The Worker, December 10, 2016
Published by the Workers Party, USA
P.O. Box 25716, Chicago, IL 60625
Who Do the Politicians Think They’re Fooling?
To listen to the political representatives of big capital talk, it would seem as if they were all revolutionaries. These days, the Republicans, the Democrats, the big business lobbyists, the Donald Trumps and Bernie Sanders, all talk about the need for an upheaval of the “establishment” and advertise themselves as opponents of big government and “special interests.”
Of course, the most common response to this is to point out the obvious – that the chances of the current political establishment genuinely reforming itself are less than the chances of pigs learning to fly.
It is also important to note that this torrent of “anti-establishment” propaganda is an aspect of the pluralist ideology of the capitalists. This pluralist ideology seeks to mystify the real class character of the state power by covering over the fundamental relationship between the economic base of the society and its political superstructure.
Capitalism is a system in which the social property (including the tools and natural resources) created by the whole society over many generations are owned by a small number of private individuals. The capitalists, by monopolizing the very means required by the majority in order to secure their livelihood, are able to grab hold of fabulous riches by exploiting the labor of the workers. The working class – the class whose labor produces all new values – is separated from the implements of labor and the workers have no way to secure a livelihood except by selling their labor-power, day in and day out, to the capitalist owners. The capitalists in turn exploit the labor of the workers, returning in wages only a small fraction of the new values created by the workers. Under capitalism, the living human labor of the workers is looked upon solely as a means for enriching the capitalist owners.
From its very emergence, the working class has been locked in an all-sided, irreconcilable struggle against capitalist exploitation and the capitalist class. Just to maintain their physical existence, the workers are forced to fight the capitalists over the issues of wages, hours of work, working conditions and so forth. In addition, the working class wages continual struggles in the political sphere, asserting its rights in opposition to and struggle against the capitalist class and capitalist state. The workers have won many victories in their economic and political battles but still the fundamental problem remains unresolved and the same issues come up again and again. One day the workers are able to establish union organizations and gain higher wages; but the next day, the capitalists are able to smash the union and cut wages. The overwhelming majority of the workers still live in a state of job and economic insecurity. Furthermore, the inherent and insatiable drive of capital to maximize profit places it in irreconcilable opposition to the needs and requirements of society as a whole. Attempts by society as a whole to protect the natural environment or guarantee workers a safe work environment, the struggle of the workers to restrict the “right” of the capitalists to hire and fire at will or increase exploitation to the maximum – all these things, are looked upon by the capitalist as just so many infringements on the “sanctity” of the rights of private property in the means of production.
Ever since the division of society into social classes, the ruling class has created and fortified the state as an instrument for maintaining these social relations – for keeping the laboring classes oppressed and exploited and for suppressing their struggles. In the U.S. today, the rights of private property in the means of production still remain as the very foundation of the political superstructure. In class society, the political system and the state enforce the existing property relations.
The “anti-establishment” propaganda from the political representatives in the Democratic and Republican parties is designed to obscure these fundamental facts with a fairy-tale about a “pluralist society” allegedly free of class conflict and class struggle. This entire fairy tale is designed to create the illusion that the existing state machine is not an instrument of class oppression and in fact that this same state machine could be utilized in the interests of the workers if only it is administered by the “right people.” In other words, we are told that the very same state machine which not ten times or a hundred times or a thousand times, but innumerable times, has used violence to suppress the workers’ movement, that this same state machine will miraculously become the instrument of emancipation for the workers; that the same state which was founded on the enslavement of the African people will miraculously become the instrument of their liberation; that this same state which has launched hundreds of aggressive wars against other nations will become an instrument of peace, etc.
Politicizing Our Movement
Eight years after Obama took office, Guantánamo Bay detention camp is now established a hundred-fold more deeply as an imperialist institution than ever. All the “core values and morals” that underpin its existence are as they were from the start. The detainees continue to be classed as “unlawful combatants” who “do not have any of the rights” which are supposed to be granted to prisoners of war. So too, the U.S. government continues to make its own law with respect to the treatment of these prisoners. This fascism must be stopped!
Just as Obama lied about having plans to “Close Guantánamo,” political opportunism continues to work to prevent the buildup of the independent political movement of the people as the only way to eliminate the scourge of war and militarism altogether. Social democracy and liberalism do this by promoting every illusion in the capitalist system and political parties. Today, despite the fact that at this stage of the warfare connected with the so-called “war on terrorism,” U.S. imperialism is more aggressive than ever, opportunism is relying on one of its ideological keystones to prevent the further organization of people in opposition to the war program of their “own” government. In order to keep the working class under the tutelage of the capitalist parties, opportunism is relying on the idea that the monopoly capitalist ruling class is split into two-factions – in particular, that today it is split into a wing of hawks and a wing of doves.
In addition to creating illusions in various politicians, this entire line mystifies the cause of the aggressive foreign policy and war program.
War and militarism is not a “mistake” made by some bad, aggressive men and women. It is a constant product of the capitalist-imperialist system; it is the class interests of the capitalists which leads them inexorably to war. In the present era, the U.S. monopoly capitalist class lives not only by the exploitation of the American working class but also by the superexploitation and plunder of nations and peoples throughout the world. And driven by the capitalist law of “expand or perish” the capitalists, in the final analysis, must rely on force (war) to protect and expand their empire (both from rival capitalists and from the liberation movements of the people). From its very base, capitalist-imperialism is built on war – it is a system of exploitation and domination of whole nations and people, relationships which can only be enforced through violence and subjugation.
What is more, in the present situation, U.S. imperialism is especially warlike because of the intensity of the worldwide capitalist crisis. For many years, U.S. monopolies have tried to shift the burden of this crisis onto the backs of other countries and peoples but the reality is that the U.S. capitalists are not as economically and politically strong as their vast appetite for profits. Thus, to maintain its superpower status and strive to achieve its morbid dream of a unipolar world, U.S. imperialism relies on military force. That is why the so-called “international war against terrorism,” this blueprint for world domination through military force, is the bipartisan program of both the Democratic and Republican parties.
When the opportunists raise the issue of so-called contradictions and splits within the ruling class to a central position they are saying that the capitalists determine what happens in the world. They are saying that the capitalist class – and the alleged contradictions and struggle within it – are the motive force of history. As for the masses of people – we are relegated to the most minor position, with no other role but to pressure or beg the capitalist rulers.
To disrupt the working class and popular movements, the capitalists also employ a variety of anarchist ideologies and sects. Such groupings often advertise themselves as “communists” and “revolutionaries.” But such sects generally abstain from politics and the sum total of their activity is to try to impose their particular pet mantras on the movement. This dogmatism works to undermine the political unity of the workers and create an atmosphere of division. The capitalists hope that in rejecting the dogmatism of such sects, activists will also reject genuine communism.
“Left” sectarianism, just like social democracy and modern revisionism, denies the revolutionary and independent role of the working class. Despite “revolutionary” phrases about the “judgment day,” in real political life the “left” dogmatists offer no alternative and leave the workers under the tutelage of capitalist politics. In other words, such dogmatists do not see or join in the motion of the class to organize and assert itself. Rather they are determined to abstain from politics until such time as the masses embrace their special sectarian dogmas.
As a result, liquidation and defeat is imposed on various struggles.
Indeed, time and again, workers have seen their economic struggles sold-out by union “leaders,” and watched these same “leaders” electioneer for the capitalist politicians and beat the war drum for U.S. imperialism’s war program. People have seen the socialist Soviet Union transformed into a capitalist-imperialist power and, in country after country, watched the phony socialists and phony communists join the capitalist governments. The lesson from this experience is that it is the capitalist class itself which is the source of split and betrayal.
The Workers Party recognizes that the struggle against opportunism of all hues is an essential and continuous part of the struggle of the working class. It is part and parcel of the struggle against bourgeois ideology and politics. But the struggle against opportunism cannot be waged as an isolated thing in itself. On the contrary. The struggle against opportunism must be waged in the course of taking up the decisive tasks facing the movement.
The key thing is to give political expression to the independent aims and program of the workers. It is such an independent politics which empowers people to break the stranglehold of capitalist politics. (It is precisely because social democracy, revisionism and left dogmatism fight against the independent political role of the workers that they are roadblocks to the movement.) Organizing ourselves independently and in struggle against the parties of war and imperialism, organizing on the basis of anti-imperialist politics empowers people to develop a pro-active movement.
The way forward is to strengthen the people’s own, independent organizations and political initiatives – the way forward is through mass anti-imperialist struggle and organization. The goal of this movement is a real anti-war government which makes a radical break from the parties of war and imperialism.
We must take the initiative into our own hands and fight to bring about a fundamental change in our country’s foreign policy. We must implement a genuinely democratic foreign policy which includes:
– Withdrawal of all U.S. troops stationed abroad;
– Ending U.S. intervention and aggression in all its forms;
– Ending the militarization of our country;
– Respecting the sovereignty and rights of all.
Such a program for a democratic foreign policy is capable of rallying and inspiring the broadest sections of American people and helping to bring them into independent political life on the basis of their own aims and deep aspirations. Such a program will be fully put into practice when the government and parties of war are replaced by a government of the people.
Enver Hoxha – Great Marxist-Leninist
Below is the second in a two part article published in honor of the 108th anniversary of the birth of Enver Hoxha. The first part appeared in the October 7, 2016 issue of “The Worker.”
Enver Hoxha and the Party of Labor of Albania were also the first to recognize and unmask Khrushchevite modern revisionism. With the death of Stalin, the Khrushchevite revisionist clique seized the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Khrushchev sought to steer the entire international communist and workers movement onto the path of capitulation to U.S. and world imperialism. At first, gambling on the prestige of the Soviet Union, flattering some and suppressing others, Khrushchev held sway. Enver Hoxha and the Party of Labor of Albania stepped forward to expose Khrushchevite revisionism. The Khrushchevites swore they would crush Albania but this small nation in the Balkans stood up to the ferocious revisionist blockade because Enver Hoxha taught the Albanian working people that the struggle between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism would decide not only the question of the independence and socialism of Albania but also the future of the world revolution and the cause of the international proletariat. In the selfless Leninist spirit of proletarian internationalism, the Albanian communists and the whole Albanian people stood up to the Khrushchevite blackmail and unmasked the features of modern revisionism before the working people of the world. Enver Hoxha’s fiery defense of Marxism-Leninism thoroughly routed Khrushchev’s rotten theories which claimed that U.S. imperialism had given up its aggression and become “peaceloving,” that the lessons of the red October on the questions of the revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat had become “outdated,” etc., etc. Enver Hoxha saved the day for the international communist and workers’ movement. Today the world-wide Marxist-Leninist movement finds its source and its inspiration in this heroic and selfless struggle of the PLA and Enver Hoxha against Khrushchevite modern revisionism.
And Enver Hoxha, a true proletarian internationalist and revolutionary Marxist-Leninist, never stopped fighting international imperialism and revisionism and opportunism of all hues. Enver Hoxha worked ceaselessly to strengthen the international Marxist-Leninist and revolutionary movement. When the influence of Chinese revisionism and Mao Tsetung Thought was disorienting the new Marxist-Leninist parties and threatening to subordinate the interests of the proletariat and the revolution to the needs of U.S. imperialism, Enver Hoxha again was the first to recognize the danger and rally the entire international army of communists to repudiate Chinese revisionism and Maoism. This historic struggle was absolutely necessary and timely both for safeguarding revolutionary Marxism-Leninism and for keeping the new Marxist-Leninist parties firmly on the high road of the revolutionary class struggle.
The person of Enver Hoxha has been gone from the revolutionary ranks for thirty-one years and eight months. But his legacy lives and will live forever in the minds and hearts of working class and Marxist-Leninists throughout the world. Enver Hoxha left his imprint on all the Marxist-Leninist parties of the world, whose work and struggle are indelibly stamped with the inspiration and scientific thought of Enver Hoxha. Enver Hoxha left us his own Marxist-Leninist writings, a summary of the experience and struggles of Albanian and world proletariat, a body of work which forever enhances the life-giving arsenal of Marxism-Leninism and provides the orientation for the contemporary world revolution.
To commemorate the birth of Enver Hoxha is to take to heart the life and thought of this great revolutionary, great Marxist-Leninist and true internationalist. It is to re-dedicate ourselves to the cause of the international proletariat, the class to which Enver Hoxha devoted his whole life and all his energies. It is to return again and again to the writings of Enver Hoxha and to translate them into revolutionary deeds which advance the cause of the revolution, socialism and communism.
From the Draft Program for the Working Class
The working class strives for the democratic renewal of the political process and political system so that the decision-making power is placed in the hands of the people.
The program of democratic renewal demands the abolition of any and all political privileges and the creation of mechanisms which guarantee the masses of the people the right to participate fully and directly in the political process and in governance.
Political parties must be denied the privilege to nominate and select candidates for public office and this right must be returned to the people. The electorate must also retain the right to recall elected officials at any time.
Further, the chasm between the legislative and executive branches of government must be overcome and the arbitrary power of the executive branch must be broken. The entire operation of government must remain under the direct supervision of the people. Any power not expressly delegated by the people to the government remains with the people themselves.
Constituency committees comprising all citizens must be organized in workplaces, communities and wherever the people are concentrated. Such committees will have the right to nominate and select candidates, to hold elected officials accountable, to set the agenda of government, and to participate directly in governance.
The program of democratic renewal recognizes the right to self-determination, up to and including the right to secession, for the Native peoples, the people of Puerto Rico and other oppressed nations.
The program of democratic renewal demands equality – equal rights and duties – for all regardless of race, national origin, sex, etc. This includes the right for all nationalities to develop their own culture, language, etc. Most importantly, equality means that everyone has the right to participate fully in the political process and governance, to take part as decision-makers in exercising control of their lives.