Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Programme of the Revolutionary Communist Party USA



Prices towering over wages, massive layoffs and millions out of work, debts piling up and coming due, divorce almost as common as marriage, education, health care and transportation rotten and falling apart, drugs and pornography everywhere, police running amuck, politicians lying through their teeth, the cities getting more and more unlivable-to the great majority of its people this country seems to be going to hell.

The capitalist rulers of this country, who cannot continue to rule and maintain capitalism without plunging the country into one war after another, now threaten to drag the people of the U.S., and the world, into another world war, in their quenchless thirst for more profit. They deal and double-deal with others like them in other countries, and despite their fanfare of “detente,” contend most sharply with their counterparts in the Soviet Union for domination in Europe, the Middle East and all parts of the world.

They keep saying they have solutions, but they all come down to one thing-tightening their belts around the people’s necks. To save their own necks they demand that the people sacrifice – and sacrifice some more, even to the point of sacrificing thousands or millions of sons in a war to plunder other peoples.

First they say they have made this into the best of all possible countries, then they say the American people will just have to get used to the fact that things are bad and will keep getting worse.

Despite what they preach, things do not have to be like this, and the people will never be satisfied living this way. Throughout this country and all over the world people are rising up to fight back against those, like the rulers of the U.S., whose wealth and power have been built over centuries on the backs of the world’s working people. Revolutions are sweeping the world, and in this country more and more people are talking of revolution.

At the very heart of this struggle is the basic conflict between the working class–the millions who have no means to live except through their labor, and whose labor is the driving force in society – and the capitalist class – the handful who do no productive work but live and accumulate billions from the labor of the workers, and continually grind the workers down in accumulating more.

The working class possesses tremendous potential power to change the world, a fact that is shown every day in the process and product of its labor and in its many struggles against capitalism. It is the task of the working class, in alliance with all forces oppressed by the capitalist bloodsuckers, to wield its mighty power to smash the rule of the capitalists and remake society to serve the interests of the great majority of the people.


The great majority of American people, like the people in all countries, are hard-working and have produced wonders through their labor. The country is rich in many resources, and because of the toil of generations here, and in many other parts of the world, the United States has achieved a high level of science and technology.

The great store of society’s wealth is created by the millions of workers who with their labor mine, grow, and transport raw materials, construct machinery, and use the machines to transform raw materials into finished products. The machines, raw materials and other means of production created by the workers are an important part of the productive forces of society, but the most important part is the working class itself without whose labor the means of production would rust and rot. But in the hands of the capitalists the means of production become tools for the continued enslavement and impoverishment of the working class.

Production is on a massive scale, but with the present economic relations, the basic producers, the workers, are increasingly unable to buy masses of goods they have produced. Goods pile up and stare the workers in the face, for lack of one thing–money. Under the capitalist system, production only takes place if those who control production, the capitalists, can make profit from it. And they can make profit only by wringing it out of the workers, and constantly pushing their wages down to the lowest level, allowing the workers only enough to keep working-and to bring up new generations of workers to further enrich capital.

Part of the workers’ labor covers the cost of maintaining themselves and their families–their wages–and the rest is unpaid labor that produces surplus value for the capitalists, the source of their profit. This exploitation of the workers to create private profit for the capitalists is the basis of the whole capitalist system and all its evils.

Capital chases after the highest rate of profit, as surely as iron is drawn to a magnet–this is a law beyond anyone’s will, even the capitalists’, and it will continue in force so long as society is ruled by capital.

Owning and appropriating a part of the total capital of society privately, each capitalist must try to enlarge his share at the expense of the other capitalists. Capitalists therefore repeatedly introduce new machines and technology to try to produce goods faster and more cheaply, in order to grab more of the market from their competitors. But this machinery and technology costs the capitalists additional money without bringing additional profit–which can only be gotten from the labor of the workers. So there is the constant tendency for the capitalists’ rate of profit to fall, which constantly leads to desperate attempts on their part to push the rate of profit up, to the highest level possible.

Capitalists battle each other for profit, and those who lose out go under, even huge corporations like Penn Central Railroad, or giant banks like Franklin National. While each capitalist tries to plan production, the private ownership, the blind drive for profit and the cut-throat competition continually upset their best-laid plans, and anarchy reigns in the economy as a whole.

Capitalists constantly pull their capital out of one area of investment and into another, along with bringing in new machines to speed up production. Some capitalists temporarily surge ahead and expand while others fall behind or are forced out of business altogether. With each of these developments, thousands of workers are thrown into the streets and forced once again to search for a new master to exploit them.

All this is why, from its beginning, capitalism has gone from crisis to crisis. And the way the capitalists get out of these crises only lays the basis for worse ones–they destroy goods and even the means to produce goods, scramble to grab up more markets, and a bigger chunk of the existing ones, and increase their exploitation of the workers.

The strongest capitalists survive, and in surviving concentrate more of the means of production in their hands and hurl more of the smaller producers into the ranks of the working class. As capitalism develops, society more and more divides into two antagonistic camps–at one pole tremendous wealth and greater concentration of ownership in fewer and fewer hands; at the other pole tremendous misery for the millions who can live only by working for the owners and can work only so long as they produce profit for them.

Through all this, and especially in times of the sharpest crisis, the basic contradiction of capitalism stands out all the more starkly: production itself is highly socialized–it requires large concentrations of workers, each performing part of the total process and all essential to its completion, and it is capable of massive output on this basis; but the ownership of the means of production and the appropriation of the wealth produced is “private”–in the hands of a few, competing owners of capital.


But so long as capitalism is not overthrown, it finds some way out of the crisis–temporarily. Through a series of such crises, in the U.S., and the other major capitalist countries, large corporations have come to dominate and monopolize the major industries. Banks have increasingly merged their capital into industry, creating finance capital and monopolizing credit as well, interlocking it with industry.

Monopoly has become the rule where competition once was, but competition still exists, and in fact grows more intense–between different monopoly capitalists within these countries and internationally, and between the monopolies and smaller capital that seeks to expand and challenge the existing monopolies. Anarchy and the chase of competing capitalists after higher profit remain in effect. The laws of capitalism remain in force, especially the commandment: “expand or die.”

The market of the “home” country is too limited for the continued expansion of capital. So, backed by the military might of their governments, the monopolies penetrate into every possible part of the globe, not only or mainly to sell goods, but to exploit labor, grab up supplies of raw materials–for their own production process and to keep them out of the hands of the competitors-and to set up production in other countries to “secure” their markets.

In the nations they have seized as direct or indirect colonies they distort development to fit their own profit drives, allying with the landlords, the handful of big capitalists and government officials in these nations, and turning them into their junior partners in the plunder. In this way they try to keep these nations in an enforced state of backwardness, in order to rob their resources and make superprofits by working the people in starvation conditions. To back up this international robbery they ring the globe with their armed forces. These monopoly capitalists are modern-day imperialists, having empires far greater than the ancient Roman, Greek, Persian and Egyptian rulers.

As imperialists they must enforce ever more exploitation at home, while constantly expanding their exploitation abroad. They use superprofits stolen from the colonies and other countries to bribe an upper section of the labor movement in their “home” country, especially the top leaders of the trade unions. They promote these leaders as “labor statesmen” but they are really nothing but labor lieutenants of the capitalists–siding with them against the masses of workers whose exploitation continues to grow more intense with the continuing growth of capital.

But the same laws that have driven the imperialists to carve up the whole world force them to battle each other to re-divide it. Especially in the stage of imperialism, when crises become all the more devastating and shake the entire world network of capitalist relations, war is sooner or later the outcome, and the danger of world war exists and grows. This was the reason for WW I, a war between two camps of international looters.

This, too, is what gave rise to WW II. But since the end of WW I, the world had changed–the Soviet Union had been established, a workers’ republic closed off to the rule and plunder of capital. So, with the German invasion of the USSR in 1941, WW II changed. It was no longer just a battle for the spoils among the imperialists. It became a battle for the defense of the future, as it was already being realized by the Soviet working people in building socialism. Millions of workers and other oppressed people around the world fought and died to defeat the fascist Axis in order to defend socialism and to advance their own march toward socialist revolution.

For the U.S. imperialists, WW II became a way out of the crisis of the 1930s and a means to strengthen their position among the imperialists. Removed from the main arenas of battle, the U.S. imperialists let the Soviet Union, the Chinese people, and the people of Europe and Asia as a whole carry the main burden of the fight. Then, when they saw the great victories scored by these forces, the U.S. imperialists moved in quick with full force to clean up on all the spoils they could.

U.S. productive capacity was untouched by the war, and in fact the war geared up the economy and opened up new markets for U.S. monopoly capital. American capital declared an “American Century”–it would salvage imperialism and build it to new heights, with itself on top. But the foundation itself had long since been crumbling.

Though the U.S. imperialists expanded their control within the imperialist world, the imperialist world itself was already being shrunk by the revolutionary struggles of the peoples of many countries. The “American Century” was ending almost at the same time as it was beginning.

Just as WW I gave rise to the first socialist revolution in Russia, WW II was followed shortly by socialist revolutions in China, parts of Korea and Vietnam and many countries in Eastern Europe. Peoples throughout the colonial countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America were rising up as never before to battle imperialist domination, while the working class was shaking the rule of capital in a number of imperialist countries, both victors and vanquished in the war.

In fact, bound by the laws of capitalism, the very means the U.S. imperialists used to get out of the ’30s depression, temporarily avoid a new one and build themselves to new heights at the end of the war, have only laid the basis for an even bigger crash than ever before.

Europe and Japan had to be rebuilt, and so to stave off socialist revolution, grab up more markets and make tremendous profits, American capital flooded in to seize the opportunity. But, as this rebuilding proceeded and the economies of these countries cranked up, industrialists and financiers there, also bound by the laws of capitalism, began battling the U.S. imperialists more fiercely for the markets in Europe and Japan, in other parts of the world, and even in the U.S. itself. Inevitably, “partnership” revealed itself to be the same mad scramble for more profit.

At the end of the war, the former colonial powers, like England, France, Japan and the Netherlands, were no longer able to hang onto their colonies. Into their place stepped the U.S. imperialists. In the face of widespread struggle against colonial rule they often conceded formal “independence” but fastened their hold more tightly, in the thinly disguised form of indirect or “neo-colonialism,” as they had done for some time in Latin America.

But the people of these countries were not fooled or “content” with the “democratic” imperialism of the U.S. ruling class. By grabbing up the lion’s share of colonies, the U.S. imperialists made themselves the main target of the tide of anti-colonial revolutions that was sweeping these countries.

The tremendous military spending of WW II had “started up” the U.S. economy, and even greater military spending became necessary to try to enforce the rule of the U.S. imperialists throughout their empire. But this put a tremendous strain on the economy, building up huge deficits in dollars that had to be exported abroad to finance this global “defense” network.

For a while U.S. imperialism was able to make other countries pay for its deficits, by forcing them to accept the dollar, rather than gold, as the standard of all currencies. The dollar was backed up by U.S. armed forces. But as the U.S. imperialists were first defeated in Korea and then routed in Vietnam, the dollar, which had grown flabby over the years, was collected, hoarded, then thrown back at the U.S. finance capitalists–for hard gold.

The dollar was knocked from its perch to float in the money market. Overweight, it sank. This, together with tremendous government deficit spending overall, led to the inflation that pushed the prices of everything in the U.S. out of sight. The U.S. imperialists had to mortgage the future to maintain their strength after WW II–and now their bills are coming due!

In rebuilding Europe and Japan, through the “Marshall Plan,” the U.S. imperialists encircled the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, stationing their own troops and commandeering the forces of the West European countries. The “Iron Curtain” was erected by U.S. imperialism.

Waving the atomic bomb, which they had barbarously used against Japan, in pursuit of their own imperialist interests, at the end of WW II, the U.S. imperialists continued their attempt to intimidate the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and to aid forces within these countries working for a return to capitalism. They attempted to choke these socialist countries economically, while at the same time trying to penetrate the markets of Eastern Europe with the dollar.

In 1956 the forces of capitalist restoration in the Soviet Union, headed at that time by Khrushchev, did succeed in seizing power from the working class. They turned the Soviet Union itself into an imperialist country and turned most of Eastern Europe into its colonies. But, now itself bound by the same laws of capitalism as the U.S. (fundamentally “expand or die”), the Soviet Union is pushing out in every part of the world, and has become the main rival to U.S. imperialism for world domination.

The further development of the present imperialist crisis, which threatens to bankrupt not only large companies but whole countries, has given rise to even more cut-throat competition among the capitalist countries, as alliances are more and more breaking down. In this situation, the contention between the two imperialist superpowers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union, is rocking the whole world, as these two giants slug it out, and is the main force pushing things toward a new world war.

Crisis and war, devastation and destruction, temporary and partial recovery and then worse crisis and war-this is what capitalism means. And this is all the more the case once capitalism has developed to the stage of imperialism. Imperialism is capitalism on the decline and in decay, trying to prolong its existence through the most desperate attempts to expand and intensify exploitation. And each attempt of the imperialists to deal with the effects of its continual crises only aggravates the underlying cause-only heightens the contradiction between socialized production represented by the working class, and “private” ownership of the means of production represented by the capitalist class.

Once capitalism has reached the stage of imperialism it becomes all the more clear that on the one hand the development of capitalism has laid the basis for a life undreamed of in the past, but on the other hand the continued existence of capitalism keeps society from attaining this and keeps the great majority of society in continual suffering.

It is impossible to “reform” imperialism. It is impossible to go back to the “competitive” stage of capitalism–a reactionary, Utopian scheme, which, even if it were possible, is not in the interests of the working class, for whom capitalism, in any form, has always meant merciless exploitation and misery. The only solution is to go forward, to socialize the ownership of the means of production and the appropriation of the products of production, in order to bring them into conformity with the highly socialized nature of production itself. This requires a political revolution, the overthrow of the rule of capital by the working class, which, in its socialized productive labor, represents the embryonic organization of the future, socialist society.

In fact, the era of imperialism is the era of capitalism rotten ripe for revolution. And this is why, in every country where the working class does not yet hold political power and therefore has not yet embarked on the road of building socialism, its struggle must and will be built toward that aim.


The American Revolution of 1776-1783 involved the masses of American people in armed uprising to throw off the yoke of British colonial rule. At that time this was an historic advance–it smashed the barriers to the development of capitalism in the U.S. and gave inspiration to bourgeois (capitalist) revolutions against the feudal system in Europe. But even as a bourgeois revolution, it was limited. It granted few rights to the small farmers and propertyless workers in towns and the countryside. And most important, it did not abolish slavery.

In fact, slavery remained the economic mainstay of the newborn United States, and the southern, slaveowning class was extremely influential in the new state. They used their economic and political power to hold back the northern capitalists, who were developing manufacturing and fighting for total control of the government.

These early industrialists created not only factories, but also their mortal enemy–the working class. The first strikes in America took place in the late 1700s and by the 1800s workers were building unions and political parties, though this was still at a primitive stage.

The struggle against slavery was intensifying, too. The slaves themselves were the main force in this battle. The beginning of slavery in this country was also the beginning of slave revolts against it, rebellions which continued until the end of the slave system itself and were crucial in undermining and eventually overthrowing it. There were more than 250 such revolts recorded–and many more that were never recorded because the slaveowners not only viciously suppressed them, but all knowledge of them, for fear that these uprisings would set off a chain reaction that would bring down the whole barbaric slave rule.

The workers and small farmers in the North and much of the South were a crucial force in the fight against the slave system, taking part in the abolition movement, helping run the underground railroad that aided slaves to escape the South, and organizing to smash slavery. Masses of workers recognized in the slave system the greatest barrier to progress in the country at that time, a chain holding back society as a whole, including the struggle of the workers themselves against the capitalists, who, even while opposing the slave-owning class, used the slave system as a club over the workers’ heads. The deep hatred of these workers for slavery showed itself in their actions in the Civil War, as tens of thousands volunteered, went into battle singing “John Brown’s Body,” and sacrificed heroically, along with the slaves themselves, to win the war.

Slavery met its end with the Civil War. For the capitalists centered in the North it established their complete rule; and it set the economy firmly on the path of industrialism and monopoly. But the slaves and the workers and small farmers were the mainstay of the Union Army; they fought to exterminate the slave system, and were victorious.

The defeat of slavery propelled forward the struggle of the working class, especially the eight hour day movement. 1877 stands out as a year marked by a mighty strike wave in which the workers, enraged by exploitation, fought police and the army and actually seized control of entire cities for a time. But this was only one high point in a struggle that grew year by year. The country was swept by demonstrations and strikes to cut down the working day from 10, 12 or more hours to eight hours. Nor did the struggle end when much of the working class secured the eight hour day. The contradiction between labor and capital continued to intensify and was more and more clearly the main factor determining how society was developing.

Depressions and inflationary booms alternated as the capitalists competed to build and expand their economic empires. To man their expanding factories the capitalists were forced to bring in workers from outside this country’s borders. Generations of immigrant workers, from the far corners of the earth, were driven by exploitation and grinding poverty in their own lands to this country, where they faced discrimination and more exploitation and poverty. They added their strength and experience in struggle to the American working class, playing a vital part in nearly every major battle between labor and capital.

The American working class has, through its struggle, given birth to two international working class holidays, celebrated by hundreds of millions of working people throughout the world–May Day, May 1, born out of the fight for the eight hour day in the U.S. at the end of the last century; and International Women’s Day, March 8, arising from the militant struggle of immigrant women workers in the garment industry in New York at the beginning of this century. American workers proudly fought together with workers of other lands against wars of aggression and plunder by the major capitalist powers, in support of revolutionary movements throughout the world and in defense of the first workers’ republic, the Soviet Union.

It was precisely this intense and growing struggle of the working class on all fronts against the bourgeoisie that was the soil for the development of the communist movement in the U.S. Workers turned to Marxism in the tens and hundreds of thousands because it could not only aid their day to day struggles, but showed how to make those struggles part of the overall battle to end exploitation and oppression forever. In this soil the Communist Party, USA, was formed in 1919, advancing the struggle of the working class.

The struggle of the proletariat continued to grow and threaten the bourgeoisie. In the depths of the 1930s depression, in the face of massive unemployment, hunger, and homelessness, the workers of this country rose up and united in millions of all nationalities, employed and unemployed, and smashed the sabotage of the AFL craft-union leaders to build the CIO. Unions in basic industry, unemployed compensation, and social security were among the important victories of the decade. The great sit-down strike at the Flint, Michigan, GM plants, the 1934 dock and general strike in San Francisco, the struggles of workers in rubber, mining and other basic industries, the huge demonstrations of unemployed and other major battles in this period, mark high points in the history of the workers’ movement.

The links between the struggle of Black people for emancipation and that of the whole working class, forged during the anti-slavery struggle, were not destroyed even when the masses of Black people were forced back onto the plantations by the 1880s, now as sharecroppers-basically serfs of the plantation owners. During and after WW I, when Blacks for the first time came in large numbers to the North as workers, they added a powerful thrust to the workers’ movement.

The capitalists, of course, practiced and promoted all kinds of discrimination against them and tried to use them as scabs. But this was spitting into the wind. Unity was built in the course of mighty struggle, especially as the working class, led by its Communist Party, built its mass movement and, as a key part of this, took up the fight against this discrimination, against lynching and other terror the capitalist rulers used to hound Black people, North and South, in order to keep their chains on them and shackle the whole working class.

Following WW II the capitalists and their agents sabotaged the unions and succeeded to some degree in holding back the overall workers’ movement. They built up hacks who had entrenched themselves at the top of the unions which millions of rank and file workers had built through heroic struggle and great sacrifice. At the same time, they put through new laws, like the Taft-Hartley anti-strike provisions, that were direct attacks on labor; and they bent every effort to beat back the militant strike waves of the late 1940s. They used their labor lieutenants to drive militants, and especially communists, out of the labor movement.

They developed the practice of “installment buying,” which trapped millions of working people in a net of credit, while trying to convince them that indeed there was “great opportunity.” With their temporary position of ascendancy within the imperialist camp, the rulers of the U.S. were able for a time to give a little in the face of the workers’ demands for better wages and benefits. And so, where the capitalists and the union hacks could not smash or sabotage the workers’ struggle, they made some concessions–with an eyedropper–while preparing to snatch them, and more, back–with a steamshovel. This, together with the fact that the Communist Party deserted the working class and gave up the goal of revolution, explains the relative lull in the workers’ movement during the period of the 1950s and early ’60s.

Despite this period of setback for the overall workers’ movement, a mighty storm was gathering in the Black people’s struggle which erupted in the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955. This struggle began as a “civil rights movement,” mainly aimed at smashing “Jim Crow”–the laws and practices which, since the ending of Reconstruction in the South, had kept Black people segregated and in serf-like conditions.

This modern civil rights movement was linked closely with important changes in the economic position of the masses of Black people in the U.S. Following WW II, the monopoly capitalists who controlled the plantation system in the South, in their pursuit for profit, ended most sharecropping and instituted mechanized capitalist agriculture.

Millions of Black people–as well as many whites–went to the cities of the North and South, seeking work and a better life. Once again, according to the laws of the capitalist system, production, this time in agriculture, was expanded and developed only for the profit of the few, resulting in massive displacement and suffering. But in the end it only brought closer the day when the ruling class will be overthrown. Black people were more and more able to resist their oppression, and with millions of Black men and women joining the industrial workforce in both the North and South, their struggle became continually more bound up with that of the whole working class.

Faced with the anti-colonial struggles, especially in Africa, and needing to cover their colonialism with a “democratic” mask, the U.S. imperialists had to make a few token concessions to the fight against segregation in the U.S.-such as the 1954 Supreme Court decision against school segregation. But it was the determined struggle of millions of Black people themselves–supported by broad sections of youth and students and many workers of all nationalities–that knocked down barriers to public accommodations, smashed the imperialists’ lynch-terror, and forced them to open up more jobs to Black people.

The break-up of the plantation system in the South, the transformation of millions of Black people from serf-like sharecroppers to industrial workers–part of the single working class of the U.S. –and the tremendous struggle of Black people that arose in connection with this, were the major factors that changed the face of this country, from the mid-’50s into the mid and late ’60s.

The Black people’s movement was not just an inspiration to other oppressed nationalities, and to students and youth, women and other sections of the people who were also engaged in sharp struggles against the ruling class during this period. Especially as it developed from simply a civil rights movement into a Black liberation movement aimed more squarely at the imperialist system, it became the main force pushing ahead all other struggles against the capitalist rulers at that time, including the struggle of the working class itself. At a time when the working class movement was weakened and without a revolutionary vanguard Party, the Black liberation struggle rekindled revolutionary spirit among people of all nationalities, and raised again the question of the overthrow of imperialism.

But this struggle could not accomplish the overthrow of imperialism and the real liberation of Black people. The struggle of Black people can and does deal powerful blows to the monopoly capitalists and to the various forms of discrimination and racist trash they foster to make profit and maintain their power. But by itself it cannot end Black people’s oppression because the source of this oppression is capitalist rule. The Black people’s struggle alone cannot resolve the basic contradiction of capitalism–between the working class and the capitalist class–the contradiction from which all of its evils arise.

Thus, the advance of the Black people’s struggle, in bringing up the question of revolution has also brought up the fact that the working class as a whole must lead in making revolution, and that the Black people’s struggle must and will be developed as part of the overall working class struggle to overthrow capitalism.

As the links between the Black people’s struggle and the general working class struggle grew stronger, as the need for a revolution to smash capitalist rule began to stand out, some forces among Black people, especially the professionals and businessmen, began to waver in their support of the Black liberation movement. Some of these even joined the ranks of the ruling class lackeys, as the imperialists put out more money to build up some Black businesses and bureaucrats in poverty programs, and allowed more openings to Black professionals and intellectuals, in an effort to misdirect the Black people’s struggle away from the imperialists themselves and aim it instead at white workers, and workers of other nationalities.

But through their own experience, the masses of Black people are increasingly coming to see that the basic conflict in this country is not between Black and white, but between the handful of rich and the masses of working people of all nationalities. And millions of white workers are also seeing that the Black people’s struggle is a powerful part of the same struggle they are engaged in against exploitation and oppression, and has been a decisive force advancing the workers’ movement as a whole to a new stage.

The working class as a whole never for a minute stopped battling for its day to day needs, even during the period of the ’50s and early ’60s. This resistance to capital has erupted in the last few years in a great upsurge of rank and file struggle–in strikes, wildcats, slowdowns, even plant seizures. Workers took part in large numbers in the mass movement against the war in Vietnam, through which they learned many valuable lessons about the nature of the ruling class and how to fight it. Workers are ready to fight, and are beginning again to fight the ruling class on many fronts. Despite the divide and conquer schemes of the imperialist rulers, the unity of the working class is being built through these struggles.

Increasingly united and with powerful allies in the movements of the oppressed nationalities, the working class is intensifying its mighty historic battle against capital. It is the basic contradiction of capitalism, and the class struggle that arises from it, between the working class and the capitalist class, that stands even more prominently at the center of the stage in the United States today.


From the standpoint of historical development, capitalism was a great advance over the feudal system of landlord-serf relations that preceded it, but capitalism still represents the rule of an exploiting minority over the laboring majority. The “democracy” of capitalism (bourgeois democracy) is really democracy only for the capitalist rulers, just as ancient Greek “democracy” was democracy only for the small minority of slaveowners. Capitalist rule is still a form of dictatorship, and capitalism still a form of slavery for the working class.

In its early stages of development, when it was on the rise against the feudal system, the capitalist class raised the banner of “freedom.” It meant “free trade” and “free competition,” which were then spurs to the development of the economy. But more than that it meant the freedom to exploit the workers.

Capitalism created the “free proletarian” by separating the masses of working people from ownership of land and other means of production and forcing them to work in ever larger factories, and in large-scale agriculture. For the workers, capitalist “freedom” means in essence the freedom to choose between slaving for some capitalist or starving-and in times of crisis even the first choice disappears for millions.

The rise of capitalism, though brought about through great oppression of the people, was historically progressive, because it made possible the development of large-scale socialized production, and more because capitalism brought into being and concentrated as a mighty army capitalism’s own gravedigger, the modern proletariat. The proletariat is the true creator of large-scale socialized production and the true motor in developing the productive forces in modern society. It is the historic mission of the proletariat to overthrow capitalism and replace it with a higher form of society, to liberate the productive forces from the shackles of capitalism, finally eliminate all forms of exploitation, all domination of one section of society over another, and open up completely new possibilities for the domination of humanity as a whole over nature.

The history of society (since classes first developed in ancient times) is the history of class struggle. The continuing development of society from a lower level to a qualitatively higher one has been accomplished throughout history by the overthrow of one class by another which represents a more advanced form of organization of production and society as a whole.

Thousands of years ago, when the development of the productive forces first made possible the accumulation of a surplus above what people needed to live, and the accumulation of privately owned means of production, the slaveowning class arose and established the slave system.

As the productive forces developed, the feudal landlord class arose within the slave system, finally overthrew the slave system and established the feudal system.

With the further development of the productive forces, the capitalist class arose within the feudal system, finally overthrew the feudal system and established the capitalist system.

And now it is the turn of the proletariat to overthrow the capitalist system and build a completely new kind of society.

Underlying all this progress throughout history has been the struggle of the masses of people–struggle to develop production and science and to fight exploitation and oppression under the existing society. But only now, with the development of the proletariat under capitalism, has it become possible for the masses of people to finally take their place as masters of society and smash all social chains enslaving the producers and shackling production itself.