At this moment, fighting the information war is what’s most meaningful for communists. But this isn’t going to be true forever. Advancing the information war is only one among a number of essential steps in our path to proletarian victory. The more successful we become at combating imperialism’s psyops, and at exposing the hypocrisies of American liberalism, the closer we come to a situation more tense and dire than our present one. A situation where we become prompted to take different kinds of actions, actions which will still include informational warfare in a different version but which will mainly consist of physical actions. At least when we’re talking about the members of the communist cadres.
Historically, the way that workers revolutions have unfolded is through a combination of mass efforts by the ordinary people, and more focused and tactical efforts by the trained members of the revolutionary cadres. The broader population has often done things like strikes, and material assistance to the cadre members; while the cadre members have often taken actions like guerrilla warfare, with all of its narrative, clandestine, and athletic components. We’re obviously not near that stage, yet we’re also not as far from it as we were in the recent past. The class conflict has been escalating. Worker mobilizations have been spontaneously increasing in the last decade as a reaction to the ongoing depression the 2008 crisis drove proletarians into. Now this year, with the emergence of an anti-NATO movement that has a working class character, the U.S. proletariat’s domestic rights struggle is starting to gain a synthesis with the fight against imperialism. And when the labor movement in the core gains an anti-imperialist character, it becomes a serious threat towards the bourgeois state’s existence.
This development has the potential to solve the big problem which is holding back the escalation of our class conflict. This problem is the dominance that the Democratic Party, and the “communist” organizations which seek to tail the Democratic Party, hold over our organizing spaces. When the outlets for representing our liberation movements are controlled by opportunists and reformists, these movements aren’t able to produce the sustained, coordinated, and theoretically informed mass revolts necessary for overthrowing the state. We saw this in 2020, when the Democrats and their NGOs absorbed the popular outrage against police brutality and diverted it towards voting blue. Those in the anti-police movement who lacked the education or integrity to be principled simply voted Biden—and thereby effectively became pro-police—while most of the others stopped being politically active due to not getting offered any visible revolutionary organizations to join. Many of the others thought they found a revolutionary org, but they were tricked.
When Tyre Nichols was murdered by police this January, it could have turned into a partial repeat of 2020’s unprecedented unrest. The conditions of the working class have gotten even worse since then after three years of a new stage in our capitalist crisis, and after a year of further economic damage from the Ukraine war’s inflation exacerbation. But the protests soon stopped, because like last time, there wasn’t a sufficient presence of revolutionary organizations. The only orgs with the reach and resources to be able to lead the revolt in a revolutionary direction did not take this opportunity. Even after Ukraine had created a historical moment of such clear potential for unifying, educating, and mobilizing the U.S. working class, they still refused to do their supposed job. I say their supposed job because these orgs claim to represent a route for bringing justice to America’s subjugated and exploited people, yet are always going to fail to do this. As their true role is to maintain the Democratic Party’s dominance.
When I talk about such orgs, at this point my intended target isn’t mainly the CPUSA. I helped expose CPUSA’s revisionism and reformism last year as effectively as I could, and due to its own crises, since then it’s become even less relevant than it already was. I’m now mainly talking about the PSL. Until this year, I was still hesitating to openly criticize PSL, but after their organizers carried out sectarian attacks upon the Rage Against the War Machine rally and coalition, me and the others in my ideological strain have decided to polemicize against it explicitly. Like with my CPUSA polemic, I seek to discredit the org’s leadership, not every single person involved in it. To the PSL members who recognize that fighting U.S. hegemony is the foremost priority at this moment, and who are willing to train their cadres into de facto armies so they can navigate the rest of our revolutionary struggle, I sympathize with you. Because you’ve been marketed to by an org that doesn’t want to lead you in the correct ways. As my PCUSA friend and teacher Alex Dillard (or American Marxist-Leninist) recently wrote:
PSL has used Prysner’s counter intelligence knowledge to hijack the anti war movement, and viciously attack Rage Against the War Machine when they tried to organize their own event. When Jackson Hinkle was featured as a speaker for the event, PSL and their front group ANSWER Coalition lobbied to get the Peace in Ukraine Coalition and especially CodePink to pull out completely in order to keep the anti war movement under the control of the Democratic Party. Rage Against the War Machine threatened the Democratic Party’s ability to control anti war sentiment, especially as more and more MAGA/Libertarians are on board with anti war sentiment in the US. Beyond this, PSL has also softened their view on the Democratic Party, with their criticism of the Democratic Party amounting to “not going far enough” or “being cowardly”…On the international front, PSL has taken an extremely opportunistic position on the Ukraine conflict. On one hand, PSL will say that NATO is in the wrong, but on the other they will spend more time attacking Russia
Of course an org like this hasn’t proven itself capable of turning a spontaneous uprising into something informed by revolutionary theory. PSL’s guiding ideology rejects Lenin’s practice of lifting the average person to the same level as a trained cadre member. They don’t believe the average American needs to hear about how Russia’s operation is an anti-fascist war, as they assume the average American is fundamentally incompatible with a principled anti-imperialist stance. This is what’s implied in their decision to denounce both NATO and Russia. The flaw in this tactical logic is that it assumes the average American is synonymous with the average liberal.
Liberals, especially after Russiagate, indeed tend to be obstinate pro-imperialists. Most other Americans do not. The only reason most Americans presently believe imperialism’s psyops is because they haven’t yet been exposed to the anti-imperialist perspective. The reason liberals believe the psyops is because they depend on these psyops to justify their opportunistic political loyalty. Due to its own opportunism, the PSL is reinforcing these opportunistic ideas. Dillard continues:
From PSL’s initial Ukraine statement: “The plight of ethnic Russians, especially those in the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine, factored heavily into the speech delivered by Putin, which was directed towards the Russian public. Putin has been outspoken in recent days about his opposition to the Soviet policy on nationalities and considers the creation of modern Ukraine to have been a grave error on the part of Vladimir Lenin. As the PSL pointed out in our Feb. 22 statement.” PSL’s position has the least skin in the game, not even calling for the abolition of NATO, but rather “no NATO expansion” in order to appease liberals who still might support NATO. At their March 18th rally, the PSL carried Ukrainian flags alongside Palestinian and Yemeni flags,essentially comparing the Palestinian and Yemeni struggle to the Ukrainians, which is obviously being done to not only coopt the Palestinian struggle, but also manufacture consent among anti imperialists to see Putin as somehow being in the wrong. PSL is the single best asset for the Democratic Party right now, doing a better job of turning communists into Democrats than the DSA or CPUSA ever could.
I’ve seen the symptoms of this lack of anti-imperialist principles firsthand. The symptoms are lack of incentive on the part of the org to become an active agent in the class struggle, leading to the org only holding rallies in reaction to existing spontaneous protests and only doing outreach when it sees opportunities to grow its numbers. And because the org that the party’s members are instructed to bring others into lacks the integrity or commitment necessary for becoming a vanguard, the new members that come from this often become disappointed.
This is not some speculative inference on my part. It’s a description of what I’ve recently observed. After last year’s abortion protests subsided, PSL, which took over the Peace and Freedom Party some years ago, began leading my former local PFP branch in an absurdly lethargic way. They discouraged my cadre from holding any new rallies of our own, even when anti-NATO action was happening elsewhere. They rationalized this by claiming that branches in more rural liberal areas like mine are in a “hostage situation,” a strange phrase for this context that was meant to imply any events we were to hold would be attacked by the local liberal media. The idea they were trying to convey to us was clear: as long as there are liberals in our proximity who might think negative things about us for acting like communists, we shouldn’t act like communists. As a consequence, we were blocked from doing any outreach in our community for many of these increasingly crucial months in our revolutionary crisis.
I doubt my cadre’s members are the only communists involved in or adjacent to the PSL who’ve lately been noticing these deficiencies in the org’s leadership model. These deficiencies are starting to reduce its power, in ways that could turn into a more profound but necessary split. My cadre’s members recently came to the consensus that PSL is a bad source of leadership, and left it to form a new org called Humboldt Socialist Union. I don’t seek to make it into a national org, as that wouldn’t be practical. What it can act as is a partner for the other members of the country’s emerging anti-imperialist coalition, and a positive example of what a communist cadre should be. It will be a positive example because its practice will be informed by the correct idea about the nature of our conditions: that anti-imperialism is paramount at this moment, and that anti-imperialism’s ultimate role is as an essential step towards defeating the American capitalist/colonial state.
I urge anybody else who’s in the bad situation that I was in to do something similar. To come to align with the principled anti-imperialist movement, rather than with a Democrat front group.