Revolution #220, December 19, 2010
Prisoner writes on the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal):
In One Word: Necessary
November 28, Sunday, 2010
To whom this may concern:
I just finished reading the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) about two minutes ago—and in one word to describe my impression of this historic document, I would have to say it was: NECESSARY.
For one, it captures what socialism really is in a tangible way. For many of us—before we informed ourselves of the subject—we either viewed it indifferently or echoed the same distortions that the Tea Party faithful are regurgitating today, which is nothing more than the repackaging of bourgeois propaganda. Unlike what they say about socialism—"It promotes totalitarianism"; "It's anti-democratic"; "It seeks to reinforce a one man dictatorship"; "Its aim is a worldwide centralized form of government"; etc.—this document provides the masses with a vivid picture of what a socialist Republic right here in America would really be like. Instead of being what the bourgeoisie cast it as being—juxtaposed to the bourgeois democracy of America today—one can picture for themselves how the proletarian democracy of the New Socialist Republic in North America will be exponentially more democratic than the United States of America can ever hope to be—from its basic institutions to its legislatures to the Executive Council, who will actually govern this society with the most invigorating force of democracy that this country has ever witnessed.
Not only are those many distortions and lies about socialism placed in its true light, it illustrates comparatively, as stated in the Preamble (p.2) how: "all states have a definite social content and class character: they are an expression of the prevailing social relations, and most fundamentally the economic relations (relations of production), which have a decisive and ultimately determining role in regard to how the particular society functions and is organized."
This point is reflected by how fundamentally different the work environment will be organized in contrast to how it's now under capitalism. Instead of one man management being the rule as it is today, under the New Socialist Republic in North America: "Managers must take part in production; forms of collective management involving the direct producers must be established; and people as a whole will, increasingly, rotate between administrative tasks and productive labor. Regulations and rules must serve the conscious social organization of production." (Article 3, Section 8) From this material basis—guided by socialist policies and principles of collective production, administration, and distribution—is reproduced in varying degrees all the basic institutions of society on up to the state itself, which is what gives it its proletarian class character in form and content, in contrast to a capitalist one.
Viewed from this prism of class rule, I believe it allows the masses to understand why a socialist system would be more aligned with their true class interest, since human society will become the means to its own end (all workers), instead of allowing itself to continuously be subjugated as a means to someone else's end (their profit). If we've learned anything from this last recession, I'm sure it's that any system circumscribed around profit will always be antithetical to full employment, raising the standard of living for the working class as a whole in the long run, or in their real class interest—which brings me to my next point about this remarkable Constitution.
I believe the strongest selling point for the superiority of socialism in comparison to capitalism, is the people's right to employment and a guaranteed income, as spelled out in Article 3, Section 8(1). After this last "Great Recession," I don't believe there's no other section in this Constitution which will resonate with the masses more than this section right now. People are financially hurting and don't fully understand why there's very few meaningful jobs available these days. This section—with its eleven points—should become a primary educational tool in raising the consciousness of the people, so they come to view poverty, underemployment and unemployment as a symptom of this particular economic system, which brings with it no corrective measure short of revolution.
By contrasting these eleven points with the state of the capitalist economy and unemployment today, I believe it will open people's eyes to why and just how full employment can become a real possibility for their lives. Once they come to understand that, the rest of this Constitution will come to be looked upon more concretely.
Right now, for most, socialism is still an abstract thing, which is disconnected from a solid material basis; yet I've found, once it becomes ground within the workplace setting dynamically for people to visualize, it becomes easier to explain what "the dictatorship of the proletariat" is and why it will be important to "continue the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat" throughout the entire period of socialism—in the workplace (production relations) throughout the superstructure (between the proletarian and bourgeois line), on up to the state itself (between genuine Marxism and revisionism). This ties the form and content of socialism together dialectically, which dynamically demonstrates how the two are interrelated and inseparable.
On a more general level, philosophically speaking, I like how this Constitution allows the masses to see that revolution and abolishing a decadent system doesn't mean doing away with it completely, in the sense that one will be starting from scratch. I think many mistakenly believe this, without adhering to materialist dialectics in relation to the qualitative leaps in things; yet as indicated throughout this whole Constitution—although the capitalist-imperialist state of the U.S.A. will be crushed and abolished—many of the positive features of the former capitalist state, such as: individual rights and civil liberties, the three branches of government, etc., will be re-established on a higher basis. Just like there's no such thing as an "evil" gun in and of itself—only individuals and policies behind it can be said to be such—the same can be said about many of those features which will carry over into socialist society. This is not to say that there won't be "characteristics" (such as bourgeois right, etc.) which must be eradicated completely before we're going to be able to achieve communism; but only to say that nothing is abolished completely, all at once. The history of any phenomenon—including a state—is still tied to its past, both negatively and positively, and will always undergo future changes, possible reversals and negations.
In addition to the above, I particularly like how Chairman Avakian's new synthesis, particularly the principle of "solid core with a lot of elasticity," was given broad expression to throughout this whole document. Instead of perpetrating the same erroneous mistakes of past Communist vanguard parties and states, one walks away from this Constitution with a reassured confidence and belief in genuine communist leadership. After I read all ninety-one pages, it made me proud and hopeful to know that there's at least one Communist Party in existence which has approached communism as an evolving science, capable of learning from its past mistakes, while upholding the most positive features of proletarian revolution throughout its history. For that reason, I must salute Chairman Bob Avakian's leadership for that.
Lastly, I want to say that I'm in total agreement in how this Constitution in Article 2 handles the question of self-determination and/or autonomy in regards to minorities and formerly oppressed nationalities. Being Black myself and around a lot of brothers in prison who have embraced a New Afrikan line, I know how delicate this issue is. After reading the Constitution though, I believe this is the best approach to maintaining the United Front Under the Leadership of the Proletariat, before, during, and after the revolutionary seizure of power. It is my hope and belief, that all formerly oppressed minorities and nationalities stay a part of the New Socialist Republic in North America because it will only strengthen our cause, domestically and internationally; however, I also believe it's best left up to those concerned to decide for themselves, and the only principled way to broach this subject.
In closing, I believe this document is history in the making. I feel the same way about this Constitution that I'm sure many Anglo Americans felt in reading Thomas Paine's Common Sense, before the American Revolutionary War. In the same vein, the validity and profundity of this Constitution doesn't require Marx, Lenin, or Mao to be alive to recognize that this document makes complete "Proletarian Common Sense" today. I'm sure others will only concur and second that motion, especially once it becomes our own reality.
P.S. I want to say thanks to those who donated to PRLF, so that it was possible for me to get a copy of this Constitution so quickly.
P.P.S. Also if possible, I would like for you to send me Bob Avakian's book A Horrible End—or an End to the Horror? Thanks.
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