countries, the First World, are throwing away up to half of the food that they purchase, while the poorest countries, the Third World, are either starving or exist on the verge of starvation. This is yet another indication that the main contradiction in the world today is between the First and Third World. First World workers are not, by a long shot, what Marx would identify as a proletariat. Rather, it is in the Third World where the true proletariat and its allies exist on the edge of survival.

Notes

1. http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20041122/foodwaste.html

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)

3. http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Financial-Industry/US-wastes-half-its-food

4. http://www.siwi.org/documents/Resources/Policy_Briefs/PB_From_Filed_to_Fork_2008.pdf

5. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/18/weekinreview/18martin.html

6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starvation#cite_note-8

7. http://monkeysmashesheaven.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/one-billion-go-hungry-socialism-is-better-than-capitalism/

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Comments on economism, right, and left errors

Comments on economism, right, and left errors

(llco.org)

“Dear Leading Light,

What is does the error of “economism” refer to?”

Leading Light replies:

Thank you for writing.

“Economism” is a term used to refer to a certain type of error. “Tailing” or “tailism” is another term often used for this error. Continuing rightist errors lead to rightist revisionism, a certain way of abandoning the revolution. It is the error of overemphasizing the more immediate, short-term, local, etc. interests of the masses to the detriment of their more distant, long-term, universal, etc. interests. For example, to only focus on the immediate interests of the masses (or recruits) such as higher wages or political reform, without connecting those the distant interests of abolishing class, ending patriarchy, liberating the Earth, actually reaching Leading Light Communism is to make this error.  Lenin criticized those who tailed the trade-union movement of his day. Lenin saw that tailing the trade unions was an error that would not lead to revolution, but only reform. Similarly, Lenin criticized those who held that revolution could be achieved by tailing political reformists through social-democratic, legislative victories within the bourgeois state. Mao criticized those who tailed after the united front to the point of liquidation of the leading role of the Party. Revolution is not made by gaining small, piecemeal concessions from the capitalist order. Revolution is not made primarily through reforms within the bourgeois order. Leading Light Communism is not reached by making small steps within the current system. There is no compromise with the old system, the Old Power. The Old Power is fundamentally an instrument of oppression. Rather,  the Old Power, must be swept away. It must be replaced by a New Power. To sweep away the Old, to create the New, to really win, requires the strong leadership, organization, discipline, political line, and science of Leading Light Communism.

Right errors are errors of tailing the masses (or recruits) or their organizations, rather than leading them to Leading Light Communism. In a sense, all errors are errors of political line, errors that can be solved through political rectification, education, training, discipline, etc. However, right errors are also tied to bourgeois or petty-bourgeois character. Such political errors can be exacerbated and caused in part by bourgeois and petty-bourgeois traits, a bourgeois or petty-bourgeois mentality: cowardice, lack of courage, lack of discipline, liberalism, putting superficial unity with others above political line, big ego, etc. Rather than taking on the burden of leading people to Leading Light Communism, those who make this error tail after everything under the sun. They tail after the immediate demands of the masses (or recruits) they tail after their friends and family, they tail after nationalists, First Worldist fake-feminists, or others. They do not have the courage to stand up, point out errors, teach and lead. They make the fundamental mistake of thinking that the way to lead people is by pretending to agree with them, not criticizing them, not educating them, etc. Although they do not see it, they are usually not respected by those they compromise with. Spinelessness is not an attractive characteristic. Rather than pulling the masses (or recruits) to revolution, the masses (or recruits) pull them to reformism and First Worldism.

By contrast, left errors are usually when you are too far ahead of the masses (or recruits). Left errors are usually when your demands on the masses (or recruits) are so advanced that you are unable to effectively reach or positively influence your audience. For example, anarchist demands to immediately end all hierarchy, to dispense with leadership, discipline, organization, etc. are ultra-left. The demand to end marriage or the traditional family immediately is ultra-left at present. The radical green attempt to save the Earth without regard for human need is ultra-left. The demand that people change every aspect of their personal lives immediately is ultra-left. You cannot simply wave a magic wand and change the world. You cannot change the world by fiat. Also, you cannot simply command change at bayonet point. You can demand anything you want, but really changing the world means meeting people where they are and pulling them forward, leading them. Mao called this “mass line.” You connect local, immediate issues to the big picture. Peasants want land. Mao used the issue of land as a way to advance people in stages to socialism then communism. Just as land is not an end in itself, better wages are not either. Land and wage struggles amongst poor peoples should only be seen as bridges to further revolutionary advances. They are not ends in themselves, by themselves they are not revolutionary. Another left error is the inability to make limited alliances with social groups or forces. For example, those who fail to support the united front against imperialism make a left error. Those who fail to side with patriotic-bourgeois, Third World regimes and forces that are attacked by imperialism make a left error. The Leading Light neither tails, neither cheerleads, neither liquidates into the united front nor abandons it. The Leading Light line is “Uphold the broad united front! Hold the Red Flag high!” In other words, critical support to all those fighting imperialism while at the same time contending for leadership of the united front. Those who seek to remain so pure that they cannot make alliances engage in a destructive left error. Like all errors, left errors are political errors, but they too can be exacerbated or caused in part by a bourgeois or petty-bourgeois character, bourgeois or petty-bourgeois mentality. Meanness, impatience, big ego, lack of love for the people, lack of compassion, lack of empathy, lack of humility, for example, often accompany left errors. Compounded left errors can lead to left revisionism just as compounded right errors lead to right revisionism.

Right and left errors often are found in the same individual. Individuals who make errors will often zigzag between the right and left. Sometimes right errors hide left errors; sometimes left errors mask right errors. This is because both kinds of errors result from lack of revolutionary science, from lack of solid Leading Light Communism, organization and discipline. They stem from lack of fully understanding Leading Light Communism, but also from lack of implementing its political line at the level of your character. Both types of errors can lead to revisionism, do nothingism, wrecking, pig work, snitching, gossiping, and other counter-revolutionary behavior.

As always, remember that the First World is very different from the Third World. The First World has no significant revolutionary social base, no proletariat. The vast majority of the Third World is made up of proletarian classes, poor peoples. This means that techniques of leadership will be very different in the First World than the Third World. In the Third World, mass line is an important tool. While some of Lenin’s and Mao’s approaches are still useful in the First World, Leading Lights in the First World will need to be much more creative. In the Third World, Leading Lights must mobilize the revolutionary social base. In the First World, Leading Lights must gather up anomalies for resistance against the First World. Since there are no significant masses in the First World, mass line does not apply broadly in the First World as it does the Third World. Those who attempt to simply apply mass line in the First World as you would the Third World end up in First Worldism, tailing reformism, tailing NGOs and non-profit organizations, bourgeois parties, etc. Accommodating First Worldists generally does not help the cause of the proletariat unless it is generating resources and recruits for the Leading Light. Those who muddle First Worldism with Leading Light Communism end up lying to the real masses in the Third World and giving cover for First Worldism of various kinds. Leading Lights in the First World will need to find new ways to recruit, new ways to educate, etc. that do not pretend the populations of the First World are revolutionary. In the course of implementing the glorious strategic plan of the Leading Light, the leadership has developed new, creative methods that will gather First World anomalies and transform them into Leading Light cadre.

Currently, the main problems are rightist ones. Rectify this by increasing the level of political education within the organization. Every cadre must deepen their grasp of the general line. Those rightists who tail so much that they let First Worldism slide do no favors to our cause. Every cadre should make an effort to educate at least one recruit or fence sitter. Those cadres with a better grasp of leadership should make an effort to educate those who have slipped into errors, especially rightist errors. Every cadre must increase their discipline as we go forward. Leading Lights are soldiers as well as teachers. Every cadre must put in work, sacrifice, donate on a regular basis. Be a red soldier of the Leading Light! Follow the Leading Light! Be the Leading Light! The sun is rising. Our day will come.

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Do Nothingism is counter-revolutionary

pinkchair

Do Nothingism is counter-revolutionary

(llco.org)

The world is a nightmare. Half of humanity lives and dies on less than 3 dollars a day. There are more people in India making 80 cents a day than even exist in the United States.. 22,000 children die due to poverty each and every day. Approximately 800 million people in the Third World world are chronically undernourished. The disparity between the wealthiest countries and the poorest ones is about 72 to 1. For the vast majority, for the global poor in the Third World, daily life is a struggle to survive. By contrast, life is relatively easy for the global bourgeoisie in the First World. Wealth in the First World is a result of poverty and suffering in the Third World. The consumption in the First World is so great that it threatens global survival.

There are those amongst the global bourgeoisie who are completely oblivious to the fact that their lives are based on the exploitation of the global poor and the Earth. They happily or unhappily go about their days unaware of the impact of their lives. This describes many ordinary people in the First World. However, there are others who do understand that their privilege is connected to the suffering of the vast majority and plunder of the Earth. Even though they realize the truth, they still choose to do nothing. They make a conscious choice of inaction. In many ways, it is the former group that is less morally reprehensible than the latter. Both groups enable oppression, but only the latter group has made a conscious choice to do so. Those who see suffering, but choose to walk away are more reprehensible than those who fail to ever notice it. Those who recognize global suffering, but fail to act against it, fail to support the people and their organization, are guilty of Do Nothingism.  Those in the First World who are aware of the great problems facing us yet do nothing, who stay aloof, are “parlor pinks,” social-imperialists despite what they may think. Do Nothingism is a major form of revisionism today.

There is no excuse to turn away from reality. There is no excuse to not fight for a better future. We must take on the burden of leadership.  We must put pettiness and ego aside. We must dare to do what needs to be done. Revolution is not easy. Creating a whole new world of peace, justice, and sustainability will not happen overnight. Success will only come if we stand together as one. Victory will only come through organization, discipline, loyalty, leadership. It is not enough to be willing to die for Leading Light Communism, to die for the total liberation of humanity and the Earth. We must be willing to live, patiently, everyday for revolution. We must be willing to take on the small burdens, the small tasks, the invisible tasks, that are required. We must be willing to give our time and resources. It is not enough to declare our commitment, we must prove it through action. Duty demands of us everyday. We must answer.  We can wake up from the  nightmare of capitalism. We must always remember that revolutionaries are optimists.

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Revisionism of the Cowardly Lion in the First World

Revisionism of the Cowardly Lion in the First Worldfurry

(llco.org)

Do Nothingism is one of the biggest forms of revisionism. It is especially prevalent in the First World. Many people recognize that the system is a horror, yet they choose inactivity, surrender. A choice is made not to aid the struggle, not even at arm’s length with a donation. So, these parlor pinks sit back and enjoy the privileges of being part of the global bourgeoisie, part of the First World. Often they convince themselves that they are not part of the problem because they can mouth some revolutionary rhetoric or self-identify as “communists.” To know there is a problem and do nothing about it is a greater moral failing than those in the First World who are blissfully ignorant of the horrors of the world. Choosing the wrong path is, in a sense, worse than simply stumbling down it. Lately, a similar, new type of revisionism is making more and more noise: Cowardly Lionism.

The Cowardly Lion roars about revolution, yet does little to actually aid revolution. The meme1Cowardly Lion is a guerrilla pornographer, who has never seen combat — as though online posting of images and news clippings of far-off battles aids those struggles one iota. The Cowardly Lion spams photos of AK-47s on facebook, yet would not know how to aim one at 50 meters. The Cowardly Lion roars about  people’s war, yet wrecks those who attempt to carry it out. The Cowardly Lion has no respect for those who actually have put their lives on the line, who have spilled blood or risked prison. The Cowardly Lion chooses to wave the red flag, even when waving the red flag undermines solidarity with Third World struggles. The Cowardly Lion chooses to preserve his own identity as a “communist,” he chooses himself, over effectively aiding Third World struggles. Obviously, the Cowardly Lion is not really leadership, communist, nor front-line fighting material, however, the Cowardly Lion won’t even get his identity dirty with anything as mundane as activism that might actually objectively aid Third World struggles, albeit in a minor way: CISPES-type work from the 80s and 90s, anti-militarism, etc. The Cowardly Lion’s ineffective roars are a transparent projection of his own inadequacies more than a real expression of solidarity. Some Cowardly Lions roar about the pigs, but then threaten to  call them when confronted. Some harbor snitches and traitors. The Cowardly Lion roars about security, as though he has anything to hide, as though the state cares about his blog. Cowardly Lions tend to travel in packs.

Cowardly Lions are mostly harmless. At most they wield influence only over those more meme2cowardly or foolish than themselves. They won’t fight. They can invent lies or spread gossip, but they just don’t have the credibility to inflict any harm amongst those that matter. And those who matter already know or won’t care. Would we really want someone in our ranks who could be influenced by a Cowardly Lion? Even when they seek to wreck, their fangs just aren’t that sharp. The Cowardly Lions only become really dangerous when they feel they are backed into a corner. They will snitch if they are too afraid. Otherwise, the jesters jest.

The Cowardly Lion is a kind of parody, mostly just comic relief, a little counter-revolutionary and mostly harmless. By contrast, real revolutionaries are true lions. They will live, fight and die for the people. They carry their lives on their finger tips. They put aside their ego. They put aside their personal differences and jealousies. They admit their limitations. They play the role that is needed and best suits them. They understand duty, discipline, loyalty, respect. Leading Light is a movement of true lions who will give everything, take on any burden, annihilate any obstacle in the way of the world that is to be. Follow the Leading Light. Be the Leading Light! Long Live the Leading Light. Our sun is rising. Our day is coming.

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Two questions on exploitation and sociological mobility

Two questions on exploitation and sociological mobility

13 man wires(llco.org)

Someone recently asked:

“I have two questions . I am honestly not trying to be flippant or provocative.

1. Does Leading Light theory ignore the possibility that First World workers are able to recognize the general trend of global capitalism, which will end up impoverishing all workers? Does it deny the possibility that being able to do so might make some First World workers identify and support the struggles of the Third World proletariat against their current material interests.

2. Theoretically, if I am receiving pay below the global average one day, and get a raise the next which brings me slightly above, do I automatically become labor aristocracy? And if not how far above the average would my pay have to be?”

Prairie Fire responds:

There is nothing wrong about asking questions. That is what intelligent people do.

1. Global capitalism has not turned out how Marx predicted in the Manifesto. The world has not polarized into “two great classes,” the wage earners and the bourgeoisie. Rather class is much more complicated than that. Marx, in his more scientific works, did not see things so simply. Later Marxists have painted a more accurate picture as reality changes. Science evolves.

What basis is there for saying that capitalism has a “general trend” of impoverishing all workers?  Even Engels began writing of the bourgeoisification of large segments of the population of wage earners. Engels said that whole nations could be bourgeoisified. In Lenin’s time, the Bolsheviks began referring to a “labor aristocracy.” There is Lenin’s famous statement that the “seal of parasitism” affected whole nations. Lin Biao said that the proletarian struggle in the First World was “delayed” while it was vigorous elsewhere. Lenin recognized that it was wrong to simply refer to all workers as though they were the same just as Lin Biao drew a big distinction between the global countryside and global city. Lenin called it a “split in the working class.” The revolutionary tradition has long recognized that not all workers are the same. The world is not so even, so flat.

Engels and Lenin recognized that bourgeoisification was increasing, that the split in the working class was growing. That was about 100 years ago. The trend that they recognized has increased by leaps and bounds over the past century. Today, the First World contains no significant proletariat, no revolutionary class. Its working class should be regarded as part of the global bourgeoisie or as part of the labor aristocracy. Even the poorest sectors of the US working class make more than their fair share of the global social product. Why would they want to overthrow the system and replace it with an egalitarian one? They wouldn’t and don’t, of course. Workers in the First World and workers in the Third World do not belong to the same class.

Even if it were the case that there was a general trend to lower the wages of all workers, it would still not mean that First World workers are a proletariat. Just because First World workers may become exploited 100 years from now does not mean that the First World working class currently has an interest in throwing off the system. There are segments of the bourgeoisie who, in a future crisis, will fall into the class of exploited workers. That does not mean that we relate to the current bourgeoisie as though they are proletarians now. Capitalism is an unstable system. Marx called it anarchistic. It is prone to crisis. Lots of things can happen. However, we relate to the global class structure as it is now, not how it might be a century from now. People are driven largely by their current class interests, not by their possible class interests a century from now.

2. Today, the world economy is basically a single giant unit. The process of globalization has been going on for hundreds of years. Except for a few remaining isolated tribes in places like the Amazon, everyone is part of this global causal nexus. Also, the global social product is finite. The global economy only produces a limited amount of value every year. One consequence of this is  that if one person is getting more, someone else is getting less. Think of the world economy as rivers of value. Value flows to some people more than it flows to others. People get more value based on all kinds of interrelated things, based on power,  social and economic position, gender, etc.

Now, there are a couple of ways we can look at exploitation. One way is to tie exploitation to the value of labor. This is based on the labor theory of value. We assign a value to labor as Comrade Serve the People has based on taking the global surplus and dividing it by those who labor. Then we ask: who makes more than that and who makes less. According to this scheme, those who make more than the value of labor are receiving that extra value from someone else. Therefore, they are net exploiters. If they work, we can call them part of the labor aristocracy. Those who make less are exploited. This approach has certain drawbacks, especially given the growth of the non-working and non-productive poor of the Third World.

Another way to look at  exploitation is to divide up the global surplus by the number of people in the world. Since socialism is about equality, we can use the principle of equality  as a kind of regulative idea. Those who receive more than an equal share of the social product are, therefore, exploiters. Those who make less are exploited. According to both approaches, First World workers are not generally exploited; they are exploiters. We can extend this method by looking beyond the global surplus. We can also see how access to quality leisure time is distributed worldwide. For example, First World people have far more access to quality time than Third World people. We can come up with a set of primary goods. We can then see who are the winners and who are the losers in the global distribution.

Overall, people’s range of behaviors are a function of class, nation, gender, etc. This is part of what Marx called historical materialism. However, people are not divided sharply into distinct categories. Rather, the world is a continuum of gray. There are people who may move from the being exploited to being an exploiter. They may retain the outlook of the oppressed for sometime after that, even though it will tend to fade. Sometimes when this affects large groups, we refer to this as “proletarian memory.” For example, look at Northern Ireland. There is a higher degree of internationalist sentiment there even though Northern Ireland is part of the First World and contains no significant proletariat. National oppression can also help preserve a degree of proletarian, internationalist sentiment in the culture. However, over time, as a country becomes less and less exploited, as it becomes more and more bourgeoisified, proletarian memory fades. We see this kind of phenomenon all the time in other contexts. A corporation may hire a Black person from the hood in order to deflect criticism from itself. The new employee, although recently wealthy, may still retain the marks of his past in his outlook. However, over time, he will tend to integrate into his new surroundings, his loyalties and psychology will fully shift. He will “sell out.” We see this happen all the time in the music industry. This can work the other way too. Someone who has fallen from the position of exploiter to exploited can retain the outlook of his previous position for some time. Over time, however, the best general marker for showing whether someone is a potential friend or enemy is whether or not they  “have nothing to lose but their chains.” Marx understood this very well.

People do not “automatically” anything. The world is a gray place. Wittgenstein is more useful than Aristotle here. The world is not chopped up into clearly defined things. There are always anomalies, hard cases, etc. The world is shady. Mao said the question of first importance was the question of friends and enemies. This is because making revolution is a process of aligning friends to over overthrow enemies. To answer Mao’s question requires dividing up the world into socioeconomic groups. We have to understand the world to change it. First Worldism divides up the world in a way that does not correspond with the world at all. First Worldism does not predict or explain. Leading Light Communism, by contrast, does. First Worldism, whether in its Trotskyist guises, Maoist guises, or whatever, is completely unscientific. It is pure dogma. Leading Light Communism is the most advanced revolutionary science today.