Fantasies of “Remaking Politics” by “the Left”—
Or the Reality of the Need for an ACTUAL Revolution



Sunday’s New York Times has an op-ed by Amna Akbar that claims “The Left Is Remaking Politics” with an “intersectional” approach to “police violence, global warming and unaffordable housing.” She concludes with a call to “stay focused on building mass movements of ordinary people who are serious about restoring and redistributing social wealth,” somehow distinguishing this from plain-old reformism. She is in “awe of how they inaugurate a new political moment, as the left offers not just a searing critique, but practical ladders to radical visions.” (July 12, 2020)

Leaving aside Akbar’s virtual blind spot on what this country and system does to people around the world, with its wars,1 sanctions2 and sweatshops,3 two essential points to her concluding awe and fantasy:

First, as Bob Avakian has written before, pointing to Marx’s scientific insight:

... one of the distinguishing features of reformists—including reformist “socialists”—is that, insofar as they identify the economy as the source of inequality and other social maladies, they tend to locate the problem in the sphere of distribution, whereas the fundamental source of the oppression and inequality that characterize an exploitative society, such as capitalism, resides in the sphere of production, and more specifically the relations of production.


... the transformation of the mode of production is fundamental. The “mode of production” refers to the economic system which embodies certain relations of production, and most essentially the ownership of the means of production—land, raw materials, physical structures such as factories, and technology— which under this system are privately owned and controlled by capitalists, or major associations of capital such as corporations, banks, etc. This is the foundation on which capitalists exploit masses of people—in all parts of the world—who own no means of production and are therefore forced to work for the capitalists who monopolize the means of production. And this is the basis on which capitalists accumulate profit privately, in feverish competition with other capitalists.

Second, Akbar’s “practical ladders” conveniently sidestep the basic and necessary “ladder” of an ACTUAL revolution, the defeating and dismantling of the state apparatus that brutally enforces this system of capitalism-imperialism—its mode of production and all the oppressive social relations and ideas that go with it. This state is now headed by the Trump/Pence regime, a fascist regime that poses an immediate and existential danger to all of humanity. A crucial need obscured by the so-called "Left" with their deep-seated reliance on electoral politics, this fascist regime needs to be driven out through mass sustained nonviolent mobilization of the people. All of this contributing towards and strengthened by what is fundamentally needed, the mass movement for an ACTUAL revolution—and organized forces—for that.

An actual socialist revolution aims to transform the ownership of the means of production into common ownership by society as a whole, which makes it possible to do what can never be done under capitalism: to carry out production on the basis of an overall plan, proceeding not through exploitation but through the conscious and active involvement of the masses of people, interacting with the rest of nature in a sustainable way while meeting the material as well as the cultural and intellectual needs of the people—not just in one part of the world but ultimately in the world as a whole—and moving to do away completely with poverty, deprivation, and degradation, and all the unnecessary suffering that masses of people throughout the world endure under the domination of this capitalist system.

At the same time, the transformation of the mode of production must be carried out in a dialectical relation (a back-and-forth mutually influencing process) with the transformation of oppressive social relations (such as the relation between men and women) and the ideas and culture that reinforce oppression and exploitation. And, of great importance, all of this depends upon—and is impossible to achieve without—defeating and dismantling the state apparatus (in particular, the armed forces and police, as well as the courts and bureaucracies, and the executive power) enforcing the rule of the exploiters (the capitalist class) and replacing this with a socialist state power whose purpose and function is to serve and promote the radical transformation of society, and the world as a whole, toward the abolition of all exploitation and oppression.

1. See the American Crime series for exposures of U.S. wars around the world, including in Vietnam, Korea, and the Middle East.[back]

2. For background on the current U.S. sanctions on Iran, see articles "Explosion Destroys Nuclear Fuel Site in Iran as Trump/Pence Regime Steps Up Attacks" and "America--the Lying, Deal-Breaking Aggressor in the Persian Gulf." For background on U.S. sanctions against Iraq, see "American Crime Case #76: U.S.-UN Sanctions on Iraq--'A Legitimized Act of Mass Slaughter.'" [back]

3. See articles by Raymond Lotta: "An Empire of Exploitation, a World of Misery, and the Revolution Humanity Cries Out For" and "From Vise Grip to Death Grip Imperialist Domination, COVID-19, and the Poor of the World Be Damned." [back]

A man carries wet cobalt from the Shinkolobwe Cobalt Mine, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country that produces 60% of the world's supply of cobalt, used in lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, laptops and smartphones, 2004. (Photo: AP)

A civilian vehicle in Afghanistan burns after being shot by U.S. forces after an attack near the Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, April 2019. (Photo: AP)

Immigrants from Central America in an overcrowded detention center at McAllen, Texas, July 2019. (Photo: AP)

Garment workers wear face masks against the coronavirus as they sew surgical gowns in a factory in the Industrial Zone in Yangon, Myanmar, May 2020. (Photo: AP)




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