Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Marxist-Leninist Party

Boycott the Elections!

First Published: Communist, No. 6, October 1971
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The Election-Boycott Movement is a United Front under the leadership of the Marxist-Leninist Party. The M.L.P. is the first, and so far, the only section of the proletarian left to raise the banner of struggle against the bourgeois elections. We would like to see other genuine revolutionary forces take up this struggle as well, but with little indication, so far, that this is being done, the Central Committee of the Marxist-Leninist Party has instructed the forces at its disposal to initiate the Election-Boycott Struggle immediately, following Lenin’s guidelines concerning the nature of an active boycott.

The Marxist-Leninist Party proposes the policy of carrying out a city and regional campaign in the New York area for this coming November. This immediate campaign, including follow-up activities after the elections per se, will be for the purpose of building a united front in our main concentration area, uniting all that can be united, and isolating and exposing those tendencies whose opportunist position places them in support of the bourgeois elections, in support of any “candidates”. (Including the pseudo-left and “independent” candidates.)

The main focus of our struggle against the elections in that, within the oppressor (American) nation, within the Yankee imperialist heartlands of U.S. imperialism, the elections are a device to substitute an illusory class peace, an unreal atmosphere of peaceful debates, conciliations, compromises, and “coalitions” in place of the rapidly deepening and broadening CLASS WAR, the war between the oppressed and the oppressor, that has reached one of its peaks in the heroic Attica Uprising, bloodily crushed by the bourgeois state machine after four historic days of highly organized seizure, self-defense, and especially, as witnessed by millions through the TV, etc., the Revolutionary Authority of the self-organized, self-educated prisoners, definitely the advanced detachment of the oppressed class as a whole. The elections are designed to dull the over-all effects of all the Atticas, of the now generalized social-economic-political-military crisis of U.S. State-Monopoly-Capitalism. The specific nature of the present-day bourgeois elections is to act as a sponge upon the spontaneous and mass movements, soaking up as many people, and as much “legitimacy” as possible from the emerging, still fragmented, working-class movements. Thus, the creation, all within a matter of months, of various “political caucuses” (Black, women’s, Vietnam vets, “Spanish-speaking” people, youth, etc. etc.), of a number, of “third” and “fourth” party groupings, in addition to the traditional vote-getting machinery (the AFL-CIO’s C.O.P.E., the League of Women Voters, etc.).

Even at the lowest levels of the U.S. “democracy”, in the State assemblies, city councils, etc. there are virtually no workers, no people who do not in even some small way own property and employ(exploit) wage-labor. We are allowed to vote, to “elect,” but never to be elected. The few exceptions were simply bribed into the ruling-class! This absolute class domination of the entire “democratic” process by the bourgeoisie has never been so complete as it is in the era of imperialism, the highest, and final stage of capitalism.

The Communist Party of China, armed with invincible Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, has excellently summed up the question of parliamentary politics in general, in the statement issued to commemorate the Paris Commune Centenary, entitled “Long Live the Victory of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat!” This statement places the question of the elections in the context of the question of State and Revolution, and assesses both the positive and negative of the historic experience of the revolutionary movement:

In the past decades, many Communist Parties have participated in elections and parliaments, but none has set up a dictatorship of the proletariat by such means. Even if a Communist Party should win a majority in parliament or participate in the government, this would not mean any change in the character of bourgeois political power, still less the smashing of the old state machine. The reactionary ruling classes can proclaim the election null and void, dissolve the parliament or directly use violence to kick out the Communist Party. If a proletarian party does no mass work, rejects armed struggle and makes a fetish of parliamentary elections, it will only lull the masses and corrupt itself. The bourgeoisie buys over a Communist Party through parliamentary elections and turns it into a revisionist party, a party of the bourgeoisie are such cases rare in history.

The same correct line is upheld by Comrade Enver Hoxha of the Albanian Party of Labor, in his speech, “It is in the Party-People-State Power Unity that Our Strength Lies” delivered in Sept. 1970 to voters in Tirana:

The essentially democratic character of the elections in our country is a distinctive feature of our socialist regime. Different, quite different is the case under the capitalist regime, where, there too, they speak much of democracy and elections are held. There are capitalist countries which are called “advanced” and which claim that “democratic” elections take place in them. But in some of them women could but recently win the right to vote, in some others they still have not the right to vote. There are capitalist countries where this right is limited to those who have a given annual income, which means that there only the bourgeois vote, those who have large incomes; in some other countries soldiers do not vote, but the election lists include also the dead. There are also countries where, as was the case with our country in Zog’s time, elections are held through second voters. There exist also countries where the voting mechanism is arranged in such a way that it is not the candidate who has polled the majority of votes that wins, but the candidate of the parties representing the monopoly capital.

By these pseudo-democratic methods the monopoly capital aims at keeping the people in complete slavery, poverty and ignorance, and at the ruthless and most barbarous exploitation of the working masses. By these methods the capital aims to create and strengthen with every passing day various means and forms to disorientate, suppress and smash the resistance and struggle of the working masses against capitalist exploitation.

We must not only study the present-day positions of the genuine Marxist-Leninists, but also examine the specific situation in this country that, in both past and present, makes it necessary for the bourgeoisie to periodically pump new life-blood into the elections circus.

Like the social-patriots and social-chauvinists (as Lenin called them) of the “socialist party of the U.S.A.”, in the period of the first imperialist world war, the Bergers, Hilquitts, Spargoes, etc., whose main “antidote” to class warfare was various “municipal reform” schemes, getting S.P.’ers elected as mayors, city councilmen, etc., the present-day pseudo-left and liberal bourgeoisie is pushing Lindsay’s “urban coalition”, either overtly (as with the CP.U.S.A.) or covertly (as with the S.W.P. and their “community control” line) as an antidote to the class warfare raging in this country today, especially in the proletarian centers(ghettoes) of the big cities. Along “with this totally bourgeois “urbanism” comes the whole grab-bag of petty-bourgeois crusades, Nader and his “consumerism”, the ecology-genocide and “zero population” fascists, the “decentralists” with their neo-narodnik illusions of a return to “local self-government”, the ’Uncle Tom scab-herders and vote-getters, in both “moderate” and “militant” guise, the male-homosexual “gay” fascists, the Junior Syndicate to “legalize dope”, etc. etc. ad nauseam. The bourgeoisie today is evidently ready to sacrifice the part to save the whole – they are ready to drop their traditional “two-party” system and other old forms, to preserve the legitimacy of the bourgeois” “democracy” as a whole. When this fails, as it is bound by the course of history to fail, the velvet glove will come off for good, and the iron fist of complete fascist rule will be put forward by the bourgeoisie to clash against the rising revolutionary power of the armed workers, employed and unemployed.

The full process has not yet unfolded, and probably will not even in the immediate period of class warfare and general crisis. The key is the development by the proletariat of the Hew Organs of Struggle, the regional and nation-wide emergence of interlocking revolutionary committees and councils chosen in the mass assemblies of striking workers, mutinous troops, the armed masses the factories and ghettoes. Against this new power, which is bound by the course of historical development to emerge even in the most, reactionary of all the oppressor nations, the bourgeoisie will likewise raise their own “new” forms of class rule, and history has always shown that the counterrevolution must disguise itself as revolution. Thus the need by the bourgeoisie to maintain a pseudo-left (CPUSA, SWP, PLP, etc.)

Two major factors are bound to upset all the vicious and bloody schemes of the ruling-class: The main, objective factor is, of course, the generalized nature of the present-day world crisis, which far surpasses the 1st “world depression” in quantity and quality. The bourgeoisie today, in all the oppressor nations of the world, is more decayed, more corrupted and weakened than that of 50 years ago. Thus the reason for the clumsily brutal violence exercised by the U.S. imperialist bourgeoisie in particular–they have not yet prepared their counter-revolution, only their reaction.

The subjective factor is our own revolutionary theory and practice, especially, our own Party-Building struggles, as the pig-nation(American) component of the International Communist Movement. The M.L.P. calls upon all revolutionary forces to utilize the occasion of the bourgeois elections to further and further unite the subjective and objective factors in the revolutionary onslaught against the decadent, parasitical, and imperialist bourgeoisie and all their running dogs!