On definition mongering

On definition mongeringBible-

(llco.org)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On fakes, again

On fakes, again*klowncommxsma-1

by Leading Light Shubel Morgan

(llco.org)

First Worldism is lethal for the international proletariat. As imperialism’s primary ideological weapon against the Third World, First Worldism’s goal is the ideological disarmament of the international proletariat.

You can think of the ideology of First Worldism in very simple terms. It’s a simple lie: that the whole world can live at the rich standards of First Worlders, and that the Third World should forget class struggle and by other means reach out for this bogus brass ring.

The only grain of truth in this lie, the grain of truth which sells the lie itself, is that First Worlders do indeed live richly. All First Worlders are of course part of the world’s richest 15%. Most Amerikkkans, for example, are part of the world’s richest 10%. (We won’t even trouble ourselves to provide documentation of these claims here. We’ve documented these particular claims over and over again. Our First Worldist critics have never once challenged that documentation – of course they can’t – so we’ll just consider our claims of First World population wealth as established and agreed upon fact.)

So yes, a First World standard of living is the standard of living of the global rich – the world minority, the world bourgeoisie. The lie of First Worldism, though, is the claim that those riches have been obtained by some means other than class struggle. In particular, class struggle against the world’s oppressed and exploited majority. The lie of First Worldism is that First World riches have not been stolen from the world majority but are a result of First Worlders being “productive” and “technological.”

The ideological swindle of  First Worldism is aimed at turning the proletariat away from class struggle against their First World exploiters and toward some vague “technological” solution to Third World impoverishment, with the parasite We$t, of course, always at the ready to lend their imperialist “expertise.” It’s the same old lie that the bourgeoisie has always peddled to the proletariat: just act right, and you can someday live like us. Same old lie, global scale.

Imperialism works overtime to crush the international proletariat militarily and economically. But the imperial We$t has plenty of stolen resorces left over to devote to ideological war against the Third World. Take First World cultural imperialism. Which has as its main aim the dissemination of the deadly ideology of First Worldism to the international proletariat. Each First World movie, magazine, pop song, burger or T-shirt parades the riches of First Worlders before the Third World masses in hopes of duping them into First Worldism and detouring them from class struggle. Detouring them to defeat and death.

And, for the more politically advanced in the Third World, imperialism has the ideological weapon of fake, klown “communism” to push First Worldism to potential proletarian leaders. These klown “communists” routinely adorn themselves with the nominal symbols of genuine communism. They sport Marx or Lenin or Mao in their costume declarations. They even call themselves Marxists, or Leninists, or Maoists, or communists.

But they’re relentless in denying that the world’s richest people (the First World populations) got those riches through exploitation. That denies the most fundamental truth of Marxism, it denies class struggle, it’s First Worldism.

So whatever their political costume, these “communists” are in fact First Worldist klowns.

The Third World will only win through genuine communism. Today, that’s Leading Light Communism. Today, it’s either klown “communist” First Worldism or L. Some organizations and individuals may appear “undecided” or “ambivalent” in this choice. Such organizations and individuals are sometimes called “fence sitters.” That’s a misnomer. There’s no fucking fence.

* This article was originally published in March 3, 2010 by Leading Light Shubel Morgan. We have reproduced his work here with slight edits.

Turning Money into Rebellion edited by Gabriel Kuhn reviewed part 2

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

(llco.org)

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

Practice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Science, not adventurism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Science, not identity politics

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

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

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

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

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

Science, not romanticism

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

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

Furthermore:

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

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

Science, not First Worldist national liberation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Understanding the Islamic State, ISIS, Al Qaeda in Iraq

Understanding the Islamic State, ISIS, Al Qaeda in Iraqislamic_state_of_iraq

(llco.org)

The Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (Al Qaeda in Iraq, Islamic State in Iraq, ISIS or ISIL, the Islamic State) has gone through numerous incarnations. In the past, it was known as “Al Qaeda in Iraq.” And today, its leader, previously known as “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” calls himself “Caliph Ibrahim,” the supreme leader of a new, landlocked Sunni caliphate that spans the Sunni areas of northern Iraq and northern Syria. He has declared that it is the duty of all Muslims to support and follow him and his Islamic State. To understand the nature of the ISIS, it is important to understand its methods, its history, its social base, its role in the class struggle.

It was under the previous leadership of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi that Al Qaeda in Iraq, later ISIS, developed its highly sectarian strategy. The main targets of ISIS’ sectarianism are the Shia, other non-Sunni populations, and oppressed nationalities such as the Kurds. When ISIS was known as “Al Qaeda in Iraq,” they pursued a strategy of seeking to cause a civil war between the Sunni and Shia in Iraq, a strategy that continues to this day. The 2006 attack on the Al ‘Askarī Shrine, one of the holiest sites in all of Shia Islam, was attributed to Al Qaeda in Iraq. Although they denied responsibility after a backlash of public opinion against them, the attack on the shrine fits with a pattern of attacks on Shia mosques, shrines, and other non-Sunni holy sites that continues to this day. ISIS’ approach prioritizes sectarian attacks and immediate imposition of sharia, Islamic law, over any other conflicts. In 2005, even the emir of Al Qaeda central, Ayman al Zawahiri, questioned the prioritization of sectarianism Al Qaeda in Iraq.

“We must repeat what we mentioned previously, that the majority of Muslims don’t comprehend this and possibly could not even imagine it. For that reason, many of your Muslim admirers amongst the common folk are wondering about your attacks on the Shia. The sharpness of this questioning increases when the attacks are on one of their mosques, and it increases more when the attacks are on the mausoleum of Imam Ali Bin Abi Talib, may God honor him. My opinion is that this matter won’t be acceptable to the Muslim populace however much you have tried to explain it, and aversion to this will continue.

Indeed, questions will circulate among Mujahideen circles and their opinion makers about the correctness of this conflict with the Shia at this time. Is it something that is unavoidable? Or, is it something can be put off until the force of the Mujahideen movement in Iraq gets stronger? And if some of the operations were necessary for self-defense, were all of the operations necessary? Or, were there some operations that weren’t called for?” (1)

At the time, ISIS’s strategy hoped to create chaos in order to cause a US withdrawal from Iraq. Despite their rhetoric and actions, their opposition to imperialism was not principled. They were not opposed to imperialism per se, rather they are opposed to their and the Iraqi Sunni population’s relatively weak position within the imperial system. Their armed struggle was not to throw off the yoke of imperialism, but it was ultimately about elevating themselves and those they represent within the empire. Their armed struggle would become a kind of armed reformism, an armed negotiation, with empire. Even if this was not clear at the beginnings of their movement, it is certainly clear with hindsight.

ISIS’ terror is not just directed at the Shia. ISIS has carried out genocidal policies against non-Sunnis along with a terror imposed on its own Sunni constituency. Eventually, the tide turned against “Al Qaeda in Iraq” when their own Sunni constituency revolted against them around 2007. This is referred to as the “Sunni Awakening” in the imperial media. This resulted from imperial bribes offered to Sunni tribes and it resulted from a backlash against ISIS’ sectarianism and harsh imposition of sharia: banning many traditional practices, censorship, beatings, executions, notorious beheadings, bombing of civilians. This sectarian strategy continued as ISIS intervened in the Syrian civil war. During the Syrian civil war, ISIS quickly marginalized other rebel factions, including other jihadi groups, who were fighting the Assad regime. As the most effective sect, they carved out a semi-state governed by sharia that spanned the Sunni areas of northern Syria and Iraq. Similar to their actions in Iraq, their genocidal, sectarian strategy in Syria targeted Alawi, Shia, Christian, and Kurdish populations with terror and violence. The sectarianism of the Syrian rebel groups was often met with sectarian violence on the part of the Assad regime against Sunni populations in places like Aleppo, where the regime indiscriminately bombed and shelled the population.

ISIn 2014, ISIS was IS-300x192ascending rapidly. They declared themselves the new Sunni caliphate and their leader declared himself Caliph of the “Islamic State.” After stabilizing their hold on parts of northern Syria, they played a major part in overrunning significant parts of Iraq, including Mosul and Tikrit. The rapid rise of the Islamic State was aided by many factors. The Arab Spring has inspired populations to rise up across the region. It was the weakness of the central states of Iraq and Syria that also allowed ISIS to quickly gain power. ISIS was able to fill the power vacuum and able to exploit longstanding anger amongst Sunnis. The sectarian nature of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq played a major role. The Assad regime in Syria has its support disproportionately amongst the non-Sunni populations; the Assad regime’s support is greater amongst the Alawi, Shia, Christian, Kurds, and others. Assad’s military, for example, is dominated by his Alawi sect. Unofficial pro-regime paramilitaries and mafias known as “Shabab” or “ghosts” carry out sectarian attacks on behalf of the regime. They too are dominated by the Alawi. Even more so, the Maliki regime in Iraq is based disproportionately on Shia support in the south of the country. The policies of the Maliki regime have driven both the Sunnis and the Kurds into rebellion against it. In 2011, even before the ascendency of the Islamic State, the Maliki regime declared its own Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi a criminal and enemy. The Maliki regime was so sectarian and weak that it could not even get its Kurdish population to hand over their countryman after Tariq al-Hashimi went into hiding in the Kurdish areas. The Kurdish Peshmerga, which is ostensibly setup to defend Kurish borders in Iraq, have established a presence in disputed lands. For a long time, they have set up bases here and there in the disputed areas to match the presence of the security forces from the central state. Iraqi’s central state also had limited reach into the Sunni areas, areas that began to see the sectarian Maliki regime as an occupying force. It is because of the sectarian policies of the Maliki regime that the Islamic State was able to again gain the support of those same Sunni tribal leaders who had turned against ISIS years before during the “Sunni Awakening” around 2007.  In their recent surprise offensive, the Islamic State was able to briefly gain the support of Baathist elements in Iraq, remnants of the Saddam Hussein regime that continue to suffer persecution, whose base of support is the Sunni population. The Special Republican Guards were never fully committed to battle at the time of the US invasion. And Saddam Hussein’s body-guard network and special operations are thought to have remained intact. Many of the Baathist specialists that had fled to neighboring countries at the time of the US invasion have now returned. (2) Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, who occupied the Vice-Presidency and Deputy Chairmanship of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council under Saddam Hussein, is now heading Jaysh Rijal al-Tariq al-Naqshbandi, or the Army of the Men of the Naqshband. This group, which has its roots in Baathist networks and Sufi Islamic orders, was a key player, along with ISIS, in overrunning Maliki’s state security forces recently. (3) There was much speculation that the disintegration of Maliki’s security forces was part of a conspiracy amongst some of its officers, possibly officers with connections to the old Baathist regime. However, these victories over the Maliki regime are now being undermined. Once again ISIS is imposing its harsh, unpopular Islamic order on the Sunni population and ISIS is also trying to eliminate its rival groups amongst the Sunni population of Iraq. Now the Iraqi Sunni groups have begun fighting amongst each other again. It is highly doubtful the Islamic State will be able to conquer the Kurdish areas or push deep into Alawi and Shia territory in Syria or Iraq. In both Syria and Iraq respectively, the Assad regime and Maliki regimes, along with Shia militias, are slowly pushing back, retaking territory.

The Islamic State’s victories, though dramatic, should not be overstated. Its victories are not based on popular support. The Islamic State demands obedience and the immediate transformation of society. ISIS is a commandist organization with little mass line. This is reflected in their terrorist attacks on civilians. Cities occupied by the Islamic State are sometimes depopulated or underpopulated when ISIS arrives. ISIS has created a stream of refugees from many areas it has conquered. It is not just Shia, Christians, and non-Sunnis fleeing, but also Sunnis fleeing the Islamic State’s sharia. Even their declaration of the caliphate and demand that all jihadis pledge loyalty to them has been criticized as a case of extreme overreaching. Other salafists worry that ISIS will end up discrediting the effort at bringing a viable caliphate into being. They are skeptical that a small, landlocked caliphate without oil spanning northern Iraq and Syria is viable. The population also wonders how such a state would create prosperity for its citizens, especially with such powerful neighbors like Iran. The Islamic State does not like questions. Those groups that oppose the Islamic State are muscled into submission. For example, ISIS declared a merger, that the Syrian Nusra Front be absorbed into its ranks. When the Nusra Front refused, the Islamic State responded militarily, even assassinating high ranking jihadi leaders. Al Qaeda central sought to mediate. They sided with Nusra Front. They declared the merger null and void. The Islamic State ignored attempts at mediation by Al Qaeda central. Instead, they declared the merger would go through. ISIS began to militarily enforce its dominance over Nusra Front. ISIS split from Al Qaeda central. This is why the Islamic State is often described as “too extreme for Al Qaeda” in the Western press. Even the Taliban in Afghanistan have warned the Islamic State to “avoid extremism.” (4)  The Islamic State is not patient with the its rivals or the population. Salafists in many countries have criticized the Islamic State’s pretenses and its attacks on Sunni imams and scholars who disagree with them. Such conflict is not new. There is a long tradition of conflict between autocratic caliphs versus Islamic scholars, a conflict going back at least to the Umayyad dynasty. (5) Even if the Islamic State advances the cause, many scholars feel they are being cut out by a transfer of authority from themselves to the new Caliph. Such errors reflect the Islamic State’s non-proletarian origin.

The rise of the Islamic State is also connected to geopolitical conflicts favorable to it. ISIS has benefited from the regional struggle for hegemony between Iran, Hezbollah, the Assad regime, and, to an extent, the Maliki regime versus the Gulf states, Israel, and, to a lesser extent, Turkey, Jordan, and others. The Islamic State established itself early on as the most viable opposition to the Assad regime and it has established itself as a strong opponent of the Maliki regime. The high profile nature of the conflicts drew people to its ranks from all over the world. The Islamic State has the ideological credentials and military capacity so that jihadis from all over the world to swell its ranks. Their internationalism not only brought them foot soldiers, cannon fodder for the struggle, but also brought them expertise and sophistication. For example, the Islamic State’s agitprop, internet and media production is some of the most sophisticated of any insurgent force. The ISIS brand fires the imaginations of armchair jihadis everywhere, especially in the Gulf States, who provide ISIS with an endless supply of private funds. Also, the Gulf State regimes have channeled massive military and monetary aid to Sunni rebels in Syria and Iraq. Turkey, Israel, Jordan, European countries, and the United States have channeled aid to Syrian Sunni factions as well. The United States and Jordan even established a camp to train the Syrian rebels in advanced tactics and weaponry, possibly including chemical weapons. (6) Even if this aid is not always directly sent to ISIS, it often ends up in their hands since other groups are too weak to hold onto the materials, or are mafia organizations that resell the aid, or fronts for ISIS. And in some cases, states send aid directly to the Islamic State, which is why ISIS is accused of being a proxy for Qatar or Saudi Arabia. Like other Islamist forces, the Islamic State is partially a product of geopolitical conflicts. Western imperialists and their allies have a history of channeling training and resources to Islamist movements in order to undermine Soviet-backed movements and leftist movements. The most well-known example is the effort by the United States and Pakistan to support the mujahideen in Afghanistan against the pro-Soviet forces. Some of these mujahideen evolved into Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Later, the United States came into conflict with these forces, even deposing the Taliban’s state and occupying Afghanistan. Today, the United States is still fighting the Taliban and claims to be fighting Al Qaeda. Also, the Pakistani state sometimes comes into conflict with its own Islamists, including the Pakistani Taliban, which have connections to their deposed neighbors in Afghanistan. There is an opportunist relationship between the First World imperialists, their regional hegemonic allies, and certain Islamists. The Islamists are propped up by these regimes as a way for the regimes advance their First Worldist or hegemonic interests. The Islamists welcome any support as a way to advance themselves. The extreme sectarian nature of the jihadi ideology allows such movements to engage in opportunism that justifies any alliance with any force, which often leads them into alliances with imperialists and Zionists. Big imperialists and Israel channeled support to Sunni Islamists as a way to undermine pan-Arabism, leftist resistance movements, and Shia movements that come into conflict with their interests. The  Egyptian Islamic Brotherhood and also the Saudi regime conspired to assassinate Gamal Abdel Nasser multiple times. Even though the main face of Palestinian resistance today is Islamist, Islamists received support as part of Israel’s effort to weaken the Palestinian movement, which was then dominated by nationalists and leftists. (7) Some speculate that the new Caliph Ibrahim of the Islamic State, the supreme leader of ISIS, received training by the United States, Britain, and the Israeli Mossad. (8) At one point, the United States had him in custody in Camp Bucca, but he was released around 2010. (9) Many speculate that he was released because he had been a US, British, or Mossad asset. It is also possible that his detention was part of a long-term effort to give him a credible back story as an imperial deep agent who could also use his incarceration to network with jailed jihadis.

Some Islamists are straight-up agents of imperialism. However, it is important to note that although numerous Islamic groups have received imperialist support and have sometimes aligned with the imperialists, it is simplistic to believe they are all simply agents of imperialism. Although some Islamists often act as mercenaries for imperialists, they are often conflicted about it. It is also important to understand that not all Islamist movements are the same. Not only are there differences between Shia and Sunni groups, there are also important differences between Sunni groups. Movements like Hezbollah are very different from ISIS. Movements like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, for example, are very different than movements like the Islamic State. The former, for example, are playing a more progressive role in the region as they resist imperialism. The latter, the Islamic State, may spout anti-imperialist rhetoric, may come into some conflict with imperialism, but ends up serving imperialism in the big picture.

The Islamic State is a complex movement. It voices some of the injustice suffered by the Sunni populations in Syria and Iraq. No doubt, it expresses some legitimate grievances. However, ultimately, this is not the principal aspect of the Islamic State. And its rule has proven very unpopular even with the Sunni population. The Sunnis are its victims too. Although it has come into limited conflict with imperialism in Iraq, the Islamic State is not mainly an agent of the Sunni national bourgeoisie coming into conflict with imperialism as some might suppose. If anything, ISIS has come into conflict with the Sunni bourgeoisie represented by the old Iraqi Baathists on numerous occasions. On the whole, the Islamic State represents very backward segments of the Sunni populations of Syria and Iraq, comprador segments propped up by the Gulf States and other imperialists, along with segments of the petty bourgeoisie and intelligencia, along with very backward jihadis — some ideological, some mercenary — from around the globe. ISIS is willing to align with an imperialism that tolerates its fascist and semi-feudal social program. They are a comprador force, agents of empire, even though they spout an anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist rhetoric. They are an extension of imperial capital aligned with local reactionary classes and globe-trotting mercenaries and ideologues from various strata. They are a response and contributor to a crisis situation in the region. Their rule is openly terrorist and  barbaric. However, their Islamist ideological commitments make it such that, although they serve imperialism overall, they are unpredictable and fall into limited conflict with the imperialists at times. The proxy war of which the Islamic State is playing a big role is part of the imperialist strategy to divide and conquer the region. Sectarian war is a way to divide masses. It is a way to create regional chaos. Syria and Iraq may be split into smaller states organized around sectarian lines, making it harder to resist imperialism.  The end result will be that the entire region will be weaker.  And Israel will be able to rest easily knowing that its main opponents, Iran and Iran’s allies, are occupied fighting the Sunni groups and their backers, especially ISIS and the Gulf states. Israel is so confident in its position that it is currently involved in an invasion of Gaza involving tens of thousands of troops, possibly an effort at full reoccupation. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed and thousands wounded in the past few days while ISIS attacks Shia and other Sunni groups in Iraq and Syria. One online site claiming to represent ISIS stated it is not interested in attacking Israel anytime soon:

“We haven’t given orders to kill the Israelis and the Jews. The war against the nearer enemy, those who rebel against the faith, is more important. Allah commands us in the Koran to fight the hypocrites, because they are much more dangerous than those who are fundamentally heretics.” (10)

That says something about the Islamic State’s priorities. The Islamic State has also attacked the Kurdish populations aligned with the Kurdish Workers’ Party, thus serving Turkey, which is part of NATO. Even though their overall actions serve the United States, Europe, and the First World generally, the Islamic State has come into conflict with the United States in Iraq. Even though the Gulf States are part of the same First World bloc with the United States, even though they share the same regional interests, they have different policies toward the Maliki regime in Iraq. Thus different parts of the imperial allies are supporting different forces in the Iraqi civil war. Thus both sides of the conflict are being played by the Western-Gulf State imperialists. In a sense, ISIS represents a “Plan B” comprador force in Iraq. The United States would prefer to deal with a comprador regime with more liberal, modern flavor, some degree of women’s rights, an outward appearance of multi-national and religious tolerance. However, the Maliki regime is not delivering, which is why Hillary Clinton recently conveyed the US desire to see Maliki resign as a step to forming a new “national unity government.”  Plus, Iran’s involvement in Iraq makes it even more difficult to follow through with neocon nation-building fantasies there. If the imperialists can’t get a liberal comprador regime out of the Maliki, there is always the alternative, a comprador Sunni-fascist ISIS waiting in the wings. If imperialism with a liberal face fails, there is always imperialism with a fascist, feudalist face. “Plan A” doesn’t work, go with “Plan B.” Or, the imperialists will just try to split the country in order to divide and conquer. In other words, their outlook is to support all sides through multiple channels so that no matter who wins, the imperialists  win.

It is important to look beneath the surface. Just because an organization spouts anti-imperialist rhetoric and brandishes automatic weapons does not make them anti-imperialist nor progressive. Imperialism orchestrates and supports many non-state actors around the world in order to further its purposes. The Islamic State is a movement that commits genocide against non-Sunnis and non-Arabs in the region. Alawi, Shia, Christians, Kurds, and others are hunted down and butchered. Areas are depopulated. Their art, culture, holy sites, their places of worship, destroyed. Not unlike other fascist movements, the property of the persecuted is appropriated by ISIS to distribute to its fighters and supporters. Where they have power, they inflict terror on the very Sunni population they claim to represent. Sunni refugees also flee the Islamic State just as others do. Sharia is implemented. Those who do not follow every aspect of Islamic law can be beaten, tortured, or killed. Those who forget to pray are made examples of. Those who have extra-martial affairs are beaten or killed. Censorship is the order of the day. Books and cigarettes are banned and burned in huge bonfires. Young girls and women are kidnapped, forced into marriage, and raped as spoils of war. Women are silenced, their motions restricted, their rights are stripped of them. Women are turned into mere property. ISIS fighters hold themselves to another standard than the populations they control. They see themselves as better and above ordinary people. The fighters act with arbitrary terror against the populations. They do what they wish and take what they wish. They kill who they wish. Beheadings and crusifictions are commonplace. Anything and everything is permitted in the name of advancing Islam. Hypocrisy and corruption are rampant. At the same time, the Islamic State serves the interests of those regimes most closely allied to the United States. They serve and are propped up by the Gulf States, Israel, Turkey, and, indirectly, the United States and European countries. The Islamic State is a hypocritic, corrupt, destructive, oppressive force serving imperialism.

There are many false paths. There are many false leaders. There are many masks that the system hides behind. We must dare to remove the masks. The masses will see through the lies. Islam is not the answer. Fantasies about restoring a feudal, Islamic golden age are lies. Filling the heads of the population with superstition only makes the population more vulnerable. If we are going to defeat imperialism, we need an educated population. If we are going to end oppression, we need masses who think scientifically. If we are going to build a society where the people have decent lives, we need fighters and thinkers. If we are really to defeat capitalism, we need to liberate the masses, not terrorize them into submission as the capitalists, feudalists, and fake caliphs do. If we are to really win, we need the masses at our side. We need women fighting along side us. Fighting without women is like fighting with one hand tied behind your back. Women hold up half the sky. Men and women unite. We need to unite the oppressed people of all religious backgrounds, all nationalities, all ethnicities, all languages. Islam is not a weapon that can take us to liberation. We need the best weapon possible, the most advanced revolutionary science, in the hands of the masses. There is one people, one Earth ,one future, one path, one organization, one leadership, one weapon, one answer: Leading Light Communism.

Notes

1. https://www.ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Zawahiris-Letter-to-Zarqawi-Translation.pdf

2. http://rudaw.net/english/interview/29062014

3. http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118356/izzat-ibrahim-al-douri-saddam-husseins-pal-key-stopping-isis

4. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2689776/Now-Taliban-warns-ISIS-Islamist-rebels-Iraq-avoid-extremism-calls-new-council-jihadi-factions-page.html

5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9zGqwKZp58

6. http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-defense-contractors-training-syrian-rebels-to-handle-chemical-weapons/5315180

7. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB123275572295011847

8. http://www.islamicnewsdaily.com/country/gulf/iraq/isis-leader-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-trained-israeli-mossad-nsa-documents-reveal/

9. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/10891700/Iraq-crisis-the-jihadist-behind-the-takeover-of-Mosul-and-how-America-let-him-go.html

10. http://www.haaretz.com/news/world/.premium-1.605097

Out of the shadows into the sun

Out of the shadows into the sunAL03

an interview with Leading Light Commander Prairie Fire

(llco.org)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(llco.org)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Is sex biological?

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

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

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

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

  1. Is manhood bad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serve the people truth or fiction?

Serve the people truth or fiction?truth-or-lie-166ab0

(llco.org)

In recent discussion, we contrasted science versus apolegetics in dealing with history. Stalin was used as an example. A familiar voice objected to our discussion. He roars:

“There is nothing original in noting the USSR’s initial support of Israel as primarily geo-political. Of course it was a mistake, but hindsight is always 20/20.

The USSR aided Israel during the Nakba, but did they ever aid the Euro-Settlers before that? No. However, the Nazis did, as documented extensively by the Jewish Trotskyist Lenni Brenner. There wasn’t anything like the Transfer Agreement between the USSR and the Euro-Settlers in Palestine as there was between Nazi Germany and proto-Israel. Even when the USSR was officially supporting Israel, it was still a crime for Soviet Jews to emigrate there. This is a result of the consistent position maintained since pre-revolutionary days by the Bolsheviks, that Jews ARE NOT A NATION.

It is interesting, though, that LLCO is now willing to say the USSR was imperialist even before Stalin died. I suppose trying to convince the Oppressed Nations of the world that their nationalism isn’t “applied internationalism” leads one to such absurdities.”

Leading Light Commander PF responds:

Thank you for your instructive comment.

Right off the bat, the whole tone of your comment is strange to us. It is as though you think that questioning one aspect of the Stalin era is somehow a big betrayal of socialism or Stalin. It is also odd to us that you seem to think that it is a defense of Stalin to put forward the equivalent of “well, he wasn’t as bad as the Nazis!” as you do. Yes, you are right, Stalin’s foreign policy was not nearly as bad as the German fascist one. Stalin’s policy, obviously, was not as bad as numerous policies of imperialist powers. In fact, numerous other imperialist powers were not as bad as the Nazis. It is interesting to us that you think saying as much is a defense of Stalin and socialism. It is interesting to us that you hold socialism in such high regard that you set your expectations for it so low. We hold socialism and our leaders to a higher standard than you do. We expect more from our socialism and leaders than just being better than Hitler. Your comment is an example of what I was trying to say in the post. Apologetics, historical narratives based around personality cults, leads to absurdities.

The Soviet line on the Jewish question is interesting. As you said, the stated line was that the Jews were not a nation. Yet then there is the de jure recognition of Israel, which was done for geopolitical reasons, but nonetheless legitimates the idea that the Jews are a nation. There is the creation of the Jewish Autonomous Zone within the Soviet Union. And Jews, especially Soviet Jews, were encouraged to migrate there, although few took up the offer. In any case, as it seems we both agree, the Soviet support for Israel was mostly for geopolitical considerations.

Saying “hindsight is 20/20” does not excuse all political errors. Do not apologists for US atrocities, for the institution of slavery, for example, make a similar excuses? Or imagine someone who said “Yes, Khrushchev made errors, Deng Xiaoping made errors, Gorbachev made errors, but hindsight is 20/20!” Is this a serious defense of their policies? There are numerous kinds of errors, often overlapping in various ways. There are ones that are reasonable given what was known at the time. There are ones that are unreasonable given what was known at the time. There are errors that emerge from bad empirical evidence with socialist thinking. There are errors that emerge from capitalist thinking, but with good or bad empirical data. There are rightist errors that still fall within the revolutionary camp, then there are revisionist errors. There are leftist errors that still fall within the revolutionary camp, then there are revisionist errors. There are errors that are “left in form, right in essence.” There are errors that have their origin in reactionary mentality and character. There are errors that we should take responsibility for as inheritors of the revolutionary tradition. There are errors that are not our’s, that we do not take responsibility for. All movements that claim to be Marxist acknowledge these kinds of distinctions. They just draw the lines differently. For example, Trotskyists don’t feel obliged to justify the policies of the Stalin era, extreme orthodox Marxist-Leninists don’t feel obliged to justify the policies of the Maoist era, Maoists don’t feel obliged to justify the policies of Deng Xiaoping. Maoists, for example, see Deng Xiaoping’s policies not as socialism in error, but as revisionism, as capitalism. We agree that the policy to support Israel was an error, the question is what kind of error.

We are interested science, not dogma. Those who approach history not as truth, but as a kind of story to elevate or denigrate this or that leader, are not doing science. Their approach to history is the Great Man Theory that Marx criticized long ago. It is a product of lingering personality cults. God may be dead, but the smell of the corpse lingers. Similarly, cults of personality outlive the leaders they idolize. The apologetics that pass for history within the revolutionary movement are really just a kind of cult-of-personality myth making. Whether or not it is worthwhile to make revolution does not depend, for us, on whether Stalin or Mao may have made revisionist turns in the end. The necessity of total liberation for humanity is something we live and die for, regardless of whether Soviet regime made a nationalist and traditionalist turn during World War 2 that they never emerged from. The moral command to “serve the people” flows in our veins whether or not Mao went bad in the 1970s. Our first love is the masses and the land, not any single individual, even a Stalin or Mao. We tell the masses the truth because we really do believe the Maoist slogan that “the masses are the real heroes” and “the masses are the motive forces in history.” We also love the great leaders, geniuses, warriors, Leading Lights that the struggle has produced. However, when the latter begins to conflict with the former, we will always choose the masses, the land, the truth over the myth making, even if the latter is well-intentioned. A true friend is an honest one.

The Leading Light’s line is not that the Soviet Union did or did not become imperialist before Stalin died. The Leading Light does not have a “line” on every little historical detail. Leading Light unites around a general line. Our line is that the Soviet Union began to shift toward capitalism and imperialism sometime during or in the immediate decade following World War 2. Just as we say China restored capitalism sometime in the 1970s. Again, we do not structure our historical narrative around the demands of the personality cult. For us, it is fine to say Mao was one of the greatest revolutionaries of all time, but also made major errors, including revisionist and capitalist ones. We are about genuine science, not the pretense of science. With all things, we uphold the good and toss the bad. Humans are flesh and blood. Humans are not perfect. Humans make mistakes. Our supreme leader is no human, but truth, as best as it can be known through science.

Your infantile remark about oppressed nations is barely worth my time. How exactly does questioning Stalin’s policy, adopted for geopolitical reasons, of supporting, albeit only for a short time, a Euro-invasion of Palestine lead to the conclusion that national liberation of oppressed nations is not applied internationalism? What is the chain of inferences, as you see them? If you can’t explain yourself, then that says a lot about where you are coming from. Your remark is just another example of how some people are not interested in the truth. Our line has always been the same: we support whatever path leads to Leading Light Communism, total liberation, the end of all oppression. Our first loyalty is to the masses and the Earth, not to nations of any kind. If national liberation is the best way to achieve that, then we support it. If there is a better strategy, then we support that. However, we do not elevate nationalism to level of principle. There is a big difference between communists who have, at times, adopted nationalism as a means to an end and nationalists who have, at times, adopted communism as a means to an end. As it happens, neither Mao nor Stalin were nationalists in the sense that national liberation movements in the United States are. Both led multi-national revolutions that encompassed dozens of oppressed nations. The Bolshevik revolution was a revolution spread over much of the old Russian empire, which was called “the prison house of nations.” The Maoist revolution spread over a vast territory that corresponded with the previous Chinese imperial dynasties. Both revolutions sought to create transnational red identity to replace the more nationalist and localist identities. At the same time, the hope was to forge this identity as gently as possible. Unfortunately, things did not always work out that way. For example, Stalin and Mirsaid Sultan-Galiev came into conflict over this. Sultan-Galiev seemed to see Stalin’s line as really just a manifestation of Russian chauvinism toward oppressed nationalities. Stalin was probably correct to oppose Sultan-Galiev. Sultan-Galiev was accused of nationalism and arrested. Whatever one thinks about Sultan-Galiev’s claims, Stalin’s regime later did turn toward resurrecting Russian nationalism as a way to fight the Nazis in World War 2. This surely carried over into the post-war period. In China, the Cultural Revolution was often accused of trampling the sensibilities of the smaller nations. This is why Maoist policies were sometimes wrongly seen as being Han chauvinist. The reality is that they weren’t really Han chauvinist even if they did trample on national traditions at times. Afterall, the Maoist attitude toward Han traditionalism could be very negative also, maybe even more so. Mao was steeped in China’s classics, but Mao had great disdain for oppressive traditionalism. Mao jokingly compared himself to the Qin emperor who buried the Confucian scholars alive. During the Cultural Revolution, the grave of Confucius was dug up by Red Guards. In India, there is also a debate. Some Maoists push for a pan-Indian revolution that calls for subsuming smaller national struggles with it. The CPI (Maoist) holds this line. Other Maoists, like the “Third Central Committee,” have accused the CPI (Maoist) of Brahmin chauvinism against the Dalits. They see the Brahmin caste as akin to an oppressor nation occupying a Dalit oppressed nation. Dalit Voice used to carry articles comparing Brahmin occupation of India to white occupation of North America or Jewish occupation of Palestine.Thus they attack the UCP Nepal (Maoist) and CPI (Maoist) as Brahmin-led on the basis of identity politics. I think this simplistic way of describing India and North America is problematic.

Leading Light has always supported the united front against imperialism. We support people’s movements, even if they are led by erroneous ideas. This goes for the country-wide liberation movements in the Third World. It also goes for the narrower national movements you find among First World oppressed nations or communities, when those struggles are progressive. Even so, we do not see these types of struggles as the vanguard. Just as capitalism has been globalizing, so too is resistance to it. Narrow struggles are not at the forefront of the anti-imperial struggle. Today, more internationalist movements are contending to make their impact, sometimes they are progressive and anti-imperialist, sometimes they are just another face of imperialism. For example, some pan-Indigenists ended up on the side of imperialism against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua in the 1980s. Some pan-Islamists end up on the side of imperialism today. Even so, these ideologies, like Bolivarianism, like pan-Africanism, and others are having more of an impact within the anti-imperialist struggle than narrow nationalism or even country-wide nationalism. Leading Light calls for a Global People’s War. One people. One earth. One fight.

Understanding the Islamic State, ISIS, Al Qaeda in Iraq

Understanding the Islamic State, ISIS, Al Qaeda in Iraq

(llco.org) islamic_state_of_iraq

The Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (Al Qaeda in Iraq, Islamic State in Iraq, ISIS or ISIL, the Islamic State) has gone through numerous incarnations. In the past, it was known as “Al Qaeda in Iraq.” And today, its leader, previously known as “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” calls himself “Caliph Ibrahim,” the supreme leader of a new, landlocked Sunni caliphate that spans the Sunni areas of northern Iraq and northern Syria. He has declared that it is the duty of all Muslims to support and follow him and his Islamic State. To understand the nature of the ISIS, it is important to understand its methods, its history, its social base, its role in the class struggle.

It was under the previous leadership of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi that Al Qaeda in Iraq, later ISIS, developed its highly sectarian strategy. The main targets of ISIS’ sectarianism are the Shia, other non-Sunni populations, and oppressed nationalities such as the Kurds. When ISIS was known as “Al Qaeda in Iraq,” they pursued a strategy of seeking to cause a civil war between the Sunni and Shia in Iraq, a strategy that continues to this day. The 2006 attack on the Al ‘Askarī Shrine, one of the holiest sites in all of Shia Islam, was attributed to Al Qaeda in Iraq. Although they denied responsibility after a backlash of public opinion against them, the attack on the shrine fits with a pattern of attacks on Shia mosques, shrines, and other non-Sunni holy sites that continues to this day. ISIS’ approach prioritizes sectarian attacks and immediate imposition of sharia, Islamic law, over any other conflicts. In 2005, even the emir of Al Qaeda central, Ayman al Zawahiri, questioned the prioritization of sectarianism Al Qaeda in Iraq.

“We must repeat what we mentioned previously, that the majority of Muslims don’t comprehend this and possibly could not even imagine it. For that reason, many of your Muslim admirers amongst the common folk are wondering about your attacks on the Shia. The sharpness of this questioning increases when the attacks are on one of their mosques, and it increases more when the attacks are on the mausoleum of Imam Ali Bin Abi Talib, may God honor him. My opinion is that this matter won’t be acceptable to the Muslim populace however much you have tried to explain it, and aversion to this will continue.

Indeed, questions will circulate among Mujahideen circles and their opinion makers about the correctness of this conflict with the Shia at this time. Is it something that is unavoidable? Or, is it something can be put off until the force of the Mujahideen movement in Iraq gets stronger? And if some of the operations were necessary for self-defense, were all of the operations necessary? Or, were there some operations that weren’t called for?” (1)

At the time, ISIS’s strategy hoped to create chaos in order to cause a US withdrawal from Iraq. Despite their rhetoric and actions, their opposition to imperialism was not principled. They were not opposed to imperialism per se, rather they are opposed to their and the Iraqi Sunni population’s relatively weak position within the imperial system. Their armed struggle was not to throw off the yoke of imperialism, but it was ultimately about elevating themselves and those they represent within the empire. Their armed struggle would become a kind of armed reformism, an armed negotiation, with empire. Even if this was not clear at the beginnings of their movement, it is certainly clear with hindsight.

ISIS’ terror is not just directed at the Shia. ISIS has carried out genocidal policies against non-Sunnis along with a terror imposed on its own Sunni constituency. Eventually, the tide turned against “Al Qaeda in Iraq” when their own Sunni constituency revolted against them around 2007. This is referred to as the “Sunni Awakening” in the imperial media. This resulted from imperial bribes offered to Sunni tribes and it resulted from a backlash against ISIS’ sectarianism and harsh imposition of sharia: banning many traditional practices, censorship, beatings, executions, notorious beheadings, bombing of civilians. This sectarian strategy continued as ISIS intervened in the Syrian civil war. During the Syrian civil war, ISIS quickly marginalized other rebel factions, including other jihadi groups, who were fighting the Assad regime. As the most effective sect, they carved out a semi-state governed by sharia that spanned the Sunni areas of northern Syria and Iraq. Similar to their actions in Iraq, their genocidal, sectarian strategy in Syria targeted Alawi, Shia, Christian, and Kurdish populations with terror and violence. The sectarianism of the Syrian rebel groups was often met with sectarian violence on the part of the Assad regime against Sunni populations in places like Aleppo, where the regime indiscriminately bombed and shelled the population.

IS-300x192In 2014, ISIS was ascending rapidly. They declared themselves the new Sunni caliphate and their leader declared himself Caliph of the “Islamic State.” After stabilizing their hold on parts of northern Syria, they played a major part in overrunning significant parts of Iraq, including Mosul and Tikrit. The rapid rise of the Islamic State was aided by many factors. The Arab Spring has inspired populations to rise up across the region. It was the weakness of the central states of Iraq and Syria that also allowed ISIS to quickly gain power. ISIS was able to fill the power vacuum and able to exploit longstanding anger amongst Sunnis. The sectarian nature of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq played a major role. The Assad regime in Syria has its support disproportionately amongst the non-Sunni populations; the Assad regime’s support is greater amongst the Alawi, Shia, Christian, Kurds, and others. Assad’s military, for example, is dominated by his Alawi sect. Unofficial pro-regime paramilitaries and mafias known as “Shabab” or “ghosts” carry out sectarian attacks on behalf of the regime. They too are dominated by the Alawi. Even more so, the Maliki regime in Iraq is based disproportionately on Shia support in the south of the country. The policies of the Maliki regime have driven both the Sunnis and the Kurds into rebellion against it. In 2011, even before the ascendency of the Islamic State, the Maliki regime declared its own Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi a criminal and enemy. The Maliki regime was so sectarian and weak that it could not even get its Kurdish population to hand over their countryman after Tariq al-Hashimi went into hiding in the Kurdish areas. The Kurdish Peshmerga, which is ostensibly setup to defend Kurish borders in Iraq, have established a presence in disputed lands. For a long time, they have set up bases here and there in the disputed areas to match the presence of the security forces from the central state. Iraqi’s central state also had limited reach into the Sunni areas, areas that began to see the sectarian Maliki regime as an occupying force. It is because of the sectarian policies of the Maliki regime that the Islamic State was able to again gain the support of those same Sunni tribal leaders who had turned against ISIS years before during the “Sunni Awakening” around 2007.  In their recent surprise offensive, the Islamic State was able to briefly gain the support of Baathist elements in Iraq, remnants of the Saddam Hussein regime that continue to suffer persecution, whose base of support is the Sunni population. The Special Republican Guards were never fully committed to battle at the time of the US invasion. And Saddam Hussein’s body-guard network and special operations are thought to have remained intact. Many of the Baathist specialists that had fled to neighboring countries at the time of the US invasion have now returned. (2) Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, who occupied the Vice-Presidency and Deputy Chairmanship of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council under Saddam Hussein, is now heading Jaysh Rijal al-Tariq al-Naqshbandi, or the Army of the Men of the Naqshband. This group, which has its roots in Baathist networks and Sufi Islamic orders, was a key player, along with ISIS, in overrunning Maliki’s state security forces recently. (3) There was much speculation that the disintegration of Maliki’s security forces was part of a conspiracy amongst some of its officers, possibly officers with connections to the old Baathist regime. However, these victories over the Maliki regime are now being undermined. Once again ISIS is imposing its harsh, unpopular Islamic order on the Sunni population and ISIS is also trying to eliminate its rival groups amongst the Sunni population of Iraq. Now the Iraqi Sunni groups have begun fighting amongst each other again. It is highly doubtful the Islamic State will be able to conquer the Kurdish areas or push deep into Alawi and Shia territory in Syria or Iraq. In both Syria and Iraq respectively, the Assad regime and Maliki regimes, along with Shia militias, are slowly pushing back, retaking territory.

The Islamic State’s victories, though dramatic, should not be overstated. Its victories are not based on popular support. The Islamic State demands obedience and the immediate transformation of society. ISIS is a commandist organization with little mass line. This is reflected in their terrorist attacks on civilians. Cities occupied by the Islamic State are sometimes depopulated or underpopulated when ISIS arrives. ISIS has created a stream of refugees from many areas it has conquered. It is not just Shia, Christians, and non-Sunnis fleeing, but also Sunnis fleeing the Islamic State’s sharia. Even their declaration of the caliphate and demand that all jihadis pledge loyalty to them has been criticized as a case of extreme overreaching. Other salafists worry that ISIS will end up discrediting the effort at bringing a viable caliphate into being. They are skeptical that a small, landlocked caliphate without oil spanning northern Iraq and Syria is viable. The population also wonders how such a state would create prosperity for its citizens, especially with such powerful neighbors like Iran. The Islamic State does not like questions. Those groups that oppose the Islamic State are muscled into submission. For example, ISIS declared a merger, that the Syrian Nusra Front be absorbed into its ranks. When the Nusra Front refused, the Islamic State responded militarily, even assassinating high ranking jihadi leaders. Al Qaeda central sought to mediate. They sided with Nusra Front. They declared the merger null and void. The Islamic State ignored attempts at mediation by Al Qaeda central. Instead, they declared the merger would go through. ISIS began to militarily enforce its dominance over Nusra Front. ISIS split from Al Qaeda central. This is why the Islamic State is often described as “too extreme for Al Qaeda” in the Western press. Even the Taliban in Afghanistan have warned the Islamic State to “avoid extremism.” (4)  The Islamic State is not patient with the its rivals or the population. Salafists in many countries have criticized the Islamic State’s pretenses and its attacks on Sunni imams and scholars who disagree with them. Such conflict is not new. There is a long tradition of conflict between autocratic caliphs versus Islamic scholars, a conflict going back at least to the Umayyad dynasty. (5) Even if the Islamic State advances the cause, many scholars feel they are being cut out by a transfer of authority from themselves to the new Caliph. Such errors reflect the Islamic State’s non-proletarian origin.

The rise of the Islamic State is also connected to geopolitical conflicts favorable to it. ISIS has benefited from the regional struggle for hegemony between Iran, Hezbollah, the Assad regime, and, to an extent, the Maliki regime versus the Gulf states, Israel, and, to a lesser extent, Turkey, Jordan, and others. The Islamic State established itself early on as the most viable opposition to the Assad regime and it has established itself as a strong opponent of the Maliki regime. The high profile nature of the conflicts drew people to its ranks from all over the world. The Islamic State has the ideological credentials and military capacity so that jihadis from all over the world to swell its ranks. Their internationalism not only brought them foot soldiers, cannon fodder for the struggle, but also brought them expertise and sophistication. For example, the Islamic State’s agitprop, internet and media production is some of the most sophisticated of any insurgent force. The ISIS brand fires the imaginations of armchair jihadis everywhere, especially in the Gulf States, who provide ISIS with an endless supply of private funds. Also, the Gulf State regimes have channeled massive military and monetary aid to Sunni rebels in Syria and Iraq. Turkey, Israel, Jordan, European countries, and the United States have channeled aid to Syrian Sunni factions as well. The United States and Jordan even established a camp to train the Syrian rebels in advanced tactics and weaponry, possibly including chemical weapons. (6) Even if this aid is not always directly sent to ISIS, it often ends up in their hands since other groups are too weak to hold onto the materials, or are mafia organizations that resell the aid, or fronts for ISIS. And in some cases, states send aid directly to the Islamic State, which is why ISIS is accused of being a proxy for Qatar or Saudi Arabia. Like other Islamist forces, the Islamic State is partially a product of geopolitical conflicts. Western imperialists and their allies have a history of channeling training and resources to Islamist movements in order to undermine Soviet-backed movements and leftist movements. The most well-known example is the effort by the United States and Pakistan to support the mujahideen in Afghanistan against the pro-Soviet forces. Some of these mujahideen evolved into Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Later, the United States came into conflict with these forces, even deposing the Taliban’s state and occupying Afghanistan. Today, the United States is still fighting the Taliban and claims to be fighting Al Qaeda. Also, the Pakistani state sometimes comes into conflict with its own Islamists, including the Pakistani Taliban, which have connections to their deposed neighbors in Afghanistan. There is an opportunist relationship between the First World imperialists, their regional hegemonic allies, and certain Islamists. The Islamists are propped up by these regimes as a way for the regimes advance their First Worldist or hegemonic interests. The Islamists welcome any support as a way to advance themselves. The extreme sectarian nature of the jihadi ideology allows such movements to engage in opportunism that justifies any alliance with any force, which often leads them into alliances with imperialists and Zionists. Big imperialists and Israel channeled support to Sunni Islamists as a way to undermine pan-Arabism, leftist resistance movements, and Shia movements that come into conflict with their interests. The  Egyptian Islamic Brotherhood and also the Saudi regime conspired to assassinate Gamal Abdel Nasser multiple times. Even though the main face of Palestinian resistance today is Islamist, Islamists received support as part of Israel’s effort to weaken the Palestinian movement, which was then dominated by nationalists and leftists. (7) Some speculate that the new Caliph Ibrahim of the Islamic State, the supreme leader of ISIS, received training by the United States, Britain, and the Israeli Mossad. (8) At one point, the United States had him in custody in Camp Bucca, but he was released around 2010. (9) Many speculate that he was released because he had been a US, British, or Mossad asset. It is also possible that his detention was part of a long-term effort to give him a credible back story as an imperial deep agent who could also use his incarceration to network with jailed jihadis.

Some Islamists are straight-up agents of imperialism. However, it is important to note that although numerous Islamic groups have received imperialist support and have sometimes aligned with the imperialists, it is simplistic to believe they are all simply agents of imperialism. Although some Islamists often act as mercenaries for imperialists, they are often conflicted about it. It is also important to understand that not all Islamist movements are the same. Not only are there differences between Shia and Sunni groups, there are also important differences between Sunni groups. Movements like Hezbollah are very different from ISIS. Movements like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, for example, are very different than movements like the Islamic State. The former, for example, are playing a more progressive role in the region as they resist imperialism. The latter, the Islamic State, may spout anti-imperialist rhetoric, may come into some conflict with imperialism, but ends up serving imperialism in the big picture.

The Islamic State is a complex movement. It voices some of the injustice suffered by the Sunni populations in Syria and Iraq. No doubt, it expresses some legitimate grievances. However, ultimately, this is not the principal aspect of the Islamic State. And its rule has proven very unpopular even with the Sunni population. The Sunnis are its victims too. Although it has come into limited conflict with imperialism in Iraq, the Islamic State is not mainly an agent of the Sunni national bourgeoisie coming into conflict with imperialism as some might suppose. If anything, ISIS has come into conflict with the Sunni bourgeoisie represented by the old Iraqi Baathists on numerous occasions. On the whole, the Islamic State represents very backward segments of the Sunni populations of Syria and Iraq, comprador segments propped up by the Gulf States and other imperialists, along with segments of the petty bourgeoisie and intelligencia, along with very backward jihadis — some ideological, some mercenary — from around the globe. ISIS is willing to align with an imperialism that tolerates its fascist and semi-feudal social program. They are a comprador force, agents of empire, even though they spout an anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist rhetoric. They are an extension of imperial capital aligned with local reactionary classes and globe-trotting mercenaries and ideologues from various strata. They are a response and contributor to a crisis situation in the region. Their rule is openly terrorist and  barbaric. However, their Islamist ideological commitments make it such that, although they serve imperialism overall, they are unpredictable and fall into limited conflict with the imperialists at times. The proxy war of which the Islamic State is playing a big role is part of the imperialist strategy to divide and conquer the region. Sectarian war is a way to divide masses. It is a way to create regional chaos. Syria and Iraq may be split into smaller states organized around sectarian lines, making it harder to resist imperialism.  The end result will be that the entire region will be weaker.  And Israel will be able to rest easily knowing that its main opponents, Iran and Iran’s allies, are occupied fighting the Sunni groups and their backers, especially ISIS and the Gulf states. Israel is so confident in its position that it is currently involved in an invasion of Gaza involving tens of thousands of troops, possibly an effort at full reoccupation. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed and thousands wounded in the past few days while ISIS attacks Shia and other Sunni groups in Iraq and Syria. One online site claiming to represent ISIS stated it is not interested in attacking Israel anytime soon:

“We haven’t given orders to kill the Israelis and the Jews. The war against the nearer enemy, those who rebel against the faith, is more important. Allah commands us in the Koran to fight the hypocrites, because they are much more dangerous than those who are fundamentally heretics.” (10)

That says something about the Islamic State’s priorities. The Islamic State has also attacked the Kurdish populations aligned with the Kurdish Workers’ Party, thus serving Turkey, which is part of NATO. Even though their overall actions serve the United States, Europe, and the First World generally, the Islamic State has come into conflict with the United States in Iraq. Even though the Gulf States are part of the same First World bloc with the United States, even though they share the same regional interests, they have different policies toward the Maliki regime in Iraq. Thus different parts of the imperial allies are supporting different forces in the Iraqi civil war. Thus both sides of the conflict are being played by the Western-Gulf State imperialists. In a sense, ISIS represents a “Plan B” comprador force in Iraq. The United States would prefer to deal with a comprador regime with more liberal, modern flavor, some degree of women’s rights, an outward appearance of multi-national and religious tolerance. However, the Maliki regime is not delivering, which is why Hillary Clinton recently conveyed the US desire to see Maliki resign as a step to forming a new “national unity government.”  Plus, Iran’s involvement in Iraq makes it even more difficult to follow through with neocon nation-building fantasies there. If the imperialists can’t get a liberal comprador regime out of the Maliki, there is always the alternative, a comprador Sunni-fascist ISIS waiting in the wings. If imperialism with a liberal face fails, there is always imperialism with a fascist, feudalist face. “Plan A” doesn’t work, go with “Plan B.” Or, the imperialists will just try to split the country in order to divide and conquer. In other words, their outlook is to support all sides through multiple channels so that no matter who wins, the imperialists  win.

It is important to look beneath the surface. Just because an organization spouts anti-imperialist rhetoric and brandishes automatic weapons does not make them anti-imperialist nor progressive. Imperialism orchestrates and supports many non-state actors around the world in order to further its purposes. The Islamic State is a movement that commits genocide against non-Sunnis and non-Arabs in the region. Alawi, Shia, Christians, Kurds, and others are hunted down and butchered. Areas are depopulated. Their art, culture, holy sites, their places of worship, destroyed. Not unlike other fascist movements, the property of the persecuted is appropriated by ISIS to distribute to its fighters and supporters. Where they have power, they inflict terror on the very Sunni population they claim to represent. Sunni refugees also flee the Islamic State just as others do. Sharia is implemented. Those who do not follow every aspect of Islamic law can be beaten, tortured, or killed. Those who forget to pray are made examples of. Those who have extra-martial affairs are beaten or killed. Censorship is the order of the day. Books and cigarettes are banned and burned in huge bonfires. Young girls and women are kidnapped, forced into marriage, and raped as spoils of war. Women are silenced, their motions restricted, their rights are stripped of them. Women are turned into mere property. ISIS fighters hold themselves to another standard than the populations they control. They see themselves as better and above ordinary people. The fighters act with arbitrary terror against the populations. They do what they wish and take what they wish. They kill who they wish. Beheadings and crusifictions are commonplace. Anything and everything is permitted in the name of advancing Islam. Hypocrisy and corruption are rampant. At the same time, the Islamic State serves the interests of those regimes most closely allied to the United States. They serve and are propped up by the Gulf States, Israel, Turkey, and, indirectly, the United States and European countries. The Islamic State is a hypocritic, corrupt, destructive, oppressive force serving imperialism.

There are many false paths. There are many false leaders. There are many masks that the system hides behind. We must dare to remove the masks. The masses will see through the lies. Islam is not the answer. Fantasies about restoring a feudal, Islamic golden age are lies. Filling the heads of the population with superstition only makes the population more vulnerable. If we are going to defeat imperialism, we need an educated population. If we are going to end oppression, we need masses who think scientifically. If we are going to build a society where the people have decent lives, we need fighters and thinkers. If we are really to defeat capitalism, we need to liberate the masses, not terrorize them into submission as the capitalists, feudalists, and fake caliphs do. If we are to really win, we need the masses at our side. We need women fighting along side us. Fighting without women is like fighting with one hand tied behind your back. Women hold up half the sky. Men and women unite. We need to unite the oppressed people of all religious backgrounds, all nationalities, all ethnicities, all languages. Islam is not a weapon that can take us to liberation. We need the best weapon possible, the most advanced revolutionary science, in the hands of the masses. There is one people, one Earth , and only one possible future –communism.  And there is science, a weapon, a path to this communist world –the revolutionary science of Leading Light Communism.

And there is an organization with that revolutionary scientific line and leadership in command, carrying with it the spirit of loyalty, sacrifice, ruthlessness, courage, intelligence, creativity, and of service to the Planet and its People –the Leading Light Communist Organization.  Become a Leading Light for communism and join us!

Notes

1. https://www.ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Zawahiris-Letter-to-Zarqawi-Translation.pdf

2. http://rudaw.net/english/interview/29062014

3. http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118356/izzat-ibrahim-al-douri-saddam-husseins-pal-key-stopping-isis

4. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2689776/Now-Taliban-warns-ISIS-Islamist-rebels-Iraq-avoid-extremism-calls-new-council-jihadi-factions-page.html

5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9zGqwKZp58

6. http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-defense-contractors-training-syrian-rebels-to-handle-chemical-weapons/5315180

7. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB123275572295011847

8. http://www.islamicnewsdaily.com/country/gulf/iraq/isis-leader-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-trained-israeli-mossad-nsa-documents-reveal/

9. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/10891700/Iraq-crisis-the-jihadist-behind-the-takeover-of-Mosul-and-how-America-let-him-go.html

10. http://www.haaretz.com/news/world/.premium-1.605097

On the Communist Party of India (Maoist)’s 10th Anniversary Report

On the Communist Party of India (Maoist)’s 10th Anniversary Report

(llco.org) maoists-350_110314111441_120114091008-1

The Communist Party of India (Maoist) has released a 96-page document commemorating its 10th anniversary earlier in September, 2014. The document entitled “A decade of struggle and sacrifice” offers an assessment of the current state of the Maoist war in India. The document reports that the Maoists have faced “a severe offensive” from the security forces. The Maoists admit they have lost “considerable number of comrades belonging to all levels.” The report estimates around 2,500 people associated with the movement have recently been killed. “They include hundreds of great leaders of the revolution, from the topmost level of our party to its basic levels.” And:

“Our party lost considerable number of comrades belonging to all levels, right from CC to the village level, in the offensives of the enemy. Though leadership losses began since 2005 May itself, they increased gradually after Unity Congress and the situation took a serious turn by 2011 end. The leadership failed to a large extent in defending itself and the ranks. These losses weakened the three magic weapons of NDR – the party, PLGA and the UF – quite a lot. This failure is a very severe one.”

The outlook needed for current period, according to the report,  is one similar to that of the time of “countrywide setback period during the beginning of 1970s.” The bourgeois media is reporting that the recent document confirms that the Maoist people’s war has been hurt badly in recent years by counter-insurgency such as Operation Greenhunt. (2)

It is important to have a materialist assessment of resistance movements worldwide. The CPI (Maoist) is one of the flagship organizations of the Maoist movement. Another important Maoist movement is the Communist Party of the Philippines. Both movements are engaged in popular wars of resistance against the state. However, the international Maoist movement has been in decline since at least the beginning of the 1970s when Mao shifted away from supporting people’s wars, when he shifted into an alignment with the West. This led to terrible demoralization among Maoist forces worldwide. Many movements dropped Maoism as a result. After the death of Mao and end of the Maoist era in China in 1976, the Maoist movement was in crisis. Various attempts were made to regroup the Maoist forces worldwide. Today, not only have these efforts at regroupment failed, but those movements upholding Maoism have failed to scientifically adapt to current conditions. Thus Maoists continue to see setbacks just as other revisionist trends have. Maoists today can claim no special success in their revolutionary efforts against other trends such as Marxism-Leninism. Like other revisionist trends, the Maoist movement too is at an impasse. This is reflected in the long-term decline of Maoism globally, but also in the experiences of their flagship organizations.

In an interesting passage, the CPI (Maoist) report acknowledges that the success of their opposition is a result of adapting and learning:

“The enemy has developed its counter-revolutionary war strategy and tactics (Low Intensity Conflict) drawing on worldwide experiences.” (3)

If the enemy is not afraid to update its science of oppression, why are Maoists afraid to update their science of liberation? To remain stagnant while the enemy increases its scientific capacity will only result in defeat. The revolutionary movement must adapt using the best science available or perish.

The world has significantly changed since the time Mao led his people’s war. It will not be long until a century has passed. The world has changed significantly since the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in China a half century ago. Just because there has not been a revolution since Mao’s does not mean science has stopped dead in its tracks. To assert that our knowledge of how economy, society, culture and revolution work cannot advance until there is another conquest of state power by revolutionaries is pure metaphysics. If that were the case, Marx’s writings would have been dismissed in his day. There would have been no reason to support Lenin or Mao until they had won. Today, it is necessary that real communists, Leading Lights, adopt the vanguard stance. We must make a realistic analysis of material conditions, the impasse that exists, and develop the science to push revolution forward. Revolutions or not, there has been an explosion in scientific knowledge in numerous areas in the last century. It would be foolish to think that the tremendous explosion in science and technology does not have profound implications for making revolution today. It is pure metaphysics to think that making revolution today must exactly follow the cookbooks of the past.

Although we salute all popular forces of resistance, including Maoists, we recognize the limits of Maoism today. The world does not stand still. Human knowledge does not either. Leading Light Communism, the  most advanced revolutionary science today, continues to apply the correct lessons of the past while advancing and adapting our analysis, tactics, and strategy to confront reality as it exists today. Maoism today, at best, is a beginning, not an end. At best, it is step toward, a ladder to, the most advanced science of Leading Light Communism. We are the ones illuminating the way forward for humanity. Leading Light is the future.

Notes

  1. http://bannedthought.net/India/PeoplesMarch/ePM/PM-V13-Supplement-Sep2014.pdf
  2. http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/maoists-chattisgarh-ganapathy-cpi-nia/1/404544.html
  3. http://bannedthought.net/India/PeoplesMarch/ePM/PM-V13-Supplement-Sep2014.pdf