July 18, 2019 | 76° F

RATERO: Communism must replace capitalism, imperialism

Opinions Column: Mangoes and Revolution


I started college right after turning 18, and no amount of summers in Brooklyn with my grandparents prepared me for the culture shock I experienced. Born and raised in Spain, there were many things I didn’t expect.

Language, schedules, flavors, consumer society, sexual education (or lack thereof), nightlife culture, politics, religion — to this day I have a hard time understanding how profoundly pervasive the propaganda we’re subjected to is.

Part of me understands the pull for “safe change” in the shape of U.S. elections. But this will never bring the type of fundamental change the world needs. In Audre Lorde’s words, “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”

Humanity needs a world without capitalism and imperialism. The horrors of this system include the destruction and plunder of the environment, from drilling in the Arctic to deforestation in the Amazon, a pharmaceutical industry that only cares about profit, the mass production of consumer goods through sweatshop labor around the world, drone warfare that's directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and the list goes on.

For those who dismiss communism as unrealistic or an unattainable utopia, let me ask you: What alternative for capitalism do you propose? This system is directly tied in with, and relies on, oppression by gender, race, class, sexual orientation, ability and more. How can we not struggle to alter the very structure that imposes intersecting forms of oppression on most of humanity?

Monday, April 18, Sunsara Taylor, key initiator of End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women StopPatriarchy.org and writer for Revolution newspaper, and Carl Dix, founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, and co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network with Cornel West spoke at Rutgers. They support the new synthesis of communism developed by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. They came to speak about the need for revolution.

The point of communist revolution is not extending U.S. Empire under a different guise, replacing the people in power or about redistributing wealth.

Communism is about developing an acute scientific method to understand the world we live in and how we can implement a political socio-economic system that does not carry the horrors of capitalism woven into its fiber. Like any science, communism requires digging deep into history, politics, religion and other social structures. It requires critical fact-checking beyond negative propaganda, as well as questioning and thorough analysis. Communism is not about blind dogmatism, mass murder or political imprisonment.

Furthermore, one crucial aspect of this ideology is that it is not about improving the conditions of workers within this country. It is about getting rid of the entire structure of "Empire." As Carl Dix pointed out “now the whole world can feel the Bern — of their houses being blown apart.” Barack Obama as the first Black POTUS has not improved the conditions of black or brown people in the United States: The color of his skin does not make drone strikes, deportations or prisons any less brutal. Bernie Sanders and other candidates don’t promise anything essentially different.

Under this system it is highly unlikely that we will get rid of a criminal injustice system that maintains torture centers like Guantanamo Bay and Rikers Island. Taylor raised that 85 percent of prisoners at Rikers haven never faced trial and are locked up for the crime of not being able to pay bail. About 85 percent of prisoners have never had trial at Rikers Island and 95 percent of those incarcerated are black or Latinx in New York prisons.

Under this system, patriarchy is being violently reasserted, regressing to the days of back-alley abortions, pervasive rape culture glorified in mainstream pornography, the constant hyper-sexualization of girls’ and women’s bodies … In Dix’s words “we need a radical revolt against this revolting culture.” A revolution that allows and encourages everyone in society to flourish intellectually and culturally.

Why don’t we see this? For the same exact reason we choose to ignore racism. Since we no longer live in a society with overt racism, with blatant legally sanctioned discrimination, it can be hard to visualize the tools with which to even begin to dismantle this system. Protected with language of freedom and democracy, our own ideologies keep us from thinking outside the confines of capitalism and imperialism.

A different system is entirely possible, but we need to start to think critically, and seek the evidence-based truth. We need to grapple with reality, and stop believing in reform and lesser evils. We need to struggle with ourselves, and with others, and we need to start to work towards a common overarching goal that will benefit humanity. None of this will be easy, but all of this is necessary. We need revolution — we need an all-the-way communist revolution.

Becky Ratero is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in women's and gender studies and history. Her column, "Mangoes and Revolution," runs on alternate Thursdays.

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Becky Ratero

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