Questions on Marx

Questions on Marxkarl-marx-237x300

(llco.org)

1. How important is Karl Marx today?

Karl Marx is one of the greatest revolutionary thinkers of all time. He was the first in a chain of modern revolutionary scientists. Marx was one of the first to begin applying science, or science in a more modern, rigorous form, to the problem of ending all oppression, of making revolution, of reaching communism.

Marx was not the first to try to understand social transformation. Even Aristotle, one of the earliest scientists, sought to understand the processes by which one type of government degenerated into another. Others — Kant, Rousseau, even Hegel, many others — added to our understanding. However, Marx brought a scientific depth to the study of social transformation that had previously never existed. He qualitatively changed the way we look at societies forever. Marx showed society could be understood by looking at its productive forces and social relations. Social transformation, especially revolution, could be understood as the result of the contradictions, the social tensions, that arise between and within these areas. Maoists characterized this teaching as “revolution is a train on two tracks: productive forces and class struggle.” Marx also began to use mathematical models not only to understand the capitalist economy, as bourgeois economists had, but he used them to understand how capitalism generated revolution, capitalism’s own demise. Marx also introduced historicism to our understanding of the world. Marx showed how our ideas about ourselves, each other, our political ideologies, traditions, culture, all play a role in the class struggle, in social transformation. Our ideas about the world are, in a large part, a result of the way power is historically organized in society. For example, Marx famously wrote that the secret of the holy family is the earthly family. In other words, the key to understanding God is understanding our own fathers. We, as a society, project our own family structure onto the universe. We invent God. However, the invention comes to have a life of its own. Humanity forgets that it is the origin of divine authority. Humanity’s creation comes to compel humanity. It comes to reinforce those very patriarchal institutions that had a hand in creating it. These are some of his two greatest and lasting contributions. However, the most important contribution of Marx is the scientific core of his project. All of Marx’s individual predictions could turn out to be false, yet Marxism, as science, is still true. Real revolutionary science, real Marxism, Leading Light Communism, is not about any particular theory or prediction Marx made. When everything is stripped away, real Marxism, Leading Light Communism, is about one thing only: applying the most advanced science to the project of total liberation, ending all oppression, reaching Leading Light Communist.

2. Some people say to make revolution we need to go back to Marx. They say we need to forget Lenin, Mao, and others.. What do you think?

There are those who study Marx’s work the same way religious students memorize the Koran. They think that making revolution today is found hidden in his collected works. They believe that the answers to the questions revolutions face today are only found in books from the 1800s. They do not recognize the long history of proletarian revolution since Marx. They don’t recognize that the world today is not England in 1848. They do not recognize how imperialism has changed the world. For them, Marx is more like a religious figure with all the answers. Marxism for them is not science, but a collection of formulas to be memorized. These people are not Marxists. They are metaphysicians. They do not lead revolutions. Their metaphysics does not lead to power. Mao criticized this religious attitude as book worship.” Real Marxists, Leading Lights, understand that all science evolves, including revolutionary science. For real scientists, Marx is a good beginning, but to end up at Marx alone is a mistake. Marx is a stepping stone to Lenin to Mao to Leading Light Communism.

Would we take a contemporary physicist who only studied Newton to be truly scientific? Of course not. Newton’s physics was surpassed by Einstein and quantum physics. Someone who sought to address the contemporary problems in high physics but restricted himself to Newton would be considered a fool, a crackpot. This does not mean Newton’s work is not important. Of course it is. However, to solve the most difficult problems in the physical sciences requires the sophisticated tools of the most advanced contemporary physics. This does not mean we throw out Newton, but we must go beyond him just as we must go beyond Marx. Just as contemporary physics stands on the shoulders of giants like Einstein and Newton, so too does contemporary revolutionary science, Leading Light Communism, stand on the shoulders of Marx, Lenin, Mao. Real science is always advancing, it is never frozen in time. To see all the world only through the lenses of Marx’s work is to abandon science for metaphysics, for religion. We must always push forward into the future. Recovering the real scientific core of Marxism, dropping the dogma, is central to Leading Light Communism.

3. Some people say a true Marxist society has never existed. What is your response?

There is the old joke about the person who supports socialism everywhere, except where it has existed. People can claim anything. Maoists used to speak of those who wave the red flag to oppose the red flag. There are plenty of people who claim to be Marxist, yet they reject the whole history of Marxist revolution. They support Marxism everywhere, except in the real world.

Lenin led a revolution that covered a sixth of the world’s land mass. His revolution involved a dozen nations and languages. The Bolshevik revolution spoke to the world. All over the world people looked to the Soviet Union. It was the first time the proletariat had a sustained hold on political power. Even though the great social experiment of the Soviet Union resulted in mistakes, it also resulted in many victories. Some idealist utopians criticize the Soviet Union because it was not perfect. Of course it was not perfect. It was the first time the proletariat had a real grip on power. The poor people, for the first time in history, were organizing society themselves. Even with no roadmap, look at all they accomplished. In a couple decades, the most backward part of Europe emerged as a modern, global superpower. They created a large scale planned economy for the first time. They empowered workers, poor farmers, women, oppressed nationalities. They created a new proletarian culture. They saved the world from Hitler’s fascist nightmare. Even so, socialism was reversed there. Mao too led a revolution that shook the world. A quarter of humanity stood up. They threw off the two mountains that weighed on the Chinese people: feudalism and imperialism. Then Mao led the masses in the attempt to reach higher levels of socialism. Mao’s revolution touched the lives of a quarter of all women on the planet. Women were led out of feudal bondage into a new world of equality. Feudalism was smashed for all Chinese people. Grassroots and workplace democracy flourished. China shed off its feudal past. It emerged as a world power. Just like in the Soviet Union, mistakes were made, but people mostly prospered. People did better. Public education, health care, literacy. Life expectancy doubled for both the Soviet and Chinese masses. Ordinary people were had real power for the first time. They were reorganizing society to create a better future for their children. People all over the world were inspired even though these great social experiments failed. Spin off revolutions and movements arose across the world. How can someone claim to be a revolutionary scientist yet reject every revolution that has ever happened?

Those who reject the this tradition of revolution have never had any success. Those who reject Lenin and revolutionary science have never made revolutionary anywhere. Think about it. They have not made revolution in a single country on the whole planet. They have not even come close. They claim to be revolutionaries, yet they have never made revolution. They claim to be scientists, yet they ignore the entire history of revolution. The reality is that such people teach the masses how to lose, not how to win.

The masses are being crushed. The masses are sick of failure. Leading Lights do not teach failure. We teach the masses how to win. To win, we need to learn from all those who came before us. Revolutionary science is about success, not failure. Leading Light Communism is about victory.

4. Some say that only workers or revolutionary workers can be communists. Is that true?

Of course not. Think about how silly that is. Marx himself was not a member of the industrial working class. Engels, in fact, was a member of the bourgeoisie. Neither Lenin, Mao, or Lin Biao were from the industrial working class. Che Guevara was not either. Most of the past Leading Lights, the great revolutionary leaders, were not from the industrial working class. Stalin was probably the closest to being an industrial worker. During his days as an industrial worker, he did union organizing for the Bolsheviks. Most Leading Lights come from the upper or middle strata or from mixed class backgrounds. The reason for this is that Leading Lights are conduits who bring science to the masses.. To do this, they must have one foot in the world of science, the world of intellectuals, education and privilege. To be in this world requires a lot of free time to study and pursue intellectual goals. This is a world that requires leisure time that poor peoples do not often have. Poor people have to spend all their time trying to survive. The poor spend much of their time keeping their families alive. In addition, the great leaders must have one foot in the world of the masses. They must have build trust with poor communities. This is so science can move through the leaders from the intellectual world to the world of the poor. And, in this process, the science is transformed into a weapon that the masses can use to understand their own exploitation and what must be done to liberate themselves.

With communist leadership workers can be revolutionary. Without communist leadership workers can sometimes be very reactionary. Many of Hitler’s supporters were industrial workers, for example. Like other classes, workers can be racist, sexist, and hold reactionary ideas. Workers, like other classes, pursue their short and middle-term class interest, which do not always align with revolution. They often seek only higher wages and reformist concessions from the capitalists, which is not always revolutionary. As Leading Lights like Engels and Lenin famously pointed out, the spontaneous struggles of the workers do not lead to revolution. Communist consciousness does not spontaneously arise on its own. Spontaneity only leads to reformism and defeat. Rather, the worker must have his eyes opened by revolutionary science. He must see through the illusions of the bourgeois world. Armed with revolutionary science, the worker slays all the illusions of the enemy. The worker must come to see that wage and reformist struggles are limited. The worker must come to see that he has the power to conquer the world. The worker then understands that his long-term interest is in revolution, not reform. He realizes that his deepest interest is in seizing power, creating a whole new world, creating Leading Light Communism. The worker realizes that spontaneous and reformist struggles are sometimes used to pacify him. The capitalists give the workers crumbs, yet the capitalists keep the cake. The worker comes to see how reformist unions sometimes work hand-in-hand with the capitalists. The worker comes to realize that reformist and spontaneous struggles should be tied to a deeper revolutionary plan. The worker comes to realize that short-term interests, wage and reformist struggles, must be linked to the long-term interest of reaching Leading Light Communism. If short-term struggles are not linked to the long-term struggle for communism, then the workers will never have real power.

It is science that opens the eyes of the workers. This science comes to the worker’s movement from outside. It enters the worker’s movement through Leading Lights, through revolutionary organization. The worker comes to realize that revolutionary leadership, Leading Light Communist leadership and organization, is absolutely necessary. The worker comes to recognize the limitations of his spontaneous and reformist practice. He comes to see that the whole cake can be his if he abandons workerist identity politics. He comes to see that the whole world can be his if he places politics, revolutionary science, Leading Light Communism, in command.

Real communists understand that politics must be in command, not identity. In fact, communism is about overcoming the limitations of the spontaneous worker’s movement and its leadership.

Anyone from any class can be a communist as long as they uphold the most advanced revolutionary science, Leading Light Communism and as long as they prove themselves through practice.

5. What did Marx mean when he wrote of the “fetish character” of the commodity?

Fetish character just means that even though the commodity, including its value, is created by human activity, people tend to view its existence and the laws that govern them as external, objective, independent of human existence. Thus the commodity is similar to God, for example. Humans create God. This is what Marx meant when he said the secret of the holy family is the earthly family. God is a kind of father figure we project onto the universe. Even though God’s origin can be traced to patriarchal social relations, humans tend to see God as something that is real and independent of human existence. God is, in reality, a social construct that comes to have power over human society. Similarly, commodities only have value because of the activity of humans, yet this fact is obscured to most people, just as God’s origin is obscured. Just as people come to impart power to God, they impart a kind of independent power to commodities and the laws that govern them even though both are really just social constructions.

Also, looking at the commodity, workers become alienated from the product of the labor, from the objects they created for the market. They see commodities as independent. The labor of the worker is forgotten as he becomes a slave to his own creation. Workers do not see that they are the origin of value and profit, not the capitalist.  People see the laws of economics associated with commodities as eternal, unchanging, as part of the universe even though it is all a product of human activity. Thus they see capitalism as eternal, unchanging even though capitalism is really just a product of social activity that can be changed. People tend to see the laws of capitalism as eternal even though other systems existed before capitalism and other systems will exist after it. “Fetish character” is a kind of fake, false “objectivity” that we impart to the objects that we, as a society, create. Aristotle said, “man is a social animal.” Marx did great work studying this aspect of our character.

Part of the role of the revolutionary, the vanguard, the Leading Light, is to wake the masses up, to show them that all of society is their creation. This is the role of revolutionary science, Leading Light Communism. It is a sword that destroys all illusions. It shows the masses the truth. It says, “you are the creators! You are the masters of your own destiny! You have the real power if you take it! The future is yours!”

6. Why did Marx say “I am not a Marxist”?

It is in Engels’ work that the famous quote by Marx appears. In his quote, Marx was not repudiating his work. Rather, Marx was criticizing those in France who were calling themselves “Marxist.” Engels called them “so-called Marxists.” The statement is a criticism of revisionism. Marx’s point is that if these revisionists are Marxists, then I am not a Marxist, not a revisionist, not a counter-revolutionary.  During the Cultural Revolution in China, revolutionaries warned of “those who waved the red flag to oppose the red flag.” Anyone can raise a red flag. Anyone can call themselves anything: “communist,” “socialist,” “Marxist,” “Maoist,” “revolutionary,” etc. Revolutionary rhetoric can be spouted by anyone. The enemy uses many disguises. This is why we cannot take anyone at face value. Who is and is not a true revolutionary, a Leading Light, is not measured by something as superficial as rhetoric. Image is not what matters. What matters is content. Grasp of revolutionary science is one measure. Politics in command. And, at least as important, is practice. Sacrifice matters. Loyalty matters. Discipline matters. Only those who are really willing to live and die for our future, for Global People’s War, for total liberation, are Leading Lights.

Today, we are attacked on many sides. State agents, who wear the mask of Marx, of Lenin, of Mao, attack the people’s movement. Fools, fakes who fly red flags, spread the most vicious lies about true revolutionaries. We must remember what the Chinese revolutionaries cautioned: “be careful not to board a pirate ship.” There are many false paths, but only one true path. Those who are truly serious about liberating our world will find their way to us. Those who are the most dedicated will find themselves marching with us. We have faith in the people.

Turning Money into Rebellion edited by Gabriel Kuhn reviewed part 2

Turning Money into Rebellion edited by Gabriel Kuhn reviewed part 29_turning_money_in_the_strangest_places_crop

(llco.org)

Turning Money into Rebellion: The Unlikely Story of Denmark’s Revolutionary Bank Robbers (Kreplebedab, 2014) is a great book every anti-imperialist and revolutionary in the First World should read. The book tells the story and thinking of the so-called Danish “Blekingegade Group,” the Mao-friendly Kommunistisk Arbejdskreds (KAK), founded in 1963, which later split with one part forming the Manifest-Kommunistisk Arbejdsgruppe (M-KA) in 1978. The book’s emphasis is the evolution of the latter group. The book documents the story and thinking of a trend that held that revolution in the First World was not currently possible, so they believed it was their duty to materially aid Third World liberation struggles. They raised the slogan “solidarity is something you can hold in your hands.”

Practice

Just as this trend’s political economy was far more advanced than most of their contemporaries, so too was their practice. Although the KAK’s and M-KA’s practices would eventually differ after their split in 1978, they held a similar view on political economy.  An earlier KAK document expresses a very important line of thought that is echoed in our own movement. A 1975 document from the KAK states:

“[It] cannot, in KAK’s view, be a task for revolutionaries today to inspire or to take the lead in the economic or trade union struggle of the [First World] working class. Such a struggle in the present situation has not, and cannot have the remotest connection with a struggle for socialism.

On this front it must be considered a far more correct task to inform the working-class (today one large labour aristocracy) that a new economic development which puts an end to the parasitism and plunder of the Western Hemisphere, ought be welcomed and, if possible, helped along. At the same time, one must understand quite clearly that it is only this very new economic development — whatever form it might take — that can convince the working-class of this fact. A parasitic, embourgeoisified labour aristocracy cannot be transformed into a revolutionary proletariat through speeches and articles. It still has to undergo a ‘hard castigation through crisis’, to use Engels’ expression, before it can contribute anything of value.” (192)

First World revolutionaries must avoid falling into the trap of economism because such struggles are won only at the expense of the Third World masses. Such struggles only deepen the stake of First World workers in the capitalist-imperialist system. They only push First World workers further toward social-democratic reformism. Such struggles only increase the bribe First World workers receive at the expense of the Third World masses. The economic struggle of First World workers is really just a form of social imperialism, imperialism with a red mask. In place of traditional activism, the KAK, and later the M-KA, created new kinds of revolutionary practice that are more compatible with the realities of global class. The KAK’s practices were both legal and illegal. The KAK organized and participated in traditional solidarity activism, which is mostly ineffectual and symbolic. For example, the KAK organized one of the earliest protests in Europe against US aggression in Vietnam. The KAK also organized study groups, published materials, and agitated against imperialism. However, this wasn’t enough: “Expressing solidarity is nice. But if it never translates into anything concrete, its powers are limited.” (131)

The KAK took their solidarity to the next level. They set up various charities to generate money and items such as clothing that could be useful for Third World peoples and movements. The KAK also participated in militant protests and small actions in the First World,  which, according to interviewees, was more about training for further clandestine activism than anything else. Around 1972 to 1975, security was tightened up as the KAK began more serious clandestine, illegal work. The KAK, later, the M-KA, moved up to bank robberies as their main form of fundraising. The money raised both legally and illegally went to numerous liberation struggles in the Third World: the MPLA in Angola, the FRELIMO in Mozambique, PFLOAG in Oman, ZANU in Zimbabwe, perhaps others. However, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) received the majority of their support. Anyone can claim to offer moral support. Anyone can talk the talk. What made the KAK and the M-KA unique amongst First World groups is that they walked the walk. They supported Third World liberation struggles materially. Sometimes the Third World movements were unaware of the illegal origins of the financial support:

“Jan: One could say that we had three different ways of supporting movements: some we supported legally through Toj til Afrika; some we supported illegally; some we supported both legally and — to a smaller degree — illegally, but without telling them. The PFLP knew what we were doing, but none of the other movements did. ZANU, for example, got resources that we acquired illegally, but they were unaware of it. Many liberation movements were infiltrated by intelligence services, we did not want to take any risks.” (108)

After the KAK and the M-KA split in 1978, the KAK seemed to backtrack. The KAK took up the line that they would prepare the way for a future revolution when conditions changed in Denmark. From the book, one gets the sense they shifted their efforts back toward traditional activism. This is not unlike the Maoists and anti-imperialists in North America who avoid economist activism while they cheerlead Third World struggles. Such Maoists claim to be “hastening [the development of] and awaiting” a future time when conditions change in favor of First World revolution. Whatever their Third Worldist rhetoric, the KAK’s later practice does not seem fundamentally different from any number of European and North American First Worldist groups. The M-KA, by contrast, emphasized the clandestine work, using mostly illegal means to provide logistical support for Third World forces, especially the PFLP. Although they considered other activities to raise money, including kidnapping and fraud, they focused on bank robbery. At one point, the M-KA opened a legal cafe, which did not make money. Their non-profit, legal clothing programs faltered also. Their ability to recycle old clothing to the Third World diminished as hipsters began buying vintage clothing. People chose to sell their old clothing, not donate it anymore. Their clothing collections ended in 1986. (138) Leading Light has advocated numerous ways to make money in the First World: “cults, businesses, mafias, non-profits, whatever works.” Some of these were not explored by the M-KA. Illegal activity is a good way to go, but one wonders if the M-KA explored legal options thoroughly enough.

Science, not adventurism

Despite sensationalist accounts about a suppose “terror network” in the bourgeois press, neither the KAK nor the M-KA had significant relationships with other First World urban-guerrilla movements. One reason they distanced themselves from groups like the RAF or the Red Brigades had to do with security. Logistical support for Third World liberation was simply too important to risk exposure by associating with infantile, emotionalist focoism or rioting. They went so far as to request the PFLP make sure other European militants had little knowledge or interaction with their work. They made sure to keep their practice invisible by avoiding the European urban-guerrilla groups.

Ideology also kept them apart from such movements. Such urban guerrilla groups still saw the First World workers as a part of revolution. Such groups did not have a realistic picture of European society:

“We never shared the RAF’s analysis that West Germany was a fascist state with a democratic facade. Furthermore, the RAF wanted to support the struggle in the Third World by building an anti-imperialist front in Western Europe. We considered this utterly impossible.” (44)

Similar groups to the RAF existed, albeit on a smaller scale, in the USA. The Weather Underground Organization (WUO) never was really Third Worldist. Sometimes they looked with skepticism on white workers, but they still looked for a First World “stand-in proletariat” in the youth and non-whites. Other times, the WUO took a more classical First Worldist workerist line, especially around the time of their Hard Times conference. Whatever the rhetoric of most First World “anti-imperialist” groups, their practice remains very much First World oriented, mostly resulting in completely inept politics. An irony is that despite the greater rhetorical emphasis on anti-imperialism, some of today’s so-called “anti-imperialist” groups often objectively aid Third World struggles less than more overtly First Worldist counterparts. The M-KA compares their criticism of focoism in Europe to similar criticisms of the WUO:

“Trokil: …In many ways, the LSM’s critique of the WU resembles our critique of the RAF. We also saw them as comrades and supported their actions against imperialism and its institutions. But we felt they had a wrong analysis of the political and economic conditions and therefore a wrong revolutionary program.” (126)

It is important to understand that the M-KA did not choose their path out of some emotional need. They did not choose their illegal course because it was romantic. They chose the illegal path because it made sense:

“Jan: Well, the facts are very clear. The maximum amount of money we were able to legally raise in a year was about half a million crowns — and this required the very dedicated and time-consuming work of dozens of people. This didn’t even compare to what we could make illegally. I really can’t see how we could have secured the funds we did with legal means.” (132)

In this respect, their activities can be distinguished from the numerous urban guerrilla groups that engaged in armed struggle with no hope of victory in the First World. The path of the early KAK and later M-KA was not chosen out of guilt or emotional need, but was the product of scientific calculus. Thus they should not be criticized as adventurous or focoist.

Science, not identity politics

The M-KA were selective about who received their support. They directed their support to those groups with a similar political vision. What drew them to the PFLP, for example, was the PFLP’s  vision of a socialist society, not their nationalism. Yet they maintained their independence, never becoming a PFLP cell. They were not under PFLP discipline and did not always share their emphasis:

“We did not primarily support the PFLP because it wanted to establish a Palestinian nation state, but because the PFLP envisioned a socialist society in the Arab world and because it had an explicitly internationalist outlook.” (47)

Having a mass base was also important to the M-KA, which is why they did not look favorably on Wadi Haddad’s sensational actions, even when he remained part of the PFLP. They were critical of his hijackings, which they saw as actions detached from the masses in Palestine. When offered, they chose not to participate in such adventurism. In addition, they directed their support to where it would matter most:

“Torkil: Another aspect that was important was the degree of support that a particular movement already had. One of the organizations that we supported, the PFLOAG/PFLO in Oman, was small and did not get much outside support, so for them a million Danish crowns really made a difference. This was not necessarily the case for organizations like the ANC in South Africa.” (108)

Thus they directed their material support to smaller movements whose armed struggle was just beginning. They correctly recognized that you get more “bang for your buck” by supporting movements in their nascent years. Established movements tend to have already secured significant, stable revenue streams. More established organizations have solved these logistical issues to the point that they do not need help.

Science, not romanticism

Some have falsely accused these movements of romanticizing Third World liberation struggles. The M-KA interviewees respond:

“Jan: When you are twenty years old, it is easy to see yourself as a heroic freedom fighter in the Third World. But those glorious images quickly fade once you really see the reality of the liberation struggle. Besides, the more we got to know liberation movements, the more we also got to understand that there was no lack of manpower. In the 1970s, millions of people were ready to die for socialism. There were many Europeans ready to join the PFLP. That’s why providing money seemed more useful to us. And I’m sure the liberation movements, too. They wanted ten million crowns more than a few extra fighters. The only exceptions were people with special skills…” (127)

Furthermore:

“Torkil: …Once you were in close contact with liberation movements, there was little space for romanticization. The cynicism of realpolitik was very tangible, and you were constantly forced to compromise. We certainly did not live under the illusion that we were working with saints.” (130)

There is a big difference between how people’s war is conceived in the abstract, especially amongst First World “far-left” activists, and the reality of people’s war. There is a big difference between talking about revolution and actually making it. There is a whole milieu of activists in the First World who romanticize people’s war, especially its Maoist variety. However, when confronted by the real deal, they do everything they can to sabotage it because they do not recognize it for what it is. This is part of a broader problem in the First World. There is a relatively high degree of ideological literacy of sorts amongst activists, yet First World activists are completely removed from a real social base. So, you have these people with highly developed dogmas running around with no conception or knowledge of what real revolution is or entails. They end up intervening in struggles they do not understand, usually in a wrecking capacity. Cowardly lions pimp off the very movements they unknowingly attack, but they are too stupid to even realize it. The M-KA’s reality based politics puts most of today’s “anti-imperialists” to shame.

Science, not First Worldist national liberation

Leading Light sometimes refers to Pantherism as one of the last bastions of First Worldism. What we mean by this is that once someone realizes that working people in the First World are not a proletariat, not a revolutionary agent, they often begin grasping at straws in desperation. They begin looking for a “stand-in proletariat.” Sometimes they look to the youth of the First World. Sometimes they look to the lumpen. Sometimes they look to migrants. Sometimes they look to non-white populations and the nationalist movements that seek to lead them. In the USA, the latter is associated with Pantherism.

“Jan: Of course we were aware that the conditions in North America were different from those in Denmark and the rest of Europe. Racism and the oppression and exploitation of the indigenous population played a different role. That’s why we saw revolutionary potential in the struggle of the Black Panthers. We hadn’t really researched the status and support they had in the black community, but they were certainly more interesting to us than white movements competing in revolutionary phraseology.” (124-125)

The reality is that, like the white population, the black population in the United States was not a social base for revolution at the time. It is easier to see how one could misjudge the situation in the 1970s. Whatever social base once existed amongst these populations, today, it should be obvious that there is no significant proletariat in the United States, white, black, or otherwise. Although the state played a role in smashing national liberation movements, changing social conditions were even a bigger factor in their demise. Just as white workers entered the ranks of the global bourgeoisie, so too have black and other populations for the most part. The M-KA also understood that in those communities where national consciousness was more a reality, indigenous nations, for example, those populations were simply too small to achieve revolution under present circumstances. At some level, the M-KA seemed to have realized that focusing on national liberation within the borders of the USA was misguided:

“Jan: …At the same time, we didn’t have the impression that the revolutionary potential of the North American movements were on par with the struggle in Angola or Mozambique. That was also true for the indigenous resistance. It seemed unlikely to us that the American Indian Movement would be able to start a revolution. It had very little support from the American working class. Of course we were in solidarity with their struggle, but mainly we saw it as a tragic one. It seemed similar to the situation in Greenland, which we also analyzed. We published articles about Greenland in Ungkommunisten, but we didn’t see much revolutionary potential there either. In the U.S., the brutal state repression of both the American Indian Movement and the Panthers seemed to confirm our analysis. Both movements were crushed by the authorities, also because they simply didn’t have the support that would have been needed to withstand the attacks.” (124-125)

For the most part, national liberation is a pipe dream in the United States. The overall tendency is toward integration of non-white populations. The United States has emerged into a multi-racial empire that is playing a key role in an emerging multi-racial, transnational First World, a kind of global empire. Some nationalists are fond of misquoting Mao as saying “national liberation is applied internationalism.” Mao did not advocated independent, single national struggles as the Patherist groups do. Mao advocated a pan-Chinese struggle that involved many nations against imperialism. And Mao was always an enemy of traditionalist national culture, unlike cultural nationalist groups. Patriotism of oppressed countries may have been applied internationalism during the decolonial struggle, but things have changed. The old formulation of oppressor versus oppressed nation no longer applies as it once did. Today, just as imperialism is globalizing, so too must resistance to it. Turning inward to nation or community will only undermine the struggle against imperialism. Leading Light Communism, its Global People’s War to liberate humanity and the Earth, is applied internationalism.

There is plenty of fake solidarity in the First World. Plenty of cowardly lions proclaim themselves ready to die for the revolution, but few will donate anything or put in any real work. These people are no more communist or anti-imperialist than a Civil War reenactor is General Lee. It is important to dispel confusion caused by these clowns amongst genuine people’s forces in the Third World. by contrast, the “Blekingegade Group” were true lions. Let’s hope that through story of the “Blekingegade Group” some First World activists will begin to awake. Let us hope that people in the First World will begin to understand that they too can play a progressive role instead of just spinning their wheels.  Let’s hope people stop yapping and start acting. The Leading Light shines the way forward. The future awaits.

Kuhn, Gabriel. Turning Money Into Rebellion (Kersplebedeb, 2014)

Reprint: Interview with Madhusree Mukerjee

Reprint: Interview with Madhusree Mukerjee, author of Churchill’s Secret Warmm

(llco.org)

Harper’s recently published an interview with Madhusree Mukerjee, author of Churchill’s Secret War. The book’s topic is the Bengal famine of 1943. Bourgeois historians condemn Stalin for the Soviet famine of 1932 to 1933. They condemn Mao for the problems of the Great Leap. What differentiates the Bengal famine from other famines is that it was manmade and deliberate. Winston Churchill had a personal hand in killing 1.5 to 3 million people. However, for Churchill, who was a notorious racist, colonial peoples did not count as fully human. Like First Worldists today, Churchill valued Western European, especially English, people above the peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Yet this racist mass murder is trumpeted as a hero in the West.

The original interview can be found here: http://harpers.org/archive/2010/11/hbc-90007797

Churchill’s Dark Side: Six Questions for Madhusree Mukerjee
By Scott Horton

Madhusree Mukerjee, a former editor at Scientific American and the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, has published a bombshell book about Churchill’s attitudes toward India and the steps that he took during World War II that contributed to a horrific famine in Bengal in 1943. I put six questions to her about her book and some of the pushback it has drawn from Churchill’s defenders:

1. You write that Hitler never fully embraced the Indian nationalist cause because he expected Britain to reach some accommodation with Germany that allowed it to retain most of its empire, and specifically India. What is it about Churchill and Britain that Hitler misunderstood in this regard?

Hitler believed that the so-called Nordic race, which in his view included Germans and Britons, was destined to rule the world. He sought to emulate, not supplant, the British Empire: the German empire would comprise the Slavic countries to the east. As he saw it, the United Kingdom would retain its colonies but assume the role of Germany’s junior partner in world domination.

Hitler underestimated the depth of Churchill’s reverence for England’s imperial traditions. To Churchill, the British would be second to none. Moreover, Churchill’s reading of history told him that Britain had always maintained the balance of power in Europe: whenever France or Germany had marched, England had marched—against. This time would be no different. Churchill also believed that it was his destiny to lead his country in war against a vile enemy.

Hitler may have evoked particular repugnance because, in addition to persecuting Jews, he was seeking to enslave Europeans. Churchill had condoned the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, explaining that the aggressor was “an ancient State, with the highest sense of national honour and patriotism and with a teeming population and a remarkable energy.” And he had advised against intervention when Italy attacked Abyssinia, on the grounds that the victim was not “a fit, worthy, and equal member” of the League of Nations. Hitler trusted that British leaders would likewise comprehend his desire to induct Slavs, whom he saw simply as slaves, into the Third Reich.

2. Yet you do write that Churchill harbored a deep racism or at least ethnocentrism when it came to the Indians and that he toyed with the idea of building a British alliance with Untouchables, Sikhs, and Muslims to hold India and keep Hindu nationalists at bay. Did this reflect a reasonable appreciation of the forces then at work in India?

Churchill’s divide-and-rule policies found fertile ground among India’s Muslims. For decades, British conservatives had sought to deepen India’s inherent fissures in order to weaken the nascent independence movement. For instance, in 1905 Viceroy Curzon planned to partition Bengal province along religious lines, so as to enhance rivalries between Muslim landowners in its east and Hindu nationalists in its west. He also encouraged the formation of the Muslim League as a counterweight to the dominant nationalist party, the Indian National Congress.

A prolonged agitation led to Bengal being partitioned instead along linguistic lines. But then the colonial government introduced separate electorates for Muslims—that is, every Muslim in British India was required to vote for a Muslim. The measure favored separatists, who could get elected by appealing to narrow sectarian sentiments. The British subsequently introduced separate electorates for other groups as well, but the effort was partially repulsed.

So although Churchill was interested in exploiting diverse social fault lines, he concentrated on widening the Hindu-Muslim rift—which he regarded as “the bulwark of British rule in India.” When Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the leader of the Muslim League, called for a separate nation of Pakistan, Churchill hailed “the awakening of a new spirit of self-reliance and self-assertiveness” among India’s minorities. During the war, the British government encouraged the demand for Pakistan and propagandized along Islamist lines against Hindus.

3. At several points you suggest that Churchill was inspired by the remembrance of the 1857 uprising to take steps that disregarded the value of civilian lives in India. But, as you note, in 1920, following the Amritsar massacre, Churchill denounced precisely that logic when it was used by Brigadier Reginald Dyer and his supporters to justify the tragedy that had occurred. Churchill decried what happened as “frightfulness” and called for accountability for Dyer. Doesn’t this suggest a different attitude towards the Indians?

In 1920 Churchill was not hostile to Indians. The independence movement had yet to develop to its full strength; and the Indian Army, which was largely loyal to the British, had just sacrificed 60,000 lives in World War I. The British Empire was threatened mainly by actions such as Dyer’s. By killing more than a thousand Sikh civilians—at least by the Indian account—Dyer had undermined the loyalty of Sikh soldiers in the Indian Army. The army had accordingly dismissed Dyer; and, as secretary of state for war, Churchill was called upon to defend the army’s action. Hence his speech denouncing “frightfulness,” or terror tactics.

Incidentally, in these years Churchill was calling for gas attacks on rebellious Iraqis, in order to “spread a lively terror.”

By the 1940s, the Indian situation had changed dramatically. The freedom movement, led by Gandhi, posed a potent challenge to the Empire and caused Churchill’s animosity toward Indians to escalate. And the Indian Army had acquired many native officers, whose loyalty could not be taken for granted. So Churchill ensured that if rebellion broke out in India, the colony’s best-equipped and -trained battalions would be fighting the  Axis—on another continent.

India was bereft of defenses, so that when Japanese forces reached the colony’s borders, the War Cabinet ordered scorched-earth measures to deter their advance. The resulting destruction of rice and boats contributed to famine.

4. The central thesis in your book is that Churchill and the War Cabinet took a series of decisions which led inexorably to the starvation of  between 1.5 and 3 million persons in 1943. You do not, however, charge that it was their conscious intention to starve these people to death—unlike what the Nazis did in east central Europe about this same time, when starvation was a conscious policy objective. But do you believe that they knew or should have known that this catastrophe would follow from their decisions?

The War Cabinet received repeated warnings that famine could result from its exhaustive use of Indian resources for the war effort—and ignored them.

The Japanese occupation of Burma in March 1942 cut off rice imports, of between one and two million tons per year, to India. Instead of protecting the Indian public from the resultant food shortage, the War Cabinet insisted that India absorb this loss and, further, export rice to countries that could no longer get it from South East Asia. As a result, after war arrived at India’s borders, the colony exported 260,000 tons of rice in the fiscal year 1942-43.

Meanwhile India’s war expenditures increased ten fold, and the government printed paper money to pay for them. In August 1942 a representative of India’s viceroy told the War Cabinet that runaway inflation could lead to “famines and riots.”

In December 1942, Viceroy Linlithgow warned that India’s grain supply was seriously short and he urgently needed 600,000 tons of wheat to feed soldiers and the most essential industrial workers. The War Cabinet stated that ships were not available. In January 1943, Churchill moved most of the merchant ships operating in the Indian Ocean over to the Atlantic, in order to build up the United Kingdom’s stockpile of food and raw materials. The Ministry of War Transport cautioned him that the shift would result in “violent changes and perhaps cataclysms” in trade around the Indian Ocean. (In addition to India, the colonies of Kenya, Tanganyika, and British Somaliland all suffered famine in 1943.) Although refusing to meet India’s need for wheat, Churchill insisted that India continue to export rice.

With famine raging, in July 1943 Viceroy Linlithgow halted rice exports and again asked the War Cabinet for wheat imports, this time of 500,000 tons. That was the minimum required to feed the army and otherwise maintain the war effort. The news of impending shipments would indirectly ease the famine, he noted: any hoarders would anticipate a fall in prices and release grain, causing prices to fall in reality. But at a meeting on August 4, the War Cabinet failed to schedule even a single shipment of wheat for India. Instead, it ordered the buildup of a stockpile of wheat for feeding European civilians after they had been liberated. So 170,000 tons of Australian wheat bypassed starving India—destined not for consumption but for storage.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom’s stockpile of food and raw materials, intended for shoring up the postwar British economy, reached 18.5 million tons, the highest ever. Sugar and oilseeds overflowed warehouses and had to be stored outdoors, under tarpaulins.

Of course Churchill knew that his priorities would result in mass death. In one of his tirades against Indians, he said they were “breeding like rabbits” anyway. On behalf of Indians, the War Cabinet ignored an offer of 100,000 tons of Burmese rice from freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose (who was allied with the Japanese), discouraged a gift of wheat from Canada, and turned down rice and wheat volunteered by the United States.

The War Cabinet eventually ordered for India 80,000 tons of wheat and 130,000 tons of barley. (Barley was useless for famine relief because it had no impact on prices.) The first of these meager shipments reached India in November. All the while, the Indian Army consumed local rice and wheat that might otherwise have fed the starving. The famine came to an end in December 1943, when Bengal harvested its own rice crop—at which point Churchill and his friend Cherwell renewed their demand for rice exports.

5. Another figure who comes in for a shellacking in your book is Frederick Alexander Lindemann, later Lord Cherwell, an Anglo-German known as “the Prof,” who exercised a powerful influence over Churchill. You describe Cherwell as an impressive scientist but also someone who harbored some rather sinister Malthusian ideas with a latent racist component. What were these ideas and how did they contribute to the famine?

Judging by a lecture that Cherwell gave in the 1930s, he regarded colonial subjects as “helots,” or slaves, whose only reason for existence was the service of racial superiors. In drafts of this talk, he outlined how science could help entrench the hegemony of the higher races. By means of hormones, drugs, mind control, and surgery, one could remove from slaves the ability to suffer or to feel ambition—yielding humans with “the mental make-up of the worker bee.” Such a lobotomized race would have no thought of rebellion or votes, so that one would end up with a perfectly peaceable and permanent society, “led by supermen and served by helots.”

In November 1943, Cherwell urged Churchill to hold firm against demands for famine relief. Else, he warned, “so long as the war lasts [India’s] high birthrate may impose a heavy strain on this country which does not view with Asiatic detachment the pressure of a growing population on limited supplies of food.” That is, he blamed the famine on the irresponsible fecundity of natives—and ignored the devastation of the Indian economy by the war effort. He also elided the fact that the War Cabinet was preventing India from using its ample sterling balance or even its own ships to import sufficient wheat.

By Cherwell’s Malthusian argument, England should have been the first to starve. It was being kept alive by massive imports. In 1943 the United Kingdom imported 4 million tons of wheat, 1.6 million tons of meat, 1.4 million tons of sugar, 409,000 heads of live cattle, 325,000 tons of fish, 131,000 tons of rice, 206,000 tons of tea, 172,000 tons of cocoa, and 1.1 million gallons of wine for its 47.7 million people—a population an eighth that of India.

To Cherwell and also to Churchill, colonial subjects were worth saving only if they made a direct contribution to the war effort. According to Field Marshal Wavell, Churchill wanted to feed only those Indians who were “actually fighting or making munitions or working some particular railways.” The rest were dispensable.

6. Arthur Herman argues that you rely too heavily on Leo Amery’s diaries, recording Churchill’s intemperate outbursts, and pass by the fact that Churchill took decisive steps to ameliorate the famine. “Without Churchill,” he says, “the famine would have been worse.” How do you respond to this?

My indictment is based on what Churchill did, not on what he said. The Ministry of War Transport papers, the Cherwell Papers, and the official histories of British wartime food supply, shipping, and economy are my key sources. They show, for instance, that the War Cabinet scheduled eighteen ships to load with Australian wheat in September and October, 1943. Not one of these ships was destined for famine-stricken India.

Had anyone else been prime minister, he would have striven to relieve India’s plight instead of consigning wheat to stockpiles.

Churchill’s diatribes, as recorded in Amery’s and others’ diaries, are, however, useful in understanding why he acted as he did. Famine had failed to temper his hostility toward Indians. Churchill would tell his secretary that Hindus were a foul race protected by their rapid breeding from “the doom that is their due.” He wished Arthur Harris, the head of British bomber command, could “send some of his surplus bombers to destroy them.”

Interview: Origins

OriginsQuestions

(llco.org)

Recently, we received questions about the origin of Leading Light Communist Organization (LLCO). Usually, we have been secretive about our origins, but we decided to open up a bit on these questions. So, I gave an interview. What is reveled here is a very abbreviated version of our history in North America. This history is not complete out of respect for certain individuals. We would love to write a more inclusive history. This is the history of our North American movement as I remember it:

1. Some people connect Leading Light in North America to the Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM). MIM was a shadowy and secretive organization that is still a mystery to many. When did you first encounter the MIM?

It was probably the early 1990s, long before my experiences in Latin America or my It’s Right To Rebel (IRTR) experience. Although I do not consider myself a Maoist now, in the early 1990s I was consolidating my identity as a Maoist. I first picked up MIM’s paper, MIM Notes, at a local info shop. I began reading both Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) and MIM literature. What I read interested me. So I wrote to MIM. They began sending me free bundles of MIM Notes. I would place them around town. Eventually, MIM requested I prove that I was actually distributing the papers. I wasn’t sure what they meant, perhaps I was suppose to take pictures of where I was placing the papers. I did not own a camera. I protested. They were not very friendly. That was that. The paper bundles stopped coming. This was probably my first rocky experience with MIM, something that would be repeated over the years. I continued to read all kinds of revolutionary literature over the years, including MIM’s. I never identified as a MIM cadre or as upholding MIM Thought.

2. You have a lot of experience with MIM, more than most. You described your experience as “rocky.” What are some of your criticisms of MIM?

Most people who have been around know my view on MIM. I have numerous criticisms, which I don’t have time to get into all of them. These criticisms evolved over a long period of time. Here are a few.

First Worldism. MIM’s tailing of nationalism, identity politics, their residual First Worldism and First Worldist practice, are the biggest problems.

MIM’s security cult. MIM used to mock the Revolutionary Communist Party’s (RCP USA) personality cult around Bob Avakian, but MIM had its own “security cult.” Security was used by MIM to stifle discussion the same way that RCP did with its personality cult. MIM created a sense that it was always under attack. If a group is under attack, then it is not the time to nitpick or question the leadership. Well, MIM was always under attack. Dealing with MIM always felt like walking on eggshells. This internal culture did not seem very positive to me.

MIM’s dogma. MIM’s history work is a good example. MIM even praises RCP’s hackish book Mao Makes Five. MIM and RCP shared the same method of the Stalinists regarding history. The method is not to look at history objectively and then create a narrative. Rather, their method is to create a historical narrative to defend nearly everything Stalin and Mao ever did by cherry-picking data. It was actually my work investigating the Lin Biao affair (we were the first to rehabilitate him, in the IRTR period) that led to my disgust at MIM’s shoddy work. I also saw that MIM’s defense of dialectics was nothing but dogma. Their political economy was based dogmatically and almost solely on  the labor theory of value and the distinction between productive and unproductive labor. When MIM did really get creative, like with their gender work, aspects of their creative developments were very wrong in various obvious and off-putting ways.

MIM’s ground game and their rejection of party building. MIM hated RCP so much that they went on and on about how party building was “cult building” when there was no real social base for a strong party. This had all kinds of weird implications. Like MIM seemed to put little effort into recruiting. MIM used to say the principal task was agitation, not party building. I later criticized the traditional MIM line during the early Leading Light days. I would write that “you can agitate more with 100 people than 10 people.”  I would later claim that even if one thought the principal task was agitation, organization building will lead to the ability to produce more agitation. Plus, people drop out if you are not constantly recruiting. MIM’s anti-party building and anti-recruiting orientation seemed to inevitably lead to it being just Henry Park (MIM3, MC3) by himself and a couple mostly independent projects like the Prison Ministry. Plus, there is another issue. MIM was so eager to strike a blow against RCP, and the cult critique was an easy target, that they failed to see what RCP was doing right. RCP is very good at creating organization in a way MIM never was. If there isn’t a social base in the First World, why not build a cult, a gang? If there is no social base, then you need a glue to hold together anything beyond a dozen intellectuals or so. You need to mitigate the reactionary social forces through heavy discipline and loyalty. I pushed the line: “why not build a cult? a business? a gang? a mafia? anything effective to aid the Global People’s War?” The MIM and post-MIM folk were still too stuck in intellectualism and First Worldist conceptions of activism to support the implications of such a bold idea. From my perspective, it seemed like they were more into polemical blogging, a little agitation, and very small forays into traditional First Worldist activism. I wanted to develop something more real. This is why I don’t really care when the MIM or post-MIM people attack Leading Light as “cultism” or “gangsterism.” The implications of what I was saying was too much for many to handle even if they agreed me. It takes a certain kind of daring to follow through on what I was implying. I am not sure, but I think some agreed with me but could not hack it.

Also, there seemed to be a huge lack of “common sense” with MIM. They weren’t good at relating to people, lacked charisma. And they did not understand that presentation matters, image matters. They did not understand the importance of leadership in a concrete way, one of the fundamental lessons of Marxist thought,

There is so much to say here. It would take me awhile to develop something like a paper on this stuff. I am also mixing together MIM itself with the post-MIM  folk a bit on some of this. In any case, these are the main things that come to mind at the moment. I don’t really care to publish some kind of big formal critique of MIM. Why? I don’t care. Not really trying to recruit out of their circles. I don’t think they attract the kind of people we need as recruits, soldiers. Someone mocked me as “general PF” elsewhere. Exactly. There is a lot of truth there. Plus, I am not out to wreck whatever the MIM Thought school has going on at this point. I don’t see a polemical back and forth as useful because we are not looking to recruit them. Plus, those who need to know already know the differences. Honestly, those remnants of MIM need to abandon their dogma and individualism. They need to drop their ego to dedicate themselves to real revolution. They need to follow the Leading Light, pure and simple.

3. You mentioned another group called “It’s Right to Rebel” (IRTR)? Again, this is a history that few people know. It is important to hear the truth about these movements since they did play a role in the past. 

IRTR was a think thank, mostly in North America, that was loosely tied to MIM, although there was no organizational link or centralism. I was its founder and chairman, Serve The People its vice-chairman and co-founder. Myself and Serve The People met in a discussion. I proposed we found a new Maoist think tank to hash out ideological issues. I can’t speak for the other original leaders, but there was myself, MIM folk, and someone who worked with the Indian Maoists in the original group. Interestingly, the person from India is the one who made the monetary contribution resulting in many of the Beijing Review PDFs floating around the internet. Kind of funny, resources moving from the Third World to the First World in that case. In any case, over time, the leadership became mostly myself, who came from a different trend, but had always read both RIM and MIM stuff, and people who were more exclusively partisans of MIM. The Indian comrade was split off by a police plot, or what we thought was one at the time. Over time, IRTR would come into various strange conflicts with the MIM’s chair because of various things, sometimes they were based on political line, or security, or just reflected MIM’s “degeneration,” increased paranoia. I was at one point accused of being part of some kind of assassination plot. The level of paranoia just got out of hand. I began pushing for distance from MIM. Some agreed, some didn’t. Eventually IRTR split, but most of the people formed a secret committee, which was really just the IRTR leadership minus the two biggest MIM partisans. A bunch of new projects were set up and coordinated by this committee. These new projects includes what was at that time the web journal Monkey Smashes Heaven, Proletarian Productions/Shubel Morgan videos, bringing together some offline efforts, etc. I believe this was the first time the term “Maoist-Third Worldist” was used to refer to the new line we were creating. In terms of articles, it was 90% my work. However, the old IRTR posts were a collective project, myself and Serve the People were the two biggest contributors. I could mention many other comrades who participated a lot in the forums and leadership, but I will let them come forward on their own if they want to. Also, Shubel Morgan did outstanding video work. At this point there was a leadership committee that led several projects. Nick Brown was an independent personality who was a one-man show called Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Information Network (RAIIN). At that point, RAIIN met us offline in Denver, which is my home town. Certain conditions had to be hashed out before we would work with Nick, who was at that point working with someone we believed to be a police agent who was wrecking efforts to support the Indian Maoists. After Nick agreed to sever his relation with this suspicious individual, Nick was brought into our circles as a leader of the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement – Denver. The secret committee was still the leadership of the movement as a whole. Then people from my Denver circle and people elsewhere officially formed the first group calling itself “Leading Light Communist Organization” (LLCO). Some in the group wanted to call it “Maoist-Third Worldist Organization,” which I very much opposed.  I had also opposed the original term, “Maoism-Third Worldism,” but went along with the majority of the leadership on it since we did not have an alternative at the time. The term “Leading Light Communism” would later be coined by myself, but actually went back to a phrase used by Serve The People who had referred to the great past communist leaders as “Leading Lights.” Serve The People was probably the first in our circles to use the term “Leading Lights,” but the term actually goes back at least to old Soviet literature that referred to Lenin in such terms.  I was named chairman of the first LLCO. Think of this as LLCO version 1.0. RAIM was to be its front group, but Nick wasn’t operating under discipline. We were really nice about it though. Gave him a month or so to decide to leave or make a self-criticism and stay, we said we would allow him to retain the name and webpage. It was the most gentle, friendly split in history, considering what we received in return. LLCO 1.0 would retain other RAIM chapters at that point, but eventually RAIM would be phased out and replaced by other fronts. Almost all the original MIM folk and newer leaders were kicked out or left LLCO 1 over the next year or so. Eventually, LLCO bent more and more to my ideas and “the Great Strategic Plan.” Some people left. Some stayed. Many more joined up. This is really the period of LLCO 2.0, which is really more of a second version of what I had going on in the late-1990s as part of a fully clandestine organization in the southwestern United States and north Mexico that was smashed by the state. The way I see it, which is not the only way, is that Leading Light Communism is more the culmination of my mid-1990s to 2000s work than a growth out of MIM Thought. Although it is undeniable that the dialogue with MIM Thought in the IRTR period very much sharpened and refined Leading Light Communism. Internally, the shift from LLCO 1.0 to LLCO 2.0 was referred to as “the New Turn,” which meant a reevaluation and development of the political line, reevaluation of the tone and style, and reevaluation of tactics and strategy. I could go on and on. For example, there was one split from a Denver IRTR spinoff called RedSol that went focoist and is doing 13 years in prison. The MIM people weren’t even aware of the RedSol incident until much later, but that was a split from the remnants of a politicized “mafia” or “gang,” a tendency within IRTR.

The original IRTR had 2 or 3 main tendencies in the very early days depending on how you look at it. There were the remnants of the leadership of a politicized “gang” that was fully clandestine as a political organization, but not on the streets of Albuquerque, El Paso and Juarez, Santa Fe, and to a lesser and briefer period, Denver. It was not a literal “street gang.” The literal “street gangs” were more like the crews at the lower levels. Certain rackets within certain territory were controlled and defended, until the state stepped in. The state smashed this group, the top leadership got away. On a side note, one of the crew leaders ended up getting a life sentence, but that was for related activities after the organization was smashed. The origin of this organization goes back very loosely to a dissident Senderista group in Mexico, and an attempt to aid them that failed. Then there was a tendency of MIM partisans who were mostly intellectuals, less action oriented. There was a more orthodox Maoist who, if I recall, worked with the main Indian Naxal group but accepted the Third Worldist political economy. She was split off, drifted away. We concluded she was split off by a police plot involving another Indian who was sabotaging solidarity work and slandering the CP India (Maoist). As time went on, the trends never really meshed exactly together. My sense is that although I was the official chair and pushed things forward, the MIM folk always were dragging their heals. To me, they did not have enough vision or boldness. On the whole, they did not put in much work. They also had not built any infrastructure or recruited anyone offline yet nonetheless they were very represented in the leadership. Ever ask yourselves why Denver has so many of us? Well, we built infrastructure, recruited on the streets. It is my home town. Eventually the official leadership committee of LLCO 1.0 simply became a nominal leadership group since the organization was so lopsidedly based in Denver. More and more the official leadership committee became merely a council of advisers. The real leadership was shifted onto the Denver organization, which was doing most of the heavy lifting. My sense is that the old leadership was not satisfied in this new role and drifted away for the most part. As the MIM folk left, nothing was really effected. On the whole, they did not put in a lot of work. A couple of them wrote a few things here and there. But, I produced 90 percent of the articles, in addition to organizing the ground game with the help of the rest of the Denver leadership. There were exceptions, of course, like Shubel Morgan who was the Minister of Art. A few new outstanding Leading Light leaders emerged, let’s call them M, K, and E. If any of these or other people want to be credited in this history, I will add their contributions in. Newer people entered who had little previous connection with either trend. Some went in a MIM Thought direction over time. Others gravitated more toward Leading Light Communism. LLCO 1.0 was a transitional form that still had both tendencies. As time went on, LLCO moved more and more in my direction toward Leading Light Communism. LLCO 2 was born. There is a long history here. This is just a broad outline. And remember, this is just the story of North America, not our international movement.

4. That is a lot of information. There is a lot of ground to cover. Can you give us a time line?

I am terrible with dates, but I consulted with another one of the top leaders from that period. The “gang” period was probably from 1997 to 2002, although there was a short revival of this work in the IRTR period, probably around 2007, but it was in no way sanctioned by IRTR. An effort was made to reconnect with Latin American comrades by traveling to Mexico. It was local IRTR participants who sought to go another direction. Later, there was the focoist deviation that resulted in 13 years of prison for one comrade. IRTR was probably from 2005 to 2008. The secret committee, post-IRTR period was probably from 2008 to 2010. Anticipating the vote to dissolve IRTR, our journal, Monkey Smashes Heaven’s webpage was already up a week before IRTR officially dissolved. Comrade Shubel Morgan set up his web page shortly after IRTR dissolved. We encountered Nick, who was going by “RAIIN,” sometime in this period. RAIM-D was set up somewhere around this period, later changing its name to “RAIM.” LLCO 1.0 was founded in 2010, basically taking the role of the secret committee of the remaining IRTR comrades that led the movement as a whole plus some new Denver comrades and a few others. It was agreed that all of the organizations and projects fell under LLCO 1.0′s authority at that point. RAIM-D eventually left and was phased out, but LLCO 1.0 retained RAIM as a whole, which was mostly Seattle and Toronto chapters, maybe one other effort. LLCO 1.0 phased out all of RAIM to avoid confusion with RAIM-D, but also because we thought other fronts would serve us better. In addition, Nick, who had be kicked out, was creating confusion, hurting our reputation. Somewhere in the next year or two, “the New Turn” occurred and there was a leadership shift. LLCO 2.0 emerged. This was maybe between 2011 and 2012.

At this point, we are kind of in a LLCO 3.0 period where most of our work is directed internationally. Eventually, the story of our international work will be told, as will the story of the mid-1990s to early 2000s period.

5.  What do you think of the IRTR experience?

I now consider the bending of IRTR to MIM’s ideas and whims to have been a big mistake. In the beginning, I was as guilty as the MIM partisans as far as this was concerned. However, I always had serious doubts about the direction. Over time, I was the first of the leadership group to begin pushing for distance from MIM. I consider the experience as a whole valuable in some ways, but the politics of that period were very dogmatic and destructive. At the time, I had a lot to learn though. I had the basic idea of what would become Leading Light Communism as early as the mid-1990s, but this idea was very rough. The IRTR experience and encounter with MIM folk really caused me to sharpen up and deepen my thinking. But I began seeing the very deep flaws in their thinking. And eventually I was able to articulate those flaws from the standpoint of a more advanced science, the emerging Leading Light Communism. Leading Light Communism can perhaps be seen as the result of a kind of Socratic dialogue between what I was doing in the mid-1990s to early 2000s and MIM Thought, but with the former being the main thing.

6. Lots of this is secret or hidden history because these are clandestine movements. The real revolutionary movement is clandestine. What do you think of flying the red flag openly?

If your conception of activism is First World bound, I don’t even see why you need an openly communist party. You might need a cult to organize people effectively, but why a *communist* cult? Just build any old cult and direct people into anti-war, anti-militarism, and other progressive activism. It seems like if your conception of activism remains in the First World, flying a communist flag will only hurt your efforts to be effective at aiding Third World struggles in an objective way. I just don’t see the point of the red flag where there is no social base if your conception of activism is traditional stuff. All it will do is undermine your effectiveness. This is why LLCO hid the red flag when we set up various fronts in the First World. MIM expressed this truth sometimes, but they just couldn’t follow through because, in the end, it seemed like they were intellectuals who had invested too much in their identity as Maoists. LLCO is openly communist, but that is because we are trying to build stuff in the Third World.

7. What do you think of “better fewer, but better,” quality over quantity?

Sure, quality over quantity. We are in agreement there. But what is quality? If you are trying to create a circle of intellectuals to push back against bourgeois ideology, then you will recruit intellectuals, probably from the First World mostly. Quality will mean academic and cultural intelligence, ability to write, uphold the line, etc. If you are into selling papers on college campuses, doing traditional FWist activism, protests, then willingness to do day-in-day-out stuff matters more. Charisma and people skills matter more in the latter than the former, for example. If you have LLCO’s “deep politics,” then other qualities matter: discipline, loyalty, never snitching, willingness to fight and sacrifice. Having a coward’s heart doesn’t really matter if all you do is sling papers or blog. We developed different versions of Leading Light Communism, we call it “high science” and “low science.” There are lots of people who have the lion’s heart, sense of duty, and daringness to think big, but they might not be intellectuals, they don’t care a rat’s ass about the labor theory of value but are willing to die to bring about a better world. Not everyone in Mao’s People’s Liberation Army could read Marx. That doesn’t mean they can’t be organized around a lower version of the science. Think of Plato’s “noble lie” here. Sendero used to say “we carry our lives on our finger tips.” This means, they are willing to sacrifice their lives, money, everything at anytime when called to do so. Well, that is more the kind of quality we are looking for. We’re the real thing.

8. What do you think about inter-imperialist rivalry?

Vladimir Lenin, the great Soviet leader, was correct in his day, inter-imperialist contradictions were growing and this led to a cycle of world wars. Karl Kautsky was wrong then. However, today, the overall trend has been toward globalization and a lessening of these rivalries, even with the very tiny blips on the radar between Russia and the West. There was a time when these contradictions were so great that the world lived on the brink of nuclear annihilation, proxy wars were fought all over the Third World. This was in my lifetime. These small, recent flareups between Russia and the West do not signal some big return to the past, the overall trend has clearly been toward a kind of global system of imperialism. It is kind of like how Lin Biao wrote of how imperialism and social-imperialism still contended, but overall had reached reconciliation in their joint exploitation of the global countryside as a whole. Another person had mentioned Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s work in this discussion. What is good in Hardt and Negri is not unique to them. There are some things they get right, even if their work is First Worldist and also marred in silly, post-modernist jargon. For example, their comments about the expansion and globalization of the non-profit industrial complex as an expanding means of control at the grassroots level, taking some of the role of the old welfare state, is worth mentioning. What is wrong about the Hardt-Negri line is that they see an evening out between the First World and Third World. They are right about globalization, but wrong on this. The Bourgeois World and Proletarian World are still preserved as transnational spheres.

This is one of the reasons LLCO is more internationalist, or, although i hate this term, “pan-Third Worldist.” Others with similar views, MIM Thought (and this includes what is called “Maoism-Third Worldism” now), are more into national liberation, tailing nationalism, pan-nationalism, identity politics, third positionism. This is an important distinction that is not always seen by those looking that these lines. This is one of the big differences between MIM Thought and Leading Light Communism, although there are many others. It also explains our different strategic orientation. MIM Thought, Pantherism 2.0, left Third Positionism still focus on the oppressed nations of the First World, whereas LLCO is about creating organizations in the Third World, initiating Global People’s War. LLCO does not write off resistance in the First World entirely, but the main emphasis has to be on Global People’s War. When First Worldist practice (even with Third Worldist pretenses) begins diverting resources from the main struggle, then it becomes a big problem. Also, globalization is why we see more movements that are not merely nationalist, but trans-nationalist: Islamism (when it does confront imperialism), Bolivarianism, Pan-Africanism. We see less and less localism in anti-imperialist movements because just as imperialism is globalizing, so is resistance to it, albeit at a slower pace. Leading Light is ahead of the curve, which is what a vanguard does.

9. You’ve had an amazing life as a revolutionary. Few really dedicate themselves as you have. You have seen so much. What do you consider the high points of the work over the years?

I consider the high points of the political work to be the mid-1990s to early 2000s period and what is going on right now. I think that we are better positioned than we have been in a long time. Things are golden. The future is bright. The sun is rising. Our day is coming.

10. Do you have anything more to add?

There is so much to say. Really this is just a small portion of a long history. Huge parts were left out, especially the story of our international movement. I have no bitterness toward those who have fallen away. They were all good people for the most part. I just hope they are still fighting the good fight. Do Nothingism is not an option given the horrors of this world. Surrender is never an option. Better to die on one’s feet than live on one’s knees. My door is always open to those who willing to really make revolution, those who are really willing to sacrifice, those who “carry their lives on their finger tips.”

Life, Latin America, Maoism

Life, Latin America, Maoismamihanenglishpos

(llco.org)

1. In the previous interview, you described the history of the formation of Leading Light, or at least the North American branch. Can you go back a bit further? How were you first introduced to politics?

As far back as I can remember, I had a strong sense of justice. I remember my father, who thought of himself as a freethinker and Christian lefty, despising the Reagan administration. Even as a child in the 1980s, I remember being very upset about the irrationality of nuclear weapons. As a child, I always heard that the United States had nuclear weapons enough to destroy the planet hundreds of times over. I have no idea about the exact nuclear ability of the Western imperialists or the Soviet Union at the time, but it struck me as very strange that a society would develop the capacity to destroy all life on the planet one time over, let alone one hundred times. Seeing poverty, especially the horrific poverty, in places like Africa and Asia left a mark on me. My father’s family is from the East coast. My family used to talk and joke about the Irish Republican struggle as I grew up. One of my relatives had been arrested for providing help, jobs, documents, and money, to Republicans in the United States. One of the few memories of my grandfather I have is him joking, “You know, we’ve doubled our ammunition?” “We’re throwing half bricks now.” The other side of our family was from the poorest areas of the Carolina mountains. They identified, like numerous poor whites, as indigenous. My grandmother looked indigenous. We think we found our relative on the Dawes rolls — someone with the same name, same age — but we were never able to hunt down the requisite chain of birth certificates to get tribal membership. And, we never really tried. There is the joke: “What do you get when you have 16 white people in a room?” “One Cherokee.” In any case, that identification with those on the losing side of genocide, even if it was superficial or even fabricated, also gave me a sense that the world was deeply unjust.

As I reached middle school, I began reading a lot about the atrocities in Latin America, especially Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. The streets there were littered with corpses, victims of the deathsquads. I learned that the death, terror, and poverty there were very much connected to the relative level of prosperity and comfort found in the United States. My family’s financial situation was never very stable, so we moved around a lot, also moved between what is called “middle class” and “lower middle class,” the latter often being a codeword for the situation many of the poorer working people find themselves in in the United States. I became familiar with poverty insofar as it exists in the First World, especially as I grew older. Years later, some of the places we lived were big heroin areas. Even so, even as a young teen, I realized that our situation was nothing like that of peoples of the Proletarian World. I recognized very early that comfort in the First World was very much connected to suffering in the Third World. I recognized very early on that serious change was not a possibility in the foreseeable future in the United States.

In middle school, I read everything I could get my hands on, which did not make me popular. The internet did not exist as it now does, so getting information was much more difficult then. I used what money I received  to buy books or magazines. Sometimes I shoplifted them. Other times, I went to the library. I read Karl Marx as best I could. I began reading about the Soviet Union. Many years later, I spoke with a Palestinian comrade about what drew him to communism. He said he had seen the red army on TV and “they seemed so strong and we were so weak.” I became interested in socialism for similar reasons. Even though later I understood the Soviet Union of the 1980s was not a model of liberation, at the time, it was something concrete I could pin my hopes on. I felt very weak, bullied a lot. So I read histories of revolution. I began to read Lenin, Che, and Mao. The owner of a local used bookstore gave me a copy of Lin Biao’s Long Live the Victory of People’s War! I found the whole idea of the guerrilla fighter very romantic.

I grew up with computers, which was somewhat unusual at the time. I introduced this line of revolutionary thought to my hacker and phreaker friends. We ran a phreaker BBS with a revolutionary angle. This was around the time of Anarchy Burger Two if anyone remembers such things. We would do Beige Boxes or hack Telstar in the late 1980s before the modern internet. We’d get huge phone chats going where we discusses many things, including revolution. At some point, some of us decided we hated the stupidity of life in the United States so much that we began plotting our escape. We began robbing stores and burglarizing homes in hopes of getting enough capital to fund our move to Latin America in order to fight empire. At one point, someone shot up a local store at night and left fingerprints. My co-conspirators turned out to be snitches. I was fingered as the ring leader. Around this time, me and my father got into a very brutal fight. As the police net closed and as tensions with my parents increased, I ran away at age 16. I ended up moving across the country and living with my brother. When I did come back to live with my parents, the police had not forgotten. I spent the last year or so of high school on probation. Even so, that did not stop my political development.

The last year of high school I joined a local gang. We fought the local racists. My old neighborhood was a big Klan stronghold. Plus, there were lots of neo-Nazis. The white laces fought the red laces, and we fought both of them. One of my comrades once pulled a realistic-looking BB gun on Nazis, forcing them to hand over their flight jackets and boots, along with their wallets. Another time, I used a hand taser on one of them at a rave club. After one of the local Nazis was shot, we had a local DJ at a club dedicate “Head like a hole, black like your soul” by NIN to the skinhead. For this, they chased us for over a year. We participated in the big anti-Klan riot on Martin Luther King Day in Denver in 1992. The Klan had occupied the capitol steps. And, at the time, that neighborhood was far less gentrified than it is now. So, it exploded. We were the ones who began the snowball and rock throwing. We felt it was our duty since we had history with some of the participants and organizers on the Klan side. The Klan leader who organized it had just been released from prison for trying to firebomb the Auraria projects. He was from our neighborhood. So was the kid who was arrested with the gun on the Klan side. I was also dating one of their ex-girlfriends, so this made them really hate me. The riot turned out to be one of the biggest in Denver history. The police could not find an escape route for the Klan. The police protected the Klan, firing tear gas and pepper spray into the crowd. The tear gas canisters were kicked and thrown back into police lines. I was there when the police car’s windows were first smashed out, then the car got tipped over. Eventually, the riot spread down the local main street. This was big news in Colorado. The police brought me in for the riot, but never charged me.

Eventually I made it through college, doing the usual college activist things. I kept reading, kept learning. I discovered Maoist groups through local infoshops. I began handing out their literature in the early 1990s. At the time, all the Maoist groups were cheerleading for Sendero in Peru. All the Maoists were competing to be perceived as fraternal with Peru, to have Gonzalo’s stamp of approval I guess. Like others, I was reading about the struggle there, reading all their documents.  At the time, I thought of myself as a Maoist. I could parrot the slogans. I knew the Maoist cookbook inside and out: people’s war, united front, new democracy, mass line, cultural revolution, and so on. I was not unlike many dogmatic Maoists today. I had a very doctrinaire, but also very superficial understanding of revolution. It is the kind of ideology that can really advance you past other newbies, but at a certain point becomes a fetter on scientific progress. At the time, it was probably the best thing going, but, at bottom, it is simply not truly scientific. What drove me to Maoism then is what drives most to it today. Most people in the First World who get into Maoism do so not because they know much about the actual revolution in China. Maoism in the First World is mostly about romanticizing guerrilla struggles in the Third World. It gives people a sense they are part of something big. What Maoism provides that run-of-the-mill guerrillaism doesn’t is a kind of easy-to-use, one-size-fits-all template, a vocabulary to adds a pseudo-intellectual pretense to what would otherwise be ordinary cheerleading. It lets people mask what is essentially cheerleading for exotic guerrilla movements in a pseudo-intellectual rhetoric. It is better than nothing. And I did learn a lot from Marx, Lenin, and Mao. But, when I look back, I am somewhat embarrassed about that time. Even at the time, because I had studied rigorous disciplines in college, I realized how superficial Maoism was, I just didn’t have an alternative to it at the time. Things are so different now that we are armed with Leading Light Communism. It is such a breath of fresh air to be a part of the real revolutionary movement today, and not stuck in that kind of dogmatic straightjacket. If you are thirsty and all you have is dirty water, you will drink, but if you have a choice between dirty and clean water, you will always pick the fresh water.  There is nothing more compelling that the Leading Light of truth.

In any case, it was the early 1990s, I was spinning house music at parties. One of my friends in college was from Mexico. He was a big supporter of the Zapatistas. He invited me to come live with his family in Mexico. So I sold my 1200s in order to leave to fight empire. It was in 1995 or 1996 that I left for Mexico.

Poster 01 English2. You mentioned Maoism. What do you think of Maoism today?
Poster-01-English-686x1024

I think of Maoism a lot like Maoists once used to think of Hoxhaism, as “dogmatic revisionism.” I see it as a dead trend and a dead end. Revolutions have a kind of arc. You had the arc of the Bolshevik and spin-off revolutions. That arc peaked a long time ago. It is not a living wave of social transformation, even if there are still fragments of that revolutionary defeat still out there that populate the landscape. Similarly, the Maoist arc ended a long time ago, yet you still have groups here and there that raise that banner.

I don’t think we make revolution by gathering up those fragments of defeat into some kind of opportunist unity. Those revolutionary waves were defeated for a reason. Think about it this way. If Stalin’s regime was unable to prevent capitalist counter-revolution in the mighty USSR, which spanned 1/6th of the world’s land and was the second most powerful country on Earth, why do we think tiny, poor Albania under Hoxha can? We have seen the endgame of Maoism in China, so why do we think that model is going to work in the Philippines or Peru, for example? The Bolshevik revolution took state power in 1917. Mao declared the People’s Republic in 1949. The Cultural Revolution began in 1965 or 1966, depending on how you look at it. It’s been almost a century since 1917, and a half century since the Cultural Revolution. The world has changed. The science has to change. Adapt or perish.

The next wave of revolution is not going to be made by dogmatically repeating the past. We need to learn from the past, but also go beyond it. Those who are stuck in the past really do a disservice to the masses. The imperialists, the capitalists, have not been stagnant. They have been updating their science of oppression. They have been refining their military technology. They have been recruiting brains from the best universities to staff their imperial think tanks. They have been incorporating the most advanced science in order to enslave us more efficiently. It  boggles the mind that “revolutionaries” believe that the secret to success is absolute fidelity to a set of cookbook formulas from a half century ago. The way we beat the empire is by updating our science. We have to match them and beat them. This is why we always say Leading Light is not about following Marx, Lenin, or Mao. We have one supreme leader, truth. Only the Leading Light of truth will set us free. Advance, advance, advance. Fight, fight, fight.

Marxism-Leninism, Trotskyism, nor Maoism are not going anywhere as they currently exist. Marx talked about how history often repeats itself as “first time tragedy, second time farce.” Nothing that people associate with Maoism today is new. The idea that Maoism is some kind of “third, higher stage” is not a new idea. Many Maoists today think this “new stage” stuff is from Gonzalo in Peru. It isn’t. Before Gonzalo was talking this way, India’s Charu Majumdar was. And Charu Majumdar just got it from his contemporaries in China. The idea goes back to Maoist discourse that was popularized in the mid and late 1960s. The “new stage” idea is specifically from Lin Biao. It is mentioned over and over in such obscure texts as the original introduction to Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong. Yes, the “red book.” It is even in Lin Biao’s “Report to the Ninth Congress of the Chinese Communist Party” in 1969. The inability to deal with history honestly is part of the comical nature of Maoism today.

So, you have Marx’s “first time tragedy, second time farce” situation. The first death of Maoism was when China began reversing its radical domestic and international policies. Lin Biao died in 1971. China’s support for people’s wars around the world is replaced by an opportunistic, nationalist calculation not unlike the Soviet revisionist one. China begins aligning with the Western imperialists. This nationalist opportunism is sometimes associated with a doctrine called “Three Worlds Theory,” but the theory was really just window dressing for the practice. Domestically, Mao begins reversing the Cultural Revolution. Deng Xiaoping is brought back. The Maoist movement took a huge hit in China and internationally. Many could not stomach China’s support for Pinochet. Many could not stomach China’s support of Pakistan and the West as they tried to starve Bangladesh into submission. Some Maoists were even promoting NATO. The international Maoist movement was thrown into confusion, which is why many ex-Maoists took “the Albanian escape hatch,” becoming Hoxhaists for a time. China slid into capitalism. Maoism died its first death. That amazing, beautiful gem, that revolution, where a quarter of the world’s population stood up and demanded a better word, was lost. It was a real tragedy for humanity. Its loss can hardly be calculated. Maoists today still haven’t honestly dealt with it. Only Leading Light has. But, today, Maoism has died again, but its death today has more of a farcical character. You have all kinds of opportunists and loudmouths seeking to lead a movement which barely exists. Maoists proclaim they have the unique ability to prevent reformist sellout, but all around Maoist parties engage in reformism and negotiation just like those of other social-democratic trends. There are a couple prestigious leftover parties that remain, and these parties bravely fight for the people. And these parties should be supported just as any progressive anti-imperialist force should. However, as brave as some of them are, Maoists are not going anywhere as they currently exist. And it is not healthy to pretend otherwise. We need to serve the people truth, not fiction. Some Maoists even raise the slogan “impose Maoism,” as if the solution to the impasse is posturing. I think it was Lenin who stated that paper will tolerate anything. Well, the internet will tolerate even more. As far as Maoism goes, for now, we let the dead bury the dead. They will come to the Leading Light when they are ready. As we go forward, the best in all trends will find their way to us. What we are offering is the Leading Light of truth, pure and simple.

3. You lived in Latin America? Did that contribute to your political development? 

I spent a couple years in Mexico. I was drawn there because it was close, and Mexico was in turmoil in the 1990s due to the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Mexico has been a land of suffering and revolution for a long time, for at least a century: Zapata, Villa, Cabanas, Gamiz, right? However, the neo-liberal policies were met with an upsurge of mass resistance. The Zapatista uprising in Chiapas got a lot of attention globally. The Maya of Central America had suffered greatly from imperial violence. It is sometimes forgotten that the civil war in Guatemala between the US-backed state and the URNG was also a war between the whiter capitalists and landlords versus the darker, indigenous workers and farmers. Tens of thousands were killed by death squads and state violence there. In Mexico, the Maya areas had traditionally been very poor. This was made worse by NAFTA. In order to comply with NAFTA, Mexico had to get rid of its traditional protections to indigenous land. The Maya rebelled with the help of an old guerrilla group with roots going back to at least the early 1980s, maybe the 1970s. I can’t remember all the details of the history of the EZLN.

In other parts of Mexico, like the South Mountains, there was another group, the EPR, which was based mostly in Guerrero and Oaxaca. They go back to earlier incarnations too. They announced their existence one year after the Aguas Blancas massacre of FAC-MLN-OCSS activists. They took many by surprise when they took over some small towns and read their Aguas Blancas manifesto a year later, 1996. There were numerous other groups around too. I floated around the scene for awhile, living in Guerrero and Mexico itself. I volunteered at the Second Indigenous National Congress, in which the Zapatistas played a leading role. I was a security guard. I also attended a congress in defense of indigenous communities held by FAC-MLN-OCSS. Prior to that congress, we were driven to a crumbling building in, what I believe was, the slums surrounding Mexico. There were all kinds of people there from all over the country. Lots of indigenous and poor people. This building was a coordinating hub from which activists were then sent to various communities. We were specifically told that if we left their protection, people in the community might kill us. It wasn’t that, being from the United States, I had lighter skin so much as our delegation was from ENAH, which was a university for wealthier students. So, we made sure to stay inside the building. People drank and sang songs around a little campfire in the building. We stayed the night there before leaving to the community the next day. When we went to the community, the entire population of a couple hundred attended a huge mass meeting by FAC-MLN-OCSS. The people gave speeches, asked questions, etc. Then the huge meeting divided up into committees to tackle different issues, everything from potable water to the disappeared. At the final day of the congress, we had a big march around the small community with red flags. The FAC-MLN-OCSS congress impressed me very much at the time. It was probably the “most real” of any of my political work at that point.

Around this time, I met a lot of other people. There was a big Chilean ex-pat community that had fled Pinochet. There were many Chilean radicals. Patricio Ortiz, who had escaped prison in Chile in a helicopter, stayed in Mexico with some of my comrades around this time, although I never met him. I entered the scene after he had just gone off to Europe where he received asylum. I remember the media speculating about his whereabouts since it was such a sensational escape, an embarrassment to the military regime. Student radicals at UNAM and ENAH were organizing themselves into small, usually poorly organized urban guerrilla groups at that time. Not far from where I lived, near the ENAH where the CNI was held, cranes and other machines were being used to build a mall on top of some pyramid-type ruins. The construction equipment kept getting sabotaged, even blown up. Corporate businesses were blown up after dark. Police were being shot at at night. At least one student was shot and killed near Villa Panamericana, not far from my apartment. Mexico was especially volatile at the time with the Zapatista march. On the anniversary of the Tlatelolco massacre, all of Mexico’s center was shut down because all the students from grade schools to the universities gathered there to protest and riot. All the stores were boarded up as students threw small bombs. At one point, some of us did a little training in the mountains in hopes of creating a better organized movement, but little came of it. We split on ideological lines almost as soon as we formed.

I also floated around the Maoist left, which was very much focused on the fate of the Peruvian revolution since Gonzalo had been arrested. The Maoist left was divided into many groups with very similar names that I can’t even remember. A few supported Gonzalo’s argument about waves and the need to end the people’s war, but nobody paid much attention to them. At the time, the Gonzalo letter was generally seen as a hoax. There was another group there that was close to RIM that had a big meeting on the people’s war in Peru. I went to the meeting where the presenters from Peru said all was good in their people’s war when it was becoming more and more apparent that it was not. The claim was that the arrest of Gonzalo was merely a “bend in the road.”  They claimed the people’s war was leaping from victory to victory. I think this was the time when people spoke of “Red Path,” before Feliciano was captured and went over to the enemy. Anyway, at one point during the presentation, someone asked why they were so sure the people’s war in Peru could not be defeated. The presenters responded that because they had reached strategic equilibrium, they could not ever be defeated. Once strategic equilibrium was reached, the outcomes were only stalemate or victory, but not defeat. This was a ridiculously metaphysical explanation. Revolutions can always be defeated. The Bolshevik revolution and the Chinese revolution were defeated long after they had state power, long after strategic equilibrium. An older communist who was sitting next to me was trying to hold in his laughter. He said what we both were thinking, “maybe you never reached strategic equilibrium then.” They didn’t think it was funny. The joke of course is that “strategic equilibrium” in their weird, metaphysical sense can never be reached. There were also Maoists who were very critical of RIM. Some of these Maoists who agitated a lot in Zocalo had a Third Worldist outlook, although nothing really refined. I ended up hooking up with their group for awhile. All of the Mexican Maoists I encountered were in a pre-people’s war state. When I finally left Mexico, I promised to do what I could in the United States to help my comrades there.

I almost forgot. I also attended the World Youth Festival in Havana. I was not an official delegate, I just hopped on a plane from Mexico and stayed with some priests we knew there. Me and a comrade ended up crashing a lot of the official events. I’m not sure if Spain has an embassy in Cuba or not, but they do have a diplomatic residence. Myself and a comrade made friends with the daughter of the Spanish ambassador or head diplomat. She ended up swiping some press passes for us so we could attend the festival events. We visited the meetings and events. The parties were fun. We attended a cool party at the Middle East house with people dancing around a big bonfire. We got materials from Palestinian revolutionary groups. This was before many groups had web pages. We set up a web page in English for some of the materials when we returned to Mexico. At one point, there was a parade of different groups from all over the world. The North Koreans were amazingly choreographed during the march. They were also extremely nervous when talking to outsiders. When approached, they would hand you some political pins and then walk away skittishly. When the Kurds came by, I yelled “Biji Kurdistan!” They invited me to march with them after giving me a paper PKK flag to hold and an ERNK t-shirt to wear. FARC had a table where they distributed FARC swag, including posters of attractive FARC fighters and their magazine. I remember the Libyans had a big table with a poster of Gaddafi’s bombed out compound: “REAGAN = TERRORIST.” I was invited to their embassy, they said I needed to get a copy of the “green book” in English. I think they were trying to recruit people because they were really pushy. I never followed up with them.

There was a lot of prostitution in Havana, especially near the ocean front by the old hotels in “pidawa.” Typically you would be approached by pimps who would announce, “my sister likes you, you should come meet her.” I overheard some drunk guys from the US delegation to the festival talking about how great Cuba was because of all the “cheap pussy.” I didn’t want to get into a big confrontation with them but I did yell, “poverty is a great aphrodisiac, assholes” their way.

All in all, I don’t think I made the best of my time in those years. I bounced around the Mexican scene without really establishing deep roots. We were very young and liked to party a lot also. Rave music was taking off in Mexico at the time, so we went to some raves. Had fun. One of the most interesting memories I have is from Tixtla, Guerrero, a small indigenous town. There was a small disco near the city center that played Latinized, mainstream house music.The club was empty, except me and maybe a dozen local, indigenous youth. In the club, they would do variations on their indigenous folk dancing to the house music. They found my liquid dancing very interesting, as I found theirs.

There is a lot I am not saying here. And I try not to dwell on the past. Although the experiences there were interesting and valuable, I think I would do things a lot differently if I could go back.

4. What do you think of your work today?

The work now is the best, most important work I have ever been involved with. Building on the whole history of revolution and history of thought, we have advanced the science of revolution in an all-round way. For the past 15 years, we have been working on this project in various forms. We have integrated scientific advances from every area into Leading Light Communism. We have the new breakthrough, the new synthesis that will really change the world. Our banner and that of the masses’ are one. We are the people. We are the future. The sword of truth is sharper than ever. We have won the ideological battle at the level of high science, it’s all about organization and logistics now.

We have gathered the brightest lights in the sky, the best of the best, warrior geniuses from across the globe, north and south, east and west. After much difficulty, we continue to assemble the the greatest revolutionary minds and hearts alive. The most thoughtful, the most daring, the most caring will be with us. We are Leading Lights, the warriors, the martyrs. We are the Leading Light, the organization of the new type to initiate the Global People’s War, to purge the world of all suffering, so that a new humanity and land will flourish. Our future is our own because we have the science, the leadership, the organization, the loyalty, the discipline, the daring, the courage to really win. There is an oath, a command that we have written on our souls: One Earth. One people. One organization. One leadership. One life to give. My life for the masses, for the land, for the Leading Light.

5. Is there anything else you want to add?

Yes, a few things. Firstly, I have left out many things. One day they will be told. Secondly, this is just my history, the history of a single leader. We have many leaders all over the world whose stories will one day be told. Although I am from the United States originally, Leading Light is a global movement. Our heroic leaders in Asia and Latin America will come forward with their own stories when the time is right. Thirdly, to those who are reading this who are not yet with us: The time is now. This is a long march period for us. We are marching every day, with heavy loads on our backs. We look forward to that day when we arrive at our base.  It is time to put away childish things. The masses demand you to do your duty. The time for sacrifice is now. Donate your time. Donate your money. Donate. Sacrifice. Serve the people. Live, serve, and die for the Earth. Do everything you can, dedicate all your energy, all your power, to this victory. Right now, in the beginning, is when it matters most. The yappers will yap. The liars will lie. The wreckers will wreck. That is what they do. Don’t fall for it. Soar above it all. This is your future, your liberation too. Red Salute!

“Third Worldism,” epistemology, art, socialism

“Third Worldism,” epistemology, art, socialismhqdefault

(llco.org)

1. It is always an honor to speak with you. Many people identify you as a “Third Worldist,” one term that is floating around is “Maoist.” Do you apply these to yourself?

Do we uphold a revolutionary theory and practice that emphasizes the poorest people, those who suffer the most, the exploited and oppressed, in a word, the Third World? Obviously, yes. Probably the most famous line from Karl Marx is when he states, “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.” If we are honest, we have to admit that people in the First World, generally speaking, have far more to lose than their chains. They have the whole consumerist lifestyle of the First World. They have the comfort of living in prosperous, stable, modern First World societies. If we applied Marx’s criteria honestly, wouldn’t he too be described as a Third Worldist? After all, on the whole, where are the people who have nothing but their labor to sell reside? Where do those who “have nothing to lose but their chains” live? Today, they live, almost exclusively, in what people describe as the Third World. Do we acknowledge the contributions past revolution geniuses? Karl Marx was a Leading Light. Yes. Vladimir Lenin was a Leading Light. Yes. Mao Zedong was a Leading Light. Yes. Just like any real scientist should, we take what is good and toss the bad in all things, including the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist tradition. However, labels can obscure some important things. These labels make it sound as though what we are is just old dogma with a Third Worldist twist. This is not the case at all. What we’re doing is much more profound. What we are doing is unprecedented. Leading Light Communism is far more advanced that anything that has come before. From the standpoint of making revolution, nothing is greater than all-powerful, awesome, glorious Leading Light Communism.

Let’s put this into context. Here’s a little history. It is funny to think that in April of 1969, Lin Biao, Mao’s greatest general, closest comrade-in-arms, chosen successor, heir apparent announced “revolution is the main trend in the world today” at the Ninth Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. During the Cultural Revolution, and here I mean the real Cultural Revolution from 1965 to 1969 or 1971 at the latest, the people’s war line really held that humanity was so close to worldwide victory that Lin Biao went so far as to say Mao Zedong’s theories constituted a new stage of final confrontation between the people’s forces and capitalism, Mao Zedong Thought was Marxism for the current epoch, when capitalism was heading for worldwide collapse, and socialism for worldwide victory. Part of this outlook is to see global empire as teetering. Everyone was commanded to push the system over. Thus the will to launch people’s war was seen as one of the main ways we distinguish between real Marxism versus revisionism. We agree with Lin Biao on this. There is a widespread phenomenon of First World yappers pimping off people’s wars but not lifting a finger to actually help. We call them “cowardly lions.” It is a major form of revisionism today. So during the Cultural Revolution, Lin Biao and those supporting people’s war were calling for forces in every corner of the world to launch revolutionary wars immediately in order to topple imperialism. This is not unlike Che’s call to the tricontinental: “two, three, many Vietnams.” The idea is that because imperialism had become so bogged down, so weakened, a mass offensive by people in every corner of the world could topple it. Obviously, things didn’t work out this way. And this support for people’s war cost the Chinese. The Chinese were openly calling for the overthrow of almost every regime in the world, both East and West. It meant diplomatic isolation. How things have changed today.

Obviously, as things progressed from the 1960s into the 1970s, the Chinese were very wrong about the strength and resilience of empire. Mao and the rightwing of the Chinese Communist Party began to move China into an alignment with the West in the 1970s. Lin Biao, the major voice for the people’s war line, was almost certainly murdered in 1971. The Chinese state of the 1970s began to downplay people’s war and move more toward traditional diplomacy and reconciliation. It is a bit ironic too since Mao, in part at least, justified his original break with the Soviet revisionists based on his rejection of the revisionist line of “peaceful coexistence” with imperialism. Well, Mao’s foreign policy of the 1970s toward the West was not unlike Khrushchev’s. Just as the Soviet Union and the West had jointly sold out Latin America, so too the Chinese now jointly worked with the West. Perhaps one of the most famous cases is that China was the first regime to recognize Pinochet’s bloody coup. I recall reading that the Chinese embassy, unlike others, shut its doors to students, workers, and activists seeking sanctuary from the deathsquads in Chile. Bangladesh is another example. Mao allied with Pakistan and the West, even as Pakistan waged a systematic genocide there. These are some of the blemishes on Mao’s record. Now, of course, Mao was one of the greatest revolutionaries, Leading Lights, of all time, but we have to be honest here.

In any case, my point is to say things have changed so much. Things look very different. Today, the revolutionary movement is at an impasse. There are no socialist states. Soviet socialism fell even before the final collapse of the Soviet Union. And China began to slide into capitalism in the 1970s. Today, China is the workforce that produces all the goodies, all the consumer products, for the United States and much of the First World. China’s workforce is an exploited proletariat serving First World appetites.  So bad are things that not long ago, book after book was published on the “pax Americana,” “the global, liberal victory,” “the end of history,” “the end of the age of the big idea,” “the death of communism,” and so on.

Our outlook is just not some slightly tweaked Maoism. The problems of the revisionist movement, including Maoism, are much deeper than their political economy. First Worldism, the belief that the First World contains a significant proletariat, that it is revolutionary, is a symptom of a deeper problem. Similarly, continuing to wrap oneself in the vocabulary, icons, and symbols of the past, the Maoist era, the Soviet era, stems from this same problem. Accusations of “tankyism” are traded back and forth between dogmatists. There is a lack of scientific thinking, not just at the peripheries of these movements, but also at the cores. This is reflected in the way they do political economy, yes. But it is also reflected in the way they approach history. This is reflected in their lack of deep cultural analysis, their inability to speak intelligently on art and aesthetics. It is reflected in their blissful ignorance of the incredible advances of the ongoing scientific revolution, discoveries in brain and cognitive science, the green revolution in agriculture, the new discoveries in biology, physics, information technology, and so on.

It is rather funny to me that many dogmatists think that they are so advanced scientifically because they embrace dialectical materialism, yet for them, Lenin was the last word on agitation and propaganda, as though modern marketing, which draws of a large body of psychological research, has nothing to say to revolution. No wonder so many lefty trends are getting beaten by Islam. There is also an impasse in military thinking, which is why the Maoist model isn’t working as it once did even though there are a few movements here and there that have run out of steam, stalemated, or on their last leg. None are really winning or even advancing. This all stems from a deeper epistemological issue. It stems from dogmatism. It stems from lack of innovation, lack of genuine science, lack of adaptation. The world changes, so must we if we are to really win. For some people, preservation of dogma is more important than victory. For some people preservation of their orthodox “communist” identity is more important than the people. For us, it is different. We absolutely reject all dogma. Leading Light Communism is all about science.

We cannot stress this enough. Leading Light Communism is not just about political economy. It is about a complete revolution in all areas of revolutionary science. Our knife cuts much deeper than just economics. Leading Light Communism is about putting the revolutionary movement — in all its aspects — on an elevated scientific footing. This is why we say we have one leader: the Leading Light of truth. This is also why we are having discussions about how to craft a proper low science openly. In addition to high science, all revolutions have used low science. We are the first, as far as I am aware, to speak completely openly about the myth making, to invite those who are capable into a broad public discussion of the topic, rather than just constructing the low science behind closed doors. Ironically, we have been accused of being “cultist” for popularizing a discussion that has mostly been kept secret. If anything, we are the ones explaining to the masses how these things work, and asking them to engage in their own liberation in that sphere. Others pretend the problem of motivating and simultaneously elevating a population can be mocked away, or others are ostriches who put their head in the sand. What do they have to show for their approaches? In any case, the new breakthrough of the Leading Light is so profound in its simplicity and depth. We are about really winning, really putting science in command.  We are elevating the science at all levels, yet  are doing so in a way that preserves the revolutionary heart of Marxism. We are really talking about creating a new stage of revolutionary science, arming with masses with the best ideological tools available, the best weapons,  in order to make revolution, to reach Leading Light Communism.

There is a difference between the First World and Third World here too. Many in the Third World have not yet made contact with the Leading Light. If a man is dying of thirst and all he has is dirty water, he will drink it. However, if given the pure water alongside the dirty, he will choose the pure, unless there is something else in play. In time, the pure water will flow everywhere.

We have already won the ideological battle. It is lonely at the top. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, you need very long legs to jump from peak to peak. The Bolshevik revolution was a peak. The Maoist revolution was peak. So, here we are, at the beginning of the next wave, at another peak. Most do not have those kinds of legs. Most people are still in the past, in a valley working their way to the next peak. Looking down on the ideological dessert, and it is barren. The battle at the level of high science is won. Sure, there are still mopping up operations. Unlike so many of the hypocrites in the revisionist left, we really do put politics in command.

2. “Politics in command” comes from the Chinese revolution? Can you explain a little about “Politics in command?”

Yes. Mao famously stated:

“The correctness or otherwise of the ideological and political line decides everything. When the Party’s line is correct, then everything will come its way. If it has no followers, then it can have followers; if it has no guns, then it can have guns; if it has no political power, then it can have political power. If its line is not correct, even what it has it loses.”

Revolution is not just some blind endeavor. it is not an accident. Joseph Stalin once said that the people will row the boat to the shores of communism, with or without leadership. Some believe our victory is somehow woven into the fabric of nature itself, that our victory is contained in the deterministic motion of atoms, that it is inevitable. This is often associated with productionist and technological-determinist tendencies that ended up serving counter-revolution. Some tendencies saw communism as inevitable, no matter what. They thought that the advance of science and technological progress would simply serve up prosperity without conscious intervention by revolutionary leadership, without conscious, constant, continuous efforts to direct the revolutionizing of power and culture. Historically speaking, these two tendencies fought it out as a battle between counter-revolution are revolution. China’s Cultural Revolution is a good example of this fight between communists and the new capitalist class. Revolution is not inevitable, nor is it served up by technology alone. Revolution is something that is achieved by a very specific course of action. Ideology is absolutely necessary. Revolutionary science is necessary. Politics is necessary. Leadership is necessary. Without leadership, without science, without the politics of truth, our boat will row forever in circles. Great leadership of the people armed with all-powerful, awesome, glorious Leading Light Communism  is required for to realize our great destiny. We are a movement of the best of the best, warrior geniuses from every corner of the Earth. Together, we are the sword of destiny on Earth to rid the world of all suffering, exploitation, oppression, poverty, rape.

Specifically, “Politics in command” is a slogan that arises in the army during Lin Biao’s “Four First” policy to turn the army into a school of Mao Thought and model for all of society. Those policies were implemented right after the fall of Peng Dehuai around the end of the Great Leap. Remember that Lin Biao was one of the few who rallied to Mao’s defense at the Lushan conference when Mao came under criticism for the errors of the Great Leap. Lin Biao had said the problems of the Great Leap resulted from not adhering closely enough to Mao’s thoughts. Lin Biao would come to be the main spokesman and embodiment of Maoism during the Cultural Revolution. He was the high priest of the Mao cult while also being depicted as the great warrior: Mao’s best student, Mao’s closest comrade in arms, China’s greatest genius general, Mao’s hand-picked successor.

There is a vagueness in the expression, so it was later changed. Think about it. Now, politics is always in a command in a sense. Think of the person who works harder in order to buy more consumer products. In such a case, politics is indeed in command of his actions, albeit the politics are of a stupid, un-revolutionary variety. Politics is not always revolutionary politics. For this reason, as time went on, when the slogan continued to be popularized as part of the effort to popularize Lin Biao and his army, but the slogan was changed to “Mao Zedong Thought in command!”

Today, communists say “science in command!” or “Leading Light in command!” This means that we must put aside individualism, ego, petty distractions, dogma. Don’t get caught up in petty drama. Don’t let anyone bait us. The yappers will yap. The liars will lie. They literally do not matter. We know who we are. We know our hearts are pure. The great breakthrough has been made, revolutionary science has advanced and continues to do so under the banner of the Leading Light. It doesn’t matter that these ideas happen to be articulated by myself. The point is they are here now. The masses deserve the best. No weapon is more powerful than the Leading Light of truth. Back in It’s Right To Rebel (IRTR) days, the Central Committee declared that the principal task was to spread the high science globally, especially the Third World. Well, that is exactly what Leading Light has done with almost no support from our critics and with inept wrecking campaigns. One wonders how much they have done to advance concrete struggle?

3. You have criticized dogma. Can you elaborate a little? What makes one theory more scientific or better than another? What makes Leading Light better than dialectics, for example?

One metaphysical misconception that many have is that truth is “out there” in some ultimate, spooky sense. According to such a view, the job of science to codify or match itself up with the world itself. On this view, an ideal science would be the one that replicated or reflected so-called “the book of nature” perfectly. On this model, a good theory is one that reflects nature as closely as possible, one that replicates truth in an ultimate sense. This is a view of truth, theory, and science shared by numerous different philosophic traditions, including the dialectics found in the revolutionary tradition. According to this dogma, dialectics is a kind of foundational super science. Particular scientific claims, theories, or disciplines are correct insofar as they are extensions of dialectics, which purports to correspond to the way the world really is, purports to be a kind of “book of nature.”

Such a view is silly for a couple reasons. Firstly, what an impoverished “book of nature,” a handful of vague descriptions or laws. It should be rather obvious that all the diverse sciences do not reduce to nor depend on dialectics. Physicists, biologists, linguists, hydrologists, chemists, all get along fine without reading Georg Hegel. When you are very ill, you do not usually ask your physician if he understands Hegel’s Logic before accepting his medical advice. If you were suffering from a tumor, who would you trust to deal with it, the surgeon who has years of medical school or the literary critic who has mastered Hegel? Those who practice science are able to do their work blissfully ignorant of Hegel. This should tell us that there is something fishy about the self-important claims of dialectics.

Secondly, numerous inaccurate conceptions, about theories, science, language, and truth underlie such a model. Dialectics does not correspond to nature for the simple reason that no theories do. Here, I mean in the “book of nature” sense. Theories, science, are not about matching up a collection of claims with the world. Theories are tools. It does not make sense to ask if a saw is true in some ultimate sense. It does not make sense to ask if a screwdriver matches up more with the “book of nature” than the hammer. Theories are tools to manipulate the world, not get us in touch with the world behind the world. Although Marx did not fully realize this, perhaps he began to move in this direction when with his comment that philosophers have only interpreted the world, but the point is to change it. We do not need to understand truth as correspondence with some objective fact nor as cohering with some super science that does so. Instead, we should understand truth in a more contingent, an intersubjective sense. When we say a particular theory is better than another, we are saying it is a better tool than its competitor. And, science is a set of lingusitic and, sometimes, non linguistic tools that are distinguished from other tools, say the creation of poetry or literature, because science is about prediction and explanation. This can even apply to literary criticism.

A science of literature, even revolutionary science of literature, is possible. Probably the best place to jump into this high-level discussion are authors like Aristotle, Northrop Fry, maybe  Georg Lukacs, Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, maybe even Stanley Cavell, Paul de Man, or Julia Kristeva. We should not limit ourselves to what should now be seen as low-level Maoist discussions during the Cultural Revolution. A good dose of modernism, formalism, textualism, New Criticism plus people who who have a complex understanding of how cultural objects work in the power struggle, not the cartoonish Maoist polemics criticizing all art for not living up to the clarity of Maoist allegories, which are not unlike medieval morality tales. Although Maoist polemics might be a good start, they are a terrible place to end up. I’m not saying I agree with all these critics on everything. I’m just saying that might be a place to look for understanding literature. There are other tools out there besides science.

In terms of self expression, science may not be as useful as poetry or art. In any case, dialectics is not science for the same reason poetry isn’t. Dialectics does not predict nor does it really explain in an informative manner. Then there is Richard Rorty. He was a champion of postmodernism and liberalism. He pushed the idea that discourse was so contingent that there is no point in making any complex moral or political appeals. He once stated he would have been happy with Hegel had Hegel remained with the space of the Phenomenology of Spirit, avoiding the more metaphysical drive of the Logic. He would have been happier with Hegel had Hegel simply remained an ironist who only claimed to be expressing himself, not out to describe the real world behind the world. Lucky our choice is not simply between postmodern yapperism and metaphysical yapperism, between postmodern liberalism and metaphysical pseudo-revolutionism.

Just as other sciences are tools, so too is revolutionary science, Leading Light Communism. This is why we call Leading Light Communism a weapon that must be placed into the hands of the oppressed. Leading Light Communism is a package of scientific advances in numerous areas. Leading Light Communism predicts and explains social motion today far better than any of its competitors. It better predicts and explains the past, present, and future. It is fine to say Leading Light Communism is about truth, but “truth” understood in a more contingent, although just as compelling manner. This is not unlike how Immanuel Kant understood that our knowledge about the world was mediated by epistemic conditions. Think Kant’s forms of intuitions and transcendental categories, or how early Hegel, Marx, or Nietzsche understood that historical context affected our experience of the world, or Sigmund Freud’s view of the unconscious. This is a point about language too. Although there is a lot to be said for what we are discovering about language through brain and cognitive science and through Noam Chomsky’s “Cartesian linguistics” respectively. There is also another dimension of language, Ludwig Wittgenstein explored  how our view of the world was tied to language games. There is also J. L. Austin,  language understood as speech acts, whose determination as unhappy or happy, is very much dependent on wider social expectations and practices. This doesn’t degrade truth or claims to truth, it just puts them in a context. Phenomenologically speaking, truth is still experienced as compelling as it ever was, but that doesn’t mean it must be taken on its “own” terms so to speak. In this respect, both Edmund Husserl’s and Rene Descartes’ privileging of special access of the meditating subject to truth and the claims such a subject makes are exactly wrong. Rather, truth is something that only makes sense in reference to ourselves, our communities, goals. Revolutionary science, Leading Light Communism, is about developing tools that predict and explain in order to save the world, to end all oppression, to create a healthy, heroic, fun, flourishing society that exists in harmony with the Earth. All-powerful, awesome, glorious Leading Light Communism is about forging the ideological weapons for the poor, the workers, the farmers, the intellectuals, the ordinary people so that we can conquer the future that the capitalists have stolen from us. Our future is our own, for our children, for our children’s children.

4. You talk about truth being intersubjective, contingent, and so on. Are there times when truths collide?

Of course. This makes for great art. Some of the best art is art that straddles, problematizes, or moves between worlds, so to speak. Ludwig von Beethoven is an example of a person with one foot in the world of the Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and another in the world of Richard Wagner. William Shakespeare too is a kind of collision of our contemporary era with the past. He was very ahead of his times, so to speak.

Sophocles’ Antigone is a great example. It is a conflict between two worldviews, two moral codes, two societies. On the one side, there is Antigone, who has to burry her fallen brother’s body because it is commanded by the moral law as she experiences it. Such a law is experienced as demanding obedience from Antigone. She is obliged to bury her brother. At the same time, Creon, the ruler of the city and her uncle, declares he not be given the burial rights, that he be left to rot, because her brother had died betraying the city. You have a collision of two moral orders, the morality of the family and clan versus the morality of the city. Sophocles does a wonderful job of portraying the phenomenology of obligation in the character of Antigone. She is so compelled to bury her brother that she faces death herself at the hands of Creon. Similarly, Creon is willing to kill Antigone, his own blood, to protect the city. At the same time, both their actions are portrayed as very much connected to their individual position within a wider community. For Antigone, it is her family or clan. For Creon, it is the city. The text documents a clash of values that must have happened in numerous societies over and over as they transformed from clan and family based to more cosmopolitan, city and state, orders.

Although the idea of the social contract is as least as old as Plato’s Republic, where it is rejected by Socrates, its rise to prominence at the beginning of capitalism is very much connected to the bourgeoisie. Contracting is part of bourgeois life. The projection of the social contract onto universe, onto history, as a way by which to legitimate, to measure, the status quo is very much part of the ideology of ascending capitalism, the rising bourgeoisie as it battles against other reactionary social classes, especially those of  leftover from the feudal era. Today, the bourgeoisie does not bother justifying itself this way. As Vladimir Lenin pointed out, the bourgeoisie is no longer playing a progressive role. Capitalism is now decadent, in decline. The capitalists do not feel the need to justify their order by reference to such complex ideological constructs. Capitalism is just a given, human nature. The capitalist ideology today when compared to the Enlightenment is the difference between the ascending bourgeoisie and decadent bourgeoisie. It is the difference between Beethoven and Beyonce. It is the difference between Rousseau and Cheetos.

On another point, it is a misconception that the high art of the past, the high art of the earlier bourgeoisie, is the main form of capitalist art today. Classical music, for example, is not the music of the capitalism or even the capitalist overlords. Ordinary pop is the music of capitalism. Classical music is similar to modernist art in this respect. It is not easily understood. It usually requires more education to develop an appreciation for it. It is an art that requires thinking, which is something that is required as the bourgeoisie ascends, as the bourgeoisie challenged the old, traditionalist order. Today, the main form of capitalist culture is an art that requires very little effort by its listeners and viewers. Pop art. Advertising. Capitalism in decline is not about thinking. Heroic reorganization of the social order no longer occupies the bourgeoisie or its culture today. Rather, it is about consuming and not asking why. Thus art that provokes people to think, even if its origin is itself the bourgeoisie of the past, ends up being a kind of resistance against the dominant culture. This is something that Adorno saw, but the point really goes back to Kant in some ways.

At the height of the Cultural Revolution, Maoists criticized art that did not put class struggle and revolutionary themes to the forefront. The Maoist art was very similar to medieval allegories, morality tales with no ambiguity. The good characters were all good, representing the proletarian line. The bad characters were all bad. Maoists openly argued against what they called “middle characters.” Everything was very clear. Even the lighting in Jiang Qing’s model operas reflected this. The hero was fully illuminated, the light source was not directly on the villain, making him shady, literally. Maoist art sought to replace much of the old art that was deemed reactionary. Even though some of the Maoist art was genuinely good, much of it looks cliche because they were trying to fill the cultural void that was left when they got rid of much the old culture. A few decades of artistic production was trying to fill the a void that had been filled by art produced over thousands of years. Also denounced in this period was art for art’s sake, including formalism. It was denounced because it did not overtly represent class struggle. And this was equated with not aiding the class struggle. The Maoist view is incorrect.

The mistake is in thinking that art for art’s sake, formalism, has no class content or that it has reactionary class content. Art for art’s sake, formalism, experimentation often serves the proletariat. Think of it as akin to scientific discovery. Formalist art helps us discover new ways that the proletariat can express itself. It creates new genres that can then be filled with more overt proletarian content. Experiment is what created all the great genres of art and music. If only capitalist societies engage in such experiment that produces new genre, socialism will look boring, unexciting, a drab world where art is not much different from a political lecture. Do we really want a socialism that lacks all color, that lacks all cultural diversity? A socialism that only can express itself in the most one-dimensional, didactic way will not carry us over to Leading Light Communism. We need a culture that provokes the masses to think, not just absorb. The brains of the masses should not be seen as empty vessels that we pour culture into. Rather, we need a culture that provokes the masses to become actors themselves, and to do this, we need an art that is difficult, that requires thought. We need an art that challenges people to think in new ways. It is a mistake to think formalism is necessarily tied to empty gestures in support of the capitalist status quo. The experience of art should elevate the viewer, or in the case of music, the listener. Thus formalism, art for art’s sake, can serve proletarian ends even if its themes are not explicitly political. This is a kind of view sometimes associated with Kant, among others. Maoists may have criticized Confucianism. Although their art portrayed activity on the part of the masses, the didacticism of their style still encouraged that mental passivity in some ways.

In any case, my point is that collisions happen in all kinds of way all the time. Right now, a higher level of revolutionary science has articulated itself. It is called “Leading Light Communism.” It is a package of scientific discoveries in all areas of revolutionary science. It is an all-round, all-powerful, awesome, glorious advance over everything that has come before. What we are doing is unprecedented and dangerous, which is why there has been so much push back not only from the capitalists, but also from their useful idiots, the revisionist blockheads, identity politicians, dogmatists.

5. You spoke of a socialism that embraces artistic discovery in the same way it should it should embrace scientific discovery. What other virtues are bound up with Leading Light Communism?

A new take on a very old question. For many philosophers the question of the good city was very much tied to the question of the good man. From Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, and even Marx, the city was reflected in the man and vice versa. Probably the most famous example here is Plato’s Republic. But, Marx also sees how capitalism alienates people from their labor, from their world, from themselves. For Marx, overcoming that alienation was part of the revolutionary project. To get things right required changing both the experience of the self and the experience of the broader society.

In Phaedrus, Socrates famously uses the allegory to the chariot to describe the tripartite nature of the soul. The chariot is driven by two horses. Then there is the black horse. It represents the crass appetites, material gain. There is the white horse, it represents “thymos,” sometimes translated as “spiritedness.” This white horse is recognition, victory. Then there is the charioteer, reason or wisdom. Plato uses this metaphor to describe the human soul. Human souls are conflicted, but in each individual a different aspect of the soul wins out. So, in the Republic, Plato divided humanity into different types of people: the bronze souls, the silver souls, the gold souls. We don’t need to buy into Plato’s concept of class or even his particular interpretation of the good city to understand that different values or desires drive different societies. Marxists have long understood that capitalist societies produce certain kinds of souls, a certain sets of values, certain ways of looking at the self and world. Maoists even used to say that not having revolutionary politics was like not having a soul.

Today’s liberal capitalism is not only a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, but its whole culture reflects the limited outlook, the dulled ambition, the crass consumerism of the bourgeoisie. It’s not even traditionalist fascism of the past. The white horse, the thymos, the ambition, the desire for recognition, that drives warrior classes in earlier societies, has been tamed, channeled into safe directions. A whole host of fantasy lives is provided to occupy one’s leisure time. All kinds of identities, sub-cultures, fantasies. Herbert Marcuse, borrowing from Martin Heidegger, talked about the rise of techne weighing down on the individual, turning him into a one-dimensional cog in the modern social machine. Capitalism may be a society of cogs, but in the First World, the cogs are bombarded with entertainment, disco lights, toys, fashion, pop music. They are provided with all kinds fantasies to keep them occupied,  substitutes so that thymos is not realized in a way that threatens the system. They can play wizards in a coven. They can act a Civil War general.  They can be a rampaging barbarian in a video game. This taming also affects those who claim to be revolutionaries in the First World. They can even play Bolshevik or Maoist. All kinds of diversionary pseudo-radical politics channel individuals in safe directions: revisionism, lifestylism, anarchism, and identify politics. The quest for truth and artistic creation becomes just part fantasy play and the exchange of the all-mighty dollar. It becomes just another stage provided by capitalist culture where expression can work itself out in a safe manner. In the Manifesto, Marx wrote that capitalist exchange undermines all traditional relationships, even religion and the family. Capitalism profanes everything holy. The crass consumerism and banality of the dark horse drives the souls of the First World.

Contrast the crass consumption and banality of the First World to that of socialism. In socialism, Thymos was channeled in a positive direction, was a part of those great social experiments. Men and women were heroic warriors. For example, a big part of the whole Maoist model, at least as conceived by Lin Biao, was to have all of society “learn from the People’s Liberation Army,” to have all of society embody the ethos of the people’s warrior. Duty, heroism, sacrifice, honor, loyalty were portrayed in the revolutionary images. Ordinary men and women as heroes, but also as men and women. Past socialism did not fail to elevate thymos, its failure was to truly elevate science alongside it in a real way. We see this failure in many places. For example, Soviet socialism rejected natural selection, embracing Lysenko’s Lamarckian foolishness. With almost no debate, Maoists rejected sensible environmental and population planning as “Malthusian.” All kinds of mistakes were made when science was pushed aside for dogma with a scientific pretense fueled by thymos. Leading Light Communism is about promoting and elevating thymos, the white horse, but with science truly in command, as charioteer. Humanity will flourish when science is truly in command, and when the individual is allowed a certain amount of freedom, fun, pleasure, but without the unsustainable, consumption of capitalism. The scientist, the philosopher, the warrior, the worker, the farmer, the caregiver, the artist and musician, the dancer must all be allowed to flourish. Only a truly scientific socialism with a rich, experimental culture  will be able to elevate people to cross the bridge to Leading Light Communism.

The capitalist soul is shared by most First World activists, even those who consider themselves revolutionary or radical. And, here, identity politics is part of the First Worldist, liberal package. You have a First World activist culture that claims to be anti-capitalist, but stamps out real leadership. Anyone who is capable who sticks up their head is immediately shouted down and called out. These First Worldists share the same liberal revulsion for thymos. Now, granted, the objective conditions for revolution do not exist in the First World. Obviously, we know this. We have explained this again and again. Even so, more progress ought be possible. C. S. Lewis stated, in a very different context:

“We make men without chests and expect of them virtue… We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

Although it would never get to first base, imagine what the revolution of these First World activists would look like. It would be the socialism of dunces and cowards. If somehow it were to succeed, think of the kind of society it would produce: a socialism of dunces without aspiration or real intellect. It would be a socialism that reflected their empty souls. It would lower the bar just as today’s capitalist society does. Real revolution is not made by destroying what is the best in people. It is not made by knocking great people down. It is made by raising people up, including the brightest lights. The goal is not to get rid of leadership, or simply to declare everyone a leader by fiat, but rather to make everyone capable of truly being a leader. The goal is not to get rid of genius, but to acknowledge it, and to produce as many geniuses as possible. Real socialism is about creating a society where the conditions are in place to allow as many people to flourish, to become great, as possible. Theirs is the fake socialism of fools, which despite its rhetoric promotes the same stupefying soul as capitalism. By contrast, ours is a revolution of genius, of heroism, of creativity, of proletarian and military discipline and sacrifice. We are Leading Lights.

Questions about Maoism and Leading Light Communism

Questions about Maoism and Leading Light CommunismLL_x_1

(llco.org)

We recently received some questions about the relationship of Leading Light Communism to Maoism.

1. LLCO’s concept of the Third World is the same of chairman Mao?

No. The Leading Light’s “Global Class Analysis” is totally different from Mao’s “Theory of Three Worlds.” Let’s look at the differences.

Mao Zedong upheld a “Theory of Three Worlds” in the 1970s. Mao reportedly said the “First World” was made up of the United States and the Soviet Union. The “Second World” was made up of the smaller imperialists like European countries, Japan, Australia, etc. The “Third World” was made up of the poorer countries. Mao’s conception was one based on the nationalist, geopolitical needs of China, not on proletarian science. Mao’s theory was invented after the fact to justify China’s increasingly narrow-nationalist foreign policy in the 1970s. In any case, according to the Maoist approach, the main thing that determined one world from another was military power, geopolitical aggressiveness, etc. So, even though European imperialist countries had a higher standard of living than the Soviet Union, the smaller, militarily weaker, European imperialists were part of Mao’s “Second World.” By contrast, Leading Light looks at the world from the standpoint of what Mao called “the first question of revolution”: “Who are our enemies? Who are our friends?” We look at the world, not from the standpoint of nationalism and foreign policy, but from the standpoint of the question of class, from the standpoint of the proletariat. Our Global Class Analysis looks at the world from the standpoint of aligning social forces in order to make revolution to eliminate all exploitation and oppression, to reach true freedom, Leading Light Communism. Thus we divide human society into “worlds” based on standard of living. Those zones, countries, geographic areas whose populations have the poorest standard of living are the most Third World. Those zones, countries, geographic areas whose populations have the wealthiest standard of living are the most First World. We can see society as divided into a continuum, one pole represents the higher standard of living, the First World. The Third World, the lower standard of living, is another pole. The “Second World” pole between the two. Although we do not often talk about the “Second World,” it can be seen as those countries concentrated in the middle in terms of standard of living.

[First World] -S-U——————–P-R- [“Second World”] —————-M———–B- [Third World]

On this model, a country like Switzerland, “S,” with a higher standard of living, falls closer to the extreme end of the First World than the United States, “U.” A country like Portugal, “P,” falls on the First World side, but closer to the middle. Russia, “R,” also, falls somewhere closer to the middle. Similarly Bangladesh, “B,” has a poorer population than Mexico, “M.” On this model, wealthy Gulf countries fall on the First World side also. This model can also be applied within individual countries. For example, there are First World neighborhoods and areas in Third World countries that have a much higher standard of living. Similarly, there are some pockets of the First World within Third World countries.

We can also use this model to predict the rise of fascism. Traditionalist fascism is much more likely to take hold in First World countries with a lower standard of living, for example Greece or Russia. Wealthier First World countries tend to adopt a more liberal outlook. The closer a country is to the Third World pole, the greater the social base, the potential, for revolution. Similarly, the higher the standard of living that exists, the more First World a country is, the smaller the proletarian class, the bigger the bourgeoisie. Thus we say there is no significant proletariat in the First World. We must write off the First World populations because they have a bigger interest in preserving and advancing their position in the system than in destroying the system itself. First World peoples have far, far more to lose than their chains. They have their whole consumerist, comfortable, bourgeois standard of living to lose. The true proletariat has nothing to lose but its chains. Again and again, we see the bourgeois populations of the First World oppose revolution and anti-imperialist struggles. Revolution proceeds from the Third World pole to the “Second World” pole to the First World pole.

2. Why we must to defeat the First World?

Long ago, Maoists in China understood that class had changed since Karl Marx’s day. For example, Maoists in China spoke of the “new bourgeoisie” that arose within the Communist Party itself. Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping were part of this new bourgeoisie, yet did they personally own factories as the traditional bourgeoisie of the England of Marx’s day? Could Liu Shaoqi personally give away China’s productive power to his friends or children? No. The new bourgeoisie in the Soviet Union and China was not the traditionalist bourgeoisie of Marx. The new bourgeoisie was a bureaucratic, technocratic class that collectively owned China’s wealth. This new bourgeoisie was led by reactionary ideology. And the new bourgeoisie used their position to further take power from the masses and concentrate it in their own hands. The point here is that Maoists long ago recognized that new class formations had arisen that Marx had not fully anticipated. The working bourgeoisie of the First World may work, but that does not mean they are exploited. They have such a high standard of living, they benefit so much from Empire, that they have no interest in overthrowing it. Friedrich Engels wrote long ago of how the entire population of England was becoming bourgeois on the back of the exploitation of India.  Vladimir Lenin long ago wrote of the “labor aristocracy.” Lin Biao too spoke of a “global countryside” that opposed a “global city.” All of these writers were pointing to the fact that class was changing. Just as the Maoists had identified a new bourgeoisie in their midst, these authors were identifying another new bourgeoisie arising in the imperial and wealthy countries, in what would become the First World. Leading Light builds on these ideas and advances them to a whole new scientific level.

Maoists during the Cultural Revolution emphasized the importance of  Lenin’s observation that “Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat.” Long ago, Maoists in China understood that the defeat of the bourgeoisie is key to advancing to communism. They emphasized the necessity of the “all-round Dictatorship of the Proletariat over the bourgeoisie.” Maoists in China were not just talking about Marx’s traditional bourgeoisie, but also the new bourgeoisie that arises inside the Communist Party itself. Similarly, we too much extend our recognition of class struggle to all-round Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Real Marxism has always demanded defeat of the bourgeoisie. And today, this means defeat of this new bourgeoisie, the Bourgeois World, the First World itself. Just as this was a dividing line between real Marxism and revisionism in the past, it is a dividing line between real Marxism and revisionism today. We must defeat the bourgeoisie, not compromise with it. Thus we must reject the revisionism poison of Karl Kautsky, Nikita Khrushchev, Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping, and the First Worldists. Just as the Maoists in China raised the understanding of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat to a whole new level, so too does Leading Light Communism advance this aspect of revolutionary science.

3. You said that you have some comrades in the First World, what is the function of the comrades in the First World?

Leading Light Communism aims at total victory through Global People’s War that is truly global. All Leading Lights, no matter what their origin or location, are our brothers and sisters. There is a long tradition of exceptional individuals from the bourgeoisie who break from their class background. The most famous example is Freidrich Engels himself, who not only provided resources so that Marx could survive, but  Engels was a revolutionary scientist in his own right. Leading Light is a movement for all real revolutionaries.

Leading Light raises the slogan “Revolution in the Third World, Resistance in the First World.” First World comrades have a duty to do everything they can to support the Global People’s War of the Leading Light, especially in the Third World. They also have a duty to create resistance in the First World. They have a duty to gain resources. They have a duty to undermine the Empire. They have a duty to subvert and weaken the First World. First World comrades have the same duty to serve the people, to live and die for the people, as Third World comrades. We do not abandon revolution in the First World, we just recognize that it is not possible in the foreseeable future. To conquer the First World, we must first liberate the Third World. Thus, as Lin Biao said, the world revolution proceeds from the global countryside to the global city.

4. The indigenous, black, and other ethnic minorities in the First World are enemy of Third World?

It is important to realize that not all minorities/nationalities are the same. For example, Asians within the United States have higher incomes than whites. And, the Asian community is not homogeneous. There are Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Laotians, Hmong, Filipinos, Malaysians, Indonesians, Koreans, and many other Asian populations in the United States. There are great differences that exist. For example, Japanese will be richer than Laotians. Similarly, there is a great many differences between the many indigenous peoples. There are also differences between black communities. Some black communities are much better off than others. Similarly, this is true of Chicanos, Mexicans, and other Latinos. Cubans are better off than Salvadorans in the United States. There a great many differences between different populations. And there is variety within the populations. Even though there is great variation, on the whole, most of these populations are part of the First World. Even though their standard of living is often less than the white population in the United States, it is still First World. On the whole, these are still First World populations. Even so, there are some Third World pockets within First World countries. Some indigenous populations in the United States, and some aboriginal populations in Australia, can be considered Third World. There are small pockets of very poor white people also. However, all these populations tend to be too small, fragmented, isolated, and dynamic to serve as reliable social bases for revolution. There might be some exceptions, but this is the general rule. Leading Light’s line is not that there is no proletariat in the First World countries. Rather, we say, there is no significant proletariat in the First World countries.

This does not mean that there aren’t great injustices that occur within these and other populations inside First World countries. It does not mean that we should not be outraged at injustice. However, we are not liberals. We are revolutionaries. Our job is to make revolution. And, whether we like it or not, the pockets of genuinely exploited, poor, Third World communities, in the First World do not add up to a significant social base capable of making revolution.

5. Do you see Lin Biao as greater than Mao Zedong?

Rather than look at the individuals, we should look at the political lines. Politics in command, not individuality. In some cases, Lin Biao’s line was better than Mao Zedong’s. Lin Biao challenged Mao’s turn to the right, including his alignment with Western imperialism in the 1970s. In the 1960s, Mao criticized Nitka Khrushchev for his line of “peaceful coexistence” with the imperialists. By the 1970s, Mao himself had moved into alignment with the Western imperialists. Just as the Soviets, Mao was putting national interest above the interest of the international proletariat. This was part of the conservative turn in the 1970s in China. Mao favored a China-centered geopolitics in the 1970s. Lin Biao favored an emphasis on aiding people’s wars and anti-imperialist struggles. Lin Biao favored people’s war; Mao favored national interest. Furthermore, Lin Biao correctly emphasized that global revolution would proceed from the “global countryside” to the “global city.” Lin Biao also wanted to continue to radicalize the Cultural Revolution after 1969, Mao moved to bring back many of the rightists and revisionists that had fallen. Lin Biao pushed left after 1969; Mao pushed right. On these points, Lin Biao was better than Mao. However, overall, Mao was a more important figure than Lin Biao. It was Mao, not Lin Biao, who guided the Chinese revolution. It was Mao who is the most important ideological author of the Chinese revolution and the Maoist wave of revolutions. Lin Biao is a Leading Light, but Lenin and Mao are the two brightest Leading Lights of twentieth century revolution. Think about it: Mao was the leader of a proletarian revolution that encompassed a quarter of humanity. His star shines very, very bright.

Our first duty is to revolutionary science, Leading Light Communism, not the legacies of individual leaders. All of these Leading Lights of the past – Marx, Lenin, Mao Zedong, Lin Biao, etc. – were great heroes, leaders, servants of the people. They embodied some of the best in humanity. They embodied our best selves, our best aspirations. However, history did not stop when Mao died. Science continues to develop. Today, we have developed the science of revolution to a whole new stage in order to initiate the next great wave of revolution. Just as Lenin advanced Marx,  Mao advanced Lenin, we advance them all. Leading Light Communism is the future.

6. You claim Leading Light Communism is the highest stage of revolutionary science. What is the difference between Leading Light Communism and the classical Marxism-Leninism-Maoism?

Leading Light Communism is an all-round advance of revolutionary science. Leading Light Communism has advanced every area of revolutionary science. It is not possible to list all the advances of Leading Light Communism here. Instead, we will focus on some key advances:

Leading Light Communism integrates the most advanced discoveries of today to create a genuinely scientific epistemology, an epistemology that integrates the best aspects of Marxist materialism with contemporary advances in logic, linguistics, cognitive science and neurology, and statistical analysis. Great advances are happening in all these areas of knowledge, if Marxism does not adapt, then it might as well be frozen metaphysics. Science did not freeze when Mao died in 1976. The capitalists are constantly advancing the science of oppression, if we do not counter their advances, we will always lose. We must wage a tit-for-tat struggle against the capitalists by advancing the science of revolution, Leading Light Communism. This idea is at the heart of advancing science to a whole new stage.

Leading Light advances political economy to a whole new stage. Leading Light a new theory of Global Class Analysis that reveals how class works on the global level today. Global Class Analysis tells us that the social base for revolution exists almost exclusively in Third World. No significant proletariat exists in the First World. Leading Light shows how the the modern bourgeoisie and proletariat has changed. Not only are the new forms of the bourgeoisie that have arisen in the First Word, but Leading Light also emphasizes the growing importance of shifting demographics in the Third World.

Leading Light advances our understanding of gender. Leading Light shows how just as Empire has changed class dynamics, it also changes gender dynamics. First World people as a whole are granted more life options at the expense of Third World people. This is true for men and women. First World women have won more and more access to the traditional privileges of First World men. This is part of the growth of liberalism and social democracy in the First World. However, we have to ask, who pays for this? Third World women often experience the worst forms of patriarchal oppression. Patriarchy in the Third World is used as a way to enforce horrible forms of gender apartheid. Patriarchy, especially in semi-feudal forms, is used to exploit and control women in the Third World. So, we have a situation where First World women are gaining more and more First World privilege, more and more life options, on the backs of continued imperialist and semi-feudal, patriarchal oppression of Third World men and women. This creates a situation where First World women do not have a common gender interest with Third World women. First World women may want gender equality with First World men, but the lifestyles of both First World men and women requires the continued existence of patriarchal, semi-feudal barbarism imposed on Third World women. Thus Third World men and women have far more common interest, both class and gender, than either has with First World men and women.

Leading Light has further advanced revolutionary military science. Revolution in the contemporary world is a matter of developing the Global People’s War of the Leading Light, a people’s war on a global scale by the Proletarian World against the Bourgeois World. This is a total war, a war against the First World as a whole, against First World civilization itself. It demands new forms of people’s war, advanced theory and practice. The shifting demographics, the rise of the slum, has deep implications for waging people’s war. The rise of the slum dwelling classes in the Third World means that future revolutions cannot be thought of simply in terms of countryside and city, but must be thought of also in terms of the growing role of slums. Information technology, psychological warfare, the rise of airpower, satellites, robotics, etc. will play greater roles in future conflicts. New technologies and approaches must be integrated into contemporary strategies in order to win. The revolutionary law of people power is still fundamental, but people power, to win, must be focused in ever more concentrated, advanced ways to win. “Without theory, practice is blind.”

Leading Light further advances our understanding of the history of revolution, counter-revolution, and socialist construction. Leading Light advances the understanding of the rise of revisionism and capitalist restoration to a whole new level. Leading Light shows how the Theory of the Productive Forces, the police paradigm, and certain conceptions of human good are interlinked. Although both the Soviet Union and Maoist China, in the revolutionary phases, were shining examples, they were flawed in important ways. Leading Light offers the most advanced account of the shortcomings of previous waves of revolution. This gives us important knowledge about how to do better next time.

Leading Light also advances the Marxist understanding of ecology. Leading Light shows how past Marxism failed to understand the importance of nature. For example, nature plays an important role in political economy. One way to further underscore the parasitism of the First World as a whole is to look at consumption patterns. The First World is simply not sustainable. First World consumption levels, the First World lifestyle, is killing the planet, our common home. First World consumption is a threat to the global ecosystem itself and a threat to the continued existence of all life, including the proletariat. Thus it is an important part of any future revolution to put care and defense of nature at the forefront. The New Power of the Proletariat must take a fundamentally different approach to nature than the reactionaries who threaten us all with extinction. Past socialism failed in significant ways in this regard, Leading Light says that the most advanced ecological science is an important, key part of the most advanced proletarian science today, Leading Light Communism.

Leading Light offers a new, advanced scientific vision of revolutionary construction. We are trying to eliminate thousands years of oppressive social organization and social programming. For thousands of years, power, economy, and culture have been organized in terribly oppressive ways. Marx described his project as scientific socialism and communism, applying the best science to the task of ending all oppression. Thus past revolutions need to be viewed as scientific experiment. Just as the Bolsheviks advanced over Marx and earlier attempts to reach communism, the Maoists advanced on the Bolsheviks. Similarly, real revolutionary scientists recognize that we need to advance over Mao’s revolution. If Mao had gotten everything right, he would have won. Socialism would still exist in China today if the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist tradition alone was the answer. Since the restoration of capitalism in China, the world has changed in important ways. We must learn from the greats who came before, but we must go forward. We must always recognize we stand on the shoulders of giants, but we have a duty to the masses the arm them with the most advanced revolutionary science. Anything short of this is treason.

Leading Light Communism has made advances in numerous other areas: high and low science, aesthetics, Cultural Revolution, United Front, New Power, and on and on. Leading Light Communism is a real advance, it is not just empty rhetoric, sloganeering, cultism. The scientific advances are so numerous and deep that it is not possible to articulate them in such a short format. The Leading Light has elevated every aspect of revolutionary science to a new stage. Leading Lights are not Avakianists who offer nothing but eclecticism and empty rhetoric. Leading Lights are not Prachandists who use the cover of innovation to revise the revolutionary heart out of Marxism. Leading Light is not empty cultism, sloganistic bombast. This is a genuine scientific advance that preserves and elevates the best in Maoism – Cultural Revolution, People’s War, New Power – but takes it all to a qualitatively new level.

There is a way forward. True Marxists, true Leninists, true Maoists are not metaphysicians with frozen dogmas. True Marxists, Leninists, Maoists are revolutionary scientists. To be a real Maoist today requires going beyond Mao. This is what science demands. Being a Maoist always meant adherence to the most advanced revolutionary science, not the letter of Mao’s work. Real Maoism is science, not religion posing as science. Thus it is the duty of all real Maoists to go beyond Mao, to adopt the most advanced revolutionary science today. And this means upholding Leading Light Communism.

Out of the shadows into the sun

Out of the shadows into the sunAL03

an interview with Leading Light Commander Prairie Fire

(llco.org)

1. Thank you for agreeing to answer a few questions. We admire your work very much. We admire all the Leading Lights. Leading Light Communist Organization is the only organization that is bringing forward new ideas to make revolution in the real world. It is exciting to finally meet you, Leading Light Commander. I know you have many names, but we’ll refer to you as “Prairie Fire.” Can you briefly discuss the problem as you see it? What is wrong with the world?

We live in a world of great poverty, great misery, great suffering, great cruelty. The scale of violence inflicted against humanity and the Earth is unprecedented. Global Empire, the Bourgeois World, the First World, is stealing our future and the future of the planet itself. Half the world lives and dies on less than 3 dollars a day. 800 million people do not have access to safe water. For hundreds of millions of people just getting by, just finding safe water, is a life and death, and daily, struggle. Every year, millions of lives are cut short due to structural poverty, lack of healthcare, lack of food or safe water, toxic environments. Endless wars, assassinations, drone strikes, bombings, death-squad terror. Suffering and cruelty are everywhere. Our people are destroyed. Our common home, the Earth, is destroyed. If we do not act, there will be nothing left, no future for our children and their children. We must fight back. Our children deserve better. We deserve better. But we should not strike out in blind rage. If we are to really win, we need more than just a revolutionary body, but also a mind. We must be guided by the Leading Light of truth, by revolutionary science. Without theory, practice is blind. Leading Light Communism is the only way forward.

2. It is hard to think about just how terrible it all is. It makes me want to cry sometimes. So few voices are speaking truth about just how bad it is. I don’t want to live in a nightmare. I want a good life. What is your goal? What kind of world do you want?

The last waves of revolution were defeated. We do not need to repeat the past. We do not go forward by cobbling together the fragments of the past. We must understand the past, learn from the past, but we must go beyond it. The next wave of revolution is made by boldly striking out, casting aside dogma, by putting the most advanced revolutionary science, all-powerful Leading Light Communism, in command. This means we must break every chain that holds us prisoner. Whether we are bound with one or a hundred chains, we are still chained to the wall. We must break the chains of class, racism, chauvinism, sexism, and every other chain. No one is free until everyone is free. Our war is on the old ways, the Old Power. We declare total war on the First World, on Empire.

We demand nothing less than a whole new world, a world without poverty, without suffering, without cruelty, without war, without hunger, without chauvinism, without rape. We demand a world of equality, a world of peace, a world of justice. Happiness. Joy. Serve the people. Imagine true freedom where we can be our best selves. Imagine a world where we were secure in the knowledge that our children will prosper, that the Earth would bloom again. Imagine all of humanity united in a common purpose, on a great adventure. Imagine if we could start over, to redesign society for the benefit of all, according to the best, revolutionary science. Instead of a society that promotes the worst in humanity, crass consumerism, pettiness, greed, cruelty. Imagine a society that cultivated the best in humanity: heroism, courage, bravery, sharing, caring, creativity. Imagine a society that promotes the best of the worker, the farmer, the builder, warrior, the nurturer, the scientist, the poet, the artist and musician, the philosopher. This is our future, our destiny, all-powerful Leading Light Communism.

3. That is a lot to take in. Lots of people know there is something wrong, but they don’t know how to change it. Who is on our side in this fight? Where will our forces come from? Who will make revolution? Some people will oppose us, right?

“Who are our enemies? Who are our friends?” The great revolutionary Mao Zedong, who led a mighty revolution that liberated a quarter of the world’s population in China, called this the “first question of revolution.” Unfortunately, Mao’s revolution, like the Bolshevik one before him, was defeated, but there still is so much to learn from those experiences. Even though China and Russia are capitalist now, let’s ask Mao’s question. If we are really to make revolution, we have to understand who has an interest in preserving the system, the status quo, and who does not. We also have to know which social forces, which classes, which groups, can be aligned, mobilized, against the system. Today, capitalism is a world system, Empire is global. We must apply class analysis not just to our own societies, not just to our communities or neighborhoods, but we must apply it on the global scale. To understand the part, we must understand the whole. To understand the local, we must understand the global. This is today’s reality.

In the nineteenth century, when Karl Marx looked at the world around him, European society was entering a new, dynamic era. The scientific and technological revolution was radically transforming life. Peasants were driven from their land, transformed into workers. The beginning of modern production. The factory system was born. Industrialism.  Marx saw a polarization happening in society.  On the one side were the capitalists, those who owned the means of production, the wealthy, the factory owners replacing the old feudal aristocracies. A new ruling class was replacing the old one. On the other side were those with nothing to lose but their chains. He called this new revolutionary class “the proletariat.” Now in his day, the proletariat, the revolutionary class, was made up of the industrial workers who owned nothing, people pushed off the land and transformed into workers who had only their labor to sell. All of society was changing. Capitalism was prone to crisis and instability. The old clan structures, the family, and traditional stabilizing institutions were breaking down. The old rural-based society and its traditions were dying. A new urban, cosmopolitan culture was rising. Marx believed that this struggle between the capitalists and workers, the haves and the have nots, would lead to real revolution, a fundamental reorganization of society according to egalitarian, communist, scientific principles.

This is how Marx saw the world, almost two centuries ago. Our world is much different today. It’s not all about Europe, or even mostly about Europe. In fact, the last century of revolution has taught us that revolution will happen in the weakest links of the system, on the edges of global economic power. Lenin’s prediction that the storm center of world revolution moving eastward came to past. Mao spoke of the east wind prevailing over the west wind. Today, the entire world economy is a single entity. Understanding the question of friends and enemies, Mao’s first question requires a class analysis that is truly global. It is not just First World capitalists who are reactionary enemies, but most people in the First World. Ordinary people in the First World have far more to lose than their chains. They have wealth, privileges, houses, cars, electronics, security, leisure, opportunities, mobility. They have access to capital. They have social wealth, infrastructure, land, modern institutions. Ordinary people in the First World do not have a class interest in revolution.

People in the First World are far too comfortable to make revolution. Revolution means risking your possessions and way of life. Revolution means risking death, and the death of family and children. People in the First World, including workers, have far more to lose than their chains. Even the poorest people in the wealthy countries do not make revolution because they are too insignificant, numerically too small and dispersed. And there is enough opportunity and class mobility that they do not feel revolution is the smartest way forward for them. They never form the requisite class consciousness, the revolutionary way of thinking. No matter what we do and say, people in the First World are not a revolutionary social base. No matter how hard we try, they will not make revolution. Facts are stubborn things.

Wealthy people in the Third World who ally with the First World, who are part of Empire, also have a real stake in the system. They are part of the First World, its agents. They stab their homelands in the back. They steal the resources and wealth of the Third World for the First World. They too are our enemies.

Who are our friends then? Who are the real proletariat today? Mao said “serve the people.” But, who are our people? Marx wrote that capitalism would create greater and greater misery for the vast majority. People would be pushed and pushed ever down, until they only had one way out, to cast off their chains through revolution.  Revolution is the hope of the hopeless. Our real friends are the the vast majority, the ordinary, the working, the farming, the homeless, the small owners, the slum dwellers, the poor peoples in the Third World. These are the people who are being smashed down. These are the suffering masses who have nothing to lose but their chains. Our world is the Proletarian World, the Third World, and its allies. Imagine our people sweeping the whole system away, starting over. Today, this is the principal contradiction in our world: The global rich versus the global poor, the Bourgeois World versus the Proletarian World, the First World versus the Third World. This is what we must understand to really win.

4. Revolution is what we need, but does it have to be violent. Can’t we just vote? What do you think about elections?

There is the story of the man on a ship who has a purse full of gold. He accidentally drops his purse overboard. He dives in after it. He drowns. When his body floats back up. We ask: “Did he own the gold or did the gold own he?”

This is how the reactionary state works. We may pursue change by petitioning the government or by participating in elections. Reform. We may even think we are making progress. Perhaps we even get elected. Perhaps we get some power. But this is the question: “What kind of power are we acquiring?” We are not building revolutionary power, we are instead partaking of the Old Power, the old system, the old society. Even if it looks like we are gaining influence through reform, through parliament, through elections, we are really losing. We are being co-opted. Even though it may seem like we own the system, really, by giving us power and influence, the system is owning us. Like the gold that pulls the man into the water to drown him, the system pulls revolutionaries into reform in order to drown the revolution. Many people never learn. They will stupidly chase after the gold, drowning with a big-fat grin on their face. This is what Lenin pointed out.

Revolution is not a matter of simply taking over the old system and bending it to our will. Rather, revolution is about sweeping away the old society, the Old Power. It is about building a totally new society, a New Power. The revolutionary process is one where two sets of institutions and ideas battle it out. Revolution is a process of constructing a dual power, a New Power, against the Old Power. The old state, the old institutions, the old culture, the old ways of thinking, all are the Old Power. The New Power is made up of new institutions: new ways to resolve conflict, to govern communities, to educate, to build public opinion and shape culture, to defend the people, to coordinate the revolution, etc. The New Power is a whole network of institutions, a kind of revolutionary shadow state that exists beneath the surface, among the people. The New Power is the people’s army, the people’s fronts, the people’s courts, the people’s schools, the people’s media, the people’s culture, the vast body of revolution. And, leading it all is the Leading Light, the brain that controls the vast body of revolution, the party of a new type. And, when the time is right, the New Power fully emerges as the Old Power is knocked down, filling the vacuum. This is a key part of the revolutionary process.

Lenin taught that the old state is not some neutral ground where the bourgeoisie and proletariat can resolve their differences. Rather, the old state is fundamentally reactionary. It is a tool of reactionary class rule through and through. The idea that we can capture this tool and use it for our own ends is foolish. The old state cannot be a tool of revolution. We cannot reform our way to revolution. Revolution is a deep, fundamental reorganization of all of society, it means disempowering the reactionary classes. It means empowering the revolutionary classes. The reactionary classes will never give us power and turn over their state, their weapon. They will never commit class suicide. Revolution is simply incompatible with the old state, the Old Power. We must write off elections and reformism from the strategic standpoint. “Revolution” means real revolution, warts and all.

Does this mean that we cannot make limited use of the old state, reforms, elections? From a tactical standpoint, it is acceptable to use the tools of the Old Power against itself so long as we understand that elections and reform are very limited tactics, not roads to revolution. For example, in some cases, it is acceptable to participate in an election, not because we believe we can win, but in order to use the election campaign as a way to draw attention to ourselves, as a way to agitate. In some circumstances, it is acceptable to participate in elections as part of an effort to block the rise of feudal, fascistic, militaristic, fundamentalist religious, or dictatorial forces. In other words, if rightist, militarist, fascist forces might win an election, and if these forces promise to wipe out oppositional forces, to silence all dissent, then we should use every tool in the toolbox to oppose them. Because if these fascist forces win, it will make it very difficult to organize the masses for revolution, for Global People’s War. If this is the case, although participating in elections will not bring revolution, it can help prevent the rise of deadly forces. There might be other times when we insert ourselves into local reform campaigns or elections not because it is a path to revolution, but because it is a way to recruit or gain resources. There may be organizational or logistical reasons for tactical manipulation of reformist and electoral campaigns. Think of it this way: Strategically, reform is never a path to power. But, tactically, reform can be an option. “Strategically, never! Tactically, maybe!” We have to always remember that there is only one path to revolution: the Global People’s War, the New Power, the Leading Light.

5. That makes a lot of sense. So many groups end up selling out when they begin to work with the system. They always claim to still be fighting for revolution, but the reality is they give up slowly. You mentioned war. What are your feelings on violence and war?

The great Prussian military thinker Carl von Clausewitz famously said “war is politics by other means.” Our struggle is a class struggle, the poor against the wealthy. The politics of the poor are absolutely antagonistic to the politics of the wealthy. Our interests are absolutely opposed to each other. Thus there can be no real, lasting reconciliation between us and them. We will not allow them to continue to impose all the horrors of this system upon us. We say “no!” to poverty, to terror, to genocide, to cruelty, to suffering, to toxic and unhealthy environments, to starvation, to rape, to corruption, to the endless indignities we endure. And they will always respond with their own “no!” whenever we reach for power. They will always fight tooth-and-nail for the horrific status quo. They will never give up their power and wealth. War between the poor and the wealthy is the inevitable, normal state of capitalism.

There is a difference though. We agree with Mao when he said we make war to end war. We wage war to end injustice. We wage war to give everyone a prosperous, secure, happy life. We fight to save the Earth, our common home. We fight for our future, for the future of our children. They fight to continue the madness. They fight for a corrupt, stupid, cruel, unjust order. They fight for death. We fight for life. They fight for themselves. We fight for the people.

Is the military struggle our only weapon? Of course not. To emphasize only the military aspect of our revolution, our Global People’s War, is a big error. It is an error criticized by Mao during his own people’s war. It is an error sometimes associated with focoism and adventurism. Our struggle is complex. The military struggle of the People’s Army of the Leading Light must be integrated with deep political education. The military struggle must be integrated with other aspects of the New Power of the Leading Light: people’s committees, people’s courts, people’s schools, people’s culture, etc. This vast network of struggles, both military and nonmilitary, must be coordinated by the Leading Light to achieve victory, total revolution. This means that military struggle, violence, is only one aspect of revolution. The most advanced revolutionary science, Leading Light Communism, is an all-powerful, all-round, awesome strategy. Leading Light Communism is indeed a sword and shield, but much more. It is also the body and mind to wield them. It is only real path to really winning. And it is about winning. To paraphrase Lenin: “Without power, all is illusion.”

6. You mentioned the Earth. Past revolutions did not treat the environmental well. Leading Light Communism is something very new though. What about the environment?

Our home, the Earth, is being destroyed. The forests, the lungs of the planet, are being burned. Whole areas, mountain tops, turned to ugly scars. Dead zones in the oceans threaten the entire food chain, including humanity. A continent-sized lake of toxic plastic exists in the Pacific ocean, destroying animal and plant life. Global warming is raising the temperature across the planet, causing water to rise, causing drought and famine, causing natural disasters. Whole countries, like Bangladesh, are threatened with ruin. Imagine the refugee crisis, imagine the death toll, imagine the toll on public health, imagine the harm inflicted on the ecosystem, if Bangladesh were flooded by rising water. Whole island chains may soon disappear. Many people do not realize just how bad the situation is. They dismiss the scientific consensus. Or they simply refuse to acknowledge any problems that do not affect them. Or they only look at their daily lives, not how their actions may affect their children, future generations. Many people do not realize that we are in the middle of another mass extinction. Just as the dinosaurs were wiped out, animal and plant life is going through another mass extinction. It is so bad that if humanity does not wake up, there will be no future left for anyone.

And for what? All of this destruction so the First World can consume more. Capitalism says “buy, buy, buy!” “Consume, consume, consume!” “Waste, waste, waste!” Capitalism is a beast that consumes natural resources and shits out its ugly consumer culture. Not only does it endlessly consume the physical world, but it also consumes beauty itself, replacing it with vulgarity. Capitalism is irrational from the standpoint of human need. It is organized to serve profit, not people nor the Earth. Capitalism cares nothing about the future, nothing about future generations. It is the Third World masses that pay, are starved, so the First World can grow fat. Humanity is walking a razor’s edge. Leading Light Communism, by contrast, calls us to live according to our best selves: help each other, share with each other, sacrifice, be honorable, create, seek truth, and protect nature. Leading Light is about a sustainable, balanced approach to development and nature. We must be guardians of the Earth, of the seas, forests, skies, plants, animals that sustain us all. Serving the people also means serving the Earth.

7. You spoke of the importance of science. There are a lot of attacks on science today. What about religion? Do you oppose religion?

Religion plays many roles in society. It is part of the way those in power and other reactionaries justify their attacks on the masses. All kinds of cruelties are inflicted against the masses by the wealthy and powerful in the name of religion. Yet we must also remember Karl Marx’s famous words from A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right:

“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

The masses turn to religion because of oppression. They turn to religion as an escape, for comfort. Since this world is so filled with horrors, they seek solace in the thought of an afterlife where things are better. Since justice escapes them in this world, they hope for divine justice, a day of judgement or karma. One of the pleasures of Christian heaven, at least as it is portrayed in literature, is that those in heaven get to watch the suffering of those in hell, those who harmed them in this life. Thus heaven has a sadistic, petty component. Truth can be hard to handle, so people seek comfort in shadows and illusion. People have always looked to myth. Myths, religion, is also part of cultural and community identity. We must approach this issue in a humble, understanding way. We do not want to trample on identity, culture, tradition as imperialists often do.

Marx famously wrote that the secret of the holy family is the earthly family. In other words, our religious conceptions, our God or gods, are really just mental, cultural constructs. We project social relations that we encounter in our daily life, the father of the patriarchal family, onto the universe. God is a kind of father figure to his children, humanity, his creation. After we project this onto the universe, we then begin to order our lives according to our own creation, but we fail to recognize this projection as our own. It comes to have a kind of cultural life, a kind of perceived objectivity, beyond ourselves. In a sense, religion is a collection of illusions, but also more than mere illusions. Because man is a social animal, as Aristotle famously wrote, because of the collectivity of human life, because of culture, these illusions become a force in the world and in history. But ultimately, religion is false. To continue to be motivated by it, to continue to explain the world by reference to it, is deeply incompatible with science. And since our goal is to liberate humanity and the Earth through empowering the masses with revolutionary science, religion is, in the final analysis, an obstacle to this goal.

The revolution, at the level of leadership, has to be organized according to the most advanced science. And, as Leading Light Communists, our goal is to empower the masses to lead themselves, to give the people the tools they need to understand their world and change it. This means we have to continuously strive to elevate people, to advance them, to educate them, to always try to bring more people into the leadership, to the Leading Light.

What will society look like as we transition to Leading Light Communism? Revolutionary society will be officially secular, but tolerant of the diverse beliefs of many faiths so long as they do not hurt anyone directly. The contradiction between revolutionary-scientific leadership and the religious masses should be treated as non-antagonistic. Those who are religious and try to help the masses should be treated as friends of the revolution. Tolerance and gentle education should be the order of the day. It is more important to expose those who use God as a way to oppress people than to expose God himself. However, there are some instances when the threat from reactionaries, capitalists, feudalists, fascists with religious ideology is so great that we must suppress them and their fascist beliefs. Those who pervert the best in religion, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc., in order to oppress and exploit the masses should be seen as enemies. To those religious friends of the people, we extend the open hand. To those religious enemies of the people, we raise a clenched fist.

We must all remember that not every individual is at the same place on the learning curve. People have different experiences. We must always be humble. We must always use the mass line. Revolution, leading prisoners out of Plato’s cave, out of the world of shadow and illusion, takes time. It is a protracted struggle. It is part of our long march

8. Your message is so important. The future really does hang in the balance. It is frightening, the place we find ourselves as a species. It does lift my spirits to know there are real leadership out there. But are you hopeful about the future?

Revolutionaries are optimists. A great storm is gathering. Crisis after crisis. Poverty. Endless wars. Ecological catastrophe.  People have been asleep a long time, since the last wave of revolution was defeated. The people have one eye open. They are beginning to awaken once more. We must open both their eyes with science, with hope, with vision, with a real alternative, one that is based on the truth of past revolutions, but integrates the most advanced science of today, all-powerful, awesome Leading Light Communism. We lead the poor people, the exploited workers, the ordinary farmers, the landless, the slum dwellers and homeless, the small owners, all who truly suffer the worst of this world. They are us. We are them. United in suffering, united in hope, united by our future, shared destiny, the Leading Light.

Those in power will fight us. To the arrogant, we say: “all that you are, all that you represent, all that you honor will be swept away by our mighty storm. From great chaos, the world can be reborn. There is great potential in those who have seen the reality of this system, who have looked it in the eye, who have endured the worst and survived. And we have endured. We have survived. What does not kill us, makes us stronger. For there is a power in the people that you will never understand, but you will come to know it. We promise you, we will bring it to you, one way or another. You are facing a people, a spirit, you have never seen before.”

Armed with the best, most advanced revolutionary science, all-powerful, awesome Leading Light Communism, we are guiding our friends, the masses, our people into tomorrow. We declare total war on the Old Power, all the poverty, suffering, cruelty, and pain. A New Power of the Leading Light, of peace, prosperity, happiness, justice, heroism, creativity, sharing is rising like the dawn pierces the night. We carry the future on our finger tips. Our future is our own. We will never stop fighting until we win. Fight, fight, fight, until total victory, total liberation, until Leading Light Communism, until we know once and for all that our children have a future, that the Earth will bloom again. This is our great destiny, and we are its walking martyrs. As the Vietnamese poet and revolutionary Ho Chi Minh wrote:

“Everything changes, the wheel
of the law turns without pause.
After the rain, good weather.”

The storm will get much worse before it gets better. It will get much darker before the dawn. But it will not last forever. It will get better. This is the time of heroes. Our sun is rising. Our day is coming.

“All the birds sing at once.
Men and animals rise up reborn.
What could be more natural?
After sorrow comes joy.”

MUST READ: Tasks, deviations, corrections, an interview with Leading Light Commander Prairie Fire

MUST READ: Tasks, deviations, corrections, an interview with Leading0013729e47710f5a58fb18-300x205 Light Commander Prairie Fire

(llco.org)

1. Presently, what stage of struggle is Leading Light at?

In terms of high science, we can declare absolute victory over all competitors. There are no more real two-line struggles with dogmatic relics. All ideological competitors are dead at the level of high science. There is no more real debate with the First Worldists, Trotskyists, Marxist-Leninists, Maoists. There is only education. We should extend a hand to those stuck in dogma. We should try to help them out, but we do not bend to them. To do so is what Mao himself would call the unprincipled peace of liberalism. Without Leading Light, without genuine science,  they have no future. The sooner they see this the better. They will fall into the dustbin of history or they will come to us on our terms. There may be a little intellectual mopping up to be done, but that is all. Our competition is not the dogmatic relics, but liberalism, neo-fascism, and Islamism, and there is significant overlap within our opposition. The global masses have their organization, leadership, vanguard, Leading Light.

In terms of low science, we need more work. We are pushing out in many bold directions. We have pulled diverse influences together from the Marxist tradition, but also from others. Much of low science is about touching the heart. This is an area where traditional Marxism is very much lacking. We have spoken of the importance of the spirit of the people’s warrior, of the people’s artist, the caregiver. We have discussed of the importance of reverence toward the Earth. We promoted the spirit of caring, sacrifice, serve the people. We have raised the importance of family and the future of our children. There are many dogmatic relics out there who can only copy the low science of the old Chinese Maoists, even though their own leadership is seriously lacking. There is a Chinese Maoist saying, “you can’t make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear.” The Mexicans say, “you can’t polish a turd.” There are lots of people putting a crown on dogma and giving a scepter to mediocrity. This is the kind of thing you get when the revolutionary movement is at such a low point. People grasp at straws. It’s natural. They think they can fake it into making it. Faking it only goes so far. Real revolution is led by the most advanced scientific core, Leading Light Communism. There are plenty of cheerleaders who turn themselves into useful idiots in the process. It is good to support the broad anti-imperialist united front against imperialism. However, we should not lie to the proletariat. We must put the most advanced revolutionary science, Leading Light Communism, in their hands. We must understand that both high science and low science are weapons. We must master both. Serve the people truth, not fiction.

In terms of organization, it is no secret we are in something akin to what Maoists sometimes call the period of strategic defensive. We are at the beginning. The scientific breakthrough has been made. It’s all about implementation in a real way. We have done exactly as we promised. We have elevated the science. We have created a global movement. Everything we have promised has come to pass. The seeds we planted years ago are beginning to bloom, but we are at a very dangerous, critical period. It is about establishing the logistical capacity capable of making real gains. There is a Leading Light saying:

“It does not matter how much chess strategy you know if you have no board and pieces.”

At this stage of development, there is an apt saying:

“Kids study tactics, amateurs study strategy, professionals study logistics.”

We have the best long game. We have the Great Strategic Plan. We have the leadership. We have warriors. What we need a serious attention to logistics. If we can solve the logistical issues, we will be at a qualitatively higher level within a year. We are so close, yet so far, which can be very frustrating.  Destiny calls louder and louder every day. We need to bring some of the dreamers back to Earth. And we need to get those around us who do not yet get it to realize that real heroism can be as simple as donating. We can make revolution a reality, but that means we have to all focus on logistics, which is not always the most romantic part of struggle. This isn’t a joke or some con. If you want elevated science, a real breakthrough in how revolution is understood, here it is on a silver platter. If you really want Global People’s War, here is is on a silver platter. This is the time that people really need to just “fanshen,” get your heads on straight. We have done all the hard work, we have sacrificed a lot. For our First World skeptics, you need to check your egos. Our door is open.

2. Can you say more tactics, strategy, logistics?

At any given point, a different aspect of the practice of Global People’s War will take precedence. A focus on tactics, perfecting the techniques of the battlefield, is appropriate once a certain scientific and organizational level has been achieved only. If you do not have Leading Light, strategic leadership, if you do not have logistical sophistication to sustain a real movement, then focusing on the tactical aspect, romanticizing the gun, is a mistake.

There are a lot of focoists and anarchists posing as communists today. A handful of people get together, usually students, run out and take some selfies with guns, do some street theater with berets or guns, or some armed propaganda. This is fine, but this kind of thing has no future. It has little to do with either orthodox Maoist people’s war nor does it have anything to do with the Global People’s War of the Leading Light. Mao himself criticized this kind of adventurist outlook in On Correcting Mistaken Ideas in the Party. Mao criticized the petty-bourgeois mentality that leads to adventurism. It is also very dangerous to real movements and the masses. Real armed struggle is not a game.

People need to be less concerned with their ego, their emotional needs. People should not be so concerned with establishing their credibility by brandishing arms prematurely. If you are impressed by a few students in masks holding weapons, then you are easily impressed. People should not run off into suicidal conflicts with the state because they feel some need to prove themselves. Pulling our guns too early is a sign of weakness, not strength. It is a sign of petty-bourgeois instability, lack of proletarian discipline, lack of mass line, lack of the long game, lack of revolutionary science. It says something very sad about the state of people’s movement. It says something about just how weak First World movement is that it can be so easily impressed. It stands to reason that this kind of armed theater pops up in the First World given the lack of a real proletariat to temper petty-bourgeois and bourgeois emotionalism. But it also pops up in the Third World, which is unfortunate. There is a petty-bourgeois mentality, among many Leninist and Maoist dogmatists, that we just need to memorize some slogans, remember some formulas, then go get some guns. It’s all amature hour. Small criminal organizations, cartels, for example, can field a stronger army than most so-called revolutionaries. They have a better mass line too. They often lift their people out of poverty more effectively. These small sects are too busy trying to establish their credibility vis-a-vis other student organizations to notice that the angry poor are flocking to criminal organizations, and the criminal organizations often project a populist, left character. They are the real competition, not the collections of tiny, bickering left sects. Similarly, the Islamists are the real competition on the street level, not tiny little left sects busy trying to impress each other with slogans and guns.

Romanticization is a part of low science. It is needed for a real revolutionary movement, but it is a big mistake to romanticize the gun prematurely, and it is always a mistake to romanticize dead dogma. To romanticize the gun prematurely or to romanticize it to such an extent that it interferes with actually winning is a big focoist, adventurist error. Often the focoist trend will eschew science as “mere intellectualism.” They do not understand the need for genuine scientific leadership. They do not understand Mao himself was a big critic of the low-political level of petty-bourgeois, militarist adventurists.

We need to cultivate scientific, Leading Light leadership. We need leaders who are less concerned with their reputations in the short term. We need leaders who understand the long game requires real science, not dogma. People’s war is not an adventure, it is a social process involving millions. Global People’s War involves billions. The low-level of development of revolution has a lot to do with lack of science and a lot to do with dogma and emotionalism.

Right now, the global revolution is at a point where logistics matters more than any other factor. The scientific breakthrough has been made. Tactical sophistication will come in time, but the movement will not grow without developing sophisticated logistical networks. A modern people’s war will not sustain itself merely by plucking apples off trees. We’re talking about real Global People’s War, not guerrilla porno of the focoist or anarchist variety. The most heroic thing that a comrade can do is generate resources, even if it means simple donations. The people who donate seriously are really some of our first heroes. Everything flows from them. Those who talk about fighting, but don’t donate, are loudmouths. The people who solve our logistics issues are the leaders of the future, it is that simple. They are the ones who walk the walk. They are the ones we all can learn from.

3. What are some of the anti-imperialist and revolutionary movement?

At the global level, there are several problems:

Firstly, people need to get beyond dogma. They need to put all-powerful Leading Light Communism in command. Put away bourgeois mentalities that romanticize dogma and orthodoxy. We have the most advanced revolutionary science. We need to be fearlessly and ruthlessly scientific. Truth is on our side. Truth is the most powerful weapon.

Secondly, people need to stop romanticizing the gun prematurely. We need to shut the door on the focoist, adventurist mentality. Selfies with guns does not make a revolution. A few armed propaganda actions does not impress the masses. People need to channel their energy into logistical support for the organization, the Great Strategic Plan of the Leading Light. This means everyone needs to generate resources for the organization and its Global People’s War. These are the heroes of our movement. Everything from here until our victory will be part of a chain of causality that is made possible by those who generate resources, those who solve the logistical issues. Those who are giving financially are the real heroes.

Thirdly, people need to be willing to organize in fronts with the same passion they put toward pure Leading Light work. We need really throw ourselves into  recruiting through fronts, not simply recruiting out of the pre-existing “far left.” Fronts are one of the main pillars of logistics.

Fourthly, discipline needs to be increased. All comrades need to be consistently working on projects and generating resources. All comrades need to be constantly educating themselves and others. We all need to be pulling the revolution forward. Ego has to be eliminated. We need to forge a mighty unity. We need to all play our part. We need to be our best selves. We need to do our duty without complaint. Everything for the people, the Global People’s War, the organization, the leadership, the Leading Light.

Fifthly, security needs to be increased. We have been attacked on several fronts. We need to tighten up our security. We need to increase our vigilance. Except for a few chosen representatives, we are a clandestine organization at the global level.

Sixthly, taking initiative is important. If you are not being utilized to the best of your ability then it is your responsibility to tell the leadership so that you can better serve the people. Do not sit quietly by. Speak up.

Seventh, don’t worry about the criticism from dogmatic relics. They do not matter. Do not try to impress the legions of cowardly lions who claim to support revolution, yet do not donate a dime. Do not worry about criticism from circles of First Worldists, students, hipsters, etc., people who have no mass base. Their politics is disconnected from reality. These are clowns who are willing to try to sabotage Third World anti-imperialist struggles in order to gain credibility in small internet cliques. These are First World clowns who claim run-of-the-mill student and hipster activism is waging people’s war in the First World. These are groups that think fighting for First Worldist economism and identity politics as important as liberating the Third World from the clutches of imperialism. Do not get baited into their fantasies. Let the yappers yap. Soar above them.

4. You place a great deal of emphasis on finances, why is this?

Look at the progress we have made recently. We are flooded with interest from the proletariat. We are training people abroad, setting up schools, bases. We are on the verge of emerging onto the global level. We have laid the groundwork. It really just requires financial, logistical support. If we can secure this, we will be able to advance the quality of our work by leaps. We are about to see something very inspiring and beautiful emerge. This is going to be like nothing we have seen before, but we need people to listen to what we are saying and act accordingly. I don’t know else to say it. This is the time. We need you. We can all do something very great together.

5. You’ve spoken of “the long game.” What do you mean?

Leading Light is playing the long game. We are making moves that will only make sense looking back from 5 years, ten years, decades, from now. We are on a whole other level. We are playing for the big victory. This is part of what vanguard consciousness is. It is seeing beyond others. It is playing on a whole other level. It is to be commanded as if by destiny. We do not need to worry about small bends in the road. We do not need to worry about the ups and downs of the dogmatic relics. Everything is converging in a way that will be very good for us. What is important is that we stay steady. We all have strategic confidence. We rally to the leadership and the Great Strategic Plan of the Leading Light. Keep your eye on the prize.

6. What do you say to those who accuse Leading Light of cultism and gangsterism?

Look at the culture of the system: Liberalism, fascism, feudalism. What we offer is a genuine alternative. We offer a way of thinking, a way of life that is genuinely liberating. We say that truth matters. We say science matters. We say it is important to live for, to die for, to serve the people. Sharing, caring, nurturing is important. Family and community matter. We stand for real freedom, creativity, justice, prosperity, equality, happiness, joy. We are warriors. I will give my life for all my brothers and sisters. Your suffering is my suffering. Nobody is free until we all are free. We truly want a peaceful world for our children. We cherish the Earth, our common home, as part of our family. We also believe in leadership, organization, loyalty, sacrifice. This may seem otherworldly or “culty,” but this is how we are. We do not think we are the problem, the problem is Empire. The problem is liberalism, fascism, medievalism.  We live in a world where millions of people, our brothers and sisters, our children, die every year from wars, hunger, unnecessary disease, unclean water, lack of healthcare, crushing poverty. We live in a world where poor peoples are treated like trash. We live in a world where many women are treated like slaves. We proudly admit that we do not think as the system does. We are the most down-to-earth, honest, critical, scientifically-minded, sacrificing, courageous, loyal people I have ever met. We are not the problem, the system is.

The same elites and their agents call us “gangsters” and “mafia.” This is a system that has created more economic inequality than ever. The rich get richer. The poor are thrown away. They own everything. We own nothing. They buy and sell the people like animals. They kill the poor in their endless wars. We are the poor, the exploited workers, farmers, small owners, slum dwellers. We want everyone to live a good life. We are fighting for the vast majority of humanity. We pick up the gun to put down the gun. They only fight for themselves, for the First World and their allies. They fight for the elites. They kill for profit. Who are the real “gangsters”? Who are the real “mafia”? The elites, the Empire, their agents are always going to slander the people’s movement. We must remember what Mao said: “To be attacked is a good thing.” They would not attack us if we were not making progress. They would not attack us if we were not threatening their world order.

To Empire we say: Call us what you want. Do your best. We are not afraid. You are fighting a spirit, a people, an organization, a leadership you have never faced before. This is a new kind of revolution. Global People’s War is coming. This is our time, our future, our destiny.

7. Any words for those who want to help?

Put aside all the lies. Put aside all the gossip. Ignore the slander of the state and its agents. You have a chance to be part of something very new. It doesn’t matter where you are from, what language you speak, what you look like, the color of your skin, your religion. What matters is your heart. The color of your spirit, red.

This is why we shout: Those who have eyes, see. Those who have ears, listen. Those who have minds, think. We need your help, now. Our hand is open, take it. It is your future too.

Interview with Leading Light Commander Prairie Fire on gender, sex, life

Interview with Leading Light Commander Prairie Fire on gender, sex, lifewomen-229x300

(llco.org)

  1. So many people claiming to be Marxist are really just liberal. You are one of the only voices, maybe the only voice, really challenging bourgeois, liberal feminism from the left. Let me ask you: What is probably the biggest, single misunderstanding about gender among activists today?

Probably the biggest misconception is that patriarchy is the same for women in the First and Third World. It is a huge misconception that women experience patriarchy the same way, that they are similarly oppressed in both the First and Third World. Furthermore, it is a big misconception that women in both the First and Third World have an interest in eliminating gender oppression globally. In fact, women in the First World benefit from the gender oppression of women in the Third World. Like First World men, First World women benefit from the patriarchal control of Third World women’s bodies. It is this control that squeezes more and more work out of Third World women, for example. This value create by the Third World ends up in the pockets of the First World. The entire First World way of life, all the privileges, the social-democratic benefits, are a result, in part, of the gender oppression of Third World women. First Worldist feminists promote the lie that all women experience patriarchy the same way, that they all are one big sisterhood united against gender oppression. This is one of the many lies First Worldists use to oppress the Third World. Remember how Chinese revolutionaries warned us of those who “wave the red flag to oppose the red flag.” First Worldist feminism and gender activism are yet other ways revisionism enters the revolutionary movement. Just as Lenin wrote about the “split in the working class,” so too is there as split among women. First World women, on the whole, are enemies of revolution. Similarly, most Third World women can be counted as friends. We must reject all manifestations of reaction, including liberalism and traditionalism. We must reject all First Worldism. We must embrace proletarianism, real, proletarian feminism.

  1. Mao Zedong stated that the first thing we have to do as revolutionaries is separate friends and enemies. You say First World women are enemies just as First World peoples as a whole are. But you say Third World women are mostly friends of the revolution. What kinds of oppression do they face?

Our sisters in the Third World face the worst of the imperial system. They suffer all the horrors that Empire inflicts on Third World men, and then some. They suffer subsistence and sub-subsistence incomes. They suffer grueling, unsafe work for pennies a day, usually earning substantially less than their male counterparts. They suffer gender apartheid. Sometimes they have to give sexual favors to their employers and other men with power. They have to toil away in the domestic sphere, often suffering abuse when they do not fulfill what is expected of them. They have to take care of children, even as they are working. They live under constant threat of abuse and rape, sometimes from their own husbands. Young women are sold off into marriage, often against their will. Girls can have their clitorouses removed so that men can better control them. They must endure the tyrannies of their husband’s in-laws. They are valued less by society. If the family must consume less, the females sacrifice first. They are often the last to receive health care. Sometimes female babies are discarded to die. Sometimes girls are sold into sex slavery by their own families. In some places, females not only suffer under imperialist capitalism, but they suffer under semi-feudalism. It is sometimes prohibited by law for girls to receive an education. It might be prohibited for females to go outside without covering their whole bodies, or it might be prohibited for them to go outside without a male relative. They can face an entire system of gender apartheid. In much of the world, females are not equal under the law. They have little rights in cases of divorce. They are not allowed to own significant property. In some places, beating women is seen as acceptable, normal behavior. The world is truly a nightmare for many women. They truly have nothing to lose but their chains. These women need revolution. They need a radical reorganization of the social order to end oppression, to serve their interests, to save their children. Revolution is about future. It is about creating a just society, caring, loving, happy families. It is about a future where we are secure in the knowledge our children will be safe and prosper. Leading Light Communism is their sword to pick up and slay the beast of patriarchy, feudalism, capitalism, Empire.

  1. You have called for women to pick up the sword of Leading Light Communism to overthrow their oppressor. Can women be good fighters?

Women are one of our greatest, our strongest, our sharpest weapons. There is a special strength in those who have tasted the worst this system has to offer, as so many women have. Those who have endured the worst, been abused, smashed down, survived the worst, have a special spirit. To stand against them is like fighting the hurricane. They have a strength that cannot be conquered. Fighting without women in our ranks is like fighting with one arm tied behind our backs. This is one of the greatest advantages of our movement over others. Reactionaries, religious extremists, traditionalists relegate women to a subordinate position, a gender apartheid. “No!” Because we are led by genuine, revolutionary science, all-powerful, Leading Light Communism, we do not harbor any chauvinism, no hate. We have only love. We say with the Chinese revolutionaries: “Women hold up half the sky!” Women can fight alongside men. Women can lead alongside men. Women can be as strong as men, even stronger. It is their future too. They not only have the right, but the moral obligation to fight. We all fight for our children, our shared future, destiny. The Leading Light. Global People’s War. They are us. We are them.

  1. You have taught that traditionalism is one form that revisionism can take, but so is liberalism. Some First Worldists take up the politics of the left wing of bourgeois feminism. They see all men as the enemy. They even claim that it is necessary to get rid of genders, and men or manhood, to reach communism?

Probably one of the most famous revolutionary slogans is “women hold up half the sky!” It was a slogan from Maoist China. Recently, First Worldist revisionists made the strange argument that the Maoist slogan “women hold up half the sky” somehow meant or implied the Chinese Maoists were against gender and manhood itself. This is somewhat mind boggling that someone would put forward such a goofy interpretation. According to such a strange interpretation, one wonders who exactly upheld the sky’s other half?

The saying itself, in its very wording, suggests that women are half, not more, not less, of a whole. Their responsibilities and duties are half of a greater whole. It is an inspiring slogan, a call for replacing old oppressions with new, liberating unity. When the liberal revisionist misrepresents the slogan, he is allowing his own ideological biases to distort its meaning, which should be obvious to most. The revisionist is also allowing her own narrowness and pettiness of spirit to taint a beautiful, poetic expression of the revolutionary hope and reality that oppressed men and women have far more in common, and far more to gain, by working together. The Chinese Maoists were genuine revolutionaries leading a vast country of men and women. First Worldist revisionists who answer to no social base are well-known for embracing all kinds strange politics. It is like the children’s story of Chicken Little. An acorn falls on his head so he thinks the sky is falling. They run around waving their arms: “all sex is rape,” “all men are evil!,” and so on. It is self-absorbed, petty, ego-driven crackpotism that has nothing to do with real revolution. It is totally disconnected from ordinary people. Those who raise such irresponsible politics only serve the bourgeoisie, but they are mostly ignored even in the First World.

It is important to eliminate gender oppression. This is not the same thing as eliminating genders. Overthrowing patriarchy is not the same thing as eliminating men and manhood. One would be hard pressed to find such a concept of eliminating gender itself in the revolutionary tradition, in the works of Marx, Lenin, Mao, or other Leading Lights. On the contrary, revolutionaries of the past have seen the denial of manhood as an injustice inflicted on poorer men by the reactionary system. This complaint is often heard even by poorer communities.

The history of the Chinese Communist Party’s outlook on gender is complex. It evolved in all kinds of ways. However, I would like to see evidence that their concept of women’s liberation was tied in any meaningful way to “fighting manhood” in some kind of specific, stronger sense, as some crackpots claim. In fact, the Communist Party could also facilitate marriages between men and women for large segments of the population. Men in rural China often were very poor and lacked the status to acquire a bride in the traditional way, arranged marriages, bride prices, etc. In a 1931, Mao reportedly said the inability of poor men to be married was a big injustice. Similarly, women sometimes fled their homes to avoid being sold to husbands or they fled the tyranny of in-laws, specifically the step mothers. In the Party, men and women sought to escape the patriarchy that hurt them both. The communists were a safe haven from feudal tyranny. But you have a case here where poor, rural men were being denied the possibility of having a family, status, which meant a lot in Chinese society. Similarly women had their reasons for entering these circles. My point is that Mao himself expressed that denial of manhood was an abuse inflicted on poor men. One only need to look at old Maoist propaganda to see portrayals of strong, proud, brave, healthy men and women. There was no concept of eliminating gender and manhood coming from the Maoists or Bolsheviks.

There is a view out there among some First World Maoists and anarchists that men and manhood are inherently bad. This is not the revolutionary view. It is one extreme view that emerges from the liberal paradigm that the individuals must be in competition with each other. One manifestation of this extreme view that advancing women means oppressing or eliminating men or separating from them. This kind of unhealthy outlook is reflected, albeit in less extreme ways, in the romance culture in the First World. People describe themselves as “players” in a “game” of winners and losers. Their ultra-left strand of liberalism is a kind of reverse of the gender apartheid of traditionalism. Both extremist views are very wrong, anti-people. Rather than trying to make people, males, females lose so they can benefit in their relationships, shouldn’t we try to see gender in a way to make everyone win? The view that men and manhood are necessarily bad is an extreme view within the broad liberal camp. Such a view is crackpot, but has a small following in the First World activist community. It is the outlook of Chicken Little who leaps to all kinds of wild conclusions when he misinterprets a thump on his head. Such extreme views only serve the patriarchy by discrediting those of us who really do fight against gender oppression, which is very real. Most women want to be women. Most men want to be men. Most women don’t see anything wrong with men being men. Most men don’t see anything wrong with women being women. Motherhood and fatherhood are healthy things. However, we should not limit anyone to any single gender role. People should have freedom within the context of advancing the community to Leading Light Communism. We should promote healthy ways of living that allow us to thrive, create, be strong. We need to promote virtue. We need to promote the spirit of the nurturer, the worker, the farmer, the musician, the artist, the warrior, the scientist, the poet, the philosopher. We need to promote images of attractive, healthy, vigorous, virtuous, strong women and men.  We need to promote images of women that are powerful, but are not whores and bitches. We need to promote images of men that are not weaklings, but also not pimps, douchebags, assholes. We need to promote images of loving revolutionaries who take care of their family and community.

Revolution is not about getting rid of the family. Revolution is about getting rid of oppression. It is about getting rid of those who use the family to oppress. Revolution is not about getting rid of genders. It is about getting rid of those who use gender to oppress. Real revolution is about saving the family, integrating it back into the community, and into the shared destiny of achieving real freedom. It is the proletarian outlook that rejects the pink flag of the liberal Empire, but also rejects the black flag of traditionalism, fascism, feudalism. The revolutionary outlook was pioneered, but not completed, by the Bolsheviks in the Soviet Union and by the Maoists in China. It it the outlook of Proletarianism, or proletarian feminism. It is the red flag of the Leading Light.

  1. Is sex biological?

The revisionists make the strange argument that sex is not biological. They point to the few anomalous, ambiguous cases in order to conclude male and female do not really exist. This silliness is popular in the First World, even among Marxist-Leninists, Maoists, and other revisionists. Sex, whether one is male or female, is biological. Sexual dimorphism, male and female, exists across nature in most complex species. Not only do males and females have different bodies and different sexual organs, they have differences in their endocrine systems and in their brains. This does not mean women are better than men or vice versa. It simply means that biological differences exist. It is also foolish not to recognize that these differences manifest themselves psychologically and in sexual culture. Gender is not identical to sex, but there is a biological dimension to it.

  1. Can you explain more about gender? Is gender biological?

It depends on what we mean by “gender.” If we are talking about “gender” as a position in a system of oppression, then it is not biological. The difference between First and Third World women should make that clear. First and Third World women share the same biology, but have different roles in the system of gender oppression. First World women and Third World women have different positions in regard to the global patriarchy. First World women tend to benefit from it. Third World women suffer. First World women are granted more and more life options. Third World women have their life options restricted. And there is a causal relation here between the extension of social-democratic privilege in the First World and the narrowing of life options in the Third World, a narrowing that sometimes occurs through the most brutal forms of feudal patriarchy. Thus First World women are oppressors. Third World women are, on the whole, oppressed in the global patriarchy. They share very different gender interests. Because of their First World privileges, First World women are not as limited by their role in reproduction as they once were. First World women share some, but not all, of the same culture and identity of First World men. And First World men have also become more and more like First World women. This is a big part of the liberal culture of Empire. So some aspects of gender are definitely very social in origin.

But, if we are discussing the psychological component of “gender,” there is a biological component. There are aspects of gender that are still biological, that cannot be overcome by culture and society. There are biological differences that exist between men and women that manifest themselves in mating, emotional life, etc. There are some differences in sexual and reproductive behavior. People speak of the “maternal instinct” in women, for example. There are differences in body chemistry, sexual psychology, emotions, behaviors. Humans are animals. Like animals, humans have innate instincts and behaviors. Acknowledging difference does not mean any gender is better or worse than another. The slogan “women hold up half the sky” implies that poor men and poor women should work together in a complementary way, not in competition. If we are to build a revolutionary society that is genuinely scientific, we must construct a society that works with, not against, our natures. We, men and women, need to work together.

  1. Is manhood bad?

Many of those same characteristics often associated with manhood are ones we need in order to fight, to really make revolution. These characteristics are not exclusive to men, but they have been attacked by liberal Empire as part of an effort to undermine our communities and fighting capacity. It is Empire, the society of Friedrich Nietzsche’s last man, without ambition, intensity, destiny. Strength, valor, honor, loyalty are all lacking and mocked in Empire. The drive to excellence is lacking. Leadership and genius are mocked. In Plato’s tripartite division of the soul, the soul is pictured as a chariot that moves due to the efforts of two horses and a driver. There is the pull of the crass desires, the stomach. The soul is also pulled by what the Greeks called “thymos,” spiritness, excellence, the pull of the athlete and warrior. There is also reason, intellect. Liberal Empire is driven by stomach, by petty consumerism. The other parts of the soul are suppressed by contemporary culture. Liberal Empire is a world where both the best and worst lack conviction, neither has “passionate intensity,” unless it is intense consumerist conviction. Traditionalism tends to elevate thymos far more than liberalism, but it combines heart with the crass appetites of the stomach. In this sense, it still shares much with liberalism. Both liberalism and traditionalism denigrate reason, the intellect, the spirit of the scientist and philosopher. Real revolution, Leading Light Communism, by contrast, elevates the heart alongside reason. This is why say Leading Lights are warrior geniuses who serve the people.

There is a design to it all, to Empire and its liberalism. “Men without chests” will not make revolution. Chicken Littles will not. The system is one of mediocrity, that denigrates those people and those qualities that we need to make revolution. In this way, the system has beaten the revolutionary movement before the fight starts. It buys off the population in the First World, so there is no proletariat. And it turns the First World population into cowards, whiners, dunces, Chicken Littles, “men without chests.” Even if they wanted to make revolution, they could not. The attack on “manhood” by some liberals is, in part, an attack on the ability of poor people, including women, to organize themselves in a way to really take power.

A long time ago, Karl Marx talked about how capitalism had destroyed the traditional family. Capitalism has invaded every part of our lives, included the most intimate, the family. The culture of liberalism spreads across the Third World, destroying communities and families. This has a terrible effect on oppressed peoples. The values of self-serving, liberal capitalism replace community and family. Without revolutionary institutions and culture, without New Power, social bonds whither, people no longer care for each other. Community and family wither. We must transform, revolutionize community and family through New Power and Global People’s War, not destroy them, not serve broken communities and families up to Empire.

  1. Is it true that the CIA has financed and promoted First Worldist, liberal feminism?

In the past, the Soviets channeled aid to secular nationalists and anti-imperialists. As a way to combat that, the Western imperialists, including the Zionists, channeled aid to traditionalists, Islamist extremists, as a way to counter and undermine secular organizations and regimes. It is well-known how the CIA has promoted traditionalism when it has found it useful. The West promoted the Islamic extremists in Afghanistan. Even Hamas, at one point, was aided as a way to undermine Palestine’s secular resistance at the time. In Indonesia, the Western imperialists aided in the suppression of the Communist Party and the overthrow of Sukarno’s nationalist regime. In his place, they installed Islamist generals led by Suharto. The streets of Jakarta ran red with the blood of all the victims of the coup. The West has promoted traditionalism by aiding the Gulf Arab states, including Saudi Arabia where women are not allowed to drive, where they do not have equal rights in society. Saudi Arabia, where some of the worst gender apartheid exists, exports some of the most vicious traditionalism across the Muslim world with the help of the West. The West has worked with Pakistan at times to promote brutal traditionalism. In Libya, the West overthrew the Gaddafi regime, which was far more secular and nationalist than what exists now. Extremist Islamic militias are now running wild imposing their brutal concept of traditionalist sharia. In Syria, the Western imperialists have used traditionalists to tear the society apart. Going back even further, from World War 1 to World War 2, many in the West promoted traditionalism in Europe as a way to attack Bolshevik, communist revolution. They promoted forms of Christian traditionalism as a way to suppress leftist revolutionaries. Even recently, traditionalism has been promoted in Eastern Europe when the West has found it useful. Bosnia and Kosovo are examples. Even today, the West aids liberalism in the Ukraine with one hand and traditionalist, fascist trends with the other. And, the Russians also promote their own traditionalist and liberal forces in various conflicts. There is also the case of Bangladesh where the West promotes both sides of the conflict. They promote both the current regime of the Awami League, which is a bit more liberal. And they, along with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, promote the barbarism of the extremist Islamic traditionalists. Muslims are being burned alive by random attacks on civilians by the extremists there. This is in an effort to weaken the society to make it easier for the imperialists to control. The point is that the West has a long record of supporting the worst, fascistic, traditionalist, brutal organizations and regimes when it serves them. They are perfectly willing to support gender apartheid if it suits them. However, this is just one part of the equation.

Liberalism has also been a weapon against the Third World. Imperialists have historically used the pretext of modernization, liberal progress, to justify their domination over and attacks against the colonial world. The imperialists have claimed that their domination of the colonial world was part of a great civilizing mission to remove backward traditions. Liberalism was often part of this package. Afghanistan is one of the most interesting cases. The United States supported the most brutal extremist traditionalists against the Soviet-supported reformist regime in the 1970s and 1980s. Then, once the United States came into conflict with the Taleban after the events of September 11, 2001, the imperialists decided that Afghanistan was in need of modernization and liberalization. First Worldist feminists lined up to cheerlead the imperialist invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. Similarly, First Worldist gender activists agitate for imperialist attacks on Iran because they think they are aiding gay rights. Even First Worldist revisionists and Maoist groups, which are in the pockets of the state, held rallies in the United States against Iran’s 12 treatment of women and gays. The liberal and left liberal establishment is playing its role in Empire. They see imperialism as a vehicle for modernization, to advance liberal civilization. Here it is also important to mention the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). NGOs and aid organizations are very much tied to this imperialist control. They are used to infiltrate communities. They become a form of liberal power, pushing imperialist social and cultural policies, in the communities of the Third World. They are part of population management and social engineering by Empire. The network of these organizations and agencies overlaps very much with imperial intelligence. And there is more.

There is the famous case where one of the leading liberal feminists was exposed. Red Stockings, a Marxist-influenced feminist group, exposed some of the connections between liberal, bourgeois, First Worldist feminism and the CIA. They exposed Gloria Steinem and Ms. magazine’s CIA connections in the 1970s. It is no secret that Steinem worked for the CIA spying on student radical groups, including Marxists. Steinum and Ms. magazine disseminated a particular kind of feminism that was both First Worldist and liberal. It was a pseudoradicalism very much in-line with the CIA’s vision of a proper imperial civilization, a culture of liberal imperialism. Steinum herself expresses that she was happy that she never felt that the her CIA handlers were speaking down to her. She felt they were very respectful toward her and her politics. She was one of the boys, so to speak. And, her handlers were part of the girls. The CIA’s involvement in First Worldist, liberal feminism is a matter of historical fact. Furthermore, it is well known that the CIA also financed some types of art that were seen to promote liberal values, seen to undermine socialist, heroic values in the Eastern bloc. It is entirely predictable that the CIA would intervene in the culture, intervene in left-wing social and cultural movements in foreign countries, but also in the United States itself. The CIA, the broad network of intelligence agencies, think tanks, NGOs, policy shapers have a vested interest in creating the most stable, lasting Empire possible. This includes shaping every aspect of imperial life, which included attitudes about sexuality and gender. This is not the era of Lenin’s imperialist rivalry. The United States is in conflict with Europe. The CIA is not so narrow in its outlook. It looks beyond mere US national interests, to the shaping of global civilization itself. They are looking beyond nation, so too must we. We too must develop a 13 whole new approach, a kind of total war that is multi-generational, that looks beyond today’s political entities to civilization itself.

  1. You say that much of First Worldist feminism is really just liberalism. Can you elaborate?

There are really unfortunately only two main sides to the debate, at least as most people see it. There is liberalism, the culture of Empire, the rainbow or pink flag. Then there is traditionalism, the black flag. Many people see the main fight in the world as one between a globalist Empire that pushes a sexual and gender culture that is liberal versus a reactionary, anti-gay, anti-feminist, nationalist, racial, communal traditionalism. Our view is that both liberalism and traditionalism are two sides of the imperial coin. It’s like the saying goes, “liberalism is the face of the ruling class when they are not afraid, fascism when they are afraid.” Today, liberalism is the main face of Empire, but there is a traditionalist trend bubbling up from below in some places, especially in Europe. Traditionalism is making a comeback in much of the Muslim world also. This has led to terrible results, especially for women. We reject both.

One of the problems is that few people know the vision of real communism, the Leading Light. When revisionists try to articulate their vision, it either sounds like liberalism or it sounds like traditionalism. Revisionists are unable to really find any political space between liberalism and traditionalism. And, if you all you can do is sound like a liberal or traditionalist, then it is pointless to try to maintain a separate identity. Be what you are. Be a liberal or traditionalist. Stop pretending to be a communist. Stop wrapping liberalism and traditionalism in the red flag. This is why so few people turn to the so-called “far left” anymore. Leading Light is the one force out there that is articulating a real vision that is neither liberal nor traditionalist. Our view is proletarianism. We advocate the liberation of men and women within the context of total revolution. We advocate the freedom of men to be men and women to be women, without putting any kind of restrictions on gender. Men and women should be encouraged to be attractive, healthy, strong, virtuous, creative as men and as women. There is nothing oppressive about being a good, healthy, positive exemplar of whatever your identity is. Both the Soviet Union and China, in their revolutionary phases, promoted these virtues without erasing gender itself. People should be encouraged to be their best selves within the context of advancing the community, the revolution. And, for most people, this means being a good example of manhood or womanhood. Despite what some revisionists think, there is a biological basis not only to sex, but also a biological aspect to some, but not all parts, gender. If we are to make a socialism, and communism, that succeeds, that really wins, we need to work with, not against, nature. If you go against nature, people will reject revolution. Revolution must move with nature, not against it.

  1. Liberals are so obsessed with identity. They love talking about themselves, personalities. I know you hate to talk about yourself, but lots of people are curious about the man behind the writings. Can you talk a little about yourself and how you deal with the sexual culture of the First World?

Traditionalism is a terrible order where women are controlled in very direct, abusive ways. It is a kind of gender apartheid inflicted on women. Capitalism with its liberalism overthrew traditionalism in many parts of our world. In the place of traditionalism, new forms of unhealthy and abusive behavior arose. Immanuel Kant wrote, in his time, of marriage being a contract to use each other’s bodies and property. Karl Marx wrote about how capitalism had penetrated every aspect of life, including the most intimate realm of family. Friedrich Engels wrote that marriage under capitalism and, by implication, relationships were really just prostitution. Usually, in his day, it was women selling and men buying. Today, it is a free for all. Liberalism is a culture of mutual degradation, lack of respect, mutual use and abuse, “assholes,” “pimps,” “douchebags,” “hoes,” “bitches,” and so on. Some people, fascists, religionists, Islamists, think the solution is a return to traditionalism. Liberalism has gotten so bad that even many women are running toward traditionalism. But traditionalism is really just a war against women, gender apartheid. It is no answer. First World people live in a disgusting wasteland of Empire where they do not know how to express themselves or relate in healthy sexual ways. Many people do not know how to be strong without being abusive. People even call romance and sex “the game,” as though you win at the expense of your friends, community, family, those around you, including your lover. People are afraid to give, because in such an environment, if you give an inch, a mile is taken. It is imperative that we lead humanity out of the wasteland. Proletarianism is the path to real freedom and respect.

I believe in family. I believe in community. I believe in giving, in sacrifice. I believe in love, love of wife or girlfriend, love of family, community, people, the Earth. Love is a big part of what makes life worth living. To be strong requires the help of others, especially someone special, someone you love and who loves you. First World sexual culture is one where we are made to feel that being strong is incompatible with caring about someone. Mainstream culture tries to tell us our best feelings are wrong, that we should be embarrassed or feel guilty. It is a bizarre world where those with virtue are mocked. Those with none are praised. I am someone who has experienced some of the worst of this world, yet I have survived. I endure. I carry on. It is important to keep marching even if the wasteland seems endless. We are on a mission. We are Leading Lights, men and women of destiny. We cannot help but remember our lives are not fully our own. Duty is always commanding us onward. We do have each other, the best of the best, and we have hope. I have hope. Hope is a precious thing.

  1. What about those who criticize Mao or Che Guevara as womanizers? What do you say to them?

Revolutionary leaders like Mao and Che have done far more to advance the cause of humanity, including women, than their nitpicky critics. Che had a hand in the leadership of numerous revolutionary and anti-imperialist struggles that sought to end not only economic oppression, but also gender oppression. He gave his life for the liberation of women. And Mao was the greatest feminist of all time. Mao led a revolution that involved a quarter of humanity, one out of every four women on Earth was involved in the Chinese revolution. The Maoist revolution brought political power, property, and basic human rights to a quarter of humanity, one out of every four women. Think about it. For the first time, women could have a say in their daily lives, in their families, in their communities, in politics. Women were given more ability to control property. They now had power in the families, in divorce. Mao ended the gruesome practice of foot-binding, the Chinese practice of deforming female feet to satisfy a perverted-male fetish. Under the Maoist regime, Jiang Qing, a woman, Mao’s wife, rose very high in elite circles of political power. Lin Biao’s wife, Ye Qun, also acquired tremendous power. This means a lot given how backward Chinese society was only a few decades before. Even with the defeat of the Chinese revolution in the 1970s, much of this progress remains. The Maoist revolution smashed feudalism and all of its barbarism for a quarter of humanity. This may not seem important to gossipy lifestylists who would rather talk about Mao’s liaisons with young peasant girls rather than the world-historic changes experienced by a quarter of the world’s women thanks to leaders like Mao and Lin Biao. And, really, should anyone be shocked that an older man sought out the company of young, healthy, pretty women, and that such women sought out an older, respected, powerful man? Is this so shocking, really?

  1. Thank you for your thoughts. Are there any final words?

In order to defeat Empire, we do not need a bickering herd of cats. We need unity and strength. We need to forge the people into a mighty army with unity of purpose and action. Real revolutionary science, all-powerful Leading Light Communism strengthens, not weakens, the people in their fight. Those who weaken people’s movements, even while claiming to be revolutionary or radical, are revisionist agents of the system. There is one real path to freedom. We must see through the illusion. There are more options than what they show us. Liberalism, Empire, is not the answer. Traditionalism, fascism, feudalism is no answer. Liberalism sets poor men against poor women, poor women are set against poor men. Traditionalism, gender apartheid, also sets poor men against poor women. By contrast, proletarianism unites. Poor men and poor women join hands in the common proletarian struggle against the system. We must drop the pink and black flags. We must pick up the red flag. We must elevate the revolutionary, Leading Light vision. We are filled with love. We love our families. We love our communities. We love our elders. We love our children. We, sisters and brothers, are warriors, attractive, strong, healthy, courageous, creative, filled with genius. Together, we fight for our common destiny. Our future is our own. First World men do not hold up the sky. First World women do not uphold the sky. We, the Proletarian World, the Third World and its allies, uphold the sky together, sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, wives and husbands.