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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Guest, Study

Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is Our Shining Path for World Revolution

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.
-Stradacero

 

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.


ON MARXISM

"Marx and Engels are able to produce the most thoroughgoing radical critique of bourgeois political economy still in our possession and, moreover, give to the whole of the working class movement the ammunition to sink the bourgeois ideology that mystifies economy."

“Marx and Engels are able to produce the most thoroughgoing radical critique of bourgeois political economy still in our possession and, moreover, give to the whole of the working class movement the ammunition to sink the bourgeois ideology that mystifies economy.”


Continue reading

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Guest, Study

The Materialist Conception of History « Neftali

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.
– Stradacero

"Marx has opened up to scientific knowledge a new, third scientific continent, the continent of History, by an epistemological break whose first still uncertain strokes are inscribed in The German Ideology... Obviously this epistemological break is not an instantaneous event. It is even possible that one might, by recurrence and where some of its details are concerned, assign it a sort of premonition of a past. At any rate, this break becomes visible in its first signs, but these signs only inaugurate the beginning of an endless history. Like every break, this break is actually a sustained one within which complex reorganizations can be observed.  - Louis Althusser, Lenin and Philosophy

“Marx has opened up to scientific knowledge a new, third scientific continent, the continent of History, by an epistemological break whose first still uncertain strokes are inscribed in The German Ideology.- Louis Althusser, Lenin and Philosophy

 

“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. [1] Continue reading

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Revolutionary Heroism

Smedley Butler: Hero of the People

Gen%252BSmedley%252BDarlington%252BButler[1]Smedley Butler was instrumental in the repression and colonization on the part of the USA of large areas of the world. He was one of the inventors of waterboarding and advocate of its use in prosecuting the freedom fighters in the Philippines. He was part of robbing Haiti blind and setting the first Black republic in the world into the disaster the 20th century was for it. His heroism in the service of US imperialism was such that to this day he remains one of the most decorated combat officers ever, a recipient of two Medals of Honor, a complete hero of imperialism.

He was also a Hero of the People.

This might sound odd, given what we just explained about him. Yet that is only half the truth. Smedley Butler is the highest ranked defector from the US imperialist machine in its history – someone who in the cusp of their career, having reached the highest rank possible in the Marine Corps, having the gratitude and support of the ruling classes, threw it all away in the service of humanity. His treason to all that he had built his life around is a remarkable example of the ability for people to transform, to abandon their anti-people and imperialist fortunes to join the ranks of the vast majority of humanity.

Lets quote from a speech by him based on his book “War is a Racket“, part confession of guilt, part self-criticism, part denunciation of imperialism in the harshest terms possible:

War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we’ll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its “finger men” to point out enemies, its “muscle men” to destroy enemies, its “brain men” to plan war preparations, and a “Big Boss” Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

For those of us that live in the USA – by birth or by circumstance – and fight for proletarian revolution and against empire, Smedley Butler needs to be a symbol to reclaim from relative obscurity. When we see family members and friends being recruited into the military, or we see veterans, or active, reserve, or National Guards soldiers who begin to see the racket, it is important to bring Butler up to them. This man quite literally is the very definition of a Soldier’s Soldier: the very embodiment of the mythologies of Loyalty, Service, Honor, Personal Courage, etc, that the military proclaims to instill and uphold. And he was able to break through the smokes screen and join the camp of the people.

We need more Smedley Butlers, and we need them to not just become propagandists and confessors, but active builders of the revolutionary movement. Without the people’s army, the people have nothing – and we will need soldiers of the caliber of Smedley Butler if we are to win. There is no dishonor in realizing one works for racket, that all has been a lie. The only dishonor lies in knowing this and doing nothing about it.

Be like Butler, bust a racket, join the people!

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Guest, Political Work

For a Revolutionary Proletarian Character to Student Work

As promised in our “Oppose Blog Worship“, we will publish (or republish) interesting and relevant contributions from readers and friends of Maosoleum. The views here are, thus, those of Neftali, and do not necessarily represent the views of Maosoleum. This article originally circulated among Neftali’s friends more than a year and half ago, and we are publishing upon his request in the context of the struggles developing at the City University of New York.

by Neftali, Guest post

(no contact information, so please leave comments or contact us, if you want to engage him.)

A General Orientation to Our Question

annisur-nepal-revolution-hope-maoist-students[1]

One of the hollower of phrases today in our movement, so deceptive it is treacherous to the people, is the demand of “student power” within a “student movement.” True revolutionary forces must expose such a reactionary slogan within the context of our struggle. It has in practice only led to the domination of one class over another within the movement(s) connected to higher education. Its particular manifestations we see incarnate in various student organizations from the most reform oriented to even the most radically minded. These student organizations tie themselves to their “movement” in such a way as to never truthfully peer out from the high walls or exit their gates to see the general condition of the people. They call for strikes and occupations solely on the basis of the identity of students and their supposed power and with no real true attentiveness to the condition of the proletarian masses around them.

What is the meaning of “student struggle” when the location of students are transitional to the general economy? Those speaking about “student struggle” and “student power” are in essence only class aspiring petty-bourgeoisie among us. The work conducted among students must be conducted in relation to general struggle of proletarian masses. A struggle around debts and tuition solely is the struggle for the petty-bourgeoisie on the backs of the broad oppressed and exploited people of the world, a struggle which opens the university, transforms its relationship to the people, transforms the relationship of the teacher and the student, which transforms the basic content of the education for the purposes of revolution is the only true struggle for the masses.

Let us break this down to all its atoms – we live fundamentally within the coordinates of imperialism, of world capitalism dominated by the parasitical sector of finance capital. In its concreteness of our actually existing predicament, this appears in the manifestation of the neo-liberal regime (the fusion of state power and capital under capital) with hegemony under US Empire (a settler-colonial, white supremacist state of North America). The internal class dynamics of the US Empire are principally between socialized labor and capital, the basis for socialist revolution. However because of the character of such a country within the world coordinates of production (as world police and benefactor for imperialism, and as a white supremacist, white-settler country) this fundamental contradiction has never been always principled in the democratic revolutionary struggle of the masses. Elements of labor have been co-opted into the imperialist system and racist pogroms and national oppression of national minorities within the country have produced a historically deformed class structure. However generally speaking within what is a deformed class structure produced from imperialism and national oppression, the class alignment of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie are still fundamental with wavering unstable classes in this mix.

This is a simplified class analysis of the United States for the purposes of orienting our understanding of the struggle of the students. We must begin generally with understanding the student in their particular mode as a student, as an abstraction. The student, is as we said, a transitional subject whose mode of practice revolves fundamentally around the skilling of their labor for utility within the capitalist mode of production, either directly within production, within reproduction, or management of these tasks. Their identity, therefore, is transitional and is bound towards having a definite relationship to the mode of production which can only be clear when looking concretely among the students themselves.

We do not deny the vast majority of students are bound to join the labor force as waged workers. But as skilled waged workers among the middle and upper sections of the working class. This is for certain the fate of many students attending public universities, community colleges, technical schools, and the lower rate universities that are merely scams upon the people in reality. There are also at the same time not an insignificant minority of students who are being skilled as managers of capital, as part of the ideological and repressive state apparatus or directly within the production scheme itself. There also plenty of more students (whether bound to wage-work or not) are fundamentally bound to an entirety of their life in unstable quarters as wage-workers, petty-bourgeois hustlers of the dignified sort, and possible future managers within the system.

The student is from the standpoint of the proletariat not much different from any other petty-bourgeois aspiring elements within society or among our class. The student looks for community only among other class striving elements to encourage their own prospects of embedding themselves within the system, the student is in many instances ideologically deluded by the prospects of bourgeois right, but fail to take notice of how they will mostly be under the peonage of finance capital. Many fail to notice how proletarianization is a fact among even the most skilled of labor, how they have become a part of a deeper pool of labor of their own skills. Continue reading

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Classes and Class Struggle

Brief Note on the Dictatorship of the Proletariat and the USA’s Government Shutdown

8200027083_57086b1664_o_d[1]So once again the legislature of the United States of America (USA) has locked out the governmental functions they find non-essential as part of their own political plays. I will not go over the details of this, as it can be found in nearly every news source on the internet. I will however briefly address some of the issues this shutdown lays bare and how they relate to the perspective on the dictatorship of the proletariat:

  1. It shows the government and State as distinct – one is a way to organize society, the other is a way to control this organization.
  2. It shows that the government is expendable to the State in times of crisis, or if the political will of a section of the government is of that persuasion.
  3. This precarious existence of the government, is matched by a ruling class consensus on the need for stability of the State.
  4. It show the limits of reformist politics as a way to effect actual structural change – the seizing of government is in the final analysis irrelevant unless the State is also seized.
  5. The State is in the context of the USA is a bourgeois class dictatorship, which means no structural transformation is possible without seizing the State, and that the government is ultimately beholden to the State.

One of the fundamental confusions one sees in the commentary around this shutdown is that of the State and government. The two often overlap, but they are not the same – and this shutdown illustrates sharply their differences.

Simply put, almost all the functions of the government have been shutdown, and almost all the functions of the State remain functioning.

This shows – clearly – the dictatorship of the bourgeois class in action: all of those functions of government the bourgeois has elected to implement as part of their democratic consensus and as a response to the struggles of the people have been shutdown, but those functions that are fundamental for the continuance of the class dictatorship (and its property relations) continue to function pretty much as normal.

The best illustration of this phenomena is the bipartisan law passed to ensure that military personnel and military functions remain fully funded and that all salaries are paid. Another is the continuance of tax collection, entitlement payment, and other outlays not related to the functioning of government on the part of State. Even services that might be understood as being part of government – such as food inspections – remain in function, but these are actually part of the role the State plays as guarantor of the class peace: without such arbitration, the bourgeois order would collapse as it needs it as part of the capitalist property relations.

This difference has very concrete consequences for the pursuit of revolutionary politics. We posit, sharply, that one of the fundamental problems of the left and the proletarian class revolutionary movement is too much preoccupation with the matters of government, and not enough preoccupation with the matters of the State. This is not to say that government is without importance – to say so would be ridiculous – but it is to say the relationship that should be viewed as dialectical, with the the State as the primary dynamic force in the relationship.

We all need government, even under communism: government is the way infrastructure gets built and maintained, it is how disputes are resolved (generally) in socially constructive ways, it is how we process collectively the issues of health, education, safety, and security. Even the most technologically simple human societies have some form of government.  The State, on the other hand is no necessary in the final instance: it is an expression of class dictatorship, in which one class directs government to its own ends, and utilizes repression and a monopoly on violence to do so. Now, we are not anarchists – we do not believe the State can be overthrown in one day, but we are historical materialists, and thus understand that for the State to be eliminated, the proletariat must seize it and establish its own class dictatorship.

What this shutdown shows, very clearly, is the limits placed upon government in the democratic-bourgeois State, and thus the necessity of this overthrow of the bourgeois dictatorship and its replacement . In this case, a law that benefits one camp of the bourgeois (the medical insurance industry), causes the shutdown of all government functions. This law is not a progressive law, and while it might have a palliative effect on the severe lack of affordable health care in the USA, it is far from something any socialist could support. Yet this very capitalist, very neo-liberal, law cause such a stir in the halls of government that it leads to it being shutdown.

Now, imagine if instead of Obamacare were an actual reform of the health care system. Something still moderate, but structurally significant, like a single-payer system. What would have been the response then?

This is a clear illustration of the very real limits of reformism as posit by many forces in the left. Somehow, they seem to think, the issue is a lack of votes: yet here we have a shutdown over a law that was approved by a majority of congress. If such a mild transformation of little structural effect meets with such destructive and disruptive opposition, what would be the response to a real reform of structural consequence? Definitely at least as harsh, most probably much harsher – including the actual disruption of the State functions. And there are plenty of examples, including in the history of the USA itself, of this happening – so it is not idle, abstract speculation to say so. A classic example, however, is the Allende government in Chile, which was overthrown violently by the organs of the State, in spite of being the constitutionally defined government. Those who think this scenario is impossible in the USA, need to heed the historical lesson: the Allende government suffered several shutdowns as a prelude to its overthrown, and then faced a coup attempt that was put down by Pinochet himself! A government shutdown is nearly always a show of strength on the part of the most reactionary sections of the State against its less reactionary sections. Of course, in the USA, these contradictions are much less sharp – Obama is a neo-liberal, Allende was a socialist – but the structural analogy lies in the possibility of a socialist or even a progressive coming to governmental power in the USA. If a neo-liberal faces such fierce opposition, what would a socialist or a progressive face?

The government shutting down shows very clearly the precarious position that those political forces that claim that government, and not the State, are the primary means of social transformation. The precarious existence is precisely why we need revolutionary politics: revolution is the only way the State – not government – can be seized.  The only real government shutdown we can support and feel happy about is when we shutdown the bourgeois government and a people’s government emerges under the dictatorship of the proletariat.  This doesn’t mean, of course, that the path is this easy, that we should stop doing politics until then – but we also have a responsibility to talk about and expose the structure of capitalism and this crisis provides us with a perfect opportunity to do so.

This is of course a brief note, and the topic is indeed a complex one, but lets not make this complexity obscure what is indeed simple: the need for proletarian dictatorship, and the need for a people’s government as a path towards the full emancipation of humanity from class and the State.

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Political Work, Repost

Anti-Patriarchy Rectification Campaign

From the New Communist Party (Organizing Committee), Maoists in the USA.

Documents of the NCP (OC)

For release in July 2013

At our First Congress earlier this year, the founding delegates of the NCP (OC) adopted a Resolution Against Patriarchy and ratified our Principles of Unity upholding a proletarian feminist position. However, the passage of organizational documents is only a formal first step. They remain only words on paper if there are no actions to back them up.

Like other bourgeois and reactionary ideologies that must be continuously defeated through two-line struggle, the patriarchal values and male chauvinist practices that dominate this society have their reflection inside the communist movement and within communist organizations. They must be confronted and overcome through class struggle, inner-organization struggle, and inner-struggle. Like those who “wave the red flag to oppose the red flag,” groups, tendencies, and individuals can pose intellectually as feminists while at the same time failing to politicize women, commodifying and objectifying women, and engaging in abusive male…

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