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We Won’t Fight Another Rich Man’s War

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Document presented to the World Anti-Imperialist Platform in June of 2024 (Read as PDF)

The degeneration of the Communist movement, especially in the western world, forces old questions and debates to be re-examined. In our current moment, we cannot escape the utter bankruptcy and opportunism of the bulk of those who speak in the name of Marxism-Leninism.

Central to the Marxist-Leninist worldview is opposition to imperialism. Imperialism is defined as capitalism in its monopolistic stage, an “international financial oligarchy” of “trusts, cartels, and syndicates” that dominate the world, utilizing the “export of capital” to partition the world, extract super profits, and hold back the development of the people. Imperialism is not a policy. It is not an unfair relationship in some kind of economic partnership between countries. Imperialism specifically refers to the rule of the world by western bankers and corporations, and the manner in which they rule and impoverish the planet.

Central to the Marxist-Leninist worldview is opposition to the imperialists and support for all who oppose them. Lenin’s understanding was that the global imperialist financial system is the main impediment to social progress, the driving force behind wars, and the main factor in keeping the bulk of humanity impoverished. All efforts must be made to defeat imperialism. All other questions are secondary.

Almost immediately after it was created, the Soviet Union convened the Congress of the Peoples of the East to rally various forces to resist imperialism. The Bolsheviks offered military support to the feudal monarchist Emir of Afghanistan, to various bourgeois nationalists, and other forces, understanding that because they opposed the imperialists, they were on the right side of history. As Stalin explained in his lectures entitled “The Foundations of Leninism”: “The struggle that the Emir of Afghanistan is waging for the independence of Afghanistan is objectively a revolutionary struggle, despite the monarchist views of the Emir and his associates, for it weakens, disintegrates, and undermines imperialism.”

The Marxist-Leninist orientation for revolutionaries in western countries has always been one of “revolutionary defeatism.” The working class is to welcome the defeat of their own bourgeoisie, work to undermine the war effort, and transform imperialist war into civil war. The message of the revolutionaries in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States to the working class of the imperialist homelands is: “Your real enemy is at home!”

We are forced to recall Marx’s support for the Irish national liberation movement in Britain: “All industrial and commercial centres in England now have a working class divided into two hostile camps, English proletarians and Irish proletarians. The ordinary English worker hates the Irish worker as a competitor who forces down the standard of life. In relation to the Irish worker, he feels himself to be a member of the ruling nation and, therefore, makes himself a tool of his aristocrats and capitalists against Ireland, thus strengthening their domination over himself…. England, as the metropolis of capital, as the power that has hitherto ruled the world market, is for the present the most important country for the workers’ revolution and, in addition, the only country where the material conditions for this revolution have developed to a certain state of maturity. Thus, to hasten the social revolution in England is the most important object of the International Working Men’s Association. The sole means of doing so is to make Ireland independent. It is, therefore, the task of the “International” to bring the conflict between England and Ireland to the forefront everywhere, and to side with Ireland publicly everywhere. The special task of the Central Council in London is to awaken the consciousness of the English working class that, for them, the national emancipation of Ireland is not a question of abstract justice or humanitarian sentiment, but the first condition of their own social emancipation.” (“Letter to Sigfrid Meyer and August Vogt” April 1870)

Yet, we hear anything but these kinds of politics from the “Communists” of our time, especially in the western world. One of the greatest examples of opportunism is the Greek Communist Party (KKE) with its “imperialist pyramid” theory. This opportunistic mishmash theory has been sloppily cobbled together by the various academics who dominate what was once a solid, revolutionary organization. With a redefinition of imperialism, the leaders of the Greek Communist Party have defined Russia and China, and according to some, even People’s Korea and Venezuela to be “imperialist” countries. On that basis, they are neutral in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, not rallying to support the anti-fascists of Donbass but echoing the propaganda of NATO and Kiev that they are merely Russian proxies. At a time when the western imperialists are rallying the world into anti-Russian hysteria, they have embraced the narrative of the Pentagon about a “Russian threat” and “Putin’s expansionism.”

Echoing the opportunism of the Greeks, with even more blatant and less Communistic-sounding language, is the Communist Party USA, which published a shameful article on its website declaring that Russia was a “greater threat” to Europe than the imperialist NATO alliance. The Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), the flagship “tankie” party in the United States that leads Palestine mobilizations and dominates Marxist spaces, has declared itself neutral on Ukraine. PSL’s leader Brian Becker has fixated on the statements of Russian President Putin criticizing Lenin, giving theatrical and emotional denunciations of Putin, all in the hopes of currying favor with liberal donors and activists. During the Sochi Olympics in 2014, Workers World Party (WWP) published a reprehensible article by Fred Goldstein announcing support for US-funded LGBT protests against the Russian government, and denouncing the “new capitalist class” of Russia that supposedly seeks regional dominance.

The bulk of the socialist groups happily waved the Ukraine flag at the beginning of Russia’s special military operation. Mike Prysner, a leading member of PSL, went as far as proclaiming that the pro-Ukraine mobilizations were a good thing because it would help the working class become interested in “internationalism.” PSL-aligned Abby Martin announced support for the pro-imperialist Russian “peace movement” that sought to protect the NATO regime and enable its continued bombardment of the Donbass.

The utter bankruptcy of the various Marxist-Leninist sects that dominate the marginal “left” in the United States cannot be more obvious. The weakness of the US left in particular, and the western left in general, regarding Ukraine would not be so blatant if it did not accompany a bigger problem. As Donald Trump hijacks anti-establishment sentiments with demagogy amid the economic crisis, the various socialist groups have decided that their duty is to defend imperialist “democracy” and join its hysterical anti-Trump mobilizations. The anti-Trump hysteria of liberals accompanies an anti-Russian hysteria. The anti-Russian hysteria walks hand in hand with hysteria and opposition to all the allies of Russia, the global anti-imperialist camp.

These mobilizations are filled with denunciations of Trump for not being loyal to imperialism. WWP and PSL members march alongside liberals carrying the face of Trump with a hammer and sickle, or comparing him to Kim Jong Un. Trump is portrayed as being an agent of Russia, an aspiring “dictator” like Xi Jinping, etc.

There can be no illusions about the fact that the anti-Trump movement is a pro-imperialist movement, that sees Trump as harming the overall interests of US imperialism. Trump did many awful things as president, and if re-elected, he may be even worse. But that does not change the fact that the prevailing narrative of the anti-Trump movement is one that equates him with the anti-imperialist camp.

One of the clearest expressions of the anti-Trump sentiments of the ruling class came in Foreign Affairs magazine, which published a special issue in 2016 shortly after Trump’s electoral victory. The front cover of the magazine featured Grant Wood’s beloved painting American Gothic with the headline “The Power of Populism.” The lead essay was written by Anne-Marie Slaughter, the founder of the New America Institute and a top ideologue of the State Department during Clinton’s term as Secretary of State. Slaughter’s essay presented a narrative of global revolutions brought about by “freedom of information.” The target of this global revolution was “populists” such as Xi Jinping, Kim Jong Un, and Nicolás Maduro. These “populists,” who were equated with the Nazis, were to be defeated by the “open international system.”

Anti-Populism is not Marxism

This worldview certainly matches the perspective of Theodor Adorno in his text The Authoritarian Personality. It also matches the perspective of Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem and Susan Sontag’s Fascinating Fascism. The liberal New Left has always seen itself as a defender of intellectual non-conformists, and equated mass movements and populism with Nazism. Contempt for the bulk of the population, and the equivocation of the Soviet Union with Nazi Germany is a central plank of New Leftist thought. But it has nothing to do with Marxism.

Marxism has always been a populist ideology. The Communist Manifesto proclaims: “All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interest of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority.”

The struggle for the exploited majority to seize control of the major commanding heights of economic power and organize them in the interest of all society is inherently populist.

Even the original name of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the “Bolsheviks,” has a populist connotation. The word means “Majoritarians” or “Majority Group” and while it referred to the majority of those who met with Lenin in 1903 to form a national committee in London, to the bulk of the Russian population who embraced the Bolsheviks amid the turmoil of 1917, it meant that they represented the working class, the peasants, and soldiers, the “majority” of Russian society.

During the early 1930s, following the Sixth World Congress, the Communist International organized the desperately unemployed and hungry in mass hunger marches. Across the western world, the Communists became the champion of the working class whose living standards were declining amid the Great Depression.

After the Seventh World Congress, the Communist International mobilized the People’s Front against Fascism. In the name of defending democratic liberties and the right of workers to organize labor unions, Communists built amazing anti-fascist coalitions and united fronts. The Battle of Cable Street in Britain, the Sit Down Strike Wave of 1937 in the United States, and the global mobilization to defend the Spanish republic all stand as great achievements of the Communist movement. All of them were done, not in the name of suppressing the vulgar mob, but in a populistic manner. The target was an elite, the imperialist monopolists who would save their system with impoverishment, fascism, and war.

The fight for bread, housing, and basic economic rights for the people, as well as the struggle against fascism, was done in the interests of the global majority, of which the proletariat, the class with nothing to lose but their chains and a whole world to win, was central. The working class led by Communists was happy to align with peasants, small business owners, and even the democratic bourgeoisie who opposed fascism. After the Second World War, new governments called “People’s Democracies,” based on these broad, popular, anti-fascist coalitions, came into existence. It was a mass popular movement that not only defeated Hitler, liberated Auschwitz concentration camp, and drove Japan out of China, but also created the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Socialist Federation of Yugoslavia, the People’s Republic of Albania, and the many other socialist revolutionary governments that emerged in the post-war years.

Trotsky Held on to Social-Democracy

Where did this new form of leftist politics that views the masses of people as dangerous and echoes imperialist narratives about Russia and China come from? We must acknowledge that while Marxism is inherently populist, there has always been an anti-populist strand within the movement, and the developments of the 20th century resulted in making this strand more visible and independent.

When Lenin called to form the “party of a new type” in 1903, among those who rejected his call was Leon Trotsky. Lenin’s call for a “party of a new type” was a solid break with Social-Democracy. Instead of forming a faction among the wider European workers’ movement that was becoming more and more pro-imperialist in the lead-up to the First World War, Lenin called for forming an entirely new organization. The new organization would organize in a new manner, and eventually, the Bolsheviks adopted a new orientation on the National Question and a new understanding of capitalism in its monopolistic stage of imperialism.

Bolshevism was not a faction within European social-democracy; it was a new movement with new principles. When Lenin returned from exile in April of 1917, he urged the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party (Bolshevik) to change its name to the Communist Party. This was done so that no workers would confuse them with sell-out pro-imperialist reformist parties from which they had solidly broken. After the Russian Revolution, Bolshevism laid the basis for an entirely new international, the Communist International, that was formed in opposition to remnants of the Second “socialist” International.

While under certain circumstances it may have been correct to align with the Social-Democrats, this was never an alliance based on seeing ourselves as some variant of their movement. This alliance was done strategically for our own ends, which were understood to be very much opposite and different from theirs. Lenin referred to the British Communists’ support for the Labour Party as being the kind of support that a noose gives a hanged man. While it may be strategic, the intent behind supporting the Labour Party was to destroy it.

Leon Trotsky never embraced this view. This was clear in 1903 and for the rest of his life. Trotsky, who spent his life in exile, identified with European Social-Democracy and saw himself as merely a more radical, and perhaps even a more sincere adherent of its tenets than those who led the movement.

Rather than embracing the Bolshevik project in 1903, Trotsky proposed the “August Bloc,” an attempt to form a more revolutionary current within Social-Democracy. The August Bloc failed, and Trotsky maintained a small independent following that viewed the Bolsheviks as dangerously sectarian and sought to function as a kind of opposition within Menshevik circles. Trotsky and his followers did not join the Bolsheviks until July of 1917, and the desire to be part of the reformist, social-democratic movement centered around western European labor unions and parties was an intrinsic part of Trotsky’s worldview.

After Trotsky broke with the Communist International, he oriented his followers for the “French Turn” where they joined the social-democratic and reformist parties. Even today, Trotskyites continue to orient their followers to join the British Labour Party, the Democratic Socialists of America, or other imperialist “left” entities. Trotsky was loyal to the imperialist “left,” and the idea of breaking with it to form an entirely new movement abhorred him.

The bizarre loyalty that many ‘communists’ in America have to the left is an echo of Trotsky’s opportunism. Many American Marxist-Leninists who do not even claim Trotsky’s legacy maintain this irrational loyalty to “the left” and phobia of “the right-wing.” Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), whose congressional documents refer to Russia as an imperialist power, orients its followers to seek paid staff positions in liberal non-profits. Its members see Trump as the main threat and woke liberals as the primary and only potential source of recruitment. At a time when conservatives were less anti-Russia and less pro-war than liberals, FRSO members organized into Students for a Democratic Society, have worked to try and get Republican organizations banned from college campuses. FRSO joined hands with the liberals hoping to ban “Turning Points USA” and other groups from universities, alleging they are “racist.”

The disgusting outcome of FRSO’s opportunism was revealed in the spring of 2024 when the Palestine protests across the campuses of America were labelled “anti-Semitic” and thousands of college students who protested Israel’s crimes were expelled or suspended under the very laws and university regulations that FRSO had spent years working with campus administrations to enhance. It never occurred to these “Marxist-Leninists” that empowering the bourgeois state, the universities or huge multi-national corporations like Twitter and Facebook, to silence people on grounds of being “racist” would eventually enable the suppression of anti-imperialist speech.

The Permanent Revolution: A Euro-Centric Theory

Not surprisingly, Trotsky devoted much of his time prior to the Russian Revolution to advocating for the creation of a United States of Europe. The idea was to create a “European Union” and break down national divisions between workers of the imperialist west. Lenin denounced the project, arguing that it would enhance the ability of the imperialist countries to exploit the third world: “From the standpoint of the economic conditions of imperialism—i.e., the export of capital and the division of the world by the ‘advanced’ and ‘civilized’ colonial powers—a United States of Europe, under capitalism, is either impossible or reactionary. Capital has become international and monopolist. The world has been carved up by a handful of Great Powers, i.e., powers successful in the great plunder and oppression of nations… A United States of Europe under capitalism is tantamount to an agreement on the partition of colonies. Under capitalism, however, no other basis and no other principle of division are possible except force.”

We see Trotsky’s opportunism echoed in the opposition to Brexit that was universal among western Communist groups. Because the working-class people who supported Brexit were islamophobic or merely anxious about the flow of mass migration spawned by the imperialist system and its crisis, it was thundered from the heavens that any opposition to the European Union was “racist.” Like Trotsky, the various “Marxist-Leninists” of America and Europe lined up to support the United States of Europe in ways that Trotsky himself never would have dreamed of.

Much of Trotsky’s worldview centered around contempt for the peasantry. Trotsky viewed the peasants as an inherently reactionary class, and he opposed Lenin’s call for a “revolutionary dictatorship of the workers and peasants” on this basis. Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution argues that countries with a peasant majority can only exist as a temporary holdout in the struggle to seize the west.

As Mao Zedong and the Eighth Route Army were impressing the world with their heroic struggle, Trotsky denounced the Chinese revolutionaries for their peasant roots writing: “It is one thing when a Communist party, firmly resting on the flower of the urban proletariat, strives through the workers to lead a peasant war. It is an altogether different thing when a few thousand or even tens of thousands of revolutionists, who are truly Communists or only take the name, assume the leadership of a peasant war without having serious support from the proletariat. This is precisely the situation in China… The worker approaches questions from the socialist standpoint; the peasant’s viewpoint is petty bourgeois. The worker strives to socialize the property that is taken away from the exploiters; the peasant seeks to divide it up. The worker desires to put palaces and parks to common use; the peasant, insofar as he cannot divide them, inclines to burning the palaces and cutting down the parks. The worker strives to solve problems on a national scale and in accordance with a plan; the peasant, on the other hand, approaches all problems on a local scale and takes a hostile attitude to centralized planning, etc… Naturally the peasant poor, and in China they constitute the overwhelming majority, to the extent they think politically, and these comprise a small minority, sincerely and passionately desire alliance and friendship with the workers. But the peasantry, even when armed, is incapable of conducting an independent policy…In old China every victorious peasant revolution was concluded by the creation of a new dynasty, and subsequently also by a new group of large proprietors; the movement was caught in a vicious circle. Under present conditions the peasant war by itself, without the direct leadership of the proletarian vanguard, can only pass on the power to a new bourgeois clique…” (The Peasant War in China and the Proletariat, September 22, 1932).

Trotsky presented the Soviet Union as a hopeless project that could only be rescued by a working-class revolution within the western imperialist centers. He maintained the classical Marxist understanding that socialism could only come about in the aftermath of full capitalist development, and that the western industrial workers would be the basis for the creation of a socialist society. He wrote: “If, in spite of the united sabotage of reformists and ‘Communist’ leaders, the proletariat of western Europe finds the road to power, a new chapter will open in the history of the Soviet Union. The first victory of a revolution in Europe would pass like an electric shock through the Soviet masses, straighten them up, raise their spirit of independence, awaken the traditions of 1905 and 1917, undermine the position of the Bonapartist bureaucracy, and acquire for the Fourth International no less significance than the October revolution possessed for the Third. Only in that way can the first Workers’ State be saved for the socialist future.” (The Revolution Betrayed, 1936).

The Marcyite-Weatherman Alliance with US Imperialism

This belief that socialist countries are doomed, hopeless projects, unless the imperialist west cracks from within was reiterated by Sam Marcy before his death. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Marcy wrote: “Of course, the overthrow of the Soviet Union enormously strengthened the power of capital all over the world, if only by virtue of the fact that it removed an enormous source of revolutionary energy, encouragement, and material aid to the proletariat, oppressed peoples, and all socialist countries… What the collapse of the USSR confirms is that the world center of economic activity is and has remained in the imperialist countries—the ‘West’—whereas the revolutionary center of gravity has been in the ‘East’—the oppressed nations of the world, the bulk of humanity.”

Sam Marcy is the ideological founder of the Global Class War Tendency which gave birth to his own Workers World Party, and from which the “Party for Socialism and Liberation” emerged in 2004. The premise of Marcyite thought, rooted in a particular interpretation of Trotsky’s Theory of Permanent Revolution, is that the economy of the world will always be centered around the western capitalist imperialist centers. Revolutionaries in the third world are stuck “waiting for the workers here to start moving.”

While Marcy interpreted this in a way that meant aspiring, at least on some level, to build a mass working-class movement, his allies had even more crude ideas. Workers World Party was the only Marxist-Leninist tendency to join the left-adventurist Weathermen in their “Days of Rage” in October of 1969. Workers World Party joined with the above-ground wing of the Weatherman, the Prairie Fire Organizing Committee, to organize a “bicentennial without colonies” to counter the 1976 celebrations of the US Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia.

The Weatherman left-adventurist terrorists, almost all of them the children of millionaires, held the belief that white workers were inherently reactionary. They attacked the notion of building a working-class movement for economic justice among white workers, as they said this could only come at the expense of Black workers and workers in the third world.

This belief that the bulk of the US working class are racist, backward bigots who can only ever function as a barrier to social progress, and that a mass movement of impoverished people of color is needed to beat them back, is not only the view of Party for Socialism and Liberation, the Workers World Party, the Weatherman, but it is also the view of the bulk of the US ruling class.

Chesa Boudin, the adopted son of Weatherman leaders Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers, served as the District Attorney of San Francisco from 2020 to 2022. Bill Ayers was a personal friend of Barack Obama who lived in the same apartment building. On the campaign trail, Barack Obama referred to Red State voters as a “bitter” people “clinging to guns and religion.” Hillary Clinton referred to the alienated, working-class people who increasingly oppose wars, call for the abolition of the FBI, and see the US as not a democracy but rather a dictatorship of the ultra-rich as a “basket of deplorables.”

Native American scholar Ward Churchill, who also echoes this view, holds the position of the top Native American scholar. He was the main speech writer for Russel Means, the Native American activist, when he rallied indigenous people to support the US-contra war in Nicaragua.

The hatred of the bulk of the US working class by the so-called “left” echoes Trotsky’s contempt for the peasantry, the bulk of his country. It flows much deeper than simply a mistaken political line; it is rooted in a mindset.

Within the Russian revolutionary movement, there was a current called “The Bundists” that argued that Jews were so oppressed and different from the bulk of Russian society that they needed to form a separate revolutionary organization. Lenin vehemently opposed this idea and linked it to Zionism: “That is precisely what the Jewish problem amounts to: assimilation or isolation? —and the idea of a Jewish ‘nationality’ is definitely reactionary not only when expounded by its consistent advocates (the Zionists), but likewise on the lips of those who try to combine it with the ideas of Social-Democracy (the Bundists). The idea of a Jewish nationality runs counter to the interests of the Jewish proletariat, for it fosters among them, directly or indirectly, a spirit hostile to assimilation, the spirit of the ghetto.”

Lenin echoed Marx’s essay “On The Jewish Question” where he condemned the celebration of a separate Jewish identity. What Lenin dubbed “The Spirit of the Ghetto” is very prevalent within the US Communist movement. While these groups oppose Israel, they still take with them one of the inherent themes of Zionism: the notion that the bulk of European workers are inherently racist, inferior pogromists, and that any progressive movement must be focused on restraining, rather than empowering them. The endless search for an oppressed minority identity to champion, be it racial, ethnic, or sexual, and the instinct to see the bulk of the population as racist, backward, and dangerous is rooted in what Lenin described as “the spirit of the ghetto.”

Trotsky held this perspective and it led him to take a reactionary position on the peasant question in his time. The bulk of American communists hold this perspective, and it lays the basis for their anti-populism and their willingness to protect imperialism from Trump.

With millions of Americans opposed to foreign wars, opposed to the FBI and the policing agencies, demanding a government that works to improve their lives rather than serving an international system they label “globalism,” one must ask why the Communist groups are not emboldened and excited to recruit them. Among the confusion of many workers who are angry about the emerging low-wage police state, one finds the seeds of class consciousness.

But the reality is that the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Workers World Party, Communist Party USA, etc., have no desire to recruit such people. They live in fear of them. They see them as a reactionary mob.

The truth is that Communist groups and left-wing activism in America function almost like a “family business” with the grandparents having been working-class immigrants who joined CPUSA in the 1920s and 30s, the next generation being anti-war and pro-civil rights organizers who joined Students for a Democratic Society, and the third generation being middle-class, pink-haired staffers for liberal foundations. Like any smart business owner, they defend their monopoly. They have cornered the market on “Communism” in America, and the last thing they would ever want is for it to expand beyond the small, elitist circles.

Their greatest fear would be a genuine, working-class anti-imperialist movement that took hold among the bulk of the population. Not only would it mean they’d lose their monopoly, but it would also mean empowering and emboldening the bulk of the American people, who they see as frightening and dangerous. For them, a mass working-class movement outside their invisible 21st-century ghetto walls could be nothing more than Nazism, no matter what its stated goals, ideology, or principles. Notice how even as anti-Israel activism becomes a focus in leftist circles, one still comes across the hysterical claim that “banker” is an anti-semitic code word. Whenever anyone challenges the monopoly of those who dominate socialist politics, the word “Nazi” and accusation of anti-semitism arises almost immediately. To quote Shakespeare, “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.”

If we refuse to acknowledge what Marx, Lenin, and many Marxist theoreticians (including many of Jewish heritage themselves) have described, we are merely doing a favor to Nick Fuentes and Richard Spencer, those who seize upon and distort facts to push genuine bigotry and hatred. It cannot be denied that leftist politics in America has been overtaken by “The Spirit of the Ghetto,” the anti-populist mindset from which Zionism emerged, the same mindset that laid the basis for Trotsky’s contempt for the peasantry. Building a real anti-imperialist movement means breaking with this worldview and refusing to accommodate or pander to it any longer. We must build a movement where Jews and Non-Jews can work together as brothers and sisters with the same class interests. The enemy is imperialism, not the US working class or “whiteness.” Socialism has always been a populist movement, waged on behalf of the immense majority of humanity of all races and all religious and ethnic backgrounds.

The New Communist Movement of the 1970s was heroic and is worth studying because it was made up of anti-imperialists who rejected the Weatherman’s anti-working-class and left-adventurist approach. The various Marxist-Leninist organizations that sprung from the Revolutionary Youth Movement 2 faction of SDS rejected hippie counterculture, sexual promiscuity, drugs, and instead worked in factories and lived their lives as disciplined revolutionary cadre. Their efforts were largely unsuccessful because the economic crisis had not yet set in, and the labor aristocracy was well intact.

The period of their work was filled with painful setbacks. A few moments stand out as negative turning points. In 1974, racist anti-bus riots broke out in Boston. The Revolutionary Union, precursor to the Revolutionary Communist Party, had the correct instinct of not joining the left and wanting to organize among workers who were in motion. They made the mistake of supporting the busing riots. They then became the “bad example” and pariah among leftists for “supporting racism.”

Amid taking their mistaken position, the RU justified itself writing: “Those who think the way to stand with Black people and other oppressed nationalities is to attack white workers as simply a bunch of racists, who think the ruling class is a friend of the oppressed, can at best only drag the tail of the struggle, and, if they continue in this path, can only end up falling over backwards completely into the camp of the ruling class.”

Their prediction has become correct because, in the name of seeing the bulk of white workers as a “bunch of racists” and embracing the woke wing of US imperialism as a “friend of the oppressed,” the US Communist movement has fallen over backwards “into the camp of the ruling class.”

A Movement of Winners, Not Virtuous Losers

We must acknowledge the role of trauma in the weakness of the US left. Amid the great setbacks of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, a lot of physical violence from white conservatives was imposed on Communist activists. In all these instances, the Communists were taking correct anti-racist and anti-war stances, and white middle-class conservative Christians were mobilized to defend imperialism and racism against them. People were killed, injured, and psychologically scarred for life. The result has been a gut-level hatred of certain demographics and a triggered emotional response to certain phrases and symbols.

Crosses and flags make many lifelong, sincere dedicated anti-imperialists sick to their stomachs, and this isn’t because they are bad people or merely not serious. This is a tragedy and a result of operating in a period of reaction when imperialism was in ascendancy. But times have changed. We may not be able to change them, but we cannot adopt their trauma and their failed tactics in our own time.

We must also acknowledge the psychological toll of decades of defeat. The fall of the Soviet Union, the deterioration of the New Communist Movement of the 70s, and the ideological confusion and demoralization that result from all of this have gotten much of the Communist establishment into a victim mindset. Like a person who goes through life seeking out abusive relationships, the last several decades have primed the older generation of Communists to expect losing, expect defeat, and anticipate failure. Furthermore, the younger generation has never experienced real victories on the class battlefield. “Virtue Signaling” has become trendy because it is the ability to feel righteous and present oneself as virtuous without actually changing the world.

The correct response to this tragic state of affairs is reaffirming that the possibility and likelihood of our victory are quite real. The long-term capitalist economic crisis, spawned by the built-in problem of overproduction, can only be resolved with rational planning and centralization of the economy. The imperialist system is collapsing, and the Russia-China-led global axis of resistance is rising.

The rise of an anti-monopoly coalition that seeks to break the power of imperialist monopolies and rebuild the United States with a new economy that operates on the basis of win-win cooperation with countries around the world and works to improve and empower working families is a very realistic goal. Conditions are indeed very ripe, and we can win.

However, winning requires breaking with the trauma and mindset of decades of defeat. It requires aiming not just to feel righteous and superior but to become the champions of the real desire of millions of Americans for a new society; a society where the painful realities of daily life at the center of a dying empire are abolished, and the country is rebuilt on new foundations of solidarity.

How can we approach the US working class?

At the World Economic Forum, endless discussions revolve around the notion that in the new, high-tech global economy, industrial workers are increasingly deemed unnecessary. The “labor aristocracy” in the higher-paid sectors of imperialist centers is being phased out. Amid a crisis of overproduction, the ruling class is compelled to enforce degrowth i.e. austerity. This includes reducing the standard of living, the rate of consumption, and the population itself. This strategy is aimed at stabilizing the capitalist system amid a long term crisis, rooted in the built-in problems of production organized for profit. Workers cannot buy back the products they produce. The role of workers in production has significantly diminished, paralleled by a dramatic decline in the rate of profit. Marx’s understanding of overproduction and the falling rate of profits are more revenant than ever before.

Various proposals from the World Economic Forum suggest that we should “own nothing and be happy about it,” and that workers should live in pods and subsist on insects. These ideas are touted as solutions to the economic challenges posed by the digital revolution and are perceived as stabilizing measures for the capitalist system. Working people rightfully reject these schemes. However, much of the left has chosen to become foot soldiers for the imperialists by implementing these ideas.

Despite the fact that the higher stage of communism envisions vast abundance and that the essence of socialism is to remove artificial constraints on growth and technological advancement, the current “socialist” movement embraces “degrowth socialism.” They mobilize as mobs that support the Biden-Harris faction in quelling resistance from workers to their “open international system.”

So, what should be our approach in these circumstances? The answer lies in Lenin’s wisdom: “Neither we nor anyone else can calculate precisely what portion of the proletariat is following and will follow the social-chauvinists and opportunists… This will only be revealed through struggle, and definitively decided by the socialist revolution. But we do know for certain that the ‘defenders of the fatherland’ in the imperialist war represent only a minority.” It is therefore our duty, if we wish to remain socialists, to delve deeper and connect with the real masses. This is the essence of the struggle against opportunism—to expose how opportunists and social-chauvinists betray the interests of the masses, defend the temporary privileges of a minority of workers, and act as vehicles for bourgeois ideas and influences. They are ultimately allies and agents of the bourgeoisie. Our task is to help the masses understand their true political interests and galvanize them to fight for socialism and revolution, despite the long and painful vicissitudes of imperialist wars and armistices (Lenin, “Imperialism and the Split in Socialism,” 1916).

The solution lies in breaking away from “the left” and instead reaching out to workers of all nationalities who are suffering, providing them with ideological education. This is why the Center for Political Innovation champions the slogan “Out of the Movement, to the masses!”

This is why we co-sponsored the Rage Against the War Machine rally in Washington DC with the Libertarian Party on February 19, 2023. This is why we hosted a reception for Scott Ritter following the event. This is why we persist in engaging with non-leftist spaces among religiously inclined, conservative Americans who are disillusioned with the ruling class.

“There Are No Shortcuts”

Critics often admonish us, claiming our alliance with emerging anti-war and anti-police state sentiments among the masses is opportunism—accusing us of “pandering to reaction.” They fail to grasp that joining the liberal woke mobs is the most futile shortcut imaginable. Aligning with a pro-FBI, anti-Russia, anti-working class, degrowth “movement” simply because they seem superficially receptive to socialism epitomizes opportunism at its worst. Associating with today’s woke movement would be akin to joining a lynch mob or a gang of strike-breakers simply because they were willing to carry a few red flags along with their pitch forks and baseball bats as they marched off to commit reactionary working class crimes.

Engaging with anti-communist workers who oppose the state and prevailing imperialist narratives is challenging but essential. Many of these workers desire jobs, education, civil liberties protection, and an end to wars. Some mistakenly view Joe Biden as a communist or equate the global imperialist system with socialism. Untangling their confusion is arduous but necessary, given their material interest in opposing imperialism—unlike middle-class liberals mobilized against them.

Lenin recounted in “Left-Wing Communism” how the Bolsheviks were even able to infiltrate the Black Hundreds movement and win over workers: “when Zubatov, agent of the secret police, organized Black-Hundred workers’ assemblies and workingmen’s societies for the purpose of trapping revolutionaries and combating them, we sent members of our Party to these assemblies and into these societies (I personally remember one of them, Comrade Babushkin, a leading St. Petersburg factory worker, shot by order of the Tsar’s generals in 1906). They established contacts with the masses, were able to carry on their agitation, and succeeded in wresting workers from the influence of Zubatov’s agents.” (Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder, 1920)

Ridiculously, critics label us “National Socialists” because we carry American flags. Some young theorists trained under Brian Becker and Joe Sims ignorantly make statements like “remember what happened the last time someone combined patriotism with socialism!” Every existing socialist country promotes patriotism and loyalty to the homeland as part of the project of breaking out of imperialism and building a new society. The height of the Communist Party’s influence in the United States was the Popular Front years of the late 1930s, when it waved more American flags than ever. The shallow understanding of PSL and CPUSA shows how badly the existing left groups educate their members, and how keeping them ignorant of our movement, its real victories and the reality of what socialism around the world is really like is an essential part of the scam.

If the Center for Political Innovation, supportive of the Uhuru Movement, with its multiracial leadership and educational focus on communist anti-racism, faces accusations of being “crypto-white nationalists” and violent threats simply for carrying US Flags—imagine the backlash these young activists must have against non-socialist, non-anti-imperialist American white workers.

These sentiments show these organizations’s complete disconnect from the working class and American society. The notion that the US flag equals a Nazi swastika or that terms like “globalism” covertly endorse anti-Semitism is a fringe view. Pandering to such sensitivities only weakens our ability to mobilize the real masses. CPI has drawn a line in the sand and declared “zero tolerance” for this kind of silliness. We want to win over the masses, not the woke-fringe.

Our organization constantly faces threats of violence, making leftist spaces unsafe. As a reporter, covering Palestine rallies, I endure PSL members and others inciting crowds against me, branding me a fascist or white supremacist. My personal life and character are maliciously attacked online, with ex-CPI members paid to denounce us—in an operation orchestrated by Taryn Fivek of the CPUSA and supported by the PSL. The response to CPI is never a principled critique of our positions or tactics. It is always personal attacks, rumors, gossip, and outrageous accusations of racism and covert Nazism. The reality is that we are not dealing with political opponents but with cynical gangsters and grifters, defending the tiny Communist movement as their own little corner where they get to rule and feel important.

This desperation from bankrupt socialist leaders is telling. Despite our organization’s modest size—less than 200 members and a small budget—we instill fear in established communist groups, just as the World Anti-Imperialist Platform unsettles the International Communist Seminar and reduces it to desperate smears.

The hostile reaction to our anti-imperialism and pro-working class stance reveals how fragile these organizations really are. Our serious work shines a spotlight on their criminal opportunism and failure. The vicious response to CPI is the panic of thieves caught in the act.

“We Won’t Fight Another Rich Man’s War”

Our recently published textbook highlights a crucial moment from US post-war communist history.

On July 4th, 1976, as much of the Communist movement gathered at the Prairie Fire Organizing Committee’s “Bicentennial Without Colonies” rally to protest the celebrations, the Revolutionary Communist Party staged its own event under the banner “We’ve Carried The Rich for 200 Years, Now Let’s Get them Off Our Backs!”

Though smaller in size, this rally made a profound impact. Images of Communist veterans marching in uniform behind the slogan “We Won’t Fight Another Rich Man’s War” have become iconic symbols, carrying a message that remains relevant not only in 1976 but also in 2024.

While the majority of the left then, as now, focusing on denouncing America as an irredeemably racist, sexist, homophobic nation with a tone of self-righteousness that holds the masses in contempt, the correct political line is different. The message the American working class needs to hear is that their enemy is not Russia, China, Iran, or Venezuela, but the big monopolies and oppressive state here at home. The American working class must to be told that the road to a prosperous future for their families and communities lies in joining with the people of the world to defeat the imperialist system.

Our goal today is to achieve what the Revolutionary Communist Party aimed for in 1976 but could not fully accomplish due to unripe conditions. We aim to rally broad swathes of Americans to an anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly coalition against the burgeoning low-wage police state and the looming threat of a global conflict. We seek to engage workers who might not naturally seek out this political ideology, building a robust, dependable community capable of effective anti-imperialist action.

In doing so, we demonstrate ourselves as among the few genuinely committed anti-imperialists in America. Despite being a small organization, our successes underscore the urgency and necessity of promoting such politics in today’s world.