By Timothy Dirte. Originally published on October 5, 2020.
“‘All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.’ This immortal statement was made in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, 1776. In a broader sense, this means: All the peoples on the earth are equal from birth, all the peoples have a right to live, to be happy and free. The Declaration of the French Revolution made in 1791 on the Rights of Man and the Citizen also states: ‘All men are born free and with equal rights, and must always remain free and have equal rights.’ Those are undeniable truths.”
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnamese Declaration of Independence
When speaking of the historical development of society in North America, and especially in the United States, it must be viewed in the same way that we view the progression of development in human society generally. Each epoch of human society ends as those classes and forces which have been in development realize, through much struggle, their progressive role in eliminating the backwards classes of the old society which has become unable to administer in the old ways and which have become a hindrance to the further progression of society.
The question facing many today is, should we condemn wholesale our country’s history? How can we reconcile our country’s history? In the objective perspective of human societal development, our society is progressive, despite its transgressions and despite its history of oppression because it is developing toward, inevitability with a sufficient human factor, socialism. It has built the possibility of our socialist society, ripe for seizure by the numerically dominant working class who comprise 9/10ths of the population.
Should we view our country’s history the same as that of countries which did not have a colonial stage of development? Should we supplant critical investigation into the peculiarities and conditions of the struggle in the United States for an uncritical application of struggle done elsewhere? No, because to do that would be to ignore the peculiarities of our country and to prevent a correct line toward our struggle.
However, we should not lose sight of the basic sameness of capitalism worldwide and base our activities on these peculiarities. The basis of our work must be the general features of capitalism and socialism, and not the specific features of our country. We must, of course, take these peculiarities we discover into account, but only insofar as to help our work against the general features of capitalism.
If we do not focus on the general features of capitalism, we risk an exaggerated perspective on the international and domestic situation of the struggle. Such as a rightist overestimation of US imperialism saying it is distinct from all others and impossible to collapse as Lovestone argued in his concept of “American Exceptionalism” in 1928 (a period of capital expansion and growth) only to be demonstrably disproven only a year later. Or conversely in an underestimation of US imperialism which argues for ultra-left tactics that endanger and isolate the movement from the broad masses. In both situations, they are based on perspectives that are inconsistent or contradictory with the realities of the political situation.
It is true, this nation was carved out of the old societies of North America who are now oppressed nationalities struggling for liberation. It is also true that Black people were brought here centuries ago and show the characteristics of an oppressed nation as well. All done under the banner of the US.
Should we not be enraged that these barbaric acts have been committed against our people? But why whom? Were these crimes organized and compelled by the will of the working people? Or were they brought on by the interests of the planters, bourgeoisie, and capital? We denounce the capitalists and their lackeys who have carried out genocide in the pursuit of profit and maintaining the class domination of the planters, and bourgeoisie. They are no patriots, they are like a malignant tumor on the working people. They speak of themselves as patriots while simultaneously pilfering the people.
The Red Patriot
Is it an aberration of our internationalist orientation to take up a patriotic position? It is an immensely patriotic stance, standing in contradistinction to the barbaric policies of finance capital, to take the side of the working class, the overwhelming majority of this nation and the nations within it. How could it be otherwise? And how could we ever hope to instill among our people the vision and drive for revolution if it is based on a regressive and backwards view of the national question in the US? By all means, speak of the balkanization of the US, a contradiction to the basic tenets of a revolutionary position on the national question to the workers and see how many can manage to understand such an “enlightened”, and “pure-communist” vision of the future.
In reality, it is a left-deviation from the correct perspective of the national question in the US to isolate and disparage the workers and their history in the wholesale condemnation of our history in its totality. As a matter of fact, it is in its sum a reactionary position and a gift to the most basic tactical pursuit of fascism which seeks to uphold the most reactionary and bourgeois characteristics of the national legacy to preserve ruling class domination. In what meaningful way do the ultra-left perspectives that fail to separate the progressive from the reactionary in our history manage to build support among the working people? They are relegated to the fringes of our movement, isolated from the majority of the workers who are inherently international.
Our anger at the transgressions and oppression organized by the bourgeoisie on the development of our nation must serve as the impetus of the objectively progressive and patriotic initiative to free our people from the butchery of the bourgeoisie. Yet, the political shell of the United States is so securely under the power of the bourgeoisie, finance capital, that no reform, change of persons or parties in it, whatsoever, can in any significant way remove the bourgeoisie from it.
Our present bourgeois-republic is by design the most efficient and effective organization for the bourgeoisie to oppress the proletariat and suppress class antagonisms. This is why we must regard the opinion of the social-democrats and other left and right elements in our movement today that speak of the possibility for proletarian victory within the State apparatus of our bourgeois democratic republic, tailor made to the interests of capital, as unquestionably asinine. The same applies to the ultra-left who seek to further divide the workers with the new-left concept of settlerism.
We of course must recognize the “prison of nations” that characterizes our great country and which prevents the emancipation of the working class. This can only be so as it is a requirement for the full liberation of the workers from capitalist oppression to see to the emancipation of the nationalities that the United States oppresses.
“…in the United States of North America, every independent movement of the workers was paralysed so long as slavery disfigured a part of the Republic. Labour cannot emancipate itself in the white skin when in the black it is branded.”
Karl Marx, Capital Vol I Chapter 10 Section 7
However, settlerism is an anti-Marxist position which is characterized by a confusion on the class characteristics of racism, white-supremacy, and the national question applied to the US. It is inconsistent with a Marxist-Leninist perspective. The objective realities of the political situation in the US requires the unity of Black and white workers to abolition monopoly-capital and its planter-landlord-capitalist class in the south, the bulwark of racism and anti-democratic activity.
And despite the backwards condition of the planter-landlord-capitalist class in the south, our present society is fundamentally meant to advance the development of capitalism, and by extension (and a sufficient human factor), the possibility for socialism. Unlike any other capitalist country elsewhere or before. But our bourgeois-republic is at the same time poised to exhibit, by these same characteristics, an extreme backwardness, and the possible victory of fascism. Which develops out of the regressive and backwards elements of the bourgeoisie in the US such as the planter-landlord-capitalist in the south, but is mainly developed to serve the most reactionary elements of finance capital.
All the means of production, distribution, and communication, are sufficiently centralized for the immediate transition into socialist production. Yet, because of the complete backwardness of the bourgeoisie, we experience crises of compounding severity while fully cognizant of the methods and means to organize production rationally and our science degraded to a subservient position to the interests of the capitalists. The increasing frequency and severity of the crises compel the political development of the proletariat as well and brings the most backwards elements out of their philistine ruts. As the proletariat awakens to the barbarity of their oppression, fascism, which is in development in the US, serves as the counter to preserve the class domination of the bourgeoisie.
Our bourgeois democratic republic was a progressive State organization in contrast to slave society, but it has reached a decadent, decaying, and rentier state which necessitates its abolition for the further progression of our society. We must therefore take up the patriotic aim of lifting up our people to a progressive and socialist consciousness to combat the disfiguring influence of the bourgeoisie on our national development and to realize the true condition of freedom which to many for so long has been but a lofty idea.
That is why it is a cover and disguise to uphold “freedom” without detailing for whom and what class. We speak here, always, and forever for the freedom of the workers. We stand in defiance to the freedom of the capitalists to rack our people with illness and death. We ruthlessly expose the decadence of the present bourgeoise-republic and reject the notion that this is democracy in general. Those who speak of freedom and democracy in general at present while our people are tattered and worn by exploitation at the hands of the capitalists prove themselves to be but the watchmen for our people’s suffering still more. Our present democracy is nothing more than the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.
The supposed “patriots” espousing bourgeois reaction and the ultra-left petty-bourgeois radicals in despair who fail to uphold the progressive characteristics of the working class history in the US will both prove themselves traitors to our democratic and free union, to the international community of nations, and to the cause of socialism.
We, the true patriots, the Red Patriots, seek to establish a democracy for the poor on the basis of Marxism-Leninism. To make democracy really accessible to the workers and oppressed nationalities which at present is inaccessible to the vast majority.