Tuesday, November 30, 2010
There are many reasons why I am inspired to write a blog post about Maoist Third Worldism (MTWist). One main reason is the high amount of chauvinism and xenophobia shown by first worldist communist toward the MTW movement. Another few reasons is their theory of what a proletariat is, their ideas of international proletarian revolution, and their attitude towards the present conditions in imperialist countries and finally just the heavy amount of myths that surround this ideology are some reasons why I am writing this blog post.
Let me start by saying as a Marxist it is important to take a scientific approach to all ideas, situations and circumstances. Please keep this in mind while reading this. This post is not meant a promotion nor a condemnation of Maoist Third Worldism (MTW).
One thing I find very interesting about MTW is their idea that not everyone who is part of the working class is a proletariat. While most communist refer to all workers or anyone who sells their labor as a proletarian the MTWist see this as incorrect as did Marx. The proletarian is someone who has nothing to lose but their chains, who has nothing to sell but his labor. The proletarian is also someone who produces value or engages in productive labor. Now this hardly applies to many people in the united states let alone anyone in the first world. As the LLCO correctly point out in one of their blogs "This effect is magnified even more by the relative ease with which First World peoples gain access to large amounts of credit. Significantly, First World workers also receive a share of imperialist super profits extracted from the Third World–just because they are from the First World. Furthermore, First World workers are generally not involved in productive labor as Marx’s model proletarian is. Rather, First World people are employed in non-value-creating positions such as management, merchant capital enterprises, white-collar work, distribution, the service industry, etc. They are often employed in positions that are purely parasitic and drain value. Also, they are often employed in work that may be necessary to realize value, but is not itself value creating."(1)
"global median is about $2.50 a day. There are more people in India earning less than $0.80 a day than people living in the USA." These are staggering numbers that knock me to the floor. It is hard to believe that anyone thinks a revolution will happen in a place where the minimum wage is $5.50 higher then what the average worker in the rest of the world makes. A person making $10,000 a year is in the top 13.3% of the worlds wealthiest people annual income wise. The average American home brings in around $50,000 dollars a year that would put you in the top 1% of the wealthiest people in the world. Now try to imagine you were given only $3,000 dollars to live off of for a whole year, just $3,000 you would still be in the top 15% of wealthiest people on earth annual income wise. The MTWist actually make more sense the more of the ideas I explore.
Their idea of international revolution is easy to follow and makes a lot of sense. They basically follow the ideas of Lin Biao set out in the book "Long Live the Victory of People's War". In the book Lin Biao puts forward that in an international revolution the smaller third world countries would act as the rural areas and that imperialist first world countries would be the cities, and in order to win the international revolution the proletarian army would have to first gain control of the rural country sides (poor, third world countries). After they gained control of the international country sides then the people's army would have to encircle and take over the cities of the world (the first world imperialist nations).
This takes me into one of the myths Ive heard over and over not just about MTWist but Maoist in general. That they are nationalist. I have no clue where this notion came from and I don't care. As a Maoist I can say that not only are we not nationalist but we are the strongest internationalist in the world ideologically. Every Maoist has called for international proletarian revolution. From Mao in China to Fred Hampton in the US we have always called for the start of an international revolution. MTW are no different in fact they are more internationalist than most people claiming to be communist because those who even live in the first world call for the freedom and empowerment of the third world before focusing on their own-selves. That is real internationalism, they call on themselves to uphold the need to lower their living standards so that the people of the world can live more equally. In my opinion that is about as far away from nationalism as possible.
Ive heard so many myths swirling around this ideology that it is hard to chose one to talk about. One time some one said they had heard that MTWist want to "enslave the first world workers" not only is this silly but this is a case of one "socialist" party trying to cause xenophobia towards MTWism. After reading through the LLCO/MSH material I think where the idea of this came from is that the LLCO (correctly) asserts that in order for socialist redistribution to work the workers in the first world imperialist nations would have to lower their standards of living in order for the standards of living in the third world to go up. I agree because we can not pull random nonexistent value from no where. The earth can only produce so much value at a time and in order for everyone on earth to live up to the living standards of the US we would need like 2-3 earths.
Last thing I wanna touch on is what the MTWist mean by "first worldist". A first worldist is someone who thinks that workers in the first world imperialist nations are more advanced than workers in the second and third worlds. Advanced meaning they think the first world workers have more revolutionary potential and that the first world worker is more class conscious. This is mainly just childish chauvinism but where it is dangerous is that it is anti-dialectal. It instills a false sense into the "communist" of the first world that a revolution is not only possible in their country but that if one happens that it will happen in a advanced first world nation. Now lets be clear that with Russia being the one exception (and it is debated rather they were even a first world nation during 1917) there has never been a successful proletarian/communist revolution in a first world country. All great proletarian revolutions took place in third world countries. So it is anti-dialects if a leader of you party/ORG tells you otherwise.
Other times they refer to FWist as people who fight for gains for the first world workers but the MTWist warn that these gains are not free and that the gains won by these struggles come on the backs of third world proletarians. And the MTWist claim that first world worker gain from their nations imperialist exploitation. The counter argument Ive heard to this is that "No imperialist CORP is going to share its profits with the people of their nation" on this issue I am torn. I think we in the first world do slightly benefit from the exploitation of the third world by our government. But I also think that most of the profits stolen from the third world end up in the banks or the big CORP's pockets for the most part.
I think MTWism is something that is a hint of fresh air to a rather stale and old movement. They have a lot to contribute to the movement and I believe their use of Marxism as a science is as good as anybodies. I would encourage my reader to check out their site and read some for themselves before turning their nose up at the Maoist third worldist. You can find the link to the Leading Light Communist Organization at the side of this page I invite you to go and read their material you might like what you see.
By: Dustin Slagle
(1)http://llco.org/archives/4911, FEB, 1, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
In my opinion there is a huge reason why there is no strong communist movement in the states. It is because most of the parties and ORGs have adapted tailism as their main ideology. Meaning most parties or ORGs simply tail the liberal anti-war movements or use liberal slogans to gain support. And some groups even create liberal fronts for a certain subject or movement and do not use their fronts to create an opportunity to advocate for socialism. This tailism has been going on since the 60's (maybe earlier) and has proven to be an incorrect method of building a real movement.
As this picture says, the reason people are STILL protesting is because protesting doesn't work. Protesting as a tactic to "fight the power" or "fight the man" is a pacifist joke and the fact that the socialist groups in the US have bought into this crap is nothing less than a crime against the people. The masses need us to be working for them and leading them forward. Not standing on the streets with a bunch of pacifist liberals yelling their liberal slogans. The protesting activist circles are not the masses nor are they revolutionary. Why are these socialist wasting their time on reformist, pacifist liberals? I don't know the answer but if someone does then please let me know.
It is important to fight liberalism in our country because liberal slogans and the liberal activist circle has been the death of our movement. Of course like Ive mentioned in previous post it will take some converting of liberals in this country in order to build a communist movement but talking to/trying to convert liberals and playing tailism with them are two majorly different things.
Converting liberals to socialism is one way to combat liberalism but we on the left need to think of creative ways to take that battle further. Of course a huge part of being a Maoist is knowing who is a class enemy and why they are a class enemy. The ignorance in a person might say "well the liberals are poor so they are not our class enemy". But this is incorrect because while some poor people in society might be liberals, most poor people do not vote and certainly the most oppressed section of the US population (migrant workers) don't/can't vote. Most liberals still stand up for capitalism and some liberals do not even want full social services. Most liberals are middle class "blue collar" workers, or small business owners (bourgeoisie).
The liberals do not fight for the empowerment of the people or even for the betterment of the people. The liberals do not even fight for the betterment of the middle class workers. They too fight for the corporations and the big bosses just as much as the neo-conservatives do. A big sign that the liberals are a big enemy of the people are things like "Moveon.org" who fool people left of the liberals by saying "we want something better" but then just support the democrats and they refuse to criticize the democrats to any end. And this group has millions of members, it is depressing to see the people cheated like that. They are an enemy of the people, because they are herding progressives right around back into supporting the people we already know to be against the people.
But part of the blame is on US the communist. We have played tailism and have not shown the masses any alternative to the liberals to the point that some progressive democrats have called themselves "left-wing". We argue so much between ourselves that no one outside of our socialist and the activist circles even know we exist. We have no sway in politics at all, is this not depressing to anyone else? The only "communist" organization with any sway (they are not revolutionary communist that is for sure) is the CPUSA and that doesn't even count because they only have a very little fraction of a sway in the.......that's right the democratic party AKA they play tailism.
If we are to move forward to socialism in this country then all the parties need to start advocating for socialism and stop using their front groups to promote liberalism. Of course some parties and ORGs are more guilty of this than others but in the name unity I won't point them out by name. If we do not advocate for socialism how will people even know we exist? Let alone what we stand for. Every group has a "What we stand for" book or brochure but they don't advocate for socialism outside of these papers. So how would the average Joe ever convert to socialism if at all the rallies he goes to the socialist are the ones follow and chanting the same slogans as the liberals? He wouldn't, he would think that socialist are just the extreme side of the democrats.
Another way to combat liberalism is that the people reading this need to unseat all defeatist from their parties leadership. Defeatism in the leadership will only cement your parties/organizations tailism as it's main tactic. Someone in a leadership role once said to me: "you cannot just wish different conditions into existence" he said this as a defense for carrying out tailism under his leadership. To which I replied "Of course we cannot wish anything into existence, there is no such thing as magic lamps. But we can make different conditions for ourselves through hard work and advocating for socialism." He then ended the conversation.
The future is up to us. We can stay on this same 40+ year old path or we can make our own path and start moving forward. We have been the ones who have been holding ourselves back so it is time we let ourselves go in a different direction. A direction the movement has not gone since the 60's: forward!
Written by: Dustin Slagle
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
These are some chilling words released from the white house and specifically from the President himself:
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, pursuant to section 404(c) of the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 (CSPA), title IV of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (Public Law 110 457), I hereby determine that it is in the national interest of the United States to waive the application to Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Yemen of the prohibition in section 404(a) of the CSPA.
You are authorized and directed to submit this determination to the Congress, along with the accompanying memorandum of justification, and to publish it in the Federal Register.
BARACK OBAMA" (1)
This press release from the white house is sick for two reasons; It tells the world that Americans are only opposed to children soldiers of groups or nations we oppose. But as long as the kids are fighting for our interest that it is okay to arm the children, FOR AMERICA!
But realistically this could cause a normalization of children soldiers. Because we can't charge one group with using these young soldiers while we support governments and movements that also use child soldiers.
While issues like this are usually left to the liberals to bitch about, this is something that all people of every nation should care about and oppose. Is it or is it not a huge Marxist principle to abolish child labor? And is forcing children into armed conflict not both slavery and child labor? I propose that child soldiers are against Marxist principals and we should do everything we can to support getting children off the battle fields.
But how can we do something about children soldiers, to make sure people are not using them? Well to be honest as a person who lives in a country who supports children soldiers there is not a lot you can do about it. You could support UNICEF but the US government will probably restrict them from working in the countries mentioned above.
You could go protest but as usual that won't change anything. I have no idea what we can do to stop child soldiers from being used but I hope this entry brought to light the fact that their government supports this sick and disgusting use of children soldiers.
Here is an article on the subject from Truthout: http://www.truth-out.org/white-house-says-child-soldiers-are-ok-if-they-fight-terrorists65145
Reference; 1, White house press release on October 25, 2010) http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/10/25/presidential-memorandum-child-soldiers-prevention-act
Written by: Dustin Slagle
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
More often than not people in the communist movement tend to be over bearing and just plain condescending, then if someone disagrees with our ideas most people result to yelling and name calling. But is this proper use of the mass line? No it isn't.
Part of the mass line and just being a Maoist in general is that we are suppose to be correct, calm, explanatory and civil and advocate for socialism and communism while doing it.
But this post isn't about the mass line, I want this post to be about how we can take our ideas and theory's to the masses without people just looking at you like a crazy psycho commie. Now I have had great success using this method in progressive circles and even liberal circles (lets face it, here in the states we will have to convert some liberals to our side to build any kind of base. It is convincing them that liberalism is bad is the hard part.)
One thing Ive noticed about parties is that they tend to stay to their own and only do things they set up or go to events where they can push their propaganda. I want to see us building organic relationships on the ground. That is how I took the branch I was chairman of from one member to one of the larger branches (outside of the huge cities like LA NYC CHI ETC) and passed up branches that were around for years longer than us. People in my area not only know my name and affiliation but know, like and respect me because the people know me as one of them and not someone who tells others what to think.
It is important to establish organic relationships on the ground. A big problem most parties have is that they show up to an event or protest and they run around and try to sell their papers and then they leave. Or else they only stay to themselves and run their own events and try to push their propaganda and constantly claim they are the vanguard ETC. Some might stand around after an event and argue or yell at people trying to tell the people what they should believe. But this is the most incorrect way of building a party or more importantly, raising socialist consciousness.
It is important that you have your ideas and theories fully developed before you take them to the masses and try to apply them. But without these organic friendships in your community you will be taking your ideas to a blank audience and you will have to start from scratch. However, with the friendships already in place, when you take your ideas to the masses you will already have a base to take them to. And since these people see you as a friend and organizer they will be more open to hearing and maybe taking on some of your theories and ideas. IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW THAT NO ONE WILL EVER HAVE ALL THE SAME IDEAS OF HOW THINGS ARE AND HOW THEY WORK AS YOU DO. You have to be willing to actually listen to other peoples thoughts and not insult them, but slowly and in normal language explain what you believe and why you believe it.
People treat you differently when they know you personally then from when you are some random person yelling at them about how wrong their ideas are. As a matter of fact it will make them shut you off completely and you will achieve nothing and you are wasting your time.
But what should we do when some one refuses to change their minds and just remains non-communist? We should not change our tactic. Continue to discuss (not debate or argue or yell) politics and calmly explain your positions. If we can not convert someone to believe in socialism/communism then we can at least have that person hold us in a respective light. Some one who doesn't agree with us but does respect us is better than someone who hates us.
People will see right through you if you are not genuine in your friendships. You must NOT create these relationships out of opportunism. Have fun with it and enjoy yourself while you make friends and build up consciousness towards socialism.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Democratic centralism is suppose to be where the majority chose what to do in a certain situation or the majority decide what stance the party will take on certain issues. And the people in the minority are expected to follow and defend the choice. A common slogan is "freedom of discussion, unity of action."
But why and where does this problem come from? I will attempt to answer these questions in this entry. Some people simply write it off as Stalinism, but this not only lacks in-depth analysis but also blindly ignores dialect materialism. The fact is that most all revolutionary (and non-revolutionary)socialist parties suffer from this to one degree or another.
Why did this problem develop?: This is no easy answer. Since democratic centralism started a long time ago it is hard to pin point exactly when it went wrong. So I will go with something that should be fairly obvious. Even Trotskyist use the democratic centralism model in most of their parties but when a party or country degenerates to bureaucratic centralism the trots call that party/country Stalinist. Of course a Trotskyist is never going to pass up a chance to jab at Stalin but in reality it was Lenin's model of democratic centralism that is/was incorrect. This writer personally believes if Lenin was alive today he would say the same thing. One thing communist seem to ignore is that we should always be advancing and moving forward. Of course it was not Lenin's fault it turned into a bureaucracy as I believe he would have called for a different approach if he would have seen what democratic centralism was to become.
In reality democratic centralism naturally leads to bureaucracy. When a party starts there are usually a few members who are more dedicated than others or do more work than other members. This rightfully earns this said person a certain amount of respect among the founding members and new members. So they are elected to a seat of power. The problem is that as time goes on the people who started the group want to make sure things are run the way they want and that they stay in charge. So what ends up happening is that the original members end up with multiple seats or too much power. New members of a party may take years to realize the level of bureaucracy in their party, especially if the party lets its new members vote on the small things giving the member a false sense of inner democracy.
The biggest problem that develops after this stage is when a member offers a criticism of the parties theoretical line or stances on a certain issue, they are usually treated as a traitor or are accused of not following democratic centralism. What happens next is that when the party should take his/her criticism seriously and figure out the best way forward theoretically, instead the criticizer is kicked out of the party.
Parties that claim to use dialect materialism should always be open to changing a position on an issue or international situation. If a party/org kicks one of their members out of for criticizing the theoretical line then that party does not follow dialect materialism and should not claim so. A party can expect its members to defend the parties choices but if the party does not include all or most party members in the decision making process then it is not following true democratic centralism. My point being that it is hard to up hold democratic centralism in the first place.
I'm not the kind of person to just write a criticism without offering some kind of alternative or a way to fix the said problem.
So how do we fix this bureaucracy with in democratic centralism? Well dogmatism in a communist might say we need to reform it. But the fact of the matter is we may need to do away with democratic centralism all together. Ive had many discussions with people about democratic centralism and no one has shown me a way to reform democratic centralism that would eliminate the bureaucratic element.
Since it does not seem possible to reform democratic centralism we must resort back to our revolutionary roots and find something new. This brings to mind something that has been tried before but was dismantled by the right wing of the CPC. Communal democracy and a communal run planned economy.
I do not personally believe that there has ever been a better example of true democracy in either a country or a party that represented the masses to the fullest. Plus we know from experiences that democratic centralism run on a national scale quickly turns sour and eventually ends up oppressing people who speak outside of what the party says it is okay to speak out against. Communal socialism would be better because how is some one in LA or DC or NYC suppose to know what we need in Mississippi or Illinois or Colorado etc? Only the people from those areas know exactly what they are producing and what they need. Each area would be more personally in charge of themselves and thus wouldn't feel the constant oppression of the centralized state.
Obviously this writer knows he doesn't have all the answers but I am sick of seeing hundreds of intelligent individuals walking around parroting what their leaders, elders and party tell them to. It is time for the communist to start using dialect materialism correctly again, it is time for a revolution!
Written by: Dustin Slagle
(I plan to expand on this)
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
So why did the republicans win so big in these midterms? The answer is easier than most would give. The simple answer is that when the democrats were in charge of all of the major branches of government they still didn't accomplish anything other than selling the masses out to the medical insurance companies and bailing out big banks before bailing out the people. So really the democrats are the ones who demotivated their base and even to a point encouraged their base to stay home on election day. Not to mention the fact that most people in this country are fed up with the system all together.
The Tea Party should also not be discredited with the role they played in this election cycle. The tea party energized and motivated the ultra right wing (along with some ignorant moderates) back to the voting booth. These are the same people who didn't go to the polls during the Obama election because they thought McCain to be too moderate. This coupled with the self de-motivation of progressives and leftist with in the democratic party clearly explains the huge loss suffered by the democrats.
Is the country just coming down off of their hopeamine high? Yes, when Obama ran for president he not only had his main democrat base excited but he also had many moderates, progressives and even some people on the left excited about his campaign. But it didn't take long for that high to wear off. Many progressives and leftist were in disarray when Obama followed Bush in bailing out the Banks and leaving the people to starve and go homeless. Shortly after that the health care bill came up. And the more and more the democrats and Obama compromised with the right the more and more progressives started fleeing from the Obama/democrat camp. The democrats took less than a year to prove to the voters that thought they were voting in a party of the people and change that they were in fact voting into power nothing more than corporate party with no back bone. The people felt and still feel betrayed by the democrats. This is a lesson that the masses will hopefully not soon forget though I feel that it will take little to no time for the voters to forget the democrats betrayal.
What does this mean for communist and other leftist in the US? Well that is up to us, we can keep doing what we have been doing, (which except for a few groups) and keep doing things that have proven to be ineffective. Or we can really start to unite the different parties and organizations and start to have one party with different tactics. Because as we are in this country (all separated and using different tactics) it is obvious that one tactic or the other by itself will not do the trick. We need a united party that works in the activist circles, that works in the unions and on peoples empowerment issues. All we have right now is a bunch of different parties all running in different directions claiming they have the right tactic, but since none are gaining any real ground it doesn't matter. And the few that are gaining ground as parties or ORGs (meaning members wise), they mainly are gaining members with false and liberal slogans.
If the left ever needed to unite and fight together then this would be it. But I'm sure that that will not happen due to different believes in what happened and should have happened in Russia in the beginning of the 1900's. But remember that this is our future and if we don't unite and fight back than this is what we can look forward to:
Monday, November 1, 2010
Before I even became a teenager I knew the American dream was a lie. My dad never was home except to sleep then he was off to another job. By the standards of "the American dream" we would have been millionaires but we weren't. We never even made it to the "middle class". This helped me come to the realization that capitalism was only a system of exploitation at a very young age.
I became a socialist after a trip I took to the south west. While down there I saw things that I never would have believed existed in the US. I went to lunch lines where I ended up giving all the food I had with me in my back pack to a guy who was living out of his car with his 9 year old child. This touched me deep down in a place I didn't know exited inside myself.
I also saw thing such a shanty towns and people living in 3rd world like conditions. One thing I couldn't help but notice was that I was the only person that was white in that whole shanty town. People living in the worlds most gluttonous country should not be living in houses made out of gardening sheds and trash metal etc. After talking to some of the residents of this place One person told us he works for dollars a day sometimes only making 10 to 15 dollars a day. But because they were here "illegally" they couldn't report their conditions.
This kind of exploitation is what lead me to eventually through self education and research become a self proclaimed Marxist. As one could imagine it didn't take me long to tie together imperialism and capitalism as soul mates. I soon would come to call myself a Marxist Leninist.
From M-L to M-L-M
When I first stared on the road to socialism, Maoism was still a bad word to me. The way I understood Maoism was that one person took power and exploited the masses to their benefit. I thought it to be a "capitalist state" idea. I also had the influence of some Trotskyist in my ear telling me that Maoism was only Stalinism. Which now I realize that they only wanted to scare me away from Maoism and for me to join their org.
About 2-3 years ago I tried to learn whatever I could about Chairman Mao. It was very hard to find anything that wasn't severely anti-Mao in my library and or book stores. So I tried to do some self research and asked people not only about Mao but about Maoism as an idea. Then one of my brothers sent me a link to the little red book. I was captivated by the whole book and was appalled that anyone had ever told me that Mao never contributed to the furtherance of socialism.
I started reading more and more, then I was sent a link that would change my life forever. It was the most helpful thing I have ever applied to my actions and ideas. It explained the mass-line and how to apply it to everyday situations.
(this is the link I was sent) http://freedomroad.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=705%3Athe-mass-line-what-it-is-and-how-to-use-it&catid=182%3A21st-century-socialism&Itemid=235&lang=en
Ive since been growing my knowledge about my local population and interjecting revolutionary ideas and actions whenever possible. I now have the strongest faith in the working class poor people to be the ones to carry the masses to the proletarian revolution. I am now a Maoist!