“Anytime you beg another man to set you free, you’ll never be free! Freedom is something that you have to do for yourself!” — Malcolm X
Many so-called Communists and revolutionaries practice liberalism on the question of whether or not it is possible for us to win in a confrontation with Yankee imperialism. They espouse in words the spirit of “dare to struggle, dare to win”, and make many belligerent noises about their willingness to struggle to the death against this system. Yet, within their minds and through their actions, they demonstrate defeatist, nihilistic, and pessimistic thoughts. They speak of the necessity of revolutionary violence, yet simultaneously shirk the duty of preparing their minds and bodies for it. They speak of people’s war, yet refuse to go among the people and practice the mass line. They settle for garden variety “mutual aid” activities, economist engagement with yellow unions, and scattered and unsystematic attempts to “radicalize” their coworkers, yet do not organize them for class struggle.
Can we win? Yes, we can. The United States is a crippled eagle. Its talons remain sharp, and we should be aware of their ability to impale and slash the throats of the unwary and the impetuous. Mao taught that we should despise the enemy strategically, yet take him seriously tactically. This means that while we recognize that we should consider the enemy a paper tiger in the grand scheme of things, we should not underestimate its power, but rather prepare ourselves to come to grips with it. A survey of the news every day tells us three things. First, the masses are clamoring for more and more that this country simply cannot deliver. Workers want decent conditions, decent wages, and benefits. Tenants want decent accommodation, repairs in a timely fashion, and relief from crippling and skyrocketing rent. Gender oppressed people want respect and access to medical treatment. Oppressed nations, of course, demand liberation. Workers go out on strike and organize mass resignations, tenants withhold their rent, gender oppressed people and oppressed nations rebel in a myriad of forms. Meanwhile, wages remain stagnant, debts continue to skyrocket, and prices continue to go up. There is talk of rent strikes, debt strikes, and all kinds of other strikes. What is needed is organization and discipline.
The news also tells us that the US empire is losing its grip on the world, and the masses of this planet rise in righteous rebellion against it. Every day we hear more inter-imperialist squabbling between this country and its rival empires of China and Russia, with the US more often than not coming out embarrassed and undermined. The masses in what has historically been seen as the American sphere of influence, particularly in Latin America, deliver blow after blow to this empire’s plans and schemes, from Venezuela to Bolivia to Brazil to Peru. One of the preconditions for successful revolution according to Lenin is that the old State cannot rule in the old way. People’s wars continue to develop and score gains in the Philippines and India and the Nepalese people clamor for revolution and reject the revisionism of Prachanda and his degenerated Party.
Finally, this Empire is coming apart at the seams and contradictions continue to sharpen. The old social programs and buyoffs that the US used to help maintain social control and the old reformist leaders are losing legitimacy and simply aren’t enough. When the masses rise in rebellion and the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons are trotted out to do their work, they are scorned and rejected as Uncle Toms by the militant youth, along with the Ben Crump style lawyers who serve as nothing more than vehicles to attempt to buy off families of those murdered by the police. Samaria Rice, the mother of martyr Tamir Rice, consistently denounces the corporate backed Black Lives Matter entity, along with the white grifter Shaun King, serving as a solid proletarian revolutionary voice and pole within the movement against police murder of Black youth. We see also more and more armed clamoring from both Left and Right, and incidents like 1/6 of last year demonstrate crumbling faith in this order. Less and less people are going to the polls every year, with municipal and state elections attracting little to no attention from the proletarian masses. Those who do vote often do so grudgingly and don’t take the process seriously, viewing it as nothing more than a sad ritual in a dying Empire.
When asked if he feared anything, Gonzalo said:
“Fear? I believe that fear and lack of fear form a contradiction. The point is to take up our ideology, and unleash the courage within us. It is our ideology that makes us brave, that gives us courage. In my opinion, no one is born brave. It is society, the class struggle, that makes people and communists courageous — the class struggle, the proletariat, the Party, and our ideology. What could the greatest fear be? Death? As a materialist I know that life will end some day. What is most important to me is to be an optimist, with the conviction that others will continue the work to which I am committed, and will carry it forward until they reach our final goal, communism. Because the fear that I could have is that no one would carry on, but that fear disappears when one has faith in the masses. I think that the worst fear, in the end, is not to have faith in the masses, to believe that you’re indispensable, the center of the world. I think that’s the worst fear and if you are forged by the Party, in proletarian ideology, in Maoism principally, you understand that the masses are the makers of history, that the Party makes revolution, that the advance of history is certain, that revolution is the main trend, and then your fear vanishes. What remains is the satisfaction of contributing together with others to laying the foundation so that some day communism may shine and illuminate the entire earth.”
Many Communists at the imperial center have a loose or near nonexistent understanding of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist works. Those that do have familiarity with these works are not schooled in the revolutionary tradition and history of the oppressed nations, particularly the proletariat. They know of the martyrdom of Fred Hampton and Bunchy Carter, but do not know the depths of their organizing and their ideological development. They know of Malcolm X’s position on violence and its justification in the service of liberation, but know little of his skill as an organizer, with Kwame Turé saying that everywhere he went, he left a mosque. Reading Mao and Lenin in a room by yourself and calling yourself a “student” of Maoism is a fallacy. You must study, train and practice with comrades that you see and work with regularly, building strong ties of affinity and comradeship. These bonds cannot be built on twitter or through meme groups. From what I’ve seen of these groups and engagements, the breed nothing besides bad faith, gossip, slander, wilful misunderstanding, and nihilism. The fact that people on twitter believe that the Communist Party of Peru sought out infants to boil them alive confirms this description. Maoism is a practical ideology, it must be learned through practice, collectively, with others. The All-African People’s Revolutionary Party has developed the concept of a “work-study circle”, which meshes well with how Maoists should develop themselves through both collective study and collective work. They explain them this way:
Work-Study Circles are designed to: 1) Imbue the prospective Party Member with a genuine commitment to serve the masses of African People through qualitatively increasing their understanding of and accepting, practicing and implementing the ideology, objective, political line and program of the A-APRP. 2) Imbue the prospective Party Member with an understanding of the necessity for waging revolutionary struggle and helping to build the A-APRP, as well as what to do and how to do it. 3) Train and prepare serious, unselfish, sacrificing strugglers and fighters for the liberation of Africa and all her people. 4) Develop a strong, undying, indestructible and revolutionary love for Africa and her people. 5) Inspire prospective Party members through raising their understanding, to higher and more productive levels of work. 6) Develop a clar analysis and strong hatred for the enemy and all that is associated with the interest of the enemy. 7) Develop a conscientious attitude toward revolutionary work. 8) Cultivate a strong sense of national pride in being African. 9) Develop an understanding of and revolutionary commitment to actively support the just struggles of other oppressed and exploited Peoples in the world. 10) Imbue prospective Party members with a strong desire to learn more and use it selflessly to serve the People. 11) Imbue prospective Party members with a deep sense of ideological conviction that produces an inseparable unity of thought and action, words and deeds, ideas and practice. Obviously, the struggle to train, steel and test revolutionary Cadre is of necessity, a permanent and life long struggle. Having finally, through long hard study, practice, commitment and sacrifice; achieved the honor and obligation of becoming Cadre, there remains an even longer and harder struggle to maintain one’s Cadre status and to continually develop to higher levels of understanding, practice and commitment.
Going back to Gonzalo’s thoughts on fear, it is only revolutionary proletarian ideology that gives us courage to face what is ahead, and what is already here. Revisionism, or bourgeois ideology, teaches us to fear and loathe the masses and mistrust our comrades. It is revisionism which has people thinking that beggar formations such as PSL, FRSO, and the long discredited CPUSA are legitimate organs of political power. It is revisionism which has people thinking that serving food to unhoused people, while noble and good, is “building power”. It is revisionism which has people thinking that running for city council is legitimate activity for Communists. Once again, study of proletarian revolutionary theory is essential to dispel these myths. It teaches us to have faith in the masses, to unite with them, and to simultaneously teach and learn Communism with and to them. The Left is unprepared and fearful because it is divorced and isolated from the masses. Instead of struggling and steeling themselves in class struggle, it engages in routine online “cancel fests” and senseless squabbles over the affairs of the dead, which serve to do nothing but demoralize and sow even more fear and disorientation. Postmodernism and eclecticism have replaced proletarian revolutionary ideology in many organizations, which serves to produce more and more confusion, burnout, fear and pessimism, all in the service of the bourgeoisie.
In short, to combat fear, those who call themselves Communists and proletarian revolutionaries must study deeply the history of those who have gone before us and waged struggle. Learn how Malcolm X struggled with depression and harassment from the FBI and his old brothers in the Nation of Islam, which he built. Furthermore, sink yourself ever deeper into the masses, who will teach you how to struggle, because there is nothing to do but struggle. Do not resign yourself to suffering and despair, as these are the fruit of the bourgeois within yourself. Cut it out and steel yourself in class struggle.