How do we change this mistaken notion?
A British comrade asked me what the Communist movement was like in the States. I had to be truthful, and tell him that we are fractured, unorganised, and constantly at each others throats – not over ideology, but over personalities. I explained that, in this country, the neo-Nazi movement is more cohesive than we are, that they make common cause when we seldom, if ever, do.
He was somewhat shocked at my bleak depiction, but ultimately realised that the British Communists are in a similar, if less serious, situation.
After that conversation, I began to wonder how Communism could ever become ascendant when we have slid so far from our Revolutionary roots. American workers are less interested in Socialism now than they were 100 years ago, when men like Eugene Debs actually ran for president. At one point, Debs received nearly a million votes for president – while he was in prison! Can you imagine that? In a time when the “C”PUSA doesn’t even run candidates anymore, it’s hard to picture.
The real issue is that Americans, and Westerners in general, have things much better than most of the world. Capitalism has its advantages, even for the Proletariat. Our forefathers would never have imagined having the things we have today, or the easy lives, and the extensive leisure time. We no longer see ourselves as Proletarian, and think, instead, that we have it pretty damn good. What we usually fail to see, is that we are more under the thumb of Capitalism now than we ever were. We can do nothing, go nowhere, without having the creeping tendrils of the Bourgeois near at hand. We don’t see ourselves as victims, so we don’t try to end the victimization.
American workers, as a whole, have no solidarity with workers in other lands. Proletarian Internationalism does not exist within Communist organisations here. Oh, sure, we sometimes attend rallies, sometimes make statements “supporting” various people in various countries, but beyond that, we do nothing. The Patriot Act, which is a gross violation of our rights, has even quelled Communists from speaking of Revolution! Many Communists now try to half-heartedly express “Socialism through the ballot box!”.
So we’ve lost two of our distinguishing features: Revolution, and Proletarian Internationalism.
The concept of Socialism through the ballot box is not new. The great Georgi Dimitrov postulated that, with the ascension of the Soviet Union, it might be possible to achieve a peaceful transition to Socialism. However, he was merely suggesting the possibility, and the Soviet Union is no more.
The Revolution need not be an armed uprising, however. Massive work stoppages, for instance, would have a drastic effect on the Capitalist establishment. A mass refusal to purchase anything but the bare necessities – leaving the shops, and the ball fields, and the theaters, empty and deserted, would create quite a stir. Instead of following the example of Sam Webb, and voting for Bourgeois candidates (of either party), we stage a refusal to vote at all, for any office. Naturally, the office would still be filled, but the message would be obvious.
The first stage, of course, would be to denounce the actions of men like Mao. The world believes that Communism is violent, dictatorial, and brutal. Allying with violent thugs simply confirms for them that we are what they believe us to be. This, in and of itself, will be the most difficult step. I’ve known Communists that go red in the face trying to defend Mao. The Nazis do the same when they try to defend Hitler. Are we like the Nazis? Do we need to justify the regimes of monsters in order to lend credence to our beliefs? Of course not. Hitler and Mao were cut from the same cloth, and defending them will get us no where.
The basic, enduring, principles of Marxism-Leninism have the power to liberate mankind. We only have to believe in them, uphold them, and, most importantly, follow them.