NOTE to Readers. I am a product of the 1960s-1970s black liberation and socialist movements that brought me to the following conclusions. I am a Marxist. I am posting some of the conclusions I have reached on revolution and ideological struggle on a materialist basis. The following is the first part, dealing with Revolution and the Battle of Ideas.
I. Materialism, or the Marxian materialist conception of history: "In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness" (Marx, Preface to the Critique of Political Economy 1859)
II. Materialist sociology: "Social relations are closely bound up with productive forces. In acquiring new productive forces men change their mode of production; and in changing their mode of production, in changing the way of earning their living, they change all their social relations." (Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy 1847)
III. Materialist conception of history and necessity for revolutions: "Man never renounces what he has gained, but this does not mean that he never renounces the form of society in which he has acquired certain productive forces. On the contrary. If he is not to be deprived of the results obtained or to forfeit the fruits of civilisation, man is compelled to change all his traditional social forms as soon as the mode of commerce ceases to correspond to the productive forces acquired ( Letter from Marx to Pavel Vasilyevich Annenkov, 1846)
IV. Materialist socio-political epistemology of working class socialism and revolution: "It is not a question of what this or that proletarian, or even the whole proletariat, at the moment regards as its aim. It is a question of what the proletariat is, and what, in accordance with this being, it will historically be compelled to do." (Marx on Proudhon in, The Holy Family, Or Critique of Critical Criticism 1845)
V. Predicting revolution: "At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or – this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms – with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution." (Marx, Preface to the Critique of Political Economy 1859)
Revolution and the Battle of Ideas
by Li'l Joe
January 13, 2019
Political and ideological struggle by the working classes and toiling masses is a cosmopolitan struggle to overthrow the social dominance of Capital and displace the capitalist class as ruling class. The working class must change the economy, capture state power and use it to crush capitalist resistance. Worker's power is required to carry through the expropriation of the expropriators to its logical and historical conclusion. Marxist materialist analysis recognises the need for a global revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat as the muscle to accomplish the economic emancipation of the working classes by the working class itself. Workers must capture state power and use it to crush capitalist resistance.
Capitalists have two political parties to represent their political (class) interests: the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. There is no labour party in the United States to represent working class economic/political interests. This is because US social and political consciousness is a racialised red herring that substitutes ethnic and gender consciousness that divides the class against itself for working class consciousness that's in opposition to capitalist economic relations. In empirical, economic reality, the working class is an economic category resting upon material historical techno-economic relations of production to which correspond sources of income: wages of labour, profits of capital, interests on money dealing capital and rent on land/dwellings. The working class is inclusive of all wage labour. As a class it is inclusive of wage workers in production and in services, commerce and public services. Thus a labour party is inclusive of all workers regardless of ethnic, social and gender categories.
The industrial and agricultural proletariat are the classes of wage workers without the labour of which nothing that is produced would be produced. Wages of workers and profits of capitalists are inversely related. The Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party are political enemies of the class of wage workers. The political interests of workers and capitalists are mutually exclusive. The working class revolution is against existing relations of production and appropriation. It is at the same time an economic and political social revolution.
"The 'new relationships of power for the future' can only mean that a different group/class, the working class take power away from Capital. The exploited taking "power" away from the exploiters. The "power" to exploit wage workers in the social production processes should be abolished by the workers themselves taking society's productive forces away from capital to put an end to "jobs" and the exploitation of workers by capitalists in particular and human by human generally." (David Moros)
The objective of worker's revolution is self-emancipation through the total destruction of the capitalist mode of production and its corresponding relations of production. (Marx Capital Volume II Chapter Twenty) Presently, means of production - agriculture, machinery, &c. are produced on the foundation of capitalist ownership of the means of production and distribution sold and purchased as valorised commodities. Means of subsistence are also purchased and sold as commodities. In order to live, propertyless workers have to turn their labour power into a commodity to sell for money wages. Workers aren't paid enough (wages) to "afford" to purchase machines and raw material or natural resources. Workers wages cover their family's cost of living. Public ownership is the precondition to do away with these relations of production and domination of labour by capital and renters by landlords. Production and distribution of means of production and articles for consumption will be transferred from capitalist ownership to public ownership to put an end to market economies based on commodity production and supply and demand based on money. The market's demand curve isn't based on human need but the available supply and purchasers ability to pay for it. The abolition of capital and the wages system of exploitation require the working class to win the battle of democracy to have the legitimacy (among the majority of workers) to legislate the transfer of the productive forces (means of social production and socialised agriculture) from capitalist ownership to public property and thus the management of production and distribution of goods and services by the producers and service workers themselves. This is the definition and meaning of socialism and communism.
It's said, "authority without power is scholastic and power without authority is tyranny". Elections provide authority for State power management on behalf of the common interests of the appropriating classes. Just as in political campaigns to newly win an office or get re-elected to office, candidates use ethno-jingoism promoted through media propaganda; so, as elected members of Congress or the national executive regime use the coercive power of States on the behalf of both domestic and transnational capital the rulers use nationalistic patriotism to win domestic support in foreign policies and wars.
By winning the majority of seats in the House of Representatives will win the authority to appeal to all workers including workers in the military to make the House Of Representatives a Parliamentary democracy and organise the overthrow and dissolution of the Senate, Presidential and Judicial bureaucratic military state. Winning the battle of democracy means also winning workers in the rank and file military forces to revolt against the Military brass. We will Abolish the Pentagon. Only working class parties will exist in the revolutionary stage and form of parliamentary democracy. The Congress, Presidency and existing judiciary, together with the Democratic Party as well as Republican Party will be tossed in the dustbin of history. Its members physically removed from Congress, the Oval Office and the Supreme Court.
Climatic and economic challenges require worker's struggle to win office and govern to begin right now. By organising an American Labor Party that's exclusively financed by trade unions and socially based in the working class as a whole is the safe-guard against internal corruption and discipline in governing. The Party's objective is to become the social majority in the lower house - the so-called House of Representatives. This will become a real People Chamber. We will overcome in numbers and displace in policies the capitalist parties in the House of Representatives.
Worker's revolution as an economic political revolution means the producing classes will displace appropriating capitalists by legislating the transfer of the productive forces to public ownership and management. The workers' revolution will be a socialist revolution in that workers' self-management of production and distribution, the socialist project, will began by eliminating the existence of industrial and agricultural commodity production and therefore commercial and finance capital, along with landlord ownership of means of shelter. Markets and money will be abolished. Insomuch as, to quote Marx "the capitalist mode of appropriation, the result of the capitalist mode of production, produces capitalist private property . . . which rest on exploitation of the nominally free labour of others, ie., on wage labour" " (Marx, Capital Vol. I Chapter 32). So too will the elimination of capitalist private property be ended once the capitalist mode of appropriation and exploitation of labour power no longer exists. The exploitation of man by man will cease to exist. Along with the abolition of capitalist relations, the competitive "war of all against all", which Thomas Hobbes wrote makes life "nasty, brutal and short" will be no longer the case. Human nature will change. The abolition of class domination will end class and privileges, racism, sexism, nations and war. There will no longer be any need for politics and states. Once the dictatorship of the proletariat achieve these goals there will be no further need for a worker's state
Workers revolution has to be International. The working-classes in Britain through the trade unions in the Labour Party, with the new leadership of socialists represented by Jeremy Corbyn and in France as the Yellow-Vest movement shows the European working classes are beginning to recover their revolutionary heritages: the English Levelers and Chartist movement is being discussed in Britain (often mentioned by Jeremy Corbyn); and in France the previous experiences of workers in the French revolutions of 1793 (the sans-culottes, the Enrages), of 1848, the Paris Commune of 1871 and May-June 1968. Workers in advanced industrial democracies have the class power and corresponding the class consciousness to overthrow capitalism. To do away with capitalist commodity production, wage labour and the world market is also putting an end to imperialism.
The Chinese Communist Party is showing how the transfer of technology and helping infrastructure development in Africa can be done without any form of exploitation. Ending commodity production, and with it, the world market and its power will enable industrialised worker's democracies together with industrialising China, Cuba, Viet Nam and Venezuela in cooperation with less developed nations to free themselves of the need for commodity production, markets and money.
If everything is as it appears to be then there would be no need for science. The sun appears to rise in the East and set in the West, according to culturally influenced perspectives. Racial categories are similar. Capitalist culture, the result of competition, has made it appear that human individuals are at war, all against all, and that it's natural for groups of humans with identical pigment and morphological characteristics to combine to increase it's life changes against rivals. The Church, on the basis of appearances and supported by arguments based in the Bible and the arguments of Aristotle and Ptolemy, rejected the heliocentric model of Copernicus and Galileo. So also ruling class politicians and propagandists reject scientific thinking that will engender social revolution and corresponding new cultural perspectives. The fact is that humans are a single species which descended from bipedal hominins with stereoscopic colour vision, language and the ability to make tools. By the way, the sun does not rise and set, the planet spins and Earth is not the center of the universe. The universe has no center.
Anthropologist Ruth Benedict got it right: "No man ever looks at the world through pristine eyes. He sees it edited by a definite set of customs and institutions and ways of thinking" (Ruth Benedict "Patterns of Culture".) However, she was dealing more with communal communities of hunters-gatherers, pastoralists and horticultural modes of appropriation. [Ref. see Marx "Pre-Capitalist Economic Formations] In class society based on mutually exclusive and therefore antagonistic class interests the functions of institutions (of learning) and ways of thinking are determined by the economically dominant classes. America's appropriating classes, as ruling classes, are not only owners of society's material means of production as its property, but also has the power to shape the community culture.
American workers do not yet regard themselves as workers as such. They don't read socialist sources. They don't read class conscious world literature. They are taught to believe themselves to be "middle class" (based on income, neighborhood lived in, lifestyle, &c.). Americanised workers socialisation processes produced workers who think of themselves (personally and politically) as "white men", "black people", "Chicano", "average guy" "women", "LGBTQ", along with other culturally created social categories. Such categories are immaterial but objective once internalised by individuals who enter the "ensemble of social relations" - social world - as an innocent child "tabula rasa"(John Locke).
Racialised modes of thought and belief systems in America's culture are passed from parents to offspring e.g., with the enslavement of Africans as capitalist private property, the driving of indigenous nations of North America from east to west, and forcing by "custom" immigrant workers from European nations to settle in segregated, isolated social circumstances, so-called "ethnic enclaves". With the elimination of chattel slavery black workers were forced to live in segregation and inner city ghettos. After the conquest of Northern Mexico, Mexicans were treated as outsiders and along with indigenous people were displaced by the migration of immigrants from Europe, and forced to live in segregated and inner city varrios. Individuals adopted and adapted to this social hell. Ideas, customs and subsequent tradition of social isolation begin to erupt in violence and to appear "normal", if not "natural".
Capitalists and landowners together are the economic classes in the United States that own the nations productive forces and appropriate the wealth produced by workers. Wealth in this country increases daily by the purchase and exploitation of wage workers in labour processes. Purchased labour power alienates the products of it's collective labour to its producers. Commodities so produced must be sold (necessary and surplus products) for the new, fresh value and surplus value added during the labour process to be realised as profits. Commercial capital purchases all the commodities produced in this way by industrial and agricultural capitalists. Commercial capital (department stores, supermarkets, fast foods, &c.) hire wage workers. Although these workers do not produce commodities embodying value and thus have not added any new value to the products as no valorisation takes place from unpacking pallets, stocking shelves or working cash registers, nonetheless, these workers are part of the working classes. Commercial capitalists exploit these employees by underpaying them. Worker families live from paycheck to paycheck. The unpaid labour is called surplus labour. It is this surplus value (value produced by labour at work over and above labour's wage) that upon the sale of all the commodities (necessary product (wages) + surplus product (profits)) its full value is realised as profits. Whereas wage earners work long enough to make the employers rich and powerful, they themselves earn only enough to spend their wages (primarily) on means of life/necessities ("the cost of living"). Capitalists use a portion of their profits to reinvest to expand production or commercial enterprise to make make more profits. Again and again.
All this theft of labour defines the capitalist mode of production and corresponding capitalist/worker "relations of production". This theft legal. The American State is a dictatorship of the capitalist and real estate classes. It owns the political parties that govern - that is the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party. Thus appropriating classes as ruling classes have at their disposal political lackeys and thus judicial appointments. They also own the the press and media. Political lackey's and intellectual lickspittle's job also includes shaping public opinion to form modes of customs, language norms, morality, religious beliefs defining what it is to be an "American", etc. On this basis are determined political allegiances.
This goes on from one generation to the next and is reinforced in formal education and by American bourgeois sociology, "political science" and vulgar bourgeois mathematical models of micro and macro economics taught at universities. Slavery made bourgeois relations of production - i.e., agricultural capitalist commodity production on the basis of chattel slaves - appear as race relations. Living in segregation from one another, each group of workers regarded the others as competitors and enemies. This is just what the capitalists wanted: false consciousness presenting class relations as antagonistic race relations. Adding "gender" and sexual preferences into the mix of the oppressed category, the capitalist politicians and media exploit these divisions to the hilt! It is reinforced by the Democratic and Republican parties and media who call and promote it as "identity politics".
Working-classes in the United States don't recognise the fact that classes are based in production relations. In American bourgeois culture workers are not referred to as working-class. Some of the liberal and progressive Democrats will refer to them as "middle class". How much money one has does not determine one's class though. Middle class in reality would be the petty bourgeoisie and self-employed professionals. They "invest" in themselves and they work for themselves. They do not exploit. Nor are they exploited. These classes are located between capitalists and workers.
There's an American party called "working people's party". Working people? What does that mean? It can only mean people that work. Working people is a physical description of a human activity and not an economic or political category. Everyone works. Children do school work. Teenagers work when they clean their rooms or cut the lawn. The kids of "oligarchs", "the elite", "plutocrats"and "the one percent " and "regular people" also "work". CEOs also work five days a week managing the exploitation of wage workers. The illusory working people's party (in New York) is not the same thing as a working class party, or labour party financially and socially based in a class conscious working class and unions in opposition to capitalists and their exploitative economic relations of production. As such, a labor party would no more endorse Democrats than the British Labour Party would endorse Tories. The task of the working class is to win state power to transform the economy.
Democratic Party and "progressives" language concerning fairness and making the "fat cats" pay their fair share of taxes - i.e. increase taxes on "millionaires and billionaires", and denouncing "economic inequality" is a red herring. Under capitalist relations of production and appropriation relations of production cannot be otherwise. How much money individuals possess has nothing to do with an objective economic class analysis. The language of American politics and media about how much money the "rich" people have rather than the sources from which the income is derived is the red herring. Capitalists of all categories profit by not paying workers for the full time demanded of wage workers above socially necessary labour time.
Republicans dog whistle (to "white people") "Vote for me and take your country back" as they denounce "political correctness". Democrats cry against "the racist white working class" and candidates proclaim: "Vote for me and I'll make you safe from deplorable white racist Republicans." These "pseudo-profound bullshit" categories are reinforced during election cycles, especially Presidential elections. Neither politicians nor the American mainstream media explain to the American people that their votes really do not matter. It is the Electoral College and not the popular votes which determine who sits in the Oval Office. Nor are the workers told why the Senate is composed of millionaires and together with the President manage the affairs of State on behalf of their class, capital in general. Why are there never any of the "average wage earners" in Congress or the judiciary or presidential cabinet offices as authentic representatives of wage earners? Capitalist ruling classes have members of government from their own class. Parties represent class interests as members of the Senate, the Judiciary or in the top brass at the Pentagon.
Politicians and bourgeois media and respective supporters in Congressional and Presidential elections campaign as racial and ethnic representatives in opposition to those of others. This ethnic jingoism however is set aside once the campaigning politicians are elected to office. Once in office the members of Congress sublate their ideological identity and come together to provide political services required by the ruling classes and the State.
It's said "authority without power is scholastic and power without authority is tyranny". Elections provide authority for State power management on behalf of the common interests of the appropriating classes. Just as in political campaigns candidates use ethno-jingoism promoted through media propaganda; so, elected members of Congress or the Executive Branch regime use nationalistic patriotism on behalf of both domestic and transnational capital to win support in foreign policies and wars.
Along with patriotic racists, so-called progressives on mainstream and social media alike report the policies of US imperialism as "our foreign policy". As politics of war often come up, patriotism is the first refuge of scoundrels. Concerning sending US troops to invade and occupy any country, progressives, including those who oppose war, call the troops "our" brave young men. Debates between Republicans and Democrats, (conservatives and progressives) both pose the question on issues of what's in "our" best interest. Consequently, just as ethnic chauvinism makes one proud to declare "victory" when a "member" of "own's own" ethnic group wins an election as a Democrat or Republican, in either case, a political lackey of capitalist class dictatorship, a patriotic "American", identifies with the government as it serves the interests of domestic and transnational capitalists. Thus the necessity for the battle ideas among American workers.
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