ROAD TO REVOLUTION IV: A Communist Manifesto (1982)
Despite the bosses' whining denials, communism thrives today in the Progressive Labor Party. In 1848, Karl Marx wrote in the Communist Manifesto, "A specter is haunting Europe, the specter of communism." He was right! And now that specter haunts the bosses of the world. The struggle between bosses and workers has dominated the past century. Workers have made their greatest advances, such as the Russian and Chinese revolutions, under the leadership of communists.
Although capitalism has been restored to Russia and China, the "specter of communism" still haunts the world's bosses. The battle between bosses and workers rages everywhere. In order to survive, capitalism, the bosses' racist profit system, must exploit all workers and must super-exploit some. This greed for maximum profit sharpens the oppression of workers in every country. Even in a very industrialized nation such as the U.S., workers suffer mass unemployment, racism and even enslavement. The bosses' government harasses undocumented workers, rounds some up for deportation, and jails others in rotten concentration camps.
Millions of workers are cold, hungry, homeless. Many burn or freeze to death in slum housing. Tens of millions of young workers, especially black, Latin, Asian and Native American, are unemployed. Millions of these youth will never find work in capitalist society. Older workers are thrown out like garbage when they no longer have value to some boss. Capitalism has failed miserably to provide the basic necessities of life for hundreds of millions of workers around the world
Like all thieves, bosses have no honor among themselves. They are constantly falling out. U.S. rulers have plundered the world in the last century. Now they are losing ground. Bosses from Western Europe, Japan and especially the Soviet Union now threaten their stolen billions and their empire. This dog-fight that is leading to World War III is already causing smaller wars in Central America and the Middle East.
To make workers, soldiers, students and others follow their plans for war, the rulers are imposing forms of fascism around the world. In the U.S., as elsewhere, the greedy bosses are ripping away reforms that workers have fought hard to win. The rulers hope in this way to amass more billions to strengthen their military machines. Capitalists have turned the world into an armed camp so that each one can keep or maximize profits. To make more money, these bosses will fight to the last drop of our blood. The only solution is communist revolution under the banners of the Progressive Labor Party. Otherwise, we will suffer capitalism's endless wars and oppression. Capitalism means the ruination of our class, our families, our friends. Only world-wide communism offers worker, soldiers, and students an alternative to the misery of capitalism.
Our Party fights for an egalitarian, communist society under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Capitalism is the dictatorship of the bosses. They hold power through their political parties, their cops, their courts, and their military. They pretend to be democratic, but their "democracy" is a fraud. They point to the secret ballot as the height of democracy. But in the U.S., all parties except the PLP represent the bosses. For us workers bosses' elections mean "heads they win, tails we lose." The idea of bosses yielding power peacefully is a myth. They will never allow themselves to be voted out of office.
Under the banners of its revolutionary communist party, the working class must arm itself and fight to win power. After the Party has led to the seizure of power, the working class must remain armed. To win and hold power, the working class must develop its own Red Army. After workers win political emancipation in one area, the bosses and their agents there and elsewhere will attempt a comeback. Workers need this Red Army to take the offensive against the bosses and crush them. When workers' militias, which will exist everywhere to defend the revolution, need help, the Red Army will provide it.
The Red Army of an area where workers hold power will also assist workers fighting for revolution in other areas. As communism spreads across the world and classes eventually disappear, the need for violence by workers and their party against the capitalist enemy will diminish. This development will correspond to the collapse of the capitalists and their ideas. When workers and communist principles rule the world, when capitalist forces have become extinct, the need for workers' violence will wither away.
We want a society whose workers run everything in the interests of the world's workers. We want a system that encourages every worker to become involved in running society; that trains everyone to act for the common good and does not indoctrinate people to "look out for number one;" that opposes placing selfish interests above the social needs. We want society to help each person grow, to correct mistakes, to encourage honest evaluation and self-evaluation. We want a system that stamps out such capitalist ideas as racism, male chauvinism, anti-communism and anti-worker attitudes. We want to wipe out the drug addiction that ruins millions of young workers' lives. We want to defeat religion. Religion serves only the interests of the rulers, who use it to mystify workers so that conditions stay as they are. We want a system that corrects or punishes capitalist behavior.
We need communist democracy, based on democratic centralism. This system requires criticism and self-criticism of what we do and don't do. We fight to defeat anti-collective behavior and to help each other become better communists. Capitalist "democracy" means "doing your own thing." Each person supposedly has freedom to do what he or she wants. Capitalist "free speech" really protects racist crap and anti-communism. Capitalist "freedom" means bosses are free to screw us all.
In capitalist society, only the bosses are free--free to hire and fire, free to pillage and plunder, free to make our class fight for their profits. In contrast. democratic centralism, under which we operate, encourages full and open discussion in the exclusive interest of workers and their allies. We will allow no freedom to exploit workers.
Within the party at all times, and within society at large after the revolution, the role of central leadership is decisive. The working class requires a general staff that places the victory of communism above all other goals and that fights to make the party the leader of society.
After the leadership has guaranteed full and open discussion of policy, every party member and worker must develop the discipline to accept and carry out the collective decision. Even those who disagree must hold to this discipline. The effort to put party decisions into action must be united everywhere. Later we can see clearly the rightness or wrongness of decisions, and, if need be, make adjustments or scrap them. In this way, both majority and minority viewpoints will get a serious hearing.
Throughout the process of seizing, holding and expanding revolutionary power, workers need only one leading political force--the communist party. Before and during the revolution, tens of millions of workers, soldiers and students will join or support the communist party. Only a party with such a mass base can successfully lead a revolution. After the revolution, workers and their allies will not need a government separate from the party. Either such a government would be a rubber-stamp for the workers' mass party, or it would represent enemies of communism. Surely a rubber-stamp government is useless and deceptive. And workers must never again share power with class enemies. We propose that after the revolution, the party--composed of tens of millions of workers--lead society.
We said above that the world's workers made great advances with the revolutions in Russia and China. We also said that these revolutions, which had established socialism, were reversed, and that now Russia and China are capitalist societies with new bosses. Marx and Lenin described socialism as the early stage of communism. These great revolutionaries doubted that the working class could move immediately from capitalism to communism. They and others believed that important concessions to capitalism and capitalist ideas were necessary to win enough people to socialist revolution. They thought socialism would eventually lead to communism.
Keeping the wage system was the greatest concession to capitalism. Under socialism, every worker got a wage. Your work determined your wage. Professionals made a lot more than those who worked with their hands. Among manual workers, the so-called skilled made more than the unskilled. Does this sound familiar? The motive for these inequalities was the mistaken belief that many workers had to be bribed to produce.
Wage differences reinforced commodity production--production for sale, for profit rather than for society's use or need . Goods could never be distributed according to collective need because some workers had greater purchasing power than others.
No matter how much well-intentioned planning society does, the wage system forces each worker to think of his or her work in selfish terms. Only communism can change that. Communism will abolish the wage system. In communist society, the principle "to each according to need" will be as basic as the principle "every man for himself" is to capitalism. Children will understand this from the moment their senses awaken.
Under communism, the principle of work will be: "from each according to commitment." People will work because they want to, because their class brothers and sisters around the world need their work--even as people fight in revolutionary wars not just for themselves but for their class. They will share in decision-making, including the distribution of goods and services according to society's needs. They will share shortage along with abundance. If there is selfishness--and there must be some--the party will struggle politically to overcome it, or, if necessary, punish it. However, the day-in, day-out basis of individualism--the wage system--will have been abolished.
The immediate establishment of a communist distribution system makes possible a new kind of party and a new relationship between the party and the rest of the population.
Communist distribution eliminates the material incentive for the emergence of new bosses corrupted by all sorts of privilege. Government or party officials, special workers, or artists will no longer receive more money for work that is supposedly "more important." The measure of work will have nothing to do with what people receive. People should and will get what they need, within the limits of what everyone can produce. Measuring work to set pay directly contradicts communism. The elimination of wages causes the social basis for privileges and a new class of bosses to disappear. For the first time in history, workers will receive a fair share of society's wealth, regardless of the work they do.
Communism will abolish socially useless forms of work that exist now only for capitalist profit. Communism will not need millions of lawyers, advertisers, or salespeople. In one stroke, it will do away with layers of needless government bureaucrats, as well as the hordes of petty supervisors and administrators who oversee and manage us for the bosses. It will free everyone to perform socially useful work, which is the source of true creativity. Capitalism creates the illusion that degenerate superstars and people who have best figured out how to screw others are "creative." The anti-working class values of the profit system pervert all cultures.
The communist organization of society requires the active commitment of millions of workers. Communism will not succeed unless people understand it, agree with it, and vow to make it succeed.
Ending the wage system will reduce the problems capitalism causes inside the working class. Racism, one of capitalism's greatest evils, exploits one worker to a greater degree than another. This super-exploitation and the super-profit from it lead to increased oppression of every worker. Marx said over 100 years ago that, "the worker in white skin can never be free as long as the worker in black skin remains in chains." At all stages of the revolutionary process, the party must lead an unyielding fight against every aspect of racism. However, only an egalitarian society that ends the exploitative wage system in the context of sharp anti-racist political and ideological class struggle can crush racism once and for all.
Failure to eliminate privilege will surely show up inside the communist party. Past socialist societies retained privilege, which quickly found its way into the party. Some party members and many leaders were often better off than others. This practice made many workers cynical by perpetuating the bosses' anti-Communist lie that all power corrupts. A communist society in which millions of party leaders and members live and share the same as everyone else will produce a better communist party. Such a party will develop the healthiest relations between itself and all workers. These relations will ultimately narrow the gap in commitment and political skill between leaders, members and workers at large.
Economic privilege in previous socialist societies maintained the gaps created by capitalism between mental and manual work. The children of professionals, party leaders, and better-paid workers went on to higher education. This practice perpetuated social inequality. In a communist society, the workplace will become the center of education. Students will become workers and workers, students. Workers may have many vocations, careers, trades, certainly more than one. Everyone will work with both brain and hands.
Having rid itself of the wage system, society can also wipe out the special oppression of women and male chauvinism, which serve only capitalism. In communist society, everyone will have the opportunity, the right, and the duty to work. The capitalist exploitation of women depends on the bosses' ability to degrade them culturally. The bosses can pay women less than men or even nothing at all as in the case of housework. Only the destruction of capitalism and the collective fight by men and women workers for communism can free women from this special exploitation. The revolution needs the militant leadership of working class women.
Since its founding, the Progressive Labor Party has fought against retreats from Marxism-Leninism, especially the practice of uniting with "lesser-evil" bosses, usually known as the liberals. All bosses want to keep capitalism; therefore, all bosses, whether liberal or conservative, are class enemies.
We oppose nationalism and fight for internationalism. By nationalism, the bosses mean that workers must respect capitalist borders. These borders are artificial; they exist to divide workers and keep different sets of bosses in power. Workers need no borders. Workers in one part of the world are not different from or better than workers in another. Nationalism creates false loyalties. Workers should be loyal only to other workers, never to a boss. We endorse the revolutionary slogan: "Workers of the world, unite!" Our Party is multi-racial; its members come from around the world. They all unite in the fight for revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
NO MORE RETREATS!
Our members and friends will tolerate no more retreats from the basics of Marxism-Leninism, from communism. Marx proved that an egalitarian communist society would inevitably develop. History shows no need to back away from communism. The bosses would have us believe that communism has failed. Only capitalism has failed.
The bosses use the examples of capitalist countries like Russia, China, and Poland to discredit communism. They cynically pretend these fascist returns to the profit system are communist societies. The bosses protest too much. They hate true communism with a vengeance because they fear it more than anything. If the bosses loathe communism, workers should love it.
Every compromise made by communists to capitalism ended in disaster. History proves that workers want a life free from capitalist exploitation, and that, much to the bosses' dismay, they will fight to the death for it. Workers need communist revolution, not reform. We are all learning from bitter experience that capitalism can never be reformed. It must be crushed.
From the caves of Yenan in China to the battle of Stalingrad in Russia, workers proved that they could fight and work together in a communist manner. We will have to rebuild a society severely disrupted by a third world war. Why should we keep any of capitalism's-deadly trappings in the process?
Our party has confidence in workers. However, we remain too timid in spreading communist ideas and practices among them. Some of us may retain illusions in capitalism or have fallen for the bosses' cynicism. The bosses pretend "human nature" can't change. They really mean that workers will endure capitalism forever. Bosses believe human instinct is capitalistic, that every one is born selfish, and that nature determines wealth and poverty. These ideas are false and vile. Workers have fought and shared for the common good over the centuries. tens of millions have long sought communism. The very thought makes the bosses tremble.
To lead a communist society, the party must win millions of workers into its ranks and develop close ties with millions of others. We must start now to build a base among all workers. In the course of revolutionary battle, millions of workers, soldiers and students will come over to communism. When the revolution and its communist ideas triumph, the party will already have won countless millions to launch a communist society, with no retreats to capitalism.
The growth of a large working-class communist party requires much more than handing out leaflets. It means organizing battles, large and small, against all the rulers' injustices. Within these battles, we must hold revolutionary ideas and goals in the forefront. Organizing for revolution means educating masses of workers, soldiers and students with communist ideas. To agitate successfully, to fight and win battles, to educate people politically, we must know workers very well. We must build long term relations that can lead to the total transformation of most individuals, including ourselves, as we become convinced that we can no longer live in the old way, that we can no longer tolerate capitalism.
For our Party to wipe out world capitalism and to prevent concessions to it by communists, we must have confidence in the international working class; and the international working class must have confidence in their party. This mutual confidence will develop only through long class struggle and political debate. Millions of worker-communists, living and working in an egalitarian society, will never permit a return to capitalism.
The rulers fear communism most. Its specter still haunts them and will destroy them. Only the growth of the revolutionary party can ensure the future of the international working class. Our Party is no secret society. The PLP is open to all workers, students and soldiers. JOIN US!