Letters, Vol 9, No 11

Communism will do away with money and buying and selling of any kind of work

In a church-affiliated book group, discussion Vitale’s An End to Policing, the topic at the last meeting was the criminalization of sex work. The author advocates decriminalizing sex work. He cites the examples of the Netherlands and rural Nevada where prostitution is legal and regulated by the state. He concludes that this is a useful reform. Police should not be in the business of arresting prostitutes and making criminals out of people who are merely trying to earn a living.

Vitale quotes women who say that they can make a lot more money in this way than working at McDonalds, that this is not an activity that hurts anyone else, and that they should be allowed to earn a living however they choose. The woman leading the discussion agree. She emphasized that the deeply racist and anti-working-class nature of the entire criminal injustice system means that criminalizing sex work is another way of victimizing women of color.

Another woman condemned the sexism of men who avail themselves of prostitutes and the hypocrisy of a state that arrests the prostitutes but not the johns.

A man was offended by the buying and selling of what should be a deeply meaningful expression of a sacred personal relationship.

I mentioned Alexandra Kollantai’s Love of Worker Bees, particularly the short story “Sisters.” The author discusses the resurgence of prostitution during the New Economic Policy in the 1920s in the Soviet Union. This retreat from the revolutionary policies of the Bolsheviks during the war communism of the Civil War produced conditions where women lost their jobs. If they didn’t have a husband to support them, they were reduced to begging or prostitution. More profoundly, however, this cries out for the elimination of money and the buying and selling of any kind of labor. Although I have never been a sex worker, I have been desperate enough to sell my blood for $5 a pint, and I have sold my labor power in many jobs. Capitalism means that to survive, proletarians who have nothing but their labor power or their bodies to sell must sell whatever they can. Most of us sell our labor power. Some of us sell our blood or, even more intimately, the sex act. But it is all alienating. We are fighting for a world where no labor is alienated—where we work and produce together for the good of all, and share the fruits of our labor to satisfy human need. This communist world will free us to build and nurture deeply satisfying human relationships, including, but not limited to, intimate and non-coercive sexual relationships.

—West Coast (US) Comrade

Party collectives can help with personal relationships

I recently spoke with a friend about the relationships we have as couples. She is divorced, with a daughter. There was infidelity in her relationship. The process hurt her emotionally and she started going to a therapist. In the discussion we commented that men are usually less harshly judged for infidelity than women. She commented that one of her friends has a wide circle of friends, all of whom have been unfaithful. Therefore, she should not worry. However, she acknowledged that this is a difficult process. She commented that I should go to the therapist because she knows something about my relationships. I looked at her, surprised. She said that in first-world countries people go to the therapist and it is normal. At that moment I thought that with the salary I have, either I feed myself or go to the therapist. I answered that maybe, instead of going to a therapist, we should be able to listen to each other and make dialectical analyses about what happens in our relationships as a couple. I said that we are writing a pamphlet about sexism and something that we agree with her about is that if people no longer want to continue a relationship for different reasons, they do not have to continue with their partner.

But maybe this isn’t so simple. We must be objective in giving opinions. On our road to a society where people can develop skills to strengthen personal relationships, communists don’t have to divide our life into our political and our personal life. We are both; we are communists. In communism, starting now, collectives will function like therapists who will be educated with communist principles.

With a young comrade who re-joined the party, we analyzed that therapists are sometimes biased by capitalist education (religion, political affinity, morality, etc.) and their analyses in any case are not so politically useful. There is still much to analyze about personal relationships, but when we share them with our collectives, we can make more progress.

Join ICWP

—Comrade in Mexico

Editorial note: The letters on this page, along with the article from Seattle, are part of an ongoing discussion about communist class struggle and how to organize it. We invite readers — and especially collectives — to read and talk about them and contribute more letters and articles. We especially welcome contributions based on on-the-job communist work.

Imagine this scenario:

A bus passenger in a wheelchair is frustrated. Once again, the ramp he needs doesn’t work. He feels abandoned. Worse, as it takes time to try and cycle the equipment, he’s in the unwanted position of causing delays in other peoples’ busy schedules. He’ll be late to work, too.

Take the driver, for example. Her whole self image is as a person who is always ready to lend a helping hand. Yet, despite herself, she’s irritated not just at the ramp that’s not working, that has caused many drivers to get injured, but at the wheelchair passenger himself who, just by showing up, caused all this.$$ And the other passenger on the bus has similar feelings. A mechanical mal-function has brought three strangers together and, at the same time, pushed them away from each other. The other passenger, a communist, goes back to reading Red Flag.

A letter argues that “Fighting for Wheelchair ramps that work” is a reformist demand. It goes on to argue that we must refuse to make any kind of material or political demands on the capitalist rulers. He liked that formula when we came out with it, but now he thinks it steers us away from seeing the possibilities of struggle. Not fighting to make the wheelchair ramps work leaves the workers disrupted, alienated and subjected to the needs of capital. We’ve got to deal with capitalism, he thinks to himself, because it deals with us …every day. He begins to work out a leaflet …

“As long as we work for wages, we’ll create capital (enormous amounts of money) for the capitalist elite. We create it: they own or control it! And they do with it what they want. They throw $6 trillion at wars in the Middle East (since 2001) but claim they’re broke when it comes to maintaining wheelchair ramps.

“One way or another capital (through wages, corporations or their cops) tries to control our lives, but it can’t. It can’t control our will to build a world that revolves around the needs of people. “Among many other things, we need wheelchair ramps that work! Drivers and passengers – with and without disabilities – need to come together. We need a world where our dis-abled brothers and sisters are just as mobile as the rest of us.

“Above all, we need a world where all our comrades, whether or not they’re in wheelchairs, can attend the local club meetings our party (ICWP) needs. We have to mobilize the masses to build the revolution for a communist share-and-share-alike world we all need.”

“Yes,” he says to himself, “I’ll take this idea to my next club meeting.”

—Bus rider

An air conditioning scenario

Lately there’s been discussion about how or whether ICWP engages in the day-to-day class struggles with the bosses. The issue came up as a result of the story about wheelchair lifts on the MTA buses. But to avoid irrelevant details I’d like to offer a hypothetical (made up) scenario. Imagine you work in a sweatshop and you’re literally sweating. There’s a heat wave and it’s 90oF in the plant. There’s air conditioning installed but the boss won’t turn it on because he doesn’t want to spend the money.

We’re all at our wits end and some coworkers with health problems are in real trouble. People are talking about doing something. Some of them know you’re in ICWP and they come to you looking for leadership. Are you really going to limit yourself to giving out Red Flag and telling them that under communism, there will be air conditioning? Of course not. Now let’s look at another extreme. Your union rep is a big fan of the Democratic party and tells everyone that the long-term solution is new health and safety laws that his candidate wants to put on the books. Will you join him in campaigning for his candidate and these laws? Of course not, trying to reform the system is futile. I’d suggest the following rule of thumb. We can – if we choose to – fight for demands that are of clear and immediate benefit to workers. Like turning on the air conditioning or refusing to operate special trains for racist groups. I would rather call these “concessions”, not “reforms”. In fact, it’s strange to consider switching on the air conditioning a “reform” of the capitalist system.

However, in fighting for these concessions we must not forget to distribute Red Flags. And to point out that under communism, there will be air conditioning.

—Northern Comrade

Mobilizing the Masses for Communism should be a continuous process. Presently, it means not only taking communist ideas to the masses but simultaneously organizing communist class struggle directly for communist revolution.

The old communist movement’s experience and ours, however, have been to organize reformist class struggles, using these to mobilize the masses for socialism or communism.

How do we break this cycle? What is communist class struggle? It might be useful to first answer another question. What is the aim of communist class struggle anyway? I would say it is to build the Party and a base for communist ideas among the masses, now, tomorrow and always. Without the Party we can’t organize a communist revolution.

Our comrades in South Africa are very good at mobilizing for communism. They are getting better at recruiting, like in the mines and in the auto industry. Now, to organize big things, like political strikes against capitalism and for communism, among miners and autoworkers, they need a third ingredient: communist class struggle. Our class’s first reaction against capitalist attacks is to fight for reforms. We can’t change this overnight. If, for example, there was an accident in the mines or auto plants and some workers got injured or died, workers might strike calling for safer working conditions.

We would participate in the struggle, criticizing it as reformist – a deadly trap for communists and workers alike. We would call for more advanced political actions like a political strike against capitalism and for communism to inspire workers everywhere to fight directly for communism.

Say we can’t win the workers to do this because only a handful agrees with us. What do we do next? Do nothing because we already spread our communist ideas massively through our paper and leaflets? No! We organize communist class struggle.

Our club calls a meeting of its members and base. We agree that the smallness of our Party and its communist base among these workers prevent us from influencing events the way we need to.

We would then center the discussion on how to improve this. We would invite our friends there to join the Party. Some may join. Others may not but we get them all, members and friends, to promise to distribute more papers and invite other workers to the next meeting. We would make careful plans to follow up these decisions and to guarantee plenty of communist socializing with as many workers as possible.

Then we would write an article for Red Flag detailing what we did and calling on Party members to do likewise when possible. These apparently small steps would build the Party, build a network to distribute Red Flag under all conditions, and spread communist ideas massively. They are the building blocks for actions like political strikes for communism and eventually armed insurrection.

They would make it possible for the masses not only to grip communist ideas but to turn them into a material force capable of transforming the world.

—a Comrade in Los Angeles, CA

We Can Lead Ourselves!

This is the writing of a worker who very recently joined ICWP:

A secret government refers to a group of Elites (Capitalists) who have as their only agenda a quest for world power. They are in a collective shadow that runs behind official governments. Their main agenda is aimed at mass control. These humans think nothing of betraying the masses, seeing them as lesser and expendable. They compete with other capitalists all over the world to take what they desire from the masses. They are dangerous people with many resources, but they are a minority. If we don’t acknowledge them and posture ourselves in relation to them, we will become subjects of mind control and lose the little “freedom” we presently have. We will suffer and the earth will fall under our watch.

Hence they don’t want the masses to be informed and to realize what we are really capable of doing. So they prefer to keep the masses distracted with what is “more important” and manipulate us on a mass level.

The mainstream programs tell us that everywhere we are helpless and victimized by forces beyond our control. They say that the world is a harsh, cruel place of limited resources for which we must compete, sacrifice ourselves, serve others, work hard, make more, buy more, need more, compete and push.

They keep us distracted, and will create all sorts of political, economic, and environmental strategies aimed at controversy so that the masses do not have time to notice that information on many things is being withheld and misrepresented. We don’t need these leaders! We can lead ourselves! There’s no safety in ignorance—only ignorance. Safety comes from awareness and making collective decisions/Choices.

This secret government works “behind the scenes” while a “puppet government” maintains the illusion of “freedom” of the masses by running campaigns of disinformation and propaganda where the masses are led to believe that these policies are in the best interest of the masses.

Long live Communism!

We have a world to WIN!

—Comrade in South Africa

Fight for a Communist World Without Borders

The revolutionary working class, intellectuals and other social elements are the only classes and strata of society world-wide that have as its mission the development of international, intercultural, interethnic, and cross gender solidarity in the struggle to build communism. Why? Because the goal of communism can only be based on the organic solidarity between human beings.

The international outpouring of support for the immigrant youth that have been kidnapped and taken hostage in acts of child abuse and terrorism by the United States government is a significant and courageous act of the revolutionary working class, intellectuals and other social elements. The righteous anger of broad sections of society internationally has created the basis for solidarity. As well, openings exist in social space now to discuss the radical solution of working class revolution as the first step to concretely end the horror of abuse of people migrating to another land that exists in the United States, some European nations, etc. We must absolutely support the rights of immigrant parents to be freed from the captivity of ICE detention centers. We must demand the immediate reunification of the families and their being granted permanent residency (Green Cards) in the United States. This is justice and is the only way forward.

The International Communist Worker’ Party is building an international organization of workers, students, immigrants, soldiers, prisoners, and youth to lead the fight against imperialism, based on the working class. ICWP needs you to step up and help to build a international movement to end all class and social oppression. This is the only way forward for justice for immigrant families.

—Internationalist Comrade

New! Icwpblog!

Icwpweb.Wordpress.Com

The ICWP Blog Is Up And Running!

The blog articles and opinion pieces on current events, letters from readers, longer pieces that are not (yet) in Red Flag. New posts several times a week so it’s always up to date. It’s not a substitute for Red Flag, but a supplement.

Read it, and contribute as well. You don’t have to be an ICWP member to write for the blog. Your opinions are welcome, even your criticisms. As long as they are respectful, relevant and truthful, the blog is for you.

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