Unity and Struggle: Our Ideas and Our Work

Reblogging this from De Todo Un Poco, the blog of my good friend and comrade.  I like this because it shows how we’re practically linking our practical work to our theoretical foundation in Unity and Struggle in a non-academic but high-level with our contacts in Houston, TX.


I undertook the task of giving a brief 10 min summary of what/who Unity & Struggle is at our recent general meeting. I thought I’d share my summary on the blog because I don’t think it’s half bad, although many of the ideas require more context. Which we went into detail during the meeting. I’v come along way since first joing the group in my understanding of our politics and being able to articulate them. I still need a lot work, especially on my oration skills. I’m no Malcolm, yet.

I. What is Communism?

•From the German Ideology – “Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence.”

•Meaning an emphasis on the self movement of the working class as the subject of history and the only ones capable of abolishing our existence in the value form, ending the way we are alienated from each other, nature and the means of production. Where we try to satisfy our many sided needs through performing a single function in the capitalist division of labor in order to produce surplus value.

•This takes on particular racialized and gendered forms, ex: I (a male and Latino) work in the HVAC industry and depend on that to reproduce myself, i.e. to buy food, pay rent, car note, clothes etc. Anything else that nourishes my existence and makes up a part of who I am (art, sports, travel, family etc.) I must try to work in around my basic physical and mental reproduction of daily life. Communism is the transcendence of these conditions we live under, the reconnecting of production and reproduction, or essence and existence.

•If this is the picture, however limited, of what communism is, what then are the premises now in existence? With the crisis and the austerity offensive we see the need for capital to drive down the cost of labor which is the moving contradiction of capital to expel labor from the process of production while at the same time requiring it for valorization, and the contradiction of dead labor over living labor.

II. Historical Moment & Tasks Before Us Today

•What is austerity? Some features of austerity are massive layoffs (unemployment is really high in Europe, US and elsewhere), it also is dramatically cutting social spending (ruling class no longer wants to help pay for reproduction of the working class). Let’s look at examples of resistance against austerity and against attack on the working class broadly speaking.

•Police murder and incarceration of Black people and Immigration.

•These reflect the beginnings or re-emergence of self-movement among Blacks & Latinos, activity that we haven’t seen consistently in a long time.

•Oscar Grant, Treyvon Martin, Troy Davis, and GA Prisoner Strike. Capital is trying to keep in check the reserve army of labor of Black & Latino workers. Capital & the state needs to find an outlet, and deal with it through murder & incarceration.

•Passing of Jim Crow immigration laws (SB 1070 & Copycats) in AZ, GA, AL, SC, etc. Latinos increasingly make up very important and large parts of production process in the U.S. in unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled labor. This will be essential in coming class struggles. These laws are trying to address this, by keeping wages low, keeping undocumented people in state of fear of deportation. Another tool for keeping the class divided, amongst Latinos and amongst the class as a whole, between undocumented and documented.

•Internationally we’ve seen the Arab Spring, Greece Uprising, Indignados in Spain, and the reemergence of a student movement in Chile.

•Alongside this we have a crisis on the left both organizationally and theoretically where revolutionary ideas, organizing and understanding are very low in part due to the loss of roots among the working class.

•Another aspect is that Orthodox Marxism has failed in trying to prevent working class struggles from reabsorbed into capital by focusing undialectically on the forms of struggle and not so much the content of those struggles. Let’s take the unions for example; Orthodox Marxists do not question form of unions, so if they have critiques it is only of the current leadership. But they do not see how unions still trap struggle in confines of capital. They do not focus on the negation of our existence in the value form.

•One of our historical tasks is rebuilding the fighting organizations of the class.

III. Why Revolutionary Organization?

•Through study and experience revolutionary organization is necessary to overcome some of the limitations I just talked about. It acts as a form to organize and equip ourselves with the proper tools to do so. A great influence on U&S has been Lenin and his work in “What Is To Be Done.”

•The revolutionary organization is the place for cadre to gain organizing experience and theoretical training. This happens through study groups and the day to day grind work that entails organizing with the class such as facilitating meetings, preparing agendas, flyering, and discussing tactics and strategy. The importance in theoretical work is to achieve categorical clarity based on the movement of the class to foresee what is happening and why in order to know what our exact tasks at hand are.

• Another task of revolutionaries is maintaining continuity between the ebbs and flows of class struggle. Some ways we do this are through organizing centers in what we call the intermediate layer. This is neither a revolutionary or mass organization, but a form of organization where revolutionaries and the working class can come together to organize during times of low activity.

•We use this center model to find advanced groupings of proletarians who would make up the vanguard. Vanguard in the sense that they represent the most active or militant layer of the proletariat.

IV. Conclusion

•As a revolutionary group one of the roles we are trying to play here is build up independent organizing and a political ecology where we build spaces for people to talk politics about what’s going on in the world, share experiences, and devise tactics and strategy in order to fight for radical change

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