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

Leading Light Communism and the Writings of Antonio Gramsci

–Jacob Brown

Part 1/3: Cultural Hegemony

(llco.org)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes:

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

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Solving the Gordian Knot

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Solving the Gordian Knot, instruction on method and decisiveness

(llco.org)

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

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

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Molotov, MIM, Dogma, and Stalin’s support for Israel

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Molotov, MIM, Dogma, and Stalin’s support for Israel

(llco.org)

Stalin was a great socialist leader, but it is important to tell the truth about his mistakes. Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was a high-ranking, important member of Stalin’s regime. Today’s Stalinists occasionally choose him as their favorite candidate to have succeeded Stalin in  “what if” fantasy histories. “What if Molotov had led the Soviet Union rather than Beria or Khrushchev?” they ask. One of the biggest questions about both Molotov and Stalin is why they supported an apartheid state like Israel. Decades later, Molotov states in his memoirs:

“Everyone objected [to recognizing the State of Israel] but us — me and Stalin. Some asked me why we favored it. We are supporters of international freedom. Why should we be opposed if, strictly speaking, that meant pursuing a hostile nationalist policy? In our time, it’s true, the Bolsheviks were and remained anti-Zionist… Yet it’s one thing to be anti-Zionist and anti-bourgeois, and quite another to be against the Jewish people. We proposed, however, an Arab-Israeli union, for both nations to live there together. We have supported this version if it could have been arranged. Otherwise we favored an Israeli state… Israel has turned out badly. But Lord Almighty! That’s American imperialism for you.”  (1)

The Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM) extrapolates on Molotov’s defense of Stalin:

“Stalin has been criticized for his recognition of Israel. There is a limit to what the revolutionary forces are capable of. In the case of the existence of Israel, the progressive forces were not able to stop its creation as a separate, exclusive state. Once created, the question became whether or not to recognize it. From Molotov’s quote above, it is clear that Stalin would not recognize the right to self-determination of only those nations with progressive impact, and that he said Molotov thought that not recognizing Israel would have been ‘against the Jewish people.’ They believed they should not oppose the fait-accompli in Israel, though they would have preferred a different outcome.” (2)

These are good examples of how not to approach political errors and history. In his memoirs, Molotov washes his hands of responsibility for Israel even though he had a big role in policies that aided Israel’s creation. Rather than accepting his errors, Molotov obfuscates. He shifts the blame onto United States, who subsequently became the main supporter of Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian peoples and wars against the Arabs. The genocide and wars continue to this day. MIM does not confront Molotov on his dishonesty. MIM articulates Molotov’s excuse better than Molotov. According to MIM, Stalin’s power was limited and he had no choice but to recognize Israel. Since the Zionists had won their war, what is gained by an infantile refusal to recognize them? This might make sense if all you had to go on was Molotov’s word. However, the reality is that Molotov is lying by omission. And MIM doubles down on the lie.

Stalin’s regime did more than extend de jure recognition to an already victorious Israel on May 18, 1948, they were the first. Several Eastern Bloc countries followed suit, extending de jure recognition to Israel before the United States, which only got around to de jure recognition by January 31, 1949. Golda Meir, one of Israel’s founding elders and Israel’s Fourth Prime Minister, wrote in her memoirs:

“… [T]he Soviet recognition of the State of Israel on May 18 was of immense significance to us.  It meant that the two greatest powers in the world has come together, for the first time since World War II, to back the Jewish state, and although we were still in deadly danger, we knew, at last, that we were not alone. It was in that knowledge – combined with sheer necessity – that we found the spiritual, if not the material, strength that was to lead us to victory.” (3) *

Stalin’s recognition of Israel gave a tremendous morale boost to the Zionists. It also boosted their international legitimacy and gave them diplomatic cover. What Molotov and MIM fail to mention is that  Stalin’s support for the Zionist movement goes back prior to the Israeli victory. The Eastern Bloc played a key role in the victory of the Zionists.

The Jewish Agency, an organization that later became the state of Israel, between June 1947 and October 31, 1949, began seeking weapons for Operation Balak. Weapons were procured using communist help in Czechoslovakia. As the communists became more influential after World War 2, material support for Zionism increased. The communist coup increased Czechoslovakia’s support for the Zionists. The Soviet Bloc arms shipments were very significant. Most of the arms were of German design. They were either leftover arms from World War 2 or new arms manufactured in Czechoslovakia using German designs. The arms shipments up to October, 1948 included: 34,500 P-18 rifles, 5,515 MG 34 machine guns with 10,000 ammo belts, 10,000 vz.24 bayonets, 900 vz. 37 heavy machine guns, 500 vz. 27 pistols. Other infantry weapons: 12 ZK-383 submachine guns, 10 ZK 420 semi-automatic rifles, 500 vz. 26 light machine guns (shipped, yet delivery not confirmed in Czech sources). Ammunition: 91,500,000 7.92×57mm Mauser cartridges, 15,000,000 9mm Parabellum cartridges, 375,000 13mm cartridges for MG 131, 150,000 20mm cartridges for MG 151, 375,000 7.65mm cartridges for vz. 27 pistol. Aircraft: Israeli Avia S-199, 1948, 25 Avia S-199 fighters, 61 Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IX fighters. (4) The Israelis continued to receive arms and support after 1948. In addition, the Soviet bloc provided weapons and tactical training the the Zionist insurgency. Eighty-one pilots and 69 crew specialists were trained. Some of these later formed the first units of the Israeli air force. The equivalent of a brigade of Jewish-Czech volunteers were trained on Czechoslovakian soil from August 20, 1948 until November 4, 1948. The Czechoslovakian codename for the operation was “DI,” an abbreviation for “Důvěrné Israel,” which means “Classified Israel.” A motorized brigade was also trained, but the war had been won before they were deployed. (5)

Golda Meir was especially appreciative of Stalin’s help, which saved their movement:

“Had it not been for the arms and ammunition that we were able to buy in Czechoslovakia and transport through Yugoslavia and other Balkan countries in those dark days at the start of the war, I do not know whether we actually could have held out until the tide changed, as it did by June, 1948. For the first six weeks of the War of Independence, we relied largely (though not, of course, entirely) on the shells, machine guns, bullets – and even planes – that the Haganah had been able to purchase in Eastern Europe at a time when even the United States had declared an embargo on the sale of shipment of arms to the Middle East. ” (6)

Elsewhere, she states:

“I shall always remember the profound understanding shown by the Russian authorities to the many problems of our young state.” (7)

Stalin’s aid to the Zionists is not some big secret. On May 14, 1947, before the Zionist victory that led to the Israeli state, the Soviet ambassador Andrei Gromyko announced:

“As we know, the aspirations of a considerable part of the Jewish people are linked with the problem of Palestine and of its future administration. This fact scarcely requires proof…. During the last war, the Jewish people underwent exceptional sorrow and suffering… The United Nations cannot and must not regard this situation with indifference, since this would be incompatible with the high principles proclaimed in its Charter…The fact that no Western European State has been able to ensure the defence of the elementary rights of the Jewish people and to safeguard it against the violence of the fascist executioners explains the aspirations of the Jews to establish their own State. It would be unjust not to take this into consideration and to deny the right of the Jewish people to realize this aspiration.” (8)

Although the Soviets said they preferred the partition, they also supported an Israeli state. So the Soviet support for Israel was not because Israel was a fait-accompli, as MIM claims. The socialist bloc had been giving moral, diplomatic, and material support to the Zionist insurgency long before its de jure recognition of Israel.

It is easy to see how the dishonest historical narrative arose. MIM approaches history as other dogmatic revisionists do. Their method is to construct a narrative in favor of their pantheon of revolutionary icons, then gather information that appears to support it, ignore what does not support it, make excuses, avoid political responsibility for errors. In this case, they present a small tidbit from Molotov that appears to the uneducated to sound reasonable. MIM leaves out the rest of the story because they are not interested in truth. The are not interested in the genuine historical record, they are interested in deflecting criticism from Stalin. They do not practice historical science, they practice apologetics. Truth does not matter. Defending Stalin on all things matters most, even if it means sacrificing truth. MIM uses this same method in their work on the Maoist era. All the more damning is that two of MIM’s cardinal points of unity involve historical claims about when the Soviet and Maoist revolutions were reversed. Either MIM was demanding unity about historical eras it did not understand or MIM was consciously misrepresenting these eras in an effort to be in line with Maoists internationally. Whether MIM was sloppy and ignorant or dishonest, their approach was not scientific. Unfortunately, MIM’s “cutting the toes to fit the shoes” approach to history is all too common among revisionists that claim to be communist. By contrast, the scientific, true communist historian goes where the data leads. He does not begin with picking good guys and bad guys, then proceed to cherry pick data to support the good guy and defame the bad guy. A serious historian looks at and presents all the data, even data which goes against his political instincts. A serious historian examines all possible reasonable narratives, weighing them against each other and the data. A serious historian integrates his narrative with what we know about systems of oppression. A serious historian is out to discover truth, even if truth goes against his political instincts.  We must uphold what is good in all things, all leaders, and reject the bad. We must uphold what is good in Stalin and come to terms with what is not. Writing history should not be like writing a novel.

Several factors led to Stalin’s support for Israel. After World War 2, the Soviet policy continued to be based on Lenin’s idea of continuous intra-imperialist conflict. Stalin thought that the Western allies of World War 2 would break down. As the imperialists sought more and more expansion, they would inevitably lead the world into another great war. Stalin saw the British empire as the strongest of the European powers after World War 2. The Zionist insurgency could be used to weaken British rule over Palestine. In addition, the British still wielded power and influence over those lands neighboring the Soviet Union’s southern flank. The Soviets had their buffer zone of satellite states in Eastern Europe, but were encircled in the south. The Zionist war against the Arabs was also a war against the British who had restricting migration and enforcing an embargo on Palestine in hopes of keeping the peace with the indigenous Palestinians. The British did not want to see their colonial possession destabilized or fall into sectarian conflict. Stalin was hoping to fan the flames of the conflict between the Zionists and the British. Golda Meir states, “There is now no doubt in my mind that the primary Soviet consideration was to get the British out of the Middle East.” (9) Furthermore, the Zionist movement had a strong pole that was perceived as leftist, socialist, anti-capitalist. The Kibbutz movement and Golda Meir herself represent this trend. Golda Meir and Molotov’s wife briefly discussed collective property in 1948:

“I had a much more interesting and rewarding encounter with another Soviet citizen at the reception given by Mr. Molotov on the anniversary of the Russian Revolution, to which all the diplomats in Moscow are invited each year… After I had shaken hands with Molotov, his wife, Ivy Molotov, came up to me. ‘I am so pleased to meet you, at last,’ she said with real warmth and even excitement. Then she added, ‘I speak Yiddish, you know.’

‘Are you Jewish?’ I asked in some surprise.

‘Yes,’ she said, answering me in Yiddish, ‘Ich bin a yiddishe tochter.’ (I am a daughter of the Jewish people.) We talked together for quite a long time. She knew all about the events at the synagogue and told me how good it was that we had gone. ‘The Jews wanted so much to see you,’ she said. We touched on the question of the Negev, which was being debated at the United Nations. I made some remark about not being able to give it up because my daughter lived there and added that Sarah wa with me in Moscow. ‘I must see her,’ said Mrs. Molotov. So I introduced Sarah and Yael Namir to her, and she talked to them about Israel and asked Sarah dozens of questions about kibbutzim, who lived in them and how they were run. She spoke Yiddish to the girls who were overjoyed when Sarah answered in the same language. When Sarah explained that everything in Revivim was owned collectively and that there is no private property, Mrs. Molotov looked troubled. ‘That is not a good idea,’ she said. ‘People don’t like sharing everything. Even Stalin is against that. You should acquaint yourself with Stalin’s thoughts and writings on the subject.’ Before she returned to her other guests, she put her arm around Sarah and, with tears in her eyes, said, ‘Be well. If everything goes well with you, it will go well for all Jews everywhere… after that conversation with us, Ivy Molotov had been arrested, and how earlier that day, we had watched the military parade in Red Square. I had so envied the Russians all those weapons on display – the tiniest fraction of which was beyond our means – and, as if he read my thoughts, Molotov had raised a glass of vodka to me later and said, ‘Don’t think we got those in a single day. The time will come when you, too, will have these things. It will all be all right.” (10)

Because there was some perceived ideological overlap between parts of the Zionist movement and the Soviet Union’s ideology, there was a hope that Israel might emerge as not just friendly to the Soviet Union, but as a satellite country, similar to the Eastern European people’s democracies. In this way, Israel could help not only break up the imperialist encirclement on the Soviet southern flank, but an Israeli people’s democracy could also become a southern buffer against imperialist attack.

The Arab world suffered in more ways than one. The Zionist war led to the racist, apartheid state of Israel. The genocide against the Palestinians continues. Israel has become the right hand of imperialism in the Middle East. Israel is on the front lines suppressing resistance movements and regimes on behalf of the First World. Israel is a kind of permanent, giant aircraft and troop carrier in the troubled region, always ready to do battle with the people. Recently, Israel has been called on to check Iran’s growing power in the region. In addition, in  almost every large region of the Third World there have been communist or nominally communist parties that seized state power: Asia, Latin America, Africa, all had genuine Marxist or nominally Marxist movements seize power. Even though the Arab world is very large, spreading over the whole of northern Africa and much of the Middle East, very few Marxist or nominally Marxist movements have gained any real significance. Conditions there are not fundamentally different than in other Third World countries. In the Middle East, nationalism, Baathism, and Islamic movements have, for the most part, led the concrete anti-imperial struggle, not Marxists nor revisionists. There was South Yemen’s pro-Soviet regime and forces in Oman connected to Yemen, but, on the whole, both real Marxism and revisionism have lacked strength in the Arab world. Even though Stalin changed his policy toward Israel in the following years, the international communist movement suffered from Stalin’s error.

During World War 2, Stalin’s regime had to resurrect Russian nationalism as a way of motivating the people to fight the Nazi invader. This carried over into the post-war years. Stalin’s Israel policy placed Russo-Soviet national or imperial interest above the interests of the global proletariat, including the Palestinians who were suffering an invasion by a racist enemy that eventually led to occupation and depopulation. Stalin placed the narrow geopolitical concerns of the Soviet Union as a country above the international proletariat. Even if Stalin was able to win Israel to his side on a more permanent basis, it should have been obvious that support for such an invasion and occupation would taint communism in the eyes of the Arab people. Stalin’s approach does not calculate in the agency and potential of the Arab people, a poor and colonized people. Instead of the masses making history, in such a worldview, geopolitical machinations by powerful states make history. Stalin was looking too much to powerful states, not class struggle as the motor of history. In the case of Israel, the Soviet outlook does not seem totally different from those of the Western imperialists. No matter what superpower won, the Arabs lost.

Other changes were afoot in the Soviet Union. The Soviet regime edged toward traditionalism in gender and culture during and after World War 2. Traditional roles were recommended to women again in Soviet art. After World War 2, for example, a genre about overambitious wives who neglect their children develops in Soviet literature. The Soviet support for Israel is another indicator of regression. Soviet foreign policy seems to be operating, in this case, according to the national interests of the Russo-Soviet state, not the global proletariat. The fight for communism appears to be taking a back seat both domestically and in foreign policy.

Maoist China split with the Soviet Union over its imperialist policies after Khrushchev delivered his famous “secret speech” criticizing Stalin at the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on February 25, 1956. Mao used Stalin as a battering ram against Khrushchev’s domestic capitalism and imperialist foreign policy. However, these tendencies that Mao so criticized pre-dated Khrushchev’s rise to power. Even though Mao posed as an orthodox Stalinist to criticize Khrushchev, the reality is that the these tendencies began to arise under Stalin’s watch. Interestingly, Stalin’s inner circle – Molotov, Malenkov, and Beria – all moved for a less confrontational Soviet foreign policy after Stalin’s death. At Stalin’s funeral, Malenkov unveiled a “peace initiative.” “There are no contested issues in U.S.-Soviet relations that cannot be resolved by peaceful means.” (11) The idea of “peaceful coexistence” between the Soviet bloc and the United States was mainly blamed on Khrushchev by the Maoists. This was one of the main reasons for the Sino-Soviet split. The claim that the contradiction between socialism and imperialism is non-antagonistic is thoroughly revisionist. Thus the Maoists correctly identified Khrushchev as a social imperialist. By the Khrushchev era, the Soviet state was really imperialist even if claimed to be socialist. When Mao’s own revolution went off the rails in the 1970s, Mao too began to place China’s narrow interest above that of the international proletariat. This is why Mao began to align with the West. This is why Mao aligned with the West in Angola, Bangladesh, Chile, etc. Just as such policies discredited the Soviet Union as it slid into revisionism, they also discredited Mao in the 1970s. Nationalism has proven a big danger to socialist regimes.

Leaders often play important, decisive roles. Leaders are often representatives of and concentrations of  great social forces. Great leaders, great geniuses, great warriors, can be indispensable. Even so, the analysis of history has to go beyond leaders. We should not organize our analysis of revolution and counter-revolution around a hero and villain. To do so is really just a version of what Marx criticized as the Great Man Theory of History. A truly scientific, materialist approach to history is looks beneath the surface. It is important to be honest with the masses. It is important to tell the truth, to have a real scientific attitude, about past revolutions. We are initiating the next great wave of revolution. It is important that we go further than all past revolutions. It is necessary that we achieve total revolution, Leading Light Communism. Only through a scientific account of the history of revolution can we really understand the errors of the past so that we can avoid them the next time we have power.

Friedrich Engels stated, “without theory, practice is blind.” Dogmatism blinds the people. It keeps the masses ignorant. Those who espouse dogma show a basic lack of trust in the masses. The masses can handle the truth. They are waiting for it. They demand it. Leading Light Communism is about rejecting all dogma. It is about advancing the science, pure and simple. It is about advancing the science in an all-round way, in history, in political economy, in aesthetics and culture, in power struggle, in military science, in constructing communism, in epistemology, and on and on. The proletariat must be given the weapons they need to liberate themselves, not dull knives, but sharp blades. Open your eyes. There is a new breakthrough, a new science, a new organization, a new leadership capable of leading us to victory. It is not about individuals. It is about the science, the masses, and the Earth.  There is a way to victory.

Notes

1. MIM. MIM Theory: The Stalin Issue. MIM. 1994 p. 43

2. ibid. p. 45

3. Meir, Golda, My Life. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. New York, USA: 1975 pp. 230-231

4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_shipments_from_Czechoslovakia_to_Israel_1947%E2%80%9349

5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_shipments_from_Czechoslovakia_to_Israel_1947%E2%80%9349

6. Meir, Golda, My Life. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. New York, USA: 1975 pp. 230-231

7. Syrkin, Marie. Golda Meir: Israel’s Leader. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. New York, USA: 1969 p. 234

8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_Union_and_the_Arab%E2%80%93Israeli_conflict

9. Meir, Golda, My Life. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. New York, USA: 1975 pp. 230-231

10. Meir, Golda, My Life. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. New York, USA: 1975 p. 254

11. Zubok, Vladislav and Pleshakov, Constantine. Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War. Seventh Printing. Harvard University Press. USA: 2003 p.155

* Golda Meir mentions, contrary to most accounts, that the Soviet recognition occurred after the US recognition. She may be confusing de jure and de facto recognition.

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

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

(llco.org)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Revolutionary science in command, not identity politics

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Revolutionary science in command, not identity politics

(llco.org)

The true communist movement is guided by the Leading Light of revolutionary science. Marxism was the first synthesis that applied science to the task of total revolution, of reaching communism. Marxism-Leninism was the next breakthrough. Marxism-Leninism synthesized the universal lessons of the first wave of sustained proletarian revolutions, especially the Bolshevik revolution led by Lenin. Mao’s contribution or “Marxism-Leninism-Maoism” was the next. It represented the revolutionary synthesis of the greatest revolutionary upsurge in history. For a moment, a quarter of the world’s population in China cast their lot in with the Maoists to try to build a better world. When Mao’s theories represented the highest synthesis of revolutionary science, communists raised the slogan of “Mao Zedong Thought in command!” Later, this became “Maoism in command.” It has been almost a half century since the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, the last breakthrough by Maoists. Those who came before, including the Maoists, achieved great things, but also made many mistakes. Plus, the world has changed. The imperialists have been updating and perfecting their science of oppression. The Leading Light is the answer. Science learns. The Leading Light has elevated and advanced revolutionary science to a whole new, higher stage. Leading Light Communism is the highest stage of revolutionary science. It is the pinnacle of revolutionary thought today. Today, putting revolutionary science in command means putting Leading Light Communism in command. Other movements do not put revolutionary science in command. Many movements embrace emotionalism. Many movements make anti-science and anti-intellectualism a matter of principle. Many movements are based on identity. Many so-called Marxists claim to uphold revolutionary science, but few actually do. The capitalists have been so successful in their anti-communist propaganda that many “goodhearted newbies” are barely aware of the almost two centuries of scientific-revolutionary thinking that has come before. Imagine claiming to be a physicist today, but not knowing anything about Newton or Einstein. There are many who claim to be revolutionaries, but know next to nothing about Marx, Lenin, or Mao. The reactionaries have been very successful in spreading lies about the revolutionary movement. The task is on revolutionary leaders to raise the bar. The task is on us to increase political education. We are initiating the next great wave of revolution. If we are to go further toward communism, we must understand the past. We must put the most advanced revolutionary science in command, not identity. Here are some points to consider:

1. Only science can solve complex problems. The rejection of revolutionary science destroys the ability of the exploited and their allies to solve problems of poverty, development, the environment, health, power, etc. Those who attack revolutionary science only help the oppressors.

2. Those who oppose revolutionary science sabotage the efforts of the exploited and oppressed to liberate themselves. It sabotages revolution. It sabotages Third World liberation. It sabotages anti-imperialism. It sabotages the efforts to create revolutionary leadership. It creates a climate of anti-intellectualism amongst the oppressed and exploited and their allies. It creates a virtue out of the ignorance that  the oppressors have foisted upon the oppressed. Like the imperialists, such an outlook teaches the exploited and oppressed not to think, not to educate and advance themselves. It lowers the bar. It hinders the development of revolutionary leadership. It destroys the ability of the masses to become masters of their own destiny. It prevents the masses from becoming capable of self-rule. Such an outlook creates a climate where wealth, identity, charisma, popularity, position, connections, tradition are put in command. It creates a climate of corruption. It disempowers the masses. It hinders our advance toward socialism and communism.

3. The claim that revolutionary science is Euro-centric is the internalization of the European narrative that only Europeans develop and understand science. Revolutionary science is not “European.” Revolutionary science is not “white.” In fact, since Marx, world revolution has moved “eastward.” Our last great seizure of power occurred not in the “West,” but in China. Every human society has developed science and technology to various degrees. While the scientific revolution that helped usher in the capitalist era began in Europe, other civilizations have scientific traditions going back hundreds and thousands of years. Every complex society has developed intellectual and scientific traditions: China, India, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, Europe. The rejection of revolutionary science is the internalization of the imperialist narrative that oppressed peoples are too primitive and ignorant to understand science. Those who reject science do a disservice to the masses.

4. To place identity over science does a disservice to anti-imperialism. Not only does it lower the bar generally, disempower the masses and weaken revolutionary leadership, it empowers comprador forces who use identity as a way to manipulate the masses toward reformist ends. It also undermines revolutionary feminism in favor of First Worldist so-called “feminism.” It is no accident that identity politics has become mainstreamed in the First World. It is the language of the Democratic Party, liberals, social democrats, pseudo-intellectals, pseudo-revolutionary academics, and other weenies. Identity politics is widely promoted within state (especially municipal) governments and non-profits. It is a fake “radicalism” to swindle the masses. If a political line cannot stand on its own without wrapping itself in identity or personal narrative, what does that say about the line?

5. Identity politics is not the answer to chauvinism. The way to answer chauvinism is not to disempower the masses, but to empower them with revolutionary science. This means giving the masses and revolutionary leaders the real tools they need to liberate themselves, not the tools they need to advance themselves within the reformist, pre-scientific and individualist-oriented systems.

6. Identity politics and narrow nationalism in the Third World lead to national oppression and fratricidal war. Such narrowness of mind only divides the masses. Only science can unite the world because science is rooted in reality.

7. Identity politics, especially in the First World, is itself a form of chauvinism. It empowers First World nationalism against Third World liberation. While we should support the struggles of First World captive nations, we should not do so at the expense of the Third World. We should not support the self-determination of First World captive nations at the expense of the Third World. To attack revolutionary science with First World identity politics is simply another form of First Worldism in disguise.

8. Ideology is a weapon, not a con. Not all ideologies are the same. Some ideologies are spoons. Some knives. Some bricks. Some guns. Some atomic weapons. Leading Light Communism, the highest form of revolutionary science to date, is the ultimate, all-powerful weapon. If we want the Third World free, if we want communism, then we arm the exploited and oppressed with the most powerful weapon available. If we want to end all oppression, we follow the Leading Light of revolutionary science. What else can unite humanity?

9. Revolutionary science is not a dogma. If another more powerful system of revolutionary science becomes available, then we arm the masses with that. If the fourth stage of revolutionary science gets surpassed, then our obligation is to embrace a fifth stage. If people want to surpass Leading Light Communism, then they need to do the real work necessary to advance science. Retreating into skepticism, relativism, nihilism, post-modernism, identity politics and other pseudo-intellectual weenie-isms does not help the exploited and oppressed. People need to get over their personal narratives and egos. Serve the people. Serve the Third World. Serve humanity.

10. Putting anything other than science in command is a security risk. Identity politics creates a climate where people are encouraged to reveal everything about themselves. It creates a climate where people are encouraged to tell their personal narrative, rather than discuss political line. It encourages a situation where people not only challenge others based on identity, but it encourages a situation where everyone is expected to give their personal information to establish their credentials. Politics should not look like a 12 Step meeting, it should be about power structures. Not only does identity politics make it easier for the state to collect information, it makes it easier to infiltrate activist circles. Identity politics is pig work.

There was a saying from the Stalin-era Soviet Union that the exploited and oppressed will row the boat to shore of communism with or without communist leadership. This is an incorrect outlook based on a teleological view of history. Our revolution is not inevitable. Our revolution is not chiseled into the atoms themselves. Our victory is not foretold by the stars. The Maoists began to see this, but did not go far enough. They understood that not only can revolutions go forward, they can go backward too. What is to stop the exploited and oppressed from rowing the boat in circles forever? There is one thing that will keep us moving forward: science. Science learns. Science adapts. This is why we must be guided by the Leading Light of revolutionary science. Today this means we must be guided by all-powerful, awesome Leading Light Communism.  Leading Light Communism in command! Revolutionary science in command! Follow the Leading Light! Be a Leading Light, not a dim bulb.

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On patriarchy, coconuts, and feminism

On patriarchy, coconuts, and feminismpalm-trees-on-the-island

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First Worldism is a bag of dogmas that are uncritically accepted by most so-called revolutionaries today. In its most general form, First Worldism is the belief that there is a significant proletariat, a significant social base for revolution in the First World. It would be a mistake to think that First Worldism is simply about First World workers. There are many other ways that First Worldism is smuggled into the revolutionary movement. For example, one form of First Worldism looks to cobble together a stand-in proletariat from national minorities or oppressed nation populations in the First World. Yet another is to cobble together a stand-in proletariat from First World queers. Yet another is to try to cobble together a stand-in proletariat from First World women.These latter political lines are some of the last bastions of First Worldism. Perhaps because First Worldist organizations are dominated by men who want to do right by their women comrades, perhaps because of lingering guilt of male activists, perhaps because of identity politics, First Worldist feminism is considered sacrosanct. It is considered off limits even by those who might otherwise considered themselves “Third Worldists.” It is a strange “Third Worldism” that considers the majority of the First World population, First World women, to be so oppressed to be a revolutionary agent. So more and more First Worldists turn to First Worldist feminism and gender activism. First Worldism gets a second or third life. So First Worldism must die yet again. Only, this time, ever greater levels of farce that surrounds its demise.

How can First World women benefit by the patriarchal oppression of Third World women? Let’s explain it by imagining  two, small islands. One island is called “Fiwo.” It has a male and a female on it, Jack and Jacky. The second island is called “Tiwo.” It has a male and a female on it, Pat and Patricia. Jack and Jacky both like coconuts. However, it is very difficult to get coconuts. Gathering Coconuts is hard work. Jack and Jacky happen to have a gun that washed up one day on their island. Jack and Jacky pay an armed visit to Tiwo. There, they threaten the population of Tiwo. “Ten coconuts a day or you will both die!” Pat and Patricia are forced to meet their demands. Pat gathers three coconuts, but then gets tired. Pat comes up with a plan. Since Tiwo has strong traditions that demand women must do what men say, Pat demands Patricia gather the remaining seven coconuts. After all, Pat says, “You must follow my commands. We can’t go against tradition.” Furthermore, Pat, being a male, is a bit larger than Patricia. He adds, “and if you don’t gather the seven, I will beat you.” In the face of so much pressure, Patricia relents. She spend her day gathering the seven coconuts for Jack and Jacky who then distribute the full ten coconuts evenly. Since Jack and Jacky do not have to spend their time gathering coconuts, they use their free time to hunt and gather. The standard of living of all the inhabitants of Fiwo increase because of the imperialist and patriarchal oppression of Tiwo. Even though Jacky is a women, she benefits from the imperialist and patriarchal oppression of another women, Patricia.

In this simple thought experiment, it is easy to see how a woman can benefit from the patriarchal oppression of another women. It should not be too difficult to imagine how a woman in an imperialist country can benefit not simply through economic oppression of a woman in the Third World, but also the patriarchal oppression of a woman in the Third World. It should be easy to see how women in the Third World are pressed into working some of the worst jobs, pressed into maintaining the domestic sphere in an unfair way, pressed sometimes into horrible marriages where they are forced to be slaves to their husbands, etc. And, this patriarchal oppression squeezes even more out of the Third World woman than economic oppression by itself. There is a extra value that is consumed by the First World population, both male and female, that is over and above what would be generated by the economic oppression of of Third World women by itself, above what would be generated if men and women in the Third World were equally exploited. This extra value can, in part, be accounted for by patriarchal oppression of the Third World working woman. This extra value can, in part, be account for by the patriarchal oppression of the Third World woman in the domestic sphere also.

This idea should not be that big a leap for those who are familiar with Maoist thinking. Imperialism created a divided world. Imperialism creates a group of wealthy countries at the expense of poor countries. The populations of the wealthy countries have so lavish a lifestyle that the revolutions in those countries are, as Lin Biao famously said, “delayed.” Maoists called these countries “the global city.” These countries are also called “the First World.” Imperialism also creates a group of poor countries, “the global countryside,” “the Third World.” Imperialism transfers wealth from the Third World in order to keep the First World happy. In order to maintain First World development, imperialism interrupts the development of these Third World economies. In order to continue exploiting the Third World for the benefit of the First World, imperialism imposes a unique mode of production, a kind of mal-development, onto the Third World. This is both a mode of production and a political order that combines the worst elements of capitalism with feudalism. The order that results is a fusion of capitalism and feudalism that rejects the progressive, developmental aspects of capitalism. It is a comprador capitalism that does not bring progressive development that benefits the Third World combined with feudal aspects of production and political control. The most barbaric aspects of capitalism are combined with the barbarism of feudalism in order to keep value flowing from the Third World to the First World.

One aspect of feudalism is extreme patriarchy. Historically, feudalism is bound up with a gender apartheid where women are valued much lower than men. The feudal order justifies itself by reference to the family. Feudal lords are seen as father figures whose rule is as natural, it is said, as that of the father over the family. Women and children are often seen as property of the father. This extreme patriarchy is a pillar of semi-feudalism just as it is of traditional feudalism. Extreme patriarchy, as part of semi-feudalism, is propped up and sustained by imperialism. Thus this extreme patriarchy is imposed on the Third World for the benefit of the First World. It should not be hard to see how patriarchal oppression of women in one part of the world can benefit men and women in another part of the world. The brutality that women face in the Third World is part of a global system that provides a lavish lifestyle to people in the First World. Both men and women in the First World have their life options increased by the restriction of life options in the Third World. In this way, we can see how these ideas are not completely alien to the Maoist tradition. In fact, we could even say that this view of gender is implied by Maoist theory, even if it took Leading Light to unpack it.

Most so-called Marxists are no different than liberals when it comes to gender. Although they claim they uphold “proletarian feminism,” the reality is they merely repeat the talking points of liberals, of social democrats. Their feminism is one that looks at the world from the standpoint of the woman in the First World. They then take the outlook and condition of the First World woman to be universal. Just as they mistakenly believe First World men to be their enemy, they see the main enemy of Third World women to be Third World men. They grossly exaggerate the importance of the relatively small gender skirmishes between the First World genders. Then they go on to project their own condition onto the Third World. They claim there is no First World nor Third World women. They claim there is only women. And all women look like themselves, related to the world as they do, should share their interests, etc. And, when women of the Third World do not share their outlook, as they so often do not, First Worldist feminists think Third World women are deeply confused. First Worldist feminism, often masquerading as “proletarian feminism,” takes on the paternalist role of telling Third World women they are backward and in need of education. In its worst form, this is why First Worldist feminists support imperialist wars that target Third World peoples. Imperialists bomb Third World men and women for their own good, so the First Worldist feminist says.

Real proletarian feminism rejects this First Worldist dogma. Real proletarian feminism looks at the world through the eyes of the vast majority of women, the poor masses of the Third World. It is a feminism that understands that what Lenin called “the divide in the working class” is mirrored in the female population globally. There is no reason to simply assume that all women are equally oppressed by patriarchy. There is no reason to assume that women are all oppressed in the same ways. There is no reason to assume that some women cannot benefit from patriarchy just as some workers benefit from capitalism-imperialism. First World women benefit from the oppression of Third World women just as First World workers benefit from the economic oppression of Third World workers. Proletarian feminism understands that life options of First World women are increased often by the restriction of life options for Third World women. Real proletarian feminism, just as real global class analysis, is a guide to what Mao called the “first question” of revolution: “Who are our enemies? Who are our friends?”

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Comments on economism, right, and left errors

Comments on economism, right, and left errors

(llco.org)

“Dear Leading Light,

What is does the error of “economism” refer to?”

Leading Light replies:

Thank you for writing.

“Economism” is a term used to refer to a certain type of error. “Tailing” or “tailism” is another term often used for this error. Continuing rightist errors lead to rightist revisionism, a certain way of abandoning the revolution. It is the error of overemphasizing the more immediate, short-term, local, etc. interests of the masses to the detriment of their more distant, long-term, universal, etc. interests. For example, to only focus on the immediate interests of the masses (or recruits) such as higher wages or political reform, without connecting those the distant interests of abolishing class, ending patriarchy, liberating the Earth, actually reaching Leading Light Communism is to make this error.  Lenin criticized those who tailed the trade-union movement of his day. Lenin saw that tailing the trade unions was an error that would not lead to revolution, but only reform. Similarly, Lenin criticized those who held that revolution could be achieved by tailing political reformists through social-democratic, legislative victories within the bourgeois state. Mao criticized those who tailed after the united front to the point of liquidation of the leading role of the Party. Revolution is not made by gaining small, piecemeal concessions from the capitalist order. Revolution is not made primarily through reforms within the bourgeois order. Leading Light Communism is not reached by making small steps within the current system. There is no compromise with the old system, the Old Power. The Old Power is fundamentally an instrument of oppression. Rather,  the Old Power, must be swept away. It must be replaced by a New Power. To sweep away the Old, to create the New, to really win, requires the strong leadership, organization, discipline, political line, and science of Leading Light Communism.

Right errors are errors of tailing the masses (or recruits) or their organizations, rather than leading them to Leading Light Communism. In a sense, all errors are errors of political line, errors that can be solved through political rectification, education, training, discipline, etc. However, right errors are also tied to bourgeois or petty-bourgeois character. Such political errors can be exacerbated and caused in part by bourgeois and petty-bourgeois traits, a bourgeois or petty-bourgeois mentality: cowardice, lack of courage, lack of discipline, liberalism, putting superficial unity with others above political line, big ego, etc. Rather than taking on the burden of leading people to Leading Light Communism, those who make this error tail after everything under the sun. They tail after the immediate demands of the masses (or recruits) they tail after their friends and family, they tail after nationalists, First Worldist fake-feminists, or others. They do not have the courage to stand up, point out errors, teach and lead. They make the fundamental mistake of thinking that the way to lead people is by pretending to agree with them, not criticizing them, not educating them, etc. Although they do not see it, they are usually not respected by those they compromise with. Spinelessness is not an attractive characteristic. Rather than pulling the masses (or recruits) to revolution, the masses (or recruits) pull them to reformism and First Worldism.

By contrast, left errors are usually when you are too far ahead of the masses (or recruits). Left errors are usually when your demands on the masses (or recruits) are so advanced that you are unable to effectively reach or positively influence your audience. For example, anarchist demands to immediately end all hierarchy, to dispense with leadership, discipline, organization, etc. are ultra-left. The demand to end marriage or the traditional family immediately is ultra-left at present. The radical green attempt to save the Earth without regard for human need is ultra-left. The demand that people change every aspect of their personal lives immediately is ultra-left. You cannot simply wave a magic wand and change the world. You cannot change the world by fiat. Also, you cannot simply command change at bayonet point. You can demand anything you want, but really changing the world means meeting people where they are and pulling them forward, leading them. Mao called this “mass line.” You connect local, immediate issues to the big picture. Peasants want land. Mao used the issue of land as a way to advance people in stages to socialism then communism. Just as land is not an end in itself, better wages are not either. Land and wage struggles amongst poor peoples should only be seen as bridges to further revolutionary advances. They are not ends in themselves, by themselves they are not revolutionary. Another left error is the inability to make limited alliances with social groups or forces. For example, those who fail to support the united front against imperialism make a left error. Those who fail to side with patriotic-bourgeois, Third World regimes and forces that are attacked by imperialism make a left error. The Leading Light neither tails, neither cheerleads, neither liquidates into the united front nor abandons it. The Leading Light line is “Uphold the broad united front! Hold the Red Flag high!” In other words, critical support to all those fighting imperialism while at the same time contending for leadership of the united front. Those who seek to remain so pure that they cannot make alliances engage in a destructive left error. Like all errors, left errors are political errors, but they too can be exacerbated or caused in part by a bourgeois or petty-bourgeois character, bourgeois or petty-bourgeois mentality. Meanness, impatience, big ego, lack of love for the people, lack of compassion, lack of empathy, lack of humility, for example, often accompany left errors. Compounded left errors can lead to left revisionism just as compounded right errors lead to right revisionism.

Right and left errors often are found in the same individual. Individuals who make errors will often zigzag between the right and left. Sometimes right errors hide left errors; sometimes left errors mask right errors. This is because both kinds of errors result from lack of revolutionary science, from lack of solid Leading Light Communism, organization and discipline. They stem from lack of fully understanding Leading Light Communism, but also from lack of implementing its political line at the level of your character. Both types of errors can lead to revisionism, do nothingism, wrecking, pig work, snitching, gossiping, and other counter-revolutionary behavior.

As always, remember that the First World is very different from the Third World. The First World has no significant revolutionary social base, no proletariat. The vast majority of the Third World is made up of proletarian classes, poor peoples. This means that techniques of leadership will be very different in the First World than the Third World. In the Third World, mass line is an important tool. While some of Lenin’s and Mao’s approaches are still useful in the First World, Leading Lights in the First World will need to be much more creative. In the Third World, Leading Lights must mobilize the revolutionary social base. In the First World, Leading Lights must gather up anomalies for resistance against the First World. Since there are no significant masses in the First World, mass line does not apply broadly in the First World as it does the Third World. Those who attempt to simply apply mass line in the First World as you would the Third World end up in First Worldism, tailing reformism, tailing NGOs and non-profit organizations, bourgeois parties, etc. Accommodating First Worldists generally does not help the cause of the proletariat unless it is generating resources and recruits for the Leading Light. Those who muddle First Worldism with Leading Light Communism end up lying to the real masses in the Third World and giving cover for First Worldism of various kinds. Leading Lights in the First World will need to find new ways to recruit, new ways to educate, etc. that do not pretend the populations of the First World are revolutionary. In the course of implementing the glorious strategic plan of the Leading Light, the leadership has developed new, creative methods that will gather First World anomalies and transform them into Leading Light cadre.

Currently, the main problems are rightist ones. Rectify this by increasing the level of political education within the organization. Every cadre must deepen their grasp of the general line. Those rightists who tail so much that they let First Worldism slide do no favors to our cause. Every cadre should make an effort to educate at least one recruit or fence sitter. Those cadres with a better grasp of leadership should make an effort to educate those who have slipped into errors, especially rightist errors. Every cadre must increase their discipline as we go forward. Leading Lights are soldiers as well as teachers. Every cadre must put in work, sacrifice, donate on a regular basis. Be a red soldier of the Leading Light! Follow the Leading Light! Be the Leading Light! The sun is rising. Our day will come.

On the inverse cripples

On the inverse cripplesthumb-1

(llco.org)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes

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

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

First Worldism and Popper’s challenge

Comments on First Worldism and Popper’s challengepopper

by Prairie Fire

(llco.org)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Questions on Marx

Questions on Marxkarl-marx-237x300

(llco.org)

1. How important is Karl Marx today?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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