A Communist Class Needs a Communist Party
All of society is entering the most profound transformation in history. This transformation will forever separate humanity from the predatory natural laws of the animal kingdom. However, history shows us that while the objective conditions exist, it is human beings who make history. But to do so they have to be guided by the content of the times.
Today the overwhelming content of our times is the transition from industrial to electronic production—a form of production characterized more and more by the elimination of human labor. Production with electronics and robots is forcing industrial production (i.e. human labor coupled with electro-mechanics) off the market. The capitalist economy, based on the buying and selling of labor power is being irreversibly destroyed. This destruction is forcing a reorganization of economic relations at the base of society. Such epochal change requires political struggle, and political struggle demands the formation of a political party to lead the struggle to abolish private property, that is required by the new productive forces. Society’s productive property can thus be transformed from private property to public property. Only then can the economy conform to the productive capacity of robots and computers.
The drive for maximum profits demands ever-growing and endless competition among global capitalists. Global competition is creating advances in new means of production that replace labor-supporting production methods, with new labor-replacing electronic production methods. As the rapidly advancing labor replacing methods spread globally, breaking all national barriers, individual capitalists find common ground. This is simultaneously creating commonalities among workers around the world. The changing economy and the strategic unity of the capitalists are setting the conditions for a global proletarian revolution.
The electronic based global economy is also destroying the global market, intensifying capitalist competition for new markets and increasing the threat of world war. Social upheavals are increasing – protests, marches, and civil disobedience worldwide are characteristic of this epoch. Few can deny that there’s a global workers’ movement in the making. However, social upheavals alone do not lead to working class victory, unless they’re coupled with a strategic class understanding of aims and purpose, with clarity about who the real enemy is.
Revolutionaries’ political activity must be guided by the deep transformational content of our times. Ideologies and tactics of the past must be replaced with grasping and holding high the revolutionary banner of class unity in every battle. This keeps our class on its revolutionary line of march, moving from scattered defensive struggles to united political struggles.
Meaning of the Times
Today’s epochal shift is the result of the introduction of the microchip into the production process. Microchips both digitally store and transmit specific, programmed mechanical movements, and have the capacity to make virtual instant decisions based on new information received. Human labor is being replaced in one sector of production after another by this electronic revolution of computers and robots.
The current transformation, with its destructive impact on workers throughout the world is unprecedented in the development of capitalism. These qualitatively new means of production are making human labor obsolete, creating a new class of workers, either permanently replaced in the economy, or marginally in and out of it, constantly being driven to the darkest corners of poverty. Those able to find some kinds of work are reduced to poverty-wage jobs, including day-labor, temp work, and part-time jobs. Some are forced into work situations earning below minimum wage.
The revolutionary role of this new class lies in the reality that, in order to survive, it needs to abolish the private ownership of the socially necessary means of production. They are objectively moving toward communism, because they are being denied food, shelter, water, health care, and other basic human needs, which remain in private hands and available only to those with money. Those replaced in production by robots and computers have no jobs and therefore have no money to buy the basic necessities of life. This class is objectively communist because its actual program is to abolish private property, even though it is not yet aware of its historic role. Revolutionaries show that private property can be brought to an end and communism is the only practical solution to the problems they face.
But robots and computers in production can also be the economic foundation of a different kind of society – a new society based on cooperation, without exploitation. Such new tools of production provide endless possibilities for creating an abundance of goods. These new tools have created the objective foundation to construct a new cooperative society, one in which all goods and services are distributed according to need. Electronic production is the new economic force that possesses the necessary revolutionary potential for society to abolish private property relations.
Who will be the winners and who will be the losers in the creation of a new society? Can we imagine a world of plenty, when we see more homeless people in the streets and one out of five children go to bed hungry? Can we imagine the reality of a new society ending backbreaking labor, while heads of households must work two or three poverty-wage jobs to barely make ends meet?
Yes, we can imagine such a new world of abundance for all, and because it is finally made possible by electronic production, it has become a necessity. Humanity’s future lies in the consciousness of this new class of workers. Only the “wretched of the earth” and “prisoners of starvation” can maintain the necessary perspective of overthrowing capitalism and establishing communism as a method of distribution and exchange. This new class is growing outside the orbit of capitalist economic relations. Its liberation is objectively developing – step by step – as the electronic revolution continually replaces living labor in one sector of production after another.
Revolutionaries who know that it is not enough to be against the system must be brought together with a new commitment to work toward the creation of a society based on cooperation. Recognizing themselves as part of a communist class with a clear program to abolish private property, their task would be to introduce new revolutionary ideas, making the new class of workers politically conscious of their role.
Widespread propaganda explains and points out the revolutionary role of the new class. Workers have to understand the why of the economic crisis and be able to clearly see the way out of it. Widespread propaganda is needed to inform those in the thick of battle, offering solutions to the questions of the day, pushing the movement forward along the social revolution’s line of march.
Revolutionaries bring the workers an understanding of their historical role. Just as something qualitatively new – the microchip – was introduced into the capitalist productive process and shattered the historical contradictions between the social productive forces and the private relations of production, new history-making ideas must be introduced to the fighters, to shatter their long-held beliefs that unity between the social struggle and ruling class reformism is the solution to society’s problems. From a revolutionary’s strategic point of view, there is nothing to be gained, unless propaganda contributes to the revolutionary communist education of the people.
Need for a Communist Party
One of the biggest problems U.S. revolutionaries face is that the capitalist class won the 20th century propaganda war to convince the class that communism was an ideological movement rather than an economic system.
Revolutionaries have to learn from the capitalists on this matter. The evolution of the capitalist system was an economic process, but the capitalists could not win political power without creating political parties that represented capitalist interests. Then, after the capitalist law system was established, different capitalist political parties arose to protect the various competing interests of different sections of the capitalist class.
As the new class grows, consolidates, and becomes conscious of itself as a class, it too will need to organize itself politically at different stages to express its class interests. Ultimately, it will need a communist party for the assumption of class political power. This is the objective direction of the line of march of the revolution.
Role of Revolutionaries
The only battlefield open to revolutionaries is the battle for the hearts and minds of the people – the raising of consciousness. This involves the recognition of the need for a political movement that reflects and clears the path for the supremacy of a communist class. This communist movement, like any serious movement, isn’t just a movement of people – isn’t just a movement of some mass. It’s a movement of individuals that are motivated toward accomplishing its objectives.
Communism is not just a good idea, but a movement of complete desperation – a movement of necessity. Either we fight for a new cooperative society of the workers based on the robot or we’ll have a fascist society based on the robot. It’s either one or the other: Private property or a society based on cooperation and the new tools working for the benefit of all.
A communist party is the goal of today’s revolutionary activity. But to get there revolutionaries first have the overriding task of building an organization of revolutionaries inseparably connected to the spontaneous movement. Only in this way can revolutionaries build a broad core of communists, who can participate in establishing a communist party as the process develops to that stage of development. We are not talking about an ideological party. Rather, it must be a practical, political communist party that represents the motion of this actual communist class.
That’s why the mission of the League of Revolutionaries for a New America is, “…to unite the scattered revolutionaries on the basis of the demands of the new class, to educate and win them over to the cooperative, communist resolution of the problem.” Our strategy is to make the class, conscious of itself and its class interests. Our tactic is to participate in the workers crossing over from the defensive to the offensive. Our goal is to utilize the spontaneous process to prepare the people to reclaim their country by assuming State power to transform the property relations from private to public.
Political Report of the Central Body of the League of Revolutionaries, January 2015.
March/April 2015 Vol25.Ed2
This article originated in Rally, Comrades!
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The age-old vision of a world without scarcity, without exploitation, class domination, organized violence, and stultifying labor has been the dream of millenia. The new completely socialized labor-eliminating means of production ... sets the basis for its realization. Now human history can begin, the light of the individual shining in the full brightness of liberated life, that can only be realized within true equality and cooperation: communism, a cooperative society.'Without Vision, the People Perish'
Rally, Comrades ! May/June 2011