A document found in a (renovated, glass) recycling bin at 235 West 23rd Street in New York City, in the year 2010:
Have you ever been at a left-wing meeting and found that your pet hare-brained ideas get called out and defeated by the Communists? If you let these Communists be Communists they will dominate everything because people like their ideas. Or maybe you own a business, and all the union activists in your shop who have the best strategy to win are the Communists and their allies, and they are able to defeat the pliant workers who will make sweetheart deals with you.
These Communists understand Marx and Lenin, who over 100 years ago had to take on your silly ideas plus all the other bad ideas and defeat them to unite the people into revolutionary organizations. Marx and Lenin proved their ideas work when factory workers, peasants, and minorities in Russia used them to unite and overthrow the TsarÂ -Â imagine that! It’s a pretty scary ideology when the poor can use it to defeat the rich. But fear not, there is a way to get these pesky Communists out of the way so that you can have things your way again. Just follow these 10 easy steps, simultaneously:
1. “Any socialism as long as it’s capitalism” The best way to win Communists for capitalism is to tell them it’s socialism. How can you do this? It’s simple. Just tell them socialism, i.e., getting rid of capitalist private property which is the root of the problem, is too difficult to attain. So, we have to work towards it, but not in a way that actually gets there.
We have to say: “we can’t predict when we’ll get to socialism, that’s too hard to tell. We just have to keep making reforms until we get to heaven some day.” We can call this socialism because it has some central planning or some public ownership, while private property and the capitalists are still in the picture. Dig through Marx and Lenin. I am sure you can find some things they said about how to make the transition to socialism. But give only half the picture to make it look like they said, “We can’t tell how to finish the job and get rid of private property.” Never mind that their ideas scientifically show how to get to socialism, tell them “we have to be agnostic about anything beyond reforms,” and “you can’t predict the future because it’s just like the weather.” Before science started studying weather, that is. It will help if you point to the Soviet Union and make up stuff as you go along about how “the reason it’s not here anymore is because the Soviets tried to actually get to socialism (and got there!) instead of taking the road of never-ending piecemeal reforms.” You could call the goal “market socialism,” or “the socialist market economy,” or “socialism with American characteristics” (or Chinese or — fill in the blank). You get the idea.
2. “I once caught a coalition THIS big!” What makes these Communists dangerous is that they unite the broadest alliance behind them to take on and defeat whatever the capitalists are doing. They do this by being public with their politics which are more advanced than anyone else’s. So people join with them because they see that the Communists are the only ones fighting for what they need, for real solutions. This leaves the reformists with no choice but to join in or get isolated from the people gathering around the Communists.
The best way to kill the leading and independent role of the Communist Party is to say that this is “going it alone.” It’s not really a coalition because it calls for ideas that are different from the conventional and mainstream. Never mind that Communists have always worked in coalitions, tell them that “to lead with independent politics is to be on the sidelines” and that “a real coalition is one where you can’t tell the Communists from the reformists.” Say “the reformists will get scared if you say anything they don’t like,” so the Communists will forget that the reformists won’t have a choice but to join if the Communists would reach out to the much bigger group of people who know half-measures won’t help them. Never mind that it’s not a real coalition if all of the partners aren’t actually meeting to make decisions together, with every group having its own voice. Flunkies can always delude themselves into thinking they are an equal partner.
3. “War is peace; imperialism can be progressive.” The best way to get Communists to support a war is to at first give lip service to “troops out now,” but then point out how dangerous the victims of imperialism are. It helps to recycle war propaganda about the Islamic enemy as a threat to civilization, and say “we need to protect the world from these beasts.” It helps if you call the people in the resistance “Islamo-fascist,” even though it’s imperialism that is invading and occupying one country after another. You can disguise imperialism pretty easily by saying “it’s different this time because there is going to be international cooperation of imperialists with everyone else, for the progress of humanity.” This is what Browder did in 1944, saying it would be in the interests of imperialists to rule the world together without fighting over the spoils. Never mind that private property drives them into conflict over who is going to come out on top. Tell the Communist Party members, “the new President or the Democrat candidate will make it all different this time,” because it just has to be that way.
4. “Never let a Communist develop his or her own base.” Communists who actually want to organize and educate can be dangerous in positions of leadership. It’s better to hire them away as staff.Â You can control them better. Then, later, let them go, or expel them. There will always be staff sycophants who will go along with anything to keep their paycheck and prestige. These people might never have actually done anything. They might not have any ideas of their own. But that makes it even better, because they depend on you. Those who flatter you the most are the most useful. The more obsequious they are, the higher you should promote them.
5. “Practice Undemocratic Self-centered-ism.” The Communist idea of democratic centralism is dangerous for you because you have to freely discuss everything first (democratic) and then stick to the majority decision (centralism). You can kill the democratic part by deciding everything before the meeting, thereby killing or heading off any real discussion. Intimidate and bully people who disagree. Pack meetings with your supporters (especially paid staff). Stop people you don’t agree with from even coming to the meeting.
Killing centralism is just as easy. Don’t follow or implement the decisions you don’t like. You can get away with it if there is no accountability. Instead of having a central leadership, be self-centered where you make all the decisions and then get everyone to agree without trying to listen to them because after all, you are the leader. It helps to factionalize with the people who will go along with you (see #4 “Those who flatter you the most are the most useful”) so that it’s too late by the time there is a convention.
Expel anyone who doesn’t play along, even if you don’t do it constitutionally, by (and here’s the delicious irony) saying they “violated democratic centralism” or are “anti-party” or are “factional.” Remember, once the members catch on to what you are doing they will resist. So, you will have to be even more undemocratic and self-centered each round to stay ahead of them.
6. “Un-organize the organized!” The best way to unorganize a Communist party is not to organize. Get in the way of anyone who is organizing. If people are catching on, do token organizing with ineffective mini-projects or election/educational leaflets that you don’t really put out. Don’t organize a distribution of the newspaper, or Communist schools that explain real Marxism. Try to avoid calling meetings or organizing your contacts into events and Communist-initiated campaigns and fund raisers. If someone tries this, tell them they are breaking unity and expel them if you have to (see #5 “Undemocratic Self-centered-ism”). Eventually some of the people who want to organize will leave, or get frustrated. It helps if you don’t know how to organize in the first place and have never organized a campaign. That’s the best way to add “un” in front of your Organizer title (again, see #4 “Those who flatter you the most are the most useful.”)
7. Cold-case Communism. The first 24 hours in a missing person case are the most crucial in being able to find them alive. Similarly, to make the institutions of a Communist Party go missing and die off, like archives, bookstores, buildings (from being used for Communist work), publications like print magazines or print newspapers, eliminate them speedily without putting the question clearly in front of everyone and having an open discussion. It will be too late by the time everyone finds out.
Say that you “have to make cuts because of money, or because you haven’t been using these resources, or because they’ve become outdated.” Never mind that using these institutions collectively for organizing is what makes a Communist Party different and keeps it moving. Just say that “the same work will continue but without these resources or in a different way,” even though you haven’t been using these resources anyway (see #6 “Unorganize the organized”). If you’re worried they won’t buy it, resort to a Straw Man by saying “the opposition is trying to make it look like you can’t both use these resources and do things in a new way,” even though you are the one cutting the basic resources of the party.
8. “There is a Stalinist under my bed!” If any member actually starts arguing for socialism or revolution, or says anything good about the Soviet Union, or quotes Marx and Lenin to express their own ideas in a more articulate way, call them “Stalinists” or “dogmatic” or any other name you can think of. Label them “a small, sectarian” group or whatever else you have to say to isolate them from everyone else. It’s best if you use the Straw Man frequently and say they said things that they never actually said. In a speakers list, arrange that someone who can do a really abusive hatchet job on them will speak next, so as to kill the discussion.
Also it helps if you keep repeating any slander uttered about the Soviet Union, Stalin, and the world Communist movement during the Cold War, as if they are true. Use only anti-Communist citations. Never mind that academic historians are admitting that a lot of the Cold War propaganda just wasn’t true, or that Communist parties have been exposing these lies for decades. Just keep insisting it’s obvious, or that everyone knows it’s true. A bit like those weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
9. Marx and Lenin said “Don’t listen to Marx and Lenin.” You know the game is almost up when members start actually reading Marx and Lenin and the real context of your quotes from them, or study their party’s history and see how you are using a foul old playbook and calling it “fresh” and “creative.” This is why it’s vital to create as much confusion about Marx and Lenin as possible. Show how they changed their mind about a side-issue to make it look like they went back and forth, when in fact what makes them different from the other philosophers and politicians is that they could keep marching forward on the same path they started on because they were correct. If the members realize this, they would realize they should keep going down that tested and proven path instead of believing there is no firm path and ending up in a swamp. Argue against quoting Marx and Lenin to support anything they actually said. Instead say “they should only be quoted to show one can change one’s mind.” It’s even better if you can cut their quotes up and take a fragment to make it look like we shouldn’t listen to them. For example, you could say Marx said “I am not a Marxist” when what he really said was “if that is Marxism, then I am not a Marxist,” referring to an ultra-leftist of his time , rather than denying he had developed an ideology. The more you can make it look like Marx and Lenin didn’t really mean for us to study what they were saying, or that they said anything at all, the better.
10. “Better Dead than Read!” Marx and Lenin were against turning their ideas into a dead ritual where you just say their magic words and then a revolution happens. Instead, they said you have to apply their teachings to your situation, and as we learn things through experience we can add to Marxism what we learn, in a way that continues what Marx started. However, you can turn this around to say that “Marx and Lenin said their ideas can be changed “(instead of being added to) and that “their basic teachings could be wrong” (not merely some secondary ideasÂ and facts that are not an essential part of their science), and that “it would still be Marxism if you took out what you didn’t like.” Claim that “times have changed.” Of course, times do change, but not in a way that makes capitalism and imperialism change into something completely different, rather in a way that develops capitalism and imperialism further down the road Marx and Lenin analyzed in their time. You’ll need to do some slick switcheroos to turn dialectical materialism, which explains the nature and causes of change in society, nature, and thought, into relativism, which is about things changing in any direction that’s convenient for your agenda. But this can be done by appealing against “dogmatism” and then adding that naturally this means “everything is relative” and so it’s OK to take anything revolutionary out of Marxism because it no longer applies, because you said so.
Of course, the reformist ideas you are inserting into Marxism under the excuse that “everything changes” are actually old dogmas that were defeated by Marx and Lenin in their time. Better hope your members don’t read those old debates, and treat them as dead (see #9 “Marx and Lenin said don’t listen to Marx and Lenin”). Otherwise they will realize you are the real dogmatist, resurrecting zombie ideas out of the grave in a desperate attempt to bury what is still alive and kicking in the working class.
Beware that once you liquidate the Communist Party, it will keep coming back because this movement is an inevitable (but not automatic) part of history. The working class will resist. People will keep rediscovering the ideas of Marx and Lenin. So it’s very important to keep repeating these steps over and over again. You might even get caught by the members in the middle of wiping out their Party. They might get together and expel you. This is what happened to Browder in 1946. Don’t worry though; you can still start the process all over again, just as long as the members aren’t systematically getting Marxist-Leninist education to enable them to figure out what you are doing. Remember, as long as there is capitalism there will be Communists, but there will also be revisionists like us to bring the Communists back to capitalism.
This is a race — to liquidate the party before its members put a stop to us. Better move fast before the members make it impossible for you to do any more damage by challenging you everywhere, voting according to their principles, and holding you accountable!