Essays on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism

71 min readJun 27, 2020


A Collection of Brief Essays Introducing the Practical, Scientific, and Revolutionary Maoist Philosophy of Political Economy and Workers’ Liberation


“The Case for Marxism-Leninism” (a New Revision)

  • The Marxist Philosophy of Economics and Politics
  • The Marxist-Leninist Plan for Practical Democracy and Socialism
  • Debunking Some Lies About Theory
  • Debunking Lies about Practice

“On the Subject of Anarchocommunism: A Marxist-Leninist(-Maoist) Critique”

“Capitalism is Killing Mother Earth”

“A Treatise on Violence”

  • One: What is Violence?
  • Two: Anti-Violence versus Nonviolence
  • Three: Nonviolence Through Counterviolence

On The Importance of Maoist Thought

“Maoist Theoretical Advancements of Marxism”

“The Three Instruments of Maoist Revolution”

“On Participation in Bourgeois Elections: Objections and Alternatives to It”

  • I: To Whom Does the State Belong?
  • II: Deals with the Devil
  • III: The Political-Economic Exorcism



The practical Marxist approach to the political-economic systems of the world is built on one idea which is now called, although Marx himself did not use this term, The Labour Theory of Value. This is the idea that the value of objects or services, and thus the value of the properties that produce them (farms, factories, etc.- the means of production), comes from the amount of productive labour done by workers on those properties that is needed to produce those objects. We may prove that this is true, rather than the popular idea that value comes from the amount of consumer demand (demand can cause fluctuations in market/exchange price, but only as variations from the constant use value (basically, economic and material usefulness contained in an object or service) created by labour), with several exercises. For example, let us look to the value of finely carved diamonds: the average person demands, if ever, such diamonds only once in their life to propose with. Despite this, they carry extreme value and an extreme market price. Their extreme price can in part be explained by an artificially inflated scarcity of supply, but there is too little demand for that to fully explain their constant high value. Ultimately, a high market price is only a fluctuation from the constant use value of an object, which is very high in the case of diamonds. Thus, the only remaining explanation is that the high constant value of carved diamonds comes from the high amount of labour necessary for their production. More complete mathematical proofs have also been conducted on numerous occasions. As such, the right to use and govern the use value (whether in the form of goods or services, or some other form representing the value contained in goods or services) from a value producing property rightly belongs to the workers, those who fuel the production that creates that property’s value.

However, when these properties are owned by individuals in capitalism, they instead extract much of the surplus (not absorbed into the cost of maintaining the property) value. They buy up workers’ labour-power, their ability to do productive labour, at unfair rates (wages, which for the capitalist to profit are always lower than the actual value of the labour and the surplus use value it has produced), and convert that labour’s produced use value in material form into market commodities and their exchange value/prices to grow their wealth by selling what workers make and accumulating the value themselves. This accumulated surplus, derived from the use value created by productive labour, becomes capital, capital being value and resources that can be invested into properties such that it buys up even more labour-power and labour, even more value and thus power to extract unto itself and its owner (as in the stock market). This capital, invested in owned properties to extract value and grow itself, makes itself and its owners tyrants over the productivity of the working majority. Only a fraction of a worker’s produced surplus value is left to them as wages, and only in the form of money restricted by a state that largely exists to serve capital in order to preserve the current power structure. The owner of capital holds all the control over the power of the workers to create useful value, and may buy and sell workers’ labour-power as they please while pocketing all that they produce. And, while the worker may choose which capitalist takes their labour-power and surplus value to grow their capital, if they try to not be so abused in this system of institutionalized theft they will lack a job and starve for lack of income. Thusly, an economic system in which value-producing property, and its value and the power to extract surplus value, belong to an individual owner or small non-working group of owners and their invested capital (under capitalism, this elite class of capital-owners or capitalists is sometimes called the bourgeoisie) is unethical and exploits the workers (the majority class of exploited workers is called by many Marxists, under capitalism, the proletariat) who make that value through the productive labour that creates its material forms.

This exploitation of workers is the key problem of politics and economics, the key contradiction (in the Marxian sense) in every exploitative system. Marxism holds that all material things and systems hold these contradictions, and that conflicts between the contradicting sides (e.g. workers and capitalists) which lead to lessening of these contradictions (by creating new things or systems) are what drives real progress in the world. The main way we apply this, and prove it to be true, is to map this theory onto society and the history of its progress through material conflict between the classes, between the majority who work and the rulers who exploit them. As history has progressed, workers through the ages have realized their exploitation by contradictory economic systems like feudalism or capitalism, and risen up against the owners of their workplaces in conflicts over control of material resources and value to create new economic systems with less exploitation. These conflicts, since the days when hunter-gatherer society was overthrown and ownership of property and its produced value first came into existence, have driven the economic and political progress of humanity. It was Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels who realized this, building off Georg Hegel’s work on dialectics (conflicts leading to a new solution, from the resolution of contradictions between the two conflicting factors via the rebellion of the low against the high, or the study thereof) to chart the history of these material conflicts as the factor of historical change, from the change from slave societies like Ancient Rome, to the slightly fairer feudal system, to the fairer still current system of capitalism. They showed that this system of material conflict that defines all human political and economic progress and relations: the dialectical class struggle over internally contradictory systems of material power, is the central driving process of all human history, economics, and politics. It was class conflict over Roman slave society that began the middle ages, class conflict over feudalism that ended them. The same driving power of material economic dialectics holds true world-wide; it was class conflict over the early Imperial economy that installed Japan’s shoguns, class conflict over their feudal economy that deposed them and brought in capitalism. They thus logically concluded through this scientific historical analysis that the natural end to this system of dialectics, the theory of which they dubbed Dialectical (when applied generally to all contradictory material relations) or Historical (when applied specifically to progress through the class struggle over contradictions of political economy) Materialism, was a system without contradictions like exploitation in which productive property is owned collectively by its workers, the surplus value they produce is not extracted as more value for capital but is shared amongst them and used how they wish (whether in the original material form of goods/services or in more abstract forms), and all power over the workers (and their labour and labour-power) is in their own hands. This is socialism, and once it has spread worldwide and the direct management of the workers and their surplus value by themselves, without an exploiting class or any inhibition to their economic and political freedom, is the arrangement of the global economy, we will have communism: a worldwide economy of direct control of resources by the majority for the common good, the only natural outcome of the dialectic of class conflict that guides all human progress.

And not only is dialectical progress inevitable, its inevitability looms larger every day. Contradictions, like the contradiction between the workers and the capitalists of capitalist exploitation, are inherent to material systems from the start but become steadily more acute as the system continues to act in contradictory ways, making rebellion against them more necessary. The more capital continues to invest itself, taking over control of all property, labour and value, the more a few individual sums of capital come to control all the production in the global economy and the more their owners are divided from the majority, deepening the inequality between exploiter and exploited. We see this in the phenomenon commonly called the “vanishing middle class”: those who both own capital and do productive labour (small business owners, minor stockholders, working landlords: the groups we Marxists call the petit bourgeoisie), the middle ground between the contradicting classes, are shrinking in number and becoming proletarians. The more the major sums of capital, containing accumulated surplus value equivalent in currency to billions or trillions, invest themselves in buying up all productive properties, the more the economy becomes a simple dictatorship by the capitalist class over the workers, who lose any chance at becoming capital-owners themselves. The more the already existing sums of capital feed and grow, the more the founding capitalist myth of an egalitarian market where anyone can accumulate and grow capital is washed away and the truth of political economy under capitalism is revealed as a cruel rule of the extreme minority of the capitalist class over the extreme majority of the workers. This is the inevitable outcome of the later stages of capitalist development, and it is why we must inevitably rebel (and do it now!) against the accumulation of capital and build a new socialist economy that shall ultimately grow into communism.

But returning to the present economy, exploitation of workers in order to empower capital is the main injustice of capitalism, but hardly the only one of capitalism’s unfair contradictions. Exploitation of workers by capitalists has, throughout capitalism’s history, been “justified” by the development of various bigotries. The modern (as compared to the ancient) institution of slavery, for instance, was a blatant way for capitalists to extract even more surplus value, in fact all of it, from their properties’ workers. This, as any person today knows, is an atrocity. But how was it “justified” to the public then? By the development, and the subsequent acceptance as fact, of modern racism. If African people were believed to be less deserving of power over their own labour and its produced surplus value than Europeans, this extra-vicious exploitation seemed less evil than it truly was. In this way, capital’s economic power to exploit labourers birthed a culture of racism towards Africans, and in similar cases the Irish, Latin Americans, and many others.

In a similar way, capitalist economies have engendered sexism. The capitalist class, in order to retain its power to exploit to empower itself and thus remain powerful in the competitive capitalist economy, needs a steady stream of new workers to exploit so that its amassed sum of surplus value as capital can grow. So, as the new class of capitalists first emerged from the class struggle against the feudal lords, they waged campaigns like the infamous witch trials that were used to, in the words of leftist philosopher Abigail Thorn, “break the power of the woman.” Women and their autonomy, and the cultural power of the independent body, were devalued by capitalist culture, from a position as respected healers and wise women, to demonized and persecuted “witches,” with the end outcome that they were reduced to effectively machines for the production of great masses of exploitable workers. The scars of capitalist sexism remain strong today, as exemplified by the recent anti-abortion laws in Alabama and other US states.

These general kinds of cultural ills, in a much broader sense, can quite often be traced back to capitalism and to earlier exploitative economies. Culture, after all, is heavily influenced by the economic interests of the dominant economic class, which is now the capitalists- just look at how thoroughly Coca Cola has influenced the cultural image of Santa Claus. Karl Marx explained this phenomenon with his theory of Base and Superstructure: the base economic system of a nation guides the construction of a highly complicated and deeply entrenched social superstructure of political and cultural norms, all of which feed back into the material conditions of economics which created them. Racism, sexism, homophobia, and many other cultural injustices can be traced back to the economic interests of capital. So, if we wish to escape from both economic exploitation and injustice, and also from cultural evils, we must escape capitalism. And if we wish to truly escape capitalism, we must also complete a revolutionizing of culture and politics to ensure an end to all capitalist injustices in the new socialist economy.

There is also the key contradiction of imperialism, of the constant wars of conquest and campaigns of international meddling waged by the wealthy capitalist powers. Why do these wars happen, wars with no benefit to the masses? Because capital, with its sole guiding economic goal to grow itself on the back of productive labour, can never be satisfied with the amount of labour and property it already exploits, it must always invest in more. So it and its owners, the ruling class, puppeteer the state, which is and has always been but a puppet for the economic goals of a given class, in order to wage meaningless wars and manipulate other nations to gain more productive labourers from which to steal surplus value. Think of the Iraq war: what purpose did it serve, save to give US capital control of the use and exchange value of Iraqi oil? Or of World War I, the war Lenin analyzed when he first developed the modern Marxist theory of imperialism, which served no purpose but to render Ottoman and Austrohungarian property and workers open to the investment of British capital. And even when not waging war to build capital’s domination, capitalist states more subtly build the empire of the exploiting class through sanctions (as in the US’s imperialism against Cuba), election-rigging (its imperialism against Latin America), and predatory lending (its imperialism against Africa). This trend of the powerful capitalist-run states to wage metaphorical and literal war for profit on the rest of the world is a persistent stain on the capitalist economy, and it is only worsening. Indeed, it has now been nigh on two decades since a time when the US was not involved in a meaningless imperialist war. The legacy of imperialism is that capitalism is not just unethical, and not just doomed by historical progress, but also that it has more millions of bodies in its wake than any other institution. How, then, do we end the bloodshed? We take production out of capital and its owners’ greedy hands, and put it in the hands of the workers who fuel it for their own common good. We advance the dialectical class struggle of history past capitalist contradiction, and build socialism and ultimately communism.


As one can see from their scientific historical analytical work on Dialectical and Historical Materialism, Marx and Engels believed firmly in logical and scientific, non-idealistic means to their goals. They knew, and all Marxists since have known, that the way to push history’s class struggle forward into socialism is with a practical, logical, functional political plan. Marx constructed the foundation for this with his political concept of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. This, it must be noted, is not a dictatorship in the usual sense. Rather, the dictatorship of the proletariat is a movement and series of political institutions by which the working proletarian class seizes economic and political power over its own productivity from the capitalist bourgeois class, and thus institutes a revolution and creates socialism by abolishing the extraction of surplus value for capital and commencing collective ownership and free egalitarian management by the majority of workers over workplaces. Our duty as communist revolutionaries is to build the D. of the P., to create the democratic political powers which will give the majority power over their own labour-power (instead of selling it to capital for meager exploitative wages) and oversee the taking of property and accumulated capital (which must be liquidated) away from the capitalists in order to render them ordinary workers like the rest of us, paving the way for a classless communist society. It was not Marx, however, but Lenin (and later Stalin working to clarify Lenin’s work) that created the ideological plan of action that we may use to secure a Dictatorship of the Proletariat and thus socialism: Marxism-Leninism.

The first key thing Lenin noted was that, in the modern era of imperialism under capitalism, the Dictatorship of the Proletariat and socialism can never be built through the existing state. As was discussed in part one, and as Lenin proved in great detail elsewhere, the state through its constant imperialist and profit-protecting military action (and through its reliance on capital for finances) exists only to serve capital. It is thus on the opposite side of the class struggle as the workers are. As such, the D. of the P. must instead be constructed separately, as a distinct set of social structures that shall grow and become powerful as the workers unite and learn the ways of socialism. We refer to this relation between two powers as Dual Power, which we must establish through revolution. The situation of Dual Power is of course a dialectical conflict like that between the classes, on one side the liberation of the growing D. of the P. and on the other side the contradiction and exploitation of the capitalist-run economy and state. As the D. of the P. gains material economic power and the capitalist economy is replaced by socialist worker-managed enterprises, the class dialectic of history advances and socialism is built out of Dual Power. But how exactly do we construct this D. of the P. to build socialism and win this class struggle? This is where the key theories of Marxism-Leninism come in.

The two central ideas we must understand to functionally construct socialism, Lenin teaches, are local Worker Democracy and the national-level Democratic Vanguard Party. Worker Democracy is fairly simple, the idea Lenin espoused and that he and his colleagues set up in the USSR to manage local industry was one of local worker councils, called in that case soviets, which were assemblies of the workers in an area that shared and managed through democratic voting all the produced value and products of that industry equally amongst said workers, without an exploiting master. The workers of these socialist councils, or soviets or unions or committees or whichever name, shall own their workplaces and through the voting processes of worker-democracy shall manage their own labour and its produced value. This system, however, could never stand up to the forces of capitalist militaries seeking to prevent socialism or of exploiting imperialist armies if each council was an isolated island. So, to lead these democratic islands of socialism into building a nationwide socialist economy and to provide central command for that economy’s defense, Lenin devised a way that the D. of the P. could claim the same state power used by capitalist countries to enforce the rule of capital, and instead use it democratically to enforce socialism and the power of the workers: the Democratic Vanguard Party. This political leader would be an organized movement made up of the most politically aware and advanced members of the working majority class (the proletariat), and it would lead the workers in claiming political-economic power and achieving freedom from capitalism’s contradictions by practicing democratic leadership of the D. of the P against the bourgeoisie and the armed powers of the state. The Vanguard would be organized from the masses, from the socialist workers of the local councils, and would seize from the capitalists who puppeteer politics the organs of state power (army, jails, police, etc.), the means of the enforcement of economic power for a given class, putting them instead into the hands of the proletariat where they can be used democratically to advance socialism until socialism has spread worldwide and central semi-state power is no longer needed to protect the growth of the truly liberated communist economy.

This Vanguard party, the Communist party, is formed of a nationwide network of members who advocate liberation and help build worker-democratic entities in their areas, and who elect chosen Marxist leaders to democratically represent the struggle in their areas on the nationwide leading bodies and central committee of the party. Once the party has succeeded in creating a network of local worker-democratic unions, councils, etc. that may take over control of production, this Party must become the leader of the central democratic government (“proletarian semi-state,” in Lenin’s phrasing) of the thusly formed socialist economy and D. of the P. The leaders of this Party must work to build the democratic institutions that shall replace those of the bourgeois state in enforcing the rule of the ruling class (which, under a D. of the P., is the working majority) and must instruct all local members to encourage local worker-democratic councils to elect leaders to these national assemblies. These shall vote amongst themselves to devise laws that must be followed by all the councils and their leaders, and these democratic bodies of the party’s leaders and the workers’ councils’ elected representatives shall elect national heads and a central committee, the official leader of the party, which both enforces laws and sets the ideological line for the party to advocate in its revolutionary campaign and for the workers to follow. These democratic bodies of party and government leadership, elected from amongst the masses, shall monitor and guide the workers’ control of production to provide advice based on their electors’ experiences for how best to work economically and politically toward the common good of all workers, and how best to maintain proletarian power and socialism. Thusly, united behind the democracy of the vanguard party’s semi-state, workers’ democratic control of their own work becomes a formidable force with the central power necessary to defend itself against attack by imperialist capitalist states. Once socialism has been established ANYONE can be elected to the leadership of the party semi-state, whether they are a formal member or otherwise, but the formal members shall continue to be trusted by the leadership of the Central Committee to advocate participation in both local democratic power over the economy and national democratic elections. As such, the party acts as the leading head of the great animal of the proletariat, which, always remaining accountable to the rest of the body through the democratic processes of semi-state elections and decisions, leads it forward in a great stride to functional socialism with a central leader capable of coordinating responses to capitalist attack through its democratic control of state power.

Further, to ensure the party remained a democratic leader that reflected the will and the needs of the local workers, Lenin devised Democratic Centralism. This is a guiding principle for the democratic movement toward communism, the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, that dictates “diversity in thought, unity in action.” In short, all members of the proletariat on the level of local Worker Democracy, and all leaders in the party and government on the national Vanguard level, may speak freely of their ideas for the path the the class struggle to communism should take. But whatever decision the collective democratically reaches through voting or the decisions of the elected leaders of the party semi-state, all proletarians (and most especially party members and worker council leaders, as they set a socialist example for the masses) should follow it in actions. This ensures two things. On the local Worker Democratic and the national Democratic Vanguard Party level, this ensures the unity necessary for organized defense of socialism. And, on the Party/government level specifically, this ensures that the actions and positions of elected local leaders/representatives accurately reflect the will and needs of the majority of the workers, and the necessary maneuvers determined democratically by the vanguard. Those party and worker-council leaders who fail to do what their electors wish of them must be replaced immediately, through new democratic elections. In these two ways, Democratic Centralism ensures both the freedom and democracy of the socialist system, and the security and defense of its path toward the building of global communism.

Of course, the real goal of socialism and communism is the direct management of labour and its value by the labourers, with no exploiters. As such, the primary organ of economic management should remain the local council wherever possible, the Vanguard Party and semi-state serving only to protect and ensure unity and success of this socialist system, and to democratically provide advice on how best to advance the interests of the proletariat. And with time, as Vanguard Parties are founded and lead the people to Worker Democracy, a Dictatorship of the Proletariat, and socialism around the world, there will be less and less need for the centralized defense of socialism against capital’s power. Eventually, socialism in this form will spread across the whole world, and the vanguard parties and their national democratic-central assemblies will cease to become necessary, leaving local worker councils to freely manage their own endeavors and cooperate with one another. When this occurs, we will have abolished the state, in its limited remaining form of a proletarian power organ, and the only remaining authority over labour will be the labourers themselves. When this occurs, Marxist-Leninist socialism will have succeeded in establishing its goal of total worldwide economic freedom: global communism.

We have dealt with the scientific, analytical, political and economical philosophy of Marxism-Leninism. We have delivered the truth. But now, we must dispel certain lies told about our movement.


First, we shall deal with the easier myths to dispel: those concerning the nature of our ideas.

Firstly, there is the idea that socialism is incompatible with freedom because it equates to total state management of the economy. This is quite simply a preposterous position, built on a complete lack of knowledge of what socialism is. We believe in as little state power as possible; we want the power over the workers to be in the hands of the workers themselves. When we use state power, as we do with the Democratic Vanguard Party system, we do it in order to further the interests of worker self-management and an economy where all are free and no-one is exploited.

Another misconception is that we are plotting to confiscate all the personal possessions of the masses. This too is a simple misunderstanding. We do indeed speak of abolishing private control by capital and its owners over property, and establishing collective worker-democratic control instead. We are referring, however, specifically to productive property, to the means of production, the properties upon which labourers produce surplus value. We seek only to give those workers control over their own labour and labour-power. We do not have an interest in taking over control of your toothbrush or your guns.

Another critique of our ideas is that we are somehow idealist. This, again, belies a lack of understanding of Marxism, whether we go by the colloquial meaning of “idealist” (making big plans without practicality), or the formal philosophical one (expecting reality to act based on our abstract ideas). To the first meaning, some socialists are certainly too idealistic, namely the anarchists who believe we can achieve worker rule without the use of central power to defend socialism, but not we Marxist-Leninists. In fact, in Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, a founding text of the Historical/Dialectical Materialist philosophy of history and political economy, Friedrich Engels (co-founder of the Marxist philosophy) decries pointless utopianism (idealism) as effectively useless for a political movement, and demands a logic-based scientific class analysis to guide socialism in a practical and rational way, which he then derives from Hegelian dialectics (thus coming to Dialectical and Historical Materialism). As to the more proper meaning of “idealist,” we Marxists are not this either. On the contrary, it is the material facts of reality which define our ideas: dialectical materialism is built on reaching conclusions about progress to come from analyzing existing material relations and history. This scientific materialist view is practical, logical, and definitionally the opposite of idealism.

A more specific version of the “idealism” myth comes in the form of the “human nature” myth. The story, particularly popular with the new internet-based reactionary right, is built on the assumption that socialism and communism can never succeed because greed, and thus exploitation, are inherent to humanity. This idea is preposterous. Firstly, the idea that the nature of human behaviour is so fixed seems unlikely when one sees how different human economies have been throughout history, how different the ancient slave societies were from medieval feudalism. But let us assume that there is such a thing as the “natural” social and economic arrangement of humans. The bulk of human existence, the vast uncharted mass of human life before the dawn of written history, was lived in a form Marx called (and the author is aware this phrase may now carry some unsavory connotations) “primitive communism.” In these ancient hunter-gatherer societies, the first human economies and therefore surely the best candidate for an inherent “natural” human economy, there was no extraction of surplus value from labour! There was no fixed property, and there were no exploiters to own it and extract the value of its labourers. There were no classes of workers and owners until the birth of the slave society only a few thousand years ago. So, if human nature exists at all, it is surely communist!


Lies, too, are told about the execution of socialism by Marxist-Leninists. The bulk of lies about what life is like under socialism in a Marxist-Leninist system of local worker management guided by a democratic vanguard party concern the USSR, so our debunking shall as well. The primary claims of repression in the USSR concern reported mass killings under Joseph Stalin’s time at the head of the party, and the primary sources for these claims are The Great Terror by Conquest, Bloodlands by Snyder, The Black Book of Communism which had several co-authors, and The Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn.

The Gulag Archipelago is quite simply laughable as a historical source. It cites no sources whatsoever for its claims of brutal repression and mass death in the Gulags (prison camps in the USSR), and it is said that even Solzhenitsyn’s own wife called it a work of mere fiction. What’s more, actual records from the administrators of the Gulags show completely natural rates of death in the Gulags throughout almost all of their history. The only exception to this is during and shortly after the Nazi assault on the USSR, when deaths in affected areas were quite a high, a fact that can be attributed to a lack of resources due to the war. There was no Orwellian dystopia unfolding in the Gulags, they were simply places to confine those who were a danger to society. They were just prisons! Nonetheless, however, this book has been allowed to influence the general historical narrative, and later texts such as The Black Book.

And speaking of The Black Book, it has been almost universally condemned by historians as drastically over-exaggerating death tolls, especially by failing to draw distinctions between deaths from natural causes. This claim is not controversial, any research into the book’s reception shows it is a poor source. Despite this, however, its core nonsensical claim that Marxist-Leninist socialism has been responsible for over 100 million deliberate deaths is an oft repeated lie amongst reactionary rightwing circles.

Conquest’s work is a joke. He has quite clearly painted himself as biased, and much of his work cites contemporary claims that came through the axis powers’ propaganda machine, raising doubts on their veracity. Some of his cited sources, claims made by contemporary observers loyal to Hitler, can only be called Nazi propaganda.

Snyder in Bloodlands claims antisemitism on Stalin’s part, a claim that is laughable in that Stalin ardently believed and on several occasions stated that antisemites deserved death, and in that he played a greater role than any other leader in liberating millions of Jews. Needless to say, this paints Snyder as biased and underinformed.

Another claim of bigotry on Stalin’s part is the oft-repeated idea he was a homophobe. This idea is less unfounded, in all fairness, as the Congress of Soviets did pass a law called Article 121, illegalizing homosexuality, while he headed the party. However, as I explored in my essay “Debunking Counterrevolutionary Notions About the Soviet Union,” this bill’s existence does not actually justify that conclusion. Firstly, party records of the time do not actually show how Stalin voted. And secondly, contemporary testimony from homosexual communists suggests that the law was used not to persecute actual homosexuals, but rather as a cover to arrest those who attempted to interrupt the socialist system of mass worker democracy.

But more importantly, all these claims of mass killings are rendered laughable by simple numbers. All sources, contemporary Soviet records, modern Russian ones, and every third party I have seen, agree that the population of the Russia (where the vast majority of the Soviet population were) during the supposed repression was generally on the rise, with only a dip of less than 10 million (far fewer than the many tens of millions supposedly killed) around 1940 easily accounted for by Hitler’s invasion during World War Two. For a population suffering a war AND mass killing on this scale to produce that many children is preposterous. Indeed, many of the numbers I have seen claimed for Stalin’s “mass-killings” (50 or even 60 million dead!), had they happened between 1930 and 1950 while the murder of all dissidents was still supposedly ongoing, would have nearly halved the population. And yet this population was still steadily growing without a decrease in birthrates, having been decimated thusly? Of course not. There were no mass-killings.

It is also worth noting that all recent polls show a majority in many former socialist European states wish for socialism to return, as their lives were better when they owned and controlled their workplaces themselves. And that when Kruschev and his revisionist ilk began to undermine the people’s democratic vanguard, the workers rose up to restore true Marxism-Leninism in incidents like the mutiny on the Red Army ship Sentry, in which a group of sailors hijacked the ship, aiming to sail it to St. Petersburg and deliver a speech calling for an end to Khruschevite corruption and a return to Lenin’s proletarian democratic policies. These are hardly the actions of a people being liberated from tyranny, these are the actions of a people being returned to it after living in a free, democratic, and non-exploitative society.

There is also the frequently stated false correlation between Marxist-Leninist Worker Democratic agricultural systems and famine. This we may attribute by and large to the myth of the Holodomor, a famine that supposedly constituted a mass killing in Ukraine by the USSR’s Communist Party. This myth is built on the idea that such deadly and tragic famines were unusual in Ukraine at this time, and could not have happened naturally. In reality, such famines happened with great frequency under the Tsar- this is well known. The so-called holodomor can quite comfortably fit into a natural cycle of famines- a cycle that in fact ended with the onset of collective managed farming. And would the party government, made up of workers elected by the masses, have seen any reason to murder its own electorate? Why? Where are the documents suggesting they deliberately did such a thing? Where is the motive for any government to destroy its own productive workforce? There is none, because the famine was natural. The same can be said of China and the famine there supposedly “caused” by Marxist-Leninist reforms under the leadership of Mao Tse Tung’s party.

But speaking of China, we must now address what is probably the single most wrongly cited incident against us, the Tiananmen Square Protests. The idea that Tiananmen was some popular uprising against Mao Tse Tung and his Marxist-Leninist leadership is easily dispelled- he was dead! The protesters were in fact rising against a state led by his successor Deng Xiaoping, a leader praised in the capitalist west for liberalizing China and allowing capital to begin exploiting its resources again. And what’s more, while there were undoubtedly some anti-Mao agitators present, a massive proportion of those present were in fact demanding the return of Mao’s socialist policies..

So, in conclusion, every “historical” case against us falls down like a paper toy upon inspection. Real historical analysis shows us that there is no blood on the hands of Marx and Lenin, only on the hands of capital. And that freedom will come not from denying Marxism-Leninism, but from carrying out its philosophy worldwide!

Note: the above essay has been corrected and expanded since I posted it; furthermore, whatever vagueries and errors are present (e.g. a poor explication of the concept of“use value” and how economic value results as a distorted expression in the commodity market of new use values produced by labour, and what it would fully mean for the proletariat, in the historical movement toward full communism, to take over control of the surplus value and use value they produce- moving away from production of quantitative surplus value embodied in commodities to be accumulated into capital and toward production of qualitative use values embodied in non-commodified goods and services produced to meet human need for the good of all) are corrected in my notes on Marx’s Capital, the source text for all these revolutionary and true theories, which I was reading when I compiled the said corrections. I’ve done my best to correct all errors of this (somewhat old) essay in my corrections and my notes on Capital, so please read them too!!

On the Subject of Anarchocommunism

A Marxist-Leninist(-Maoist) Critique

Anarchocommunism and its sister ideologies, the other trends of extreme libertarian philosophy in proletarian liberation, are perhaps the most magnetic beacon of the non-Marxist left for the wider populace. They have a major draw, and for good reason: they promise to achieve communism quickly, painlessly, and without the need for a strictly organized seizure of state power by the democratically organized vanguard party of the masses, as Marxist-Leninist analysis demands. However, a comparison of Marxist and Anarchist philosophical works, and an analysis of the two philosophical trends’ attempts to each advance the dialectical class struggle toward socialism and communism(as a Marxist would say more than an Anarchist, of course), reveals the solid logical and analytical basis of the former and the idealistic failings of the latter.

Let us begin with two books, arguably the two most important underpinning treatises of our competing ideologies: Lenin’s State and Revolution is the detailed analysis of capital’s economic power and its state political power that led to the key doctrine that a democratic vanguard party acting with state power democratically on the wishes of the larger organized working masses must be the central head of the communist movement to compete in combat with these states to preserve socialist economic democracy and thus pave the way for communism. Kropotkin’s The Conquest of Bread is a series of polemical declarations of invested capital’s economic power over the worker and the state’s political power over the citizen as twin evils, calling for the rejection of any compromise with existing states or forming of new state power and immediate abolition of both state and capital in favor of the ultimate goal of both ideological trends: communism, a society in which economic and political power over the workers is theirs, as is the ownership and control of all their labour and its value or its potential to effect economic power. So they share communism and true freedom as a goal, but how do the works differ? In the first, Lenin looks to the function of state power through the lens of history as a dialectical class struggle between workers and exploiters for economic control, a theory built by Marx that consistently holds true across the world. He further shows that, in this process, the use of the state is routinely in order to cement the power of the owners of property, the exploitative extractors of value. The state in Rome served the slave-holders, the state in feudalism served the lords who controlled the feudal economy, and the modern false-democratic liberal republics serve the interests of investors and their invested capital. As such, he reasoned, a similar power would be needed to stand against them. The masses would have to organize, would have to select from amongst themselves a body capable of democratically representing the interests and will of working people to orchestrate those workers’ control of the economy efficiently and democratically, and also of preserving said workers’ power over their own local workplaces, and their labour and labour value, by seizing central (but democratic and firmly accountable to the good and the desire of the local organized workers, as socialism must be) control of state power in order to use the military power of a state against the exploiting class of capitalists and for the working masses instead. Thus, from logical and pragmatic analysis of politics, economics, and history, was born one of the most important theories of Marxism-Leninism, the Democratic Vanguard Party. All Marxist philosophy is developed this way, through careful economic inquiry into real material conditions, for this is the practice of Marxist historical/dialectical materialist analysis in action. Marxism-Leninism is thus based firmly in pragmatism and in practical, achievable ideological goals. Anarchocommunism, meanwhile, has no such detail of analysis in its wheelhouse. Kropotkin was, make no mistake, a genius and was very well-studied in the field of biology (as is shown much better in his other great work, Mutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution). His political and economic polemic, though, is defined more by decrees of what should be done than analysis of how and why it can be done. Nowhere is there the detailed scientific and practical analysis of political and economic factors that characterizes Dialectical Materialist historical analysis and the rest of Marxism.

And, continuing in our historical analysis, history shows this lack of attention to practicality is a fatal flaw of anarchocommunism. Some anarchists use the idea that there has never been a wide scale anarchist revolution to make it appealing in an appeal to novelty (one thinks of the classic “capitalism has failed, state socialism has failed, we need a third way” propaganda image). This idea, however, is untrue; anarchist revolutions have happened, they simply do not last. Let us look to revolutionary Catalonia. The workers of Catalonia, under the banners of the CNT and FAI trade unions, began collectivizing management of work and workplaces in the midst of the Spanish Civil War. For a fleeting moment of history, the star of socialism shone in Barcelona. But, without a centrally organized apparatus of democratic worker power over politics and economy, without a democratic vanguard, the various local organizations of workers democratically managing the socialist economy had no recourse through which to organize a formidable constituent military response and thus succumbed quickly to bombing by the Spanish and German fascists, forcing their return to the capitalist economy of fascist Spain. This is, of course, but one example, although similar conditions unfolded in Makhnovia. But let us compare it to a few counterexamples of Marxist-Leninist socialist economies in action. The Soviet Union, as established by the vanguard of the masses’ under Lenin’s democratic leadership, the Communist Party, swiftly spread local democratic control of labour and a nationwide socialist economy of democratic control of value across what had been a backward semifeudal empire in the tight grip of industrial and agricultural invested capital and its Romanov cronies. Literacy, gender equality, life expectancy, and efficiency of production, and democratic application to the good of its producers (workers) of value in the newly democratized economy soared. Under the organized democratic vanguard of the masses’ economic and political power, a socialist system was achieved in which the average worker lived in comfort and relative social equality, and was promised a say in how their labour’s value was used to serve them. And this system persevered for decades. Surviving the assault of German fascism and responding in kind by eliminating the Reich and spreading the new egalitarian and democratic economy to part of Germany by helping local communists organize workers to establish the GDR. Routine imperial assault by governments run by capitalist cronies failed to fell it, and indeed the system worked beautifully until leaders within it began to turn against the interests of the masses to whom they were supposed to remain accountable, culminating in the election of Khruschev as the head of the Central Committee and the Union’s subsequent decline into revisionism and compromise with foreign capitalists and the interests of their capital. Nonetheless, had the party’s lower-ranking members in the masses remained more vigilant and ensured the workers had been more ready to vote down any local leaders from the government who did not represent working interests, the system could doubtless have stood far longer in spite of the imperialist assault. And today, in the jungles of the Philippines and in the CPI-(Maoist) controlled regions of India, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist insurgents and the local democratic economic arrangements they have built are spreading, building the new socialist economy of economic democracy for the workers, in spite of the capitalist states in those countries. Even Duterte, the brutal fascist in the pocket of US investors and serving the goals of their invested capital, cannot eliminate the organized power of the workers in the form of the CPP-NPA-PDF socialist political and economic network.

In the end, Marxism-Leninism and Marxism-Leninism-Maoism simply have what Anarchocommunism has not, the ideological sophistication to practically and democratically create, defend, and maintain the socialist political economy against capital and its state power. The anarchocommunist is a good person, a comrade and a friend in the ongoing dialectical struggle and the coming revolution, with the goal of economic self-management for workers and the value they produce firmly at heart. Our relationship to them as Marxists should be that of friends, but also that of teachers and students, in that only through our detailed scientific analysis can they achieve our shared economic and political goals.

Capitalism is Killing Mother Earth

based on discussions in the MPU General Assembly of May 2019 (revised from earlier writings)

The Earth is dying. We know this- it’s on all the channels, on every website, at the front of our minds. And according to most of these sources, the great abstract “we,” the whole of humanity as a single self-hating homicidal force, is the culprit. But, if we look critically at the coming death of Mother Earth, is this an accurate conclusion? No. The simple fact is that the impending climatic armageddon is simply a product of the irresponsible way in which the owners of capital who control all productive property have managed the economy, the idiotic and contradictory prioritization of the growth of capital over the good of humanity.

The primary poisons in our mother’s bloodstream are generally agreed to be plastic and CO2. Where do these come from? Well that’s an easy question: us, humanity. The latter is an exclusive product of human industry with no natural equivalent, the former occurs naturally but in far smaller amounts than now exist due to industry. The harder question is why we produce so much, and why we pump it all into the atmosphere.

Let us start with plastic. The ocean is awash with out plastic, our single use forks knives and tablecloths clogging the arteries of the global ecosystem. But why is it all there? Because we keep consuming it! SIngle-use products that many of us guzzle down daily without thought are designed so that we consume them, we throw them out, and we consume more. So, it does look as though this is our fault as a group, as though it is the fault of “humanity” as a whole. But before we conclude that, the question must be raised: why do we consume so much? Why consume all these disposable things when we could have one reusable one and be done with it? How do we stand to gain from all this consumption? Well, we don’t. In fact, we stand to lose the surplus value we retain from our labour on buying such things, and we stand to lose our homes from the resultant pollution! So why are we consuming so much? Who does benefit? The owners and shareholders/partial owners of the companies that produce these things! We are not killing the Earth, a specific group of capitalists are. The capital invested in such companies, and its owners who control those companies’ properties and their produced surplus value, profit from selling the fruits of the labour they exploit. The more they can convince us to spend wastefully on the fruits of their exploitative production, the more value they can accumulate into their capital and the more power it and they have over labour and property. Capitalism is to blame for plastic pollution!

So the blame for the plastic crisis falls quite clearly on the shoulders of the major capitalists. But what of CO2? Well, much of human-made CO2 pollution comes from the burning of fossil fuels. Of course, much of this pollution does come from the masses traveling by car. So again, at first glance this appears to be the fault of the vast mass majority of humanity. But, we must also ask why we feel the need to careen across the face of the world at terrific speeds, why we need personal automobiles. Well, quite frankly, we don’t need them at all. With the exception of deadlines which are artificially imposed, walking can cover almost all of our local transport needs. And in the case of deadlines or long distance travel, it is far more economical and environmentally friendly to take the train or bus. So why do we love our cars, even if we don’t need them and they are destroying our planet? For an answer, let us look to pop culture. Media is utterly saturated with the car. The right car can make us cool, we are told, or can save us money. Sponsored interruptions permeate everything; the whole cultural superstructure of media and culture is woven through with threads of advertising. And again, ultimately, the message is “it is good to consume.” Because the capitalists, the sponsors of these messages, profit and grow their capital when we consume.

It is also important to recognize that, though buses or trains are in theory easy and more environmentally healthy alternatives to personal cars, they in practice often do not exist. Most especially in the US, these alternatives are nonexistent, or else dilapidated, dangerous, or charge rates unreasonable for poorer proletarians. Why is this? It is not as though it is any great task to build this infrastructure, or it is terribly costly to maintain it. No, the reason is not any genuine problem, it is again the capitalist economy. Capital and its owners, who of course are the puppetmasters behind the bourgeois state expected to provide such transportation, have no interest in expending the value of labour on building things for the common good when they could instead use that labour in ways which allow them to accumulate more capital to invest in buying up property. So once again, the root cause of pollution is capital and its owners’ control over the economy.

A sizable amount of fossil fuel burning also comes from the production of electricity. This, of course, is entirely unnecessary: there are easy methods of sustainably producing electrical power. But, once again, the priority of the capitalists running our economy is to accumulate value into their sum of capital, not to serve the good of the people. They could expend the value they control on supplying clean power to the masses, but why do that when their capital grows more efficiently from exploiting labour on properties that produce electricity in dirty ways? And so they opt for the cheaper option, not the one that is good for the masses and our home planet, and once again capitalism is at fault for the Earth’s suffering.

Lastly, the other great producer of CO2 is the animal-product industry, most especially the beef and dairy sector. This, indeed, has been widely called the very worst! The production of beef and milk, compared to the rest of modern industry, is like a vision of yesteryear. There are no neat and clean workspaces, no clean and sterile-white office spaces. There are only the great expanses of cattle packed together, eternally pumping the fetid gaseous by-products of their biological functions into the air. Why is this industry such a wasteland, so devoid of precautions for the good of the planet and the working majority of its inhabitants? Surely the reader knows the answer by now, so I will keep this last piece of proof brief. The production of beef and dairy is mastered by the capitalist class, whose sole interest (for the most part) is the growth of their capital. They have no desire to make it clean or ethical or environmentally sustainable, only to make it efficiently produce surplus use value they may sell to grow their capital. This singleminded profiteering mindset of the capitalists who own productive property is antithetical to sustainability. Capitalism breeds pollution.

In conclusion, it is not “humanity” that is at fault for Earth’s destruction. The vast majority of us, the working proletarian masses, are not at fault. Rather, it is the economic paradigm of capitalism, the ordering of our economy to serve the interests of capitalists and their accumulated capital, that has brought us to environmental ruin. The capital and capitalists that today own all property of value have no interest in solving the problem of climate change, have no desire to protect the common good from it. The only cause capital has is to invest itself in owned property and to grow off of the back of exploited labour. Thus, if we wish liberation from environmental evil, we must put control of productive property not in the hands of those whose sole goal is to grow their capital, but in the hands of the majority. We must create a socialist economy, an economy run by and for the interests of the workers instead of by capitalists and for the accumulation of value into their capital.

Note: the above essay is correct in attributing climate carnage to the crimes of capital and correct in prescribing socialist revolution as a cure, but perhaps plays too much into fatalistic fears about that topic well criticized by Maoist comrades in Norway in this article.

A Treatise on Violence

In Preface

The general view of violence to the contemporary mind is as an inherent evil to minimize at all costs. I will not attempt in this treatise to dissuade this notion, I concur that violence is wrong in that the good of the self is generally best served through the good of others, and violence is definitionally harmful to those outside the self. The prevailing ideas on how to combat it, however, lack a logical consideration of the nature of violence within an inherently violent political economy such as contemporary neoliberal capitalism. Herein I will seek to more clearly illuminate the nature of violence, and more importantly to show how we may minimize it: not through the refusal of all violence- anti-violence- in all cases, but through the use of minimal violence in response to violence- counterviolence- to combat the capitalist economic system at the root of much of the major violence we face.

One: What is Violence?

This is, in fact, a rather thorny philosophical question. The simplest answer is that violence is action that engenders harm. As Merriam Webster puts it, it is “the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy.” But this is not as clear as it seems, as one would like it to be. Must the action of violence, to be such, be intentional? One is tempted to say not, but then what of manslaughter? Surely that is violence? And what of the nature of the engendered harm: must it be physical? Is verbal abuse violence? How cruel must words be to be violent, if they can be at all? Can inanimate forces be violent? Is a landslide violent? If it isn’t, then is only a human capable of violence, or does one need only sentience, or only a brain, or only the vague concept of “life” to be violent? And the same question of the harmed, need it be alive? Need a thing be capable of suffering from harm to be truly harmed, and thus to be a victim of violence? These are all interesting questions, and maybe in a certain setting they are even good questions.

But, as a Marxist, I am compelled to confine my philosophical writing at least somewhat to economic and political materialism and to the analysis and alteration of the real, material political economy. As such, I dare not clutter these pages with discussions of these somewhat pedantic questions at the risk of losing the digestibility and relevance to the class struggle of this text. I am, therefore, going to do my best to synthesize a clear, usable if not perfect, definition of violence for the rest of our discussion. So, let us return to the simple idea of violence as action that engenders harm and expand upon it. Let us, reasonably I feel, say that severity of violence can be judged based on severity of engendered harm. When two actions are compared through the lens of their contrasting levels of violence, the one that is more violent can be said to be the one that engenders greater harm for greater numbers. And let us say, for the time being, that those numbers must be of individuals capable of actually comprehending their being harmed, that violence cannot be leveled against the inanimate. Of course, violence is not always direct. Sometimes one commits an action with no immediate signs of engendering harm, that through some series of holistic connections turns out to do so after all. Further, the more distant the harm is from the violence that caused it the less certain we can be of that causation, so we will be assuming that when causation is thus uncertain the violence can not fairly be considered as severe as when it is clearly traceable. Thus, violence that engenders harm in an indirect way is less severe than violence which engenders the same severity of harm through more direct causation. Lastly, purely due to the fact that my goal with this treatise is to clarify questions of revolutionary political uprising, we will discuss only violence which engenders physical harm through the actions, intentional or otherwise, of sentient beings. This then is our definition of violence. The reader may contest it elsewhere, but its purpose here is solely to clarify what I mean when I discuss violence in the next two segments of this work.

Two: Anti-Violence versus Nonviolence

It is, one assumes, a relatively universal desire to be as nonviolent as one can be. Thus, the general position of the majority of people is a preference for engaging directly in as little violence as possible. This is the position of anti-violence, and is widely regarded as the position of nonviolence. But in fact the two are not the same. The modern liberal anti-violent, in their desire to become nonviolent, retreats from confrontation or uprising and into the position of a passive consumer, acting for their own good and the good of others close to them but refusing to take part in the larger acts of history, the acts that involve violence and chaos. In this way, they disconnect themselves from any immediately visible, direct violence.

Unfortunately, by existing in this passive way within a capitalist economy, the anti-violent is not nonviolent but is instead indirectly party to all manner of violent acts. The anti-violent, indeed any consumer in a capitalist economy, has no choice but to consume countless goods which are the products of capitalist exploitation and bloody imperialism. And, more and more in the public eye, their consumption further enables a consistent violence against the very workings of the natural ecosystem in the name of continued private value extraction for capital. The anti-violent is of course disgusted by this, as any decent person desiring nonviolence would be. But their refusal to respond in ways that involve even the tiniest direct violence leave them culpable nonetheless in this immense global economic order of violence.

The anti-violent will turn out time and again on twitter and before their local government to demand action against this violence, yet they blanch at any call for a real change. They hate the violence in which they are culpable, yet inexplicably hate equally the leftist, who raises the point that this constant violence could be ended by the much more minor, and more justified, violence of imprisoning the major capitalists responsible for this violent exploitation and the conversion of their private economic property into worker-owned workplaces run by and for the working people, run for their good and the good of the planet on which they live. (Of course, this violence is direct while the violence of capitalism is by and large only indirectly associated with the anti-violent, but nonetheless it is tiny and justified while capitalist violence forms an all consuming socioeconomic totality, surely outweighing the direct-indirect distinction.) They reject this minor violence, but provide no equally effective means of ending the major violence it seeks to combat, instead continuing to passively feed into the systemic violence of capitalism. Thus, in their radical refusal of even minor and justified violence, the anti-violent is counterintuitively culpable in an immense amount of violence.

Three: Nonviolence through Counterviolence

What, then, is the solution to the problem of the omnipresent violence of capitalism? If existing neutrally within a violent economic paradigm is itself an act of indirect violence, how do we achieve the goal of a nonviolent existence? The answer is again counterintuitive, but nonetheless I shall seek to prove that the way forward is to replace that capitalist system by any means necessary, even allowing minimal possible direct violence against the enforcers of capital.

The position of counterviolence will of course be a controversial one. Surely, all too many readers will no doubt suggest, a violent response to violence is no less violent than the original violence? But this is not quite so: the initial violence, the violence for its own sake (or for the sake of some other injustice, some larger violence), has no end in sight. It intends to continue. The responding violence, what I have here termed the counterviolence, always intends to be finite, to exist only as long as it needs to to vanquish the initial violence. Indeed, its ultimate goal is only to establish a state of nonviolence. In this way counterviolence can typically be viewed as less violent than the violence it responds to.

Let us, by way of proving this dichotomy, look to a case of counterviolent ideology the centrist neoliberals who dominate capitalist politics would have us be horrified by: the actions of the loose movement of leftists known as Antifa. Too often those who would have us fear their efforts to hold back fascist violence tell us their violence makes them as bad, or worse, than neofascists like the Proud Boys or Identity Evropa. Let us consider, however, the deaths caused by Antifa’s Blac Bloc tactics of antifascist action in the US. Can the reader name any? If they can, they are the first to my knowledge to do so. Compare this to their opponents. A young white man, seeking to act against the Latin American proletariat who have been maligned by American neofascism, killed 22 in El Paso. Another fascist, this one in Pittsburgh, killed 11 innocent worshippers in a Synagogue. In Annapolis, a man killed 5 for publicizing his actions against women (recall that militantly preserving unjust cultural structures like patriarchy [and racism, nationalism, and most of all the capitalist economy at the heart of these superstructural injustices] is the chief drive and the primary evil of fascism). Now, let us look to an example of fascist violence and leftist counterviolence that first brought American Antifa into the public eye: the Battle of Charlottesville. Only one was killed by the fascist right there. In light of these other, more severe, killings, surely we may say the death toll would likely have been higher had the Black Bloc not heroically shepherded bystanders away from the violence? In preventing larger violence, these small acts of violence in fact become just the opposite.

And further, numerous political theorists have shown that the most effective way of driving history forward and combating large systems such as the capitalist economy is through mass uprising that may involve violence, that this power of counterviolence against violence (demonstrated through the example of Antifa) cannot be achieved as effectively by other means. Thus, the way to nonviolence is counterviolence.

From these factors, we may reach a bold conclusion: the least violent response to the systemic violence (exploitation, slavery, imperialism, fascism) of the global capitalist economy is- counterintuitive though it may be- not to abstain from direct violence but instead to use all possible means to eliminate the economic power of accumulated capital over the value of property and labour, the exploitative control of labourers and their surplus value that is at the root of systemic violence, and to usher in socialism.

On The Importance of Maoist Thought

A Note In Brief

Up to this point in this collection of essays, all my work has been written from the philosophical perspective of Marxism-Leninism. Marxism-Leninism is indeed a practical and scientific line of political-economic philosophy for furthering the dialectical class struggle for proletarian freedom, and I will remain standing by it. Marxism, however, is at its core a scientific philosophical school, and scientific advancements have thus been made since the key theoretical contributions of Lenin and Stalin, and these too must be acknowledged as part of the modern synthesis of Marxism. Though Marxism-Leninism is a solid and valid line, the most up-to-date and practical Marxist ideology is its synthesis with the additional theories of Maoism: Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.

In extremely brief terms, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism gives us all the ideas and plans of Marxism-Leninism, but also key tools for applying them. The Cultural Revolution theory ensures the revolution fully achieves its goals of eliminating all capitalist injustice and contradiction. The Three Instruments of Revolution give us a practical means of organizing the construction of our democratic D. of the P. And, perhaps most importantly, the direct Mass Line of communication between the local system of worker democracy with the national-level elected leaders and party officials ensures the D. of the P. remains a democratic one that serves the proletariat. Therefore, in light of these theories’ importance, I have devoted two essays to elucidating them and their uses, before returning to examining specific issues.

Maoist Theoretical Advancements of Marxism

A Companion to “The Case for Marxism-Leninism”

NOTE: terms are used in this paper under the assumption that the reader understands their use in Marxist-Leninist philosophy of political economy. Some terms may be confusing to those without education in that field (primarily the word “dictatorship” within the phrase “Dictatorship of the Proletariat”). The author recommends these readers first read my earlier paper, “The Case for Marxism-Leninism.”

If Engels and Marx developed the scientific materialist analysis of history and political economy as dialectical material class struggle, and Lenin and Stalin developed democratic vanguardism and its associated theories as a practical political plan to advance that class struggle toward a freer and less contradictory system, then Maoism has developed the political theories to be operated on within that democratic system of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat and socialism, in order to continue advancing the struggle toward communism. It is the theories of Mao and his colleagues and successors (Gonzalo, etc.) that effectively dictate how to build a Marxist D. of the P. around the democratic vanguard, and to efficiently use it as Lenin and Stalin intended to advance material dialectics toward workers’ freedom. Thusly, the core theories of Maoism should be studied as useful and important additions to Marxism for the scientific study of political economy. By synthesizing Maoism with Marxism-Leninism, by applying both its theories and those of Marxist-Leninist thinkers, we achieve the most effective revolutionary philosophy we can: Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.

Perhaps the most important Maoist theory is that of Cultural Revolution. Mao, building on Marx’s theory of base and superstructure dictating that a base system of political economy creates to preserve and feed into itself a superstructure of culture and politics, and Lenin’s decree that thus socialism in order to govern political economy must take over not only the economy but also build a democratic Proletarian Dictatorship of the workers over all of politics and culture via an organized democratic vanguard, determined Cultural Revolution as a theory of a method by which the dialectical material struggle of political economy can be won for the workers not just in the field of economic control, but firstly and as a foundation to building communism in that of culture. The theory tells us that the organized workers must be freed of the artifacts of culture which feed into capitalist contradiction in order to build a new proletarian culture which nurtures worker democracy, and thus the vanguard must lead them democratically in an organized movement to eliminate them. This is aligned with what Marx and Engels showed about cultural superstructure: that it consistently feeds into and preserves the base system of political economy and thus must change if we wish to change that base system (look at Engels’s work on the role of the nuclear family in preserving the control of the ruling class over property and its workers in The Origin of Family, Private Property, and the State). It is also aligned with what Comrade Gramsci learned through scientific investigation and subsequently taught about Cultural Hegemony: that it is the ruling class’s control of the collective unconscious and its cultural notions of “how things are” that often maintains their ability to hold power in contradictory material conditions.” As such, the dialectical material struggle against capitalist contradiction and exploitation requires a democratic struggle to abolish problems of contradictory culture. Maoists delineate these problems to be attacked into the categories of the Four Olds, in order to make attacking them a precise and manageable task. All oppressive culture takes the form of Old Ideas, Old Habits, Old Customs, and Old Culture. By correctly identifying which of these a problem is, the vanguard and/or the masses may more accurately and effectively determine how to eliminate it, in order to free the proletariat from it as an obstacle in the way of socialism and democracy. Thus, the Maoist idea of Cultural Revolution is key to achieving total victory in the class struggle, and may be advanced through the understanding of the idea of the four olds.

Another key Maoist theory is that of Protracted People’s War. This theory is not one of abstract broad-strokes political economy as most of Marxism is, but rather a military strategy for the practical execution of those theories. Mao taught (and organizations like the CPI(Maoist) and CPP have since proven through their execution of the theory) that the way to build a revolutionary Dictatorship of the Proletariat was to establish small cells of socialist worker democratic governance of workplaces (we call these revolutionary bases) around the country, especially in areas that are very rural or otherwise difficult for the central bourgeois state to control firmly. Guerilla warfare is used to create and then defend these bases, which, united across the nation behind the democratic vanguard party, then act as outlets from which the propaganda and political-economic structures of the new socialist economy can be spread. By making and defending these small bases, and using them to spread our ideas and struggle and make more bases, we can create the beginnings of a socialist political economy right under the nose of the capitalist class. This is the Maoist way of advancing the dialectical material struggle into an actively progressing revolutionary class war, the application of which has shown itself to be the most efficient means of putting into practice Marxist-Leninist and Maoist socialism (again, look to examples in India and the Philippines).

Note: although the most familiar and common practice of Protracted People’s War (the strategy of building up the rule of the proletariat and the other oppressed classes under their leadership in Base Areas conquered across a country through guerrilla means by the masses through an integrated vanguard Party and People’s Army with a deep connection to the people and application of the Mass Line, and thusly over time expanding the area of worker-rule across the country, in an expanding regime of the new socialist or New Democratic system instilling mass participation in revolutionary governance in the Base Areas, until the last centers of reactionary bourgeois rule can be surrounded and crushed) has concerned the principal construction of Base Areas in rural areas in accordance with the maxim “surround the cities from the countryside,” it would be a mistake to think this is the only sphere of application for the strategy or the only method of its application. The Communist Party of Peru, the essential organization in the modern synthesis of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism through the ideological leadership of Chairman Gonzalo and a leading force in the communist movement both ideologically and politico-militarily, has always applied the doctrine of PPW in both the cities and the country in accordance with Gonzalo Thought’s theory of the Unified People’s War (1980s-present), and there is precedent for the building up of revolutionary anti-colonial or socialist base areas in principally urban areas in the strategic ideas of Jim Lynagh and his leadership in the East Tyrone Brigade of the PIRA in Ireland (1980s-1987)- a leadership tragically cut short by his assassination by the imperialists, without which he may have gone on to lead the liberation of Ireland and the construction of its Socialist People’s Republic through a PPW strategy.

Maoism also provides numerous ideas on how to organize the Dictatorship of the Proletariat to efficiently carry out these tasks of the dialectical struggle. The Maoist divides the key organs of the socialist D. of the P. into three sections: The Party, The Army, and The United Front. The Party is the Leninist democratic vanguard, serving to democratically lead the masses in raising themselves to the level of socialist economic and social structures. The United Front, meanwhile, makes up the rank-and-file democratic political machine of the D. of the P.: the workers organized into local worker-democratic councils and organizations which hold local political-economic power within the revolutionary base areas (and eventually everywhere) and elect officials to the Party government. Lastly, the Army serves as an organized force at the behest of the vanguard, which defends the proletarian political system from imperial capital via the vanguard’s control, on democratic behalf of the workers and for their good, of the state machinery (as theorized by Lenin in The Military Programme of the Proletarian Revolution). By organizing the Marxist-Leninist workers’ democratic rule over political economy into these three Instruments of the Revolution, the Maoist revolutionary movement may easily win the material class struggle in order to create and maintain the political-economic machinery of socialism.

Mao and the Party under his democratic leadership also devised a particular style of leadership with which to exercise proletarian power within this system. This leadership philosophy, the Mass Line, is based first of all upon constant accountability of the democratic vanguard to its electors in the rank-and-file of the proletariat. In the words of Zhou Enlai, “Go among the masses. The leaders should not only educate the masses but should also learn from them. The reason is that the leaders’ own knowledge is incomplete and their experience insufficient. Leading positions in themselves cannot bestow knowledge and experience, so it is essential to go to the people and draw experience from them.” Mass Line thought dictates the necessity of a direct line of communication between the workers and the organs of worker-democracy on the local level, and their elected officials and the organs of democratic centralism and vanguardism on the national level. By constantly moving among the masses and hearing from them their complaints, needs, and goals and then putting their wishes into action through the central-democratic vanguard, the Maoist ensures their Dictatorship of the Proletariat remains a democratic and truly socialist one by the proletariat, never a revisionist one over them.

Lastly, there is the key Maoist practice integral to maintaining the masses’ and the party’s ability to carry out the key theories of Marxism-Leninism and Maoism: that of Criticism and Self-Criticism. This is a rhetorical tradition used amongst groups of party cadres working to agitate and build worker democracy, or amongst worker-democratic local councils (segments of the United Front section of the D. of the P., in Maoist terms) in order to encourage each other to maintain and grow their revolutionary dialectical spirit and continue their ability to further material class struggle to establish and preserve socialism. In a session of Criticism and Self-Criticism, members of the revolutionary group raise points on the shortcomings (most especially practicing forms of liberalism as outlined in “Combat Liberalism,” an important Maoist text) in praxis and study of both the group and of the self or other individuals, so that other revolutionaries may help and advise them in growing past these flaws. The goal is not for the members of the group to prostrate themselves before a leader and ask forgiveness, nor to punish those who stray, but for all members to exchange with equal authority to one another on how they may improve. Through this method of constructive critique, Maoists (and Marxist-Leninists working with them) build solidarity and improve their theoretical understanding, their ability to put theory into practice well, and ultimately their ability to serve the interests of the people and their material class struggle for freedom as best as possible.

Note: for more thorough remarks on Criticism and Self-Criticism both as a general attitude and as a specific rhetorical practice, please see this essay!

These, then, are the key theories of Maoism. By employing them daily in revolutionary life, by applying them consistently to the needs of the people, We shall advance and win the struggle against capitalist contradiction. And the way to do this is through the synthesis of these key Maoist theories (Mass Line, Protracted People’s War, Cultural Revolution, etc.) with the key Marxist-Leninist ones to create a scientific philosophy capable of guiding the global workers to victory in the material class struggle against the exploiting classes. Long live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!

The Three Instruments of Maoist Revolution

What are they and how are they used?

In the modern development of the Marxist philosophy, the most advanced theories we have are those of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. And one such theory, key to the organization of mass dialectical struggle to create the democratic D. of the P. and through it create socialism, is that of the Three Instruments or Three Weapons of Revolution. The Three Weapons were theorized by Mao during the proletarian revolution in China, and their effectiveness in creating the D. of the P. has been demonstrated by communist movements in Peru, India, the Philippines, and more. They are, in Mao’s words, “the three main weapons with which we have defeated the enemy.” But what are these instruments with which we build worker democracy, these weapons with which we attack capital and its state lackeys, and how do we apply them?

The first (and the easiest for Marxist-Leninist students of Maoism to understand, as it comes from Lenin) is the vanguard Party. This is a theory developed by the Bolsheviks on the verge of Russian revolution and has a very wide precedent of practical application. It is essentially Lenin’s theory of a Democratic Vanguard Party, which may democratically build, through workers’ central-democratic control of state power, the D. of the P. and socialism. It is a Central-Democratic vanguard of the workers who are most advanced, most aware, and most prepared to take up the profession of a revolutionary: the most advanced segments of the proletariat which must arise through practice, and which shall constitute the leadership of the proletariat’s struggle for freedom. It must democratically lead and govern, with constant accountability to the workers, the transition of power over political entities and material economic property (the means of production) to the organized masses in the form of local worker-democratic councils, unions, etc. These, of course, are the organs which shall democratically elect their representative leaders to sit upon the national supreme soviets and other such central-democratic workers’ assemblies of the Party and its semi-state, but we shall deal with them in greater detail when we reach the second instrument. This vanguard must practice democratic centralism by imposing the will of the people, determined democratically by the congress of the party and the party semi-state’s national assemblies of deputies practicing mass line leadership, across all its local members that they may teach it to the masses. Upholding this democratic will of the masses which they determine through the mass line method of leadership, the party must inspire, organize, and create the local organs of proletarian power (unions, councils, soviets, etc.) that shall embody, through worker-democratic control of production, the democratic D. of the P. that the party leads on the national level. Thusly it is of the utmost importance that there be, in the early days of a revolution when the organized D. of the P. with fully established socialism and local worker-democratic bodies to elect many of the party government’s leaders do not yet exist, the education and recruitment of party cadres well versed in Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to build this local worker-democracy. These cadres must participate, in a way that encourages the masses to help build and spread them, in electing revolutionary leaders and in the democratic processes of Centralism and Vanguardism within the leadership of the party and proletarian semi-state. The vanguard party must be organized to decide on all issues in a way that is both democratic and accountable to the masses’ material needs and is guided by the wisdom and scientific analyses of the Great Teachers and other Marxist thinkers, and each of its cadres must strive to spread these attitudes and the socialist worker-democratic social structures they represent in daily life. These cadre, furthermore, are the most important piece of the party machinery in the early days of building the D of the P. These are the party members educated to a high level of Marxist understanding, and trained to apply it to material conditions, who move amongst the people building democratic Mass Line leadership and helping the workers construct local worker democracy. The party must be ready and able to recruit and educate these cadres, so the D. of the P. may grow up around the party as they build it by leading the people in war on their oppressors, replacing those oppressors with worker-democratic control of resources and territory. Once it has created socialism through replacing capitalism in local areas with these democratic structures through militant struggle, it must act as the leader of the proletarian semi-state. It shall have the authority and responsibility to: defend and oversee the workers’ management of the economy, building the D. of the P. nation-wide and instituting and overseeing elections of local workers’ leaders to the national democratic bodies (e.g. supreme soviets) of its semi-state; express and execute the will of those leaders’ electors in the proletariat while its local cadres work to encourage support for the democratic machinery of socialism. It shall continue on in this until such a time as this is no longer necessary, when the material political-economic conditions for global communism without the need for the vanguard’s semi-state protection have come to fruition. This is the first weapon we use to advance the material dialectic of struggle against capital.

The second weapon, the United Front, forms the mass movement of class struggle to grow and create the D. of the P. around the Party’s leadership. It is a unified movement for democracy and dialectical progress, which is led by, and serves to elect its own leaders to join with, the Party and its associated national semi-state assemblies (once a single definite democratic Vanguard party has been formed and taken its place at the head of the struggle). It is formed of the local organized bodies of worker democracy, the unions, councils, revolutionary committees etc., but also of the mass organizations of the revolutionary material struggle, the many groups of militants, activists, and intellectuals who struggle against the economic system and superstructural hegemony of capitalism united together into a large social force. The United Front serves to unite all political movements that fight for the good of the workers- be they Marxist thinkers, political front parties, militant Maoist radicals- into a single force united in advancing the material dialectical struggle, even those who come out from amongst not the proletariat (those who work to make material use value and own no capital) but from their allies amongst the petit-bourgeoisie (those who do productive labour but also own some amount of invested capital and productive property) or any other groups who seek to replace capitalism with political-economic freedom and democracy for the working majority. They may not all be of the most advanced possible theoretical caliber, but united behind their democratically accountable leaders in the Party and associated national democratic bodies all proletarians and all their activist organizations and local workers’ unions may together become the engines of the new economy, the democratic rule of the workers. In order to build the democratic D. of the P. and the new democracy of socialism, the democratic and egalitarian governance of politics and economics by the organized workers in worker democracy and the preservation of this system (while it must still stand against the imperialist states) through democratic vanguardism and centralism, these groups shall, in their areas of work, embody the struggle. They shall unite the workers into these organizations and worker councils, and work along their own political lines, and that of the chief vanguard party that ultimately arises to lead them, to create and unify the aforementioned local bodies of worker democracy. Their task is to create and embody, through these organizations which shall take over workplaces, the workers’ control of production, and to educate and prepare the workers to join this socialist system led democratically by the vanguard semi-state. They shall seize local economic power for the workers and unite behind, reinforce and hold accountable, and form the democratic electorate of the vanguard party’s semi-state and its national-level central-democratic elected bodies. They shall embody and build across the nation the D. of the P.’s political-economic machinery of worker-controlled assemblies governing all politics and economic production locally and nationally. Thusly the United Front shall engage in constructing the D. of the P., and building socialism and the workers’ new democracy.

Note: this informal reference to the “new democracy of socialism” should not be confused with the theory and political-economic practice of New Democracy/New Power as laid out by Mao in his book on the subject and as applied in the Chinese and other revolutions, that phase in the socialist revolution in a country that has been a semicolonial semicolony in which the peasantry is democratically brought into the fold of the proletariat and the relationships of semifeudal and bureaucrat-comprador capitalism are broken down by limited capitalist development under proletarian guidance, to prepare for a situation in which a developed enough proletarian majority exists that it can take full democratic and collective control of its labour-power and means of production and institute the full socialist order of socialist political-economy and a state order of the D. of the P. (as the Chinese proletariat did at the conclusion of China’s New Democratic development, after they had conquered the country and kicked out imperialist finance capital by revolution concluding in 1949, in the early 1950s). This phase of development is not necessary in a country without these particular conditions, like the US.

As to the third, I have earlier spoken of the role of the vanguard semi-state to lead the militant struggle to build and to defend the socialist D. of the P. from imperialist actions of bourgeois states. This, of course, means the democratic control by the masses, through the vanguard and its elected central-democratic national bodies, of the state machinery of war. This has been a cornerstone of Democratic Vanguardism since Lenin first devised and the Bolsheviks first applied it, arguing against the idealist blanket-antimilitarism of their reformist contemporaries in favor of a new military that would fight for socialism. But how exactly does this work, and how is this proletarian Peoples’ Army, the third and final instrument, constructed? As far as the internal function of this army, the first key thing is to restore a sense of egalitarianism and democracy, compatible with a socialist economy’s culture of Mutual Aid and workers’ freedom, to the sector of military life, which has historically been dominated by feudalistic hierarchy. Indeed, in the bourgeois nations the army is stratified into its own sort of classes, the majority enlisted bearing the brunt of the labour with the warrant officers over them and the commissioned officers over them. There must be none of this in the Army of the proletarian struggle. Though their production is more abstract- the power of their labour is expressed (at least usually, though of course the revolutionary army of a D. of the P. may well be tasked to aid the masses in producing and using actual material surplus value for the common good, in duties like housing projects for workers in need) not in concrete goods and their use-value, but in the success of military campaigns- soldiers are workers just as the rest of the proletariat are, and must have the right to own the means of their productive labour and to control that labour fairly themselves, if we are to have a D. of the P. and socialism. Thusly, the army of the D. of the P., and the army that fights to build it, is an army organized of egalitarian bands of fighters who work with each other on equal footing and take action democratically, not only answering to without question to some false idol of a Commander-in-Chief. The barbaric and outdated hierarchy of armies in the bourgeois countries silences and bullies the soldiers, separating them from their cause and preventing them from sharing their ideas and improving the strategic mettle of the army. An army that fights for the masses’ side of the material dialectic is an army, however, where leaders are accountable to their followers and where plans and maneuvers, and indeed also the daily life of military units, must freely be discussed and decided upon by all in organized democratic meetings of the whole military unit, in order to unite the proletariat in their common struggle. The enlisted soldiers must elect the officers who lead their military units (through these meetings) and those officers must be accountable to them. And it is key the rank-and-file majority of this army not be separated from their cause, for it is both their core material drive and the source of their power and legitimacy that they do not merely kill and die, but work to advance a material struggle for freedom from capitalist contradiction, and serve and participate in the democratic processes of the proletarian Vanguard semi-state, following the line of its national democratic bodies. The army must be educated on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and must not only fight off the imperialists but also aid the masses in building local workers’ authorities and help to teach them to participate in the central-democracy of the democratic vanguard Party government. The soldiers must also not be forced to do their labour with and on properties owned by some private boss, but must manage their weapons, artillery etc. (the means of their productive labour) for themselves as they see fit. But in addition to the behaviors and structure of this army, there is the question of tactics. How does the army of the proletariat successfully fight the revolutionary war of the class struggle? The answer is through Protracted People’s War. The army’s key goal shall be to conquer revolutionary Base Areas everywhere where the bourgeois state or imperialist occupiers are weak, building the D. of the P. and the beginnings of a socialist economy by assisting in the creation of worker councils in areas they conquer, and connecting those councils to the centralized democracy of the Party and its United Front. And, once the D. of the P. and socialist economy are firmly established in a nation, it falls to the Army to follow the lines chosen democratically by the Party’s central-democratic workers’ authority in, firstly, aiding the proletariat in other countries in struggling in the same ways and, secondly, in remaining ever vigilant and ensuring the defence of socialism from imperialism.

In closing, I hope I have helped in elucidating these Three Instruments, which are very much among the key tools of the struggle, that they may aid the struggle of the working classes against capitalist contradiction at least in some small way. Advance the dialectic, People’s War Until Communism!

On Participation in Bourgeois Elections

Objections and Alternatives to It

In light of the upcoming elections, we must once again address one of the age-old questions of criticism of political economy: in trying to change the current system, is it worth it to engage with it within its own flawed structures? In short, does electoralism work? Can we reform the state apparatuses of the current system to become those of a new and better one? No.

I: To Whom Does the State Belong?: State Authority’s role in Political Economy and Class Struggle

Let us start with this question: what is the function of the state? For whom and for what does it operate in the context of the capitalist system of political economy? The answer, as has been determined by the careful analytical work of many Marxist thinkers, is that the state works for the ruling class and their economic interests within the class conflict between the rulers and ruled. So, as in modern capitalism the ruler of all political economy is the invested and accumulated capital of the major capitalists, it is for further such accumulation that the state as a tool of the ruling class in the struggle between the two classes functions.

Any scientific materialist analysis of history (such as that undertaken through the study of material dialectics and the work of Marx in the afore-cited work by Lenin) proves this, as every state action under liberal bourgeois-democracy (or “democracy,” to be perfectly frank) in recent (or any) memory has been decidedly in service of a single economic institution, and that institution has most certainly not been the majority of people who make up the working proletarian class. Did the Iraq war (and indeed the whole beast of imperialism- itself a mechanism of capitalist value extraction and accumulation) benefit the Iraqi and American civilians who died? No. But it certainly won countless oil derricks from which American capital could pull the value of sold labour and its sold fruits. The same goes for the Afghanistan war, which we found out only recently we were lied into by the utterly un-accountable upper echelons of the capitalist imperialist state. And this of course is not surprising. We may mistake the electoral system as it stands for democracy, but with its dependence on buying advertisement and courting donors, only those backed by sizable sums of capital have a chance at power. After all, in an economy where the bloody machines of the market are guided by the neoliberal delusion that the right of capital to oppress and exploit labour equates to economic freedom, the media of the bourgeois republics is run by a wealthy few, the same who finance candidates, to puppeteer opinion in their favour and we call this for-profit propaganda “free press.” This bourgeois democracy is no true democracy, no democracy for the proletarian majority.

What’s more, even state actions with some benefit to the proletariat can be seen on closer inspection to have simply served to dampen struggle over the contradiction between capital and labour. Take the example of the “New Deal;” so often it is cited to show that the US state despite its fundamentally bourgeois nature can, in fact, serve us all. Yet the “New Deal’’ only came into effect after the militant class struggle of the late 19th and early 20th centuries (e.g. the Battle of Blair Mountain, or the riots in Pullman), and served not to give the masses what they wanted (a definitive solution to the contradictions of the dysfunctional control by capital of their labour’s fruits and their intrinsic use value,) but to use concessions to neuter revolution in its infancy, to return through bread and circuses the material class struggle to a less advanced stage and preserve the contradictory control of capital over the fruits of labour and their value, their intrinsic material usefulness. And this, of course, is the same function of reformism today- as embodied by the veritable new Kautskyites of the Sanders camp, who blanch at any talk of real change. Their “socialism” of affordable healthcare and slightly higher wages (or, more accurately, slightly lower rates of exploitative extraction of surplus value by capital) is merely a bandaid atop the wound of exploitation. It does nothing to combat the oppression of workers by the capitalist class and their capital, leaving the core system of exploitative control of property and labour by capital and its owners (private ownership of economically productive workplace properties) intact. And Sanders, indeed, is not the workers’ hero he seems to be. He, like any politician within the capital-financed and thus capitalist-puppeteered elections in the US, is all too happy to fall in line with the Imperialist programme of the capitalist class on issues like the question of supporting their coup in Venezuela (And yet nonetheless the capitalist for-profit media makes every effort to downplay him even so- showing even the tiniest amount of good for the masses will never make it through the ringer of bourgeois politics!). His reforms are a far cry from what we need: real change, meaning of course the control of political and economic power structures collectively by the majority who do the work that creates all the useful value within that economy- true democracy, or in the Marxist terms socialism, which must be established not through electoral reform but through a militant and armed class struggle for a Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat.

So on material analysis of the state’s former and present function through the lens of class antagonism, it becomes clear just who it serves. The state is most certainly on one side of the struggle between the classes, and to establish freedom and true political and economic democracy for the masses (socialism) we must be on the opposite side, must struggle violently and uncompromisingly to build the Democratic D. of the P. So how, then, do we engage with the state?

II: Deals with the Devil: The Question of Working with the Bourgeois State for the Sake of the Proletariat

With the true nature of the state being as an instrument of political-economic power for exactly one of the two classes, we as members of and advocates for the other may understand working with the state- although this theological metaphor is perhaps incongruous with the all-important scientific materialism of modern Marxist philosophy- as dealing with a devil. This devil may perhaps be helpful, may perhaps be at least useful. But in all it does it has one goal: to crush our organization, the workers’ attempts to seize control of their own labour-power and its use value produced through labour, and to restore utter mastery over the productive labour of the proletarian class to its capitalist (or satanic, in the metaphor) masters. So, knowing the devil is not our friend, how shall we deal with it and to what extent?

The first clear thing is we must never glorify the devil. We must never pretend he is a god, or our friend, or that our dealings with him constitute real political-economic progress. If we deal with him, and that if shall be addressed later, it shall be quietly and in full awareness that he is ultimately our enemy and must be replaced by the angel, if you will, of the Democratic Proletarian Dictatorship of workers’ democratic control of politics and production. If we are to associate with him, it shall be quiet, shall be our shame. None of this liberal glorification of participation in bourgeois elections, none of this “su voto es su voz” nonsense of the center-right liberal “left.” To glorify, to propagandize for and worship, this devil is to create a culture that thinks associating with him is genuine political progress, and worse, that it is the only necessary political action. In reality, it is a political nothing: it is a tiny drop of clean water in a pool fetid with gallons and gallons of the poison of corporate-financed candidates. We must never treat it as anything more, lest the masses begin to believe it is.

But, this material fact of voting’s irrelevance in mind, is it worth it to vote at all? It is tempting to follow the line taken by Wilhelm Liebknecht of the SPD, in that party’s early days when it was Marxist and had not yet become the reactionary state lackeys whose government would ultimately murder Luxemburg and Liebknecht (Karl, not Wilhelm), in his work No Compromise, that participation in the politics of the capitalist class dictatorship is permissible in order to create a growing political movement, provided it does not dilute the core ideological message that our ultimate goal is to replace that class’s rule with a democratic rule by the working majority, a D. of the P., which shall usher in global economic freedom for all. This is also essentially the line of the so-called “Harm-Reductionist” Marxists; they believe that participation in the false-democracy of the bourgeois state is a harmless way to reduce the brutality of capitalism, without distracting from the primary struggle. This line, however, has an internal contradiction: Causing oneself to be involved in the affairs of the capitalist dictatorship, the state, inherently dilutes the struggle because it is inherently a distraction from the work of building the alternative: the democratic rule by the workers that shall create socialism. One can not be fully devoted to building worker-democracy in workplaces, or a national power structure of the D. of the P. to defend it, if one is forever involved in the tedium of elections where one chooses between two identical war criminals. When we try to turn the oppressive dictatorship of one class into the democratic one of the other, we inevitably become caught up in its nonsense and lose focus. Indeed, Liebknecht’s own party shows this in its history: The SPD went from a Marxist advocate for dialectical progress in the class struggle at its birth, to a reactionary force that assassinated true Marxists like Luxemburg, to its current position as just another wing of the false-democratic apparatus of the bourgeois state in Germany.

So voting and participating sincerely in electoralism is not a way to progress the dialectical-material struggle for socialism and the true democracy of the D. of the P., even if it is done, as the SPD once did it, with its problems in mind. No matter how “critically” we support the bourgeois state, we are still letting the devil in. So, if we are to struggle righteously and never let the devil distract us, how do we struggle? How do we go about exorcising bourgeois false-democratic puppet-elections, which have come to be the sole theatre of political life in the minds of most proletarians, from the struggle for control of the economy?

III: The Political-Economic Exorcism: The Nature of Genuine Mass Work for Material Progress in the Class Dialectic of Political-Economy

Let me be clear that what we militant Marxists advocate is not a simple boycott. Refusal of participation in the dictatorship of the capitalists is but one part, the least part, of the way we encourage class struggle to be undertaken. The fool who refuses to vote because it is pointless, but does nothing else, is no better than the fool who votes and thinks they have had an impact upon material political-economic conditions. Rather, we must refuse to bother with electoralism in order to free up time for what really must be done: building non-exploiting workplace conditions and real democracy for the workers now, not waiting for the bourgeoisie to peacefully hand over control over the masses’ labour, its produced surplus use value, and their lives. There must in every country be organized a democratic vanguard party, which shall rise out of the working masses and be made up of the most advanced revolutionary elements, who shall together practice democratic leadership of their efforts to educate the workers and encourage militant revolt. Around the central leadership of the party’s leading democratic assemblies, the party cadres must organize a united front of militant unions and workers’ organizations which shall democratically take over workplace leadership (thus building worker democracy). Together, these democratic bodies shall begin to build the true democracy of socialism. This, of course, is the same grandiose plan the great Marxists have spoken for decades, and it sounds like a lot of big talk with very little associated groundwork. But in reality the militant D. of the P. thus constructed can and will start small.

It is a great task to construct the vanguard, but not so great a task to construct around oneself a group of dedicated leftists willing to work together toward that goal. Mass work, the work of building the D. of the P. and advancing the class struggle, begins with such small actions. The key, indeed, to building a vanguard party which serves the local workers is to be intimately connected in direct communication with their democratic will. We as Marxists must keep one eye ever on the troubles of the masses to see what concerns them, and the other on Marxist scientific analysis through material dialectics and class conscious economics, so we may teach them how to make progress on these issues. Are the workers concerned about global warming? Encourage them to organize and express their mass democratic power in order to protect Earth! Are they concerned about gentrification? Encourage a rent strike, resistance to the parasite bourgeois landlords! These small forms of struggle can begin with something as small as a conversation, and quickly grow into community-wide struggles for freedom from exploitation, the local embodiments of the worldwide war between capital and the masses. And with time, this proletarian struggle against individual contradictions of capitalism gives birth to unions and mass organizations which may claim democratic control of value-producing industrial property for the common good, and from the united front of these struggles may arise the democratic vanguard that has the power to unify these struggles into a functional democratic D. of the P. and socialist economy. We see examples of the power of small-time direct action in all manner of places: the Black Panther party began simply giving the poor food and reached a point where it was a genuine threat to the bourgeois state, the CPP-NPA-NDF communist insurgency currently building the D. of the P. in the rural Philippines gained a great deal of support by simply standing up for queer rights and becoming famous for officiating illegal lesbian weddings. These struggles are small, yes, but they, unlike voting, are clearly and directly steps in the direction of dialectical progress away from capitalist contradiction.

Thusly, the true way of progress in the class struggle is not vague participation in the abstract processes of puppet-elections, it is a boycott, coupled with the more important action of a constant programme of agitation and education towards the masses to encourage their resistance to capital. We must encourage resistance, and from that resistance shall arise the organized struggle and vanguard. From this, not from the political nonaction of voting, shall rise real material progress and ultimately the organized vanguard and D. of the P. that shall build socialism and communism, shall bring true economic democracy and freedom to the workers.

Note: the above essay has a later, better revised version.

Note: the citations for these essays were in the form of footnotes which did not transfer into Medium properly. If you would like to see them, please contact me and I can email you the original document with full citations to statistical data and Marxist philosophical works. You can also find said original document at the link here (the text is the same, however certain notes have been added here since I posted it which are not in the original doc).




Marxist-Leninist-Maoist philosophizing, mainly regarding the revolutionary movement in the US. I sometimes post less formal thoughts on ig @queer.bolshevik2