The Debate is On

over the RCP's Draft Programme at 2changethe

Revolutionary Worker #1151, May 19, 2002, posted at

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Here are excerpts from that discussion.

Weed and Socialism

Posted by: Mariposa

growgreen wrote: "What is the RCP's view of the use of weed after the revolution as well as other herbal medicines?

I think it is pretty clear from the Party's previous writings that marijuana use will be decriminalized. The proletariat has no interest in all of this war on drug bullshit--it has been a "War on the Poor" and is complete tied in with police repression, criminalization, incarceration and repression brought down on the people, mainly Black and Latino. What kind of system locks up youth for smoking a joint, while they ship in cheap cocaine for crack? So, with the seizure of power by the proletariat, all that War on Drugs shit is gone.

But, the use of drugs under socialism is something that we will still have to figure out. The orientation of communists and the socialist state will be from the starting point of serving the people...

You know, Point #1 of the Draft "Party's Points of Discipline" is: "Don't use drugs or get drunk or function in an altered state of consciousness."

Some of that is for security reasons... if you're serious about preserving your forces so you can lead people to prepare and launch a revolution when the time is right, you gotta deal with the fact that drug use is currently illegal. You want to avoid jail as much as possible and to risk it for smokin' a bowl, well, it just ain't worth it.

But, I don't think security is the only reason it's a point of discipline. As communists, we confront reality how it is and seek to unleash the masses to transform it in their interests. Having a clear head is important. It don't mean you turn into a robot or lose your sense of humor or stop having fun or cease to laugh. But..leading a revolution, taking responsibility for that, is not a joke, it's a life and death question for millions of people, and those that have committed their lives, those that have decided to join the ranks of the vanguard, have put the interests of the masses above all else. The masses need this kind of leadership... So, while I would imagine that marijuana will be completely decriminalized, I don't think that means the socialist state will promote the use of marijuana.

And as I was thinking about all this, I started to think about whether that meant people would grow their own plant(s) for personal use, or if it would be part of community gardens, or how the people will get the marijuana to smoke. Because I was thinking about where weed comes from..... The weed people smoke doesn't come from plastic baggies. Masses labor over growing marijuana, and just like other agricultural workers, they are exploited in the process of supplying weed to the users of the world, many of which reside in this country. Someone plants it, picks it, separates it, transports it, bags it up, and sells it (often out of desperation.)

I was thinking how there's aspects of the oppressor/oppressed nation contradiction in marijuana (and other drugs), since most of the drugs are produced by peasants in third world countries, as well as how it plays out in oppressed communities within the U.S. itself. So I do think the socialist state has to handle all that--it's not just as simple as the policy on whether people can toke up or not--we'd also have to transform the whole setup as it relates to the manufacture and distribution of weed as well....

I also kinda trip on what socialism will be like and how that will influence people's desire to smoke weed. Different kind of drug use is different--and I think getting rid of heroin, cocaine, meth and other harmful and addictive drugs will be a goal of the socialist state--though it would NOT be through criminalizing and locking up drug users. Addiction is a health problem....

Much drug use today is bound up with all the stress, all the hassles, all the daily degradation that people go through in this society and how that influences people's real desire (and frankly, need in some ways) to smoke a bowl or have a drink, to relax, to kick back, to relieve some of that stress of just living under the current conditions. Many people are attempting to self-medicate. Those that sell drugs are generally trying to scrape out a living in a society that keeps them out of any meaningful employment.

So, under socialism, where the overall society is being transformed, step by step, I do wonder how much that will influence people's desire or felt need to smoke a bowl, and how that incredible societal change will affect the people that live in that society.... Having said that, I don't think it's as simple as "once people have meaning in their lives they won't want to do any kind of drugs." Humans have been experimenting, smoking and seeking out mind-altering states for a long time, probably before class society. In some ways, this will be one of the things we will "learn by doing" under socialism. What kind of recreation will we create?

About the Role of the Youth

Posted by: #socialism

Recently the RCP's Draft Programme has been a topic of discussion among people from various political backgrounds and views on IRC Undernet #socialism chat room. Those of us on the chat discussing the Programme generally support it and...and I personally think its just fucking awesome... However, in our discussions, several people expressed the feeling that the role of the youth was not spoken to in a manner that was in-depth enough and that although the programme clearly upholds the idea that the People will liberate themselves, when speaking of the youth, this does not come through as clearly as it could.

Some felt that [the section on youth] could easily be taken as very paternalistic, and carried the feeling that the youth would be liberated rather than liberating themselves, despite the fact that we know that this is not the intent.

Some of the points that were raised that could be more fully dealt with follow:

1. How will the youth take up the education system and revolutionize it ending once and for all the constant degradation and total denial of self expression and basic rights granted to adults? This is rampant not only in the oppressed neighborhoods, but also in the middle and upper middle class schools where conformity is prized over creativity or ability. The whole atmosphere is one of oppression where one wrong word or out of place shirt tail merits a trip to the office and a tendency to degrade the individual and to pin all nonconformist as some type of social criminal within the school system.

2. How will the youth deal with the total denial of the right of young women to access to control over their bodies and participation in decisions effecting their lives and health on a long term basis....?

3. How will the youth change their position in society from that of a subclass of individuals that are the sole property of their parents who can chose in totality what their environment will be? How will they take up and end the abuse that they suffer from being beaten within inches of their lives, being forced into religious counseling because the parents feel that the child is disturbed because they are atheist, or even being admitted by the parents to private mental institutions...?

Re: About the Role of Youth

Posted by: a group of youth comrades

[W]e all really appreciated reading the #socialism discussion and the criticisms and critiques raised by Kolby. We're happy to run into fellow youth who obviously take this shit seriously...

Kolby, one of your criticisms is that you believe the Party is saying, among other things, that youth have only a passing interest in the Rev, and that this is due--if we understand your criticism correctly- only to their "natural angst" and is, therefore, not real.... You think that this is patronizing and doesn't take the youth seriously.

First of all, we unite with you--we don't like the term "youth angst" either. It implies that the very righteous anger of the youth at the world they are expected to inherit, and their very natural process of figuring out who they are and what they believe, often independent of adults in general, is a phase ... Communists of all ages do not trivialize this as mere "angst" but recognize it as a very sane reaction to this fucked-up world, and we think the trick is how to give expression to that quality for society overall--and how not to lose it as you grow older.

Part of being young is the process of looking at the world with fresh eyes--it's true that people keep learning until they are very old, but when we are young that process is very intense and concentrated, and we learn many things for the first time. To quote Bob Avakian, when we learn things we often have no old prejudices or experiences to cloud us or weigh us down, but tend to weigh things "not as they have been, but as they should be." ...The transforming of society is a very long process, and one of the vital qualities for any Communist, as well as a quality needed throughout society overall, is the spirit of criticism, the tendency to view things in terms of "how they should be." Our challenge will be how to unleash those qualities, how to spread them throughout society and not just to the young, and most importantly how to keep those qualities alive throughout all of our lives. Part of the reason we are attracted to the Party is that the veterans (and no, the Party is not all composed of older comrades!) have not lost their rebelliousness, dedication, and anger--in that sense they never "grew out of it"....

It wasn't clear from your comments whether you are arguing that youth are a distinct group in class society--in the way that, say, the proletariat is a distinct group, or Black people?...there is an oppression that youth face as youth: some of its expressions an overwhelmingly mind-numbing education, focused either on not questioning the status quo because you are expected to defend it, or on not questioning the status quo because you are its victim; the suppression of any form of rebellion, as we see with crackdown on skateboarders, graf writers, hip-hop fans, etc; the control and manipulation by parents, including the vicious double standard applied to teenaged women, and on and on. This oppression falls particularly hard on youth of oppressed nationalities, but it does happen to youth of all races and classes. But is it your position that youth then are another class in class society along with the proletariat, the bourgeoisie, and the middle class? What about the different class interests, the oppression of women, the different nationalities that apply to "youth"? Most importantly, do youth have different interests from the proletariat?

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