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A Quick Update – Future Blogging Projects

Recently, I’ve been swamped by school work. Having at long last completed my midterms, I’m now having to write several academic papers taking up a lot of my time, one of which is a long research paper that I won’t be finished with until the end of the semester.

Hence why I haven’t been able to update my blog, which has been on hiatus for awhile. This is also a consequence of me being a perfectionist, meaning that I don’t enjoy updating my blog as much as I should owing to my need to put quality before quantity. Hence the lack of posts in recent weeks.

So what am I planning on working on when school’s out for summer?

One project, being as this is a left-wing blog with a Marxist perspective, is a research paper on the Russian Constituent Assembly – chiefly, an account of the fateful elections and their aftermath, an article which will utilize works by Alexander Rabinowitch, Rex A. Wade, among others and a handful of relevant primary sources. Since attending college, as a history major, I’ve learned how to write academic-level writing assignments. The piece will be entitled Hue and Cry Over the Russian Constituent Assembly, a reference to a similar work by Leon Trotsky on the Kronstadt naval rebellion.

That being said, my argument will run counter to the views held both by Rex A. Wade and Alexander Rabinowitch that the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly represented the revolution’s end (Rex A. Wade more or less puts forth this notion in the last few pages of his book, The Russian Revolution, 1917, which I’d highly recommend nonetheless), as it is their belief that the Constituent Assembly was the last hope for Russia’s modernization along western democratic lines – ignoring, for a moment, the existence of multiparty soviets and the accompanying Soviet Congresses which were equally if not more democratic than the 1918 Constituent Assembly.

The second article is called Remembering Clara Zetkin, which will serve as an overview of Clara Zetkin and her work originally meant for International Working Women’s Day consequently put aside. I’m planning on reading through all of her archived writings and, after drawing several conclusions, outlining her views on Marxism, feminism, the Russian Revolution, etc.

Thirdly, I’m going to be working on yet another article, The Cuban Revolution and Dual Power, which will examine the revolution in Cuba with a Marxist slant while focusing on just how the Cuban revolutionaries utilized the concept of dual power to win power.

A fourth article, still without a proper name, will cover the Kronstadt Rebellion and probably will be finished sometime this year or the next when I have time to do so.

Finally, I’m going to be posting chapters to a novelization of Fallout: New Vegas. I’ve been pointed to a fan fiction, Tiberium Wars, by a friend that inspired me as a fellow writer and gamer.

That’s that. Wish me luck

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BBC – ‘Half of U.S. Congressional Politicians are Millionaires’ and the Fight for a Real Alternative

According to the BBC, at ‘least 268 of the 534 politicians in the Senate and House of Representatives had a net worth of $1m or more in 2012.’ Interestingly enough, Democrats are ‘slightly wealthier than Republicans’ as reported by the Center for Responsive Politics. The net median worth for Washington politicians as a whole peaks at one million dollars, with the Democrats worth more than their Republican counterparts in government. [1]

This shows how morally bankrupt, how depraved, politics and by extension bourgeois democracy has become in the modern United States. This at a time when poverty in the U.S. has only grown since the 1960′s and 1970′s, decades which saw a significant movement of the oppressed in the form of the Black Panther Party and the early Revolutionary Communist Party of America (RCPUSA).

The years 2011 and 2012 saw the societal explosion that was the Occupy Wall Street Movement. As short lived as the protests proved to be, they forced the nation’s mainstream news media outlets to focus on the previously-ignored manifold issues brought up by the protesters; chiefly, and to a large extent, poverty and the growing powerlessness of the vast majority of Americans which tends to go hand-in-hand with the increase in poverty.

Free-market capitalism, the American Dream, representative democracy, etc. are just meaningless concepts in today’s America. According to a recent Reuters report, roughly fifty million U.S. citizens are considered poor. The U.S. Census Bureau has furthermore stated that as of 2012, 47 million people are living in poverty which corresponds to around fifteen percent of the population. [2] In the absence of such basic government aid as food stamps, which the Republicans want to slash, there would be even more people wallowing in dire poverty. [3] So much for government for the people, by the people.

The system that we live under is sick, sick with greed and apathy. Although I’m not a fan of the current RCPUSA, leaning as I do closer to the Kasama Project, its clear that the two organizations and the people in them share common goals. Primarily, how to get to socialism through revolution. Because, aye, there’s the rub: how do we finally put the means of production in the hands of those who create, how do we at once eliminate poverty while creating new forms of popular power answerable to the people? These crucial questions were faced by the Bolsheviks nearly a century ago, when soviet power seemed to offer up a solution in the form of rule from below by workers’, peasants’, and soldiers’ councils. The Russian revolutionaries also struggled, amidst a series of grave political, economic, and social crises, to realize workers’ control over industry. Our movement, here in the belly of the imperialist beast, has the potential to solve these problems and do much more.

Sources:

[1]: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-25691066
[2]: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/06/us-usa-economy-poverty-idUSBRE9A513820131106
[3]: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/doctors-lobby-congress-against-cutting-food-stamps/

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The CPN-M – Striving for a People’s Democracy

A month after the CPN-M and its 33-party alliance boycotted the Constituent Assembly elections, the breakaway Maoist faction has called for the CA’s dissolution in preparation for the country’s liberation from the ‘semi-feudal and neocolonial situation’ while seeking to broaden their alliance with all ‘patriotic, people’s democratic, and leftist forces’ in Nepal.

The CPN-M has opted for a people’s democracy and the drafting of a people’s constitution, urging the formation of a ‘powerful high level all-party political body’ [1] which would at once set itself the task of achieving national independence and sovereignty for the country. Nepal’s revolutionary Maoists have condemned the CA, boldly asserting that it won’t be able to draft a ‘people’s friendly constitution’ let alone acknowledge the gains made during the Nepalese people’s war. For those familiar with Mao Zedong’s writings during the formation of the Anti-Japanese National United Front, the CPN-M’s calls for a ’roundtable political assembly’ representing all political parties bears a striking resemblance to the policies put forth by the Chinese Communist Party that focused on resisting Japan through the formation of a broad, multiparty political front.

Naming the dissolution of the original CA, the formation of a technocratic government, and the deployment of the Nepali Army during the CA elections as contributing factors towards their decision to challenge the authority of the new CA, the CPN-M has stated rather bluntly that they won’t be reunifying with the reformist Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) [2] The party has also decided to identify genuine party cadres at the grassroots level, a three month process involving the formation of local committees designed to strengthen the appeal of the CPN-M nationwide while drawing cadre away from the UCPN-M. [3]

Communists here in the United States should keep watch over developments in Nepal, which are of historical significance and will have repercussions around the world. The oppressed Nepalese peasantry and urban proletariat aren’t dawdling, rather, they are marching lockstep side-by-side along the path to their liberation. Socialism, a dirty word denigrated by Republicans and Tea Party members in the U.S., has the potential to become a cherished concept for the vast majority of Nepal’s poor and exploited populace. The Nepalese people, with the CPN-M acting as their vanguard, have the decisive opportunity to recreate socialism for the 21st-century while going above and beyond the Latin American Bolivarian movement. All eyes are on Nepal, looking towards the east with great anticipation.

As the Kasama Project’s letter to the CPN-M has powerfully stated, ‘The [Nepalese] revolution here has brought hope to millions the world over who feared it may have become impossible to imagine revolution in today’s world.’ [4] in starting over from scratch, both the Nepalese communist movement and our own Marxist movement here in the U.S. have the potential to be great, far-reaching, and liberating experiences for those struggling for freedom and ultimately a socialist mode of production.

Sources:

[1]: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=66309
[2]: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=66964
[3]: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=66659
[4]: http://kasamaproject.org/south-asia-revolution/4371-kasama-to-cpn-m-new-beginnings-on-the-communist-road

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Asserting What We Stand For: The Building Blocks of Our Movement

Link to discussion: http://kasamaproject.org/threads/entry/if-we-don-t-stand-for-something

In a recent Kasama Project discussion, a short satirical comic strip was presented which ends with the one character saying to the Kasama Project member “Jesus Christ. Are you a party, can you answer that?” The Kasama member’s character responds for the third time with an indefinite “well” before being cut off by the other character who exclaims “oh forget it!”

To a large degree, this comic strip hits home for those who are on the Marxist left in the U.S. It can be said that others look at us as if we have no definite program, no overall plan for making revolution in the belly of the imperialist beast. In a direct reference to Marx’s famous Communist Manifesto we can ask rather bluntly: where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power. (repeating what Marx said verbatim)

In an excellent biography on Ho Chi Minh entitled Ho Chi Minh: A Life by William J. Duiker, in a passage which I’m recalling from memory (so bear withe me here), the author states that for Vietnamese communists such as Ho Chi Minh the formation of the Communist Party of Vietnam was a watershed event in the national liberation movement. those Vietnamese patriots who’d long been opposed to French colonialism’s injustices at long last had a political party which possessed the means to popularize the Vietnamese independence struggle amongst the peasant commoner and the radical-minded intellectual.

In the modern United States, we have the bare skeleton, the scaffolding, of a communist movement which is seeking to reinvent the ideology while distancing itself from, say, the moribund New Left of the 1960′s and 1970′s. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t learn from our mistakes. No, rather, being as we are trying to regroup as a movement we should look critically at past attempts at building a viable communist movement in the U.S, personified by the Black Panther Party and the early Revolutionary Communist Party of America

It is my strong belief that we should create the conditions for a future communist party, if we haven’t already done so. In revolutionary China in the early 1920′s a loose scattering of so-called ‘communist groups’ were formed to study Marxism and unite China’s small collection of Marxists nationwide. These informal study circles became the basis for the nascent Communist Party of China, a disciplined and revolutionary organization basing itself on Bolshevism which would sink deep roots amongst China’s urban proletariat in the cities.

The Kasama Project and its numerous collectives have the potential to lead to the formation of a communist party. As study groups, as organizations centered around critical debate, the collectives could become the basis for a political party of a new type. Such a party IMHO should take up the Kasama slogan ‘re-conceive as we regroup’, which is exactly what is so provocative, sharp, defined, articulated, and real about our movement.

Nat adds to the debate:

Let’s begin, with all our ability to radiate these ideas and to popularize them in a way that is clear and enticing for those coming into contact with them. Let’s collectively look at this as an opportunity and seize the moment.

The potential is there, we just have to reach out and grab it.

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What Really Happened With the Jang Song-thaek Purge

Originally posted on Jason Unruhe:

999987_578042635581342_1311771446_nNow that I’ve had a little time to look into the purge of Jang sung-Taek with some friends, we’ve been able to come up with some context. The imperialists believe that this is simply a case of Jong Un removing anyone who opposes him from the Party. Others believe that he has removed a corrupt official from the Party. I think it’s actually much more serious than that, and that there’s something much, much larger going on than we realize.

The removal of Jang sung-Taek is part of a larger struggle that is going on in the DPRK. Several high profile people have been removed from the Party for corruption, and let’s say “conduct unbecoming a member of the Party”. I believe this corruption stems from a systemic corruption that became ingrained in the Party as a result of Songun. Before I explain how, let us look at why Songun…

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The Huffington Post on Nepal’s Bourgeois Elections

Although this is an older post of mine written during Nepal’s Constituent Assembly elections, it still has relevance after the fact. Nepal’s elections were bourgeois, spearheaded by reactionary parties opposed to radical change. That being said, its clear that the election boycott held by the 33-party alliance led by the nascent CPN-M was a struggle against the capitalist road in favor of socialism. Therein lies the significance of the boycott, which represented a resolute rejection of bourgeois democracy’s electoral trappings for a revolutionary transformation of Nepal.

Recently, the Huffington Post has taken to discussing Nepal’s upcoming elections scheduled for November 19th. It describes the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) as “a small faction of the Maoist party” which is “hell-bent on creating chaos and disrupting the elections.” [1]

The CPN-M is far from being a “small faction,” nor is it “hell-bent on creating chaos.” Rather, it is a legitimate revolutionary force leading a coalition of over 33 opposition parties in an alliance against the wholly bourgeois elections taking place in Nepal.

The Nepalese people have a right to strike out against this unjust election charade, with the CPN-M as their vanguard in the movement to create an independent and free socialist Nepal.

The people of Nepal are speaking up – the Nepalese communists have a duty to boycott their country’s thoroughly bourgeois elections. Nepal is at a crossroads: it can either take the capitalist road or the socialist road; one leads to continuing misery and exploitation of the Nepalese people by the first world (and, it can be said, India), while the other will lead to new forms of popular representation and a renewed movement to finally rid Nepal of its rampant corruption and inequality under capitalism.

Hands off the CPN-M and its boycott of the present Nepalese elections! For an independent and free socialist Nepal!

Sources:

[1]: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/subhash-ghimire/rise-of-a-new-force-nepal_b_4171659.html

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The Limits of Heroism: A Few Thoughts on “Black Against Empire”

Today I just finished reading the first definitive historical account of the Black Panther Party, Black Against Empire.

A few quick thoughts. Firstly, its clear that the Black Panther Party’s formation was a revolutionary and liberating process of trial-and-error. Blacks, African-Americans, were finally standing up against the oppressive police, advocating community control over local police departments. The Panthers brandished guns, weapons, legally in front of the police as a sort-of power play with the state’s forces. The Party mushroomed in growth after the events at Sacramento’s State Capitol building, expanding from the west coast to the east coast. Overtime, as the Party sought to extend its influence, it started to form a multiracial, multinational, and multiethnic alliance consisting of whites, Puerto Ricans, Hispanics, and many others nationwide. As if to further broaden the already existing alliance between blacks and whites, the Panthers attempted to form a united front against fascism. Their free breakfast for children programs and healthcare and educational forays served to garner mass support from moderates and radicals alike, putting weight to the Ten Point program. Women joined the Panthers’ ranks for the revolution, for equality, challenging the machismo methods of the initially male-dominated Party. Eventually, The Black Panther, the official Party newspaper, was filled with pictures of armed women to supplement the pictures of men bearing guns.

The Party forged crucial international ties, garnering an embassy in Algeria and sending Black Panthers to North Korea and Cuba. Wherever the Party went, it carried its international message of revolution by any means necessary to the far corners of the world. Mao’s China, whose ideology of Marxism-Leninism most influenced the Black Panthers, wholly supported the Panthers in their revolutionary endeavors. Algeria sponsored the Party as the legitimate ruler of the United States, refusing to recognize the authority of the U.S. government through its principled support of the Panther movement. The Party was truly international in seeking to link the struggle of African-Americans with the Vietnamese and Algerian liberation movements.

Unfortunately, the Party was a victim of its own success. It would crumble, first through a split in the leadership and then through the destruction of it’s national headquarters. As the Party drifted into obscurity, it receded back to Oakland where it had begun in a vain effort to turn Oakland into a revolutionary base for repetition elsewhere. According to the authors of Black Against Empire, national organizers throughout the country simply abandoned the Panthers and effectively rid themselves of local branches after the Party’s inward retreat to Oakland. The Black Panthers later took a reformist turn, what the authors call social-democratic politics which were devoid of the Party’s early insurrectionist language and appeal. A few diehards scattered around the U.S. tried to foment an urban guerrilla war, but these last few desperate attempts to bring about a revolution in the U.S. simply petered out as such individuals fell victim to their own ultra-left ideology which even the Party abhorred. By 1982, the Black Panther movement was long-since dead. In that year, the whole party structure was unceremoniously dissolved.

I can’t stress it enough that modern Marxists here in the United States should and must read this book. It opened my eyes to the possibility of a social revolution in the belly of the imperialist beast, and showcased the successes and failures of an heroic past attempt at revolution. But there proved to be limits to heroism; the authors are correct in asserting that the Party’s message of insurrection and revolutionary violence could only go so far. They also point out the dangers of reformist politics, which took over the Party in the mid-1970′s and which jettisoned it’s fiery Marxist rhetoric in favor of the Democratic Party and its stale language. The Party’s shift into social-democratic politics served as a disservice to the people.

The authors end with a bold challenge:

No revolutionary movement of political significance will gain a foothold in the United States again until a group of revolutionaries develops insurgent practices that seize the political imagination of a large segment of the people and successively draw support from other constituencies, creating a broad insurgent alliance that is difficult to repress or appease. -Taken from the Conclusion

Let’s dare to dream dangerously, to seize the political imagination!

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