Month: January, 2010
CPUSA Response to State of the Union
| January 31, 2010 | 2:59 am | Party Voices | No comments

President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address this past week generated international headlines as well as many responses.

“In powerful oratory, he challenged some of the main ideological talking points of right-wing extremism, reminded everyone that he inherited record deficits and an unprecedented economic mess, and defended the stimulus bill and other recovery measures, including, and unfortunately the unconditional bank bailouts,” wrote Sam Webb for the People’s World. “An era of reform – and especially radical reforms – combines popular, sustained, and united action from below with new political openings from above. Both are necessary.”

The following is an interview with Communist Party Executive Vice Chair Jarvis Tyner in response to President Obama’s January 27th state of the union address. It was conducted Thursday January 28th. Spotted at Political Affairs.

Communist Party USA Response to Barack Obama’s State of the Union Speech

Commentary: Save the Party
| January 30, 2010 | 4:33 am | Analysis, Party Voices | 3 Comments

Over the coming days, the Communist Party USA Houston club will be posting discussion documents for the upcoming CPUSA convention. However, the party’s current direction is generating discussion going into the May event. Here we present one viewpoint.

By Dean Christ, Kevin Kyle, and Joan Phillips via Political Affairs

We think the CPUSA convention, postponed several times, cannot come soon enough. We believe the Party has been heading in a wrong direction in far too many ways.

What has happened the Party’s tradition of class struggle, anti-racism, anti-monopoly, anti-imperialism, political independence, international solidarity, and indeed Marxism-Leninism?

Instead of building the Party, the current top leaders (no matter what they think or claim they are doing) have been dismantling the Party piece by piece: eliminating the print versions of the People’s Weekly World and Political Affairs, giving away the Reference Center for Marxist Studies, keeping bookstores shut, abolishing the national Organization Department and several clubs in New York, not to mention cutting YCL funding instead of prioritizing it.

The June 2009 move to end the print edition of the PWW sent shock waves through the Party. Moreover, for top leaders to sweep under the rug the many letters of protest from individuals, clubs, and districts, constituted factionalism and a violation of democracy, for which there should be accountability. With some top officers of the Party now advising against the use of the word “Leninism” as “foreign,” the word “liquidation” used by some comrades seems no longer an exaggeration.

How to Build the Party

While those of us opposed to the current direction may not wholly agree on the way forward, many would agree on the broad outlines:

  • Put the class struggle at the center of our thinking and work. Organize the people’s rage at Wall Street bailouts and mass joblessness by calling for nationalization and democratic control of the banks and basic industry, and by putting the Anti-Monopoly Coalition back at the center of our revolutionary strategy to win socialism.
  • Put forth an anti-crisis program centered on job creation and call attention to the special suffering of youth, immigrants, and African Americans. Work in union rank-and-file movements, building unity, militancy and class-struggle policies.
  • Organize the unemployed into a political force to be reckoned with by the ruling class. We need Unemployed Councils to fight politically for jobs at living wages.
  • Resume our historically second-to-none role as a leading opponent of racism, national oppression and all forms of discrimination, and as an advocate and exemplar of Black-white unity. The conditions facing African Americans, Latinos and other nationally oppressed people are disproportionately bad and getting worse. Symbolic of the top leadership’s tone-deafness on national oppression, it was an affront to Latino workers, an increasingly important group of the specially oppressed, to dismiss the Spanish-language editor of the PWW.
  • Build political independence ideologically and organizationally. Support progressive Democrats when they take the side of the people, and oppose them when they take the side of corporate and military interests. Support progressive independents. Run Communist candidates where possible and appropriate.
  • Oppose in principle the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan as predatory, unjust wars that must end at once. Oppose U.S. imperialism in all its manifestations.
  • Build mass people’s movements with renewed energy, including the anti-war movement, the movement for women’s equality and movements against racist and political repression. Rebuild Party-related left organizations, including in the labor movement.
  • Revive Marxist-Leninist inner Party education to enhance members’ political development. Its neglect is evident in the party leadership’s opportunistic collapse on so many issues under the ideological pressure of monopoly capital.
  • Join unequivocally the fight against the impending catastrophe of climate change and link this cause to the class struggle.
  • Heighten solidarity with the Cubans, Palestinians, and other peoples besieged by imperialism.
  • Work with other Communist Parties, such as the Greeks and Portuguese, who have been confronting opportunism and promoting international Communist cooperation in recent years.

Most of us recognize that the Party’s practice in the recent period, sadly, has fallen far short of these aspirations.

The blame belongs squarely with the Party’s general political and ideological line, and not, as some say, member lethargy. The political line, rendering us indistinguishable from the Democrats, makes recruitment hard, saps Party morale, and leads to chronic financial crisis.

All clear-headed Communists acknowledge that, in response to the greatest capitalist crisis in 70 years, President Obama has opened up some policy debates around health care, job creation, workers’ rights, environmental protection and nuclear disarmament. These issues were not — and are not — even on the agenda of the Republican Party.

Yet these positive openings do not cancel out the Administration’s role in the growing death and destruction in Afghanistan, the billions of dollars pouring into Wall Street banks and the corporations, the re-authorization of the blockade of socialist Cuba, or the refusal to reverse Bush’s policies of rendition and the abridgement of civil liberties.

These openings do not justify exaggerating the “possibilities” opened up by the Obama presidency or warrant fantasies about a “social movement” led by Obama.

More and more, the Party line subordinates everything to Democratic Party electoral work. It fails to grasp the centrality – the sheer gravity and scope – of this world capitalist economic crisis and the hardships the crisis is inflicting on the working class, and the corresponding need for a militant fight-back.

The line wildly exaggerates Obama’s progressive side and sows illusions about the Democratic Party as a vehicle for social change.

The Iraq War rages on. The President recently signed an all-time high $680 billion war budget – an obscenity – yet the Party voice is muffled.

The line since the last convention has weakened our ties to the international Communist movement. Too many joint statements by the world movement on the Middle East and other burning issues go unsigned by the CPUSA. Our Party’s rosy “analysis” of the Obama Administration is rejected by the rest of a world Communist movement which is mobilizing against U.S. imperialism’s current crimes.

Some top leaders push technological panaceas. Yet the over-reliance on technology is creating a party of people sitting alone in front of a computer screen. The Internet cannot substitute for direct mass contact with workers through print publications. It cannot replace struggle in the streets, shops, and communities.

Militant tactics measuring up to the desperate conditions created by this economic crisis are not pushed by the CPUSA. In practice, the current political line ignores the lessons of the 1930s and our Party’s finest legacies – the CIO, and the building of all mass movements from the grass roots.

Our Party publications have lost working-class common sense. Their pages lavish undeserved praise on the Administration, and downplay what really matters such as: an immediate end to the U.S. aggressions in the Middle East; a jobs program which is not a carbon copy of the AFL-CIO program, and which puts forth advanced demands such as a cut in the workweek with no cut in pay; equality for all nationally oppressed groups; an end to the blockade of Cuba and freedom for the Cuban Five; and health care reform worthy of the name.

The gap between reality and the current political line has rarely been greater.

We need a change. We want to restore a fighting Communist Party organization that leads struggle.

Let’s make the most of our pre-convention discussion.

People of Haiti Still Need Your Help & Solidarity
| January 29, 2010 | 3:27 am | International | No comments

The massive earthquake which hit Haiti nearly two weeks ago has left up to 200,000 dead, tens of thousands of injured and sick, and 3 million people affected in other ways—out of Haiti’s population of 9 million people.

The American people along with the international community can help make sure that Haiti is not once again going to be forced into debt to deal with this disaster, or to accept conditions on aid that are not compatible with Haiti’s national sovereignty or the interests of the Haitian people. Rather, Haiti’s international debt should be cancelled entirely.

But the highest priority right now is to get as much direct help to the Haitian people as possible. A massive aid effort has been mounted. We encourage everyone to make an individual contribution, as well as getting your unions, community organizations, churches and other groups to pitch in. Every penny counts.

Money, equipment, medicine, supplies and skilled volunteers (doctors, nurses, search and rescue personnel etc) are all needed. There are many excellent charities that are providing urgent help on the ground in Haiti. We encourage you to give what you can to this important humanitarian effort. Here is a just a partial list of ways to help:

Organized labor has stepped to the plate, with a $500,000 donation from the United Auto Workers, and thousands of unionized nurses (from The National Nurse Union) volunteering to go to Haiti to help. Read about what labor is doing and get ideas on how to hook up with labor’s efforts.

You can make contributions by contacting the Haitian Embassy 271 Madison Avenue, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10016. Phone: 212.697.9767. Fax: 212.681.6991.

It is also easy to make a contribution through your cell phone without a credit card. $5 can be sent to via singer Wyclef Jean Yelé Haiti. Just text the word “YELE” to 501501. A $5 donation will be charged to your cell phone bill.

Donations are accepted through UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, which works for children’s rights, their survival, development and protection, guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Oxfam is an international aid group already working in Haiti.

Doctors Without Borders is an independent grasroots effort with mobile hospitals, equipment and personnel on the ground in Haiti.

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) has long experience working on emergency response.

For those who have family in Haiti, the number 1-888-407-4747 has been set-up by the U.S. government to help you reach your family in Haiti.

The crisis in Haiti will not be solved quickly. As emergency support winds down, we all must seek to keep the Haitian people in our thoughts and support them with our deeds. The Communist Party supports long-term efforts to help rebuild Haiti as an independent and thriving nation and to overcome the poverty and inequality that has plagued our Caribbean neighbor for generations.

For more on the history of Haiti, its people and their struggles, visit People’s World for the latest news and analysis.

National Board
Communist Party, USA

Knockdown fight over Venezuela legislative elections in September
| January 28, 2010 | 1:45 am | Latin America | No comments

By Arthur Shaw via VHeadline

An alliance of the Venezuela bourgeoisie and US imperialists unreasonably expects to score big in the upcoming legislative elections in September this year. This alliance, sometimes called the ‘opposition,’� historically does better in legislative elections than in elections for posts in the executive branch of the State � e.g. President, Governors, Mayors, etc. In the 2005 legislative elections, however, the alliance of the bourgeoisie and imperialists ran and hid from a electoral confrontation against the powerful revolutionary forces over the seats in the National Assembly, the supreme lawmaking body in Venezuela . In other words, in 2005, the opposition boycotted the legislative elections.

If the opposition doesn’t score big in the September races for the National Assembly, the defeat will likely be a crushing blow to the alliance of the Venezuelan bourgeoisie and US imperialists against the revolutionary sector of the Venezuelan working class. This time, the opposition can’t evade a defeat by running and hiding or boycotting the elections.

A defeat in September will also speed up the shift toward violence in the opposition’s strategy and tactics.

The US imperialist military build-up in neighboring Colombia shows that imperialists are already losing confidence in their ability and in the ability of their pro-imperialist quisling forces in Venezuela to beat the revolutionary and liberal workers of Venezuela in any kind of electoral showdown. To guarantee that most of the corruption from the imperialists regime in Washington continues to go to the political side of the opposition, the Venezuelan bourgeoisie intends to work hard and go all out to score big in September. If the ‘peaceful’� side of the opposition doesn’t score big in September, the imperialists will likely divert more of the money they now use to corrupt bourgeois parties, civil society, and the State in Venezuela , to the violent or terrorist side of the opposition. The violent side of the opposition includes Colombian and Venezuelan terrorists now operating in Venezuela, degenerate and morally filthy US mercenaries, Venezuelans now undergoing terrorist and genocide training in Colombia and in USA, and utterly savage and barbaric US troops at US bases in Colombia and in the region. Again, the lost of corruption money from the US National Endowment for Democracy, US Agency for International Development, CIA, DIA, FBI, US State Department, and a number of pro-imperialist foundations and think-tanks by elements and sectors of the Venezuelan bourgeoisie on the peaceful side of the opposition could cause a total financial collapse of these bourgeois elements and sectors. These elements and sectors of the Venezuelan bourgeoisie depend on corruption as their main source of income for personal consumption.

THE CORRUPTION OF THE VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION

Based on documents obtained from the bourgeois US regime under the Freedom of Information Act, prominent revolutionary writer Eva Golinger estimates that something like $50 million in corruption money has flowed during the last seven years out of the US imperial treasury through various conduits and finally into the pockets and bank accounts of the corrupt opposition in Venezuela. Whether the opposition scores big in September will depend, in large part, on how much corruption the opposition gets out of Washington . Golinger estimates that the imperialists spent about $4.7 million to corrupt the Nov. 2008 regional elections in Venezuela . So, something like $4.7 million will likely serve as the floor or the minimum amount of corruption that the opposition will get for 2010 legislative races, because the National Assembly races are a lot more important than the regional races. Most likely, the opposition in Venezuela will get something like $9 or $10 million from the US imperialists to corrupt the 2010 legislative elections.

If any US citizen or US resident accepted ‘anything of value’� [not to mention $9 or $10 million] from a foreign government, like the Venezuelan Government or its agents, ‘in connection with’� any US election [federal, state, county, or municipal], this US citizen or resident could get up to 20 years in a US prison and a fine up to $250,000 under the Federal Elections Campaign Act (FECA), at 2 USC 441e. When one asks US reactionaries why they oppose corruption of the US government and US politics by foreign sources, while the imperialist regime in Washington promotes corruption in Venezuela and in other countries, these two-faced and sanctimonious US reactionaries say they can corrupt others and, at the same time, resist corruption from others, because something named ‘God’� blesses America.

Although corruption is a necessary condition for an opposition big score in September, corruption isn’t a sufficient condition for a big score. In other words, corruption, alone, no matter how lavish, can’t defeat revolutionary sector of the Venezuelan working class. To score big, the opposition must also work hard and adopt an ‘effective’� strategy and tactics in legislative races.

HARD WORK

With the bourgeoisie and increasingly with the proletariat, a great expenditure of energy for a prolong period is not necessarily hard work, because the idea of work often implies a smart expenditure of energy or, at least, an expenditure at or above the prevailing rate of productivity of labor in field in which the expenditure occurs. An expenditure below the rate of labor productivity is wasted labor and worthless in the market place. In other words, if the expenditure isn’t even work, then the expenditure can’t be hard work. In ‘Capital,’� Marx calls this idea ‘socially necessary labor.’�

One of the main goals of US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is to raise the level of productivity of reactionary electoral labor to the world prevailing rate of productivity. To this end, NED runs a series of institutes � the IRI for Venezuelan reactionaries, the IDI for Venezuelan moderates and liberals, the ACILS for reactionaries, moderates, and liberals in the labor movement � which train pro-imperialist flunkies of Venezuelan origin at facilities in Venezuela , USA , all over Latin America, EU, and Israel in the mechanics of electoral struggle. These NED institutes have trained, in the class room, thousands of highly competent reactionaries during the last 15 years and arranged to provide them with electoral experience, in the field, in Venezuela , USA, and all over Latin America .

  • Although it is distasteful to admit it, we must make no mistake about this question, these lousy reactionaries or flunkies � nurtured by NED � are very good at their art.

Until about 2006, NED recruited most of the flunkies for training in its electoral institutes from the ranks of the main bourgeois parties and from a reactionary labor federation in Venezuela .

The main bourgeois parties were:

(1) Democratic Action (AD) is reactionary bourgeois in ideology although occasionally it claims to be social democratic. The AD is the biggest member of the group of clowns that make up the opposition. Henry Ramos leads the AD which is deeply fragmented over its cut of corruption from US imperialists. Because of its size and influence, AD demands most of the corruption money. But the other bourgeois parties and US imperialists refuse to yield to AD demands.

(2) New Times (UNT) is reactionary bourgeois in ideology and disputes AD’�s claim that AD is the biggest clown of the opposition. Omar Barboza nominally leads the UNT as a figurehead for Manuel Rosales, a fugitive from justice who hides in Lima , Peru , after accusations that Rosales took or stole $8 million in corruption money from US imperialists during 2002-2004. Largely, AD and UNT see the 2010 legislative elections as a contest between AD and UNT � not against the revolutionary forcces behind Hugo Chavez � to establish, once and for all, whether ADD or UNT is the biggest clown of the opposition. This determination has huge financial consequences.

(3) Social Christians ( COPEI), is ultra-reactionary bourgeois in ideology and was once the second biggest clown in bourgeois politics before the emergence of UNT. Luis Ignacio Planas leads COPEI and often complains that COPEI doesn’t get a fair share of corruption from US imperialists. Ignacio Planas tends to blame AD and UNT equally for robbing COPEI of its just cut of corruption.

(4) Justice First, reactionary bourgeois in ideology, used to present itself as the professional youth of Venezuela . Now, ten years after the birth of Justice First, the NED-created party is only a part of the professional middle-aged of Venezuela . Julio Borges leads the Justice First and despises the UNT for undermining his 2006 unofficial primary race for the opposition presidential nomination. Borges says his internal polls and other polls by the opposition forces showed in 2006 that he would have far exceeded the paltry 37% that Manuel Rosales, the UNT candidate, got in the 2006 presidential race against Hugo Chavez who got a whopping 63%.

(5) Social Democrats (PODEMOS), bourgeois liberal in ideology and a renegade from the revolutionary process, wants to run for seats in some promising middle class districts in the September. But the opposition, especially Justice First, claims this is divisive and demands PODEMOS � in the name of ‘�unity’� � run in revolutionary working class districts where PODEMOS can’t win. A big chunk of PODEMOS broke away in Jan. 2009 and the chunk re-constituted itself as the Humanist Popular Front, another bourgeois liberal outfit. The Humanist Popular Front stole five of PODEMOS National Assembly deputies. In the legislative elections of 2005, PODEMOS won 15 seats in the National Assembly, the second largest party caucus in the legislature. Turmoil within PODEMOS has since reduced the number of PODEMOS seats to seven. Ismael Garcia ‘leads’� PODEMOS and everything he touches instantly turns into either ashes or manure � usuall, the latter.

In addition to the five clowns of the opposition, mentioned just above, are about 30 riff-raff bourgeois parties of no importance.

Until late 2006, NED (US National Endowment for Democracy) recruited flunkies for its electoral institutes mostly from these organizations. NED had to negotiate compensation issues with the leaders of the bourgeois parties to get and to exploit the electoral labor of these people. But with the emergence of the reactionary middle class college student movement in early in 2007, NED reached out to the largely unaffiliated middle class college students, trained hundreds of them, and obtained direct control over them without the bourgeois parties as intermediaries. There is a degree of antagonism or competition between the old hands of the bourgeois parties who view the new electoral operatives from the reactionary middle class college student movement as cheap, low class streetwalkers, willing to work for almost nothing or for ‘coolie’� wages. The imperialists must unite these two groups of campaign workers into a united force.

  • There is a question about how hard either of these groups of electoral operatives can work if they spend their time urinating into each other’s bowl of soup.

‘EFFECTIVE’ STRATEGY AND TACTICS

(1) Ideally, the peaceful form of political struggle usually consists of four steps � talks (meetings, conferences, lectures, seminars, discussions, etc.), walks (marches, demonstrations, parades, protests, picketing, etc.), campaign (fundraising, targeting, voter contact, free media, paid media, candidate activity, opposition research, volunteers, etc.) and vote to win or hold state power. In September, the vote is to hold a certain amount of state power.

(2) Ideally, the armed form of political struggle also usually consists of four steps � talks, walks, fight, annd finally seize state power or hold it.

The political form of the class struggle of the Venezuelan bourgeoisie and US imperialists against the revolutionary part of the Venezuelan working class is evolving from (1), the peaceful form, to a combination of (1) and (2). Specifically, (2) is the adoption of terrorist tactics by the opposition to intimidate the Venezuelan people into abandoning the revolution. In other words, imperial administrative control of the opposition is passing from NED and USAID to CIA, DOD, DIA, and US mercenary firms.

By ‘terrorist tactics’� we mean, among other things, random murder of members of the Venezuela working class and targeted murders of revolutionary supporters by the armed forces of the opposition. In other words, murder in this context is the deliberate killing of Venezuelans by the opposition, without justification or provocation for mere political ends and for corruption money and this bestiality from the opposition is already happening in Venezuela on a grand scale. The US military build-up in nearby Colombia promises an escalation in the use of murder by the opposition as a political tool and as a means of earning corruption money. ‘Terrorist tactics’� also include something called assault which is targeted at revolutionary supporters, voters and operatives. In order that there no confusion about what we mean by the ‘terrorist tactics ‘ of the opposition, we define assault as intentionally causing bodily injury to revolutionary supporters or threatening to cause such bodily injury by the scum, trash, and filth that works with opposition. We hope this clearly expresses our point about the terrorist opposition.

Many supporters of the bloodthirsty opposition concede that terrorist tactics are already in broad use in Venezuela by Colombian and Venezuelan terrorists with organizational and financial ties to the opposition. But these opposition supporters argue that humanity can’t properly acknowledge a story as real until the bourgeois media prominently and continuously report the story. These opposition supporters smugly point out that the bourgeois media don’t as yet connect the terrorist killings/assaults in Venezuela to the opposition, the alliance between the Venezuelan bourgeoisie and US imperialists. So, these opposition supporters insist that humanity can’t properly acknowledge as real the transparent connection between the terrorist forces and the opposition.

  • In other words, the bourgeois media, the opposition alleges, not only report but also create reality.

In addition to the dozen or so traditional branches of an electoral campaign, the revolutionaries, this time, should introduce a new one, perhaps called ‘campaign security.’� For without extraordinary carnage and mayhem, it will very hard for the opposition to score big in September.

What is a big score for the opposition?

Most likely, we should talk about a big score and a ‘real big score.’� A big score is the opposition winning more than one third of the 167 seats in the National Assembly because the revolutionaries need two thirds of the 167 seats to amend the organic law of Venezuela which is second only to the Venezuelan Constitution in legal authority. A ‘real big score’� is the opposition winning 51% of the National Assembly seats. This ‘real big score’� would be a disaster for the Revolution but the Revolution could still sustain itself. It is most unlikely however that the opposition will score either real big or big, as defined above.

Again, if the opposition gets more than a third of the seats in September, the victory for the opposition is big. But if the opposition gets over half, then its victory is real big. Conversely, if the revolution gets over half of the seats, its victory is big. But if the revolution gets over two-thirds of the seats, then its victory is real big.

In addition to terrorism, the opposition will surely used its traditional strategies and tactics � namely, working for a big reactionary turnout on election day and working for a big revolutionary and liberal abstention. NED-trained electoral operatives are generally very good at get-out-the-vote operations (GOTV) and the Venezuelan flunkies of NED are among the best anywhere. The main issue with the reactionary turnout is whether the old hands of the above-mentioned bourgeois parties and the fresh reactionary middle class college students or former students, directly under the command of NED, will urinate in each others’ bowls of soup. Presently, the students or former students make no secret of their contempt for both the old hands and for the leaders of the bourgeois parties.

The revolutionary victory in the electoral/legislative struggle over the constitutional amendment in February. 2009 shows that the Revolution has recovered from the shocking 45% abstention that produced a huge revolutionary defeat in the struggle over the constitutional reform in December 2007. In Feb. 2009, the abstention was only 35%, down 10 points from December 2007. With a 35% abstention in September 2010, the revolution can easily win a simple majority. What’�s more, if the revolution can keep the abstention down at 35%, the revolution may win a super 66% majority, needed to amend the organic law. But the geographical configuration of a 65% turnout and a 35% abstention will prove decisive in winning a two thirds majority. If the geographical configuration is correct, it is possible to win 66% of the seats with less than 66% of the vote.

In respect to the geographical configuration, Ismael Garcia, the PODEMOS renegade from the revolutionary process, falsely accuses the National Electoral Council of gerrymandering in seven of Venezuela ‘s 23 states and its two largest cities, Caracas and Maracaibo . Garcia says the redrawn district lines favor revolutionary candidates in September. As required by the Venezuelan Election Code, the National Electoral Council redrew some district lines in the seven states and some district lines in two cities to reflect increases and decreases in district populations. Three of the seven states where districts were redrawn are already revolutionary strongholds. So, gerrymandering is clearly not the motive behind the redrawing. One of the two cities where districts were redrawn is a long time reactionary stronghold. So, the new district lines are unlikely to change the outcome in September. When the Venezuelan Election Code was amended last year to require redrawing of district lines to reflect the current demographic situation of the district, the bourgeois media in neither Venezuela nor the USA protested the introduction and enactment of this amendment to the election code. As yet, neither the bourgeois media nor the opposition have challenged the statistical finding that significant demographic changes have taken place in the districts that were redrawn. As yet, neither the bourgeois media nor the opposition have challenged the premise that failure to redraw district lines after significant changes in the demographic situation is itself a form of gerrymandering.

CONCLUSION

The odds that the revolutionary forces will win a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly is only ‘likely,’� but not by any means ‘very likely.’� And, as such, the outcome of the September races lies very much in the sphere of contingency. Most likely, only a major blunder by the opposition equal to the 2005 boycott blunder can lift the odds of two-thirds revolutionary majority from a mere ‘likely’� to ‘very likely.’�

So far, the principal issues of the opposition are water, lights, consumer prices and violence. Violence is the opposition best issue. Opposition believes the greater the violence, the better the odds for a reactionary win.

In all of the more or less proletarian parties � the PSUV, the PPT, and PCV, there are misplaced working class liberals and misplaced working class reactionaries sobbing that the current carnage and mayhem in Venezuela are spontaneous phenomena of capitalism, not the organized phenomena of capitalism, that is, of US imperialism and Venezuelan bourgeoisie, the opposition. Some revolutionaries believe the errors of these working class liberals and reactionaries because of the tears and emotion that gush out of these misfits as they sob.

A revolution that can’t defend itself is worthless, Lenin said. If the sobbing misfits are proved correct about their idea of the spontaneity of the violence, then no harm will result if revolutionary forces prepare ubiquitously to defend the people and the process, in a electoral context.

On the other hand, if the misfits are wrong and the violence is organized by the rotten opposition, then defensive preparations of the whole proletariat, in the electoral context, will proved invaluable as the amount of opposition-sponsored violence rises.

Castro: We Send Doctors Not Soldiers
| January 27, 2010 | 10:59 am | Latin America | No comments

By Fidel Castro Ruz via MRZine

In my Reflection of January 14, two days after the catastrophe in Haiti, which destroyed that neighboring sister nation, I wrote: “In the area of healthcare and others the Haitian people has received the cooperation of Cuba, even though this is a small and blockaded country. Approximately 400 doctors and healthcare workers are helping the Haitian people free of charge. Our doctors are working every day at 227 of the 237 communes of that country. On the other hand, no less than 400 young Haitians have been graduated as medical doctors in our country. They will now work alongside the reinforcement that traveled there yesterday to save lives in that critical situation. Thus, up to one thousand doctors and healthcare personnel can be mobilized without any special effort; and most are already there willing to cooperate with any other State that wishes to save Haitian lives and rehabilitate the injured.”

“The head of our medical brigade has informed that ‘the situation is difficult but we are already saving lives.'”

The Cuban health professionals have started to work nonstop, hour after hour, day and night, in the few facilities that remain standing, in tents, and out in the parks or open-air spaces, since the population feared new aftershocks.

The situation was far more serious than was originally thought. Tens of thousands of injured were clamoring for help in the streets of Port-au-Prince; innumerable persons lay, dead or alive, under the rubble of clay or adobe used in the construction of the houses where the overwhelming majority of the population lived. Buildings, even the most solid, collapsed. Besides, it was necessary to track down, in the destroyed neighborhoods, the Haitian doctors who had graduated from the Latin American School of Medicine. Many of them were affected, either directly or indirectly, by the tragedy.

Some UN officials were trapped in their dormitories and tens of lives were lost, including the lives of several chiefs of MINUSTAH, a UN contingent. The fate of hundreds of other members of its staff was unknown.

Haiti’s Presidential Palace crumbled. Many public facilities, including several hospitals, were left in ruins.

The catastrophe shocked the whole world, which was able to see what was going on through the images aired by the main international TV networks. Governments all over the world announced they would be sending rescue experts, food, medicines, equipment, and other resources.

In accordance with the position publicly announced by Cuba, medical staff from different countries — namely Spain, Mexico, and Colombia, among others — worked very hard alongside our doctors at the facilities they had improvised. Organizations such as PAHO, friendly countries like Venezuela, and other nations supplied medicines and other resources. The impeccable behavior of Cuban professionals and their leaders, who chose to remain out of the limelight, was absolutely void of chauvinism.

Cuba, just as it had done under similar circumstances, when Hurricane Katrina caused huge devastation in the city of New Orleans and the lives of thousands of American citizens were in danger, offered to send a full medical brigade to cooperate with the people of the United States, a country that, as is well known, has vast resources. At that moment what was needed were trained and well-equipped doctors to save lives. Given New Orleans’ geographic location, more than one thousand doctors of the “Henry Reeve” contingent mobilized and readied to leave for that city at any time of the day or the night, carrying with them the necessary medicines and equipment. It never crossed our mind that the President of that nation would reject the offer and let a number of Americans who could have been saved die. The mistake made by that government was perhaps due to the inability to understand that the people of Cuba do not see in the American people an enemy; they do not blame them for the aggressions our homeland has suffered.

Nor was that government capable of understanding that our country does not need to beg for favors or forgiveness of those who, for half a century now, have been trying, to no avail, to bring us to our knees.

Our country, also in the case of Haiti, immediately responded to the US authorities’ requests to fly over the eastern part of Cuba as well as other facilities they needed to deliver assistance, as quickly as possible, to the American and Haitian citizens who had been affected by the earthquake.

Such have been the principles characterizing the ethical behavior of our people. Together with its impartiality and firmness, these have been the ever-present features of our foreign policy. And this is known only too well by whoever have been our adversaries in the international arena.

Cuba will firmly stand by the opinion that the tragedy that has taken place in Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere, is a challenge to the richest and more powerful countries of the world.

Haiti is a net product of the colonial, capitalist, and imperialist system imposed on the world. Haiti’s slavery and subsequent poverty were imposed from abroad. That terrible earthquake occurred after the Copenhagen Summit, where the most elemental rights of 192 UN member States were trampled upon.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, a competition has been unleashed in Haiti to hastily and illegally adopt boys and girls. UNICEF has been forced to adopt preventive measures against the uprooting of many children that will deprive their close relatives of their rights.

There are more than one hundred thousand dead victims. A large number of citizens have lost their arms or legs, or have suffered fractures requiring rehabilitation that would enable them to work or manage their lives on their own.

Eighty percent of the country needs to be rebuilt. Haiti requires an economy that is developed enough to meet its needs according to its productive capacity. The reconstruction of Europe or Japan, which was based on the productive capacity and the technical level of the population, was a relatively simple task compared to the effort that needs to be made in Haiti. There, as well as in most of Africa and elsewhere in the Third World, it is indispensable to create the conditions for a sustainable development. In only forty years’ time, humanity will be made of more than nine billion inhabitants, and it is faced right now with the challenge of a climate change that scientists accept as an inescapable reality.

In the midst of the Haitian tragedy, without anybody knowing how and why, thousands of US marines, 82nd Airborne Division troops, and other military forces have occupied Haiti. Worse still is the fact that neither the United Nations Organization nor the US government has offered an explanation to the world’s public opinion about this deployment of troops.

Several governments have complained that their aircraft have not been allowed to land in order to deliver the human and technical resources that have been sent to Haiti.

Some countries, for their part, have announced they would be sending an additional number of troops and military equipment. In my view, such actions will complicate and create chaos in international cooperation, which is already in itself complex. It is necessary to seriously discuss this issue. The UN should be entrusted with the leading role it deserves in these delicate matters.

Our country is accomplishing a strictly humanitarian mission. To the extent that it is possible, it will contribute the human and material resources at its disposal. The will of our people, who take pride in their medical doctors and workers who cooperate to provide vital services, is strong and will rise to the occasion.

Any significant opportunity for cooperation that is offered to our country will not be rejected, but its acceptance will be entirely dependent on the importance and significance of the assistance that is requested from the human resources of our homeland.

It is only fair to state that, up until this moment, our modest aircraft and the important human resources that Cuba has made available to the Haitian people have arrived at their destination without any difficulty whatsoever.

We send doctors, not soldiers!

Democratize the Federal Reserve Bank
| January 26, 2010 | 8:48 pm | National | No comments

By Sam Webb via People’s World

What seemed a foregone conclusion – the reappointment of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke for another four-year term – has turned into a matter of contention. For this we have to thank Massachusetts voters. Their rebellion that took the unfortunate form of electing a right-wing Republican to fill the Senate seat of the late Edward Kennedy has recalibrated nearly everything in politics, including and not least, the reappointment of Bernanke. No one was expecting his coronation, but nearly no one expected anything but token resistance to his reappointment by President Obama.

Until now the most vocal critic of Bernanke has been Vermont senator and socialist Bernie Sanders. But now Sanders has some new allies in the Senate. Whether it is enough to derail the president’s appointment is doubtful at this point, but it is a fight worth making. Two good reasons come to my mind.

For one thing, Bernanke – and before him the so-called oracle at the Fed, Alan Greenspan – were two of the main engineers of our protracted economic slump. When some economists were issuing warnings about the speculative bubble in the housing market and the grave consequences if it burst in the years prior to the meltdown in 2008, Fed czar Bernanke was making speeches about the “Great Moderation.” According to him, sudden and sharp contractions of the economy were a thing of past. Hello! Talk about being asleep at the switch!

For another thing, since the bubble burst Bernanke has shown little if any desire to use monetary tools to address the long-term unemployment crisis. His actions suggest that he is content with how the economy is performing, even though many economists argue that jobless rates are going to remain high for a long time unless special measures are taken.

Paul Krugman, the Noble prize winner in economics and New York Times columnist, writes in a recent column, “Mr. Bernanke has offered no hint that he feels the need to adopt polices that might bring unemployment down.”

Still, Krugman gives his former colleague and economics department chair at Princeton “a less than ringing endorsement” (his words) for reappointment, although in “damning Bernanke with faint praise,” (my words) he provides the rest of us with ammunition to block Bernanke’s reappointment.

It is said the administration feels that “another defeat (in the wake of the Massachusetts elections and the limbo status of health care) would be worse than association with Bernanke” (as Robert Kuttner put it), but is sticking with Bernanke a gamble worth making since he is a symbol of Wall Street-Washington collusion that tens of millions of people deeply resent?

There are a whole stable of economists who are technically qualified, ready to enforce tough regulations on Wall Street and its speculative excesses, and sympathetic to working people. Nominating one of these individuals, if well explained, could show the American people that the president has “their back.”

Which leads me to a larger question that the past decade and a half of Fed mismanagement of the economy raises: should the Federal Reserve be democratized? Should its policy committee that sets interest rates and credit conditions include people’s representatives? Who’s going to regulate the regulators?

Currently, the Fed and its governing bodies conduct their business without any public oversight. Decisions that impact on the lives of hundreds of millions are reached behind closed doors. And its members are appointed from a narrow pool of bankers for the most part (the independence of the Fed is laughable as far as finance capital is concerned; it has enjoyed a long marriage to the financial moneybags and banksters.)

I suppose these present arrangements could be justified if the performance of Bernanke and his Board of Governors were exemplary. But, as I indicated above, that isn’t the case. The Fed as currently constituted and managed is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

A democratically constituted and transparent Fed won’t solve the economic crisis by itself, but it could be an important tool to reinflate and restructure the economy to the advantage of working people – employed and unemployed. It could also signify a new departure on the part of the White House to forcefully address the anger and desperation that people are feeling.

Until then, let’s send Bernanke, along with his soulmates in the White House, Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner, on a well-deserved vacation.

Classics Tuesday: The Nature of the “White-Black Relationship”
| January 19, 2010 | 4:04 am | Readings | No comments

By Henry Winston
Chapter 7 from
Class, Race and Black Liberation, 1977, International Publishers Co.

The aspirations of Robert L. Allen, editor of The Black Scholar, are in direct conflict with the aims of Daniel P. Moynihan. Yet, in Reluctant Reformers by Robert Allen, with the collaboration of Pamela P. Allen, and in Ethnicity by Moynihan and Glazer, one finds a parallel treatment of the question of race and class.

Reluctant Reformers (Howard University Press, Washington, D.C., 1974)—subtitled “The Impact of Racism on American Social Reform Movements,” and spanning the years from 1776 to the present—has a fundamental flaw: In attempting to portray the impact of racism on movements for social change, the author deemphasizes the impact of these multi-racial movements on this country’s history. This in turn leads to deemphasizing the impact of Frederick Douglass, Karl Marx and W.E.B. Du Bois on past and present struggles against oppression and exploitation. Such a view of the movements for social change flows from a failure to recognize the objective laws of class struggle and the capitalist class as the source of racism and therefore results in a failure to differentiate among the changing class forces involved in these movements during different periods of this country’s history.

As a result, the book’s thrust is not directed toward overcoming racism’s impact on the people’s struggles; instead, it projects a defeatist estimate of the people’s ability to struggle. This is apparent in the very concept of “reluctant reformers,” which in itself implies an inverted form of voluntarism. Contrary to the “thought of Mao,” history can neither be “pushed” nor “stopped” by the will of individuals or groups, without regard to the specific mode of production in a given society and the contradictions that give rise to the struggle to resolve them.

The many-sided and historically changing forms of “reluctance”— whose core today consists of racism and anti-Communism—can retard but not halt the forward thrust of the multi-racial international working class, including its contingent in the United States: “Reluctance” could not stop the struggle leading to the “irresistable conflict” that abolished slavery, nor can “reluctance” halt the anti-monopoly struggle.

The source of Allen’s defeatist attitude toward the anti-racist struggle and thus toward movements for social change as a whole, is revealed in the following:

Of course, if the locus of racism is white society, then one must conclude that some kind of basic change must be made in this society if racism is to be eliminated. This is not to suggest that white society is somehow monolithic or static; on the contrary, numerous strata and competing interest groups exist, and changes of greater or lesser extent are almost constantly occurring. (Reluctant Reformers, p. 5.Emphasis added—H.W.)

To speak of a “white society” fits in with the “two societies” concept projected in the sixties. This idea was promoted from both a “radical” and a “liberal” (via the “Kerner Report”) standpoint, which portrayed Blacks as forming an internal colony in the United States. But Black people are discriminated against and suffer de facto segregation within the single U.S. capitalist economy. Both Black and white are locked into one society dominated by corporate monopoly. To imply the division of this country into two societies obscures its real division into two basic classes, the white monopolist minority and the multi-racial working class.

By situating the “locus of racism” in a generalized “white society,” Allen in effect denies that racism originates in and is perpetuated by the class interests of monopoly. Via a theory of “interest groups,” Allen attempts to back up his portrayal of the United States as a society dominated by “classless” whites instead of white monopoly capitalists. Although Allen asserts “white society” should not be regarded as “monolithic,” he confirms that the term is without class meaning by defining it as consisting of “numerous strata and competing interest groups.”

Further, to speak merely of “interest groups” is to fall within the orbit of Moynihan’s “ethnicity” strategy, which denies the fundamental contradiction between monopoly and the multi-racial working class, the Black and other oppressed minorities and the majority of the population.

According to Moynihan, each “ethnic” group has its own demands, all presumably of equal importance, thus denying the special racist oppression of Blacks. And the logic of Allen’s “interest group” concept also leads to a denial of class exploitation as the source of oppression of Black and other minorities.

Moynihan’s ideology promotes the primacy of “ethnicity” while simultaneously suggesting that the primacy of race links all white “ethnic” groups against non-whites, who are depicted as a competitive threat. And the “interest groups” concept objectively reinforces this ideology: Allen as well as Moynihan denies that monopoly is the enemy of the multi-racial working class and the masses of the people.

According to both Moynihan and Allen, each “ethnic” or “interest group” has a stake only in its “own” particular interest which can presumably be advanced only in opposition to the needs of other “ethnic groups” and “interest groups.” Such theories encourage Black and white to regard each other as the enemy; in particular, they influence white workers to accept racism—and even fight to maintain it.

What has happened in South Boston symbolizes the logic of these concepts: An “ethnic” group is made to feel deprived by the anti-racist struggle and thus white workers are misled into helping to forge the chains of their own impoverishment.

The “ethnicity” and “group interest” theories reverse reality for both Black and white, portraying the anti-racist struggle/ not racism, as contradicting the interests of the white masses. It would be hard to think of a more effective way to advance the interests of racist monopoly!

Who Has A ‘Stake’ in Racism?

In his article on the Pan-African Congress, Lerone Bennett polemizes against Marxists and progressives who place anti-racist struggle at the core of the fight for anti-imperialist unity. In his book on social movements in the United States, Robert Allen polemizes against Marxists and progressives who see the need for combining the self- action of Blacks with working-class struggles in the anti-racist fight at home. In fact, he goes so far as to deny the basis for unity of the multi-racial working class—alleging that white workers have a “stake” in racism. Asserting that the Communist Party has had an “oversimplified view of racism, and the history of racial antagonism,” he states: ‘

If racism was simply a device used by the capitalist ruling class to divide the workers, then it followed that the workers have no material stake in the maintenance of racism. Once apprised of their true interests the workers could be expected to join the forces opposing racism. Such has not yet been the case, as the history of the labor movement amply illustrates. Yet Communist writers insisted upon regarding the white working class as the bearer of true enlightenment and fraternity; at the very minimum they contended that only if the workers would accept Marxism-Leninism then racial antagonisms would fade away. (Allen, op. cit., p. 224. Emphasis in the original.)

In this statement Allen attempts to “settle” the race/class question by “establishing” the primacy of race: If white workers have a “material stake” in racism, it would mean there is no antagonistic contradiction between them and the white monopolists (that is, their stake would be in the color of their skin).

Of course, U.S. capitalism through all stages of its development has perpetuated inequality between Black and white masses. But in order to do so it has had to perpetuate the illusion, from slavery to the present, that the white exploited have a “material stake” in Black oppression. And the survivals of racist “advantages,”—originating in the slave system—still lend credibility to the racist-fostered illusion that white workers on the assembly lines and in the unemployed lines have a “material stake” in the different degree to which monopoly exploits them as compared to Black workers.

In reality, white as well as Black workers have a “material stake” in eradicating racism. To assert that white workers have a “material stake” in racism is to profoundly exaggerate monopoly’s ability to sustain this illusion—particularly in the face of the deepening general crisis of capitalism. Such a concept is based on an overestimation of the strength of imperialism, and consequently an underestimation—in fact, a denial—of the intensifying contradiction between monopoly and the working class as a whole—Black, white, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Asian and Native American Indian.

To argue that whites have a “material stake” in racism is to say that 180 million whites, the overwhelming majority, have no “material stake” in economic and social progress, which would mean there is no perspective for fundamental change.

The Black minority alone could not defeat the slave power. That was achieved via a strategy combining the interests of those forces and classes with a stake in victory over the slavocracy. And today the Black minority cannot by itself defeat the monopoly oppressors. What is required is not a go-it-alone policy for Blacks but an independent strategy for Black liberation as part of a wider anti-monopoly strategy—combining all those with a stake in the defeat of corporate monopoly into a great people’s coalition. And in the perspective for such a coalition, one cannot overlook the revolutionary implications of the proletarianization of the majority of the multi-racial masses.

If one says white workers have a “material stake” in racism, one implies they have a “material stake” in monopoly instead of its defeat. In other words, such a concept denies the common interest of Black and white workers in class unity and a broad anti-monopoly strategy. After all, one cannot expect people to fight against racism if they have a “material stake” in it. Thus, Allen’s views would at best promote reliance on “gradualism”—tokenist reformism—the direct opposite of a perspective for ending the triple oppression of Blacks and other oppressed minorities.

In saying that white workers have a “material stake” in racism, Allen is not only denying the possibility of a mass alternative to monopoly. He is also denying the fundamental class contradiction between the monopoly ruling class and the working class, that is, he is denying the class struggle. In viewing racism as divorced from monopoly’s class interests, he fails to see that racism contradicts the common stake all workers have in the class struggle against their common enemy. The concept of white workers having a “material stake” in racism is a noil-struggle approach, contradicting the cause of Black liberation as well as the needs of all those seeking solutions to the crisis confronting them.

Of course. Communists would regard the infinitely complex anti- racist struggle as a very simple matter indeed if—as Allen alleges—they considered it merely a matter of “apprising” the white workers of “their true interests” in order for them to “join the forces opposing racism.” Standing aside and waiting for the workers to “accept Marxism- Leninism” would, obviously, be helpful only to monopoly and its divide-and-rule strategy.

What is required to achieve class unity is a fight to wipe out every form of material and social inequality. And white workers have a heavy, special responsibility in this struggle because it is they who have been infected by racism and are consequently its “bearers” within the multi-racial working class. Marxism-Leninism is a guide to, not a substitute for, the anti-racist struggle and therefore a guide also to the “fraternity” of the working class. And as this struggle for class unity advances, “enlightenment” begins to replace racism in the minds of those who have been its “bearers.” Further, the Communist Party is the only organization requiring, as a condition of membership, that whites accept and act in accordance with the Marxist-Leninist principle of the special responsibility of white workers in the anti-racist struggle.

One must recognize that to dismiss this Marxist-Leninist approach is to leave the anti-racist struggle to Black people—which would make it a “go-it-alone” fight of the Black minority against a “white society” that includes both the white masses and the white corporate minority.

Illusion and Reality

To take the position that white workers have a “material stake” in sustaining instead of fighting against racist inequality is to support the monopolist enemy that perpetuates this illusion. To claim white workers have a “material stake” in maintaining inequalities between Black and white income—a view that fits in with the class collaborationist policies of the Meanys and their right social democratic supporters—is to say white workers have no stake in overcoming their own unemployment, their own diminishing quality of life and poverty.

It is decisive to recognize that neither the depressed levels for white workers nor the still more depressed levels of poverty and unemployment for Black workers can be effectively challenged without an intensifying struggle for unity of the multi-racial working class.

The situation of Black workers is graphically described in the NAACP’s annual report, published in January 1976: “It is now clear that the slow and hard gains made by black wage earners during the past quarter of a century were fragile and temporary/’ states the report’s employment section, written by Herbert Hill, the association’s National Labor Director.

Continuing, the report says:

In every category of measurement—unemployment rates, duration of joblessness, in earnings and in labor force entry of young workers—the black community is being forced back into patterns that were commonplace during the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

While government figures place unemployment rates for whites at 7.6 percent and 14.1 percent for Blacks, the NAACP reports a “truer picture of 13.6 percent for whites and 25.5 for Blacks.” And in the 25 major areas of Black urban population, these figures rise to 30 percent for adults and 40 percent for teenagers. If these trends continue, the report asserts, “the black worker can never catch up to the white worker in this country.” The report adds:

Discrimination in employment is not the result of random acts of malevolence; it does not usually occur because of individual bigotry, but rather is the consequence of systematic institutionalized patterns that are rooted in the society.

There is no getting around the fact that the trends described in the NAACP report accentuate the urgency for unity of the multi-racial working class and for its participation in forging an independent political trend, the only alternative to the trend monopoly’s two parties impose on the oppressed and exploited.

As part of the struggle for such an alternative, mutual trust and united action must be won between the various components of the multi-racial working class. And achieving these requisites is in the first place the obligation of white workers, who must support the fight against inequality in wages, conditions and opportunities. This is not a matter of abstract morality, but of working-class solidarity, whose source lies in recognition of the imperatives of class struggle. It is only in class unity that the fight for material conditions and quality of life for all workers— Black, white, Puerto Rican, Chicano, Asian and Native American Indian—can be advanced.

The white workers’ illusion of their “material stake” in racist inequalities is given circumstantial credibility by the widening gap between themselves and Black workers in income and employment. This gap, which creates a contradiction within the working class, is a reality. But that white workers have a “material stake” in maintaining this capitalist-enforced contradiction is an illusion. Illusions have nothing in common with Marxism-Leninism, but they are reinforced by Maoism, which substitutes subjective opinions for realities in the class struggle.

Contrary to Mao’s writings on “the correct handling of contradictions among the people,” the contradictions in the working class cannot be interpreted as antagonistic contradictions between class or racial enemies. To claim white workers have a “material stake” in inequality is to fuel monopoly’s racist lie that an antagonistic contradiction exists between Black and white workers, which of course diverts the struggle from the antagonistic contradictions between the working class as a whole and monopoly.

The contradictions within the ranks of the working class and masses are of a totally different character from the antagonistic class contradiction between the working class and the monopoly capitalist class. The contradictions among the people are non-antagonistic and can be resolved by a strategy advancing the special struggle against racist division and inequality—a strategy recognizing that the interests of each component of the working class, and of the Black and other oppressed peoples, can be advanced only through a united struggle against the ruling class.

Monopoly ceaselessly generates racist ideology to—as Marx put it—”deform” the class struggle. The essence of racist strategy is to create the illusion in the minds of both Black and white workers that the differential in their levels of existence does not arise from capitalism. Among whites, this strategy perpetuates the illusion that the Black people’s inferior standard of living results from the inherent inferiority of people with dark skins. Among Blacks, this strategy creates the parallel illusion that racism is inherent in the white masses—not in monopoly control of the economy and government.

What “Shapes” Racism

The United States was born in anti-colonial struggle, and its present course of development is today in sharper contrast than ever to that of its birth. Today’s racism and inequality mock this country’s birth cries of “liberty” and “equality.”

U.S. monopoly has made this country not only the internal center of racist oppression, but also the principal upholder of classical and neo-colonialist plunder in southern Africa. U.S. imperialism—which has apartheid South Africa as its military surrogate in Angola—is now recognized everywhere as the central mainstay of racism, reaction and repression at home and internationally.

Yet many white liberals are among those fostering the illusion that the inferior status of Blacks is determined not by the class interests of those controlling the system but by the difference in skin color. This view is expressed in typical form by Tom Wicker, associate editor of The New York Times, who asserts that “the instinctive white man’s reaction to the color black sets the nature of the white-black relationship.” (A Time to Die, Quadrangle-NYT Book Co., New York, 1975, p. 148)

Robert Allen comes very close to Wicker’s view when, in his book, Reluctant Reformers, he asserts that racism has become a “social- psychological force, shaping and directing behavior, not merely reflecting it.” (Allen, op. cit., p. 224)

Of course, it is true that behavior can be “shaped” by society. But scientific social analysis—Marxism-Leninism—shows that racist “behavior” is not “shaped” by “classless” psychological factors but by the monopoly ruling class.

Both Wicker and Allen are saying the source of racism lies in white reaction to “the color black.” To take this position in any of its varieties is to deny that the “white-black relationship” is “set” by capitalism’s material stake in racial dissension. Marx pointed this out when he said the exploiting class will do all in its power to “disfigure” the class struggle by fomenting racial conflict. To claim the “white-black relationship” is determined by instinctive “social-psychological” responses—with an independent, self-perpetuating existence apart from the social system—is to take the ruling class off the hook for perpetuating this “disfigurement” of the working-class struggle.

Certainly, racism is a “social-psychological force” polluting the nation! But Allen—not just in one quote, but throughout his book— parallels Wicker’s conception of the “white-black relationship” as unrelated to monopoly control of the dominant culture, whose core is racism.

Allen shifts responsibility for the source of racism from monopoly to white workers. He states, for example, that Communists see racism as “a device used by the capitalist class to divide the workers. . . .” By oversimplifying the Communist position—an ideology with all its ramifications cannot be termed a mere “device”—he can dismiss the ever-intensifying role the capitalist class has assigned racism in its economic, political, educational and cultural policies through each stage of its history. On the other hand, he makes every effort to reinforce the idea that white workers have a “material stake” in sustaining racism and in order to do so makes no distinction between the effect of illusion and reality in shaping white workers’ attitudes.

When Allen argues that Communists fail to see racism as having its own, self-perpetuating “psychological” existence, he is advancing a Hegelian reversal of reality: Such a concept of racism conceals the fact that the dominant culture in a particular social system is inseparable from the class in power. This characteristic of Allen’s concept is not altered by his frequent but abstract references to the capitalist system.

Under capitalism, the dominant culture does not originate with the class operating the means of production. This dominant culture is determined by the class that owns the means of production, and it is generated by the superstructure through which this class controls the state and its agencies, and the mass media.

Today, when racism is widely recognized as institutional, it seems strangely out-of-date to attribute to it either an independent existence or assert that it can be perpetuated outside of the rule of monopoly- controlled institutions.

Yet Allen’s concept of racism oscillates between these two poles: at one end, he sees it as having an independent existence; at the other, he sees a source for it—the white workers’ presumed “material stake” in racism. But racism does not originate apart from the social system itself, nor does it originate within the working class, neither at the point of production nor in workers’ homes. On the contrary, it is directed through the superstructure to the workers at the point of production, in their homes and in the schools they attended.

Allen’s concepts of racism ignore the nature of the production of surplus value—the source of capitalist profit—which places the capitalist class’s interest in racism in contradiction to the interests of the working class. It is the capitalist drive to maximize the unpaid and minimize the paid portions of the value produced by the working class that generates the class struggle. In this constantly spiraling, constantly intensifying struggle, only the monopolists have a material stake in racism (and they have never been known to be passive when their interests are at stake!).

Those who say white workers have a “material stake” in racism draw this conclusion from the premise that the interests of white capitalists and the white workers are identical.

The minuscule white corporate minority controlling the social means of production cannot compete with a unified working class. In this period of the general crisis and decline of capitalism, monopoly’s power is only as great as the divisions in the working class—the result of racism and anti-Communism.

Allen’s New Theory of “Ultra-Imperialism”

In a further attempt to bolster his thesis of a “material stake” for white workers in racism. Allen avails himself of a quotation from Lenin concerning oppressed nations and peoples as a source of superprofits for imperialism, part of which is used to create the basis for opportunism, of which racism and anti-Communism are the most divisive forms among sections of the workers in imperialist nations.

“Lenin warned that imperialism,” Allen writes, tends to “create privileged sections . . . among the workers, and to detach them from the broad masses of the proletariat.” (Reluctant Reformers, p. 211. Deletions in quote from Lenin are Allen’s—H.W.)

From the quotation. Allen draws these conclusions:

Thus, the resulting racism and chauvinism among white workers were much more than mere diversionary tactics introduced by conniving capitalists to divide the world working class; on the contrary, these ideological manifestations were firmly grounded in the dynamics of imperialist development. Consequently, Lenin insisted that “the fight against imperialism is a sham and humbug unless it is inseparably bound up with the fight against opportunism.” (Ibid., p. 211. Emphasis added—H.W.)

At first glance. Allen’s conclusions may appear to have a “Marxist” ring. Closer examination, however, reveals them to be in conflict with a Marxist-Leninist analysis of both the “dynamics of imperialist development” and the scope of monopoly’s social, economic and political strategy in class struggle at home and against the colonial liberation struggles in Africa and elsewhere.

First, one must question Allen’s understanding of the most elementary capitalist behavior: If the imperialists do not have an overwhelming “material stake” in carrying out “diversionary tactics” to “divide the world working class,” why do they use part of their superprofits to bribe sections of the white workers? Why don’t they just keep all of the superprofits for themselves?

Further, one cannot ignore, as Allen does, the role of the state in mobilizing material and ideological resources to bolster imperialism’s unstable objective basis for “detaching” segments of the workers from unity with their class, that is, for atomizing the working class into “ethnic” and “interest groups,” and for imposing racist, class- collaborationist policies on the labor movement.

Allen cites Lenin in a way to make it seem that Lenin’s views and his own coincide on the question of opportunism. At the same time, however. Allen argues that racism has an independent existence apart from class, while Lenin regarded racism and all other forms of opportunism, including anti-Communism, as class weapons of the exploiters.

Allen sees all white workers as having a “material stake” in racism—but not the imperialists. This is a strange logic! Marxism- Leninism, however, polemizes not against the masses of workers but against the corruption of a privileged sector of the working class, and against the influence of racism, anti-Communism and all forms of opportunism wherever their poison spreads. Far from holding that white workers have a “material stake” in racism, Marxism-Leninism shows that racism is an obstacle to class unity and that white as well as Black workers have a “material stake” in removing this obstacle to progress.

Moreover, Allen not only argues that racism originates with the workers at the point of production instead of with the capitalist class and its drive for profits; he also insists that workers of an oppressor nation have a “material stake” in the oppression of other nations and colonies.

But Marx, Engels and Lenin revealed that the workers of an oppressor nation can win their liberation only if they recognize their stake in supporting the liberation struggles of every people oppressed by their “own” ruling class. This is why Marxist-Leninists recognize the struggle against opportunism—and racism and anti-Communism are its sharpest forms—as the pre-condition for the unity of the multi-racial U.S. working class and its allies at home and internationally.

Once when Lenin was asked what he would “add” to Marx, he replied that in the context of the imperialist stage of capitalism, he would apply the essence of Marxism in Marx’s slogan “Workers of the World Unite” and the resulting slogan would then proclaim, “Workers and Oppressed Peoples of the World Unite.” Unite against what? Lenin urges unity against imperialism. Therefore Lenin asserts that it is not the workers but the imperialists who have a stake in oppression.

Allen not only underestimates the scope of monopoly’s investment in “diversionary tactics” at home but internationally as well: The neo-colonialists’ use of superprofits to promote all varieties of opportunism—particularly outright betrayal—in “third world” countries is a central aspect of their strategy to uphold their far from “firmly grounded” positions. And U.S. imperialism’s cultivation of national treason also includes the investment of tens of millions of dollars to carry out “diversionary tactics” in NATO countries, as recent events in Portugal and Italy attest.

A crass assertion of this strategy in regard to the “third world” took place in January 1976, when Moynihan announced—via the “leaking” of a cable to U.S. embassies—that the United States’ “basic foreign policy goal” is “breaking up the massive blocs of nations, mostly new nations.” Moynihan stated that U.S. “aid” would go to reward those who acquiesced to neo-colonialist policies, and would be denied to those who dared maintain their independence. Outlining how this economic and political warfare would be carried out against the OAU and “Group of 77” non-aligned countries, Moynihan declared that their “bloc-like unity” could not last because “maintaining solid ranks was simply too expensive for too many members.” Shortly after the contents of this cable appeared on front pages throughout the world/ Ford and Kissinger announced that Moynihan was enunciating official U.S. policy. After Moynihan’s resignation. Ford reaffirmed his support of the racist policies proclaimed by Moynihan in the United Nations.

To give credence to his thesis that racism and chauvinism are “firmly grounded” in the “dynamics” of imperialism. Allen again calls upon Lenin. Allen writes: “Lenin insisted that ‘the fight against imperialism is a sham and humbug unless it is inseparably bound up with the fight against opportunism.’ ” (Ibid., p. 211)

Unfortunately, Allen takes Lenin’s statement out of context, thus turning it against Leninism. If one reads what comes just before the comment Allen cites/ one learns Lenin was polemizing against the “sham” and “humbug” of those who undermine the fight against opportunism by underestimating the contradictions within imperialism. In the preceding sentence Lenin pointed out that “the extraordinary rapidity and the particularly revolting character of the development of opportunism is by no means a guarantee that its victory will be durable.” (V. I. Lenin, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism, New York, International Publishers, 1939, p. 126. Emphasis added—H.W.)

In quoting Lenin out of context. Allen gives the impression Leninism upholds instead of contradicts the idea that white workers have a “material stake” in racism and chauvinism. Only if white workers had a “material stake” in racism and all forms of opportunism—instead of a “material stake” in the struggle against them—would it be possible to back up the claim that racism and chauvinism are “Firmly grounded in the dynamics of imperialist development.”

What Allen has developed is a theory of acceptance of—not struggle against—opportunism. In advancing such a thesis, he removes opportunism from the “dynamics” of the international class and anti- colonial liberation struggles—treating it as if it were immune to the impact of these sharpening battles. Further, he ignores the central contradiction between advancing socialism and declining capitalism, and the fact that the class, national and anti-colonial struggle merge in this era with the world transition to socialism.

In discussing imperialism in his polemics with Karl Kautsky, Lenin pointed out that a definition cannot “embrace all the concatenations of a phenomenon in its full development.” (Ibid., p. 89)

And when Allen asserts that opportunism is “firmly grounded” in the “dynamics of imperialist development,” he is most certainly overlooking “the concatenations” of imperialism in its general crisis, which includes the anti-imperialist struggle and makes it infinitely less “firmly grounded” than at any time in its history. Allen’s concept, in fact, resembles right social democratic views on imperialism against which Lenin waged an irreconcilable struggle. Specifically, the idea of a “firmly grounded” imperialism suggests a crypto-Kautskian concept of “ultra-imperialism” that, as Lenin wrote, “detaches the politics of imperialism from its economics.” (Ibid., p. 92)

Kautsky and his followers, underestimating the contradictions of imperialism, failed to comprehend the political and social effects of the increasing unevenness in capitalist development. On the consequences of Kautsky’s view, Lenin wrote:

Kautskv’s theoretical critique of imperialism has nothing in common with Marxism and serves only as a preamble to propaganda for peace and unity with the opportunists and the social-chauvinists, precisely for the reason that it evades and obscures the very profound and fundamental contradictions of imperialism. (Ibid., p. 117)

While Kautsky anticipated an era of “ultra-imperialism,” Allen implies an era of ultra-neo-colonialism—emerging from a “firmly grounded” imperialism successfully extending its strategy against the “third world,” the socialist countries and the working classes and oppressed peoples in the capitalist countries.

But present-day imperialism is even less “firmly grounded” than imperialism in Lenin’s time; it is neither the enduring system conceived by Kautsky and his right social democratic followers, nor is it the “paper tiger” portrayed by the Maoist “left” face of social democracy—at a time when Maoism had not yet openly joined with right social democracy in attempting to uphold imperialism’s unstable positions in Africa and throughout the world.