Library:Founding statement of the United Workers' Party (Organizing Committee)
The following is the founding statement of the United Workers Party (Organizing Committee)
Communism is gaining ground as the revolutionary ideology of the masses. For the first time since the dismantling of the Soviet Union, socialism is on everyone's mind.
For the exploited and oppressed, it is an idea to excitedly discuss, and a goal to strive for. For the ruling class and their reactionary supporters, it is feared as the end of their reign. Any attempt to prevent this revolutionary wave from crashing over the capitalist ‚world is akin to blowing away a hurricane. It is in this context that we workers from every ‚corner of the country – workers of different nationalities, genders and backgrounds 'have come together in solidarity to combat the oppressions we face, and destroy that system they find their roots in: capitalism.
We have formed the United Workers’ Party (Organizing Committee) to build the revolutionary party capable of this immense, historic task. We are dedicated to the liberation of humanity through the socialist reorganization of society, with Marxism-Leninism as our guiding ideology. As individuals, we spent years working with others to defend the oppressed and attack the oppressors, both in our local communities and nationally – some internationally! We must now go about the task of answering how and why this committee to build a new party formed when it did.
The time is ripe for revolution, but where is the supposed "vanguard"” that will lead it?
The need for a new communist party
It is from our experience with the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) and other communist groups that we have come to the conclusion that such a vanguard ‚cannot exist if communists are expected to cling to the practices and formations that've dominated the existing Marxist left.
The PSL and the wider Marxist left in the US suffer from a wide variety of problems, including a commandist and sectarian mentality that remains disconnected from the ever-changing movement of the oppressed. On an organizational level, these errors draw from a top-heavy bastardization of democratic centralism that insulates leadership from criticism and democratic accountability. The decision-making process of a Leninist party is turned on its head. They accuse any discussion, even among party comrades, that might suggest a flaw in the party’s line or strategy as “factionalism.” This level of control undermines the unity and discipline it seeks to uphold. This leaves their leadership unable to deal with the organic challenges of building a revolutionary party.
The PSL leadership has revealed themselves to either be completely ignorant of rape culture and its implications, or worse, engaged in coverups of abuse by members of their organization. We have found leading members of the party to be guilty of biatant transphobia, and of accusing any trans members who call out this transphobia of “identity politics," while hypocritically weaponizing their own unrelated identities against them. This transphobia is no surprise when one considers the "democratic centralism” practiced by a party led entirely by cisgender people. Popular criticism of the party's practices is always reduced to "bad actors” online and dismissed in an eliist fashion as coming from those "not doing the work”, as if "normal” people interested in socialist politics will not observe its public scandals or research its history. Official and private criticisms from other organizers is rejected with similar prejudice. Chauvinistic practices continue to isolate the party from fronts of struggle where revolutionary socialist leadership is desperately needed, and hamstrings membership retention.
What's more, the overbearing control of the leadership of these parties over their members leads to the parties as a whole tailing the working class movement. The dogmatic engagement in electoral politics by PSL leadership and similar parties is another example of their inability to recognize the changing revolutionary landscape of the current century. Whether they campaign for a social democrat from the Democratic Party, or spend inordinate amounts of time and resources on their own candidates these parties actively direct their energies towards participating in the bourgeois-democratic elections with neither the mass base nor party machinery capable of translating these campaigns into tangible growth opportunities. This electoralist error places the act of participating in bourgeois democracy over the essential preparation of a popular base 1o support and capitalize on said campaign, effectively putting the cart before the horse. Our experience with PSL has shown that the notion of using electoral politics as advertising for recruits is a practical failure, and working directly with the people through survival programs and mass work has been far more successful at raising socialist consciousness and training new cadre
This focus on engaging in ill-advised electoral activities took on a new level of isolation amidst the George Floyd uprising. Cadre in many cities with major protest movements were forced to direct their energy towards street agitation and signature collections, rather than directly engaging with and supporting the masses in struggle.
This failure to reformulate the party's political strategy amidst a historic revolt of the oppressed speaks to the immense overcentralization of the organization, as well as its removal from the struggles of the nationally oppressed in many cities with active Black liberation movements. Agitational engagement with a fundamentally neo-colonial institution like the US electoral system took precedence over engagement with an insurgency of the colonized. Furthermore, PSL's general unwillingness to engage in coalitions and united fronts that it cannot directly control from the outset reflects a fundamentally sectarian attitude that characterizes much of the party's activities in the mass movements, and hampers its outreach efforts.
Given this limiting and self-destructive history of praxis, the founders of the United Workers' Party (Organizing Committee) have set about creating an organization that works to correct these errors on both an ideological and organizational level.
Our politics and strategy
The United Workers' Party (Organizing Committee) is firmly and unrepentantly dedicated to revolutionary, Marxist-Leninist politics; we have no shame or fear in boldly asserting this fact. We believe that the racist, imperialist, and patriarchal capitalist system must be overthrown by a revolutionary vanguard party, led by the most advanced and oppressed stratas of the popular masses, and accountable to the mass line. But how do we reach that point? How does our Marxism-Leninism differ from that of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and other groups that uphold Leninism?
The UWP(OC) recognizes that the path to socialism in what is now called the United States will necessitate a creative application and development of socialist thought to the actual conditions we are faced with. We uphold Marxism-Leninism not because we want to blindly apply the Soviet model, the Chinese model, or the Cuban model to our conditions, but because we uphold the essence of Marxism-Leninism. That is, we uphold the scientific methodology of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong, Angela Davis, Huey Newton, and all other revolutionaries who have creatively applied communist analysis to their conditions. This means we cannot simply "leave the theoretical work to the Europeans," the Soviets of yesteryear, the Chinese Communists of today, or to whoever else is building socialism in their own country: we must actively build our own analysis and strategy that is relevant to the proletariat and the colonized people here.
What does developing Marxist theory to our conditions mean? First of all, the UWP(OC) views the so-called United States as a fundamentally settler-colonial state, and a contemporary prison-house of nations. We call for land back and national self-determination for all internal colonies of the US empire. Leaders and activists in many Marxist groups, including the Party for Socialism and Liberation (in contrast with the politics of much of their rank-and-file), hold the position that talking about settler-colonialism and land back divides the working class; they hold that "there is no anti-colonial struggle to be had in the United States" and "there is no occupying force here". We emphatically reject this colonial mindset. There is an anti-colonial struggle that must be waged in this country; there is an occupying force on this land, and they must be expelled from political power over those they colonize. Whether or not successful national-democratic and anti-colonial struggles in this country will exactly parallel those revolutions waged under vastly different conditions in the Global South is irrelevant to the question of settler-colonialism here. Petty chauvinisms around the concept of settler-colonialism and decolonization reflect a hollow, undialectical position that neuters the basic Leninist concept of national self-determination. Communist participation in national liberation struggles within the United States requires more than tailist, commandist, and opportunistic interventions in popular struggles. The idea that these contradictions may only be resolved after or through a "classical” socialist revolution is a fundamental revision of Leninist politics, and an analysis that disarms the centrality of these national-democratic struggles in dismantling imperialism at home and abroad
The UWP(OC) additionally recognizes the revolutionary potential of what is called the lumpen-proletariat. The lumpen-proletariat are those who have been cast out of capitalist production – panhandlers, sex workers, members of street organizations, those who are permanently unemployed, prisoners, ex-cons, those who survive off of social services or disability – what is commonly referred to as the underclass. This class, often based in nationally oppressed, immigrant, and colonized communities, is often ignored by dogmatic and chauvinist Marxist-Leninists. They are seen to be largely reactionary, individualistic, and uninterested in class politics. The UWP(OC) rejects this position, and instead follows the line of revolutionaries like Frantz Fanon and Huey Newton in understanding the lumpen-proletariat to be one of the most revolutionary forces within the context of the colony, and that it constitutes a rapidly growing strata of society. As technology and A.l. advances more and more under the capitalist system; as mass incarceration removes increasingly more people from the working class; and as cyclical economic crises continue to arise, more and more people are coming into this chronically unemployed strata. The prominence of the "gig economy”, with its restructuring of dominant service industries to rely more on "independent contractors" and part-time positions, continues to crush the bargaining power, wages, and basic victories of historic labor struggles like the 40-hour workweek and unemployment insurance, The growing precariousness of large sectors of the working class and petty bourgeoisie increasingly blurs the line between conventional proletarian and lumpen-proletarian relations to production themselves. These lumpenized individuals, often seen to be dangerous and unpredictable by Marxists due to their lack of relation to the means of production, cannot be ignored by anyone trying to lead the oppressed to liberation in this country. The lumpenproletariat of this country is more connected, conscious, and vitally concerned with their own futures than antiquated assessments of their interests concede, a fact that must be accounted for in contemporary Marxist-Leninist praxis
We further recognize that the driving revolutionary force, and the only ones who can make revolution, are the people themselves. Revolution by a vanguard party presupposes the consolidation of the popular classes in revolutionary mass organizations. As such, we follow Mao Zedong's theory of mass line. What is mass line?
Mass line can be summarized as "from the people, to the people". We revolutionaries must immerse ourselves in the masses via mass organization – groups like Black Lives Matter, Fight For 15, the American Indian Movement, unions, and other progressive struggles – through social investigation and class analysis. We must figure out what is important to the people, and what the people are already working towards, or wanting to. Our task from there is to synthesize these ideas and spontaneous movements with a revolutionary socialist analysis and consciousness that we take back to the people. We cannot demand that the masses focus on our own ideal priorities, nor can we lag behind the people in terms of consciousness and simply tail moderate politicians, We do not fear criticism from the people or admitting when we make mistakes. Only through listening to the people, admitiing our mistakes, and promptly correcting them, can we build a party that is truly of, by, and for the masses. All power to the people!
Right now, the United Workers' Party (Organizing Committee) is an organization aiming to constitute a full party structure. The time leading up to this formation will largely consist in immersing ourselves in mass work, and beginning the first stage of mass line: leaming what the masses need and desire through sustained social investigation. We will be working to form as close of a relationship as possible with organizations immersed in struggle across the country by offering our solidarity and aid in their movements. Any organization that is opposed to transphobia, imperialism, war, misogyny, homophobia, racism, ableism, or any other form of exploitation and oppression are potential allies of the UWP(OC) that we hope to form a strong bond with We will not be entering these spaces with commandist demands that they conform to our ideological position, or that we take over control of the space. Nor do we have the goal of poaching engaged members of these groups into our organization, especially to the detriment of the movement at large; we will be approaching these spaces with a genuine desire to learn from and serve the people, wherever they may be Another goal of our mass work, and an additional strategy of the UWP(OC), is to build a united front of oppressed people and revolutionary organizations capable of combating the global empire of the US. A divided workers movement will never be capable of overthrowing the most powerful empire in world history.
What follows below is the 10 Point Program of the United Workers' Party (Organizing Committee). All of our political work will be centered around these points.
- We demand self-determination and decolonization of the nationally oppressed peoples, including Black, Chicano/a, and all indigenous nations by means of reparations, land back, and any other means deemed necessary by the oppressed nations of this land. We further demand that the right of genuine self-determination – political, economic, and cultural – be extended to all countries within the US empire's neocolonial sphere.
- We demand an end to ecological destruction. We support moves towards clean, renewable energy, as well as an immediate end to environmental imperialism and the accelerated destruction of the Global South by the capitalist interests. We demand the right to clean air, water, and land for ourselves and generations to come. We support the implementation of indigenous and people-centered stewardship practices, combined with multilateral efforts to halt and reverse the effects of climate change across the world.
- We demand an end to discrimination and violence against LGBTQ people. Homophobia and transphobia must be combatted at all levels of society. LGBTQ people should have the same access to housing, education, employment, healthcare, and political representation as their cisgender and heterosexual counterparts.
- We demand full rights and citizenship for all immigrants living within the borders of the so-called United States, and an end to the criminalization of immigrants and refugees. We additionally demand the immediate closure of the concentration camps on the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as its satellite operations on the borders of Mexico, Honduras, and other transit countries.
- We demand everyone has the right to free healthcare, free housing, and guaranteed jobs with honest pay. We additionally demand an immediate end to food apartheid, and the redistribution of wealth/land in the US; all humans should have the right to life's neccesities!
- We demand gender equality and liberation for women and non-men. Rape culture and patriarchy must be combatted at all levels of society. Non-men should have access to the same housing, education, and employment opportunities of their male counterparts. Bodily autonomy should be guaranteed for women and all individuals in society.
- We demand an immediate end to imperialism – including reparations for those nations attacked by the US empire. Al foreign military bases shall be closed, all troops abroad shall be returned, and the perpetrators of US war crimes shall be investigated and tried by the people. We support the disbandment of NATO and other pacts of aggression, as well as an end to all support for colonial and fascist regimes abroad.
- We demand an end to mass incarceration, the abolition of the punitive prison system, the abolition of US police agencies, and an end to the racist judicial system of the so-called United States. We support the development of restorative and community-based justice initiatives, accountable to the people and independent of the criminal legal system.
- We demand the cancellation of all student debt and the right to free education from pre-K up to and including the highest levels of education. We demand that institutions of higher learning be controlled by and accountable to the ‘communities and students they serve.
- We demand a centrally-planned economy in a socialist republic, governed by the working and oppressed in pursit of a communist horizon. We call for investments in public infrastructure of all kinds to create jobs and opportunities for underdeveloped communities, an end to monopoly capitalism and exploitation itself, and support for the formation of worker-controlled cooperative and ‘communal enterprises.
The UWP(OC) calls for all US-based communists and anti-imperialists in agreement with this statement to join us in our struggle to build a revolutionary vanguard party. We further call on our comrades in fraternal progressive organizations across the country to work with us in building a revolutionary united front to shake the empire to its core, regardless of differences in tendency or affiliation. Over the next year, while we are working towards constituting a full party structure in our current “organizing committee” format, there will be much learning to be done. This learning experience will mean working among the people, principled debate with our comrades in and outside the organization, and a healthy amount of criticism and self-criticism. We welcome the opportunity to build and unite with revolutionary organizations on a principled and productive basis. Through learning from the masses and from each other, we can build a truly revolutionary movement capable of overthrowing the brutal capitalist system that oppresses us!
We have nothing to lose but our chains! Dare to struggle, dare to win!
General Secretary Muhammad Abdus-Salaam
National Chairwoman Lilih McKenzie
The Political Bureau of the United Workers' Party (Organizing Committee)