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Update: Personal obligations have kept me at bay, temporarily preventing me from extending upon my series of articles against Austrian Economics. Rest assured, these articles will return in the following week.
The history of the Communist Party is one as fluctuating as the history of the Left itself. The Communist Party USA (CPUSA) was once a militant and working class party devoted to proletarian internationalism and class struggle. Now the CPUSA is not even a shell of its old self. Whether through deliberate liberal hijacking or simple naivity, this once great organization is now an embarrassment to the Socialist Left everywhere.
Before those on the Right accuse me of the ‘No True Scottsman’ fallacy, lets put things into context. There are many militant socialist organizations present in the United States. Yet, because of the simple fact the CPUSA has the most recognizable name, it attracts the most attention. Even though the ‘party’ itself has blatantly given up on the idea of world revolution and armed struggle. In fact, there is nothing remotely Marxist about the party, and I say this with a great deal of shame. Almost every ‘congress’ this party holds is actually just a Democratic Party fundraiser and the ‘party’ might as well rename itself the Political Action Committee for Democrats Who Like the Color Red.
I do not want to come across as petty or juvenile in my criticism of the CPUSA. All of my criticisms are based on strong convictions towards Marxism and my conclusion that the CPUSA only damages the image of actual socialists. This is why an open denunciation, such as the title of this article, is necessary.
right-wing extremists from the NRA
In one of my previous articles I wrote against the idea of Gun Control from a Marxist perspective (see Marxism Against Gun Control: Why Marxists Should Oppose Gun Control) .
I thought that the evidence I provided, including a direct quote from Marx himself, would set the record straight. Unfortunately, I awoke yesterday to find a news headline about the CPUSA’s support for Gun Control and especially President Obama’s recent measures. I knew that the CPUSA was increasingly becoming a schill organization for Obama, but I had not known the true depth of this revisionist idiocy.
On January 18, Rick Nagin of the People’s World, the press arm of the CPUSA, published the following: Fight to end gun violence is key to defending democracy. The name alone piqued my interest and after reading it several times I decided it was necessary to take the time to fully chastise the position of this article.
See the article here
First, let us just examine the title and the intended connotations behind it. Fighting gun violence is certainly something worthwhile. Fighting all needless violence, especially that brought about by systemic inequality, is a noble cause. However, this does not need to imply gun control. Many highly educated and peaceful societies also allow the free access of the common man to firearms. If you want to truly fight gun violence, we should eliminate the conditions which make gun violence inevitable. Conditions which put millions of uneducated and unemployed persons into a state of desperation, where violent crime becomes a course of survival. This, at least, would be the proper way to go about reducing gun violence; not the gun control proposed by the revisionists at CPUSA.
These people need to realize they are a threat to our children.
Now, let us examine the second part of the title, the ‘key to defending democracy’.Perhaps more so than the first phrase, I find the second quite troubling. The necessary implication here is that democracy exists in the United States. What a slippery slope the CPUSA has set itself upon. If we exist in a real democracy then what is the need for revolution, or a revolutionary programme? The fact is that the United States is not a democracy, not even in the bourgeois sense. It is a constitutional republic. Thus, the entire premise that the CPUSA sets forth is either intentionally dishonest or unintentionally false.
With all of this said, let us examine the actual content of the article. The article reads like a New York Times editorial, not surprising given the recent path of the CPUSA. The article paints Obama as the rational warrior against the right-wing extremists of the NRA and their neocon allies. Some of this may be true. The NRA is for all intents and purposes, a fringe organization that has, in the past, supported racist legislation. Is there some truth to the idea that the fringe right-wing is manipulating the original intent of the Second Amendment to propagate their idiocy? Perhaps. However, the history of the Second Amendment, to a supposedly Marxist organization, should be irrelevant on the issue of gun control. The goal of any Marxist or revolutionary organization should be to empower the working class and all oppressed peoples; one of the means for such empowerment is to ensure that they are armed to protect their class interests as well as their individual well-being.
“The amendment was adopted as a means to enable the new American republic, lacking a standing army or state national guards, to muster militia to put down domestic uprisings, including slave revolts, to repulse any attempted return by the British and to deal with clashes with Native Americans on the expanding frontier. These issues vanished long ago…”
Most of this is definitely true. Yet, Mr. Nagin goes onto write,
“The Second Amendment is obsolete and now has been twisted to threaten the basic safety and security of all Americans… No government, especially one that is new and fragile, has ever authorized citizens to arm themselves against it.”
His following paragraph makes a couple critical errors. First, it assumes that if the Second Amendment is ‘obsolete’ that means the right to possess firearms is irrelevant; this is a complete non-sequitur. Even if much of the original intent of the second amendment to the Constitution is irrelevant now, that does not mean that we should campaign against gun ownership.
Secondly, the phrase ‘No government…has ever authorized citizens to arm themselves against it.’ is at least partially false and most definitely obtuse. Early workers’ states such as Cuba and Mao’s China armed the masses as a means of preserving the revolution. The intent was that if the workers’ state was to ever be corrupted, or the revolution threatened, that the masses could rise to defeat the reactionaries. So in a sense, no, no government ever handed out guns saying “shoot us if something goes awry” but the principal intent of a Working Class movement should be to empower the masses to carry on the revolution and defend it from reactionaries, internally and externally.
Look at the hatred and ignorance in their eyes.
Once again, we see the CPUSA’s elitist demeanor displayed in their subtle disgust for working class militancy. If we are for mass power and the power of the toiling classes, then why strip them of a critical tool in waging struggle?
“It is not only, as Vice President Joe Biden said, “a moral obligation.” We must rally behind President Obama to protect our safety and security and our basic democratic rights.”
What a dumbfounding declaration. It is our ‘moral obligation’ to support Captain Capitalism in his quest to marginalize the power of the working class? How disgusting. President Obama is a man who has rather openly continued Capital’s struggle to retain political, economic, and military hegemony in the world. In fact, there is not a sphere of influence in which he has advanced the interests of the proletariat. At the very best, he has helped entrench the discourse in a battle between petit bourgeois ‘ethical capitalism’ and fringe right-wing Laissez-Faire; and at the worst intensified the struggle against working class power, domestically and abroad. For the CPUSA to suggest we rally around this man to ‘protect…our basic democratic rights’ is frankly shameful.
They should just call the police.
And what exactly does Mr. Nagin mean by ‘our basic democratic rights’? The right to participate in the ongoing left/right political masquerade? The right to live in a police state? The right to forever be subservient to Capital? The incredible amount of bourgeois liberalism seeping out of the People’s World is truly frustrating.
Perhaps the most upsetting part of this ordeal is the fact that the CPUSA is seen as the American representative of the Marxist/Socialist/Communist movement. This could not be farther from the truth. I have yet to personally meet a single socialist/marxist/communist who associates with the CPUSA. Beyond that, as I mentioned earlier, the CPUSA has forfeited the idea of world revolution and armed struggle(which came with their abandonment of Leninism). So what exactly are they? Who knows. They seem to be a body of naive bourgeois liberals but I like to think that deep inside the ‘party’ lies a group of actual Marxists/Socialists. If that is the case, I encourage them to seize control of their party and begin to actually represent the Working Class once again.
In the meantime, I urge all of our comrades to distance themselves from and denounce the CPUSA. It is crucial to educate the public on real revolutionary movements and not this liberal ‘reformist’ nonsense. We rally behind the Working Class, behind revolution, justice, and equality; not President Obama.
“no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary” – Karl Marx, Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League
About Zak Drabczyk
An "Eclectic Marxist" of sorts. I consider the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to be instrumental in realizing a better society and social system. I also believe strongly in a revolution of the proletariat. A bit non-doctrinaire, I have read Kropotkin to Mao, Bakunin to Lenin, and everywhere in between. I believe everyone has something to offer and I am always open to new ideas and methods.