Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Programme of the Revolutionary Communist Party USA



One of the key weapons that the proletariat, through its Party, must wield in its revolutionary struggle is the United Front. This means that at each stage of the struggle the proletariat isolates the main enemy to the greatest degree possible, by concentrating its attack on that enemy, and unites all who can be united against the enemy. In carrying out this united front strategy the proletariat not only forges a powerful unity with its main allies, but seeks to win over, or at least neutralize, weak and vacillating allies. And it skillfully makes use of contradictions within the enemy camp to advance the revolutionary struggle, without falling into the trap of “uniting” with one part of the main enemy against another–which means giving up the revolutionary struggle and giving in to the enemy.

The present situation in the U.S. and the world is an extremely favorable one for the working class. The rulers of this country are caught in the quicksand of capitalism’s inevitable crisis and there is great turmoil in their ranks, as shown by Watergate and the many other political scandals that have come to the surface and highlighted sharpening contradictions within the ruling class. This provides the proletariat with a great opportunity to expose and attack the ruling class, to rally broader forces in striking at it, and turn the widespread anger and unrest among the American people into a powerful movement of millions aimed at the imperialist rulers. In the same way, the great disorder internationally provides a great opportunity for the proletariat throughout the world. Crises are also rocking the ruling classes throughout the capitalist and imperialist countries, and alliances among them are shifting and breaking down. At the heart of this disorder is the contention between the two imperialist superpowers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union, which are scrambling all over the globe for domination and are being battered on all sides by resistance and revolutionary struggle.


At the present time, these two top dogs of the imperialist system are the main enemies of the people of the world. The working class of all countries faces the task of building the broadest united front, on a world scale, aimed at the ruling classes of these two superpowers, while at the same time uniting all who can be united within each country to continue the battle for socialist revolution. The working class and its Party has to learn how to correctly combine these tasks, so that it neither narrows the international united front nor loses sight of the goal of socialism.

To do this, it is essential to keep in mind the fundamental principle that the masses are the makers of history and to rely on the masses of people in every country as the backbone of the struggle against the rulers of the two superpowers. With this in mind, it is possible and absolutely necessary for the working class of the U.S. to determine and unite with its allies in other countries.

First are the workers of all countries, and of great importance are the countries that are ruled by the working class, where the working class has already seized power and is building socialism. The bourgeoisie in this country hopes to divide the U.S. workers from the rest of the international army of the working class, in order to crush them under its heel. It especially tries to slander the great achievements of the working class in the socialist countries–and in doing so takes special advantage of the “socialist” cover of the new Soviet bourgeoisie–in order to demoralize workers in this country, convince them that there is no alternative to capitalism, and keep them from recognizing that the socialist countries belong to the international working class and that it is the duty of the international working class to defend them. At the same time, with its “Buy American” campaigns and other chauvinist appeals, the bourgeoisie tries to put the blame for its crisis and the sufferings of the American people on workers exploited in other countries.

The ruling class calls for “national unity” to deal with the crisis; it means the working class should unite with the bourgeoisie’s efforts to exploit it even more. The ruling class conducts an ever-present campaign for patriotism; it means the working class should support its efforts to plunder other nations and exploit working people there. “The foreign workers are taking your jobs, the Japanese with their technology and the greedy Arabs with their oil hoarding have caused the crisis”–bourgeois lies drummed at the masses of people every day to cover up the real cause–and the real solution.

The working class answers this with proletarian internationalism–the unity of the workers of all countries as one mighty force, the alliance with all struggles throughout the world against imperialism and for revolution, and the unwavering support and defense of the genuine socialist countries.

Besides the workers in every country, the proletariat in the U.S. has as its allies in the international arena today the great struggles of nations throughout the “underdeveloped world” or “Third World” for liberation from colonialism and imperialism. The backbone of these struggles are the hundreds of millions of peasants, who make up the majority of the population in most of these countries and, particularly under the leadership of the working class and its Party, are the bulwark of the armed struggle against the imperialists and their feudal and bourgeois junior partners. With the worker-peasant alliance as the foundation, these national liberation struggles can also involve broad strata of the population, including intellectuals and students, professionals and shopkeepers and even some smaller-scale merchants and factory owners who are more held down than built up by imperialist rule in these countries.

In these struggles there are patriotic sections of the bourgeoisie in these countries–generally the smaller-scale capitalists–which play a positive role in the fight for independence from imperialism. Even where these forces have leadership in this fight, the proletariat unites with them insofar as they continue to oppose imperialism. But only the working class and its Party can lead the struggle forward to thoroughly defeat imperialism, achieve socialism and eliminate all exploitation.

In addition, in the world today, with the decline of U.S. imperialism and the increase of its worldwide contention with Soviet social imperialism (socialism in words, imperialism in deeds), a number of non-socialist governments in the Third World, including even some that represent the rule of the landlords and big capitalists in those countries, are to one degree or other resisting the domination of the imperialists, especially the two superpowers. While in the final analysis these forces are fighting for a bigger chunk of the exploitation of their own peoples, and while they cannot and will not fight for complete independence from imperialism, nevertheless their resistance to imperialist, especially superpower, domination helps to weaken the main enemies of the people of the world.

For this reason, the working class supports them insofar as they oppose this domination and encourages them to put up more resistance. This is especially crucial for the working class in the United States, where the imperialist rulers are bending every effort to shift the blame for the crisis onto the Third World countries, particularly the Arab governments that have used oil as a weapon in resisting superpower and other imperialist domination.

As part of their drive to dominate the Middle East and in particular to control its strategic oil reserves, the imperialists, especially the superpowers, make every effort to keep the Arab peoples and countries under their thumb, and as a crucial part of this openly or more covertly use Israel as their arm of aggression. The imperialists and their media are an endless fountain of lying propaganda that turns reality upside down, reverses right and wrong, and with regard to the Middle East, paints Israel as the small, encircled victim of Arab terrorism.

At the same time, the imperialists, who know no principle except the pursuit of profit, also spew out anti-Semitic poison as part of their arsenal against the working class and other oppressed people. There is nothing the bourgeoisie won’t stoop to, no lie too low or vicious, in its desperate attempt to maintain its exploiting rule. “Blacks have all the jobs, and the Jews have all the money,” or “whites have all the jobs, and the Jews have all the money ”–even these poison darts are more and more commonly fired at the masses of people by the ruling class in this country.

These divide and conquer schemes only reveal the depth of decadence of the bourgeoisie. Anti-Semitism, in particular chauvinist appeals to hate Jews instead of the imperialists, cannot save these dinosaurs from destruction, any more than the rest of their putrid degeneracy. The working class will blow away this anti-Semitism, at the same time as it blows the cover off the imperialist-Zionist propaganda that tries to label all opposition to Israel anti-Semitic and to hide the fact that Israel is an arm of imperialist aggression against the Palestinian and other Arab peoples.

With regard to the Arab countries in particular, and the countries of the Third World in general, the working class, while supporting the resistance of the governments to imperialist, especially superpower, domination, gives its fundamental support to the masses of people and assists in every way possible their struggle to win complete independence from imperialism and overthrow all exploiters. Against the imperialists, especially the two superpowers, the proletariat supports even the exploiting class governments in the Third World who resist them. Against these governments, the proletariat supports the revolutionary struggle of the people, and in so doing gives the greatest support to the fight against imperialism.

Not only in the Third World, but even in the capitalist and imperialist states outside the two superpowers, governments are resisting to some degree the domination of the superpowers. The proletariat supports this resistance for the reason that it also weakens the main enemy. At the same time the proletariat upholds the interests of the masses of people of these countries and supports their struggle, together with that of the peoples of the Third World, against the ruling classes of these developed countries.

These ruling classes are driven by the same profit-seeking law as all bourgeois classes, and there is no way the contradiction between them and the workers and other people they exploit and oppress can be resolved, except through revolution. But, on the other hand, their drive for profit brings them into conflict with the two superpowers, and in this conflict the proletariat supports them against the superpowers, in order to weaken the whole imperialist system.

The situation in the world today is very complicated, but through all this complication and disorder two things stand out: the struggle of the working class for revolution and socialism is advancing, and uniting with all possible allies, while the two superpowers are becoming more and more isolated, and the whole imperialist system is declining. But the more they are exposed, struggled against and weakened, the more they sink into crisis, the more desperate the imperialists, especially the rulers of the U.S. and the Soviet Union, become. This, and particularly the feverish contention between these two superpowers, is pushing the world toward a third world war. Either the working class in the U.S. and the Soviet Union will prevent such a war by overthrowing these greatest oppressors, in conjunction with the worldwide struggle against them, or they will launch a world war before they can be overthrown.

But even if they launch such a war, with all the suffering it will bring to the people throughout the world, this will only hasten their own downfall and the end of imperialism. The first world war gave rise to the first socialist revolution, and one tenth of humanity was liberated from the rule of capital. The second world war gave rise to revolution in many parts of the world, as a result of which many new socialist states have been established; and despite the restoration of capitalism in some countries, over one fourth of humanity is continuing to advance along the socialist road. In launching a third world war, the imperialists, especially the rulers of the U.S. and USSR, would further expose their barbarous nature, deepen the determination of the people of the world to bury them once and for all, and give rise to a revolutionary storm shaking the world as never before.

The growing danger of world war demonstrates all the more dramatically the need to rely on the masses. For it is only the masses, led by a proletarian vanguard, who can turn such a war into all-out revolutionary struggle against imperialism.

The world-wide united front against imperialism, which is aimed at the two superpowers, is the strategy of the proletariat for dealing with the present international situation and building its revolutionary struggle against imperialism. The carrying out of this strategy creates more turmoil within the imperialist world, and makes it more difficult for the superpowers to unite even for the purpose of suppressing revolution, to maintain control of strategic resources and to solidify alliances for the purpose of waging war. In this way the conditions become more favorable for the proletariat to build its struggle and win over the greatest number of allies against the main enemy, within each country and on a world scale.

This international united front is not a substitute for the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat, but a programme for advancing it. In this, as in all united fronts, the proletariat, through its Party, brings to the forefront the revolutionary interests of its class, mobilizes the masses as the main force of the struggle, and carries the fight forward toward its historic goal of overthrowing and eliminating all exploiting classes and class society itself.


The main contribution of the U.S. proletariat to the world-wide revolution is to overthrow imperialism in the U.S. Within the U.S. itself, who are the friends and who are the enemies of the proletarian struggle? The basic answer to this lies in an analysis of the different classes and strata within U.S. society, their objective interests and their attitudes toward revolution which stem from their position and social role in society.

Bourgeoisie, or capitalist class. This class is the target of the revolution. It controls the present state–police and army, courts, bureaucracies, etc. –and rules every sphere of society.

But within the bourgeoisie there are different strata. The dominant section is the monopoly capitalists, or imperialists, who have control of the banks and the major industries. In the U.S. today less than 2 % of the population own one third or more of the wealth, including the majority of stocks and bonds, and control the largest share of the means of production. This group of vampires, with well-known families like the Rockefellers, Mellons, Harrimans, and a small number of others as the biggest bloodsuckers, represent the main pillar of the ruling class. The working class, in seizing power, will immediately confiscate–without compensation–the means of production they own and their accumulated billions. It will give them just punishment for their towering crimes, strip those who remain of all basis of their power and ruthlessly suppress every attempt by them to resist proletarian rule and socialism.

Besides the monopoly capitalists, there are non-monopoly sections of the bourgeoisie–who do not dominate whole industries or have large amounts of finance capital under their control, but nevertheless live in comfort and luxury by exploiting labor and constantly seek to expand and intensify this exploitation. For them being rich is not a mere dream but a reality. The interests of this group lie in the preservation of the status quo, and they support whatever protects the bourgeoisie against the proletariat.

In a time of revolutionary crisis, some of this group may be crushed and ruined economically by the monopoly capitalists in the cut-throat contest to survive and rule as a class. In this situation the proletariat will take tactical advantage of their conflict with the monopoly capitalists and where possible will neutralize them-by directing the main fire at the monopoly capitalists and dealing with people in this group depending upon their actions–but it will never stop its struggle against their bloodsucking nor compromise with their desire to save the capitalist system and prevent proletarian rule. As part of isolating the monopoly capitalists to the extreme, the proletariat may, upon seizing power, take over the means of production and wealth of these non-monopoly capitalists more gradually, but it will at all times strictly control their economic and political activity through its state and the exercise of its dictatorship in all spheres of society.

The working class will ruthlessly crush the faithful lackeys of the ruling class–including big-time politicians, high-ranking military officers, the police, high-court judges, and top officials in the various agencies of the bourgeois government. In this same category are the bigshot bureaucrats in the trade unions who have taken the blood-soaked bribes of the ruling class as payment for betraying the working class and have, in many cases, invested large sums and become capitalists in their own right.

Proletariat, or working class. The proletariat is the main and leading force in the revolution. It is the largest class in the U.S. and makes up the majority of U.S. society. It has no stake in the preservation of the capitalist system and is the only class capable of not only overthrowing the present ruling class but completely remaking society to abolish classes. While the proletariat has one class interest, and has no interest in competition between different members of its class, there are different sectors of the working class, which must be taken into account in order to unite the working class.

The backbone of the working class are the workers in large-scale enterprises, engaging in highly socialized work. There are approximately 20 million workers in manufacturing in the U.S., nearly three fourths of them production workers. About half of these workers in manufacturing are employed in establishments with over 500 workers and about one third in establishments employing more than 1000. In addition in construction, mining, utilities and other industries there are large numbers of workers in highly socialized situations. These workers, and especially those in the most socialized situations, in large-scale industry, are the backbone because of their concentration and socialization, because their relationship to large-scale means of production makes them most able to grasp the essence of capitalist exploitation, and more than that to grasp how the working class can use the tremendous social potential of the great productive forces it has built, once these productive forces have been liberated from the chains of capital by the working class through socialist revolution.

Besides these workers there are millions more engaged in productive labor-that is, labor which creates surplus value-including most so-called “service industries.”

While they are part of the same class as workers in industry, agricultural wage-workers have different, more backward, conditions of labor, are subject to more seasonal work, receive lower wages, and live in even worse conditions as a rule. This is because the development of capitalism means the domination of the towns over the countryside, and the advance of industry over agriculture. This gap remains wide, even in the U.S. where agriculture is highly mechanized and agricultural labor generally very socialized.

In the U.S. today there are over 2.5 million agricultural workers over 14 years old, but only about 400,000 of these are year-round workers, while over 1 million work less than 25 days a year. Even for those working more than 25 days, average annual income is only about $2500. The closest alliance of industrial and agricultural workers is a key to the success of the revolutionary movement, and under socialism the ruling proletariat must pay special attention to strengthening this unity, and to overcoming the contradictions between town and country, and industry and agriculture, in order to advance to communism.

There are also millions of other workers in this country whose labor is not productive–that is, it does not create surplus value for the capitalists–but is a part of the overall productive process. In this category are sales workers and others employed by merchant capital, whose role in the productive process is to make possible the realization of profit; and office workers whose role is necessary to make possible the organization of production–as opposed to managers whose social role is to enforce the exploitation of the workers. There are also many other workers whose labor is not productive (does not create surplus value for the capitalists), but who are employed as wage workers and have no means to live except to sell their labor power–ability to work–to others. This includes a number of diverse occupations such as many domestic workers, firemen (but not policemen), and many other lower-level government workers. The wages of this group, like those of all unproductive workers, are not paid out of capital (money invested to make more money), but out of revenue-profit already created by productive workers, personal income and taxes. (The personal income of the capitalist and the taxes he pays come from the profit created by productive workers. Other personal income in society includes the wages of workers; their taxes, of course, are taken out of these wages.)

Included in the working class are the unemployed, a group which always exists in large numbers under capitalism, generally grows in numbers with the growth of capital and swells to huge proportions with the inevitable development of the crises of capitalism. All workers out of a job, whether counted as part of “official unemployment” by the government or not, who have no other means to live except to sell their labor power when they can or live on unemployment or welfare when they can’t–all these are part of the working class (as opposed to those who refuse to work and live by criminal means.) The unemployed proletariat includes large numbers of unemployed youth, many of whom have never worked, but whose families are part of the working class. The struggles of unemployed workers and the unity of the employed and unemployed are crucial questions for the class struggle.

Housewives who are members of working class families are also part of the proletariat; their “housework” is necessary to maintain and reproduce the labor power of the working class, and the cost of this work is included in the wages paid to their husbands.

Within the working class there is a stratum of “better off” workers, which the bourgeoisie tries to use as a social base for spreading reformism and accommodation to the system among the masses of workers. This group of “better off” workers is not easily defined, as they come from different industries and have different characteristics. Some have relatively high incomes, some work in highly individualized situations, some do all technical work and have relatively easier jobs. But generally they are those workers who as a group have the greatest possibility of getting out of the working class and becoming “their own boss” in one form or another (though they are frequently pushed back into the working class).

This is not a static group. The development of technology constantly breaks down some skilled categories of work, while creating new ones. Some workers enter the stratum of small entrepreneurs, while some in this stratum are pushed down into the working class. But the bourgeoisie constantly tries to use the “better off” workers, along with the union officials, to promote the illusion that workers can “make it” under capitalism.

This stratum of “better off” workers must, however, be distinguished from the highly paid union officials, who act as labor lieutenants of the capitalist class. Especially with the development of the crisis the capitalists have launched sharp attacks on the working class as a whole and there has been militant response from all sections of the class.

The workers’ movement, in order to realize the revolutionary interests of the class, must be solidly based in the heart of the proletariat, among the workers on the assembly lines and in basic production–especially the large-scale plants. But with this foundation, the proletariat and its Party can unite the broad ranks of its class and rally behind its revolutionary banner the great majority of people exploited and oppressed by the ruling class.

Petty Bourgeoisie. Literally this term means small capitalists, but it is generally used to describe the strata in between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. It is a large group in the U.S. and includes many different strata, whose varying positions and roles in society make some more and some less, firm allies of the proletariat. But as a whole this intermediate group tends to vacillate between uniting with the working class and compromising with the bourgeoisie or even siding with it against the proletariat.

The history of capitalism, particularly in the era of imperialism, shows that as crisis deepens and the revolutionary working class movement develops, the bourgeoisie increasingly attempts to mobilize the petty bourgeoisie against the proletariat and even to use it as a social base for fascism. The bourgeoisie tries to turn the desperation of the ruined petty bourgeoisie into frantic attacks against the working class.

Some sections of the petty bourgeoisie can be influenced in this direction, out of a desire to preserve their “independent” position above the proletariat. But the development of capitalism continually undermines this position; and big capital increasingly crushes the petty bourgeoisie, especially as the crisis grows sharper.

This emphasizes all the more the need and the ability of the working class to win over as much of the petty bourgeoisie as possible, and neutralize those petty bourgeois forces that cannot be won over, by exposing the bourgeoisie as the source of the suffering of the people, and building the most powerful struggle against it. But in order to do this the proletariat must bring forward its revolutionary outlook, build its own strength as the main force in the struggle against the bourgeoisie, and carry this struggle through to make revolution. The more resolutely the proletariat fights for its revolutionary interests as a class, the broader the sections of the petty bourgeoisie it will be able to win over.

Among the petty bourgeoisie are small-scale capitalists-owners of one or two small shops, who make only a moderate income from exploiting labor, small shopkeepers and merchants; lower-and middle-level managers and supervisors, and foremen whose role is to enforce the exploitation of the workers; professionals and intellectuals, athletes and entertainers who live from their own “performances” (as opposed to the very highly paid who invest big sums of money and become part of the bourgeoisie).

The petty bourgeoisie also includes self-employed working people who live mainly or entirely from their own labor. Some among these, for example the “independent truckers,” have waged very sharp struggle against the ruling class, and have greatly aided the working class through this struggle.

Teachers and social workers are also part of the petty bourgeoisie. While they own no means of production and work for salaries (paid out of revenue), their social role is to “regulate” and indoctrinate the masses. This, the level of formal education required for their job and its general “professional” status, sets them apart from the working class. But on the other hand their income is close to that of the working class, and these groups, too, have put up sharp battles against the ruling class, often directly aligning themselves with struggles of parents in the community, students in the schools, people on welfare and other sections of the working class and oppressed people. In these struggles many have resisted the social role the bourgeoisie has set for them, and in this the working class firmly unites with and supports them.

Small farmers, especially the “family farmers,” are included in the petty bourgeoisie. They are continually squeezed by mounting mortgages and other debt to the banks, insurance companies and other finance capitalists. At the same time they are caught in the vise of rising prices for farm equipment on the one side and on the other side the moves of the large wholesale outfits to take bigger and bigger chunks out of the money made in the sale of farm products. The family farm has been rapidly disappearing under these blows of the monopoly capitalists, but these small farmers have put up militant resistance to this in recent years, as they have throughout the history of this country.

The alliance of the working class with these small farmers is not only important for the struggle to overthrow the ruling class but for building socialism once the proletariat has seized power. While there are now actually more agricultural wage-workers in the U.S. than small, family-sized, farmers, these small farmers still play a crucial role in feeding the people and raising key crops for industry. The working class, once it has won political power and controls the economy through its state, must maintain its alliance with these small farmers, draw them firmly into the task of building socialism, and lead them to take part in eventual socialization–direct state ownership of all farm land and means of production.

The working class fights today with the small farmer against monopoly capital, but it struggles against any tendency to raise demands which are opposed to the interests of the masses of people.

Where the interests of the small farmers conflict with those of the working class, and where these small farmers oppose the struggles of farmworkers in particular, the proletariat and its Party stands firmly with its class, while continuing to unite with and build up the anti-big business side of the small farmers’ stand.

Within the broad group making up the petty bourgeoisie, and within many of its various subgroups, there are those of higher, middle and lower status. Some are quite well-to-do, and own a fair amount of stocks, bonds and other holdings. These will be at best unstable allies of the proletariat.

But most only dream of getting rich, and some are quite poor, with even less income than the workers. Many of these desire drastic change and will be firm allies of the proletariat, so long as the proletariat and its Party remains staunch in the struggle.

For the majority of those who make up the petty bourgeoisie the only prospect is hardship and the threat of ruin under imperialism; the only future for them lies with the working class and socialism. While struggling against their inclination to try to preserve capitalism in some form and protect their position above the working class, the proletariat must mainly rely on persuasion to win them over, ally with them in seizing power and transform them step by step into workers during the socialist transition.

Another group which plays an important role in the struggle against imperialism is the students. Most of those who enter college are drawn from the petty bourgeoisie, though many come from the working class and a good number work while in college.

The petty bourgeoisie in the revolutionary movement. In recent years, many conscious revolutionary fighters have come forward from the struggles of students as well as different sections of the petty bourgeoisie. Quite a few have taken up the stand of the working class and contributed to building its struggle and its Party.

On the other hand, many of these petty bourgeois radicals resist the stand of the working class, even as they rebel against the ruling class. This is not surprising. The petty bourgeoisie, especially petty bourgeois intellectuals who are divorced from productive labor and the masses of workers, tend to be politically unstable. When they take up a revolutionary position they tend to bounce between adventurism–the attempt to bring down the system all by themselves–and conservatism–awe of the power of the ruling class and pessimism about the possibility of overthrowing it. When the struggle of the masses is advancing they are inclined to overestimate its present strength and look for quick victory. When the mass movement is temporarily set back they are inclined to overestimate the strength of the enemy and doubt the possibility of victory at all. They have a strong tendency to resist the discipline and organization that characterize the proletariat as a class, and they are often drawn into different kinds of screwball anarchist schemes.

Other sections of the petty bourgeoisie, in particular small-scale producers and traders, tend to be narrow and short-sighted in their outlook, because they lack the socialization of the working class in production and do not share the strength of its numbers, and organization in struggle. When these forces are faced with ruin they tend toward revolutionary opposition to the ruling class, but at the same time are easily swayed by the promise of a few reforms through which they hope to preserve their position.

The working class, while taking full stock of these petty bourgeois tendencies, extends the hand of unity to these forces and calls on them to fight more consistently and thoroughly against the ruling class. But the proletariat always draws a clear line of demarcation between its revolutionary outlook and interests, and the stand of the petty bourgeois forces, including those who assume a radical posture against the system.

And the proletariat takes a ruthless stand against those petty bourgeois hustlers who refuse to take up the stand of the working class, but, recognizing its revolutionary role, proclaim themselves the leaders of the proletariat and try to ride the workers’ backs to power. These forces pose as “communists” or “socialists” and in this way are able at times to attract some sincere revolutionaries, even a few from the working class. But the leaders of these groups are deadly enemies of the working class, acting as agents of the bourgeoisie in attempting to confuse and demoralize the proletariat, split its ranks and derail its revolutionary struggle. When the workers refuse to follow them into the swamp or into an ambush, they viciously attack the proletariat and its Party.

Among these are the leaders of the so-called “democratic socialist” groupings. They represent the petty bourgeoisie being crushed and looking for basic change without all the revolutionary struggle and the revolutionary science of the proletariat, which they denounce as “dogma.” They try to appeal to everyone with their “democratic socialism,” which is nothing more than capitalism with thousands of schemes for reforms, most of them not even achievable under capitalism. This is an openly anti-communist trend whose poisonous ideology serves the bourgeoisie.

Then we have the whole host of Trotskyite sects (named after their hero, Leon Trotsky, who did everything to oppose socialism in the Soviet Union and was run out of that country over 45 years ago for being the counter-revolutionary scum of the earth). These Trotskyite groups–each of them–claim to be the ”only true revolutionaries,” and declare their opposition to the revisionism of the CPUSA. But their line and practice is always the opposite. Sooner or later they show up trying to wreck or take over a mass organization or struggle. They split from each other on almost a daily basis and come around demanding that everyone read all about it in their newspapers.

Historically these Trotskyites have alternated between “left” and right opportunism–between “revolutionary” slogan-shouting to oppose the actual stage of struggle, and outright tailing after the bourgeoisie. But in essence they have always been right-wing servants of the reactionary classes. They attach themselves as parasites to the revolutionary movement to promote their organizations at the expense of the masses. They act all-wise and try to lord it over the workers, but the working class in every country has learned to deal with them in the same manner as it deals with their imperialist masters.

Finally, there are those forces who claim to be opposed to the Trotskyites as well as the revisionists, but actually act as a cover for them and play the same role as agents of the bourgeoisie. These are represented by two general “communist” tendencies that appear to be opposed to each other but are actually united-the dogmatists and the reformists.

The dogmatists act as though revolution is conducted in a closet. They think the squabble for some mystical “communist clarity” (struggle between closets) is the “highest form of class struggle.” They worship books and try to intimidate people with endless quotations. They treat Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought not as a science but rather as a system of lifeless, abstract formulas which neither grow out of concrete mass struggle nor are ever applied to it. They always oppose the living struggle of the proletariat and its allies, preach at the workers from on high, and continually try to draw fighters from the class away from the class and into their “sanctuary.”

The reformists, like the dogmatists, are terrified by the struggle of the masses, and fearfully worship at the altar of the bourgeoisie. They tail after “progressive” traitors in the trade union bureaucracy, promote “liberal” politicians to save the people from the “outright fascists,” trail behind and build up bourgeois forces in the struggle of women and the oppressed nationalities. They see things the way they are now (or were a year or two ago) and their line is built on justifications for keeping things that way. “It would be nice to do more (they say), but we must be realistic.” They are always found at the tail of the mass movement, scurrying to keep up and shouting, “slow down, what’s changed so drastically, if you go off and act like this, you’ll just get isolated and smashed without me and my (bourgeois) friends to lead you.” The dogmatists and reformists have in common their hatred and contempt for the working class and their fundamental belief that the masses of people are backward and incapable of making revolution. They are “twin brothers” and often exchange places, the dogmatists switching to open reformism and the reformists using dogma where convenient to attack the struggle. They both serve the bourgeoisie.

These various agents of imperialism, in and of themselves, amount to nothing more than cockroaches which the working class could squash under its feet. But these types do pose a greater potential danger–they can act as the “shock troops” for the development of a phoney “socialist” or “progressive” movement that would aim at diverting the working class from the revolutionary path and setting it up to be smashed by the bourgeoisie.

While the unstable position of the petty bourgeoisie as a whole provides a basis for “left” and right deviations from the forward path of struggle against the imperialists, the working class and its Party will certainly develop both the farsightedness and staying power of its class to continue along the revolutionary road, through all its twists and turns, and to steer the great part of the petty bourgeoisie onto this road.

Lumpenproletariat. This represents essentially the elements in society who live by criminal means. Literally “lumpen” proletariat means “broken” proletariat, but actually members of this group come from different classes–small farmers who are ruined, come to the city, and cannot find work; other petty bourgeois individuals who go broke and have the same experience; workers who remain unemployed for a long time and turn to crime as a way of life; and even an occasional bourgeois who loses his capital and goes from official and big-time robbery to illegal and smaller-scale crime.

The lumpenproletariat is distinguished from those workers who steal a loaf of bread or shoes for their kids, or commit some other crime but continue to work whenever possible and remain part of the working class. The lumpenproletariat is also distinguished from the heads of the big crime syndicates, who accumulate huge sums through their crime operations, invest large parts of it in “legitimate” fields and become part of the capitalist class.

The lumpenproletariat leads a desperate life. Though many have ambitions of becoming millionaires and a few make big money for a time, the greatest number lead a hand-to-mouth existence. They will fight in a minute, and their way of life frequently brings them into conflict with the police and other arms of the state. But their way of life also means preying mainly on the working class, and generally requires cooperation with the police (who are deeply into the crime rackets themselves). This makes them easy recruits as police spies and provocateurs in the revolutionary movement.

Overall this group is most likely to serve as agents and shock troops of the ruling class in its efforts to crush the working class–and historically large numbers of fascist storm troopers have come from the lumpenproletariat. But with the development of its powerful revolutionary movement, and by exercising an absolutely firm hand, the proletariat will be able to win some of the lumpenproletariat to its side, especially in the armed showdown with the bourgeoisie. Under socialism the proletariat will re-educate and rehabilitate those who were in the lumpenproletariat, enabling them to take part in productive labor and the struggle to revolutionize society.


The purpose of class analysis is to enable the proletariat to determine friends from enemies, unite its own ranks, win over its allies, isolate the main enemy to the extreme and build the broadest united front to attack and overthrow this enemy and establish proletarian rule. Such an analysis in the U.S. identifies the imperialists (monopoly capitalists) as the heart of the target against which the proletariat must direct its fire. The strategy for revolution in the U.S. is the united front against the imperialists, under the leadership of the proletariat and its Party.

But the united front is not One Big Organization. It is not a static thing. Forces, representing different classes and class viewpoints, come together around particular struggles–against imperialist aggression, cutbacks in social services, police repression, rising prices and other questions. Each class brings to this struggle its own ideology, and conflict goes on between opposing class outlooks–over who to identify as the enemy, who to rely on, who to unite with, etc. The proletariat, through its Party, fights for the leadership of its class in all mass movements, and brings to the fore its revolutionary interests and outlook.

Through many such struggles, and the ebbs and flows of the overall battle against the imperialists, the proletariat and its Party is able to win over the great majority of society to fight for revolution, as the conditions for revolution ripen, and the masses recognize that revolution is the only road forward. The proletariat must and will win leadership for one basic reason: of all the classes that are oppressed by the monopoly capitalists, the proletariat is the only truly revolutionary class.

The basic conflict in capitalist society is between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, representing socialized production on the one hand and private ownership of the means of production on the other. But this basic contradiction gives rise to other contradictions, which are mainly influenced by, but also have a significant influence on, the basic contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.

Key among these contradictions are: the contradiction between capitalist states, which has become especially intense in the era of imperialism; the contradiction between the imperialists and the colonies; the contradiction between the capitalist states and the socialist countries; the contradiction between the bourgeoisie and the minority nationalities it oppresses within the capitalist countries; the contradiction between the bourgeoisie and the masses of women in society, who suffer discrimination and oppression as a result of the “division of labor” capitalism maintains; and the contradiction between the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie.

These contradictions, whose development is basically determined by the development of the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, take the form of intense struggles in society: wars, including world war, among the imperialists, and the fight of the people of the world against these wars; the struggles for national liberation and against imperialist wars of aggression in the colonies, and assaults against the socialist countries; the movements of the oppressed nationalities in the capitalist countries for equality and emancipation; the fight against the oppression of women; the resistance of the petty bourgeoisie to ruin at the hands of the bourgeois ruling class.

These, together with the struggle of the working class itself in defense of its living standards, are major battles that have been waged in this country over the last several years. Faced with the gathering strength of these struggles, and the growing capitalist crisis, the bourgeoisie increasingly tries to crush them, and the masses fight this repression, creating a sharp battle in this arena as well.

Millions of people have become involved in these struggles, entering them for various reasons, with conflicting class viewpoints, and with varying degrees of understanding of the source of the problems and the links between the struggles. Millions more will continue to do so.

The policy of the proletariat and its Party, in building the united front against imperialism under its leadership, is: to unite with those engaging in every such battle; to make clear through the course of these struggles the common enemy and the common cause of the masses of people; to develop fighters on one front against the enemy into fighters on all fronts; and to show how all these contradictions arise from and relate to the basic contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie and can only be finally resolved through the revolutionary resolution of this basic contradiction-the seizure of power by the proletariat and the continuation of the revolution to the elimination of classes and class conflict.

The solid core of the united front in the U.S. will be the revolutionary alliance of the working class movement as a whole with the struggles of the oppressed nationalities against the common imperialist enemy. The tens of millions of these nationalities who suffer discrimination and other forms of oppression as peoples are, in their great majority, workers, part of the single U.S. proletariat. Their fight for equality and emancipation is bound by a thousand links with the struggle of the working class for socialism, and lends it great strength.

But among the oppressed nationalities there are different class forces. In order to ally the movements of the oppressed nationalities most closely with the revolutionary working class struggle, it is crucial to rely on the masses of workers of these nationalities in these movements and to build the unity of workers of all nationalities as the most fundamental unity. The single working class of the U.S., through its single Party, must lead the united front, in order to strengthen the core and build the united front as broadly as possible.

The united front against imperialism is not a “grand coalition” of “different constituencies,” nor is it built by piecing together different “united fronts” of separate groups–“Black United Front,” “Women’s United Front,” “United Front of the Trade Unions,” etc. The united front against imperialism is one united front, it is the overall political plan of the proletariat for bringing together under its leadership all possible social forces and movements, in order to concentrate the most powerful blows against the ruling class and defeat it. It is the strategy for proletarian revolution.