By Ed Dalton
As Maoists across the US rally the people around the slogan “Elections No! Revolution Yes!” the sect of sellouts that follow the revisionist Bob Avakian have endorsed Joe Biden.
Since the 1980’s, the so-called ‘Revolutionary Communist Party’ headed by Avakian has used fear and hysteria as a method of recruitment due to the fact that their ideology and program were not and are not revolutionary. They default to considering the enemy strategically invincible, and hence rely on speculation of nuclear holocaust, WWIII, and various other apocalyptic scenarios to muster up support for their dwindling movement. From telling the people in the 80’s that nuclear war was inevitable to guilt them into activity, they revived the same old tactics to “refuse” Trump’s “fascism.” Using this very same logic, they have gone the way of the old, decrepit, and bankrupt ‘CPUSA’ in shamelessly tailing of the Democratic Party and their establishment candidates: the Avakianites only offer a little more revolutionary-sounding dressing.
Avakian has one talent—shameless self promotion. His followers have spent thousands of dollars running full page ads in the New York Times, for events that practically no one attends. Now that he has endorsed Joe Biden, his followers have used their contacts to promote articles regarding this position in the Washington Times, Fox News, and other monopolies. Of course, the ardent Trump supporters use the endorsement from a perceived radical as cause to portray the equally fascistic Joe Biden as a ‘communist’ fellow traveler. The electoral strategy of the Avakianites is useless to everything but besmirching Maoism, an ideology that Avakian and his followers have stopped claiming officially since at least 2015, however the ruling class media conveniently forgets this. In reality, Avakian and company were never Maoists.
According to the Washington Times, “The far left usually finds itself at election time grappling with tricky questions about lesser-of-two-evils, and fears of boosting what they see as a corrupt Democratic Party. But that’s not happening this year.” they conclude, “From Maoists to Marxists, leftists say it’s actually an easy choice.” This has nothing to do with reality, since Maoists invariably call for the boycott of the US elections.
In an email to his followers that was reprinted in Fox News, Avakian claims, “At this critical hour, every appropriate means of non-violent action must be utilized to remove this regime from power, and if, in spite of mass protest demanding the removal of the Trump/Pence regime, this regime remains in power when it is time for voting, then — without placing fundamental reliance on this — using all appropriate means to work for the removal of this regime must include voting against Trump”
Avakian, the revisionist rat that he is, has forgotten the fundamental principle of Marxism, that it is right to rebel. Not only has he dived head first into the sewage of electoralism, but he has also issued calls for “non-violent action.” The masses who make history do not go in for either voting or non-violence, as the low voter turn out and the May Uprisings have already confirmed. The bigger the march, the less voters are present and more violent expressions of the people’s rage are evident.
Avakian has never been in touch with the people, and has no ability to gauge their mood. For Maoists, revolutionary violence is an immutable law of history and it is always right to rebel against reaction. It is Avakian’s rejection of these principles and his lack of interest in the masses that convinces him to endorse Biden, who he openly proclaims an imperialist, all the while calling for the use of “appropriate non-violent action.”
Just as the Republican-aligned monopoly news sources will use the endorsement to attack Biden, the Democratic-aligned press monopolies use it to besmirch Maoism. In both cases it is used to demoralize the people in rebellion.
Placing himself to the right of other revisionists, Avakian states, “To be clear, this means not a ‘protest vote’ for some candidate who has no chance of winning, but actually voting for the Democratic Party candidate, Biden, in order to effectively vote against Trump.”
Avakian proclaims that this is necessary because Trump is a fascist, and in this contradictory position actually seeks to convince people that fascism can be stopped with voting. This is an assertion with no historical precedent. If we entertain Avakian’s hysterics and conclude along with him, that Trump is in fact a full-blown fascist at the helm of a fascist regime, we would still have to follow the logic that fascism and fascist regimes do not allow themselves to be voted out, as the end of bourgeois democracy is one of the hallmarks of fascism. His solution evaporates into hot air.
Trump flirts with fascist forms, as does Biden. Both have verbalized agreement for the right to ‘peaceful’ and ‘non-violent’ protest (much like Avakian) and both have called for the federal government to round up ‘extremists’ and ‘anarchists’ within the protest movement against the police. Of course, those tasked with determining who is ‘violent’ and ‘extreme’ are none other than the police themselves, who have the authority to dictate the terms of the protests leveled against them.
Objectively, US imperialism has entered deepening crisis, the exact variety that produces the most fertile soil for fascism to flourish. Both camps within the ruling class are still mainly in agreement on the essential need for their state to undergo intensified reactionization, the spearhead of which is pointed at political dissidents who take to the streets in combative protest. The Democratic Party just expresses this reactionization differently, more cautiously, but it is essentially the same as what the Republicans espouse. The minor adjustments to the propaganda are enough to have has-beens like Avakian lining up behind them.
Avakian’s Wild Imagination
Along with espousing “appropriate non-violent action” Avakian begins to lay out his other hair-brained theories. “It is of critical importance to continue to build resistance, right now and in an increasingly powerful way, against any and all repressive moves by Trump, including by building mass opposition to this regime’s attempts at voter suppression and through mass mobilization in support and defense of those who are targets of such suppression.”
“Voter suppression” is most often a dog whistle used by the Democratic Party and their supporters. They cannot imagine that the reason the masses in increasing numbers do not vote is not because they are prevented from voting, but because they see through the bait-and-switch techniques of the ruling class and are genuinely aware that not a single candidate really represents their interests. Furthermore, they understand that no candidate could represent their interests, even if they desired to. The state itself is a mechanism of class rule, and those being ruled really have no stake in the elections.
Real fascism would mean that the ‘democracy’ which exists among the ruling class is ended. This means that one section, the most reactionary and terrorist section who corporatizes the country, denies the other section its right to choose which of them brutalizes and torments the people for another four years. Assertions that this is what Trump has planned are not in themselves convincing, but at the same time not impossible to imagine.
Revolutionaries aim to transform the rampant and commonplace voter abstinence that has half the country, especially its proletarians, not voting into an active, political, and revolutionary stand against the electoral farce. This means turning the abstinence which unarguably exists in high numbers into an active and revolutionary boycott, which openly proclaims armed struggle and people’s war as the solution to the problem that is US imperialism and the relationships it enforces. Avakian, and almost all other false communists insist on serving to legitimize the ruling class by attempting to convince those who do not vote to make the retrogressive decision to begin voting.
Avakian uses double-talk in an attempt to swindle the people, “this election is different—in a crucially important way.” He continues, “The question is not whether Biden and the Democrats represent something ‘good,’ or whether, in fundamental terms, the Democrats are ‘better’ than the Republicans. Both of these parties are ruling class political parties, and none of their candidates represent anything ‘good’ in the most basic and essential sense. Biden is not ‘better’ than Trump, in any meaningful way—except that he is not Trump and is not part of the move to consolidate and enforce fascist rule, with everything that means.”
It is true that Biden’s only electoral prospects are based on the fact that he is not Trump, while being identical to Trump in terms of politics, it is untrue that he breaks from the trend of dangerous reactionization at a moment of severe imperialist crisis. If we are to admit that Biden is “no ‘better’ than Trump, in any meaningful way,” then we must admit the distinction offered here is still meaningless.
So what is the Genuine Communist Approach to Stopping Fascism?
Communists do not abandon their posts as revolutionaries to prop up one imperialist, who represents the further reactionization of the bourgeois state, in the name of electorally displacing the other who does the same thing with more vulgar rhetoric. To do so would be to be deceived by the form, and in doing so forgetting the essence. Essentially, Trump and Biden both represent advanced and further reactionization of the imperialist state and show that the US ruling class is not at all that divided. Imperialist readjustment can take place without fascism, and this is still preferable to the ruling class.
That being said, fascism poses a real threat, because at anytime this class could split in its interest with its fascist elements seeking to gain full control at the expense of all democratic rights necessary to the normal function of capitalism. This threat could come from Biden as much as from Trump, both have made fascist proclamations, both seek to further corporatize the state, and neither represent democracy for the people. Both have the sworn mission of securing US imperialism in crisis as the world’s sole hegemonic superpower, and both can be pushed to using every means, including fascism, to accomplish this. Biden, unlike Trump represents a clearer forcing of class collaboration with his reliance on the bourgeois-controlled unions, which is as fascist as anything posed by Trump. Proclaiming Biden as an antifascist is ignorant.
Fascism cannot be beaten at the ballot box, it cannot come about through electoral means and appointments. Fascism is only halted with revolutionary violence and class struggle, led by the working class which unites all progressive and democratic forces into a united front. This is not what Avakian is on about, in all of his proclamations and electoral strategy he hardly even mentions the working class, and instead relies on the gross rhetoric of “all of humanity.”
Analysis of the fascist coup in Chile, led by Augusto Pinochet in 1973 against the revisionist coalition government of Salvador Allende, offers some critical lessons regarding these principles. Allende for his part was to the left of the revisionist ‘Communist Party’ that his government worked with. His pleas to arm the people, which came far too late, were sidelined and prevented by the ‘CP’ who insisted on keeping the Christian Democrats happy.
The Christian Democratic Party had long been financed by the CIA in the service of US imperialism, and it came down to maintaining the balance of collusion and contention between the two major imperialist powers of the time, the Soviet social imperialist and the US imperialists. The Soviets used the ‘CP’ of Chile to seek collusion with the US in the plundering of the country, and hence denied Allende when he begged them for arms shortly before the coup. Class collaboration, and even ‘left-wing’ elections did not impede Pinochet in any way. This lesson is universally valid, and it is part of what forms the Maoist principle that revisionism and imperialism must be tirelessly and inseparably combated.
A united front is instated and led by Communists. Within it, the Communists maintain independence and armed forces under their sole command. The united front is therefore constructed around the Party and its army. It is composed of all progressive and revolutionary forces, belonging to all classes which have a clear interest against fascism and the imperialism which produces it.
The Avakianites offer no military strategy, no Marxist analysis of anti-fascism, and no means to defend the people. Their best is simply telling people to do what has never worked. If they are correct in their assumption that Trump is unlikely to respect the results of the election anyway, then they have already confessed that their tactics lead to an objective dead end. Fascism simply cannot be defeated through the maintenance of imperialist class relations. Instead of the necessary conversations about arming a real resistance movement, we hear only conciliatory approaches from the revisionist misleaders of the people. Asking for mass mobilizations against “voter suppression,” “non-violent” ones at that, is not only a waste of time, it is a waste of time that benefits imperialism and improves things for fascism.
The only revolutionary position is to boycott the electoral farce, promote revolution, and win mass support. This serves the absolute necessity of reconstituting the Communist Party that can lead antifascist struggles, which will inevitably transform the character of the resistance into a People’s War. This, unlike electioneering, actually has a historical precedent in stopping fascism. What was done in China against the Japanese fascists must be done, but cannot be done by narrow imitation; the creative application of those truths to specific US conditions is the key to success.
As students of anti-fascism know well, the resistance movements led by Communists in France and Italy were successful as resistance movements. One can hardly walk around Paris without observing monuments to Communist anti-fascist resistance fighters. It is burned indelibly into the consciousness of the people.
Where these guerrilla movements failed was in converting the resistance into People’s War. The united fronts, instead of serving the proletariat through People’s War, as was the case in China, were sidelined by the revisionism of a class conciliatory approach. This was the case in the US, and Chile (where the parties were engaged in anti-fascism without the element of armed resistance), as well as in France and Italy (where the Parties led the armed resistance). In Italy, right at the very moment where the armed Communist Party had the most mass support, the cause of revolution was betrayed by the PCI, and they ordered their fighters to relinquish their arms to the ruling class in favor of seats in parliament.
Revolutionaries in the US today are faced with the actual reactionization of the state, represented by both of the imperialist parties. They experience this in the streets nightly with the cooperation between state and federal law enforcement agencies, who collude with civilian reactionaries to crush the people’s struggles. They are faced with a potential rise in fascism from either candidate, with Biden having more support from federal law enforcement and Trump having support from armed militias.
In the face of the bourgeois elections, which have never been more farcical, the movement for Black lives must be developed into a broader movement against reactionization. This includes against Trump supporters who are more emboldened in commiting violent acts, as well as against Biden supporters who seek to liquidate the movement through less obvious means, still relying on a massive state repression effort. Both threats loom for the current movement.
In the event of a Trump victory the emboldened civilian fascists will need to be confronted, but they will still be worked up into a frenzy if Trump loses. In the event a Biden victory, movement tourists will withdraw support from the mass movement, since they are only out to secure votes for their imperialist masters. They will leave the people to deal with the vermin who take to the streets in the name of Trump. Both scenarios require increased anti-imperialist action, and increased efforts to develop the election boycott.
Revolutionaries have a poor subjective condition, met with an increasingly revolutionary situation in uneven development. Resistance is due to follow in the current conditions with bigger, bolder, and more violent mass uprisings. All of these must be utilized to reconstitute the Party of the proletariat as the militarized Maoist Party, which can convert the uprisings and resistance it comes to lead into People’s War, for the conquest of state power and the defense of socialism.
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