On dual power and counter-hegemony – the need to engage currently existing institutions and movements

A vanguard revolutionary party must strive not only to build up the membership of the party, to accumulate forces among the advanced sectors of the masses and to strengthen the party’s ideological, theoretical and organizational capacity, but to also build up the power and size of popular institutions and movements, even when these are not under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism.

Some communists harbor the erroneous notion that institutions, organizations and movements that are not explicitly revolutionary in their stated goals are not worth the effort of engaging, that they are “merely” extended forms of bourgeois hegemony and that communists should steer clear of them. This is a mistake because, while non-revolutionary ideas do indeed permeate these institutions and movements (and this does indeed make them perpetually vulnerable to being co-opted by the bourgeoisie), this doesn’t meant that they cannot afford revolutionaries spaces in which revolutionary ideas can be introduced to the masses, where revolutionaries can engage in concrete struggle alongside the masses, where revolutionaries can learn from the masses, and where revolutionaries can help the masses to tie together the various disparate struggles they are waging and turn them into a united front against the bourgeoisie and its state. It is the task of revolutionaries to democratize these institutions to make them more representative of and responsive to the just demands of the people, to increase their scope in place of only pursuing parochial interests, and to foster them as sites in which bourgeois hegemony and state power are weakened. In short: to turn them into dual power institutions that embody proletarian rather than bourgeois hegemony and that give the masses practical experience in waging struggles and in administering a future socialist society.

Of course, dual power institutions can be built from the ground up, and do not always need to wait to emerge from existing institutions. But given that most workers and marginalized peoples are under the thrall of bourgeois ideological hegemony, and given that current structures and sites of struggle are where most workers wage their struggles, the existing institutions are not something that we can afford to sidestep just because they are “impure”. Indeed, given that they are impure, all the more must we engage them so that we can transform their class character. We communists must struggle in society as it actually exists and work to transform the objective and subjective conditions towards a revolutionary situation. Those who ignore this and prefer (for emotional reasons) to cut themselves off from forms of struggle that do not yet bear a communist stamp are automatically distancing themselves from the masses and thereby making themselves totally irrelevant (and as one comrade has pointed out, painfully awkward when they do come into contact with the masses and attempt to promote their line).

Communists must never divorce themselves from the masses. Pushing forward a revolutionary line does not consist in issuing high-sounding slogans; it means engaging in concrete struggles with and among the masses. It means investigating the conditions that exist in society, it means understanding the mood of and ideological level of the masses, identifying segments of the masses for whom the contradictions of capitalism are most acutely experienced, analyzing the world situation and the relation of the capitalists and other exploiting classes to the overall world imperialist system, and devising tactics and strategy appropriate to the concrete conditions that prevail in that particular society, rather than mechanically trying to apply tactics and strategy in settings in which they may be ill-suited. Revolutionaries can earn no respect and trust from the masses – much less be accepted as leaders – if they do not devise a line that is relevant to the actual lived experiences of the masses and if they do not concretely tie the revolutionary message with these experiences.

We must resist the urge to see revolution as a role-playing game where we get to “play communist”, and then retreat back to our middle-class parents when we grow tired of it. Being communists means that we must be willing to put ourselves on the line to serve the people, to raise their consciousness and organization, and to swell the ranks of the advanced sectors of the masses by educating and struggling with the middle and backward sectors of the masses. This means that we cannot afford to wait for ideal conditions to arise, where we then swoop in and take the reigns of leadership. This will never happen, for the simple reason that we will have no credibility among the masses if we have not concretely engaged them. If we were only hiding in our basements while issuing slogans about revolutionary China, while doing nothing to bring about the conditions for revolution, we will correctly be seen as bloviating shit-heads.

Revolutionary communist politics and the mass line method of revolutionary leadership are not synonymous with party-building. Party-building is of course an integral and indispensable part of such politics, not least because of the strategic role that a revolutionary party must play in preparing and leading the masses to socialism, but it is something to be nevertheless done alongside of building dual power institutions, supporting the particular struggles of the masses, and serving the people. In the long arch of revolution, these are interdependent processes which cannot be discarded for reasons of juvenile impetuosity or a refusal to concretely engage with and learn from the masses.


Writing for the masses

Those who write from a communist perspective need to do so in order to be read and understood by the masses. A comrade pointed out that one of my own pieces, “On the necessity of combating social chauvinism/conservatism within progressive and revolutionary movements”, sounds too much like an undergraduate paper. This is an extremely important critique because unless our material is written for and read by the masses, then it amounts to nothing but hot air. Refusing to be understood by the masses – indeed, refusing to understand that this is the only reason that communists should write as communists – is a form of petty-bourgeois impetuosity and a form of liberalism. Or, to put in terms that the masses might be more familiar with at this historic juncture: a dog-wank.

Now, having said all that, and recognizing the need to avoid pompous, academic-sounding and/or impenetrable language, we should not dumb down our message. We must have faith in the ability of the masses to understand complex social phenomena, to be able to grasp the material relations that define class exploitation and oppression, and to see through reactionary garbage. To come to a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist perspective on these things, we must of course help them, but we should not ever talk down to them. The masses are not stupid children, and we should not condescend to them, trick them or engage in opportunist shenanigans for cheap short-term gains. If we are serious communists, then we must always remember that we are part of the masses; we serve the masses wholeheartedly. We are the best friend and weapon they yield in their historic mission to emancipate humanity. All of this absolutely necessitates that we view our task as a deadly serious one rather than as an adventure, and that everything we do strengthens the revolutionary consciousness of the masses and is done in their interests. This, obviously, extends to our agitation and propaganda, to our literature and to the words we use. All must be chosen with care, and for maximum effect in the class struggle against capitalist-imperialism. Sloppy language means handing the bourgeoisie a gift.

But having said that, we also need to understand that the masses are struggling to survive everyday, and that by virtue of that, they cannot all be expected to be geniuses in the science of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and that there are certain messages that we can focus on above others to gain the support of the people. That must start with us being among the masses, listening to their problems, understanding how they view things, and learning from them. It means tailoring our message to the concrete conditions that face the working class.

Communists who fail to heed these lessons will invariably fail in their tasks. They will wonder why the masses are not listening to them, but in fact the fault lies not with the masses but with these comrades, who through impetuosity and impatience, through being too focused on books and too isolated from the masses, will churn out pamphlets that will find no traction among them.

On the relation between revolutionary theory and practice, and the necessity of revolutionary science

“Theory is the experience of the working-class movement in all countries taken in its general aspect. Of course, theory becomes purposeless if it is not connected with revolutionary practice, just as practice gropes in the dark if its path is not illuminated by revolutionary theory.”

— J. Stalin, “The Foundations of Leninism”, Chapter 3 – Theory

This quote by Stalin encapsulates an extremely profound truth already developed by Lenin and other revolutionary communists: that revolutionary practice cannot be a blind rummaging around in the dark, but must be guided by a theoretical underpinning that is itself grounded in practice. While communists cannot anticipate every event given the extreme complexity of society, they can at least avoid ignominious defeats for the working class by steering clear of blind alleys and dead ends. Revolution is not an adventure or a game; it is a deadly serious application of politics, and class politics at that (which is itself the most serious politics).

Some leftists, such as Noam Chomsky and other radical left-liberal reformers, don’t (and can’t, given their reformism) quite grasp this. While recognizing the need for proper tactics in struggle, they are extremely soggy on the issue of the relation between tactics and strategy (roughly, they have no strategy), are weirdly enamored of “non-violent struggle” and “leaderless struggles” (Chris Hedges quipped that the “genius” of movements like Occupy Wall Street “lies in its lack of leadership”), and are given to the mantra of “working within the system to see what it can deliver” (one might have hoped that by now, after many decades of being personally involved in popular struggles and critiquing US imperialism, Chomsky would have gotten the message that the capitalist-imperialist system has run up against its limits in terms of what it can deliver to the working class, and that this system is a danger to all life on this planet and must be thoroughly destroyed, not debated away. If people like Chomsky want to continue fumbling around with perpetually “seeing what the system can deliver”, that is their business, but serious revolutionaries should not take their line as anything other than the semi-pacifist petty-bourgeois deviation that it is).

Revolutionary theory provides us with certain generally applicable lessons based on the bitter and hard-won experience of centuries of class struggle. Of course, these lessons must be tailored to the particular concrete conditions that prevail in any one country in a particular historic epoch, and no revolutionary movement can be exactly the same as any other. Each country has its own particular configurations of class power, levels of class consciousness among its oppressed and exploited classes, and different contradictions among the exploiting classes. In formulating proper tactics and strategy as they relate to a particular country, one must have a good (that is, realistic) idea of these conditions and how they in turn relate to the world situation, the avenues available to the revolutionary classes, how these classes can take advantage of contradictions among the exploiters, etc. If we take revolution seriously, we must be serious about developing it as a science – a science put into the hands of the masses for the purpose of making revolution – and to view society as the proper laboratory in which it is tested and refined. Revolutionary science, the evolving, integrated whole of practice and theory, aims to link the universal to the particular, and through social struggle, the building and organization of the organs of struggle, and the development of correct political line, to further develop itself so that it may contribute to and link up with the concrete struggles of the masses elsewhere (who will in their turn, in the particular conditions facing them, distill that which is useful, discard that which is not useful, and arrive at a new revolutionary summation).

Those who ignore these truths do as at the peril of the proletariat and peasantry in its historic mission to overthrow class exploitation; at the peril of overthrowing and smashing the capitalist-imperialist system that dominates humanity.

Petty-bourgeois, pacifist, liberal and revisionist lines will only succeed in making the masses perpetually chase their own tails, leading them straight back into the jaws of the enemy. This is because they lack a clear understanding of the need for strategy, of the need for science, of the need for deadly serious class politics with a clear, uncompromising end goal. Faced with this task, they often retreat back into the camp of the enemy, imagining that capitalism can be reformed out of existence, that the task ahead can be done using Twitter and co-ops, that an accommodation can be reached with imperialism, that Leninism is itself a deviation while their own petty-bourgeois impetuosity on the one hand, and opportunism and vacillation on the other, will hold the key. They will, in other words, continue to mislead the masses into doing the equivalent of throwing water balloons at the brick wall of the dictatorship of capital. Revolutionary science, on the other hand, equips the masses to build a giant hammer to smash through the wall , to suffer no more excuses.

Let’s build and wield the hammer; let’s stop throwing water balloons.

On the Mass Line and How it is Mangled

Red Midwest

For over twenty years our Party has carried on mass work every day, and for the past dozen years it has talked about the mass line every day. We have always maintained that the revolution must rely on the masses of the people, on everybody’s taking a hand, and have opposed relying merely on a few persons issuing orders. The mass line, however, is still not being thoroughly carried out in the work of some comrades; they still rely solely on a handful of people working in solitude. One reason is that, whatever they do, they are always reluctant to explain it to the people they lead and that they do not understand why or how to give play to the initiative and creative energy of those they lead. Subjectively, they too want everyone to take a hand in the work, but they do not let other people know what…

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“The highest honor” – imperialist and proletarian; and the war on Syria

According to many imperialist country patriots, the “highest honor” one can have is to fight and die for “my country”. You’ll find find this sentiment being expressed on TV, in church, in presidential statements, in movies, during speeches, on the radio, in homes and shopping malls, and many places of congregation. It is a sentiment believed by many conservatives and liberals alike, including those who oppose particular US imperialist wars and interventions. In the United States, it has attained the status of something like a state religion, and deviation from it is considered sacrilegious and “anti-American” (communists should recognize, by the way, these are both good things).

“Fighting and dying for [insert imperialist aggressor of choice] is the highest honor” is really, when you think about, incitement to violence against the Third World. It is a statement to the effect of, “I’m going to keep honoring someone’s direct involvement and participation in imperialist aggression, regardless of whether or not I agree with this aggression.” It is a statement that one will keep on honoring, and therefore facilitating, participation in imperialist war.

In truth, the sentiment is puerile trash, and Americans in particular need to be thoroughly disabused of it – for the highest honor that one can have is not to fight and die for one’s “own country” (i.e. imperialist bourgeoisie) but to fight and die for the masses oppressed by imperialism. There are many gradations beneath this highest universal honor that themselves far outshine the imperialist-chauvinists’ favorite “honor”. One of them was expounded by Lenin: to BETRAY one’s “own country” in its imperialist endeavors, and to work to bring about the DEFEAT of one’s “own country”.

This is as relevant now as ever, because even many “leftists” support imperialist war when done “for the right reasons”. These people seem to think that the Marxist-Leninist analysis of the class character of the state is “outdated” and that class questions, such as in whose class interests an imperialist war is being waged, somehow no longer matter very much when it comes to, say, the imperialist assault on Syria. These people implore “their” imperialist government to “do the right thing” and are in favor of “shaming our representatives” to “stop Assad” – i.e. to intensify the ongoing imperialist program of covert operations, sponsorship of terrorism, propaganda and economic sanctions by also topping it with open war. In so doing, they turn themselves into clowns and puppets for imperialism’s decades-long assault (really, genocide) against the people of the Middle East in the name of a narrow and stunted moralism that is divorced from a concrete analysis of class interest and regional struggle against imperialism, and that is replete with national chauvinism and white supremacist assumptions. These left-opportunist clowns want to “unite as one” behind “their” imperialist bourgeoisie and to put aside such trifling matters as class interest in order to help engage in something that will make them feel like they’re “doing the right thing”. If imperialist “regime change” can don a human face, then these left-opportunists are all for it, and are happy to couch everything against the backdrop of their imperialist privileges.

The rank opportunism of this crowd might appear to be an irritating but trivial sideshow if not for how grotesque and utterly steeped in imperial culture it really is (particularly in the consumerist “feel good” character of their self-righteous pronouncements). Many of these types are also petty-bourgeois intellectuals with comfortable jobs and salaries, who talk about socialist politics but reserve most of their ire against whatever government (or “regime”) just happens, ever so coincidentally, to be on imperialism’s hit-list at a given time. They are aghast at the prospect of revolution in their own countries, perhaps sensing – correctly – that their own platforms for pontificating on the moral “responsibilities” of imperialist states would be swiftly taken away from them by the dictatorship of the proletariat. Given their relatively comfortable existence derived largely from the spoils of imperialism, coupled with their soggy revisionism, it is quite natural that they will come to see the imperialist state as a potential vessel for carrying out their delusional pet projects, if only “enough of us can get together” to “shame the government to do the right thing” (i.e. to intensify what it is already doing against the people of the targeted country). But we have seen the results of the imperialist assaults on Iraq, Libya and Yemen, and these revisionist “Marxists” have no excuses left for their opportunism and the mass murder of workers that they helped unleash. Nevertheless, they still want to keep believing in fantasies about Syria’s “democratic opposition” and that imperialism will somehow stop being imperialism if “we can make our voices heard to help the people of Syria”, as though imperialism worked that way. This is historical idealism taken to its zenith – itself another sign of the petty-bourgeois origins of First World revisionism and “intellectual Marxism”, which lounges casually in its imperialist privilege, denies the need for revolution in the imperialist countries, comes to see the masses as something to hide from except when mobilized in the interests of imperialist war, and surely and unmistakably turns itself into the handmaiden of imperialism, national chauvinism and capitalist plunder.

Lenin warned the proletariat about the danger of going along with the left-opportunists and social-imperialists of his day, when he exposed and fought against the revisionist usurpers of socialist movements during the period of the First World War. In that infamous slaughter, many socialist parties in Europe declared fealty to “their” imperialist country and justified it on the basis that to oppose it would be in effect to support the imperialism of an opposing European power. But as Lenin pointed out, this is still imperialism! Lenin and the Soviet government were absolutely correct in immediately terminating Russia’s participation in this worthless bloodbath and signing a peace treaty with Germany, which gave the newly established worker’s state breathing space rather than uselessly hemorrhaging itself for the sake of “honor” or other twaddle. Current social-imperialists, revisionists and “Marxist” intellectuals, on the other hand, are at least a little more averse compared to their predecessors when it comes to expending the lives of “our boys”, but they are not above calling on NATO air power to enforce “safe zones”, and backing terrorist proxies to get the job done, hemorrhaging countless Syrians in the process and tearing apart the fabric of that society for the sake of “doing something about the brutal dictator Assad”. Once the dust settles and millions of lives are destroyed, ruined or traumatized, these intellectuals learn nothing and dutifully move onto the next imperialist bloodbath for which they behave as errand boys.

A handy rule of thumb is this: if you ever hear a socialist talking about “our military” or gushing about the “highest honor” of serving in an imperialist war, this person is a fake socialist and a vacuous chatterbox, capable only of leading the working class down the dead end of imperialist chauvinist politics and the meat grinder of imperialist slaughter, however garbed in a “socialist” veneer it might be. Challenge them on the question of WHY the war they defend or vacillate on is being waged; chances are, they’ll become glassy eyed and travel along the path of least resistance in the bourgeois political landscape they have grown comfortable navigating: jingoism and national pride in their imperialist terrorist state.

“I must argue, not from the point of view of ‘my’ country (for that is the argument of a wretched, stupid, petty-bourgeois nationalist who does not realize that he is only a plaything in the hands of the imperialist bourgeoisie), but from the point of view of my share in the preparation, in the propaganda, and in the acceleration of the world proletarian revolution. That is what internationalism means, and that is the duty of the internationalist, of the revolutionary worker, of the genuine Socialist.” V. I. Lenin

*the sense in which I am using the term “revisionism” does not refer to historical revisionism but to the trend within Marxism that deviates from and “revises” many of the key tenets of revolutionary Marxism, replacing them with liberal-democratic fads such as doing away with the need for revolution (in place of a “gradual transformation towards socialism” within the framework of bourgeois democracy and electoral politics), parliamentarism, a focus on developing the forces of production at the expense of transforming the relations of production, equating “socialism” with simple state ownership of control of certain enterprises, lack of clarity on the question of small privately owned businesses, lack of clarity on the necessity of economic planning by the dictatorship of the proletariat, and indeed a lack of clarity on the need for the dictatorship of the proletariat itself.

On the necessity of combating social-chauvinism/conservatism within progressive and revolutionary movements

We must firmly oppose and fight against social-chauvinist attitudes in the communist movement. Social-chauvinism in the hands of the peoples’ progressive organs of struggle is theoretical detritus dumped on the heads of the masses and a massive disservice to many comrades who are engaging in concrete struggles against atavistic/religious prejudice from the refuse of history. It is the continued persecution of homosexual, women and non-white comrades on the basis of atavistic trash. Social-chauvinism is the recreation of class divisions within the movement, it is the failure to tap into the contradictions of bourgeois society to broaden our ranks by drawing in people who are doubly or triply or quadruply exploited because of their skin color, nationality, gender or sexual preference. It is a lack of seriousness in the politics of revolution and is really just acquiescence to “traditionalist” and religious refuse from the sewer of human history. It is the implacable enemy of emancipation; it is the retention of class oppression within the household; it is the embodiment of irrational and anti-scientific notions; it is the lurid expression of base desires and catering to the lowest common denominator. It is rummaging in filth in the attempt to elevate garbage on the basis of ugly male bluster and bravado. It is assistance lent to the bourgeoisie, who are either lent a helping hand in further persecuting segments of the working class in the interests of dividing us against one another, or of casting themselves as the saviors of those segments of the working class (and therefore of casting the peoples’ revolutionary organs as the real reactionaries). It is, in many ways, really a way to tell the working class to drop dead.

For these reasons, a commitment to social-chauvinism and conservatism is a commitment to turning ourselves into a joke in the eyes of the masses. It is to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and to hand victory on a platter to the bourgeoisie. It is to defile ourselves as revolutionaries who serve the people and to become traitors who confuse the people, waste their time and deliver them to fascist politicians who then take up where we left off in peddling moral and theoretical detritus.

To oppose someone on the basis of their sexuality is to oppose them for no good reason; it is to cater to atavistic, feudal and religious backwardness, at the expense of and over and above the revolutionary vitality of the present movement. It is to dilute and fail to draw upon the resentments that capitalist society produces, on the thoroughly reactionary basis of attempting to preserve for oneself the benefits of the class relations that these oppressions embody. It is to behave like pitiful petty-bourgeois foot soldiers who expect their “due” for hardships suffered in the course of the revolution, and at the expense of other human beings and comrades who they should have been united with in common struggle in the first place.

Social-chauvinism, in short, is poison; utter, unambiguous, vile poison. It is a Trojan Horse laying in plain site, invited into our camp and ready to spring on us the seeds of our own defeat and to help perpetuate the hegemony of capital.

Social-chauvinism within the communist movement is a form of rank opportunism and tailism: tailing behind whatever sentiments the working class may have at a particular moment in order to curry their favor in the here and now, rather than developing the revolutionary consciousness of the working class and linking the short term to the long term.

As Lenin noted:

The opportunist does not betray his party, he does not act as a traitor, he does not desert it. He continues to serve it sincerely and zealously. But his typical and characteristic trait is that he yields to the mood of the moment, he is unable to resist what is fashionable, he is politically short-sighted and spineless. Opportunism means sacrificing the permanent and essential interests of the party to the momentary, transient and minor interests.” —V. I. Lenin, “The Russian Radical is Wise After the Event” (Oct. 18, 1906), LCW 11:239.

Let’s not have racist communists who will fight the class war only to fight a race war. Let’s not have sexist communists who will fight the class war only to reassert their feudal “rights” as men to keep women down, to maintain women in their “roles”, to cast domestic violence as a “private” matter. Let’s not have homophobic communists who will fight the class war only to call for and act as enforcers for hetero-supremacy. Therefore, to all those who are reading this, I say: resolutely work to expose and overcome conservative and reactionary deviations in your movements. Work to overcome that which dilutes the revolutionary and emancipatory character of peoples’ organs of popular struggle. If you see a male comrade making lurid remarks about women comrades, or a white comrade making belittling remarks about “SJWs” or denigrating black and Latino workers as “anti-white”, patiently but clearly explain why their position is a poison to the cause they claim to be championing. Explain why, in the long term, their position is self-destructive and strategically stupid.

Having said all that, please understand what I am NOT saying: I am not saying that because we support women’s emancipation, the rights of homosexuals and an end to racism, that we should support bourgeois imperialist politicians donning the mantle of these causes. We should not degenerate into imperial chauvinists when, for example, Hillary Clinton makes some pronouncement about women’s liberation. We should never side with imperialism, no matter what humanitarian or progressive garb it is wearing. As Che said: imperialism is not to be trusted, not one iota! We should never side with “our” imperialism against the comparatively minor imperialism of the Russian state on the basis of support for persecuted homosexuals in Russia. Women’s rights, homosexual’s rights, the rights of people of color: none of these causes should ever be beholden to support for imperialism. We support the struggles of the Russian working class, but we do not support all of its backward ideas. We support the struggles of homosexuals and women in Russia, the struggles of revolutionaries fighting to bring clarity on the questions to the Russian masses, but not by hiding behind “our” imperialist governments’ military confrontations with Russia. It is the duty of all communists to oppose, undermine and bring about the defeat of the imperialist wars waged by “our” imperialists. We ruthlessly oppose the bourgeois notion that the highest honor is to serve “one’s own” imperialist country. As the Indian Maoist peoples’ armed forces say, “To die for the masses is loftier than Mt. Everest! To die for the exploiters is lighter than a feather!” Those of us who live in the imperialist centers must serve the victims of imperialism and those under its foot at the expense of the interests of “our” imperialist bourgeoisie; when we begin aligning with and cheering on the imperialist bourgeoisie, we become despicable traitors to the world’s masses, enemies of humanity and worthless renegades more concerned with our own comfort and well-being than with the emancipation of the world’s masses.

Finally, I am NOT saying that racial and sexual politics should take “precedence” over class politics. I am saying that in our struggles, in our recruitment efforts, in our agitation and propaganda, we should stress the relations between race, sex and class and how these inter-penetrate; we should explain and reveal to the working class (and make concrete to them through their own experiences) how class relations produce racist and sexist attitudes and how these attitudes in turn reinforce and buttress class oppression and exploitation. A crude and exclusive class determinism and focus is as inappropriate for guiding the work of an authentic revolutionary communist party and movement as one that smothers over class realities in favor of a cozy accommodation with imperialists who dangle identity politics in front of women, homosexuals and people of color in order to curry their favor. We oppose all such opportunist trends. We are for identity politics, but not just any identity politics; we are for an identity politics that properly situates class and imperialism in relation to class and sex, that listens to and prioritizes the struggles of the most marginalized and oppressed, that brings their perspectives into our movement and gives those people who are multiply oppressed by capitalism, sexism and social-chauvinism a leading role in these movements, rather than dancing around their experiences as “something that the working class doesn’t give a shit about” (note also that the latter sentiment is in fact a contemptuous slur against the working class, in painting it as a social force that cares only for its own immediate material satisfaction. Yes, the working class may at present be mostly concerned with its own immediate problems, but this is nothing to emulate; it is a thoroughly reactionary, bourgeois perspective instilled into the working class in the course of living in a bourgeois society, and that is something that we must fight resolutely to overturn. The point, from the perspective of revolutionary Marxism, is to fight to turn the working class into a force for universal emancipation rather than merely one that aims to put food on its table, pay its medical bills and then be done for the day. Otherwise, we just end up handing the working class over to gutter racist trash like Donald Trump who promises to be “pro-working class” through the lure of pigging out at the imperial trough, “bringing back jobs” and destroying the environment. And what’s the message there? That it’s alright for the working classes in the imperialist centers to benefit from the plunder and oppression of the semi-colonial countries so long as American workers (white heterosexual ones, at least) can pay their electricity bills and put food on the table? No, this is simply imperial-chauvinist opportunism, something that binds one to the imperialist bourgeoisie, whether one votes for an atavistic garbage monster like Trump or for a reformist-liberal “socialist” like Bernie Sanders (who aims to open the imperial franchise to people of color).

The only remedy, the only consistent and truly universal and emancipatory program for doing away with racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-immigrant sentiment, religious-chauvinism and capitalism is to unite the working class around a revolutionary movement and party that focuses on all issues that affect it, encompassing both “strictly economic” problems, to problems having to do with race, sex, culture and other forms of identity, and to link all of this to the question of imperialism. A revolutionary checklist would have to ensure that:

1) If the movement is focusing on economic problems but ignoring and even belittling other problems, and taking social-conservative and chauvinist takes on them, it needs to be rectified.

2) If it is focusing on issues of race and sex but ignoring those of class, it needs to be rectified.

3) If it is addressing both social and economic problems faced by the working class, but airbrushing over the core question of imperialism, it needs to be rectified.

If these negative currents are not fixed, these movements will collapse, become diverted to serving reactionary and/or imperialist ends, and will become useless husks in so far as revolutionary politics are concerned, mere playthings in the hands of the bourgeoisie. Those who fail to heed these warnings are themselves taking a bourgeois stand by refusing to engage with material reality and instead mistaking their personal wishes and prejudices for reality. They are partaking in soothing delusions about the task at hand by cutting corners and doing shoddy workmanship on the vehicle of communist politics. The working class doesn’t need any more soothing delusions in this world of imperialist war, environmental despoliation, brutal and hateful class divisions and theoretical muddle; it needs a strategic outlook that brings a scythe to bear against all backward and bourgeois trash and binds together all progressive social struggle into a colossal fist to smash this disgusting capitalist system, and all its filth, once and for all.