Today it is said that communism is dead. The Berlin Wall has fallen. The Soviet Union has dissolved.
And if communism was the state-capitalist regimes in Eastern Europe and Soviet Union yesterday, communism would indeed be dead. If communism is the regimes in China and Cuba today, communism would be taking its last gasps. And good riddance.
But communism is something else. Communism is the struggle of the working class against its oppressors. Communism is the future society where the means of production, the world’s environment, and the intellectual and scientific knowledge of humanity will no longer be the private property of a few, but the precious heritage of all. Communism is not the old Soviet bloc, but the theory that denounced the old regimes as a travesty.
Few believe in this communism today. The neo-conservative and neo-liberal atmosphere of the time preaches an eternal marketplace, an eternal struggle of one against all for personal enrichment. But each day’s news shows that the necessity for communism is growing rapidly.
The gap between rich and poor is growing in the U.S. The working class isn’t disappearing — it’s being squeezed to the bone. From the Republican “Contract with America” to Clinton’s own cutbacks, from the spread of racist ideas to rampant nationalism and religious fanaticism, free enterprise is rotting alive. And not just in this country. Everywhere one looks one finds intolerance and cutbacks and even civil wars. Living standards are being slashed in Mexico — and yet Mexico was reasonably successful as developing countries go. Western Europe is stagnating. Africa is in agony. Migrant laborers wander the earth, and millions of young children in Asia slave long hours in sweatshops.
And capitalism is as deadly to the environment as to the workers. Each new environmental catastrophe shows that private property over the earth’s resources means the earth’s ruin. We have just seen a political crisis over overfishing in the north Atlantic. The destruction of the world’s rain forests continues. The East Asian boom is straining the region’s water supplies and bringing other environmental disasters. It’s not that scientists and thoughtful people didn’t see these catastrophes — it’s that marketplace forces are calling the shots. The marketplace is ravishing the environment. It’s a deadly mixture: capitalism with the gigantic technological forces of today.
This is the moment of the greatest triumph of modern capitalism. And it is the moment of its bankruptcy. If it is going backward today, if all it can bring is more wars and ethnic massacres, more enrichment of the few at the expense of the many, then it is a system which has lived beyond its time.
The working people are being squeezed around the world. The seeds of new class struggles are multiplying. All the old prescriptions for reforming capitalism are being blown up by the development of capitalism itself. “Regulated capitalism” is turning into unregulated capitalism. Long-established “safety nets” are being torn to shreds. State capitalism has gone into crisis.Insecurity is growing daily.
But to prepare the way for the abolition of the ownership of the modern forces of production by a handful, to prepare the way for abolishing the division of humanity into those who decide and those who bear the consequences, it is essential to tear down all the lies that have hamstrung the past movements of the working class and its friends.
We do not lament the fall of the fake “communist” regimes. This is clearing the way for a rebirth of real communism. It would have been better if the workers could have replaced false socialism by real socialism, but one way or another, the fraud had to be punctured.“Revisionism” used the words of Marxism but turned its ideas on their head in order to present a bureaucratic variant of capitalism as communist liberation. The collapse of revisionism will help clear the way for the real ideas of Marxism-Leninism, as opposed to such tragic parodies as Stalinism and its twin brother, Trotskyism.
We look towards the working class, not the reformist trade union bigwigs who dominate and hamstring the labor movement. A durable liberation movement will only arise on the basis of overcoming the old reformism, revisionism, and class collaboration. The proletariat (working class) faces disorganization around the world — with the overwhelming majority of its organizations either destroyed or in the hands of leaders with false agendas. The task of proletarian reorganization is looming around the world.
We call on others to join us in helping to prepare the way for proletarian reorganization. We will show the root of current evils in capitalism, the ownership of the means of production and the domination of life by the rich. Capitalism can provide no way out, whether run by the most traditional of old-style capitalists or the most reformist of petty-bourgeois. It is a system of never-ending oscillation between liberal and conservative, between hot wars and cold wars, between overwork in times of boom and starvation in times of bust.
But exposing capitalism is not enough. It is necessary to deal with the tragedy that befell the revolutionary movement. The workers and toilers put their mark on this century by overturning many dictatorships, defeating a world fascist offensive, overturning the colonial system and making attempts to build socialism, but the regimes they established all degenerated. In this journal, we will not shed tears over the collapse of the different forms of revisionism and class collaboration, but we will help discredit them further. We will not repeat the outmoded theories of reformism or revisionism or anarchism, but help discredit them further. We aim to revitalize communism, to once again bring Marxism to life, to preserve the spirit of the best accomplishments and struggles and theorizing of the past by rejecting all that has proved false and analyzing the needs of the new class struggle that is coming into being. We aim to lay a strong foundation for an anti-revisionist communism, a communism of the future, not a mere repetition of the past.We are Marxist-Leninists because real Marxism is critical and never-complacent and the only theory that can encompass the dramatic developments in the world today.
It is the banner of communism that will emerge as the true answer to the neo-conservative atmosphere of today.
Let those who see revolutionary collective action of the proletariat, and its reorganization around the world, as the means for liberation join together with us.
Let those who wish to explore the meaning of the collapse of the revisionist (“communist” regimes) and build a new communism join with us.
Let those who wish to fight the imperialist world order, not by support for bourgeois regimes in the third world nor by tinkering with the social agendas of the imperialist governments and world agencies, nor by the dreams of petty-bourgeois nationalism, but by encouraging the class struggle of the oppressed, join with us.
Let those who are not satisfied to blame the present difficulty of the left on the poor objective conditions, but who want to expose the internal weaknesses of the left and go beyond the all-too-widespread catchwords of revisionism, Trotskyism, petty-bourgeois nationalism, anarchism and reformism join with us.
Let all those who are not intimidated by being, for now, a handful against the neo-conservative ocean unite.