Here are excerpts from the debate on http://2changetheworld.info -- the online discussion site focused on the Draft Programme of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA and the strategy for revolution in the U.S.
Questions about Students in the Revolution
Posted by: Jared
How should students and young people in general be radicalized and brought into the struggle? As the Draft Programme said they are less weighed down by force of habit. I am a high school student and have found that many in my school are receptive the ideas of Communism when I speak to them about it.
How can it be ensured that young people do not sell out like some of them have done in the past. Is this only a tendency among young people from the middle class and not from the proletariat? Also… Will America have a movement similar to the Cultural Revolution to combat Revisionism?
On Religion Now and Later
Posted by: teacher
The sections on religion under socialism seem one-sided. Doesn't there need to be a clearer and more positive distinction made between the enemies of the revolution, and real or potential friends? …The DP expresses the need to relentlessly and ruthlessly combat reactionary religious forces who use religion to undermine the socialist state and attempt to overthrow it. The DP expresses the fact that religion enslaves people and weighs them down. That it is an obstacle to be overcome if the proletariat is to achieve its historic mission. But there must be a way in which the Programme can go after belief in god without appearing to trash or belittle people for believing. This is done to some extent, for instance in the way in which the DP says that the masses themselves will be relied upon to caste off religious belief. But I think it has to be stronger. It has to be able to outline the way in which the Party will lead the attack against religion without bringing the masses themselves under attack or making them feel that they are under attack. … To try to sum all this up, I want to express a comment from [a] student. When we were discussing whether or not there exists such a thing as a human soul, or a spirit reality, she said, "But wouldn't it be bad for society not to believe in spirit?"
Religion Now and Later
Posted by: Dolly Veale, RCP, SF Bay Area
A number of people have raised something similar to the student who asked "wouldn't it be bad for society not to believe in spirit?" Often people confound the real and powerful human spirit with the surreal or supernatural "spirit". Though a lot of this history is hidden from young people today, millions worldwide in the 1960s were inspired by the revolutionary truth (paraphrasing Mao) that "the spirit of the people is greater than the man's technology" (a concrete example then was the Vietnamese people's struggle kicking the ass of the "almighty" U.S.) There's also the communist spirit of "serve the people" -- a spirit promoted and practiced by one quarter of humanity in Maoist China, especially during the Cultural Revolution. It's part of the high standard for the vanguard Party that imbues its life, culture and morality… We can agree that we don't want a dull (spiritless) world where love and solidarity get reduced to chemicals and our biology. The first victim of that kind of world would be the revolutionary spirit of MLM.
Proposal for a short form
Posted by: Max
It would be even better, however, if there were something like a one-newspaper page length brief summary of Part I itself, something that could be carried, on an ongoing basis, by the Revolutionary Worker, printed up as wall posters, passed out as leaflets, etc. The Black Panther Party, in earlier times, made good use of this format in their 10-point program titled "What We Want. What We Believe," and the format helped them in popularizing their program to the masses. The RCP's draft programme, in revolutionary content, goes far beyond what the BPP represented, but the popularized and brief format that they utilized has something powerful which can be learned from.
Why we should use democracy to our own benefit
Posted by: democraticleftist
Why don't we use democracy to our own benefit-to vote out unwanted rightwing extremists, corrupt politicians, etc? Democracy is what we thrive on--without it we wouldn't have any free dissent. For that reason, I want a socialistic democracy, where corruption, exploitation, homophobia, racism, sexism, do NOT exist and NOT tolerated in it, AND any power by any one person NOT tolerated. Dictatorship by the people may not serve the people well -- because history has shown that the people do not have a direct control (i.e voting) over their leaders… We could vote on all prospective laws like the Californians do. To make this possible, voting MUST be made mandatory so ALL we the people can have REAL power over the government. We don't need legislatures to decide for us. Any suggestions?
The opinion of one working-class activist
Posted by: FW
I believe that the fundamental core of the Draft New Program is where it says that farm workers must ally with farm owners who don't hire many laborers, and where it says that the state will use its power to help landlords collect rents.…The willingness to support small employers is a preference for the dead, non-fighting labor of constant capital (machines, fuel, spare parts) over and above variable capital (wages). Factory and warehouse workers, truck drivers, and oil workers don't know where these commodities go when they get finished with them. … In other words, capitalism is fine when the struggle of the working-class can be suppressed under the fiction that nationalized big business is working-class rule. I feel that this Program supports a "revolving door" revolution that replaces big capitalists with smaller ones as the ruling exploiters. Capitalism is never attacked, just superficially changed.
Sexuality and Struggle
Posted by: R.L.
Is something that is sexual "private" and "personal," or is it something that is intensely social? Can it be reactionary or progressive... and how? What would reactionary or progressive sexuality be? If there is reactionary sexuality, how is it dealt with in the revolutionary process? It is easy to identify the extremes: rape, prostitution and so on, yet women can also be made to feel that they must have sex in a relationship, that they must "service their man"… Any thoughts?
Women's Liberation and Homosexuality
Posted by: a supporter
It should be made clear [in the Draft Programme] that uprooting women's oppression is a central task through every phase of the revolutionary transformation of society. …. Women's unpaid and usually unrecognized labor as a subsidy for capital should be noted, as another way in which women's oppression is tied to capitalism. However, capitalism should not be identified as THE cause of women's oppression. Patriarchy should be acknowledged as having a life of its own, that it is not reducible to capitalism (or class society), however much it is inextricably intertwined with it.
[The Homosexuality section] should be more inclusive, and bring in bisexuality and transgender folks. It shouldn't work from the assumption that there is heterosexuality and there is homosexuality, but recognize the spectrum of sexual identities, not just a dichotomy. It treats homosexuals simply as oppressed objects, not as subjects in their own liberation.
On Spontaneity and the issue of "top down"
Posted by: rise
I think the most distant accusation from anarchism is that of the existence of "counter-institutions", so lets start with that. What is the critique here? Basically, the person is saying that anarchism merely sets up counter-institutions under the current socio-economic context, and refuses to challenge the context itself.
This is ironic, because this is exactly what anarchists criticize Marxists about. To anarchists, the state is another "counter-institution", whose very specific purpose is to oppress the majority of people, to keep the masses in servile submission to police, armed forces, state-media outlets and educational facilities, and so on and so forth. So of course as anarchists, we attack the Marxist state as a counter-institution which, because by its very nature refuses to overthrow the underlying social/economic system, is inherently counter-revolutionary. It not only refuses to challenge the complex social relations of capitalism in a way that will alter them, but is a base for capitalist restoration…
One need only look at the fate of *every single Marxist state ever to exist in history* to see that we are correct about this. That cannot be stressed enough…. Under the federational model, the leadership come from, are constantly renewed and replaced by, and representative of the *revolutionary* masses. The very nature of leadership is one of representation of basic community needs mixed with a necessity to tie that in with anarchist revolutionary goals.
Doesn't Council Communism Recreate Rule By Market
Posted by: Nando
I think if production is controlled at the factory level, you can't have society wide socialist planning -- and in fact you have individual factories interacting with each other through the market, reproducing capitalism….Won't the decisions be made based on what serves the interests in that one factory? How will surplus flow from less necessary (but profitable) areas of the economy to more necessary (but less profitable)? Won't the factories that produce the most surplus expand and prosper, while those that produce less shrink and lay off? And how is that different from the "law of surplus value" that is at the very heart of allocation under capitalism?
Posted by: growgreen
What is the RCP's view on the use of weed after the revolution as well as other herbal medicines? Will hemp production be used to replace the overuse and abusive cutting of forest and use of other natural recourses? … Recreational smoking is also harmless and non-addictive, much better than alcohol on the body and does not tend to lead to violent outburst.
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