When one removes the rose-colored glasses of American consumerist ideology, that anti-culture which assures us that happiness is only “one purchase away,” the world we see is one plagued by stratification. We live in a world of billionaires and starving children, occupiers and the occupied. Prevailing thought reinforces ideologically ingrained racial, gender, sexual and religious hierarchies. In every instance of social inequity, the exercise and administration of power is held in one set of hands over all others. The powerful protect their position by subjecting those with less power to their dominion through domination in thought and action, through hegemony in ideology and the violent repression of dissenters. The sources of division and injustices in our world are many, yet the majority of social ills find their roots in the economic circumstances of modern capital.
Social inequality in contemporary capitalist society is a direct result of a mode of production in which the bourgeoisie, the class which owns the means of production and capital resources, utilizes its position to exploit surplus value produced by the proletariat, the working class who have only their labor to sell. This class division, and the dictatorship of capital over the laboring masses that is inevitably the result of such a division, is a central feature of capitalist production. Inequality isn’t an unfortunate accident; it is essential for the survival of the bourgeoisie as a class. In order to continue to glut themselves on the surplus value produced by workers, they require a reserve of labor to keep wages low and power structures reinforced. For those who would champion equality and social justice for the proletariat, the solution to the injustices of capitalism cannot be found within the system itself. The solution is a new system,in which the laboring masses own the means of production. This form of society, without state or class, is called communism. This is the only form of society in which the term “democracy” can be applied without a tinge of irony, because the impediments which persist under the farce of capitalism’s “liberal democracy” do not exist in a society wherein the means of production are owned collectively.
In order to achieve this higher form of social interaction, the proletariat first must be guided to revolution. To accomplish this end, those of the world proletariat and laboring classes must unite in a spirit of proletarian internationalism to crush their mutual oppressors. The role of vanguard parties, who are made up of those workers advanced in the theory and practice of revolution, act as a force for creating this solidarity by educating the proletariat and working masses and eventually spear-heading the revolutionary struggle against capital and its lackeys. Once revolution occurs, the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie will be replaced with dictatorship of the proletariat, otherwise known as socialism. The dictatorship of the proletariat will serve as a means of defending the gains of revolution from capitalist insurgency and imperialist aggression, as well as to instill in the proletariat the revolutionary consciousness they will require to advance society towards communism.
The theory that allows the proletariat to guide their activity and understanding of how to carry out revolution against capitalism is the theory of Marxism-Leninism. Marxism-Leninism is the revolutionary science that applies materialist dialectics to the conditions of capitalism in the age of imperialism. This essential theory was brought into being by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, and later developed by Vladimir Lenin, who restored its revolutionary character after the opportunism of the Second International. Lenin dedicated his life to the cause of revolution, and during the First World War led the Russian proletariat to victory against the forces of Czarism and imperialism, bringing about the world’s first socialist state. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) proceeded upon a path of socialist industrialization under Lenin and Stalin, and during these years greatly advanced the cause of the proletariat by supporting revolutionary movements abroad, as well as standing as a force of opposition against the forces of fascism and imperialism during the Second World War. Although the USSR would eventually fall into revisionism, giving up revolutionary theory and eventually dismantling the dictatorship of the proletariat under Khrushchev and Brezhnev, the Soviet Union stands as an example which proves that the construction of socialism is possible.
The socialist societies which emerged during the 20th century were guided to revolution during partisan warfare against fascism, imperialism and invading powers. These societies made enormous leaps in providing the proletariat of these countries with a better life by raising the level of industry, literacy, healthcare, women’s’ rights and worker participation in administration in all areas of life. When one looks past the veil of Western propaganda from Solzhenitsyn to Conquest, the reality of life under socialism was a positive one for all except the would-be exploiters of the proletariat.
When one learns that it is the economic system at fault and about the true nature of classes and class struggle, when one learns that the world we live in is built upon the crushing domination of the few over the many, when the suffering and anguish of the world’s laborers is for the sole purpose of fattening the bank accounts of wealthy men in suits, it becomes clear what must be done: the assault of the international bourgeoisie against all that is good and decent needs to be met with an equal assault on their position of domination.