Monday, June 20, 2005

The World Can't Wait - Thoughts on Driving Out the Bush Regime

Revolution #007, June 26, 2005, posted at revcom.us

Every day I think of Dilawar. I picture his 22-year-old body chained to the ceiling of a U.S. military prison in Bagram, Afghanistan as the seconds stretched on into days until finally he couldn't wait any longer. Neither can we.

As men are blindfolded and dragged from their homes in Iraq, as Arabs and Muslims are rounded up and detained in the U.S. without charges, and as youth from South Central to the South Bronx are imprisoned in record numbers, brutalized by police, and targetted for correction by Laura Bush: the world can't wait.

As villages are emptied of people by AIDS in Africa and China, as families in the ghettos and farmlands of the U.S. lose children in a war based on lies, and as immigrants are hunted by racist vigilantes on the Mexican border: the world can't wait.

As religious fundamentalism threatens to enslave women, treating them like incubators and denying them the right to make the most intimate and profound decisions about whether or not to have a child, as gay couples are denied marriage and their children are harassed, as the rule of law is replaced by religious dogma and the rule of the Bush regime, and as science itself is suppressed at great risk to the planet: the world can't wait.

THE WORLD CAN'T WAIT!

THE PEOPLE NEED TO DRIVE OUT THE BUSH REGIME.

Now I know a lot of readers are thinking 'if only we could.' and I can just see some people shaking their heads and saying 'that communist girl has really gone over the edge this time.' But being a reality-based girl-- who is coming from a scientific place in terms of how we are going to emancipate all of humanity--I have some reality- based ideas on how this could be possible.

And one of the most important things people need to do in order to even imagine the possibility of accomplishing such a monumental task is to break out of the confines of the political-process-as-usual.

Everyone who does not want to live in the "world according to Bush" needs to break out of the dynamic where the terms and the issues and the leaders are defined and limited by various representatives and defenders of this bloodsucking system. And progressive people and oppressed people really need to break out of the confines of the institutions, organizations, and political thinking dominated by the Democratic Party.

Frankly, too many people are suffering from the disease of looking-for-leadership-in-all-the-wrong-places. And as a result, too many people who want to change the world remain locked in a dynamic that stifles their ability to really see a whole different world, squanders their energies, and channels imagination into dead-end paths of conciliation with intolerable injustices.

And it is so very urgent that millions of people break out of the death-grip of all this politics as usual and come together to do something really unprecedented. Millions of people need to un-clip their wings from the Democrats and from the strategies that give backing to their efforts and take independent historic political action .

Together we need to create a whole new dynamic based on acting on principle, telling the truth, doing what's right and actually mounting a real fight to save the future and the planet!

*****

Reality check: More than a million people defied a stifling jingoistic atmosphere, repeatedly and courageously taking the streets against the Iraq war. Yet the debate in the presidential election remained over who could make the best Commander-in-Chief, how the war started, and how to continue the occupation of Iraq. Kerry never once said the simple and obvious fact that millions knew in their hearts: that Bush had lied through his teeth about everything .

Over a million people marched in D.C. in a March for Women's Lives and to defend abortion. Yet the debate in Congress and Senate and among presidential hopefuls remained over how much to restrict abortion and how strongly to condemn it, and not a single voice spoke up to say a world where women are reduced to incubators is intolerable!

82% of the country objected to Congress and the President intruding upon Terri Schiavo's deathbed. Hundreds of towns passed ordinances against the Patriot Act. In over 100 cities people organized protests against the end of the filibuster. And yet both ruling parties came together in Congress to pass a "Palm Sunday Compromise" to intervene around Terri Schiavo, to legitimize torture, and to accept a filibuster "compromise" which paved the way for openly racist judges and judges who want to impose biblical law.

What does this tell us? It is time to wake up to reality. Because the world can't wait.

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolution Online
http://revcom.us
Write: Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 773-227-4066 Fax: 773-227-4497

*****

Some have spoken of a pre-civil-war atmosphere in the U.S. And millions of people are really distressed about how the Democrats are unwilling and incapable of mounting any serious opposition to the Bush regime on anything that matters.

My thinking on this whole situation has been informed by the analysis of Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and based on a scientific analysis of the world situation, he has made a powerful case for the need and the possibility for the masses of people to wrench a dramatically different future out of this dire situation.

Bob Avakian has analyzed the major changes in the world and transformations in U.S. society that have created a situation where the Republican strategy for how the U.S. empire should dominate the world has a certain edge within ruling class circles. These underlying economic, political and ideological factors in the world--combined with an aggressive, arrogant and relentless drive to impose their agenda-- have led to the situation we face today where the Bush regime has cynically used the events of 9/11 to hammer into place a global reality suited to the interests of their bloodsucking system. And they are on a roll.

So the way I see it, either the people in this country remain locked in a deadly dynamic, while all around us a rising crescendo of Christian fascist foot-soldiers provide chilling glimpses of their nightmarish "new normalcy." Or, people urgently and decisively establish OUR own dynamic based on the understanding that the world can't wait and the people must drive out the Bush regime. a different dynamic based on principles, on seeking the truth, and rallying millions to take independent historical action.

We need to spread a spirit of being " politically at war"--which means a commitment that there is no common ground with intolerable injustices and literal horrors. We need to be building mass protest and upsurge against everything this Bush regime stands for. And we need to develop communities of resistance that can have each other's backs and withstand the counterattacks that are sure to come.

On November 2, when the Bush regime will be strutting and celebrating the anniversary of their re-election and bragging about how they are remaking the world in their image--we need a nationwide outpouring to declare: THE WORLD CAN'T WAIT. We need to send a message to the world--that a new movement of resistance has arrived to DRIVE THE BUSH REGIME FROM POWER.

The world can't wait. We need to start now, building a solid core of people whose real and profound discontent, anxiety, and anger about the whole direction of society and the world trumps their commitment to remaining confined within the existing political framework. I am firmly convinced there are today millions and millions of such people. And on the basis of that solid core, through our creative energies, imaginations, and courage, we need to be constantly expanding and drawing in people from every sphere of society and every part of the country--and saying to millions more: "Come with us. We know where to go and we know how to get there!"

We have a choice to make. The world can't wait. Its time to drive a regime from power.

posted by Sunsara Taylor at 9:36 AM

7 Comments:

Blogger Joey Steel said...

Sweet! So Sweet! Lets toss the whole lot out on their ears.It's on.

6/21/05, 1:02 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Driving Out the Bush Regime" is a code phrase for alliance with the Democratic Party.

I am sorry to see the RCP (an organization which, whatever its problems, has a history of militancy) continue with this kind of highly one-sided (at best) analysis. This kind of analysis plays into the hands of the social-democratic trend which works to steer the antiwar movement into the hands of the imperialist Democratic Party. The Democratic Party works to hijack the antiwar movement and turn it into election fodder for pro-war candidates like John "send more troops" Kerry.

I have written about this at greater length at:

-- Crying "Wolf" over Fascism --
Hysteria about "fascism" serves to hide
the essential role of the Democratic Party in
the political and economic system of imperialism
http://struggle.net/ben/2005/rcp_cries_wolf.htm

I am interested in hearing the comments of others.

Ben Seattle
http://struggle.net/ben

Isolated from one another we are easily defeated.
Connected to one another no force on earth can stop us
http://MediaWeapon.com

Subscribe to the pof-200 email list by sending
a blank email to: pof-200-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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Join Ben and other activists in the Media Weapon community.
With an email list, wiki, competing projects and a community of
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Open to all activists who want to see the development of
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-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

6/24/05, 10:48 AM

 
Anonymous Ben Seattle said...

Sunsara's article has huge contradiction

-- reply to Sunsara and Jaroslav --

Actually, I had not carefully read the entire article before I posted -- since I was in a hurry to get to work on time.

Now that I have a little more time I have have read it carefully and can make a few more comments.

Jaroslav notes that the article specifically discusses the need for the progressive movement to:

> break out of the confines of the institutions,
> organizations, and political thinking
> dominated by the Democratic Party

These are great words -- but the problem is that these great words are inconsistent with the main theme of the article -- which is dominated by the "bold" concept of "DRIVING OUT THE BUSH REGIME".

And we should be very clear that "driving out the Bush regime" is a well-established code phrase for alliance with the Democratic Party. This code phrase has a history of being used in the movement by social-democrats (ie: the liberals and other allies of the Democratic Party) long before it was used by supporters of the RCP. For a supporter of the RCP to use this phrase so prominently is an indication that the current trajectory of the RCP is toward a defacto alliance with a section of social-democracy.

How else can the concept of "driving out the Bush regime" be understood? Sunsara Taylor and Jaroslav and other naive would-be revolutionaries may imagine that this phrase conjures up notions of:

* breaking out of the confines of the political-process-as-usual
* rallying millions to take independent historical action
* spreading a spirit of being "politically at war" — with no common ground with our class enemy
* mass protest and upsurge
* communities of resistance

But these are all empty, meaningless phrases when they are _subordinated_ to the the banner of "driving out the Bush regime".

This are all nothing more than hot air in the absence of a clear and _explicit_ concept of who our enemy is.

If we are serious about breaking out of the confines of politics-as-usual, of mobilizing millions to take independent historical action and so on and so forth -- then we must be focused on creating a movement which is politically _conscious_. And we cannot build a conscious movement unless we have the ability to name our enemy. Our enemy is the bourgeoisie -- the ruling class of big-time capitalists who own, not only the big corporations and media channels, but also both the Democratic and Republican parties.

If we cannot name our enemy, if we present to activists the idea that the name of our enemy is the "Bush regime" -- then we are cluelessly setting activists up to fall victim to the immense pressure of the social-democratic ideology and social strata which, unfortunately, dominates the antiwar movement and other progressive movements. The immense weight of the social democratic ideology and social strata (ie: the trade union bureacracts, religious leaders, poverty pimps, "progressive" journalists and politicians and professional "opinion makers" of all stripes) will promote the Democratic Party as the only "realistic" way to "drive out the Bush regime".

All of the empty hot air about breaking out, about millions taking independent action, about being at war, about mass protest and upsurge and communities of resistence -- will soon fade away like a forgotten dream as soon as the "institutions, organizations, and political thinking dominated by the Democratic Party" assert themselves and, via a thousand "progressive" channels, impress on activists the idea that we can only drive out the Bush regime by discarding the hot air and electing a Democrat in 2008.

There is more hot air from Sunsara Taylor:

> We need to start now, building a solid core
> of people whose real and profound discontent,
> anxiety, and anger about the whole direction
> of society and the world trumps their commitment
> to remaining confined within the existing
> political framework. I am firmly convinced there
> are today millions and millions of such people.
> And on the basis of that solid core, through our
> creative energies, imaginations, and courage,
> we need to be constantly expanding and drawing
> in people from every sphere of society and every
> part of the country—and saying to millions more:
> "Come with us. We know where to go and we know
> how to get there!"

I certainly share Sunsara's conviction that millions of people would welcome and support a movement, and a mass organization, which is determined to end the existing system of bourgeois rule. The problem here is the part about "come with us, we know where to go and how to get there". The RCP, it would appear, only knows how to move into an alliance with a section of social-democracy. This alliance can never lead to a movement aimed at the overthrow of bourgeois rule -- and will only work to undermine such a movement -- and strengthen social-democracy -- because this alliance is centered on the social-democratic slogan of "driving out the Bush regime".

The social-democrats, as the loyal lapdogs of the bourgeoisie, own the franchise to the idea of "driving out the Bush regime". We cannot defeat them by using their banner. You can't beat the enemy by raising his flag.

It is the wrong banner. It is the wrong flag. If we really want to promote the idea of independent mass action and break from "politics as usual" -- if we really want to create a solid core of activists who want to see an end to imperialist war, racism, unemployment, poverty and a culture of ignorance and spam -- then we must work to build a conscious movement and develop and promote the concept of going beyond bourgeois rule.

And this means that we must also recognize the glaring theoretical weakness of the revolutionary movement -- and confront the crisis of theory which has paralyzed the revolutionary movement and brought it to is knees. I have criticized the RCP for this also (see my article below) because they are unable to recognize the central and decisive role of democratic rights in the period following the overthrow of bourgeois rule.

My challenge to Sunsara and Jaroslav
------------------------------------

I have replied on this Indymedia thread at http://seattle.indymedia.org/en/2005/06/246772.shtml (and copied to Sunsara's blog at http://sunsara.blogspot.com ) and I welcome calm and serious discussion of these topics which both Sunsara and Jaroslav claim to recognize as important. I will note, however, that I have made many attempts to engage supporters of the RCP in serious discussion of these topics and the result is always the same: the topic is not important enough for these busy people to discuss in a more than superficial way.

So here is my challenge to these serious people. Join me in discussion. Not the kind of discussion where responses must be made in a day or two (ie: before the thread falls off the Indymedia front page or the main page of a blog) but in a forum better suited to thoughtful and considered responses.

Join me on an email list which has been created for the purpose of building focus on the issues that are decisive for the development of a revolutionary mass movement. The pof-200 email list restricts participants to one post per week in order to maintain an acceptable signal-to-noise ratio. Such a list is better suited to serious discussion than Indymedia sites and blogs (which are designed more for quick responses).

Subscribe to the pof-200 email list by sending a
blank email to: pof-200-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

I will also note that both of my web pages which criticise the current trajectory of the RCP now feature blog-like forums where readers can add comments, criticisms and questions. These pages (and forums) can be found here:

Part 1: Crying "Wolf" over Fascism
------------------------------------------------
Hysteria about "fascism" serves to:
(1) hide the essential role of the Democratic Party in
the political and economic system of imperialism and
(2) helps social-democracy suck the life and militancy
out of the antiwar movement
http://struggle.net/ben/2005/rcp_cries_wolf.htm

Part 2: Nothing but Hot Air
------------------------------------------------
Talk of "proletarian democracy" without recognition
of the central and decisive role of democratic rights
is nothing but breezy nonsense
http://struggle.net/ben/2005/rcp_hot_air.htm

It is a big contradiction that a militant organization like the RCP can distribute hundreds of thousands of leaflets and post its views in many places -- but appears to be unable to encourage supporters to engage the supposedly serious issues in thoughtful ways in public forums.

I believe in the revolutionary potential of the RCP and its supporters. Everyone in the revolutionary movement makes mistakes of many kinds. No person, and no organization, is infallible. However, as we create, over time, a community which has a clear and conscious focus on our goal, and in which bullshit can be confronted and problems resolved -- the revolutionary movement as a whole, and all organizations which consider themselves to be part of the revolutionary movement -- can move forward in a healthy direction.

Ben Seattle
http://struggle.net/ben

Isolated from one another we are easily defeated.
Connected to one another no force on earth can stop us
http://MediaWeapon.com

-----------------------------------------------------------
Join Ben and other activists in the Media Weapon community.
With an email list, wiki, competing projects and a community of
activists who engage one another with sincerity and respect.

Open to all activists who want to see the development of
a mass movement for the elimination of bourgeois rule
-----------------------------------------------------------

6/25/05, 9:14 AM

 
Blogger Sunsara Taylor said...

Ben Seattle,

I read your "Crying Wolf" article a while back and it struck me as dogmatic and flat. You treat the ruling class as if they are without struggle and contradiction, as if their largest interests always prevail, as if there is not necessity that they too face - including both the anarchy of capitalist production and organization world-wide and the fact that the superstructure does have a relative independence from the economic base in any society.

Yes, the Democrats and the Republicans are both interested in expanding U.S. empire coming off the collapse of the Soviet Union and all the new markets which opened up and the danger that if the U.S. doesn't dominate them someone else will. And, yes, the Democrats and the Republicans both want to shore up the homeland in order to better sacrifice for empire and to hold together a society which is fraying in a number of ways (due to heightened immigration and other effects of globalization, the ideological impact of the 60's, etc).

But they don't all have the same strategy for how to do it and there is a core of Christian fascists who are bludgeoning their way into power - who have effectively taken over the Republican Party (just listen to what the "mainstream" Republicans are saying, openly!) and have the initiative.

In one sense, bourgeois rule is bourgeois rule and it is no good for the people or the planet. But, theocracy and Christian fascism aren't just "more of the same." Sorry, dude, why don't you go read Kite Runner or a little something about what it is like when fundamentalists come to power and insist on the literal interpretation of any religious text as the basis for law.

And, no - "drive out the Bush Regime" is not "code" for anything. It means what it says: drive out the Bush regime.

That is not a slogan being raised by the Democrats or the social democrats. It is something that can only be done if people step out of the confines of the struggle as it is being shaped - and fiercely struggled over - among the ruling elites.

Will millions who come into motion around this get pulled and at times sucked back into the established political framework? Of course. Is that because of this stated aim to drive the regime from power? No - it is because the weight and pull of bourgeois democracy and the established framework is going to continue to exert its pull for a long time to come. But that is a moving target and one we have to continue to struggle over - in the process of changing the world.

Your approach, based on insisting that people reject the ruling class as a whole before entering into this life and death political struggle - would have deadly consequences for the world.

You say, "I certainly share Sunsara's conviction that millions of people would welcome and support a movement, and a mass organization, which is determined to end the existing system of bourgeois rule."

But, that is not what I said. If that were the case, we'd be in a very different situation and different aims and slogans would be correct.

Your approach to the world is very mechanical and not living - the world is much more contradictory than that. People are much more contradictory than that.

I am sure you have seen this quote from Bob Avakian:
"At every point, and throughout the entire revolutionary process, we have to be good at applying our line and strategic approach of United Front Under the Leadership of the Proletariat (UFuLP), including the aspect of independence and initiative for the proletariat and its vanguard.

"We have to be good at doing this all in a way that, proceeding from the strategic interests of the proletariat, we draw the dividing lines so that we can unite the broadest numbers of people in a way that moves them--objectively and, to the maximum degree possible without rupturing that unity, subjectively--in accordance with and in the direction of the proletariat's strategic interests, and which advances those strategic interests overall. Now, that last sentence was a 'mouthful,' but this is an extremely important point."

Also, your claim that the RCP doesn't adequately deal with democratic rights under socialism is absurd. No one in the world has written as extensively as Bob Avakian on such matters and developed a truly communist - and non-dogmatic, and not a "classless" - perspective on Democracy. Given that you seem to make “critiquing” the RCP such a pass-time, I'm sure you're familiar. Interestingly enough, it is flowing from this analsys – this appreciation of, and understanding of the limitation of, bourgeois democratic rights that the RCP has the ability to develop a non-dogmatic approach to the very tumultuous situation this country is in today. To be able to both stand against the dismantling of bourgeois democratic rights, without falling into being bourgeois democrats - but to do so from a communist perspective.

So, one more time with feeling…for all those who dread the future that is shaping up and want to stand up and do something about it:
The world can’t wait! Drive out the Bush Regime!

Sunsara Taylor

6/25/05, 3:09 PM

 
Anonymous Ben Seattle said...

First, Sunsara, I would like to thank you for taking the time to reply to my criticisms. I know that you are very busy and I appreciate the fact that, as a revolutionary activist, you recognize that it is important to carry out calm, scientific and public discussion and debate on the principles which are decisive for the development of a revolutionary mass movement.


contents:
-----------

1. Do we oppose reformism or unite with it?
2. Does the ruling bourgeoisie act on the basis
of its material class interests?
3. Who owns the slogans about the dumping the Bush regime ?
4. Do we damage the movement by telling activists the truth?
5. Would millions welcome a movement to end bourgeois rule?
6. RCP wants to avoid "rupturing unity" with social-democracy
7. Has RCP recognized central role of democratic rights
in society after the overthrow of bourgeois rule
8. Are these issues important enough for serious discussion?


------------------------------------------------------------
1. Do we oppose reformism or unite with it?
------------------------------------------------------------

Sunsara said:

> You treat the ruling class as if they
> are without struggle and contradiction,
> as if their largest interests always prevail

Ben replies:

Their largest interests usually do prevail. This fact should not be underestimated.

It is true that the ruling class is full of contradiction. Nearly all activists understand this. What most activists fail to sufficiently appreciate, however, is the fundamental unity of the ruling class. This is partly why "progressive" shills from the Democratic Party (and corrupt trade union bureaucrats -- who also promote Democratic Party politics) often speak at antiwar rallies and why reformist schemes and ideology dominate "our" movements.

If we are serious about building a powerful movement that breaks away from "politics as usual" -- then we must assist activists to better appreciate the fundamental unity of the ruling class. Because, in the final analysis, there are only two fundamental sides to this conflict: us and them -- the working class and the bourgeoisie.

Recognizing the fundamental unity of the ruling class is part of developing class consciousness. Without recognition of this fundamental unity -- all talk of the contradictions within the ruling class -- is nothing more than an invitation to fall into the trap of uniting with the supposedly "good" bourgeois power center against the "bad" bourgeois power center (ie: falling for the ancient "good cop/ bad cop" routine). The end result of this is the transformation of militant activists into election fodder -- and the liquidation of the mass movements -- as the life and militancy are sucked out of them.

This is one of the key differences between my point of view, on the one hand, and that of you (and the RCP) on the other hand.

In my view -- the main factor which weakens the antiwar movement is the influence of the reformist ideology and the reformist social strata. In my view, raising the consciousness of activists about the nature of reformism (and the nature of other false "friends" of the movement) is an inseparable component of all genuinely revolutionary work in the antiwar movement.

The maoist ideology, on the other hand, tends to see opportunism as some kind of "middle force" to be united with.

------------------------------------------------------------
2. Does the ruling bourgeoisie act on the basis
of its material class interests?
------------------------------------------------------------

Sunsara said:

> why don't you go read Kite Runner or
> a little something about what it is
> like when fundamentalists come to power
> and insist on the literal interpretation
> of any religious text as the basis for law.

Ben replies:

We have very different points of view on this. I do not believe that the fundamentalists would be able to grab this much power unless a majority of the bourgeoisie as a whole (ie: the weight of the bourgeois class as a whole) approved of and endorsed this.

I do not believe that this will happen (not at this time, at any rate) because a christian fascist takeover would create a lot of instability in society -- which would create many dangers (ie: dangers from the bourgeois point of view) of increased radicalization.

The analogies which your organization (and a lot of social democrats) make to Hitler are very much overdone. The german bourgeoisie made their infamous gamble on Hitler at a time when Germany was in a period of great crisis and the rule of the german bourgeoisie was threatened. The bourgeoisie is the U.S. is not in a comparable situation of extreme crisis in which their class rule is threatened. The U.S. bourgeoisie is more sophisticated and attuned to its fundamental class interests than you (and the organization you support) appear to give them credit for.

Yes, the U.S. bourgeoisie gave the Bush crowd the go-ahead for the war in Iraq on the basis that the war might be successful. If the war ends in utter fiasco (as is increasingly appearing likely) the U.S. bourgeoisie has the option (and would likely exercise that option) of replacing an unpopular and discredited administration in order to restore confidence in bourgeois institutions and the system of bourgeois rule. This confidence is very important to the continued existence (and efficient management) of the system of bourgeois rule. I think that you (and the organization which you support) tend to greatly underestimate the significance of the bourgeois need for stability and the bourgeois need for widespread confidence in fundamental bourgeois institutions.

------------------------------------------------------------
3. Who owns the slogans about the dumping the Bush regime ?
------------------------------------------------------------

Sunsara said:

> And, no - "drive out the Bush Regime"
> is not "code" for anything. It means
> what it says: drive out the Bush regime.

Ben replies:

Whether or not "drive out the Bush Regime" is code for alliance with social-democracy is not something that is under your control.

This code phrase means what it does because of how it is used by political trends which are far larger and influential than your own. These trends have the power (because they are backed up by all the bourgeois institutions and prejudices of society) to determine how this phrase will be used and understood. This is a concrete, material fact that is independent of your consciousness or will.

Sunsara said:

> That is not a slogan being raised by
> the Democrats or the social democrats.

Ben replies:

You are mistaken, Sunsara.

Even on the pof-200 email list (a relatively small list with a few posts per week) we have a social democrat from Chicago (ie: Carl Davidson -- whom I criticise at length on the "RCP cries 'Wolf' about fascism" webpage -- and who supported the RCP's leaflet) who authored an article titled: "The Road Ahead After 2004: Building a Broad Nonpartisan Alliance Against Bush and the Far Right" which talks of "unseating" or "removing" the "Bush regime". Of course "unseating" or "removing" are slightly different words than "driving out" -- but this is a distinction with little difference. The main message in Carl's work is that the efforts of political activists must be focused on pressuring the Democratic Party to become an "antiwar opposition party".

The line of the organization that you support plays into the hands of (and is welcomed by) people like Carl Davidson. If activists are frightened of the christian fascists -- then they can more easily be stampeded into "progressive" alliances in which they are subordinated to bourgeois politics.

Carl, incidently, has written articles similar, in some ways, to yours -- such as this one:

Globalization, Theocracy and the New Fascism:
Taking the Right's Rise to Power Seriously
http://www.net4dem.org/cyrev/editorials/carl_editorial5.htm

Carl's article contains this passage under the heading "Theocracy and the new fascism":

> Just who are the Christian theocrats?
> Are they really a new form of fascism
> arising in American politics in
> the 21st century?
>
> The short answer is 'Yes.'

------------------------------------------------------------
4. Do we damage the movement by telling activists the truth?
------------------------------------------------------------

Sunsara said:

> Your approach, based on insisting that
> people reject the ruling class as a whole
> before entering into this life and death
> political struggle - would have deadly
> consequences for the world.

Ben replies:

Nothing sums up our differences as well as this.

The view that Sunsara expresses boils down to a fear that we will "turn people off" if we tell them the truth.

This is a common view among social-democrats.

The reality is more complex. In a class-divided society the truth will be enthusiastically welcomed by some -- and bitterly opposed by others.

It is true that the trade union bureacracts, religious leaders, poverty pimps, "progressive" journalists and politicians and professional "opinion makers" of all stripes will react with hatred and contempt to all efforts to mobilize the masses against their oppressors. In particular, this bribed strata of society will fight tooth and nail against any political trends which tell the masses the truth about the nature of imperialism as a political and economic system which is synonomous with the system of bourgeois rule.

On the other hand, ordinary people, and serious activists, welcome serious analysis that has the power to explain how our society really works. The bourgeois mass media bombards people daily with all kinds of lies. When we tell people the truth our efforts are welcome.

Note also how Sunsara expresses her prejudice:

> Your approach, based on insisting that
> people reject the ruling class as a whole
> before entering into this life and death
> political struggle

Have I ever, at any time or any place, advocated that people who have illusions about a section of the ruling class be excluded from the antiwar movement or other progressive movements?

No.

Ordinary people become involved in social protest movements, and become activists, for a variety of complex reasons based mainly on their own personal experience in one or another aspect of the class struggle. The idea that we will drive people away from the movement -- if we tell them the truth about the need to end the class rule of the bourgeoisie -- is an idea that serves the social-democratic trend (which is the most ardent defender of bourgeois class interests).

There is a struggle of ideas within the antiwar movement and other progressive movements. Serious activists cannot be neutral in this struggle -- but must take a partisan class stand to oppose the influence of bourgeois ideology and bourgeois political conceptions within what should be "our" movements.

Sunsara, on the other hand, is arguing that by intervening in this struggle of ideas -- we are narrowing the movement to those who agree with us -- and thereby making it weaker. The truth is the opposite. The antiwar movement and all other progressive movements will grow (in size as well as in depth) and become more powerful as the ideological struggle takes place and the bourgeois political conceptions (which are engineered to steer activists down the path of useless electoralism, begging for peace and demoralization) are successfully opposed.

The people who will be repelled by the truth are the various misleaders and careerists who are tied in with bourgeois interests. But these people should _never_ be confused with the masses.

------------------------------------------------------------
5. Would millions welcome a movement to end bourgeois rule?
------------------------------------------------------------

Sunsara said:

> You say, "I certainly share Sunsara's conviction
> that millions of people would welcome and support
> a movement, and a mass organization, which is
> determined to end the existing system of
> bourgeois rule."
>
> But, that is not what I said. If that were
> the case, we'd be in a very different situation
> and different aims and slogans would be correct.

Ben replies:

Well then, Sunsara and I disagree. I believe that millions would support a movement and a mass organziation which is determined to end the system of bourgeois rule. Sunsara believes otherwise.

For me the main issue is to create a movement, and a genuinely mass organization, that does not have its head, so to speak, shoved into a place that cannot be reached by sunlight. Our central task is to create a movement, and a mass organization, that is _deserving_ of the respect, attention and devotion of the working class. Such a movement, and such an organization, does not exist at this time. This is what we must change.

-------------------------------------------------------------
6. RCP wants to avoid "rupturing unity" with social-democracy
-------------------------------------------------------------

Sunsara said:

> I am sure you have seen this quote from Bob Avakian:
>
> "At every point, and throughout the entire
> revolutionary process, we have to be good at
> applying our line and strategic approach of
> United Front Under the Leadership of the Proletariat
> (UFuLP), including the aspect of independence and
> initiative for the proletariat and its vanguard.
>
> "We have to be good at doing this all in a way that,
> proceeding from the strategic interests of the
> proletariat, we draw the dividing lines so that
> we can unite the broadest numbers of people in a way
> that moves them--objectively and, to the maximum
> degree possible without rupturing that unity,
> subjectively--in accordance with and in the
> direction of the proletariat's strategic interests,
> and which advances those strategic interests overall.
> Now, that last sentence was a 'mouthful,' but this
> is an extremely important point."

Ben replies:

This appears to be nothing but a long-winded way of saying that the "strategic interests of the proletariat" require that unity with social democracy not be "ruptured". RCP's down payment to social democracy involves promoting the social-democratic slogan (and world view) that our enemy is only one half of the ruling class. This will make it easier for the social-democrats to give the other half of the slogan: "knell down before your master -- the Democratic Party". Meanwhile, the RCP will throw around a few words (but not too many) about how useless the Democratic Party is and act as if its hands are clean.

You can put lipstick on a pig and guess what? It's still a pig.

Anytime we promote the idea that our enemy is only one half of the ruling class (and this is precisely the problem with the "drive out the bush regime" slogan and general orientation) -- then we are undermining the development of a revolutionary movement that is deserving of the respect of the working class.

-------------------------------------------------------------
7. Has RCP recognized central role of democratic rights
in society after the overthrow of bourgeois rule
-------------------------------------------------------------

Sunsara said:

> Also, your claim that the RCP doesn't adequately
> deal with democratic rights under socialism is absurd.
> No one in the world has written as extensively as
> Bob Avakian on such matters and developed a truly
> communist - and non-dogmatic, and not a "classless"
> - perspective on Democracy.

Ben replies:

I have looked in Mr. Avakian's supposedly "extensive" writing on these questions and concluded that he has damn little to say.

Chairman Bob does, in various places, recognize that the policies of the workers' state will be dependent on the concrete situation and, in particular, whether worker's rule is secure and stable -- or threatened and hanging by a thread.

That is about as close as the RCP gets to acknowledging that the revolutionary movement is paralyzed by a crisis of theory that prevents even militant activists from understanding how post-bourgeois society will function. This crisis of theory is centered around the inability of the revolutionary movement to confront the nature of democratic rights after bourgeois rule is overthrown.

Avakian (and the RCP) fail to understand that, increasingly, in a modern society (with a modern economy and communications infrastructure) it will not be possible for any ruling class to suppress the expression of opposing viewpoints on any kind of long-term basis. Once we understand this fundamental point -- then we can better understand how the working class will oppose the bourgeois ideology in the period after bourgeois rule has been overthrown.

The working class will not attempt to suppress all opposing views. Instead, it will work on two levels:

1. Commercial resources will not be allowed to amplify bourgeois or reactionary ideology.

This is the principle of "separation of speech and property". All media which makes use of wage labor will be regulated (ie: restricted and controlled to whatever degree is necessary) by the workers' state. The only forms of speech which will not be controlled by the workers' state will be forms of speech that are the product of free (ie: unpaid, volunteer) labor. Such forms of speech would include leaflets and web sites created by individuals and by groups of like-minded people -- but would not include programs or publications which require a lot of money to create and distribute. This way the wealthy and privileged (who will not disappear overnight after bourgeois rule is broken) will no longer be able use their resources to hire slick mouthpieces and buy public opinion. Instead, bourgeois apologists will be cut down to size.

2. The masses will drown out bourgeois ideology in millions and billions of individual encounters (in public and private forums, in person, on paper, and in electronic forums) by making use of their combined anger, determination and class consciousness.

Sunsara implies that the above principles represent a "classless" perspective on democracy. The opposite is true. Proletarian democracy will not be possible except when the working class, as a class, has the ability the run society. And this will require that workers have the fundamental democratic rights of speech and organization -- so that working class activists can mobilize public opinion against the incompetence, hypocrisy and corruption which are inevitable even in a workers' state. Only with the right of propaganda and organization will the workers be able to organize independently to prevent the degeneration of their own state.

It is particularly insensitive for the RCP to overlook the necessity for democratic rights (which they mistakenly confuse with "bourgeois democracy") in post-bourgeois society in light of the degeneration of efforts to create workers' states in the Soviet Union and China. The revisionist rulers of the Soviet Union and China committed the most monstrous crimes while making use of the many of the same evasions and doubletalk about democratic rights that we hear from the RCP today. This does not mean that the good comrades of the RCP are criminals like the revisionist bloodsuckers who ruled the Soviet Union and China. But it does mean that the RCP is mired in theoretical bankruptcy.

This must end. There can never be a revolutionary movement that is deserving of the respect of the working class -- until revolutionary activists confront these decisive theoretical questions in the light of day. And no, Bob Avakian's long-winded evasions about democratic rights (which fail to make the most elementary distinction between speech that is based on wage labor vs. speech that is based on free labor) contribute close to zero to this necessary clarification.

It would be a big step forward for the RCP to recognize and popularize the principles above -- because this would help activists to better understand how the working class will run a modern society _better_ than the bourgeoisie. This would help to smash up the crisis of theory -- and remove a roadblock to the development of a revolutionary mass movement with the power to mobilize millions for the overthrow the present system of bourgeois rule.

Unfortunately, at the present time it does not appear possible to draw the RCP, and its supporters, into discussion of these principles.

-------------------------------------------------------------
8. Are these issues important enough for serious discussion?
-------------------------------------------------------------

Sunsara, I thank you for the time that you have devoted to replying to me.

At the same time I must make clear that these topics are too important to be adequately handled in forums with a short lifespan (ie: indymedia threads or blogs which lose most of their audience after a day or two). Longer term thought is needed -- as well as the development of an audience with a longer attention span and a deeper interest in these topics.

I have replied to you twice in one day -- but I cannot continue at this pace: I need to eat and sleep and attend to the demands of my job and family and my other political responsibilities.

I invite you, Sunsara, to the pof-200 email list for the purpose of continuing this discussion at a less exhausting (and more realistic) pace that might draw the attention of a section of serious activists. The pof-200 list has about a hundred subscribers and about a dozen posts per week. The list limits each subscriber to one post per week (or twice a week if they go to antiwar marches) in order to encourage a serious atmosphere and a calm and thoughtful pace of discussion. Carl Davidson (the social democrat who supports the RCP's line on the fascist danger) appears to have found the list to be of use (he is still subscribed). If you truly believe that the analysis you present is correct and that serious discussion of these principles is necessary for the development of a revolutionary mass movement -- then I invite you to join me on the pof-200 list. The list is designed to encourage serious and thoughtful discussion and to respect the severe time constraints of busy revolutionary activists such as yourself.


Sincerely and revolutionary regards,
Ben Seattle
http://struggle.net/ben

Isolated from one another we are easily defeated.
Connected to one another no force on earth can stop us
http://MediaWeapon.com


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6/25/05, 11:13 PM

 
Anonymous Chairman eDog said...

Sunsara, that was a sweet inter-necine clue batting that you dropped on Bitchboy Ben Seattle.

Ben Seattle,
Shut up and listen up bitchboy. Sunsara's got the plan.

6/28/05, 3:13 PM

 
Blogger TripleNeckSteel said...

hey Sunsara,

Why are you deleting all this great free content eDog and I provde? That's no way to show your gratitude, honey.

6/28/05, 11:48 PM

 

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