July 18, 2024

Soviet Art, USSR culture: https://soviet-art.ru/boris-ignatovich-soviet-union-photographs/peasants-reading-the-soviet-newspaper-bednota/

By the end of the nineteenth century, the industrial crisis in Europe had spread to Russia. In response, capitalists lowered wages and revoked all previous concessions, resulting in widespread unemployment and poverty. This situation resulted in an increasingly revolutionary working-class movement, giving significant momentum to the Marxist Social-Democratic organizations. However, an influx of young intellectuals with flawed conceptions of Marxism demanded the leadership and guidance of a single party capable of leading the revolutionary movement. Though the Russian Social Democratic Party was then already in existence, its organizations were in disarray, plagued by ideological confusion. Under these conditions, developing a political party capable of organizing the revolution seemed unimaginable.

Seeking to build such a party, Lenin did not succumb to the Economist positions of many “Marxist” newspapers at the time, which rejected the need for ideological cohesion and a united, centralized political party. Combatting these positions, Lenin established a foundation for a revolutionary party by asserting that its first step should be the founding of an all-Russia newspaper, which would put forth revolutionary ideas separate from the opportunist trends of the time. Lenin outlined this indispensable task of the communists in his 1901 article “Where to Begin?” and developed it further in his 1905 pamphlet What Is to Be Done?

Today, communists in the United States face a similar situation. The sleeping giant of the US working class is once more becoming conscious of its misery and exploitation. It is awakening to the noose around its neck, which has only grown tighter with the 2008 financial crisis and the crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The heroic struggles of the workers—of Amazon, Starbucks, and UPS, as well as of the healthcare, railroad, automotive, service, and hospitality industries, to name just a few—all demonstrate that the US working class is rising to wage a revolutionary struggle against the ruling class of our country. As with Russia at the start of the twentieth century, Marxism-Leninism is today growing in fashion.

In this fashion, revolutionary-minded youths and workers flock to the ranks of a multitude of “communist” and “socialist” organizations, inspired by ideas picked up from flashy protests and in numerous “Marxist” publications. Combined with the degradation of the historic Communist Party USA, the absence of the Communist International, the tightening of imperialist alliances between the capitalist states, and the further consolidation of opportunist forces, the revolutionary forces in the US find themselves dispersed and hampered by low political-theoretical standards. Many opportunists don the title of Marxist-Leninist, seeking to guide the workers and people to the feet of a foreign bourgeoisie as a counter to the hegemony of the dominant imperialist powers. In practice, they strip Marxism-Leninism of its revolutionary content, damaging and disarming the worker’s and people’s movements.

The bourgeoisie through its large capitalist news outlets, like vultures, operate in these conditions to leave the masses in the dark, with no torch to illuminate the path forward. They disseminate divisive content through social media, fabricating stories to manipulate popular thought and amass millions in profit, all with the bottom line of organizing their respective sections of the capitalist class against the struggles of the working class. The exploited, without a guide, turn to the news outlets of their class enemies, developing a worldview influenced by non-revolutionary conceptions. The window of consciousness open to the view of emancipation becomes obscured everywhere by the high-rises of bourgeois thought.

Marx taught us long ago that the capitalists build these high rises on sand. Their ideology is just as brittle, their motives a dead end out of which the communists must lead the workers and peoples. Lenin demonstrated that the only correct course was the communist ideology, Marxism-Leninism. The revolutionary principles of this ideology must be clearly and honestly conveyed to the masses and demarcated from those of the opportunists, who cloak bourgeois ideology in “revolutionary” language.

In this task, the first tool of the revolutionary forces in the US—the New Worker, the central organ of the Communist Workers Platform USA—is being sharpened daily. Not only must it provide a light for the masses, but it must also serve as the rallying center of the communists in rejecting the various management schemes of capitalism and advancing the need for socialist revolution. To that end, the New Worker must continue building a network of supporters, contributors, and correspondents, which it has done since its founding in August of 2022. Financial contributors to the New Worker play a vital role in this task, standing toe-to-toe with the funders of the bourgeois press in building the indispensable tool of the communists for conducting widespread and organized agitation. To contribute financially to the New Worker is to advance the struggle of the US working class for the reconstitution of the Communist Party and the overthrow of capitalism.

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