The Third International after Lenin

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thought experiment: digging for revolutionary continuity

At the risk of being accused of sterility and abstraction, this little experiment took a statement of principles nearly 50 years old, and by lopping off a few out-of-date terms and titles, sought to gauge whether it could be applied as a general guide to issues facing the working class and its oppressed allies today.

A few years ago some comrades at Kasama took me to task for posting the Comintern's Militant Labour Program for the French Communist Party, and told me new times required new thinking.  Well, new thinking is fine, if it is new thinking that takes us somewhere.  I am constantly in search of such "new thinking" to invigorate our prostrate communist movement today, particularly in the United States. So far the only thinking other than that within the continuity of the Bolsheviks and the Comintern I have found are loathsome reanimations of social democracy, anarchism, and outright pre-Marxian utopian socialism.  Old vinegar in new bottles.

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Statement of Principles

We believe that:

1. Working people in the United States and internationally will be guaranteed security, democracy, equality and peace only when our country is run on an entirely different basis than it is now; only when a socialist system replaces the present imperialist-capitalist one. 

2. The new socialist system would mean that working people would own the country's factories and farms and they would plan production and distribution for their own needs. 

3. In order to have socialism, workers have to be in control, this means that the government of the capitalists must be smashed and be replaced by a workers' government.

4. To win control of the government, so as to be able to build a socialist society, workers may be forced to defend themselves.

5. The lessons learned by other nations who have fought for the same goals will help workers win their struggle; Marxism-Leninism is the political science that sums up these lessons and is the guide in the building of socialism in the United States and around the world.

6. The present imperialist-capitalist system that controls the United States is the chief enemy of all working people everywhere, and must be destroyed politically, economically and ideologically and replaced by a socialist system.

7. U.S. workers must unite with workers in all countries to win peace and socialism.

8. U.S. workers need an organization that is centralized in form so as to be effective, and democratic in content so as to properly reflect the needs of the people.

9. A political party based on these principles should be formed as soon as possible.

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Strategic Concepts

We believe that the movement for socialism in the U.S.  should adopt the following as a program during the present period:


1. There must be constant public advocacy of socialism.
2. Particular victories in the struggle for reforms must be shown as steps only toward the goal of socialism.
3. The understanding that both the Democrats and Republicans are political agencies of the ruling imperialists.


1. A united front struggle is a common struggle of diverse elements united against a common enemy. A cardinal feature of this unity is the conflict of ideology within its ranks.
2. The unity of the united front struggle is based on the mutuality of interest, therefore the basis is always the unity from below, from the masses.
3. Because this is a unity of diverse elements against a common enemy we must always have the ability to present socialist ideas to the people.


1. Oppressed nationalities must act themselves for themselves, they must wait for no one.
2. Black people should fight for their right to develop their identity as a people.
3. Black people, if they are to be free, must develop political power outside of the present power apparatus through armed self-defense, political councils, the creation of an economic base, seizing land and factories and finally, uniting with all workers struggling for revolution.
4. The Black Liberation Movement must include direct mass action – north and south.
5. The Black Liberation Movement must link itself with all other forces everywhere who are fighting United States imperialism.


1. To destroy the bosses' stranglehold of the trade union movement and its leadership, workers should:

a. form rank-and-file caucuses in the AFL-CIO unions
b. form militant caucuses of oppressed peoples and women in the unions
c. advocate and build a strong socialist trend in the unions
d. fight for and develop the right to strike
e. develop various forms of independent political action
f. fight to organize the unemployed within the unions

2. United States workers must organize the unemployed into their own organizations, outside, as well as inside, the existing unions.

3. Organize a second federation of labor based on the unions not in the AFL-CIO.


1. Students must expose the role that university officials play as agents of the ruling class.
2. Students must end their isolation from the working people.
3. Students should organize an anti-imperialist peace movement.
4. Intellectuals should be convinced to relate their work and their future to the future of the working people and not to the interests of the present ruling system.


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