Tag Archives: Mass Line

May First: High Noon in Nepal

This eyewitness reporting by Jed Brandt  first appeared on Jed Brandt’s blog:

“You must come to Kathmandu with shroud cloth wrapped around your heads and flour in your bags. It will be our last battle. If we succeed, we survive, else it will be the end of our party.”

— General Secretary Badal of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)

APRIL 21 — There are moments when Kathmandu does not feel like a city on the edge of revolution.

People go about all the normal business of life. Venders sell vegetables, nail-clippers and bootleg Bollywood from the dirt, cramping the already crowded streets. Uniformed school kids tumble out of schools with neat ties in the hot weather. Municipal police loiter at the intersections while traffic ignores them, their armed counter-parts patrol in platoons through the city with wood-stocked rifles and dust-masks as they have for years. New slogans are painted over the old, almost all in Maoist red. Daily blackouts and dry-season water shortages are the normal daily of Nepal’s primitive infrastructure, not the sign of crisis. Revolutions don’t happen outside of life, like an asteroid from space – but from right up the middle, out of the people themselves. 

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La Pasionaria on Stalin and the Mass Line

ho

Dolores Ibárruri with Vietnamese Communist leader Ho Chi Minh

The following article from 1940, “Stalin, Leader of Peoples, Man of the Masses” is by Dolores Ibárruri, also known as “La Pasionaria”, Communist militant and political leader of the Republican forces during the anti-fascist Spanish Civil War. The article is particularly interesting in its exploration of the method of leadership that the Chinese Communists would call “the mass line“.

Stalin, Leader of Peoples, Man of the Masses

To speak of the triumph of socialism on one-sixth of the earth; to write about the luxuriant development of agriculture in the Soviet Union, a development unequalled by any other country; to admire the astounding growth of socialist industry and the tempestuous advance of the workers; to marvel at the unprecedented achievements of the mighty Soviet air fleet, at the powerful reinforcements of the Soviet navy; to describe the glorious deeds of the Red Army, liberator of peoples; to study the wonderful mechanism of the gigantic socialist state with its manifold nationalities united by indissoluble bonds of fraternal friendship; to observe the progress of science, art, the culture of all Soviet peoples, the joyous life of their children, their women, the workers, the peasants and the intellectuals, the permanent security of all of them and their confidence in the future; to know the daily life of socialism and the heroic deeds of the Soviet people—means to see Stalin, to speak of Stalin, to experience Stalin.

For Stalin—means people, work, struggle; Stalin—means unswerving loyalty to the revolutionary principles of Marxism-Leninism; Stalin—means unyielding hardness towards the opportunists, towards the betrayers and enemies of the toiling people; means tireless vigilance against all enemies of socialism.

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North Carolina: Freedom Road Socialist Organization hosts regional student conference

Kosta Harlan from Chapel Hill, North Carolina explains the roots of the current economic crisis.

Kosta Harlan from Chapel Hill, North Carolina explains the roots of the current economic crisis.

The following is from Fight Back! News:

By staff

Asheville, NC – Around 25 student activists and organizers from seven cities throughout the southeast came to Asheville, North Carolina, April 4, for a conference called “The Crisis of Imperialism and Building a Revolutionary Movement.” This regional student conference was hosted by Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

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FRSO: Build a Fighting Workers Movement

Click the image for a PDF pamphlet version

Click the image for a PDF pamphlet version


The following is a new pamphlet on class struggle unionism from the Labor Commission of Freedom Road Socialist Organization. It helps give the lay of the land in the labor movement in the U.S. today and gives some particular guidance to communists intending to organize in the trade unions.

Build a Fighting Workers Movement

A pamphlet by the Labor Commission of Freedom Road Socialist Organization

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FRSO on the RNC: Two Summations

The following two statements by the Freedom Road Socialist Organization sum up the protest in St. Paul, Minnesota of the Republican National Convention in 2008.

rnc-day4-12-cedar-eg1

Anti-war protests at the RNC send message to the world

The tens of thousands of RNC protesters who hit the streets of Saint Paul Sept. 1 – 4 did something that was truly great. The demonstrations sent a powerful message that was heard around the world: The people of the United States reject the war on Iraq and the Republican agenda. We insist on peace, justice and equality. This message was heard by the rich and powerful, who responded with repression. And it was heard by hundreds of millions of people. Reports of the protests were carried by thousands of media outlets ranging from network TV in the U.S. to Al Jazeera to the New China News Agency. The Sept. 1 rally against the war was carried live on C-SPAN.

The demonstrations that took place on the first and last days of the RNC were of particular importance. The size, scope, militancy and the political clarity – crystallized in the slogan “U.S. out of Iraq now” – helped to create the political context for the entire week of actions against the RNC.

Read the rest here →

Lessons From the RNC: Mass Mobilization and Militant Actions Advance the Struggle

The Republican National Convention brought many of the biggest war-makers to Minnesota. The people’s movements from across the U.S. responded by organizing four days of demonstrations against the RNC. Freedom Road Socialist Organization prioritized organizing against the RNC and helped build multiple days of protest including the mass anti-war march of 30-35,000 people on September 1st and the “No Peace for the Warmakers” militant march turned civil disobedience on September 4th.

We saw the RNC as a chance to unite the anti war movement under the slogan “U.S. out of Iraq Now” and to build a broad united front against the Republican agenda. By any standard the powerful protests that rocked St. Paul were a blow against the rulers of this county.

For progressive and revolutionary organizations the RNC served as a sort of test. Many, from a variety of political trends – ranging from Marxist-Leninists to anarchists – passed this test with banners raised and flying colors. They stepped up to the plate, organizing a historic response to the Republican agenda of war, racism, and reaction.

Read the rest here →

See also the numerous articles on Fight Back! News

Freedom Road: Lessons from the RNC

rnc-jeremymiller-poster

The following is from the website of Freedom Road Socialist Organization:

Lessons From the RNC:
Mass Mobilization and Militant Actions Advance the Struggle

by Freedom Road Socialist Organization

The Republican National Convention brought many of the biggest war-makers to Minnesota. The people’s movements from across the U.S. responded by organizing four days of demonstrations against the RNC. Freedom Road Socialist Organization prioritized organizing against the RNC and helped build multiple days of protest including the mass anti-war march of 30-35,000 people on September 1st and the “No Peace for the Warmakers” militant march turned civil disobedience on September 4th.

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Reading Notes 1: Mao Zedong’s “On Practice“

This is the first of a series of reading notes. I intend to begin by working my way through Mao’s book, Five Essays on Philosophy. Some of this will expand upon material I’ve touched on in my article, Some Points on Stalin (and Mao). This post will include my reading notes for On Practice. The rest will be forthcoming as time goes on. I’m doing this for two reasons: (1.) To help popularize and aid in the study of Marxism-Leninism in general and in the thought of Mao Zedong in particular, and (2.) to help sharpen my own thinking and raise my own theoretical level and understanding. I should add, finally, that in this and all of the other reading notes, this reflects a work in progress in my own study, and therefore, comments and Marxist criticism is encouraged.

Five Essays on Philosophy

  1. On Practice
  2. On Contradiction
  3. On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People
  4. Speech at the Chinese Communist Party’s National Conference on Propaganda Work
  5. Where do Correct Ideas Come From?

Reading Notes on Mao Zedong’s “On Practice“

Members of the Black Panther Party studying Mao's Little Red Book

Members of the Black Panther Party studying Mao's Little Red Book

On Practice is Mao Zedong’s main text on Marxist epistemology, that is, on the Marxist theory of knowledge. In it he examines from a Marxist point of view the problem of how people learn, how their consciousness develops, and how correct theory is developed through practice. It was written along with On Contradiction to challenge dogmatism and subjectivism in the Chinese Communist Party and to help encourage a scientific outlook. We should look at it and study it as revolutionaries struggling to advance mass movements and popular struggles toward revolution, and with the understanding that to do this we must raise the level of consciousness and understand of the masses as we fight along side them. Continue reading

Lessons from the RNC Protests

The following is a summation of the RNC protest from Fight Back! News Service. I have posted a lot of other material on the RNC protests and my readers should check that out as well. 

Jess Sundin marching on day 4 of the RNC

Jess Sundin marching on day 4 of the RNC

Fight Back News Service has posted a podcast of Jess Sundin, a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization and one of the leading organizers of the Sept. 1 and Sept. 4 anti-war demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Sundin speaks on the lessons that can be learned from the protests at the RNC.

Sundin, along with other RNC protest organizers spoke at a Sept. 20 community discussion in Minneapolis, Minnesota hosted by Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

Click here to hear the podcast:
Lessons from the RNC protests
Jess Sundin, September 20, 2008

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Revolutionary reflections on the election: We are the wind and the rain

I’ve been reflecting more on the need to build a mass movement to defeat John McCain and stop the reactionary Republican agenda of racism and war. Mostly, I’ve been thinking about this in terms of the The Stop the War! Stop McCain! working group of Students for a Democratic Society, which is an important initiative from radical youth and students in that direction.

paper tiger

Hearing John McCain talk about 100 years of war in Iraq, watching him spit his racist and reactionary venom, reminds me of something Mao Zedong, the leader of the Chinese revolution, once said.

Now U.S. imperialism is quite powerful, but in reality it isn’t. It is very weak politically because it is divorced from the masses of the people and is disliked by everybody and by the American people too. In appearance it is very powerful but in reality it is nothing to be afraid of, it is a paper tiger. Outwardly a tiger, it is made of paper, unable to withstand the wind and the rain… When we say U.S. imperialism is a paper tiger, we are speaking in terms of strategy. Regarding it as a whole, we must despise it. But regarding each part, we must take it seriously. It has claws and fangs… Strategically, we must utterly despise U.S. imperialism. Tactically, we must take it seriously. In struggling against it, we must take each battle, each encounter, seriously. At present, the United States is powerful, but when looked at in a broader perspective, as a whole and from a long-term viewpoint, it has no popular support, its policies are disliked by the people, because it oppresses and exploits them. For this reason, the tiger is doomed. Therefore, it is nothing to be afraid of and can be despised. But today the United States still has strength, turning out more than 100 million tons of steel a year and hitting out everywhere. That is why we must continue to wage struggles against it, fight it with all our might and wrest one position after another from it. And that takes time… It seems that the countries of the Americas, Asia and Africa will have to go on quarrelling with the United States till the very end, till the paper tiger is destroyed by the wind and the rain.

U.S. Imperialism is a Paper Tiger 

I think we have a lot to learn from what Mao says here about the strategy and tactics of dealing with paper tigers.

Unfortunately there is very often on the Left an abstentionist view put forward, a view that the problem is systemic and the voting makes no difference. This view argues that we should put forward a principled opposition to electoral poltiics. I don’t agree. Continue reading

The Crisis of Capitalism and the Economics of Imperialist War

I’ve posted extensively on political economy and the current financial crisis. This video (below) is particularly interesting given some of the advanced demands coming from those that oppose the bailout (see No Bailout for Billionaires!). A lot of progressive demands are being put forward to deal with the financial crisis.

Some of the key demands are: 

  • a moratorium on forclosures, evictions and rent hikes
  • more government assistance to low-income people
  • criminal prosecution of banking, finance, insurance and all other executives whose companies have benefited from the foreclosure crisis
  • creation and funding of jobs programs throughout the country to eliminate unemployment
  • an immediate end to the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan.

I want to draw particular attention to the last demand on the list, and we need to look at all of this from a class struggle perspective. Continue reading