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

Leading Light Communism and the Writings of Antonio Gramsci

–Jacob Brown

Part 1/3: Cultural Hegemony

(llco.org)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes:

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

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Solving the Gordian Knot

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Solving the Gordian Knot, instruction on method and decisiveness

(llco.org)

According to legend, in the city of Telmissus, there was a massive knot looped again and again around the front of an oxcart. Rope over rope, the knot endlessly turned in on itself. It was said that the person who was able to untie the knot would conquer the world. Many pretenders had come before and been unable to solve the puzzle. Alexander examined the challenge that had defeated so many before. Looking at the knot, the student of Aristotle drew his sword and slashed away. The knot fell to the ground. Alexander went on to conquer.

We must be as Alexander: decisive, bold, creative. We must not fight battles on the enemy’s terms. Do not let them set the rules. We play by our rules. Do the unexpected. In debate, direct your blows at the heart of an enemy’s argument. Do not be distracted. Do not let your blows be deflected. Do not be baited with sophistry or lies. Our strength is we are armed with the most advanced revolutionary science, Leading Light Communism. Truth is on our side.

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PF interview: Plato’s cave, First and Third World, science and epistemology

platocave

Plato’s cave, First and Third World, science and epistemology

(llco.org)

1. Thank you for taking time from your important work. Let me start by asking this: You write a lot about the “First” and “Third World.” Can you explain what you mean?

We are not the first to divide up human society into “worlds” or similar entities. When we talk of “worlds,” we are using a shorthand. It’s a kind of functionalist category that we use to explain human behavior and potential behavior at the global level. It is not unlike how we use the concept of “class” to describe the behavior and potential behavior of human aggregates.

There is the view that informed the outlook around the time of the Bandung Conference in 1955 and after. It is a view that divided the world into the Western imperialists, which was a kind of “First World.” Then there was the “Second World” of the socialist camp. Then there was the “Third World” of the colonies, neo-colonies, and poor post-colonies. Later, there is another outlook of the Chinese Communist Party of the Lin Biao era. This outlook divided the world into a “global city,” which was made up of the rich countries and Russia, and a “global countryside,” of the poor countries, including the many of the Russian colonies in Eastern Europe. This was the official outlook of the Chinese Communist Party from about 1965 to 1970. This was when Lin Biao was riding high as Mao Zedong’s successor, vice-Chairman, “closest comrade-in-arms,” “best student,” and so on. Lin Biao was being positioned as the high priest the Mao cult. He, and I am using “he” as a shorthand to really mean “his team,” was to be the main interpreter of Maoism. For various reasons, Lin Biao was murdered as a result of a political struggle. Mao wanted to pull back the revolution in the 1970s. Mao began to align with the West. So, then, there is the outlook of Mao’s “Three Worlds Theory” of the 1970s, after Lin Biao’s death. This was a view that divided countries up by military strength. The “First World” was made up of the powerful imperialists, the United States and Soviet Union. The “Second World” was made up of lesser powers like the European powers and Japan. The “Third World” was made up of the colonies, neo-colonies, and post-colonies. Sometimes people mistakenly think Mao’s main error was his “Three Worlds Theory” because it led to the alliance with the West. This really mistakes things. “Three Worlds Theory” was not guiding Chinese policy. China was shifting rightward in foreign policy years before the theory was introduced. Mao began shifting rightward on this issue even as early as 1968 and 1969, as he was ending the Cultural Revolution. Rather, the theory was a prop. This theory was a kind of window dressing that was used to give the appearance of justification to Mao’s anti-Soviet, pro-Western geopolitics. It was used to run interference on critics from the left. In any case,  all these kinds of views are often mixed up with each other, but they are very different. They have very different policies associated with them. And, historically, they were often in opposition to each other.

Our concept of the “First World” and “Third World” is different than all previous usages. Of the previous views, Lin Biao’s is the most accurate, but it still has deficiencies. Firstly, we do not simply apply the concept to just countries. It is because of  traditional colonization and the national liberation struggles that many have tended to regard single countries as the basic units of analysis. We see this as not always accurate or the best way to go about things. Some have criticized such a view on the basis that the country borders are artificial. Such borders were often drawn by the imperialists themselves. Some micronationalists have advocated that single nations, not multinational countries, ought be the basic unit of analysis. For example, they will say that the “Black Nation” inside the borders of the country of the United States belongs to a particular world.  Or they will say the Maya in Mexico belong to a particular world. Almost all countries today are multi-national ones, so they push the analysis down a level. They tend to think that revolution should happen on a micronational basis, with each nation having its own leadership, perhaps even its own ideology. Their view of a perfect world is one in which all micronations are independent, do not step on each others’ toes, and do not interfere with each other. It is the view associated with racial separatists movements. David Duke, the ex-Klan leader-turned-congressman, has such a view. Some Black and Chicano nationalists have similar views. They may disagree about how the borders are to be drawn or which nation has the right to exist here or there, but the ideologies are similar in their stated goals. It is a view also associated with the fantasy of northern Korean life, although, in reality, northern Korea is very dependent other countries despite its Juche rhetoric of independence and self-sufficiency. It is a view sometimes associated with Third Positionism and “left” fascism. We could call this view “pan-nationalism.” Our view is very different. It does not break humanity down into either countries or micronations. Our view is more in-line with the original Marxist aspiration to overcome artificial barriers dividing humanity. Our ideal is one humanity united by one ideology, revolutionary science, all-powerful, awesome Leading Light Communism. Tactically, we may have to work on a micronational or country-wide basis, but we should always aspire to make revolution in the biggest geographic area as possible at any given time. Thus for us, our basic unit is the Third World as a whole, although we divide that into zones on a practical basis. However, a zone in not based on anything except that it is the biggest area we feel comfortable managing at a particular time. Thus a zone is not as static as a country or nation is. A zone is based more our capabilities than anything else, although, naturally, social geographies play into it that. Our main area of operation is the Bangla Zone, but when we feel comfortable expanding beyond that, there is no reason not to extend our reach into say, Myanmar or the Hindi regions of India. We are also setting up zonal operations elsewhere, but that is deep politics.

Secondly, we base our view on standard of living of a population as a whole. Things like income, consumption levels, etc. give us a good idea about this. In this sense, even though the United States as a whole may be militarily and politically more powerful than, say, Switzerland, the latter is more First World. This is a big difference between our concept and Mao’s, for example. Also, our concept is not necessarily tied to economic or political independence or development, whatever that means. For example, imagine a country whose population is very wealthy, but also very small so that its economy was only based on oil  such that it could not defend itself without outside help. So, it was still dependent in important respects. On our view, such a country, perhaps not unlike some Arab Gulf states, is still First World. Thus our view departs a bit from the Bandung inspired view, which tended to lump the one-time colonies, even the wealthy ones, into the same category as their poorer neighbors. Our view is that the Saudis are more similar in terms of interest to the people of the United States than either are to the Palestinians. This is true, even though pan-Arabists will argue that the Saudis and Palestinians are really one nation. This is what we have discussed earlier about how national liberation and similar outlooks were tied to the classic model of colonization that has long since broken down. Thus, we must find new ways to understand the emerging Empire and resistance to it. This is one of the main breakthroughs of  today’s revolutionary science, Leading Light Communism.

Thirdly, the traditional concepts of worlds were sharply defined. We do not look at things through the lenses of traditional Aristotelian categories. This also ties into another question. People always ask us about the “Second World.” Our view is that when we talk about the First World and Third World, we are talking about poles on a continuum. Think of a spectrum, a single axis from right to left, with a “1” on the left and a “3” on the right. Some countries, micronations, regions, geographic areas, zone are more First World than others. They fall closer to the “1.” Others are more Third World. They fall closer to the “3.” If one must have a concept of a Second World, then it could occupy a position, perhaps equidistant, between to two poles.

We might represent the United States by a “U” and place it nearer to the “1” than Portugal, which we represent with a “P.” Or, we might represent Switzerland with an “S,” and place it closer to the “1” than the United States. Similarly, we could do the same thing with “C” for Chile, “M” for Mexico, and “B” for Bangladesh.

[1]-S–U————————————-P—-”2”—–C—————–M——————–B–[3]

This model can also be used to compare any unit. It is not limited to countries. Countries can be compared to nations to regions to zones, all can be compared to each other. The model is based on the simple idea of immiseration, those geographic populations closer to the “3” have more potential in terms of being mobilized against the system for revolutionary, socialist, Leading Light Communist change. Those closer to the “1” and farthest from the “3” have less possibility of making revolution. Of course, we aren’t saying that being near “3” is the only factor in play or that other factors like strong leadership can’t make up for some deficiencies in objective considerations. However, at a certain point, objective deficiencies simply cannot be realistically overcome. That’s part of what falling on the First World part of the continuum implies. We could even add that certain regions of this continuum are more prone to traditional fascism, which we see as a radical reorganization of society along traditionalist or crackpot lines to save capitalism. For example, those societies closest to the “1” probably are going to be stably integrated into the liberal Empire. Those somewhere between the “1” and “2,” but closer to “2,” like Russia, for example, will have a tendency toward fascism because they aren’t as well served by the liberal consensus as those closer to the “1.” Over time, Russia will probably be more integrated into Empire, but this is not written in stone. This model fits with the old saying that “liberalism is the face of capitalism when it is not afraid, fascism when it is afraid.” Remember what Karl Marx said: “The proletariat has nothing to lose but their chains.” This is also why we have focused our efforts toward the “3.”

2. You are definitely breaking new scientific ground. You mention science often. You’ve written a lot on the topic lately. Why is your theory of worlds more scientific than others?

This kind of theory is one of behavior and potential behavior of human aggregates at the global level. Sometimes we call it “Global Class Analysis.” This is why we use the terms “First World” and “Bourgeois World” interchangeably, similarly with “Third World” and “Proletarian World.” If people want, replace the “1” in the chart with a “B.” Change the “3” with a “P.” What makes one theory better than another? More scientific? As I have said so many times, it has nothing to do with metaphysics, even in its dialectical varieties. It isn’t some “dialectical method” or “dialectical underpinning” that makes one theory better than another. It has to do with a theory being a good tool with predictive power and explanatory power. These are not the same things exactly, although there are sophisticated approaches to try to reduce these two things down to one measure, but this is far too advanced for this interview. Imagine another graph with a horizontal axis labeled “PP” for “predictive power” and a vertical axis labeled “EP” for “explanatory power.” For this discussion, we’ll say they are not the same thing. The classic example of why they are not the same can be seen in the competition between the Copernican model, the heliocentric model, planets going around the sun, of the solar system verses the pre-Copernican model, the geocentric model, celestial bodies going around the Earth, with its epicycles. The epicycle model had been refined over a long period of time, so it mapped out the motions of the solar system very well. It had a higher degree of predictive power. In fact, when the Copernican model was originally introduced, the pre-Copernican model had more predictive power than the Copernican model. This was because the Copernican model had not been refined as much. The Copernican model was initially using circular, not elliptical orbits. So, it was generating more false predictions. So, strictly speaking, there would be no basis to switch paradigms to the Copernican model if predictive power was our only measure for a theory. However, as we all know, the Copernican model of planets going around the sun won out. This is what we use today. This is because science is not just about prediction, it is about meaningful prediction, it is about explanation too. Science is also about explanatory power. The pre-Copernican approach, the epicycle model, may have mapped the motions of the heavenly bodies more accurately, but there was no rhyme or reason to their motions. Their motions were simply mapped. And, if there was some new motion that was observed that had not been known before, they simply posited an ad hoc epicycle to account for it. So, even though the pre-Copernican model generated more correct predictions, it had no real explanatory power. One reason it evolved as it did was it cohered with the medieval intellectual view inherited from Aristotle. According to this view, the cosmos was like an onion with the Earth being the center. That was said to be why objects fell when dropped. They were said to go toward the center, where they naturally belonged. Cohering with this broader view was seen to have some explanatory power. However, in reality, cohering with a false, but widely accepted worldview, does not add to a theory’s power. To choose it over the Copernican model violates one of the main laws of explanatory power, Occam’s Razor. Simpler theories, those that say more with less, account for more with less, generate more correct predictions and exclude more incorrect predictions with less, are better than complicated ones. Even with its initial predictive weakness vis-a-vis the earlier model, the scientific community realized that the Copernican model had more potential. And the Copernican model was eventually refined to have both more explanatory and predictive power. When a theory has both more predictive and more explanatory power than another, saying it is “more scientific” is always more justified. However, there are hard cases. A theory can have more predictive power, but less explanatory power than another. A theory can have more explanatory, but less predictive than another. Say we have two theories. One has the coordinates of 6 on the PP-axis and 7 on the EP-axis. The other has a 7,6 position. Or a conflict between a 5,6 and a 4,8? There are many times when there simply is not enough information to choose between theories. They are too close in terms of overall virtue. When theories are too close to each other, the scientific community simply has to continue its work gathering information, testing, weighing evidence until one theory comes out on top. This happens all the time in science. A new, but not as refined, theory comes onto the scene, but it takes time for it to gather enough strength and refinement to shift the paradigm of the scientific community. In reality, things are a lot more complicated than what I have presented here. Nonetheless, even understanding this basic outlook would be an epistemological advance for those revisionists claiming to be Marxists today. There are other, higher, more advanced models all-powerful, awesome Leading Light Communism has developed, but we need to take things step by step.

In any case, our Global Class Analysis predicts and explains why revolutions have occurred where they do. It explains why certain populations will be more revolutionary than others. It predicts which populations will have potential to make revolution and which ones do not. Our analysis fits with everything we know about the experience of real revolutions and events like the non-revolution in Paris, May 1968. People went back to work for raises, despite the rhetoric. The Paris, 1968 ending was entirely predictable. Our analysis also predicts and explains the motions of the enemy classes that we see everyday in the media’s coverage of current events. We explain the sweep of history in a more accurate and refined way, drawing on Marx and others, obviously. All-powerful, awesome Leading Light Communism is the key to the past, present, and future.

3. You were talking about worlds, zones, and so on. You seem to be introducing a geographic dimension to class. Can you elaborate?

“Who are our enemies? Who are our friends?” are the first eight words of Mao’s Selected Works for a reason. Mao called this the “first question of revolution.” Class analysis, understanding friends and enemies, is the first task. Since Marx, the our understand of friends and enemies has become more and more geographic. What I mean is that friends are enemies are not just separated by wealth and social position, the proletariat has become more and more physically separated from the bourgeoisie. By the time of the Maoist revolution, revolution itself is seen as a people’s war that procededs geographically from the countryside to the city. Similarly with Lin Biao, the global revolution moves geographically from the global countryside to the global city. This is because human geography is reorganized around modern production and wealth. Within a country, wealhy people live here, poor people live there. Globally, wealthy people live here, here, and here. Poor people live there, there, and there. You can see this very dramatically in some of the cities in countries like Brazil. You might have an outpost of the First World, a wealthy residential community,  a business district, etc. walled off from the outside, which is still very Third World. It’s like a little First World fort from which to dominate and control the surrounding territory. You see this in Palestine with the Zionist settlers. They set up their guarded outposts, where they have a higher standard of living, while hostile Palestinians surround them. It reminds me a bit of pioneer commuities in North America. One sees a similar pattern in wealthy communities in China. In any case, even when there is close proximity of the First and Third World, the barrier separating them is often very pronounced. In these cases, it is a physical wall where guards patrol with automatic weapons. How should we see these wealthy communities in, for example, Brazil or China? Should we see such a community as simply a community of the Brazilian bourgeoisie who can be either patriotic or comprador? Such is the old Maoist type analysis. My contention is that this may be part of the story, but it isn’t the full story. Capital is more and more global, nation matters less and less, country matters less and less. Rather than seeing those who populate such communities as just the Brazilian bourgeoisie, we can see them and the communities themselves as outposts of the First World, part of the First World Empire. An extreme case of this would be the Green Zone in Iraq, where the Empire has literally built a city with a higher standard of living inside a Third World, occupied community in order to control and manage them. The nationalist, patriotic bourgeoisie is becoming less and less relevant. More and more, the world is not a collection of many empires with colonial possessions. Rather, power is mostly a single Empire that benefits, this First World includes populations of the old empires, but also First World outpost communities, military bases, management zones, financial zones, etc.  in poorer countries. These communities, regardless of their national or racial makeup, are loyal to their First World way of life, and the global imperial institutions that create it, first. They are part of the First World system of control first and foremost, usually nationalist loyalties, if they exist at all, are very secondary. This is partially a consequence of a more unipolar geopolitics. The patriotic bourgeoisie is becoming less and less relevant because the wealthy people in the poor countries have less ability to maneuver, they have less bargaining chips when there is only one imperial choice.

There are exceptions of course. Things are never set in stone. This is an emerging picture, the overall tendency is toward Empire. There are still remnants of the old world that Vladimir Lenin described. Some think an emerging Eurasian alternative, a Russia-China alliance, will block the emergence of global Empire for a time.  Thus, they think, the traditional categories will still have scientific utility. Sometimes people frame it in terms of Kautsky verses Lenin, but this is way too simple. Lenin was exactly correct when he was writing. The scramble for Africa, the cycle of world wars, and so on. And it would be a mistake to see the emerging Empire as anything Kautsky could have foreseen. It would be wrong to project current reality backwards. In fact, it was, in part, the tremendous damage done to capitalist by the breakdown of the system, the world wars that Lenin predicted, that has forced the bourgeoisie to reorganize. The Bolshevik revolution was partially a result of the systemic breakdown of World War 1. Similarly, the Maoist revolution and decolonial struggles emerged because the old empires had so weakened themselves through their massive bloodletting. They could no longer hold onto their colonial possessions since they were so weakened. Partially as a result of world wars, the capitalists lost control of massive parts of humanity, they faced the emergence of socialism that challenged their rule at the global level. Just as revolutionary science – Marx, Lenin, Mao, Leading Light – advanced to meet new realities, so too did the science of oppression. The capitalists have reorganized their economies and power to try to avoid catastrophic wars of the past. The most obvious artefacts of this advance in capitalist science is the promotion of social democracy and international institutions like the United Nations. In any case, it boggles the mind that you have these revisionist dogmatists talking about 2014 as though it were 1917 or 1949, as though adherence to Leninist or Maoist dogma is the solution to the current problems the people’s movement faces. Of course, I understand that the opposite problem exists where there are loudmouths and egomaniacs promoting themselves as worldclass leaders but without really providing any real scientific answers. There are plenty of snakeoil salesmen claiming to have their own unique “new synthesis.” They are a dime a dozen. There is a big difference between proclaiming a scientific advance and really making one. And contrary to popular misconception, the loudmouths are not all white.  However, just because there are fools in new clothing telling us to follow them does not mean we should follow the fools in outdated fashions and vice versa. Luckyily, our choice is not simply one between old fools and new fools, old dogma and new dogma. There is a real choice, a real road to the future, but it is not always easy to find or walk.

Anyone who honestly looks at all-powerful, awesome, glorious Leading Light Communism cannot in good faith say that we have not done our work. I have done exactly what I promised I would many years ago when we first began. We have done exactly what we said we would do. It boggles the mind that some Maoists extended support to us when we were just talking about things, as soon as we really did it, they withdrew their support. Sometimes I want to point at our work and say “here it is on a silver platter, we have carried out the principal tasks as you defined them without any support from you. Where is your support now that we have been proven right? Who was it who used to talk about parlour pinks?” In any case, Leading Light Communism is a genuine scientific advance over the Marxist-Leninist and Maoist traditions. I have done exactly what I have always done. We really are integrating the most advanced science in every area of human knowledge into an all-powerful weapon that can be wielded by the masses. There are plenty of opportunists and careerists who will continue to mock us. There are some who do not like me personally who have let their personal dislike of myself or other leaders transform themselves into liars, wreckers, virtual and real state agents. There are some who have become jealous, bitter, little wannabes and second-rate gossip mongers. Others become ostriches who cowardly bury their head in the sand to avoid seeing the sunlight of truth. Others have produced attacks, very similar to those of COINTELPRO in the United States, except more pathetic and inept. They are big into gossip directed at Leading Lights. In general, we have more to worry about: State agents have tried to disrupt our logistical networks domestically inside Bangladesh. It is an old story. Many will try to raise themselves up by tearing down great leaders, Leading Lights. There are plenty of people on the wrong side of history. Talking to them is like talking to a brick wall. We have a saying: “let the yappers yap.” Yes, we have advanced science. When have we ever walked away from the challenge of proving it? If you want a good laugh, go and ask one of these dogmatists why they think their dogma is more scientific, then compare and contrast with our discussions.

There is always going to be more false paths than the  one true path. In class society, there will always be more liars than speakers of truth. It takes time. It’s a protracted struggle, as Mao taught. We have to have proletarian attitude about all of this. No quick victories. We have to be long marchers, day in, day out. In a mere few years, under very bad conditions, with little money, we have established a new global revolutionary movement. This is just based on the pure science, on the idea. Imagine how it’s going to take off once we solve more organizational and logistical issues. We are just getting started. This is an exciting time to be alive. We are writing history as others write plays.

4. Those who are awake, the serious people, congratulate you on all you have accomplished. It is astonishing when you think about it. Some are always going to bring it back to one issue: You are rejecting Marx’s categories for your own. Are you?

There is always a doubting Thomas. And if I am moving beyond Karl Marx, so what? Marx should be seen as a scientist, not as a religious figure. Even Marx said “I am not a Marxist” on his deathbed. Most of those who claim to be Marxists today should not be seen as real Marxists. Rather, they are people who worship Marx, or Lenin, or Mao as one would worship God or a saint. No leader or writer is infallible. People are not perfect. Real Marxism is one and one thing only: the best science applied to the task of reaching the communist ideal, ending all systematic oppression. Science evolves. The best science is a science that is always evolving, advancing, becoming more powerful, able to solve more problems. Now contrast this with how dogmatists regard Marxism, Leninism, or Maoism. Their ideology is a metaphysics. It is stagnant, frozen. No innovation. Now, contrast their work to all-powerful Leading Light Communism.

Some people confuse innovation with revisionism. If all innovation were revisionist, Lenin would be a revisionist who ruined Marxism. Mao would be a revisionist who deviated from Marxism and Leninism. Even late Marx would be a revisionist who deviated from early Marx. This is a completely incorrect understanding of revisionism. Revisionism is not just about changing or updating Marxism. It is about revising the revolutionary heart out of the science. Revisionism can come in many forms. It does not always present itself as an innovation. It can also present itself as preservation of the orthodoxy. When it comes down to it, revisionism is really just about deviating from the science, which means deviating from Leading Light Communism. Updating, advancing, is necessary for a science to survive, to say relevant, to not ossify into dead, frozen metaphysics.

This reworking of basic categories is not exactly new. The Maoists were some of the biggest critics of revisionism. Yet Mao himself offered a new theory of class in his analysis of China. By the time of the Cultural Revolution, or the last years of Mao’s life, Maoists began to introduce the concept of the “new bourgeoisie.” This became applied to people like Deng Xiaoping or Liu Shaoqi by later-day Maoists. Did Liu Shaoqi or Deng Xiaoping own the means of production in the same way a traditional capitalist does? Could Deng Xiaoping sell a shoe factory to anyone he wanted? Could he give it away of his wife as a wedding present? Could he turn any factory in China into his personal swimming pool? Of course not. There were some similarities between the higher levels of the Chinese bureaucracy and the traditional capitalists, but also some differences. Hence the adjective “new” was used in describing this new bourgeoisie. The point here is that the Maoists had begun to separate class from the point of production in the strict sense found in Marx. They began to have a more complex view of class to match shifting realities. Similarly, in the United States, there is a situation where the old categories do not fit. A person in the United States might earn a wage in one job, yet might have an online-trading business to make extra money. They might also technically own the means of production through the ownership or stocks or through their retirement plan. On top of that, they partake of all kinds of public institutions that feed off of exploitation in the Third World. Some of these institutions they have some limited control over through the democratic process. Others they benefit from, but have less control over. At the same time, these ordinary people in the First World share the bourgeois way of life. Even if they do not own capital, they have access to it if they chose to liquefy their assets or take out loans. Just as the Maoists implied that the ownership of China’s productive capacity by the reactionary bureaucracy is collective, a similar process can be seen to have happened with ordinary people in the First World. They have complex relationships to production and distribution, but that relationship to production is less and less important. They partake of the benefits of being in the First World, the role of exploiter has been collectivized across whole strata and across whole geographic regions. It doesn’t really matter if they earn a wage or not. What is key is that they siphon off value unjustly from others or from the system as a whole. Whether that value ends up in their pockets through a wage or salary, in their pockets from a benefit payment, or a flow from a private sale, or if it ends up in an institution that they have a say in running or are benefiting from, of if they get a benefit by simply living in a geographic area, is not the main thing. The main thing is that they are exploiting others, what superficial form the value transfer takes is not as important. There are all kinds of ways exploitation happens, that value gets shifted around. And much of it is hidden from us. Just as it may not be immediately apparent how a man like Deng Xiaoping who earns a salary can be a part of the bourgeoisie, it may not be immediately apparent how a US worker can be. However, it is very important to look beneath surfaces. Just as Marx exposed a reality obscured by commodity fetishism, it is important to expose the reality obscured by dogma and privilege. Updating the science is fine, introducing new categories or changing old ones is fine so long as the new categories are better tools in terms of making revolution, as long as they have more predictive and explanatory power. Those who read Leading Light closely will know that Global Class Analysis not only updates our understanding of the First World, but also the Third World. Leading Light Communism also pioneers the theory of the New Proletariat and understanding the revolutionary demographics of the slums of Third World megacities. Again, this is a departure from the tradition that feels it is necessary to link class to the point of production. “But Marx said” is not a compelling argument against reality.

Today, when the people’s movement is at such an impasse, it is the time for great leaders to come forward with  real, true scientific advances, with Leading Light Communism. This is also why Leading Light Communism has been more well received in the Third World. The real proletariat in the Third World faces obliteration at the hands of empire. The impasse of the people’s movement has real consequences for them. Their sons and daughters are dying. Their land is poisoned. Finding a way out of the stagnation matters. Science matters. To put science back in the forefront of the people’s movement is to take back the future from those who have stolen it from us. This is why we say “our future is our own.” Now that the scientific breakthrough has been made, armed with the all-powerful sword of Leading Light Communism, nothing can stop us. Destiny is ours.

5. You said you were breaking things down in a simpler way in this interview so that you could be understood. Do you mean to say that what you are proposing here is a simplification? Because it is all very challenging.

I’m simplifying things a lot here. We’ve introduced the conception of high and low science in my writings. There are different audiences for different ideas and presentations. Different people need to hear different things depending on where they are in the learning curve. Some people are more advanced than others. Some people are even more advanced. Some lights illuminate. Some blind. There is high and low science. Then, there is really really high science, science that is part of our deepest politics. It’s just not helpful to expose people to it at this point. People are not ready yet. Plus, it could expose the organization to attack. When people are ready, we’ll introduce higher levels when their eyes adjust a bit to the current light being shined in their faces, when they are ready.

Someone recently described Leading Light as “Search and Rescue Team, Plato’s Cave.” This is very funny because she was not the first person to guess the other name of our organization. The allegory of the cave in The Republic is probably the most famous scene in all of philosophy. Socrates describes a scene where people are strange prisoners in a cave, chained to a wall. Because of the position of the light source, the prisoners only see themselves and objects as reflections on the cave walls. They mistake shadows for reality. All their lives they are mistaken. Imagine how difficult it would be trying to explain the outside world to one of the prisoners. Mao talks about the frog stuck in well. He looks up and mistakes the small patch of sky for the world. Imagine trying to educate someone who had somehow survived in a well their whole life about all the wonders of the world. Socrates points out that if one of those prisoners who had grown up his whole life in the cave suddenly was exposed to the outside world and sunlight, it would hurt his eyes, perhaps even blinding him until he adjusted. He would not immediately understand what was going on around him. Pain was the experience of Neo when he first woke up in the Matrix movie. All the world is a cave, illusions created by mind and class society. And leaving this cave can be blinding. This is how it is with truth, with real science, all-powerful, awesome, glorious Leading Light Communism. Some prisoners are still all the way in the deepest pit of the cave. Others are fumbling their way out. Some sit on the edge of darkness and light, like the Buddha of myth, refusing to embark to paradise before rescuing everyone else. Maoists used to say, “you cannot break every chain but one” In other words, all chains have to be broken to achieve true freedom. Similarly, Leading Light states that “nobody is free until we all are.” Socrates said those trying to rescue the prisoners would even risk their own death because of the ignorance of the prisoners themselves. And, Socrates did eventually meet that fate at the hands of the Athenian state. As Leading Lights, we, pledge everything in this great cause, even our lives.

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Is Leading Light Communism the path, or the goal?

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

By Comrade Jacob Brown

(llco.org)

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

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

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

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

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

From Marx’s letter to Ruge (1843):

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

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

From “Private Property and Communism” (1844):

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

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

From “The German Ideology” (1845):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes:

1. Marx’s letter to Ruge (1843)

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Ibid.

On the inverse cripples

On the inverse cripplesthumb-1

(llco.org)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes

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

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

First Worldism and Popper’s challenge

Comments on First Worldism and Popper’s challengepopper

by Prairie Fire

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False consciousness does exist. However, when First World peoples share the outlook of the propertied classes, it is, generally, not an example of false consciousness. A quick look at sociological data shows that the majority of White, Asian and Indigenous households in the United States own their own homes. For Whites, around 3/4th of all households own their own homes. For Blacks and Latinos, the number is around 50 percent. Without looking up the exact numbers, it is pretty obvious that the vast majority of households also own (at least one) car, usually several televisions, stereos, ovens, kitchen appliances, computers and other big ticket items. In addition to this, even the poorest households in the United States have large wardrobes, toys for children, and other smaller luxury goods. The vast majority of humanity cannot even to hope to live as well as the poorest worker in the United States. There are more people in India, for example, making less than 80 cents a day than exist in the United States. The median worldwide is 2 to 3 dollars a day. Even a person in the United States at the so-called “poverty line” (an arbitrary line set by the state) is one of the richest 15 percent in the world.

The reason they have the outlook of the propertied class is because the workers in the United States are a propertied class. They are not the proletariat that Marx described. They have far more to lose than their chains. They make far more than just enough to reproduce their labor for the next production cycle. They are not living at subsistence and sub-subsistence as Marx described the proletariat. Many First World workers have more access to capital than bourgeoisie in the Third World. Capitalism works for the vast majority of people in the First World. That is why they consistently support it and imperialism. This is why they do not support radical, progressive programs to remake society, but they do support social democratic reforms that benefit themselves. They are net beneficiaries of the imperialist system. The majority of the First World workers would lose out under an egalitarian distribution of the social product, which is why First World workers align with the system.

If First World workers were exploited, if they were making less than they were entitled to under a global socialist distribution, then we could speculate about false consciousness. But, this isn’t the case. They act like the imperial bourgeoisie because that is what they are. You have to be pretty deluded and dogmatic not to see it.

There is a famous essay by Karl Popper where he ridicules Marxism as a pseudo-science because, according to Popper, whenever Marxists observe something that falsifies Marxism, instead of throwing out Marxism (as we would with a scientific hypothesis), Marxists simply invent an ad hoc explanation for why the observation does not count as a true falsification. In other words, according to Popper, Marxism can never be falsified; so it is not a true science. According to Popper, it is more akin to religion. What Popper says about Marxism fits revisionism exactly. It fits First Worldism, pseudo-Marxism. There has never been anything close to a socialist revolution in the First World. Even after a century of First Worldist “socialist” activism of all kinds, even after huge economic downturns and depressions, the First World “socialist” movement is not an inch closer to revolution. Again and again, First World workers align for imperialism, for capitalism (in both its American form and and European social democratic form). For all the talk of “mass line” among the First Worldists, they are incredibly hard of hearing. Listen to your own beloved constituency. Look at them as they are, not as you would like them to be. The socioeconomic facts about world cannot be wished or willed away. Facts are stubborn things. No matter what kind of falsifications First Worldism encounters, First Worldists simply say that the reason First World workers do not make revolution is because they are suffering from false consciousness, they are brainwashed, etc.

We’ve shown the First Worldists that First World workers receive more than the value of their labor. We have shown First Worldists that they receive more than an equal share of the global social product. We point to the history of the revolutionary movement, to the many Third World revolutions and the complete lack of anything like a First World revolutionary movement of any size, let alone any First World socialism. We point to the behaviors, the self-descriptions, the psychology that First World workers share with the imperialist bourgeoisie. The simple fact is that Popper was right about the religious nature of First Worldism. He was right about revisionism. There simply is no empirical fact, no observation, that will shake a First Worldist’s belief that the First World peoples are a vehicle for socialist revolution. Whenever a First Worldist encounters a falsification, they make an ad hoc excuse. What would it take for the First Worldist to toss First Worldism? What kind of economic investigation would it take? What kind of event? What kind of observation? Is there anything that would shake his faith in the First World peoples?  Just as no fossil can shake the faith of the believer, no evidence can shake the faith of the First Worldist. Popper is right about First Worldism.  First Worldists are not a scientists. Their approach to the world is basically religious. Nothing can shake their faith. How much failure will it take before First Worldists wake up?

By contrast, we can easily answer Popper’s charge. We’d love to be proven wrong because we are scientists. We are not ostriches like the First Worldists. Most of us were First Worldists at one point, but we tossed First Worldism after it had been proven wrong again and again. If a First World socialist revolution occurs or gains significant strength, we will be the first to admit we were wrong. When we see First World workers seize power and purposefully lower their own standard of living to the benefit of the rest of humanity, when they pay massive reparations to the Third World, when they give back significant tracks of land to those they have occupied, then we will admit that what is going on is not social imperialism, but genuinely progressive. It would not even take a successful revolution in the First World to prove us wrong. When we see this kind of radical Third Worldist program adopted by significant segments of the First World population, not just a few activists and intellectuals, then we will pause to reevaluate our views.  When we see a significant number of people in the United States out on the streets  demanding that their own standard of living be lowered, demanding that they pay reparations and give back stolen land, then we will reevaluate our views. We won’t hold our breath. The reality is that there is no genuine First World revolutionary movement that has popular support anywhere in the First World. Those with a real communist program are demonized and laughed at in the First World.  In fact, the First World workers are so reactionary, they won’t even support First Worldist revisionists with their programs of mild re-distributions of wealth. Expecting the First World workers to align with Third World workers is as unscientific as expecting the imperialist bourgeoisie to align with Third World workers.

In the long term, for the most part, potential behavior is a function of material interests. This is why in the Third World, despite all the same attempts to bombard the population with capitalist propaganda, the people still rise up in radical rebellion from time to time. They rise up in communist rebellion, in proletarian rebellion, in national liberation. In fact, in the Third World, it is often the case that the capitalist monopoly of the media is even stronger than in the First World. Even so, reality breaks through. Capitalist misdirection only goes so far when it runs up against reality. False consciousness exists, and it can even exist for long periods. However, eventually reality wins out.

The reality is that the First World has no significant proletariat. This is why we  never see proletarian revolution in the First World. However, we do see fascist rebellion like the Minutemen and Tea Party. We have seen social-democratic/social-imperialist rebellion of anarchists and First Worldist so-called Marxists, like Paris of 1968, when Paris workers had a general strike then went back to the factories in exchange for double-digit raises. We also see movements between the fascist right and the social-fascist “left.”

It is a mark of science that it predicts and explains. First Worldism simply doesn’t correspond with reality, it doesn’t predict. And its explanations are all ad hoc and religious-like, as Popper saw. Leading Light Communism, by contrast, actually does predict and explain. It tells us where revolutions will happen and when they will not. It provides explanatory mechanisms that are not simply ad hoc and excuse like. This is what real revolutionary science looks like.

Marx distinguished his project from utopianism. He called his project scientific communism. Today, revolutionary science is Leading Light Communism.  Leading Light Communism is the real deal. First Worldism is a total joke. Unfortunately, First Worldism has done a lot of damage. It fans the fires of  First World fascism and social fascism. We are here to put them out.

 

Comments on the evolution of empire

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

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

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

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

“Third Worldism,” epistemology, art, socialism

“Third Worldism,” epistemology, art, socialismhqdefault

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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.

Smashing idols

Smashing idolsAbraham_Idols

(llco.org)

The Old Testament states:

“You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” (1)

The critique of pagan idolatry is held to be so important that it is the first commandment received by Moses in the Old Testament of Judaism and Christianity. The god of the “peoples of the Book,” of Jews and Christians, is also the god of Muslims. He is a jealous god who does not like competition, be it in the form of other gods or science. Islam has its origins in earlier Middle Eastern monotheism. From its religious relatives, Islam inherits the rejection of pagan idolatry. The rejection of pagan idolatry was central to Islam from the beginning and continues to be central today. For example, today, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) has demolished graves and shrines in the name of opposing idolatry. Such actions also serve their political agenda of stroking up sectarian conflicts, especially between Sunni and Shia. It was even reported that some members of the Islamic State proclaimed that if they conquered Mecca, they would demolish the Kaaba in order to put an end to the “worship of stones,” although this report has not been verified. (2) Similarly, Islamic radicals distance themselves from secular nationalism, which they see as a way of elevating the nation as as a kind of idol. This is similar to how  some Christian sects refuse to salute the US flag. This line of thought is not new.

The Kaaba in Mecca traditionally housed many of the pagan-Arab religious idols prior to the rise of Islam. Prophet Muhammad made an enemy of many in Mecca when he sought to have the Kaaba dedicated only to the worship of Allah, not the various pagan gods whose images were housed within it. The Quraysh began fighting with the Islamic community over the issue. This resulted in Muhammad’s migration, hijra, to Medina in 622 AD. Years later, Muhammad returned after the Muslims had defeated their Meccan opponents around 630. When they returned to the Kaaba, they removed the pagan idols, although allowed the black stone to remain. This is reported in the Hadith literature:

“When Allah’s Apostle arrived in Mecca, he refused to enter the Ka’ba while there were idols in it. So he ordered that they be taken out. The pictures of the (Prophets) Ibrahim and Ishmael, holding arrows of divination in their hands, were carried out. The Prophet said, ‘May Allah ruin them (i.e. the nonbelievers) for they knew very well that they (i.e. Ibrahim and Ishmael) never drew lots by these (divination arrows).’ Then the Prophet entered the Ka’ba and said. ‘Allahu Akbar’ in all its directions and came out and not offer any prayer therein.” (3)

According to Islam, Muhammad’s confrontation with pagan idols is only the last in a chain of numerous previous prophets who had done the same. One of the more interesting criticisms of idolatry is found in the Koran’s story of Prophet Ibrahim addressing silent pagan idols:

“He sneaked into the temple of their gods and addressed them: ‘Why don’t you eat from these offerings before you? What is the matter with you that you don’t even speak?’ Then he fell upon them, smiting them with his right hand. The people came running to the scene. ‘Would you worship that which you have carved with your own hands…’”  (4)

Silence in the face of Ibrahim’s questions lead to his rejection of the pagan idols. However, what should be obvious is just as the pagan idols do not eat food, Allah doesn’t order pizza either. Nor does Allah really speak. Why should lack of consumption of food be proof enough for Ibrahim to doubt the pagan idols, but not Allah? A materialist criticism is begun in this example, but then, instead of following the argument to its reasonable conclusion that no gods exist, Ibrahim does not apply the same criticisms to his own beliefs. The failure to follow through on the materialist critique, to apply it consistently, is seen in the example of Prophet Hud also:

“‘O my people! Why do you worship stone statues that you have made yourselves? These idols cannot give you anything or take anything away from you. You are clever people, why are doing  something so foolish? Your Lord is only One, and He alone should be worshipped…” (5)

Idols are not only made from stone and earth, they also exist in the mind. The idols of stone and earth are far easier to topple that those in the mind. The most important building block of any idol are social relationships from which they originate and serve. Karl Marx stated that the secret of the holy family is the earthly family. God as creator, as father, of the universe is really a kind of social construct. It is a projection of human relationships onto the universe. Even though God’s origin is human, many fail to recognize God’s social origin. People are thus compelled by the very idol they themselves, as a society, have created. From the standpoint of truth, worshiping one idol, even if it exists only in the realm of ideas, is not fundamentally different from worshiping many idols of stone and mud. Like most religions, Islam subjects those gods that are not its own to a limited materialist critique. Islam begins a materialist analysis of pagan idols by tracing their origin to human agency, but fails to extend the materialist critique to its own idol, Allah. There is no reason to believe that the metaphysical and religious realms exist on their own. They are a product of our own activity, what Marx called “self alienation”:

“But that the secular basis detaches itself from itself and establishes itself as an independent realm in the clouds can only be explained by the cleavages and self-contradictions within this secular basis. The latter must, therefore, in itself be both understood in its contradiction and revolutionized in practice. Thus, for instance, after the earthly family is discovered to be the secret of the holy family, the former must then itself be destroyed in theory and in practice.” (6)

Since the origin of the religious realm is our alienation from the processes of the minds and societies that create such a realm, overcoming the religious is a process of overcoming self alienation. Knowledge of society and self though science is the key to getting beyond the religious and other metaphysical outlooks. Marxists call tracing our conceptions of the world, including religious ideas and other ideologies, to their origins in class society “historical materialism.” By the time of Islam’s rise, Christianity had moved beyond its humble origins as a small sect of Judaism to become the official ideology of the Roman and post-Roman world. By the time of the rise of Islam in the 600s, Christianity had become the state religion of some of the Arab world’s most powerful neighbors. It was the state ideology in the what remained of the Western Roman world, but more importantly, of the Eastern Roman, the Byzantine, empire. The other major superpower near the Arab world was the Persian empire with its own religion, Zoroastrianism. Just as neighboring superpowers used their religions as an imperial glue, so too did the emerging Arab empire, what would become the Umayyad and other caliphates, have Islam. Islam, from its beginning, was very much tied to a very human political order. Just as the Vedic doctrines, karma, etc. of are used to justify the caste system of the Indian society, so too is the divine used to justify gender-caste system in Islam. Judaism, Christianity, even Buddhism, are similar in this respect. All religions arise from the contradictions of their society and serve a role in the power struggle. It is important to understand the process by which religious and other illusions arise. However, even though historical materialism is extremely important, science has developed other important tools that give insights into the origin of religion.

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Today, cognitive blindSpot768x1024
and neuro science are also providing important epistemological insights into how people learn, how and why they develop and hold onto mistaken ideas, etc. This is not just to make the obvious point that schizophrenics who hear voices are not altogether unlike some accounts of allegedly hearing the divine. Nor is this to repeat that Muhammad receiving the Koran was accompanied by symptoms of epilepsy. Even the Catholic Church goes out of its way to consult psychologists before it performs exorcisms, thus, despite themselves, pointing to the similarities between demon possession and mental illness. The epistemological implications of contemporary cognitive and neuro science are much deeper. For example, the great philosopher and proto-cognitive scientist Immanuel Kant believed that the mind structured our experience of the world, our phenomenological field. Our minds and brains organize information a certain way. Kant called space and time “forms of intuition.” According to Kant, “transcendental categories” like that of cause and effect also structure the way information is organized and processed by our minds. For Kant, the forms of intuition and transcendental categories structure our experience of the world and place limits on how we know and what we can know. For Kant, the experience of space, especially what we perceive as the external world beyond our mind, was structured according to the laws of Euclidean geometry. Thus, according to such a view, there is a “transcendental” (or biological) fetter on the ability to conceive that two parallel lines can intersect. Such an idea was held to be as contradictory as the notion that a square triangle could exist. Thus Kant understood space as Isaac Newton did. However, in 1919, Arthur Eddington’s famous photographs during a solar eclipse showed that even lines of light bend.  Physics has since recognized that space itself is curved by mass, which accounts for the gravitational effect. It may be difficult for us to wrap our heads around the idea because our brains seem to be hardwired to navigate the macroscopic world of ordinary, daily life. And, in our ordinary, daily life the world appears to us as macroscopic objects moving in a Euclidean field. However, the general rules that work well enough in ordinary circumstances break down in other circumstances. For example, they break down when examining subatomic particles. There are other examples of “mistakes” that we do not readily see. Even though we have blind spots in our vision, we do not see them without prompting. Another example: We may think we see color in our full visual field, but we really do not see color in our peripheral vision. This is why a person will not guess beyond the margin of error when trying to determine the color of random playing cards when displayed in her peripheral vision as she stares straight ahead. Another example: Our perception of temperature changes on our skin does not correspond to actual changes in a one-to-one way. Pain may work in a similar way, after a certain threshold is reached, additional infliction of violence may not be accompanied by additional experience of pain.

We know that the body is hardwired to fool itself in some contexts. Even though much of Sigmund Freud’s work is problematic, his conception of the power of the unconscious over our lives suggests this kind of conclusion. Others, most famously, Ludwig Wittgenstein, have shown that how we express claims, how human language itself, is prone to generating pseudo-problems and false conceptions about the world. Similar to Kant’s rejection of many traditional philosophic problems as a result of epistemologically overreaching, Wittgenstein showed how certain seemingly intractable philosophic questions were tied to the way language works. It is surely the case that the mistaken conceptions of the world, including religious ones, are a result of culture and power in human society, as Marx held. However, it is also surely the case that our neurology plays a role in why we make the mistakes we do. In Marx’s day, cognitive and neuro science had not advanced enough to provide much insight into the origin of religion. However, today we know much more about how the mind and brain work. Even so, even the best critique alone will not get society as a whole beyond idolatry, beyond the religious. As Marx wrote, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.” (7) To to get beyond the realm of illusion, including the religious, once and for all, requires a reorganization of society led by the most advanced science, Leading Light Communism, in order to eliminate all the social inequalities that generate ignorance and illusion. Truth and practice are hammers that not only smash pagan gods, but all gods, including the god of Ibrahim and Muhammad. Lenin stated that there is nothing as radical as reality itself. Revolution is the doorway from the illusory to the real. Leading Light Communism is the way out of Plato’s cave, from the shadows to the light.

Notes

1. New American Standard Bible. Exodus 20:4. http://biblehub.com/exodus/20-4.htm

2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/01/isis-destroy-kaaba-mecca_n_5547635.html

3. Sahih Al-Bukhari.  Book 59, Hadith 584 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaaba

4. Quran Sura 37: 91-95 http://www.alim.org/library/quran/surah/english/37/MAL#sthash.UqLhDKdN.dpuf

5. http://jafariaschool.org/assets/notes/Class7_Tarikh.pdf

6. Marx, Karl. Theses On Feuerbach. https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/theses/theses.htm

7. ibid.