On the attack today on Congress

Communism is irrevocably opposed to acts of individual terrorism. The attack this morning was done by a man who believed himself to be a patriot, however, divorced entirely from popular support of the masses and the will of the people, from a proper moral justification of such an act (a despotic government, a massive restriction on individual liberty, etc), it can hardly be said to truly be the case. Frustration at the nature of our body politic is understandably widespread, as it is now obvious that our government represents the will of a small, property owning minority. However, this is not a new phenomenon at all, this has always been the case. A significant majority of the population supports, even if hesitantly, the current government and the offices which representatives hold. An attack such as this, then, is an attack on the popular will of the people themselves. If the government is to be attacked in popular outrage, it would be for a much better reason, by the people themselves, and with widespread popular support. That is the only possible justification of an attack on elected representatives. That is why it is said by Marxists that communism is irrevocably opposed to individual acts of terrorism. The attack today was a despicable act, and carries with it no possible justification as such an act can only be justified by the popular will of the people.

The Mistake of Equating Even the Worst of Stalinism with Fascism (From a Trotskyist, Mind You)

There is a fundamental difference between ends and means which cannot be ignored by those who equate even the worst Stalinist states with fascism. Yes, they were both nightmarish 1984 style dystopias. But to equate the two would be folly. I am, of course, as the title suggests, a Trotskyist. I disdain Stalinism for it’s inherent lack of genuine democracy, authoritarianism after the fact, and lack of even formal liberties. However, the end goal of the fascist states had already been established in one sense. The end goal of fascism is a totalitarian state, one which, as Hitler put it, was to last ‘a thousand years’.
The state, being an inherently violent institution, is nothing but a weapon for the suppression of one class over another. The end goal of the fascists WAS an ‘eternal totalitarian state’. The end goal of the Stalinists, and indeed of all communists, myself included, is a communist society. What is a communist society? It is a society without social classes, money, private property, or the state. It has been said that the end goal of anarchists and marxists (yes, even Stalinists) is the same, and this is absolutely true. If you do not believe me, allow me to quote one of the most ardent anti-revisionist stalinists of the 20th century, Mao Zedong:
“Don’t you want to abolish state power?” Yes, we do, but not right now. We cannot do it yet. Why? Because imperialism still exists, because domestic reaction still exists, because classes still exist in our country. Our present task is to strengthen the people’s state apparatus – mainly the people’s army, the people’s police and the people’s courts – in order to consolidate national defense and protect the people’s interests.
“On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship” (June 30, 1949), Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 418.
There is also the infamous ‘horseshoe theory’ which alleges that far-right and far-left politics have more in common than apart, that they are really just two sides of the same coin. But this theory quickly falls apart when put into historical context. For instance, compare the far-left and far-right in times of slavery, in times of feudalism. In every instance the ‘centrists’ whom the horseshoe theory holds in the highest regard have been the ones to passively go along with the prevailing exploitative social system, even if they ‘see logic in both sides’. In every instance the far-left has been willing to use violence to end oppression and exploitation, and the far-right has been willing to use violence to systematically enforce and maintain said exploitative and oppressive social systems. Such a theory also negates that many on the far-left, and even the far-right, are anarchists almost as often as totalitarians. But if you compare a fascist to an anarcho-communist (far right vs. far left), or a Stalinist to an ‘anarcho’-capitalist (far left vs. far right), you will quickly see how easily such an absurd notion falls apart. Below is an image of the horseshoe theory put into historical context.
Horseshoe.jpg
If we hold all acts of political violence to a non-sensible Kantian standard of timeless morality, than perhaps the far-left and the far-right are the same. But this is to equate abolitionists with slave-owners, is to equate brutal capitalists with communists (even Trotskyists like myself). It also ignores the fact that political violence will always exist insofar as the state exists. A ‘pacifist’ that idly accepts a prevailing social order that kills hundreds of millions of people every decade has as much, if not more blood on their hands as does a revolutionary who is attempting to end said exploitation by direct force of arms. There is talk of ‘The Terror’ of the French Revolution which mercilessly killed the former oppressors and counter-revolutionaries as an example of the barbarity of the far-left. But there is less talk of, as Mark Twain put it, the second terror which the former sought to end:
“There were two ‘Reigns of Terror’, if we could but remember and consider it; the one wrought murder in hot passions, the other in heartless cold blood; the one lasted mere months, the other had lasted a thousand years; the one inflicted death upon a thousand persons, the other upon a hundred million; but our shudders are all for the horrors of the momentary Terror, so to speak; whereas, what is the horror of swift death by the axe compared with lifelong death from hunger, cold, insult, cruelty and heartbreak? A city cemetery could contain the coffins filled by that brief terror that we have all been so diligently taught to shiver at and mourn over; but all France could hardly contain the coffins filled by that older and real Terror – that unspeakable bitter and awful Terror which none of us has been taught to see in its vastness or pity as it deserves.”
With such a view, one can easily justify Robespierre’s ‘totalitarian excesses’, as the ends clearly justified the means. The far-right however, historically has used terror solely to maintain exploitative social systems, and in reaction to attempted liberation from such. It was the reaction to both the French and Bolshevik revolutions that sparked the necessity of the far-left to take such drastic actions in self-defense of the revolution. Both ‘Red Terrors’ were but responses to white (far-right) reactionary terror. In the words of Danton, the committee of public safety was compelled to “be terrible as to spare the people the need to be so”. It could be said that there is but one justification of violence: The greater, not individual, good. If that is the standard, then we should hold the far-left in far greater moral esteem than both centrists and far-rightists alike. It should also be noted that we are referring to revolutionary terror, as in, terror after a revolution, not terror as it is known today. Marxism is irrevocably opposed to individual terrorism.
If one equates the ends with the means then one makes a forgivable, yet foolish mistake. If one equates Robespierre’s ‘reign of terror’ (the means) with capitalism and a democratic republic as such (the ends), can it not be said that the person making such a judgement is in error? Can the same not also be said for one who equates the Stalinist states of the 20th century (a totalitarian means which many communists, myself included, disapprove of) with ‘communism’ and ‘socialism’ as such (the ends)? But one can certainly equate the ends and means of a fascist state as the two are one in the same, the goal of fascism is to establish a totalitarian state that lasts forever. In that light, we should hold the far-left in infinitely greater esteem than the far-right.

Critique on Bourgeois Notions of ‘Liberty, Democracy, Equality and Justice’

There is liberty alright, but certainly not “liberty for all”. It is difficult for me to imagine what “personal liberty” is enjoyed by an unemployed, hungry or homeless person. True freedom can only exist where there is no exploitation or oppression of one person by another; where there is no unemployment, no homelessness, and where a person is not living in fear of losing his/ her job or home, or going hungry. Only in such a society can personal, or any other freedom for that matter, exist for real and not merely on paper.

There is democracy alright, but democracy which serves a privileged, property owning class. Less than 7% of representatives in congress and senate are in the bottom 80% income bracket. 9/10 of our public representatives are capitalists, or rich men. Direct bribery of bureaucrats and the alliance between the state and wall street make a “democracy for all” impossible. Indeed the leftover surpluses produced by workers in a corporate model of enterprise are for a small group of men (board of directors) who are elected by top stock holders (60% of whom are in the top 1%, 1 stock meaning one vote) to have absolute power over what to do with. Such industrial tyranny is the very definition of capitalism. And worse still, most industries appropriate large portions of that surplus to candidates of, and to one of the two political parties in the United States. Both parties look after maintaining and reinforcing via ideology and force, this exploitative social system. The upper classes being powerful by money only, cannot acquire political power but by making money the only qualification for the legislative capacity of an individual, first in officially (the exclusion of the rich from running for office) and then de facto (the near impossibility of running for office without corporate money). Because there is no industrial democracy (socialism), there can be no true political democracy. It is at once democracy of the rich, and dictatorship over the propertyless masses. Whereas socialism is democracy of the 99%, and dictatorship over the overthrown exploiter classes.

There is equality and justice alright. But equality is set aside again by restraining it to a mere “equality before the law”, which means equality in spite of the inequality of rich and poor — equality within the limits of the chief inequality existing—which means, in short, nothing else but giving inequality the name of equality. Formal equality is an absurdity, it is not uncommon for a poor person to be sentenced to life in jail for what many would consider a petty crime, but a billionaire being sentenced to life in jail for ruining millions of lives- now that would be unheard of! African Americans make up 13% of the US population, yet account for 40% of the prison population. Even though cannabis use rates among black and white populations are virtually identical, black people are 4x as likely to be incarcerated for the same crime as their white counterparts. If the 400 years of oppression of black people is not enough to cry shame on the criminal ‘justice’ system, then I do not know what is.

 

Source: 1 (Note I am an Anti-Stalinist)

Source: (Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels Collected Works Volume 6, P. 28-29)

“Socialism works on paper, BUT” A Refutation

“Socialism works on paper but not in reality”. No, but “bypassing the advanced capitalist phase of development in a semi-feudal country and going straight to socialism”, on the other hand, without help from an advanced country, could be said to work only on paper, which was theoretical basis of every single Marxist-Leninist state in the entire cold war. Of course, such a theoretical basis led to total disaster.
“Over the several centuries that it took for capitalism to replace feudalism, how many times were monarchies restored?” How many debates were declared ‘won’ by the monarchists in their refutations of political democracy? How many debates today are declared ‘won’ by modern bourgeois critics in their refutations of industrial democracy?
 
When it is predicted, correctly, that capitalism can only come from the internal contradictions of advanced feudal society, and the opposite takes place, in 14th century England, we can expect it to fail, but support it regardless. When it is predicted, correctly, that socialism can only emerge from the internal contradictions of global capitalism in the most ADVANCED capitalist superpowers first, at the END of capitalist development, and the opposite happens 130 years before that period, in the poorest countries on earth, we can expect it to fail, and many socialists certainly did, but supported it regardless.
 
How, then, can one claim that ‘socialism only works on paper’ when the initial proposition has yet to be proven wrong, when, modern society resembles to a tee, the society of late stage capitalism elaborated by Marx? When I say the cake will be ready to baked in 30 minutes, and you throw the intact eggs, gallon of milk, sugar and batter into the oven, how can you yell at ME for being wrong when my initial proposition has yet to be proven wrong?
“”- Deng Xiaoping, Volume 3, P. 249

Briefly, In Praise of Lenin

Lenin made some mistakes, as I will be the first to admit. But that man dedicated his entire life to the total freedom and liberation of the human race from every possible form of oppression and exploitation. People like Lenin come around once every few centuries, if we are lucky. People today often falsely equate Leninism with Stalinism, but such grievances are of the historically illiterate.
 
Anyone who has read ‘The State and Revolution’ can tell you that the society that Lenin believed in could not have possibly came about in backwards Russia, and that it was the epitome of democracy. The society Lenin was fighting for could not possibly have more personal liberty or virtue.
 
The story of Leninism in the 20th century is a tragedy, it was a beautiful flower that tried to bloom far before it was ready, in bad soil. Marx believed that successful socialist revolutions would first happen in the most ADVANCED capitalist countries, at the END of capitalist development. Instead, due to the conditions of imperialism, the first socialist revolution happened in Russia in 1917, a semi-feudal country, one of the poorest in the world, that also JUST HAD a capitalist revolution. Despite these major setbacks and limitations, for the first time in human history, under Lenin’s leadership, all political power was in the hands of the workers and peasants- to the exclusion of the exploiting, property owning classes.
 
Compare THAT form of democracy with the Greek and American democracies. In Greece and early America, only white, male, property/ slave owners could vote- to the exclusion of the oppressed and exploited masses. Today our American “democracy” is de facto owned and controlled by wall street and big business- by the property owning class, and 9/10 of our public representatives are capitalists, or rich men. Contrary to popular belief, you will not find one mention of a one-party state in the works of Marx, Engels, or Lenin. It is purely a vestige of Stalinism. So we should perhaps, rethink the way we view Lenin. He was a champion of liberty and democracy, not of tyranny.

Socialism, Capitalist Exploitation, and Innovation Under Socialism

“How could we ask our poor bourgeois to pay more taxes to help out the wage laborers that produced his wealth in the first place?” Obviously by the logic of the capitalist system, if you produce something, it doesn’t belong to you. So if you produce ~30$ in an hour and receive only 15$ in return, or, if you produce 200$ in an hour, and receive only 50$ in return, then by the natural laws of the capitalist system, you are owed nothing but a wage, even if that wage is so low that you are impoverished, hungry, can’t afford rent, healthcare, etc. Under the guise of “free contract” many may find this appealing. But this is but the tip of the iceberg of the capitalist mode of production, even if this fact is exploitative by nature.
 
On the other hand, the bourgeois can, and occasionally we find that he does, do absolutely no work of his own, being a non-acting board member or owner, who votes once every few months if that, and collects a check for millions of dollars- containing the leftover surplus produced by hundreds of thousands of working people whose poverty is the source of their bourgeois wealth. This is, of course, an extreme example. But I have met people who happen to be on the boards of very large companies who do just that.
 
He can, and often does, also vote to take the surplus (after necessary expenditures and investments for the enterprise) and give it to one of the TWO political parties in this country to systematically protect and maintain this exploitative social system. We would call such a thing a Super-PAC, and it’s almost the exclusive funding of most politicians today. In a word, he lives off of the labor of others, off of those who own no property of their own, and are compelled to either sell their labor at a fraction of its value, off of the proletarian class which constitutes 95% of our society.
 
“We cry shame on the feudal baron who forbade the peasant to turn a clod of earth unless he surrendered to his lord a fourth of his crop. We called those the barbarous times. But if the forms have changed, the relations have remained the same, and the worker is forced, under the name of free contract, to accept feudal obligations. For, turn where he will, he can find no better conditions. Everything has become private property, and he must accept, or die of hunger.” -Pytor Kropotkin. The statement still applies, of course, but due to the revolutionized condition of the productive forces since then, we could say that the worker today gives up half of what he produces to the capitalist class, and not a fourth as the feudal peasant would be obliged to give.
 
The bourgeois may, and more often than not does, do non-productive (but still essential) work to manage the affairs of the enterprise, but because of private property, he is “entitled” to oftentimes 5000x more per hour than his workers produced, that 5000x, mind you, along with all other profits, having been produced by the workers themselves.
 
I am not saying that innovators and inventors should NOT be compensated, indeed they absolutely should be. A study funded by the Federal Reserve Bank by Daniel Pink (a capitalist organization if there ever was one), found that MODERATE compensation was best to encourage further innovation from a creative individual. Meaning that it would be better for, say, Bill Gates, to have received a 150,000$ salary for his invention, than a 5 Billion dollar one. The study found that LOW and HIGH financial compensation had almost identical results in promoting further innovation. This study only furthers the evidence that capitalism, while it socialized the productive forces which made rapid innovation and expansion possible, is not the best mode of production if innovation is the concern. On the contrary, socialism, and communism would be.
 
Under a socialist system, or a market socialist system as would be the first step towards the complete socialist mode of production (which, mind you, has never been established in an advanced capitalist country as Marx believed it would have to be as a prerequisite to socialism, can elaborate further if asked), the board of directors which determine WHAT is produced, how much is produced, etc. would be DEMOCRATICALLY elected by the workers themselves and the general public, would receive NO MORE THAN A WORKMAN’S WAGE (not millions), and subject to immediate recall at anytime. The surplus produced by ALL THE WORKERS, would be democratically distributed BACK TO ALL THE WORKERS, instead of going into the pockets of a few. The workers themselves would decide what to do with the surplus they collectively produced. If it was the STATE deciding what was produced, then that would be state-capitalism, not socialism, and certainly not communism as communism requires the absence of the state altogether.
 
Also, I can provide a feasible example of how innovation would even increase under socialism. My friends and I, given a year or two, could program and create a computer program in which orders for a restaurant could be spoken directly to the computer and inputed (using the various incorrect terms and sayings that customers use). This could and would negate the need for cashiers altogether even though would vastly increase net profits for an enterprise and speed up production speed. HOWEVER, if we DID create such a thing, we would no doubt lose our jobs. Under a socialist system, such an innovation would mean increased profits not for a capitalist at the top, but for the workers as a whole. Automation would mean vacations, not lay-offs. Workers would be inspired to innovate because they know that said innovation would benefit them, and not someone at the top. Not to mention that the workers would no doubt decide to appropriate a larger wage to those innovators from the surplus that they collectively produced.