Monday, September 29, 2008

Main Street Not Wall Street! Communists Fight Back!

Brothers and Sisters,

Working class Americans are grappling with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s and with the Bush Administration’s demand that they hand over $700 billion of their hard-earned tax dollars to bail out Wall Street. No Bailouts for Billionaires!

Since many folks are comparing the capitalist crisis of today with the Great Depression, the great economic crisis of 1929-1933, it’s worth a look at those days. We should note that the Communist Party of the United States was a leader in the fight-back against unemployment, evictions and wage cuts.

William Z. Foster, former Marxist-Leninist leader of the Communist Party USA, wrote that: "The golden era of ’permanent prosperity’ in the United States was brought to a sudden end by the terrific stock-market crash of October 1929. This was accompanied by a headlong fall in all spheres of the national economy, a decline which continued without let-up for the next four years. Over $160 billion in stock-market values were wiped out, basic industry production sank by 50 percent, 5,761 banks failed, and the value of farm products fell from $8.5 billion to $4 billion. Wage cuts for all industries ran to at least 45 percent. By 1933 some 17 million workers were walking the streets unemployed, and many millions more were on part time...

"The crisis was one of overproduction--an explosion of the basic capitalist internal antagonism between the private ownership of industry and the social character of production. That is, rapidly expanding production had far outrun the limited power of the capitalist markets to absorb this output, owing to the systematic exploitation of the toiling masses by the robber capitalists. This condition was accentuated by the anarchy of capitalist production. Hence the general economic glut and violent crisis catastrophe resulted.

"The cyclical crisis was far and away the most severe in the history of world capitalism, in its depth, duration and universality. This exceptional severity was due to the fact that the breakdown took place within the framework of the deepening crisis of the world capitalist system....

"With the outbreak of the economic crisis the bourgeoisie immediately embarked upon the same course that it had following all previous crises; namely, to unload the burden of the economic breakdown upon the shoulders of the workers and poorer farmers. Without the slightest concern for the welfare of their wage slaves, out of whose labor they had amassed their fortunes, the capitalists proceeded to throw millions of workers out on the streets without any relief, much less unemployment insurance...

"There was only one party in the United States from which leadership could and did come for the unemployed--the Communist Party." (William Z. Foster, History of the Communist Party of the United States, 1952, International Publishers)

The Communist Party USA led and participated the mass struggles during the Great Depression, the great economic crisis of 1929-1933, for unemployment insurance. The Communists fought for public work at union wages, against housing evictions and wage cuts and racism. They demanded food for school children.

(Police attack a Hunger March organized by the Unemployed Councils in 1931. Carl Winter said that ’The thrust of the Unemployed Councils, under Communist leadership and influence, was to place both the responsibility and the burden for relief upon the government and the employers.’)

Carl Winter, Communist leader of the Unemployed Councils in NY and one of the organizers of the National Hunger Marches of the 1930s points out that before the Communists could conduct and lead the mass struggles during the Great Depression, "the Party first had to settle accounts with Right-opportunist forces within its own leadership who refused to assume the responsibilities of a vanguard party of the working class." He said that the expulsion of a revisionist leadership and their small band of supporters "was accompanied by a new turn to the masses and serious efforts to organize for the solution of their most pressing problems." (Carl Winter, "Unemployment Struggles of the Thirties," in Bart, Highlights of a Fighting History, 1979, International Publishers)

William Z. Foster, former Marxist-Leninist leader of the Communist Party USA, said that we must "turn towards socialism. For that is the only final answer to the many basic contradictions which produce the terrors and hardships of rotting capitalism." He added that "the capitalist system has become hopelessly obsolete and reactionary. It must be replaced by socialism." (William Z. Foster, History of the Communist Party of the United States, 1952, International Publishers)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Celebrate the 160th Anniversary of the Communist Manifesto!

Brothers and Sisters,

The year 2008 marks the 160th anniversary of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels’ excellent book Communist Manifesto. William Z. Foster, the former Marxist-Leninist leader of the Communist Party USA, wrote that:

"The Communist Manifesto was the first revolutionary program of the world’s workers. It laid down the solid foundations of proletarian thought and action for the workers thenceforth on their road to socialism. It showed them how to protect themselves under capitalism, how to abolish the capitalist system, and how to build the structure of the new socialist society. Marx, Engels, V.I. Lenin, Joseph Stalin, and others were to write many books on Marxism in the ensuing decades, and their writings served to elaborate and to buttress the basic propositions of the Manifesto. Today, (160) years after the great document was written, the Communist Manifesto stands as firm as a rock, a clear guide for the international working class, justified by generations of revolutionary experience, and altogether impervious to the attacks of capitalist enemies." (William Z. Foster, History of the Three Internationals, 1955, International Publishers)

(Marx, Engels and Lenin)

Lenin, the great successor of Marx and Engels, summed up the significance of the Communist Manifesto:

"With the clarity and brilliance of genius, this work outlines a new world-conception, consistent materialism, which also embraces the realm of social life; dialectics, as the most comprehensive and profound doctrine of development; the theory of the class struggle and the world-historic revolutionary role of the proletariat--the creator of a new, communist society." (Lenin, Karl Marx, 1914)

And Lenin could add, with every justification: "This little booklet is worth whole volumes." (Lenin, Frederick Engels, 1895)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

FAQ: What is Socialism?

Required Reading: The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx & Frederick Engels.

What is socialism? Below is an introductory but hard-hitting article. But, to start with, here is a soundbite answer for a Marxist-Leninist definition of socialism: A society where the working class holds commands state power and the working class and masses of the people owns the principal means of production--the mines, the mills and the factories--and planned production is carried on for use and not for capitalist profit.

(V.I. Lenin)

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels mentioned that communist society had two phases. Socialism, which Karl Marx referred to as "the first phase of communist society" is a transitional stage to highly developed communism, "a higher phase of communist society," where there is a classless social system and full social equality of all members of society. (Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme, 1875)

Maurice Cornforth writes in Historical Materialism that: "Socialism means the establishment of new relations of production, a new economic basis for society, namely, the social ownership of the principal means of production." (Maurice Cornforth, Historical Materialism, 1972, Second Printing, International Publishers)

John Eaton, author of the Marxist book Political Economy, notes that:the "two basic ingredients of socialism as a mode of production" are "(economic) planning and public ownership of the means of production." (John Eaton, Political Economy, 1966, International Publishers)

Eaton says that "the basis of a socialist economy is publically owned means of production, which are used according to a social plan to meet the needs of the community....Socialist production is governed by a plan, consciously conceived and co-ordinated to meet the needs of the community...

"Socialism as an economic system can best be defined by noting the respects in which socialism as a mode of production is the 'opposite' of capitalism. Socialism is planned production for use on the basis of public ownership of the means of production. Capitalism is commodity production for private profit on the basis of private ownership of the means of production.

"The essential respects in which capitalism is the 'opposite' of socialism can be contrasted as follows:

"The regulating principle of capitalism is 'the market' (commodity exchange). The regulating principle of socialism is the 'social plan.'

"The motivating force of capitalism is profit. The motivating force of socialism is the satisfaction of needs.

"The property basis of capitalism is the private ownership of capital. The property basis of socialism is the public ownership of the means of production.

"The political basis of capitalism is the dominance of the wealthy--viz. the owners of capital. The political basis of socialism is the rule of the working people, with their mass organizations playing a major role in government and administration." (John Eaton, Political Economy, 1985, International Publishers)

Maurice Cornforth says that "in capitalist society, the means of production--the land, factories, mills, mines, transport--belong to the capitalists, and production is carried on for capitalist profit. But the essence of socialism is that the means of production become social property, and that, on the basis of social ownership, production is carried on for the benefit of the whole of society.

"With socialism, production is no longer undertaken for profit, but for the sake of producing what people need. The primary consideration is to raise the standards of the people. Production is not carried on for profit but to satisfy the material and cultural requirements of society. And this is ensured because the means of production, all the means of creating wealth, are taken out of the control of a capitalist minority, whose concern is it's own profit, and come under the control of the working people themselves." (Maurice Cornforth, Historical Materialism, 1972, Second Printing, International Publishers)

But "the socialist mode of production cannot develop gradually and within the framework of capitalist society but first requires the winning of political power--that is, State power--by the working class and the masses of the people."(John Eaton, Political Economy, 1985, International Publishers)

Socialism requires the dictatorship of the proletariat. What is the dictatorship of the proletariat? It is, as Otto Kuusinen said, "(state and political ) power in the hands of working people, led by the working class and having as its aim the building of socialism." (Otto Kuusinen, Fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow)

Afanasyev wrote that "all previous types of state were tools of the exploiting classes used for the subjection of the working people and designed to reinforce the system of exploitation and to perpetuate the division of society into oppressors and oppressed. The dictatorship of the proletariat, however, is the rule of the working class which...destroys capitalism and builds a new society, a society without exploitation." (Afanasyev, Marxist Philosophy, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow)

Indeed, "the dictatorship of the proletariat is the crux of Marxism." (Afanasyev, Marxist Philosophy, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow)

Socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat expands democracy for working people. On the other hand, a dictatorship is exercised over the capitalists, exploiters and reactionaries so they may not bring a return of their filth and the system of capitalism. V.I. Lenin said "simultaneously with an immense expansion of democracy, which for the first time becomes democracy for the poor, democracy for the people, and not democracy for the money-bags, the dictatorship of the proletariat imposes a series of restrictions on the freedom of the oppressors, the exploiters, the capitalists. We must suppress them in order to free humanity from wage slavery." (Lenin, State and Revolution, 1917)

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Forum to Save the St. Paul Ford Plant!!

Brothers and Sisters, we invite you to attend a forum about the St. Paul Ford Plant sponsored by the Climate Crisis Coalition of the Twin Cities (3CTC).




301 CEDAR AVENUE SOUTH (corner of Washington Ave. & Cedar)


We are proud that a member of the Gus Hall Action Club will be one of the speakers at this forum. Gus Hall said "people have to see us, to hear us, to talk to us and to struggle with us--as Communists, as a Communist club." (Gus Hall, For Peace, Jobs, Equality) V.I. Lenin pointed out, in What Is To Be Done?, that Communist consciousness must be brought to the working class. More than ever it must be asserted that "Marxism-Leninism has not grown old and never will"! (Ponomarev, Marxism-Leninism: A Flourishing Science, 1979, International Publishers)

We in the Gus Hall Action Club have also advanced a solution to the crisis of the looming threat of the St. Paul Ford Plant's closure. The Ford Plant should be taken over by the government and run by and on behalf of the workers and the community! And anybody who says that we shouldn’t be raising such an advanced demand as nationalization and public ownership the Ford Plant should read these words by Gus Hall: "It is necessary to project the idea of transferring the industries and banks from private to public ownership through the process of nationalization. The crisis has placed the need for nationalization on the order of the day." (Gus Hall, Basics, 1980, International Publishers)


Michael Wood—Gus Hall Action Club

Alan Maki—Organizer, Director of Organizing,Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council

Christine Frank—Volunteer Coordinator, Climate Crisis Coalition of the Twin Cities

David Riehle—Local Chairman, United Transportation Union 650

Forum sponsored by the Climate Crisis of the Twin Cities. Free and open to the public. For more information, e-mail: or call: 612-879-8937

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Trotsky is NOT a Communist Hero

Gus Hall made no bones about it: "Trotskyites, followers of Leon Trotsky, habitually employ splitting tactics in people's movements and promote anti-Communism in pseudo-radical guise!" (Fighting Racism, 1984)

Brothers and Sisters,

The influence of bourgeois propaganda, the lack of availability of authentic Marxist-Leninist books and the influence of revisionism in the Communist movement (see previous posts for a definition of revisionism) has produced a situation where some folks mistakenly believe that Trotsky was a Communist hero. It ain't so. "(Trotsky's) policies," William Z. Foster, former leader of the Communist Party USA, said "would have been fatal to the Russian Revolution and would have brought about the restoration of capitalism in Russia." William Z. Foster explains, in History of the Three Internationals, that:

"Trotsky, whose whole history stamped him as an unstable petty-bourgeois radical and who did not join up with the Bolsheviks until 1917, was a confirmed factionalist and opportunist. Even after he joined the party he continued his opposition to Lenin on many points. When Lenin was in his final illness, during the autumn of 1923, Trotsky made a bid to capture the leadership of the Communist Party. He gathered together the several small opposition groups than in the party and issued an oppositional program, the 'Declaration of the Forty-Six.' The substance of this was to accuse the party leadership of gross bureaucracy, to instigate the youth against the party, to pronounce the N.E.P. a complete retreat, to demand freedom to build factional groupings, to condemn the party for the defeat of the German and Hungarian revolutions, to blame the many economic difficulties upon party mismanagement, and to pronounce the Russian Revolution itself in a state of 'Thermidorian degeneration.'

"It devolved upon Stalin to lead the party fight against this disruptive opposition, and he was to prove brilliantly capable of the task...Stalin, a profound Marxist and a relentless fighter, ideologically shattered the Trotsky case, and at the 13th conference of the party in January 1924, the opposition was condemned overwhelmingly as a 'petty-bourgeois deviation from Marxism.' During this fight Stalin produced his great book, The Foundations of Leninism, which played a big part in the controversy.

(William Z. Foster: Stalin was 'one of the greatest fighters ever produced by the world's working class')

"The defeated Trotsky, tongue-in-cheek, pledged himself to abide by the party decision, a pledge which, however, he immediately began to violate.

"Shortly afterward, the party...was confronted with the basic problem of defining its perspective. Stalin, in early 1925, met this tremendous theoretical task magnificently. He declared, and the Central Committee backed him up, that Soviet Russia possessed all the requirements for the building of socialism. Lenin had previously indicated the possibility, if need be, of building socialism in one country, Russia. Stalin's formulation was a bold departure from commonly held Marxist opinion, which was that in order to make the construction of socialism possible it would be necessary for the workers simultaneously to gain political power in several countries.

"Stalin's basic statement immediately drew fire from the adventurer Trotsky, who came forth with what he called the theory of 'permanent revolution.' Trotsky categorically denied the possibility of constructing socialism in Russia alone. He proposed, instead, an intensification of revolutionary struggle at home against the peasantry (all categories) and war abroad against the bourgeois governments. The fate of the Russian Revolution was at stake in this historic discussion. Stalin succeeded in making the party understand that Trotsky's line would have meant the overthrow of the Soviet government and the end of the Revolution. As a result, at the 14th party conference, April 1925, Trotsky's policy was defeated and Stalin's overwhelmingly endorsed. Again Trotsky agreed to abide by the party decision, but did not." (William Z. Foster, History of the Three Internationals, 1955)

William Z. Foster points out that Trotsky and his friend Zinoviev and their handful of supporters, held "a street demonstration against the party on November 7," 1927.

(William Z. Foster, former leader of the Communist Party USA)

In another book, History of the Communist Party of the United States, Foster says that:

"For several years prior to the sixth Comintern congress Trotskyism, which Lenin had long fought, had become a malignant pest in the Soviet Union. Leon Trotsky, always an opportunist and adventurer, made a reckless grab for the leadership of the Communist Party after the death of Lenin in 1924. The substance of his 'ultra-revolutionary' program was the provocation of civil war against the peasantry as a whole and the unfolding of aggressive foreign policy that could have only resulted in bringing about a war between the capitalist powers and the Soviet Union. His policies to force such an artificial revolution would have been fatal to the Russian Revolution and would have brought about the restoration of capitalism in Russia.

"The Soviet people wanted none of Trotsky's destructive program...At the time of the sixth congress of the Comintern, Trotsky was in exile, as a criminal against the Revolution." (William Z. Foster, History of the Communist Party of the United States, 1952)

And Trotsky became anti-Soviet to the core. "Trotsky, who had been expelled from the Soviet Union in 1929, organized abroad the 'Fourth International' in 1933, which was composed of skeleton groups in many countries. Among its other counter-revolutionary activities, it openly advocated the violent overthrow of the Russian Communist Party leadership and of the Soviet government." (William Z. Foster, History of the Three Internationals, 1955)

We warmly encourage people to read Olgin's Trotskyism: Counter-Revolution in Disguise.

Enjoy the 1939 book authorized by the Central Committee of the CPSU: History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks).