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IC 2013 discussion

Building a revolutionary party today

Mindanao/Philippine experience

Monday 10 June 2013, by Anzelmo Guerrero

This is a February 2013 edition of a document on Building a Revolutionary Party Today of Anzelmo Guerrero which was first published in www.rpm-m.org last 2012.

Building a Revolutionary Party today is not only a challenge for genuine Marxists but ought to be done by contemporary revolutionaries.

This is mainly because the neoliberal globalization stage of capitalism albeit its severe crises has been monopolizing the global economic, political and cultural affairs and lives of people since the demise of the Socialist camp. Experiences of different revolutionaries in building Parties and organizations of the working class often suffer stagnation, intense crises which usually led to disintegration and failures.

Various reasons and analysis for such dismal development of revolutionary Parties and organizations have been forwarded. Principal of them would be the failure of Party cadres and organizations to see the impact of the global capital to mitigate its intensifying crises and pass it on to the working class. Neoliberal globalization has done this systematically and effectively thru both government and the financial and multilateral infrastructures. Such development has direct effect to the socio, economic and political lives of the already impoverished people but specifically the workers and toiling masses. Party cadres and its militants have failed to see the profound implications of these neoliberal offensives to their day to day political works. And hence, trade union workers and Party building have been done on “business as usual” methods. For instance, there has been significant increase on the number of workers in the service sectors. These workers have been subjected to greater contractualization and casualization by the capitalists to extract more profits. Under this scheme trade union works are strictly prohibited. Workers in the abovementioned sector have been preoccupied with their day to day economic struggles and survivals and relating these activities to political struggles have become very hard. The development of political consciousness of these workers has been very slow if not almost next to impossible. The process and the gap by which workers by themselves would become workers for themselves has become very far apart.

Political works of the Party should have been adjusted to this situation of the workers. For instance, focus of the organizing works and political mobilization should be done where the workers and their families are – the communities. In the case of the urban areas it will be in the urban poor communities and in the case of rural areas, it should be in the rural poor villages. Party cells and neighborhood collectives should have been organized to campaign for the issues of the workers situated in different factories and establishments but also the social issues faced by the communities in urban and rural areas where they (the workers) and their families live.

Another reality that has been unfolded because of the neoliberal globalization and the capitalist unending quest for more profit is the mega-monopolization of basic industry such as steel and the chemicals. This has caused the big decrease of the number of industrial workers and increase the number of the unemployed or the reserve force of the working class. Party organizers and activists have been most of the time not able to timely adjust to such situation and the many of the remaining industrial workers have been easily recruited or have been transformed to become members of the yellow unions. These workers are often the first one to adopt to adapt and accept the neo-liberal programs and policies of the bourgeois government and the reactionary trade unions. We have serious difficulties to counter and oppose this “survival mode” of this kind of workers.

Another serious phenomenon which has emerged since the 80’s in the peripheral and developing countries is the overseas migrant workers. This reality has been a direct testimony of the absence of the decent employment available of the sending countries and the opportunistic attitude of the host countries towards these workers. The sending countries have benefited a lot from the migrant workers thru their remittances but generally do not do anything in minimizing the social costs of the separation of these workers and their families. The receiving or the host countries also benefitted from these overworked but underpaid workers in terms of their economic contribution to such countries but make very strict laws and policies to superficially regulate these workers.

Party cadres and activists have generally gotten lost in terms of appropriate political works with these kind workers. The dual nature of their being migrants and workers gives us difficulties to comprehensively understand them and hence affect our organizing works with them. But one thing is sure they are in their millions and a very potent force in our anti-neo-liberal globalization campaigns and mobilizations.

The Widening Gap of Workers by Themselves for Themselves

Objective material basis for socialist revolution within this bourgeois hegemony can be best described as eschatological. They are present in the capitalist system and yet one has to go beyond to a non-existing paradigm or rather to a failed one. Building and implementing a socialist program within the womb of capitalism is like reaching to an impossible dream.Not a few who tried to implement such program have ended up helping in the strengthening and perpetuating the very system they are trying to fight and replace. The vision and the mission of revolutionary Marxists to build an independent workers’ organization and Parties have experienced serious difficulties and paralyzing development of splits and betrayals. The current trend of the neo-liberal globalization of capitalism has impacted in peculiar conditions in the different countries. The tasks of the Revolutionary Marxists are to correctly lead the working class and oppressed people to build and implement transition program when the ebb of the socialist and progressive camps is on its highest form and the global capital is on its intense offensive flow albeit its crises, unevenness and backwardness of capitalist development in many countries have direct effect on the Political consciousness of the working class and have made difficulties in building unity and establishing solidarity works. The development and the changes in the characteristics of the working class and forms of organization can be glimpsed in the difficulties in sustaining mass movements and raising their levels of political consciousness.

Revolutionary Parties and Organizations have suffered failures in transforming and leading the spontaneous activities to political movements. This is not because of failure to banner the most militant forms of struggle and carrying out the sharpest political slogans but mainly the problems and difficulties in creating democratic spaces for different organizations united in the causes of the burning issues of the day and systematically agree on common program of action.

Building Revolutionary Party and organization today means marshalling and sharpening all available resources and means to correctly read the nature of the crises of the global capital with its converged manifestations of economic, financial and ecological characteristics. Transitional programs which are both democratic and anti-imperialist can only be effective and sustainable if feasible and viable alternatives of development paradigm are integrated and concretely acted upon in the day to day lives of Revolutionary cadres and militants.

Many of our Party cadres and activists have been trained to sharply oppose the neoliberal project of the global capital. In fact such oppositions have led us to banner in our campaign, another world is possible and least broadly but not a few of us have been articulating that since capitalism is on its severest crisis, socialist revolution is becoming crystal clear by the day. On the other hand, what is definitely lacking in our oppositions to global capitalist project is its sustainability which can be done through our concrete proposals and implementing it as alternative for today which will be bringing us to the socialist tomorrow. Today, capitalism has provided us fertile land/ground to sow our seeds of socialism tomorrow. This kind of realization should put our feet on the ground and work for concrete reform so that people, especially the toiling masses can feel the gain and small victories in their lives and do not need to wait for tomorrow.

This need of a concrete model for an alternative is more relevant today in the context that with the fall of the Socialist Camp and the not so encouraging performance of those who still claimed to be Socialist Countries, Party organizations and militants need to be identified with a model. A model they could build and identified themselves with and served as their guiding post.

The urgent issues and the fast deteriorating global situation because of the climate change as a result of the intensifying greediness of the capitalists have reminded revolutionary parties and progressive organizations that launching the socialist revolution can only be possible if it has integrated the ecological struggles on the other hand ecological struggles can only be genuine and sustainable if they are integrated in the socialist struggle within the neo-liberal globalization stage of capitalism.

The daily struggle of the working class for concrete democratic and economic reforms in their communities because trade union works are not possible in their work places, should result on concrete gains in the improvement of their lives. In such situation, the process of raising the democratic and economic struggles into political consciousness will be less difficult.

Proposing and acting on concrete alternatives then will mean for instance having campaign on Food Sovereignty where we do not only secure the supplies of safe basic food to the people but we work with them to control the seeds for agricultural production and empower them thru getting ownership of the skills technology to effectively and scientifically implement the organic agriculture. This simply means peoples’ control of the seed, technology, production and marketing. We can concretely do this project in dozen of villages using renewable energy and environmentally friendly method of using energy. This means that peoples’ participation in the production and exchange/marketing are defined where women play prominent role and decisively participate in decision-making with other members in the village.

And this mean, concretely opposing the global capitalist project in controlling and monopolizing food industry with clear proposed and concrete alternative from below.

The Revolutionary Party today can only be Ecosocialist

The struggles of reforms which are democratic, anti-imperialist and ecological can be concretely sustainable and appropriate in the launching of food sovereignty movements in the local, national and global scale. The working class and the toiling masses have not only been exploited and oppressed by the intensifying greediness of capital but they are most of all victims of ecocidal capitalism. Concrete program on struggling and supporting the farmers and agricultural workers to convert their chemical intensive farming to ecological agriculture develop their organic technology of controlling their agricultural seeds and intensifying the local food production and distribution can be concrete form of anti-imperialist and developing in higher form of democratic struggles of the toiling masses and agricultural workers. Systematically but rapidly phasing out of the usage of fossil fuels and biofuels and replacing with clean and renewable energy sources are again can only be done in a basic democratic struggle and clear anti-imperialist movements which we can be linked from local, national and the international levels.

In order to ensure the correct Socialist direction of these anti-neo-liberal project and our democratic struggles, there is a need of a Revolutionary Party. It should be guided by Marxist theories of understanding and changing the world and the Leninist principles or organization. It should always be in the midst of the workers’ struggles and led in the timely understanding and adapting in the new situation of capitalism in order to effectively weaken it which slowly building the Socialist foundation. It can initiate and participate in building broad formations and campaigns against different forms of capitalist exploitation but should always maintain its distinct identity as a Revolutionary Party.

Socialist Struggles and building Revolutionary Parties and organizations today can only be effective and sustainable if they are part of ecological struggles and building concrete alternative development model. The emancipation of the working class should be and only be done by the working class themselves. These Parties and Organizations can only be genuinely Revolutionary Socialist if they are working not only to the development and emancipation of the working class and all oppressed people today but most especially ensuring that next generations will have a free and safe world.

The Revolutionary Party today can only be EcoSocialist

These are just few points which we have culled from our day to day experience in building a Revolutionary Party today. Concrete and timely answers to the burning issues and problems in the fast changing world led by the neoliberal global capital are needed. Our Party cadres and militants should have these ready answers because many of us are still sticking to our answers to the old questions. We simply need new answers to the new questions.