The New Communism
by Alex Collins
A new socialist movement is emerging in the United States. Rather than emerging from old Socialist tradition or from the work of the New Left, this new socialist movement has risen organically in the 21st century. Realizing the corruption of big business, the destruction of the environment and the brutality of police forces, the youth understand fully the need for drastic change. Merely protesting provides little substantial change. The unwillingness of the political parties to provide this change is becoming increasingly clear. While they may pay lip service to particular causes or pledge to increase diversity, the poor continue to suffer while the rich and powerful continue to thrive.
Looking for an alternative, many of the youth have uncovered the theories of communism. Having been told their whole lives that hard work under capitalism would reward them while they only grow more poor has made the youth skeptical of anticommunist propaganda. Simple medical services cost more money than the poor could ever hope to earn. Being forced to choose between good health and full stomachs has made them see that capitalism is a plague. Growing up in the shadow of the Cold War has allowed them to see that the prosperity promised was a lie. In reading the theories of communism, in watching the struggles of Occupy, Black Lives Matter and the Water Protectors, they youth have come to realize a new program is needed. A new communism, which learns from not only the mistakes but also the successes of our predecessors, those whose struggled before, is being created. This project is attracting many new members. Unfortunately, a combination of bitter liberals, the hangover of Cold War propaganda, and misinformation leaves many confused as to what socialism and communism means. So many are teaching themselves, yet they often find it difficult to teach others. For many, reading through old theorists such as Marx is a chore, the old language and historical context making these works feel outdated. The purpose of this (zine/pamphlet) is to provide an easy to read source for what communism is and can be.
WHAT IS COMMUNISM?
Communism is a movement hoping to end exploitative relationships in society. Human beings, according to communism, should not be allowed to oppress one another. While some believe it is human nature to exploit and be greedy, communists believe human beings are taught to be greedy and exploitative through their environment. Communists believe that human beings are by nature creative and social, enjoying doing fulfilling work. Unfortunately, ever since humans began to divide one another by social concepts such as gender, they created unequal societies of haves and have-nots. Communists believe that these divisions, or classes result in struggles between classes.
To the communist, it appears that a society free of oppression is a long ways away. Human history is full of class struggle. As these struggles change over time, systems and institutions designed to oppress, such as patriarchy and white supremacy, also change. Despite changing, these institutions have a lot of staying power. Without solving the root causes of these oppressions, the inequalities they enforce will continue.
It is the belief of the communists that exploitation is inherent to Capitalism, the current system of global economic relationships. This is because under capitalism, a wage system was introduced. Human beings were denied the ability to hold common property, which was taken away, sold and enclosed. Without land to grow their own food on, people were forced to doing unfulfilling work for a meager wage. The boss under capitalism is looking to gain as much profit from the worker as possible. As such, it is in the best interest of the capitalist to pay a worker less then their value is actually worth. Furthermore, from its earliest days, capitalism has been obsessed with trade and commodities. In order to create new commodities to sell, capitalists spread across the globe from Europe. Along the way they violently colonized lands, enslaved millions of human beings, and wiped out whole cultures. Whenever possible they created systems of forced labor, and where they could not, they introduced wage labor. Along the way they enforced private property and systematically oppressed women.
Communism therefore is a movement that wishes to move beyond capitalism, and solve the problems of exploitation and oppression that capitalism creates.
WHAT IS CAPITALISM?
Capitalism is a global economic system, based on private property, markets, commodities, and wage-labor. Wage labor is a system in which people sell their work. Because people need to rely on wages in order to meet their basic needs, they are often obligated to do unpleasant, unfulfilling and often dangerous work in order to survive. Because capitalism forces people to do unfulfilling work, it makes workers feel less human, and makes them feel separate from the world around them. Karl Marx called this process alienation. Feeling disoriented and valueless, workers no longer see the value in their work. They are often unable to afford what they make for their boss, so they are also separate from the product of their work. This can make them feel unimportant, so they are alienated from themselves. They have a harder time relating to one another, separating the worker from their fellow humans. This process in a sense separates human beings from their very human nature.
Capitalists think about profits rather than people. To this day, capitalism still seeks to create more commodities to sell. It seeks to find ways to make labor cheaper and products more expensive. The goal of the capitalist class is to privatize everything. Capitalism therefore spreads across the world, taking common property and turning it into private property. In doing so, it also creates new markets for its commodities. If something is not for sale, the capitalist class petitions governments to commodify it. To this day capitalists across the world try to commodify basic resources such as water.
Markets and commodities result in competition. Through competition, this capitalist class becomes increasingly smaller and yet has more land, more resources, and more factories. While initially competition may drive prices down, eventually one or two businesses dominate a market, creating a monopoly and allowing the capitalist to raise prices while cutting costs.
An increasingly small group of the wealthy owns nearly everything. Most of the poor, on the other hand, have nothing to sell but their time and their work. Communists refer to the capitalists as the bourgeoisie and the working class as the proletariat. As the capitalist class shrinks and gains wealth, the working class grows and loses wealth.
Capitalism thrives by exploiting people. It does so simply to gain profit. In order to gain more profits, the capitalist class does everything it can to pay workers as little as possible. If a worker protests, that worker is fired and replaced. There are countless unemployed workers the capitalist can hire instead. For this reason, capitalist societies always have unemployment. Being able to fire your employees and hire new ones keeps wages low and maintains the employer’s power. New machinery, which has the potential to make work easier and less necessary, instead is used to justify lay-offs further adding to the pool of unemployed.
Keeping wages low and using forced labor are only two ways capitalists keep their profits high at the cost of the workers. Capitalism also devalues women and the very concept of femininity. In doing so, capitalists are often able to pay women less than their male counterparts. Furthermore, capitalism completely devalues housework. Housework is both gendered (that is, viewed as “women’s work”) and treated as valueless. In doing so, society in general and the capitalists in particular avoid paying women (or anyone else) for housework. Pressuring women to stay at home and care for their families helps keep the workers functioning so that the capitalist does not have to spend energy caring for its workers. It also creates power differences within the traditional family structure. In this way the bourgeois family (the contemporary traditional and approved form of the family) serves as a powerful institution within capitalism. This is a specific, historic form of patriarchy (a society dominated by men) called by Marxist-feminists “The Patriarchy of the Wage”.
Devaluing one group of people over others is a very multi-faceted form of exploitation, and is not limited to women. Similar methods are used by capitalists to pay many different groups of people less. In much of the capitalist world, race is the basis of a social hierarchy which devalues people based on fictional biological differences. In some cases, this devaluation completely excludes certain groups from the workforce, or from political representation. To list all of the ways society devalues specific groups is not possible, nor is it possible to list all of the groups exploited under capitalism.
Given that patriarchy and racism are not limited to economic exploitation, this results in very complex interrelated systems of oppression. For this reason, the abolition of capitalism will not solve all of the problems of gender or race. It is the belief of the communists, however, that these systems of oppression reinforce capitalism, and in fact are inherent to capitalism itself. For this reason, the communist seeks not only to abolish capitalism, but all interrelated systems of oppression such as patriarchy and white supremacy.
Historically, capitalism has also used child-labor, a cheap, often powerless workforce. Through collective struggle against the capitalists, the working class has succeeded in enacting child labor laws. While this is a success of the workers movement, the problem has not been completely resolved. Capitalists, who often live in the prosperous countries where child labor has been abolished, often move their factories overseas. To this day, capitalist companies such as GAP, H&M and Nike all use child labor and sweatshop labor in order to cheaply produce commodities sold around the world. For this reason, the communist struggle is an international struggle. Capitalism shows itself to be an international, colonial system, and requires an international solution.
Capitalism is also a highly wasteful system, throwing away food while people starve. Developers continue to build empty homes, even though there are already more than enough empty houses for all of the homeless. Capitalism extracts resources without concern for the environment. Its wasteful, careless methods have resulted in pollution, habitat destruction and ultimately, climate change.
It is the belief of communists that human beings are not a separate from nature but a part of it. We rely on the environment to live. We rely on other forms of life. Human beings who explore the natural world reconnect with a part of their humanity. The destruction of the environment, whether through pollution, mining or mass deforestation, also damages us. In the same way that struggles humans have with capitalism are interrelated, so too is the struggle nature has with capitalism.
HOW HAS CAPITALISM SURVIVED?
If capitalism is so devastating toward humanity and the Earth itself, then why have we let it continue? The answer has many parts. First and foremost, from the beginning capitalism was resisted. Peasants whose community land was being turned into private property for wealthy landowners revolted. Women being denied the ability to practice traditional medicine revolted. Slaves revolted. Colonies revolted. Religious minorities revolted. Despite this, capitalism has remained the global system. So the question must be asked again, in slightly different form. Why has capitalism continued despite resistance from so many different people?
The first answer is the capitalist class is rich, powerful, and well organized. Because of this it can easily crush poorly organized forms of resistance. It does so both legally and violently, depending on what method seems most effective to the capitalist.
The ruling class is much more class-consciousness than the working-class is, and has deliberately suppressed communist movements. Artists viewed simply as being sympathetic to communism have been blacklisted, communist groups have been spied on and infiltrated, and communist demonstrations have been met with police violence. Capitalism will do everything it its power to crush any emerging alternative.
Secondly, the culture of societies serves to keep the working class from revolting. To some extent, this is encouraged by the media. The media, a massive industry controlled by the capitalist class, serves to spread false consciousness among the working class. False consciousness keeps the workers from realizing their collective class interest, uniting, and overthrowing the capitalist class. When a worker realizes their class interests, they become class conscious. The capitalists recognize the danger in class-consciousness. Using every outlet possible, the capitalists have sought to confuse and divide the working class. The capitalists want the people to believe there is no alternative.
Another explanation for capitalism’s survival is its adaptability. When labor began to organize and gain strength at the beginning of the last century, capitalists began to make concessions to their workers in order to improve their lives and make them less likely to revolt. Furthermore, when a system of oppression has outlived is usefulness, it is changed or replaced. An example of this would be slavery. After the Civil War, the Southern Capitalist class lost a great deal of free labor it used to generate profits. No longer able to use slaves, the capitalists utilized the 13th amendment, which allow them to use criminals as an unpaid labor- force. To this day for-profit prisons are used to extract value from forced labor. Many of those affected are black and brown people. Ultimately, the white supremacist form of forced labor was not removed, but merely changed, maintaining the structure.
Perhaps the most powerful tool of the capitalist class is the state. Communists believe the state was created in a long historical process. Because conflict between classes occurred throughout human history, states were formed to mediate these conflicts and the maintain stability of class societies. To this day state is used to mediate contradictions between classes within society as well as regulate territory between societies.
However, the state is also used as a tool of class domination. Using both the electoral system, the, and bribery, the capitalist class is able to use the state and its military to reinforce inequalities, protect private property, and repress rebellions. The state also uses its systems of education and propaganda to increase false consciousness. As such, the communist movement views the state as an instrument of class oppression, aimed against the workers.
WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF THE COMMUNISTS?
The communists seek to move beyond capitalism and into communism. Many communists believe that they cannot get rid of both capitalism and the state in one step however. Because institutions change over long periods of time, and are hard to get rid of, there will be a long, historical process in order to get to communism. Because of this, communists first intend to rid themselves of capitalism and replace it with socialism. They hope to create alternatives to capitalist and state institutions, in order to show people how they can take care of themselves, and ultimately demonstrate the benefits of socialism.
The most immediate way to do this is through community empowerment. The communists seek to establish community gardens, in order to give free, healthy food to the people who need it. The communists want to set up free classes, in order to provide good education to those who want it. The communists work to set up workshops, where community members can share their skills. The communists want to set up local organizations, so that people can have a say in how their lives and communities are run.
The communists also want to improve people’s housing, and teach them the skills to stand up for their housing rights. They want to improve wages and workplace conditions. In order to do this the communists wish to organize the working class. Organizing tenant groups, worker’s councils and trade unions allows workers to combine their power. By coming together in these groups, working class people will be able to improve their own lives. While a boss could easily fire a single worker who stands up for themselves, the collective efforts of working class people are much harder to ignore.
As communities and working class people become empowered and organized, they will create alternatives to capitalist institutions themselves. Rather than believing only big business or government is capable of handling social problems, the working class will see that they can handle their own problems simply by uniting and working collectively.
Many communists believe that this will lead to a harsh reaction by the capitalist class and by the state. Therefore, many communists believe a party devoted to achieving working class goals and protecting working class interests is needed. This party must work to organize and empower the people and work toward achieving communism. The long term goal of this party would be the creation of a stateless, classless society, free of exploitation. The communists believe that this can be done through abolishing the state and private property. The short term goals of the party will change depending on the present circumstances, though they will always be focused on organizing and protecting the working classes.
When communists say they want to abolish private property, they do not mean they want to take away all of our things. Things like toothbrushes, guitars, and the home you live in are not what communists mean when they say private property. The private property referred to here is a social relation and a political concept. The communists take issue with the idea that someone can own a factory they don’t work at, or land they have never seen. More significantly, the communists take issue with the idea that a capitalist has a right to all the profits and items created by the workers at a factory. The capitalist also gets to control what the employees do in a workplace, which can lead to unpleasant workspaces. In present society, this is seen as a political right. Often, this political right is treated as more important than the right to health, happiness, or a safe workplace. To the communists, health, happiness and safety are more important than private property. Furthermore, private property protects and even worsens many social inequalities. For these reasons, the communists want to get rid of private property as a political right, and especially as a right that supersedes health and happiness.
In practice, abolishing private property will mean having land and resources be owned collectively. Workers will have a say in how their workplaces are run. Communists sometimes refer to workplaces as the means of production. Workers taking control of their workplaces is sometimes called seizing the means of production. Once workers control their workplaces, work can be done for the common good. The community will provide for individuals within the community. This will end a serious amount of exploitation. When work is done for the collective good, new machines will no longer mean people lose their livelihood, but instead have more time to study, to play, to socialize, and to do work they find rewarding. People will be able to learn new skills. People will be able to engage in their creativity, invent and build. People will be able to explore their environment, and reconnect with the natural world.
Following their passions will allow human beings to develop in all sorts of meaningful and exciting ways. It is the belief of the communists that this will allow human beings to reconnect to both themselves and others. Because people will be able to reconnect with their natural environment, their work, themselves and one another, we can say that the ultimate goal of communism is to reconnect human beings to their humanity.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MISCONCEPTIONS PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT COMMUNISM?
Many people have misconceptions about communism. This has happened because communist have done a bad job explaining themselves, or because people haven’t had access to communist ideas. Often this happens because of capitalist media and government propaganda. During the Cold War, and in fact long before, governments and big business have deliberately misrepresented communism and communists, prevented those perceived as communists from making art or literature, and even sabotaged civil rights groups seen as being connected to communism.
DO COMMUNISTS WANT THE GOVERNMENT TO CONTROL EVERYTHING?
No, they do not. The communists simply want the workers to control their workplaces and for private property to be abolished. While the government might be one way to achieve collective (and therefore worker) ownership of the means of production, there are others. Trade union control of factories, direct worker control of factories, and communal ownership are all ways for workers to control their factories without government involvement.
Many communists have argued over the degree a state should be involved in controlling production and society. The vast majority of communists including Marxists and those who consider themselves anarchist-communists do not want the state to control everything. In fact, both of these traditions ultimately believe in getting rid the state completely. Marxists believe this is to be done over a long period of time. As the working class increasingly controls its workplaces and the working class unites globally, the need for the state will become increasingly unnecessary. Once people have direct control over their lives, and communities have direct control over themselves, the state will no longer be needed.
Because the state is used to oppress social classes, it cannot exist in a classless society and must be gotten rid of. While it is possible to have a state and socialism at the same time, it is impossible to have a state and communism at the same time.
DO COMMUNISTS WANT TO TAKE AWAY EVERYONE’S GUNS?
Guns are a contentious issue in the United States. Sometimes the debate is framed in order to increase loyalty to one of the two capitalist parties. Some people believe one side wants to take away all of their gun rights, and other people believe that one side wants to get rid of all gun regulation. Most people in the United States lie somewhere in between these two extremes, and there is a lot of room in the difference.
The fact is, communists are not particularly interested in this debate. For some, this debate is a distraction. There is a lot of complicated factors involved and not all communists feel the same way. For most communists, the gun industry is powerful, rich, and unconcerned with the lives and safety of most people. The gun lobby is an undemocratic and dangerous influence on government. Gun violence is a serious issue that causes far to much human pain and suffering. For many gun violence is a constant tragedy.
For people living in rural communities, however, firearms are a source of livelihood. People hunt for food, or use firearms to protect their animals from predators. Some folks live far away from emergency services, and rely on a firearm to protect their family in case of the worst.
Unfortunately, it is also in the experience of communists that even using nonviolence can get socialists killed. Innocent people are killed by the police all the time. Political leaders, even known pacifists, are assassinated. Capitalists have sabotaged and even arranged violent overthrows of socialist governments. Communist leaders have been killed in their homes. Capitalists have even murdered religious officials who are seen as sympathetic to communism.
Furthermore, many marginalized communities live under constant threat of violence. White supremacists, neo-nazis, homophobes and transphobes all commit very real acts of violence. Many women too, are under threat of violence from men. Sex-workers are virtually without protection and can be hurt or killed by both their clients and their bosses. For many of these groups, the authorities seem unwilling or unable to help. In many cases, even calling the authorities means simply inviting more violence. The police kill people of color constantly in this country. In some communities, especially poor and marginalized communities, the police feel like an occupying military. Their sniper rifles, their armored cars and their ability to kill with impunity reinforces this image.
Many Communists believe that people should be able to defend themselves from violence. Communists believe that some people cannot rely on the police to protect them, and perhaps even need to protect themselves from the police. For this reason, communists are in favor of arming the working class. This is not viewed as a matter of individual gun rights, but rather community protection. As such, some communists want workers councils to have independent militias which protect communities from violence. Other communists want a working class organization which has access to firearms, so that arms can be given to the people if necessary. Some communists believe in increasing gun control as well, though they recognize the importance of firearms for some rural communities. Clearly, this is a complicated issue and not all communists agree! But no communists want to take away all of your guns.
In truth, most communists view gun violence as having different causes and solutions than gun control. A lot of violence is a result of poverty. Some people are forced to turn to crime in order to meet their basic needs. By eliminating poverty, (as well as the for-profit gun industry), communists believe that gun violence can be severely reduced.
Another cause of gun violence is gun culture. Gun culture means different things to different people, but some elements of gun culture are outright racist and xenophobic. There is a lot of media that pushes gun culture, suggesting people need to fear their neighbors, immigrants, Muslims and criminals. This is absolutely harmful, and contributes to the hate and distrust that is growing in society. Gun culture also encourages people to defend their “property”. This teaches people that things are more important than people, and encourages people to kill “criminals”. Again, many people are driven to crime in order to survive. Killing a human being who is trying to live is awful.
Patriarchy is also a factor in gun violence. Gun culture, and society overall, tends to glorify masculine violence. People are taught that being violent and aggressive results in rewards, such as wealth and women. Objectifying women as rewards rather than treating them as humans is obviously terrible and alienating. Furthermore it creates the expectation in some men that they are “owed” women. When men are denied this, they sometimes use violence to lash out or to seek their reward.
Alienation, that feeling of separateness discussed above, can be the final push that drives people to gun violence. Feelings of isolation and loneliness can lead to feelings of helplessness. Feelings of powerlessness causes some individuals to seek power. This can be in the form of their identity, or through violent action. Partially tied to gun culture and toxic masculinity, these individuals sometimes decide to take drastic, violent and horrific action. They become “lone wolves”. A wolf is a social animal, much like a person. When cut off from a pack, lone wolves become more dangerous, but they also have a harder time surviving. When a person is cut off from their fellow humans, they lose a sense of their humanity. They too may become more desperate and more dangerous. This is a contributing factor to the rampant gun violence in our society.
These causes are far deeper than gun control will resolve. Gun control cannot solve the root problems of poverty, gun culture, toxic masculinity and alienation. Only by dealing with poverty, creating alternatives to gun culture and patriarchy, and reconnecting with our fellow people will we be able to resolve these issues.
DO COMMUNISTS WANT EVERYONE TO BE PAID THE SAME?
Communists don’t necessarily want everyone to be paid the same. In fact, to many communists, money is a part of the problem. For these communists, abolishing money is just as important as private property and the state.
That doesn’t mean that communists don’t want hard work to be rewarded, just that the system of rewards under communism will be different.
DO COMMUNISTS WANT EVERYONE TO LOOK AND ACT THE SAME?
This belief is largely the result of cold war propaganda. Because communists want to move away from capitalist competition, it is said they want everyone to have all the same things. Under capitalism, we are taught to identify with our stuff, so it is also said we want everyone to act the same.
While communists don’t see the need for 20 kinds of toothpaste which all clean teeth, that does not mean we want everyone to think and act the same. In fact, by freeing people from oppressive social relations, the communists hope to allow people to explore themselves, create new kinds of art and music, and to learn new things. Rather than everyone being the same, communists want human beings to try new things, to change, and to discover new possibilities. Under communism, everyone will be able to be heir most genuine selves.
DO COMMUNISTS BELIEVE THAT ALL PROBLEMS ARE ECONOMIC?
This belief comes from a misinterpretation of the research of Karl Marx. Marx was a materialist, which means he thought that the basis for existence is material, rather than ideal. At the most basic, this means that the world around us is made up of matter and energy. It also means that before human beings can explore artistically and grow intellectually, they need their material needs met, most importantly food and shelter. Therefore, the way a society can be structured is largely dependent on what kinds of goods and services can be produced. Seems basic, right?
Economics is the simply study of how goods and services are produced and distributed in order to meet needs. Marx believed that the economic structure of a society is the base of that society. The way goods and services are produced and distributed not only affects what is possible (people could not fly until they created planes), but also affects the social relations of that society. Because of the way goods are produced (such as through the wage system under capitalism) they are distributed unevenly (as a class society). This uneven distribution of goods and services is a significant element of all class societies, not just capitalism. Using our plan example, we can see that while planes are produced, allowing humans to fly, the wage system and uneven distribution does not let every human afford a ticket. The working class is often unable to take frequent vacations or fly to new countries, unlike members of the ruling class.
For some reason, people believe that the economic base is the only thing that matters to communists in general, and Marxists in particular. This is simply false. Communists think that social and historical factors also play a serious role in how people act and think. Culture and religion are powerful factors in how people see the world, in how they act and in how class-consciousness they are. While the base may determine what is possible, only human action determines what will happen.
While there are economic elements to social problems such as racism and sexism, there are also important historical elements to this issues. Communists believe that achieving socialism is a serious step in fixing the economic factors in these systems of oppression, but socialism will not solve these social problems without they help of other historic and cultural solutions.
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE NEW COMMUNISTS TO CONTEMPORARY POLITICAL PARTIES, GROUPS AND MOVEMENTS?
The communists are hostile to the two mainstream political parties of the United States. While the Democrats are somewhat better in terms of their political alliances, ultimately the communists see the two parties as being inherently the same- parties of the capitalist class. While the Democrats use more tact and courtesy in their war against the working class, they still are a party of exploitation. The policy of every president since at least Nixon has been nearly the same; the difference is simply one of degree. In the long run, even the Democrats maintain white supremacy and protect the interest of the capitalists.
The economic policy advanced by both the Republicans and the Democrats is called Neoliberalism. Neoliberalism as an economic theory that believes private businesses are more efficient than governments. Neoliberal economists advocate “free markets”, privatization, and deregulation. They suggest their policies will lead to an increase in democracy. Research shows this is not the case.
Neoliberalism as a policy serves to restore power to the capitalist class and crush working class opposition. The capitalists deliberately sought to regain power they previously lost and return to the status quo.
At the start of the 20th century, the working class was sufficiently organized to achieve some of their aims. Socialist, Communist and Anarchist movements were on the rise. Trade Unions began to impact public policy. Workplace protections, child labor laws, health regulations, and higher standards of living for the working class resulted. In response, the capitalists began the Red Scare, the Cold War and increased oppression of groups such as the Gay and Lesbian communities, who were seen as “fellow travelers” to the communists. But the Capitalists were not totally successful in their goals. During the 1960s black power organizations, feminist groups, environmentalists, and LGBTQIA+ folks among others were beginning to gain ground in their struggles for civil liberties. In Chile, the Marxist Salvador Allende was even elected president, promising a constitutional “Chilean path to socialism.”
The response was neoliberalism. A coup, sponsored by capitalists, neoliberal economists and the Nixon administration, overthrew Allende and began instituting neoliberal policies. Neoliberalism then spread throughout the globe, sponsored by the capitalist class, despite its questionable economic results. Neoliberals launched an all out assault on unions, black power groups, and student organizations. They demonized single mothers, among others. Neoliberal policies outright plundered public goods, selling them for a one-time fee to capitalists. The war on drugs was escalated and for profit prisons grew and spread.
Since then, the capitalists have grown in wealth and power, while the standard of living dropped dramatically for the working class. Neoliberalism is the latest policy of capitalism. Despite its initial claims, neoliberalism is anti-democratic. It serves to strengthen the power of the global capitalist class at the expense of the global masses. For this reason, the communists are completely hostile to neoliberalism.
As a result of neoliberal policies, there has also been a growth of fascist movements. Middle and working class people disempowered by neoliberal policies often blame immigrants, ethnic or religious minorities for their woes. They may become organized and violent, joining or creating neofascist groups. Typically associated with Nazi Germany, fascists are opposed to both Capitalism and Communism. Fascism is a hateful, racist, patriarchal ideology. It promotes violence against black and brown folks, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, and members of the LBGTQIA+ community. Fascism aims to create a brand new elite class. For these reasons, the communists are completely hostile to fascism. Communists believe that the only response to fascists is the radical defense of marginalized communities.
The United States Republicans have used neofascist groups to achieve their political aims. By appealing to people’s prejudices, Republicans suggest that working class problems are a result of competition from immigrants. They have suggested that the poverty that certain racial groups face is a result of culture or laziness rather than centuries of White- supremacy and capitalist exploitation. In doing so they divide the working class and rally white working class people to vote for Republican candidates, who largely represent upper class interests.
These appeals to prejudice have strengthened white supremacists, neo-nazis and other reactionary groups. These appeals eventually led to the creation of the alt-right and finally the election of Donald Trump. It is the belief of the communists that fascism will continue to rise as long as neoliberal policies are allowed to continue and white supremacy stays in place.
WHO ARE THE NEW COMMUNISTS?
The new communists are an element of the newly emerging socialist movement in the United States. The War on Terror, the Great Recession, and the election of Trump have all contributed to the emergence of this movement. The election of Barack Obama and the Occupy Wall Street movement have demonstrated the limitations of electoral and spontaneous anarchist methods of politics. The growth of the Black Lives Matter Movement and fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline have shown the violence inherent in the neoliberal state and the lengths the capitalists are willing to go to defend white supremacy. The Bernie Sanders campaign has shown the desire people have for genuine change, their desire for economic justice. It also demonstrated the unwillingness of the Democratic party to listen to the people. The corruption of politics demands a new solution.
The Communists see as allies Democratic socialists, anarchists, and the feminists, all of whom are working for the goal of a radically equalitarian new society. While we see the democratic socialists as allies, we feel that the electoral path they advocate – through entering the Democratic party especially- is limited and vulnerable to forms of capitalist counterattack, some of which have already been used by neoliberals.
The anarchists, while sharing our final goal, have different ideas about how it can be carried out. While the anarchists are right in viewing the state as oppressive, we believe that any revolution that immediately destroys the state will be crushed by counterrevolution. While some communists want to seize state institutions, and others want to create brand new institutions which rival the state, all (non anarchist) communists believe some form of working class state will be needed to defend socialism from reactionaries. Still, we seek to organize with the anarchists and work to our shared goals.
The feminist movement is essential to our movement. The feminist analysis provides great insights about capitalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy. Without the feminist perspective, socialism will be impossible to achieve. At the same time, capitalist elements within the feminist movement jeopardize not only socialist aims but ultimately the goals of feminism itself. Without addressing the issues of exploitation, feminism will never be fully realized. As such, it is the hope of the communists that the socialist and feminist movements, which always have and always will overlap, will come together enough to build the kind of equal, just society we all advocate for.
Ultimately, alliances with anarchists, democratic socialists, and feminists will be necessary to build socialism. The histories of these movements is filled with cooperation and competition. Sometimes this competition has gotten in the way of our shared objectives. While struggle is necessary, ultimately these groups will need to work together to build a feminist socialism.
We are not the communists of old. Previous communist movements have failed at critical moments. Parties and states have become corrupted. Some communists have treated oppression as purely economic. The Old Left at times became bureaucratic and hostile to change. The New Left’s desire to avoid those mistakes made them limited in their reach.
The responses on the left have been a shift to postmodernism, centrism and post left anarchy. Since that time the working-class has lost much of what they had gained through communism and trade-unionist anarchism. The Postmodernists and the Post Left divided themselves, they refused to organize among party lines, they abandoned solidarity; they did to themselves what the Capitalists had done to defeat socialist movements in the past. The capitalist has always sought to divide and conquer. The communists believe the post left and the postmodernists did that work themselves. For this reason, communists want to use the successful methods of the old communists. It is the belief of the communists that this can be done while learning from the mistakes of previous movements.
The Communists recognize that there are differences within the working class. These can be differences of race, religion, gender, sexuality, and culture. The Communists embrace these differences. These differences do not take away from the one thing we have in common, our humanity. If anything, these differences make humanity more beautiful. The New Communists believe in coming together to build a new society.
The new Communists have emerged organically from the effects of neoliberalism. We have seen the truth in the theories of communism and the failures of Capitalism. We have seen the viciousness of White Supremacy. We have seen the toxicity of masculinity. We stand opposed to them.
The New Communists are young, our first task is to organize. We must improve our theories and learn new methods of political involvement. We need to reach out to the working classes.
In the belly of the beast, communism is at its weakest. Resistance to neoliberalism is strong in Latin America, in parts of Asia, and in Rojava. In the United States, resistance to neoliberalism has just begun to emerge. This resistance must grow. The task of the new Communists will be to grow in strength until we can rise alongside the global working class.
In closing, the Communists ask: Are we not human? Do we not deserve a chance to grow, free from oppression and exploitation?
The communists know the answer: We are human. We must take back our collective humanity. Workers of the World Unite!