The Commies Are Coming!

According to Donald Trump, he was brilliantly accurate when he predicted in 2019 that “America will never be a socialist country.” Why? Because, as he stated a few weeks ago, “the train didn’t stop at the socialist station… We hit the Marxist station and the communist station.” Meanwhile, the House of Representatives recently passed a bipartisan resolution denouncing the “horrors of socialism.” Based on these latest absurdities from the political establishment, one might be forgiven for thinking that we are on the brink of an imminent and glorious communist revolution. This article is the editorial for issue 38 of Socialist Revolution, the magazine of the US section of the IMT.

But wait a second—didn’t the collapse of the USSR mean the final victory of capitalism and confirm its superiority once and for all? Why keep beating a dead horse? The explanation is simple: Marx may have been placed in his grave 140 years ago, but far from being dead and buried, his ideas are more relevant than ever — and the serious bourgeois know it.

Unable to resolve the system’s contradictions, their political lackeys must find a new bogeyman, or rather, attempt to revive an old one. In the absence of convincing political arguments — which is itself a function of the shattered objective basis for class peace — they must resort to utter inanity to sow fear and confusion.

Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of communism against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?

Thus wrote Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto, the birth certificate of our movement. Fast forward 175 years, and we are treated to the ridiculous spectacle of one right-wing capitalist party accusing the other right-wing capitalist party of being communist!

But this sad attempt at provoking a new Red Scare — this time under the auspices of Kevin, instead of Joseph, McCarthy — doesn’t have any serious traction. In fact, these ludicrous attacks will only backfire. Repelled by both parties and exhausted by years of turmoil and instability, the interest of millions in these ideas will only be piqued further. After all, “if these clowns reject Marxism and communism, maybe I should check it out!”

Crusade against communism Image Library of CongressThe sad attempt at provoking a new Red Scare—this time under the auspices of Kevin, instead of Joseph, McCarthy—doesn’t have any serious traction / Image: Library of Congress

And this is precisely what is already happening on a massive scale. Recent polls show that millions of young Americans — and not an insignificant number of older ones — are wide open to socialism and even communism. For example, a new poll by the Fraser Institute found that, when asked about their” ideal economic system,” 31% of all Americans replied “socialism,” and 11% said “communism”! This is particularly remarkable given the stranglehold the bourgeois have on all forms of media and the lack of a mass force arguing for socialist or communist ideas.

How can this be explained? In a word, the 2008 generation has been joined by the 2020 generation. Tens of millions have started drawing inevitable conclusions from the greatest of all teachers — life itself. The capitalists have no one to blame but themselves for this dramatic shift in consciousness.

Although most people are not yet consciously aware of it, they are gradually realizing that the internal contradictions of a system based on private ownership of the means of production, the market economy, and the nation-state cannot be resolved within the limits of the system itself. These artificial boundaries will only be superseded when they are deliberately replaced by a rational and democratically planned economy under a workers’ government. Until then, we will be plagued by crisis, hypocrisy, poverty, corruption, inflation, racism, sexism, and war.

It is natural and normal that people seek the path of least resistance when trying to improve their situation. That path tends to lead first through individual solutions and familiar institutions, parties, and leaders. But Americans have been trying this for decades. They have been blocked on all fronts and, instead of less resistance, face only increasing resistance. Already, millions of American workers have entered the road of trade union struggle. But this is only the beginning.

American workers Image Chad Davis FlickrMillions of American workers have entered the road of trade union struggle. But this is only the beginning / Image: Chad Davis, Flickr

Industrial struggle must be combined with political struggle and, ultimately, mass collective action on a revolutionary scale. And after centuries of capitalist rule, we can rest assured it won’t be a bourgeois revolution. Quite the contrary; what is on the not-too-distant horizon is a socialist revolution, which will raise the working class to power and lay the basis for the abolition of exploitation, oppression, and class society itself — in other words, real “communism.”

As Leon Trotsky put it in 1934:

Should America go communist as a result of the difficulties and problems that your capitalist social order is unable to solve, it will discover that communism, far from being an intolerable bureaucratic tyranny and individual regimentation, will be the means of greater individual liberty and shared abundance.

That is what the ruling class is really worried about. The “horrors of socialism” they fear are the loss of their wealth, power, and privileges and the rise of a world where there is equality in life, not merely in law. And they are right to be afraid. Because in addition to amassing incalculable wealth and technological know-how, they have created their own gravediggers: the world working class, the most numerous and potentially powerful social force in history. All the pieces are in place for the revolutionary transformation of society. All except one, that is. To make that potential to change the world not only probable, but actual, the working class requires three things: leadership, leadership, and, again, leadership!

The more clear, decisive, and resolute the leadership, the shorter the path to victory, and the less convulsive the transition from capitalism via socialism to stateless, classless communism. Unfortunately, the current gaggle of so-called socialist leaders is nothing but. In reality, they are liberal apologists for capitalism in socialist guise and have zero confidence in the potential power of the working class.

Bernie Sanders voted to fund NATO’s inter-imperialist proxy war in Ukraine. Three of the four Democratic Party “socialists” in the House voted to strip railroad workers of their right to strike against intolerable conditions. And even though a majority of House Democrats voted to condemn socialism, the right reformists in DSA and at Jacobin cling desperately to the idea that they can magically push that party to the left.

Proxy war Image AFU StratCom Wikimedia CommonsBernie Sanders voted to fund NATO’s inter-imperialist proxy war in Ukraine / Image: AFU StratCom, Wikimedia Commons

We warned that this would happen when AOC and her cohort were first elected. Far from moving the Democrats to the left, these milquetoast “lefts” moved deeper into the Democrats and have been wholly subsumed by its unapologetically pro-capitalist machine. The Las Vegas DSA learned this the hard way and has started to draw some conclusions. As they put it: “This is our lesson, and we hope socialists everywhere will pay close attention: the Democratic Party is a dead end. It is a ‘party’ in name only; truly, it is simply a tangled web of dark money and mega-donors, cynical consultants, and lapdog politicians.” Millions of others will learn similarly enlightening lessons in the years to come.

Genuine socialists elected to office would base everything they did on absolute class independence. Instead of “making deals” with the class enemy to win a few fleeting crumbs, they would use their platforms to expose the system for what it is, using facts, figures, and arguments. They would propose sweeping socialist legislation that would infringe directly on capitalist property relations to spark discussion and debate—even if the bills were doomed to defeat in the reactionary halls of power. All of this would help build momentum for a mass, class-independent socialist party of the working class.

So no, the US is far from being a communist country — at least, not yet. It is still dominated by the big banks, monopolies, Wall Street, and a government that operates in the interests of the ruling class. It is still a bastion of imperialist reaction, cynical “culture wars,” and divisive identity politics. But its days as a capitalist country are numbered.

Because the communists are, indeed, coming. And they’re coming, not to reform capitalism, but to abolish it. They’re coming by ones and twos, dozens, hundreds, and thousands, shaped by their experience of life in this system. The International Marxist Tendency is working to organize and train them in Marxist theory and Bolshevik methods. History is on our side, and we have nothing to hide. We are proud to reject the status quo and to fight for a better future for humanity. We are unashamed to echo the founders of scientific socialism as they threw down the gauntlet to this revolting and unsustainable system:

The communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win!

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