---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1998 23:22:36 +0000
From: Steve Rosenthal <email@example.com>
Subject: (Fwd) An updated Communist Manifesto
I sent this message to the seminar, but it wasn't accepted
because my server adds "mailhub" to my address. (Remember, we had
this problem when I first became a PSN moderator.) Can you post this
form me as part of the discussion on The Communist Manifesto?
Thanks. Steve Rosenthal
------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Subject: An updated Communist Manifesto
Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1998 18:01:42
I've followed the discussion during the past week but haven't had
time until now to offer a contribution to the discusssion. I line up
with those who have sought to defend the central mode of analysis of
the Manifesto, while seeking to criticize and update it to take
account of what we have learned during the past 150 years. I
particularly applaud Martha's approach to doing this. I am sending
below an updated "Communist Manifesto" published by the Progressive
Labor Party, an organization formed in the 1960s independently of
affiliation with Soviet, Chinese, Cuban, or Vietnamese groups. This
document offers some important and interesting changes, based upon
the reversal of socialism in all the countries in which it once
The main new positions set forth in this Manifesto are:
(1) Workers must fight for communism, not socialism, because the
latter retains the wage system and other aspects of capitalism.
Socialism has proven to be a transition back to capitalism.
(2) Communists must make a central emphasis on fighting racism and
(3) Today nationalism in any form is reactionary. It divides workers
and binds them to bosses of their nationality. Communists must fight
(4) Communists must build a mass party, because masses of workers
throughout the world can be won to the understanding that only an
egalitarian classless society can fulfill their human needs.
(5) Throughout the world the great majority of both urban and rural
people are proletarianized. Communists need no longer try to figure
out how to ally workers and peasants, because most peasants are now
rural proletarians who have long since proven (in China, Vietnam,
etc.) that they will fight for egalitarian communism.
Today the contradictions of global capitalism are sharpening.
Fascism is the main mode of bourgeois rule, and the storm clouds of
world war III are gathering. This new Manifesto contains a lot of
important arguments that I think participants in this seminar might
want to consider.
ROAD TO REVOLUTION IV: A Communist Manifesto (1982)
Despite the bosses' whining denials, communism thrives today in the
Progressive Labor Party. In 1848, Karl Marx wrote in the Communist
Manifesto, "A specter is haunting Europe, the specter of communism."
He was right! And now that specter haunts the bosses of the world. The
struggle between bosses and workers has dominated the past century.
Workers have made their greatest advances, such as the Russian and
Chinese revolutions, under the leadership of communists.
Although capitalism has been restored to Russia and China, the
"specter of communism" still haunts the world's bosses. The battle
between bosses and workers rages everywhere. In order to survive,
capitalism, the bosses' racist profit system, must exploit all workers
and must super-exploit some.This greed for maximum profit sharpens the
oppression of workers in every country. Even in a very industrialized
nation such as the U.S., workers suffer mass unemployment, racism and
even enslavement. The bosses' government harasses undocumented
workers, rounds some up for deportation, and jails others in rotten
Millions of workers are cold, hungry, homeless. Many burn or freeze to
death in slum housing. Tens of millions of young workers, especially
black, Latin, Asian and Native American, are unemployed. Millions of
these youth will never find work in capitalist society. Older workers
are thrown out like garbage when they no longer have value to some
boss. Capitalism has failed miserably to provide the basic necessities
of life for hundreds of millions of workers around the world
Like all thieves, bosses have no honor among themselves. They are
constantly falling out. U.S. rulers have plundered the world in the
last century. Now they are losing ground. Bosses from Western Europe,
Japan and especially the Soviet Union now threaten their stolen
billions and their empire. This dog-fight that is leading to World
War III is already causing smaller wars in Central America and the
To make workers, soldiers, students and others follow their plans for
war, the rulers are imposing forms of fascism around the world.. In the
U.S., as elsewhere, the greedy bosses are ripping away reforms that
workers have fought hard to win. The rulers hope in this way to amass
more billions to strengthen their military machines. Capitalists have
turned the world into an armed camp so that each one can keep or
maximize profits. To make more money, these bosses will fight to the
last drop of our blood. The only solution is communist revolution
under the banners of the Progressive Labor Party. Otherwise, we will
suffer capitalism's endless wars and oppression. Capitalism means the
ruination of our class, our families, our friends. Only world-wide
communism offers worker, soldiers, and students an alternative to the
misery of capitalism.
Our Party fights for an egalitarian, communist society under the
dictatorship of the proletariat. Capitalism is the dictatorship of the
bosses. They hold power through their political parties, their cops,
their courts, and their military. They pretend to be democratic, but
their "democracy" is a fraud. They point to the secret ballot as the
height of democracy. But in the U.S., all parties except the PLP
represent the bosses. For us workers bosses' elections mean "heads
they win, tails we lose." The idea of bosses yielding power peacefully
is a myth. They will never allow themselves to be voted out of office.
Under the banners of its revolutionary communist party, the working
class must arm itself and fight to win power. After the Party has led
to the seizure of power, the working class must remain armed. To win
and hold power, the working class must develop its own Red Army. After
workers win political emancipation in one area, the bosses and their
agents there and elsewhere will attempt a comeback. Workers need this
Red Army to take the offensive against the bosses and crush them.
When workers' militias, which will exist everywhere to defend the
revolution, need help, the Red Army will provide it.
The Red Army of an area where workers hold power will also assist
workers fighting for revolution in other areas. As communism spreads
across the world and classes eventually disappear, the need for
violence by workers and their party against the capitalist enemy will
diminish. This development will correspond to the collapse of the
capitalists and their ideas. When workers and communist principles
rule the world, when capitalist forces have become extinct, the need
for workers' violence will wither away.
We want a society whose workers run everything in the interests of the
world's workers. We want a system that encourages every worker to
become involved in running society; that trains everyone to act for
the common good and does not indoctrinate people to "look out for
number one;" that opposes placing selfish interests above the social
needs. We want society to help each person grow, to correct mistakes,
to encourage honest evaluation and self-evaluation. We want a system
that stamps out such capitalist ideas as racism, male chauvinism,
anti-communism and anti-worker attitudes. We want to wipe out the drug
addiction that ruins millions of young workers' lives. We want to
defeat religion. Religion serves only the interests of the rulers, who
use it to mystify workers so that conditions stay as they are. We want
a system that corrects or punishes capitalist behavior.
We need communist democracy, based on democratic centralism. This
system requires criticism and self-criticism of what we do and don't
do. We fight to defeat anti-collective behavior and to help each other
become better communists. Capitalist "democracy" means "doing your own
thing."Each person supposedly has freedom to do what he or she wants.
Capitalist "free speech" really protects racist crap and
anti-communism. Capitalist "freedom" means bosses are free to screw us
In capitalist society, only the bosses are free_free to hire and fire,
free to pillage and plunder, free to make our class fight for their
profits. In contrast. democratic centralism, under which we operate,
encourages full and open discussion in the exclusive interest of
workers and their allies. We will allow no freedom to exploit workers.
Within the party at all times, and within society at large after the
revolution, the role of central leadership is decisive. The working
class requires a general staff that places the victory of communism
above all other goals and that fights to make the party the leader of
After the leadership has guaranteed full and open discussion of
policy, every party member and worker must develop the discipline to
accept and carry out the collective decision. Even those who disagree
must hold to this discipline. The effort to put party decisions into
action must be united everywhere. Later we can see clearly the
rightness or wrongness of decisions, and, if need be, make adjustments
or scrap them. In this way, both majority and minority viewpoints will
get a serious hearing.
Throughout the process of seizing, holding and expanding revolutionary
power, workers need only one leading political force_the communist
party. Before and during the revolution, tens of millions of workers,
soldiers and students will join or support the communist party. Only a
party with such a mass base can successfully lead a revolution. After
the revolution, workers and their allies will not need a government
separate from the party. Either such a government would be a
rubber-stamp for the workers' mass party, or it would represent
enemies of communism. Surely a rubber-stamp government is useless and
And workers must never again share power with class enemies. We
propose that after the revolution, the party_composed of tens of
millions of workers_lead society.
We said above that the world's workers made great advances with the
revolutions in Russia and China. We also said that these revolutions,
which had established socialism, were reversed, and that now Russia
and China are capitalist societies with new bosses. Marx and Lenin
described socialism as the early stage of communism. These great
revolutionaries doubted that the working class could move immediately
from capitalism to communism. They and others believed that important
concessions to capitalism and capitalist ideas were necessary to win
enough people to socialist revolution. They thought socialism would
eventually lead to communism.
Keeping the wage system was the greatest concession to capitalism.
Under socialism, every worker got a wage. Your work determined your
wage. Professionals made a lot more than those who worked with their
hands. Among manual workers, the so-called skilled made more than the
unskilled. Does this sound familiar? The motive for these inequalities
was the mistaken belief that many workers had to be bribed to produce.
Wage differences reinforced commodity production_production for sale,
for profit rather than for society's use or need . Goods could never
be distributed according to collective need because some workers had
greater purchasing power than others. No matter how much
well-intentioned planning society does, the wage system forces each
worker to think of his or her work in selfish terms. Only communism
can change that. Communism will abolish the wage system. In communist
society, the principle "to each according to need" will be as basic as
the principle "every man for himself" is to capitalism. Children will
understand this from the moment their senses awaken.
Under communism, the principle of work will be: "from each according
to commitment." People will work because they want to, because their
class brothers and sisters around the world need their work_even as
people fight in revolutionary wars not just for themselves but for
their class. They will share in decision-making, including the
distribution of goods and services according to society's needs. They
will share shortage along with abundance. If there is selfishness_and
there must be some_the party will struggle politically to overcome it,
or, if necessary, punish it. However, the day-in, day-out basis of
individualism_the wage system_will have been abolished.
The immediate establishment of a communist distribution system makes
possible a new kind of party and a new relationship between the party
and the rest of the population. Communist distribution eliminates the
material incentive for the emergence of new bosses corrupted by all
sorts of privilege. Government or party officials, special workers, or
artists will no longer receive more money for work that is supposedly
"more important." The measure of work will have nothing to do with
what people receive. People should and will get what they need, within
the limits of what everyone can produce. Measuring work to set pay
directly contradicts communism. The elimination of wages causes the
social basis for privileges and a new class of bosses to disappear.
For the first time in history, workers will receive a fair share of
society's wealth, regardless of the work they do.
Communism will abolish socially useless forms of work that exist now
only for capitalist profit. Communism will not need millions of
lawyers, advertisers, or salespeople. In one stroke, it will do away
with layers of needless government bureaucrats, as well as the hordes
of petty supervisors and administrators who oversee and manage us for
the bosses. It will free everyone to perform socially useful work,
which is the source of true creativity. Capitalism creates the
illusion that degenerate superstars and people who have best figured
out how to screw others are "creative." The anti-working class values
of the profit system pervert all cultures.
The communist organization of society requires the active commitment
of millions of workers. Communism will not succeed unless people
understand it, agree with it, and vow to make it succeed. Ending the
wage system will reduce the problems capitalism causes inside the
Racism, one of capitalism's greatest evils, exploits one worker to a
greater degree than another. This super-exploitation and the
super-profit from it lead to increased oppression of every worker.
Marx said over 100 years ago that, "the worker in white skin can never
be free as long as the worker in black skin remains in chains." At all
stages of the revolutionary process, the party must lead an unyielding
fight against every aspect of racism. However, only an egalitarian
society that ends the exploitative wage system in the context of sharp
anti-racist political and ideological class struggle can crush racism
once and for all.
Failure to eliminate privilege will surely show up inside the
communist party. Past socialist societies retained privilege, which
quickly found its way into the party. Some party members and many
leaders were often better off than others. This practice made many
workers cynical by perpetuating the bosses' anti-Communist lie that
all power corrupts. A communist society in which millions of party
leaders and members live and share the same as everyone else will
produce a better communist party. Such a party will develop the
healthiest relations between itself and all workers. These relations
will ultimately narrow the gap in commitment and political skill
between leaders, members and workers at large. Economic privilege in
previous socialist societies maintained the gaps created by capitalism
between mental and manual work. The children of professionals, party
leaders, and better-paid workers went on to higher education. This
practice perpetuated social inequality.
In a communist society, the workplace will become the center of
education. Students will become workers and workers, students.
Workers may have many vocations, careers, trades, certainly more than
one. Everyone will work with both brain and hands. Having rid itself
of the wage system, society can also wipe out the special oppression
of women and male chauvinism, which serve only capitalism. In
communist society, everyone will have the opportunity, the right, and
the duty to work. The capitalist exploitation of women depends on the
bosses' ability to degrade them culturally. The bosses can pay women
less than men or even nothing at all as in the case of housework.
Only the destruction of capitalism and the collective fight by men
and women workers for communism can free women from this special
exploitation. The revolution needs the militant leadership of working
Since its founding, the Progressive Labor Party has fought against
retreats from Marxism-Leninism, especially the practice of uniting
with "lesser-evil" bosses, usually known as the liberals. All bosses
want to keep capitalism; therefore, all bosses, whether liberal or
conservative, are class enemies.
We oppose nationalism and fight for internationalism. By nationalism,
the bosses mean that workers must respect capitalist borders. These
borders are artificial; they exist to divide workers and keep
different sets of bosses in power. Workers need no borders. Workers in
one part of the world are not different from or better than workers in
another. Nationalism creates false loyalties. Workers should be loyal
only to other workers, never to a boss. We endorse the revolutionary
slogan: "Workers of the world, unite!" Our Party is multi-racial; its
members come from around the world. They all unite in the fight for
revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
NO MORE RETREATS!
Our members and friends will tolerate no more retreats from the basics
of Marxism-Leninism, from communism. Marx proved that an egalitarian
communist society would inevitably develop. History shows no need to
back away from communism. The bosses would have us believe that
communism has failed. Only capitalism has failed. The bosses use the
examples of capitalist countries like Russia, China, and Poland to
discredit communism. They cynically pretend these fascist returns to
the profit system are communist societies. The bosses protest too
much. They hate true communism with a vengeance because they fear it
more than anything. If the bosses loathe communism, workers should
love it. Every compromise made by communists to capitalism ended in
disaster. History proves that workers want a life free from capitalist
exploitation, and that, much to the bosses' dismay, they will fight to
the death for it. Workers need communist revolution, not reform. We
are all learning from bitter experience that capitalism can never be
reformed. It must be crushed.
>From the caves of Yenan in China to the battle of Stalingrad in
Russia, workers proved that they could fight and work together in a
communist manner. We will have to rebuild a society severely disrupted
by a third world war. Why should we keep any of capitalism's-deadly
trappings in the process? Our party has confidence in workers.
However, we remain too timid in spreading communist ideas and
practices among them. Some of us may retain illusions in capitalism or
have fallen for the bosses' cynicism. The bosses pretend "human
nature" can't change. They really mean that workers will endure
capitalism forever. Bosses believe human instinct is capitalistic,
that every one is born selfish, and that nature determines wealth and
poverty. These ideas are false and vile. Workers have fought and
shared for the common good over the centuries. tens of millions have
long sought communism. The very thought makes the bosses tremble.
To lead a communist society, the party must win millions of workers
into its ranks and develop close ties with millions of others. We must
start now to build a base among all workers. In the course of
revolutionary battle, millions of workers, soldiers and students will
come over to communism. When the revolution and its communist ideas
triumph, the party will already have won countless millions to launch
a communist society, with no retreats to capitalism.
The growth of a large working-class communist party requires much more
than handing out leaflets. It means organizing battles, large and
small, against all the rulers' injustices. Within these battles, we
must hold revolutionary ideas and goals in the forefront. Organizing
for revolution means educating masses of workers, soldiers and
students with communist ideas. To agitate successfully, to fight and
win battles, to educate people politically, we must know workers very
well. We must build long term relations that can lead to the total
transformation of most individuals, including ourselves, as we become
convinced that we can no longer live in the old way, that we can no
longer tolerate capitalism.
For our Party to wipe out world capitalism and to prevent concessions
to it by communists, we must have confidence in the international
working class; and the international working class must have
confidence in their party. This mutual confidence will develop only
through long class struggle and political debate. Millions of
worker-communists, living and working in an egalitarian society, will
never permit a return to capitalism.
The rulers fear communism most. Its specter still haunts them and will
destroy them. Only the growth of the revolutionary party can ensure
the future of the international working class. Our Party is no secret
society. The PLP is open to all workers, students and soldiers. JOIN