We must study and understand the new communism emerging in the United States' revolution-in-infancy
America is in the early stages of a revolutionary civil war. Police riots terrorize nearly all American cities, now aided by the military and white supremacist militias. An increasingly impoverished people are reclaiming control, and are met with deadly force.
The liberal hegemony can no longer manage, the one thing promised from a political economy structured entirely around training and conditioning its eroding middle class to become increasingly abstracted managers of managers.
The system was already straining. Mass alienation prevailed, even with an explosion of cultural and recreational distractions. The exponentially-growing cancer cells of capital’s financialized economy has created a faux-boom environment where gentrified city streets had become littered with disused trinkets to rent and cheap labor to summon by app. No working person owned anything, even those who had come to call themselves “homeowners” despite merely obtaining the privilege of paying a bank directly, skipping the parasitic landlord in between.
All of these economic booms were paper-thin facades over a comprehensive total war that has never ceased raging, a war for survival between the vulnerable and the state, a war that has claimed countless lives, that has scarred entire generations with intolerable wounds which never close. In these last few months, even the veneer of stability and security for petit bourgeoise Americans bought with the spoils of the earth and the misery of its proletariat has vanished, brought about by its maturing crises.
The struggle for racial justice has reached a crisis point for the militarized state, with spontaneous insurrectionary activity against police and exploitative businesses growing in power. More individuals are finding the will and venue to fight the racist police occupation of their cities every day, and acheiving radical successes not seen since the height of the Black Panther Party.
As well, the misery and death brought on by the interaction of a pandemic with a capitalist health system and a dissolving government has threatened all the institutions of the American bourgeoise dictatorship, public and private, with catastrophic failure. A third of the workforce sits idle with insufficient support, and another third persists in unsafe workplaces threatened by police violence and disease.
America has a bloody history of suppressing leftist rebellion and an even bloodier one of tolerating and enabling reactionary militarism. Nonetheless, and quite inspirationally, unarmed and nationally-leaderless insurrectionists are claiming territories, forming networks, and expropriating wealth for public good. These revolutionary developments represent the most powerful argument for a new communism, one that emerges from the ongoing revolution.
There is no viable mass party, no groups with a viable and organized national network of disciplined revolutionary communists, despite reactionary media hysteria that imagines these organizations' existence. Having such an organization in an era of criminalization of antifascism, in a nation with a history of assassinating any leaders – especially Black leaders – who come close, would be suicidal.
A revolution is ongoing, but the military, police, and reactionary militias have a significant material advantage over communists on all fronts, and most leftist revolutionaries remain committed to defense. With widespread surveillance and geographic fragmentation, overcoming this material advantage is impossible to coordinate.
With large meetings of people in private spaces a significant vector of disease in the current pandemic, the typical mass parties that would emerge from a circumstance such as this are absent. Construction of a viable mass party is, at this time, impossible.
The only way to make it possible is through the communists’ obligation to do work, and through the establishment of vibrant and vigorous working groups for the pursuit of communist interest. These working groups groups must be committed to making revolution through the completion of specific, mutually understood tasks. Small groups of people with existing bonds of trust — friends, colleagues, classmates, and neighbors — should be working to redress the material disadvantage revolutionaries face.
A working group can be as simple as the roomates in an apartment learning to cook ever-bigger portions of communal meals to reliably and safely provide to their communities, or as complex as a plan between workers to take over their grocery for public good. Self-sustaining autonomous structures that can put themselves in the service of any viable mass party that emerges from an equalizing material circumstance will be useful in any imaginable revolutionary victory.
Working groups must be extremely disciplined and vigilant, and should only engage in digital communication about their work if a trusted revolutionary proficient in digital security or cryptography works amongst them. Their focus should not be on broad-level “changing minds” or “activism,” but instead on improving the actual circumstances of the ongoing revolution in a way that benefits the entirety the proletariat.
Critically, these working groups must not exhaust or unnecessarily endanger the working communists within. The best and most successful communist working groups will focus on their goal and achieve it for the good of all working people, and will leave its participants better prepared to take on more ambitious activity.
The eventual goal — and the necessary next step for advancing the revolutionary circumstance in a favorable way — is the establishment of places permanently outside the control of the police/military dictatorship now violently occupying streets across America. Establishment of these spaces is already accelerating — homeless people across America are organizing and making permanent homes of empty hotels and houses, and workers leverage the machines at their factory to the production of medical supplies. Some spaces now constructed appear to be the beginning stages of potentially viable communes. The development of these communes should be structurally supported through work wherever possible, and defended from violent incursion.
Working groups must identify acts of all kinds that will ease and empower that self-determined community control. No one should try and force themselves into a role they are not comfortable with — these communal spaces will require all forms of expertise and assistance.
Through creativity, solidarity, and trust, small groups of people can create the circumstance for emergent mass movements through committed service to others. In doing so, they can develop a deeper understanding of the ongoing revolution and the new communism that will result from it.
The Kestrel is an irregular publication devoted to the study and understanding of the emerging new communism, with a focus on practicability. It is created by a mostly-Seattle-based collective of transgender writers. A print version will be distributed upon the completion of its first issue. This publication is licensed under the "Anti 996" License Version 1.0.