[A-List] Gus Hall - (Hero or Zero) 2
Waistline2 at aol.com
Waistline2 at aol.com
Tue Jan 13 21:16:40 MST 2009
The issue of insurrection and the insurrectionary process is rather simple
and not to be avoided out of a false sense that one is "being bad," or can be
jailed or hauled into a court of law . . . in America today, because of a
public discussion. Here all legalese has to be thrown out the window. If history
is kind many of us will live long enough to be recruited to the
insurrectionary movement and moment.
I hate talking about thinking "dialectically" because of the overuse and
misuse of the term. Nevertheless, whatever has "a front has a back." The "bigger
the front the bigger the back." One presupposes the other. Between them is
Ballot box socialism is a flat conception with no back. The front is that a
small minority of voting America will bring about ballot box socialism or a
socialist revolution through voting. Where is the "back" or all the processes
that is the meaning of "the revolutionary crisis?"
America has "back."
"Baby got back" and lots of it, to say the least.
The concept of "ballot box socialism," is like not knowing what an election
What actually happens as a Presidential election in America? The act of
voting is the front or face of a political process.
Every single presidential election in America involves 1). candidates; and
2). both parties taking inordinate amounts of time to align themselves from the
standpoint of the insurrectionary process, or win over a section of th
military establishment. Which, even when dormant still exists. Every single
candidate and party must line up groupings of individuals representing the armed
forces and the intelligence agencies. Why?
The answer is so simple a child of ten can understand it. "So that the
primary and inherent forces of insurrection, will not be aligned against you." And
these are elections taking place under peaceful conditions. Then masses of
people have to be organized and deployed on ones side.
George W. most certainly represented the threat of an armed military coup in
2000, and then used the Supreme Court to take power. The Supreme Court as a
living organism lines up for and against various interest represented and
guarded by the military. The reason politically thinking writers draw a parallel
between Bush 2000 and the Hayes-Tilden agreement (1876) is because political
crisis always involve the state - (arms personified), taking sides. In the
case of 1876, withdrawing armed forces from the South was the "end game" and
fundamental to realigning political America for the next 90 years.
Socialist revolution never comers from voting and is an inaccurate concept
of the revolutionary change process. Voting in a change of the productive
forces turns the concept of revolutionary change upside down. Apparently, the
attention given to condemning comrades who would not vote and refused to vote,
and then using Lenin writings to justify labeling folks as "ultra leftists" is
based in a vision that has no precedence in the history of the world. This
vision is the "doctrine" of ballot box socialism.
The idea that Chavez is not the living insurrectionary process "super
personified" is to throw away the fact that his whole life has been bound up with
the military and winning them over to his side. Chavez freedom took place on
the basis of the armed uprising. Armed uprising does not mean people running
in the streets with guns. Armed uprising means what it meant for Lenin:
"uprising" + "armed people" in the form of winning a section of the state. The
section of the state won to the revolution by Lenin was organized into cells -
organizations, whose sum total are called Soviets.
We do not know the form of the American (Proletarian) Revolution. Whatever
its form the real people that will constitute the American Revolution will be
successful because a section of the armed forces have passed over to the side
of "the revolution." To say that socialist revolution will take place by the
ballot box and not armed insurrection is muddled thinking that confuses
thinks. It is muddled because the Marxist tradition suggests that the
revolutionary crisis involves the state in the form of the armed forces. What by chance
will the army be doing? And the police force? And the navy? Not to mention
the extra legal organs of violence and private armies. Or the intelligence
There is no reason to sweep these matters under the carpet and pretend they
do not exist. I am confident that the forces of insurrection will be won to
our side. There is a clear precedence in our history. The working class or
rather a large and decisive section, in the North supported and stabilized
slavery in America. They did not want slave labor dumped unto the labor market.
Rather than hating slavery they blamed the slave. There was rioting against the
call to arms against the Slave power. The army split with generals going over
to the side of the counter revolution. Yet, these folks and the armed forces
in the North were won over to the cause of "the revolution."
Ballot box socialism never presents a coherent picture or reasoning or line
of march of real people or the path of "the revolution" but rather, distorts
the significance of voting and never even mentions something as obvious as the
army. Under intense pressure and discussion the "ballot box" socialist might
agree that the obviousness of the existence of the armed forces, might need
to be discussed. Further, members of the constitutional authority go over to
the side of the revolution but this process cannot be described as ballot box
I have no knee jerk reaction or dislike of the CPUSA and our collective
history, but they have never presented even the most simple discussion of a
revolutionary transition in America - to my knowledge, that honors our
revolutionary history and tradition. The lack of existence of a revolutionary crisis for
th past half century might have something to do with this. Yet, the American
people as a whole have a revolutionary tradition and this most certainly
includes and embraces insurrection. There is no such thing as an unarmed
Socialist revolution does not come from armed insurrection either, according
to Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. Insurrection is not the meaning of
revolution. Insurrection is at all times, the act of a group of revolutionaries
seizing the commanding heights of power. Revolution is the process of crisis
generated by and rooted in changes in the productive forces. The most
revolutionary of productive forces is the human mind.
(Thank God we can think things out! :-)
It has to be stated over and over again, to sweep the cloud of mental
confusion the bourgeoisie keeps the people and revolutionaries in; that the
insurrection involves winning the armed forces over to the side of revolution.
Without this revolutionary act, change is impossible. To 1) vote or 2). not to
vote and talk about armed insurrection is not the dialectic of revolutionary
change as described by Marx, Lenin or Engels. Revolutionary crisis and the
polarization of classes and the state and then winning over the insurrectionary
aspects of the state is job one, if one is to make sense of "the revolution."
It would seem that this thread and Lenin's "Left Wing Communism" does have a
context and meaning as constructive discussion on this list and in the
context of the Obama victory.
The election of Obama signifies one thing and only one thing only in my
estimate; and given the fact that he is not yet in power it is pretty hard to
pre-determine what will be his legacy; that voting America has taken another
major step in overcoming the legacy of Jim Crow. Overcoming the legacy of Jim
Crow has been a process onto itself spanning 40 years. And I am so glad I voted
for him as part of this distinct process.
Lots of people (not just "white people" - the kind of language and analysis
we should be moving away from) made his election possible. The data and
information suggests that the African Americans was the last ones in and hence the
most backward section during the past presidential election, if ones vision
is that Obama's election was a victory in our post Jim Crow history and
revolutionary. If anything, the tradition in all presidential elections, where
votes are more than less divided between the majority, is that blacks are the
swing vote to ensure victory. If anything one should be proud of the blacks for
relinquishing a backwards position. Many black folk said no sir, "change has
not really taken place in America." After millions showed up in support of
Obama the thinking was "damn, maybe some change has taken place in America."
It would seem that through the lens of "ballot box socialism," voting for
Obama is equated with a quantitative step in instituting a communist regime in
America. Perhaps, I am reading and understanding the underlying logic of our
"If you did not vote for Obama you are wrong and if you are a socialist,
communist, or Marxist or any combination of the three, and did not vote for
Obama or support him now, you are an ultra leftist." Why? Because the path of the
revolution in America is obviously ballot box socialism.
According to Lenin no doubt.
But, then again, the right wing of communism - (not the left wing), saw
something revolutionary in the Roosevelt regime and the Roosevelt Coalition. I
believe that history has answered the question of the "revolutionary quality" of
the Roosevelt regime and coalition. The Roosevelt regime and coalition were
neither revolutionary or non-revolutionary in the context of our history, but
did institutes programs beneficial to our working class and tying them more
tightly to protection of our bourgeois relations. This took place under
conditions of the existence of Jim Crow. Jim Crow had a "back" under the
Roosevelt regime. The bigger the front the bigger the back.
I most certainly agree when Hall writes:
"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
What this has to do with "ballot box socialism is beyond me," since change -
revolutionary and reform, in America came through institutional violence and
The difference seem to be an understanding of "tradition," "history," and
"culture" in America, rather than "uniquely American."
Ours is the most revolutionary of traditions and countries. Every heard of
the banner of 1776? What of the tradition of 1865?
These are uniquely American events. Name me one country on earth other than
America, where different sectors of capital waged a long destructive civil war
- (without either side representing or expressing foreign capital or
imperial intrigue) to determine who within "national" capital would rule the state?
Conflicts within capital - rather than between capital and labor, generate
sharp and violent struggle but never on the level of the American Civil War.
All the political revolutions of the past century were bound up with the
overthrow of political feudalism as an institutional power to one degree or another
and not a purely inner class affairs of the heart. America was not
exceptional in the meaning of outside the revolution theory framework of Marx, but
1776 was profoundly revolutionary and began a wave of colonial revolutions
(called national liberation by the communists) that would go on to span two
centuries, ending in the victory of the forces of the Vietnamese Revolution -
1976 (proclaiming the Socialist Republic of Vietnam). The uniqueness in this
instance is America as the "starting point" of a long drawn out process of
Remember "the British are coming!" "the British are coming!" This is not to
say the contending of various class forces was not involved. Modern literature
- in the last decade or two, suggest that our national liberation was bound
up with outlawing slavery and the need for a sector of capital to protect its
interest in slavery. The point is that America inaugurated a wave of
national liberation movements and that is our tradition.
I personally have no reason to doubt that we will inaugurate a new wave of
communist political revolution, consistent with our on-going changes in the
productive forces. The forms of revolution will by definition manifest our
Ballot box socialism seems to be (I am not sure) the end ideology and vision
of political syndicalism and right wing communism. A section of communism
that has not severed its thinking from the ideas of revolution characteristic of
our bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie knows power is about winning the armed
forces and capturing the insurrectionary movement.
Who ever thinks and leave out the "little" matter of the state as an armed
body of men personifying the insurrectionary process, needs to study American
history more and the history of classes on earth, and the Russian Revolutions
and the October Revolution.
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