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before you eat tuna read this

Japan radiation poisoning America?.

This is an issue of significant importance to the United States since, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. imported almost 45 million pounds of fish from Japan in 2012.

There is evidence the radioactive water emanating from the plants starting two years ago has made its way into the ocean currents and will soon start to affect the ecosystems in North America as early as the spring of 2014.

Some say it is already here.

Reports are coming in that the North American food supply is already being affected by Fukushima.

Bluefin tuna caught off the San Diego coast is showing evidence of radioactive contamination. This is the first time that a migrating fish has been shown to carry radioactivity 3,000 miles from Fukushima to the U.S. Pacific coast. It is a nutrition source that accounts for approximately 20,000 tons of the world’s food supply each year.

According to the report published by the National Academy of Sciences, “We report unequivocal evidence that Pacific Bluefin tuna, Thunnus orientalis, transported Fukushima-derived radionuclides across the entire North Pacific Ocean.”

“We were frankly kind of startled,” said Nicholas Fisher, one of the researchers reporting the findings online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“That’s a big ocean. To swim across it and still retain these radionuclides is pretty amazing,” Fisher said.

To rule out the possibility the radiation found in the tuna was carried by ocean currents or dropped into the ocean through rainfall from the atmosphere, the team also analyzed Yellowfin tuna, found in the eastern Pacific, and Bluefin that migrated to Southern California before the nuclear crisis. They found no trace of cesium-134 and only background levels of cesium-137 left over from nuclear weapons testing in the 1960s.

The report went on to say: “The levels of radioactive cesium were 10 times higher than the amount measured in tuna off the California coast in previous years. But even so, that’s still far below safe-to-eat limits set by the U.S. and Japanese governments.”

The results were surprising enough to conduct further tests this coming summer with a larger sampling of migratory fish. The tuna that were the subject of the previous study were exposed to radiation from Fukushima for approximately one month. The upcoming study will be looking at fish that have been swimming in radioactive waters for a longer period.

They will also be expanding their study to cover other migratory species including sea turtles, sharks and seabirds.


▶ Women Ends Fight Against Home Demolition

We just had a older lady have her house demolished because San Antonio city code knocked it down before the holidays saying it was unsafe. This town has so many programs to help the Spanish speaking poor , teen moms, and Sec 8ers who need homes and even send Habit for Humanity out to help fix up old houses. This is not the town I grew up in, this is commie Castro’s city now. They let illegal aliens live in complete hovels (for generations illegally) selling drugs and pushing human trafficking, abusing and even killing their kids and animals, living like the third world nation they came from throughout San Antonio’s West side but knock down this little old lady’s house? This widow having the city evict her is becoming more common and having cities implement rules for some things and not others is the name of the game as international codes are the wave of our crap future.

yiska8 Dec. 14, 2013 at 2:11pm







Posted in Government| Tagged |

How Many People Did Joseph Stalin Kill?

Joseph Stalin, who died 60 years ago in Moscow, was a small man — no more than 5-foot-4. The abused son of a poor, alcoholic Georgian cobbler, Josef Vissarionovich Djughashvili (the future Stalin) also had a withered arm, a clubbed foot and a face scarred by small pox, but he stood very tall as one of history’s most prolific killers. Stalin’s extremely brutal 30-year rule as absolute ruler of the Soviet Union featured so many atrocities, including purges, expulsions, forced displacements, imprisonment in labor camps, manufactured famines, torture and good old-fashioned acts of mass murder and massacres (not to mention World War II) that the complete toll of bloodshed will likely never be known.

An amoral psychopath and paranoid with a gangster’s mentality, Stalin eliminated anyone and everyone who was a threat to his power – including (and especially) former allies. He had absolutely no regard for the sanctity of human life.

But how many people is he responsible for killing?

In February 1989, two years before the fall of the Soviet Union, a research paper by Georgian historian Roy Aleksandrovich Medvedev published in the weekly tabloid Argumenti i Fakti estimated that the death toll directly attributable to Stalin’s rule amounted to some 20 million lives (on top of the estimated 20 million Soviet troops and civilians who perished in the Second World War), for a total tally of 40 million.

”It’s important that they published it, although the numbers themselves are horrible,” Medvedev told the New York Times at the time.

”Those numbers include my father.”

Medevedev’s grim bookkeeping included the following tragic episodes: 1 million imprisoned or exiled between 1927 to 1929; 9 to 11 million peasants forced off their lands and another 2  to 3 million peasants arrested or exiled in the mass collectivization program; 6 to 7 million killed by an artificial famine in 1932-1934; 1 million exiled from Moscow and Leningrad in 1935; 1 million executed during the ”Great Terror” of 1937-1938; 4 to 6 million dispatched to forced labor camps; 10 to 12 million people forcibly relocated during World War II; and at least 1 million arrested for various “political crimes” from 1946 to 1953.

Although not everyone who was swept up in the aforementioned events died from unnatural causes, Medvedev’s 20 million non-combatant deaths estimate is likely a conservative guess.

Indeed, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the literary giant who wrote harrowingly about the Soviet gulag system, claimed the true number of Stalin’s victims might have been as high as 60 million.

Most other estimates from reputed scholars and historians tend to range from between 20 and 60 million.

In his book, “Unnatural Deaths in the U.S.S.R.: 1928-1954,” I.G. Dyadkin estimated that the USSR suffered 56 to 62 million “unnatural deaths” during that period, with 34 to 49 million directly linked to Stalin.

In “Europe A History,” British historian Norman Davies counted 50 million killed between 1924-53, excluding wartime casualties.

Alexander Nikolaevich Yakovlev, a Soviet politician and historian, estimated 35 million deaths. Even some who have put out estimates based on research admit their calculations may be inadequate.

In his acclaimed book “The Great Terror: Stalin’s Purge of the Thirties,” Anglo-American historian Robert Conquest said: “We get a figure of 20 million dead [under Stalin], which is almost certainly too low and might require an increase of 50 percent or so.”

Quotes attributed to Stalin reflected his utter disregard for human life. Among other bons mots, he allegedly declared: “Death is the solution to all problems. No man — no problem,” and “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.” Part of the problem with counting the total loss of life lies with the incompleteness and unreliability of Soviet records. A more troubling dilemma has to do with the fact that many some deaths – like starvation from famines – may or may not have been directly connected to Stalin’s policies.

In any case, if the figure of 60 million dead is accurate that would mean that an average of 2 million were killed during each year of Stalin’s horrific reign – or 40,000 every week (even during “peacetime”).

If the lower estimate of 20 million is the true number, that still translates into 1,830 deaths every single day.

Thus, Stalin’s regime represented a machinery of killing that history – excluding, perhaps, China under Chairman Mao Tse-Tung — has never witnessed.

How Many People Did Joseph Stalin Kill?.

Posted in Government, Education|

Islamists Slaughter 71 Christians

On Tuesday, Fulani herdsmen invaded a Christian village and killed 37 people, injured more, and destroyed homes in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Area in Plateau state in central Nigeria. The attack came after terrorist group Boko Haram already murdered over 34 Christians earlier this month in Borno state.

In attacks on the four predominantly Christian villages that started at 1 a.m. in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Area in Plateau State in central Nigeria, ethnic Fulani herdsmen killed 37 people, injured many others and destroyed homes, the military’s Special Task Force spokesman, Salisu Mustapha, said in a press statement.

Media outlets report cattle theft and land as the reason for the attacks, but Christians are a prominent target in Nigeria. The terrorist group Boko Haram, which means “Western education is forbidden,” wants to establish an Islamic state and demolish Christianity. People believe groups like Boko Haram are backing the Muslim Fulani herdsmen to help them in their cause.

On November 3, Boko Haram attacked the Ngoshe village in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State and killed eight Christians:

“They burned 11 houses owned by the Christians and three churches, which were the EYN [Brethren] church, Deeper Life Bible church and the Redeemed Christian Church of God,” the statement read. “We were informed that when the Christian community sought to meet the state governor on this issue, he said he has no time to see them until February next year.”

Between November 11-13, Boko Haram terrorized Christian villages:

The Rev. Titus Pona, chairman of the Borno chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), told Morning Star News that Boko Haram slaughtered the Christians and drove many others from their villages.

“For three days, between Monday, Nov. 11, and Wednesday, Nov. 13, they attacked the Christian villages,” he said. “They came in two Hilux vehicles, three buses and about 30 motorcycles armed with AK-47 rifles, going from house to house, killing, looting, and burning houses.”

Islamists Slaughter 71 Christians in Nigeria Through November.

BHO 4 LIFE… WTF See we told you so

End presidential term limits

By Jonathan Zimmerman, Published: November 28

Jonathan Zimmerman is a professor of history and education at New York University. His books include “Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory.”

In 1947, Sen. Harley Kilgore (D-W.Va.) condemned a proposed constitutional amendment that would restrict presidents to two terms. “The executive’s effectiveness will be seriously impaired,” Kilgore argued on the Senate floor, “ as no one will obey and respect him if he knows that the executive cannot run again.”

I’ve been thinking about Kilgore’s comments as I watch President Obama, whose approval rating has dipped to 37 percent in CBS News polling — the lowest ever for him — during the troubled rollout of his health-care reform. Many of Obama’s fellow Democrats have distanced themselves from the reform and from the president. Even former president Bill Clinton has said that Americans should be allowed to keep the health insurance they have.

Or consider the reaction to the Iran nuclear deal. Regardless of his political approval ratings, Obama could expect Republican senators such as Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and John McCain (Ariz.) to attack the agreement. But if Obama could run again, would he be facing such fervent objections from Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)?

Probably not. Democratic lawmakers would worry about provoking the wrath of a president who could be reelected. Thanks to term limits, though, they’ve got little to fear.

Nor does Obama have to fear the voters, which might be the scariest problem of all. If he chooses, he could simply ignore their will. And if the people wanted him to serve another term, why shouldn’t they be allowed to award him one?

That was the argument of our first president, who is often held up as the father of term limits. In fact, George Washington opposed them. “I can see no propriety in precluding ourselves from the service of any man who, in some great emergency, shall be deemed universally most capable of serving the public,” Washington wrote in a much-quoted letter to the Marquis de Lafayette.

Washington stepped down after two terms, establishing a pattern that would stand for more than a century. But he made clear that he was doing so because the young republic was on solid footing, not because his service should be limited in any way.

The first president to openly challenge the two-term tradition was Theodore Roosevelt, who ran for a third term as president in 1912 on the Bull Moose ticket. When he stepped down in 1908, Roosevelt pledged not to seek a third term; reminded of this promise in 1912, he said that he had meant he would not seek a “third consecutive term.” The New York Times called Roosevelt’s explanation a “pitiful sophistication,” and the voters sent Woodrow Wilson to the White House.

Only in 1940, amid what George Washington might have called a “great emergency,” did a president successfully stand for a third term. Citing the outbreak of war overseas and the Depression at home, Democrats renominated Franklin D. Roosevelt. They pegged him for a fourth time in 1944 despite his health problems, which were serious enough to send him to his grave the following year.

To Republicans, these developments echoed the fascist trends enveloping Europe. “You will be serving under an American totalitarian government before the long third term is finished,” warned Wendell Wilkie, Roosevelt’s opponent in 1940. Once the two-term tradition was broken, Wilkie added, nobody could put it back together. “If this principle dies, it will be dead forever,” he said.

That’s why the GOP moved to codify it in the Constitution in 1947, when a large Republican majority took over Congress. Ratified by the states in 1951, the 22nd Amendment was an “undisguised slap at the memory of Franklin D. Roosevelt,” wrote Clinton Rossiter, one of the era’s leading political scientists. It also reflected “a shocking lack of faith in the common sense and good judgment of the people,” Rossiter said.

He was right. Every Republican in Congress voted for the amendment, while its handful of Democratic supporters were mostly legislators who had broken with FDR and his New Deal. When they succeeded in limiting the presidency to two terms, they limited democracy itself.

“I think our people are to be safely trusted with their own destiny,” Sen. Claude Pepper (D-Fla.) argued in 1947. “We do not need to protect the American people with a prohibition against a president whom they do not wish to elect; and if they wanted to elect him, have we the right to deny them the power?”

It’s time to put that power back where it belongs. When Ronald Reagan was serving his second term, some Republicans briefly floated the idea of removing term limits so he could run again. The effort went nowhere, but it was right on principle. Barack Obama should be allowed to stand for re election just as citizens should be allowed to vote for — or against — him. Anything less diminishes our leaders and ourselves.

Read more about this issue: Thomas E. Mann: Want to end partisan politics? Here’s what won’t work, and what will Robert J. Samuelson: Why we no longer trust government Letter: After shutdown debacle, it’s time for term limits Zachary A. Goldfarb: How we misread the numbers that dominate our politics

#Obamacare Taxes That Will Crush The Middle Class

The Hidden Obamacare Taxes That
Will Crush The Middle Class

By Money Morning Staff Reports

Get ready to be blindsided by a barrage of new taxes. $1 trillion worth…

They’ll be coming courtesy of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

And they won’t just be affecting those who make over $250,000. The bulk of these taxes will be passed on directly to the middle class.

That’s because while a majority of these “stealth taxes” were designed to be taxes on businesses, they’re actually transferred directly to ordinary citizens.

MORE: How much extra will you have to pay? To see how Obamacare taxes will directly affect your paycheck, go here.

They include the investment income surtax, a Medicare payroll tax, even a “tanning tax” on those who utilize indoor tanning services.

“Many of those [hidden] taxes, especially those on hospitals, insurers and medical device manufacturers, will ultimately be passed on through higher health costs,” said Michael Tanner an expert on the healthcare law.

In fact, analysts estimate Obamacare will cost the average taxpayer nearly $6,000 in extra taxes as early as next year.

Obamacare Tax Hikes Stoke Outrage

Many of the Obamacare taxes are already in effect, others will hit January 1. But they are already infuriating millions of Americans.

While even Obamacare detractors applaud the requirement that insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions and put a stop to lifetime caps on benefits, they say these laudable benefits don’t compensate for the bills high cost – especially in new taxes.

According to most experts, Obamacare will create a total of twenty new taxes or tax hikes on the American people.

In fact, the Obama administration has already given the IRS an extra $500 million to enforce the rules and regulations of Obamacare.

The new taxes don’t bode well for millions of middle-class Americans. Incomes for the rich have soared this decade but middle class workers have seen their wages stagnate and even drop since the 2008 Great Recession.

Many fear Obamacare with its high insurance costs and new taxes, could provide the middle class a fatal blow.

The 20 new Obamacare taxes are making Americans eyes pop out in disbelief.Take a look.

Of course, the Obamacare plan was primarily designed to decrease the number of uninsured Americans and reduce healthcare costs.

Many experts are saying it will have the exact opposite effect.

That’s just one of the reasons why Republicans hope to defund Obamacare before January.

They claim that the taxes and costs needed to pay for Obamacare will crush the middle class and most U.S. taxpayers, as well as trigger job losses in affected industries.

Tax experts say you should try to estimate how much you will have to pay when the law goes into full effect – and take precautions to limit the damage to your bottom line.

What the Experts Say: How to avoid getting your financial neck broken by Obamacare… Watch this video.

One expert, Dr. Betsy McCaughey, a constitutional scholar with a Ph.D. from Columbia University, recently wrote a best-seller showing Americans how they can not only survive Obamacare, but prosper through it.

McCaughey claims to be one of the only people in the country – including members of Congress – who has actually read the entire 2,572 page law.

Her book, titled Beating Obamacare: Your Handbook for Surviving The New Health Care Law, breaks the huge bill down into 168 pages of actionable advice.

The book, written in an easy going, easy to read style, shows some startling facts about Obamacare not seen in the mainstream press.

For example, she points to a little known passage in the bill that shows how you could get slapped with a $2,000 fine for not having health insurance – even if you do actually have it.

She also goes into detail explaining how a third of all U.S. employers could stop offering health insurance to their workers.

In one chapter, she shows how ordinary Americans will get stuck paying for substance abuse coverage – even if they never touched a drink or drug in their life.

According to McCaughey’s research, senior citizens will get hit the hardest.

Hip and knee replacements and cataract surgery will be especially hard to get from Medicare in the months ahead thanks to Obamacare, according to McCaughey.

She warns seniors to get those types of procedures done now before Obamacare goes into effect January 1.

Editor’s Note: Real facts and figures about the hidden Obamacare taxes and fees and how they will affect everyday Americans and seniors are hard to find. As a courtesy, Money Morning is offering readers a free copy of Betsy McCaughey’s new book Beating Obamacare: Your Handbook for Surviving The New Health Care Law. But only a limited number of copies are available. Please go here to reserve yours today.

Wrong in every way

We are, after all, the Communist Party and socialism is at the core of our identity.
The main political task at this moment is to assemble the necessary social forces to defeat Bush and his counterparts in Congress and elsewhere.
The urgency of that task, however, should not be converted into a rationale for socialists and communists to push the mute button on the socialist alternative. To the contrary, we should bring our vision of socialism into the public square; we are, after all, the Communist Party and socialism is at the core of our identity.
The ruling class, not surprisingly, shows no reticence in shaping popular (mis)understanding of socialism. In fact, establishment think tanks, in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union and other socialist countries, have said that socialism is not simply damaged, but damaged beyond repair.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the political spectrum, this subject is slowly finding its way into political discourse. At first glance, this may seem surprising, given that socialism took such a big hit a decade ago.
But on closer inspection it is not such a mystery.
The very advances of capitalism bring in their train new oppositional forces. Admittedly, they don’t yet embrace socialism as we understand it, but they do imagine a society without the hardships, oppressions, worries, pressures, and unbridled profiteering that are emblematic of and structured into present day capitalism. They desire a future that brings material security and a sense of community, insist on some power over their lives, yearn for a new birth of freedom and hunger for a joyous life, and they want a little heaven on this earth.
Obviously, this structure of feeling doesn’t, all at once, translate into a mass constituency for socialism, but it does mean that we can bring our vision to a much larger audience. And doing so can only have a positive effect on ongoing class and democratic battles – not to mention the longer-term prospects for socialism. It is no coincidence that the most far-reaching reforms in the 20th century were secured at moments when socialist ideas had their greatest currency and constituency.
In advocating socialism today, we can’t simply repeat what Marx and Engels said. Call it what you want, a blessing or a burden, we can’t act as if socialism wasn’t a defining feature of world development in the 20th century. And, to say the least, that experience was tumultuous and contradictory.
On the one hand, socialism transformed and modernized backward societies, secured important economic and social rights, assisted countries breaking free of colonialism, contributed decisively to the victory over Nazism, constituted by its mere presence a pressure on the ruling classes in the capitalist world to make concessions to their working classes and democratic movements, and acted as a counterweight to the aggressive ambitions of U.S. imperialism for nearly fifty years.
On the other hand, the shortcomings and mistakes in the political, economic, and cultural fields, not to mention the egregious and indefensible crimes against the Soviet people and Soviet socialism during the Stalin period, were so serious that in the end, the Soviet Union (and the Eastern European states) collapsed with barely a word of protest from their citizens or ruling parties.
All of this – along with the conditions, challenges and sensibilities of our own time – must be soberly studied and appropriate lessons drawn in order to construct a compelling vision of socialism going forward. But luckily there are no pressing deadlines that force us to hurry this process. We can be almost leisurely in our discussions because socialism in our country, it is safe to say, is not around the corner.
Marxism, of course, should guide this discussion, but we should employ its principles and methods creatively. Marxism, when properly used, is an open system that absorbs new experience and adjusts earlier assessments and concepts to new realities.
To have the most fruitful discussion, we should create an atmosphere that encourages comrades to explore the subject without blinders and in fresh ways, while discouraging the practice of political labeling, which becomes a substitute for thoughtfully addressing the merits of points of view different from our own.
No one should feel compelled to defend everything that the communist movement said and did in the past, nor should anyone assume the role of the defender of Marxism-Leninism. That is the role of collective bodies, and even collective bodies should exercise that function in a considered way.
Engels once remarked,
“… the word ‘materialist’ serves many of the younger writers in Germany as a mere phrase with which anything and everything is labeled without further study, that is, they stick on this label and then consider the question disposed of. But our conception of history is above all a guide to study … All history must be studied afresh.”
Marx, of course, shared this view. These great thinkers appreciated the dynamic nature of world capitalism and insisted on creatively developing their insights in line with a changing world. Never did they attempt to shoehorn facts to theory; their approach was fresh, creative, critical, and free of cant.
I hope that this paper meets that standard. My primary, though not singular, focus is on the transitional period of the revolutionary process. I try to be as concrete as possible, although I am mindful of the fact that any envisioning of this transition must be tentative.
Why? Because in any transition from one social formation to another, there are novel features, unforeseen events, sudden turns, and even the possibility of social retrogression. The history of social transitions in general, and the variegated nature of the transition to socialism in the 20th century in particular, demonstrate that societies’ developmental paths are neither uniform nor predictable.
“History as a whole, and the history of revolutions in particular,” Lenin wrote near the end of his eventful life, “is always richer in content, more varied, more multi-form, more lively and ingenious than is imagined by even the best parties, the most class consciousness of vanguards of the most advanced classes. This can be readily understood, because even the finest of vanguards express the class consciousness, will, passion and imagination of tens of thousands, whereas at moments of great upsurge and exertion of all human capacities, revolutions are made by the class consciousness, will, passion and imagination of tens of millions, spurred on by a most acute struggle of classes.” (Left Wing Communism, an Infantile Disorder)
The dream of a just and classless society has a long genealogy. For centuries, it stirred the hopes of women and men, shackled by exploitation, poverty, oppression, and war.
The slave revolts in ancient as well as more recent times were animated by such an idea, as were the peasant uprisings in feudal Europe. Such a vision motivated the rebels on land and sea who fought emerging capitalism in the 17th and 18th century Atlantic economy. The most radical-minded people in our nation’s war of independence were spurred to action because of a vision of an alternative way of living based on solidarity, equality, and community.
The early 19th century labor movement envisioned a cooperative community of producers. The pre-Marxian utopian socialists constructed intricate blueprints for egalitarian societies.
So we can’t claim that Marx and Engels invented the idea of a society defined by common ownership, mutuality, freedom and equality.
But socialism was their lifetime preoccupation and, unlike the utopians, speculative thinking had a small place in their writings. They were materialists and their point of departure was objective reality with all of its complexities and contradictions.
Their method of analysis allowed them to penetrate deep beneath the surface of developing capitalism and unearth its exploitative dynamics, pressures, and laws of motion – not to mention the main class and social forces that would emerge to challenge capitalist class rule.
But because socialism was not yet a material reality, and could not be studied in that manner, they resisted making anything more than the most general observations regarding its content, contours, and historical trajectory.
Those observations, however, not to mention their philosophy and methodology (dialectical and historical materialism) remain of enormous value and should inform our socialist analysis and vision in the 21st century.
Some of the most important of these are: First, the contradiction in capitalist society between the social nature of production and the private form of appropriation and reproduction is the matrix in which the objective and subjective conditions for socialist society gel.
“This contradiction,” Engels wrote, “… contains the germ of the whole of the social antagonisms of today.” One may reasonably argue that Engels is overreaching here, but the point is clear: the widening and deepening of capitalist relations over time has turned capitalism into a near universal system, reduced nearly everything that humans desire to the cash nexus and the commodity form, sucked hundreds of millions into the web of wage labor, and generated new contradictions, inequalities, hierarchies, and antagonisms on a more extensive scale – all of which constitute the material basis for socialism. Thus, socialism springs from the general logic of capitalist development.
A second observation is that the working class, because of its position in the system of social production, is the gravedigger of capitalism. In their view, no other class or social strata has the economic and political strength to successfully confront corporate power. They didn’t rule out an important role for allied forces, but, by the same token, they did not see them as the mainstay of the socialist movement.
Another of Marx and Engels’ observations is that a shift in political power from the capitalist class to the working class and its allies is an absolutely essential requirement of a socialist revolution. This transfer of power, however, doesn’t announce the arrival of full-blown socialism, but rather constitutes the first phase of a period of transition during which the working class and its allies dismantle the old state structures and construct new ones that are infinitely more democratic.
They also observed that at the core of the socialist project is the elimination of private ownership in the major means of production and the replacement of market mechanisms in favor of economic planning. In the Manifesto, Marx and Engels write that “the theory of communism can be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.”
A fifth observation of the founders of modern socialism is that the role of communists is to “raise the proletariat to the position of the ruling class and to win the battle for democracy.” And then, to assist the working class to “wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments in the hands of the state, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible.” (Communist Manifesto)
Finally, socialist societies, according to Marx and Engels, are dynamic social formations that undergo phases of growth and development, leading eventually to the transition to communism, in which classes and all forms of inequality and oppression disappear, the state as a coercive instrument withers away, the distinction between town and country is overcome, and the old division of labor that confined working people to crippling work routines and long hours melts away.
In other words, the kingdom of necessity gives way to the kingdom of freedom and inscribed over its door are the words, “From each according to their ability and to each according to their needs.”
Marx and Engels said much more about socialism, but I hope that this thumbnail sketch gives us a frame of reference.
I would argue that socialism is acquiring a new necessity in the 21st century, despite its historic defeat in the 20th century.
Since its earliest days, capitalism has inflicted incalculable harm on the inhabitants of the earth. Primitive accumulation, world wars, slavery, various forms of labor servitude, ruthless wage exploitation, territorial annexation, colonial and interstate wars, racist, gender, and other forms of oppression – all this and more occupy prominent places in the historical mapping of U.S. and world capitalism.
And yet as ghastly a history as this is, the future could be even worse for a simple reason: capitalism’s destructive power, driven by its inner logic to pump surplus value out of its primary producers and dominate global space, has grown exponentially compared to a century ago. Unless restrained and eventually dismantled, this power is capable of doing irreversible damage to life in all its forms.
A century ago, Rosa Luxemburg, the great communist leader, famously said that humanity had a choice, “socialism or barbarism.” A century later, her warning has even more meaning.
Consider some of the new dangers that make socialism necessary.
First is the prospect of unending war and mass annihilation. With the winding down of the Cold War, most people assumed that the war danger, conventional and nuclear, would ease. Subsequent events, however, have erased these modest hopes. The nuclear threat remains and conventional wars scar the landscape and brutally extinguish the lives of millions of people.
Our own government, with the biggest stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, continues to develop ever more powerful ones, but with this twist: unlike its predecessors, the Bush administration claims a singular right to employ such weapons in a “preventive” fashion and not simply as a last resort.
At the same time, the administration demonizes, imposes sanctions against, and threatens and wages war on countries that possess or may possess nuclear capability and/or constitute an obstacle to its global designs.
Despite claims to the contrary, the mission of neoconservatives in the White House and Pentagon is world domination, cunningly and cynically couched in the language of “fighting terrorism” and accomplished by military means.
And with no counterweight to its power, U.S. imperialism feels few restraints on its ability to wage war. Indeed, from the moment the Bush gang stole the presidency in 2000, they have been hellbent on putting the Pentagon’s military might on display for the entire world to see.
Some say that while the danger of local and regional wars has grown, the danger of inter-imperialist wars and nuclear exchanges between competing capitalist countries is less likely, given the overwhelming preponderance of U.S. military power relative to other capitalist states, the present level of integration of world capitalism, the hesitation of sections of the capitalist class to consider the nuclear option a viable one, and the worldwide opposition to U.S. militarism and aggression.
There is more than a grain of truth in this logic. Nevertheless, we should never forget that war is always latent in capitalism and has a logic of its own. Even the cleverest policy makers are guilty of miscalculations and/or are easily overtaken by events beyond their control.
Furthermore, tensions in some regions of the world, say Taiwan, North Korea, South Asia, and the Middle East, could easily escalate into much wider wars, with the possibility of nuclear exchanges.
The present balance of forces is also more fluid than it appears. China, for example, could emerge as a counter-hegemonic force to U.S. imperialism in the not too distant future, something that the Bush administration and the most reactionary sections of capital say that they will not allow.
Finally, the readiness of the Bush administration to use nuclear weapons should not be underestimated. A recent report in the Washington Post describes how the administration has at its beck and call a global strike force that can launch a strike, including a nuclear one, anywhere on earth within in a few hours. And given a “clash between the triumphal rhetoric of global domination and the sordid reality of failure in practice … would the President facing defeat of his policies somewhere in the world … actually reach for the nuclear option?” (Jonathan Schell,The Nation, June 13, 2005)
All of this offers powerful reasons to intensify the struggle for peace as well as the struggle for a new society that turns swords into ploughshares.
Another compelling argument for socialism’s new necessity is that the economic slowdown of the world capitalist economy in the early 1970s has not been overcome. The political elites hoped that economic restructuring, deregulation, privatization, trade liberalization, and massive financial manipulations – in a word, neo-liberalism – would create conditions for a sustained economic expansion worldwide, but it never happened.
Yes, the economy has grown and profitability has been restored. A regime of internationally networked production has superseded the old Fordist arrangements. The financial sector has grown at a dizzying pace and millions of low-wage jobs have been created in the service sector. But vigorous and prolonged growth has been a no-show.
Neoliberalism, in fact, has produced tremendous human suffering across the globe. No country, including our own, has escaped its punishing impact in a highly competitive world economy that is awash in commodity overproduction.
All of which makes one wonder if the sustained growth of the 1945-1970 period was an aberration, rather than, as conventionally believed, the norm to which the economy will eventually return.
While the jury is still out on that, clearly capitalism in its neoliberal form on a global level is incapable of resolving the contradictions and hardships that it creates: unemployment and underemployment; dislocation of industries and people; declining living standards; growing income, racial, and gender inequality; unrelieved debt; and marginalization of whole countries and regions.
In fact, without radically restructuring the world economic order, it is hard to envision how these present economic trends and their inevitable negative consequences will change in any fundamental way. British Marxist David Harvey believes that we are entering an era where capital accumulation occurs as much through dispossession and theft, legal and otherwise, of public and private assets, social entitlements, and cuts in living standards as through expanded commodity production.
Another threat to humanity’s future is environmental degradation. Almost daily we hear of species extinction, global warming, resource depletion, deforestation, desertification, and on and on to the point where we are nearly accustomed to this gathering catastrophe.
Our planet cannot indefinitely absorb the impact of profit-driven, growth-without-limits capitalism. Many scientists say that unless we radically change our methods of production and consumption patterns, we will reach the point where damage to the environment will become irreversible.
We must move in the direction of sustainability, which Marxist John Bellamy Foster describes as the following:
(1) the rate of utilization of renewable resources has to be kept down to the rate of their
(2) the rate of usage of non-renewable resources cannot exceed the rate at which alternative sustainable resources are developed; and
(3) pollution and habitat destruction cannot exceed the “assimilative capacity of the environment.”
Obviously, we are far from meeting these criteria. The earth is sending distress signals to its human inhabitants, which will become more pronounced as long as the social relations of production are not in harmony with the ecological relations of consumption; as long as the reproduction of capital dominates the reproduction of nature.
Despite this, even the most modest measures of environmental protection are resisted by sections of the transnational corporations. This makes the transition to a socialist society all the more imperative.
Humanity is also gravely endangered by the deep and persistent racial, gender, and regional inequalities that exist across the planet.
The evidence of these inequalities is obvious: massive hunger and malnutrition, dire poverty, pandemic diseases, daily and institutionalized brutality against peoples of color, systemic abuse and oppression of women, explosion of slums around mega-cities, massive migrations of workers and peasants in search of a better life and decaying urban and rural communities and whole regions.
While these conditions exist worldwide, the countries of the southern hemisphere experience, not quietly to be sure, the worst forms of deprivation and inequality.
These inequalities are embedded in the very structures, hierarchies, and dynamics of capitalist development. Unconscionable affluence and wealth at one pole and unspeakable poverty, exploitation, and oppression at the other pole are the gasoline that fuels the engine of global capitalism.
All of this provides yet another compelling reason for a new society.
A final danger is the many-sided assault on democracy in the recent period, resulting from two interrelated phenomena: the new aggressiveness of world imperialism and the political ascendancy of the neoconservatives in the United States.
The hacking away at labor, civil, voting, women’s, immigrant, gay and lesbian, and disability rights is exceedingly dangerous. But the role of the democratic movement is not to lament this attack, nor to cry that fascism is imminent. Its role is to fight more energetically to preserve and expand democratic rights. In the early days of the Cold War we didn’t do this and thus contributed to our own political isolation. We don’t want to make the same mistake again, nor do we want others to do so.
I hope that the foregoing makes the case that socialism is not just a good idea, but a necessary one – necessary to preserve peace and our planet, necessary to defend and expand democracy, necessary to eliminate gross economic, racial, gender and other inequalities, and necessary to provide a secure life for the billions living on this earth.
While I’m not saying that we mothball the idea of socialism’s inevitability – an idea, by the way, that we have understood in a too mechanical and too superficial way – I do believe that the notion of socialism as “necessary” has great meaning and mass resonance.
The struggle for socialism today unfolds in a world in which the U.S. ruling class and especially its most reactionary section is determined to maintain unrivaled dominance.
But the Bush administration, despite its overwhelming preponderance of military power, is learning that the world isn’t infinitely malleable. The subduing of Iraq has proven far more difficult than policy makers expected and has revealed the limitations as much as the strength of U.S. imperialist power. The invasion has morphed into a grinding occupation, unpopular among both the Iraqi and American people.
Moreover, this is but one expression of the many forms of opposition that imperialism has encountered to its political and economic ambitions. Admittedly, the social actors (regional groupings, nations, international bodies, and, above all, hundreds of millions of people) who resist are diverse and differently motivated. Nevertheless, the scope of this opposition as well as deep-going changes in the political economy and relations of power of world capitalism are so impressive that the theoretical adequacy of unipolarity – a notion that asserts that a single superpower, the United States, is unrivaled and able to easily impose its will on the rest of the world for the foreseeable future – is being questioned.
So much so that it has triggered a spirited debate. One side claims that U.S. imperialism, with its military and financial might, has rebuffed the challenges it faced over the past three decades and is now leaner and meaner and able to impose it hegemonic designs on friend and foe.
The other side argues that new centers of power and accumulation are emerging, especially in China and East Asia as a whole, that will rival and eventually replace U.S. imperialism’s dominance. The only question, according to these social theorists, is whether U.S. imperialism will adjust peacefully to the new configuration of power or, to borrow the phrase of sociologist Giovanni Arrighi, pursue a policy, of “exploitive domination,” that is, a policy of maintaining global dominance by primarily military means. (Chaos and Dominance in the World System)
Regardless of who’s right, this wider conflictual environment on a global level will impact on the transition to socialism. Precisely how I don’t think we know, but it is safe to say that it will create both new opportunities and new dangers to the socialist project.
Our vision of socialism should embrace a set of values and norms. Some of the most important are social solidarity, equality, non-violence, economic justice, the abolition of exploitation, democracy, respect for difference, individual freedoms and liberties, sustainability, and internationalism. These values are not chosen willy-nilly, but emerged out of the struggles of working people and the necessities of social development.
Moreover, they should inform the culture, discourse, and decision-making processes of a socialist society in our country. While they can only be fully realized over time, and while they may conflict with socialism’s short-term developmental requirements, these values must condition the means as well as the ends of socialist construction.
Wage leveling, for example, is not a suitable goal of the socialist phase of development for economic and cultural reasons. And yet the normative value of equality must be upheld as a safeguard against excessive variations in incomes, a deterrent to the emergence of privileges, and a reminder that inequality will disappear at higher stages of social development.
Or to take another example, Lenin wrote on the eve of WWI, “Disarmament is the ideal of socialism.” (The Disarmament Slogan) Was he being naive in making this assertion in view of the world conflagration about to take place? Or was he saying that at every turn of the class struggle communists must strive (and must be seen in the public eye as striving) for a world free of violence, or where that is not possible, to minimize war and violence.
There was a tendency in the communist movement, however, to see values and norms instrumentally. Thus, in the name of fighting the class enemy and building socialism, they were too easily dispensable.
I like to think we have learned some lessons in this regard, one of which is that we can’t be cavalier about the values that socialism should embody. If our values don’t animate the revolutionary process, if the means and methods of socialist construction aren’t reflective of those values, then socialism will concede its most attractive features – humanism and moral superiority – which once lost, are difficult to regain.
To insure that this doesn’t happen requires an active citizenry engaged in democratic organizations and steeped in a robust socialist political culture.
The struggle for democracy, understood in the broadest sense, is at the core of social progress and socialism.
Democracy – the opportunity to shape one’s own destiny – has become a necessity of life for working people in the current phase of capitalism’s development, much like food and shelter were in an earlier stage.
It is not simply a means to an end, nor a tactical device to be employed when it advances the class struggle. Rather the struggle for democracy is both a means and an end. It empowers people and people empower democracy.
Under capitalism, which hems in and restricts democratic life, the struggle to deepen and widen democracy is an inescapable task at every turn.
In the course of democratic struggle, the working class and its allies acquire practical experience. They gain political understanding. They unify the necessary forces in political and organizational terms. They curb the power of their class adversaries. And, not least, they win immediate improvements in their day-to-day lives.
The main site of the democratic struggle today – which is the main site of the class struggle as well –  is the battle to defeat the reactionary sections of transnational capital gathered around the Bush administration. Every democratic right (the right to peace, the right to a living wage job, civil rights and affirmative action, the right to organize, reproductive rights, constitutional protections, gay and lesbian rights, social entitlements, etc.) and every democratic organization, beginning with the trade unions, are threatened by this administration and its supporters.
Thus the main task at this moment is to decisively curb the political power and influence of the extreme right and in doing so move to a more advanced stage of struggle.
At that stage, where the main obstacle to social progress is corporate power as a whole, new democratic tasks will emerge, such as radically cutting the military budget and conversion to a peace economy, full funding of the public sector, a shorter workweek, electoral and political reforms, curbs on capital movements, deep-going measures to end poverty and inequality, tax system overhaul, aid to small and medium-sized business, restraints on the coercive instruments and structures of the state, and a foreign policy that accents disarmament, peace, and neighborly relations.
And, finally, in the socialist stage, the struggle for democracy will continue to loom large and acquires an even deeper content.
In sum, there is no road to socialism that bypasses the democratic struggle. Anyone who attempts to do so will soon feel the chilling winds of political isolation.
Lenin once wrote,
“It would be a radical mistake to think that the struggle for democracy was capable of diverting the proletariat from the socialist revolution or of hiding, overshadowing it, etc. On the contrary, in the same way as there can be no victorious socialism that does not practice full democracy, so the proletariat cannot prepare for its victory over the bourgeoisie without an all-around consistent and revolutionary struggle for democracy.”
(The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination)
On another occasion, he wrote:
“A [Communist] must never for a moment forget that the proletariat will inevitably have to wage a class struggle for socialism … This is beyond doubt. Hence, the absolute necessity of a separate, independent, strictly class party of Social-Democracy. Hence, the temporary nature of our tactics, of ‘striking a joint blow’ with the bourgeoisie and the duty of keeping a strict watch ‘over our ally’ … All this leaves no room for doubt. However, it would be ridiculous and reactionary to deduce from this that we must forget, ignore, or neglect [democratic] tasks which, although transient and temporary, are vital at the present time.” (Two Tactics of Social Democracy)
I don’t think that this understanding of the democratic struggle always informs our thinking and practice.
Of course, you may be wondering where this leaves concepts of class and the class struggle. Are they to be put out to pasture like a champion racehorse that has grown too old to compete? Are they irrelevant to the politics of the 21st century? Have they been superseded?
By no means! Class and the class struggle remain at the center of political, economic, social, and cultural life. But they are not sealed off from other categories of analysis and struggle.
There is no such thing as a pure class struggle or pure democratic struggle, except at the level of high theory. As we move from theoretical abstraction and get closer to concrete political realities, class and democratic struggles interpenetrate and are embedded in a complex and dynamic political and social process that is shaped by and shapes the logic of capitalist accumulation.
Isn’t this interpenetration evident in the struggles to prevent the privatization of Social Security or end the occupation in Iraq or block the reactionary judicial nominees or preserve affirmative action and reproductive rights or strengthen labor’s right to organize? Can any of these struggles be explained solely in the language of class or solely in the language of democracy?
The struggle for democracy will immeasurably strengthen class unity and class struggle at every stage, including the socialist stage. And, by the same token, a shift in the balance of power in favor of the working class can only give new impetus to the democratic movement.
Going a step further, a qualitative and decisive shift in class power in favor of the working class and its allies opens up new democratic vistas and possibilities about which the exploited and oppressed have only dreamed.
At the epicenter of the struggle for democracy and socialism is the struggle against racism and for full equality.
Notwithstanding the claims of the right-wing apologists camped out in think tanks, universities, and radio and television studios, we do not live in a post-racial, post-civil rights society. To the contrary, race still matters.
While racism as a mode of exploitation and oppression changes over time, we should not lose sight of some critical insights that we have embraced and popularized over decades.
First, racism demeans, segregates and locks racially and nationally oppressed people into inferior conditions of life. Second, it is deeply embedded in the relations, institutional structures, and system of capitalism. Third, it confers enormous political, economic, and ideological advantages to the capitalist class. Fourth, the journey from formal to substantive equality requires the radical rearrangement of political, economic, and cultural relations and institutions in our society.
Fifth, white workers, despite experiencing better conditions than their brother and sisters of color, possess both material and non-material interests in fighting against racism and for full equality of oppressed people.
Sixth, racially and nationally oppressed people are not simply the objects of racism, but are also historical subjects and strategic social actors in the political drama of our country. Indeed, each oppressed nationality brings its own deep repository of political traditions, consciousness, and imagination, its own institutional networks, and its own unyielding attitude of struggle. In so doing, the political capacity of each of the components of the all-people’s front, beginning with the labor movement, and of the all-people’s front as a whole are immeasurably strengthened.
And finally, democratic, class, and socialist advance in our country will be achieved only to the degree that substantial numbers of white workers and white people join peoples of color in a sustained and unremitting struggle for equality and against racism.
Essential to the realization of socialism is a vision of the class and social forces that have to be assembled to win political power. At the center of this assemblage is the multiracial, multinational, male-female, multigenerational working class.
While we should resist the idea that the working class alone can bring the capitalist class to its knees, we shouldn’t minimize the strategic social power of the working class nor set aside the Marxist insight that the working class, because of its economic location, political capacities and historical experience, is positioned to emerge as the general leader of the broader democratic movement. Other social forces can effect change, but by themselves they are unable to move the struggle from the politics of protest to the politics of power.
This concept of the leading role of the working class, however, is not yet widely accepted among progressive and left forces. In some circles, this elementary Marxist idea has been supplanted by a notion that other social groupings are more likely to lead. A recent popular book, Empire, submerges the working class in the more open-ended and ambiguous concept of “multitude.” Some speak about a “new historical subject” of the revolutionary process.
But we should not yield ideological ground here.
Workers are the producers of surplus value. They are strategically positioned to challenge capitalist rule. Workers keenly appreciate the need for broad unity and are well aware of the need for organization.
They attach great importance to legislative and electoral activity and skillfully combine different forms of struggle. Workers are sober in their tactical thinking and not dismissive of compromise. They understand politics as an impure and contradictory process with inevitable ebbs and flows.
Workers have other identities besides class, thus enabling them to form powerful and strategic alliances across race, gender and other lines. And lastly, it is the working class that will be the main builder of a sustainable, efficient, and equitable socialist economy.
Having said this, I would quickly add that the issue of who leads will be contested at every point in the revolutionary process. With so many social forces and trends, how could it be otherwise?
The leading role of the working class, however, will not be won by rhetorical assertions on our part, but rather, by the vigor with which it fights for democracy and equality; by the degree to which it defends the interests of other strata and speaks for the nation.
“No class of civil society,” Marx wrote, “can play this role without arousing a moment of enthusiasm in itself and in the masses, a moment in which it fraternizes and merges with society in general, becomes confused with it and is perceived and acknowledged as its general representative, a moment in which its claims and rights are truly the claims and rights of society itself, a moment in which it is truly the social head and the social heart. Only in the name of the general rights of society can a particular class vindicate for itself general domination.”
And herein lies the role of communists, that is, to practically and ideologically assist the working class and its organized section to “fraternize and merge” with the whole democratic movement, and thereby become its leader. Such a role can be realized only if we are of as well as for the working class, only if we are dug deep into its immediate struggles, only if we bring our Marxist understandings to these struggles.
The task of winning broad and diverse allies to the cause of socialism is of fundamental strategic importance. It is achieved, however, not on the eve of a socialist transformation, but over a protracted period of struggle. The struggles of the future have their seeds in the struggles of the present.
So to the working class are coupled the communities of the nationally and racially oppressed, women, and youth.
Together these social forces are what I call the “core constituencies” of a broader people’s coalition. Their participation is a strategic requirement at every stage of struggle, including the socialist stage. Remove any one of them from the mix and the prospects for winning are not simply greatly dimmed, but doomed.
Around this core are gathered other diverse social forces (seniors, family farmers, professional and intellectuals, gays and lesbians, etc.) and social movements whose interests and issues of struggle make them allies, and together, they constitute a broad people’s movement.
This is consistent with the ideas of the classical Marxist thinkers.
In his notes on the Critique of the Gotha Programme, Marx was critical of LaSalle and the German Social Democrats for suggesting that “the artisans, the small manufacturers, and peasants are ‘one reactionary mass.’” These groupings, he argued, should not be conceded to the bourgeoisie before the struggle has begun.
Lenin was as, or even more, insistent regarding broad alliances as a necessary condition for winning socialism in Russia. And Antonio Gramsci, the Italian Communist and outstanding theoretician, who spoke about organizing a working class led political bloc of diverse social forces, held a similar view.
Should our approach be any less expansive than theirs?
In its formative period, the world communist movement had a disdainful attitude towards transitional forms and processes. The struggle for socialism was direct and compressed in time. It was damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead.
And it was not that those early pioneers were naive. The Great October Revolution had just shaken the world and millions in the heart of Europe were returning from the senseless slaughter of WWI to countries in the throes of profound crises. At that moment the old world seemed to be dying and a new world seemed about to be born.
Thus there were no tactical adjustments or compromises worth thinking about. It was “class against class“ and “the final conflict.”
But things didn’t work out the way those communist militants anticipated. Political reaction regained the initiative, turned back the tide of struggle, the revolutionary upsurge ebbed, and repression followed.
In the aftermath of this upheaval, Lenin authored his classic work, Left Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder.
In this essay, he argued that there was no direct path to socialism, and that the revolutionary process would stretch out over time and go through different stages, with distinct strategic tasks and associated democratic demands specific to each stage.
He further argued that the new communist parties must search for forms of transition to socialism, based on a sober estimation of the stage of development of capitalism as well as an objective appraisal of the balance of class and social forces at a particular moment.
Unfortunately, Lenin died at a relatively young age and was succeeded by Stalin, who went in the other direction. Instead of broad alliance policies Stalin reverted back to a “class against class” strategy, which in its essence was a go-it-alone approach.
The outcome of this policy was disastrous both in the Soviet Union and in the capitalist countries, perhaps nowhere more than in Germany.
Internationally, it wasn’t until the 7th Congress of the Communist International in 1935 that this sectarian policy was corrected. In his address to that gathering, Georgi Dimitrov said that the immediate strategic task was not socialism, but rather to defeat the growing fascist threat.
Dimitrov ridiculed what he called “cut and dried” schemes that ignored the political situation and dynamics on the ground. He maintained that strategic and tactical concepts had to be fashioned to fit concrete reality, not to abstract theories.
He argued that communists must shed themselves of simplistic understandings of the revolutionary process like class against class, skipping intermediate stages of struggle, and countering every demand of the social democrats with a demand that was twice as radical. His report was an impassioned plea against, to use his words, “self-satisfied sectarianism,” an attitude and practice that consisted of taking good formal positions while sitting off in organizational forms detached from the main organizations of the working class and people.
That was then. So where do we stand now with respect to a view of the transition to socialism?
There are two distinctly different visions that are found on the left. One, nearly identical with the outlook of the early communist movement, visualizes a “Great Revolutionary Day” on which the economy suddenly collapses, the workers rise up and seize power, the state, economy and civil society are smashed and remade from top to bottom in one fell swoop, and socialism springs up full grown, like Athena from the head of Zeus.
You may be thinking that this is caricature, but such ideas are still heard in the communist and left movement.
The other vision of the transition is that the struggle for socialism is a lengthy process that winds its way through different phases during which the configuration of contending class and social forces and mass political consciousness changes, requiring, in turn, new strategic policies to match the new alignment of forces and new level consciousness.
Periods of advance yield to periods of retreat and vice versa. Shifting alliances form and reform with each side struggling to turn provisional allies into stable ones. New political understandings that accent unity, equality, empowerment, and anti-capitalism compete with and replace the ruling class notions that framed how millions interpreted their world. And electoral and legislative forms of struggle combine with other forms of mass struggle.
As the contest for power approaches a decisive break, no class is hegemonic, and control of the branches of government is contested with each power bloc trying to capture the initiative. Much depends on a meltdown in the structures of coercion, and paralysis, if not divisions, within ruling circles. And at each successive stage more millions enter the arena of struggle.
The latter was not always our understanding of the transitional process. At one time, we envisioned a narrowing of the movement from the anti-monopoly stage of struggle to the socialist stage. There was a grain of truth here, but only a grain; probably some social strata will peel away as the dawn breaks on socialism, but at the same time, the overall movement must be gaining in breadth and depth. It must be winning ever more millions of people to its banner, including those who were formerly politically passive or a part of the opposition bloc.
Therefore, any notion of the transition to socialism as a purely working-class affair or a project of just the left should be rejected. Only a movement of the great majority and in the interests of the great majority, only a movement whose mass character deepens again and again, is capable of winning socialism in our country.
Even when a political rupture occurs, it will be neither complete nor irreversible. On the day after the transfer of power, socio-economic life will probably look much like it did the day before and power will continue to be contested.
As complex as the revolutionary process is at every point, it takes on even greater complexity when the revolutionary forces hold powerful positions in the government apparatus.
In such circumstances, as important as the battle of ideas is, it is no substitute for sound policies and mass mobilization. It is imperative to enact democratic measures to weaken the class adversary and remove their personnel from the state apparatus, while at the same time taking steps to expand democratic and economic rights for tens of millions.
Thus, revolutions are not a single act, but rather a series of events and complex processes stretching over time.
Nor are revolutions imitative. While there are clearly some commonalities and fundamental features – political power has to migrate from the hands of one class into the hands of another, economic and cultural changes have to take place, and state institutions must be transformed – this transformational process can happen in a variety of ways; one size doesn’t fit all.
In considering forms of transition to socialism, we should be unabashed proponents of our own nationally specific path.
While we should study the experiences of other countries, the forms, scale and pace of that experience should not imprison our political imagination, and go against the grain of Lenin’s thinking,
“All nations will arrive at socialism – this is inevitable, but they will do so in not the same way, each will contribute something of its own to some form of democracy, to some variety of the dictatorship of the proletariat, to the varying rates of socialist transformations in the different aspects of social life. There is nothing more primitive from the viewpoint of theory or more ridiculous from the standpoint of practice than to paint ‘in the name of historical materialism,’ this aspect of the future in monotonous gray.” (A Caricature of Marxism and Imperialist Economism)
On another occasion Lenin said, obviously with the situation of Russia in mind,
“We do not regard Marx’s theory as something completed and inviolable; on the contrary, we are convinced that it has only laid the foundation stone of the science which socialists must develop in all directions if they wish to keep pace with life. We think that an independent elaboration of Marx’s theory is especially essential for Russian socialists, for this theory provides only general guiding principles, which … are applied differently in England than in France, in France differently than in Germany, and in Germany differently than in Russia.” (Our Programme)
Fidel Castro recently echoed that sentiment,
“Tremendously strong mass movements are emerging, and I think that these movements will play a fundamental role in future struggles. There will be new tactics: not the Bolshevik style and not even our own style, because these belong to a different world. That should not discourage anyone. We need to see and to analyze, with the greatest possible objectivity, the current setting in which the struggle will have to unfold … There will be other roads and other ways by which the conditions will be created for transforming this world into another one.” (Istvan Meszaros, Monthly Review)
If I were to write a book on our own country’s path to socialism, I would make the particular features a main thread, not an addendum. For example, given the democratic sentiments of the American people and given the powerful impact of race and gender on the politics, economics, culture, consciousness, and historical trajectory of our nation, our vision of socialism must include an unyielding commitment to completing the unfinished democratic tasks that we will inherit and expanding democracy, beginning with the eradication of racism and male supremacy.
Even the slightest devaluing of democracy or the fight against racism and gender oppression will keep the socialist movement on the political periphery.
We also have to anticipate that multiple parties and movements will be a feature of our path to socialism and will cooperate as well as compete over a range of issues and for mass influence. Whether we become the leading party is neither lawed nor self-proclaimed; it will have to be earned.
Obviously, a movement for socialism should seek a non-violent, peaceful transition. But it is not enough to simply demand that the American people be the arbiter of the socio-economic character of our country. Our ruling class, like other ruling classes, will never sign on to such an agreement.
Such a demand, therefore, must not only be backed up by an aroused, mobilized and united people but also by the socialist movement’s ability to utilize positions in the state structures to immobilize and curb the repressive institutions and powers of the ruling class.
Thus, any hope of achieving a peaceful transition that bypasses struggle in this arena is a dangerous delusion.
Some have suggested that talk of a peaceful transition to socialism is nothing but empty rhetoric, a dangerous naiveté, a denial of history’s lessons.
But is this true? While there are examples of ruling classes using force to block social change, there are also instances where corrupt and discredited regimes have been swept away without mass blood letting. The brutal South African regime gave way to the forces of freedom without the country being thrown into civil war; fascist regimes were replaced with bourgeois democratic governments in Portugal and Spain; Hugo Chavez and his supporters are effecting radical changes in Venezuela; and similar political trajectories in other South American countries are easy to imagine.
Thus a peaceful transition is possible. It may take longer and require compromises, but the people of our country will surely feel that compromises and delays are well worth it if bloodshed can be avoided. The bloody carnage and unnecessary loss of life in the 20th century has left a strong mark on the sensibilities of the human family. And I suspect that the people of our country will move heaven and earth to find a peaceful path to socialism and we should unequivocally express this desire, too. As I mentioned earlier, an overriding ideal of socialism is to end violence in all of its forms.
The conventional view of the communist movement was that after the revolutionary forces won political power, the period of consolidation would be relatively brief, new forms of popular power would emerge to replace hopelessly corrupted political institutions; and once power was won, it would never be yielded.
We also assumed that the socialist state would acquire more functions and extend its reach into social, cultural, and civic life, including state control of the media.
Another assumption was that market relations would quickly give way to centralized planning.
Still another assumption that we embraced was that socialism is reducible to social ownership plus comprehensive planning.
Finally, even if we didn’t always explicitly state it, we held that the Party would “run” socialist society.
I would like to briefly revisit each of these assumptions in view of experience and new theoretical insights.
Just as we insist that the ruling class bow to the wishes of the electorate, we should expect no less if a governing left coalition is defeated at the polls. In the past we didn’t accept this, or did so only grudgingly. But going forward – and not for tactical reasons –we have to say unhesitatingly that the democratic will of the people is paramount. Any resistance to this notion will have very negative repercussions on our prospects of gaining a mass constituency and evolving into a mass party.
The American people for good reasons will oppose tearing up the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, scrapping the system of checks and balances on concentrated political power, foregoing political freedoms and individual liberties, or dismantling representative political structures.
Instead, they will want to extend, deepen and modify all of them based on the unfulfilled promises of our democracy, new democratic desires, and the needs of socialist construction.
You might be thinking that this flies in the face of Lenin’s insistence that the working class must “break up and smash the ready-made state machinery and not confine itself merely to laying hold of it.” I would argue, however, that aside from the old structure of repression and violence that should be destroyed, the main thing is to transform the class content of the state structures. Revolutions combine continuity with deep-going change.
Today millions of people feel alienated from the political process; nearly one-half of the population doesn’t vote. Many people see the government as disconnected from their day-to-day lives, even an obstacle to their aspirations.
To overcome this, new popular institutions and direct forms of governance will likely emerge during the revolutionary process that draw millions into struggle and devolve political power to the grassroots.
With regard to the reach of the state, the experience of 20th century socialist construction suggests that either non-governmental organizations or lower levels of government should perform many of the functions that were previously done at the highest level. Undoubtedly, federal power would still have a substantial role. But such power, it must be admitted, is distant, beyond the reach of the very masses of people who are supposed to be authors and architects of the new society.
The socialist state will be coercive like other class-based states, but with this difference: it will also be infinitely more democratic and emancipatory than its predecessors.
Some flinch at the idea of a coercive side to a socialist state. But I would reply this way: To begin with, the opponents of socialism are unlikely to graciously accept their defeat. Historical experience suggests that they will fight back vigorously, using legal and illegal means.
Thus, legal measures that protect and consolidate the revolution will have to be enacted and the police, armed forces, and other instruments of repression will have to be dissolved and reconstituted along different lines.
This doesn’t mean that opponents of the new government will be summarily thrown into jail or worse. In fact, a socialist society should abolish the death penalty – not to mention torture. Marx wrote, “… it would be difficult, if not altogether impossible, to establish any principle upon which the justice or expediency of capital punishment could be founded in a society glorying in its civilization.” While Marx was referring to 19th century Britain that was in the throes of its industrial revolution, I strongly suspect that he would say socialist society should have no truck with capital punishment either. (New York Daily Tribune, February 18, 1853)
Of course, if the opponents of socialism violate laws, they should expect appropriate penalties, but a socialist state should resist the problematic notion that democratic rights will be severely and automatically curtailed rather than enlarged in the aftermath of a revolution.
Another reason for the state’s coercive character is that new laws, rules, and procedures, regulating the interactions of citizens and institutions, will be passed and enforced, although the state should not extend octopus-like into every crevice of social life. The space for civil society and nongovernmental organizations must be extensive as well as clearly delineated so that the state doesn’t intrude into social space where it need not.
At the same time, the socialist state has an emancipatory side that we should highlight more than we have. It will greatly expand political, economic, and social rights and create the optimal conditions conditions for the vast majority of the people to live a free and productive life. At one time, I thought that it would take a whole era to undo the economic, social, cultural, and psychic damage that capitalism has inflicted on millions, but after visiting Cuba I have become convinced that an emancipatory state, an energized people, and full-blooded civil society could shorten the time frame considerably.
These two sides of a socialist state – the coercive and emancipatory – are dialectically connected, but over time the former will gradually disappear. In contrast with earlier class-based states in which the ruling class was an exploiting minority and harbored expansive territorial ambitions, thus requiring a large apparatus of coercion, a socialist state, sunk into a set of non-exploitative economic relations, expressing the interests of the vast majority, possessing no imperial designs, and (in the case of our country) fearing no outside intervention has no need for such a ramified apparatus.
A socialist state will also be law-based. Among other things, individual freedoms of citizens will be protected by law from the arbitrary action of state authorities. I mention this because such violations have occurred in socialist societies, usually in the name of defending socialism, and, in some instances, these violations were massive.
Our concept of “Bill of Rights” socialism, a concept that Gus Hall authored, is an acknowledgement of socialism’s less than sterling record in defense of individual liberties as well as of the role of democracy in our nation’s history.
Herbert Aptheker once wrote,
“Marxism has tended to ignore the question of sheer authority, sheer power [and] tended to view the reality of authority and power in terms of the … material base from whence the power and the authority have hitherto sprung. But Marxism has not … sufficiently concerned itself with the facts of authority and prestige and power which have a logic and an appeal of their own … we may … reject this as idealist or tending to ignore and minimize the material and class realities of society and of politics; but … we must not ignore the insight offered as to the reality of power per se, and the influence it exerts over people’s activities apart from class or material origins of that power.” (Political Affairs, August 1956)
Much more humorously, but no less incisively, the late E.P. Thompson, also a Marxist historian and an outstanding one at that, wrote,
“I am told that, just beyond the horizon, new forms of working class power are about to arise which, being founded upon egalitarian productive relations, will require no inhibition and can dispense with the negative restrictions of bourgeois legalism. A historian is unqualified to pronounce on such utopian projections. All that he knows is that he can bring in support of them no evidence whatsoever. His advice might be: watch this new power for a century or two before you cut down your hedges.” (Whigs and Hunters)
Finally although a socialist state will be secular in its outlook and practice, it will welcome full religious expression and oppose all forms of religious discrimination. People of faith will have a place and play a vital role in socialist society. At the same time, attempts to impose the theology of one or another religion on the politics and mores of our country should be rejected. It goes against the grain of a secular tradition that has served us long and well.
As for the economy, the main issue is to bring improvement to millions of people whose lives have been marked by insecurity and deprivation. The question therefore is: how should the economy be organized to accomplish this task?
In the past, the dominant view in Marxist circles was that market relations would disappear almost overnight and centralized planning would become the sole mechanism to coordinate economic life.
Far fewer people subscribe to that point of view today. The main question that socialist societies in the 21stcentury will have to answer is not whether to employ market mechanisms, but rather to what extent and for how long?
Admittedly, market mechanisms in a socialist society can generate inequality, disproportions and imbalances, destructive competition, downward pressure on wages, and monopoly cornering of commodity markets – even the danger of capitalist restoration.
But this is not sufficient reason for concluding that markets have no place in a socialist economy. For markets can also adapt the supply of goods and services in a timely way to changing consumer tastes, spur on the integration of new technologies into the productive mechanism, gather vital economic information for production collectives, planning authorities, and consumer networks, minimize transaction costs, spread out decision-making over time, encourage the most efficient forms of production, establish a rational pricing system, and measure socially necessary labor time.
Even Che Guevara, who was an advocate of planning, saw that the law of value and by inference, market relations has a place in a socialist economic system.
“The starting point is to calculate the socially necessary labour required to produce a given article, but what has been overlooked is that socially necessary labour is an economic and historical concept. Therefore, it changes not only on the local (or national) level but in world terms as well. Continued technological advances, a result of competition in the capitalist world, reduced the expenditure of necessary labour and therefore lowers the value of the product. A closed society can ignore such changes for a certain time, but it would always have to come back to these international relations in order to compare product values. If a given society can ignore such changes for a long time without developing new and accurate formulas to replace old ones, it will create international relationships that will shape its own value structure in a way that may be internally consistent but would be in contradiction with the tendencies of more highly developed technology (for example in steel and plastic). This could result in reverses of some importance, and, in any case, would produce distortions.” (quoted from Fin de Siecle: Socialism after the Crash, Robin Blackburn, New Left Review)
Markets (and the law of value), however, would operate in a very different context in a socialist society than they do in capitalist society. Socialist property would be the dominant form of ownership. Markets would be socialized, monitored, and regulated by work collectives, consumers, and governmental bodies. Economic decisions would take into account social, human, ecological, and opportunity (what you forego) costs. The distribution of income would be much flatter and fairer. State institutions would be dedicated to reproducing socialist property relations and a robust socialist economy rather then attending to the interests of the owners of capital as they do in a capitalist society.
At the same time, many of the efficiencies of capitalist economics would still be retained. Just as some of capitalism’s political structures would be transformed and given new content, so too would its economic structures, techniques and accounting methods.
But where does this leave planning, you are probably asking yourselves? Does it have any role?
The answer is that it does, and a vital role at that. But we have to admit that socialist planning, as we understood it and as it was practiced, was problematic.
In the realm of theory, of course, comprehensive planning performs flawlessly: use value governs the allocation of economic resources and goods; social productivity shoots up, imbalances and disproportions in the economy disappear, the cash nexus and commodity form melt away; living standards steadily increase; sustainability is achieved in short order; and economic decisions no longer take place behind the back of the workers.
In practice, however, a different picture arises. As the economies of the former Soviet Union and the socialist states of Eastern Europe morphed from one stage where inputs and outputs were limited to another stage where the economic links were infinitely more complex, big problems cropped up with centralized planning.
The planning mechanism in these countries adjusted haltingly to changing consumer tastes, produced massive waste, encouraged hoarding of human and material resources, resisted integrating new productive techniques and more efficient production practices into the production process, produced shoddy and unsellable goods, and reduced the role of the working class to passive participants in economic life.
Rather than organizing a world-class, democratically organized economy, socialist economic relations in these countries ironically become a brake on the growth of the productive forces and social productivity. In fact, by the last quarter of the 20th century, the socialist economies were losing ground to capitalism in the economic field. The capitalist economies produced a greater variety of goods more cheaply and efficiently, integrated new technologies more quickly and flexibly into the production process, rationalized the production mechanism, and adapted production to new consumer tastes.
The price paid by the working class and the environment in the capitalist world was steep to be sure, but capitalism came out the winner nonetheless.
Thus, the scope and methods of planning in a socialist society have to be thoroughly reexamined, but with an eye to finding new forms that are democratic and suitable to economies of great complexity operating in a global context. Any idea, however, that socialism can do without planning would be a great mistake.
One of the most complex challenges facing a socialist society, for example, will be achieving a sustainable economy. It will, according to Marxist economists and ecologists, require major changes in our production methods and consumption patterns.
It is hard to imagine how this challenge, not to mention other challenges like overcoming racial and gender inequality, demilitarization, urban and rural revitalization, and so forth, can be successfully tackled without planning. Market mechanisms can play a useful role in economic coordination as I said, but the redirection of the economy along fundamentally new lines requires a planning process at every level.
While the debate over markets versus planning is absolutely necessary, much of it has been stripped from any particular context. But economic decisions can’t be made in a vacuum. The mix of planning and market mechanisms is shaped by the concrete political and economic context.
For example, in 1921, Lenin introduced a new policy that allowed for the revival of markets and encouraged the growth of cooperatives. This was not only necessary to revive a collapsed economy due to the civil war, but also to reestablish the strategic alliance between a tiny working class and a huge peasantry that had frayed during that same period.
Had Lenin gone “by the book,” had he not taken into close account the actual political and economic situation in Russia, he might have pursued a different policy that conformed to some abstract theory. But instead, he proposed a U-turn in economic policy, which infuriated some who believed that Lenin had abandoned socialism and the party’s “vanguard” role.
The point of this digression is not to drag out Lenin to legitimize markets or to heap scorn on misguided leftism, but rather to say again that economic policy is a decision that has to be soberly informed by the political, economic, and cultural realities of a particular moment.
With this in mind, I would expect that a transitional economy in our country would be a mixed one, combining different forms of socialist and cooperative property with space, within clear limits, for private enterprise. While democratic planning would begin to play a major role in organizing economic life, market mechanisms would probably operate over sectors of the economy for much longer than previously thought.
A socialist economy would de-commodify some sectors of the economy like health care, nutrition, education, and child and elder care, as well as provide a universal guaranteed income, which wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) substitute for an occupational wage and wage differentiation, but it would cut down on poverty and cut the legs from underneath the labor market.
In other words, the costs of the reproduction of labor power would be socialized as much as possible.
The federal budget would be overhauled and its priorities radically changed. The economy would be de-militarized and restructured. A social fund would be established to compensate for racial oppression, gender discrimination and other injustices. Forms of participatory decision-making on economic matters would be instituted from the workplace and community up. Generous public subsidies would be directed to communication, culture and education. And financial institutions and mechanisms would be quickly and decisively brought under public control.
Transitioning to a socialized ownership and markets in a global economy would present some problems, but none would be insurmountable. The size and scope of our economy gives us some advantages that other countries don’t have. One pressing task in this regard is to restructure our economic relations with the countries of the South. It cannot be done in a single stroke, but a socialist government would have to give it great urgency. There is much to love about our country, but our role in employing military force and immense financial power to structure international economic relations is not something that we should take pride in. Eight million people die each year because of poverty and more million from AIDS. Hundreds of millions of human beings are living in slums on nearly every continent. This has to change for all of humanity’s sake.
Another assumption that should be interrogated is that socialism can’t be reduced to the combination of social ownership, central planning, and economic growth. Socialism has to settle the property question to be sure, but the development of a socialist society is a more complex and conscious process. Formal socialist relations of production, governance, culture and so forth don’t simply materialize out of the growth of socialism’s productive forces.
On this subject, Lenin wrote,
“… socialism cannot be reduced to economics alone. A foundation – socialist production – is essential for the abolition of national oppression, but this foundation must also carry a democratically organized state, a democratic army, etc. By transforming capitalism into socialism, the proletariat creates the possibility of abolishing national oppression; the possibility becomes reality only only! with the establishment of full democracy in all spheres.” (The Discussion of Self Determination Summed Up)
Thus, socialist production and economic growth are no more than the structural foundation of socialism. While they create the possibility for its full flowering, that possibility rests on the conscious activity of millions, on society’s ability to open up the wellsprings of democracy and human freedom to everyone, on the ability of socialism’s builders – the working people – to periodically reconstitute and transform socialist relations so that they keep pace with new conditions, new possibilities and new desires.
Finally, as for the role of communists, our mission is not to “steer the ship of state.” That task is the responsibility of a broader left coalition and the broadest possible section of the people.
Communists should be a part of this enormous undertaking to be sure, but not crowd out or substitute for mass participation at every level of socialist society. Our principal role is to encourage the activity and organization of the people, to deepen and extend our connections to the main organizations of working people, to find timely solutions to pressing problems, to bring a creative and critical Marxism to the millions building a new society and to viscerally feel and convey in everything we do a complete confidence in the creative capacities and desires of millions of people to be the builders of a new society.
This wasn’t the practice of the parties in the former socialist countries. Moshe Lewin, a distinguished historian, writes in his latest book, The Soviet Century, that the CPSU didn’t absorb the state, but it was the other way around – the state absorbed the party. This is an intriguing hypothesis that should stimulate discussion and study.
But for our purposes, the point that I want to make is that Lewin is correct in saying that the Soviet Party assumed a larger and larger role in administrating the state apparatus.
Occupying all the prominent positions in the state apparatus, issuing ideological appeals that found no reflection in their day-to-day practices and policies, managing an economy that lagged behind world standards, monopolizing the decision-making process in every arena of social life, and enjoying privileges and unearned income – all this did enormous damage to its own political and moral authority and undercut any sense of ownership of the Soviet people in their economy and society
Is it any wonder that millions lost confidence in the Soviet communists and socialism? Is it any surprise that thousands of communists joined the pillaging of state assets? Is it so startling that there were so few defenders of socialism in 1991?
Obviously, there is a lesson here as we go forward.
I have confined myself to the “day after the revolution” and some of the assumptions that we held require some revision in light of new experience, but I want to return briefly to the dream of a better world that animates us and our struggles, and end with a few images of what a more distant future of socialism in our country would look like.
Work would engage our skills and bring personal satisfaction. Leisure time would be expanded and fulfilling. Our skies, oceans, lakes, rivers and streams would be blue and pollution free. Our neighborhoods would become places of rest, culture, green space. Communal institutions, like cafeterias serving healthy and delicious food, and recreation centers would become routine features of life. The whole panoply of oppressions that damage our people and nation would be on the wane. Human sexuality and sexual orientation would be enjoyed and celebrated. Culture in all its forms would be the inherited right of every person.
The prisons would be emptied and the borders demilitarized and opened. Women would be regularly receiving Nobel prizes in the sciences. The Pentagon would be padlocked and war would be studied no more. And, finally, the full development of each would be the condition for the full development of all.



June 4 2005


Socialist Utopia or Ignorant Dumbass

We Communists believe that socialism is the very best replacement for a capitalist system that has served its purpose, but no longer meets the needs and requirements of the great majority of our people.

We believe that socialism USA will be built according to the traditions, history, culture and conditions of the United States. Thus, it will be different from any other socialist society in the world. It will be uniquely American.

What will be the goals of our socialist society?


  1. A life free of exploitation, insecurity, poverty; an end to unemployment, hunger and homelessness.
  2. An end to racism, national oppression, anti-Semitism, all forms of discrimination, prejudice and bigotry. An end to the unequal status of women.
  3. Renewal and extension of democracy; an end to the rule of corporate America and private ownership of the wealth of our nation. Creation of a truly humane and rationally planned society that will stimulate the fullest flowering of the human personality, creativity and talent.


The advocates and ideologues of capitalism hold that such goals are utopian; that human beings are inherently selfish and evil. Others argue that these goals can be fully realized under capitalism.

We are confident, however, that such goals can be realized, but only through a socialist society.

Why Socialism?

Since its inception capitalism has been fatally flawed. Its inherent laws – to maximize profit on the backs of the working class – give rise to the class struggle.

History is a continuous story of people rising up against those who exploit and oppress them, to demand what’s theirs. Our own country’s historic beginning was revolutionary. The ideals of justice and equality have inspired peoples for centuries.

Up until the time of Karl Marx, those that advocated socialism were ‘utopians’, that is, motivated by ideals only. It was Marx and his longtime friend and collaborator, Frederick Engels, who uncovered the inner laws of capitalism, where profit comes from and how societies develop. They transformed wishful thinking for socialism into socialism with a scientific, materialist basis.

Communists say that capitalism won’t be around forever. Just like previous societies weren’t around forever either. Slavery gave rise to feudalism and feudalism to capitalism. So, too, capitalism gives rise to socialism.

The Foundations of Socialism

Political power would be in the hands of working people. Socialism starts with nationalization of the main means of production – the plants, factories, agri-business farms and everything necessary to produce what society needs. The large monopoly corporations and banks come under public ownership, that is, under the collective ownership of the entire working class and people, who have the leading role in building socialism.

Socialism also means public ownership of the energy industry and all the natural resources. It eliminates forever the power of the capitalist class to exploit and oppress the majority.

A socialist government draws up plans covering the entire economy. They are drawn up with maximum participation of the people, from the shop level on up. Such plans are achieved because they harmonize the interests of all, because there are no conflicts arising from exploitation of workers and no dog-eat-dog competition.

Production increases much faster than under capitalism, with a planned economy, advancement of science and technology, and the protection and preservation of our environment and natural resources.

A socialist government is based on all-around democracy, starting with economic democracy. The more people participate in running their own economy, the more firmly people’s power is established, the more successful a socialist America will be.

Trade unions in a socialist USA will insure a fair balance between what workers produce and what they receive. They will have decisive power to enforce safety and health provisions, prevent speedup, and guarantee good transportation, working conditions and plant facilities.

Public services – schools, hospitals, utilities, transit, parks, roads – are crumbling under capitalism. And now corporations are ‘privatizing’ government-run, publicly-owned institutions for private profit.

Under socialism public services and housing will be vastly improved and expanded. They will be broadened in their scope beyond anything dreamed of under capitalism.

The U.S. will become a vast construction site. Homes, schools, hospitals, places of recreation will be built to end shortages, replace substandard infrastructures and public facilities.

Jobs and Education for All

Full employment will be quickly achieved as production is expanded to satisfy the needs of people. Automation at the service of the working people will lead to both reduced hours of work and higher living standards, with no layoffs. There will be no danger of over-production since production will be planned and people’s incomes will increase in line with the rising output of consumer goods and services.

Poverty will be ended quickly with the recovery of the vast resources now wasted in war production, corporate profits and the extravagent lifestyles of the filthy rich.

All education will be tuition-free. Every person will have access to unlimited medical and health care without charge. These rights will be realized as rapidly as facilities can be built and the personnel trained.

With capitalism gone, crime will also begin to disappear, for it is the vicious profit system that corrupts people and breeds crime.

To Each According to Their Work

Some ask whether guaranteeing basic necessities, free education, low-cost housing and health care will encourage people to avoid working, or doing their best. The principle of socialism is: From each according to his/her ability, to each according to his/her work.

Socialism provides incentives for working better, producing more and higher quality goods, acquiring advanced skills. It does NOT equalize wages. Wages vary according to occupation and efficiency, although everyone is guaranteed a liveable wage.

Under capitalism, improvements in skill, organization and technology are rightly feared by the worker, since they threaten jobs. Under socialism, they offer the chance to make the job more interesting and rewarding, as well as to improve living standards.

Socialism provides moral incentives because the fruits of labor benefit all. No person robs others of the profits from their labor; when social goals are adopted by the majority, people will want to work for these goals. Work will seem less a burden, more and more a creative activity, where everyone is his/her neighbor’s helper instead of rival.

It is true socialism will nationalize or socialize all large-scale production, property and real estate. But socialism does not abolish ALL privately-owned business. It does not require nationalization of those small businesses owned by people who work for themselves and do not hire others to make a profit. Personal property – private homes, automobiles, etc., – will remain just that, personal property.

In highly mechanized U.S. agriculture there will still be a place for the family farmer. But the farm family will be relieved of the pressure of agribusiness monopolies.

There will be rapid abolition of racism and national oppression. Socialism will bring complete equality for all racially and nationally oppressed. There will be no compromise with racism, for there will no longer exist a capitalist class which profits from it. Racism, national oppression, anti-Semitism, sexism, anti-immigrant discrimination and all forms of prejudice and bigotry will be banned by law, with strict measures of enforcement. Affirmative action will be expanded immediately to undo and make up for hundreds of years of the ravages of racism. Full equality will be one of the main priorities of the new society.

War propaganda will be outlawed.

The only privileged sectors will be the children and seniors, who have earned the right to a healthy, happy, secure retirement.

The children will reap all the benefits of socialist child care, free nurseries and schools with the very best facilities and teachers. Children will have wonderful recreational and sports facilities. They will have the option to choose whatever career they wish, and the free education and training to achieve it.

Socialism provides the economic foundation for effective democracy for the masses of people. To carry through the socialist economic and social transformation requires political rule by the working class – a government of, by and for the working people.

Socialism USA

Socialism USA will benefit from the experiences, the mistakes and succesess of the countries who built and are building socialism. But mainly it will reflect the distinctive features of U.S. development and environment.

Unique historical advantages, like the unequalled natural resources, fertile soil and perfect weather, coupled with the contributions of generations of working people, enabled U.S. capitalism to achieve higher productive levels and living standards than capitalism in other countries. So, too, the development of socialism here will have some distinct advantages.

  1. We have a highly developed industrial society with a highly trained and educated work force.
  2. Free from foreign intervention, socialism will not have to divert human and economic resources to defend itself.
  3. Socialism USA will avoid the terrible problems of extreme poverty, illiteracy, civil wars, wars of intervention and world wars.
  4. Socialism USA will extend democracy to its fullest, taking as its starting point the democratic traditions and institutions of the American people.

Path to Socialism

We say that it may be possible in the U.S. to bring socialism through peaceful means. Perhaps through the ballot box. One thing is clear, there won’t be socialism in the U.S. until the majority of the American people want it.

I like to say that when workers enter the corporate board rooms to take over and the ruling class says: O.K. you’re right, we made a mess of things and now you should run it all. Well then there won’t be any trouble. But if the ruling class says: Forget it! And call out the army and the police and the national guard, then that is how revolutions become violent. It starts with the ruling class. Workers and their allies have to defend themselves and to fight for what is rightfully theirs.

We believe and advocate that a socialist society in our country will guarantee all the liberties defined in the Bill of Rights but never fully realized. These include the right of people to express themselves fully and freely through organizations of their choice and competing candidates who respect and are guided by the concept of building socialism.

Indeed, the freedoms in the Bill of Rights will take on far greater meaning for the great majority, who will now own the meeting halls, press, radio and TV, and will be able to exercise that freedom effectively.

That’s why we call ours Bill of Rights Socialism, USA.

Socialism is our vision for America’s future. It is a vision we are winning more and more people to because it is logical – really a great – replacement for capitalism. And because it is the next inevitable step up the ladder of human civilization.


Common core Educational and Literature Young Communist League

Getting them YOUNG to warp their minds

Lenin’s Left Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder gives us an introduction to understanding how Marxist strategy and tactics are formulated and tested. For Lenin it was not enough to just want and work towards socialism, but how you actually planned to get there mattered as well.Left Wing Communism is the first work that actually mentions strategy and tactics and what they mean for the Communist movement. Before this, Marx, Engels and other revolutionaries had not set out to discuss the formulation of strategy and tactics in both the movements for immediate reforms that were taking place and the long-term struggle for socialism. It was during Lenin’s time, a period that saw communist and revolutionary parties and organizations coming to life in every country, that there was a need for a larger discussion on strategy and tactics.

From Lenin’s standpoint, there were two different troubling trends when it came to the formulation of strategy and tactics. There was an opportunist trend that wanted to reform not abolish capitalism that was embodied in many of the Socialist and Labor Parties of Lenin’s time. The other trend was “ultra-leftism” which advocated against compromises with the capitalist class, against working within reactionary trade unions and generally boycotted elections. Having dealt with the opportunist trend for many years, Lenin set out to tackle the problem of “ultra-leftism”.

In Left Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder, Lenin wanted to make a distinction between the political “infantilism” of new organizations and those that were hardened ultra-leftists. New revolutionary groups had formed after the Russian Revolution of 1917, with many of them coming from the left-wing of other parties. Lenin saw that these groups were making tactical and strategic errors because of their general lack of experience. Lenin wanted to help these new groups by giving them criticism and advice so that they could avoid repeating past mistakes. Lenin, on the other hand, had no patience for hardened ultra-leftists that were disruptive and acted as obstructionists in the movement towards socialism.

We have to recognize and put into context the language that Lenin uses in the text. During Lenin’s time period, there was still armed struggle being waged in different countries and the Soviet Union was just coming out of a civil war. The language and phrases that Lenin uses such as “iron discipline” of the Party and the “ruthless” struggle against the capitalist class reflects the climate of intense and deadly struggle that was taking place. Today, we would not use this type of language when discussing the work of the Party and the types of struggles that we are involved in.

In the following years after the publication of this text, there was much discussion in the world communist movement about strategy and tactics. The relationship between a given strategy and tactics that were used was explored more in-depth. Lenin did not actually explain how or even if strategy and tactics were related or what they are. Today we understand that to develop a strategic goal, you have to look at the stage of social development and the class and social forces that exist. From there, you have to determine what would be the first qualitative change that you would need to make to move forward. With this in mind, then you need to think of what tactics will bring together the necessary social forces to make this change happen.

While you can have multiple tactics, you can only have one strategy. The strategy stays the same over a long period time, while your tactics must be flexible and change to meet new developments and keep pace with the direction of events on the ground. Making all of these connections is more of an art than a science and the world communist movement continues to debate, discuss and develop the ideas started within Lenin’s work.

The study guide contains questions based on different sections of the book; an index and a facilitator’s guide that will help you lead the discussion. Ideally your club or discussion group would set aside a hour or two to give time for a full discussion on each of the sections. You can order copies of the book from International Publishers for $4.00. You can find their online catalog at .

At the end of the study guide you will find an evaluation sheet that you can fill out after you complete the study guide. Your comments, feedback and suggestions are very important and will help us to ensure that the study guide is a useful tool. You can mail your feedback and suggestions to YCLUSA 235 W. 23rd Street NY, NY 10011.

Have fun reading,

Educational and Literature Committee of the Young Communist League, USA

when the war starts shoot Communists first

More Communist Party usa Crap.

They were, by law, second-class citizens. On top of that, many Black families lived in fear for their lives, especially in the South, in the face of lynchings.Much has changed since then, but much has remained the same. Racism still exists, even though it is de facto instead of de jure. All statistics point to a simple fact: African Americans, and other non-white peoples, are forced into worse lifestyles, with more poverty,less access to healthcare, and so on, than white people in general.

But today, in much of the parlance of the political left, the words of the civil rights movement have given way to a new phrase—white privilege.

According to the website (which displays the headline “Treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity”), white privilege is “a right, advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by white persons beyond the common advantage of all others; an exemption in many particular cases from certain burdens or liabilities.” In short, white privilege is the denial of the rights of people of color for the benefit of all white people as a group in general.

But the term “white privilege” totally misses the point about what is behind the incidents of racial and ethnic discrimination against people of color. Can we really say that all white people benefit from racism?

Gus Hall, past presidential candidate and former General Secretary of the Communist Party USA, didn’t. In a 1987 collection of his work, Fighting Racism, Hall noted that,

Southern Black families earn 54 percent of what white families earn, whereas in the North, Black families earn 72 percent of what white families earn. If racism benefited white workers, they would be better off in the South. But look at the facts. In 1967 the average white family in the South earned $1,212 less than the average white family in the North. That means a total loss of $15 billion for all the Southern white families—most of whom are workers, of course.

What Hall was pointing out was that all workers suffer when one group is suppressed. It is simply harder to demand a wage increase from your employer if s/he can always get the job done cheaper by someone else.

Wage exploitation is not the only place where “white privilege” theory misses the point. We can see how racism, not privilege, is at play in other areas, where people of color are oppressed, causing working class whites to be deprived as well.

People of color are routinely relegated to failing schools and denied access to continuing education. When they do gain entry to universities, financial burdens often ban them from attendance. The student bodies of American institutions of higher learning are largely white, the Ivy League schools especially so. White privilege points to this as an example of white people gaining from racism. True, these white people do have it better than people of color, generally. This, however, is not the full story. Limiting access to education is the name of the game across the board.

The privatization, underfunding and closing of our public schools denies everyone without the finances to attend private schools a decent education. In addition, the overwhelming cost of a college education restricts virtually all working class people from full participation.

The majority of white people do not gain free and full quality education based on their whiteness, but must struggle along with all working and poor people to gain access. It is obviously ridiculous to the extreme to say that white people, even working class white people, don’t fare better than African Americans and other people of color. But the simple fact is that racism, which divides working class whites and Blacks from uniting to fight against an education system where really good schools are only available to the rich—not guaranteed to every single person—also harms white people. White privilege theory, far from being progressive and anti-racist, simply plays into that divide.

The same is the case with healthcare. Racism in our society has relegated people of color to the most under-funded under-staffed and ill-equipped hospitals and clinics. The health facilities in communities, of people of color are the first to face budget cuts and closings. Healthcare and coverage is by no means readily available to all whites either: over 46 million Americans were uninsured in 2006. That is not to mention those underinsured, numbering tens of thousands more. Can any of us say that all white working people have access to quality healthcare? The same dynamic is at play here: African Americans, Latinos and other minorities are specially oppressed, but this divides and harms working class white people as well.

In education, healthcare, workplaces and virtually everywhere else, the truly privileged group, the rich, enjoy all the necessities and pleasures available, and rake in billions in profits off of it all as well. On the labor front, like in Hall’s time, employers continue to pit white workers against their Black counterparts. They pit white workers against Black workers, those workers against immigrant workers, paying each section of the working class differently, in order to create animosity and division. Once again, the left should never play into this division—which is exactly what white privilege theory does.

So then, who is responsible for racism?

It is not these mythical masses of “privileged” working class white people sitting around on their benefits dreaming up ways to oppress others. It is, in fact, the corporations who use racism to divide working people from each other. A majority of these capitalists are white, but they are far from the majority of white people in the U.S. as a whole.

This highlights the main problem with the notion of white privilege. This concept directs us away from the root causes and functions of racism in a corporate dominated society. White privilege implies racism for racism’s sake, when in fact it serves a much more damaging purpose—to keep working people divided and blind to the big-business hand that’s keeping all working people down.

The notion of white privilege also alienates working class white people who, as we can conclude from the above, have a real, material stake in fighting racism. Even a first year activist knows that the crux for victory in every fight is unity. The fight against racism is no different. Unity in the fight for what all working people deserve is injured by the “divide and conquer” mentality perpetuated by the concept of white privilege. Martin Luther King Jr. exemplified this best in the campaigns of the Civil Rights Era. He proved time and time again, locally and nationally, unity proves victory.

It’s easy to see how and why many grasp onto this idea of white privilege. On the surface, it really does appear correct. White working people generally do live better than working people of color. But in the long run, this idea blurs the root problem, the real reason why whites are better off than others, and thus the real solution. If we want to get rid of racism; if we want to bring the living standards of racial minorities up to the levels of white working people, and all people up to a really decent level, we have to understand the nature of the problems we’re fighting. The terms we use must not only ring true to them, but it must also be true.

By Carl Lipscombe and Shane McEvoy

Socialism and Communism Q&A

This Q&A is from the Fuckwads at commie usp

Q: What is capitalism?

A: The control of commodities (goods and services) through corporations that produce only to make profits for their shareholders (the capitalist class). In contrast, socialism is the control of commodities through a government that produces only to serve people (the working class).
Q: Rich people deserve to be rich because they work harder. Why should they give up their money?

A: Capitalists gain their wealth from the labor of others–not from their own work. The workers who actually create the wealth-by picking the crops or assembling the engines, for example-should get a fair share of the wealth they create. Why should someone be a millionaire, with three houses, a private plane, and the like when other folks can’t even afford enough to eat?
Q: Aren’t people greedy by nature?

A: No. For example, in capitalist countries, little children quickly learn to share and cooperate, but they are later taught to take more than they need compete viciously in “the real world.”
Socialism and Communism
Q: How can communism be achieved in the US?

A: Unity of the working class will be needed. Workers will have to realize that capitalism cannot solve the problems it creates and that it is only beneficial to the few who own the factories, mines, press and government. Hopefully, we will achieve this in the voting booth; but if the capitalists attack, we will defend ourselves and our system.
Q: Can people decide what job they want in communist countries?

A: Yes, and better than under capitalism. Now, you get a job based on the education you receive, and the people you know: poor education + bad connections = a poor job, generally. Communism will allow people who have aptitudes for certain work the education–for free–to learn the skills it takes to do that work.
Q: Why would anyone be motivated to work hard under communism? If you work harder, shouldn’t you get more?

A: People can learn to be motivated by working for the common good. If we help each other, we both gain. Capitalism encourages us to fight against each other for crumbs, while the very few stuff themselves on the pie.
Q: Why don’t you like democracy, why is communism better?

A: Democracy and communism are not opposites. Communists believe in TRUE democracy, as opposed to our “bourgeois democracy.” What that means is when you only get to choose between millionaires running for election, working class people (the vast majority of society) aren’t really represented. Elections in a capitalist system are almost always decided by who can get the most corporate money. True democracy will be realized under communism because everyone will have an equal say in society.
Q: The world has never been fair, so how can the communists make it fair?

A: Fairness is a function of how wealth is distributed. Under capitalism, workers receive only a small percentage of the wealth that they create. Under socialism, workers receive a larger share. Under communism, workers (all people) will receive everything.
Q: What is the difference between communism and socialism?

A: The short answer is socialism is “from each according to their ability and to each according to their DEEDS,” and communism is “from each according to their ability and to each according to their NEEDS.” The longer answer is socialism is the step between capitalism and communism. Socialism still has people working for wages, therefore monetary equality has not be reached. Socialism is the society that will pave the way for a communist society by setting a foundation of co-operation and sharing of all things in common. Communism is the realization of these goals.
Q: What would be the benefits of socialism in the US?

A: Just to name a few there would be jobs for all at living wages, full equality and an end to racism, sexism and homophobia, health care for all, a right to a clean healthy environment, equal rights for immigrant workers, free public education form nursery to university, peace and solidarity.
Q: Is socialism inevitable?

A: If the human race is to survive–yes, it is. Capitalism cannot solve the problems it creates. For example, the capitalists want to pay workers less and less so they can have more and more for themselves. But when the workers have less, they can buy less, which means the capitalist end up with less as a result. It’s a vicious circle that has no solution under capitalism.
Q: Does socialism automatically end exploitation, racism, sexism and homophobia?

A: No. These societal ills are products of capitalism, but they will not vanish immediately with socialism. They have been around for centuries, and will take generations of the humanistic system of socialism and a constant struggle to cure. But, socialism will make ending these problems possible, while capitalism encourages them. At the same time, we can’t wait until “after the revolution” to fight these ills. The fight against exploitation, racism, sexism and homophobia is a crucial part of the struggle for socialism.
Q: How can you have communism and still have individual freedom?

A: By limiting bureaucracy, establishing human-rights laws (the CPUSA and YCL have always advocated bill-of-rights socialism), and reminding all workers that they need to remain involved in union and civic activities.
Q: How free are the people in communist countries? What kind of rights do they have? Can they think for themselves and make their own choices?

A: These things vary according to each socialist country. Generally, no one has the right to become wealthy or spread capitalistic propaganda. In capitalist countries, we have only illusions of freedom and democracy because the media is owned by only a few corporations and the political campaigns are financed by the billionaires.
Q: Are there taxes in communist countries?

A: Generally no. However some socialist countries levy taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals.
Q: How can people get ahead in a communist country?

A: Ahead of whom? Under capitalism, people get ahead of other people. Many poor and working class people in this country consider putting food on the table being ahead of the game. Under socialism, and eventually communism, all people get ahead together with basic necessities and luxuries.
Organizing, communists, and the YCL
Q: I support what the YCL stands for, but why use the name communist?

A: By calling ourselves communists, we acknowledge certain aspects of our lives and work like the need to build working class unity and struggle for immediate needs like health care, jobs at a living wage, affirmative action, social welfare programs and much more. The fact that all of these daily stuggles fit in the overall fight for Socialism, USA makes us young communists.
Q: Why is unity so important?

A: It’s the best tool the working class has, we have strength in numbers. We are the majority in this country and world wide.Without unity, we fight each other for the crumbs while the capitalist takes the majority of the pie. With communism we each get an equal share of that pie.
Q: Do communists believe in god? Do they outlaw religion?

A: Some communists believe in god, some don’t. Gus Hall, the former chair of the CPUSA says, “Our fight is not with God, but with capitalists.” Freedom of religion would continue under communism–as long as the organized religion does not seek to destroy the system and replace it with capitalism or any other earlier system (such as slavery or feudalism).
Q: What has the YCL ever done to improve this country?

A: It has always worked to help raise class consciousness in the working class, and organize the unorganized. Along with our fraternal organization, the CPUSA, and organized labor, we have been leaders in the fights for the right to organize, unemployment insurance, social security, affirmative action, and civil rights, as well as the fights against english-only laws, immigrant bashing, hate crimes, and the like.
Q: Why do people join the YCL?

A: They see the present conditions that have been wrought by capitalism. They want to fight against racism, sexism, exploitation, homophobia, and immigrant-bashing. They want to make the US and the world a better place by fighting for jobs, justice, education and equality.
Q: Do people treat you differently if you are a communist?

A: Yes. Even those who disagree with our politics respect our work and commitment to the class struggle. Many bless us, a few curse us, but no one ignores us.
Q: Why is the working class so important?

A: We are the majority class. It is our work which creates the wealth which allows a very few people to live in obscene luxury. Because we are the majority class, we have the real power to transform society.
Q: What kind of people are in the YCL?

A: Those want to change the world into a much better place. Young people of all races, genders, religions, sexual orientations, and nationalities are in the YCL. Many types of working class youth, students and young workers of many interests like music, theater, sports, dance, visual arts and more…
Q: Do I have to be a communist to join the YCL?

A: No. If you are sincere about fighting the effects of capitalism, like racism, sexism, exploitation, lousy schools, unemployment, homelessness, and so on, you should join the YCL right away, whether you are a communist or not.
International Issues
Q: Has there ever been a communist society that succeeded?

A: Technically, there never has been a communist society. Some socialist societies, such as China, Vietnam, and Cuba are succeeding. Communism is the long term goal; just as the world has evolved from feudalism to capitalism, so it will evolve from capitalism, first through socialism (in which the working class is dominant), then eventually to communism (in which there are no classes). Our job is to hasten that evolution.
Q: What communist countries still exist?

A: China, Vietnam, North Korea, Laos and Cuba are socialist states.
Q: Was the Soviet Union a real communist country?

A: No. It was a socialist.
Q: Why did communism fail in the Soviet Union?

A: There are many reasons why socialism fell in the Soviet Union. One reason was because of the Cold War. Capitalist countries were able to spend more on the cold war and the Soviet Union tried too hard to compete. For example, Reagan was able to build a greater military force by obscenely increasing our national debt. Overall it is very hard for a socialist country to survive with imperial powers breathing down their necks. There were both errors that the Communist officials made within the country and forces from outside that tainted the gains of the revolution.
Q: Why do so many people want to leave Cuba?

A: Relatively few want to leave. They have all suffered due to our 40-year blockade, but most do not believe that they can become wealthy capitalists by leaving Cuba.
Q: Is Cuba a dictatorship?

A: No. Although the Cuban people have a strong central government, they are very active in local and national democratic elections, especially through their union activities.


Sergeant Bowe R. Bergdahl

On 30 June 2009, militants belonging to the Haqqani network, an Afghan insurgent group which is allied with the Taliban, took twenty-three year-old United States Army  captive.  This ill-fated day was a Tuesday.


We all know how fast a week passes.  Often almost before we barely realize it, we’re marking another month off the calendar.  But time doesn’t feel like it moves so fast when you’re a prisoner who is fearing for your very life every single day.  How difficult it is to imagine the emotions that Sergeant Bergdahl must feel as he sees the sun rise, and then later set, putting him one day longer away from the people and things that he holds dear.  

A group of Bowe supporters were discussing this very scenario one day and came to the conclusion that there needed to be a way to raise awareness about how the days of Bowe’s captivity had evolved into weeks, months and now years- a way to connect to Bowe’s experience in some small way. The idea of BOWE TUESDAY was born.  For over two years, the practice of taking extra steps to acknowledge Bowe Bergdahl each Tuesday, the day of the week that he was taken captive, was practiced by these supporters.  But the time came when it was clear that there needed to be a way to include more people in the BOWE TUESDAY movement, a way that would reach more people than could be reached via email chains and word of mouth.  One of the people in this group of  Bowe supporters said “have you ever noticed on Facebook, all the different people who you don’t know whose profile pics pop up and it says ‘people you may know’? And with that new ticker thingy that’s just coming out, you’ve got this stream of profile pictures flowing by on the side of your Facebook home page- what would happen if every Tuesday, a significant number of the profile pictures people saw around Facebook  featured Bowe Bergdahl?  That would get people’s attention, people would want to know who this Bowe Bergdahl person is- people who aren’t even aware that America has a soldier who is being held as a prisoner of war would find out about Bowe.” The next step in the BOWE TUESDAY movement was clear.

We decided to take the idea of BOWE TUESDAY and translate it to Facebook.  And although this is an easy event for those wishing to support Bowe to participate in- the commitment is just twenty-four hours once a week, the potential for raising awareness about Bowe is dramatic.  It’s such a simple thing to do yet it will be extremely powerful when many people feature Bowe’s picture as their profile image all at the same time. You’ll not only catch the attention of the people on your own friends list, every time your profile picture appears in a “People You May Know” list, people who are friends of friends will see a message about Bowe.  So will people with whom you share the same workplace, hometown, current town, school and page interests with.  WOW! That’s a lot of people! Imagine this: It’s a Tuesday, a person clicks on the “Find Friends” tab or runs a search using a person’s name and nearly everyone that’s shown in the results has the BOWE TUESDAY photo as their profile picture. Now if that doesn’t get their attention, nothing will! Let’s make this our goal.

We created the image featured below with BOWE TUESDAY in mind.  Some supporters have chosen to also feature Bowe on their Facebook cover picture.  We’ve created some images that work nicely as a cover photo which can be found in the Artwork & Image File.

We hope that you’ll join us in the future for BOWE TUESDAY. Only one day a week until Bowe comes home- that’s all we ask you to commit to using the BOWE TUESDAY image as your profile picture. All you have to do is right-click on the image and save it to your computer. Be sure to click on the image to enlarge the picture so that you will be able to save the best image possible. Many of Bowe’s supporters who use twitter have taken the idea of BOWE TUESDAY one step further and are using the following set of hash tags several times during the day each Tuesday in their tweets: #bowetuesday, #Bowe #Bergdahl, #POW, #supportbowe.  Thank you so much for joining us in this weekly event to help bring attention to Bowe Bergdahl’s story. Δ


 POW-MIA flag

The most important article you will read: What to do after a defensive shooting | The Daily Caller

By Dan Meadows, The Shooting Channel


911 Operator – “911… What’s your emergency?”

Unknown caller – (Pause) – Silence on the phone…

911 Operator – “Hello, can you hear me?”… “This is 911, what’s your emergency?”

Unknown caller – Deep and labored breathing heard on the phone…

911 Operator – “Hello, do you need police, fire or ambulance?” “Hello!”

Unknown caller – “911… I… I just shot someone.”

Calls like this happen far too often. However it is an unfortunate but true fact that many of our police departments and our 911 dispatchers will receive calls like this on a regular basis. Actually, almost on a daily basis for some departments. Geographically speaking, large cities, especially cities that tend to restrict certain gun ownership rights seem to be the worst. Like Chicago.

As a former police officer, homicide detective and periodic dispatcher for the law enforcement departments that I served over the years, I have personally taken my fair share of these types of calls.  None of them are the same, and yet all of them are seemingly alike.

For many of us, we will sign up for a concealed carry firearms course, take a home defense class or even attend a local martial arts school in order to learn how to protect ourselves from the wolves of our society. Either that or we can listen to our “sheep handler politicians” by hiding or cowering in our homes, underneath our desks in our offices, or in a closet within our schools, hoping that the police will arrive in time.

This article, as written, hopefully will help bring us a sense of order and understanding on how to better prepare ourselves for handling, or even responding to a shooting event and its aftermath.

Here are the 15 steps that are designed to get you on the other side of a defensive shooting event:

(1) How Did We Get Here – Preparing To Survive A Defensive Shooting Event

“The only way to survive a potential threat is to prepare ourselves to survive that threat.”

Mind, Body, Training, Tactics, Preparation

Mind: Begin by preparing your defensive and survival mindset. Prepare mentally.

Body: Get and keep yourself into physical shape. You must be physically fit to survive a fight or an altercation with your attacker.

Training: Train with firearms, edged weapons and in self-defense. You can never train enough. Practice often with your firearms, knives and hands/feet for close range encounters.

Tactics: There is no such thing as a fair fight. Use every method and every tactic available to you to survive the threat.

Preparation: Combine the four previous methods, mix generously, and overcome your attackers with determined effort.

(2) Defensive Gun Usage – How To Survive The Threat

“Stand your ground, shooting only when there is an imminent threat against you, or that of others.”

While At Home: Engaging the Threat – Surviving The Encounter

  • Harden your home defense with alarm systems, locks and lights. Use them if you have them and get them if you don’t.
  • Create a home defense plan. Know the plan. Drill the plan.
  • Have a go-to zone / safe room in your residence. Engage your “stand your ground” tactics accordingly.
  • Have a safe and loaded firearm ready. Take it with you to the go-to zone / safe room.
  • Keep a charged cell phone nearby. Take it with you into the go-to zone / safe room.
  • If someone enters your residence, take charge. Think, react and control the situation.
  • Work the home defense plan. Rush or retreat to the go-to zone/safe room. Dial 911.
  • If threatened or attacked, you must engage your threat. Shoot center mass and continue to shoot until the threat has been stopped. Reload and re-engage your threat again if necessary.
  • Stay in your go-to zone / safe room as long as it is safe to remain there.


While In Public: Engaging The Threat – Winning The Encounter

  • Know and plan your course of travel.
  • Harden your soft target defenses.
  • Travel with a friend.
  • Everyone should be alert and responsive to threats.
  • Wear clothing that creates easy access to your firearm or other carried weapons.
  • If possible, disengage from the threat, seek cover and monitor the threat.
  • If your attacker is an imminent threat to you or others, if you are armed – engage your attacker by shooting center mass.
  • Continue to shoot your attacker until the threat has been stopped.
  • Reload and re-engage your threat again if necessary.
  • Remain in a safe (cover) area if it is feasible to do so.


(3) Beyond The Shooting – The Immediate Aftermath

“Just beyond the threshold of danger lies the realization of what has just taken place”

  • Stay put, unless it is more dangerous to remain in-place. Do not approach the threat.
  • Keep a visual of your suspect, in case they are only wounded.
  • If your suspect is wounded, keep your firearm aimed at the intruder. Only engage them again if they threaten to harm you or others, or continue their attack.
  • Ensure that you have an adequate amount of ammunition loaded into your firearm; reload as necessary, however do not traverse to another area to gather more ammo if doing so will place you into further danger.


(4) Calling 911 – Reporting the Incident

“Calling for help has purpose and meaning. But how you report it may determine your fate”

  • Call 911 (if not already on the telephone with them). Do not wait. Call them immediately. Tell them that you just shot an intruder or attacker and that you were in fear of your life.
  • Tell 911 who you are and how you are dressed.
  • Tell 911 where you are located, and who is with you.
  • Give the 911 Operator a description, if available, of your attacker, and their location.
  • If your attacker was armed, describe what type of weapon they had, or you observed.
  • Tell 911 that you are still armed and that you will set your firearm or weapon down once the police have arrived and when you are safe from the suspect’s threat.
  • If requested by 911, stay on the line with them.
  • Give no additional statements, admissions, comments or apologies at this time. You are being recorded


(5) Waiting for the Police to Arrive – Securing the Scene

“The wailing of sirens sounds so close, yet seem to take forever to arrive”

  • Remain on the 911 call if instructed to do so by the 911 operator.
  • Just like law enforcement officers do, and if it is safe to do so, you need to secure the scene to the best of your ability and for your safety.
  • Don’t move any evidence and don’t move the suspect’s body. Keep the integrity of the shooting scene intact.
  • Remain vigilant for others who may be associates or additional attackers.
  • Watch out for crowds forming. They may be friends or acquaintances of the subject you just shot.
  • Watch out for onlookers or associates who might attempt to remove evidence, (i.e. gun, knife, weapon) from the scene of the shooting event. Identify them if required.
  • If evidence is taken, describe it and its location to the best of your ability to law enforcement officers.
  • Upon police arrival, place your firearm or weapon in a recoverable place (such as safely on the ground in front of you), and inform the responding officers of your firearms or weapons location. Identify it to officers without pointing it at them.
  • Comply with officers instructions. You may even be handcuffed. They are trying to protect themselves and they do not need to also get into an encounter with you. Remain calm.
  • Direct the officers to the offenders/ attackers weapons (if there was one).
  • Identify the suspect or suspects as the person or persons who attacked you or threatened you with bodily harm or death.

Next, Talking to the Police

Read the rest here The most important article you will read: What to do after a defensive shooting | The Daily Caller.

Best Daily Caller comment


1. Go to a secondhand store and buy a pair of men’s used size 14-16 work

2. Place them on your front porch, along with a copy of Guns & Ammo

3. Put four giant dog dishes next to the boots and magazines.

4. Leave a note on your door that reads:


Bertha, Duke, Slim, & I went for more ammo and beer. Be back in an hour.
Don’t mess with the pit bulls; they attacked the mailman this morning and
messed him up bad. I don’t think Fang took part, but it was hard to tell
from all the blood. Anyway, I locked all four of ’em in the house.

Better wait outside. Be right back.

Ray – Jesus is the Son of God.  Ken_NY

commented on this story at

Noting her own outrage that Americans continue to tolerate gun violence, Penrose asked audience members to raise their hands if they thought laws intended to prevent gun violence have been successful. No one raised a hand.

SO MORE LAWS WILL HELP???  OH just one more law NO GUNS

“The beauty of a ‘states’ rights model’ solution is it allows those of you who want to live in a state with strong restrictions to do so and those who want to live in a state with very loose restrictions to do so,” the professor explained.

RIGHT LIKE ABORTION rowe v wade should be ousted in favor for States to VOTE  like she said.

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