A Beginning to Socialism
Socialism does not begin with a bomb thrown into a police station. Yet somehow this is what people expect from us when we explain that we are communists. But the reality of our situation is much more mundane.
As I have lived it, socialism begins with five people meeting in a dimly lit park, discussing a plan of action while watching the cars drive by on a small town street. It remains silent so long as it can, until the time is right it to reveal itself. Socialism is a conspiracy to act in the interests of others. It is a group of people who are together because of, rather than despite their differences, because they know that something has gone very, very wrong. The all consuming question has come to them of “what is to be done?” Lo and behold, what has been created? A socialist committee, arising from the people. The words of the cause are spoken in the air that was dead only a few minutes before, stirring it from its slumber.
The air around us becomes alive and the sounds of class war, deafened before by the enforced stillness, reviving themselves into a great cacophony of sounds. This moment is the spark that can start a prairie fire. A spark that lights up and illuminates the world around it in a glow of recognition. We haven’t even started these fires. We inherited them. The time has come that we nurture them, and fan the flames into a great burning wildfire, illuminating the world in the recognition of class struggle. We burn the world for what will rise anew from the ashes.
Communists know, of course, that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” Yet a person with a gun divorced from the people is a bandit. A person with a gun who acts for and with the people is a revolutionary. We recognize that “a revolution is not a dinner party,” as Mao did. A communist revolution is a conspiracy, a violent conspiracy to take power into the hands of the people. It is the result of a strategy based on materialism and the art of politics, not limited by the law or “legitimate” political actions.
Everywhere, communists see the symptoms of a chronic disease, a thousand little knives cutting open the veins of a society that washes itself in blood. Capitalism falls apart over and over again to remake itself in a new form, using the guise of law and order to cover for the stripping away of rights it sees as unprofitable. When the politicians have been bribed to write the laws in certain ways, whether they be judges or presidents, they have one thing in mind: profit. If a behavior is “unprofitable,” they will take any steps necessary to end it. Whether this is a black man standing up to police or a woman having an abortion. Both are threats to a ruling class that bribes elected officials to oppress the exploitable poor.
And the question returns to us with every change in the present situation: “What is to be done?” So simple a question deserves the simplest of answers. “Revolution.”