Dedication to the Original socialist revolutionary Black Panther Party.
A "Lil Joe" Bio
By Lil Joe
The article following this Preface was written in 2005 following the 2004 election. In this article, which was initially written as a commentary on the lessons of Bernie Sanders, a socialist winning a seat in the US Senate (after several terms in the House of Representatives) was the context in which this article was written.
This article is the result of 40 years of direct participation in the Black liberation and socialist revolutionary movement, and study. Malcolm X said to Black revolutionaries that of all our researches, history rewards best. In the 60s and 70s, Black liberationists and socialist and communist revolutionaries studied and integrated the national liberation movement's strategies and tactics - especially the combined national liberation and socialist revolutionary wars led by Mao in China, to integrate it into strategies to take power in the US.
The assumptions of this article is that America, in the 20th -21st century, is one of the world's most technologically advanced industrial capitalist democracies on Earth, based completely on wage labor, unlike rural, peasant based less developed China in the 1920s -40s when the People's Liberation Army fought imperialist and Kuomintang nationalist lackeys of imperialism. In America, the revolution will take place in the cities, in connection with a national strategy for winning State Power. Thus, I spent a couple of decades doing serious studies of urban revolutions in Europe.
From the standpoint of the materialist conception of history and class struggle, I studied the peasants and artisans rebellion in London in the 14th century, led by and associated Wat Tyler, John Ball and Jack Straw. Then the English bourgeois revolution of 1640 in particular the Commons struggles against the Lords and monarchy. In my studies in England, I discovered the rise and intervention of the infant English proletariat as an independent class party, in the context of this bourgeois republican revolution: the Levelers, the Diggers and Digger Communism, and the role and the literature of Gaard Winstanley as a working class leader.
Also, while in England, when I wasn't in the Library studying I went out amongst the working classes restaurants, pubs, public parks, and visited London's local Socialist Worker's Party branch meetings, and so on. What I learned foremost, was the true understanding of what Marx and Lenin referred to as a class-conscious proletariat.
As opposed to race consciousness in the United States, class awareness is the prominent feature and determination in the social interactions and discussions, both within and between of all three major classes: the Lords, the Capitalist classes and the Working classes.
From my studies and experiences in England primarily London though there but for a short time, I deduced that this class awareness is because the class struggles between these three classes has been the driving social conflict determining political forces for the past 4 centuries of English political history. In contrast to American race cultural consciousness, in which people can distinguish the race of which a person belongs by language, even on telephone, this is not the case in England. Rather, as George Bernard shows in his play Pygmalion which is the basis for the movie "My Fair Lady" it is rather class "dialects" of the English language that are recognized and responded to as friend or enemy, even on telephone.
I don't recall the year I visited England, but it happened that it was an election year, and that the Queen, and nobility in the House of Lords, put on a show of opening Parliament. When I say "show", I meaning it in the sense defined by Hegel as "the inessential masquerading as essential".
The queen reading of a speech ostensibly instructing "her government" i.e. to the Lords and Commons of Parliament, what policies they would implement, was nothing but a show, in which the crowned and jeweled Lords sat in the Parliament audience, and the Commoners stood above in the balcony. the family of British workers with whom I lived laughed and explained to me that this show was really a farce, because the speech she read instructing her government had been written by the Parliament's dominant class in this case the Conservative Party.
This is show, because, the 1640 republican revolution and triumph in the civil war was overthrown by collaborators with Continent. There was a brief period of "restoration". But, this was itself overthrown by the political representatives in the so-called "Glorious Revolution" in 1688.
In the 1688 stage of the English revolution the bourgeois political representatives, recovering from the brief monarchist Restoration retook the initiative and the power.
The Glorious Revolution returned the English bourgeois to political power. But, the faction of the bourgeoisie which gained power in 1688 was a different faction than the bourgeois revolutionary factions in Parliament in 1640.
In the Parliamentary democratic republican revolution in 1640 the small urban bourgeoisie, came to leadership with the backing of the rural peasantry, and more significantly the urban proletariat specifically the support of the London working classes. These working classes and toiling masses were the power in Cromwell Independent Army.
The parliamentary government in 1688 was different than the one in power in 1640. The revolution in 1640 was explicitly a republican revolution that regarded the monarchy and nobility its enemies. Yet, even by 1640 among the nobility there were elements of it that had either switched over from serfdom to wage labor, or were lands and titles purchased by capitalists, who through money and by marriage were part of this landed aristocracy.
The bourgeois of the English nobility engaged in capitalist commodity production by wage labor, in context of international markets, as did but on the contrary made an opportunistic deal with the monarchy and nobility; to let the royalty return to England, have a semblance of power, but with symbolic royal and noble authority, as king and lords, to present Britain as a monarchy.
This symbolism would have deep significance for the British peasants and workers, whose socialization was that these operated by the will of God the concept of absolute monarchy was permanent in their souls, to which the republican and revolutionary thinking of their minds capitulated.
The British proletariat knows all this history, the same as Americans know the history of the American war of independence, and the civil war. But, the British proletariat knows this history of England from the standpoint of the official school texts of the capitalist system as dominant.
The British working classes in public and private schools are taught more about the revolution in 1688 than 1640. Nevertheless, the history of the British proletariat has since the 19th century Chartist movement has evolved in conflict with, thus separate and apart from bourgeois historical interpretations of events.
Politically active British workers are aware of Wat Tyler and Jon Ball, even Jack Straw; they know of the Levelers and the Diggers, even of Gaard Winestanly. They know of Robert Owen, Frederick Engels, the International Working Class Association that was based in London and they know Karl Marx similar to the African American knowledge of and appreciation of Frederick Douglas.
In Britain, the political combat of the working class represented by the Labor Party as such, has kept alive in the working its class awareness that they are a class, with interests and goals of their own.
Not only Wat Tyler, the Diggers, Gaard Winestanly, the Chartist, the International histories are assimilated by working class cultural upbringing in the consciousness of British workers. The British Labor Party, then the Communist Party and the Socialist Workers Party that broke from the opportunist dominating the Labor Party formed, respectively, and consecutively, by British workers themselves those two, principled revolutionary workers parties. These parties carry and preserve this proletarian historical consciousness.
Strolling through a working class district in London, I came across a restaurant, named "The General Strike". Of course I went in and took a seat. The restaurant had blown up photographs, wall to wall, of scenes of the British workers general strike of 1928. I of course knew of the 1928 worker's general strike in Britain, having read Leon Trotsky's critical analysis in America.
Cumulative of century's generations of working class struggles, the British general strike of 1926 is was a continuation of this class struggle and consciousness. The 1926 General Strike was part and parcel of their culture. It was a general strike led by working class rank and file union workers, including socialist and communist revolutionaries. But, the majority of the British workers were still connected politically with the British Labour Party.
The British Labor Party, the same as other parties in the Social-Democratic Labour Party international federation in Europe had in the 20th century become primarily parliamentary parties. By the beginning of the First World War these parties as parliamentary reformists had abandoned both their revolutionary proletarian heritage, and revolutionary Marxist theoretical analytical framework, as dated. The International broke up into national indeed, nationalist factions supporting their respective government's participation in the first imperialist war World War I.
The remaining Marxist revolutionary proletariat factions in the Social-Democratic international was represented in Germany by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht in Germany, and Lenin and Trotsky, respectively had opposed the war, Luxemburg was in fact imprisoned for its duration. These individuals not only opposed their governments participated in the war, but were thorough going revolutionaries, and drew lessons from the Russian General Strike in 1905, and were ready for revolution in 1917.
The wave of general strikes in Russia broke out in part in response to Russia's war with Japan, in 1905 in the industrial cities of Russia, resulting in Soviets of Workers. Trotsky was elected by revolutionary workers their President. Lenin wrote of the 1905 revolution "Two Tactics, and the Task of Revolution", Rosa Luxemburg wrote "The Mass Strike", and Trotsky wrote his first "Theory of Permanent Revolution".
The weapon of the mass strike is used against the State government's that represent the class interests of landlords and capitalist, the owners of the countries productive forces; with the potential to become the alternative workers' State government Assembly. The General Strike is qualitatively different than a strike of a limited number of workers against their employers, demanding wages, hours, and improved conditions and so on. A General Strike is a national Strike of Class against Class. But every class struggle is a political struggle. The workers general strike in England in 1926 of this character.
When I returned to the United States from England, I continued my studies. After decades of study of the Revolutions, the English Revolution, the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and even the American War of Independence and the Class Character of the American Civil War, I came to the recognition that in every modern Revolution, the rising class either represented by or wins the majority of delegates of a Lower Chamber or Estate, or creates an alternative Assembly, in either case displacing the Upper Chamber and abolishing both this Upper Chamber or Estate, the executive Branch based in it, and the Courts.
These political institution of Upper and Lower Chambers had their mode source in the political institutional structures in ancient Rome: the Upper Chamber housed the Senate, comprised of wealthy patricians; the rural plebeians were represented by the Tribune of the Plebs small farmers based on tribe, which initially had powerful representatives, such as the brothers Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus who were murdered by the partisans of the Patrician Senate.
Then there was Rome's Lower Chamber, the Assembly. It was comprised of the masses: ruined plebeians who migrated into Rome and became the propertyless proletariat. members of the Assembly qualified as grown men who were free and had Roman citizenship. They formally elected the consuls and the perfects, and the Senators. The patricians corrupted the Assembly; individuals bribed them into voting for them or in their interests. This is where the slogan "bread and circus" comes from.
Rosa Luxemburg, mentioned above, wrote:
Rome knew nothing of capitalism; heavy industry did not exist there. At that time slavery was the accepted order of things in Rome. Noble families, the rich, the financiers, satisfied all their needs by putting to work the slaves with which war had supplied them. In the course of time these rich people had laid hands on nearly all the provinces of Italy by stripping the Roman peasantry of their land. As they appropriated cereals in all the conquered provinces as tribute without cost, they profited thereby to lay out on their own estates, magnificent plantations, vineyards, pastures, orchards, and rich gardens, cultivated by armies of slaves working under the whip of the overseer. The people of the country-side, robbed of land and bread, flowed from all the provinces into the capital. But there they were in no better a position to earn a livelihood, for all the trades were carried on by slaves. Thus there was formed in Rome a numerous army of those who possessed nothing - the proletariat - having not even the possibility of selling their labour power. This proletariat, coming from the countryside, could not, therefore, be absorbed by industrial enterprises as is the case today; they became victims of hopeless poverty and were reduced to beggary. This numerous popular mass, starving without work, crowding the suburbs and open spaces and streets of Rome, conuted a permanent danger to the government and the possessing classes. Therefore, the government found itself compelled in its own interest to relieve the poverty. From time to time it distributed to the proletariat corn and other foodstuffs stored in the warehouses of the State. Further, to make the people forget their hardships it offered them free circus shows. Unlike the proletariat of our time, which maintains the whole of society by its labours, the enormous proletariat of Rome existed on charity.
The propertyless condition and like of income of the proletariat of Rome, forced those in the Assembly to sell their votes in order to live, just as in modern times the propertyless proletarians are forced to sell their labor power in order to live. As the ancient proletariat was economically dependent upon the patrician State Senate, and individual Senators, so the modern proletariat is economically dependent on the capitalists.
Political institutions represent material interests of classes; even religious consciousness is class consciousness. Of the English Revolution of 1840, Trotsky was right on point:
"In the England of the 1640s we see a parliament based upon the most whimsical franchise, which at the same time regarded itself as the representative organ of the people. The Lower House represented the nation in that it represented the bourgeoisie and thereby national wealth. In the reign of Charles I it was found, and not without amazement, that the House of Commons was three times richer than the House of Lords. The king now dissolved this parliament and now recalled it according to the pressure of financial need. Parliament created an army for its defense. The army gradually concentrated in its ranks all the most active, courageous and resolute elements. As a direct consequence of this, parliament capitulated to this army. We say, "As a direct consequence," but by this we wish to say that Parliament capitulated not simply to armed force (it did not capitulate to the King's army) but to the Puritan army of Cromwell which expressed the requirements of the revolution more boldly, more resolutely and more consistently than did Parliament.
Of the ideological struggles between these classes:
"The adherents of the Episcopal or Anglican, semi-Catholic Church were the party of the court, the nobility and of course the higher clergy. The Presbyterians were the party of the bourgeoisie, the party of wealth and enlightenment. The Independents, and the Puritans especially, were the party of the petty bourgeoisie, the plebeians. Wrapped up in ecclesiastical controversies, in the form of a struggle over the religious structure of the church, there took place a social self-determination of classes and their re-grouping along new, bourgeois lines. Politically the Presbyterian party stood for a limited monarchy; the Independents, who then were called root and branch men or in the language of our day, radicals, stood for a republic. The half-way position of the Presbyterians fully, corresponded to the contradictory interests of the bourgeoisie -- between the nobility and the plebeians. The Independents' party which dared to carry its ideas and slogans through to their conclusion naturally displaced the Presbyterians among the awakening petty-bourgeois masses in the towns and the countryside that formed the main force of the revolution. Events unfolded empirically. In their struggle for power and property interests both the former and the latter side hid themselves behind a cloak of legitimacy.
Legitimacy is an issue in every Revolution. In every Revolution, the People which makes it must believe that they are doing the Right Thing.
The French Catholic lower class priest, Abbe Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes, was one of the major pamphleteers on the eve of the French Revolution. His 1789 pamphlet "What Is the Third Estate", was to the French Revolution, that Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" was to the American Republican War of Independence. Sieves argued to the members of the Third Estate that they represented the nation as a whole, and that the 1st and 2nd Estates, of the nobility and the Clergy, were parasitic classes that made no contribution to the production and distribution of the wealth of the nation.
"What is a nation? A body of associates, living under a common law, and represented by the same legislature, etc. Is it not evident that the noble order has privileges and expenditures which it dares to call its rights, but which are apart from the rights of the great body of citizens? It departs there from the common law. So its civil rights make of it an isolated people in the midst of the great nation. This is truly imperium in imperia. In regard to its political rights, these also it exercises apart. It has its special representatives, which are not charged with securing the interests of the people. The body of its deputies sit apart; and when it is assembled in the same hall with the deputies of simple citizens, it is none the less true that its representation is essentially distinct and separate: it is a stranger to the nation, in the first place, by its origin, since its commission is not derived from the people; then by its object, which consists of defending not the general, but the particular interest. The Third Estate embraces then all that which belongs to the nation; and all that which is not the Third Estate, cannot be regarded as being of the nation. What is the Third Estate? It is the whole.
It was also a question of legitimacy, not of policy that was to govern the Republic, when the Deists and atheists Thomas Jefferson and others wrote the US Declaration of Independence, on behalf of the Constitutional Congress.
"The First Continental Congress was attended by 56 delegates representing 12 colonies. Georgia sent no delegates but agreed to support any plans made at the meeting. Leaders of the Congress included Samuel Adams , George Washington, Peyton Randolph, Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, John Adams, John Jay, Joseph Galloway, and John Dickinson. Peyton Randolph  of Virginia was chosen president of the Congress, and each of the 12 colonies had equal voting power.
"The first Congress sought fair treatment from Britain rather than independence. It set forth the position of the colonies toward taxation and trade in a Declaration of Rights, adopted on Oct. 14, 1774. The Congress declared that Parliament had no right to pass laws that affected America, except possibly in the area of foreign trade. It claimed the right of each colonial assembly to regulate its own internal affairs.
"Probably the boldest act of the Congress was to set up the Continental Association (below), which bound the colonists not to trade with Great Britain or use British goods until British trade and taxation policies had been changed. The delegates made plans to hold another Congress the following May, if necessary.
" Biographies of delegates that signed the DOI and/or the Constitution: Founders Page
" In addition to Peyton Randolph, the presidents of the Congress were: Henry Middleton, John Hancock, Henry Laurens, John Jay, Samuel Huntington, Thomas McKean, John Hanson, Elias Boudinot, Thomas Mifflin, Richard Henry Lee, Nathaniel Gorham, Arthur St. Clair, and Cyrus Griffin.
Continental Association was an agreement adopted by the First Continental Congress of the American Colonies on Oct. 20, 1774. It was designed to defend American rights. The chief provisions were that each colony would (1) stop importing all British and Irish goods and some foreign and West Indian products by Dec. 1, 1774; (2) halt participation in the slave trade effective Dec. 1, 1774; (3) stop consumption of all British and Irish goods and some foreign and West Indian products by March 1, 1775; (4) stop all exports to Britain, Ireland, and the West Indies beginning Sept. 10, 1775; and (5) appoint committees to report violations."
It was based on the popular ideas of Locke in England, and of Rousseau in France, where it stated that "all men are born free" and have the right to overthrow a government that had transformed itself from a protector of its people into an oppressor of them. See Locke's Second Treatise on Civil Government:
149. Though in a Constituted Commonwealth, standing upon its own Basis, and acting according to its own Nature, that is, acting for the preservation of the Community, there can be but one Supream Power, which is the Legislative, to which all the rest are and must be subordinate, yet the Legislative being only a Fiduciary Power to act for certain ends, there remains still in the People a Supream Power to remove or alter the Legislative, when they find the Legislative act contrary to the trust reposed in them. For all Power given with trust for the attaining an end, being limited by that end, whenever that end is manifestly neglected, or opposed, the trust must necessarily be forfeited, and the Power devolve into the hands of those that gave it, who may place it anew where they shall think best for their safety and security. And thus the Community perpetually retains a Supream Power of saving themselves from the attempts and designs of any Body, even of their Legislators, whenever they shall be so foolish, or so wicked, as to lay and carry on designs against the Liberties and Properties of the Subject. For no Man, or Society of Men, having a Power to deliver up their Preservation, or consequently the means of it, to the Absolute Will and arbitrary Dominion of another; whenever any one shall go about to bring them into such a Slavish Condition, they will always have a right to preserve what they have not a Power to part with; and to rid themselves of those who invade this Fundamental, Sacred, and unalterable Law of Self-Preservation, for which they enter'd into Society. And thus the Community may be said in this respect to be always the Supream Power, but not as considered under any Form of Government, because this Power of the People can never take place till the Government be dissolved.
155. It may be demanded here, What if the Executive Power being possessed of the Force of the Commonwealth, shall make use of that force to hinder the meeting and acting of the Legislative, when the Original Constitution, or the publick Exigencies require it? I say using Force upon the People without Authority, and contrary to the Trust put in him, that does so, is a state of War with the People, who have a right to reinstate their Legislative in the Exercise of their Power. For having erected a Legislative, with an intent they should exercise the Power of making Laws, either at certain set times, or when there is need of it; when they are hindr'd by any force from, what is so necessary to the Society, and wherein the Safety and preservation of the People consists, the People have a right to remove it by force. In all States and Conditions the true remedy of Force without Authority, is to oppose Force to it. The use of force without Authority, always puts him that uses it into a state of War, as the Aggressor, and renders him liable to be treated accordingly.
The French were radicals, and it was Jean Jacque Rousseau who took this doctrine of right against right, the right of revolution, to its radical philosophical conclusion:
"Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains. One thinks himself the master of others, and still remains a greater slave than they. How did this change come about? I do not know. What can make it legitimate? That question I think I can answer.
"If I took into account only force, and the effects derived from it, I should say: "As long as a people is compelled to obey, and obeys, it does well; as soon as it can shake off the yoke, and shakes it off, it does still better; for, regaining its liberty by the same right as took it away, either it is justified in resuming it, or there was no justification for those who took it away." But the social order is a sacred right which is the basis of all other rights. Nevertheless, this right does not come from nature, and must therefore be founded on conventions.
"SINCE no man has a natural authority over his fellow, and force creates no right, we must conclude that conventions form the basis of all legitimate authority among men.
"If an individual, says Grotius, can alienate his liberty and make himself the slave of a master, why could not a whole people do the same and make itself subject to a king? There are in this passage plenty of ambiguous words which would need explaining; but let us confine ourselves to the word alienate. To alienate is to give or to sell. Now, a man who becomes the slave of another does not give himself; he sells himself, at the least for his subsistence: but for what does a people sell itself? A king is so far from furnishing his subjects with their subsistence that he gets his own only from them; and, according to Rabelais, kings do not live on nothing. Do subjects then give their persons on condition that the king takes their goods also? I fail to see what they have left to preserve.
"It will be said that the despot assures his subjects civil tranquility. Granted; but what do they gain, if the wars his ambition brings down upon them, his insatiable avidity, and the vexations conduct of his ministers press harder on them than their own dissensions would have done? What do they gain, if the very tranquility they enjoy is one of their miseries? Tranquility is found also in dungeons; but is that enough to make them desirable places to live in? The Greeks imprisoned in the cave of the Cyclops lived there very tranquilly, while they were awaiting their turn to be devoured.
"To say that a man gives himself gratuitously, is to say what is absurd and inconceivable; such an act is null and illegitimate, from the mere fact that he who does it is out of his mind. To say the same of a whole people is to suppose a people of madmen; and madness creates no right.
"Even if each man could alienate himself, he could not alienate his children: they are born men and free; their liberty belongs to them, and no one but they has the right to dispose of it. Before they come to years of discretion, the father can, in their name, lay down conditions for their preservation and well-being, but he cannot give them irrevocably and without conditions: such a gift is contrary to the ends of nature, and exceeds the rights of paternity. It would therefore be necessary, in order to legitimize an arbitrary government, that in every generation the people should be in a position to accept or reject it; but, were this so, the government would be no longer arbitrary.
Rousseau writes of accepting or rejecting a government; he wasn't writing about elections every two to four years, in which the same ruling class parties rotate members of parliament or executive presidents, in same chambers, but the destruction of the oppressive government and the classes it represents.
One notes that in the writings of Locke and Rousseau, and most political treatise of the age of bourgeois republican and democratic revolutions, speaks of rights and powers, authority and abuse of authority by those in power, justifying the masses right of revolution.
All the drafters of the US Declaration of Independence did was to regurgitate these ideas so as to justify their break away from British mercantilism to the European democratic and republican intelligentsia.
"IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
"He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
"He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
"He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
"He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
"He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
"He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
"He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
"He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
"He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
"He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
"He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
"He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
"He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
"For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
"For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
"For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
"For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
"For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
"For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
"For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
"For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
"For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
"He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
"He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
"He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
"He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
"He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
"In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
"Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
"We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
Note that the Declaration of independence addresses the abuses of the King. This is bullshit, to play into the anti-monarchal fever in Europe's bourgeois and professional intelligentsia, especially in France. In reality it was the British Parliament that had held actual power in England since the Revolutions of 1640 and 1688.
This reference to literature isn't to say that individuals sat up apart from society "thinking", or that other individuals became revolutionaries by reading revolutionary tracts. As Engels wrote:
"The times of that superstition which attributed revolutions to the ill-will of a few agitators have long passed away. Everyone knows nowadays that wherever there is a revolutionary convulsion, there must be some social want in the background, which is prevented, by outworn institutions, from satisfying itself. The want may not vet be felt as strongly, as generally, as might ensure immediate success; but every attempt at forcible repression will only bring it forth stronger and stronger, until it bursts its fetters.
This is the way Marx explicated the English Revolutions of 1640 and 1688:
"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 he 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. Here I use the word commerce in its widest senseas we would say Verkehr in German. For instance, privilege, the institution of guilds and corporations, the regulatory system of the Middle Ages, were the only social relations that corresponded to the acquired productive forces and to the pre-existing social conditions front which those institutions had emerged. Protected by the corporative and regulatory system, capital had accumulated, maritime trade had expanded, colonies had been foundedand man would have lost the very fruits of all this had he wished to preserve the forms under whose protection those fruits had ripened. And, indeed, two thunderclaps occurred,the revolutions of 1640 and of 1688. In England, all the earlier economic forms, the social relations corresponding to them, and the political system which was the official expression of the old civil society, were destroyed. Thus, the economic forms in which man produces, consumes and exchanges are transitory and historical. With the acquisition of new productive faculties man changes his mode of production and with the mode of production he changes all the economic relations which were but the necessary relations of that particular mode of production."
I have spent a great bit of time in this Preface talking about historical predecessor for Revolutions. Mainly England, this is because Americans are socialized into a culture, by education, upbringing and Church, to believe their political and religious heritage is England, just as English is the official national language, regardless of their family historical place of origin.
Americans know of the Puritans in America, that "Richard Mather and John Cotton provided clerical leadership in the dominant Puritan colony planted on Massachusetts Bay. Thomas Hooker was an example of those who settled new areas farther west according to traditional Puritan standards."
But, how many American workers, with but high school and community college education or those at state four year colleges and universities for that matter - know that the Puritans were the radical political party in the English burghers (bourgeois) or so-called middle class revolution in 1640, that beheaded king Charles and defeated the landed nobility, to make the English bourgeois the dominate political party in England, and throughout Britain, and the Empire?
In other words, the Puritans in America were an extension of British mercantile empire, which was competition with the Empires of Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal and France.
The Spanish and Portuguese had most of Latin America under their respective military domination, the Spanish were not producers but robbers of treasures, but the Portuguese settled in Brazil. The Dutch had South Africa and the East Indies. The British had India and North America, except for Spanish Mexico and Florida, and the French in Quebec and Louisiana, was open to the British for settlement that is, the expropriation of native Americans lands by physically displacing them.
For instance, of the Pilgrim Puritans, Marx, in the 1st volume of Capital, wrote:
"Those sober virtuosi of Protestantism, the Puritans of New England, in 1703, by decrees of their assembly set a premium of £40 on every Indian scalp and every captured red-skin: in 1720 a premium of £100 on every scalp; in 1744, after Massachusetts-Bay had proclaimed a certain tribe as rebels, the following prices: for a male scalp of 12 years and upwards £100 (new currency), for a male prisoner £105, for women and children prisoners £50, for scalps of women and children £50. Some decades later, the colonial system took its revenge on the descendants of the pious pilgrim fathers, who had grown seditious in the meantime. At English instigation and for English pay they were tomahawked by red-skins. The British Parliament proclaimed bloodhounds and scalping as "means that God and Nature had given into its hand."
This is how the members of the Continental Congress who drafted and signed the Declaration of Independence got their lands. Thus, it was not just in the case of Africans bartered in the triangular trade also called the trans-Atlantic slave trade which were brought to the Southern region of the 13 colonies and denied "equality" by the very nature of the slave system itself, but the genocidal displacement of indigenous native Americans, proves that the Declaration of Independence was written and signed by a gang of hypocritical and intellectually plagiarizing fakes. Be that as it may, the fact remains that Americans believe in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
This includes the masses of the American working classes believe in and revere these men as their "founding fathers" or more correctly - their Founding Fathers. They therefore believe in the lies about the altruism and original thinking of these slave owners and capitalists were altruistic patriots motivated by the ideals of "liberty". Some were for instance Patrick Henry and Thomas Paine, but most were self-invested scoundrels.
Yet, American workers are taught to believe, and grow up believing, for instance, that the so-called Boston Tea Party was about taxation without representation. It was really about Boston Tea Merchants, who opposed the elimination on tea import taxes paid by the East India Company, which would make tea cheaper for the masses but threw the tea merchants out of business.
These were the kinds of men, with vested interests who formed, and were membership of the Constitutional Congress, who wrote both the Declaration of Independence, and who were the Constitutional Convention which Paine, Jefferson, and Patrick Henry boycotted. In fact Patrick Henry came to the Convention to denounce. It wasn't the enlightenment philosophers, but the scoundrels who wrote the Constitution of the United States of America. See also Charles Beard's "An Economic Interpretation of the United States of America" at:
Reading Rousseau, in the specific quotation above, where he wrote of the Greek myth in which men were imprisoned in the cave of the Cyclops, lived there very tranquilly, while they were awaiting their turn to be devoured, I thought of the passage in the repressive Constitution of the United States, where the statement of the State maintaining "domestic tranquility" referring to suppression of revolts, is gladly accepted by American workers.
How are the American working classes and the poor to be shaken into critical thinking? I don't think it will be achieved by attacking their beliefs, but by relying on their experiences coming into conflict with their illusions. This isn't to say that their illusions shouldn't be exposed, but that those exposes will be sought out by them when their lives are shattered by reality.
American workers don't even know that they are working class based on mode of income (wages) and corresponding relations of production (hired by and obedient to capitalists and their managers), but think of themselves as "middle class", based on the amount of their wages. This is due in large part to them never having had a class party in congress fighting on behalf of wage workers as a duty.
Rather, capitalist class parties have been there, duping them into association with this or that individual of their members of congress, presenting working class interests as "America moral issues". It has happened historically that it is when these workers are thrown by survival necessity into political activity that they are open to new ideas. But, this is where the Democrats come in, being presented to the working class by "liberals" and "progressives" as the Party which, to quote the millionaire Presidential candidate Bill Clinton "feel your pain". Democrats are packaged as "compassionate", and "caring", for the "little guy", the "common man", and a "friend of minorities and women".
Together with this rap, there are the phony socialists and communists who fight the political independence of the working class, by the TINA doctrine. That is, that besides the Democratic Party individual politicians, the workers , the minorities and women have no pragmatic alternative than to vote for, and to trust, the Democrats: "There Is No Alternative".
They proclaim this Democratic Party TINA doctrine every national election cycle. This, together with promoting politics of fear and pragmatic opportunism has the strategic effect of preventing the working class from creating a Labor Party alternative to the two American capitalist parties the Democrats as well as the Republicans.
But, there is an alternative. Let me call it, in response to TINA, the antithesis: TIAA There Is an Alternative. But, American workers have never had a functional national class party running and winning seats in parliamentary elections, which is crucial for their development of proletarian class awareness. It was in this connection, that in May of 2005, in response to the 2004 national election, that I wrote this piece, advocating a Red-Blue-Green alliance, in connection with Bernie Sanders winning seats in Congress, repeatedly as a Socialist.
I have made revisions and clarifications. To view the original document, go to Laborpartypraxis.org.
June 16, 2008
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