The Tasks of Revolution and the Mission of the LRNA
In order to be effective, revolutionary organizations must constantly step back, assess and examine the environment and conditions within which they work. From this examination they must develop a strategic overview, that directs them in the overall class struggle to achieve the goal of a cooperative, communist society. This means revolutionary organizations must always be asking – how do we participate in achieving this goal? How do we accomplish our tasks?
For the first time an objective communist economic class is forming to become the foundation for a communist political movement. The destruction of value and the emergence of a communist class have shifted the communist party — the subjective expression of the actual movement — from an ideological to a concrete and practical, i.e., political, base. The old ideological communist party is obsolete and must be replaced by a practical, political communist party that represents the motion of an actual communist class. Such a party does not exist. History cannot move forward without it. How is such a party to be built? What kind of an organization of revolutionaries is needed to build such a party? These are some of the questions this growing social motion has thrust upon every revolutionary.
Contradictions of the Past
Since the formation of the Communist League in the 1840s, revolutionaries have had to grapple with a contradiction that, while impossible to overcome, could not be avoided. That contradiction is that the communist movement was born within, matured within, and achieved its many victories within the struggle to make the transition from agriculture to industry. It had to overthrow the State and a ruling class based on agriculture and then struggle to establish an industrial economy and the corresponding State to facilitate the development of that industrial economy.
The victories of the Communist Parties in the developed industrial States fought for achieving the goals that were at least abstractly compatible with the bourgeois State. Such victories included the struggle for civil rights of the oppressed peoples, the establishment of the trade unions, the victorious wars of national liberation, and the defeat of fascism. Until recently, there have been only subjective or ideological movements for communism. The communist parties have led numerous, militant, objective, mass movements for reform goals within the capitalist system.
In the countries where the communist movement triumphed, it was done by forming a communist party to guide a revolutionary, but noncommunist, movement. Eventually, whether by design or by the logic of the movement, the party must be the “subjective expression of the objective process.” History shows us that if the communist party cannot subjectively express a communist movement, it will become the subjective expression of the reform movement, despite its name.
Until now, this contradiction has been held off by concentrating on the ideological conviction of the class wherever they have achieved power. Karl Marx once wrote that prosperity is the death of a revolution. He meant by this that the struggle against the capitalist system arises during a time of economic crisis. The workers can become very militant in such periods. Then, as the crisis runs its course and relative prosperity returns, the revolutionary movement disintegrates. Applied to the communist led countries, it would seem the statement doesn’t make sense. Prosperity should make the workers even more militant in safeguarding the fruits of their revolution. Rational or not, this statement of Marx has been confirmed by history also in this regard. Communist countries were destroying feudalism and imperialism, and while they were reconstructing their societies and achieving a measure of social wealth, they were class conscious, militant and on guard.
However, as that prosperity was achieved, consciousness declined and material bribery set in. One by one the revolutions in these countries were overthrown. The working class of these countries were not objectively communist because of the steadily and unevenly, expanding industrial base. The communist class arises only when a significant and growing section of the working class is forced outside bourgeois society by qualitatively new productive forces, of such magnitude that they must be transferred into public hands to produce according to need, or this class will actually die of want. This is now happening. The lasting victory of communism can only come about if a communist party actually expresses the political aspirations of an objectively communist class.
Emergence of objective communist movement
In this light, let us quickly review our motion over the past period. As the above became clear, the League of Revolutionaries for a New America (LRNA) wrote and published Entering an Epoch of Social Revolution. Based on that report, we stated the obvious contradiction of a Marxist organization calling itself the communist movement, when at best it can only express that communist movement. In reality, a communist movement was beginning to form. It was composed of people at the periphery of, or outside of, bourgeois society. This class in formation had no idea of its significance, but from the standpoint of history, it was the class that was raising the demands of communism.
The moment the communist class raises its demands, the communist organizations must drop their own programs and adopt the program of this class. But since this movement is objective, it belongs to all communists from the Catholic Reporter to the most left-wing group in the country. Communism is a historical movement. Marxism is a very important current in the communist movement, but it is not the movement itself. The LRNA has never strayed from its vision of a peaceful world and a happy, contented humanity. Neither has it strayed from seeing communism as the cause of humanity and the foundation of that vision. But all else changed, including how to achieve it.
The Mission of the LRNA
The qualitative program for the communist movement can be summed up in a few words: Abolish private property! Yet, the goal of communism can be achieved only after the completion of a rather long and complex leap through quantitative stages. Points along this leap include on the objective side, the destruction of the present society, dialectically coupled with the subjective side, the consequent consciousness and politicization of the new class.
Let’s look at the goal, or the content, of the present quantitative stage of revolution and we can see the indispensable mission of the LRNA. Our goal is the formation of a communist political party of the communist class, as it reaches that stage of development. This party is absolutely essential, if the revolutionary process is to advance. The first task or mission is to group the revolutionaries together and win them to communism. How do we do this? The objective process itself creates literally thousands of revolutionaries who are in battle with the system, but they have no idea of what to replace it with. Before there can be a serious communist party, the revolutionaries must be gathered together on a non-ideological basis. The subjective expression of the objective movement cannot be a Marxist or Catholic party. It has to be a party of communism.
The first step is to create an organization that can be a lightning rod for the scattered revolutionaries. The spontaneous, objective movement for food, clothing, shelter and other basic necessities of life is objectively headed in the direction of communist revolution.
The aim of the LRNA is to become an organization of revolutionaries inseparably connected to the spontaneous movement. The LRNA has identified its mission as “…to unite these 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.” The demands of this new impoverished class for food, housing, education, health care and an opportunity to contribute to society are summed up as the demand for a cooperative society. Such a society must be based on the public ownership of the socially necessary means of production and the distribution of the social product according to need.
The LRNA’s propaganda activity is to facilitate this process, to offer an analysis of the problem, a vision of the solution and a strategy and tactics to get there. We are attempting to rally these emerging revolutionary leaders, to prepare them to form a broad core of conscious communists, who will stabilize and lead within the objective communist movement, as it strives to find the form to politically express its demands for the basic necessities of life.
It is important that we understand the internal relationship of a dialectical process. Since, as Frederick Engels points out, sex is the ultimate proof of dialectics, let’s take an example. The child reaches puberty and begins having sexual urges. The object of the affection does not respond. The objective process, aimed toward the continuity of the human race is at least temporarily thwarted and cannot move forward. The same thing happens in the social process. If there is no subjective response to the objective motion, that process is inhibited or even temporarily stopped.
Revolutionaries have profound responsibilities today. Our task is to guarantee the subjective response of society to each stage of the objective motion. The historical trajectory is toward communism, but it will not happen without the introduction of new ways of thinking that only revolutionaries can provide. It will not happen without a vision of what’s possible, and a strategy and tactics to achieve that vision. It will not happen without an organization of revolutionaries that is organized to carry out these tasks, in each of the various stages of development that the struggle of the working class against the capitalist class must go through, and which always and everywhere, represents the interests of the movement as a whole.
July/August 2016 Vol26.Ed4
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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