“Under capitalism the exploited masses do not, nor can they ever, really participate in governing the country, if for no other reason than that, even under the most democratic regime, under conditions of capitalism, governments are not set up by the people but by the Rothschilds and Stinneses, the Rockefellers and Morgans. Democracy under capitalism is capitalist democracy, the democracy of the exploiting minority, based on the restriction of the rights of exploited majority and directed against this majority. Only under the proletarian dictatorship are real liberties for the exploited and real participation of the proletarians and peasants in governing the country possible. Under the dictatorship of the proletariat, democracy is proletarian democracy, the democracy of the exploited majority, based on the restriction of the rights of the exploiting minority and directed against this minority.”
-Joseph Stalin, The Foundations of Leninism
The bourgeoisie is a master at deception when it comes to masking it’s rule over the proletariat. Their very existence relies on the masses of people contending ourselves with fake, capitalist democracy, and seek to stave off any revolts against their putrid system by every once in a while giving the masses a “choice” as to who rules over them. We are told that somehow one billionaire warmongering, imperialist rat or another is going to deliver a fatal blow to inequality, segregation and gentrification. This stands in stark reality to the situation of continued exploitation, ever increasing poverty and decrease in living standards in many cities where “progressives” and “friends of labor” dominate in city and state governments around the nation. We are told that this vermin represents the interests of the workers, that if we vote enough of them in we shall achieve a state of nirvana. This is all said as these “friends” line their campaign war-chests from developers that steal the land from under the feet of our class, those slimy slumlords who bleed tenants dry and then snatch the roof from over their heads, and little dictators in the workplace who lord over the workers as they toil to fill their pockets with the fruits of their labor for nothing but crumbs in return, and to the pigs who creep around every corner, joyous at the chance to rob the working class of the very air in our lungs, all of these very real enemies represent these grotesque figures. This is the reality for every proletarian person in our city and many cities around the country that are controlled by a Democratic Party machine that does absolutely nothing to actually fight on behalf of the working class.
The proletariat has never and can never win anything worth having by pleading with the ruling class. The people can’t be deluded with fantasies of equality and freedom won through the ballots. The people know that this “democracy” isn’t for them, which is why only 58% actually voted in the 2016 presidential election, excluding millions of others not eligible to vote. The truth is that we live in a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie as the ruling class. And when has a dictator ever fallen willingly? Contrary to what the reformists who claim an election of New Deal Democrats masquerading as socialists, who praise dead warmongers; the masses must rise up and overthrow this dictatorship, replace it with one that has the interests of the proletariat in mind. To these “socialists”, socialism is merely free healthcare, free school and $15 dollars an hour, it is completely divorced from the political exercising of the proletariat’s power to end exploitation; the original and only definition of socialism.
Electoral politics are a dead end approach and have historically failed to win anything for the people. Even when progressive laws are passed, it is due to the masses rising up to demand something and fight for it and anything won without power can easily be taken. For example, the very right to vote was won through intense struggle, which is why this right still stands today and why we should support peoples right to vote as a democratic demand, even then because it was won as a concession rather than from a position of power it is being attacked through voter ID laws and other measures not seen in 50 years. Should we protect our hard-won right to vote from reactionary forces? Yes. Does this mean that this right is a method through which the people can gain power? No!
Take, for example, the Civil Rights movement, which addressed voting rights and segregation among other things. Out of those struggles, de jure segregation ended and Black people won voting rights protections. In practice, segregation emerged in a new form: white flight and then gentrification. Voting rights came with continued assauts from the right, in the form of continued pushes for voter ID and literacy tests. We cannot vote national oppression out of existence, the Bourgeois will always find ways to oppress the proletariat along national and racial lines. For this purpose, the dictatorship of the proletariat is necessary.
As Lenin says in The State and Revolution, “In capitalist society we have a democracy that is curtailed, wretched, false, a democracy only for the rich, for the minority. The dictatorship of the proletariat, the period of transition to communism, will for the first time create democracy for the people, for the majority, along with the necessary suppression of the exploiters, of the minority,” (1917). In what facets of life can one point to a democratic process for the proletariat class? When the boss starts harassing workers for taking water breaks in a 100 degree warehouse, it isn’t the majority deciding how things get done, it’s the one or two bosses that force the workers to break their backs to squeeze the maximum amount of profit from them. The workers are disposable rather than the other way around. Democracy is utterly absent from the lives of workers. Are the workers able to recall their bosses for being propelled by selfish greed? Are tenants able to replace the landlords who neglect their homes, allow vermin and bug infestations, or deadly mold to grow, all while collecting obscene amounts of money for it? Do community members get to topple developers who shape their community in ways antithetical to the needs of those who live there? There exist many poor communities contending with a reality of virtual food deserts. Yet, instead of building grocery stores, developers set up yoga studios, art galleries, coffee shops, and expensive boutiques and restaurants. Bourgeois democracy, or the dictatorship of the bourgeois, leaves the toiling masses no chance to meaningfully structure society around their needs nor creates solutions to the problems their own communities face.
What then is to be done to rid our class of this fraudulent rule of law? What strategy and tactics should revolutionaries turn to? It is our analysis that the only way we can defeat this rule is through People’s War which is universal to all nations including our own. In the preparation phase for the initiation of the People’s War we will begin to carve a space within territory through pushing out the enemy and their lackeys, represented through the revisionists and the reformists. We know that any real dual power is won through the forceful route of the enemy in tactical victory, and the consolidating of this new terrain to create what will be the basis for a new state. In this new state will exist a new way of rule, one of which the majority will control their way of life in all aspects: economic, social and political. These base areas cannot be constructed by “building” them through legal methods, as the reformists and revisionists contend, they must actually be conquered by the masses and enforcing their dictatorship over their class enemies: the landlords, the bourgeoisie, the police, the crime lords and other exploiters and enemies and the establishment of new relations in production.
As such we have no illusions that the bourgeoisie will give us more than they are willing to, and we are under no illusion that they will do so through their own intricately designed system. Rather than participate in the spectacle of bourgeois democracy, we are also initiating a campaign to turn the passive electoral boycott of over 40% of the electorate that already exists into an active one. In the coming weeks we will be targetting areas of the city encouraging the participation in an active electoral boycott, transforming the passive disapproval from the masses into one that is proactive. We shall distribute propaganda and take part in discussions about the sham of bourgeois democracy with the stated goal of constructing the united front in the city which will drive a wedge against the reformist attempts to corral the masses into a stable to assuage real grievances which can be channeled into revolutionary rage and offer milquetoast phony solutions. We know that every movement which calls itself revolutionary and radical must declare revolutionary and radical positions and it is neither to say those come from a bourgeois ballot box.
ELECTIONS NO! REVOLUTION YES!
BOYCOTT THE BALLOT!
– Red Guards Kansas City, October 2018