6. Related Theoretical Topics
Bourgeois Ideological Warfare
The Transitional Economy
Cargo Cult Leninism
This is an interesting and important question because of the extent
to which bourgeois culture, ideology and prejudices saturate present-day society
and shape the attitudes of anyone who is not blind and deaf.
The bourgeois worldview is omnipresent and we are
bombarded, on a daily basis,
with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of images
which tell us, in the most authoritative way, how we are supposed to look,
what we are supposed to think, what is sexy and what is cool.
This constant flood of propaganda from network executives, studio heads, advertizers,
trusted anchormen and distrusted political authorities
conditions and encourages us to see ourselves as weak, powerless, frustrated,
isolated, insecure and, above all,
incapable of shaping the world
in which we live. Probably the most obvious examples of this are
(1) the extent to which women's bodies are
promoted as commodities and
(2) the constant
insincerity which saturates advertizing
and media to such an extent that it appears normal.
This crap is pushed at us in the form of
news, advertizing, TV shows, movies and even magazine covers at the check-out line.
insincerity so saturates our culture
that it appears normal
The bourgeois worldview is aggressive and intrusive in the extreme--relentlessly
deepest aspirations with
the inner world of youth and exploiting the strivings of young people
for acceptance and appreciation within a community of peers.
This has a devastating impact, in particular, on the self-image of young people.
The bourgeois ideology is not content to divide our class into atomized, isolated individuals
but goes further and aims to
divide the self--alienating us
from the divinity of our nature as the product of
a 15 billion year evolution of matter into consciousness.
The bourgeois ideology promotes a view of the world in which
nothing makes sense,
nothing can be explained and things just happen.
This is because an accurate, materialist
understanding of nearly any social phenomena
will lead to conclusions and a consciousness which represent
a direct threat to bourgeois interests
which require, above all, that we be kept
passive and ignorant of the extent to which all
social ills flow directly from the domination of society by a tiny parasitic class.
The aim of this toxic-sludge-is-good-for-you culture
is to convince us that we are better off, safer and happier
if we leave the control of society to bourgeois authorities, bourgeois experts
and bourgeois institutions who know more than us and have our best interests at heart.
On the Transition
to a Moneyless Economy
I hope to eventually write more on this key topic.
As long as the economy operates on the basis of
or exchange of any kind
(for example the exchange or trade of one kind of commodity for
another, or the exchange of money/commodities/wages for labor)
economic forces of immense power
(almost irresistible--because no resistence is possible
that does not lower the productivity of labor) will
spontaneously lead to the
concentration and accumulation of capital
and, with this concentration, the development of a
(defined in terms of its ownership or control of this capital)
separate from and opposed to the rest of society.
This class will strive to
subjugate the entire life of society
(all traditions, all culture, all education, all "public opinion"
and all institutions) to its complete domination.
Therefore, as long as the economy operates on the basis of
money or exchange there will be a danger of bourgeois restoration.
Attempts to create an economy that does not rely on the market
(such as in Russia, China, etc) by
top-down centralized planning
have similarly led to the creation of
new ruling classes which,
in order to preserve their own privileges, were compelled to
suppress the political life
of the working class.
This suppression of the initiative of workers, however,
crippled the development of the productivity of labor
and led to these societies having
than the Western capitalist countries.
The key to a society which is not
class-divided into rulers and the ruled
is the creation of an economy that does not rely on money (or exchange)
or any kind of central planning which
concentrates power and
authority to the extent that class divisions can be created.
A workers' state would organize a
moneyless sector of the economy
side-by-side with a regulated capitalist sector.
The capitalist sector would itself consist of both
(a) private capitalism and (b) state capitalism.
The moneyless sector would not require the highly centralized planning
and the unnecessary concentration of authority that have characterized
the supposedly "socialist" countries but would consist of a large number of independent
units that would
simultaneously cooperate and compete
with one another to most efficiently transform skilled labor into
socially useful goods and services.
The moneyless sector would be a "gift economy" that would operate
without money, wages, commodities or exchange.
It would be highly experimental and would grow as it learns what it is doing,
competing with the capitalist economy
absorbing and transforming it
as a developing chick does the white of an egg.
(See also The Self-Organizing Moneyless Economy below.)
What is a cargo cult Leninism?
I have coined the phrase "cargo cult Leninist" (adapted from the
famous talk on "cargo cult science" given in 1974 by Richard
Feynman) to describe organizations (and people) who repeat
phrases such as "the dictatorship of the proletariat"
without understanding what these phrases will mean in the context of modern conditions.
It is the identical phenomenon as the
South Sea natives repeating the magic phrase "Roger, over and
out" into "microphones" woven out of reeds in order to invoke
the radio gods.
A cargo cult Leninist is anyone who gives prominent attention to
the goal of workers' rule but who fails to deal with the
ideological debris created as a result of the degeneration of the
attempts to create workers' rule in the Soviet Union and China.
Specifically, cargo cult Leninists are those who mouth phrases
about workers' rule without explaining
how a workers' state
would suppress the former (and aspiring new) bourgeoisie without
independent political life of the
and, in particular, without suppressing the right of
- create independent political organizations
(without requiring the permission of anybody), and
- fight to influence the consciousness
of the masses
and mobilize mass support for criticisms
of incompetence, hypocrisy and corruption
within _any_ sphere of society--including the
Put simply, any serious talk of proletarian dictatorship without
such basic clarity on the nature of proletarian democracy is a
sham, a travesty, idiocy and denial by well-meaning but clueless
cargo cultists who have completely lost touch with the thinking
of ordinary people who conceive of workers' rule as a police
state based on thought control.
Cargo cult Leninists are a vanishing species. They are
incapable of defending their views with scientific argument in
the public forums
which have emerged in the wake of the last five
years of the revolution in communications. Not being able to
defend your views with principled scientific argument is the
_kiss of death_ in relation to attracting the support of militant
young activists who represent the lifeblood of any organization
with revolutionary pretensions.
It does not make a damn bit of difference whether you worship
Stalin or you worship Trotsky if you cannot talk about workers'
rule in the context of modern conditions--you are equally
clueless, equally incapable of demonstrating (to ordinary
people--who have _not_ had lobotomies) that you understand the
If you understand modern conditions you will understand that
workers' rule in a modern society would have the support of the
majority of the population--and would not be afraid of the
circulation of reactionary views but, on the contrary, would
trust the masses and would rely on the masses to confront these
reactionary views in millions and billions of encounters.
If you understand modern conditions you will understand that any
effort to censor access to ideas over the internet would
cripple the development of the internet and, in doing
so, would also cripple the development of the productivity of
labor which is necessary for the survival of workers' rule.
If you talk a lot of workers' rule but
cannot clearly say that attempts
by a future workers state in a modern society to suppress the
rights of workers to form organizations and win support for their
views (whether or not their views are right, wrong or
reactionary) is both
profoundly impractical and
-- then you are a cargo cult Leninist.