We are excited to announce the publication of The Revolutionary Science of Marxism-Leninism by J. Sykes. You can buy a copy here. The following is the book’s foreword, written by Mick Kelly, FRSO Political Secretary and editor of Fight Back!.
The publication of this book, The Revolutionary Science of Marxism-Leninism, by J. Sykes, comes at a turning point in this country. Times have changed. There is a renewed and resurgent communist movement in the U.S. Not since the rise of the new communist movement in late 1960s and early 70s have we seen such large numbers of people arriving at the conclusion that monopoly capitalism is a failed system, and that revolution and socialism are necessities. Many new revolutionaries are making the leap and helping to build revolutionary organization. The remarkable wave of growth being experienced by Freedom Road Socialist Organization is testament to this new political environment.
The decline of U.S. imperialism is accelerating, and every contradiction in U.S. society is sharpening. The fires ignited in the great rebellion after the police murder of George Floyd illuminate the road to the future. From Palestine to the Philippines, powerful movements for national liberation are striking blows against the U.S. empire. And the socialist countries are thriving, providing beacons of hope to the world’s peoples.
This book addresses some real and felt needs that have arisen in this new political context. The Revolutionary Science of Marxism-Leninism systematically addresses the basics of scientific socialism in a popular, concise manner that does not shy from addressing complex issues. The chapters of this book, which originally appeared in the newspaper Fight Back!, address the building blocks of red theory, such as the elements of dialectical and historical materialism, along with political economy. Other chapters deal with problematic bourgeois ideological currents like post-modernism, Sakai’s take on settler colonialism, and pragmatism. There is also great material on revolutionary strategy, and the problems and promise of socialism.
Building a revolutionary movement in this country is not a simple thing. Our approach needs to be a scientific one. Capitalism is a governed by laws that we can understand and make use of. For example, exploitation is not a thing that some bad capitalists do—it is something that all capitalists partake in. Workers go to work; we create more far more value than we are paid for in wages; the difference—the surplus value appropriated by the corporate owners—is a measure of exploitation. Popularizing these scientific truths is a part of what it takes to build a revolutionary movement. Theory can become a growing material force if it is grasped and taken up by an expanding movement to transform society.
Revolutionary theory does more than analyze oppression, it helps us understand how society can be changed. Part of this comes from knowing the laws that guide social development, but another extremely important area of knowledge is understanding the lessons that can be learned from the efforts of revolutionaries in the past. Communists have led successful revolutions in China, Russia, Cuba and a host of other places. These experiences, summarized and crystallized into Marxist-Leninist theory, are powerful weapons for change.
Marxism-Leninism has its critics to be sure. Social democrats, Trotskyists, and petty bourgeois radicals are among them. One thing that unites these critics is their sorry track record of failure. Every successful revolution that has placed the working class in power has been led by Marxist-Leninists. There are no exceptions to this. The opponents of Marxism-Leninism have never led a socialist revolution. And the laws of social development indicate they never will.
The great revolutionary Mao Zedong once remarked, “In class society, everyone lives as a member of a particular class, and every kind of thinking, without exception, is stamped with the brand of a class.” In the U.S. today, politics, ideology and organized thinking of all kinds are stamped with the brand of one of two classes —proletarian or bourgeois.
One of the many strengths of this work, The Revolutionary Science of Marxism-Leninism, is that it consistently integrates Marxism-Leninism with practice. A shortcoming in the communist movement is that some people treat Marxism as a sort of religion, where odd quotes from Marx, Lenin, Stalin or Mao are used to explain one’s political practice and there is no real attempt to understand or apply revolutionary theory to the tasks at hand. A related shortcoming is to think theory is for someone else, and if the revolutionary activist reads a book or two every once and a while that is just fine. This book is an antidote to these narrow approaches to Marxism-Leninism.
Freedom Road Socialist Organization has published this book as a means to promote and propagate Marxism-Leninism. There might be disagreement on this or that concept in the book, but that’s just fine, because Marxism is a living science that is constantly being enriched. A book on revolutionary theory is not the same thing as a political program.
Freedom Road Socialist Organization is a Marxist-Leninist organization, and we are working to build a new communist party. Part of those party building efforts must include promoting Marxism-Leninism as a science that can guide the effort to transform society. This means a fusing or bringing together Marxism-Leninism with the workers movement.
Long ago Mao made the point, “If there is to be revolution, there must be a revolutionary party. Without a revolutionary party, without a party built on the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theory and in the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary style, it is impossible to lead the working class and the broad masses of the people in defeating imperialism and its running dogs.” This was correct then and it is correct now.
All thinking is not equal. The science of social change, Marxism-Leninism, is better that all the bourgeois schools of thought put together. The working class is the only class in human history that has a core interest in eliminating itself as a class by eliminating classes altogether and with it, oppression of every kind. Capitalist ideologies serve to keep us where we are.
Marxism-Leninism is the partisan science of the working class —a class that is moving from being a class in itself to a class for itself. Workers are studying Marxist books all over the world. For workers in the U.S., oppressed people and others who are sick of capitalism, The Revolutionary Science of Marxism-Leninism provides some excellent reading.