Against Electoral Alarmism in the Service of the Ruling Class and Opportunist Distortions of Mass Work
Many so-called communists and anarchists who, at least in theory, are opposed to the dismantling of the master’s house with the master’s tools, every electoral season, manage to throw themselves wholeheartedly and thoroughly into the election of “progressive” agents of capital. Prosecutors. Alderpeople. Congresspeople. You will see the liberals (in the Maoist sense — those who manage to keep both goods in stock — liberalism and revolutionary ideology) knocking on doors, engaging in cognitive dissonance, and calling those who take principled Communist and Anarchist stands opposed to the ballot box “ultra-left do nothings”. Many soft-Trotskyist sects (the epitome of aesthetic “leftists” but reformist Democrats in practice) engage in this behavior as well — the shameful engagement of Socialist Alternative with the Bernie Sanders campaign is a key example and, rightfully, caused a split within their ranks after this line was imposed on branches that still had a “left” spinal cord. Many of these elements have chosen to organize or engage with the Democratic Socialists of America. I’m not going to insult DSA rank and file — they don’t know any better and will eventually be won over to Communism through patient exposure of their bankrupt leadership and the eradication of their electoral line in practice. What I will do is criticize the alarmism that many of these elements display in their arguments with principled Communists — it is a manifestation of petit bourgeois alarmism, low theoretical level and failure to adopt a mass oriented outlook.
There is no Communist argument for engagement with elections under Yankee imperialism. Zero. Polls are not a site of struggle. Any “communist” who attempts to shame the working class for not voting or Communists for promoting the passive working class boycott of elections into an active one is a petit bourgeois reformist, a counter-revolutionary element that seeks to channel the rage of the masses back into state approved channels. When I say counter revolutionary I mean just that — those who promote a line that is counter to revolution. Even if these elements organize outside of the electoral sphere — tailing or cloning Maoist or anarchist initiated and led work such as tenants’ unions or mutual aid programs or organizations, even if they manage to get economist “gains” surpassing the correctly guided Maoist programs, they will not accomplish the critical task — raising political level of the masses. Why? Because they are anti-masses and they attempt to bureaucratically channel the rage and correct ideas of the masses into solutions approved by the state. These programs will inevitably end up being coopted by capital and bought out by imperialist NGO grants. In short, if you are not open about your politics and taking things as far as they will go, politically, you will succumb to economism and reformism, focused on winning wage increases and rent reductions while neglecting politics and draining the energy of the masses. Mass work must be guided by a solid Maoist line. Trotskyists, reformists, social democrats, movementists and others of this type cannot lead or develop correctly guided mass work because they are not guided by correct theory or line. If you do your mass work with voter registration forms — you’re not doing mass work, you’re doing revisionist fuckery. Mao taught us that the correctness of line determines success or failure. Success is more Communists and the formation of autonomous (from revisionists and liberals) organizations of people’s power. Failure is an organization that gets “gains” but has shit line and thus destroys communists.
Alarmism — the world is not going to fall to pieces if Trump wins a second term. He’s probably going to win it because the Democrats are remarkably incompetent. If he does, we organize our people, make new communists, continue to expose and struggle against him in the streets. We do not throw up our hands and surrender. If you need a self care break from organizing, by all means, take one. You’re not a robot. At the same time, don’t fall into a funk. Mass organizations require all hands on deck and everyone healthy to ensure that they can expand and combat our myriad enemies. We should develop structures to see to our comrades’ mental health while simultaneously not allowing individualism to take root and wreck our work. Communists do not succumb to alarmism or change our line because of liberal fretting. Black people have lived under some variety of fascism for 400 years in the US. Remember — under democrats, black ones no less, we had to assert that our black lives mattered. Democrats have been riding over our heads with the complicity of the revisionists and liberals for decades. The electoral reformists, whatever they tell themselves, whatever they call themselves, whatever work they do outside the polls, are working hand in glove with this process.