Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Programme of the Revolutionary Communist Party USA


The working class learns through its day to day struggle. The present struggle of the American workers is primarily against individual employers (or employers’ associations in different industries) around wages and benefits, working conditions, against speed-up and lay-offs, against discrimination. Increasingly the workers in these battles must go up directly against the government and its various agencies, rules and regulations–Pay Board (or Cost of Living Council), anti-strike laws passed by Congress, and injunctions handed down by the courts and backed up by the cops.

The more militantly the workers fight, and the more they break through the shackles held on their struggles by the traitorous union bigshots, the more desperate and vicious the employers become. The more clearly it stands out that to the employers the workers are a mere means to profit who must be chained to the machines so long as profit can be made from their labor, and that the government is a tool in the hands of the employers for enforcing this slavery.

But the workers learn a great deal more in these battles. They begin to feel the strength of their class and to recognize that without their labor the machines are only so much useless scrap. In withholding their labor, the workers demand not to be treated as slaves, but to live as human beings are capable of living. Each battle where the workers begin to exercise their power in this way not only brings a sense of strength and common cause to the workers directly involved, but inspires others who learn of it. Where the struggle is successful in wringing concessions from the employers, it spurs further struggle. Where there is a temporary setback, it spurs discussion among the workers as to the cause of the defeat.

In these struggles, the workers begin to throw off the foot of the employer from their necks, to raise their heads. And in raising their heads they are able to see farther and more clearly. The face of the enemy and the forces fighting him begin to come into sharper focus. This gives rise to vigorous discussion among the workers not only about every question of the immediate struggle but also about events throughout society and the world. Through all this the workers begin to see themselves as more than mere individuals, but as members of a class, locked in warfare with the opposing class of employers.

Strikes and other similar struggles are very important “schools of warfare” for the workers. But they are not the war itself. As V.I. Lenin wrote, more than 75 years ago, “strikes are only one means of struggle, only one aspect of the working class movement. From individual strikes the workers can and must go over, as indeed they are actually doing in all countries, to a struggle of the entire working class for the emancipation of all who labor.”

The central task of the Revolutionary Communist Party today, as the Party of the U.S. working class, is to build the struggle, class consciousness and revolutionary unity of the working class and develop its leadership of a broad united front against the U.S. imperialists, in the context of the world-wide united front against imperialism aimed at the rulers of the two superpowers. As this is developed, together with the development of a revolutionary situation, the question of mobilizing the masses for the armed insurrection will then come to the fore as the immediate question.

In carrying out its central task today, the Revolutionary Communist Party takes part in, learns from and brings leadership to the struggles of the working class and its allies, unites all who can be united, consistently exposes the enemy and points to the final aim of overthrowing imperialism and building socialism. To do this it bends every effort to fulfill three main objectives in these struggles: to win as much as can be won in the immediate battle and weaken the enemy; to raise the general level of consciousness and sense of organization of the struggling masses and instill in them the revolutionary outlook of the proletariat; and to develop the most active and advanced in these struggles into communists, recruit them into the Party and train them as revolutionary leaders.

Through this process the Party leads the masses of workers in fighting against the capitalists and in developing this into an all-around battle against the capitalist system.

Fighting blow for blow on all fronts, and led by its Party, the working class will develop its movement of today into a revolutionary workers’ movement that fights exploitation and all oppression in order to end wage-slavery. To do this the working class must take up and infuse its strength, discipline and revolutionary outlook into every major social movement.

Only by uniting with all social forces fighting imperialism can the working class develop consciousness of its own historical role as capitalism’s gravedigger. The proletariat will learn more sharply the nature of society and the monopoly capitalists who rule it, as it sees the bourgeoisie attack not only its ranks but the other strata as well. In this way, it sees also the vacillation of the other strata toward the bourgeoisie, their narrowness and self-interest. With the aid of the Party, it sums up that none of these other class forces can represent its interests, and that this stems from the fact that they have a different position in society–they own some means of production or stand above the proletariat in society’s “division of labor.” Thus the working class not only wins allies in the course of building the united front, but learns why it alone can lead them to overthrow the monopoly capitalists.

Trade unions and other workers’ organizations in the struggle for revolution. Trade unions in the U.S. today are controlled at the very top by scabs and traitors. Some of these rely on open gangster methods to attack workers’ struggles. Others put up a “progressive” and “democratic” front, while knifing the workers in the back. Some are associated with out-front reactionaries in the ruling class, while others are salesmen for the “liberal” imperialists and piously promote these imperialists–as well as themselves–as “saviors” of the working class. They are all agents of the bourgeoisie within the workers’ movement.

The trade unions in this country, especially the powerful industrial unions, were not built by these bloated toads, but by the struggle and sacrifice of millions of workers. In the face of the mighty upsurge of the ’30s, the capitalists, unable to smash the drive for industrial unions, made concessions–and prepared to take them back.

The errors and weaknesses of the CPUSA, which led the fight for industrial unions–but increasingly lost sight of the final aim of socialist revolution–made it easier for the bourgeoisie to gradually build up its own lackeys in the labor movement. Then, with its position temporarily strengthened after WW II, and the working class disarmed by the degeneration of the CP, the bourgeoisie was able to solidify the positions of its labor lieutenants at the head of the union “internationals,” use these top officials as a main arm of its attack on the working class, and use the union apparatus to quell workers’ struggles and enforce labor discipline.

This has been a serious setback for the working class, but also the source of a great lesson. While it is crucial to fight for every possible concession from the capitalists, the working class cannot limit itself to the fight for concessions under capitalism, nor can it win its emancipation “piece by piece,” through a series of reforms.

So long as the bourgeoisie has state power it will continue to attack and attempt to corrupt every gain won by the working class–and it will sooner or later succeed in setting back the workers’ movement, so long as the fight for concessions is not conducted as a by-product of the fight to overthrow capitalism. This does not mean that the basis of the trade unions and other mass organizations of the working class must be “fight for the dictatorship of the proletariat.” But it does mean that the Party of the proletariat must bring to the workers, through all their struggles, the understanding of the antagonistic contradiction between themselves as a class and the bourgeoisie, and consistently guide the struggle toward its final aim.

As the working class develops in consciousness and strength, all manner of phoney “socialists” and imitation progressives will jump up, claiming to represent its interests. Many of these may fall into a trend called social democracy.

For all that it pimps off of the working class movement, social democracy works day and night to protect the rule of the bourgeoisie. It does this by spreading illusions among the people that the contradictions of capitalism can be somehow smoothed over, that socialism can be built piecemeal, through a series of reforms in the capitalist system. It tries to tie the workers to the trade union bureaucracy, to “liberal” politicians and the bourgeoisie’s farce of “democratic elections.”

All this serves one purpose–to hide from the workers the need for the most radical rupture with the present system and the violent overthrow of the bourgeois state. By not pointing out that “American democracy” is only the dictatorship of the capitalist class, which must be destroyed and replaced by the dictatorship of the working class, social democracy tries to lead the proletariat unarmed into an ambush by the ruling class.

Despite the fact that some of the biggest labor traitors are fond of passing themselves off as socialists, social democracy has not been a powerful trend in the United States in decades. Nevertheless, it could grow, basing itself on the small section of the working class that is in and out of the petty bourgeoisie–constantly trying to break free of wage-slavery by opening small businesses, but usually forced back into the working class. It could also find some basis in the experience of workers in the ’50s and early ’60s, when it was more possible to win certain reforms, and there was no Party of the working class to build the struggle for reforms as a byproduct of the struggle for revolution and raise the revolutionary consciousness of the working class in the course of struggle; and in the sincere desire of many workers to believe that a violent revolution is not the only way to end exploitation and oppression.

But the class struggle itself provides the basis for the working class to cast away illusions and cast aside the front men of the bourgeoisie who promote them. These social democratic agents of the imperialists will be exposed and dealt with as enemies, as the working class, led by its Party, is mobilized to fight for its immediate interests, and its long-term goals–the dictatorship of the proletariat, socialism, and communism.

Today, in its daily battles the working class comes up against both the capitalists and their henchmen in the unions–a two-headed monster backed up by the various arms of the bourgeois state. How to deal with this is a crucial question facing the proletariat and its Party in the U.S.

The answer lies in pitting the workers’ strength against the enemy’s weakness. The bourgeoisie and its agents are a handful who now control the high offices of the unions, but the working class is made up of the rank and file of the unions and the millions of workers not in unions. The method of the proletariat and its Party is to mobilize the masses of workers to take matters into their own hands and wage a blow for blow struggle against the enemy, inside and outside the unions. To seize on every spark of struggle, fan and spread it as broadly as possible throughout the working class and among its allies. To build every possible struggle and build off of it to launch new struggles. And through the course of this to fan every spark of consciousness, to identify and isolate the bourgeoisie and its agents, and unite all struggles against this enemy.

The Revolutionary Communist Party calls this the “single spark method,” learning from Mao Tsetung who showed how “a single spark can start a prairie fire.” It is a key part of building the united front against imperialism under proletarian leadership, and in applying this method the Revolutionary Communist Party not only makes it one of its main weapons but works to arm the entire class with this weapon.

To enable the masses to use this weapon most effectively and carry forward the struggle of the working class, the Revolutionary Communist Party works to build various forms of workers’ organizations, in the plants and unions and among the class as a whole. Some of these organizations, such as rank and file caucuses, are created by the workers “spontaneously” (without communists initiating them) to defend their immediate interests on the shop floor, to carry on struggles in the unions, and often to give leadership in strikes.

In these organizations, as well as caucuses and other forms they do initiate, members of the Revolutionary Communist Party put forward the policy of relying on the rank and file, and mobilizing it to fight around its own grievances in the plant and union and to link up with struggles outside the plant. They work to develop the life of these organizations and to continually recruit new workers to them, while at the same time raising the consciousness of the workers involved and educating them to the revolutionary interests of their class, through the course of struggle.

Like the struggle itself, the size and activity of these organizations will ebb and flow, some will develop and some will go out of existence after a particular struggle has ended. But through this whole process, active fighters for the class will continually come forward and unite to lead struggle, the consciousness and sense of organization of the workers as a whole will be raised and many of the most advanced among them will develop into communists and join the Party.

The struggle in the unions, and the building of caucuses and other similar rank and file forms, are a very important part of the working class movement. As this movement develops and increasingly takes up the fight against all exploitation and oppression, there is more and more a need for forms of working class organization that can consolidate and build on this.

Throughout the country workers are coming forward in greater numbers to lead struggles not only in the shops and unions, but also on many other battlefronts against the bourgeoisie–for example, against police repression or imperialist aggression and war. Through their experience in struggle and the leadership of communists, these workers have developed a basic understanding of the nature of the enemy and the class struggle against this enemy. These workers are the backbone of working class organization that is built on a more permanent basis and on a higher political level than caucuses–directing its spearhead squarely at the ruling class.

These organizations must be based in the plants, and other work places, must take an active part in building the fight there and play a leading role in the struggles of the rank and file workers. Their overall role is to apply the single spark method to take up the most important battles that workers are involved in, together with key battles of other sections of the people against the ruling class, mobilize masses of workers in these struggles and develop them into campaigns of the working class. To carry out this task, the proletariat and its Party must set its sights high and aim to build these organizations in every part of the country as a tremendous force for the class struggle.

These workers’ organizations are intermediate between the Party and the trade unions (and other similar mass organizations of workers). They are not a substitute for the Party or the trade unions. Building these organizations does not conflict with but contributes to building the Party, and to building the struggle of the rank and file to defeat the treachery of the top union officials.

These organizations act as conveyor belts linking the Party with the class as a whole. They are one important organizational form in which communists can unite with advanced workers to build the united front against imperialism under proletarian leadership and develop into communists the advanced workers who continually come forward in struggle.

As an important part of its overall struggle, the working class will fight to organize unions, to unite the masses of workers in unions in the common battle against the capitalist exploiters, to make unions militant organizations of class struggle, and to replace agents of the bourgeoisie with true representatives of the proletariat in union office.

But the working class and its Party cannot base its strategy on “taking over” the unions by electing new leadership, and it cannot restrict its struggle to the limits set by the trade unions at any given time. The policy of the proletariat and its Party is to build its strength in the unions as part of building its revolutionary movement, and not to reduce the class struggle to the struggle for control of the unions.

Mobilize the rank and file around a program representing its interests and in doing so “jam” the union officials–expose the traitors at the top and roll over them, break the union bureaucracies’ stranglehold on the workers, and unite with those in the lower levels of union leadership who can be won to stand with the working class-this is the policy of the proletariat and its Party in the unions. To carry out this policy, the rank and file workers must fight to keep the initiative in their own hands and build the struggle in their own class interests, never relying on the union leadership to carry the struggle–even those who can be won to stand with the working class–or allowing them to set the terms and limits of the struggle, reducing the rank and file movement to a “pressure group.”

Beyond that, in building its revolutionary struggle, the proletariat breaks the hold of trade unionist ideology–the bourgeois line that the limit of the workers’ movement must be the struggle for better wages and working conditions-better terms of the sale of the workers’ labor power, a slight loosening of the slave chain, only to have it tightened again. The struggle of the working class, within and outside the unions, must become the struggle to smash this chain, to abolish wage-slavery and the capitalist class that lives by it.

A crucial question for the working class in both its immediate battles and long-term struggle is the question of unemployment and uniting employed and unemployed workers. Unemployment is built into the capitalist system, and is an open sore revealing the fundamental sickness of the system–a sickness that is with it from its birth but becomes all the more malignant as it grows to old age.

Even in the temporary periods of economic “boom” capitalism cannot provide full employment. This was so at the early stages of capitalism when it more advanced than held back the development of the productive forces, and it is all the more true in the era of imperialism when capitalism stands as the direct obstacle to the development of the productive forces.

The growth of capital brings with it the growth of unemployment. Its constant tendency is to replace workers with machines, to shift capital out of one region or country into another where, for the time, investment promises more profit. And all this takes place without any plan for providing new employment for the displaced workers, because capitalism, with its private ownership of the means of production, makes rational planning of the overall economy impossible.

In the inevitable crises of capitalism, unemployment grows to tremendous proportions and the criminal absurdity of the capitalist system stands out all the more starkly-the very class that produces the profit on which the system is based finds millions of its members out of work because they cannot be employed profitably! At the same time, those who are “lucky enough” to have employment are driven even harder on the job, with their work sped-up and their wages forced down and the work day forcibly extended-compulsory overtime. And this increases with the increase of unemployment, because the capitalists themselves are trapped within the laws of capital which dictate that the only way for each capitalist to “get out” of the crisis is to squeeze more profit from the workers. The “cure” only makes the disease worse, because the cure is more of the same and the disease is incurable. The “shock treatment” of war seems to jolt the system alive but actually only hastens its death, while making the process all the more violent.

All this makes clear the basis and the absolute necessity for the working class of uniting employed and unemployed in an all-out struggle against capital. But the capitalists, especially in times of crisis, do everything they can to pit the employed and unemployed against each other, to use the threat of unemployment as a club against the employed workers’ struggles, while using the fact of unemployment to increase competition for jobs, force speed-up and overtime and push down wages. The capitalists try to recruit the unemployed as scabs, and to do so utilize every contradiction that capitalism fosters and maintains among the people–between different nationalities, men and women, rural workers and urban workers, and many others.

The working class, and its Party, answers this with the fighting slogan, “Employed, unemployed, same crisis, same fight!” and mobilizes the unemployed behind the battle cry, “We won’t scab and we won’t starve!” To make these slogans a reality, the Revolutionary Communist Party devotes every effort to building fighting organization of the unemployed and committees in plants and unions, based on and controlled by the rank and file, to fight against lay-offs and build unity with unemployed workers. These committees can play a key part in getting the union to support the struggles of the unemployed workers and to maintain full union membership rights for all union workers, employed or unemployed.

The Revolutionary Communist Party builds the struggle around unemployment as a major battle of the whole working class, a decisive part of the struggle not only to keep from being crushed under capitalism but to finally overthrow it, and in doing so end the cause of unemployment. And, linked with this, it builds the fight to smash discrimination against minority and women workers, for whom the unemployment rate is always greater and who are hit especially hard by the crunch of crisis.

The main demand of the working class on unemployment today is “Jobs or Income!” The crisis is the product of capitalism, and the capitalists, not the workers, must pay. The working class has no interest in helping the capitalists figure out how to make an unworkable system “work,” for its very working is based on the exploitation and misery of the working class. The working class refuses to have any part of schemes to “cut pay to save the plant,” to “equalize unemployment” and “share the burden” to “get through hard times.” Union jobs at union wages–and the same income for those without jobs–this is the uncompromising stand of the working class.

Other key demands of the working class around unemployment are:
Extend unemployment benefits to all unemployed, including workers on strike or honoring strikes (or locked out) and people who are fired or forced to quit for any reason, end all “delays” in beginning benefits.
Fight lay-offs, plant shutdowns and “runaways.”
Moratorium on all debts, no foreclosures, no evictions, no repossessions.
Union jobs at union wages for workers in all “workfare,” “public works,” and other such programs.
Unemployment is one immediate question around which the working class must build its struggle. Other crucial battlefronts and demands of the working class in the struggle to defend its standard of living are:
No pay cuts, pay increases with full cost of living.
Fight for job safety and better working conditions, defend and extend protective laws.
Down with speed-up and the capitalists’ “productivity” offensive, no compulsory overtime.
Defend the right to strike, smash all no-strike deals and anti-strike laws.
Fight superexploitation of the oppressed nationalities and women, fight for full equality, make the capitalists pay.
End child labor, no discrimination against youth in wages.
Organize the unorganized, fight for union democracy, build the power of the rank and file.
No cutbacks in social services, fight for better health care, education and other social services. Fight for decent housing and neighborhoods.

These demands represent vital questions around which masses of workers are fighting today. But as important as they are, they deal only with effects of capitalist exploitation and oppression. The fundamental task for the working class is to eliminate the cause–the capitalist system itself. To do this it is necessary to fight the effects to get to the cause–to utilize today’s struggle as a means of building for the future showdown with the bourgeoisie, to develop the struggle into the all-around battle against the capitalist system, and unite under the leadership of the working class and its Party all those who can be united in waging this fight and carrying it through.


Capitalism by necessity leads to the subjugation of whole nations and nationalities for the purpose of making superprofits. With the development of capitalism into imperialism this national oppression becomes all the more necessary for the capitalists and all the more vicious for its victims.

The history of the development of capitalism in the U.S. is a history of the most savage oppression of the Black, Native American (Indian), Mexican-American, Asian and other minority peoples, as well as the most brutal exploitation of the working class as a whole. The rulers of the U.S. have from the beginning made use of color and race to carry out this oppression, while presenting it as an inevitable result of “racial differences” among the people. Their purpose in this has always been to confuse and divide the masses of all nationalities, and to cover up the fact that this oppression results from the ruling class’s plunder of peoples and countries throughout the world, as well as in this country, in the unceasing drive for more profit.

From the beginning the oppressed peoples in the U.S. have fought back against the various forms of their enslavement. And this struggle continues today, more powerfully than ever before, against wage-slavery as part of the U.S. working class, and against subjugation as nationalities.

From being small farmers and sharecroppers in oppressed regions of the U.S.–the deep South and the Southwest in particular–as well as Puerto Rico, Mexico and many other Third World nations, huge populations have been driven by economic necessity and the destruction of warfare to the cities and factories of the northern and southern United States. But occurring as it did under imperialist rule, mainly around and after WW II, this “assimilation” into working class life could not be complete and equal.

Discrimination, the denial of democratic rights, violent police repression, suppression and mutilation of their cultures, exploitation and oppression as members of the working class, with the lowest positions, constantly high unemployment, the lowest paid jobs, the worst housing, the worst of bad health care and other social services–this is daily life for the masses of these nationalities in the U.S. today. And this is what gives rise to the militant struggle of millions against the system that is responsible for it.

From the beginning the struggle of the oppressed nationalities has always been closely linked with the overall struggle of the working class in the U.S. But today this link can be forged all the more firmly, because the oppressed nationalities are, in their great majority, members of the single U.S. working class and their struggles are immediately and directly bound up with the struggle of the entire class.

Recognizing this and seeing in it the greatest threat to their rule, the imperialists make use of the social antagonisms their national oppression has created, in a desperate attempt to drive a wedge between the struggles of the oppressed nationalities and the working class struggle. But they are bound to fail because the working class is one working class, with one class interest–to end exploitation and all oppression. End national oppression by ending its source, capitalist rule–this is the stand of the working class, and with this stand the workers’ movement will unite with it the struggles of the oppressed nationalities to form the solid core of the united front.

To achieve this the working class and its Party applies the policy of building the fight against national oppression as part of the overall class struggle and of “working at it from two sides.” This means: mobilize the masses of the oppressed nationalities in the struggle against this oppression, on the one side, and mobilize the working class as a whole to take up this fight, on the other; bring forward the ideology of the proletariat and its common interest in fighting exploitation and all oppression; and in this way merge the national movements with the workers’ movement as a revolutionary alliance.

As an inseparable part of this, the Party wages the most consistent and thorough struggle, among the masses and in its own ranks, against the bourgeoisie’s ideological props of white chauvinism (in particular the poisonous idea that white Americans are superior to other nationalities who are the “cause of the problems” and that white workers should unite with the imperialists to suppress them), and narrow nationalism (in particular the line that the oppressed nationalities should be concerned only with the advancement of their own nationality and should fight people of other nationalities, especially white workers, for a bigger “piece of the pie”).

Capitalist rule forces the masses of people to compete with each other for survival, while keeping the majority of the oppressed nationalities a step behind in the competition. The unity of the workers of all nationalities can and will be built not in competition over the division of the pie but in the common struggle to take the whole pie and the means to continually enlarge it. For the working class, the fight for equality between nationalities is not a fight to “suffer equally under capitalism” but it is a crucial part of the struggle to eliminate capitalism and the misery it means for the masses.

With this goal, the working class and its Party raises and fights for the following as main demands in the fight against national oppression:
End all discrimination in hiring, promotion and firing. Equality in education and all social services.
Smash segregation in housing and the extortion of higher rents, taxes, prices and credit and insurance rates in the minority communities.
Equality of culture and language, no privileges for one nationality over another.
End police terror against the oppressed nationalities, stop police murder, brutality and harassment.

These basic demands are aimed against the common oppression of all minority nationalities. But different oppressed nationalities have their own history and particular forms of oppression. In order to build the most solid unity of these different nationalities, together with the working class as a whole, in revolutionary struggle, it is essential to take up these questions.

Black People. The Black people in the U.S. are an oppressed nation, not simply a “racial group.”

Brought to America and held here in chains for over 200 years, Black people from many different tribes in Africa were formed into one people in the U.S. Under the lash of the slave system they lived and worked together for generations on the southern plantations, and together rose up in rebellion against their enslavement. Through this process their different tribal languages and cultures were merged into one common culture and a common language (English).

The Civil War brought the formal emancipation of Black people from slavery, not out of the “kindness” of Abraham Lincoln, but as the climax of over 200 years of struggle for freedom, and because the capitalists in the North could only subdue the slaveowners, capture the markets of the South and gain complete economic and political control of the country by allowing the main force holding up the slave system–Black labor–to become a mighty force to tear it down.

Throughout the Civil War Black people disrupted production in the South and sabotaged the Confederate war effort. Once enabled to by the Emancipation Proclamation, masses of Blacks joined the Union Army, or served it as guides. Despite discrimination in the Union Army itself, 200,000 Blacks enlisted, and 35,000 gave their lives, most on the front lines of the decisive battles. Together with the workers and small farmers of the North they won the war.

The brief period of Reconstruction in the South after the Civil War meant real gains for masses of Black people-and poor whites, many of whom had also resisted the slave system in various ways–gains in education, the right to vote and hold office, and in other areas. It brought progress for the South itself, economically and socially. But even then the promise of “forty acres and a mule” made to Blacks by the Union government during the war was never fulfilled, and in fact federal troops in the South continued to drive Blacks off plantation land they had seized with arms and divided up.

Finally, with the crisis and depression of the 1870s, Reconstruction was reversed; the bourgeoisie, having completely consolidated its rule throughout the country, and approaching the stage of monopoly capitalism, feared the power of millions of Blacks, and poor whites, demanding land and equality and joining to fight for them. So the ruling class used federal troops and unleashed the Ku Klux Klan, to terrorize Black people, attack their alliance with poor whites, force the Blacks back onto the plantations and push down the position of the poor whites, forcing many of them into sharecropping as well.

Black labor was still the backbone of the plantation economy, but now in the essentially feudal form of sharecropping, in place of outright chattel slavery. And now the plantation area was economically and politically dominated by capital in the North. It was under these conditions, with the further development of different classes among Black people–including an industrial wage-working class, and a small bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie, centered in the cities of the South, and North–that Black people were forged into a nation, which in the scientific sense is an “historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture” (Joseph Stalin).

Masses of Black people worked the bulk of the plantation land, but did not own it. Blacks made up a majority over a large part of the plantation area, but did not control it and in fact were denied all political power and democratic rights. The plantation area was their homeland, but it was also the soil of their suffering. They were a nation under the oppression of the U.S. ruling class within the U.S. itself.

This gave rise to continual struggle of the Black people. But it was only when WW I cut off the huge flow of immigrants from abroad to the northern U.S., at a time when there was great demand for labor in the northern factories, that Black people’s conditions began to change dramatically. Masses of Black people left the plantations to become industrial workers. But still the majority remained in the deep South, held by the chains of the plantation system.

WW II and the developments that followed it accelerated the change in Black people’s conditions that had begun with WW I, had continued in the ’20s, but had been slowed in the depression of the ’30s. Today Black people are no longer mainly sharecroppers and small farmers concentrated in separate economic relations in the “Black Belt” South (the old plantation area, which got the name “Black Belt” because of the color of the soil). They are overwhelmingly workers dispersed to different parts of the country, but concentrated in the urban areas of the North and South as part of the single U.S. working class, made up of workers of all nationalities in this country.

But the ruling class cannot afford to give up the superprofits it has wrung from the labor of Black people. So today, with the history of Black people’s oppression as the foundation, the imperialists have built up a structure of oppression of Black people to fit the new conditions. This oppression hits all classes of Black people, though it is rooted in and is maintained fundamentally for the purpose of enforcing the superexploitation of Black workers. For this reason, the Black people remain an oppressed nation, but under new conditions, and in a different relation to U.S. imperialism than its colonies (and neo-colonies) in other countries.

Though the majority of Black people have been dispersed from their homeland in the U.S., millions remain in this “Black Belt” area, mainly in the cities, and millions in the North still have ties with the deep South. Though the majority of Blacks living in the North were born there, 3 in 10 were born in the South, most in the “Black Belt” area. The dispersal of millions of Blacks from the “Black Belt” in the last several decades has been the result of economic compulsion; and often the same kind of terror that was used to force Blacks back onto the plantations after the Civil War and Reconstruction was used after WW II to force them off, when this became most profitable for the imperialists. For all these reasons the working class and its Party upholds the right of Black people to return to and reclaim their homeland.

The right of self-determination, the right of nations to establish their own independent state, is a key aspect of equality between nations, and the proletariat supports this right in order to unite workers of all nations in the common struggle against imperialism. The proletariat and its Party in the U.S. upholds the right of Black people to self-determination, the right to secede from the rest of the U.S. and set up a separate state in the general area of the “Black Belt.”

But at the same time the right to form a separate state is not the same thing as the obligation to do so, and upholding the right to secede is not necessarily the same thing as saying secession is correct. The proletariat and its Party does not advocate this separation for Black people nor favor it under present and foreseeable conditions. Nor does it see that reconstituting Black people in the deep South in order to exercise their right of self-determination is the main thrust and highest goal of the Black people’s struggle. Self-determination is a legitimate demand for Black people, but it is not the main demand.

The main demands are those common to all oppressed nationalities in the U.S. The main thrust of the Black people’s struggle is against these common forms of national oppression, against class exploitation, for proletarian revolution as the means to end both, and for socialism and communism as the highest goal.

The ending of their oppression, both national and class, demands that the Black people’s struggle have Black workers as the main force, and that the working class as a whole, led by its Party, unite to lead this struggle. The fact that this was not the case in the Black liberation movement of the late ’60s and early ’70s is a fundamental reason why the ruling class was able to destroy or corrupt most revolutionary Black organizations at that time, through a combination of murder and assault, infiltration, subversion and appeals to selfish interest.

During this period, the ruling class, panicked by the powerful upsurge of the Black people and bringing down more savage repression against them, also rushed to build up bourgeois and petty bourgeois forces among them to put a brake on their struggle, and lead it into a dead-end. But because this could in no way change the basic conditions of the Black masses, it has mainly served to intensify class contradictions among Black people, as it becomes all the more clear that the Black bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie cannot lead the Black people to liberation.

Given this, and given the growing imperialist crisis, the ruling class has pulled the props from under some of the very bourgeois and petty bourgeois Blacks it built up. And it will do so even more as the crisis deepens. At the same time it will always keep some of these forces “in business” and maintain some time-tested lackeys on its payroll, in order to attack the Black people’s struggle and the overall revolutionary movement.

The working class must win over or neutralize as much of the Black bourgeoisie as possible and bring the Black petty bourgeoisie as far and broadly as possible into the revolutionary camp. But it must consistently combat their tendency to seek accommodation with the ruling class, must thoroughly expose and defeat those who act as agents of the ruling class against the revolutionary struggle, and must carry the struggle through to the end. In this way the proletariat as a whole and the Black people will, at long last, win complete emancipation.

Chicanos (Mexican-Americans). Chicanos are an oppressed national minority under the rule of U.S. monopoly capital. Their subjugation as a people is rooted in the long domination of the U.S. ruling class over Mexico, the conquest of the Southwest by U.S. capital and the maintenance of the Southwest as an oppressed region.

It was the southern slave system, with its constant need for new land, that was the driving force behind the seizure of the Southwest territory from Mexico in the decades just before the Civil War. But the capitalists of the North eyed this territory, too, as a source of land, gold and other resources, and an opening of trade to the West.

Including California, the territory seized was half of the land belonging to Mexico. Much of it was the home of various Indian tribes, but in some areas, most notably northern New Mexico, there were settlements of Mexicans whose roots in the area began before 1600. Generally isolated from the rest of what was then Mexico, they partly battled and partly cooperated with the Indians in the area, often intermarrying with them.

The conquest of New Mexico in 1846 brought forth rebellion from these Mexican settlers. But, with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1848, sealing the seizure of the area, they were forcibly annexed to the U.S. This treaty guaranteed the preservation of their land grants, culture and civil rights, but these rights have been trampled on by the ruling class from the start. And this has called forth sharp struggle ever since.

In Texas, especially between the Rio Grande and Rio Nueces, thousands of Mexicans were forced off their land, in the wake of the territorial theft. “Mexicans and Indians have no rights, their land is ours for the taking”–this was the line of the capitalists and landowners, backed up by vigilante groups and the Texas Rangers. This, too, was immediately met with resistance, like the rebellion led by Juan Cortina.

In California a “foreign miner’s tax” was enacted, driving Mexicans out of the gold mines. It was later used against the Chinese for the same purpose.

Throughout the Southwest, Mexicans fought to regain their land, to defend their culture and rights as a people. But the fight was not simply Anglo vs. Mexican, as shown by the strike of Mexican, white and Black cowboys against the cattle barons in Amarillo, Texas, in the 1880s, and many strikes and struggles that united Mexicans, Chinese, European immigrants and others against the mine owners, railroad magnates and land barons.

During the second half of the 19th century, Mexicans continued to come to and settle the Southwest, but a tremendous growth of the Mexican population in the Southwest began after the turn of the century. U.S. imperialist domination of Mexico ruined masses of peasants, forcing them off their land and keeping them in grinding poverty in their own country. This, together with the upheaval of the Mexican Revolution, beginning in 1910, forced a flood of people north to the U.S. A huge pool of unorganized labor, eventually one eighth of the population of Mexico, was recruited, viciously exploited and discriminated against by agribusiness and industry. Since that time many people of Mexican descent have also been drawn–from Mexico itself, and from the Southwest–to work in heavy manufacturing, meat packing, steel, construction and other industries in different parts of the U.S., especially the Midwest. But the majority of Mexican-Americans, numbering in the millions, live, work and struggle in the Southwest, especially the five states of California, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado.

Over the past 75 years, the Mexican-American people have waged many powerful struggles against their own national oppression, and have played a key part in many struggles of the working class, in the factories, mines and fields of the Southwest. During the 1920s and even the 1930s depression, Mexican-Americans were the backbone of many militant and mass farmworkers’ strikes, even though the ruling class, no longer able to use such a huge pool of labor, deported hundreds of thousands–U.S. citizens and “illegals” alike–to Mexico.

Again, in the 1950s, millions were deported to Mexico-again both Mexican-Americans and Mexican nationals (citizens of Mexico). At the same time, the U.S. ruling class was continuing to contract with the Mexican government to bring in laborers, primarily in the fields, who were forced to work for low wages and denied all basic rights, including the right to join unions.

But this kind of terror has failed to halt the Chicano people’s struggle, both as an oppressed nationality and as part of the working class. This struggle continues today, on a more massive and militant level than ever before. Outstanding examples of this are: the farmworkers’ movement, in which Mexican-Americans and Mexican nationals play the decisive role and are uniting in struggle, despite the efforts of “La Migra” (Immigration Department) and other agents of the bourgeoisie to divide them; strikes throughout the Southwest where Mexican-Americans are concentrated; the Alianza movement in New Mexico in the late 1960s which aimed at restoring the land grants; the militant struggles of Chicanos, especially youth, demanding equality in language and culture in the schools; and rebellions like the 1970 Chicano Moratorium, where 25,000 marched against the war in Vietnam and the oppression of the Chicano people, and fought back against police attacks.

Through this long history of oppression and struggle, centered in the Southwest, the people of Mexican heritage in the U.S. have been forged into a single nationality–Mexican-Americans, or Chicanos–and have also been welded together with workers of other nationalities into a single working class.

The Mexican-Americans of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado have different historical roots than those who came from Mexico mainly after 1900, and there are particular demands, such as those dealing with land, that apply mainly in this area. But today many of the Mexican-Americans from this area are dispersed into the cities of the Southwest as workers. And in general this group is merged with those who have immigrated from Mexico and takes part, together with them, in the Chicano people’s movement as well as the overall workers’ movement.

While Chicanos are not a nation, and have not developed as a people in a single and separate national territory, there are areas in the Southwest–including northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, as well as parts of Texas–where sizeable numbers of Mexican people have lived for many generations and where today they still make up a majority. While the right of nations to self-determination does not apply to Chicanos, autonomy–in administration of local affairs and other aspects–within the framework of a single state, may prove to be an important part of achieving equality for Chicanos and uniting the Chicano people most powerfully with the working class as a whole in building socialism. The proletariat and its Party upholds the right of Chicanos to autonomy in such areas of sizeable historic concentrations of Mexican-Americans, while also upholding the rights of Indians in these areas to land, and approaching the question of autonomy for Chicanos and Indians on the basis of building the unity of all nationalities and advancing the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie. With this same basic approach the proletariat and its Party upholds the right of the masses of Chicano people to land denied them through the violation of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo.

In addition to this, the following are key demands in the fight against the oppression of the Chicano people:
Full equality for the Spanish language, education in Spanish and English in all areas of significant Spanish-speaking population.
End deportations, stop government harassment of the Chicano communities in the manhunt for workers without documents, abolish any “illegal” status for workers in the U.S., end “La Migra’s” terror campaign.

The working class fights for these demands, as well as the general demands against national oppression, as a vital part of its overall struggle to end exploitation and all oppression through proletarian revolution.

Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans in the U.S. Puerto Rico was “freed” from Spain and made a United States colony by U.S. troops in 1898. It is still a colony of the U.S. today, under the fine-sounding name of “Free Associated State.” The national liberation struggle of the Puerto Rican people began against Spain in the early 1800s and continues to the present day against U.S. imperialism.

Puerto Ricans began moving to the U.S. in large numbers after WW I, settling mainly in and around New York. This migration increased greatly after WW II, as capitalist plantation agriculture and development for tourism made millions of dollars for U.S. capital and left millions of Puerto Rican peasants without work or land. Today many industrial cities in the East and Midwest have large Puerto Rican populations.

Inspired by the revolutionary struggles for national liberation around the world, the people of Puerto Rico have in recent years intensified their struggle for freedom and independence, which had been temporarily set back after U.S. imperialism’s brutal suppression of the Jayuya armed uprising in 1950. The development in Puerto Rico of much light industry, bringing together many workers in sweatshop conditions, has given this struggle a powerful working class thrust.

This liberation movement has added inspiration to the militant struggle against national oppression and superexploitation by the millions of Puerto Ricans in the U.S., who are overwhelmingly workers, and are at one and the same time members of the Puerto Rican national minority and part of the single U.S. working class. Puerto Ricans in this country have, in turn, forcefully raised the demand for independence for Puerto Rico and have won support for this demand among their fellow workers, students and others of all nationalities. This demand is a vital question not only for the Puerto Rican national minority in the U.S., but for the entire working class in its struggle against imperialist rule; and the national liberation struggle of the people of Puerto Rico is a great ally of the U.S. working class–Free Puerto Rico, Right Now!

While many Puerto Ricans in the U.S. maintain close ties with relatives in Puerto Rico and with the struggle there, their main struggle is in the U.S., as an oppressed national minority and fundamentally as workers. As with the Chicano people, a key demand of Puerto Ricans in the U.S. is equality of the Spanish language. Beyond that the fight against their national oppression in the U.S. centers around the basic demands of all oppressed nationalities, and this fight is also an important part of the fight for socialism.

Native Americans (Indians). From the beginning in building its capitalist state, the American bourgeoisie viewed the Native American (Indian) populations as a major roadblock to its growth. The Indians, whose primitive societies had already been severely disrupted by contact with capitalism, were made the target of a policy of genocide by starvation, disease and military aggression. Despite continual and heroic resistance, their lands, including even reservations they had been forced onto, were continually stolen from them by force and deceit.

During most of the 20th century the imperialists have followed a dual policy of “forced segregation, forced assimilation.” Many Indians are kept on reservations in dire poverty, without education, as a potential source of cheap labor; but when they are needed as workers in the cities, or some large firm moves in on oil, mineral or timber resources on a reservation, Indians are forced off, unprepared for life outside the reservation.

On the reservations the government encourages Christian missionaries and education of young people only in English, but also encourages that portion of Indian tradition which emphasizes spiritual mysticism–all to hide the history of struggle against aggression and oppression. The government also promotes alcoholism and the use of drugs among Indians on and off the reservations. But the Native American struggle has reached a new level in the 1970s, including mass armed self-defense against government attack.

The question of Native Americans is not a simple one. They are not one people, but many tribes with different languages, cultures, and levels of social development, some with long histories of antagonisms toward other tribes. They live in every part of the U.S., and include the Eskimos and Aleuts of Alaska. At the same time, common problems stemming from a common enemy have brought about greater unity among tribes and the basis for great unity with the working class movement and all struggles against imperialism. Key to this are the Indian industrial workers in the urban areas of the country who retain close ties with their tribes.

The Indian struggle at the present time centers on keeping hold of the land and the mineral and fishing rights which various capitalists continually try to grab; on winning jobs and fighting discrimination and superexploitation; and on getting decent health care and education within the context of preserving and developing the tribal languages and cultures. The proletariat unites with this struggle and under socialism will end all suppression of tribal cultures, and pay special attention to assisting the all-around development of land by Native Americans themselves, probably in some cases under conditions of regional autonomy. In this way the Indians can take part fully, as individuals and as peoples, in the benefits of socialist society and the tasks of carrying forward socialist revolution.

Chinese-Americans. Chinese workers played a vital role in building up the American West. The first big wave of immigrants from China came in the second half of the 1800s. Largely peasants in China, they were driven by colonial domination of their country and by famine to the California gold fields. Thousands of Chinese contract laborers were brought in after the Civil War to work building the railroads.

From the first the Chinese in this country put up various forms of resistance to exploitation and discrimination. In 1867 Chinese workers in California went on strike for the eight hour day; in the 1890s Chinese laborers refused in their masses to go along with regulations requiring them to register with the government. During this period, however, and until the development of left-wing organizations among the western workers in the early 1900s, the Chinese workers’ struggles were opposed by the “official labor movement,” which excluded them, called for their deportation and tried to stamp out unity that developed between Chinese and other workers in struggles in the West.

The bourgeoisie used non-English-speaking Chinese as scabs and promoted anti-Chinese feeling. In 1882 the ruling class passed an Exclusion Act, forbidding further Chinese immigration. Capitalists in California, and especially agricultural land barons, replaced them with large numbers of Japanese and Filipino immigrants.

After WW I there was far less immigration from China and other parts of Asia, as the capitalists’ needs for large numbers of unorganized workers in the West were filled by impoverished American farmers (“okies”) who were forced off their land and poured into California. But during the 1960s large numbers of immigrants began to come again from Hong Kong and Taiwan as well as Korea, India and the Philippines. Because of the restrictions on immigration to the U.S., many of these, mainly Chinese, have entered illegally.

Many Chinese workers, especially recent immigrants, work for Chinese exploiters closely allied with the reactionary Chiang Kai-shek clique on Taiwan. These workers generally earn far less than the minimum wage and recent years have seen growing resistance to this vicious exploitation, along with rising rebellion by other Chinese workers and growing links between these and other workers’ struggles.

The Chinese capitalists in the U.S. have formed various reactionary associations-the Six Companies in San Francisco, the Chinatown Consolidated Benevolent Association in New York, etc.–which control, Mafia-like, much of the political and social life in America’s Chinatowns. But more and more the people in these Chinatown communities are struggling against these reactionary forces and their American imperialist backers. More and more openly the Chinese people in the U.S., including some whose families left China since the revolution, are displaying pride in the development of socialist People’s China.

Many Chinese in the U.S. now live and work outside Chinatowns and, together with people of other nationalities, take part in the workers’ movement and other struggles against the imperialists. This is another important factor linking the Chinese-American people’s struggles with the overall class struggle.

The history of the Chinese people in the U.S. and their present forms of exploitation and oppression have spurred them to wage sharp struggles and to unite with the broader fight against the ruling class. This is another important source of strength for the proletariat in its revolutionary struggle.

Immigrants. Throughout American history waves of immigrants have come, driven by war and poverty, press-ganged or enticed by rumors of “milk and honey,” first to settle the untamed land, and later to sweat in the shops and fields as workers. The ruling class has never sought to aid immigrants to adjust to America while preserving their national culture and traditions-the longer they are kept isolated, and at the same time the more their internal unity is weakened, the longer they can be subjected to superexploitation. Often this is extended over several generations and is generally continued by the ruling class at least as long as members of these groups are forced here in significant numbers.

Often the capitalists have tried to force groups out of the U.S. once they became “too numerous,” organized and a potential threat to capitalist rule, as has been the case with the Irish, Chinese and Mexicans. On the other hand, the bourgeoisie ignores its own immigration laws when it needs workers who can be forced to pick its crops and run its machines for extremely low pay. So every year tens of thousands of “illegal” immigrants enter the U.S. from Mexico, other parts of Latin America, Greece, Italy and Asia, and join the American working class.

From the 1800s to the present day, immigrants from every corner of the world have greatly contributed to the working class struggle. Marxism itself was introduced to the American proletariat mainly by German workers in the 1850s. The eight hour day movement, the textile drives of the early 1900s, the organization of the steelworkers union in the ’30s, the farmworkers’ struggle of the present day and other important struggles have had immigrants in the forefront.

In recent years, with the upsurge of ethnic identity and pride among immigrant groups, the ruling class has devoted great efforts to use this to sharpen contradictions among the people, and stunt the development of class consciousness, while continuing to subject these groups to ridicule and to degrade their cultures. The stand of the working class is exactly the opposite: it fights for equality between all nationalities, languages and cultures as a key part of building the revolutionary unity of its class. The main demands the working class raises for immigrants are those that make it easier for them to join fully in the class struggle as a whole, while preserving their cultures and languages.

Especially important is the struggle for the rights of so-called “illegals” and against the harassment and deportation of workers without papers. At the same time, the government widely harasses workers with papers, including threats to revoke these papers, in order to intimidate them from joining the fight against the bourgeoisie. The fight against this harassment is also an important way of building the struggle and unity of the working class.

Hawaii. The Hawaiian Islands attracted the attention of U.S. capitalism early. American missionaries did their best to destroy the culture of the Islanders. U.S. businessmen made it a key supply port for the growing China trade. Near the end of the 19th century, U.S. capital subjugated the native people, shoved aside the royal family, and forced the “ceding” of Hawaii to the U.S. government. The U.S. ruling class made Hawaii a major naval base for its plans of Pacific empire, and developed a large tourist trade and capitalist plantation agriculture mainly in sugar, pineapples and other fruit.

The native Hawaiians resisted, but their population was nearly wiped out by disease introduced by the oppressors. Tens of thousands of workers were brought in from China, Japan and the Philippines to work in the fields. Together, overcoming barriers of language and nationality, the workers of Hawaii have organized and waged large-scale battles for decent pay and working conditions, so today companies like Dole and Del Monte are running away to the Philippines, while much of the land, including workers’ neighborhoods, is being converted into “housing and development” for the rich.

Hawaii today is part of the U.S., and the Hawaiian people’s struggle is part of the U.S. proletarian revolution. But as part of this struggle, special attention must be paid to preserving the language and culture of the Native Hawaiians and the other oppressed nationalities there; and the special features of Hawaii, including its isolation from the “mainland,” must be taken into account in the struggle of the U.S. working class for state power and in building socialism.


Recent years have witnessed a rising tide of struggle against the oppression of women in capitalist society. Oppression strikes the overwhelming majority of women in this society, but it comes down heaviest on women of the working class.

Women are victims of discrimination and inequality in almost every aspect of society–employment, education, and in legal, financial and other spheres. And, central to their oppression, women are bound to the household and its drudgery by tradition and the organization of society itself. The majority of women bear the responsibility for cooking, cleaning, and raising children, the cost of which is included in the wages paid to their husbands. More than one third of all adult women, many of whom are heads of households, bear a double burden, not only responsibility for household work but working full or part time to keep their family going. Women are largely concentrated in low-paying, unorganized industries, and in almost all areas of work are given low pay, small chance to advance to a more skilled position and little security. This is justified by bourgeois propaganda and myths like “a woman’s place is in the home” and “they only work for pin money.”

Mothers who have no husbands but can’t manage to work are forced onto welfare, which degrades and half-starves recipients while trying to keep their anger at oppression from erupting into revolutionary struggle. And this is not all to this welfare degradation–often working class families, faced with continuing unemployment and the threat of starvation, are forced to split up so the wife and children can get welfare.

Black, Latin and other women from oppressed nationalities suffer the additional weight of national oppression. They are, for example, particularly singled out for forced sterilization and other ruling class “population control” schemes.

All of this directly benefits the bourgeoisie. Millions of women are kept as a reserve army of workers, who can be brought into the workforce when it suits the needs of the ruling class–as in WW II. The rest of the time they are kept out of work, and the bourgeoisie tries to isolate them from the main currents of class struggle. Sexual divisions are emphasized to maintain this situation–the bourgeoisie spreads and encourages male chauvinism, the ideology of male superiority, the belief that women are only good for sex, child rearing and keeping house. This is not just some “policy” of the imperialists–women’s oppression has been part and parcel of not only capitalism but all class society from the beginning. Only with the seizure of power by the working class and the building of socialism will the basis exist to deal with most “household” work through large-scale socialized labor, to free women to play a full and equal role in production and political life, to break down the “division of labor” that keeps women in an inferior position in capitalist society and to fully develop relations between men and women based on mutual respect and equality.

Nevertheless, much struggle must and will take place before capitalism is overthrown and in building to overthrow it. Historically women in America have played a powerful role both in the struggle against their own oppression and in other great social movements, especially the workers’ movement. A great source of strength for the proletariat are its women fighters. The proletariat will boldly step forward to mobilize and lead the masses of people in the struggle against the oppression women face, and will develop and bring forward the participation of millions of women in the overall class struggle.

The women’s liberation movement of recent years has overall advanced the struggle against the bourgeoisie, but the proletariat must defeat the attempts of the bourgeoisie to misdirect this movement, with ideas like “men are the enemy” and “equality is an end in itself,” which have influence among the largely petty bourgeois base of the women’s liberation movement. This last line on “equality” is the position of advocates of the so-called “Equal Rights Amendment,” which makes a showing of granting token opportunity to women, especially executives and professionals, while actually robbing working women of protective legislation won through many hard-fought battles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The major battles against the oppression of women center around inequality and discrimination; for programs like child care which strike at the chains binding women to the home and isolating them from production and class struggle; and against the bourgeoisie’s male chauvinist propaganda and attempts to degrade and demean women. The main demands of this struggle are:
Equal pay for equal work, oppose discrimination against women in employment and in all spheres of society.
Oppose the “Equal Rights Amendment”–fight to defend protective legislation and extend it to men.
Free child care.
Paid maternity leaves with no loss of seniority.
End all forced abortion and sterilization, defend the right to safe and voluntary birth control and abortion.

Real liberation for women lies in proletarian revolution, and proletarian revolution can only succeed by truly liberating women.


Ruling class claims of “democracy for all the people” are daily proved a lie by the machinery of the bourgeois state–especially the police and armed forces, laws and courts. They direct attacks at workers on strike, and in other struggles. They maintain a state of police terror in the ghettos of the oppressed nationalities and carry out repression in all working class communities. They try to “control” or smash demonstrations and other forms of mass struggle against the bourgeoisie. They infiltrate spies and provocateurs into mass organizations and movements, frame-up militant fighters or murder them. This repressive apparatus is mainly directed against the proletariat and its Party, but also enforces the rule of the bourgeoisie over all other classes and groups in society.

As the capitalist crisis deepens, as the bourgeoisie is further exposed and the revolutionary struggle of the masses grows, the bourgeoisie in its desperation lashes out with more vicious repression. Alongside of its official state apparatus it organizes vigilante-type groups to carry out its terror. The masses of people must be prepared to defend their struggle, their organizations and their communities by force of arms.

In attacking the struggle, the bourgeoisie will try to rob the masses of their leaders and most active fighters, jailing them where it cannot murder them. The fight to free political prisoners–from the leaders of the eight hour day movement in the 1880s, to Sacco and Vanzetti in the 1920s, to the members of the Black Panther Party in the late ’60s and early ’70s–has always been a powerful part of the revolutionary movement.

As a revolutionary situation arises, the bourgeoisie, in an attempt to save itself, will try to throw bourgeois “democracy” overboard in favor of a different form of bourgeois rule–fascism. Fascism is naked bourgeois dictatorship without the pretense of democracy, based on centralized state control of all of society, and open terror to enforce the exploitation of the working class.

Before a revolutionary situation has developed, the bourgeoisie, faced with deepening crisis, prepares for the possibility by financing fascist movements, made up mostly of petty bourgeois forces being crushed by the continuing collapse of capitalism. Fascist leaders wave the banner of social revolution to attract followers and drop it once fascist rule has been instituted. But fascist rule cannot save the bourgeoisie from crisis and stagnation and certainly does not eliminate the factors driving the bourgeoisie to war to conquer new markets and keep the economy going.

The proletariat must fight to shatter the bourgeoisie’s preparations for fascism. Even under bourgeois “democracy” the ruling class tries to hold down the mass struggle by attacking the right to bear arms, establishing “preventive detention” (arrest without trial), denying the right to a jury trial, outlawing revolutionary organizations and in other ways. All of this it will try later to build on in order to institute fascism. The working class must resist such attacks and trample under the bourgeois laws and regulations that stand in the way of its struggle, while fighting to defend all democratic rights of the masses and using them to organize for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie.

As it nears its doom the bourgeoisie also intensifies its promotion of all sorts of reactionary ideas–including many it opposed itself when it was fighting against feudalism–which feed the growth of fascist movements–religious mysticism, grotesque “scientific proof” of “racial inferiority,” the belief that a woman’s only role is to bear and raise children “for the glory of the Nation,” that the goal of life is pleasure-seeking and degeneracy. And most importantly the capitalists seek to duck the blame for their crisis and build instead mass hatred for scapegoats–Blacks, immigrants, Jews, revolutionaries, welfare recipients, the Arabs.

The proletariat’s answer to this poison is to aim every struggle at the monopoly capitalists themselves, to consistently expose the fact that they are responsible for the suffering of the people and that these reactionary ideas serve only to reinforce the most vicious exploitation and brutal suppression of the masses of people.

Historically “liberal” reformers and phoney “socialists” have served to assist the bourgeoisie’s preparation for fascism. They set the masses up for an ambush with their claims that capitalism can be ”remolded” and that revolutionary struggle to overthrow capitalism is therefore unnecessary and will only bring on fascism. They make opposition to fascism a matter of preserving the “democratic” form of bourgeois dictatorship and protecting the “democratic rights of all”–including the right to organize fascist movements!

The attitude of the working class toward Nazis, the KKK and other, slicker forms of fascist organization is clear. Serious attempts should be made to win confused individuals away from them, but as groups they deserve, and will get, no mercy.

The move to fascism by the bourgeoisie is a desperate one, showing their fear of the working class. The battle against such moves must be waged as part of the general revolutionary offensive against the rule of the monopoly capitalists–in any form!

To struggle only to “save” bourgeois democracy is to give up revolution and accept the continued rule of the bourgeoisie, which comes down to accepting fascism in the final analysis. While there is conflict within the bourgeoisie over the timing and tactics of moving to fascism, and over who will be on top in the fascist state, there is no section of the bourgeoisie that does not infinitely prefer fascism to proletarian revolution; and none will oppose fascism once they see it as necessary to prevent revolution. The only way to prevent fascism for sure is to make revolution, to establish the rule of the working class over the bourgeoisie.

Recent years have seen mass struggles against repression and bourgeois terror in many forms in this country. These have been closely linked with the overall struggle against imperialism, and as the revolutionary movement of the working class develops, in the face of more naked terror and moves toward fascism, the masses of people will hit back more forcefully at the bourgeois state and finally launch the all-out struggle to smash it.


The danger of war, including world war, is very great in this period. The contention between the two superpowers for domination all over the world leads them more and more toward war. Europe is the focal point of their contention, because it is in Europe that vast economic, political and military power is based, which the superpowers must seek to control. On the other hand, their battle for control of the Third World, and the tremendous superprofits this means, is also very sharp and growing sharper daily.

Neither superpower can afford to let moves toward independence, let alone struggles for complete national liberation, go unchallenged–as U.S. aggression in Indochina and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia have made clear. Both the U.S. and USSR station troops outside their borders in many parts of the world, and both have fleets in every ocean to check each other and attack movements for independence, liberation and revolution. The unsuccessful attempt of the U.S. monopoly capitalists to keep their control of Vietnam let loose many other forces beyond their control. Millions of Americans rose up as never before to oppose a war the ruling class had dragged the country into. The anti-war movement greatly aided the struggle of the Vietnamese people and showed people struggling for liberation around the world that the masses of American people were their allies, just as this war taught masses of people in the U.S. that the Vietnamese and others struggling for national liberation were fighting the same enemy as the American people and dealing powerful blows against it. In the course of the anti-war struggle in the U.S., hundreds of thousands of students, workers and others came to understand much more about the aggressive and exploitive nature of the U.S. ruling class. They saw that it was the people who paid–in taxes and forced military service and in blood–for a war which served only the rich. The bourgeoisie tried to push the anti-war movement into pacifism, but Vietnam showed that there are both just and unjust wars. Wars for independence, liberation and socialist revolution are just, while wars for the purpose of plunder and oppression by the imperialists and other reactionaries will always be resisted by the working class and oppressed people of the world.

The stand of the working class is for the elimination of war. But in today’s world this means opposition only to unjust wars of oppression and plunder. The working class supports just wars and opposes unjust wars and in so doing brings closer the final elimination of war. The working class supports all those who resist unjust wars-and demands universal and unconditional amnesty for all those, in and out of the military, who resisted the U.S. imperialists’ war of aggression in Indochina. The fight against imperialist war is a key battleground in the overall fight of the proletariat against the imperialist system.

Just as the imperialists try to export their economic crises to smaller, less developed nations, the superpowers try to make others do their fighting for them–and turn a huge profit at the same time. They peddle weapons of all sorts to rulers of developed and Third World countries, and try to make these countries pawns in the deadly global chess game between the U.S. and USSR. At any moment a war between two smaller nations could be turned into a world war by the intervention of their superpower masters.

To eliminate war, once and for all, it is necessary to eliminate its source, imperialism, through revolution and socialism. But, as a vital part of building that struggle, the working class and its Party in the U.S. raises the following demands:
Withdraw all U.S. forces from foreign soil and the territorial waters of other countries and dismantle all its military bases in other countries. Free all colonies in the grip of U.S. imperialism.
End all U.S. military alliances and military aid to U.S. puppets, oppose all superpower aggression, bullying and interference in the internal affairs of other countries. Abolish and destroy all nuclear weapons, oppose the superpowers’ arms race and phoney disarmament.
Support just wars for national liberation and revolutionary wars against imperialism and reaction, oppose all acts and wars of aggression by imperialism and its allies, defend the socialist countries.

If revolution does not prevent world war, world war will give rise to revolution.


Linked with the mass movements throughout society over the past several years, there have been widespread revolts in the U.S. armed forces. These have taken many different forms–resistance to fighting in Indochina, “fragging” of officers, struggles against national oppression and discrimination within the military, rebellions against military “justice” in and out of military prisons, refusal to suppress demonstrations and rebellions of the American people and daily battles against the degrading military routine and regulations.

It is crucial for the proletariat and its Party to establish firm roots among the G.I.’s in all branches of the service, to join with, build, and give leadership to their struggle against the brass and the imperialist system as a whole, and win them as broadly as possible to side with the masses of people in the revolutionary struggle.

On the one hand, the great majority of G.I.’s are from the working class and the lowest levels of the petty bourgeoisie, including a large number from the oppressed nationalities. This has increased since the institution of the Volunteer Army (“Volar”), and is very likely to continue to increase with the deepening of the crisis. On the other hand, the social role of the soldiers is to act as the armed forces of the bourgeois state in carrying out imperialist wars and suppressing revolutionary struggle throughout the world and in the U.S. itself. This is a very explosive contradiction for the bourgeoisie, and it must be the policy of the proletariat to ignite it as powerfully as possible.

Developments toward world war and revolution make this all the more crucial. Every war fought by the imperialists gives rise to rebellion among those who are forced to fight it, and the more so as the imperialist aims of the ruling class are more fully exposed. The massive movement of American G.I.’s at the end of WW II, who seized ships and airplanes and staged other militant actions to fight the imperialists’ plans to keep them stationed abroad, is just one striking example of this.

The Vietnam war, in which–unlike WW II—the U.S. armed forces played no positive role and were in fact called on to commit the most barbarous acts of aggression in the service of reactionary rulers, exposed much more deeply the ugly features of U.S. imperialism. This produced much more widespread revulsion and resistance among the G.I.’s. The longer the war went on, the more determined the Vietnamese people’s struggle became, and this, coupled with the growing antiwar movement in the U.S., sparked and fanned G.I. rebellion against the war and the military.

Future wars of aggression and plunder can only more thoroughly expose the bestial nature of imperialism, and create the conditions for even more thorough-going revolt against imperialist rule by the masses of G.I.’s. On the other hand, in such circumstances, and especially with the further development of the revolutionary movement in the U.S. itself, the ruling class will more ruthlessly suppress rebellion in the armed forces while using the armed forces to suppress the working class and its allies.

In this situation, the proletariat and its Party must bend even greater effort to bring the masses of G.I.’s into the struggle against imperialism, while building mass defense-including armed self-defense–against violent repression. And it must prepare to launch the armed struggle to defeat and disintegrate the imperialist armed forces, winning the G.I.’s as broadly as possible to come over to the revolutionary army in the course of this civil war.

Today many of the struggles of the G.I.’s are around the day to day conditions of work and “discipline” they face, and around living conditions for their families. The proletariat supports these struggles and others that oppose the authority of the brass, but it always brings to the fore the contradiction between the origins of the soldiers and their social role, exposes that the military brass are the agents of the monopoly capitalists and builds resistance to the role of the military as the monopoly capitalists’ arm of suppression and aggression.

Militant rebellions continue to break out in the military against national oppression. The proletariat firmly supports this fight. These struggles strike real blows against the imperialists and aid the masses of people in this country and worldwide in fighting them. The working class also supports the growing resistance of women in the military to discrimination.

In building the struggle of G.I.’s against the imperialists and linking this with the overall revolutionary movement, the working class raises these main demands:
Abolish the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), defend G.I.’s democratic rights, including the rights to organize and take part in demonstrations and other actions against imperialism, in the military and outside. Oppose all wars and acts of aggression.
End the use of G.I.’s as strikebreakers and ”riot troops.” Single-type discharge for all G.I.’s and vets. Universal and unconditional amnesty for all war resisters.
Fight discrimination and national oppression in the military.
Support G.I. struggles for better living and working conditions.

G.I.’s come from the masses, they must be united with the masses to defeat imperialism.


Most veterans were drawn into the military by a forced draft, or lack of jobs and exaggerated promises of job-training. After being made to serve under the imperialists in wars, they return home to face severe unemployment, rat-infested hospitals, and criminally inadequate services and benefits. Lying through their teeth that they give vets special treatment, the imperialists attempt to rally them behind their latest military adventure abroad and try to organize them into shock troops for reaction under the leadership of groups like the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

While this policy has found some small success in the past, each war produced veterans who opposed these schemes and fought back militantly against the imperialists–the great Bonus March of thousands during the 1930s depression, and the Back Home movement to withdraw U.S. troops, particularly from China and the Philippines at the end of WW II, are two outstanding examples.

Especially through their experience in Vietnam, more veterans than ever before are turning against the imperialists. Mass demonstrations of veterans who denounced the war and threw away their medals during the high point of U.S. intervention in Vietnam played a tremendous part in exposing the nature of the war to the masses of people and inspiring more widespread and militant struggle against it.

As the working class and its Party increasingly takes up and leads the struggle of veterans and this struggle becomes more consciously aimed against the imperialist system, veterans become a spark for the entire working class movement.

The fight for jobs is a crucial question for veterans. Unemployment for “Vietnam era” veterans is higher than for other workers of the same age group. But the fight for jobs for vets is part of the overall fight of the working class for Jobs Or Income Now! –a key part of the workers’ movement as a whole. In this connection the working class fights for the demand that vets hired in federal job programs must have the same opportunities, wages and benefits as workers in similar “civilian” jobs–union jobs at union wages!

Closely linked to the fight for jobs for vets is the demand for a single-type discharge from the military. Hundreds of thousands of veterans received less than honorable discharges for various forms of resistance to the war in Indochina and the military. This resistance made an important contribution to the anti-war struggle and the general struggle against the imperialists. The working class supports this resistance and the fight for a single-type discharge, and demands that there must be no harassment, “legal” or otherwise, and no discrimination against these vets.

Another main focus of the veterans’ struggle is against the Veterans Administration. The V.A. disguises itself as a “service” institution but its main job is to give vets the runaround while trying to deny them benefits. And, as with all agencies of the bourgeoisie, it includes discrimination against oppressed nationalities and women among its “services.” The main demands of the struggle against the V.A. are: end red tape and harassment; full V.A. benefits regardless of discharge; quality medical care, job training and full educational benefits; end discrimination.

Veterans, who have already struggled in the tens of thousands against the Vietnam war, can play an increasingly important role against imperialist aggression and suppression-against the use of G.I.’s and the National Guard as strikebreakers and “riot troops,” against war preparations and acts of aggression by the imperialists and against future imperialist wars. More, veterans will play an important part in many battles of the masses in this country against the imperialists, as well as in the actual armed struggle to overthrow them.


Historically, students have played an important part in the fight against the ruling class in this country, but especially since the beginning of the 1960s, struggles of students have had a tremendous impact on American society, dealing blows to the ruling class and fueling the revolutionary movement. They took the forefront in the early days of the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement. During this period college students, though mainly drawn from the petty bourgeoisie, came in larger numbers than ever before from the working class, and from the oppressed nationalities. The bourgeoisie opened higher education up somewhat more–also letting in greater numbers from the lower petty bourgeoisie–because it needed more managers, technicians, and professionals. The ruling class did not, however, change the “tracking system” in elementary and high schools, which railroads the great majority of working class and minority students out of “college bound” programs. Meanwhile, the struggles of students and oppressed nationalities forced open admissions and “third world” or “ethnic” studies at many schools, programs the bourgeoisie is sharply attacking now, along with other programs and courses that students won through struggle.

Students make three important contributions to the struggle for proletarian revolution. First, because they have the opportunity to study and seek answers to the problems of society, many, especially in the course of struggle, turn to Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought, become communist intellectuals, join the Party and take this new found weapon to the working class, which, in grasping this science, can change the world. Second, students as a group spread the struggle against imperialism and revolutionary ferment among the masses of people, as was the case with the civil rights and anti-war movements. And third, their struggles in themselves are a vital force in the fight against the monopoly capitalists.

The upsurge of the student movement ended abruptly in 1970. Students by themselves lacked the consistency and determination to continue the struggle through setbacks and difficulties for a long-term goal. Many became cynical and went over to pleasure-seeking, religious mysticism, or dreams of “making it.” Now students are under heavy attack, with budget cutbacks and tuition hikes making it harder to get and stay in school, and the student movement is on the rise again. This time there is stronger proletarian leadership to give this movement the consistency it lacked in the past. This comes from closer ties of students with class conscious workers and working class organizations, and most importantly, from the participation of communists, representing always the revolutionary interests and outlook of the working class. Summing up the lessons of the ’60s, students are more and more aiming their struggle straight at the ruling class. And now more solid unity than ever before is being built between white, Black, Latin and other students. Student struggles around particular campus-related demands are also an important part of the fight against imperialism.

The main demands of these struggles are:
Open admission to college for all high school graduates, smash the “tracking system” in high school and throughout the educational system. Fight cutbacks and tuition hikes.
Defend ”third world” studies programs and all progressive programs and courses.
Military, CIA, FBI, and police recruiters off campus.
Abolish ROTC and campus war research.

But even more than this, the working class encourages and supports the desire of students to fight every manifestation of imperialist rule, in this country and internationally, and recognizes their great contributions in this struggle.


The general upsurge of struggles in the 1960s included what the bourgeois media called the “youth rebellion.” This fundamentally represented a rejection by millions of young people of many of the evils of bourgeois society, but it was not consciously that. The ruling class attempted with some success to win young people to the belief that their parents or “old people” in general were responsible for these evils. This went along with the bourgeoisie’s consistent efforts to get working class youth to look down on their own parents and to have contempt for their class.

The “youth culture” which developed during this period had many positive aspects, in upholding the spirit that “it is right to rebel” and attacking bourgeois authority–legal, academic, social. It identified, although romantically, with the struggles of the oppressed in the United States and around the world. But this “culture” has been fostered from the beginning by attention from the television and press, and the bourgeoisie bent it to their own advantage.

The capitalists have profited from the market for music, clothes and literature, and more importantly have built up the negative aspects inherent in this “culture.” They have pushed every sort of non-struggle gimmick–“good vibrations,” “all we need is love,” drug abuse, rural communes, religious fundamentalism and degeneracy.

Despite this, thousands of youth have become revolutionaries and many more developed a beginning understanding of the nature of capitalist society, although some felt unwilling or unable to fight it. The problems of youth, however, are growing. Not only is it harder to get into and stay in school, but with or without a high school or college diploma, jobs are hard to find. The unemployment rate for young people is several times the general rate, and is even higher for Black and Latin youth. In addition, young people face legal inequality, police harassment, and the threat of having to be cannon fodder in an imperialist war.

But the most basic problem the masses of young people face is the fact that imperialism is unable to offer them a life with a purpose. Years in a factory or some other job making some capitalist richer, or devoting their life only to raising a family and keeping house, fighting to stay ahead of debt and with nothing to offer their own children except life in a system based on exploitation and oppression–this is the future that the bourgeoisie offers the youth. It is no wonder that many young people fall prey to the corruption pushed by the bourgeoisie-seeking answers in mystic faiths or escape in drugs and cynicism.

There is only one path that offers youth a genuine opportunity to put to use its enthusiasm, its innovativeness, its daring and its determination to change the world–proletarian revolution. Here and only here will they genuinely find a life with a purpose. To enable the proletariat to fully utilize these qualities of youth, and to systematically channel them toward proletarian revolution, the Party actively works to build and lead a communist youth organization, based mainly among working class youth. The development of this organization will make vital contributions to the revolutionary struggle.


Millions of old people are forced into a life of poverty and degradation under the rule of capital. The capitalists use them and then throw them away when they are “used-up.” They spend a whole lifetime slaving to enrich capital and then are retired–if they live to retirement–on meager pensions and social security that are shrunk further by continually rising costs. More than that, they are told they have nothing to offer society, and are frequently forced to waste away in “nursing homes” and similar institutions that make money hand over fist while treating them like useless shells waiting to die.

Recent years have seen struggles by old people against these outrages, shattering the bourgeoisie’s image of them as feeble and decrepit. The proletariat supports these struggles and fights for the demands for liveable income–including higher pension and social security benefits–decent health care and medical benefits for old people, and–together with plans and benefits making possible earlier retirement at a liveable income–an end to forced retirement.

But more than that, the proletariat cherishes the old people of society, in their great majority, as veterans of its class and class struggle. They have a lifetime’s worth of hatred for the capitalist exploiters and a tremendous store of experience in the struggle against them. They can play an irreplaceable role in the revolutionary movement, especially in giving a “class education” to the youth. Once the proletariat has seized power, it will give full play to the contributions of old people, and rely on them to fire the youth with a burning determination to continue the revolution and never be dragged back to the misery of the old, capitalist society.


Monopoly capital continually squeezes out small farmers and small proprietors in the cities. And as the crisis develops, they are crushed at an even more rapid rate. This gives rise to sharp struggle and in recent years these small owners have waged many battles, some of them very militant, to resist ruin.

The proletariat unites with them in fighting monopoly capital and seeks to direct the spearhead of their struggle more sharply against this enemy. It supports them in fighting foreclosures, and the strangulation of mortgages and other debts to institutions of finance capital. But at the same time it opposes their efforts to protect their capital and position in society at the expense of the working class.

These small owners are easily swayed by reactionary demagogues who promise them a “return to the past.” The proletariat pays special attention to winning them away from this bourgeois bait and from fascist movements dangling it. And at all times, the proletariat points toward the future, toward socialism and communism and the final elimination of all capital.


Prisons are an arm of the bourgeois state. Most of the men and women who fill America’s prisons are not criminals by profession. The overwhelming majority are from working class backgrounds, and over one third are Black or Latin.

The bail system and the whole legal system is set up so that workers and other poor people frequently spend long stretches behind bars without ever being convicted of a crime, or by being framed. Nearly all prisoners are brutalized and deprived of the most elementary rights.

Capitalist society breeds crime–it even glorifies it in its movies. The prisons do not rehabilitate convicts, they are hell-holes which offer a “first timer” a full education in criminal technique from those who are “pros,” including many guards and prison officials.

Prisoners have always conducted riots and strikes to resist the brutal oppression they face, but the recent period has seen these become imbued with revolutionary content, like the heroic Attica uprising. Socialized by prison work and regimentation and spurred by struggles “on the outside,” thousands of prisoners have waged many sharp battles and made use of their confinement time to study, and, aided by imprisoned revolutionaries, are becoming genuinely “rehabilitated”–grasping the nature of capitalist society and resolving to join the fight to bring it down.

The proletariat has a profound hatred for crime, of which it is the main victim, but it supports and draws inspiration from the struggles of prisoners against oppression. In the process of seizing power the proletariat, guns in hand, will open the prison doors and offer the masses of prisoners themselves the chance to join the proletarian army and fully remold themselves into fighters for the working class.


All these forces and movements are striking telling blows at the monopoly capitalists. Together they represent the vast majority of American people, before whose combined strength the monopoly capitalists could never stand. But only the proletariat and its Party can unite them as a powerful battering ram and direct their blows most decisively.

Only the proletariat, led by its Party, has the discipline, organization and conviction to carry the fight through no matter how protracted it may be.

Only the proletariat has no stake at all in the preservation of the present system, no reason to stop short.

Only the outlook of the proletariat can see past the propaganda and deception of the enemy to the final goal, and only its revolutionary science can guide the struggle to this goal.

Only the proletariat is capable not only of destroying the old world, but of building the new.

By taking up and uniting under its leadership all the struggles against the imperialists, all the social forces who oppose them, the proletariat will build the broadest united front, and through it will overthrow imperialism, establish its own state, and embark on the socialist road toward the historic mission of achieving communism and emancipating all humanity.