Article 2. Pillars of Unity (Platform) of LA MAS
Based out of Occupied Tovaangar (Los Angeles), LA MAS is made up of a diverse group of communists who have built consensus together around the following 12 Pillars of Unity:
- Scientific Socialism
Dialectical Materialist worldview.
We uphold Scientific Socialism as our guiding principle for advancing the science of revolution and socialist transformation. Scientific Socialism as initially developed by Marx and Engels has since bloomed into a versatile canon furthered by historical revolutionary struggles. Dialectical Materialism is the dynamic and comprehensive ideology at the very core of Scientific Socialism. Dialectical Materialism is equipped with engaging the task of transforming the world because it seriously treats the universe as actually existing and sensuously knowable, allowing us to identify the most advantageous political arenas for the historically disadvantaged to wage their fight for liberation through concrete action informed by rigorous investigation and critical-consciousness. Scientific Socialism promotes the strategies and tactics for revolution as developed by past and current revolutionary movements who have materially advanced praxis through the thorough application of theory, method, and practice for the purpose of building communism. Like all other forms of knowledge, Scientific Socialism does not progress in neat linear stages, but rather through a countless series of interventions, advances, and retreats, that serve to test and reassess the auxiliary hypotheses surrounding the core of Dialectical Materialism.
Scientific Socialism has been practiced and advanced since the inception of the communist movement in the world historical revolutions of the 20th century that followed, in the ongoing people’s protracted wars across the Global South, in the unmasking of neo-colonialism in Pan-Africanism, in the socialism of the 21st century that resists imperialist interventions, and still, today remains adaptable to our constantly changing conditions as we enter an era of intensified contradictions ready to burst at the seams of society. We embrace and incorporate many of the most significant contributions advanced by the traditions of Marxist-Leninism and Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to the field of Scientific Socialism without resorting to claims of immortality nor universality beyond the absoluteness of contradiction. Informed by theoretical investigation and real-world organizing rooted in the materialist dialectic, LA MAS seeks to develop a political line guided by Scientific Socialism suited to our present conditions through the application of lessons learned from socialist practices situated to advancing socialism within a settler-colonial-empire.
- Mass Line
From the masses, to the masses.
Direct engagement with our communities informs our work in recognizing the most radical demands of the masses. Using proper social investigation and class analysis (SICA), we must develop direct lines to the masses that meet and respond to their interests, thus accompanying the masses along a movement to uplift their political consciousness and revolutionary willingness to participate in the struggle. Performing SICA, we seek to understand the histories of the land and people of a community. Through the process of social investigation, we must analyze the material conditions, contradictions and struggles of the oppressed working classes, determining which of their demands are revolutionary or have revolutionary potential. We aim to synthesize the information we get from them into a political line and mass campaigns that promote socialist transformation. In doing so, centering a rigorous dialectical materialist analysis is critical in avoiding the pitfalls of falling either too ahead or behind the radical demands of the people.
Building up a class analysis, we can understand people’s relationships with each other and their relation to the means of production, bringing in the advanced elements of the oppressed working classes that have taken up the masses’ most revolutionary demands into the intermediate mass organizations of LA MAS. These are the instruments we seek to organize and empower so the masses can effectively wield their proletarian power in the class struggle. Through constant dialogue and experimentation, we will continually test new ideas and campaigns with the masses evaluating us, and we will listen to their criticisms and analyze our failures to assess how to improve our future actions on the ground.
- Dual Power
The Proletarian Socialist struggle we wage intends to put the once exploited, colonized, dispossessed, and oppressed masses of the people in charge of steering society and the land, setting up the conditions to move towards class emancipation and radical decolonization, or in other words, a communist future. This can only begin to be realized once the mass movement under the leadership of the colonized proletariat forms and becomes the vehicle for a vanguard to grow and the broad masses of the people can consolidate their power within an organized struggle, we seek as LA MAS to form alternative institutions through the development of material and social infrastructures by way of our movement’s intermediate organizations and campaigns.
Dual power or strategic equilibrium can only be achieved by a class conscious, organized, and well defended proletarian movement led by a vanguard of the revolutionary proletariat. This revolutionary seizure occurs once the exploited, oppressed peoples’ institutions challenge those of the existing hegemony. We will work to cultivate political bases amongst these communities and workplaces that have made the strongest commitment to advancing radical demands. Recognizing the significance of organic popular movements, LA MAS seeks to uplift the struggles facing the oppressed masses through an organized popular front and community institutions. These programs will be part of extended campaigns that serve the people as a constituency and promote oppositional struggle by the masses.
Self-determination for colonized peoples.
Capitalism could not have come into existence without the colonization and exploitation of Indigenous peoples and enslaved Africans. Across the Global South, the colonized proletariat and dispossessed poor have been gatekept from controlling their lands, socio-political conditions, and economic bases. Within the so-called United States, settler-colonialism continues to brutalize and rob Indigenous nations of their historic lands and ways of being while militarized borders disrupt the migration of peoples native to our continent and criminalizes their existence here. The American state clearly serves the material interests of white settlers as a constituent class. White settlers have historically dispossessed Indigenous people from their territories and have viciously stolen Black labor, pushing the systematic emigration of their own people and nation’s society onto stolen native land, bringing over their exploitative property relations. Whether they be working class or capitalists, this settler-state continues to place their interests before those of the colonized proletariat at every turn.
We must work to materially erase settler-identity and dismantle the existing global relations of coloniality that continue to sustain racial capitalism. We must demand land back for Indigenous peoples displaced by the violence of the settler-colonial states. LA MAS will struggle to consolidate these oppressed colonies and indigenous nations trapped within the imperial core into a plurinationalist coalition of oppressed, colonized nationalities; uniting together all national liberation struggles for self-determination through the promotion of socialist transformation. All colonized and indigenous nationalists must engage in class struggle so we can begin to regain our nationhood and develop the instruments for liberation to invigorate the rest of the poor and working colonized masses to seize political power from our shared exploiters and oppressors, eventually taking back by any means necessary everything the white settler masses have stolen and unjustly inherited from the colonized masses.
Defend revolutionary national liberation.
Capitalist-imperialism has hampered the development and well-being of countless colonized nations who have been left dispossessed from their lands, resources, kinship, and political sovereignty by Western states and their comprador allies. The imperialist stage of capitalism is characterized by the emergence of coercive finance capital exports and international monopolies requiring the super-exploitation of labor and natural resources from the periphery. Under the guise of “free trade” these liberal democracies demolish global barriers to the flow of capital, unraveling existing relations and ways of being of the nations colonized, all for the sake of extracting wealth from these nations for the benefit of imperialist countries. These super-profits in part sustain a labor aristocracy and placated working class within the capitalist homeland that breeds chauvinistic nationalism amongst the population. Advancing international socialism demands the dismantling of the global imperialist system and securing the right of self-determination for all oppressed nations.
LA MAS strongly upholds international solidarity with the Global South in their struggles to resist Western imperialism and US hegemony. Residing within the imperial core, it is our responsibility to the international proletariat to strike at the heart of the capitalist empire in order for global revolution to prevail. We will form solidarity networks with those anti-imperialist and revolutionary movements in the periphery who are struggling for national self-determination against Western imperialism. We will counter US state department propaganda which justifies hostilities towards states who are flying the banner of socialism. We will support protracted people’s wars, providing resources and educating the masses here about socialist projects being built. Scientific Socialism is committed to national liberation as a constituent element in the chain-link furthering communist transformation, recognizing imperialist induced underdevelopment stunts the self-determination of a colonized people and hinders their path towards socialism.
Uplift the Proletarian Line.
The Colonized Proletariat is the revolutionary class within the United States of America. Along the margins of the colonized proletariat are the other sections of the oppressed working classes, some of who we begun to identify and seek to consolidate within the proletariat line that aligns with their material interests: the urban lumpen-proletariat, the unhoused super-dispossessed, and those forced to subsist themselves by performing clandestine labor; the indigenous populations living on reservations and those oppressed nation communities connected to land production through historical right or ties; rural migrant communities, the super-exploited agricultural workers in the countryside. These are the potential sections of support for the principally oppressed proletariat to effectively wage popular revolution. We prioritize leadership and membership within our movement to come from the colonized, super-exploited proletariat within the imperial core. The colonized proletariat is the class with the most revolutionary potential and can realize the most drastic demands and implement radical change. The white proletariat can only advance socialism if they put aside their chauvinism and fight alongside the colonized working-class against white supremacy, settler-colonialism, and imperialism. Within this settler-colonial-empire, the white masses generally stand against the interest and national liberation of the colonized proletariat—their material interest maintain settler-dominance over stolen land.
LA MAS will work with the advanced sections of the colonized, super-exploited proletariat to develop a revolutionary line that can serve as the basis of mass movements that can engage the intermediate and some backwards sections of that class as well as lead other sections of the oppressed masses towards socialism. To move towards resolving those contradictions, the proletariat must learn to reconcile and embrace the lumpen-proletariat and the semi-proletariat as comrades in a shared struggle. Together we must uplift the dispossessed lumpenproletariat trying to reenter the formal workforce as wage workers, reconnecting them to the proletarian communities and the class struggle. Proletarianizing the oppressed masses not only by engaging in struggles around wage labor, but also organizing and participating in proletarian organizations/mass movements that hold their interest in mind, struggling together and challenging petty bourgeois tendencies amongst the proletariat and other oppressed communities. Instead of escaping the conditions we must invest our energies and skills into changing the situation in hopes to stop the suffering altogether.
- Gender and Sexual Liberation
Dismantling capitalist patriarchy.
Patriarchy is an exploitative system purported by cis-manhood used to materially, socially, and interpersonally, dominate the gender oppressed. Patriarchy secures the interests of cis-straight-men as a modality of class through the inequalities cemented by the existing material relations in which power typically follows proximity to heteronormative masculinity. Cis women along with queer and trans people face gender-based oppression on the basis of either not being cis men or not performing gender according to the norms set by the patriarchal system. The heteronormative nature of the bourgeoisie nuclear family structure perpetuates the gender binary and its division of labor that cannot be maintained by the most oppressed masses, particularly the colonized proletariat and unhoused dispossessed. Cis women are often limited to traditionally gendered jobs such as childcare, hospitality, nursing, teachers, housework, sex work, secretarial etc., while trans folk are frequently pushed into the most exploitative of these labor relations. Even when performing the same jobs as cis male workers, women are paid less and subject to more sexual harassment and discrimination. Queer and trans people likewise are subject to heightened societal harassment and violence for eschewing traditional gender roles. In this settler-capitalist state, gender and sexual oppression is intensified for those without any of the repellant privileges that come with being a white settler or a member of an exploiter class that is able to ward off the total weight of patriarchal and class oppression.
LA MAS has an internal and external approach to understanding, supporting, and uplifting the oppressed gender and queer masses suffering under patriarchy. It is a priority that LA MAS leadership include women, sex workers, queer, and trans comrades so their important perspectives and demands are platformed as campaigns for the revolutionary mass movement, elevating those demands into a holistic force capable of taking down all the fronts of patriarchal capitalism. Through the cadre development processes required by LA MAS, all cis-male (hetero or queer) comrades of both oppressed nationalities and settler identity must learn to support and be led by their gender oppressed and queer comrades; unlearning their internalized patriarchal tendencies, challenging them through informed restorative actions and self-criticism. Within the external approach, LA MAS will perform SICA and work with the communities of the gender oppressed and queer masses to understand their struggles in order to develop campaigns that reflect their demands. We recognize that gender oppressed, and queer people of Indigenous and colonized nationalities struggle to sustain themselves as proletarians or other oppressed sections of the working class. For this reason, LA MAS prioritizes them, along with sex workers, to receive material assistance and services, to be given self-defense training, and to be defended through community self-defense measures. LA MAS is also dedicated to directing the cultural shifts and social practices in our revolutionary mass movement to challenge backwards hostility among the oppressed masses towards oppressed genders and queer orientations with political education campaigns and disciplined criticism and self-criticism. Through collective engagement and shared labor, we will create a new gendered reality and tradition of sexuality through class struggle—smashing the patriarchy will become possible!
- Revolutionary Political Education
Revolutionary political education demystifies the common chains of exploitation that bind the people to our shared oppressors. Critical-consciousness entails learning to perceive social, political, and economic contradictions, so to take action against the oppressive elements of reality. LA MAS will make an effort to develop educational methods that can accompany the oppressed masses towards the path to revolutionary agency and building mass movements. Likewise, we must properly educate ourselves so that our revolutionary efforts remain principled and thoroughly informed, not just reading theory, but also learning how to empower the masses and uplift their advanced elements through informed action and agitation. It is not enough to simply attempt to deposit information, a dialectical approach to education requires dialogue that treats everyone as a site of knowledge worth teaching and learning from.
Our political education consists of communist works which have advanced Scientific Socialism, highlighting the histories of the colonized and dispossessed, the current efforts towards national liberation and self-determination, a historical materialist analysis of Los Angeles, and a materialist dialectic study of our present conditions and socio-economic developments including the State forces that terrorize our communities and policies they hide behind. We are not a book club. The purpose of educating our cadre and the oppressed masses is to empower our movement to build a communist base in the LA area.
- Revolutionary Action
Revolutionary action is aimed at building the necessary conditions to sustain a revolutionary movement. Revolution is not an event but a process. Revolutionary action is radical in that it gets to the root of the problem. We believe in building power by the people to actively address our communities’ most pressing needs. Revolutionary action takes shape as interventions through mass work, coordinated movement activity, and cadre building: from SICA, comradery relationship building, solidarity activism, eviction defense, forming tenant associations, political education workshops, tenant case work, self-defense training, unionizing workers, boycotts, worker strikes, forming community councils (COMCOs), survival aid programs, and platforming the people’s radical demands through popular campaigns. These are all revolutionary actions aimed at building up the people’s power to advance socialist transformation in our city.
We reject reformism, bourgeois-electoralism, and liberal activism. These do little to challenge the status quo and mostly serve to pacify radical movements by channeling transformational energy right back into political arenas that the elite control. Still, we recognize strategic opportunities may manifest as a response to our growing movement where creative tactics to intervene within the state can arise. On the ground conditions, the struggling masses and growing popular organizations will inform the best course of action for our socialist movement.
- Community Recovery
Heal with the Masses.
We will develop resources and programs grounded in dialectical and materialist analysis to create a collective oriented model of recovery to replace the current, abstract, individual centered mode of therapy that is disconnected from understanding the material and social conditions that cause our trauma, keeping us malleable to our oppressors. Though people will be held accountable for harmful actions, we will always strive to understand the cause and work to eliminate conditions that encourage individualism, making room for people to grow.
If we cannot move beyond hurting each other and ourselves, we will not be able to organize. As a cadre, we are dedicated to rectifying any harm or ignorance we do to each other and the masses. We do this through personal struggle, and if need be, a clear grievance process to encourage parties to come to solutions together. We aim to support our community and comrades to heal from trauma, live with mental illness and conditions, engage despite physical disabilities, recover from addiction, survive medical crises, and overcome their personal struggles with revolutionary enthusiasm and collective support. As we are moving towards class emancipation, we are always conscious of treating and supporting our peoples’ well-being. Maintaining the health of our comrades and ourselves keeps the united movement toward revolution ongoing and resilient.
- Community Self-defense
By any means necessary.
We have seen our communities ravaged by disease, hungry and neglected, dragging themselves to work in the face of a global pandemic—risking death for a paycheck. Democrats and republicans alike, have sacrificed the lives of the people for the profit of wealthy individuals. Militarized police brutalize Black communities and savagely riot against peaceful protestors demanding racial justice. Ecological disasters increasingly flood and raze entire neighborhoods as our planet approaches irreparable climate devastation. Fascist ghouls have crawled out of their unsealed crypts, terrorizing the most marginalized and disenfranchised peoples in response to the decay of capitalism and fragile identity formation. We have had enough.
LA MAS will stand in defense of the oppressed masses. We will defend our communities from callous politicians whose disastrous policies, during the crisis, have resulted in unnecessary deaths and suffering, defend our communities against the threat of homelessness—we will defend all oppressed communities by joining in their struggle. Defense against food insecurity and climate devastation is vital for our survival. Self-defense goes beyond performing violence to protect the people, it is about developing programs to keep the people alive and politically emboldened to overcome the worsening conditions, crisis, and conflicts that oppress them. We dedicate our lives to defend and uplift the oppressed masses, ready to fight against their enemies, despite the potential risk or harm that might come from our resistance.
United by a common struggle against capitalism.
We recognize the necessity for clearly defined political lines and welcome diverging revolutionary communist tendencies within our membership that adhere to Dialectical Materialism; rejecting the antagonization of contradictions between comrades in the struggle to build communism. This does not mean we embrace eclectic, reformist, or counter-revolutionary approaches to organizing; on the contrary, we must remain vigilant to correct contradictions within our own efforts to advance revolution but we do so without dogma or cheap deference to slogans that substitute actual thinking. Current historical material conditions inform our cadre building efforts in the struggle to socialize the means of production and democratize labor.
Our intent is to resolve the fragmentary current within socialist organizing spaces present in the United States, starting here in Los Angeles. We are a diverse group of communists both disciplined and confident enough to struggle alongside each other under the banner of Scientific Socialism towards a communist future.
These 12 Pillars serve as the unifying guiding principles for LA MAS in order to best carry out our stated Mission. These Pillars are not fixed ideals but dynamic structures that uphold the foundations of our Movement.