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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.

On the inverse cripples

On the inverse cripplesthumb-1

(llco.org)

Through Zarathustra’s remarks on the inverse cripples, Friedrich Nietzsche is criticizing modern intellectuals who are revered as geniuses:

“[F]or there are human beings who lack everything, except one thing of which they have too much — human beings who are nothing but a big eye or a big mouth or a big belly or anything at all that is big. Inverse cripples I call them.

‘And when I came out of my solitude and crossed over this bridge for the first time I did not trust my eyes and looked and looked again, and said at last, ‘An ear! And ear as big as a man!’ I looked still more closely — and indeed, underneath the ear something was moving, something pitifully small and wretched and slender. And, no doubt of it, the tremendous ear was attached to a small, thin stalk — but this stalk was a human being! If one used a magnifying glass one could even recognize a tiny envious face; also, that bloated little soul was dangling from the stalk. The people, however, told me that this great ear was not only a human being, but a great one, a genius. But I never believed the people when they spoke of great men; and I maintained my belief that it was an inverse cripple who had too little of everything and too much of one thing.’

When Zarathustra had spoken thus to the hunchback and to those whose mouthpiece and advocate the hunchback was, he turned to his disciples in profound dismay and said: ‘Verily, my friends, I walk among men as among the fragments and limbs of men. This is what is terrible for my eyes, that I find man in ruins and scattered as over a battlefield or a butcher-field. And when my eyes flee from the now to the past, they always find the same: fragments and limbs and dreadful accidents — but no human beings.” (1)

There is the great chemist who knows nothing of Ludwig von Beethoven. There is the engineer who has never read Immanuel Kant. There is the economist who has not read William Shakespeare. There is the historian who knows nothing about Albert Einstein. There is the artist who has never read Karl Marx. There is the sociologist who knows nothing of Isaac Newton’s laws. There is the great physicist who believes in the devil.

Bourgeois education, the university system, is highly specialized. It aims to develop an extreme level of specialization in a single area, usually discouraging broader education. This is not just true of the physical sciences and engineering, but it is true of the humanities. An individual might be highly adept at looking at the world through the lenses of his specialty, but that is all he can do. This allows him to see the problems within his specialty very clearly, but it makes him blind to the broader problems of the world. It also leads to a kind of compartmentalization of knowledge. People are not trained to connect their specialized knowledge to everyday life or to other areas. They have a very disjointed, unbalanced world view. It is kind of like a blind spot in reverse. A very tiny corner of the world can be seen very clearly, but the majority goes unseen and unnoticed.

This phenomenon ripples across broader bourgeois society. The United States has one of the most literate, educated populations in the world. Yet, according to a recent poll, more Americans believe in the existence of a literal hell and the devil than believe in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Eighty-two expressed belief in a god. Seventy-two percent believed that Jesus is God or the Son of God. Belief in hell and the devil was expressed by 62 percent. Seventy-nine percent expressed belief in miracles. (2)

In Zarathustra, the description of inverse cripples passes into a description of society as “fragments and limbs of men,” “ruins and scattered as over a battlefield or a butcher-field,” “fragments and limbs and dreadful accidents — but no human beings.” Nietzsche’s politics are far from perfect, but he is correct that complete humans or what is described as human is not found in capitalism. What Nietzsche should have seen is that the “battlefield or butcher-field” was a humanity ravaged by the violence of imperialism, the exploitation of capitalism, the banality and stupidity of bourgeois society. It is a humanity scarred by bourgeois society where even its great intellectual accomplishments are accompanied by deformity and monstrosity. Nietzsche echoes Karl Marx when he describes the contradictions within and imbalances of bourgeois society, the contradiction of great intelligence and disability, great accomplishment and great banality, existing at the same time, in the same individuals and societies. It is a characteristic of bourgeois society that it can only produce feats of intelligence at the expense of a greater crippling of itself.

Nietzsche’s response to the catastrophe is confused, a mix of nihilism, irrationality, individualism, and traditionalism. Zarathustra places his hopes in a vaguely-described “overman” to surpass man. This is why Nietzsche could be appropriated and misappropriated by German fascism and eugenics. Fascism promised a rebirth of society, vitalism, heroism, but delivered only greater carnage and deformity, both physically, but, more importantly to Nietzsche, intellectually and culturally. Fascism resulted in a great brain drain in many fields, and only produced its own inverse cripples: advances in war technology, and little else. Martin Heidegger actively joined the Nazi movement, hoping for a way out of the spiritual void of modern society. By the end, he too recognized fascism as just another face of a system that promotes techne divorced from more meaningful ways of understanding the world. Following Heidegger, Herbert Marcuse saw both Western liberalism and Soviet society as two sides of the same coin. Despite claims to be very different from each other, both elevate “How to” knowledge over “Why?” knowledge. Knowledge about how to get from A to Z is emphasized without asking why should we be trying to get to Z. They both represent the rise of “instrumental reason” to the exclusion of other modes of thought.

The Soviet experiment was the first really sustained attempt at constructing socialism, attempting to reach communism. Soviet socialism was very influenced by the theory of the productive forces, a view that overemphasizes the role of technology in creating communism and underplays the role of revolutionizing power relations, culture and ideology, i.e. class struggle. It makes sense that if one sees the development of technology as the main force leading to communism, then one’s cultural and educational policies will echo this outlook. Techne will be overemphasized to the exclusion of broader knowledge. Divisions of knowledge and power will be consolidated that echo the liberal West, which has always seen technology as the key to creating prosperity, raising all boats, etc. It makes sense that Soviet society would come to measure itself by the goal posts of the liberal West. And, when Soviet leaders found socialism lacking, Soviet revisionists restored capitalism. Although the Maoist revolution made greater strides in understanding revisionism, capitalism was restored in China in similar ways.

Marx’s answer to the catastrophe, “battlefield or a butcher-field,” of capitalism is communist revolution.  Capitalism produces its own grave digger: the proletariat. In capitalism, science, its methods and approaches, are originally the product of an intellectual world populated by Zarathustra’s inverse cripples. However, it is when science is able to cross from the bourgeois intellectual world to the world of the dispossessed that revolution, overcoming the catastrophe of the modern world, surpassing current society, becomes possible. The great revolutionary leaders are not one-dimensional cripples. Great revolutionary leaders more approximate the ideal of communist multi-dimensional man. They have always had a foot in the world of high culture, the bourgeois-intellectual world, and a foot in the world of the masses. Marx was from a middle-class background, married a minor aristocrat’s daughter, and earned a doctorate. Even so, he dedicated his life to proletarian activism and writing, which landed him in poverty. Marx had a foot in both worlds. Lenin too was from a somewhat privileged background such that he received a university degree. A life of serving the people, of revolutionary work, transformed Lenin into a proletarian intellectual and leader. Mao was from a peasant background, but privileged and well-off enough to be sent off to the city to receive an education. He was radicalized by his exposure to science and ideology from all over the world. Both Lenin and Mao had their feet in both worlds as thinkers and men of action. Revolutionary leaders, the Organization itself, is a bridge by which science, its methods, approaches, etc. cross into the hands of the people, but in this process the ideas are transformed by the revolutionary leadership into weapons that can be wielded by the masses. Genuine Leading Lights act as a kind of transformative bridge to the masses. And in that process, science becomes transformed, forged into a new weapon, into revolutionary science, into all-powerful, awesome, glorious Leading Light Communism. Just as capitalism produces its own demise, so too does the culture of inverse cripples inadvertently aids in its own destruction. The proletarian struggle to end all oppression led by the most advanced revolutionary science ultimately destroys not only the physical brutality foisted upon society, but also the intellectual and cultural deformity. The inverse cripples of bourgeois society are replaced by proletarian intellectuals, people’s warriors, heroes, Leading Lights. The Old Power is killed. A New Power is born. A new, vital, healthy culture is born. Leading Light succeeds where Nietzsche fails.

The revolutionary movement is at a critical juncture. After great defeats in the Soviet Union and China, the proletarian movement is struggling to survive. Leading Lights are just now piercing the darkness. A more advanced revolutionary science, all-powerful, awesome, glorious Leading Light Communism, is emerging. It is the transformative stage. It is moving from leadership to the masses. It is being forged into a mighty sword to place into the hands of the people. The seeds of New Power are just beginning to sprout. True heroes are emerging. At the same time, the effects of bourgeois culture ripple, even more strongly toward the revolutionary movement as our successes mount. Class struggle can intensify as the revolution gains ground. Victories can lead to increased attacks on the Organization by class enemies. In this instance, it manifests as Do Nothingism and Cowardly Lionism. These overlapping errors are often a result of inverse cripples infiltrating or posing as the revolutionary movement.

There are numerous revisionists who mine quotes from the Marxist tradition. They pontificate on all kinds of subjects. They debate on social media about the history of socialism or political economy as perceived through dogmatic lenses. In terms of practice, these “Marxist-Leninists” and “Maoists” are not that different from each other, or heaven forbid, the Trotskyists they so despise. Despite their over-the-top rhetoric, they do very little. At best, they do small forays into First Worldist, movementarian activism. Although they can quote monger the works of Marx, they still have not grasped “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.” (3) They can quote Lenin and Mao, but they have not grasped their meaning. They do not see what should be obvious: Revolution is about power. It is about seizing power, not merely talking or fantasizing about it. The Peruvians use to promote the slogan “Without state power, all is illusion.” The whole orientation of the revolutionary movement must be toward seizing power. If it is not, then all words, all posturing, is just fantasy, illusory. The inverse-cripple revisionist thinks himself oh-so revolutionary, but really he has simply honed the skill of parodying past revolutionaries. Thinking themselves revolutionaries, even revolutionary intellectuals, they have gone to incredible lengths to master this strange talent. They have fine-tuned their art, becoming masters of dogma and cos play. Sometimes they might even appear to the less advanced more sincere and passionate about revolution than real revolutionaries. At the same time, they have developed no other talents. And, whatever potential they once may have had has long since withered away. So, they are nothing but big mouths wearing Mao hats on social media. A few people claim that with binoculars, one can see withered dangling bodies attached to the mouths. Others believe the mouths ate the bodies.

Deviations have always plagued the revolutionary movement. Revolutionary leaders are marked by their origins and the societies in which they exist. The Organization too is marked by its birth. Marx’s works are filled with polemics against the revisionists of his day. They are filled with analysis of the problems of the revolutionary movement. The Communist Manifesto ends with an analysis that traces revisionism and deviation back to its class origins. Lenin advanced this method further. One of the greatest works by Mao is On Correcting Mistaken Ideas in the Party. In this work, Mao looks at the class origin of the mentalities that lead to deviations within the Organization. More than that, Mao proposes specific methods of rectification for each deviation. Part of the idea of criticism and self-criticism is to hammer out and destroy deviations using the collective wisdom of the Organization, to forge the cadre into a mighty weapon: people’s warriors, Leading Lights.

The inverse cripples and other effects of bourgeois decay will remain for the time being. The yappers will yap. The cowardly lions will roar. The jesters jest. Tumblr will reblog. Such is the air of capitalism. Lenin said that we have to be as radical as reality itself. We are scientists and warriors with revolutionary genius and heart. Organization. Leadership. Sacrifice. Duty. Courage. Honor. Respect. Loyalty. These are not mere words, they are the code for winning power. Serve the people; serve the Earth. Live and die for the people and the Earth. We carry our lives on our finger tips. Long Live the all-powerful, awesome, glorious Leading Light! Our sun is rising. Our day is coming.

Notes

1. Nietzsche, Friedrich. Thus Spake Zarathustra. The Portable Nietzsche edited by Kaufmann, Walter. Penguin Books. (USA: 1968) p. 250

2. http://uk.reuters.com/article/2007/11/29/us-usa-religion-beliefs-idUKN2922875820071129
3. Marx, Karl. “Theses On Feuerbach.” 1845 http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/theses/

Americans have less than 1,000 dollars to their name?

Americans have less than 1,000 dollars to their name?53542f0adbfa3f61c000e120-_w-540_s-fit_

(llco.org)

A recent Esquire article reports:

“In a recent survey, 56 percent of Americans said they have less than $1,000 in their checking and savings accounts combined, Forbes reports. Nearly a quarter (24.8 percent) have less than $100 to their name. Meanwhile, 38 percent said they would pay less than their full credit card balance this month, and 11 percent said they would make the minimum payment—meaning they would likely be mired in debt for years and pay more in interest than they originally borrowed. It paints a daunting picture of the average American coming out of the spend-heavy holiday season: steeped in credit card debt, living paycheck-to-paycheck, at serious risk of financial ruin if the slightest thing goes wrong.” (1)

The First Worldist has the metaphysical conviction that First World workers are exploited and revolutionary. They cannot even conceive of the possibility they are wrong. They cannot even imagine a possible piece of empirical evidence to prove them wrong. Unlike scientific assertions, which are fallible, which have the possibility of being false, the assertions of the First Worldists are metaphysical.  It is rare that First Worldists ever try to provide any evidence for their beliefs. When they do try to offer up empirical evidence, they reproduce the talking points of the liberal, social-democracy. Recently, First Worldists are circulating the statistic that a little over half of the American population have less than a total of 1,000 dollars in their bank accounts. This is, for the First Worldist, an indictment of the capitalist system and it is proof that there is indeed an American proletariat, an American revolutionary class. However, reality is very different. The reality is that the recent report does not imply what the First Worldist thinks it does.

Firstly, 1,000 dollars is not the piddly sum that the article makes it out to be. This amount of 1,000 dollars is roughly equal to the median income per year globally. In other words, half of humanity lives and dies on 1,000 dollars or less a year. For example, there are more people in India making less than 292 dollars per year than exist in the United States.  Even the poorest working American earns an income that makes them part of the richest 15 percent globally. Most people in the world do not have the ability to afford the luxuries that nearly all Americans can afford. Hundreds of millions live on the verge of starvation. There are 800 million people who lack access to safe drinking water. Most people in the world would be happy to discover they have 1,000 dollars or 500 dollars or even 100 dollars in their bank accounts because most people have access to nothing. Most people live as Marx described the proletariat. They literally live at subsistence or even sub-subsistence. Many look with envy at the lifestyle of Americans. Most would be delighted with the computers, phones, ovens, refrigerators, cars, apartments and houses of Americans. Most would be delighted with the conditions of the American workplace. It shows just how much privilege Americans have that nothing is good enough for them. Like the spoiled rich child, no gift is enough. Everything is an intolerable hell for the American.  (2)  (3) (4)

Secondly, First Worldists do not understand the role of debt in a country like the United States. Having debt is not always a sign of poverty. In fact, debt in the First World is often a sign of access to capital. Debt allows Americans to live far above their incomes. For example, Americans are able to take out loans for homes or cars and other items that give them access to a higher standard of living that they cannot pay for at the moment.  For example, home ownership in the United States is 63.4 percent. (5) Such a high homeownership rate could not be accomplished without the ability to accrue large debt by Americans. Most Americans are in debt, but they are usually not worse off for it. In fact, most Americans can access more capital in the form of debt through credit cards, loans, etc., than many Third World  people can earn in a lifetime. Debt is a way by which most Americans live far above their means. That nearly a quarter only have 100 dollars or less in their bank accounts does not mean they do not have access to credit in order to live above their means. Nor does it reflect the kind of home they have, car they drive, nor the amount of their luxury consumption. Looking at a bank statement is not an accurate measure of poverty or standard of living.

Thirdly, the language of the report itself shows just how privileged Americans are. The First Worldist concludes that Americans are exploited, so impoverished by debt, because — and here is the punchline — “the average American [is] coming out of the spend-heavy holiday season.” In the bizarre First Worldist illogic, Americans are too poor now because they spent too much on luxuries. Most people on this Earth will never own even a fraction of the luxuries that Americans do. It is a sign of sickening decadence that Americans consider buying too much as a sign of poverty. This shows just how disconnected First Worldists are from the real proletariat in the Third World. (6)

Are there some Americans who have a hard time? Yes, some. Does some genuine poverty exist in the United States? Of course there is some. However, the First Worldist exaggerates the condition of the few to be the general condition of Americans. The First Worldist points to small pockets of poverty as though those pockets represent all of the United States. The reality is that the small pockets of poverty that exist in the United States are too scattered, too dynamic, and too few to be a relevant social force for genuine revolution. This is true of the First World generally. There is a reason that there has never been a real, proletarian, communist revolution in the First World. The reason is that the objective conditions for revolution simply do not exist in the First World. There is no proletariat, no social base, for revolution in the First World. The proletariat is the key to revolution everywhere. And the proletariat is in the Third World. To make revolution in the First World, we must turn our practice to the Third World. The key to revolution everywhere is the Global People’s War of the Leading Light.

Notes

1. http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/news/a41147/half-of-americans-less-than-1000/?can_id=&source=email-todays-headlines-jobs-with-justice-11316&email_referrer=todays-headlines-jobs-with-justice-11316&email_subject=todays-headlines-jobs-with-justice-11316&link_id=7

2. http://llco.org/walk-this-road-with-us/

3. http://llco.org/the-average-joe-amerikkkan/

4. http://llco.org/united-states-rich-india-poor-so-called-international-communism-movement-deaf-and-dumb/

5. http://www.census.gov/housing/hvs/files/currenthvspress.pdf

6. http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/news/a41147/half-of-americans-less-than-1000/?can_id=&source=email-todays-headlines-jobs-with-justice-11316&email_referrer=todays-headlines-jobs-with-justice-11316&email_subject=todays-headlines-jobs-with-justice-11316&link_id=7

Comments on the evolution of empire

Comments on the evolution of empireus-imperialism-latuff-latin-america-racism

(llco.org)

Empire is constantly evolving to thwart the people’s movement. Imperialism has changed significantly since its beginning. The period of traditional colonialism during which the imperial powers literally occupied colonial lands mostly came to a close around the end of World War 2. The shattered empires of Europe could no longer occupy vast lands around the world. Their weakened armies could not match the people’s movements and decolonial struggles that emerged. Decolonization did not mean real independence for most former colonies. Even though former colonies were granted formal independence, real power was held by the imperialists. The United States emerged as the main leader of the Western imperialists. The nature of the Soviet Union also changed in the last decade of Stalin’s life. Like all major socialist revolutions, the Soviet Union wasn’t defeated by invasion by imperialists, but by the internal enemy, by revisionism. The revisionist Soviet Union emerged as another imperial bloc, but one that opposed the West. These two imperial blocs contended for power over the countries of the Proletarian World. Both created vast neocolonial empires that channeled resources and labor from the neocolonies to themselves. The entire Proletarian World became a battleground between these two imperial blocs. All the world was threatened with nuclear destruction by the power struggle between the Western and Soviet imperialists.

Today, empire is changing again. Just as the revolutionary movement learns from our past, just as revolutionary science evolves, the forces of reaction also learn. Even though there remain some conflicts in the world between powerful countries, these conflicts will not result or even risk world war. The cycle of world wars predicted by Lenin’s generation is over. Both world wars so weakened the capitalist system that proletarian revolution was able to erupt on a massive scale. During the first world war, the Bolshevik revolution created a wave of liberation that would not only spread throughout the old Czarist empire, but also into Eastern Europe, even Germany. Not long after World War 2, China, a quarter of the world’s population, raised the red flag. Although defeated now, at the time, these waves of revolution shook the capitalist system to its core. The capitalists do not want a repeat of the past. Thus the capitalist system has evolved. International institutions have arisen to mediate conflicts. National capitalism is surpassed by transnational capitalism. The global capitalist class is less and less tied to particular countries, rather they’ve become more and more transnational. The capitalists have a mutual interest in jointly exploiting the Proletarian World in a way that does not lead to intra-imperialist war. Thus the economies of the bourgeois countries are more and more intertwined with each other such that intra-imperialist wars do not make economic sense. At the same time, the Bourgeois World, the wealthy imperialist bloc, is penetrating and controlling the Proletarian World in ever new ways. Transnational corporations play a bigger and bigger role in today’s economy and politics. There is an increased overlap between big corporations and government.  As governments have downsized, corporations have been charged with managing those sectors of society once under the state’s control, or in other cases, corporations have been charged with the sell-off of massive state sectors as economies of weaker countries are forced to restructure by their creditors, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, etc. At the same time, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have an increased role as the traditional state has declined. The network of NGOs taking on the role of social services, population management, etc. are beholden to global interests, not to the communities they serve. They too are part of the new globalized, neoliberal face of empire.

Two antagonistic worlds have emerged, the Bourgeois World versus the Proletarian World. Contradictions within the Bourgeois World are becoming less and less antagonistic. Power and wealth are becoming more and more socialized. Social divisions have become less and less relevant in the Bourgeois World. The Bourgeois World is a world of comfort. The Proletarian World, by contrast, is a world of poverty, hunger, environmental devastation, instability, etc. The contradictions between the rich and the poor, between those who hold political and economic power and those who do not, is sharper than ever in the Proletarian World. The gap between the rich and poor grows.  The dogma of the past is not enough to win. Ideology is a weapon. If we are to really win, we must develop ever more advanced revolutionary science to place into the arms of the masses. With all our hearts we follow the Leading Light of the most advanced science applied to the task of reaching real communism.

We are the organization of the global poor, exploited, truly oppressed and their real allies. We are the organization of the true proletarians, the Proletarian World, who “have nothing to lose but their chains.” We have a world to win.

Less work for the same pay

Less work for the same paydsc01966

(llco.org)

An experiment is afoot in First World, in social-democratic Sweden: less work, same pay:

“Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city, will begin its experiment with six-hour working days this summer, hopefully proving that the shorter work hours can make up for what they lose in time with more efficient work.

If the plan goes well, it could spread across the Swedish civil society, but some lucky Gothenburg residents are already living the dream. Last week, Agence France-Presse spoke to a mechanic in the city who was working a six-hour day. ‘My friends hate me. Most of them think because I work six hours, I shouldn’t be paid for eight,’ Robert Nilsson explained.” (1)

The Third World and First World should not be conceived as rigid categories. Rather, they are poles in a continuum. Very wealthy populations like those of Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Japan, etc. are more stereotypically First World whereas poorer populations like the majority in India, Bangladesh, Haiti, etc. are more stereotypically Third World. Other countries, perhaps the populations of the Balkans or Chile, fall closer to the middle of the continuum. The following list compares the annual hours worked per worker for 2012. The list is not clear whether it is counting just waged and salaried employees or others. Our guess is the list probably counts wage earners and possibly salaried employees only, not peasants who work their own land and other kinds of laborers, for example. Unfortunately, those countries that are most Third World are not represented on the list. Even so, the list of annual hours actually worked per worker for 2012 is informative:

“Mexico  2,225.66
Greece 2,033.96
Chile 2,029
Russian Federation 1,982
Poland 1,929
Israel 1,910
Estonia 1,889
Hungary 1,888.45
Turkey 1,855.058
Czech Republic 1,800.231
United States 1,789.922
Slovak Republic 1,785
OECD countries 1,765.488
Italy 1,752
Japan 1,745.201
New Zealand 1,739
Australia  1,728
Canada 1,710
Iceland 1,706.1
Austria 1,699
Portugal 1,691
Spain 1,686
Finland 1,672
United Kingdom 1,654
Slovenia 1,640
Sweden 1,621
Luxembourg 1,609
Belgium 1,574
Denmark 1,545.95
Ireland 1,529
France 1,479
Norway 1,419.7
Germany 1,396.6
Netherlands 1,381
6 hour work day 1,332″ (2)

Even though there are exceptions in the list, in general, the poorer countries are clustered toward the top, followed by wealthier countries in the middle and bottom. Mexico, with one of the poorer populations on the abbreviated list, falls somewhere between the poor extreme of the Third World and the middle of the continuum between Third World and First World. It is important to point out that Mexico is one of the wealthier counties of the Third World. Even though this is the case,  Mexico is probably has the poorest population of all the countries on the above list. Of those countries on the above list, Mexico is at the top, its laborers working the most. Of those countries on the list, other poorer countries are clustered at the top list. If the list were to include other, poorer Third World economies with industry, it is almost certain those workers would work even more hours than Mexican workers and much more hours than the wealthier First World countries. Obviously just looking at hours worked gives a very incomplete view of the Third World. The Third World also contains huge populations that exist in dire poverty that have been rendered unproductive by the system: some slum populations, some landless rural populations, refugees, etc. These populations are not represented in the list. Even so, the list tends to confirm that when Third World people can work, they work for longer doing harder work, under worse conditions, for less pay. Almost always, their work is more physically demanding than First World labor.

In terms of the distribution of hours amongst the wealthier countries, the reason that some poorer First World economies like Portugal work less than the United States is probably accounted for by different cultural norms, the existence of European social-democracy, type of economy, etc. In any case, Sweden’s experiment of  shortening the work week without lower pay is yet another indicator of the great difference between quality of life between the First World and Third World. There are other ways that the amount of work has been shortened in countries like the United States that are not accounted for on the list. For example, in many cases, some populations of the United States are entering the work force later due to the lengthening of adolescence, extending higher education, etc. It is no accident that there was great growth in leisure culture and adolescence following World War 2 as the United States emerged as the leader of the Western imperialists. Many have observed the lax attitude toward work of “generation x,y, and z.” “Thirty is the new twenty” is a popular characterization of this extension of adolescence that, in some cases, acts as a kind of extension of years spent consuming without working, similar to retirement but prior to entering the workforce full time. Again, this does not characterize every American, but it does characterize a significant part of the population. By contrast, Third World workers tend to enter the workforce younger and they do not typically receive retirement. This kind of contrast is not reflected by simply looking at hours worked per year by country. In reality, the disparity in activity is probably much greater for a regularly employed worker in the Third World compared to the First World.

This experiment is an example of how social peace is bought in the First World at the expense of denying increased quality of life to the Third World. It is a sign of what Lenin called “the seal of parasitism” for the First World. That the First World can afford such compromise between its strata shows the different strata of the First World are not antagonistic. Those who work in the First World have far more in common with those above them than with those below them in terms of lifestyle, culture, and class interest. In general, compromise and unity is how different First World strata relate. This is in sharp contrast to how the First World deals with the antagonistic poorer populations of the Third World. This is also reflected in the general lack of revolutionary activity in the First World compared to the Third World. The reactionary nature of the First World even infects those who claim to be leftists. They “wave the red flag to oppose it.” Some First Worldist anarchists seek to preserve their First World lifestyles while “abolishing work” entirely. How this could be achieved without continued imposition of suffering on the Third World is not explained by these social-imperialists. Similarly other First Worldists seek to increase First World consumption at the expense of the masses in the Third World.

The global economy is a game that distributes quality of life. It is a game with winner and losers. Those in the First World are winners for the most part. The masses in the Third World lose under capitalism-imperialism. The First World is populated by class enemies for the most part. The real revolutionary populations are the masses of the Third World, the Proletarian World. Leading Light is the voice of the poor. Leading Light is the sword and shield of the poor. It is the duty of every Leading Light to dedicate everything, to sacrifice everything, to live and die for the people. Serve the people. We fight for our future. Our day is coming.

Notes

1. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/06/02/how-great-would-swedens-proposed-six-hour-workday-be-this-great/
2. ibid.

Comments on Labor Theory of Value, Productive Labor, Method, Orthodoxy, MIM

Comments on Labor Theory of Value, Productive Labor, Method, Orthodoxy, MIMbook

(llco.org)

The following discussion is taken from our discussion on mass line, lumpen organizing in the First World, etc. (1)  The comments are slightly edited:

“2001 MIM Congress: Again on the subject of the ‘masses’ in the imperialist countries by MC5, April 19, 2001

Most calling themselves ‘Marxist’ continue to misapply Marxism to today’s conditions. There are opportunists changing the definition of “proletariat” and abandoning the labor theory of value–usually without explicitly saying so. There are also dogmatists who quote from Lenin more than 75 years ago in Russia on conditions in imperialist countries today, when Lenin himself never quoted someone from 75 years prior to him on conditions in Russia in his day.

One of the trickiest forms of opportunism and dogmatism stems from the concept of the ‘masses.’ Many opportunists use this word to turn Mao into a bourgeois democratic populist. Others use it to justify failing to analyze conditions of today, since the masses everywhere must be revolutionary and exploited forever, or so the dogmatist reasons, and so we do not even have to apply the definition of ‘masses’ today.

In contrast, MIM has said that in the imperialist countries, the population cannot be the principal source of rational knowledge of proletarian politics. This should be obvious from the lack of socialist history or revolutionary class struggle in the imperialist countries. Nonetheless, MIM finds itself having to defend itself against those who do not know how carefully Marx, Lenin and Mao defined the words ‘proletariat’ and ‘masses and how they used them in their context. In particular, there are no timeless ‘tactics’ that apply to the ‘masses’ for all times and places. In this essay, we will distinguish between ‘population’ and ‘masses.’

It is not a mistake that a more ‘top-down’ approach to rational-knowledge is more necessary the higher the percentage of parasites in a population. That is only another way of saying that when behind enemy lines, we communists do not simply ape the enemy in all ways. We are not fish in the sea seeking to blend in with the enemy population when we are behind enemy lines.

Historically, in Mao’s China, there were people who did have to work behind enemy lines, to fight the Japanese or Chiang Kai-shek. There were two main communist complaints about those people who worked behind enemy lines. First, of course, was that such people became so muted that they became indistinguishable from the enemy, the basic problem of working behind enemy lines. (See for example, Mao’s 1944 essay, ‘Our Study and the Current Conditions’)Secondly was that once victorious in revolution, the communists who worked behind enemy lines continued to use the same methods they used when behind enemy lines–excessive conspiracy, lack of reliance on the population and even a lack of outspokennness.

In explaining the Bolshevik differences with Menshevism, Lenin says that worker ‘masses’ are only in the ‘thousands’ in ‘One Step Forward, Two Steps Back.’ In fact, Lenin says that in the beginning of the revolutionary movement, the reference point of the struggle in the use of the word ‘masses’ is only a few thousand people! The following very long quote from a Comintern speech at the Third Congress addressing many imperialist country comrades mentions all the key issues:

‘We must prepare for dictatorship, and this consists in combating such phrases and such amendments. (Laughter.) Throughout, our theses speak of the masses. But, comrades, we need to understand what is meant by masses. The German Communist Workers’ Party, the Left-wing comrades, misuse this word. But Comrade Terracini, too, and all those who have signed these amendments, do not know how the word ‘masses’ should be read.

‘I have been speaking too long as it is; hence I wish to say only a few words about the concept of ‘masses’. It is one that changes in accordance with the changes in the nature of the struggle. At the beginning of the struggle it took only a few thousand genuinely revolutionary workers to warrant talk of the masses. If the party succeeds in drawing into the struggle not only its own members, if it also succeeds in arousing non-party people, it is well on the way to winning the masses. During our revolutions there were instances when several thousand workers represented the masses. In the history of our movement, and of our struggle against the Mensheviks, you will find many examples where several thousand workers in a town were enough to give a clearly mass character to the movement. You have a mass when several thousand non-party workers, who usually live a philistine life and drag out a miserable existence, and who have never heard anything about politics, begin to act in a revolutionary way. If the movement spreads and intensifies, it gradually develops into a real revolution. We saw this in 1905 and 1917 during three revolutions, and you too will have to go through all this. When the revolution has been sufficiently prepared, the concept ‘masses’ becomes different: several thousand workers no longer constitute the masses. This word begins to denote something else. The concept of ‘masses’ undergoes a change so that it implies the majority, and not simply a majority of the workers alone, but the majority of all the exploited. Any other kind of interpretation is impermissible for a revolutionary, and any other sense of the word becomes incomprehensible. It is possible that even a small party, the British or American party, for example, after it has thoroughly studied the course of political development and become acquainted with the life and customs of the non party masses, will at a favourable moment evoke a revolutionary movement (Comrade Radek has pointed to the miners’ strike as a good example[135]). You will have a mass movement if such a party comes forward with its slogans at such a moment and succeeds in getting millions of workers to follow it. I would not altogether deny that a revolution can be started by a very small party and brought to a victorious conclusion. But one must have a knowledge of the methods by which the masses can be won over. For this thoroughgoing preparation of revolution is essential. But here you have comrades coming forward with the assertion that we should immediately give up the demand for ‘big’ masses.

‘They must be challenged. Without thoroughgoing preparation you will not achieve victory in any country. Quite a small party is sufficient to lead the masses. At certain times there is no necessity for big organisations.

‘But to win, we must have the sympathy of the masses. An absolute majority is not always essential; but what is essential to win and retain power is not only the majority of the working class — I use the term ‘working class’ in its West-European sense, i.e., in the sense of the industrial proletariat — but also the majority of the working and exploited rural population. Have you thought about this?’

Historically as a concrete reference point, in 1894, Lenin was giving tactical respect to an enemy that had no army but commanded a few thousand readers and some libraries! Lenin said, ‘However, it should not be forgotten that these slanderers command all the material means for the most widespread propaganda of their slanders. They possess a magazine with a circulation of several thousand; they have reading-rooms and libraries at their disposal.’ (‘What the ‘Friends of the People’ Are and How They Fight the Social-Democrats’)

Concretely, MIM is fortunate to have Lenin’s writings to know that MIM does indeed surpass Lenin at his earliest stages organizationally, while we too would have to give tactical respect to the type of enemy that faced Lenin in 1894. While Lenin in his day and MIP-Amerika both have large territories to cover, MIM today distributes articles in the five and six digits every month just on its web site alone. Lenin did not have this and his newspaper in the early 1890s was not physically superior to MIM’s in quantity; although we may certainly surmise that his literature gathered greater passion from the population, and perhaps more people handed his newspapers on than MIP-Amerika’s, thus meaning more readers per newspaper. Furthermore, MIM’s prison struggle and prison readership alone is reminiscent of Lenin’s reference point of a few thousand people in early stages of struggle. Hence, anyone comparing MIM with Lenin on the ‘masse’” and finding MIM lacking just did not read Lenin very carefully.

Lenin remembered bitterly in his ‘Lecture on the 1905 Revolution,’ the ‘reformists’ who called him ‘sectarian’ for having only a few hundred organizers and a few thousand people as a reference point. The Liberal leader Struve led the attack along these lines; yet today, people continue to attack MIM along the exact same lines. Lenin stood his ground and believed even such a small element constituted ‘revolutionary people.’

Even in 1915, two years before the revolution, Lenin says he only had 40,000 subscribers. He made a point of saying that the tzar could repress 5 or 10 times that number and still the 40,000 would not be annihilated in influence. (‘What has been revealed by the trial of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Duma Group’)

MIM points to Lenin’s precise conception of masses to refute those trying to pull us in a bourgeois populist direction about what our real political roots are and how science is actually applied. It goes without saying that a party of millions can address hundreds of millions of people, but at earlier stages of revolutionary development the word ‘masses’ can be demagogy, a kind of god that supports nihilism or reformism.

Somehow, with the international proletariat’s luck in drawing enemies in imperialist countries, the Trotskyists and crypto- Trotskyists such as Avakian criticizing us ‘Lin Biaoists’ manage to foul up the word ‘masses’ from another angle, by denigrating the exploited and oppressed masses of the Third World. Against these Trotskyists, the term ‘masses’ must be defended. On the other hand, within the imperialist countries we get the social-democrats and other left-wing elements of parasitism trying to have us worship the enemy population as ‘masses.’ Both ultra-purist Trotskyists and reformist left-wing elements of parasitism use the term ‘masses’ only to denigrate the Third World oppressed and exploited while glorifying the labor aristocracy.

Mensheviks have made too much of Lenin’s and Stalin’s relative distrust of the population compared with Mao’s. Lenin said in ‘What Is To Be Done?’ that Russia was a ‘politically enslaved state, in which nine hundred and ninety-nine out of a thousand of the population are corrupted to the marrow of their bones by political subservience.’ For this reason, he thought it might be defensible to have a communist party which commanded loyalty and obedience to itself instead of the state. Thus, some Mensheviks think that for Lenin to say what he did about the labor aristocracy is not surprising, while Mao was more friendly to the ‘masses,’ which includes the labor aristocracy by this line of Menshevik reasoning.

Yet, we must remember that Lenin lived in a semi-imperialist country, one that had ‘Great Power’ status at the time Lenin lived. Mao lived in a country that once had “Great Power” status but was in fact super- exploited and oppressed. Hence, we can say Mao was correct to have more reliance on the population of China than we have on the population of the United $tates or Lenin had in Russia’s population.

This is to leave aside the fact that Mao was careful in defining the word ‘masses.’ When he says ‘mass line,’ it is not an excuse for spontaneity or bourgeois democratic prejudice. Mao’s ‘mass line’ is universally correct, but only if it is universally correctly defined and applied.

Here in the imperialist countries we often fail from step one–defining friends and enemies based on the appropriation of surplus-labor, which is the connection between Marx’s Das Kapital and the political theories of Lenin and Mao. Political theorizing and strategizing in a void without Marx’s labor theory of value is rank opportunism, creating a bourgeois political philosophy of a pre-scientific sort, whether or not it is in the guise of Marxism. There is no meaning to political steering or tactics without the labor theory of value, so any discussion of ‘ultraleft’ or ‘right opportunism’ is completely sterile without an understanding of concrete conditions first. There is nothing permanently politically ultraleft or right opportunist without first defining classes and hence friends and enemies.

Mao himself defined the classes in Chinese society, and specifically Chinese society, in order to define ‘friend’ and ‘enemy.’ In his ‘Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society’ in 1926, Mao talks about many things that are specific to China and even more things that are specific only to semi-colonial and semi- feudal countries. He did not talk about all masses in all countries being the same at all times.

Even in the essay ‘On New Democracy,’ which is not relevant for imperialist country oppressor nations, Mao said, ‘No sooner had the strength of the proletariat and of the peasant and other petty bourgeois masses brought the revolution of 1927 to victory than the capitalist class, headed by the big bourgeoisie, kicked the masses aside, seized the fruits of the revolution, formed a counter-revolutionary alliance with imperialism and the feudal forces, and strained themselves to the limit in a war of ‘Communist suppression’ for ten years.’ Here, Mao contrasted the masses and the enemy. Most references to the ‘masses’ by Lenin, Stalin and Mao speak of ‘exploited,’ ‘toiling,’ ‘working’ or ‘oppressed’ masses–not masses that include substantial enemy sections.

During the Cultural Revolution in China, the ‘Little Red Book’ said the following: ‘The broad masses of the workers, peasants and soldiers and the broad ranks of the revolutionary cadres and the intellectuals should really master Mao Tse-tung’s thought.’ Again, we do not hear the term ‘masses’ used to refer to enemies.

In another context, in his essay, ‘Speeches at a National Party Conference’ in 1955, Mao said, ‘We often say that we should not become conceited because we have done well in our work and that we comrades should remain modest and learn from the advanced countries, from the masses and from each other so as to make fewer mistakes.’ Again, as MIM has always said, there is a distinction to be drawn here. Mao did not lump ‘the advanced countries’ with ‘masses’ here. Let’s also keep in mind he could have said, ‘learn from the masses of the advanced countries’ and he did not. It’s not so simple. There are things to learn from enemies, but we do not refer to it as part of the ‘mass line,’ with ‘from the masses’ and ‘to the masses.’

In truth, if once in a while, ‘masses’ referred to people that included enemies it would not be so bad–if the enemy component of ‘masses’ is the minority. Such was the case in times during the war against Japan led by Mao. Both Mao and Chiang Kai-shek spoke of the ‘entire nation’ opposing Japan–and for a decisive period of time the conflict with Japanese imperialism was the principal contradiction for the Chinese Revolution. Yet, contrary to the image some would like to foist concerning Mao, Mao was even more precise than just counting a few enemies as ‘masses.’

In ‘Is Yugoslavia a Socialist Country?’ Mao said in 1963 what he would later say about the USSR. Some people do not realize that Mao never counted the ‘labor aristocracy’ as anything but enemy: ‘It shows us that not only is it possible for a working-class party to fall under the control of a labour aristocracy, degenerate into a bourgeois party and become a flunkey of imperialism before it seizes power.’ Furthermore, Mao said, ‘Old-line revisionism arose as a result of the imperialist policy of buying over and fostering a labour aristocracy. Modern revisionism has arisen in the same way. Sparing no cost, imperialism has now extended the scope of its operations and is buying over leading groups in socialist countries and pursues through them its desired policy of ‘peaceful evolution.” Hence, Mao always said the question of labor aristocracy is linked to the question of the restoration of capitalism. For a supposed Maoist to ignore the ‘labor aristocracy’ of the imperialist countries is revisionism. For people to talk about upholding the Cultural Revolution and opposing Soviet revisionism without opposing the labor aristocracy as enemy is just pure hogwash.

In this regard, we must note the revisionist efforts of many to smuggle the labor aristocracy into the ‘masses,’ and then the ‘mass line,’ as an excuse for tailing parasitic demands by the imperialist country parasites. MIM follows the ‘mass line,’ but the population does not get to define whether or not it is ‘masses’ or not. MIM uses the definition of ‘proletariat’ and ‘masses’ laid down since Marx and Lenin. Belonging to the ‘masses’ or the ‘proletariat’ is not a question of self-identification. We do not mean conditions are the same as in the days of Marx and Lenin, but it does mean we have no reason to change the very definition of these words, since capitalism and semi-feudalism continue to dominate the world. People who believe MIM is wrong are free to argue that the proletariat of 2001 is less relevant than in 1901, but our critics should not be allowed to change the definition of proletariat and ‘masses’ to include a majority of enemies.” (2)

I do not have time to give a full analysis of every quote in the document. The document seems to have some problems and muddle even though I obviously support the overall sentiment. Some issues though:

In the beginning, the document alludes to MIM’s use of their version of the labor theory of value to paint large segments of the First World as parasitic. The same theory ends up painting large segments of the Third World that do not technically produce value as also parasitic. It seems to me that MIM was so out to prove the First World as parasitic using a certain kind of orthodoxy that they did not look at the implications of that analysis on the class structure of the Third World. Are the rising slum dwelling classes of the Third World also parasitic because they do not create value? Are refugee populations dependent on aid parasitic? Are Palestinians? Landless, declassed ex-peasants? There are also cases where productive laborers in some Third World countries form a relatively privileged sector that will not be the leading force of the revolutionary movement. MIM used to represent its views as orthodox on this topic, but MIM usually forgets to add that Marx assumed commodities are traded for equivalents in order to show that the origin of profit was from unpaid work. If you throw out this assumption, then it kind of undermines Marx’s whole argument for unpaid labor being the source of profit. You don’t need the idea of unpaid labor as a source of profit if you throw out the assumption that commodities trade at their values. And if you don’t throw out that assumption, you are kind of stuck with accepting that First World productive workers are exploited. Or, you have to throw out the orthodoxy and move toward a concept of net-exploitation as myself, Serve The People, Rebel1 explored in the IRTR period. Or, you have to set a bar for exploitation by assigning a full value of labor ala comrade Serve the People, something Marx himself opposed in at least one place — although I don’t have the reference off hand. Or you move in directions I have suggested in numerous articles, abandoning the labor theory of value altogether. IRTR and LLCO explored these directions in order to address some of this. I will also add that I am not saying there might not be uses for the labor theory of value, I am just saying is that it is not without problems and it is not a dividing line between Marxism and revisionism.

My point is that the appeal to orthodoxy (sometimes false orthodoxy) that pervades the document is not only the wrong way to go, but it also misrepresents. For example, it says that Mao defined words like “proletariat” and “masses” in their contexts, when everyone knows Mao and Maoist publications made numerous references to the “proletariat” and “masses” in the First World. MIM often invented all kinds of strange arguments to try to explain away these famous quotes by Mao. My personal favorite MIM argument was when MIM said Mao’s First Worldism was an innocent mistake because Mao did not have experience with the First World, as though the leader of a state that ruled over a quarter of the world’s people was living in a cave with no intelligence on the First World, as though Mao was totally dependent on First World micro-sects for his information on the First World. Any quick look to Beijing Review reveals how disingenuous MIM’s claim was. MIM had access to Beijing Review, but they used to cherry pick and selectively quote articles to make it appear as though Maoist China was more Third Worldist than it was. However, if you actually read the magazines, you will find First Worldism pervasive in Chinese Maoist literature. MIM was counting on people not having access to the original magazines, so they misrepresented the contents. This is just one thing that popped out immediately as problematic. I do not have time to examine every single quote in the article in context or look up quotes by the same authors that may suggest other things. The bigger issue is the methodological problem in part of the document. It seeks to pile up quotes as a way of increasing the legitimacy of its claims. And, in an attempt to do this, it misrepresents things on at least the occasion of Mao. Perhaps it misrepresents elsewhere, I don’t know. The method of seeking to represent oneself as the orthodoxy, misrepresent history, cherry pick, selectively quote, etc. is not a scientific one. It is fine to quote previous communists, it is good to supply information, but there is a kind of appeal to authority going on here too.

MC5 seems to make a good point about how as the level of parasitism increases, so too does the need for a “top-down” approach. I agree with the sentiment here, but not the literal claim. If MIM’s political economy is taken literally, large segments of the poorest sections of the Third World are also parasitic since they consume value, but do not produce it. Do we require a “top-down” approach with them too? Obviously not. Again, this is a matter of MIM painting with too big a brush. In their attempt to paint the First World as parasitic, they failed to look at the implications of their arguments as they applied to Third World populations. I think a better way to say this is simply to say the higher standard of living of a  population, the more of a “top-down” approach is needed.

I like MC5’s line when he discusses the revisionist attempts “to smuggle the labor aristocracy into the ‘masses,’ and then the ‘mass line,’ as an excuse for tailing parasitic demands by the imperialist country parasites.” I am not completely comfortable with the wording, but the assertion is correct. However, then I wonder why MIM focused on the First World oppressed nations? Why did MIM stick to the dogmatic formulation that the principal contradiction is between imperialism versus oppressed nations? It seems like MIM, with its intellectual emphasis on the First World lower strata and oppressed nations, is guilty of exactly what MC5 claims the revisionists do. The conclusion of a more consistent political economy, such as our own, is that the principal contradiction is between the First World versus Third World, the Bourgeois World versus Proletarian World, Exploiter World versus Exploited World. This is the muddle that seemed to pervade in MIM. They had one foot in Third Worldism and one foot in First Worldism with First Worldist practice, tailing of national liberation, pantherism, gender spellings, etc.

Again, I do not have time to give a full analysis of the document. It allowed us to demarcate some differences between MIM Thought and Leading Light Communism. However, these are just a couple of the differences between MIM Thought and Leading Light Communism. Leading Light Communism is a whole package of scientific advances that span everything from epistemology to political economy to history to “deep politics,” etc. Leading Light Communism is the future.
Notes

1. http://llco.org/no-magic-key-to-unlock-the-first-world-mass-line-or-otherwise/
2. http://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/wim/cong/onmasses01.html

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Settlerism, Global Empire, and American opinions about Gaza

Settlerism, Global Empire, and American opinions about Gaza

(llco.org)

A new poll by the Pew Research Center was released on US opinion about the conflict in Gaza. The results were interesting. Only a quarter, 1 out of every 4, Americans believes that Israel had gone “too far.” The figure is basically unchanged since 2006 when Israel invaded Lebanon in its war against Hezbollah. This seems to indicate that much of the pro-Palestinian activism over the last decade has done little to shift US public opinion broadly. Even though it seems like there is more opposition to Israel’s actions now, this is probably more the result of a shift in the opinions of the elite, journalists, etc., not a shift at the grassroots. This may suggest agitation and propaganda aimed at First World media makers, intellectuals, and policy makers is more effective than aiming at the grassroots. The poll also suggest that youth and people who identified as Democrats are more evenly divided on the issue:

“Democrats split almost evenly on which side bore the greater responsibility for the current violence, with 29% blaming Hamas and 26% Israel and 18% citing both.”

“Among those who identify as liberal Democrats, 44% said Israel’s actions have been excessive, while 33% said they had been about right and 7% said they had not gone far enough. Among conservative Republicans, only 10% said Israel had gone too far, 51% said its actions had been about right, and 21% said Israel had not gone far enough.”

What is especially interesting is that 22 percent of whites responded that Israel had gone too far. And  36 percent of Blacks and 35 percent of Latinos responded similarly. The African diaspora and Spanish-speaking populations in the US were better on the question of opposition Israel’s genocide, but not that much better.

There is a myth amongst one segment of the First Worldist left that understanding the origins of the United States as a “settler society” is the most important aspect in understanding the United States today. The idea is that leftover social divisions from the origin of the United States as a settler society still run so deep that they are the key to making revolution today. This is connected to the view that the United States is a white apartheid state, that a white nation rules over all the others in the same way apartheid South Africa ruled over its African population or the same way Israel occupies Palestine. Revolution, according to this myth, is a matter of encouraging national liberation amongst the non-white “internal semi-colonies” or “captive nations” in order to topple the white nation. It is true that the United States originated as a European-settler invasion of North America, and it is true that white supremacy and its terror still afflicts the captive nations within the United States, as mass incarceration rates and police repression of Black and Brown people clearly indicate. What is not true is that this is the main thing in understanding US social dynamics, including the lack of revolutionary potential in United States or the First World generally. And it is also not true that national liberation of internal semi-colonies within US borders is playing or will likely play a significant role in the defeat of capitalism and imperialism under current conditions. It may be useful for traditional activists to agitate as through these myths are accurate, but the advanced will recognize that this kind of rhetoric is, at best, a “noble lie,” a front for more serious revolutionary work. At worst, the rhetoric is simply delusion or a front for opportunist gain or police work of various kinds. This kind of analysis, if taken seriously, is one of the last bastions of First Worldism.

These myth makers correctly point out proletarian consciousness does not exist amongst white laborers because they are not a proletariat. What they fail to point out is that national consciousness barely exists amongst most of the populations of the internal semi-colonies, and proletarian consciousness does not exist. Here it is important to point out that differences do exist amongst non-white populations. For example, national consciousness is much more a reality amongst many indigenous peoples than those of the African diaspora in the United States, where it is negligible. National consciousness remains more in force amongst the migrant Mexican population than the Chicano population, where it is also negligible. It is a kind of chauvinist outlook that reduces the diverse situations of non-white populations to a single analysis of internal semi-colonies as “people of color”. It is a kind of chauvinism, naivety, or both that fails to recognize the contradictions between various non-white populations, which, in everyday life, can be experienced more sharply than the conflict with the white population. Such an analysis is often more rooted in white guilt and the projection of a romanticized “other” than reality. Someone recently joked that such an analysis amongst white “anti-imperialists” is the revolutionary equivalent of “the magical negro” in film and literature who saves the day. (2) (3)

The poll numbers suggest that there is slightly more solidarity expressed by those in the African diaspora than whites in the US regarding Palestine. The Latino populations in the US also shows slightly greater solidarity. However, the degree of solidarity shown in the poll is not that much greater among the non-whites than the whites. One would expect it to be much greater if the myths were accurate. One would expect a much greater degree of solidarity if the relationship of non-whites to whites in the United States was basically the same as the relationship of Palestinians to Israelis. The poll numbers indicate self-identification as a “Democrat” and “liberal Democrat”  are far better predictors of opposition to Israel’s actions than “race” or “nation” in these cases. Youth is also a better indicator than “race.” The reason so many Americans, white and non-white, support Israel is because they perceive it is in their imperial interest to do so.

The reality is that the United States has integrated many diverse populations into its multi-racial, multi-national society. There is a long history of this. At one point, Jews were migrants at the bottom of US society. Irish migrants too experienced terrible racism. So did other populations. These populations first “became white,” then they were allowed a privileged position within US empire. Some claim this transformation is seen in language itself. Some historians claim that the word “honkey” was originally a derogatory term for Hungarians and Eastern Europeans generally, who were not seen as properly white. Today, the term is aimed at whites generally. However, to share in the spoils of empire today, it is not necessary for a population to become white. Today, Asian populations within the United States have a higher per capita income than whites yet are still not perceived as fully white in the same way Irish-Americans are, for example. The people of the indigenous nations (latino and non-latino alike) and the African diaspora within the US, for the most part, share the spoils of empire, without being perceived as fully white. White national consciousness does not have anything like the power or influence it once did over white society. There is a residual idea of “race” that exists. This is based on phenotypical differences, stereotypes, some cultural differences, history, and speaking styles. Social and economic position still play a role, but not the role they once did. The United States has integrated many of its non-white populations into its multi-racial, imperial society. However, not every population has been equally integrated, which is why national consciousness amongst the Lakotah, for example, is greater than national consciousness amongst Chicanos or those of African descent. This is an ongoing process. And there is no guarantee every population will be integrated this way. For example, will the United States be able to absorb the massive migrant populations from Latin America? In any case, it is the massive exploitation of the Third World that allows for the integration of these populations into the United States and into the First World generally.

This process of the United States emerging as a multi-national empire should also be seen alongside the United States playing a leading role in an emerging multi-racial, trans-national First World, a kind of global empire. In any case, the old formulation of oppressor verses oppressed nation inherited from national liberation movements of the 1960s and 1970s does not apply as it once did. Instead, what is happening is the development of a global imperial system, but at the same time the First and Third Worlds are still preserved, even if the borders of these spheres do not always correspond to the the borders of countries.  Just as imperialism is globalizing, so too is resistance to it. As the Bourgeois World continues its barbarous brutality, the Proletarian World responds with new methods of resistance. Armed with all-powerful Leading Light Communism, the Proletarian World is beginning to organize a Global People’s War to liberate humanity and the Earth. Our sun is rising. Our day is coming.

Notes

1. http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-israel-hamas-poll-20140728-story.html

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_Negro

On definition mongering

On definition mongeringBible-

(llco.org)

“Whatever is written in a book is right — such is still the mentality of culturally backward Chinese peasants. Strangely enough, within the Communist Party there are also people who always say in a discussion, ‘Show me where it’s written in the book.’ When we say that a directive of a higher organ of leadership is correct, that is not just because it comes from ‘a higher organ of leadership’ but because its contents conform with both the objective and subjective circumstances of the struggle and meet its requirements. It is quite wrong to take a formalistic attitude and blindly carry out directives without discussing and examining them in the light of actual conditions simply because they come from a higher organ. It is the mischief done by this formalism which explains why the line and tactics of the Party do not take deeper root among the masses. To carry out a directive of a higher organ blindly, and seemingly without any disagreement, is not really to carry it out but is the most artful way of opposing or sabotaging it.

The method of studying the social sciences exclusively from the book is likewise extremely dangerous and may even lead one onto the road of counter-revolution. Clear proof of this is provided by the fact that whole batches of Chinese Communists who confined themselves to books in their study of the social sciences have turned into counter-revolutionaries. When we say Marxism is correct, it is certainly not because Marx was a ‘prophet’ but because his theory has been proved correct in our practice and in our struggle. We need Marxism in our struggle. In our acceptance of his theory no such formalisation of mystical notion as that of ‘prophecy’ ever enters our minds. Many who have read Marxist books have become renegades from the revolution, whereas illiterate workers often grasp Marxism very well. Of course we should study Marxist books, but this study must be integrated with our country’s actual conditions. We need books, but we must overcome book worship, which is divorced from the actual situation.

How can we overcome book worship? The only way is to investigate the actual situation.” — Mao Zedong, Oppose Book Worship

The following quotes from a recent discussion. We have not quoted everything that was said. And we have corrected a few typos and slightly edited the text in a couple places for clarification. Those who want to read the original can go here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/263895233629245/820818457936917/

The discussion went in various directions, and we did not bother answering everything that was raised because much of it is available online and has been discussed a dozen times in our literature. The main point of contention was that we were not using words exactly as Marx did. We run into this kind of ‘definition mongering’ a lot. So here are some of our responses:

“Science is not some metaphysics derived from eternal definitions.”

“Just because someone earns a wage or salary does not make them proletarian as a revolutionary agent. Marx identified the concept of proletarian as a revolutionary agent with workers because it looked like society was polarizing into ‘two great camps.’ Well, it didn’t work out that way. Not all workers are the same. Some workers in the First World have more access to capital than Third World capitalists. To look at revolution in 2014 with analytic categories from 1848 is really out of touch. The world is a lot more complicated.”

“I am more interested in truth and revolution, not what Marx said. Lots of people can quote the Bible too, so what? As I said, Marx’s class analysis, which looked good in his day, is not good enough to explain the contemporary world. Who says being white renders them not proletarian? We don’t. As I already said, blacks and chicanos aren’t, generally speaking, proletarian either.”

“I find your approach silly. You are willing to admit that these First World workers are ‘net-exploiters’ (we just say exploiters), yet you want to call them ‘proletarians.’ Well, if they are exploiters, then they appropriate ill-gotten value just as the bourgeoisie do. The fact that they appropriate in a way that superficially looks like they themselves suffer exploitation is besides the point. They are getting more than their share of the pie. At that point, what good does it do to retain an archaic definition of ‘proletarian’ as though there is a common interest shared by exploiter workers in the First World and exploited workers (and peoples)  in the Third World?”

“LLCO is not Marxist first. We are revolutionary scientists first and foremost. We apply the best scientific methods to reach communism, ending all oppression. Marx happened to be the best revolutionary scientist in his day. The most advanced physicists today abandon the literal letter of Newton, but they still stand on his shoulders. To be a Marxist in any other sense is just religion.”

“It’s all about the question of power. ‘Philosophers have heretofore interpreted the world, the point is TO CHANGE IT.’ Marx’s theories were not to be taken as ‘just so’ stories, neat stories about how stuff gets made. They were to provide tools of analysis to make revolution, a guide to action. Marx’s genius was that he saw economic misery in front of him and came up with mathematical models to quantify exploitation in order to better understand how to make revolution. A theory of exploitation is not just some abstract thing, it should help us answer Mao’s first question: ‘Who are our enemies? Who are our friends?’ It should identify the revolutionary agent, what we call ’the proletariat,’ which is not simply wage earners. In fact, simple standard of living charts can better predict where socialist revolutions will occur than whether such and such country has x amount of wage earners.”

“[Sarcasm intended] Marx defined ‘exploitation’ in such a such a way. Nobody else can use the word except as he did. Newton defined ‘space’ in such and such a way, who is this Einstein upstart? How dare he use the word incorrectly, even if advances the science!”

“We are concerned with giving a better revolutionary science to the masses, not quibbling over words with ‘the rest of the left.’”

“If you want to show why your framework predicts and explains alignment of social groups better than mine, fine. That is a discussion worth having. I really could care less about arguing about definitions. Scientific terms evolve all the time. If you don’t know this, you simply are unfamiliar with the history of science. Revolutionary science is the same way.”

“Marx was the best thing in his day. I don’t think it is very good now for understanding social alignments or interests. I don’t know why you are so fixated on this issue. It would seem kind of obvious to most people that knowledge in every field has advanced in the past 200 years. It would be odd if that were not the case with political economy. Although if you are applying a political economy from 150-200 years ago to today, well, you probably aren’t really doing real political economy, but something like those guys who interpret current events into Bible prophecies.”

“I really think this discussion is not worth having. I am being totally honest when I say this kind of definition mongering doesn’t interest me. As far as why Marx shows up at all in our work, well that should be obvious. When advances are made in science, these advances are not born in one fell swoop. The new ideas often cast themselves in language of previous ones. Plus, not everything about Marx is outdated. Marx was a genius. You should be able to answer this stuff yourself. Newton’s concept of space was not curved. Thus he had a concept of gravity that was not as connected to space, and certainly not its curvature. Space is now seen as curved by objects, which allows a theory of space to account for the ‘gravitational effect’ without gravity as a force. Newton was still a genius nonetheless. And current physics stands on his shoulders. As for Marx, I did not say he never made any logical arguments, but it would be silly to think Marx’s whole work was some kind of giant valid syllogism. Even Marx himself would admit this. Dialectics, right? Marx came up with a collection of interrelated theories that were the best thing going at the time for predicting and explaining the socio-economic life. However, not only has revolutionary science advanced, socio-economic life has changed in many ways today. We use what is good and toss the bad.”

“As I already said, Marxism is not about some ‘just so’ story for the sake of it. It is a set of descriptions to better understand socioeconomic relations to better predict and explain the world for making revolution. It is a set of categories to predict and explain social alignments in order to better change the world. Sorry if this offends people, but I really do think that only very stupid people and very dogmatic people at this point believe there is some kind of underlying unity and interests between workers making 500$/year and others making 60,000$/year. It just isn’t the case. You can think anything you want, but nobody really believes this outside a few dogmatic sects that have driven the left into irrelevance and intellectuals who, although literate, have little connection to reality. You can say ‘well, Marx said there is an underlying interest and it is called proletarian!’ And I will respond as I have, with a big ‘who cares?’ Marx thought the world was polarizing into two great camps of exploited and exploiters, he identified these groups as capitalists and workers, bourgeoisie and proletarians. Marx thought workers everywhere were being pushed down to a point where they would become revolutionary. The world has not divided this way, although it looked as much at the time. The world has not evolved in a way that pushed down all workers to the point of rebellion. In fact, work in the First World is one way the system distributes global surpluses. Work has become one way in which exploitation occurs because some First World workers receive super-wages well above what they should receive at the expense of the Third World. Work in some contexts is a way by which some workers appropriate the value of others in the Third World, much the same as capitalists siphon off surpluses. Even later in life, Engels noticed the way things were heading and began to question this way of looking at things, which is why he speaking of ‘bourgeois proletarians.’ Later, others, began speaking of ‘labor aristocracies.’ Today, we count First World workers as part of the global bourgeoisie, generally speaking. If the way you are talking about the world doesn’t line up with reality, you are free to go on talking that way. Plenty of people talk nonsense all the time. But, as I said, so what?”