By A. Shaw
In his latest, the highly-regarded and widely-regarded ZZ says “A large element of CPUSA opportunism has been a slavish dependency on the Democratic Party [DP] in the electoral arena.”
Well! Listen here!
An element of CP showed a slavish dependency on a lot of things — e.g., the FBI, AFL-CIO, DP, USSR, CP’s own bureaucracy, etc.
So what?
Class struggle is a tough business. Moral purity in class struggle is tough to maintain. In the class struggle, shit happens.
A lot of shit.
After all, in struggle between good and evil, even God trespassed on Joseph and Mary, although God trespasses immaculately. Given this divine flaw, what should we expect from mere revolutionaries and reactionaries.
Let’s look at the dependency of the CP on the DP (Democratic Party). But first we should stipulate that if the proletariat had hundreds of thousands of trained and experienced professional revolutionaries, the proletariat wouldn’t have to depend — not to mention, “slavishly depend” — on the bourgeoisie.
What did the DP have that the CP needed? Or, what was the basis of the CP’s dependency on DP?
The DP — or, more correctly, the bourgeoisie — had something called “weapons” and the CP — or more correctly — needed them.
But, at the same time, the CP has never really wanted them.  CP ran from them, from what CP needed .
These “weapons” amounted to competence in forms of struggle applicable to democratic situations — skilll in planning and budgeting campaigns; in fundraising; in targeting; voter contact; free media, paid media; candidate selection, development and activity; opposition research; volunteers; Get-Out-The-Vote, and anti-voter fraud operations.
Lenin understood that forms of struggle vary with the nature of the political situations in which struggle occurs. For examrple, in monarchic situations certain forms of struggle apply; but in democratic situations other forms apply. A class switches from one form to another as or after the situation essentially changes.
In the 19th century, two would-be universal reformers, Marx and Engels, wrote:
“The theoretical conclusions of the Communists are in no way based on ideas or principles that have been invented, or discovered, by this or that would-be universal reformer.

They merely express, in general terms, actual relations springing from an existing class struggle, from a historical movement going on under our very eyes.” 
Now, let’s look at some of these theoretical  conclusions and  some of these actual relations, going on under our very eyes,
“The bourgeoisie finds itself involved in a constant battle. At first with the aristocracy; later on, with those portions of the bourgeoisie itself, whose interests have become antagonistic to the progress of industry; at all time with the bourgeoisie of foreign countries. In all these battles, it sees itself compelled to appeal to the proletariat, to ask for help, and thus, to drag it into the political arena. The bourgeoisie itself, therefore, supplies the proletariat with its own elements of political and general education, in other words, it furnishes the proletariat with weapons for fighting the bourgeoisie,” the would-be reformers  said.

To these two would-be universal reformers, weapons are “elements of political and general education,” so weapons are not in every case, bombs, guns, whips, and knifes.”
Notice, too, that the proletariat has to be “dragged” into the political arena by the bourgeoisie because CPs are often incurably infected with various forms of anarchism and other similar diseases.
The bourgeoisie furnishes the proletariat with weapons. So, evidently, the proletariat, for some reason, can’t or doesn’t supply itself with weapons.
Lenin wrote “It takes years to train oneself to be a professional revolutionary.” To Linen a professional revolutionary is a master in the use of weapons.  The note of individuality [that is, “train oneself”] suggests Lenin recognized the severe limitations of anarchic-infected proletarian parties in supplying political weapons to workers.
What the  two  reformers had in mind was the recruitment, training, and deployment of huge army of hundreds of thousands of poltical operatives — Lenin  preferred to call these
operatives “professional revolutionaries” who were highly trained and experienced in waging the forms of struggle most appropriate to various political situations.
“The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself.
But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons — the modern working class — the proletarians,” the would-be reformers  said in the 19th century.
One of the chief “weapons” the bourgeoisie used to fell feudalism to the ground was the demand for a democratic form of state and the strengthening of democratic institutions as time passes.
The bourgeoisie indeed forged the weapons that bring death to itself, but the the revolutionary sector of the U.S. proletariat, under leaders of the CP, SP and other Ps, didn’t want to bring about the death.
In exchange for the bourgeois promise of government funding for socialist programs that raise the standard of living of the working class, the leaders of the CP, SP and other Ps abandoned the principle that “the first step of the revolution by the working class, is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class, to win the battle democracy,” as the two would-be universal reformers taught.
If the proletariat no longer wanted to raise itself to the position of ruling class, why acquire “weapons.”
“But they never cease, for a single instant, to instill into the working class the clearest possible recognition of the hostile antagonism between bourgeoisie and proletariat, in order that the German workers may straightway use, as so many weapons against the bourgeoisie, the social and political conditions that the bourgeoisie must necessarily introduce along with its supremacy, and in order that, after the fall of the reactionary classes in Germany, the fight against the bourgeoisie itself may immediately begin. ”  the would-be reformers said.
After the fall of the reactionary classes, lamentably, the fight against bourgeoisie did not immediately begin. A large part of the working class permanently relinquished the position of ruling class to the bourgeoisie in exchange for socialist programs. This exchange is commonly referred to as “social democracy.”
In most cases, the fight didn’t immediately begin at all. Fight never began. Where the fight began, the proletariat wasn’t armed with weapons. So, the workers were easily defeated in a match that was fixed from the beginning.
By the way, the Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign essentially seeks to preserve, increase, and expand socialist programs in exchange for abandonment of a working class struggle for state power or for “political revolution.”  Nobody knows what Bernie means by a “political revolution. It can mean either a passing of state power from one class to another or a passing of power from one sector of the bourgeoisie to another sector. The bourgeoisie doubts whether Bernie can enforce a promised abandonment of a proletarian struggle for power if the workers get weapons, as defined above, and learn how to wield them.
Today, in the main, U.S. bourgeoisie uses the ideas of the two would-be universal reformers, Marx and Engels.
In 1983, the bourgeois regime in the USA created the National Endowment for Democracy [NED] to recruit, train, and deploy political operatives or professional reactionaries in Nicaragua against the ruling Sandinista revolutionaries. By 1990, NED was so successful in Nicaragua, the bourgeois regime in Washington decided to globalize NED. Its website claims its now active in 90 countries. Many observers of NED estimate that at any given time, NED has about 75,000 students in political training. NED claims it promotes democracy, but in reality NED corrupts democracies. Its operatives or its professional reactionaries are nothing but a bunch of rotten mercenaries. But they are extremely skilled in wielding the “weapons” of political struggle.
In the USA, bourgeois training in done at elite universities and by seminar firms. These firms commonly charged a fee between $2000 and $10,000.
The U.S. working class seems to be divided into something 65% liberal and 30% reactionary.
The bourgeoisie goes to extraordinary lenghts to funish its 30% reactionary sector with weapons.
The GOP provides a lot of political training to its base. The Tea Party faction of the GOP has been amazingly effective in political training, reaching hundreds of thousands of supporters.
Liberal working class political training in political weapons is largely done by the DP, AFL-CIO, Wellstone Foundation, Democracy For Americans, etc., all of which have deep bourgeois roots. Many in the DP and AFL-CIO complain that workers seem indifference to training even if it’s free or if stipends are paid to workers to study it.

Workers still must be “dragged” into the political arena.
 These programs reach only a tiny percentage of the liberal sector, 65% of the working class.
The CP, SWP, SP, RCP, DSA and other Ps aren’t doing anything worth mentioning to supply the working class with the weapons it needs to wage effective political struggle. Generally, the Ps call meetings where leaders rehash the political news recently reported in the bourgeois media. After the rehash, participants in the meeting go home and go to sleep.
Some Ps don’t rehash, they deliver “History Lessons.”  Nobody mocks Marxist scholarship. But some mock the air of exclusivity and indifference shown by some Marxist scholarship toward the acquisition and mastery of political weapons which Marx and Engels repeatedly referred to.
The question is what, if anything, this rehash and these “History lessons” have to do with winning even the smallest slice of state power, regardless of the party ticket on which a candidate runs?
Within 4 days of Bernie Sanders April 30 announcement of candidacy, 175,000 people volunteered to work in his campaign.The campaign hired the firm Revolution Massaging to run an internet training program to develop this mass of raw volunteers. Revolution Massaging is a political consulting firm organized by some of Obama’s top 2008 IT people.
The grapevine has it that Cuba has a program that trains revolutionaries on how to conduct political struggle in democratic situations. At any given time, Cuba may have something like 5000 people from two dozen Latin American and Caribbean countries studying to become professional revolutionaries.
Cuba doesn’t neglect its own people in the art of poltical struggle.
The grapevine doesn’t say whether USAs and Canadians participate in the Cuban program.
Hall, former CP chair, formulated brilliant ground rules for candidate activity and the party ticket on which the candidate runs. Hall’s rules are closer to Lenin’s and NED’s candidate criteria.
Hall, working in a anarchist-infested CP, made these suggestions.
“In every case the Party should focus on offices it aims to win — if not in 1988, then over the course of the next few years,.” Hall said.
The philistines pointed to an apparent contradiction between “in  every case” and elections on which the party “focused.”
Hall meant in every campaign for an office on which the party was focused, the party aims to win. But in campaigns on which the party wasn’t focused, the campaign was free to pursue traditional aims — like (1) aim merely to run and preach or (2) the aim to lose.
In 1988, Hall said “Such a proposition [i.e.,aiming to win] requires a basic change in how we conduct our campaigns.”
After all, there’s a basic difference between aiming to win and aiming to lose.
Hall further said “Generally, we are good on program, but come up short on the mass organization side of running campaigns.”
The mass organization side of running campaigns is the weapons side of the campaign.
This seems to means socialists are good at designing socialist programs but they don’t realize they need to win at least a slice of state power to implement or preserve the programs. And, they don’t realize that to win, they need to know how to win.
Hall also said “The fact is we have now overcome the barrier that “Communists cannot be elected.”
In other words, it’s OK to run as a CP or DP or GOP or GP or LP or SWP or even as an independent, as long as you aim to win. If however you aim to lose or if you merely aim to run and preach, then the party should not focus on your campaign.
Again, the main thing is to win, not merely to run. So, whatever helps a candidate win is OK.
Gus Hall, late in his career, was one of the few leftists who understood Marx’ and Engels’ teachings about the nature of” weapons” in democratic situations. Hall said:
“To reach this new, higher stage we must raise the level of professionalism in the use of the media, literature, posters and in fund raising. We must master campaign organization techniques to identify, mold and hold a Communist electoral constituency. We must establish an apparatus to get out the vote on election day. We must focus more on door-to-door canvassing and involving non-Party volunteers.”
In other  words, this mysterious and almighty “WE” got to do something about free media, fund raising, targeting, GOTV, and voter contact. Neither the CP nor the Left nor this “WE” did anything about the lack of  weapons. Elements of the Left and the CP suggested it was even counter-revolutionary to even pursue the acquisition of weapons which Gus Hall listed.
So, nothing was ever done. And Gus died ignored, especially by the so-called “WE.”

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