The Need for Political Organization

Mass Proletariat is a militant political organization working to build people’s power in Massachusetts. From Mao, we take an understanding that revolutionary change can only proceed on the basis of sustained social investigation and work with the masses – those who resist their current placement in the bourgeois order – coupled with ideological struggle and exchange amongst comrades. This necessarily entails a form of political organization. We assert that the basis for organization is principled struggle at all times. Only through such struggle is it possible to correctly handle contradictions, internal and external to the organization.

There are two organizational deviations that must be avoided. The first, bureaucratic formalism, establishes a rigid hierarchy (division of labor, disregard for minority opinions, uncritical acceptance of leadership) which effectively reproduces class divisions under capitalism and produces an ossified organizational structure unable to effectively handle contradictions or sustain a politics that remains heterogeneous to capitalism. The second deviation, spontaneous organization, is reactive: only flaring up in response to popular uprisings and burning out shortly thereafter. This form is unable to maintain the organizational structure necessary for sustained change, and amounts to little more than petite-bourgeois outrage at the injustice of the current state of affairs that ultimately coalesces into the demand for a more just master. These two deviations are ‘left politics as usual’ in this conjuncture, and they are both politically stillborn, effectively serving as a barrier to change by reproducing the existing system of class domination.

In order to avoid these deviations, we affirm that there is a need to allow the principle of Unity-Struggle-Unity to guide the struggle amongst comrades within our organization.

The Organization and the Masses

A political organization cannot practice revolutionary politics and bring about qualitative change at a distance from mass movements. But mass movements are not reducible to large protests and marches; rather they must be understood as the resistance to oppression and exploitation on the part of the people. Therefore, the masses can be understood neither an undifferentiated unity of those who ‘spontaneously’ riot and rebel, nor as those who are structurally determined as masses because of their social class. Rather, the question ‘who are the masses?’ can only be answered by sustained social investigations into concrete situations on the part of comrades in a political organization.

Furthermore, insofar as there are real contradictions internal to the masses themselves, comrades cannot fetishize the masses just because they are engaged in resistance to oppression and exploitation. There are those who resist simply because their individual interests are in contradiction with the interests of the development of capitalism in a particulat situation. Non-profit and ‘social justice’ organizations reproduce themselves (and the capitalist order) by articulating these individual demands of the most backwards elements of the masses. Comrades must rather seek to discern the advanced amongst the masses and concentrate their ideas. In this context, the advanced are those who can link the particularity of a situation to the universal nature of the contradictions in question (i.e. how rising rents and displacement in Boston are directly related to the globalized system of white supremacist capitalism).

The concentration of the correct ideas of the masses and the putting into practice of these correct ideas is what Maoists call ‘the mass line.’ The process of concentrating the correct ideas of the masses necessarily entails struggling over which idea of the masses are correct and who among the masses are advanced. In order to do this comrades cannot operate at a distance from the masses, but rather must count themselves as members of the masses insofar as they too are resisting the patriarchal white supremacist order of capitalism. Thus the political organization and the masses are in dialectical relation with each other, each side mutually determining the other. Comrades in the organization engage with the masses and concentrate the correct ideas of the masses. These ideas, about how to handle the contradictions of a particular situation, are then put into practice and tested. The organization and the masses then struggle over the successes and failures of the putting into practice of these ideas, and the organization again concentrates the correct ideas of the masses and puts them into practice. In this process both the organization and the masses change. Through correctly handling contradictions revolutionary change is created and sustained.

On Patriarchy and White Supremacy

Patriarchy and White Supremacy are two contradictions which play a crucial role in the reproduction of Capitalism, and in our view, it is essential that all communist militants take seriously the task of handling these contradictions in the present. These contradictions must be understood as present within a political organization, within the masses themselves, and as constitutive of capitalist society as such. While it is true that “nothing essential divides the working class,” these contradictions can quickly become antagonistic if not handled correctly. Often, an incorrect handling of these contradictions is based in a poor understanding of the nature of these contradictions.

Along these lines there are two deviations against which we must constantly guard. First, the class reductionist deviation which posits that economic exploitation–in being the primary contradiction that keeps capitalism in motion–is always the principal contradiction in every situation, at least until “after the revolution.” Second, the liberal-idealist deviation that posits that the white supremacy and patriarchy are metaphysical oppositions separate from the material reproduction of our society. Both of these deviations are politically stillborn.

Against these deviations we need to understand that patriarchy and white supremacy are key contradictions, instrumental in the reproduction of the capitalist order. While capitalism as such cannot exist without capitalist exploitation, it must be understood that in any political situation the secondary contradictions (i.e. patriarchy and white supremacy) can become primary. In our present reality, national oppression by the white supremacist capitalist class as well as patriarchy are of primary importance to the state project of the bourgeoisie (that is, the reproduction of the existing class relations), and must be recognized as primary obstacles to the building of mass power. Without constantly struggling against these two forms of oppression at all times, and striving to understand the specific forms they take in our context, we will be politically paralyzed and bound to reproduce the very forms of inequality we seek to eradicate.