Principles of Unity
1. We believe a revolution is ultimately necessary to fundamentally change the oppressive nature of our current society.
The needs of the masses of oppressed and working people cannot be satisfied within the confines of the existing system. In the United States alone, over half a million people are homeless while millions of homes and apartments sit empty. The majority of people in this country live paycheck to paycheck, or are out of work. The profit-driven system has created a massive climate crisis which the ruling class has partially ignored and partially promised to solve with empty symbolic gestures. This is only leading to further destruction and suffering for the people. The way this white-supremacist capitalist system operates and sustains itself is in direct contradiction with the interests of the vast majority of poor and working people. The government institutions that exist—the courts, police, military, legislature, etc.—do not serve the interests of the people, but instead serve the interests of the ruling elite. This is not surprising given that this country was founded on slavery and settler-colonial genocide. Ultimately, in order to create a society that serves the interests of the people, a revolutionary overthrow of this present order is needed.
However, we support and participate in struggles for reforms within the present system. The fight for various reforms (e.g. a strike for better working conditions or higher wages, a struggle to oppose rent hikes, etc.) must be part of the process of developing the revolutionary movement. These struggles are ways in which revolutionaries can build links with the masses, strengthen people’s organizations, and clarify the need for revolution to the masses of people. The short-term struggle for reforms is related to the long-term struggle for revolution.
In our society there are a lot of ongoing peoples’ struggles. People are fighting for better wages and working conditions in their workplaces. Struggles against racism and white supremacy are going on at a number of levels, from the struggle against police brutality to struggles against the oppression of Indigenous people. In many major cities people are organizing against gentrification, homelessness, and displacement. Many are also involved in the struggle to push the government and business elite to take real steps to address climate change.
As revolutionaries we must take up the struggles of the people and participate actively in movements which aim to improve the material conditions of the masses of people. The status quo is a disaster for the vast majority of people, and there is an urgent need for strong peoples’ movements to develop and win real victories. We take this task very seriously, and do whatever we can to help these movements succeed.
At the same time, we understand that the interests of the oppressed people of this country cannot be fully met without revolution. For this reason, we view our role in the struggle as two-fold: we play an active role in struggling for things like wage increases and rent control, but we also work hard to clarify to people the need for revolution and in doing so build up the revolutionary movement.
The white supremacist capitalist power structure can be forced to concede reforms when there is a mass movement, especially a revolutionary movement, demanding change and threatening the continuity of the present system. Once reforms are passed, the struggle continues to push for them to be implemented, to prevent them from being rolled back, gutted, and repealed. Ultimately, no reform won from the ruling class is permanent, safe, or secure. We know that reforms themselves are not the long-term goal. We must struggle against a politics that see reforms in themselves as the answer, and which promotes such short-sightedness and tunnel vision within mass movements. This sort of reformist politics ultimately serves to keep the masses of people in chains because they are unwilling to address the root cause of oppression and exploitation in our society. For this reason, we must struggle within mass movements to clarify the need for revolution.
2. We oppose capitalism and we fight for the liberation of the working class from wage-slavery.
Capitalism is an economic and political system built on the exploitation and oppression of working people by the capitalist class. While workers all across the world produce huge amounts of wealth, a small number of rich capitalists pocket the lion’s share of this wealth. In comparison, those who toil daily are given only a few crumbs on which to survive. Most workers in this country live paycheck-to-paycheck and struggle to pay for basic needs such as food, shelter, and healthcare. At the same time, the U.S. government constantly promotes inflation, austerity, and other attacks on working people to squeeze more and more profit from the masses. Even though the capitalist system produces more than enough food, housing, medicine, and basic goods for everyone, the profit-motive means that corporations would rather let people starve and die from preventable illnesses then provide the masses of people with these goods and services. Thus, fighting this rotten capitalist system goes far beyond demanding better wages and working conditions; it means that we must also work to expose the vicious nature of the system itself to the masses of people and fight for its overthrow. This entails joining working people in their workplaces and neighborhoods, organizing unions and tenant’s organizations, fighting against gentrification and displacement, and popularizing and supporting the struggles of poor and working people around the world.
3. We are opposed to imperialism in all its forms and are committed to building up an anti-imperialist movement in the United States.
The United States is one of the most powerful imperialist countries in the world. It has regularly carried out genocidal wars, bombings, and other military attacks on the people of countries around the world, such as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and so many others. However, imperialism is not reducible to wars and occupations of other countries. It is a system of political and economic domination, in which a small number of capitalists and corporations in a few wealthy and powerful countries are able to control the majority of the world’s markets, territories, and people. These capitalists dominate and oppress the vast majority of the world’s peoples. Entire economies and countries are subjected to plunder for the benefit of competing imperialist ruling classes. For example, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) played a big role in destroying the livelihood of Mexican peasants by flooding Mexico’s market with cheap, subsidized U.S. corn. Unable to compete with low prices, many went bankrupt and were forced to work in sweatshop factories near the U.S. border, or migrate to the U.S for work. This free trade agreement was made largely in favor of the capitalists in the U.S. and Canada—and therefore did not serve the interests of the majority of people within these countries either. U.S. and Canadian workers lost thousands of industrial jobs as the capitalists moved to exploit the Mexican workers who could be paid less and did not have as many legal protections.
U.S. imperialism competes with rival imperialist powers, in particular Russia and China, for the domination of the world’s markets and territory. History shows us that when imperialist powers compete against each other to divide and re-divide the world, it regularly leads to war, destruction, and widespread suffering for the masses of people. While direct military conflict between the U.S. and Chinese imperialists has not yet broken out, their competition is increasingly sharp, and in recent years China has developed into a global imperialist superpower. In just one of many recent examples, in Myanmar the Chinese ruling class has played a major role in arming and backing the military’s genocidal displacement of the Rohingya, as part of an effort to spread Chinese influence throughout the region through the construction of a mega-highway through the Rohingya’s land.
The poor and working people of imperialist countries and oppressed nations have a real interest in overthrowing this system. In recent years we have seen widespread popular resistance against the imperialist domination of oppressed countries, such as in Sudan, Haiti, Iraq, India, and the Philippines.
As revolutionaries we have a duty to resist U.S. imperialism right here in the belly of the beast, while also supporting anti-imperialist movements around the world, including those struggling against Russian and Chinese imperialism. This means building up the anti-war movement, struggling against “American exceptionalism” and other forms of U.S.-chauvinist ideology, and extending our support to people’s struggles around the world. There is a basis to unite a broad section of people in opposition to U.S. imperialism. We must unite the masses of people to oppose war profiteering corporations and massive military spending which takes resources away from social needs. The people in this country have more in common with poor and working people around the world than with “their” domestic ruling class. Revolution in this country is impossible without the destruction of the U.S. empire.
4. White supremacy is an integral part of the oppressive capitalist and imperialist system of this country and therefore we fight for its destruction.
The ruling elite of the United States have long relied on white supremacy as a form of rule in order to control and divide the people of this country. In particular, Black, Chicano & Latino, and Indigenous people constitute the most exploited and oppressed sections of the masses of people in this country. The U.S. was founded on settler colonialism and slavery. This created a political-economic system of white supremacy, but also brought about huge resistance of Black slaves and Indigenous people against this oppression. Over the past few centuries this system has developed in new and insidious ways.
Today, the ruling class makes claims that the situation for oppressed minorities is constantly improving. While a few more non-white faces have been brought into “high places”, a system of white supremacy remains in place. Oppressed minorities face higher rates of unemployment and lower wages. The ruling class also attacks them by means of mass incarceration, police brutality, and deportations. The struggle of oppressed minorities against white supremacy is part and parcel of the revolutionary struggle against the ruling class. What’s more, it is also in the interest of the white working class to overthrow white supremacy.
We must struggle against white supremacy in all its forms. This means an end to police terror, full equality of all people, and real political power of the masses of oppressed people. The struggles of particular groups of people (e.g., Black liberation, Indigenous liberation, immigrant struggles, etc.) must be combined with the broad struggle against white supremacy and capitalism generally. We must play an active role in struggles in workplaces and in neighborhoods facing gentrification. These are key fronts in the struggle against white supremacy. Ultimately, white people and oppressed minorities must be united to fight for their common liberation from the white supremacist capitalist ruling class in this country.
5. Patriarchy is an intrinsic part of the white supremacist capitalist power structure and the struggle against patriarchy is an essential aspect of the revolutionary movement.
The oppression of women and LGBTQ people has a long history of development in human society, but patriarchy is by no means “eternal” or “unchangeable”. The ruling class and their state promote male supremacy and patriarchal culture among the masses of people and relegate women to low-paying workplaces. Women also bear the added weight of household work and childcare on their shoulders. We wholeheartedly oppose reactionary efforts to oppress women, to relegate their social role to the household, and to justify and carry out abuse and harassment against them. The oppression of women is promoted in the dominant culture of our society, especially through the commodification of sex and the objectification of women. Patriarchal ideas are internalized by men and women alike, and this reality helps to perpetuate the oppression of women in our society.
The white supremacist capitalist power structure in this country relies on patriarchal oppression. Working class and oppressed minority women face particularly acute forms of patriarchal abuse and oppression. The oppression of queer and trans people is likewise rooted in patriarchal notions about the family, sexuality, masculinity, and femininity. Attempts to overcome patriarchy through the legal system, government, or cultural work alone will fall flat unless they are taken up as part of the struggle against the ruling class and its power structure. In fact, the ruling class and the state are some of the largest perpetrators of patriarchal violence. Women hold up half the sky, and no revolutionary movement will be successful unless it harnesses the power of working women in the struggle to change society. We take seriously the need to bring more women into the revolutionary movement and encourage them to contribute and play leading roles in the movement as a whole. The struggle against patriarchy—such as fighting against sexual assault, against patriarchal culture, against laws which discriminate against women, and more—is essential to drawing more women into the revolutionary movement. At the same time, we must actively struggle against patriarchal ideas and practices internal to ourselves and our organization.
6. We are opposed to fascism and suppression of democratic rights.
Fascism, along with capitalist democracy, is a form of class rule. All forms of capitalist class rule oppress the people and use state violence against the masses. Capitalist democracy after all only offers true democracy for capitalists, while the masses of people have almost no control over their daily lives. Their wages, how much they pay for rent, and a whole series of other matters are dictated to them by the capitalist class. Capitalist democracy is reduced to a ritual of elections and a series of minor rights which are constantly under attack.
Fascist regimes deny the people even the most basic democratic rights to assemble, protest, and openly organize. This suppression of basic, hard-won democratic rights is a serious threat to the people. Although the U.S. is not currently a fascist country, the ruling class of this country may implement fascist rule during a time of crisis, in order to crush people’s movements, or to carry out extremely reactionary policies such as genocide. Over the past decades we have seen a series of repressive measures rolled out such as the Patriot Act, the mass deportation of undocumented people, and Stop and Frisk. All of these are on the one hand part of capitalist democracy, and on the other hand represent developments towards a more repressive form of class rule. The U.S. ruling class has also actively supported fascist regimes in other countries, such as in Chile and India, to advance its interests abroad. Fascist suppression and those who advocate for it must be strongly opposed. We organize in support of the struggles of people all over the world for basic democratic rights, as well as organize to defend democratic rights here, and, as necessary, work to build up a strong united front against fascism.
7. We support the right of people to self-defense against reactionary attacks.
We oppose all reactionary violence and brutality carried out against the people by the ruling elite and their goons. These include police murders of Black people, assaults on the homeless, and attacks on protest movements and revolutionaries. The right to self-defense is enshrined in the legal system of the U.S., and it is a basic democratic right of the people. In recent decades the liberal ideology of non-violence has been promoted by the U.S. state and various liberal movements. This ideology only serves to weaken and disarm the masses of people. We unequivocally support the right to self-defense and we organize to support the right and ability of oppressed communities and protest movements to defend themselves against attacks by the state and reactionary goons.
8. We support the right of nations to self-determination and lend our support to people’s liberation movements.
We believe all nations (commonly defined as a community of people with a shared language, territory, economic life, and culture) have the right to decide their own fate free of oppression or occupation by a foreign power. We stand in solidarity with nations all over the world in the struggle to win independence from oppressive states and free themselves from imperialism. The U.S. ruling class is in the business of suppressing liberation struggles around the world, selling weaponry and training occupation forces such as the Indian Army in Kashmir and the Zionist Israeli “Defense” Force. The U.S. has a history of denying the right of self-determination to colonized and occupied people, such as in Puerto Rico and Afghanistan. We organize and protest in solidarity with those nations struggling for self-determination. We support progressive people’s movements that struggle for the true liberation of their nation from oppressors and imperialists, whether that be in Puerto Rico, Palestine, Kashmir or anywhere else.
9. We are dedicated to collective and individual study of revolutionary theory, revolutionary history, and current events.
We take the study of revolutionary theory and history seriously. It is an essential part of the process of developing political consciousness. We collectively study politics, revolutionary theory, and revolutionary history to cultivate greater political clarity and unity, and we regularly engage in critical study to understand the merits and shortcomings of different ideas through close analysis of texts. We apply the lessons of our studies to our everyday political practice and organizing, and in turn our practice informs our theory and our studies. We also encourage our members to take up individual study to develop their own political knowledge.
10. We practice comradely criticism and self-criticism.
We recognize that everyone has internalized various negative and oppressive ideas from our society. The dominant ideas in our society are the ideas of the ruling class, spread through the media, school, the family, and society at large. Nobody is born a revolutionary, and so we must seriously struggle against oppressive ideas that we have taken up from society. Ruling class ideas translate into opportunism, individualism, and other practices that negatively impact the revolutionary movement. As such, we strive to form a collective culture in which comrades can openly and respectfully discuss their own and each other’s errors and shortcomings to develop a collective unity and push the movement forward. We approach this criticism in a principled manner that doesn’t involve heaping shame on our comrades but instead encourages them to struggle through their mistakes and oppressive ideas. As revolutionaries, we aim to transform both society and ourselves. This is a constant process, and by using criticism and self-criticism we not only strengthen the collective organization, but our individual revolutionary consciousness as well.
11. We are committed to serving the people in all spheres of our work.
The people are and have always been the driving force of history. When the masses have been united in political struggle they have toppled oppressors and changed society in monumental ways. Without the masses of people, no revolution can succeed. We must unite with the masses and develop links with them to help them see the basis of revolution. This means transforming our political practice, daily lives, and personal attitudes to better serve the people. We must struggle against individualist and selfish tendencies which impede our ability to join the masses of people, help them in their daily struggles, and win their approval and support for the revolutionary movement. Through active participation in their daily struggles, by building and leading serious mass movements, engaging in principled struggle, and listening to the concerns and criticisms of the masses, we will build a strong revolutionary movement.