Friday, November 28, 2008

"Middle Class" Workers

Victor Perlo, who headed the Communist Party USA’s economics commission and launched the People’s Weekly World People Before Profits column, wrote: “[An] important weapon of capitalists in their attempt to split the working class is to define ‘working class’ away, so to speak.”

He once made the point: the capitalists attempt to divide the working class by confusing “class” with “income.” He said "the term ’middle class’ as used by the capitalists, actually refers to people in a supposed ’middle income group.’" (Victor Perlo, Superprofits and Crises, 1988, International Publishers)

Perlo commented, in Superprofits and Crises, that, “‘Middle-class’ workers are portrayed as those whose historic status as wage workers has been so improved that they can plausibly be considered to have advanced out of the working class proper and into the ‘middle class.’

The science of Marxism-Leninism teaches us to look for the economic and class interests behind ideas, institutions and events in our society. V.I. Lenin, who applied Marxism to the struggles of the working class, cut through the smokescreen: “The fundamental feature that distinguishes classes is the place they occupy in social production, and, consequently, the relation in which they stand to the means of production.”

(V.I. Lenin painted by Brodsky)

The Marxist-Leninist analysis teaches us that what distinguishes classes is not differences in income, habits or mentality, but their relation to society’s means of production.

And the middle class is the small capitalists, owners of means of production, who occupy an intermediate position in between the class of workers and big monopoly capital.

Marxism-Leninism teaches us to oppose ideas that serve the capitalist class against the working class to overcome the power of the capitalists and build socialist society. We need a fighting party of the working class, a Communist Party. V.I. Lenin said "we see in the independent, uncompromisingly Marxist party of the revolutionary proletariat the sole pledge of socialism's victory and the road to victory that is most free from vacillations." (Lenin, A Militant Agreement for the Uprising)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fight for the Employee Free Choice Act!

V.I. Lenin said, in What Is To Be Done?, that Frederick Engels distinguished three basic forms of the proletarian struggle: economic, political and theoretical.

The class struggle in the economic arena has sharpened up with the fight for the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act!! One of the AFL-CIO's top priorities in the 111th Congress, the Employee Free Choice Act would make it easier for working class people to form and join a union in order to bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions. It would establish stronger penalties against bosses for violation of employee rights when workers seek to form a union and during contract negotiations.

Union workers, especially Black and Latino workers, earn higher wages and get more benefits than workers who don't have a voice on their job with a union. And Frederick Engels was right that unions, broad organizations of workers, are "the real class organizations of the proletariat, in which the latter wages its day-to-day struggle against capital." (Engels, Letter to Bebel, 1875)

(The United Steelworkers (USW), Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers rally in Pittsburgh to call for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, 2007)

Communists join the fight for the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act!! Gus Hall, the Marxist-Leninist former leader of the Communist Party USA once said: "great weight falls on the union and economic questions--jobs, wages, relief, union rights, strikes...Communists must be resolute, outstanding fighters for these." (Gus Hall, Working Class USA, 1987, International Publishers)

Karl Marx and Engels advocated in the Communist Manifesto that "Communists fight for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the enforcement of the momentary interests of the working class." Communists must, V.I. Lenin said, "develop the workers' class consciousness by assisting them in the fight for their most vital needs" and in promoting workers' organization.

But the economic struggle will not abolish capitalism by itself. It must be linked with the political struggle to overthrow capitalist rule. And Lenin called for smashing "the ideological enslavement of the workers by the bourgeoisie" by bringing Communist consciousness to the working class. He stressed this repeatedly in What Is To Be Done?. We need a fighting Marxist-Leninist party, the highest form of proletarian class organization, to smash capitalism and build socialism.

What you can do to join the Fight for the Employee Free Choice Act:

Sign the AFL-CIO's online petition at AFL-CIO Online Petition to Fight for the Passage of EFCA.

Get the word out on your blog or myspace page! Go to the AFL-CIO's site: AFL-CIO on EFCA for more information and to find web buttons that you can post!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Read and Reread Marx, Engels, Lenin

Communist pioneer Frederick Engels put it squarely: "socialism, having become a science, must be pursued as a science, that is, it must be studied." And we need to read and reread the writings of Karl Marx, Frederick Engels and V.I. Lenin.

"To understand Marxism," Howard Selsam explained, "there is no better way than to go to the original sources--to read what Marx, Engels and Lenin actually wrote." (Howard Selsam, main editor, Dynamics of Social Change: A Reader in Marxist Social Science, 1983, Fifth Printing, International Publishers)

Studying and rereading the classics by Karl Marx, Frederick Engels and V.I. Lenin will prove that Lenin is right: "the Marxist doctrine is omnipotent because it is true!" (Lenin, Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism, 1913)

(V.I. Lenin: "without revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement." - What Is To Be Done?, 1902)

Gus Hall, the Marxist-Leninist former leader of the Communist Party of the United States, said in Working Class USA that our study of Marxism will be deepened by rereading Marx, Engels and Lenin. Struggle and study must be combined!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Religion is a 'Buttress for Capitalism'

American capitalist reaction whips up religious fervor and attacks on materialism and science, especially evolution, come fast and furious. Brazen religious reactionaries split the working class and divert attention away from capitalist robbery of the workers. These religious sharks carry on a fanatical war to throw women back to the Dark Ages, not fight Wall Street profits.

Not for nothing did William Z. Foster, the Marxist-Leninist former leader of the Communist Party of the United States, say that religion is "a buttress for capitalism." (William Z. Foster, The Twilight of World Capitalism)

Idealism and materialism are locked in mortal combat. Frederick Engels once wrote that idealists are "those who assert the primacy of spirit to nature," while materialists, including Marxist-Leninists, "regard nature as primary." (Frederick Engels, Ludwig Feuerbach, 1886)

And, V.I Lenin said, the fight against religious idealism is "subordinated" to a Marxist's "basic task--the development of the class struggle of the exploited masses against their exploiters." (Lenin, The Attitude of the Workers' Party to Religion, 1909)

In this, we can unite with religious folks for working class struggle and the fight for social progress. Gus Hall said this in Karl Marx: Beacon for our Times. And none other than V.I. Lenin pointed out that religious workers should be recruited to join the Marxist Party! On the other hand, religion can not set the terms of the struggle.

"Religion," a Soviet writer pointed out, "is a distorted, fantastic reflection of reality." Afanasyev continues by quoting Frederick Engels: "...All religion, however, is nothing but the fantastic reflection in men’s minds of those external forces which control their daily life, a reflection in which the terrestrial forces assume the form of supernatural forces, Engels wrote." (Engels, Anti-Duhring)

(V.I. Lenin: 'We must combat religion--that is the ABC of all materialism and consequently of Marxism')

"Religion," Afanasyev said, "arose only at a definite stage in society’s development. The origin of religion can be traced to ignorance of the true causes of natural and social phenomena, to the awe-inspiring power of nature’s spontaneous forces and social oppression.

"The crux of religion is belief in the supernatural. Being dependent on nature’s forces, men endowed them with supernatural properties, made them into gods and spirits, devils and angels...

"(Then came the rise of classes and exploitation and) the working people sought in religion salvation from the suffering inflicted on them by exploiting society.

"It (religion) is an instrument of spiritual oppression, ideological enslavement of the working people, a means of strengthening the rule of the exploiters....Being an element of the superstructure, religion in an antagonistic class society seeks to reinforce the economic basis on which it rests, to strengthen the exploiting system....

"(With stories about a better life in Heaven), religion diverts the working people from the...revolutionary struggle against exploitation and for a just, genuinely humane social system...

"The reactionary role of religion is also manifested in its deep hostility to science, to a scientific world outlook....Science and religion are irreconcilable. Science gives man true knowledge of the world and the laws of its development. It helps him master natural and social forces and to organize production. Religion distorts the essence of the world, gives the wrong interpretation of it, stultifies the mind and will of man and deprives him of confidence in the triumph of science and progress." (Afanasyev, Marxist Philosophy, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow)

"The class struggle," William Z. Foster said, "and the development of the revolutionary movement of the workers, guided by Marxist dialectical materialism, (will) weaken the grip of religion upon the people's minds." (William Z. Foster, The Twilight of World Capitalism)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Communists Led the First National Demonstration During the Great Depression!

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.

The Communist Party of the United States, as the vanguard of the proletariat, led the first national protest against unemployment during the Great Depression on March 6, 1930. They organized working class folks on Main Street against Wall Street. In Minneapolis, Minnesota, Gus Hall, the Marxist-Leninist former leader of the Communist Party, and the Communists led the mass struggles.

Written about the Great Depression, William Z. Foster's words ring with clarity today. He wrote that "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." (William Z. Foster, History of the Communist Party of the United States, 1952, International Publishers)

The Great Economic Crisis of 1929-1933 meant Fight Back! Carl Winter, Communist leader of the Unemployed Councils in NY and one of the organizers of the National Hunger Marches of the 1930s said that: "The first nationwide organized protest (on March 6, 1930) against the burdens of the economic crisis, being shouldered by the working people of the United States, was organized upon the initiative of the Communist Party." (Carl Winter, "Unemployment Struggles of the Thirties," in Bart, Highlights of a Fighting History, 1979, International Publishers)

(William Z. Foster: The great demonstration of March 6, 1930 was 'a magnificent demonstration of the Leninist leading role of the Communist Party')

William Z. Foster, Marxist-Leninist former leader of the Communist Party of the United States preceding Gus Hall, said "With relatively few members, but with a clear head and a stout heart, the (Communist) Party boldly organized the famished unemployed...

"March 6, 1930 (was) the historic national unemployment demonstration, led by the Communists. The Communist Party, the Young Communist League, and the Trade Union Unity League threw their united forces into the preparations. A million leaflets were circulated and innumerable preliminary meetings were organized. The national demonstration was held under the auspices of the T.U.U.L. The central demand was for unemployment relief and insurance, with stress upon demands for the Negro (African-American) people, against wage cuts, and against fascism and war.

"Among the mobilizing slogans were 'Work or Wages!' and 'Don't Starve--Fight!'...

"The March 6th turnout of the workers was immense--110,000 in New York; 100,000 in Detroit; 50,000 in Chicago; 50,000 in Pittsburgh; 40,000 in Milwaukee; 30,00 in Philadelphia; 25,000 in Cleveland; 20,000 in Youngstown, with similar huge meetings in Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, and other cities all over the country. All told, 1,250,000 workers demonstrated against the outrageous conditions of hunger and joblessness. In the demonstrations, Negro (African-American) workers were a pronounced factor...

"Under the leadership of the Communists, the unemployed had stepped forth as a major political force. The great demonstration at once made the question of unemployed relief and insurance a living political issue in the United States. It showed that the masses were not going to starve tamely, as the bosses and reactionary union leaders had thought they would...It was a magnificent demonstration of the Leninist leading role of the Communist Party." (William Z. Foster, History of the Communist Party of the United States, 1952, International Publishers)

The national demonstration inspired many hundreds of class struggle actions of the unemployed across the country. And Gus Hall, the Marxist-Leninist former leader of the Communist Party USA, said that "in Minneapolis, (MN) we Communists led the mass struggles of the unemployed." (Gus Hall, Working Class USA, 1987, International Publishers)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

'We Have to Hold the Fire under Obama’s Feet!'

(Note: The popular phrase "to hold the fire under someone's feet" means simply to put pressure on someone and hold them accountable. The use of the phrase in this article is not meant in any way, shape or form to condone violence against Obama or anyone else.)

Barack Obama, in a victory over racism, will be the first Black president in the White House. State-monopoly capitalism and Wall Street imperialism have not been smashed. Nor has racism and white chauvinism been eliminated in the U.S.A. The struggle continues. Hours after the election, anti-war activists in the Twin Cities, Minnesota responded with a protest on November 5 demanding that U.S. imperialism get out of Iraq and Afghanistan and opposing war against Iran. The rally was initiated by Women Against Military Madness. Roger Cuthbertson, a long time activist, hit the nail on the head when he said "we have to hold the fire under Obama’s feet!"

Fighting sprinkling rain, wind and U.S. imperialism, leaders and activists in the peace, union and Communist movements stood boldly with anti-war signs on "the peace bridge" crossing the Mississippi River. Hundreds of cars passed by and members of ATU 1005 waved while driving buses. One young sister at the rally passionately said that U.S. troops need to be pulled out of Iraq because "Enough is enough!!" And her friend, a Latina woman, added in a quiet but determined voice, "Troops out NOW! The struggle continues."

A Black member of the Gus Hall Action Club clenched his fist in the air as he held a Communist sign with the slogan "Say No To Imperialism!"

The system of state-monopoly capitalism and imperialism breeds wars for maximum corporate profit. Imperialism is the breeder of crises and war. Imperialism is, as V.I. Lenin taught, "the monopoly stage of capitalism."

(V.I. Lenin: Imperialism is 'moribund capitalism.')

"Imperialism," Gus Hall, the Marxist-Leninist former leader of the Communist Party USA said, "cannot be separated from capitalism." Hall continued: "Imperialism is an ugly monster, spawned and bred in the incubator of capitalism, nurtured by the greed for private profits, fattened on the exploitation of the millions, gorged on the blood, sweat and tears of millions of people in all the continents." (Gus Hall, Imperialism Today, 1973, International Publishers)

The struggle continues and Wall Street imperialism can be fought! We must forge a militant anti-monopoly coalition, with the working class at its core. And we have to, as Roger Cuthbertson said, "hold the fire under Obama’s feet!"

A new social system must be built out of the capitalist welter of war, crises and exploitation of the working class. Only socialism will finally end war forever. And William Z. Foster, a former leader of the Communist Party USA, is right that "the time will come when the victorious toilers will build a monument to Lenin in New York." (William Z. Foster, Toward Soviet America, 1932, International Publishers)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Stalin: 'His Name Stands Alongside the Names of Marx, Engels and Lenin'

We need a historical and objective analysis of Stalin from a working-class and Marxist-Leninist position. Proletarians must reject "condemnations" from anti-communist bourgeois propaganda, Trotskyist or revisionist Big Lies and slanders. Yep, Generalissimo Stalin made mistakes later in his life. But, overall, he was a "left" Soviet leader and part of the anti-revisionist tendency. Our era's Communist Party of the Russian Federation (КПРФ) proudly declares: "the memory of Stalin will live forever!"

(’Thank you, dear Stalin, for our happy childhood!’)

Here’s the stellar Marxist-Leninist past head of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), William Z. Foster, assessing Stalin after his tragic passing:

"On March 5, 1953, in his 74th year, Joseph V. Stalin died as the result of a stroke suffered during his sleep a few days before. This ended over half a century of revolutionary struggle on the part of one of the greatest fighters ever produced by the world’s working class. His death was a tremendous loss to the Soviet people and to the international movement for peace and freedom.

"Stalin was a major theoretician. Perhaps his greatest theoretical work was on the national question, on which he was the world’s leading expert. His epic ideological battle with the Trotsky-Zinoviev-Bukharin wreckers also constitutes a Marxist classic. And just on the eve of his death he gave a last example of his profound capacity as an economist by working out the basic economic laws of capitalism and socialism, in his last work, ’Economic Problems of Socialism in the U.S.S.R.’

"Stalin was a magnificent organizer. His building of the Communist Party, the Soviets, and other immense mass organizations of the Soviet people was a real masterwork. His leadership of the party in the mobilization of the people for the driving through of the successive five-year plans, with their building of industry and collectivization of farming, was organizational work beyond compare.

"Stalin, too, was a militant fighting leader of the masses. His whole life was one relentless battle against the enemies of socialism, both within and outside the party. He was a tower of strength as a military commander in the civil war of 1918-1920, and in leading the Soviet people to victory over the Hitler barbarians in 1941-1945, he displayed a peerless fighting spirit and outstanding military genius. During the Cold War, the arrogant capitalist imperialists also came to dread the indomitable spirit and brilliant diplomacy of Stalin. He was indeed a man of steel, as his name signified.

"At Stalin’s funeral, Malenkov said of this brilliant and courageous leader: ’Comrade Stalin, the great thinker of our epoch, creatively developed the teaching of Marxism-Leninism in the new historical conditions. The name of Stalin rightly stands alongside the names of the greatest men in human history--Marx, Engels, Lenin.’" (William Z. Foster, History of the Three Internationals, International Publishers)

This excellent biography by the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute was once reprinted by International Publishers and distributed by the CPUSA: