By Max Reed.
Over the past few weeks, there has been intense debate among the left within America over the February 19th Rage Against the War Machine rally (RAGTWM). This coalition led by the left-populist Movement for a Peoples Party and the Libertarian Party has brought new energy to the long decrepit anti-war movement. This unprecedented coalition ranged ideologically from Marxist Leninists in the Party of Communists USA, left-populists in the Movement for a Peoples Party and the American Student Union, Pan-Africanists in the African Peoples Socialist Party to hardline Libertarians in the Libertarian Party, and other organizations dedicated toward the defense of bourgeois democratic freedoms. This wide-ranging ideological coalition is something that has not been seen within American politics. The demands of the RAGTWM coalition are below as follows.
- Not One More Penny for War in Ukraine
- Negotiate Peace
- Stop the War Inflation
- Disband NATO
- Global Nuclear De-Escalation
- Slash the Pentagon Budget
- Abolish the CIA and Military-Industrial Deep State
- Abolish War and Empire
- Restore Civil Liberties
- Free Julian Assange
These demands put forward by the RAGTWM coalition are in practice very progressive, in that if implemented, would see the collapse of the American Empire and the fulfillment of a multipolar world. For Communists, the destruction of NATO and the dominant system of monopoly capitalist imperialism is critical for the expansion of socialism and the survival of socialist states. This mass program stands in utter contrast with the existing two-bourgeois parties and the monopolist forces which control both the Republicans and Democratic Party. The NATO aggression against Russia and other nations striving for independence, multipolarity, and economic development is also an attack on the working class at home in America. Every dollar that is given to the forces of fascism in Ukraine, is not going toward the American people. Americans have seen the erosion of our bourgeois democratic rights and working-class power. The right to free speech, the ability to organize unions, engage in the class struggle, and have the basic rights guaranteed by the bourgeois constitution are at stake in this current political era in America.
The political trends within America such as Occupy Wall St, the Tea Party movement, the Trump movement, BLM, and the Sanders movement, have all led to this moment. RAGTWM represents in this sense a culmination of all of these forces. The political ossification of the late Cold War period in the USA is long over. It is long past due for American Communists to take center stage in an anti-imperialist popular front against the war, NATO, and fascism. This popular front will emerge from the existing forces in motion. For that reason, it is necessary for communists in America to quote Mao: “There are three alternatives. To march at their head and lead them? To trail behind them, gesticulating and criticizing? Or to stand in their way and oppose them?” The American “left” long has tailed popular upsurges. From embarrassingly trying to lead the upsurge of Black Americans against racism and police brutality, to the utter failure of the anti-Trump rallies (which led to communists leading gatherings of liberals who criticized the Trump presidency for negotiating with Peoples Korea and in McCarthyite fashion declaring Trump a “Russian agent”).
In response to this mass upsurge and the RAGTWM, the protest hustlers, opportunists, and professional failures on the so-called “left” have gesticulated about a “red-brown alliance” and claims of RAGTWM being “too white”. This poisoning of the well flies in the face of the actual realities of oppressed peoples in America and the nature of the RAGTWM rally. It is important to point out the origins of the term “red-brown alliance”. In 1993, the Yeltsin dictatorship sent in the Russian military to fire high-projectile munitions at the Russian Supreme Soviet (the elected parliamentary body within Russia). This was in response to the resistance by the Russian people and their elected representatives against the genocidal shock therapy economics imposed upon the former peoples of the USSR. This event was called the Black October Crisis or the Russian Constitutional Crisis of 1993. Yelstins excuse for extra-judicially attacking the Russian parliament was that the elected representatives resisting Yeltin’s dictatorship were a “red-brown alliance”.
Communists have always been the sincerest and most powerful fighters against fascism, from the Battle of Cable St to the International Brigades, the Great Patriotic War of the USSR against Nazi Germany, and today by Communist units in the Donbas combatting Banderite Neo-Nazis. Fascism, as defined by the legendary Marxist Georgi Dimitrov, is the open dictatorship of the most chauvinistic, most reactionary elements of finance capital. Does this definition, in any way, fit the description of the political forces in the RAGTWM that bravely demonstrated on February 19th? Of course not, it is laughable to suggest so. The Libertarian Party, although in form, are in obvious contradiction with Communists, in content by supporting this anti-imperialist rally is a sincere ally of Communists within America. Libertarians by supporting the defense of bourgeois democratic rights guaranteed by the American constitution are acting as an ally of our ability as Communists to openly organize and build a working-class movement centered around a party of a new type.
It is very important to remember that in America Communists were the first victims of the American government in the aftermath of WWII. As a result of the weakening of the Communist Party, the Trade Union movement within America likewise suffered, along with the struggle for Civil Rights for Black Americans. American Communists must recognize the difference between primary and secondary contradictions. Our primary enemy is the American monopoly-capitalist imperialist ruling class. Our enemy is not abroad, but at home, and this was recognized by Marx: “It is altogether self-evident that, to be able to fight at all, the working class must organize itself at home as a class and that its own country is the immediate arena of its struggle — insofar as its class struggle is national, not in substance, but, as the Communist Manifesto says, ‘in form’.” The weakening and destruction of this enemy will serve not only to strengthen socialist countries abroad but will open the door for American Communists to organize at home. For this reason, Communists must not only organize within RAGTWM but also strive for leadership over this new Popular Front.
As for the claims of the rally being “too white”, one can only shake their head at this opportunistic, blind, and chauvinistic claim. Despite possessing little to no influence and organizational power among oppressed peoples within America (since the 70s). The movementist “left” has for a long time chauvinistically used Black Americans and other oppressed peoples within America as cudgels for opposing real existing movements against US imperialism. Many Black Americans and people of all nationalities and racial backgrounds participated in this historic event. Most importantly among them, the African People’s Socialist Party recognized the connection between racism at home in America and the imperialist system which subjugates Africa through AFRICOM, covert activities, sanctions, etc. The APSP (which is under attack by the notoriously racist FBI), correctly identified the primary enemy of Black America and the African peoples: NATO and US imperialism.
This impotence and opportunism has emerged decades after the political upsurge in the 60s and 70. Since then, the anti-war movement in America has only declined in numbers. The movement led by forces of the New Left ultimately has faded away into a small cadre of protest hustlers, political opportunists, institutionalized academics, and others described by Gus Hall as “Petty-Bourgeois Radicals”. These forces will never build a sustainable and authentically anti-imperialist movement that represents the broad masses of America, let alone establish a socialist America and working-class power. Communists in America must support and take a key part in the RAGTWM coalition. The future of Communism in America rests upon our ability as Communists to broaden our meager base and rebuild what the Communist Party of the past once had. The American Student Union, the Party of Communists USA, and other allies principally stand on this basis.