We republish here the editorial for issue 43 of Socialist Revolution, the magazine of the International Marxist Tendency in the United States. Subscribe now to get your copy!
This issue marks a rebirth of Socialist Revolution.
In our inaugural editorial six years ago, we proclaimed: “No longer is it a matter of defending the basic ideas of socialism. The task before us is nothing less than the struggle for worldwide socialist revolution in our lifetime.” This set a tone of bold optimism and urgency in our task, and charted a course for our work. But the pace of history has since accelerated even further.
Decades of crisis, broken promises, and extreme inequality amidst plenty have profoundly transformed mass consciousness and led to a revival of the class struggle. No single shock is responsible for this change; it is the result of countless accumulated pinpricks, injustices, and betrayed expectations. The post-2008 economic reality, intensifying climate crisis, the rise and fall of Bernie Sanders, Trump’s election, the pandemic, and the colossal potential revealed by the George Floyd uprising all pushed a massive layer of the population over the edge.
For the first time in living memory, the idea of communism resonates with wide layers of society, providing an answer to the burning problems of world capitalism: war, hunger, homelessness, isolation, alienation, oppression, and discrimination. Polls show that millions of American workers and youth now see communism as their “ideal economic system,” and many thousands have already concluded that we need a mass communist party to bury capitalism forever.
The extraordinary success of the International Marxist Tendency’s “Are You A Communist?” campaign has struck a nerve and revealed the reality behind the polls. It confirms that our task is no longer to patiently preserve and nurture the flame of Bolshevism, but to spread it as rapidly and widely as possible, right here and now. The truth is that America is crawling with communists—though as of yet, the majority of them remain atomized and unorganized.
The task facing serious communists is to transform these millions into a united and cohesive political force. Already, thousands upon thousands are ready to get active and organized in the real world. They have realized that the power of workers flows from our numbers and that, as isolated individuals, we are impotent. No longer are they content to sit on the sidelines, passively scrolling through Twitter, listening to podcasts, or binging on leftist YouTube. The popularity of this online communist subculture is a testament to the changing consciousness. But in the final analysis, it offers no real solutions or outlet for organization. The duty of communists is not to debate or discuss our ideas in the abstract—but to act now and with a sense of urgency to build an organization that can actually carry the ideas of communism into the class struggle.
We are building that organization. Socialist Revolution is not just a publication. It is the political face of an established communist network with active branches from coast to coast. Based on our implementation of the “Are You A Communist?” campaign, hundreds of communists have joined our ranks in recent weeks. These comrades are getting active in existing branches and building new cells in cities, neighborhoods, campuses, and workplaces, both large and small. By simply asking a direct question, they are finding that their co-workers and classmates, and even their garbage collectors and delivery drivers are communists too!
This is the “golden layer” of communist revolutionaries, and we are still only scratching the surface. As they grow increasingly aware of their real numbers, potential power, and the need to get organized, thousands more will join the fight in the coming months and years.
The burning desire of these comrades to overthrow capitalism is pregnant with possibility and promise. The millions of communists represent a potentially mass force in society, the basis for a new kind of party that could topple the parties of the status quo—but only if they are organized and active in the movement. Their efforts are still largely atomized, chaotic, and amateurish, and require professionalization and organization.
The precondition for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism is to bring the new generation of American communists together in a highly disciplined and professional organization, with roots in every workplace, union, campus, and working-class neighborhood. In other words, we need to build a mass communist party.
The first step is to build a rock-solid foundation of thousands of trained and active Marxists, organized in hundreds of branches across the country. For this, we need a “collective organizer” to form the ideological and programmatic backbone of this political and organizational network, linking the party to the most advanced layers of the working class. Following in the footsteps of Lenin and the Bolsheviks, who led the Russian working class to the victorious overthrow of capitalism in 1917, our media and publications must serve as a kind of nerve center to disseminate our ideas, and to coordinate and report on our activity.
As Lenin explained:
A newspaper is not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator; it is also a collective organizer. In this last respect, it may be likened to the scaffolding around a building under construction, which marks the contours of the structure and facilitates communication between the builders, enabling them to distribute the work and to view the common results achieved by their organized labor.
Building the “scaffolding” of a future mass communist party is our most pressing task. Unlike in Lenin’s time, we now have the internet—and by extension, podcasts, YouTube channels, our website, and more—to aid us. By revolutionizing our press and other media, we can give voice to the new communist layer and penetrate ever more deeply into the living struggles of the working class. The economic and political context may differ from Lenin’s time, but our fundamental tasks remain the same.
We, too, must settle accounts with our modern-day reformists, opportunists, and “Economists,” as some of the pseudo-Marxists of Lenin’s day called themselves. Our historic task is to win both the battle of ideas and the battle of organization against those who advocate any form of collaboration or association with the capitalist parties, refusing to recognize that the interests of the workers and the capitalists are irreconcilably opposed.
Against those who would have us believe that the Democratic Party can somehow be transformed to offer a way out for the working class. Against the reformists who reject the need for a revolutionary overthrow of capitalism, and lull the workers with false promises about a gradual evolution into socialism. Against the trade union officials who seek to rein in the movement and subordinate the workers to the bosses and their parties. Against those who forget that communists, other left radicals, and militant class-struggle methods are what built the labor movement in the first place. Against those who spread the poison of identity politics and divert class anger into left and right populism and the ruling class’s divide-and-conquer culture war. Against the “base builders” and “workerist” labor activists who actively reject political struggle in favor of “small deeds” and micro-reforms. And against those who confuse the crimes of Stalinism with the true legacy of Lenin and the magnificent achievements of the USSR.
We stand for nothing less than the complete overthrow of capitalism in the US and internationally, as the first step towards humanity’s transition to a stateless, classless, and moneyless communist society. Before us lies an unprecedented epoch of worldwide instability, class struggle, revolution, and counterrevolution. Events will continue to shock and transform the consciousness of billions around the planet.
While others on the left sleepwalk through the transformed political landscape, cower under rocks, or look for panaceas, the IMT offers something completely different: genuine communist ideas and real-world organization. Turning our backs on the vacuous wasteland of petty-bourgeois pessimism and burnout, Socialist Revolution injects unapologetic class-struggle politics and revolutionary optimism into the movement. With our program as a fulcrum, we raise clear demands that aim directly at the foundations of capitalist exploitation. We cut across the noise and division of the culture war and consistently reframe issues on a class basis.
Only the IMT has identified the vast potential of this new generation of communists. Only we have recognized the coming of the Spring and fully embraced its significance. Over the past few decades of patient and difficult work, we have successfully preserved the Marxist theory, ideas, and methods that can now be applied to efficiently train genuine communists and help them recruit thousands more. And we are showing this in practice.
History is returning with a vengeance, and in this period of intensifying class struggle, colossal opportunities are opening up for communists worldwide. By refusing to capitulate to the many pressures we were subjected to after the fall of the Soviet Union, the spark of the IMT grew into an ember, and the ember has now burst into a small but white-hot flame. With capitalism scattering combustible material everywhere, it is only a matter of time before that flame grows into a raging inferno of revolutionary class struggle.
So, if you’re a communist worker or student ready to dedicate your life to ending capitalism once and for all, we invite you to join thousands of other active communists who are hellbent on bringing millions together into a mass communist party. The IMT is your organization, and our press and media are the platforms for your voice. With your help, we will build our forces into a household name and a collective clearinghouse for revolutionary theory and action. The material basis for a world of superabundance and plenty for everyone already exists. In the coming historical period, we can and will end the nightmare of capitalism and allow the human species to reach its fullest potential.
September 28, 2023