Commie Dad: Marxism, Identity Politics, and Worker’s Power

Commie Dad, a popular personality on communist Twitter, recently wrote a piece entitled Marxism, Identity Politics, and Worker’s Power, in which he set out to rebut the charges, common as Marxism reemerges as a recognised intellectual trend in the English-speaking world, that Marxism fails to account for anything except class. This is admirable and important work, and, for reasons aforementioned, part of a growing genre by Marxists of varying stripes to defend Marks Baba from charges of “brocialism”.

It should go without saying that I more or less endorse the contents of the piece. Indeed, taken as a “universal” there is relatively little to criticise, but what little there is to criticise is much more important given its positioning within the particular context of the US left, which has been robbed of a sturdy theoretical backbone for some time.

Let us begin then with a point of agreement and then launch into where I think the piece could stand to improve. Dad Commie writes that “Proponents of identity politics often see the working class as exclusively white and male, but this is far from the case.” Having spoken to a great many progressives in the US, I can say that this is indeed the preoccupation. In the shadow of the Trump victory, there is a pressure which even I feel to discuss US politics in a dichotomy between understanding “the working class” that voted for Trump, and “identity politics”, practically implying that Black America is more elite than white America in class terms! Scarcely any visitor to the United States can hold this illusion for even a moment, but the rhetoric at present is indeed such among those born here that one would think the toilers of the United States were mostly white men.

But as I said, it is obvious they are not. During a conversation with another Turkish friend doing her PhD here recently, the subject of my revolutionary politics came up. She is a self-described bourgeois and not predisposed to sympathy for revolutionaries, although we are nonetheless very close, and the circumstances back in the memleket have a strong unifying effect. She was saying, only partially ironically, that circumstances in the US are rapidly beginning to resemble those in Turkey, and that I had better “make a revolution somewhere fast”, lest we remain caught between multiple countries rapidly descending towards the “state of nature”. I responded that I remained hopeful for Turkey for various reasons, but that “there’s no reason to have any hope for the US”. She responded that any communist revolution in the US would have to rely entirely on Black people, as “there aren’t any white workers anyway”.

My friend was obviously not speaking in a literal sense, but there is some truth behind this. No matter how the rhetoric among US citizens might be, it is a fairly obvious fact that the deeper one descends into the proletarian masses in the US, the blacker the faces one sees are. Naturally, we should ask ourselves why this is. The easy answer, which is not entirely untrue, is that the bourgeoisie in the United States has been effective in “dividing” the workers. But as Dad Commie himself responds: “Marxists would not be arguing that workers must be united if we did not think there was anything dividing them in the first place.”

But what is this division? Is it merely one of “race”? Certainly this is the term to which Commie Dad returns again and again in discussing the most salient contradiction of US society, that between “Black and White America”, dating back to slavery. But as slavery ended decades ago, why is this gap, both in social treatment and in economic class, still so real? Are people in the US simply that racist? Readers want to say “yes”, instinctively, but this does not really account for the really massive amounts of integration which do exist among many groups which were historically second-tier toilers in the United States, such as the Chinese. Further, in many countries in the Americas one finds historical racial-caste systems similar to the one in the US, by which the further up the social ladder one climbs the whiter the faces one sees are. But in countries like Mexico or Brazil, the sharp division between black and white has at least been blurred with a large “mixed” middle section of the society, a phenomenon which is conspicuously absent in the US (see my forthcoming thoughts on my time in Atlanta).

The real explanation for this sharp division, and what links “Black America” to other oppressed peoples, mostly “of colour”, in the United States, is their relationship to US imperialism. What seems missing in Commie Dad’s piece, which correctly understands the proletariat as divided into many identities which are themselves part of the proletarian struggle and not opposed to it, is mention of nation.

Now to be fair, Commie Dad does mention national liberation as one of the reasons we find Lenin to be an exemplary figure of 20th century history. Commie Dad does not explicitly deny the existence of nations in the US, and indeed mentions in passing the Black Liberation Movement (although as is perhaps the norm in the US, mentions the BPP to the exclusion of the BLA). But it is important we not merely allow for the existence of nations, but put national questions at the centre of our practice, particularly in an imperialist country like the United States.

So when Commie Dad goes on to say that racist ideology helps reinforce divisions between two groups, I don’t disagree. But the fact that Afro-Americans and Yankees are able to be so effectively divided does lead one to believe the problem is more than “skin deep”. As he himself mentions, there is a long history starting from the slave trade that accounts for the divisions. But the point is that over the course of this history, the divisions became real not only in terms of their material basis in privileges or relationship to the means of production, but also in terms of territory, language, levels of bourgeois exploitation (i.e., the existence of a separate black bourgeoisie), in short, the political, cultural, historical, and economic building blocks of a nation. It is not merely that racism is ideologically strong, but that in the US context, the racialised division is strong enough to have actually passed over from quantity into quality and become something else entirely: national oppression, wherein more or less the entire Afro-American nation, including much of the Afro-American bourgeoisie, is oppressed and exploited by the imperialist Yankee bourgeoisie.

I wish to state again that I liked and agreed with Commie Dad’s piece, and I presume he won’t even disagree with much of what I say here. This is the most comradely of criticisms, intended to bring into sharper focus a central issue to US politics specifically because, as he put it: “Marxism must [fight all] oppressions on their own terms.”

Recommended reading: the works of Harry Haywood, “Settlers” by J. Sakai, “Free The Afro-American Nation” by the Afro-American Liberation League and the Amilcar Cabral/Paul Robeson Collective (M-L), 1982, and if you can read Turkish or have a friend who can translate for you: Trump’un seçim zaferi-1: Siyah Amerika ve Cumhuriyetçiler, by me.

Also, for those of you willing to write to Boxholder, 607 Boylston St., Lower Level Box 464, Boston, MA, 02116 to order a book, “Toward Victorious Afro-American National Liberation”, by Ray O. Light

Dialectics

I had originally intended to write a post entitled “the Dialectics of Gender”, which is indeed an important topic. I am, however, not necessarily the most qualified to write on it.

In general, I had intended to write about feminism and transgender issues because of certain otherwise positive trends taking what I found to be a problematic stance on these matters.

The act of writing the first piece I wrote, about feminism and nationalism, ended up being part of the quantitative buildup to a certain qualitative change in some organisational work I had been involved in, and the desired discussions are now taking place. It is my hope that this qualitative change will result in a greater quantity of theoretical output by a greater quantity of people, several of whom are more qualified than me to write on issues of gender.

The point, however, is that going forward, due to the objective conditions and the growth in the level of organisation of political subjects with which I am involved, my theoretical interventions are taking place increasingly off of this blog, which will become more personal (for now I am thinking pieces like “Missing Istanbul”, or perhaps film reviews, maybe later things which are technically theoretical-political but of interest to me and less so to publications that will take me). I will also be posting here as things I write for various publications are published, or when things of importance are published by groups I am interested in or intervening in.

For anyone stumbling across this by Google, I do encourage you to get in touch with me over anything I’ve said or done or posted of interest. The contradictions are sharpening, the dynamics are in motion, it’s time for us to struggle more in unity and unite more in struggle.

–Muhsin

Feminism and Nationalism

womensliberation

For years I and those with Kaypakkaya-ish views on the Kurdish national question have been accused of “Kurdish nationalism”, mostly by people who are unaware of their own unacknowledged Turkish or Arab nationalism sublated into their purportedly humanitarian, socialist, or otherwise “progressive” ideology. The answer to this, not only from us, but from many Kurds who are not Marxist-Leninists, is that they are not nationalists, but supporters of Kurdish national rights, of Kurdish national liberation as a meaningful struggle, etc.

This distinction is important, as the nationalist places at the centre of their world a nation, ignoring its internal contradictions, an error we must be very careful not to fall into. Although I am often accused of ignoring, for example, class contradictions among nations whose bourgeoisies are not hegemonic within a given state, I do consider this quite frequently, it’s simply that, in many contexts, a more powerful nation’s bourgeoisie has forced some sections of certain nation’s bourgeoisies into a progressive historical position, however temporarily.

What does this have to do with feminism?

Marxist-Leninists I know often likewise state that they are “not feminists, but support women’s rights”, or “not feminists, but support women’s liberation”. I must state that I first learned these formulas from women comrades, some of whom are quite fierce on women’s issues and work with bourgeois feminists on all manner of important issues. Thus, I do not claim that there is something anti-woman about these formulas.

However, I claim that there is a difference in how denials of “feminism” and denials of “nationalism” are employed in practice, even when a Marxist-Leninist who is both a man and a member of the oppressor nation is talking. The difference takes two forms, one is subjective, and the other objective.

Firstly, speaking on behalf of men Marxist-Leninists, I believe we are harsher on feminists than nationalists. I think as men we have a tendency to be less conscious of chauvinistic language employed against women than chauvinistic language employed against oppressed nations. I think we are quicker to call any manifestation of women’s struggle for liberation “bourgeois feminism” than we are to call manifestations of the struggle against national oppression “bourgeois nationalism”. I think we are more conscious of the need to recruit proportionately or (even better) disproportionately many oppressed nationals to our organisations than we are to recruit women.

Worst of all, of course, when women are recruited in an appropriate number to an organisation, all too often it is because some are being groomed for sex by abusive, charismatic men cadres. Relatedly, we are quicker to form national sections of a party in a multi-national state than women’s sections, even though strong women’s sections are crucial to keeping abusive men cadres in line, as they too are products of the patriarchal social order which has been with humans since the formation of class society.

This is all quite ironic, because, objectively, feminism is less dangerous than nationalism. One can easily imagine a currently oppressed nation will be liberated from the national oppression, will gain their national rights, etc., but the struggle will end there and this new national state might have very weak dynamics of social struggle, as happened with so many countries around the world. Some nation’s proletariats, consequently, become deradicalised by the release of pressure brought about by the end of a particularly violent national oppression, and although they remain exploited and oppressed in many ways unrelated to their specific national belonging, accept the propaganda of their “own” triumphant bourgeoisie, which seeks class peace so it may dominate its “own” market.

However, there has never been a bourgeois matriarchal state. The “woman-state” is an impossibility under capitalism, and indeed, feminists in general do not seek it, but seek an impossible total equality (impossible because capitalism is founded on inequality and exploitation). Therefore, it would seem obvious that just as we position ourselves on the frontlines of national liberation in spite of this meaning we find ourselves allied with bourgeois nationalists, we must be unafraid to position ourselves in contexts where bourgeois feminists hold sway, and be able to recruit from within those millieus.

If we are “too hard on feminists”, and need to not keep them “at arm’s length”, as I claim we do, why not simply follow the lead of various “Marxist” groups who proudly proclaim their organisations to be “feminist” (although often these declarations are quite hollow, as these groups have no meaningful contribution to progress on women’s liberation for women outside the movement to see, whether quantitative or qualitative, whether on bourgeois evolutionary or proletarian revolutionary terms)? As I said, precisely for the same reasons I gave for not referring to ourselves as “nationalists” of oppressed nations: There is a meaningful distinction between supporting “kinds of liberation [that we advocate as revolutionary socialists]” and centralising the identity of a particular site of oppression [in a narcissistic way that might deserve to be scornfully called “identity politics”].

We should not claim to be “against” feminists, but this label, like “nationalist” should be reserved for general currents in which our organisations can take part. One can claim that “the Kurdish movement” in Turkey is “nationalist”, and we, as supporters of national liberation, should not attack them on these grounds, but it is a meaningful distinction between us and them that for us, Kurdistan is a particularity, while national liberation is a universal, part of our conception of our stage of history, etc. etc.

Likewise, women’s rights movements, even of oppressor nations in imperialist countries can and should be worked with in some contexts, and in the case where the general trend is “bourgeois” and “oppressive” (as with the sort of “feminism” that lauds Theresa May), one can still build a counter-hegemony that will include some university “feminists”. We need to be able to operate within their struggle, both to advance women’s rights on principle in the particular social context, and pragmatically to articulate our views and intervene in that context on behalf of our understanding of anti-capitalism and anti-imperialism as a basis for struggling for human liberation as a concept. This is as true when women are struggling “as feminists” as when Palestinians are struggling “as Palestinians”, and in all the areas where the totality of capitalist society’s underlying contradictions rise to the surface in myriad ways: In the final instance, we are not for the oppressed and the exploited because of the specific form of their identity, but in the first instance, they experience their oppression and exploitation through the lens of manifold identities.

What felt odd to me about writing this rant is, thankfully, I see a trend of establishing stronger women’s sections, of pushing women more and more into leadership by “positive discrimination”, of “decent” men remaining less silent in the face of abuses of women comrades by men comrades. While writing, I had a premonition of young Marxist-Leninists reading it, and saying “so what? we knew all this”, or even interpreting me as trying to prove my “pro-woman” credentials while finding a more insidious way to call feminism “bourgeois” (this is not my position and I think it would be a bad faith reading to understand what I wrote that way, even if one is not a convinced communist).

And yet, both in Turkey and in the UK, and I suspect in the US although I have not born witness to it as concretely, there is a trend of Marxists pushing a “feminist” line, neither in the traditional “right deviationist” sense of simply becoming indistinguishable from bourgeois feminists, nor as a mere cover for agitation and propaganda among women, but rather as a means of defending other positions which do much to reinforce the stereotype of the conservative Brezhnevite “Communist Party” with a condescending tone towards minority groups who dare to fall out of step with the ideological majority identity in “proletarian” costume.

Yes, apparently Marxists are dedicating considerable time to articulating the claim that there is a “problem” with trans people, that they are some “obstacle” to everyone else’s (!) liberation. Therefore, as I had intended to do ever since the publication of the above-linked Morning Star piece, I will be writing a rant on my observations of the dialectics of gender in capitalist society. If nothing else seems more pressing, that will be my next blog post.

Until next time…

Trump Elected CEO of the US, Part 2

I got very tired of writing and rewriting this piece with an eye to explaining the differences and similarities between Trump and Clinton, more or less addressing an audience of US citizens I know. There is no point to this. This is a Marxist-Leninist blog. There is a picture of Stalin at the top of my page. More or less anyone who can tolerate reading what I write here already assumes that the Democratic Party at large and Hillary Clinton in particular are strong proponents of US imperialism, and therefore the enemy. They understand that Trump being a fascist and head of a rapidly strengthening fascist movement does not make the US a fascist state yet (and if it did, the Democratic Party clearly “accepts” this fascism, as did the social democrats of Germany in their day, hence why Clinton was never a “popular front against fascism” candidate). Clinton is dead, Clinton-style politics is dead, and none of the Yankee worker aristocracy and petty bourgeoisie who are mourning it are reading this here.

On the other hand, however, we must be clear that the exposure of Hillary Clinton-style politics does not mean the end of the Democratic Party. Indeed, it is likely enough that the Democrats will embrace something akin to the social democrat Bernie Sanders to redeem themselves and be embraced as saviours. This is expected, as Bernie Sanders-style politics is the logical next step for the US at large. We must not, like the Trotskyites, simply “jump ahead” to a level of struggle for which the masses are not prepared. But neither can we patronisingly fall back on the assumption that the masses are not progressing. While there is much to criticise in Bernie Sanders, the fact that he is the point of reference for so many protesters shows that they are open to rather rapid development of their ideas about resistance: Sanders is popular while blaming the Democratic Party for its failure to mobilise the appropriate class politics against Trumpite fascism, and while encouraging the ongoing protests against it, just as he emphasised that even if he had won the presidency himself, progressive policies depended on mass mobilisation, for which he himself could only act as a cypher of sorts. This is extremely good and not to be looked down upon, even if his explicit desire is to institute a very normative social democratic order, his method involves (particularly by US standards) quite radical rethinking of the relationship of the masses to the state.

The shortcoming of all this, of course, is that Trump, and not Sanders, found himself as the cypher for opposition to the US’s imperialist foreign policy. Of course, Trump’s rhetoric on this point, like all other points, is empty. It is not tanks, but capital, which he worships, which creates imperialism. But it remains an important critique of Sanders that his foreign policy is effectively pro-imperialist. For this point, I am afraid all that can be said is to continually reemphaise to Sanders supporters that it is Sanders and Clinton and Obama who destroyed Libya, and who assist Saudi Arabia in destroying Yemen, and who have allowed Israel to continue to occupy Palestine. Given that, as I said, it is not the tanks which make imperialism but the capital which Trump stands for, the US’s foreign policy under Trump cannot be benevolent. Perhaps the (rightful) animosity towards Trump and all he represents will allow for a rearticulation of an anti-imperialist stance in the United States.

But the more general point, about class politics “internal” to the US being the answer to Trumpite fascism, while a decent “universal”, must be understood through various local particularities. Of course, “right deviationist” that I am [accused of being by EMEP and TÖPG comrades in Turkey], I refer to the national question.

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The national question and Trump

One of the most repeated truisms about Trump’s victory is that “white supremacy” is responsible. Many respond to this by claiming that, since many non-whites voted for Trump (more than voted for non-fascist Republican candidates like Mitt Romney), this cannot be the case. Both are making a category error entirely expected in the US context of assuming the central issue to be “race”.

What is “race”? It is a pseudo-scientific concept which posits the division of humanity into discrete biological types, usually determined by phenotype and “confirmed” by “ancestry”, and frequently posited as an explanation for sociological phenomena.

Race is not real. Now, “real” social divisions (that is, divisions based on socialisation) are certainly reified and interpreted through physiological traits. But this is akin to saying that “race” and “racism” are what lies beneath the treatment of the Catholic Irish in the British Isles, simply because many English thought and continue to think that there are important physical and genetic differences between themselves and the Irish, although it is perfectly obvious to everyone that the British Isles is a mad genetic mixture in all corners.

When Marxist-Leninists in the United States refer to Afro-Americans, they refer to a cultural group (the nation, in fact) who have their own history and culture going back centuries which must be accounted for, just as is the case with, say, the Québécois in Canada. This group is mostly “black”, and “black” people in the United States are so stigmatised in “white” society that they mostly end up identifying with and becoming socialised in this culture (just as recent European immigrants are quickly socialised into mainstream “Yankee” national culture). This is why we must emphasise that the division is simply one of skin colour and “stereotypes”. There is a cultural division which is as real as that between the English and the Irish, which happens to have been reified most saliently through “racial” identification. However, the implications for class politics are similar: The Yankee bourgeoisie wishes to hold down the Afro-American bourgeoisie and directly exploit Afro-American labour, thus maximising profits for the dominant nation bourgeoisie.

Thus, when we find Afro-Americans voting for Trump, we can understand that they identify not with “white supremacy” but with the “Great American” ideology, and thus resemble members of any oppressed national group who identify with the oppressor nation because they (falsely) believe their subservience will be rewarded. The same may be said for “Asians” (a very diverse “group”), who “shocked” post-modernist race-theorists at my school by not running in fear of Trump’s “white supremacy”: Trump’s ideology is Yankee supremacy, which has white undertones, but is, at the end of the day, a nationalist ideology which has to remake its “genetic” composition constantly, and can therefore appeal to many assimilated bourgeois “Asians”… or even non-assimilated bourgeois “Asians” if their own nationalism corresponds with elements of the Trumpite worldview. All of this was ignored by post-modernists around me, who assumed the eternal radical-ness of simply looking “non-white” in the United States, and assured me that all non-whites who voted for Trump have sold out their “real” culture (which is voting for Clinton?), have internalised racism (or perhaps they benefit from anti-“black” racism themselves?), or some other hand-waving gesture to avoid the reality of bourgeois “non-whites” who have right wing views based on their class and national interests.

In any event, it is necessary to break down all “minority” politics (including those of Afro-Americans) in terms of their class interests when doing analysis: Are there sharp contradictions between the bourgeoisie of the minority group in question and the Yankee bourgeoisie? Is the trend towards more or less contradiction as the crisis deepens? What is the strength of the proletariat of the minority in question? Do their numbers and territory make them a nation, or a mere national minority within the United States?

This is all very well and good, but what of the white majority vote? After all, a spike in minority votes for Republicans or not, it matters that many white workers did turn out for Trump, and we cannot mobilise purely on oppressed nations and minority nationalities (although in the US, it must be said that this is not done nearly enough on the radical left). While it is not the case (and has never truly been the case and will, as history moves forward, likely become less the case) that the oppressor “Yankee” nation is “pure white”, the majority of “white” English-speakers in North America do belong to this national formation. Do they too support Trump “naturally” for being white?

Yes and no. Like bourgeois “Asians”, bourgeois whites everywhere ought to be expected, as a general rule, to support reactionary and imperialist nationalism as an ideology against a revolutionary internationalism and national liberation movements. They would have done this covertly through Clinton and many will do it overtly through Trump. However, bourgeois whites (including landowners and urban bourgeois) in areas with a large presence of an oppressed nation will be more quick to fall in line behind fascism as demographic trends dictate that suppression of minorities be scaled back if the niceties of bourgeois democracy are to be preserved. That is to say, one should not be surprised that the Apartheid South Africa-like environment of urban Atlanta pushes the urban bourgeoisie towards Trump (who overtly antagonises Black Lives Matter) while their Manhattan equivalent, not immediately “threatened” by a local oppressed nation, was comfortable voting for Clinton (who simply ignores Black Lives Matter). This trend of course applies in Texas and portions of the southwest where Chicanos and Native American nations and nationalities make the local white bourgeoisie “uneasy”, and indeed it is not surprising that landowning whites living in all areas near the various Native American nationalities consistently vote as right-wing as possible, fearing that any move towards a conciliatory tone will open a space for the articulation of grievances by these groups, who are the victims of a Yankee genocide and who rightly demand the restoration of their rights, including their land.

A very different picture emerges in Appalachia and the so-called “Rust Belt”. In Appalachia, it is the local and culturally distinct white population which is consistently left behind, finding itself almost as impoverished as Black America is. Accordingly, the US ICOR affiliate ROL has theorised the existence of an oppressed Appalachian nation. This national formation behaves very much like the multi-nationality region of the Eastern Black Sea in Turkey, or the North of England (which may be a separate nation from the South of England), where their apparent “closeness” to the oppressor nation allowed them to be easily swayed to the right after progressive movements which were once particularly successful in these regions collapsed. Like the Black Sea, it is our hope that in the North of England or Appalachia a new progressive movement can work to expose and replace the fascist trends which run rampant in these areas, held up as they are only by empty demagoguery and obfuscationism, and not by the concrete interests of the majority.

As for the “Rust Belt”, it has now been said almost too many times that there are many urban workers in the region that voted for Obama before turning to Trump in 2016. Living in the heartland of Yankeedom, where national contradictions are much less than in the southern regions of the country, or even slightly west in the Dakotas, this is perhaps the “purest” white proletariat. Since the 2008 crisis, the benefits they were meant to reap from the exploitation of these other groups are being pulled back, and they desperately crave change. This is why they were inspired by Obama, and indeed why many of them were inspired by Sanders. Having been robbed of inspiration “from the left”, they have nowhere to turn but Trump.

So, what is to be done?

Everywhere, Trump and the fascist ideology which seeps into the mainstream through him must be vigorously opposed in the streets. If this flashy but premature turn to fascism is not stamped out quickly, the US as a whole runs the risk of rapidly descending into the mire into which US imperialism has plunged so many other countries over the course of the Cold War and beyond.

Everywhere, workers and students must draw closer together and learn from each other. Every form of extra-parliamentary resistance put forth by the masses should be embraced and supported.

Everywhere, it must be emphasised that whatever our criticisms of Sanders, it was his unique (for the US context) “left” populism which was the correct response for the current conditions in which fascists are thriving, not an appeal to the status quo which is what angers the people and delivers them into fascism’s waiting embrace.

Progressives from areas where Trumpite fascism is already very unpopular should seriously consider relocating to the colonised heartlands of oppressed nations and nationalities to concretely aid those oppressed nations and nationalities in their struggle against colonialism. We must support the national resistance of the Sioux people exemplified at Standing Rock, we must push forward the struggle of the Navajo, we must work together with Chicanos against the ICE Raids.

We absolutely must defend the resistance of Black America against police violence and work towards the strengthening of communal institutions for Afro-Americans, in the Black Belt South in particular. This means first and foremost working to reengage the disenfranchised Afro-American population with day to day politics. If Afro-Americans were not so weak and demoralised in their own homeland, thanks to years of neo-Jim Crow politics (which could very well get worse under Trump), there could be many more Chokwe Lumumbas preaching and actually leading in community control for this oppressed national minority in the US.

When dealing with “white” proletarians in such regions, we must emphasise their common interests with the minority “poor”, and how they are robbed by the Trumps of the world, who are the real ones taking their jobs away, when the resources exist to feed, clothe, house, educate, and employ everyone. If a new progressive movement in Appalachia can be forged, now is the time, especially when Trump fails to deliver to this impoverished region the change they so desperately need.

Among proletarians in general, the falsehood of Trump’s promises may soon be exposed: The renewal for ordinary people cannot be accomplished through the methods Trump and the Republicans are prepared to employ, so they will be reduced to empty demagoguery and scapegoating. However, these are the methods which have been tacitly accept for years under Obama, who himself has deported more people from the United States than Bush. The system may not be 100% behind Trump, but it has nothing against continuing the slide that led to him and will one day lead far past him. The broadest possible front against this slide is necessary: We must find a way to draw together the proletariat and the oppressed together with political trends which have been weakly struggling in parliamentary politics (inside or outside of the Democratic Party, in either case suppressed by the capital forces which stand behind it). This is no time for sectarianism: We must work with anyone who understands that the people, and not the system, is the means by which the fascist slide will be stopped.

On Choosing One’s Enemy

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As the entire English-speaking world can’t stop talking about Trump and Clinton, I suppose I’m going to keep talking about Trump and Clinton, despite my best efforts. Anyway, given current conditions “back home”, there is a very good chance I will be stuck here for longer than anticipated, and even if I should return to the UK I will be forced to put up with constant news from “across the pond”. Regardless, I am only too happy to intervene in the politics of the chief imperialist power on the planet in my own small way. So here we go:

All around me, even among the supposed professional “critical thinkers” in academia, US citizens have accepted the premise that the supreme evil in the world is Donald Trump. As anyone who has been reading me knows, I am not a fan of Donald Trump nor do I think there is some benefit in his candidacy for the left. My argument is that his candidacy is beneficial for the Clinton campaign and the forces which that campaign represents.

Clinton could not ask for a better enemy than Trump. He has thrown the Republican party into a panic, for one thing, which is the first reason why the DNC/Clinton campaign helped elevate his position within the Republican race. The Republican party could not do the same with Sanders even if they had wanted to, because, as the representatives of “the left” to the mainstream US audience (as laughable as that concept sounds to the rest of us), the Democratic party has built-in mechanisms to protect its favoured candidate, most overtly and legally the infamous super-delegates which handed Clinton her victory.

Following this victory, the same media which (by Obama’s own admission) gave undue emphasis to this orange clown so that he would seem viable pursued a reverse sensationalist line about how un-viable and embarrassing Trump is. Ranks have been closed, and now hardly a day goes by without the bulk of the media screaming to the high heavens what an embarrassment Trump is. Clinton’s victory is now all but assured, yes, even according to the Republican Party which itself has closed ranks around Clinton.

But as we all know, Clinton is herself the enemy of the left. Clinton represents the dominant order which promises more Trumps, Clinton represents a legacy of trampling on the rights of the Afro-American people. Clinton is Wall Street (one of the few points Trump raised during the debates which was at all reasonable, the others of course being Syria and Russia), which is why both Wall Street parties know she must win. And she will.

What is to be done now? As I have said before, the only apparently viable step is to rally the troops around the Green Party for a protest vote, to strengthen the organisation of the oppressed, and to raise higher the voice of resistance at home and abroad.

But is this what is happening in the media? Far from it! Sanders – who, despite his many flaws, represented a strong step forward for the Yankee proletariat in terms of articulating an attack on Wall Street rule – has tried to pose Clinton as the head of an anti-fascist front (just as the CPI(M) does in India with the Congress Party!). I dare not even mention the CPUSA, who make Sanders look like Lenin by comparison with their more or less uncritical support for the Democrats regardless of the local conditions!

But Sanders’s supporters would doubtless mention that Sanders still has potential: After all, he has to take part in electoral politics, and is continuing to try to work outside of the presidential election through his “Our Revolution” campaign. There is certainly still the very real possibility that Sanders will reemerge onto the Yankee national stage when (not if) Clinton drops all pretense of synthesising the Sanders campaign demands with her own (after her election). What we ought to do then is look to the “radicals” who do not have a political office to look after, and not put undue blame or faith in Sanders, who supposedly have an independent and critical role.

Perhaps you are all familiar with England’s own Laurie Penny. This ex-student ex-radical represents the general trajectory of oppressor nation petty bourgeois “radicals”, whose own class interests make it more likely that they will sell themselves out to the status quo under the guise of “reformism”. Here she is gushing about Clinton as a “good enemy” (one would think the “good enemy” would be the enemy more likely to blunder and make mistakes which could be exploited by our side!):

A general election is about nothing more or less than choosing your enemy. Any government leader must be considered an enemy to those who believe in radical change. Hillary Clinton is not yet that enemy but by damn. I hope she gets to be. Hillary Clinton is the sort of enemy I’ve been dreaming of over ten years of political work. She’s the kind of enemy you can respect. I look forward to fighting her on her commitment to climate protection, on workers’ rights, on welfare, on foreign policy. Bring that shit on. That’s the sort of fight I relish. I want to argue over how the state can best serve the interests of women and minorities, not whether it should.

A fine rebuttal was penned by a dear comrade from Red London:

Ulrike Meinhof warned about Laurie Penny back in 1968 in her piece on the role of columnists: “The columnist’s fenced-in but independent thinking gives the whole paper the aura of independent thinking. The columnist’s outrageousness gives the paper the aura of outrageousness. The columnist’s occasional and courageous expression of unpopular ideas gives the paper the aura of courage to express unpopular ideas […] the columnist is the editor’s best lackey, the one who brings in the money and the prestige, and behaves as though it were possible to have an opinion on any topic in the world, expressed in a text that is always the same length, and all that. Columnists are the blacks of the State Department, the women in the federal government, the fig leaves, the tokens, the alibis, the excuses.”

Laurie Penny shamelessly capitalises on her ‘student radical’ label 5 years on to pretend that she is the voice of left-wing activism rather than liberal capitulation: “[Clinton]’s the kind of enemy you can respect. I look forward to fighting her on her commitment to climate protection, on workers’ rights, on welfare, on foreign policy. Bring that shit on. That’s the sort of fight I relish. I want to argue over how the state can best serve the interests of women and minorities, not whether it should. That’s the sort of fight that makes me better.”

So when Laurie Penny says this about Clinton, remember that she’s not the one who will be doing any fighting – at best she’ll write a few mildly critical columns for a lot of money. Something that Meinhof summed up so well: “It is opportunistic to claim to be struggling against the conditions that one is actually reproducing. It is opportunistic to use the methods that stabilise a system and claim to be seeking change.”

Indeed. This chorus of agreement that we must be “with her” against him reeks of silencing what little dissent was drummed up by the Sanders campaign (and to appease pplswar, let me reiterate that despite my disagreements with Sanders, he did more to radicalise the Yankee proletariat than anyone else since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis). The danger is that “when the dust settles” we will be back where we started under Obama.

Now, I would be no dialectician if I did not emphasise that we cannot literally return to 2008. Rather, it is “first as tragedy, then as farce”, with a US leadership with an even worse track record prior to assuming office, promising us even better conditions for the fascist forces which have rallied under Trump!

We see this with the coup attempt in Turkey. The entire media, even those supposedly critical of Erdoğan, have rallied behind the narrative of “FETÖ” and to a certain extent accepted the “heroism” of the protestors (who were actually backed by the dominant portion of the state forces) who “saved democracy” (as if Turkish “democracy” is even worth saving). When one utters such heresy in Turkey, one is asked if one supports “the coup” or “FETÖ”.

Nobody is more critical of the Gülen movement and anti-Erdoğan elements within the Turkish Armed Forces than I am. These are the forces which criticised Erdoğan because he was too soft (!!!) on the Kurdish people’s heroic liberation movement for years. These are not people who can be entrusted with our future at all.

…But then neither can the Turkish Armed Forces under Erdoğan, who are currently bombing West Kurdistan (Rojava) as they crack down on progressive forces across the country (in the name of mopping up the reactionary coup to which we had no connection)!

Now thankfully, in terms of the organised left in Turkey, only a few small “left” factions openly backed Erdoğan against “the coup” (the UK SWP-backed Trotskyite “party” DSİP, and the arch-revisionist Doğu Perinçek’s pseudo-socialist cult Vatan Partisi). Our general movement was to condemn the coup entirely and to resume our resistance to Erdoğan. So we still have some forces on the ground, and we must continue to march forward in spite of extremely adverse conditions (outside of Kurdistan, the anti-fascist movement is still relatively weak, one must be honest). But without an organised left in the US, can serious resistance to the incoming Clinton regime be expected?

As always, and as every foreign visitor to the United States immediately observes, the most revolutionary force is certainly the oppressed Afro-American people. Other oppressed nations and nationalities also present a relatively strong force which can be directed against the state and monopoly capital which it represents, but it seems there is still something to the old thesis that the Yankee oppressor nation’s “bourgeoisified” proletariat is too “bought off” to be the main focal point of organisation in the United States.

Of course, this is not to say that one should ever cease trying to organise people of diverse backgrounds. It is simply to say that, just as we should focus organisation on the proletariat of all nations (despite progressive elements of the bourgeoisie), we must assume that serious forces of resistance in the US will come from the oppressed nations first, who can relate to the victims of US imperialism around the world as Sanders and many of his supporters cannot, because they too are direct victims of US imperialism. The oppressor nation proletariat must itself be organised on the grounds of solidarity with these oppressed nations. Put another way:

Workers and oppressed peoples of the world, unite!

Accelerationism… Decelerationism?

Trumping

Worker’s Spatula are continuing their running joke about Donald Trump being the answer to the US’s problems. The joke, such as it is, insists that US comrades have to vote for Trump as nothing else will force the US left into action and all reformist methods are condemned by the political mainstream as “divisive”. I know that the comrades at Worker’s Spatula are being facetious, but I still find this to be a worthy jumping off point for a few thoughts I’ve been wanting to make publicly on account of some private debates.

The idea behind accelerationism, to its credit, has its roots in a basic Marxist idea: Capitalism creates its own contradictions. States create their own enemies. In short: actions have reactions. But does this work in the vulgar sense of “the worse a capitalist state is, the more the people will want to demolish capitalism”?

No. First of all, because the people do not automatically associate what we consider “the bourgeois state” with capitalism. They may just see a specific government which can be replaced with another government with slightly better policies. This may be frustrating, but successively worse governments often teach the people to long for a “return” to “a better era” in the past. Successively better governments may teach the people that they can always demand better. But let’s give a practical example of accelerationism failing: Few would deny that Margaret Thatcher was a case of the rapid dismantling of the trappings of the social state accepted as “workable capitalism” by much of the British working classes. If a qualitative shift to a much worse form of capitalism caused the working classes to view themselves as politicised by class and made them conscious of the idea of proletarian power, then Thatcher should’ve been the beginning of the end for capitalism in Britain. She certainly enraged many proletarians at the time.

However, Thatcherism had the opposite effect, with Labour surrendering to its right wing, starting a long process by which only now has the left of Labour been able to rebuild a party that might even be able to fight for moderate reforms for the working class.

To give an example from the US, it is widely acknowledged that there are many “red states” in the US which the Democratic party effectively surrenders to the Republicans. Bernie Sanders publicly criticised this in one of his last speeches before effectively conceding to Clinton. Aside from this, many US leftists have accused the Democrats of sliding consistently to the right, following the Republicans, in search of a “centre”. Has this helped the Left in the US?

This is not to say that disasters can’t be good, that there is never any truth to Mao’s famous dictum: “There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent”. But such disasters should be situations in which the enemy are exposed and themselves feel panic (hence the chaos), not where they are simply allowed to be as cruel to the people as they like. An example of this is the 2008 financial crisis. The crisis did not result in proletarian revolution, but it sparked widespread political mobilisation against a system which was clearly shown, to the average person, to be corrupt. In the US, as usual, this meant more gains for the (bold, confident) Right than it did for the (timid, conciliatory) Left: An embryonic fascist movement had to be unleashed, or had to be accommodated, depending which section of the bourgeoisie which operates within the Republican Party this is considered from. Meanwhile, because the Left is so weak in the US, it was enough for the Democrats to present themselves as relatively youthful and rebellious (Obama), and even accept some (very moderate) rebels into serious discussion (Sanders), without allowing for any meaningful change to the rhetoric, leadership, or practical behaviour of the party in the final instance (hence Sanders’s support for Clinton following a completely farcical primary campaign). However, the Sanders campaign was still a step forward compared to anything in years in the US context, and it owes much to the same crisis which produced Trump.

Another example of an opportunity in crisis is Brexit. There are those who felt that “Lexit” was an “accelerationist” line akin to saying “Let’s support UKIP because it’ll wake people up!”. But the “Lexit” supporters I know had a line more akin to “calling the bluff” of the pro-Brexit political classes (Tories and UKIP alike), who were claiming Brexit would allow for British money to be used to look after British people again, instead of going towards a nebulous “EU bureaucracy”. And indeed, Labour seems to have made it to a stronger relative position, albeit with the danger of Owen Smith trying to derail the principled social democrat Jeremy Corbyn right when he may have a chance to hit the Tories where it hurts in the upcoming elections (nobody makes the claim that UKIP has been “emboldened” by Brexit anymore).

We must be clear that those who supported “Lexit” at the time did not campaign for pro-Brexit Tories or UKIP, but rather seized upon the disgrace of the pro-Brexit Right after Brexit actually happened in order to demand that the social services like the NHS which ordinary British people hold dear be saved, just as the people were promised. Their bluff has been called.

The point is that what appears to be a bad situation may be a good one, if you can seize control of the narrative. Giving unlimited power to the Right does not achieve this effect, however, one should take advantage of all the Right’s mistakes to score points for the Left and push for changes that the masses feel are worthy of support and possible in practice at a given moment.

But while making clear that we do not endorse “accelerationism” and being clear on what it is (actively supporting reactionary leadership on the mistaken belief it will “wake people up”, NOT seizing on moments of crisis to rally the masses against the reactionary leadership which they see has failed), we should note that the US now faces a question which is almost the inverse, which one might term “decelerationism”.

Decelerating crisis through Clinton?

In light of the current prospects for President of the United States being Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, many people feel they are “caught between a rock and a hard place”. On the one hand, voting for Clinton will teach the Democrats that they can trample all over the political will of millions of Sanders supporters, not only by denying them their preferred candidate through underhanded methods, but by making no concessions to the political differences between the two candidates (who both objectively received many many votes), which could have easily been done by choosing Sanders or someone with Sanders-like politics as Clinton’s running mate. On the other hand, other than Clinton, the only candidate who can win in the current circumstances is Trump, who is more or less an open fascist. Isn’t any vote other than one for Clinton in this context an example of accepting accelerationism’s core premise, that we have to objectively support more reactionary leadership? Should US citizens not simply “decelerate”, and vote for Clinton?

First of all, I think it’s a mistake to tell those who are convinced they have to vote for Clinton not to do so. If their mind is made up, spending time telling them to vote for Jill Stein will only make you both more upset. The point is there are many who won’t vote at all, or who will vote for a smaller candidate that their particular communist party endorses, who can be convinced to rally around Jill Stein to make clear that there are real masses of people who are critical of Clinton “from the left” and whose votes the Democrats lost by making no concessions to the left wing of their party.

However, the actual vote is not what concerns me per se. The issue is the logic one hears in the discussions which invariably take place. The logic goes that Trump is worse than Clinton, so “we have to keep him out of office”. Certainly this is true in the most vulgar sense: If the next four years are to be considered on their own, I would prefer to have Clinton be the President of the United States rather than Trump, and not merely because I wouldn’t want to be forced out of the country prior to the completion of my PhD. So it would seem that Sanders is right: Now that it’s Trump versus Clinton, we all have to support Clinton, our saviour from the Trump madness.

However, while Sanders did play an extremely valuable educational role for the masses in the US, proclaiming in every single speech that it was not leadership which mattered most but the masses who take part in mass politics, a problem with his thinking, in common with that of the revisionist CPUSA, is that he understands Trump or the Republicans as existing in a vacuum from the Democrats. The Democrats are part of the same status quo as the Republicans. The Democrats and Republicans together have built a status quo which allowed for Trump to reach as far as he has. It may be that Trump chose the Republican Party as his home (for obvious reasons), but the Democrats cannot solve this problem, as they created it. They created it, and they do not acknowledge they created it. Millions know that something is wrong with the status quo in America: They express it in the Republican Party by following Trump with his jingoistic plans to “Make America Great Again”, and they expressed it with their massive support for Sanders despite the entirety of the Democratic establishment being against him (no one can compare Clinton and Sanders’s crowds on the campaign trail and reasonably conclude that Clinton was actually more popular). And how does the Clinton campaign respond to this clear mood of dissatisfaction?

America is already great! Everything is fine right now! What’s more, all these millions of people who demand answers should vote for me, and I’ll promise them… more of this thing that they’re so unreasonably angry about! I wonder why I’m not doing so well in the polls?

Now Clinton may be able to cheat to beat Trump just as she cheated to beat Sanders, so maybe she doesn’t have to worry about the fact that so many people hate her. But leftists who put their faith in the Democrats to “decelerate” the madness which manifests itself in Trump should worry about this. They should worry because if there is not a concrete left answer to the status quo by 2020, the fascist threat will only grow stronger then (no matter who won the 2016 election), and Clinton may not be able to beat the fascist they nominate then.

…And they will nominate a fascist, because if Clinton wins and gives the world more of the same conditions, people are just going to get angrier than they are now. Time is not unlimited, and the fascist forces will grow stronger. What will the US Left’s response be? To just think they can decelerate this process without ever articulating real solutions to the social conditions in which fascists can draw so many followers? To recreate the status quo again and again out of cowardice? I pray to the god I’m not sure I believe in that that’s not what happens. Because what happens in the US will affect all of us, and even if it didn’t, the peoples of the US deserve better than a future dictated by a Clinton or a Trump.

An HDP for the USA: Election 2016

In response to my sharing the ROL’s analysis of the post-Sanders fallout, I received this comment from the comrade writing under the name “John McDonnell’s Kalishnikov”:

Excellent analysis! A break from the Democrats is possible, and we must do all that we can to achieve it. However, we need to be sure to combine such activities with militant anti-Trump work, especially to refute charges of “spoiling” and letting the greater evils win. Gain as much support as we can, form an American HDP, confront and expose Clinton, drive off Trump, that is what needs to be done. Of course, the question is how. Protests at the DNC are definitely a great place to start. What worries me, though, is the inadequacy of the U.S. left to organize something like this without either squabbling with each other, hijacking it for their own ends, being sectarian and isolating themselves from it, or driving people away with relentless newspaper selling. Still, outside of the organized U.S. left, there are some great and capable people, and lacking the baggage of the U.S. left, can organize a split, build a mass left-wing third party of some sort, and work for a revival of mass working class politics here. Have faith in the masses.

I can say that this comment contains most of the elements that are important to Marxists today, with an emphasis on the US particularities, and I am very pleased to see a US comrade express such enthusiasm for these ideas. There are two points within related to the US context which I want to address:

  1. The building of a HDP-like party for the US
  2. The question of the 2016 election

What are the main differences between Turkey and the US? For starters, Turkey is a semi-colony of great imperialist powers like the US. In our analysis, the Turkish state is also fascist. This is not only because of the complete lack of security for the dissenter in a bourgeois state with almost no separation of powers, but also because the perpetual state of terror is enforced by successive governments which frequently appropriate elements of the language of the left (rhetorical resistance to “imperialism” even while of course acting as its loyal pawn, rhetorical opposition to “capitalism” while objectively strengthening it) while relying on militant movements (whether “racist” or “Islamist” in their primary character, and they usually utilise, in their own words, a “synthesis” of the two) which cooperate with the police, secret police, and military and draw their strength from the petty bourgeoisie. In consequence, the HDP presents itself first and foremost as a party which will bring about democratic rights in Turkey (which would include the democratic rights of the Kurdish people, naturally), even if most of the forces behind it have deeper ideas and many understand this fascism as a natural outgrowth of capitalism-imperialism.

By contrast, the US is a bourgeois democracy which is sliding towards fascism. There are clearly fascist elements growing in the US mainstream now, but they have not yet needed to be “unleashed” and the bourgeois democratic rights of US progressives are still (largely) in place. What is interesting about this state of affairs is that it is clear that financial crisis has brought about bolder and more fascist trends, and that it is elements which make progressive demands for “the 99%”, like Bernie Sanders, which are most capable of being mobilised in defence of the positive features of bourgeois democracy. A US HDP would be, in some sense, a progressive party of labour, something which we can see a concrete example of in the rise of Corbyn, who stands up for the interests of the working class while opposing British imperialist wars, providing a strong Menshevik centre around which a more Bolshevik politics may be (re)built.

Additionally, Corbyn’s strong hand within Labour has coincided with the ascendancy of the SNP in Scotland, in a similar way to how the HDP draws on the strength of the Kurdish national movement: As the SNP has risen in Scotland, the “electability”-obsessed Blairites have been exposed as unelectable, while the persistence of the Kurdish question in Turkey means that previously chauvinistic Turkish leftists and democrats are forced to make peace with the Kurdish movement and work with it and not against it.

In general, the question of contradictions between the various nations and nationalities within a state is at any rate related to the power of the proletariat: The bourgeoisie does not want to “share” power with rival bourgeoisies, with whom they have divergent interests due to the question of wanting to maximise their “share” of exploitation/profit. Consequently, navigating between the contradictions of the various bourgeoisies offers the chance to isolate and therefore more effectively combat them. Further, by taking an active role in the national movements of the Scottish, Welsh, Kurds, Afro-Americans, Chicanos, etc., we earn the confidence of these “subordinate” nations’ masses that we stand for their real and immediate liberation, and that when we speak of “internationalism”, we do not mean the subjugation of their local culture or interests, but the real equality in struggle of various nations around the world. As the oppressed nations and nationalities of the US do not yet represent the powerful force that the SNP and other Scottish “national” elements do, this is also an area of vanguard struggle that must be upheld in the construction of a US version of the HDP, or the Labour Party: We must struggle as much as possible to make “mainstream” the idea of concrete demands for the liberation of various marginalised peoples in the imperialist US, in addition to our opposition to US imperialism “abroad”.

This is all very well and good to say: We want a progressive party in the US, which stands for labour, which stands against imperialism and its wars, which stands for liberation struggles at home and abroad. As Marxist-Leninists we can add: That acts as a popular front for electoral struggle for various progressive organisations and parties.

But as our comrade put it: “Of course, the question is how.”

Before everything else, I am obligated to say: Through engagement by progressive forces in popular front action on a local level, through unity in struggle and struggle in unity, through winning over more of the masses to various forms of radical struggle and exposing the perfidy of the Democrats. All of this is true and I hope all readers already accept that the ballot box, while very important, is but one part of struggle. But I would be ignoring the particularities of the US if I didn’t discuss the issue of what the ROL calls “the duopoly” of the Democrats and the Republicans, which is so deeply entrenched that it is difficult for any US citizen to imagine a politics without the “choice” between the two as a primary reference. This leads me to the question of what to do with this election.

Election 2016

All of my US comrades who I have discussed the matter with in private correspondence have told me they will be voting for Jill Stein and hope others will as well to show that there are real masses who do not accept the Democratic Party’s politics and pretensions to a right to the “progressive” vote. They emphasise that the ugliness of the Clinton campaign’s behaviour has led to a dip in her showing in the polls against Trump, which is evidence that despite the extreme politeness of the Sanders campaign, the masses themselves increasingly see that Clinton is unprincipled and represents very “undemocratic” interests. As you say: “Have faith in the masses”.

Several who are following Turkey closely also agree that an “HDP-like” organisation in the answer: Jill Stein has made clear that she is open to discussions aimed at unity of action with people like Bernie Sanders. This should be the stance of all real progressives towards one another, and the eventual goal should be that as the Greens and the various communist parties in Turkey are able to work together within the HDP and HDK, so too should Greens and communists and other progressives in the US work towards the building of an umbrella “party” which will aim to win over the “left Democrats” who have wanted to leave the party for years, and work together in an on-the-ground dialogue with US citizens of all national backgrounds, whether they presently vote Democrat or Republican, and learn from/teach them, in a dialectical process aiming at a higher level of struggle within the imperialist United States.

For the actual casting of a ballot this year though, what should US citizens do? With Sanders effectively out of the picture, many will vote for Clinton, which is emotionally understandable but cannot be understood as a real solution, as it will empower Trump-like politics when Clinton inevitably presides over continued social and economic decline. It is no surprise that the revisionist CPUSA chose this path (even before Sanders was effectively defeated), and indeed it is the stance of washed-up Marxists in other countries as well: To opportunistically support the very forces responsible for the rise of fascism “against fascism” without presenting any real viable alternative.

JillStein

Most others will vote for Stein, and will inevitably be accused of “spoiling” as third party voters in the US always are no matter the facts of the situation. Given that a Clinton presidency would not provide “breathing space” for progressives (but on the contrary will empower fascist forces, and it is to be noted that Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein have been far fiercer in their attacks against the Trump worldview than Clinton has been), I encourage all US comrades to maximise this protest vote, to show both the masses and the Democratic Party elite that they cannot do whatever they want and have everything they want at the same time. In light of the Sanders campaign, the Democratic Party elite cannot pretend that left-of-Democratic politics have no popular appeal, as they have for years, and yet each new statement by the Clinton campaign is a slap in the face to the millions who voted for Bernie Sanders. If there was ever a time to punish the Democrats, now is that time. If you have any comrades who don’t vote or who are going to vote for their sectarian candidate (the PSL comes to mind), please encourage them to vote for Jill Stein, whose popular appeal is increasing every day since Sanders effectively dropped out of the Democratic race, and who is the only hope to rally the real masses against the “two-party system” in this particular context.

But focusing entirely on the casting of the ballot is also a mistake. Even in terms of parliamentary struggle, we need to begin building stronger local and national networks in all countries. As the Green Party struggles to get on the ballot across the US, all electoral and non-electoral parties must struggle to build meaningful links to the masses they claim to speak for. All electoral and non-electoral parties must struggle for a principled unity in the form of a popular front, and Marxist-Leninists must take a vanguard role in these popular fronts, engaging in their contradictions in order to resolve them in our favour and in favour of the concrete liberation of the masses, in the United States and around the world.

Workers and Oppressed Peoples and Nations of the World, Unite!