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Important excerpts from “Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating”*

The reality is that such a revolution can succeed, but this is possible, particularly up against powerful ruling forces, like in this country, only in rare times and circumstances. And here is a very important truth: This is one of those rare times and circumstances.

This rare time must not be wasted, squandered, thrown away. Rather, revolution must be actively prepared for and vigorously, consistently worked for—now, and in an ongoing way—to build up the scientifically oriented and powerfully organized forces for, and to prepare the ground for, this revolution.

And that is why we revolutionary communists say:

[E]veryone who can’t stand this world the way it is ... who is sick and tired of so many people being treated as less than human ... who knows that the claim of “liberty and justice for all” is a cruel lie ... who is righteously enraged that injustice and inequality go on, and on, and on, despite false promises and honeyed words from people in power (or those seeking power) ... everyone who agonizes about where things are headed and the fact that to be young now means being denied a decent future, or any future at all ... everyone who has ever dreamed about something much better, or even wondered whether that is possible ... everyone who hungers for a world without oppression, exploitation, poverty, and destruction of the environment ... everyone who has the heart to fight for something that is really worth fighting for: You need to be part of this revolution....

We’re talking about a real revolution, not playing around with a few changes that leave this system in place and in power, while benefitting only a small number. As the “Declaration and Call” makes very clear:

A revolution means a force of millions, drawn from many different parts of society and organized for an all-out fight to overthrow this system and replace it with a radically different and much better economic and political system, a socialist system, based on meeting the needs of the people and carrying forward the fight for a communist world where there will finally be an end, everywhere, to the exploitation, oppression, and destruction of the environment that is built into this system of capitalism-imperialism. Anything less than this revolution will completely fail to deal with the root of all the problems or lead to the actual solution....1

There is some important historical experience to learn from—situations where a ruling class was no longer able to rule in the “normal way” that people had been conditioned to accept, and a real possibility arose of putting an end to the existing system, even one which had been so powerfully entrenched that such a profound change had long seemed impossible. This has happened especially when the ruling class, or a section of the ruling class, of that system no longer believes in, and more or less openly abandons, what had been the “cohering norms”—the regulating set of beliefs and processes—of that system....

As is becoming more clear every day, there are deep, and continually deepening, divisions not only in this country overall but among the ruling powers of this system....One part of those ruling powers, represented by the Republican Party, no longer believes in or feels bound by what have been the “cohering norms” of “democratic” capitalist rule in this country. This is leading, and will increasingly lead, to further, deepening divisions and bitter clashes throughout society, as well as “at the top.” All the ruling institutions of this system will be increasingly affected by this. The polarization will continue to sharpen, with forces grouped around and led by the Republican Party becoming even more aggressive in insisting on imposing, including by violent means, their vision of what “makes America great,” with all the very real horrors, on top of horrors, that this involves.

All this in itself will have contradictory effects—some definitely negative, but some positive, or with positive potential. And, as this unfolds, this profound truth will be more and more forcefully demonstrated: The crisis and deep divisions in society can only be resolved through radical means, of one kind or another—either radically reactionary, murderously oppressive and destructive means or radically emancipating revolutionary means.

With all this, what is urgently needed, what is possible—and what must be actively, tirelessly worked for, in order for there to truly be a positive outcome to all this—is a fundamentally different alignment in the country as a whole: a Repolarization that is favorable for, and brings forward the necessary forces for, Revolution—a real revolution to overthrow this system, and bring into being a radically different and much better system....

Things are not as they were in the past, and the reality is this:  The profound divisions, within the ruling class, and in the society overall, cannot be smoothed over—they are only going to become deeper and sharper, more acute and antagonistic. Here is the fundamental truth that needs to be clearly and deeply understood: These divisions

cannot be resolved within the framework that has existed, and has held things together, for nearly 150 years, since shortly after the end of the Civil War which led to the abolition of slavery—they cannot be resolved on the basis of the capitalist “democracy” that has been the “normal” means of capitalist rule (dictatorship) for so long.


This rare situation, with the deepening and sharpening conflicts among the ruling powers, and in the society overall, provides a stronger basis and greater openings to break the hold of this system over masses of people.

It is extremely important to deeply understand this:

As this situation develops, and the ruling class is more and more unable to rule in the old way, society and daily life for masses of people, from different parts of society, can become increasingly unsettled and chaotic, with frequent “disruptions” of the “normal” way things have been.

And as “the normal way” society has been ruled is failing to hold things together—and society is increasingly being ripped apart—this can shake people’s belief that “the way things have always been” is the only way things can be. It can make people more open to questioning—in a real sense it can force people to question—the way things have been, and whether they have to stay that way. And this is all the more likely to happen if the revolutionary forces are out among the people shining a light on the deeper reality of what is happening, and why, and bringing out that there IS an alternative to living this way.

This is a crucial part of how a revolutionary situation could be brought into being—a situation where it becomes possible to actually bring down this system.

On the other hand, “left to itself”—that is, if the current character and dynamics of all this remain on the same course they are now on—this situation, the divisions characterizing it, and the outcome resulting from it are almost certainly going to become even more terribly negative. So, all this must be radically changed, in what is a relatively brief, “compressed” period of time—not just weeks or months, but also not decades. If things have not already fully erupted before then, the scheduled presidential election of 2024 is very likely to be a critical focal point and turning point, through which the fascist Republicans will attempt to gain and lock down power over society, and put an end to any possibility of a future “transfer of power” away from them.

With the Republicans’ continuation of the Big Lie that the last (2020) presidential election was stolen from Trump, their moves to suppress votes, and their whole orientation that, in any case, with regard to the 2024 presidential election (assuming there is one), the only acceptable outcome is that they are declared and confirmed as the winner—all this has made clear that they will allow no “peaceful transfer of power” in government, unless it results in their coming to power. Growing numbers of fascist-oriented people in this country are prepared to use violence in pursuit of their perverse notion of “making America great again”—and the Republican leadership is ready to resort to this, if they cannot come to power otherwise. Already Republican elected officials, including members of Congress, are whipping up sentiments in favor of such violence and supporting fascist mobs who have engaged in this violence.

In the situation of the 2020 presidential election, defeating and ousting Trump through that election was possible, and was important to do, as a tactical move to prevent the further consolidation of fascist rule right then. Even with that electoral defeat, however, Trump and his supporters nearly succeeded in pulling off a coup that would have resulted in his remaining in power, in defiance of the outcome of the election and the “peaceful transfer of power” from one section of the ruling class to another. And things have moved, and are continuing to rapidly move, beyond the situation that existed with that 2020 election and in its immediate aftermath.

Further, this system’s electoral process itself works against the kind of fundamental change that is now urgently needed. Among other things, it lowers people’s horizons, restricting “realistic choices” to what is possible within the confines of this system and conditioning people to view and approach things on the terms of this system. Continuing to vote for Democrats, and attempting, through the electoral process, to prevent a successful Republican-fascist seizure and consolidation of power, will very likely fail, and more fundamentally will contribute to the continuation of things on the disastrous course they are now on, with terrible consequences for the billions of people on this planet—for humanity as a whole. 

As I emphasized in my [2021] New Year’s Statement:

The electoral defeat of the Trump/Pence regime only “buys some time”—both in relation to the imminent danger posed by the fascism this regime represents, and more fundamentally in terms of the potentially existential crisis humanity is increasingly facing as a consequence of being bound to the dynamics of this system of capitalism-imperialism. But, in essential terms, time is not on the side of the struggle for a better future for humanity. 2

Time, and with it the current momentum of things toward a disastrous outcome, is moving on. The time that still does exist must not be squandered in what would, especially now, be meaningless maneuvering within the framework of this system and its elections. This time must be seized, with the necessary urgency, to build toward the only resolution that can avoid that disaster, and wrench something truly positive out of all this: an actual revolution....

Everything depends on bringing forward a revolutionary people, from among the most bitterly oppressed, and all parts of society, first in the thousands and then in the millions, as a powerful revolutionary force, organized from the start and consistently with a country-wide perspective, impacting all of society and changing the terms of how masses of people see things and how every institution has to respond. Everything must be focused now on actually bringing forward and organizing this revolutionary force. 


As the “Declaration and Call” makes clear, in order to win masses of people to revolution, there is a tremendous amount of struggle that needs to go on, not just against the system that is the source of the horrors that people are continually subjected to, but also against ways of thinking and acting among the people that actually “internalize,” and serve to perpetuate, this system and the ways of thinking it promotes, with its monstrously oppressive relations and putrid values—ways of thinking and acting that work against the repolarization that is urgently needed to have a real chance at seizing on this rare opportunity to make revolution.

In Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis, I pointed to the characterization of the current polarization by the fascist former Republican congressman Steve King—that there is a lot of talk about another civil war, and one side (the fascist side) is heavily armed (with 8 trillion bullets) while the other (“woke”) side can’t decide which bathroom to use.3 Even as this involves some real distortion, and definite slander against trans people, there is a demented insight, and too much of the truth, in this observation by that fascist King. And, if this polarization remains essentially unchanged, it will have even worse implications, as things develop and further intensify.

Very much related to and an expression of this, is the reality that today, particularly among the middle classes, things are still way too much in line with the words of the poet Yeats: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” It is fascists who have declared “this is war!”—who viscerally feel that the way things are going is completely intolerable to them, is an existential threat to a way of life and a country that they believe is worth being part of. And, in their demented minds, the government (or government that is in the hands of, or strongly influenced by, the Democrats) is working to continue things on this course, and is therefore completely illegitimate. At the same time, among what can rightly be called “decent people,” who are opposed to these fascists, there is way too much obliviousness, ignorance and ignore-ance—or even continuing denial—of what is going on, way too much being lulled by a sleepy sense that the way things are going is favorable to how they want things to go, or at least that “things will work out” in a way that is in accord with their inclinations. Or, to the degree that there is a recognition that this is not the case (for example, with the accelerating environmental crisis), this has led far too much to defeatism, cynicism, and passivity.

But that is not all there is to the problem. As I also noted in Hope For Humanity:

[A]nother element of this that we can’t overlook is that, while a lot of what [Steve] King describes applies in a certain demented way, particularly to progressive or so-called “woke” middle class people, there is another kind of problem with regard to more basic oppressed people, and in particular the youth—a big problem that their guns are now aimed at each other ... this is something that needs to be radically transformed in building a movement for an actual revolution.