by Eric Brooks, January 2011

Dolores Ibárruri, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Spain, in the context of the Siege of Madrid (10/1936-3/1939) made famous the slogan “¡No Pasarán!” – fascists shall not pass. The call resonates today, evoking a spirit of revolutionary optimism and defiance: Exploiters shall not pass!
– Eric Brooks

I have walked in that hinterland of despair that is unemployment. I have felt the cold hand of fear clasp my heart as needed services disappear one by one and finally the cupboards are bare and the lights are turned off and there is no more gas for the car.

While the social democrats speak of process and winning small battles, the battle at hand is big, and the urgency of now demands fundamental change in our society and in the priorities that inform our social decisions.The necessary tasks facing us as members of the working class, working women and men, we who do not exploit others for our enrichment, are immense.

The material conditions required for sustaining human life, our beautiful planet and its necessary environment, are a casualty of capitalist exploitation. US wages don’t meet the basic needs of great masses of people who find themselves making choices between shelter and food, necessary medicines and heat.

Our youth are indentured to the banks for the cost of education, their aspirations to develop themselves and build a foundation for a stable life turned against them. Many find that stability beckons but is always and increasingly beyond reach.

As workers we find ourselves struggling to survive capitalists’ endless dance of seeking after lowest wages and consolidation toward monopoly, both associated with shrinking the work force regionally and impoverishment globally.

As our social wealth continues its disproportionate consolidation in the hands of a very few, our aged die uncared for, our attempts to provide health care to our loved ones crash on the shoals of corporate greed, and we wonder why our society moves in a trajectory of necessary brutality and antagonism undermining provision of services that meet the human needs of its constituents, of you and me.

The choices facing us today are stark: barbarism or socialism. This is not a reason for despair. Capitalism’s inability to meet the needs of the great mass of people living within its domain is at once a heart breaking human tragedy and the fuel for mass movements for the revolutionary transformation of our society to socialism.

The necessary tasks facing our class are daunting because capitalism is in decline and its bonds of human connection unravel further with each new sunrise. Our opportunities to build the revolutionary movement required to restructure our society on the basis of socialism are many because capitalism is in decline.

Our Party can and must build movements to challenge capitalism and its ideological foundations, and to win the masses to organized struggle around meeting our material needs.

We must keep our eye on the prize, strengthening working class – class conscious – organization in order to win power for our class.

This struggle encompasses many dimensions including but not primarily the electoral. Every community, every home, every young mind, every work place, is a battle field to strengthen working class organization and class consciousness.

The organizational forms include – most necessarily – strengthening our Party and our clubs, expanding and fighting resolutely for organized labor, building movements to struggle around questions of racism, peace, jobs, women’s needs, health care, education, the needs of immigrants, human dignity (including LGBT, and other gender related questions which intersect with many other issues and cut across all human struggles), the needs of the disabled, and more. We concede nothing to capitalists.

This struggle demands that our Party have the correct approach to social democracy.

We must engage with honest social democratic working class organizations, Approaching them with respect, looking for ways to work together, while also working to move their members from the social democratic ideological pole to communist pole of struggle.

Much of US organized labor is social democratic. We must engage with them. Wherever we find common ground with honest workers – social democratic or communist – we must work to strengthen our mutual organizations and advance our common struggle, without ever giving up one inch of our own scientific and principled focus on winning working class power, breaking the capitalist state, and building socialism based on the works of Marx, Engels, and Lenin.

We must refute social democratic ideology within our Party, rejecting its opportunism and collaboration with the enemy.

We must ruthlessly unmask the contradictions in capitalism and its complete and abject inability to meet the needs of the mass of people living under its exploitive domain. We live in the corpse of capitalism. While social democracy attempts to cover up the rotting stink of this corpse with paeans to “winning” and being where the people are, in fact it’s a meager attempt to perfume the death scent wafting over our society.

Social democracy continues to teach confidence in capitalism’s structures, such as bourgeois democratic forms (elections, political parties, etc.). Communists teach confidence in our class, building class conscious institutions and movements. Most of all we teach confidence in our Party, which is the only Party that can lead our class to power.

Dual struggles, inside the party for a scientific outlook and outside the Party for class unity, are required if we’re going to effect the fundamental change needed to resolve the contradictions destroying our society today.

Our Party must develop a militant Leninist organizational structure willing to take a leading role in our society, engaging all honest working class organizations to mutually strengthen our struggles.

Our society must put human needs before feeding the maw of greed of the wealthy few. Yet how can we make such fundamental redirection in our priorities without winning power for the mass of humanity that stand with empty hands before the hopes of our fathers, some confused and asking “What did I do wrong?” The struggle for working class power is not a theoretical construct awaiting reification by an academic voice. We workers standing together, shoulder to shoulder, exclaiming “¡No Pasarán!” ,make working class power real. No, exploiters and their henchmen can not pass.

Will the worker be lead by the exploiter to throw off the shackles of wage slavery and walk free of exploitation for private property? Will the instruments of the oppressor state, these empty behemoths of forgotten democracy, these parties of wealth and corruption, that proclaim their non-partisanship exactly when the militant partisan is what is required, lead workers to free ourselves from this corpse’s grasp.

No, we ourselves must work the necessary transformation, building our independent power in every facet of our social structures, and creating a more coherent, more harmonized, social structure arising out of the lives of the mass of working people and reaching always toward the class conscious reorganization of our society to meet the needs of the humans living within its sanctuary.

Opportunism pretends that the structures of the oppressor state provide the main arena for social transformation. Our two major political parties battle like fighters in a fixed fight, always knowing that they have the same end goal: the protection of capitalism and the imposition of exploitation for private profit. The electoral arena has tactical importance but is not the main arena of struggle. The work place, the community, the home of every worker is an arena for education and increasing organization of our society on the basis of working class power and socialism.

We must organize the structures of the new society out of the mass of people, including peace, labor, anti-racist, and so many other organizations which, after the revolution, would continue to work and to fight for their constituencies with the common goal of building socialism.

Why do I stand against social democracy and spew contempt on its theories? Social democracy weakens the striving of working people to resolve the structural contradictions that are destroying our lives and threatening the material basis for human life on this planet.

Much like a physicist twisting the science of physics to meet their own need to discover god amidst the photons, so social democrats twist the challenge of our time away from the stark struggle to resolve the contradictions in our society that prevent us from providing for the needs of all humanity and toward minuscule steps that provide some comfort, and which may be good things in themselves, but which become evil when used to contradict the historical tasks facing our class, the most fundamental of which is winning working class power and imposing the dictatorship of the proletariat. Workers need not crawl toward freedom on bloody knees, begging alms from the rich along the way. We can pull ourselves up, demanding that our society meet the needs of the vast majority, not begging for scraps as social democracy requires.

Social democracy attempts to cloud the relationship between the horrors of capitalism as we survive its vagaries and the structure of capitalism out of which those horrors arise like the stem of a weed springing from deep roots.

This is unacceptable. This scourge of capitalism must be ended, the ideologies which perpetuate it put down like rabid dogs attacking the body of our class.

‘It is therefore our duty,’ Lenin writes, ‘if we wish to remain socialists, to go down lower and deeper, to the real masses; this is the whole meaning and the whole purport of the struggle against opportunism… The only Marxist line in the world labor movement is to explain to the masses the inevitability and necessity of breaking with opportunism, to educate them for revolution by waging a relentless struggle against opportunism, to utilize the experience of the war to expose, not conceal, the utter vileness of national-liberal labor politics.’

Our duty as socialists! Those words hint at the militant fire that must burn in our hearts, at the discipline not just to a Party but more than that, to fostering a scientific understanding of reality that rips the mask away from the corpse, revealing the rotten teeth and the cheekbones now skin-free, cadaver of a social structure that once itself threw off the corpse of feudalism, and which now must be set aside for the next stage of human development to spring from the nutrients of the old.

The only Marxist line must be ” We have a task, and that task is clearly stated. To educate both through word and deed, to educate through ideological struggle and through mobilization of the masses, to educate for revolution in the heart of the process of organizing for revolution. Each organizing moment an educational moment, each educational moment an organizing moment.”

We are living in a crucial moment. The crisis of capitalism is creating a level of misery not known in this country for many decades, and indeed unknown in the lives of most of the generations living in this country today. It is our task to struggle to touch that chord in our society such that the harmonics will ripple across the whole, mobilizing masses and transforming this moment into a revolutionary moment out of which struggle may arise either defeat or major victories in the struggle for a planet characterized by peace, cooperation, and meeting the needs of the masses of humanity.

We are one world movement, internationalist, workers united in struggle for socialism.

Workers of the world, unite!
No more deluded by reaction,
On tyrants only we’ll make war!
The soldiers too will take strike action,
They’ll break ranks and fight no more!
And if those cannibals keep trying,
To sacrifice us to their pride,
They soon shall hear the bullets flying,
We’ll shoot the generals on our own side.

The Internationale (English rather than the American version)

No pasaran!