Political Work

Red Guards Austin – A Year Summation of the Life of a Militant Maoist Organization in the U.S. Central South

 

We received this summation of the Red Guards Austin collective and are publishing it with their permission. We are in fraternity with these comrades and think this is a contribution worth sharing, however the views expressed here are their own, and do not necessarily represent the views of maosoleum or of the Liaison Committee for a New Communist Party or any of its branches.

Prologue: The Liberalism of the Austin Left

2014 November

The earliest configuration of what was to become Red Guards Austin (RGA) was no more than three comrades who were gradually gravitating towards Maoism at various levels of development. We were still in the process of searching for an outlet for our revolutionary longing in the form of a preexisting “party.” Through careful study and consideration of both local and countrywide leftist groupings, we came to the conclusion that no such organization existed that could constitute a party, let alone one that had firm ideological anti-revisionism, mass work, and the clear participation and leadership of women and people of oppressed nations. We were adrift, leaning on our past experiences as anarchists, animal rights activists, and workers to help us develop into active communists. The first hurdle we faced was due in part to our class backgrounds: none of us had finished high school, let alone received a college education, unlike most of the white middle-class left we had encountered in Austin. We became revolutionary communists out of a dire need for revolution spurred on by our low social status and difficult economic conditions. We were quickly disillusioned by the pomp of local university leftist organizations and had experienced nothing but alienation from them in the past. Continue reading

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Classes and Class Struggle

Short Answer to a Question on Productive and Non-Productive Labor

Dock Workers
A comrade (A.M.) in an online forum asked:

Do transportation and retail labor add value to a commodity? If so, why?

My inclination is to say yes, but I can’t really explain why.

We need to understand that “productive” in terms of the abstracted model of Capital is not a moralistic or political proposition. It is a mathematical one. Productive labor is the one that according to the formulas in Capital, adds quantitatively to value. Retail is unproductive in these formulas because it doesn’t quantitatively add anything to the variables for value. It is beyond the scope of this short answer to go into a long discussion and exegesis of Capital (although the comments are open) but let’s try to briefly discuss assuming a reading of Capital.

The social relation to the commodity in retail work has no capacity to add value as understood in Capital. More so, it also speaks to the levels of alienation from production, something that is subjective and not easily expressed mathematically, but does affect the necessary description of value as a mathematical formula. Continue reading

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People's War

Thai Army tanks in formation during the 2006 coup. (Wikimedia Commons)

While researching news into the latest military coup in Thailand, we came upon this interesting statistical analysis from a bourgeois perspective on why Thailand has had so many coups. While the analysis predates this latest coup, it does apply in the general sense, and interestingly, it is not a Thailand-specific analysis, but one from the perspective of bourgeois universality, that is, the bourgeois view on the cause of military coups under conditions of global capitalism and bourgeois democracy.

The article is in the form of an interview with a statistician and he declares Thailand to be within the statistical model for coups on a number of things, notably poverty, and yet also being an outlier in terms of the sheer number of coups in its history.

In this article we see the limits of bourgeois thinking and perspective, and why the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist analysis of semifeudalism and semicolonialism is of much values to understand Thailand and its history of coups, and how the principle of universality of Protracted People’s War is reinforced by this example. Continue reading

Short Note on the Coup in Thailand: Universality of Protracted People’s War

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People's War

What is Protracted People’s War?

longmarchmao

October 1, 1949 is the day of founding of the People’s Republic of China. On this day hundreds of millions of Chinese workers and peasants “rose up” to defeat the forces of reaction. The Chinese Revolution stands along with the Russian Revolution, as one of the single most important events to take place in human history. The example of Revolutionary China inspired the Black Panthers as well as our comrades waging People’s War in India, the Philippines, Peru and Nepal. This essay is in service to the memory of the Chinese Revolution. Taken as a whole, it represents the view of the Maosoleum collective.

No one barring the most chauvinistic Euro-Marxist dismisses Leninism and the Soviet Union out of hand for being solely applicable to the “Third World”. For all intents and purposes Russia in 1917 was a part of the “Third World”, with only 20% of the total population being in the industrial working class; 40% of that number working in large factories. The question then is posed why do many of the detractors of Maoism make this claim? Perhaps had Mao been from an “advanced capitalist nation” not only would Maoism been applicable to the First World but the Third World as well! This misunderstanding of Maoism is based on how Maoists make revolution, which is through Protracted People’s War and our view that it is universal. While we will discuss this erroneous view of Maoism one must also see an aspect of racism here as well. The dismissal of Maoism comes down ultimately to a fear that the First World Left has of actually learning something from Oppressed Peoples around the world. Sure our enlightened friends may know of Mao, perhaps even Kaypakkaya or even Gonzalo, but it is doubtful they have heard of Comrades Ganapathi, Azad or Kishenji. Let us discuss then what non-Maoists view then as the “correct” and universal method for making revolution, especially in the imperialist nations. The people’s army is a development of world historic relevance that has been copied even by the enemy, Mao is held in high regards amongst the U.S. military, even more so than Trotsky, who is also read.

On the October Road and the Distinction Between Leninism and Social-Democracy

The supposed “universal” method for revolution in the First World is actually the mechanical re-application of the Soviet method of revolution, namely the revolutionary insurrection;  or the so-called “October Road”. Prior to the 1917 Russian Revolution, and after the conclusion of the Paris Commune, Social-Democracy had emerged as a legalistic and open working class movement that had gained ground in parliaments all across Europe, their greatest success culminated in the creation of the first welfare state by Otto Von Bismark in Germany, who acted in response to pressure put on him by the Socialists. With the possibility of war on the horizon in Europe, the working class movement in Europe was faced with the consequences of decades of legalistic struggle under capitalism that came to a fever pitch at the Zimmerwald Conference in 1915. The Revolutionary faction known as the “Zimmerwald Left”, led by Vladimir Lenin, came out strongly against the opportunism of the time, which had instead of taking the position of opposing inter-imperialist war came out in support of their home countries under the guise of “revolutionary defencism”. Continue reading

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People's War

Notes on the Universality of Protracted People’s War: Neither Assad nor NATO

I wanted my first post after an unexpected hiatus to be about the several drafts in store (On Queer Maoism, on Identity Politics, on Eclecticism and Dogmatism, on the BRICs/MISTs mass upsurges, etc), but as Helmuth von Moltke the Elder once quipped, no plan survives contact with the enemy. So here we go.

Much has been debated in the last few years around Syria’s civil war in the wider left, the socialist, and communist movements, including the various Marxist currents. Recently, however, there has been an upsurge of commentary and line struggle because of the recent declaration of open military support for the “Free Syria Army” (FSA) on the part of NATO and the USA. In particular, this has led to informal line struggles in my own circles both online and offline. Thus, a matter that is important but not urgent, has become one of urgency, specially because I identify certain confusions among Maoist forces, in particular an eclectic and sometimes opportunist tailing of revisionist and nationalist forces both in Syrian and out of Syria, but also an abandonment of the struggle to establish the central principle of Maoist Scientific Socialist struggle: the universality of Protracted People’s War.

Continue reading

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Oppose Blog Worship

Undead Mao rises!

We start not with a bang, but with a welcome.

This is May 19th, a hallowed and historic date in revolutionary history. We chose this date purposely to launch our online editorial effort. On this day, Ho Chi Minh was born. So was Malcolm X. And Yuri Kochiyama.

None of them Maoists, all of them revolutionaries, all of them from groups that are oppressed nationalities in the USA, and each of them from different struggles have become icons in their own ways.

In our first real post, which will be a re-post of sorts, we will put up a perspective from Maoists in the USA as to the importance of these figures.

We invite you to read our existing pages, and to visit our other social media sites – plenty of them to choose from. Keep tuned, as we promise even more engagement and a rich media experience. We are more than just a blog, but we are also a blog.

While you can access them in the bar above, here are the links to our various social media sites. Be sure to follow or join or like all of those you use:

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