Tags: class struggle, internet, Marxist classics, working class
By Raskonikov Radek
The internet has opened up new revolutionary potentialities, unknown to the proletarian movement of the past. The internet is one of the powerful weapons of the working class, both in furthering the ideological struggle and building unity amongst the People. In this essay, I will consider the revolutionary possibilities that the internet has opened up in the struggle for socialism and the fight against capitalism.
One of the fundamentally most important elements in any revolutionary movement is that it has an international character to it. International solidarity means that the national working class is united with the international proletariat in the struggle for socialism and the abolition of capitalism. The internet has made it possible to unite workers across the planet, in even the most remote (and often repressive) places on the globe. Through the internet, communist parties can easily correspond, share tactics, and work together to build an international movement. Communist newspapers, which record the current state of the proletarian struggle in different local areas, can be made accessible to workers across the world. This makes it easier for communists to learn about the current state of struggle in different places, directly through the working class organ. For example, through the internet, I can find out the state of the proletarian movement in Greece by directly accessing their newspaper. I do not even have to know Greek because Google has a translation application that makes it possible to get the sense of the newspaper with the click of a button. Because the internet is a global community, many communist party organs frequently publish their important articles in English. One of our comrades recently translated an article for the Dutch communist newspaper Manifest, which immediately opened up a correspondence with the NCPN. In the past, one would have had to write a letter to the KKE just in order to find out the state of the political struggle in Greece. It would take weeks to get a response back because it would first take a long time for the letter to reach Greece, then it would have to be translated, and would take another week for the letter to return to America. Since most communist parties today have multi-lingual comrades, it becomes very easy for communist parties to correspond with each other. Hence, the internet makes it possible to find out directly through a proletarian press the state of the workers struggle, instead of through the bourgeois media.
Another revolutionary potential of the internet is that it makes it easy for local communist parties to establish a newspaper. In the past, it would have cost a lot of money and time to print a communist newspaper and it would have been very difficult to distribute. Today, by means of the internet, a local communist party can have a fully functioning online newspaper and inform workers of the local issues facing the movement. By means of Twitter, Facebook, and other online networking sites, it becomes very easy to distribute the online newspaper and reach people who never would have heard of the Communist Party otherwise. A local online e-newspaper makes it easy to recruit new members into a local collective of a CP, and to inform communists and activists of local political activities. Mailing lists even strengthen this, for with email, one can find out an hour before an important protest, demonstration, or rally is going to take place. One of our comrades recently protested against the tyrannical Republican, Sarah Palin; he found out about this protest thirty minutes before it was going to happen! A mailing list thus makes it very easy to communicate local, national, and international political activities with great ease.
The internet, however, has yet another revolutionary potential. With YouTube, it is now possible for a proletarian media agency to share videos of the current political struggle. Workers and communists can follow the recent protests in Greece, the revolutionary movement in Nepal, and the nationwide May Day demonstrations against the Arizona legislation across the globe on YouTube. In the past, this would not have been possible, for a vision into Greece or Nepal would only have been possible through the bourgeois lens. Today, communists themselves are making their own videos and showing precisely the unity of working class and the fight against capitalism.
The internet also makes all the important Marxist texts accessible to everyone with the click of the button. The fantastic Marxists Internet Archive, developed by a few communists in Australia, contains every single important Marxist text in dozens of different languages. People who never would have read Lenin, for example, in an isolated place such as Tajikistan, can now easily access the collected works of Lenin in their own native language. Though ideas by themselves do not change the world, they certainly can plant the seed in a person, especially someone in an oppressed country, to get involved in the struggle for liberation. Someone living in a violent country such as Sudan might be inspired to build a communist movement if they read Marx’s Capital and Lenin’s State and Revolution. Reading Marx and Lenin might make it clear where the root of the violence and oppression lies, so that action can be taken towards changing the world. There might be no active communist party in an oppressed region and it might even be illegal, but the internet at least opens up the possibility of building an opposition to oppressive regimes that hold down the workers and make the rich richer.
The Marxist Internet Archive, however, has other functions which unite the working class. One of our comrades started a Marxist Reading Group (his website is: www.marxistreadinggroup.webs.com) a year and a half ago. The Marxist Internet Archive has made it possible for the MRG to study every single important text in Marxist thought, precisely because all the great Marxist classics are made available to everyone. Each week, the group decides on a new text, and only has to go to the Marxist Internet Archive to download and print it. In the past, it would have been much harder to organize a reading group because the texts would not have been accessible to all. They would have had to be purchased, which certainly is beyond the budget of most working people. The Marxist Internet Archive is thus truly a revolutionary movement, in that it makes public the entire history of Marxist thought. A further merit of the internet, in regards to the Marxist Reading Group, is that it makes it easy to correspond with the entire group. The organizer of the group can send out a simple email to everyone, indicating changes in the location, time, or reading, and send reminders with ease. Participants can easily find out when and where the group is meeting, simply by visiting the website. The internet thus makes it possible for the first time in history to share the theoretical, practical, and historical texts of Marxism with everyone.
The internet diminishes the distance between countries and unites the international working class. Communists must not be afraid to fully utilize the internet, taking advantage of all its revolutionary tools. It is crucial that workers and communists educate each other how to use the internet, how to make media, how to run online newspaper blogs, how to use email, and how to post videos online. Communists today can only fight against the bourgeois media, against Fox News and CNN, against the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, if they fully utilize the internet. Communists today can only build the international working class movement and unite the People across the planet if they know how to maneuver in cyberspace. Whether communists only achieve reforms today, or go beyond mere reforms towards a proletarian revolution, will depend on how well they know how to use the internet. The internet is thus a very important element in the revolutionary struggle for socialism and fight against capitalism.
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