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A Message From the Leading Light Communist Organization

A Message From the Leading Light Communist Organization.

Concerning our former Comrade, Prairie Fire: In accordance with our long standing policy, Prairie Fire was removed from his rank and position upon his arrest last year in late April. Our plan was to fully reintegrate him into the Organization once he was released from state custody. However, due to recent events, the LLCO feels compelled to release a formal public statement of separation involving this person.

The person known as Prairie Fire is no longer a member of the Leading Light Communist Organization. Prairie Fire has not held rank within the Organization since April of 2016, and he does not speak for, or represent the LLCO in any way. Anything that he has said or done since April of 2016 has not been sanctioned by the LLCO.

Leading Lights put politics in command, not identity. We are able to recognize great theory even if it comes from a very flawed individual. As an Organization, we still uphold the correct theory that Prairie Fire helped craft in the past and we will continue to build and improve upon the foundations he left behind.

Long Live the Leading Light!

-The Leading Light Communist Organization

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Leading Light Communism and the Writings of Antonio Gramsci (Part 1/3)

Leading Light Communism and the Writings of Antonio Gramsci

–Jacob Brown

Part 1/3: Cultural Hegemony

(llco.org)

A key component of the power of the bourgeoisie is through the use of what Italian communist Antonio Gramsci called “cultural hegemony”. The global bourgeoisie of today, the Bourgeois “First” World, not only rules society through the brute force of the state. They also rule through the dominance of a society’s culture and ideas. The Bourgeois World dominates society not only with their armies, mercenaries, corrupt neocolonial politicians and police spies, but also through the propagation of their world view, values, customs, and ideology in society. As Karl Marx once wrote, “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force.” (1)

In daily life, the Proletarian “Third” World is primarily dominated by this cultural hegemony of the Bourgeois World. While the Bourgeois World often holds the entire Proletarian World at gunpoint, deploying military force is not the preferred mode of bourgeois domination. Today’s Bourgeois World uses overt imperialist aggression wherever their cultural control breaks down, but seldom before. Today, the Bourgeois World relies on the unwitting consent of the Proletarian World as a whole, a consent obtained through the Bourgeois World’s cultural hegemony. This means most of the Proletarian World today suffers from a “false consciousness” that takes the model of the Bourgeois World for granted, as something supposedly “natural” and not a result of global inequality and exploitation. Concretely, this means the Proletarian World is unaware of its necessity to unite to liberate humanity, to advance the species to Leading Light Communism.

Antonio Gramsci describes how this hegemony works in his Prison Notebooks:

“1. The “spontaneous” consent given by the great masses of the population to the general direction imposed on social life by the dominant fundamental group; this consent is “historically” caused by the prestige (and consequent confidence) which the dominant group enjoys because of its position and function in the world of production.

2. The apparatus of state coercive power which “legally” enforces discipline on those groups who do not “consent” either actively or passively. This apparatus is, however, constituted for the whole of society in anticipation of moments of crisis of command and direction when spontaneous consent has failed…” (2)
While very much grounded in the historicist views of his time, Gramsci opposed economism and the Theory of the Productive Forces. Such crude economic determinism condemns the masses to delay the struggle for full communism indefinitely. Like Lenin, Gramsci proposed that the proletariat can take charge of history itself through militant class struggle, by waging a “war of maneuver” through their vanguard communist party. Beyond Lenin, Gramsci proposed that this communist vanguard wage a “war of position” in the ideological and cultural realm of society. (3) And beyond Gramsci, the masses of people in revolutionary China under Mao’s leadership were able to put these ideas into practice. This was both the case during the Chinese Civil War, and also (and especially so) during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. (4)

Reformists, social-democrats, and other modern revisionist forces have appropriated Gramsci’s theories for their own ends, emptying the theory of cultural hegemony of all revolutionary content. (5) They seek gradual entry into the existing superstructure of bourgeois society, as a means to counter bourgeois hegemony. These reformists see no fundamental role for a Leading Light Communist vanguard, and oppose building the New Power of the Leading Light.

These reformists hijacking Gramsci’s theories also do not differentiate between the Bourgeois World and the Proletarian World, and further deceive the world’s majority. They pretend that the exploited class in the world today is the same as it was in Gramsci’s time. A newer kind of revisionist, claiming the legacy of both Gramsci and Mao, ignores this global divide as well. Like the overt reformists, these First Worldist “revolutionaries” seek to gradually take leadership of the populist “left” forces within the Bourgeois World. These social-chauvinists call their deliberate hiding of the global divide between the Bourgeois World and Proletarian World “the universality of Protracted Revolutionary People’s War”. What outrageous piracy of People’s War by these social-imperialist revisionists! (6)

True revolutionaries, unlike reformists and revisionists, are Leading Light Communists united under the LLCO! We seek to build the New Power of the Leading Light. It is the independence of this New Power that is the basis for Leading Light Communist participation in and leadership of an anti-imperialist united front. The New Power of the Leading Light is a “state-in-miniature” in the Proletarian World to counter the cultural hegemony of the Bourgeois World and its agents, in preparation for Global People’s War to topple the global rule of the Bourgeois World. Even then, the victorious Leading Light must continue to spread its cultural hegemony globally. Only then can humanity be truly on the path to global equality and total liberation!

[Part 2/3: “Organic Intellectuals of the Leading Light” to follow shortly. Red Salute!]

Notes:

1. Karl Marx, “The German Ideology”, Volume 1 / Chapter 1 / Part B
2. Antonio Gramsci, “Selections from Prison Notebooks: The Intellectuals”
3. Antonio Gramsci, “Selections from Prison Notebooks: State and Civil Society”
4. http://llco.org/two-roads-defeated-part-3-proletarian-jacobins/
5. http://isj.org.uk/gramsci-versus-eurocommunism/
6. http://www.nuovopci.it/eile/en/gramsci_prpw.html

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Trotskyist “Permanent Revolution” is Counter-revolution

Trotskyist “Permanent Revolution” is Counter-revolution

–Jacob Brown

(llco.org)

Trotskyism in its various forms has outlasted most other revisionist lines of the same time period, going on 80 years since Leon Trotsky’s demise. The reasons for Trotskyisms persistence has very little to do with the successes of Trotskyist practice. Trotskyism’s persistence today has more to do with Trotsky’s excellent rhetorical skills in his speeches and writings, alongside a heavy dose of fawning by the agents of the imperialist bourgeoisie. The many different and often conflicting lines expressed by Trotsky are the basis for the dozens of splinter sects calling themselves “Trotskyist” today. We are not going to get distracted by Trotsky’s many wavering and conflicting positions, and focus only what political line is revealed by actual historical Trotskyist practice.

Trotskyism takes the current capitalist-imperialist system and its major superstructural components for granted, from the military to economic development. Trotsky’s theory of “Uneven and Combined Development” is an elaborate restatement of the revisionist Theory of the Productive Forces. In the preface of the American Edition of his work “The Permanent Revolution”, Trotsky writes:

“If we take England and India as the opposite poles of capitalist types, we must state that the internationalism of the British and Indian proletariat does not at all rest on the similarity of conditions, tasks and methods, but on their inseparable interdependence. The successes of the liberation movement in India presuppose a revolutionary movement in England, and the other way around. Neither in India, nor in England is it possible to construct an independent socialist society. Both of them will have to enter as parts into a higher entity. In this and only in this rests the unshakable foundation of Marxian internationalism.” (1)

Trotskyism glosses over the exploitative relationship between the imperialist exploiter nations and the colonized exploited nations. In the place of exposing this global social relationship for what it is, Trotsky refers rather to the “interdependence” of exploiter and exploited nations. Unlike many other revisionist lines that pretend that there are no great differences between exploiter and exploited, Trotskyism acknowledges these differences. Like other revisionist lines however, Trotskyism denies the contradiction between the two opposing forces.

The Trotskyist strategy of “Permanent Revolution” is based on this revisionist theory of “Uneven and Combined Development”. It is an adjustment of the more classic revisionist and chauvinist outlook that makes the imperialist country working bourgeoisie into the motive force. Since the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution proved false the notion of “advanced” imperialist countries coming to socialist revolution first, the Trotskyist line on world revolution allows for the “backward” countries to breakout into proletarian revolution first.

According to this social-chauvinist theory however, such revolutions can only succeed in building a viable socialist transition to communism if revolution in the “advanced” imperialist countries immediately follows. For Trotskyists today, this especially implies the exploited Third World proletariat cannot build and expand the New Power without neocolonial “assistance” by the social motion of the First World working bourgeoisie.

Contrast “Permanent Revolution” with the strategy of Global People’s War. With the Global People’s War strategy of the Leading Light, the masses in the Proletarian World (the Third World) build the New Power. The New Power expands to deepens its roots, creating a “state in miniature”. The New Power of the Leading Light in command in the poorest places across Asia, Africa, and Latin America will gain the confidence of the masses, and their confidence in the old powers will wane.

The determination of the masses to defend the New Power institutions that serve them will pave the way to the next wave of People’s Wars. These People’s Wars will reinforce one another, and become a global tidal wave to sweep away the old powers and expand the New Socialism of the Leading Light all over the planet. The final phase of this Global People’s War will encircle and conquer the citadels of the Bourgeois World (the First World). The Global People’s War strategy of the Leading Light Communists turns the counter-revolutionary Trotskyist strategy of “Permanent Revolution” on its head. The end point of our strategy declares that the victory of Global People’s War will impose socialism on the populations of the Bourgeois World, whether these bourgeois populations want it or not! (2)

The revisionist rot of “Permanent Revolution” is further informed by the historical practice of Trotskyism regarding the role of the military. Leon Trotsky’s leadership of the Red Army during the Russian Civil War is often credited for preserving the newborn Soviet regime. However, this was not done without the use of heavy coercion towards Red Army officers, soldiers, and the masses alike. Trotsky emphasized the need for experts in the Red Army command, which meant the employment of ex-Czarist officers under the coercive supervision of political commissars. A harsh policy called “War Communism” was instituted that requisitioned all grain surpluses from the peasantry, to feed workers in the cities who were often coerced into production for the war effort. (3)

With the Russian Civil War coming to a close in 1921, the Kronstadt rebellion broke out among thousands of the Bolshevik Revolution’s most notable original participants. This signaled a course change for the Bolshevik leadership called the “New Economic Policy” with a retreat towards state capitalism. This was a way to soften the harshness of the War Communism policy for the masses. As Trotsky was the one to give the go ahead to crush the Kronstadt rebellion, it did not benefit his political profile in the eyes of the masses to oppose the NEP.

The experience of the NEP from 1921-1928 became something that 20th century rightists within the communist movement have sought to permanently implement, from Nikolai Bukharin to Deng Xiaoping. Again, policies like NEP were not part of Trotsky’s preferred revisionist line. The Trotskyist line fundamentally seeks to permanently implement a harsh policy like War Communism. Trotsky writes in his book “Terrorism and Communism”:

“While every previous form of society was an organization of labor in the interests of a minority, which organized its State apparatus for the oppression of the overwhelming majority of the workers, we are making the first attempt in world-history to organize labor in the interests of the laboring majority itself. This, however, does not exclude the element of compulsion in all its forms, both the most gentle and the extremely severe. The element of State compulsion not only does not disappear from the historical arena, but on the contrary will still play, for a considerable period, an extremely prominent part.”

“The introduction of compulsory labor service is unthinkable without the application… of the methods of militarization of labor.”

“Why do we speak of militarization? …No social organization except the army has ever considered itself justified in subordinating citizens to itself in such a measure, and to control them by its will on all sides to such a degree, as the State of the proletarian dictatorship considers itself justified in doing, and does. Only the army—just because in its way it used to decide questions of the life or death of nations, States, and ruling classes—was endowed with powers of demanding from each and all complete submission to its problems, aims, regulations, and orders.” (4)

There is a stark contrast between Trotskyist “Militarization of Labor”, and the role of the People’s Liberation Army under socialist China. The slogan of the People’s Liberation Army was “Serve the People”. Instead of using coercion against the masses, the PLA upheld Mao’s famous line on guerilla warfare, “move among the masses as a fish swims in sea”. The PLA was viewed by the masses as their own army, rather than the masses being the hostage possession of the standing army.

The 1960 “Four Firsts” campaign, the 1964 “Learn from the PLA” campaign, and the “Flying Leap” campaign by the PLA led by Lin Biao during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution emphasized communist politics and the mass line. (5) In contrast, “one-man management” and technical expertise was emphasized by the Red Army under Trotsky, as well as his “Militarization of Labor” line on economic development. The Trotskyist line has no reservation in putting the masses through the militarist meat grinder in the name of defending and consolidating socialism, so long as it aids a social-imperialist First World “workers revolution”. Trotskyism takes the customs, habits, “experts”, and politics of the capitalist-imperialist system for granted, rather than putting communist politics in command.

On gender oppression, the Trotskyists also take the current imperialist-backed global patriarchy for granted. The various Trotskyist sects are notorious liberals when it comes to the institutions that systematically oppress women and children in the Third World. They take the sex trade and the culture of pornography as a “given” under socialism, and tend to refer to their elimination under socialism as simply a matter of “guaranteeing full employment”. (6) Leading Light Communists believe that the masses of sex workers in the Proletarian World should not simply be paid more to rent their compliance to men’s sexual advances, or to simply make sex work process “safer” until the socialist economy develops. Rather, Leading Light Communists believe the masses of sex workers can actively combat the whole patriarchal system that sexually commodifies women and children. The masses of women in the Third World demand not only full equality, but total liberation!

It is possible to cut through many of Trotsky’s eloquent and conflicting statements based on the historical practice of Trotskyism. We can then condense the essence of Trotskyist revisionism, which is at its core a misanthropic anti-People ideology. In the same work calling for the “militarization of labor”, Trotsky explains his position on the relationship of the human species to labor:

“As a general rule, man strives to avoid labor. Love for work is not at all an inborn characteristic: it is created by economic pressure and social education. One may even say that man is a fairly lazy animal. It is on this quality, in reality, that is founded to a considerable extent all human progress; because if man did not strive to expend his energy economically, did not seek to receive the largest possible quantity of products in return for a small quantity of energy, there would have been no technical development or social culture. It would appear, then, from this point of view that human laziness is a progressive force.” (7)

Contrast this to how Karl Marx describes the relationship of the human species to labor:

“It is just in his work upon the objective world, therefore, that man really proves himself to be a species-being. This production is his active species-life. Through this production, nature appears as his work and his reality. The object of labor is, therefore, the objectification of man’s species-life: for he duplicates himself not only, as in consciousness, intellectually, but also actively, in reality, and therefore he sees himself in a world that he has created. In tearing away from man the object of his production, therefore, estranged labor tears from him his species-life, his real objectivity as a member of the species and transforms his advantage over animals into the disadvantage that his inorganic body, nature, is taken from him…

Estranged labor turns thus…[m]an’s species-being, both nature and his spiritual species-property, into a being alien to him, into a means of his individual existence. It estranges from man his own body, as well as external nature and his spiritual aspect, his human aspect.” (8)

Karl Marx and Leon Trotsky have diametrically opposite views on what makes human beings human! For Marx, humans have “species-being” through their productive interaction with the natural world (labor), unlike most other species on this planet. It is only in a class divided society, where humans are alienated from the product of their labor, that labor itself becomes dehumanizing.

In a general sense, Trotsky is correct that in class society “human laziness is a progressive force”, he obscures the fundamental point Marx makes about human labor being affirmative of what it means to be a human being. Trotsky takes alienated human labor for granted when he makes the false and misanthropic claim that “Love for work is not at all an inborn characteristic…One may even say that man is a fairly lazy animal.” Is there any wonder why Trotskyists don’t make a point about applying the mass line, putting communist politics in command, and building institutions that serve the people? Is there any wonder why the Trotskyists instead seek to impose “experts” who will slave-drive the masses with “military labor discipline”? Real communists, Leading Light Communists, seek to Serve the People. Fake “communists”, revisionists like the Trotskyists, seek to slave-drive the masses “for their own good”. What outrageous, reactionary poison!

Nevertheless, the call to “return to Marx” will do nothing to negate revisionist lines like Trotskyism. Indeed, all revisionist lines claim to have some thread back to the “original Marx”, whether emphasizing Marx’s Labor Theory of Value or other basics of Marxist social science. However, very few revisionist lines in existence today deal concretely with Marx’s Theory of Alienation. The reason is that this thread of Marxist thinking has consequences for one’s practical view of social class in the 21st century. This thread affirms the Leading Light Communist view on global class, much more than it affirms the retrograde lines of any other “return to Marx” cult group. (9)

Leading Light Communism breaks with a view of social class that is strictly tied to one’s relationship with the means of production. In turn, Leading Light Communism has revisited what the proletariat actually is today, based on an global egalitarian distribution principle. (10) Marx presented his Theory of Alienation as it affected the industrial worker, before the 21st century “Planet of Slums”. Even so, the same thinking from Marx about how human alienation in class society applies as much to the “declassed” slumdweller and subsistence farmer as it does the Third World factory worker. Each of those exploited social groups belong to the proletariat, because they are alienated from their fair share of the global social product, and thus alienated from their own humanity and from other humans.

Likewise, Marxism-Leninism and Maoism (including “Maoism-Third Worldism”) is also not enough to combat Trotskyism and other revisionist lines that uphold the Theory of the Productive Forces. There are many ways which the Leninists did not break sharply enough with some of these backward productivist ideas that Trotskyism represents, like “one-man management” and other organizing methods that undermined the proletarian dictatorship. The Maoists went even further in their break with Trotskyist and other productivist ideology. (11) Even still, the Maoists in China did not fully break with productivism, as evidenced by how they sought to “catch up” to the First World during the Great Leap Forward.

Of course, this productivism is fundamentally a revisionist line, nesting inside a basically correct “train is on two tracks” orientation of socialist development. It is not possible to “catch up” to the First World that has enriched itself off of imperialist plunder. The only way for the Third World to “catch up” to the First World, is for the Proletarian Third World to encircle and defeat the Bourgeois First World! (12) The consequences of not fully breaking with the Theory of the Productive Forces has led Maoism itself to represent a “crypto-Trotskyist” line since the 1970s. Both historically inside China and around the world today, Maoists uphold a crypto-Trotskyist line that centers on the social motion of the bourgeois First World majority populations. (13)

Even when we speak of the “Second Road” of Lin Biao’s PLA during the Cultural Revolution as a contrast to historical Trotskyist practice, we are not going far enough. The PLA until 1971 was indeed a model of a communist revolution breaking with the Theory of the Productive Forces. (14) This was especially the case during the Flying Leap, in correcting the errors that derailed the original Great Leap Forward. Due to the border clashes with the social-imperialist Soviet Union in 1969, Lin was compelled to derail the motion of the social experiments in the border regions of China.

More generally, if we don’t move beyond the “barracks socialism” of Lin, then we are in danger of falling back into Trotskyist military organizing principles, and not Leading Light Communist military organizing principles. This is why “Maoism-Third Worldism” is no longer sufficient to combat revisionist ideologies like Trotskyism. As comrade Prairie Fire writes:

“I led the charge to rehabilitate Lin Biao. Even so, I admit that we need more than simply “barracks egalitarianism,” which is a term I have used to describe the Lin Biao trend, which was really the only Maoist trend with an articulate program for transforming the Cultural Revolution into something permanent. I was listening to interviews with ex-Maoist red guards. The same Maoist youth who were rising up in 1967 were, by 1976, coming out to support Zhou Enlai. They were disenchanted with constant Maoist calls for mobilization, especially with little results to show for them by the end. I got the sense there was a kind of collective burn out there.”

“…Yes there were mass mobilizations and the New Power that arose in the People’s Liberation Army, but there was also a lot of police suppression, police method, police narrative and falsifications, lack of due process, brute force happening. At their best, the Maoists wanted a more structural and ideological analysis of counter-revolution, a more structural and ideological method of preventing it, in reality, they used the old methods probably as much as the new methods, often mixing them together. In practice, the Maoist break was not always as great as one would hope.” (15)

All in all, the “Permanent Revolution” of Trotskyism is counter-revolutionary in fact. The only way to combat Trotskyism and all revisionist ideology is to uphold Leading Light Communism, to build the New Power and prepare the way for world revolution!

Notes:

1. Leon Trotsky, “The Permanent Revolution” (https://archive.org/stream/permanentrevolut035092mbp/permanentrevolut035092mbp_djvu.txt)
2. PF, “Is Peoples’s War universal?” (http://llco.org/is-peoples-war-universal)
3. John G. Wright, “Trotsky and the Red Army” (https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/writers/wright/1941/10/redarmy.htm)
4. Leon Trotsky, “Terrorism and Communism”, Chapter 8 (https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1920/terrcomm/ch08.htm)
5. PF, “Lin Biao as Barometer”, (http://llco.org/lin-biao-as-barometer)
6. Spartacist League (http://www.icl-fi.org/english/esp/58/conference.html)
7. Leon Trotsky, “Terrorism and Communism”, Chapter 8
8. Karl Marx, “Estranged Labour” (https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/labour.htm)
9. Shah Alam, “Communist Revolution Universal”
10. PF, “Revisiting Value and Exploitation” (http://llco.org/revisiting-value-and-exploitation)
11. Kao Hung, “From Bernstein to Liu Shao-chi” (http://marxistphilosophy.org/BernLiu.pdf)
12. PF, “On counter-revolution: Just pointing to revisionists is not enough” (http://llco.org/on-counter-revolution-just-pointing-to-revisionists-is-not-enough)
13. PF, “Who and What are Trotsky-cons?” (http://llco.org/who-and-what-are-trotsky-cons)
14. PF, “Lin Biao as Barometer”
15. PF, “On counter-revolution: Just pointing to revisionists is not enough

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A Qualitatively Higher Level: The Leading Light Communist Organization, Unique Among the Crowd

A Qualitatively Higher Level: The Leading Light Communist Organization, Unique Among the Crowd

-Comrade Kwame Ato Asiedu

(llco.org)

February, 2017

Leading Light Communism is a great wave arising to save humanity. It is a wave that brings a new Earth in which there is no discrimination between people. It is at once the great revolutionary wave, and also the very science of revolution itself. Whatever a person contributes to serve the people and liberate humanity is entirely permissible in the LLCO. The Leading Light focuses its attention on the matters that affect the world’s oppressed and exploited majority, so that the people may rise up, and use their energies in the most scientific way to make revolution.

O you who are wise! Consider this carefully: Can an ordinary gun compare with the modern rifle? Should anyone maintain that our old style firearms are good enough for us, and that it is useless to import weapons which have been invented in modern time? Or should anyone ask, “We have always transported merchandise from one country to another on the backs of animals, why should we use the steam engine?” The LLCO is a modern revolutionary organization whose path to victory is better than all the old ways of social revolution. It is our revolutionary steam engine which will take us to the destination of total freedom!

Third World countries, in spite of their achievements and great expertise in science, industry, and art, are still living in poverty, disease, racism, sexism, and humiliating oppression. The LLCO is asking why these countries have been allow to be lag behind, neglected and abandoned, while the First World is allowed to grow richer at the Third World’s expense. Our Organization is here to equip the masses with the necessary tools for the betterment and liberation of humanity! The hearts of Leading Light comrades shine with brilliance on this world in darkness. We know what needs to be done, and we understand the requirements for revolution in the modern age. We devote all our energies toward the advancement of that revolution.

Are they equal, those who know and those who do not know? Is the light equal to the darkness? Leading Lights know the way to revolution in the modern world. Our Organization is the light that shines on the path to liberation. We are lamps of guidance among the revolutionary organizations still stuck in the past, and stars of good fortune shining from the horizon, guiding humanity to freedom! We are fountains of knowledge for those who lie in the depths of ignorance, unaware of the most advanced revolutionary science; fountains of life for those who are thirsty and wander in a wasteland of their defects and errors.

The Leading Light Communist Organization heralds the dawning of a New Power! We are shining symbols of the unity of Third World countries, fighting for the triumph of a global revolution. Leading Lights are skilled physicians for the ailing body of a world in pain; an antidote to the poison that has corrupted human society. Leading Light Communists guard humanity and provide impregnable sanctuary for the sorely distressed, the anxious, the tormented, and victims of ignorance! The LLCO is unique among all revolutionary movements! Let us all be a part of this great wave for the advancement of humanity! All of the masses of the Third World: Embrace the LLCO –we are here for you. With the Leading Light illuminating the path, we will save all of humankind from bondage!

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Onward Towards 2017! A New Year’s Message

 

Onward Towards 2017!
(December, 2016)

A New Year’s message from the Director-General.

The past year has been the most eventful, and arguably the most important on record for the Leading Light Communist Organization. In 2016 we suffered many setbacks, both minor and major. We were beset by numerous internal an external challenges. We lost some dear comrades to incarceration. Our website was sabotaged and brought down. We were relentlessly attacked by other so called “communists” and their affiliates. Eight months ago, our critics and detractors said we could not weather the storm.

Now they say nothing.

Despite everything that 2016 threw at us, the Organization and its membership persevered and conquered the many challenges that impeded our goals. Through our hard work, dedication, and sheer force of will we have not only corrected our course, we have pushed forward at an unprecedented speed. In the last seven months alone, our growth has outpaced all of the previous years of the Organization combined. We have welcomed new comrades from all over the Earth. We are developing cadre from West Africa, to South Asia, Europe to North America, Brazil to Australia. We can now claim a growing presence on every continent.

Special recognition is deserved to our cadre in Bangladesh. The remarkable work that is being done in the Bangla-Zone continues to inspire. Your success serves as a shining example of what can be achieved when theory and practice are so expertly merged.

Thank you to our Myanmar cadre. With your translation work, and youthful charisma, you have brought Leading Light Communism to the streets of Yangon. Furthermore, you all bring a unique style and energy that the global communist movement has been sorely lacking.

A warm welcome to our newest cadre in Ghana. Although you have only been with us a short time, the dedication and drive you have shown in the past months invigorates our entire Organization.

To our wonderful comrades in Brazil. Through our hardest times this year, you have stayed loyal to the cause. Your amazing work has allowed us reach the entire Portuguese speaking world. We thank you and salute you for your continued contributions to the Organization and humanity.

For the new and old comrades in Communications and Public Outreach, we are thrilled to have you all on board. Your daily efforts have spread the theory of Leading Light Communism to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

Finally, to all of our comrades who have come back to us this year: Welcome home. Thank you for your previous contributions to our Organization, and for your new endeavors with us now.

As this year draws to a close, I can confidently say that the LLCO is larger, more organized, and stronger than it has ever been in its history. Thank you to all of our comrades who made this possible. I am both honored and humbled to have the opportunity to walk this road with all of you.

Looking ahead at the New Year

As we move into 2017 we will continue to push forward with the projects and directives that have been successful for us in the past year. Within the first quarter of 2017 we will be putting more effort into consolidating the gains that we have made in the last half of 2016. This will include a greater emphasis on organizational structure and discipline, and an increased focus on our logistical and fund raising efforts.

In addition to this, (as we already have a massive library of the most advanced political theory and analysis), we will be continuing the transition out of our current methods for article production to streamline public outreach. Going forward, all new content posted on the central website LLCO.org, will be reserved for dispatches from the Central Directorate, or updates to our political line reflecting any changes in global conditions. Of course, the central website will still maintain the library of existing articles, as well as posting and maintaining all translated works.

Along with the reformatting of the central website, we will be updating and re-launching our news and analysis site New-power.org. New-Power will still provide a Leading Light analysis of news and current events, but will also include multiple new areas for other article formats, sourced from all of our cadre interested in writing content.

With our momentum from 2016 pushing us forward, the new year promises to be one of great advances and glorious victories for the LLCO. Once again, thank all of you for your tireless efforts and continued contributions. We wish you all a happy and safe 2017!

In Solidarity,
Uziel Stryker
Director-General
LLCO

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Revisiting value and exploitation

Revisiting value and exploitation

Prairie Fire

(June, 2011)

(llco.org)

When her father died in 1883 Eleanor Marx wrote an article celebrating her father’s achievements. At the heart of these was “his theory of value, by which Marx explains the origin and the continued accumulation of capital in the hands of a, thereby, privileged class.” (1) What was seen as so important at the time of his death has fallen by the wayside over a century later among the majority of those calling themselves “Marxist.” So-called Marxists today are content to forget Marx’s true theory of value because of the embarrassing fact that it would, if taken literally, preclude most First World workers from being exploited. It would count them outside of the proletariat,  outside the revolutionary class.  It is the mark of a scientific theory that it has a higher degree of explanatory and predictive power than its competitors. Whether Marx’s theory of value is the most scientific theory today is still an open question. However, Marx’s actual theory, in its best version, is far more scientific than the kind of butchered “Marxist” theories so often put forward by First Worldists. Not only does Marx’s theory gives us the tools, the language, to account for the rise of the mall economy of the United States and other First World countries, it helps us predict and explain the lack of revolutionary sentiment amongst the vast majority of those in the First World. Marx’s theory of value is the astronomy to the astrology of the First Worldist soothsayers.

Eleanor Marx describes the origin of value under capitalism:

“The sum thus entering the pocket of the capitalist Marx calls surplus-value. It is not all profit, but includes the employer’s profit. He has to share it with others: with the Government in the shape of rates and taxes, with the landlord for rent, with the merchant, etc… Thus, all of the classes of society not composed of actual and immediate producers of wealth… all classes, from kings and queens to music-masters and greengrocers, live upon their respective shares of this surplus value. In other words, they live upon the net producer of the surplus labor which the capitalist extracts from his work people, but for which he does not pay. It matters not whether the share of surplus-labor falling to each member of society not actually a producer is granted as a gift by Act of Parliament from the public revenue, or whether it has to be earned by performing some function not actually productive. There is no fund out of which they can be paid, but the sum total of the surplus value created by the immediate producers, for which they are not paid.” (2)

According to both Karl and Eleanor Marx, the value that makes society run has only one source, the “immediate producers of wealth.” In the England of Marx’s day, most of this class would have been industrial, waged workers — this would include workers on industrial farms since peasant direct producers were passing from the scene. Marx predicted that the trends that he witnessed in Western Europe would occur globally. He thought that society would become polarized into two great classes, the industrial capitalists and their workers. Thus, as capitalism advanced, the paradigmatic direct producer would come to be represented by the industrial worker. He saw the industrial working class as the proletariat, the revolutionary agent. Marx thought competition and development would even out from country to country. Thus revolution was a matter of “workers of the world, unite!” However, things did not work out exactly the way Marx foresaw.

It is always important to note that many of Marx’s conclusions were arrived at because he extrapolated from abstract models just as economists do today. This and a good deal of teleology  informed his views. However, the real world is more complex. Global society has not polarized exactly in the way that Marx foresaw. Instead, there exist different configurations of class society across countries. In some countries, there are very few direct producers at all. These are First World mall economies. Factories no longer dominate the lives of First World peoples. Only a small percentage of people in the First World work in factories anymore. A far greater number are employed in management, services, etc. This can be described in Marx’s terms as a decline in the percentage of the population engaged in productive labor, labor that adds to the total social product. Many First World economies can be described as a mall writ large.  Nothing, or very little, is produced at the mall. Yet people are employed managing, transporting, securing, etc. goods that are produced elsewhere but are sold at the mall.  It is the influx of goods from outside the mall that keeps the mall afloat. Production is going on outside the mall, in the Third World. It was the evaporation of direct production, and along with it the evaporation of revolutionary consciousness, that caused Friedrich Engels to write of the bourgeoisification of the English working class on the back of India and the world. Of English workers, Engels writes, “workers merrily share the feast of England’s monopoly of the colonies and the world market.” Even though Marx may have been wrong on unitary development and about the polarization of class, his theory of value does account for today’s world.

The world economy is made up of chains of economic interaction. Each commodity has a point where it was produced. Before a commodity finally leaves circulation it might be exchanged several times. Let’s say a commodity was produced at point A. It was bought by a middleman company and transported and sold again at point C. After being sold at the department store, the commodity leaves circulation. This chain can be represented thus:

A->B->C

At each stage of the commodity’s journey profit may be obtained. Let’s suppose profit is obtained when the commodity is sold from the factory at A to the middleman at B. Profit is obtained when the middleman company B sells it to the retail store C. And profit is also obtained when the retailer C sells the commodity to the consumer. Even though profit is obtained at each point in the circulation chain, surplus value can only be produced by the direct producer. Even though profit is obtained by the middlemen and distributor, this profit is not produced by the workers employed by either the middleman B or the retailer C.  This allows Marx to make the point that the merchant does not get rich by cheating his clerks:

“We must make the same distinction between him and the wage-workers directly employed by industrial capital which exists between industrial capital and merchant’s capital, and thus between the industrial capitalist and the merchant. Since the merchant, as mere agent of circulation, produces neither value nor surplus-value.. it follows that the mercantile workers employed by him in these same functions cannot directly create surplus-value for him.. In other words, that he does not enrich himself by cheating his clerks.”  (3)

When Marx is at his most consistent he extends this point very broadly. There is no reason we cannot extend Marx’s point about clerks to all of those outside production. Even if Marx isn’t always clear, and sometimes contradictory, one has to make this generalization to be consistent with the Labor Theory of Value. Direct production is the origin of value and the original source of all profit in the Marxist Labor Theory of Value paradigm. Thus, as Eleanor Marx points out, the value that is obtained by all classes has its origin in the direct producers. This is true not just of  true of the traditional ruling classes, but also of those who are employed but are not direct producers or part of direct production. These workers may help realize value but they do not produce it as the direct producer does. A bank does not create its profit by squeezing value out of its tellers. A bank obtains its profit by receiving a share of the total social product produced by direct producers. Banks obtain their share through investments and financial manipulations, but the origin of that value lies in direct production. The same is true of supermarkets. It isn’t like they grow the lettuce in the store parking lot. Santa’s elves are not toiling away in the back of the Toys ‘r’ Us.

Because of the tremendous productive capacity of capitalism, these unproductive sectors have expanded significantly. These unproductive sectors have come to dominate whole national economies in the First World. Walmart, for example, is the biggest employer in the United States, with over 1 million employees. (4) The total population of the United States is 309 million. Of the 145 million people who are employed (this includes the undocumented too) within the United States, roughly 26 million are employed in those sectors of the economy that loosely (since we are relying on Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data) correspond with direct production.  (5)  However, it is important to note that many of those employed in these sectors are not the direct producers themselves. Many in these sectors are management, etc., even if they are employed in the direct production sector of the economy. It is a conservative estimate that at least 10% to 30% of this sector can be considered to not be direct producers in a literal or extended sense.  We can generously say that 23.4 million to 18.2 million people in the United States can be counted as direct producers in the loosest sense of the term. By contrast, 126.8 million to 121.6 million in the United States are employed but are not direct producers. (6) This tremendous lopsidedness is why the United States’ economy can be described as a mall economy. As great as the productive forces may be, 23.4 million to 18.2 million people cannot account for the sum of the incomes of the 145 million employed plus the incomes of those  tens of millions who are not employed but still have incomes, i.e. capitalists, the petty bourgeoisie, the unemployed, those on  welfare, retirees, students, etc. Rather, it stands to reason, the value that allows for this tremendous lopsidedness has to be coming from outside “the mall,” from the Third World. It is, of course, no accident that the increase of this lopsidedness in the United States corresponds to the rise of the United States as the supreme imperialist power after World War II and the decline of inter-imperialist rivalry. Imperialism aided this lopsided development, and continues to maintain it. The lopsidedness is production, but also in wealth and power, after World War II, is why Lin Biao noted that revolution in the First World had halted even while revolution was bursting on the historical stage in the Third.

“Since World War II, the proletarian revolutionary movement has for various reasons been temporarily held back in the North American and West European capitalist countries, while the people’s revolutionary movement in Asia, Africa and Latin America has been growing vigorously.” (7)

Another assumption Marx made was that the incomes of the direct producers under capitalism, which for Marx mostly meant the industrial workers, would be reduced to subsistence or sub-subsistence. This is because in a pure model competition between capitalists results over time in equalization of technique. So, the only way left for a capitalist to increase profits is to reduce wages. So much did Marx think this an inevitability of capitalism that Marx identified the value of labor-power with the bare minimum necessary to keep the worker reproducing his labor from day to day. Although this immiseration of direct producers does bear out in much of the Third World, it hardly characterizes any worker in the United States except perhaps some negligible undocumented workers at the very edges of the economy. Often, this does not even characterize the situation of prisoners who are forced to produce. Even those who produce in the First World obtain a wide range of incomes, all of them well above the value of labor-power as set by Marx. Their incomes and standard of living are so high as to make them generally happy with their lot within the system. They align with the imperialist system. Even though Marx was wrong about the exact details of immiseration, this view of value allows for what is seen today. Under Marx’s model, it is possible for value to be transferred from direct producers to others.  It is  also possible for value to be transferred from direct producers to direct producers. In other words, First World direct producers can obtain a share of the surplus that originates in the Third World. Even if a direct producer in the First World is adding to the global social product through his labor, at the same time, he is subtracting from the global social product the same way that other exploiters do. He is obtaining a share of value from the Third World. This offsets whatever value he produces. This makes him a net-exploiter, just like  members of other exploiting classes.

Marx’s theory of value allows for these possibilities that go a long way in explaining current reality. The claim by First Worldist that if profit is being obtained by a particular business, then there is exploitation by that business of its workers does not follow. An epistemological problem arises: how do we know whether a worker is an exploiter or not? Because value can be transferred in so many ways from one person to another, from one direct producer to another, it is necessary to establish a way to measure who is and who is not exploited. Either it is necessary to assign a value to labor-power or it is necessary to find another way to measure exploitation. Today virtually the entire world’s economy is integrated into one giant imperialist formation. The production of a commodity may take place across several countries. To complete a commodity it is not unusual for producers across vast distances to have contributed to its completion. To maintain that the labor-power of First World producers is different than the labor-power of Third World producers is pure chauvinism, especially since economies are so globalized today. Any approach to solving this problem should apply to workers everywhere. Comrade Serve the People has advanced a solution to the problem that establishes a rough estimate for the value of labor-power:

“Comrade Marx pointed out that labor is the substance of value. He said that the number of hours of average abstract socially necessary labor needed to produce a commodity represents its value. That means labor of average productivity under the given working conditions for the specified type of work. Therefore, if traded at value, one hour of labor put into harvesting parsnips is exchangeable against one hour of assembling washing machines (if the labor in both cases is of average productivity).

The nominal GDP of the entire world was $31.9 trillion in 2002. This figure represents everything produced in the world, including services (which tend to be overvalued), in a year’s time. The population is about 6.4 billion people. Assume that 2/3 of them work full time on a typical US schedule of 2000 hours per year. Then the value of average labor is $7500 per year, or about $3.75 per hour. (Slightly higher, actually, since the world’s population was a bit lower in 2002 than it is today.)

Elsewhere I have seen estimates from the UN that the world’s nominal GDP in 2005 is about $36 trillion. That would put the value of labor at $8400 per year, or $4.20 per hour. What is the implication? In the US, the minimum wage is $5.15 per hour, and even higher in some states and cities. If average labor is worth $4.20, then even people making the minimum wage are overpaid on average by about 23%. The average wage in the US is about $18 per hour, which is more than 4 times the value of labor.” (8)

Let’s look at another, stronger, less orthodox solution. In her characterization of her father’s theory of value, Eleanor Marx discusses the distribution of  the global social product under capitalism. Her father’s theory of value implies certain distributions are capitalist ones, other distributions are socialist ones. Eleanor characterizes the society of her day as a capitalist one with a distribution where those who do not contribute to the global social production receive shares from it. In fact, the majority of the shares of surplus-labor are distributed to non-producers of various kinds under capitalism. It is correct to criticize the distribution of the social product to reactionary  non-producing classes. However, any contemporary socialism has to direct distribution toward not only producers, but also the vast destitute stagnant, non-working poor across the Third World. The non-working destitute are a very significant, potentially explosive, class that is coming into its own as a class in the slums of Third World cities. Had the world polarized as Marx suggested, then a socialist distribution aimed at producers, to near exclusion of others, makes sense. However, this is not our world today, or our socialism. Our problem is that given that, under Marx’s scheme, value can be transferred from producers to both non-producers and to other producers, a bar needs to be set to establish who is and who is not exploited. I have advanced another possible solution to this problem that moves away from Marx’s theory of value, but can be said to be implicit in the Marxist criticism of imperialism:

“Some might object that a socialist distribution is not an egalitarian distribution. Rather, a socialist distribution is one where wealth is spread out, not evenly, but to those who do the work and those nations who do the work: she who does not work, shall not eat. Whereas the labor theory of value may be necessary for explaining the mechanics of exploitation, the distribution principle associated with it is not adequate to rectify the problem of inequality between countries that has been generated by imperialism. Such a distribution principle does not address the problem of underdevelopment. Surely populations in the most underdeveloped parts of the Third World, that have been rendered unproductive by imperialism, should not continue to remain in dire poverty under a global socialism. Whole countries of the “industrial reserve army” in the Third World may not currently be productive, but should not resources and development be directed to such populations under socialism? According to demographers, very soon, for the first time in history, the majority of the world’s populations will be living in cities. The new “global countryside” as the base areas of the global people’s wars may very well be the ghettos of Third World megacities. These ghettos are less sites for production then blights that show just how capitalism’s anarchy of production has failed to bring huge segments of the human population into production. Surely socialism must speak to these vast populations that will be the soldiers of the people’s wars over the next century.

The global economy is a causal nexus where value in various forms is transferred around the globe from one person to another. So, if one person is receiving more than an equal share, then somebody else is receiving less somewhere in the causal nexus. Likewise, if someone is receiving less, someone else is receiving more. Imperialism has created a world order where those who receive less and those who receive more correspond to populations in the Third World and First World respectively. Using egalitarianism as a regulative idea, one is exploited when one does not receive an equal share. One is an exploiter when one receives more than an equal share. A country is exploited when its population is largely made up the exploited who have less than an equal share. A country is an exploiter when its population is largely made up of exploiters who have more than an equal share. Implicit in the Marxist critique of imperialism is the idea that countries of the world should exist side by side as equals. The opposite relationship to the imperialist one is a relationship based on egalitarianism and self-determination.” (9) (10)

Marx avoided the problem by ascribing historical necessity to the trends he saw around him.  Even though Marx’s real theory of value is largely forgotten, it is much better than anything advanced by First Worldists today. We must start from, but also go beyond, Marx’s theory of value in order to answer what Mao called the question of first importance, the question of class: “Who are our enemies? Who are our friends?” Global society looks very different today than in Marx’s day.  Lenin writes, “Imperialism has the tendency to create privileged sections also among the workers, and to detach them from the broad masses of the proletariat.” (11) Today this division has evolved such that whole countries lack the proletariat as the revolutionary class. This is why the world revolution has taken a very different shape than that in Marx’s day. Lin Biao writes:

“[T]he contemporary world revolution also presents a picture of the encirclement of cities by the rural areas. In the final analysis, the whole cause of world revolution hinges on the revolutionary struggles of the Asian, African and Latin American peoples who make up the overwhelming majority of the world’s population.” (12)

Today’s revolutionary path will much different than that of Marx’s time. It will be different than both the Bolshevik and Chinese experiences. The changing world requires a new strategy to really make revolution. Our path is the Global People’s War led by the Leading Light.

Notes

1. Marx, Eleanor “Marx’s Theory of Value,” in When Karl Marx Died ed. Foner, Philip S. International Publishers. USA: 1973 p. 230
2. ibid. p 235
3. Marx, Karl Capital Vol. 3 Chapter XVII
4. http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/retail/2003-11-10-walmart_x.htm
5. Data extrapolated from BLS statistic from 2009 and 2010 http://www.bls.gov/cps/faq.htm#Ques8 and ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/suppl/empsit.cpseea21.txt
6. The method here is to add up all industries that can loosely be considered “direct production.” We do the same for other sectors. Also, 10% to 20% is subtracted in order to roughly account for those employed in the direct production sector, but who are not themselves direct producers, i.e management, etc. The numbers are from the employment charts at the Census Bureau.
7. Lin Biao Long Live the Victory of People’s War! http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/lin-biao/1965/09/peoples_war/ch07.htm
8. Serve the People A Rough Estimate of the Value of Labor. http://monkeysmashesheaven.wordpress.com/2008/07/06/blast-of-the-past-from-irtr-a-rough-estimate-of-the-value-of-labor/    *The minimum wage in the US is now $7.25 per hour.
9. Prairie Fire Real versus Fake Marxism on Socialist Distribution. http://monkeysmashesheaven.wordpress.com/2009/08/05/real-versus-fake-marxism-on-socialist-distribution/
10. Prairie Fire Global Inequality or Socialist Equality. http://monkeysmashesheaven.wordpress.com/2009/05/11/global-inequality-and-socialist-equality/
11. http://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/mt/imp97/imp97b1.html
12. Lin Biao Long Live the Victory of People’s War! http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/lin-biao/1965/09/peoples_war/ch07.htm

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Is Leading Light Communism the path, or the goal?

5f5463992975d7a0dd09922e7d20ee45Is Leading Light Communism the path, or the goal?

By Comrade Jacob Brown

(llco.org)

What is Leading Light Communism, exactly? In some places, comrade Prairie Fire speaks of Leading Light Communism as the most advanced stage of the science of revolution. In other places, comrade Prairie Fire talks about Leading Light Communism as the final goal of socialist revolution, “communism” itself.

Which is it then? Is Leading Light Communism the path, or the destination? It seems that an ideological gap has emerged. Those equipped with orthodox Marxism-Leninism and Maoism are not typically able to grasp what is being said here, given their constricted approach to epistemology. Nevertheless, the traditional Leninist outlook on communism is one of stages, and this is the currently dominant paradigm in what remains of the old international communist movement.

It is the responsibility of Leading Light Communists to explain the difference, as the ideological forerunners of the Leading Light Communist movement at one time called its ideology “Maoism-Third Worldism”. This was conceived of as “taking the First Worldism out of Maoism, and the capitalism out of Third Worldism”. While this was a synthesis of sorts, it wasn’t a real breakthrough in and of itself. This is why some Marxist-Leninist critics of contemporary expressions of Maoism-Third Worldism would say that Maoism-Third Worldism was “simply [anti-revisionist] Marxism-Leninism”, effectively rendering Maoism-Third Worldism as a sectarian artifice. In a certain respect, these Marxist-Leninist and Maoist critics are correct. This is why a new break with the old dogma has been initiated by Leading Light Communists throughout the world.

The Leading Light does not view the struggle for communism, and the revolutionary science that flows from that practice, as being some kind of “continuity” with the high points of the previous waves of communist revolution –with some pretense of “rupture” with backward lines within the old international communist movement thrown in. Leading Light Communism demands a bigger break with the past, not to negate the past glories and lessons learned from the previous wave, but with a serious communist commitment to global social investigation and a 21st century communist practice that is geared to actually win.

With the purported desire to break with past communist conceptual frameworks, it might seem rather odd to the reader that in order to explain the thinking behind the term “Leading Light Communism”, we refer back to some things Karl Marx had said in The German Ideology and other manuscripts. We don’t do this for sake of “continuity” at all. We instead seek to demonstrate that communism itself is neither a standalone doctrine, nor some far off endpoint in history, but the actually existing movement of the world’s oppressed and exploited majority against all exploitation and oppression.

From Marx’s letter to Ruge (1843):

“Therefore I am not in favour of raising any dogmatic banner. On the contrary, we must try to help the dogmatists to clarify their propositions for themselves. Thus, communism, in particular, is a dogmatic abstraction; in which connection, however, I am not thinking of some imaginary and possible communism, but actually existing communism as taught by Cabet, Dézamy, Weitling, etc. This communism is itself only a special expression of the humanistic principle, an expression which is still infected by its antithesis – the private system. Hence the abolition of private property and communism are by no means identical, and it is not accidental but inevitable that communism has seen other socialist doctrines – such as those of Fourier, Proudhon, etc. – arising to confront it because it is itself only a special, one-sided realisation of the socialist principle.”

“…[Nothing] prevents us from making criticism of politics, participation in politics, and therefore real struggles, the starting point of our criticism, and from identifying our criticism with them. In that case we do not confront the world in a doctrinaire way with a new principle: Here is the truth, kneel down before it! We develop new principles for the world out of the world’s own principles. We do not say to the world: Cease your struggles, they are foolish; we will give you the true slogan of struggle. We merely show the world what it is really fighting for, and consciousness is something that it has to acquire, even if it does not want to.” (1)

From “Private Property and Communism” (1844):

“Whereas the still immature communism seeks an historical proof for itself – a proof in the realm of what already exists – among disconnected historical phenomena opposed to private property, tearing single phases from the historical process and focusing attention on them as proofs of its historical pedigree (a hobby-horse ridden hard especially by Cabet, Villegardelle, etc.). By so doing it simply makes clear that by far the greater part of this process contradicts its own claim, and that, if it has ever existed, precisely its being in the past refutes its pretension to reality.”

“Communism is… the actual phase necessary for the next stage of historical development in the process of human emancipation and rehabilitation. Communism is the necessary form and the dynamic principle of the immediate future, but communism as such is not the goal of human development, the form of human society.” (2)

From “The German Ideology” (1845):

“Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence.” (3)

If the last quote from “The German Ideology” seems familiar to some readers, it may be because there has been a brief renaissance of the “original Marx” in the recent decades following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. This renaissance coincided with an attempted ideological fusion between various trends within the so-called “anti-globalization movement”, as well as various trends of anarchism, “communization”, and “ultraleftist / left communist” trends. The EZLN in Chiapas, Mexico was also in focus at the beginning of this post-Soviet era “breath of fresh air” out from decades-long Marxist-Leninist orthodoxy because of the uprising against the Mexican state in 1994.

But for reasons the Leading Light Communists have already pointed out many times, it would be incorrect to pretend that Marx’s view of global class polarization during his lifetime would apply to the age of capitalism-imperialism, to say nothing of the 21st century. It is precisely this exact error of those with this fascination with the “original Marx; untainted by Leninist ‘stages’ and ‘vanguards’ and ‘proletarian dictatorships’” that leads some of them to attempt a vulgarized “synthesis” of these various trends (4), while leading others with the same ideological preoccupations to characterize the EZLN uprising and other anti-colonial or Indigenous liberation movements in the Global South as having “authoritarian” deviations (5).

The response of much of the post-Soviet era Left (with any pretense of anti imperialism and anti-colonialism to it) to the “new, but old” criticism by the new wave of revanchist, Eurocentric, ultraleftists hinged on an extreme subjectivism around identity and localized cultural narratives (6). A rejection of universality, and with it a rejection of any notion of revolutionary science, was an inoculation of the 21st century decolonizer from colonial conceptions of universality –which finds expression in contemporary First Worldist “socialism” of today, all the way back to Christopher Columbus, and every export of “advanced culture” to the colonized within that 500+ year span of time. The cruel irony is that this subjectivism , even as it finds new expressions in our times to resist the openly social-chauvinist “Marxist critique”, does nothing to ideologically prepare the masses to resist neocolonial subversion of the revolutionary process. Indeed, it is often the case that such extreme subjectivism paves the way for even greater neocolonialist penetration of the world’s exploited (7).

It is clear that we need universality back on the communist and anti-imperialist agenda once again– specifically, universality in revolutionary science, universality in our practice, and universality in the final aim. We can kindly (at least at first go) dismiss those who insist on the subjectivist approach to engaging in the struggle against imperialism, as the global proletariat needs to be able assert itself as a class and establish its New Power in the world. Leading Lights don’t need to wait for some 5.5 billion individual people’s stories to be told before we can understand something about group level oppression, and how to uproot and eliminate it. We need to put Leading Light Communism in command, as the general will of the world’s oppressed –the Global Mass Line.

Conversely, we cannot copy previous models of class polarization put forward by Marx and Engels over 160 years ago. Our echoed assertion of communism as “the real movement which abolishes the present state of things” must be distinguished from previous Marxist conceptions of communism. This remains the case, even as we revisit one such previous conception. We do this to highlight what has been understandably muted by the classical Marxist-Leninist emphasis on a socialist stage lasting for “a long historical period” on route to full communism. We uphold Leading Light Communism as the science of revolution, and that Leading Light Communism is also the final aim of the Global People’s War and the New Power that its victories bring into being.

However, it is impossible for Leading Light Communism to either solely be the highest stage of revolutionary science, nor solely the final aim. The third aspect of what we call Leading Light Communism is what binds the science and the final aim together: Leading Light Communism is the real movement today which abolishes the present state of things. It is precisely the struggle itself to wipe national, gender, and class oppression off the face of the Earth. The assertion of the New Power of the Leading Light (via the unfolding process of Global People’s War, and the radical social experimentation that follows its victories) negates the oppression of some groups of humans by other groups.

There is no revolutionary science without active practice in the struggle for Leading Light Communism no theory without practice, only stale dogma. This unites Leading Light Communism the science with Leading Light Communism the actually existing movement against the oppressive rule of the old powers. Likewise, there is no final aim without active practice in the struggle for Leading Light Communism. No materialism-based communism can be some far off “heaven on Earth”, as it must be brought into being through the conscious activity of the revolutionary subject. This in turn unites Leading Light Communism the final aim with Leading Light Communism the actually existing movement of the New Power against the oppressive rule of the old powers.

This third definition of Leading Light Communism also allows for the broadest possible United Front against imperialism. With Leading Light Communism representing the most advanced expression of actually existing class struggle today, other tendencies representing broad masses of people of certain historically oppressed nation (or group of oppressed nations) or an oppressed gender in the Global South have a global standard of New Power to emulate and perhaps even surpass. Leading Light Communism claims a universality that these other socialist-oriented pan-nationalist tendencies, by their very definition, cannot claim. Nevertheless, this does not preclude Leading Light Communists from working with the broadest possible anti-imperialist coalition. What this does mean, is that in every instance of its work (whether working in coalition or on our own) the Leading Light will always put forward the material interests of the world’s oppressed and exploited majority first and foremost, and in tandem the strategic interests of the Leading Light in establishing its New Power in the world. Leading Light Communists, by definition, do not abdicate the responsibility of communist leadership within the United Front.

The point about surpassing Leading Light Communism is important, because the key to avoiding sectarianism is the recognition that Leading Light Communism fears no criticism. Indeed, if the advances of Leading Light Communism are surpassed by another tendency, that tendency becomes the Leading Light! The old “leading light” collectively must then reorient to a more correct line, or dissolve itself. The point is, only by continuously advancing Leading Light Communism through struggle, can any conservative dogmatic ossification of Leading Light Communism be negated. This also solves the basic epistemology problem of “stages of revolutionary science” represented by a historical communist leader’s name. Thus, the whole problem of an endless string of communist leaders’ names, as with what follows “Marxism-Leninism-Maoism” (when the science needs to advance) is resolved, alongside the tendency towards a bourgeois individualist deification of past communist leaders. Leading Light Communism by its very definition always positions itself to be the most advanced expression of communism today, not by pompous dogmatic declaration, but by testing (indeed, forging) the correctness of its line through the concrete criticism of the existing global struggle on our practice.

In turn, Leading Light Communism breaks with a tendency towards viewing the struggle for communism in a historical teleological way. The constant re-forging of the weapon of revolutionary science requires a conscious, revolutionary subject actively pushing the revolution forward towards Leading Light Communism. As comrade Prairie Fire pointed out previously:

“Our revolution is not chiseled into the atoms themselves. Our victory is not foretold by the stars. The Maoists began to see this, but did not go far enough. They understood that not only can revolutions go forward, they can go backward too. What is to stop the exploited and oppressed from rowing the boat in circles forever? There is one thing that will keep us moving forward: science. Science learns. Science adapts. This is why we must be guided by the Leading Light of revolutionary science.” (8)

Fundamentally, the resolution to the occasionally mysterious dual-definition of Leading Light Communism in LLCO literature is the third definition, which unites both the most advanced revolutionary science with the final aim. That is, Leading Light Communism is the actually exiting movement of the world’s oppressed and exploited majority today, with active cells growing and doing serious mass work in some of the poorest communities on the planet. And it is a struggle that needs your active participation as well. Walk this road of revolution with us, joining with the world’s proletariat to sweep away the old powers and make a whole new world! Get involved and be a Leading Light for communism today!

Notes:

1. Marx’s letter to Ruge (1843)

2. “Private Property and Communism”, Karl Marx (1844)

3. “The German Ideology”, Karl Marx (1845)

4. “Wobblies and Zapatistas”, Staughton Lynd (2008)

5. “A Commune in Chiapas?”, Aufheben #09 (Autumn 2000)

6. “Locating Race”, Malini Johar Schueller (2009)

7. “Revolutionary science in command, not identity politics”, http://llco.org/revolutionary-science-in-command-not-identity-politics/

8. Ibid.

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Twelve Principles of Leading Light Communist Leadership

10247379_620122488132084_441182572123736233_n-300x300Twelve Principles of Leading Light Communist Leadership

(llco.org)

Capitalism, Empire, has crushed the human spirit. It has created a society without virtue, a society of banality, mediocrity, cowardice, cruelty, greed. The Leading Light is guiding humanity out of the darkness. We wage total war against all suffering, all cruelty, all exploitation, all pain. We fight for tomorrow, for the future, for our children, their children, the land, the seas, the skies. We fight for a tomorrow where we can all live in peace and prosperity, where we can reach our fullest potential, where we can thrive. We fight to become who we really are, as individuals and as a people. We fight for a world of virtue, valor, creativity, expression, joy, prosperity, talent, and genius. We fight for a world where all are raised up to be leaders, true Leading Lights. However, our world is not a reality yet. We still live under the dictatorship of the present, of today. Until our victory is complete, some people will be more advanced than others, some people will awake before others, some will see the light before others. These are the leaders, the guardians of the future. It is the duty of all Leading Lights to bring humanity forward. It is the duty of all Leading Lights advance others to higher levels of revolutionary consciousness. This is hard work, but it must be done. Until our total victory, there will be a contradiction between leadership and the led. Even so, Leading Light, true communist, leadership is fundamentally different than capitalist, reactionary leadership. These are some, not all, qualities of Leading Lights:

1. Leading Lights are loyal. Leading Lights never betray our oath, the people, the Earth, the organization, the leadership. The mightiest weapon is one that never breaks. Unity is strength. We are all weapons for the future, the people, the Earth, the organization, the leadership, all-powerful Leading Light Communism.

2. Leading Lights lead by example. Leading Lights do not just tell people what to do, we show people what must be done through our actions. The brightest Leading Lights are the ones who work the most for the people, the Earth, the great cause, the organization, the leadership, the truth. If a task must be done, Leading Lights are the first to volunteer.

3. Leading Lights sacrifice the most. Leading Lights are the ones who give everything to the great struggle. Leading Lights are the ones who put our lives on the line. We are the ones who put our bodies in the line of fire. We are the ones who are willing to kill and be killed. Leading Lights are the ones who donate the most financially to the cause.  We are the ones who donate every month. We are the ones who donate our time and energy the most.

4. In the chest of the Leading Lights beat the hearts of true warriors, filled with courage. We put our egos aside. The Global People’s War of the Leading Light is also a war against all that is backwards in ourselves. Fear must be conquered to really live. Ego must be put aside to really live. We understand that revolution is not a dinner party. We will fight anywhere, anytime. We will do whatever it takes to win. We do our duty even if it means facing our greatest fear, even if it means losing our lives, or the lives of our loved ones. We are good fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, but we are warriors in our great cause first and foremost.

5. Leading Lights put our egos aside. We express our opinions and views within the organization, through proper channels, but Leading Lights understand that the key to victory is unity and discipline. Leading Lights follow orders. We obey the chain of command. We fill whatever task we are assigned, and we do so without complaint or dragging our feet.

6. Leading Lights do not get into petty, stupid, ego-driven disputes. We stand our ground, but know what battles are important. We do not waste our time with fools. Let the yappers yap. We have a world to win.

7. Leading Lights take the initiative. Leading Lights understand that it is important to follow the chain of command, but it is also important to be creative and bold. The best warriors are ones that are able to think. We are creative, bold, daring.

8. Leading Lights spend our extra time aiding the cause, assisting other comrades, helping the people and the Earth. If a Leading Light has extra time, we use that time to generate more resources for the organization or we use that time to perfect ourselves through training and education. Leading Lights do not waste.

9. Leading Lights respect the people, the Earth, each other. We listen to the concerns of the people. We are patient with the backward elements among the people. We recognize that verbal persuasion is always preferable to force. We respect the land, the seas, the skies. We respect our homes. We always listen to our critics and we are the first to make self-criticism when we have erred.

10. Leading Lights always lend a helping hand. We always help the people, the Earth, each other, our families, our communities when we are able. We are the good samaritan. We are the good neighbor. We are the true friend, good father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister.  Leading Lights shine as stars in our communities, families, workplaces, and organizations.

11. Leading Lights are revolutionary scientists. Leading Lights never stop learning.  We are always in the middle of reading something. We are always advancing our understanding of revolutionary science. We follow the most advanced science, the brightest truth, Leading Light Communism. Knowledge is power.

12. Leading Lights never surrender. Numerous fakes have tried to enter the revolutionary movement over the years. Some have been successful at infiltrating our ranks for a time. Eventually they are exposed in one form or another. Eventually, their true colors shine through. The revolution is no place for opportunists, careerists, cowards. Leading Lights, we, fight to the end. This is our life.

Our storm is gathering. We are marching steadily. Forward, always forward. With great leadership, great organization, we will win.

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On Leading Light Communism and Religion

 

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On Leading Light Communism and Religion

By Comrade Rizal Roja

Across the globe, religious extremism poses a serious threat to the revolutionary cause. In many third world countries, terrorist mercenary groups, motivated by supposed “religious purity,” are funded and armed by the United States, and other Imperialist countries. These extremists are terrorizing secularists, political activists, ethnic minority groups and other innocent civilians in massive numbers. In India, the imperialists openly fund and arm “Hindu” extremist groups to murder and terrorize Muslims, Buddhists and Christians [1]. In the neighboring countries of Bangladesh and Pakistan, the Imperialists send massive amounts of money and material support to “Islamist” groups to terrorize and murder non-muslims [2][3]. The aim of the Imperialists is a classic “Divide and conquer” strategy which aims to turn the oppressed against each other and weaken unity amongst the people. This strategy is an old one, and has been exploited for centuries by the Imperialists to conquer and exploit the peoples of the colonial and neo-colonial world.

As a result of recent developments in religious extremism on the global stage, a revisionist and “ultra-leftist” line influenced by the growth of the reactionary “New-Atheist” movement, has emerged. This line calls for denouncing religion and outright attacks against comrades and institutions of faith. Individuals and groups supporting this line claim that religion itself is the underlying cause of sectarian terrorism and violence, and that the masses should be berated and criticized for their faith. This line is at best, an erroneous position that absolves capitalism and imperialism of the guilt for the mal-development, impoverishment and suffering of the third world in favour of a simplistic theory that the suffering of the masses can be faulted on their own supposed “superstitious ignorance.” This is also called “blaming the victim.” At its worst, it justifies the supposed “Civilizing force” of the secular Imperialist powers in their destructive wars and terror campaigns against third world people. Either way, this line is both reactionary and harmful to the revolutionary movement.

Along similar lines, many so-called Communists are equally quick to dismiss or attack people of faith. They have been known to quote Marx when he states “Religion is the opiate of the masses,” claiming that religion is simply an addictive drug used by the bourgeoisie to oppress the people. However if one examines Marx’s full statement, the true meaning becomes clear.

Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

In context, we see that Marx recognized that religion was not simply a series of superstitions and rituals performed by the ignorant, but a tonic for the pains that come with oppression. It is important to recognize that having faith is an attempt by people to soften the harshness of their lives. If we mock the oppressed for attempting to relieve their pain we will be harsh and heartless. We must show the oppressed that Leading Light Communism is their path to true liberation without spitting on their deeply held beliefs.

So what is to be done?

It is important that Leading Lights expose these terrorists operating under the guise of “Religious purity” as spineless traitors and agents of the Imperialists. It is important that we expose their wicked and cowardly lying, and their overarching goal of dominating the poor masses of the third world for their Imperialist masters. However, we must not make the mistake of condescending or attacking the majority of people of faith. We must aim to unite the masses of the third world, and educate them on how to identify and fight these Imperialist-Mercenary charlatans. We must show the religious masses that regardless of their faith, they have more in common with each other than they do differences. We need to ensure that all people can contribute to the struggle. This includes secular forces as well as religious peers, priests, imams, monks, and holy men. All must be won over to Leading Light Communism. Those with an understanding of religious ideas are able to reach the people in a unique way, and are indispensable as comrades in our movement. We must not underestimate the ability of those with a solid understanding of religion and genuine love of the people to be able to communicate with the masses in a language they can understand. While we must maintain secularism as an organization, we still must unite all who can be united, and lead all who can be led. At the same time we must expose the wicked deceptions of the Imperialists and their cowardly butcher-agents who seek to manipulate religious differences in service to Empire. It is the responsibility of Leading Lights to guide the way.

1. http://scroll.in/article/667071/an-unnoticed-fact-the-rss-indias-biggest-ngo-gets-foreign-funding-too

2. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-36462026

3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-yousaf-butt-/saudi-wahhabism-islam-terrorism_b_6501916.html

Support the growing anti-American protests in the Muslim world

American-Imperialism-300x185Support the growing anti-American protests in the Muslim world

(llco.org)

Leading Light Communist Organization supports the growing tide of anti-American sentiment, protests and actions throughout the Muslim world. Although the initial spark for the protests and actions appears to be a sensationalist, vulgar, anti-Islamic film made in the United States, the anti-imperialist anger that drives the masses to protest has very real, material causes. The United States and other imperialists have been waging a global war against the Third World, including the Muslim Third World. Supporting the growing tide of anti-Americanism on the Muslim street even when such protests are not led by proletarian, Leading Light Communist, forces, is part of upholding the worldwide united front against imperialism. The Leading Light stands against imperialism everywhere. The Leading Light Communist line continues to be “uphold the broad united front against imperialism! Hold the Red Flag high!” In other words, support all those resisting imperialism, while at the same time express criticism and contend for leadership where possible.

LLCO will have more to say on these events in the coming days.