32 Points Against the Elections: Why We are Boycotting the Vote

Introduction

Already, many articles have been written on the topic of the election boycott by revolutionary organizations. They have proved that voting is useless towards making real change, harmful in sustaining trust in the electoral process, and most importantly, falls short of the views of the working people themselves, most of whom do not vote. Yet, there are still many who argue vociferously in favor of voting and many more who, while seemingly in agreement with these truths, claim that the upcoming election is somehow an exception, that its particularities require either that we reserve our line on the matter or that we actively encourage people to vote. Nevertheless, the boycott remains both relevant and necessary, and we as revolutionaries must take and encourage an active stand against elections. For the sake of clarity and conciseness we address arguments that have been raised in favor of voting in general as well as more specific ones that apply solely to the 2020 election.

Revolutionary Tampa Workers proudly endorses the boycott of the 2020 elections. (See points 18 and 32 for our more detailed thoughts.) At the end of this piece after the Glossary, we include further resources for information about the boycott of the 2020 elections.

Table of Contents:

1. “Trump is an aberration that must be voted against. We must restore the soul of America.”

2. “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.”

3. “‘They’ don’t want you to vote.”

4. “Why shouldn’t we vote for the lesser of two evils?”

5. “We have to vote against fascism.”

6. “Trump makes fascists bolder and more excited than Biden”

7. “Even if they do more or less the same things, Trump is worse.”

8. “Voting takes ten minutes and doesn’t hurt. It is an easy way to make change.”

9. “In a democracy, the government reflects the will of the people. Today, the government has been co-opted by the wealthy, but even if a given politician is imperfect, we can take power back if we just vote consistently.”

10. “Things have gotten better because we voted; won’t voting over time change the system?”

11. “Vote for the possibility of a better future.”

12. “Not voting for Biden is a vote for Trump.”

13. “Not voting is a privilege.”

14. “Voting is the only way to make progress.”

15. “On the problems of the popular vote, electoral college, and election manipulation”

16. “People fought and died for our right to vote.”

17. “Voting is an understandable reaction to the current conditions.”

18. “We shouldn’t tell people not to vote; It’s the individual’s choice.”

19. “Candidate x would enact policies that help/benefit the working class”

20. “The parties have competing interests.”

21. “Positive and negative effects correlate to one party or the other.”

22. “Wouldn’t voting for (candidate x) make future revolutionary work less difficult/benefit the movement.”

23. “We need a president who can manage the economy.”

24. “A Trump presidency, for acceleration purposes, will bring about socialism sooner.”

25. “Violence’ doesn’t work, only peaceful methods like voting accomplish change”

26. “Harris could be the first black woman VP and possibly the first black woman president.”

27. On voting and gun control.

28. “Why did revolutionaries in the past vote?”

29. “Why did the RCPUSA endorse Biden?”

30. “We need to vote for a strong and capable leader in case of war.”

31. “You want to support foreign powers and interference.”

32. “What does not voting achieve? What does a successful election Boycott look like and what does this entail?”

Footnotes

References

Glossary

Additional Resources

32 Points

1. “Trump is an aberration that must be voted against. We must restore the soul of America.”

Trump is not an anomaly. There have been many leaders like Trump throughout history and there will continue to be many leaders like Trump so long as the disease of capitalism infects politics. Trump is simply another reactionary figure that preys upon the longstanding prejudices of the most reactionary segments of the people. Trump’s support among the working class grew from the mounting frustration of people who, angry with the system that spurned them, mistook his ‘frank’ speech for honesty and his cruelty for strength. While there are obviously many reactionary people who voted for Trump with hate in their hearts, it is also true that others were simply bamboozled into thinking he would positively affect their livelihoods and relieve their financial insecurities (although of course he did not).

What soul, exactly, has capitalist America ever had that we are fighting to restore? Trump came to power because of decades of crisis, decades of broken promises, and a gradual tightening of the screws on the working class. “Restore the soul of America” is “make America great again” by another name — at what point was capitalist America anything other than vicious and contemptible? President Clinton, often cited for his economic prowess, upheld capitalist interests by signing NAFTA into law which forced workers to accept lower wages and longer hours. President Obama not only failed to deliver on his vague promises of “hope and change” but blatantly allowed Citibank to select his cabinet and altered unemployment numbers so as to pretend as though he had repaired capitalism’s latest crisis. At the end of a long trail of liberal lies and conservative cruelty is an opportunist who will seduce the working class with promises of liberation, only to lead them deeper into subjugation. No candidate can or ever will address the root cause of the problem which is capitalism itself. We must combat capitalism head-on, and the only solution is revolution.

2. “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.”

This is a very common expression among voters. It is a form of boycott shaming. The idea is that the non-voter consents to be content with whatever the outcome is, that, by not voting, they have somehow endorsed the result by failing to take any opposing action ‘through the proper channels’.

The interesting part of this argument is that, the truth is actually the reverse. The voter gives their sanction and implicit support to the outcome, and therefore to the winner. This is a natural part of the process. The voters and the competing parties enter into an agreement to abide by the results and, in exchange, they are able to take part in the process of deciding who holds a particular office. By contrast, the nonvoter never entered into this agreement to begin with. They never agreed to abide by the results, yet they will be forced to all the same. How, in such an instance, does it stand to reason that they cannot or should not complain? If the formal method of complaint was utilized and settled, it would be those who used this method who should cease their complaints. But this would be just as nonsensical when you consider that, whether they voted or not, they would still be in the same situation. In either case, this logically amounts to suggesting that the vote is the only legitimate method, and that anything else shouldn’t be tolerated.

This attitude is ultimately directed against the masses of working people; it suggests that the passive boycott should turn toward general inactivity. It supports and encourages political apathy. In general, this attitude turns people away from voting and only encourages the passive boycott by making nonvoters less likely to listen to voters.

Who is served by this attitude? By the political apathy of the masses? The ruling class. This is the rational kernel of the sentiment “‘they’ don’t want you to vote.” What ‘they,’ the ruling class, really wants is political apathy, but to them, if you have to be political, make sure it is restricted to the vote. That is why they encourage voting and discourage anything more than state sanctioned ‘protest.’

The masses, the makers of the world, deserve the world. How could they not complain when it is stolen bit by bit everyday? We say they have every right to not only complain, but take power to address the very things they have to complain about!

3. “‘They’ don’t want you to vote.”

While we can obviously observe historic and current instances of voter suppression, this is usually done by a specific party or ‘sect’ of the ruling class to a specific group of people. An example of this is that both parties engage in gerrymandering, a practice where the lines of districts are redrawn to lump people together into areas that are more favorable for consolidating voting power for a particular party. This often targets areas in a racist manner and has historically been used to break up the organized voting power of Black people and other other non-white communities. But the racism of this practice is based on the fact that around 90% or more of black voters consistently vote democratic. The racism of breaking-up ‘the black vote’ is contingent upon whether it is or isn’t useful to their faction of the ruling class. While one party may try to suppress the votes of a certain oppressed group of the working class, the other party often tries just as hard to encourage that same group to vote — and, specifically, to vote for THEIR candidate. Historically, the racist President LBJ of the Democrats, the historic ‘party of slavery’, signed the voting rights act into law and privately remarked “I’ll have those n*ggers voting Democratic for 200 years.”* This is the epitome of the political opportunism of the ruling class in both voting rights and voter suppression. Individuals or groups of politicians usually engage in measures to suppress a vote based on whether those being suppressed are more likely to vote for opponents and/or oppose their policies. In this election, Trump has been discouraging mail-in ballots and claiming they are fraudulent. Given that Biden’s voting base is generally more likely to be wary of COVID-19 and mail-in their votes, Trump’s attempt at suppressing those ballots serves to attack a large section of the opposition’s votes.

If the majority of the ruling class did not want the masses to vote, they would not be running campaigns and lobbying groups that actively and aggressively try to push voting via methods of setting up voter registration booths in working class neighborhoods and at liberal “protests.” They would not be encouraging companies like Instagram or Twitter to make voting information a part of their applications and websites, or even having celebrities and musicians interview these candidates and directly telling their fans to vote. There certainly wouldn’t be many individuals in the ruling class donating copious amounts of money to voting. (In the 2016 elections $6.8 billion was spent.**) If voting was against their interest, they would simply take the right to vote away, as has been done many times before when the ruling class did not want the masses to vote. Whoever ‘they’ is has the power at present and thus can take away, suppress, reinstate, or manipulate the vote at their will. If it was a threat to them, it wouldn’t exist. The fact that they want you to vote leads to the question of ‘why do they want you to vote?’ The vote is one of the main ways they currently justify their rule to people and establish legitimacy. It is the primary method by which they propagate that their rule is based mainly on consent rather than coercion. Thus, it would seem that at present, “they” do indeed want you to vote.

4. “Why shouldn’t we vote for the lesser of two evils?”

Both Biden and Trump are guilty of a long list of horrendous crimes against the working class (see below)1 in this country as well as those in many other nations abroad. (Both of them would only commit more during a 4 year presidential term.) In responding to reports of rape, reactionaries, liberals, and capitalist news media outlets have even gone so far as to justify this and uphold voting. They claim that Biden is still a better candidate because he has raped fewer women. Imagine the absurdity of basing a vote on which candidate is less of a rapist! This sort of thinking is not only ridiculous but also deeply disturbing. Alas, this is exactly the type of debasement of principles that voting for the lesser of two evils always amounts to. No one should have to choose between any sort of “evil.” As long as this “lesser of evil-ism” is accepted, there will be no end of it in sight.

5. “We have to vote against fascism.”

Voting has never stopped fascism before, it cannot stop it now, and it will never stop it in the future, regardless of whether one particular candidate happens to be “less fascist” than the other. Low voter turnout was not the reason for the rise of fascism in Italy and Germany in the 1920’s, nor was it the reason for the establishment of any former or current fascist state. Fascism has spread and will continue to spread because of material conditions, not ideological ones, and no amount of voting will ever change that fact under capitalism. The pushing of electoral politics under the guise of “voting against fascism” by social democrats and bourgeois democrats alike, actually does more to bolster fascism by not addressing it. By failing to identify the true solution and mistakenly focusing on voting, the masses waste valuable time and allow fascism to proliferate, gaining support and popular interest not only from irredeemable reactionaries, but also from many working class people who have simply been led astray.

Fascism is caused by the crises inherent to capitalism. It is simultaneously a result of the failures of capitalism and a bitter attempt by the bourgeoisie to retain its power through the acute repression of the working class. It is not, as some have said, the consequence of socialist organizing but rather the reverse, the consequence of socialists and revolutionaries failing in their duty to organize revolution. The argument that people should vote to get rid of or minimize fascism completely overlooks the actual cause of it. This is akin to trying to cure a symptom and not the disease — one will inevitably return back to where they started. The disease is capitalism and the only cure is a socialist revolution.

6. “Trump makes fascists bolder and more excited than Biden”

Let us entertain for a moment the notion that Trump is definitively a fascist, we would counter that one candidate’s ‘fascistness’ does not make the other an anti-fascist. While we would suggest that neither of the candidates at present are fascists, either of them could be, if it was needed by the capitalists. And neither of them are anti-fascist. This is because the state is not an organization that stands above classes. The state is an instrument of class rule. Every state has a class character. Fascism does not negate the class character of the state, nor is it the rule of a singular dictator, as many liberals and so-called leftists believe it is. Fascism is one form of capitalist rule. The other, generally preferred form, is democracy. Fascism and democracy exist as two opposite poles of capitalist government, but both are in the same camp. They both seek to serve the capitalists as best they can, through slightly different means. We emphasize the slight nature, because they both engage in imperialist wars, brutal genocides, and all kinds of oppressive activities, and in reality are not so different.

The capitalists prefer democratic rule, they know that if they beat people too badly they will either die or overthrow them, so the beatings must be only “temporary” or an otherwise unfathomable anomaly. But it must occur nonetheless. During such times pressure is put on the political regime to carryout the policies that make this possible. If the political leaders do not, or outright refuse, they will be replaced and a more suitable representative will take their place, either by ballot, threat of force, or by force. So these politicians are either unable to resist, passive participants, or active representatives. For historical example of this: Mussolini got the blessing of the king, Hitler was appointed by Hindenburg, Pinochet was appointed by Allende. In the case of Biden and Trump, looking at their reactionary policies, both are candidates to be at least passive participants, but likely active representatives.

If Biden wins, the Trump supporting reactionaries are likely to lose more hope in electoralism and this may provide more fertile ground for the fascists to recruit from. At the same time, the state will likely be more consolidated and the police will continue to expand. If Trump wins, the electoral reactionaries will get a boost, and the fascists may get even more breathing room to grow their movements. In either case, the fascist movement has room to grow and reason to expand regardless of who wins because their fight, like ours, does not start nor end with the election and both parties are not anti-fascist.

Further, there are disagreements and confusions within the fascist camp. Many support Trump because he is a step in the right direction of their brand of fascism, whilst understanding he is for now, insufficient. But regardless, each faction is willing to collude with others and contend with them for overall control. The ruling class and its lackeys will sometimes violently act against specific members, sections of its class, and even make mistakes that are against its class’ interest. The most important takeaway however, is that both Biden and Trump are powerless against the fascists. Only broad, strong, fighting organizations of the working class are capable of beating back the fascist menace.

7. “Even if they do more or less the same things, Trump is worse.”

There is no definitive way to conclude which of the candidates is “worse” since both candidates are known liars. We have no way of knowing in advance which of their stated policies will actually be implemented and which unstated policies they plan to execute without warning2. Furthermore, their stated policies are so overtly destructive that even a detailed comparison is difficult. The question is like being asked whether it is better to be executed by stabbing or drowning. It doesn’t matter — either way you die, and the subjective manner in which it occurs is not the important feature. If you are concerned more with how you die rather than with whether you die, then you should vote. Otherwise, you should act.

This mental paradox is a wasteful and liberal game of thought that provides no critical analysis and no real solutions for the problems at hand. As puppets of the ruling class, both candidates are guaranteed to be harmful to the working-class, and even comparing them is a waste of time that serves as a distraction from matters that are of actual importance.

8. “Voting takes ten minutes and doesn’t hurt. It is an easy way to make change.”

We should not treat the question of voting lightly. This argument relies simply on how easy an activity is to do. How easy or difficult an activity is, is of little importance in relation to why an activity should or shouldn’t be done. Many things are easy to do, but that doesn’t make them right. Further, the reasoning that one should vote because it is easy, actually does more to affirm the meaninglessness of voting rather than its validity. It is absurd to uphold one of the so-called “pillars of democracy” with the justification: “it is easy.” Further, we should be seriously wary of anyone — imperialist or not — who would tell us that there is any easy or simple way to accomplish true change. If this was true, why hasn’t the vote accomplished all that was promised, or all of the other legal reforms that have occurred in the past two and a half centuries? We still have racism, national oppression, lynchings, state-sanctioned slavery via prison (albeit on a smaller scale), poverty, etc. The change we seek is not convenient. It will only be won through hard struggle and sacrifice.

9. “In a democracy, the government reflects the will of the people. Today, the government has been co-opted by the wealthy, but even if a given politician is imperfect, we can take power back if we just vote consistently.”

The government is not an impartial body that somehow stands above the economic classes of the society. Since economic relations are the most basic societal relations between people, nothing stands above classes. The political apparatus of a class society, also called the state, exists to forcibly try to resolve the irreconcilable antagonisms between classes by maintaining the rule of one class over another. The US government, in particular, is a capitalist state which oversees the domination of the capitalist class (the bourgeoisie) over the working class (the proletariat). In the capitalist state, each and every politician3 protects and sustains the ruling class which controls, exploits, and oppresses the working masses. The only thing that differentiates each figurehead is their particular brand of capitalism.

“In capitalist society we have a democracy that is curtailed, wretched, false, a democracy only for the rich, for the minority.”- Lenin, The State and Revolution

Capitalism is inherently unfair, and this is not a problem of execution. The capitalists, who own the means of production, exploit the working class by paying them less than the value of the goods and services that they produce (minus the non-labor costs of production)4. The capitalists derive all of their profit from the labor of the proletariat; they are a non-productive and parasitic class that live at the expense of the workers. The capitalists not only control the means of production but have constructed considerable state power which maintains and enforces their position. In the US, this arrangement is sanctified in the founding documents of the government and will be maintained for as long as the government continues to exist. As long as the capitalists wield economic power the working people will never have anything more than the illusion of control over society. Democracy, in such a society, is a farce; this arrangement cannot be voted or legislated out of existence. Under capitalism, democracy is a sedative that placates the masses while assisting the capitalists in exploiting and controlling the workers.

10. “Things have gotten better because we voted; won’t voting over time change the system?”

While we have seen objective gains in the conditions of working people, it is necessary to recognize how these gains were won. Of course, capitalists have agreed to certain “reforms” where they saw fit in order to sustain their rule. However, their allowances only serve to give crumbs when a meal is demanded and when their rule is threatened. They serve as preemptive measures when there is already powerful working class activity that either may challenge or actually challenges their rule. Within the civil rights movement, for example, voting rights were won prior to MLK Jr.’s assassination and they still had to fight outside of the electoral arena for reforms and social-political gains. Therefore, we owe the most substantial reforms, and all the small improvements of the lives of the working-class such as the minimum wage, the 8 hour work day, and child labor laws, not to the electoral system, but to the masses who have won it for themselves through arduous struggle.

It is also necessary for us to understand the function of the “system.” The system, capitalism, by its nature must use the state to maintain bourgeois power and subjugate the working class to its rule. Yes, the capitalist state can change, and often does, as mentioned above, during periods of contention. The transitions between bourgeois democracy and fascism are examples of those changes. However, no amount of chipping away at the surface of the capitalist system can change what is inherent to its existence in any of its forms: violence against the working people. Therefore the kind of “change” that is needed is a qualitative and not quantitative one, which we cannot look for within the confines of the system. We maintain that the only qualitative change that can truly make things better is socialist revolution.

11. “Vote for the possibility of a better future.”

We hold that as long as capitalism exists, the working class will never have a “better future.” Between the continuously-widening wealth gap, stagnating wages, housing and the looming climate crisis, the deterioration of the working-class’ standard of living is guaranteed. Furthermore, the current state is the fortress maintaining this state of affairs. It is an arm of the ruling class, and as such, it cannot be destroyed or overturned through its own devices of preservation. Thus, it is an impossibility that this future would be achieved through voting, and by pretending otherwise, one will always be voting for a better future that will never arrive. At what point does it end? We must stop placing the fate of our future on imagined possibilities and start acting on things we not only believe in, but are in accordance with historic and material fact. The only “better future” for the working class will be obtained through socialism, which demands revolution.

12. “Not voting for Biden is a vote for Trump.”

Those who see the inherent futility in voting and choose to no longer participate in the charade should not be guilted or blamed for who ends up in office. By not voting, the masses show their dissatisfaction with the entire electoral system and that neither candidate serves them. And even if it meant that “not voting is a vote for (candidate x),” it hardly makes a difference given that no matter who is in office, the masses still suffer.

It is also important to note that this is a fallacious argument; It doesn’t make sense logically. In no way is not-voting a vote for a candidate.

The only thing that a lack of vote affects is the proportion of voters to non-voters and the proportion of one candidate’s votes to any other. But it doesn’t affect candidates’ votes in any negative or positive sense; it is simply outside of the equation and thereby has no effect. At best it decreases the chance of a candidate if there is the assumption that in a forced vote, the voter would pick that candidate. But luckily the vote is not forced, and we have the right to vote, which is simultaneously the right not to vote. Even in places where voting is forced, we have all the more reason to boycott such a corrupt system.

13. “Not voting is a privilege.”

The poorest and most oppressed working-class people of this country are some of the fewest to vote even though this argument would suggest they would have the most to benefit from it. Almost half of non-voters have a family income under $30,000 while only 19% of likely voters belong to the same group***. Why is that? It is because, in reality, these people know that no true change will come from voting. On the opposite end, the demographic of voters most likely to vote are white capitalists. This makes perfect sense since these people have the most to benefit from voting and the entire capitalist system itself. Even studies conducted by ‘think tanks’ have shown that the biggest reason for non-voting is not voter suppression or lack of accessibility but because people are dissatisfied with the electoral farce. Reactionaries, nihilists, pessimists and the like might argue that this is because the masses simply do “not care” about politics in general. However, the consistent correlation between low-income, not voting, and dissatisfaction with the whole system instead leads to the conclusion that the most oppressed and profound masses — even if passively — understand that U.S. politics do not serve them, imperialist candidates do not serve them, and therefore their elections do not and never will serve them.

14. “Voting is the only way to make progress.”

US elections are inherently backwards. Statistically, around half of the eligible population does not vote because they are aware that they have no stake in elections whatsoever. Working-class people have already seen through the veil of electoralism. They realize that their needs will never be met by voting and most rightfully abstain from this embarrassing spectacle. Participating in or actively trying to bring people back into the voting arena is a regressive mistake. Progress means understanding that capitalism is proceeding inevitably toward its grave. It means boycotting the elections and all other reformist measures and openly fighting for a socialist society. These elections are meant to preserve the unfair rule of the rich while dangling broken promises of change before the working class. One cannot vote for freedom, progress, or democracy — despite what the ruling class want you to believe. One can only vote for the maintenance of this system.

15. On the problems of the popular vote, electoral college, and election manipulation.

Indeed, the popular vote in 2016 went to Hillary Clinton — ahead by almost 3 million votes — and Trump won. The electoral college operates in a way that distorts the actual choice of those who vote by subordinating their votes to those of each state’s chosen electors. There have also been instances and accounts of different forms of election manipulation — such as that of Facebook during the previous election cycle — and while not especially recurrent, it does happen. We must understand though, that this is what imperialist elections get us and there is no way to ‘fix it’.

Even a ‘more democratic’ version of the electoral process — without the electoral college, with no voter suppression, without gerrymandering, and based entirely on the popular vote — would not change anything because these measures are not sufficient. They don’t allow the workers to take power and elect representatives capable of acting in their interest. They are effectively restrictions that the ruling class places on itself, the rules of its own internal competition for which group or faction will have supremacy for a time. And while greater democracy in this field historically allowed for greater flexibility for working class parties and their representatives, today when most workers do not vote, this is of no use to the class. These maneuvers were always intended as subordinate to a revolutionary policy, and the gravest of errors and betrayals were made when the reverse was the case5.

The fullest democracy is the democracy of the workers, whereby they have ultimate control, and the democratic system serves to allow them to manage the affairs of society, wholly and completely. This requires preventing and suppressing the attempts of the capitalists to fulfill this role as they do currently in our capitalist state. This is the only democracy that allows for worker’s power, and this is the democracy that the capitalists fight tooth and nail to smash6.

16. “People fought and died for our right to vote.”

To paint the working class and oppressed peoples’ struggles throughout the history of this country as simply being a matter of the ability to vote and then utilizing that vote is truly a disservice to those who did fight and sacrifice not only for the right to vote, but for all the more glorious and liberating aims of those struggles. It is true that at certain times and conditions, voting and the right to vote was useful to the masses’ struggle. But we must emphasize that voting was only ever useful when it served as a tool for advancing the needs and demands of the working people. And it was always an obstacle when it served to divert these demands and struggles into what was acceptable to the ruling class. Voting and the acquisition of the right to vote must be viewed historically in the context of a broader movement for liberation. The classic example is Malcolm X and MLK, both mainly fighting for the same thing, black liberation, one favored the vote, the other favored armed self-defense. In general, and especially, in the black liberation struggle, it was the reformist-wing (aka the right-wing) that exalted the vote and the right to vote and worked to curtail the broader movement for liberation.

Apart from the reformist wing, many within the black liberation struggle understood that voter suppression and lack of voting rights were just parts of a much greater problem. And still to this day, when black people do have the right to vote, that greater problem still remains. What does it say when people fought and died simply for “our right to vote” and black people are and will still be imprisoned and killed by police regardless of who we vote for? What does it say when our votes do not and can never fundamentally change the lives of the working class for the better? It says that, in the present era, our right to vote means nothing.

The vote has proven powerless to achieve liberation, which is what the honorable among those who fought and died were really striving for. We should honor our ancestors and those who died in struggle not by voting for the same system that killed them, but by voting with our feet (boycotting the election) and showing that we will no longer support this system or stand by while it continues to oppress and kill us.

17. “Voting is an understandable reaction to the current conditions.”

Voting is understandable, as in we can explain it and understand the phenomenon. But it is not correct or ‘justifiable,’ whether it is in the name of undocumented, black, indigenous, etc. or any other oppressed group of people. More than anything, these groups of people are becoming more cognizant of the ineffectiveness of measures like voting and are seeking to change things through non-electoral means. We saw this over the summer with the massive uprisings that rocked many cities around the country. The current conditions of the working class include being over-worked, under-paid, insecure about our health in light of COVID-19, possibly unemployed, and insecure about maintaining housing. We do not have the luxury or the time to simply cast a ballot and hope for the best.

The masses already express frustration, protest, and the lowest rate of voting in any imperialist country. Voting is a passive action that ultimately seeks to maintain or tweak a system that is in the interest of the ruling class & needs complete upheaval.

18. “We shouldn’t tell people not to vote; It’s the individual’s choice.”

The right to vote is indeed the choice of every eligible individual. How they choose to exercise that right is up to them. Ultimately they can exercise it by casting their ballot for whomever, or by refusing to cast a ballot all the same. One of these choices serves the interest of the working class, and one serves the ruling class. It is up to the voter to decide where they would like to stand.

Any social body, even so-called ‘American Democracy,’ is a collective affair. An individual’s choice in such an instance is not of concern only to that individual, divorced from the needs and concerns of the rest of society. We have to understand the social impact and relevance to others of our “individual choices.” Making decisions solely based on individual desire cannot address the core issues that are bigger and affect more people than simply ourselves. Particularly in political struggle, as working class people who have limited resources, we must work together and tackle issues as a unit. If the wants or desires of the individual are superior to the needs of the collective, than no strong and united organization, or society is possible. Individualism, or what we feel individually, is not primary when fighting for liberation.

We must abide by a principled, materialist, objective, and scientific approach to problem solving. Therefore, we have to take a firm stance on this topic as it concerns the question of legitimization or de-legitimization of the capitalist system. We need to take the line of de-legitimizing and standing with the masses against the sham electoral system. We must boycott the vote with the masses of working class people who are already disillusioned with it.

19. “Candidate x would enact policies that help/benefit the working class.”

Although each candidate has a litany of policy plans that seem beneficial to working class people, the truth of the matter is that these are only incremental changes that cannot fully address their needs. Democratic polices may be halted in our current republican congress. Any reforms that either party could make may be nullified by whoever comes next. No matter the small solutions proposed, the system will maintain itself and exploitation and misery will only increase for the majority.

Let’s address at least one policy from each candidate to prove this point. Trump claims he has created 6 million new manufacturing jobs and we now have the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years. This may seem like a radical improvement especially after the 2008 crisis but the current financial climate of the country is worse: an unemployment rate of 6.1% in September 2008 and 7.9% September 2020. The nature of capitalism will always result in economic crises which necessarily become economic depressions. Biden’s proposed $15 minimum wage increase will not change the fact that employers will find it in their best interest to increase the exploitation and toil of fewer workers, potentially resulting in job loss for others. Biden’s proposed a $20 billion competitive grant program to end mandatory minimums for non violent crimes also might sound like a radical solution to an age old problem. In reality, this is a continuation of the flawed and evil criminal justice system that needs complete annihilation. The criminal justice system exists today not only as a means of profit for the ruling class but also as a weapon to “subdue and eradicate sections of the population” (Struggle Sessions) & as storage for other ‘undesirables’. We must demand political power, the ability to make the changes ourselves and to have real democracy for the working people.****

20. “The parties have competing interests.”

In reality, all capitalist parties will eventually collude and contend with one another. This is why they so easily able to come to agreement when there are superficial differences between their policies. If they did not collude with one another, it would be impossible for them to govern.

It is true that the democratic and republican parties have some competing interests. While they are somewhat opposed, they are also always somewhat united. The capitalists and consequently their political representatives, are always either in collusion or contention with one another, or both. Under capitalist democracy, it is generally a period of collusion, with elements of contention. The elections are a time when the capitalist parties must try their best to play-up the elements of contention for the people, putting-up a front of diverse interests, but this is only more smoke. When collusion is no longer really possible, because the interests of large sections of the capitalists diverge too greatly, then they are mainly contending. When they are mainly contending, the possibility of an armed conflict or fascism arises7.

21. “Positive and negative effects correlate to one party or the other.”

All ruling class political parties appeal to the reactionary prejudices of the masses, albeit different sections of the masses and with different prejudices or expressions of them. For instance, the republicans more often make a big fuss about the “illegal immigrants/aliens” and the democrats prefer to suggest that these people deserve to work for much less than the legal residents and are useful tools for increasing profit. In both cases, the prejudice is that those from a different land, or who lack legal recognition are not as deserving as those who were born here or have legal status. While some may see the latter as a ‘positive’ and the former as a ‘negative,’ they are in essence no different. This is same for most ruling class policies. In some instances it can be even more indirect. If one party is enacting legislation to further oppress people in the US, the other may be finding new ways to oppress and murder masses in other nations through imperialist attacks and provocations. This is not to say that we should fold our hands and let them govern as they wish. Only that they govern based on the same common rule, that is enshrined in the political and economic system, the rule of the capitalists. So when it is a question of what policy is or is not more favorable to the working people, we cannot count on the representatives of capital to enact it. We must fight for it; but the vote, and a change in the specific ruling party, will not achieve it.

If one were to tally up the amount of “positive and negative effects” of each party, they would likely end up in a tie. Recall that Obama deported more immigrants than anyone prior to Trump, and sent thousands of bombs to the middle east. And if there is a positive or negative total on the balance sheet, one only needs to wait another four more years for the situation to reverse or otherwise correct it. Again, it makes no substantial difference which party is in office because both serve the same master: the capitalists. The “negative effects” of both parties significantly outweigh any ‘positives’ (which are only really positives in contrast with the supposed worse option). And further, there is not a positive significance to the fact that one party oppressed people relatively less on a particular day or year.

22. “Wouldn’t voting for (candidate x) make future revolutionary work less difficult/benefit the movement.”

Unfortunately, there will always be state repression when and where revolutionary organizations begin to grow and establish themselves. This is a fact of class struggle. The ruling class will necessarily use whatever means they have to silence and repress any revolutionary activity that gains momentum, and even those that don’t. Thus, state repression is something that every serious revolutionary should come to anticipate and expect now, as well as in the coming years.

In particular, the candidates in this election have quite similar stances on how they would deal with those they deem to be “domestic terrorists” or whatever the fashionable defamatory label is at a given time. Trump’s administration has seen notorious repression of “antifa” (more correctly, those who say they are anti-facsist) and sanctioned incredibly reactionary state violence against the people during the May and June uprisings of this year. Biden doesn’t fare better with his support of — and his claims to have helped write — the Patriot Act, his approval of police amidst their continuous murder of black people, and his vow to sign a “domestic terrorism law” that certainly could and would be used to target anyone the state deems as ‘too radical’. Both Trump and Biden have proven that they would use state repression against revolutionaries and the masses alike.

Even if one candidate was truly “lax” on state repression, this would likely be subject to swift change and reversal for the reason of needing to sustain the current order — which comes under direct threat from the masses and the revolutionaries who would fight to smash it. The short-term “benefits” that could arise out of voting for one of the imperialists do not outweigh the costs of continuing to place value in the electoral system. We must clearly and firmly break with voting.

Communists, revolutionaries, and the masses will certainly face many unfavorable conditions imposed by the bourgeoisie in the coming years. We should remember that these conditions are not insurmountable, and that “it is not the reactionaries but the people who are powerful8.” Instead of voting, we should be focused on considerations of primary importance such as how to prepare ourselves for the inevitable increase in state repression with proper security measures, establishing revolutionary organizations and correcting their internal issues.

23. “We need a president who can manage the economy.”

The notion that the president is responsible for the economy is a lie the capitalists propagate to evade responsibility for the corrupt and chaotic system that they uphold. This makes it appear as though economic depressions are the fault of specific politicians rather than the inherent anarchy of the system itself. The idea that a single leader can meaningfully execute control over the economy is a convenient scapegoat. The president’s role in the Federal Reserve and influence over legislation can occasionally postpone but never remove capitalism’s inherent contradictions. Most, if not all, US presidencies have been accompanied by one or more depressions and this is no coincidence! Capitalism leads to cyclical commercial crises that are bound to occur regardless of who is in office or what reformist policies are in place.

24. “A Trump presidency, for acceleration purposes, will bring about socialism sooner.”

To fight against the immediate needs of the people and to try to make material reality worse for them aids the enemy and betrays the people. They will not trust you, and you will not be able to win them over. You will look, act, and sound like an enemy, and they will treat you as such. Further, if you put all this effort into doing reactionary deeds, you are not putting time and effort into organizing the people.

Accelerationism, suggests that worsening conditions for the masses will enrage them and bring them to revolutionary consciousness faster. However, that may not actually be the case and this logic demonstrates an anti-people attitude. We do not want people to live in worse conditions and suffer more than they already are! This argument also shows that those people do not truly believe revolution will happen in the conditions that currently exist. This attitude shows utter contempt and lack of faith in the masses and ultimately postpones the revolution whilst actively and consciously aiding reaction. We must resolutely oppose all such suggestions or measures.

25. “Violence’ doesn’t work, only peaceful methods like voting accomplish change”

Voting in capitalist society has never accomplished change for the masses — only their rebellion has! Every meaningful change to the lives of working people was won after they unleashed their anger and showed the ruling capitalist class they could not keep ruling in the same way. The capitalists would have never made these changes if the working masses had not demanded it.

The ruling classes have not, and will not, willingly concede to reforms that weaken or stop their rule. The capitalists are prepared to fight to the death and we are prepared to meet their challenge. As the now deceased representative and civil-rights sellout Rep. John Lewis said, “[the vote] is the most powerful non-violent tool that we have.”***** If the supposed “most powerful non-violent tool” cannot achieve what we want, the only conclusion left to draw is that no non-violent tools can achieve what we want! The only way we win our freedom is through revolution!

The US government itself was founded through a violent war to fight against the domination of British colonialism. It was later followed by wars of conquest against mainly indigenous people across America, a bloody civil war, and subsequent imperialist wars.

Further, the capitalist system relies on violence to maintain itself. The military and police chiefly enforce the capitalist order on the working people. Look how swiftly they deploy the National Guard in the face of protests! The violence of the capitalists is aimed at the workers. A vote will not stop the violence already being inflicted on us. The capitalists do not have the will nor the ability to castrate their instruments of power. They rely on the violence of their system and cannot exist without it. Violence against the people will not be gotten rid-of without an end to capitalist rule itself. In order to get rid of the system, the violence of the capitalists must be suppressed and defeated with the violence of the workers, with revolutionary war!

26. “Harris could be the first black woman VP and possibly the first black woman president.”

This argument is a clear example of identity opportunism. Harris’s identity as a black woman in no way negates the fact that she is a bourgeois imperialist with a proven record of oppressing the masses, regardless of their race or nation. This can easily be seen through her enforcement of mass incarceration including her practice of jailing parents over “truancy”. Truancy laws disproportionately target non-white families. In 2018, 417,500 out of 744,500 were minority families******. Additionally, at one point during the primary, Harris had more billionaire contributors to her campaign than any other democratic candidate, perfectly exemplifying how officials of the state are and always will be representatives of capitalists and not the working class. Furthermore, the possibility of a Harris presidency depends on the Biden administration’s end in either impeachment or death. Not only does the identity of our potential vice president have no bearing on the agenda of a presidential candidate, such rhetoric reveals a well-justified lack of faith in Joe Biden’s candidacy.

27. On voting and gun control

Gun violence is a frightening and controversial topic. To be perfectly clear, we very much desire to ensure the safety of the people by putting an end to mass shootings and protecting the innocent victims of gun violence. But no amount of gun reforms can achieve this.

First, it’s important to point out that nothing short of a forceful and periodic sweep of every single home can prevent the possession and illegal use of firearms.

Additionally, the problem is not the guns themselves, but how they are used and why. Today, they are used primarily in two ways: 1. as a means to suppress the rebellion of the oppressed masses and prevent them from taking power and 2. by the masses against each other. We do not support either of these uses; however, we cannot be drawn into the legal struggle for gun control pushed by democrats. Will gun control address the root causes of gun violence? No, it will not. Capitalism is the root cause of the conditions that lead to gun violence, and only by destroying capitalism and fighting for socialism can we get rid of those conditions.

The enemies of the people (aka enemies of the revolution) have guns and do not hesitate to use them against the people, regardless of whether they are armed. In order to take power, the people must be armed and organized. It has been rightly said that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” What the workers need is power, and therefore, guns can, and eventually must, be used to defend themselves and fight in a revolution. If revolution does not occur, capitalism will persist, and those who are most adversely affected by gun violence will continue to suffer unabated.

Lastly, gun control policies, at best, merely increase the penalty for an already-illegal act. Much like the drug war — one of capitalism’s other well-documented failures — making guns more difficult to obtain will only incentivize black-market sales. This only puts guns more into the hands of violent reactionaries, criminal organizations, and police forces, making them less accessible to the working people who need them. This does not mean that the passage of a gun control policy makes armed struggle less likely. It also in no way indicates that voting for “2nd amendment” candidates is the right course of action. Gun control could make the beginning of an armed struggle more difficult, but in the end, the primary source of arms for revolutionaries will be from the hands of its enemies. Gun control is a distraction, and the fact that gun control is on the ballot is all the more reason to burn said ballot.

28. “Why did revolutionaries in the past vote?”

In the past, revolutionaries participated in elections strategically to reveal to people just how ineffective voting actually was. This tactic was necessary, as a majority of the masses at the time still believed that voting could actually revolutionize or alter society to their benefit. In the event that the revolutionaries happened to win, they used their positions in office to disrupt the capitalists’ endeavors while propagating revolutionary politics to the masses rather than sincerely participating in the bourgeois government. But today, most working-class people already understand that voting is obsolete. As we mentioned previously, it would be entirely backwards and opportunistic to try to drag people back into the arena of voting.

29. “Why did the RCPUSA endorse Biden?”

The RCP-USA is neither revolutionary, nor a communist party. The leader and chair of the RCP-USA, Bob Avakian, does not truly believe in the power of revolution and nor in the collective power of the masses. He grants all power, invincibility, and omnipotence to the ruling class by endorsing them and suggesting that somehow the power to save the working class from fascism lies exclusively in the hands of those oppressing us! Avakianites and those like them offer no strategy of defense for the toiling masses. All they can offer are attempts at class conciliation and passivity in the face of violence. Endorsing Biden and trying to vote Trump out of office will not put a stop to fascist ideology whatsoever. See points _ and _ (on fascism)

30. “We need to vote for a strong and capable leader in case of war.”

We, the working people, do not need to vote for a strong and capable leader in case of a war. But we do need to be strong in case a war breaks out. This is because we must be partisan in such a struggle. However, our partisanship is to our working class brethren around the world, and not to the capitalists of our country or nation. We must be prepared, so that if an imperialist war of plunder begins, we can raise the revolutionary banner in such an instance. We must “turn imperialist war into civil war,” just as the workers who came before us did in Russia in 1917. Our preparations consist in building-up the solidarity and organizational power of the working class, and not supporting one capitalist leader or the other. If war is on the horizon, we should do all that we can to frustrate the efforts of our native captitalists to prepare, meaning to protect their interests at our expense! We are the sacrificial lamb of their wars, and we must fight to put an end to such a state of affairs. The most sure-fire means we have of preventing an imperialist war is to be proactive, to rob the imperialists of the means to conduct such a war, and to rob them of the ability to profit from it. The chief means that the imperialists have at their disposal is control of the state and production. To change this, we must seize power from them through revolutionary war!

31. “You want to support foreign powers and interference.”

It should matter very little to us which imperialist power is bent on influencing the other when capitalism itself necessitates this foreign interference. The global nature of commerce and especially of imperialism creates a situation where all powers are necessarily interested in and have a stake in what happens in any other. This is true of both the smallest of countries and the super powers. Today, the economic and political supremacy of the imperialist powers makes it so that all such interest is ultimately subservient to them, even if indirectly by proxy of the smallest countries.

In contrast, we are opposed to foreign powers and interference, the greatest of which is done by our own government. The imperialists are the perpetrators and beneficiaries of this state of affairs. In contrast, we support the right of all nations to self-governance in a state of their own, if they wish. Imperialist “foreign interference” robs the majority of people around the world of this right and subjugates them economically and militarily. None of this precludes the imperialists’ attempts to influence each other’s politics and to meddle in each other’s affairs. The recent example of Russia in the US’ 2016 election is just one example of a systematic policy that imperialists, including the US itself employs all over the world.

The imperialists have their hypocritical collusion and contention with one another, and what do the working people have? We have the international solidarity of working people, the support for the right of all nations to self-determination, and the fight against imperialism at home and abroad. We are the consistent fighters against subservience to foreign powers and it is the capitalists who hypocritically suggest otherwise.

32. “What does not voting achieve? What does a successful election Boycott look like and what does this entail?”

Not voting gives us the opportunity to raise the class consciousness of the workers, organize politically, and struggle for revolution! It allows us to remain vigilant and expose the illegitimacy of this rotten system. It allows us to build solidarity among the other workers especially those that are most fed up with the capitalist system. It is an opportunity to take a few steps toward demonstrating that solidarity in practice and to draw a line of demarcation between the most revolutionary masses and those who still are caught within the capitalist system.

In order to unite the working people, we must convince the working people. On any given day or time we are constantly bombarded with propaganda, the vast majority of which serves the ruling class. This is a trench of combat into which we must enter, seeking to influence the masses, and guide them with the most correct ideas they have developed. If we don’t, fascists and various other reactionaries will influence them instead. We must propagate correct ideas on a large-scale and follow through on them in practice. The correct idea that this system doesn’t serve the working people and cannot be reformed, necessarily leads to the conclusion that we should not justify or support it, which means we must not vote.

The boycott is in many ways a symbolic act similar to certain protests with the masses, actively standing together against the capitalist institutions that oppress us. Yet it also serves practical purposes in that it simultaneously provides an avenue towards meaningful change: actively connecting with people to organize them for revolution.

A successful election boycott looks like revolutionaries connecting with the masses of working people and effectively raising their consciousness. However, the need to revolt in an organized manner won’t be realized overnight. It will require us to be steadfast and unwavering in our stance on the importance of not participating in the circus show that is the elections today. We should direct our energy and the energy of the people into organizing the proletariat into a force capable of wielding power so that we can start making real change. We should not allow the rightful anger of the working class to be subdued by reformist policies and liberal activism. By actively sweeping away electoralism, we are left with truly revolutionary action.

[This piece has been slightly edited since the initial post went up.]

Footnotes

  1. Which of these “lesser evils” shall we choose from?

Joe Biden:

– has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women, namely Tara Reade, who worked for Joe in the 90’s.

-claims to have written the Patriot Act, which increased state surveillance and allowed for the indefinite detention of immigrants and other non-citizens.

– wrote the 1994 Crime Bill (passed under Clinton, fellow democrat and “lesser evil”), which made mass-incarceration spike, expanded the scope of the death penalty, and overall strengthened the authority and intensity of the state to lock away (predominantly oppressed) people for low-level crimes. Here’s our dear Joe describing his bill. Sound familiar? https://edition.cnn.com/2019/03/07/politics/biden-1993-speech-predators/index.html

Donald Trump:

– faces over a dozen sexual assault allegations.

– has given active and passive support to fascists and reactionaries. Including sanctioning the extrajudicial murder of antifascist activists like Michael Reinoehl.

– has responded to the pandemic in the interest of the capitalists and has let the working people die by the thousands.

2. While there is no definite way of knowing this doesn’t mean that things are arbitrary or simply at the will of the politicians. We have the same metric that they do — what will serve the capitalists? By paying close attention to a situation and understanding the best interests of the capitalists as a whole or a specific sector, we can predict how they will react in a situation. But none of this can be known in advance and it is not based on the “election program” of the politicians.

3. We want to clarify that while it is true today that all political representatives serve the ruling class, there was a time when it was possible for working class representatives to hold office. This was back in the time when it was appropriate for revolutionaries to run for office. Some of these revolutionaries won seats and had to struggle to serve the working people as best as they could within the constraints of the capitalist state. We have in mind the heroic example of the German Commmunist, Karl Liebknecht, who was the only representative in the German Reichstag to vote against further war loans. While he could not in any way alter the course of events, he was able to fight on behalf of the workers in an honest fashion. For this act and his emphatic stance against the first world war he was imprisoned.

4. The profit of the capitalists comes from the the total value of the product minus the cost of production. Included in this cost of production are the raw materials, cost of machinery, and the cost of the labor power of the workers. The capitalist purchases all of these things at their value. The cost of raw materials and machinery is transfered direct to the cost of the product in a 1 to 1 ratio. In contrast, the capitalist pays for the labor-power of the worker and not their labor. The value of the labor the workers actually do is what is imparted into the final product, adding value to it. But the cost of the labor power of the worker, which is the right to use the workers’ labor and appropriate it’s product is less than the value that is produced by that labor. The difference between these two amounts is the profit that the capitalist takes. The capitalist adds nothing to the production process and produces no value. All that the capitalist has comes from the worker. This relationship is explotiative, the worker is essentially ripped-off. (For more information look at the Introduction to Wage-Labor and Capital https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/wage-labour/intro.htm )

5. When the revolutionary movement was made subordinate to an electoral program or strategy and not the other way around, those revolutionary movements collapsed. The CPUSA, the Italian Communist Party, the Communist Party of Indonesia, and many others have fallen victim to this trap. In some cases the formerly revolutionary parties rotted from the inside, which was partially repsonsible for this change in policy, and in others they were drowned in blood as a consequence of the change in policy.

6. Today this democracy exists in its embryonic form in the proletarian revolutions around the world: Philippines, India, Turkey, and Peru.

7. It would be a mistake to misinterpret the periods of contention within the bourgeois camp as simply a struggle between positive and negative. While in rare instances the contention can have a positive significance for the working people, for instance Soviet Russia allying with the ‘Allied powers’ against the ‘axis’ in World War II. In this instance working with the ‘Allies’ against the ‘Axis’ was in the direct interest of the working people of the world, and especially those of the Soviet Union. However, for many years prior to the war many of the ‘Allied’ and ‘Axis’ powers colluded against the soviet union. Not all armed conflicts carry the same kind of significance as World War II; World War I was fundamentally different. See point 30 for the revolutionary attitude toward war.

8. Full quote: “All reactionaries are paper tigers. In appearance, the reactionaries are terrifying, but in reality, they are not so powerful. From a long-term point of view, it is not the reactionaries but the people who are powerful.” -Mao Zedong, ‘Talk with the American Correspondent Anna Louise Strong’ (August 1946), Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 100.

References

* https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-democratic-partys-two_b_933995

** https://www.cbsnews.com/news/election-2016s-price-tag-6-8-billion/

*** https://www.pewresearch.org/2010/10/29/the-party-of-nonvoters/

**** https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2008/oct/wk1/art02.htm?view_full#:~:text=The%20unemployment%20rate%20(6.1%20percent,little%20changed%20at%209.5%20million.

https://www.bls.gov/home.htm

https://struggle-sessions.com/2018/07/19/annihilation-zone/

***** https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-J3wpEzZAA

****** https://newrepublic.com/article/121186/truancy-laws-unfairly-attack-poor-children-and-parents

Glossary

Imperialism-

Imperialism is the most advanced stage of capitalism. Lenin, in “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism,” highlighted 5 characteristics:

“1) The concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life;
2) the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this ‘finance capital’, of a financial oligarchy;
3) the export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance;
4) the formation of international monopolist capitalist associations which share the world among themselves, and
5) the territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed.” (Lenin, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Progress Publishers, English edition, p.84)

Reactionaries-

“Some person, group, or class, which not only strongly resists any further changes in society (whether that be social revolution or mere reforms), but who also wishes to “turn the clock back” and undo at least some earlier changes, such as some earlier reforms that have been achieved against their wishes. In modern capitalist society the bourgeoisie is appropriately viewed as the reactionary class, since it not only totally opposes proletarian revolution, and even almost all reforms, but also regularly tries to reverse earlier reforms. When the ruling bourgeoisie ever does finally agree to any significant new reform it is only because they have been forced to; and even then they virtually always have the secret intention of reversing what they view as “a temporary concession” to the people at a later time.” -From Scott H’s Dictionary of Revolutionary Marxism

Additionally, Reactionaries are the opposite of revolutionaries.

Opportunism or Opportunist-

An opportunist is one who betrays long-term goals for short-term benefits. They are willing to sell-out the longterm and fundmental interests for momentary “gains” or satisfaction. Opportunism betrays the working-class movement whilst pretending to serve it. “An opportunist will readily put his name to any formula and as readily abandon it, because opportunism means precisely a lack of definite and firm principles.”- From Lenin’s What Is To Be Done?

Identity Opportunism

Identity Opportunism is a variant of opportunism that presents identity as more important than, or the sole determinant of, political line. It is opportunistic in nature because it harms the unity and interests of the working class as a whole by negating it and purporting that identity is the primary basis upon which people in a society can unite. It stands for the subordination of the working class to various identities and whatever political lines they seek to push. A political line is good not because it helps the workers and oppressed people, but because someone who ‘identifies’ as an oppressed person says it is. Naturally, it is incredibly inconsistent, eclectic, and used to justify the most varied incorrect views.

Revisionsim-

Revisionism refers to any doctrine that in the name of Marxism revises and fights against the fundamental principles of Marxism. Revisionsim guts Marxism of it’s revolutionary essence and replaces it with that which is compatible with capitalism, whether this is intentional or not. The revisionists inevitably attack the genuine Marxists and fight against the Marxist program and against the interests of the working class. The revisionists are agents of the capitalists that corrupt the working class movement in the name of the working class movement. Revisionism, is always opportunistic.

Bourgoisie and Bourgeois-

Bourgeoisie- “The capitalist class; the ruling class in capitalist society, which owns the means of production (factories, etc.) and exploits hired labor.”-From Scott H’s Dictionary of Revolutionary Marxism

Bourgeois refers to anything that is characteristic of the bourgeoisie, in their interest, or ‘corrupted’ by them.

Social-Democrat-

An adherent or practitioner of the theories/ideas of social democracy.

Social Democracy is described by Richard D. Wolff as follows, “In the past, social democracy called for using the state to offset, correct, regulate, and otherwise manage the workings of capitalism. It sought a capitalism with a human face: one with fewer inequalities of wealth, income, power, and access to culture. The state was to manage capital investment, regulate markets, and shape the distribution of income and wealth: all in the interest of a society with a deeper and more widely shared sense of community. Economic growth and efficiency, attributed to capitalism, were to be supported while state policy would prevent or counteract the socially undesirable consequences of private capitalist production and commodity markets. State interventionist capitalism was the solution; private capitalism free of state controls and interventions was the problem.” -as quoted in Scott H’s Dictionary of Revolutionary Marxism

Capitalism-

Capitalism is “a socio-economic formation based on the ownership of the means of production by the capitalist class.”-From Scott H’s Dictionary of Revolutionary Marxism

This ownership of the means of production can come in multiple forms, namely state and non-state capitalism. The main means of generating profit under capitalism is “the exploitation of hired labor by the capitalists through the extraction of surplus value.”-From Scott H’s Dictionary of Revolutionary Marxism

However, a society is really only capitalist when the capitalist class controls the state. Other societies can have elements of capitalist production but not be properly capitalist without this characteristic.

Additional Resources

https://redguardsaustin.wordpress.com/2016/09/29/why-we-are-boycotting-the-elections-stp-austin/

https://redguardsaustin.wordpress.com/2016/09/07/dont-vote-revolt/

https://struggle-sessions.com/2020/01/21/elections-as-an-instrument-of-counter-revolutionary-war/

https://struggle-sessions.com/2018/10/12/without-power/

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