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Corrupt Politicians, and the need for Youth Leadership

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Corrupt Politicians, and the need for Youth Leadership

–statement from Leading Light comrades in West Africa, to the Youth of the Third World

(llco.org)

Politicians in a neocolonialist false “democracy” are voted to power as a result of the promises they make to the electorate. Most promise to help develop their communities so that their people will have decent lives. The masses rightfully expect such politicians to fulfill their promises, even under bourgeois law.

After they have been voted into power, they organize local political parties in their various constituencies for those who helped during their campaign. However, instead of helping the masses, some rather live in affluence while the masses live in absolute poverty. They amass wealth from the state coffers and use them for their personal benefits, while these parties maintain this cycle of corruption at the expense of the people.

It seems like as soon as they come to power all that they want is to ride in a sophisticated land cruiser. They are in cars that are so expensive and sophisticated that the masses are shocked by their nature. And this is only one example of how many politicians use state resources to buy expensive things for their own enjoyment, instead of using the money to provide social amenities for the masses! This is an indication that they do not have ordinary people at heart but rather always think of themselves. My intention here is to criticize these corrupt politicians who take advantage of every situation to cheat the society. We, the masses, fail to criticize or point out the wrongs of the politicians for fear of intimidation because of the power they hold. The suffering market people in many of our Third World nations today have no choice but to continue selling his/her harvested produce or second-hand clothes in hope it will fetch them some incomes that will enable them to survive. They have no hope that the politicians will do anything to improve their conditions of life.

In light of this selfish behavior, let me chip in this—we must condemn the extreme and unreasonable lifestyle of selfish and corrupt politicians. Current policies and governments have taken us down the wrong path and it is only the youth of today can lead a global revolutionary movement to sweep away the neocolonialist exploitation and vices of present day political leadership from the Earth! In a nutshell, I would like to ask all that are witness to this unfairness, what kind of leadership do we want and how are we going to create a better society as youth of today? They say we are “future leaders”, but I don’t believe it. We must lead now and not wait for the future. We must be Leading Lights! So youth of today, lets get up, stand up, and organize. If we organize ourselves to construct our New Power all over the Third World, we can make a change and stop following corrupt politicians and their old power. We can and must a build an all-Third World party for the global poor and humble. A communist party with a line, leadership, and organization that is competent and committed to our needs.

Join and build the Leading Light Communist Organization today, and let us make a New Earth together, where everything will belong to everybody!

Less work for the same pay

Less work for the same paydsc01966

(llco.org)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes

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

Summing up "Black Lives Matter" and the rebellions against police terror in the USA

Summing up Ferguson USABuyjzAxCUAENMa6

(llco.org)

On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed, 18-year-old Black man, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, a 28-year-old white police officer, in Ferguson, Missouri, USA, a suburb of St. Louis. The evidence suggests that the shooting was unwarranted and, in part, racially motivated. As a result, protests occurred throughout the United States highlighting the problem of police brutality  and racism. In Ferguson itself, protests have been continuous since the shooting. A militarized police department occupied the streets there, occasionally harassing and arresting protesters in the mostly Black community. And, after the grand jury chose not to indict Darren Wilson, riots broke out. This resulted in many arrests and much damage to property. Cars and businesses were seen burning in the media. On social media, a new phrase began to find its way across peoples profile pages: “Black Lives Matter”, which then became a loose network of activists across the US seeking to end police terror of Black communities in the United States. While the phrase “Black Lives Matter” was originally coined during the acquittal of self-styled “neighborhood watchman” George Zimmerman in his trial for the murder of 17-year old Black youth Trayvon Martin, the phrase didn’t become widely used until the death of Mike Brown at the hands of Darren Wilson.

It goes without saying the the resistance to police should be supported and strengthened. It goes without saying that national oppression and police terror must be opposed by any means necessary. Those who stood up and spoke up against injustice deserve support. We salute all those who took to the streets against injustice. Leading Light has advanced the line of “resistance in the First World; revolution in the Third World.” Standing against the police terror, white supremacy, and internal colonialism certainly counts as resistance. Even so, we must be materialists about the facts on the ground.

Some First Worldists see the events of Ferguson as heralding some great, new wave of discontent that can be channeled into First World revolution. They embrace ridiculous rhetoric about the Ferguson riot being a people’s war or the beginnings of a new anarchist world. There is even a meme floating around that borrows an image of an Irish Republican woman with a gun that states “arms up, shoot back.” Even with virtually the entire “far-left” of the United States focused on Ferguson, sending activists, etc., it is significant to note that the reports of shots fired on police from the resistance in the past couple years has been few and far between. This is in a country where firearms are legal and easy to acquire. There is a big reality gap between “far-left” rhetoric of First Worldists and conditions on the ground. Ferguson is not the Third World. It is not even Northern Ireland, as the meme suggests. There also is a big reality gap between the rhetoric of the First Worldist “far left” and what they are really prepared to do. This kind of over-the-top rhetoric, guerrilla pornography, might have some limited use at the level of low science, it may work to recruit the unadvanced, but we should not mistake this kind of myth making for reality.

Police terror and mass incarceration exists, and the most directly affected have been overwhelmingly Black and Brown people. National oppression is still an issue in the United States, although the contradiction between the white nation and these internal colonies is not nearly as acute as it once was. As scientific revolutionaries, we have to understand long-term trends, not get swept up in what happens to be in front of us at a given moment. There are very real, material reasons that national liberationist politics do not resonate in the United States nearly as much as they once did. The long-term trend is toward integrating the African diaspora of the United States into a multi-national First World. National oppression will continue within the First World. Every so often, these colonial contradictions may even lead to rebellion and resistance. However, the contradictions are not so great that they will lead to revolution at present. Nor are the contradictions within the First World so great that they can sustain a people’s war. To think as much is simply delusional utopianism.

All things being equal, having people resist the system inside the United States is better than having them not resist. This is true even if the First Worldists doing the resisting are delusional about the revolutionary possibilities within the heart of empire. For those who are not particularly advanced, this kind of resistance can be a healthy way to learn. It can also be a learning moment for others about what is possible at present. Resistance is a good thing. Even so, the most advanced, should not lose sight of the real task. The Global People’s War of the Leading Light will not emerge from within the First World. Our people are the real proletariat, the masses of the Third World. Our duty is to the global poor. Those who are advanced enough to be channeled into real revolutionary work should not get distracted from the main task, even as we offer our material support for such resistance within the United States. We must concentrate our forces against the weakest links of the imperial system. This means our battle is principally in the Third World.

Our future is our own. Long live the Great Strategic Plan! Follow the Leading Light! Be the Leading Light! Long live the Leading Light! Our sun is rising. Our day has come.

Summing up “Black Lives Matter” and the rebellions against police terror in the USA

Summing up Ferguson USABuyjzAxCUAENMa6

(llco.org)

On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed, 18-year-old Black man, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, a 28-year-old white police officer, in Ferguson, Missouri, USA, a suburb of St. Louis. The evidence suggests that the shooting was unwarranted and, in part, racially motivated. As a result, protests occurred throughout the United States highlighting the problem of police brutality  and racism. In Ferguson itself, protests have been continuous since the shooting. A militarized police department occupied the streets there, occasionally harassing and arresting protesters in the mostly Black community. And, after the grand jury chose not to indict Darren Wilson, riots broke out. This resulted in many arrests and much damage to property. Cars and businesses were seen burning in the media. On social media, a new phrase began to find its way across peoples profile pages: “Black Lives Matter”, which then became a loose network of activists across the US seeking to end police terror of Black communities in the United States. While the phrase “Black Lives Matter” was originally coined during the acquittal of self-styled “neighborhood watchman” George Zimmerman in his trial for the murder of 17-year old Black youth Trayvon Martin, the phrase didn’t become widely used until the death of Mike Brown at the hands of Darren Wilson.

It goes without saying the the resistance to police should be supported and strengthened. It goes without saying that national oppression and police terror must be opposed by any means necessary. Those who stood up and spoke up against injustice deserve support. We salute all those who took to the streets against injustice. Leading Light has advanced the line of “resistance in the First World; revolution in the Third World.” Standing against the police terror, white supremacy, and internal colonialism certainly counts as resistance. Even so, we must be materialists about the facts on the ground.

Some First Worldists see the events of Ferguson as heralding some great, new wave of discontent that can be channeled into First World revolution. They embrace ridiculous rhetoric about the Ferguson riot being a people’s war or the beginnings of a new anarchist world. There is even a meme floating around that borrows an image of an Irish Republican woman with a gun that states “arms up, shoot back.” Even with virtually the entire “far-left” of the United States focused on Ferguson, sending activists, etc., it is significant to note that the reports of shots fired on police from the resistance in the past couple years has been few and far between. This is in a country where firearms are legal and easy to acquire. There is a big reality gap between “far-left” rhetoric of First Worldists and conditions on the ground. Ferguson is not the Third World. It is not even Northern Ireland, as the meme suggests. There also is a big reality gap between the rhetoric of the First Worldist “far left” and what they are really prepared to do. This kind of over-the-top rhetoric, guerrilla pornography, might have some limited use at the level of low science, it may work to recruit the unadvanced, but we should not mistake this kind of myth making for reality.

Police terror and mass incarceration exists, and the most directly affected have been overwhelmingly Black and Brown people. National oppression is still an issue in the United States, although the contradiction between the white nation and these internal colonies is not nearly as acute as it once was. As scientific revolutionaries, we have to understand long-term trends, not get swept up in what happens to be in front of us at a given moment. There are very real, material reasons that national liberationist politics do not resonate in the United States nearly as much as they once did. The long-term trend is toward integrating the African diaspora of the United States into a multi-national First World. National oppression will continue within the First World. Every so often, these colonial contradictions may even lead to rebellion and resistance. However, the contradictions are not so great that they will lead to revolution at present. Nor are the contradictions within the First World so great that they can sustain a people’s war. To think as much is simply delusional utopianism.

All things being equal, having people resist the system inside the United States is better than having them not resist. This is true even if the First Worldists doing the resisting are delusional about the revolutionary possibilities within the heart of empire. For those who are not particularly advanced, this kind of resistance can be a healthy way to learn. It can also be a learning moment for others about what is possible at present. Resistance is a good thing. Even so, the most advanced, should not lose sight of the real task. The Global People’s War of the Leading Light will not emerge from within the First World. Our people are the real proletariat, the masses of the Third World. Our duty is to the global poor. Those who are advanced enough to be channeled into real revolutionary work should not get distracted from the main task, even as we offer our material support for such resistance within the United States. We must concentrate our forces against the weakest links of the imperial system. This means our battle is principally in the Third World.

Our future is our own. Long live the Great Strategic Plan! Follow the Leading Light! Be the Leading Light! Long live the Leading Light! Our sun is rising. Our day has come.

Turning Money into Rebellion edited by Gabriel Kuhn part 3

Turning Money into Rebellion edited by Gabriel Kuhn part 3KUF_Plakat-212x300

(llco.org)

Turning Money into Rebellion: The Unlikely Story of Denmark’s Revolutionary Bank Robbers (Kreplebebad, 2014) edited by Gabriel Kuhn documents the story of one of the most interesting revolutionary trends to emerge from the First World. It is the story of Mao-friendly, modern-day Robin Hoods from Denmark, the so-called “Blekingegade Group.” This trend began in 1963 as the Kommunistisk Arbejdskreds (KAK). Later, in 1978, it split into two groups. One retaining the original name. The other became the Manifest-Kommunistisk Arbejdsgruppe (M-KA). What made this trend unique was that it saw revolution in the West, including Denmark, as hopeless at present because the workers were simply too comfortable to support revolution. So, this trend saw it as their proletarian duty to support Third World liberation movements by providing material aid. They ended up financing the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) to the tune of millions of dollars through bank robberies. Once the split happened in 1978, the KAK regressed toward typical, traditional solidarity, symbolic activism. The M-KA continued their illegal work providing material aid. It is the latter group that the book focuses on. In the previous parts of this review, the focus was on political economy and practice. In this final part, there are some final reflections on the M-KA and their own summations of their work.

Sino-Soviet split

The KAK had originally taken the Chinese side of the Sino-Soviet split. However, the KAK broke off the relationship with Beijing in 1968. They protested to the Chinese that their coverage of the First World was grossly inaccurate. The Chinese Communist Party continued to churn out First Worldist articles that overestimated the revolutionary potential in the First World despite the KAK’s objections. The KAK originally took its analysis very seriously. After the 1978 split between the KAK and the M-KA, the KAK patched up relations with Beijing. The KAK became a Danish mouthpiece of the Chinese state after 1978. Even though Mao was dead and the Gang of Four were arrested by 1978, even though China was now reversing its revolution and aligning with the Western imperialists more than ever, the KAK submitted to their leadership of the internationalist communist movement. The M-KA did not follow the KAK’s lead. Even though the M-KA was sympathetic to the Cultural Revolution and the Maoist domestic policy, the M-KA were always critical of the rightward turn in Chinese foreign policy in the 1970s:

“Jan: Ideologically, we found ourselves in a dilemma. We did see that the Cultural Revolution in China as a positive attempt to revise communism, but China was no ally in the support of liberation movements. In that respect, the progressive force was the Soviet Union, It had an objective interest in the liberation movements’ success and in the global expansion of socialism. Its leaders also chose their allies wisely. Their criteria were  very similar to ours: they were looking for socialist movements with popular support. The Chinese leadership, on the other hand, was so hostile toward the Soviet Union that it basically supported anyone who shared that sentiment. China developed ties to the most obscure political groups, and its foreign policy began to border on the absurd. In Angola, for example, they supported UNITA and worked alongside the CIA.

Torkil: In the late 1970s and early 1980s, China held the position that the Soviet Union was the most dangerous of all imperialist powers, and they encouraged the liberation movements to side with Western European nations and the U.S. As Jan said, it all became petty grotesque, and it also changed the perception of China among many liberation movements and their allies. KAK was far from the only organization that had a falling-out with the CPC around that time. If you go back to the early 1970, the PFLP was very pro-Chinese and hugely inspired by Mao’s guerrilla strategies. They were not very close to the Soviet Union. All this would change in the next decade.” (106-107)

Also:

“Torkil: …What I said before concerned exclusively the Soviet Union’s foreign policy — and even there, we would have wanted the Soviet government to be more radical and stronger in its support of Third World liberation movements. Regarding the country’s political and economic system, we had no sympathies at all. In the so-called ‘real socialism,’ a ‘democratic economy’ meant ‘nationalization,’ which, in turn, meant the state apparatus owned all the means of production. However, just because the state owns the means of production, the mode of production doesn’t necessarily change. The mode of production in the Soviet Union was very similar to capitalist ones, and sometimes worse. Look at Volkseigener Betriebe, the so-called ‘publicly owned companies,’ in the former East Germany: people never felt they were really in charge. It was the state that was in charge, and the people were not the state. The planned economy of the Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies was not democratic but very hierarchical. That is why the Soviet Union was never a model for us. However, it was a tactical ally in the support of liberation movements. One must not forget that the simple existence of the Soviet Union as a global superpower was very important to them, It created a space for them to be active. Had it not be for the Soviet Union, the U.S. might have used nuclear weapons to wipe out the Vietnamese resistance. Without the international balance of power guaranteed by the Soviet Union — also with regard to armament — things would have looked very different.” (105-106)

The fall of the Soviet Union, even though it had long gone off the rails, even though it was revisionist and social-imperialist since around the end of World War 2, was a setback for many liberation forces. Heightened contradictions between the imperialists gave liberation movements and independent, progressive regimes room to maneuver, to play one imperialist against another, to play East against West. With the fall of the Soviet empire, the armies of Western empire got a boost. Western imperialism had a freer hand to exploit and control the Third World. The fall of the Soviet Union created more global, transnational imperial unity. The fall of the Soviet Union was a further step in the emergence of a transnational First World empire. The Maoists, even outside China, had seen the Soviet Union as the main imperialist threat in the 1970s. They celebrated its fall in 1990s. Yet that fall had terrible repercussions of liberation struggles around the world. Numerous popular struggles folded or sued for peace as a result. This is something many contemporary Maoists have not come to terms with honestly.

More on the United Front

The M-KA had correct intuitions about the limits of nationalism. For revolutionaries, national liberation is merely a means to a greater end, not an end in itself. It is a means toward achieving socialism and communism. Similarly, anti-imperialism is not an end in itself, but a means for revolution:

“Torkil: For us, there has never been any valid anti-imperialism without a socialist base. We have always been primarily socialists. Anti-imperialism is important as a means to strengthen socialism, and it  doesn’t serve that purpose, it is not relevant for us. The principle of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ is way too simple — and dangerous.” (164)

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” is usually associated with the tactic of the United Front. The idea is that one should strive to unite as many forces as possible against the main enemy at any given moment. Smaller enemies ought put aside their differences to unite against the main oppressor. Interestingly, the M-KA seem to bend to the United Front when it came to the Soviet Bloc. They considered the Soviet Bloc a partner in the United Front against imperialism. At the same time, they seem to simply dismiss the idea that the Islamic Republic of Iran or other Islamists could be partners in some contexts. “The religious regimes that claim anti-imperialist values have not liberated anyone.” (164) The PFLP that the M-KA supported, for example, has accepted Hamas as a legitimate part of their broader struggle. The Palestinian struggle has received aid not simply from the Soviet Union, but also Iran and the Gulf states. The PFLP has received aid from very reactionary regimes at times. It is odd that the M-KA don’t apply their argument consistently. They themselves acknowledged the Soviet Union could be worse than the liberal capitalist regimes, but it was still a tactical ally. No so with Iran.

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” can quickly become inadequate in practice. There are multiple layers of alliances, some are apparent, but others hidden. Alliances can shift rapidly, which makes applying such a principle difficult or impossible in practice at times. There are also considerations about who is the main enemy in the long term versus the main enemy immediately. Even if the United Front is not perfect, one should nonetheless strive to make it a reality. Revolutionaries of the past have had to make all kinds of unsavory tactical alliances to win. There is nothing special about religious forces that make them unworthy of tactical alliances. Remember, the United Front is for our benefit first and foremost, not theirs. Has the Islamic Republic of Iran murdered leftists? Yes, but so had the Soviet Union. At the same time, the Islamic Republic is in the crosshairs of the First World, of imperialism, of Israel, of the Gulf states. The situation here is somewhat similar to the revisionist-era Soviet Union, although Iran is not imperialist on anywhere near the scale the revisionist-era Soviet Union was. Iran is more of a regional hegemon than an imperialist. The revisionist-era Soviet Union had snuffed out revolution inside and outside its borders. It had snuffed out revolutionary energy in many of those forces and regimes it controlled. Yet, despite its terrible policies, the Soviet Union played a progressive geopolitical role sometimes. Similarly, Iran is extending support to Hezbollah, the Palestinians, and fighting the Gulf states, Israel, and sometimes the West. The bigger problem in the “left” in the First World is not one of making unwise tactical alliances, but rather the bigger problem with “left” forces is the rejection the United Front. Those who reject the United Front often  end up as useful idiots for neoliberal efforts at regime change, for imperialist attacks on the Third World. There are plenty of First World “left” forces who have allied with imperialism, who supported imperialist intervention to further regime change in places like Zimbabwe, Libya, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, etc. Neoliberalism has its origin in Trotskyism and social democracy in the service of empire. Even Maoists have ended up serving neoliberalism. Once the United Front is rejected, it is easily to slide into social imperialism.

Looking back and forward

The M-KA interviewees reflect on their practice:

“Torkil: Marxism in general has underestimated capitalism’s ability to adapt and transform. Since the days of Marx, capitalism’s ‘final crisis’ has been announced many times. It was no different than during the 1970s.

Second, I think the imperialist powers have learned a lot from the war of the era. The U.S. has changed its tactics since Vietnam and has confronted liberation movements much more effectively since…

Third, I think we overestimated the socialist element in the liberation movements, especially in its relation to the national element. Many of the movements were deeply nationalistic, but wore socialist colors. Not to be misunderstood: they weren’t consciously deceiving, and the socialist attire wasn’t fake, the socialist convictions just didn’t run very deep. Socialism promised a better life and it gave people hope. But it wasn’t at the core of the struggle, and national liberation rarely led to social liberation.

Fourth, I think we believed too strongly in the possibility of ‘delinking’, that is, of a nation being able to detach itself from the global economic system and introducing a socialist economy within the framework of a liberated nation state. This is a much more daunting task than we thought…

Fifth, whatever one’s opinion of the Soviet Union, its demise also meant the disappearance of the strategically most important counterpower to the U.S. No matter how you want to look at it, this was a strong blow to socialism.” (162-163)

On all these important points, the Leading Light is in agreement. Capitalism has proven very resilient. It should not be underestimated. Just as capitalism refines its science of oppression, so we advance our science of liberation, of Leading Light Communism. A transnational, global empire has emerged, the First World. Just as capitalism is globalizing, so too must resistance to it. Leading Light emerges to lead the transnational Global People’s War against Empire. The future is ours.

Zapatistas or Leading Light?

Further highlighting the contrast between the M-KA and Leading Light Communism are the M-KA interviewees’ comments on the future. When asked about movements today that are contributing positive, new visions, that might point the way forward, the M-KA interviewees identified the Zapatista movement of southern Mexico:

“Torkil: I think the Zapatistas provide an example. They are expressing socialist ideas in a new language. They are also anti-imperialists, although this might be anti-imperialism 2.0. In any case, the perspective of their struggle is global, not national.

We can see similar tendencies in many struggles, addressing everything from privatization to copyright issues to the ‘discursive struggles’ that Foucault has written about. Of course there are important struggles happening on the governmental and institutional level, but there are many small struggles in everyday life that concern very basic questions about what is good and bad, right and wrong, and so forth. All of them include the potential to strengthen socialist ideals. Here, too, the Zapatistas are a good example. They have a Foucauldian understanding of power: the micro level is very important; they don’t have power concentrated in institutions.” (174-175)

It may be true that the Zapatistas are not simply nationalists, especially Mexican nationalist. They are focused on their local communities with less emphasis on Mexico as a whole. It may be true they have raised awareness of their struggle to an international audience very successfully. They are very worldly in their outlook. However,  the M-KA interviewee has a mistaken view about their potential as revolutionary or anti-imperialist force.

As it happens, this reviewer worked, albeit briefly, with the Zapatista National Liberation Front (FZLN) and Indigenous National Congress (CNI) in Mexico in the mid-1990s. Although the Zapatistas were very worldly, they had lowered sites of what was possible. When I was there, the Zapatistas and allied institutions seemed unwilling to seriously ally themselves to other militant struggles in Mexico for fear of tainting their image. The Zapatistas were deeply rooted in a social base in Chiapas. However, outside Chiapas, they played to the Mexican social-democratic and liberal bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie. They also directed their message to Western liberals in North America and Europe. Marcos t-shirts were as popular as Che ones. Rage Against the Machine used an image of the Zapatistas on one of their albums. The Zapatistas were part of the people’s struggle, but they were always armed reformists. The Zapatistas themselves denied they sought state power on numerous occasions. They were very successful at appealing to the social-democrats and liberals in Mexico and abroad. They very consciously erected a personality cult around the romantic figure of subcomandante Marcos. Marcos was playing for the cameras when he shared a meal with Danielle Mitterrand in 1996. In typical Marcos style, he handed the former first lady of the French social-democratic, imperialist state a rose. “Madame, I am but a paper knight and all I can offer you is a paper rose.” They did not seek power by uniting popular classes across Mexico through a people’s war. Rather, a large part of their strategy seemed to be aimed at garnering sympathy with social-democrats and liberals in Mexico and abroad. They hoped these forces would pressure the Mexican regime into granting greater rights to Mayan and indigenous communities. To appeal to the conscience of imperialists and social-democrats is not a realistic nor sustainable anti-imperialist strategy. Whatever ideological rhetoric is used to justify this orientation, it is an orientation that is very much idealist. It fails to recognize that revolutionary social change is not made by appealing to the mercy of the exploiter. Revolutionary social change is made by broadly mobilizing the masses, by forming New Power, by people’s war, by putting revolutionary science in command. Maoists were fond of saying “the masses are the real heroes” and “the masses are the motive force in history.”

Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Solórzano was an important candidate for the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), a social-democratic, liberal bourgeois party in Mexico. In the context of Cardenas’ election bid for mayor (head of government) of the Federal District (“Mexico City”) in 1997, the Zapatistas had distanced themselves even further from revolution. They had distanced themselves from groups like the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) and even broad mass organizations that had suffered repression like the Broad Front for the Construction of a National Liberation Movement – Organization of the Peasants of the South Mountains (FAC-MLN-OCSS), victims of the Aguas Blancas massacre in 1995. The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) had ruled Mexico for 80 years at the time, but was feeling pressure to step down. It began looking like the PRI would turn over power to the social-democratic “left,” the PRD, at the country-wide, national level. Eventually, they handed power to the National Action Party (PAN), a neoliberal party to their right. In any case, La Jornada and liberal media were happy to juxtapose the “good guerrilla” of the Zapatistas to the “bad guerrilla” of the EPR and others. Sometimes the EPR were falsely called “the Mexican Shining Path” in an effort to malign them in the media. As it happens, the EPR had little to do with hard Maoism or the Communist Party of Peru. The EPR was a more traditional, nominally Marxist, guerrilla organization. The liberal media, through its speculations, seemed to be advocating a reconciliation and negotiated settlement between the Zapatistas and the Mexican state upon a PRD takeover at the country-wide level, which never happened. The Zapatistas presented themselves as cultured, literary, worldly, kind and gentle poets. They presented themselves as people the establishment could do business with, not as sectarian ideologues. However, their politics were localism combine with appeals to be saved by the liberal establishment. We should have no illusions that their path is a dead end.

I worked the entrance to the second CNI. The CNI was an organization allied with the Zapatistas, a coalition in which they played a leading role. I volunteered as a security guard at the CNI at the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH) in DF. When the FAC-MLN-OCSS approached the CNI, it seemed they were given the cold shoulder at the time. I know because I had been to the FAC-MLN-OCSS congress in defense of indigenous communities as a representative, part of a delegation, of the ENAH-CNI coordinadora. In addition, those of us wearing the purple security badges were instructed to not allow the Maoists or anarchists into the ENAH compound, not to allow them to agitate inside. Yet we were instructed to allow representatives from traditional parties like the PRI and PRD. At that time, the Zapatistas, although taking up arms and having deep connections to their own communities, seemed like liberal sectarians that was more interested in building alliances with the social-democratic establishment than with other militant peasant and worker organizations.

The Zapatistas were not offering a new vision of socialism. Rather, they were offering social-democratic reform, albeit in a ski-masked. pipe-smoking poetic form. At the time, one of the EPR commanders rebuked the poetry-writing subcomandante of the Zapatistas for what he perceived as their lack of seriousness. Alluding to Clausewitz, the EPR stated, “poetry is not war by other means.” Shortly following this, there were defections back and forth between the two organizations. I have not followed the twists and turns of the Zapatistas in the many years since then. Time flies. However, nothing I have seen in the media to make me reevaluate my assessment. The Zapatistas, for a time, became the darlings of the college and hipster activists in North America and Europe. All stripes of First World activists projected their politics onto the Zapatistas. To the anarchists, they were the living example proving anarchism can work. For  the Chicanos, they were a proud example of la Raza. For the less-rigid Maoists, the Zapatistas had so mastered the mass line, they were real Maoists even if they didn’t recognize it themselves. No doubt, there were even Trotskyists who saw the second coming of the man who organized the Red Army in the pipe-smoking masked man. Marcos himself joked about how people projected their aspirations onto their movement. I wonder if that is not what is happening with the M-KA interviewees. The Leading Light had not emerged in the 1990s. The “far left” was a bleak place indeed. It was a landscape of dogma and liberalism. In such a circumstance, the Zapatistas gave many people hope. Many people, who should have known better, did not examine the movement closely. Many people let their fantasies get the better of them. It is important to look beneath surfaces when examining movements. This is not to say the Zapatistas are not part of the United Front. They are part of the broad United Front. However, they are not offering a new “vision of socialism” nor “anti-imperialism 2.0.”

The level of the science

I discovered an archive of the KAK and the M-KA’s works online.* Although this trend hit upon many correct ideas about imperialism, the class structure, and practice for First World revolutionaries, the documents in the archive were relatively primitive when compared to the Leading Light. Although the M-KA was probably one of the most advanced groups to have emerged from the First World, they never advanced science in the all-round way that Leading Light has. Their lack of all-round scientific development was one the reasons they were not so much a communist vanguard. They seem more like a disciplined, independent support network for others who were leading struggles. The M-KA never merged with its Third World allies to become part of a global organization. Instead, they gave money at those who had a broad similarity with their vision. The PFLP fit the bill, even though the PFLP did not share their Third Worldist political economy necessarily. By contrast, Leading Light thinks the problem the world faces is much deeper. It is not just First World anti-imperialists who must ask “what is to be done?” So too must Third World forces. The worldwide revolutionary movement is at an impasse. The last great waves of revolution are defeated. What remains are dying fragments of the past. More money will not be the deciding factor reversing this trend. More than a vague leftist vision is needed to initiate the next great wave of revolution. What is needed is to adapt and update the science of revolution to today’s conditions. Just as Marx advanced the ideas he inherited, just as Lenin advanced Marx, just as Mao advanced Lenin, revolutionaries today must advance even further. The story of the KAK and the M-KA only highlight just how important our Leading Light work is. It shows how unprecedented and groundbreaking Leading Light Communism is. What we have is precious. We are writing a new chapter is the history of the world. We invite those individuals from the KAK and the M-KA and their circles to join us. We invite those inspired by their heroism to join us. Let your next chapter be our next chapter. You took a first step in the right direction. Now, take another. Pick up the sword again; pick up all-powerful Leading Light Communism. We have a world to win, together.

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

* An archive of writings this trend can be found here: http://snylterstaten.dk/

Life, Latin America, Maoism

Life, Latin America, Maoismamihanenglishpos

(llco.org)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. What do you think of your work today?

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

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

5. Is there anything else you want to add?

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

On counter-revolution: Just pointing to revisionists is not enough

On counter-revolution: Just pointing to revisionists is not enoughMetrocon_2010_RAVE__2__by_Sherikra

(llco.org)

Someone writes:

“Dear Leading Light,

LLCO has not responded convincingly to the causes behind the degeneration of the Chinese and Russian Revolutions. Just pointing to ‘revisionists’ is not enough (and analysis based on individual personality traits is hardly systemic or materialist). In any case, if revisionists can infiltrate into power with such apparent ease (escaping from the eyes of, Lenin, Stalin and Mao), then who could detect them and how?”

I agree 100 percent about your comments on the lack of adequate explanation of the failure of past socialism within the revisionist literature.

Leading Light has not provided a simple answer to this issue, although we have suggested some things in our various history articles. Our answers are far better than what others have said on the topic, especially Maoists. In general, I think that the models of socialism were primitive in many ways. I think that past socialism often had an oversimplified view of human need and what a good life is. Socialism was good at meeting survival needs. It was good at basic education, low-science ideological education, but it failed at meeting other needs. Humans need more than having their basic needs met and getting ideological education. They need to express themselves creatively — sometimes in ways that aren’t overtly political. They need fun. They need pleasure. “All struggle, all the time” is not sustainable. Past socialism was not able to compete with the West in this regard, which is why you got some of the youth fleeing socialism for the West. They want more out of life. I would like a socialism where the youth of the West flee to join us in our egalitarian, communal, vibrant, colorful, artistic, political, scientific, fun experiment. I am a big fan of people’s war. In fact, I think those who are unwilling to support people’s war are revisionist. Those who talk about people’s war but do not throw down or help are Do Nothingist and First Worldist yappers whatever they claim about themselves. Willingness to pick up the gun or help those who do are some marks of real communists. However, as much as I advocate a warrior spirit, I recognize the militant guerrilla ethos of socialism is a two-edge sword. The ethic of sacrifice, altruism, anti-consumerism is great, but people do not want to live like guerrilla fighters all the time. They need other metaphors by which to evaluate and identify themselves with. I led the charge to rehabilitate Lin Biao. Even so, I admit that we need more than simply “barracks egalitarianism,” which is a term I have used to describe the Lin Biao trend, which was really the only Maoist trend with an articulate program for transforming the Cultural Revolution into something permanent. I was listening to interviews with ex-Maoist red guards. The same Maoist youth who were rising up in 1967 were, by 1976, coming out to support Zhou Enlai. They were disenchanted with constant Maoist calls for mobilization, especially with little results to show for them by the end. I got the sense there was a kind of collective burn out there.

Although political debate happened, it usually occurred at a very low-science level in those years. We need to be honest about this. What passes for Maoism is not high theory. It is mostly low science based on some very profound truths. Don’t believe me? Read Beijing Review from the Cultural Revolution era. The standard method of argument is argument from authority. Mao said such and such. Lenin said this. Marx said that. This isn’t true of every aspect of every polemic, but it is very pervasive. And if this is the debate China was projecting to the world in Beijing Review, imagine how low level the debate must have been on the streets. Science and intellectual debate was stifled in very unhealthy ways. For example, even mentioning that family planning might be good could get one labeled as a Malthusian because Mao once said a big population meant big strength. Similarly, Chinese environmentalists were suppressed with little debate. It is good to have debates at all levels, but it seems as though there was a big stifling of debate at the higher level. And yes, Maoism gave a voice to many who never had one. But I think it is too bad that this opening up of society had to come at such a high price. I think we can find a better way. Among other factors, this low level of discourse created a system that was weak and did over-rely on a very low-science loyalty to this or that leader. This is why the fall of a single leader could result in such a seismic shift in the system.

There are many other issues. Although the Maoists broke in theory with past methods, in reality the break was not as great in practice. Yes there were mass mobilizations and the New Power that arose in the People’s Liberation Army, but there was also a lot of police suppression, police method, police narrative and falsifications, lack of due process, brute force happening. At their best, the Maoists wanted a more structural and ideological analysis of counter-revolution, a more structural and ideological method of preventing it, in reality, they used the old methods probably as much as the new methods, often mixing them together. In practice, the Maoist break was not always as great as one would hope. I think there is a disconnect between how Maoist intellectuals frame the Cultural Revolution and the reality on the ground. This is also true of the rejection of the Theory of the Productive Forces and economism. In theory, the Maoists, at their best moments, rejected economism outright, but on the ground there was always a heavy economist trend and attempt to “catch up” with the imperialist West. This is also connected to First Worldism. This isn’t to deny what is innovative in Maoism, the Maoist approach was very innovative at its best moments even if the real history is a mixed bag.

I see revolution as a big experiment. I see communism as a regulative ideal that we aim for. Our first really sustained experiment in the Soviet Union was defeated. But, we learn from that just as any scientist should learn from a past experiment. Our next laboratory for revolution, trying to reach that ideal of communism, was Maoist China. We learned some more things here. Cancer isn’t going to be cured after two single experiments, well, neither will the cancer of exploitation and oppression be cured so easily. We are going up against thousands of years of entrenched structural inequality and social programing. The key is to keep advancing the experiment, to keep moving forward, toward that ideal of Leading Light Communism. Real science isn’t discouraged by failure because there is something to learn even in failure. Science doesn’t give up if it gets something wrong the first time. Fight, fight, and fight some more. Experiment, experiment, experiment some more. Learn, learn, learn. This is the correct attitude toward these issues. Lin Biao said revolution was a train on two tracks, class struggle and development of the productive forces. The word has changed greatly. Imagine trying to a run people’s commune with a hundred thousand people with only pen and paper. Now, we have information technology, the green agricultural revolution, 3D printers. In addition, we know a lot more about class struggle now. Both the technology of the productive forces and technology of class struggle have advanced by leaps and bounds since then. I could say a lot more on this, but there are certain things that must remain secret for now. Deep politics must stay somewhat deep, underground. This is what Leading Light Communism is about: Not just talking about science, actually doing it. Innovation. Advancing the science. Taking it to the next level. Walking the walk.

What I say here is not some definitive answer. I mean to suggest lines of thought and investigation for the future, a kind of research project. What we must absolutely avoid is falling into dogma and stale formulations, Marxism-Leninism, Maoism, or whatever. Such dogma just doesn’t have credibility. We have to really elevate the science. And create new forms of lower science also. Leading Light Communism is making the real breakthroughs.