I realized recently that it’s not at all an accident that liberals in the West are so anticommunist. Proactively providing misinformation about the Soviet Union and China is actually an intentional part of the curriculum, and like so much in our society it masquerades as moral uplift.

In hushed, soft voices, the lesson is like, “We as a species have *moved on* from these _horrible_ things, and now we’re teaching our new generations how to be *better people* now that we know which _mistakes_ to avoid.”

There’s a very intentional program, and it’s like, we will teach you about these atrocities, and you will have a softer, gentler soul because of it.

And this is really effective, because it produces people whose entire self-concept as morally righteous people is rooted in propaganda, so that propaganda is absorbed very deeply.

The only things our society readily gives people to express themselves with are products.

Literature, music, poetry, and art are no less products in this way. Upper-middle-class people are no less curators of themselves out of consumables.

In the Capitol there is a wild diversity in food and clothing, but the souls are all pale and lukewarm.

In resistance there are very few flavors, very hard to discern, very deep-down. But between resistance and consumption you can taste the difference like you can between protein and sugar.

I am staggered by the sorrow that is already here.

Have you been to /r/climate lately? I am overwhelmed by the sorrow that is to come.

But what is there left but to resist? I will help build communism at the south pole if I have to. Better than this woeful indignity, where my people resort to gorging on plastic because the only unadulterated spirit to be found is in rebelling against the strongest military ever to exist.

The way they tell the story–the way they have tried to make sure the story goes–there is so little daylight between the death the imperialists and the fascists promise us and the true life that rebellion brings.

And as Malcolm said, the price of freedom was never anything but death.

But with that said–I don’t know how to say it–the people are indomitable, they are a pressurized gas bursting through the walls of history. In the tiniest beam of light that pours through, the people will flood through and crack their system, and break their military apart on the rocks of time.

If most of the earth becomes unlivable, so be it. Let the sun of communism shine at the south pole, under enormous glass domes if it has to.

I’m editing this book about how food was used in early modern Spain as a way of signifying class position and things like that, which, that alone is interesting. It’s one of the more interesting books I’ve edited.

But so I’m reading this section about crops from the so-called Americas being incorporated, and I’m imagining, like, ..

.. you’re a peasant, you’re like 40, and you’ve lived in the same small area your whole life, and you will never travel to another continent. But some important person comes through one day and says you’re gonna grow a new crop.

And you sow these seeds, and then corn grows. And you’ve never seen corn before.
I’m just imagining a Spanish peasant just taking a long moment to stare at the corn, which you have to admit is an interesting-looking plant, and thinking like, this crop–this crop from an entirely different world. How strange.

What is the root cause of the problems of the world, and what can I do about it?

Q: What is the root cause of the problems of the world?

A: Capitalism (that is, the political-economic system we currently live in, in which the infrastructure is owned by private individuals and groups instead of everyone in common, and therefore in which political-economic decisions are made according to what will bring the most profit to those individuals and private groups). From the first moment of capitalism’s existence up to the present moment it has sustained and exacerbated poverty, oppression, war, and ecological destruction. It cannot exist without these things, and if we want an end to them, we must move to a system of a democratically run planned economy.

Q: Can capitalism be reformed away peacefully, or through legal methods?

A: No. This has been attempted many times. All such attempts involve attempts to move people, resources, and infrastructure beyond the reach of the profit system. This invariably hurts the profits of the capitalists of the world, and every single time their profits are significantly reduced, they use their control of the political system to ensure that violent repression is used to smash the movement against the profit system, thereby returning the people, resources, and infrastructure back to the disposal of the profit system.

Q: If such a movement must invariably be confronted with violent attacks, how can it survive such violent attacks and still succeed?

A: Capitalism depends on the existence of a working class. Without a working class, there would be no one to prop up the capitalist class, and their entire system would fall apart. Therefore, the capitalist class cannot act to harm the entire working class. Thus, a movement to end capitalism that merges itself with the working class, and which is harbored and concealed within the working class, cannot be destroyed.

Q: How can a movement to end capitalism merge itself with the working class?

A: By carrying out a method of organizing called the mass line.

The essence of this method is “from the masses, to the masses.”

The mass line combines and acts upon two important truths: the masses are endlessly creative, and they are the true makers of history. We also believe that organizers are necessary for the victory of any mass movement. The mass line acknowledges both of these crucial facts.

The mass line has three steps:

1. Gather all the diverse and sometimes contradictory ideas and demands of the people.

2. Analyze them using an understanding of revolutionary theory, revolutionary history, and revolutionary experience in order to sharpen the people’s ideas and demands into programs, policies, and slogans that meet the immediate needs and demands of the people in a way that also (1) strengthens and deepens the people’s political understanding and (2) promotes the long-term interests of the entire global working class.

3. Go deeply among the people and spread these programs and ideas. Then, keep and improve the ideas that have been proven correct because the people have adopted them and made them their own—repeating this process over and over.

This process continuously grows and strengthens both the movement and its participants, deepens the connection between the organizers and the masses, attracts members of the masses to become organizers themselves, and raises the masses’ overall political consciousness.

Q: What does the practice of the mass line look like?

A: There are movements in India, such as the Communist Party of India (Maoist), and in the Philippines, such as the Communist Party of the Philippines, which have undertaken this method for many years and are now major forces for the end of capitalism in those respective countries, on track to end capitalism within a couple of decades.

Q: What about in the united states?

A: One of the most successful anticapitalist movements in recent history, the Black Panther Party, especially from 1966 to 1969, was very consciously practicing something much like the mass line, which was the source of both its community self-defense programs to meet the black community’s urgent need for security against a violent and racist police system, and their breakfast for children program, meeting people’s basic biological needs in order to allow them to focus on organizing their own lives rather than remaining at the mercy of a system that wants them desperate. This factor, this conscious practice of meeting the community’s needs while politicizing them and helping them take increasing self-directed control over their own destiny while defending themselves against capitalism’s and white supremacy’s attacks, was what led to the rapid growth of the BPP during this period of time. Their abandonment of this practice was what led to their disintegration.

Q: Is anyone carrying out the mass line in the united states today?

A: Organizations such as Serve the People – Los Angeles, and Serve the People – Austin are very consciously trying to undertake this strategy. STP-LA has been at it for longer and is steadily growing among the most oppressed and exploited section of the working class. STP-A has been going for a shorter time but is also showing promise.

Q: What can I do if I want to participate in this personally?

A: Study Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Probably the single best resource available for that is the MLM Basic Course.

If what you read there makes sense to you, either join, found, or support a Maoist collective in your area that intends to carry out the mass line.

A fatal criticism of the anarchist road to communism based on the necessity of the party in order for society to transform itself after the revolution

When we are discussing differences between Marxism and anarchism, we are talking about how to move from our current, incredibly crooked society, to one where the culture and material environment make it so that literally all humans are raised so that there is no major discrepancy between what will lead to their own personal flourishing and what will lead to the flourishing of the rest of humanity. that’s definitely a long-term project. nonetheless, i think what happened in China during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and the kinds of changes that we saw then, were the closest humanity had ever come to that fundamentally new type of society.

i think that the changes that have to take place require a party.

i think this because the changes that must happen to make this new world a reality cannot happen without an apparatus that the lowest and the deepest sections of the old society can make their own and use to push all of society through the material and ideological restructuring necessary to abolish the mechanisms that had formerly perpetuated their oppression. we need a coordinated way to do that, to collectively gather an understanding of our problems and then apply it to every part of society

no anarchist school of thought proposes a mechanism for this kind of holographic, top-to-bottom self-conscious alteration of society led by the most oppressed. all the anarchism i’ve ever heard of would de facto leave local variations in power among the people virtually unchanged. i believe these inequalities are the seeds of a return to capitalism, both in the way they do not challenge ideological and social hegemonies of some segments of the population over others (e.g., men over non-men, those who have been trained to do intellectual labor over those who were trained only to do manual labor) but also in the way they also disallow a coordinated and unified change of the physical, built environment.

additional verbiage:

without a party, the ongoing class struggle necessary even after the revolution cannot be systematically undertaken. A party is necessary to continuously collect the ideas of each and every part of the proletariat, especially the lowest and deepest sections, so that the proletariat has the best, fullest possible understanding of itself. Only with this comprehensive, all-around, full-spectrum, top-to-bottom picture of itself can the proletariat consciously remake itself and the world, both physically and culturally, to proceed ever more fully toward communism.

more verbiage:

in general there are two different conceptions of what it really means for the state to disappear going on in anarchist thinking vs. Marxist thinking.

anarchists imagine that the deal with wanting statelessness is “there’s somebody out there who wants to tell me what to do, and i’m not gonna do it.” this is in fact a capitalist/liberal notion of statelessness based on the idea of lone individuals getting hounded for scientifically inexplicable reasons and the idea that the masses out there are somehow prone to oppress.

the Marxist idea of statelessness recognizes that we have to take all the world as a global system and cure the whole thing of the patterns that lead to oppression, which–because the patterns of oppression prevailing in each part of the world are extremely historically entangled with the patterns of oppression prevailing in each other part of the world–requires gathering understandings from the whole world in order to transform each and every last part. we won’t get free by just little bits withdrawing here and there and them running their own show–we’ll get free by transforming everywhere into a well-functioning and cooperative and harmonious whole.

so, anarchism is like “let’s withdraw so no one oppresses me.” communism is like, “let’s dissolve the very root that leads to oppression to begin with, and we won’t need to “withdraw” because we will dissolve the distinction between withdrawer and withdrawee.

one of the most obvious examples of the necessity here is in coordinating reparations from imperialist “centers” to the previously most heavily exploited “peripheries.” such a complicated task will without a doubt require global coordination, but in fact the true eradication of white supremacy and patriarchy from every spot in the heart of every human being on earth will require even more subtle, complex, and elaborate coordination.

for a little bit more elaboration on this process, check out “The role of the people’s party under socialism in the masses’ conscious transformation of themselves: A metaphor with holograms”

for some brilliant discussion about what the economic transformations that must be undertaken in order to completely abolish structural inequality would look like, and what we have learned about how concretely to undertake them from the experience of socialism in China, check out “Capitalist and Maoist Economic Development”

for some equally brilliant discussion about the shortcomings of even the most thoughtful anarchist proposals for post-capitalist economics, check out the PCR-RCP’s “The Myth of Self-Management”

A response to the claim that we must dismantle industrial society to survive as a species

I posted a link to my post “The ecocide at the heart of capitalism” to /r/collapse and someone responded that we need to dismantle industrial society. I wanted to link my response here, because I thought it expressed something I had thought before but never put into words:

i agree that virtually all existing industrial processes cannot remain, and even that you may be completely right that a total dismantling has to happen–though that remains to be seen.

if any aspect of global civilization is to survive, we need to find a way to rectify literally every single aspect of the global economy into harmony with the earth’s natural processes, which includes such seemingly radical steps as the end of all mining, and finding a way to recycle 100% of nonrenewable materials such as metals. i think there are probably clever organic ways to do this, such as plants that can leach metals from the soil.

that may just be impossible, but no one can say that for sure yet.

i also think that, given the course of human history, simply consigning ourselves to pre-industrial society doesn’t seem like a solution–plenty of deforestation and environmental devastation happened before heavy industry as well. i don’t think ending all industry will increase our ability to enter into harmony with nature.

to my mind, the only possible viable solution is to dramatically contract our production processes while using technology to make those few aspects of it that we decide to preserve 100% sustainable.

a very tricky road to walk, but i believe it is the only one that doesn’t lead to human extinction. anyone who doesn’t care about human extinction has a different goal than i do, and we probably don’t have much common ground to find.

Some thoughts on the revolutionary outlook for the u.s. in mid-March 2016

– Apparently a lot of the foot-soldiers of the anti-Trump protest that closed the Trump rally in Chicago tonight were Sanders supporters. That makes me pretty optimistic, to be honest. It makes me think that there is a significant section of the masses that is militant, extremely frustrated with the system, and angry with fascists. That shows great promise for the communist movement in this country.

– Clinton being offered as the “left” candidate seems .. well, after the disappointment of Obama’s hope and change, after Occupy, after#blacklivesmatter, after Sanders’s campaign, I think the illusion is extraordinarily thin. It’s thin both because the broader left expected more change from each of those mass movements as well as because Hillary Clinton is SO transparently a self-serving member of the Establishment. I think there will be a deep bitterness that will crystallize around the very concept, the very name of Hillary Clinton. Her very probable presidency shows what a sham bourgeois politics is. I think this will cause or help precipitate a rupture. Your points about how other *seemingly* grassroots parts of the Establishment (such as Daily Kos) joining with the Clinton campaign is also helping show *their* bankruptcy. Where Occupy was overly economistic, I think there is a mass awareness being born of the way the *political* system is rigged, and *how* it is rigged.

– More or less on that note, I think the Establishment seems increasingly out of touch even to the majority of people in the u.s. It seems aloof and foolish and childish. It is looking more and more like the type of government that the masses have historically risen up to overthrow.

– Trump is uniting a fascist movement, and that is extremely dangerous. But I believe I am also seeing the far left uniting more as well and making better efforts to struggle out our differences, because it is much harder for many people to treat it like a game now. The first group in that famous “first they came for the ___s but I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a ____” poem-thing is “communist”–and so I think there is now a genuine unity being won through struggle, struggle that is happening out of a new perceived awareness of the reality and danger of fascism. I don’t think internet communists will be exempt from getting on the fascists’ lists just because all they did was post memes, and I think a lot of internet communists are becoming aware of that.

– I think there is a slowly growing revolutionary pole emerging within the renewed black liberation struggle. The criticisms of the cooptation of BLM by careerists are growing louder. One thing I hadn’t noticed until now but which now seems very significant to me is the support of black moderates for Clinton. The inevitable disenchantment they will experience with a Clinton presidency will create new opportunities as well, though I’m not really educated enough to guess at more than that.

– The wobble that will lead to a revolutionary moment is in the system now, and probably nothing can remove it. There are cracks of light shining through. The renewed talk about the Panthers, as toned-down and commodified as it may be, shows that their legacy is alive. And in all honesty, one of the best representatives of their legacy is the growing MLM movement in this country, which means great opportunity for us.