---A PLP PAMPHLET---
"I agree with a lot of your ideas. But why do you have to call it communism? If you would just use a different word, you could get more people to support the PLP."
Many people have read Challenge-Desafio, have spoken with members of the PLP, worked together with PLP members, and fought against the evils of capitalism alongside PLP members. And many people ask the question: "Why do you use the word "communism?"
The capitalist rulers, their schools and media, attack communism and blame it for everything bad in the world. Furthermore, some people and groups who really support the policies of capitalism have sometimes used the words of communism to fool people. And genuine communists have made some mistakes also. But the struggle for communism represents the hope for the working class of all nations to build a world free from exploitation, which means a world free from racism, sexism, hunger, police terror, and war! Why do we use the word "communism?" Because that is the word that best expresses this struggle. Communism means an end to the capitalist profit system, and communism means an end to all forms of class exploitation and inequality. Besides, if we didn't call ourselves communists, the capitalists would still call us "communists" and accuse us of hiding it! Or they'd call us "terrorists" or some other word. We are part of a struggle that goes back thousands of years. Conditions change and some of the theory and strategy of communism has also changed, but we defend the basis of that struggle and declare ourselves a part of that struggle. And if the capitalist bosses and their servants don't like the word "communism"--- that's okay with us!
Background to Communism
For hundreds of thousands of years, humans lived without economic classes-- a society without government, laws, or private property. This period is called "primitive communism." We call it "communism" because there were no classes, but we call it "primitive" because it was not based on collective struggle and collective science. Eventually groups accumulated power and wealth and organized society into classes. One result of this was more development of science and technology. The other result was class exploitation, slavery, dictatorship, and war. Throughout this period, there was always struggle against the ruling classes. Sometimes the struggle was led by the most oppressed groups, and sometimes it was led by the middle classes who were trying to climb to the top to be come the new rulers.
Around 500 years ago, capitalism began to develop more rapidly. Capitalism is the most direct form of class exploitation, where the ruling class exploits the laboring class in order to make maximum profits as quickly as possible. As capitalism developed, so did modern racism. Capitalism is very unstable and needs to make profits as quickly as possible. One way they do this is to divide the laboring classes into different sections so that they can exploit certain sections extra hard. We call this "super-exploitation", and it is the basis for modern slavery and modern racism. This racism was especially intense against slaves kidnapped from Africa, but it was also used against people from other places as well.
Capitalism came to dominate the world during the 1800's and brought with it more economic and social crisis. Two men from Germany -- Karl Marx and Frederick Engels -- studied economics, politics, and history from the point of view of the working class and wrote The Communist Manifesto in 1848. The Communist Manifesto followed in the tradition of earlier struggles against class society, but unlike the earlier theories, the communism of Marx and Engels was based on a scientific analysis of class society and capitalism. Marx and Engels pointed out that all class societies are dictatorships because the ruling class will always use the law, prisons, and violence to maintain its rule. Marx said that capitalist dictatorship -- the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie had to be replaced by a society run by the working class--the dictatorship of the proletariat. After many years of creating an economy, an educational system, and a culture without exploitation, eventually all of humanity would understand that true egalitarian communism is the best way to organize human society.
Communism versus Capitalism
The capitalist bosses immediately declared communism their number one enemy! Communists were active in the labor movement, in the movement against slavery and racism, and in movements against the oppression of women. Communists were not for reforming capitalism or just trying to help one particular group. Communists said that the whole capitalist system had to be destroyed and a classless society based on "From each according to ability, to each according to need" be set up.
In 1871, the capitalists of France were at war against the capitalists of Germany. The working class of Paris rose up in revolution against capitalism and set up a system of socialism as a step towards communism. Power and wealth were taken out of the hands of the rich by the working class. For two months the working class ran Paris effectively and humanely, with crime way down and people's needs taken care of. The capitalists of France called the workers "unpatriotic" for rebelling during the war with Germany. Then those bosses surrendered to Germany and invited the German Army to help them crush the Paris Commune. The Commune was destroyed and many thousands were murdered, but the working class learned important lessons.
The Russian Revolution
In 1917 the capitalist world was again at war. In Russia, a revolutionary communist movement (the Bolsheviks, led by Lenin) organized a revolution and set up socialism in the USSR. Lenin and others realized that the working class needed an organized communist party to develop communist theory and organize the struggle. Today, PLP, with branches worldwide, is the party for international communist revolution.
The Bolsheviks had been organizing for many years in the factories, schools, communities, and especially the military. The working class and peasants of Russia were fed up with the royal family, with the war, and with capitalism and were in a rebellious mood. The government was extremely brutal in its treatment of the working class. But the Bolsheviks overcame all obstacles and led the struggle for revolution, rather than allowing some capitalists to divert the struggle into minor reforms. The new USSR was the largest country in the world, with about one sixth of all the land on Earth within its borders! After the success of the revolution, all the world's capitalists tried to destroy the Russian Revolution. Thousands of troops from the U.S., England, and France invaded the USSR causing hundreds of thousands to die. But they could not crush the working class government of the USSR! For thirty-five years the capitalists of the world tried to sabotage the USSR, sending in spies, recruiting terrorists, building alliances with pro-Nazi groups, and even trying to use Hitler to bring down the USSR.
Within the USSR there were great changes. The wealth of the rich was taken away. The economy was organized to help the working class. The country was modernized. Health care, education, and general living conditions for the working class and peasants improved greatly. Most important, the working class had more political power in the USSR than anywhere else in the history of the world.
There were problems in the USSR also. Many of the wealthier farmers refused to give their crops to help feed the workers who were rebuilding the country. There was war and famine that killed many people. There also were spies trying to overthrow the USSR, and the government cracked down against thousands of suspected spies. During these events, it is clear that innocent people died. These mistakes took place in a situation of developing wars and violence, and communists today must learn from those mistakes The capitalists talk about these events to try to make communism look like a system where one dictator controls everything. But it is capitalism that kills tens of millions of people every year and condemns hundreds of millions more to war, hunger, disease, and fascist dictatorship.
Communism Defeats Fascism
From the 1920's to the 1940's, the capitalist world was torn apart by the failures of capitalism. Mass starvation and wars were killing millions. In the U.S. communists led the way in organizing most of the big labor unions and in leading the fight against racism and for social welfare programs. But these movements were led into reformism rather than revolution. Nevertheless, and most important, millions of working class people all over the world became interested and active in the struggle to defeat capitalism and replace it with communism.
The capitalist system developed fascism as a way to keep the working class down and control the economic and political crisis. The fascists also promote a social philosophy to convince people to support fascist capitalism. They especially use racism, nationalism, and sexism to spread the lie that the capitalists are the superior group and that some sections of the working class should side with the capitalists against other workers. Hitler and the Nazis from Germany were the most famous fascists, but there were fascist groups in most parts of the world. The capitalist countries wanted the Nazis to attack the USSR but then turned against Hitler when he attacked the other capitalists also. In the end, it was the socialist USSR that destroyed the Nazis in a war that killed over 50 million people. World capitalism was weakened by this war, and communists were able to make a revolution in China, which had nearly a fourth of the Earth's population! Because of the failures of capitalism and the heroism of the communists in destroying the Nazis, hundreds of millions of workers all over the world admired the communist movement. Even many pro-capitalist writers and artists recognized that communism spoke the truth about many things.
What Happened to Revolution?
Today we hear that communism is dead, because capitalism has taken over the former USSR and Eastern Europe. What happened? It wasn't the capitalists that defeated the communists. It was because the communist movement made some mistakes. This should not be a surprise. After all, the Russian and Chinese revolutions were the first time in the history of the world that the working class took control and tried to set up a world based on no exploitation. The communists set up a system of socialism as a halfway step to communism. Socialism allowed some inequalities to go on, with the excuse that they would be eliminated later. Socialism also sometimes supported nationalism and other forms of anti-communist, selfish philosophy. The result was that socialism collapsed as certain groups rebuilt capitalism. (Other PLP literature explains this in more depth.) Does this mean that communism must always fail because of "human nature?" Of course not! It is capitalism that is failing all over the world, with increased racism, police terror and the rise of more fascism, hunger, disease, and many small wars that will lead to bigger wars. Communism is needed more than ever, and more than ever, the working class of the world is looking for solutions. We say: "The only solution is communist revolution!" PLP is not a closed party of experts. PLP is the tool of the working class -- tens of millions of working class people from all over the world must join the PLP and help lead it, to shape it into the tool which will end capitalism once and for all and establish a world free from exploitation, racism, terror and war!
WHAT WE FIGHT FOR:
The former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and China many years ago. Capitalism, not communism, is failing all over the world.
The two-stage strategy of first socialism, then communism, failed to lead to communism. It led back to capitalism. Therefore, we must fight directly for communism.
Communism means abolishing nation states, which are an expression of capitalism. One working class, one party, one world.
Communism means abolishing racism by building multi-racial unity and internationalism.
Communism means abolishing sexism.
Communism means equality. No money. No wages. People working based on their commitment to each other and to building a communist society. Just as we do now in the Party.
Communism means the Party leads society. Millions of workers-eventually everybody-must be won to be communist organizers for this to work. We must all give and receive leadership from each other.
Communism can be won only through armed struggle by masses of workers, soldiers, students and others, to destroy the dictatorship of the capitalist class and set up a dictatorship of the working class.
Fight for Communism!