Points of Unity
1) We reject patriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalism.
Patriarchy and capitalism necessarily reinforce each other.
We see patriarchy as a constitutive element of all class societies. The capitalist mode of production is premised upon the super-exploitation of women’s waged labor in the sphere of production and the appropriation of women’s unwaged labor in the sphere of reproduction. Exploitation and appropriation mean violence against bodies. The accumulation of capital is inextricable from rape, femicide, and domestic violence, which permeate its everyday reproduction.
Globally, women form the most exploited part of the working class and take up a leading role in the most advanced manifestations of anti-imperialist resistance, from Kurdistan to India. Likewise, the foundation of the international tendency towards a “new fascism” is the convergence of the rebellion of declassed men seeking to reinforce their ownership over women from “below” with imperialist capital’s need to preempt any proletarian subjectivity by reinforcing patriarchal relations of domination among the exploited from “above”.
Therefore, communist politics is inseparable from the strategic primacy of women’s liberation as the necessary basis and content of communist subjectivity and relations of production. This entails both an appreciation of the objective vanguard position of women within the global working class and of the necessity for the continual ideological revolutionization of every organization and individual militant.
White supremacy and capitalism also necessarily reinforce each other.
We see the United States as a white supremacist settler-colonial society. Any discussion of the composition of this U.S. working class which does not depart from this fact is irrelevant in relation to the formulation of a strategy for revolution here. White supremacy is a hegemonic mode of reproduction of bourgeois class rule internal to the working class in this country. Therefore, a necessary premise of any communist politics is the defense of the unconditional right to self-determination of all oppressed peoples as the first step towards proletarian unity.
The primary moments of political intensity in recent years (Ferguson, Baltimore, Standing Rock, the prison uprisings and strikes) only further confirm that the struggles of oppressed peoples against settler-colonial, white supremacist genocide are the core of proletarian resistance in the United States. White workers must be organized around a program of destruction of white supremacy in the tradition of the white farmers who fought under the banner of the Sharecroppers Union with its program of self-determination for the Black Belt.
2) We fight for workers’ power against bureaucracy and capital.
The way to power for workers and the oppressed is not through the existing state machinery. It must be smashed, step by step and piece by piece, over a long process of forceful struggle. This is true not only in relation to the “hard” side of the state (police and military), but also for its “soft” aspects (NGOs, union bureaucracies, etc). We need new organs of power–revolutionary mass organizations built up through militant mass action and based on the broadest possible internal democracy. A focus on electoral politics and entryism within existing civil society structures exhausts our energy and prevents the ruptures we need to create space for the independent action of the working class.
We should remember the failure of the original Black Panther Party in Lowndes County to build a sustainable revolutionary base–despite its brilliant capacity for organizing–as a warning on the perils of a politics which integrates with bourgeois democracy. We don’t need city council seats or county governments. We need moments and spaces of a qualitatively different counter-power articulated within a general strategic line for the destruction of the state and transition to communism.
We think it is worthwhile to note that the Russian term utilized by Lenin in describing the relation between the Soviets and the Provisional Government which is commonly translated as “dual power” can be better rendered as “oppositional sovereignty”. A dual power orientation means a commitment to building the new state of workers’ democracy through the destruction of the old, not the formation of any kind of counter-institution (however useful it may be).
3) We organize ourselves democratically and reflect a plurality of opinions.
Every process of political struggle sees the emergence of vanguard forces who formulate the strategic line via a synthesis of the countless, diverse tactical experiences of the mass movements. However, any insistence upon a pure, monolithic, and singular central leadership only results in the fossilization of metaphysical and dogmatic policy lines formulated at a distance from the real diversity of experience of the mass movements. This prevents the pluralistic and open internal debate required for the application of self-criticism as a scientific practice and not as a mere technique of domination.
All communists should seriously consider how the idea of the monolithic party without factions was only established following the 10th Congress of the CPSU as a maneuver against the left and how it played a key role in the bureaucratic degeneration of the CPSU and of the international communist movement. Moreover, we should reflect on how the Yenan rectification movement destroyed any space for democratic discussion within the CPC and targeted those who criticized the bureaucratic and patriarchal practices prevalent in the Party.
The question, as always, is “Freedom for whom to do what?” The answer for us is the broadest possible freedom for communists to debate, discuss, and express themselves within a polycentric movement.
4) We are able to criticize actually existing socialist states while still recognizing their importance.
The emergence of the socialist states and the global wave of national liberation movements were a major advance in the class struggle, constraining the capacity of imperialist capital to act and opening up new spaces of possibility for oppressed people. However, even when the socialist states restricted commodity production and provided new social rights for women and workers, they failed to overcome bureaucratic and patriarchal relations of domination. The bloody repression of mass democracy by the PLA during the Cultural Revolution in China and the rapid implosion and looting by their own elites of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact states show the limitations of 20th century socialism which must be transcended in the future.
We are open to a wide range of perspectives on what successful transition to communism in the 21st century could look like. To quote imprisoned comrade of the French revolutionary organization Action Directe:
“Social history is a totality and to explore it, one must be free to criticize all diversions and all errors wherever they come from. We wanted to learn from the experiences of Che, of Maoism, of council communism as well as from the struggles of the Spanish anarchists……One always has to explore and reexamine the essential questions of the revolutionary road. And for this, one has to leave the old paradigms and models. That’s why we, in the course of our struggle, rejected the old doctrinal debates to rediscover a sense of social experimentation and the theory of the real movement.”
5) Our political action is informed by theoretical practice.
We assert the necessity of a solid grounding in historical materialist theory and the historical record itself. Strategy must be formulated on the basis of a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of the capitalist mode of production and the relations of domination which constitute it concretely, as well as the historical experience of the international revolutionary movement.
The reappropriation of knowledge by the majority of the working class, forcibly severed from intellectual production by the capitalist division of labor, should be a strategic task of any communist organization. We must carry out a continual process of ideological revolutionization, with the objective of progressively collectivizing the production of the strategic line. Otherwise, the internal functioning of the communist organization becomes a mirror image of the division of labor internal to the capitalist enterprise, and Marxism transforms from a critical methodology into a discourse of domination.
6) We believe that the best way to oppose war and imperialism is to build mass power on the ground.
Imperialism stratifies the working class globally between the imperialist centers and the neo-colonial peripheries. This division appears within the imperialist countries in the exploitation of internal colonies and immigrant populations. Communist politics require internationalism and support for revolutionary struggle throughout the world. We must struggle to apply in action the principle that we are one front of a global war against genocide, restructuring, and displacement. The blood spilled daily in anti-imperialist resistance worldwide is our blood.
6) Our primary focus is building a base in the Richmond area among the poor and working class and against the enormous concentration of wealth and power in the West-End of the city. We want to build workers’ power in neighborhoods, workplaces, schools, and prisons. Struggle Committees Everywhere!
We are not interested in building paper tiger national organizations encumbered by needless bureaucracy or carrying out adventurist and militarist “commando actions” which do nothing to build the autonomous power of the masses. The construction of people’s power begins at the smallest, molecular level on the basis of struggle for immediate demands against local class enemies. Only on this basis can we build a social force strong enough to intervene decisively at the strategic level.
We do see the necessity of working towards the building of a nationwide revolutionary left front as the transitional base of a possible future party. But this must occur step by step, taking into consideration the real status of revolutionary politics in the mass movement.