Announcement from the Editorial Board
We have resolved to begin the process of refounding a new US Communist or Workers’ Party based on the science of MarxismÂLeninism.
For almost ten years, Marxism-Leninism Today has tried to clarify the ideological issues confronting the US Left. After much thought, we have concluded it is now necessary to go a step further and create an organization that carries theory into practice.
It is necessary because the long US tradition of advocacy of socialism, a historic task borne by the Communist Party USA, has been broken. For over a decade, the leadership of the CPUSA has embarked on a different road. The leadership has turned away from the vision elaborated by the Party’s founders and such respected leaders as William Z. Foster, Claudia Jones, Benjamin Davis, Paul Robeson, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Gus Hall, and Henry Winston.Â
Instead, the current leaders have abandoned independence and linked the CPUSA’s direction to the hierarchy of the Democratic Party controlled by Big Business and the class-collaborationist trade union leadership, two institutions that have too often failed the loyalty of working people. Most recently, plans to merge the Party with reformist non-Communist (even anti-Communist) organizations have come to light, plans made without consulting the remaining members.
Politics without Marxism-Leninism is like a journey with no map. Throughout the last century and a half, the thinking of Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, Vladimir Lenin and many of their followers has propelled the working classes and the oppressed Â the vast majority of the world’s population Â to fight for a just and equitable world. Inspired by the idea of a community of ownership, shared possession of the wealth of society Â what we have come to call "socialism," the poor, the neglected, the powerless, and exploited have found comfort and inspiration in the path to liberation developed and elaborated by these revolutionaries.
"As long as there are two classes
Proletarians must agree
It’s the task of none but the working class
To set the worker free…"
Bertolt Brecht, United Front Song
Before the theories of Marx, Engels, and Lenin, the great mass of humanity was relegated to the political sidelines. It lacked a vision, a plan, and an organization. With the brutal suppression of the 1871 Paris Commune, the first working class revolution as a lesson, Lenin brilliantly developed the idea of a vanguard, working class party with the organizational principles necessary to carry out a socialist revolution.
The success of the Bolshevik Revolution in the cauldron of war, class conflict, confusion, betrayal and intervention proved the correctness of his views. Thus began the era of the working classes contesting for power throughout the world. Despite unspeakable imperialist war and aggression, the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution brought the liberation of the entire colonial world and a vast expansion of the socialist community.
Much has changed since the founders of Marxism-Leninism wrote. But the underlying structures, conflicts and problems of capitalism remain the same. New trends posing new questions have come to the fore:Â the further development of a global economy and global movement of populations, the emergence of computer technology and the internet,Â the proliferation of nuclear weapons, cyber surveillance and drones,Â and the mounting threats to the environment. The new Â has intensified the old contradictions of capitalism and imperialism.Â
The conflict between the interests of the one percent of elite capitalists and the rest of the 99 percent of the world’s people has only grown sharper. The threat to world peace and human well-being has only become more grave.
Sadly, forty-five years of a so-called "Cold War" Â a life or death ideological, social, and military struggle Â closed with the scribes of the capitalist world claiming victory. An ideologically disarmed Soviet Communist Party surrendered to the enemy with barely a fight. A chapter closed, but the book of working class struggle remains open.
It has become commonplace to search the wreckage of Soviet Communism for the mistakes, missteps, and moral failings. Certainly they are there to be found, but we insist that there is also a noble, brave, and selfless struggle unparalleled in human history. While we are not afraid of the negative, we see this era of capitalist triumphalism as a crusade to erase the great achievements of 20th century socialism.
We exist to fight for that history. We exist to defend and elaborate that map first sketched some hundred and fifty years ago. We exist to help bring life back to the working class movement.
Today, in 2013 we live at a moment when US political and social institutions have lost all credibility and fail the vast majority of working people. Â With no Communist leadership, mass movements languish. We need a Communist Party not just to struggle for socialism but to lead the immediate struggles of workers and other people:Â for wages, benefits, pensions, health care, education and housing and for peace, justice, civil liberties, and equality.
After five years, a prolonged world economicÂ crisis may well be deepening again. At US instigation, wars multiply in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, and the danger of a world war grows. But the US antiwar movement seems paralyzed. The trade union movement is in decline and confusion. Racism and other forms of oppression and inequality intensify. These objective trends have caused suffering for the US working class, but they also have opened the eyes of millions and readied the ground for radical ideas. The illusionsÂ of millions of people aboutÂ the two-party system are waning.
Working class women and men, our sisters and brothers, face a crisis Â economic, social, and political Â unprecedented since the Great Depression. We are convinced that the only ultimate solution to this crisis is the establishment of public ownership and control of the corporations that dominate our lives. We are convinced that state power must be wrested from the hands of those corporations and entrusted to the people. We are convinced that socialism is our destiny.
We see ourselves at a critical juncture. We see the destiny of Marxism-Leninism in the balance, while the need for a vanguard party of socialism becomes ever more urgent,Â above all here, in our country, the strongest center of imperialism. Many of our international friends share this assessment and share our recognition of the need for action.
Therefore, we have resolved to begin the process of refounding a new US Communist or WorkersÂ Party based on the science of Marxism-Leninism. Aware that it is an enormous task, Â we also draw confidence from the awareness that it is a necessity.
June 25, 2013