“You’re right, people do lie, and cheat, and stab you in the back. There will be people who use you, and don’t love you even though they say they do. This is, indeed, how revisionism expresses itself within the party; it is paramount to oppose revisionism so as not to fall into opportunism.” – Beyoncé
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
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
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
The following is a brief exposition of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and is part of a larger theoretical work outlining Marxist-Leninist-Maoist philosophy in the United States. It was compiled by Maosoleum Guest Writer Neftali, the author of “Notes on Mass Line, Communist Organization, and Revolution”, On Marxist Philosophy. and The Materialist Conception of History. Views here are thus those of Neftali, and do not necessarily represent the entire views of the writers of Maosoleum. If you would like to have a dialogue with the author on this piece please address Neftali in the comments below. NOTE: The section “Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is Our Shining Path for World Revolution” skips over two entire sections on Capital and the proletariat which the author still has in rough form.
Marxism-Leninism-Maoism [MLM] is the banner of world revolution today, it is our guiding light which has synthesized past proletarian revolutionary experience in relation to guiding proletarian universal science of historical materialism. It is the most correct universal and scientific approach to making revolution. The banner of MLM marks three significant points of rupture and continuity in the practice of proletarian revolution in its scientific mode, they correspondingly adopt the name of significant figures which represent through merit of both theoretical elaboration and political work were able to capture essential features of the class struggle at their moments and raised the universal features to light for us. It takes upon itself in sequential order of history Marx, Lenin, and Mao. Each phase which took upon it new universal significance also took upon itself both a continuity and a rupture, hence Marxism transformed to Marxism-Leninism which correspondingly transformed to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. They are at this stage in the course of development of revolutionary science and in relationship to the whole course of development and experience of proletarian revolution inseparable and packed as the meaningful name which is in essence the political line of world revolution.
The following is a draft piece on Historical Materialism and is part of a larger theoretical work outlining Marxist-Leninist-Maoist philosophy in the United States. It was compiled by Maosoleum Guest Writer Neftali, the author of “Notes on Mass Line, Communist Organization, and Revolution” and On Marxist Philosophy. Views here are thus those of Neftali, and do not necessarily represent the entire views of the writers of Maosoleum. If you would like to have a dialogue with the author on this piece please address Neftali in the comments below.
“History is nothing but the succession of the separate generations, each of which exploits the materials, the capital funds, the productive forces handed down to it by all preceding generations, and thus, on the one hand, continues the traditional activity in completely changed circumstances and, on the other, modifies the old circumstances with a completely changed activity.” Marx and Engels, The German Ideology
We have paradoxically put forward a Marxist philosophy but there is no philosophy in the classical sense at all. It is the wasteland of such conjured thought that proceeds neutrally, but in fact with all the blood of history upon it, to claim a universality. The Marxist standpoint denies such universality in its metaphysical taint that presents itself immediately from philosophical egoism and humanism. It drops this in order to approach the matter from the sweep of a scientific analysis, with only attention paid to its background to which it still taints such scientific postulations. Therefore all pretensions to look at the subject as an individual self-consciousness evaporates into nothingness, a failed project of the secular systems-makers to be buried alongside the whole of the lie of the bourgeois epoch.
Rather, the Marxists bring the science of the bourgeoisie to the realm of history itself, a science it of course revolutionizes (which will be discussed further). The legitimation of the bourgeois system rests upon the secular myth making of their period of Enlightenment in which the hordes of political theorists conceived of various variations of the social contract. Such a contract was thought to be the basis of civilization and civil society. The error of course of our professorial clerics (Rousseau, Hobbes, Locke, etc) laid in their matter of fact understanding of social-relations based in a rather erroneous extrapolation, abstractly, of their the current mode of production and selectively of course between the freemen of their country. That is they naturalized the emerging bourgeois social relations of capital rather than scientifically account for the development of history via its different modes of production. Such naturalization arrived in much of its own developed brand through the work of the bourgeois economists, Adam Smith being foundational and cemented in the classic modern liberalism of new philosophers such as John Rawls.  Continue reading
The following is an excerpt from a draft document in progress compiled by Neftali, the author of “Notes on Mass Line, Communist Organization, and Revolution” here on Maosoleum. Views here are thus those of Neftali, and do not necessarily represent the views of Maosoleum. Please address Neftali in the comments.
by Neftali, Guest post
“Marxists regard man’s activity in production as the most fundamental practical activity, the determinant of all his other activities. Man’s knowledge depends mainly on his activity in material production, through which he comes gradually to understand the phenomena, the properties and the laws of nature, and the relations between himself and nature; and through his activity in production he also gradually comes to understand, in varying degrees, certain relations that exist between man and man. None of this knowledge can be acquired apart from activity in production…Man’s social practice is not confined to activity in production, but takes many other forms–class struggle, political life, scientific and artistic pursuits; in short, as a social being, man participates in all spheres of the practical life of society. Thus man, in varying degrees, comes to know the different relations between man and man, not only through his material life but also through his political and cultural life (both of which are intimately bound up with material life). Of these other types of social practice, class struggle in particular, in all its various forms, exerts a profound influence on the development of man’s knowledge. In class society everyone lives as a member of a particular class, and every kind of thinking, without exception, is stamped with the brand of a class.”
“The foundation is class struggle. The study of philosophy can only come afterwards. Whose philosophy? Bourgeois philosophy, or proletarian philosophy? Proletarian philosophy is Marxist philosophy. There is also proletarian economics, which has transformed classical economics. Those who engage in philosophy believe that philosophy comes first. The oppressors oppress the oppressed, while the oppressed need to fight back and seek a way out before they start looking for philosophy. It is only when people took this as their starting-point that there was Marxism-Leninism, and that they discovered philosophy”
Mao Zedong; Talks on Questions on Philosophy
We begin with these excerpts from Mao to begin with an initial discussion on the relationship between theory and practice, particularly theory in relationship to the social practice of class struggle. Mao’s essential points can be understood as:
- Knowledge is fundamentally rooted in production, the development of production, and its corresponding social activity.
- Knowledge is composed in such a way that it depends upon production and its social relationships, as mere abstraction it takes the form of the metaphysical and illusory absolute. Knowledge has a historicity and therefore can’t be abstracted from the struggle for production (within class societies, class struggle) – in fact such abstraction is in the end metaphysics..
- Philosophy in particular has a class character. A proletarian philosophy is derived from the experiences of class struggle, whereas bourgeois philosophy (or the philosophy of the ruling class) makes philosophy into metaphysics.
Philosophy “has no history.” Philosophy is merely a lagging ideological component which follows the break of science, it is the battlefield of class ideas for hegemony in relationship to the sciences. Such a battlefield was marked with repetition and recurrence of certain ideological trends. Philosophy at its best, dialectical materialism (the philosophy of our class), can only provide an understanding of the conditions of a truth procedure. Continue reading
In North America, students continue to show their leading role in promoting and advancing revolutionary ideas among the people – and infusing proletarian demands and struggles even in the institutions meant to depoliticize the people:
The University of Ottawa Marxist Students’ Association recently re-launched its campaign to bring about General Assemblies as the highest decision making body for their local student union. The reform, which is set to be achieved by referendum, is hoped to be both a historical moment for Ontario universities as well as the beginning of a new culture of democracy and participation for the student body of the University of Ottawa.
The current decision making model employed by the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa follows a tradition representational model found in most modern liberal institutions. As a result of this, most of the student body has proven to be alienated from all form of governance. The long-standing political elite in power has been able to keep itself there for years while relying on the absurdly low 10% voter turnout to maintain its legitimacy. These liberal and bureaucratic practices unfortunately plague most student unions in Canada and have slowed the nation wide student movement to a painful crawl.
Full text here:
All Power to the General Assemblies! – Revolutionary Communist Party.