Principles, Goals, and Criteria for Mass Work
Members of CounterPower conciously work to organize the masses of exploited workers and all oppressed peoples for a global socialist revolution. We do this by preparing the masses to seize power in all areas of social life, to construct the institutional foundations of a socialist people's commune, and to take the helm of the commune's governance and administration in the socialist transition to communism.
This lofty goal can only be achieved through the collective participation of communists in social struggles to win material improvements in the daily working and living conditions of the masses. By accompanying the masses in struggle, by earning their trust and confidence in political combat against the bosses, the reactionaries, and the state, by conducting revolutionary agitation and education among them, and by proving ourselves to be principled and effective fighters in defending and advancing their material interests, the masses of people can be won to a communist platform and program. We call this form of activity mass work, and it encompasses everything from labor and tenant organizing to cultural production and popular education. This document outlines the principles, goals, and criteria which guide the mass work of CounterPower cadre.
All CounterPower members are expected to participate in mass work, which should be conducted collectively in clusters. When multiple CounterPower clusters are established in a common sector of social struggle, a sector committee should be established by our Coordinating Council. At present we have three such sector committees, organized by our members concentrated in the labor, tenant, and international solidarity movements.
It is our conviction that mass work conducted by members of CounterPower must be guided by the following principles:
Communist Politics: First and foremost, our mass work is guided by a communist political orientation and praxis. This orientation and praxis is grounded in a commitment to proletarian class struggle, feminism, decolonization, ecology, and mass participatory democracy, and informed by the theoretical framework of dialectical and historical materialism. Through our mass work, we aim to win the masses of working people to a communist platform and program.
Revolutionary Internationalism: We must situate our mass work within the historical context of the imperialist world-system. Given the decisive role of U.S. imperialism in maintaining and defending this global system of exploitation and oppression, we must adopt a genuinely internationalist orientation by building solidarity with people's liberation movements globally, and struggle against all manifestations of national chauvinism, racism, jingoism, and xenophobia within our ranks and among the masses in the imperial core. Our mass work must be guided by the horizon of a global socialist revolution which smashes the walls and borders built and maintained by imperialism.
Love for the People: Our mass work must be intrinsically motivated by genuine love and empathy for humanity, and we must struggle against all manifestations of misanthropy and fatalism among the people and in the ranks of our movement. In the words of Che Guevara: "The true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love."
Commitment is Key: External motivation becomes superfluous to the extent that cadre find internal motivation in the form of a self-disciplined commitment and willingness to make sacrifices for the people, the organized communist movement, and the global socialist revolution. Effective mass work requires both individual and collective discipline, with cadre agreeing to place the interests of the masses and their movement before personal interests. To ensure that this work is conducted in a sustainable way and with respect for the personal needs of our comrades, we must develop an effective division of labor and equitable rotation of tasks and responsibilities within our movements and organizations.
Tell No Lies, Claim No Easy Victories: Cadre must practice honesty, seek truth from facts, and engage in criticism, self-criticism, and summation for the purpose of improving both their individual effectiveness as a revolutionary cadre, and the collective effectiveness of all revolutionary organizations. In the words of Amílcar Cabral: "We must practice revolutionary democracy in every aspect of our party life. Every responsible member must have the courage of their responsibilities, exacting from others a proper respect for their work and properly respecting the work of others. Hide nothing from the masses of our people. Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories."
Take the Best, Leave the Rest: Our mass work should be guided by a creative, flexible, and non-dogmatic approach to theory and practice. We should be willing to critically analyze and learn from all relevant historical experiences without attempting to recreate the past. Indeed, we follow Karl Marx in asserting that the global socialist revolution of our century "cannot take its poetry from the past but only from the future. It cannot begin with itself before it has stripped away all superstition about the past."
Serve the People: Communist cadre accompany the masses in struggle, becoming one with the people and taking on their burdens and demands as our own. We must be willing to take risks and make sacrifices in the service of the people's liberation struggle, always staying grounded among the masses while working to advance the struggle for the self-emancipation of the working class and all oppressed peoples. We must struggle against all manifestations of opportunism and careerism which place short-term personal gain above the needs of the masses.
Lead by Listening: Cadre must learn the art of asking relevant questions, recognizing that it is the masses who make history and that we have much to learn from their collective historical experience. Armed with a mass perspective and mass line method of leadership, cadre work to raise the critical consciousness and collective capacities for self-organization and self-activity among the masses of people. This is achieved through our mass work by using problem-posing educational methods through which cadre investigate and propose, but never impose. Rather, cadre always solicit honest feedback and foster the direct participation of our target social base in a democratic process of planning and coordinating mass social struggles, and in the subsequent evaluation of outcomes and summation of lessons learned through those struggles.
Goals of Mass Work
There are several strategic goals that all mass work should aim to achieve:
Foster the Political Autonomy of the Working Class and All Oppressed Social Groups: Our mass work should actively struggle against all relations of dependency upon the capitalist state (specifically the Democratic Party and the Non-Profit Industrial Complex), erode the political hegemony of liberalism, and foster the political autonomy of a revolutionary people's movement. At its core, our mass work must serve to build autonomous mass organizations in all areas of social life, rooted among the exploited and oppressed.
Grasp Our Line of March: Mass work should help the masses comprehend and anticipate the trajectory of revolutionary social change, and the general strategic objectives of the socialist revolution.
Understand Social Change as a Historical Process: Mass work should elevate the people's consciousness of both the objective and subjective factors in processes of revolutionary social transformation and transitions between social systems, as well as their agency within the process of transition.
Work With and From the People's Movements: Our mass work should move with the ebb and flow of grassroots popular struggles. This means we must develop the capacity to pivot our strategic, operational, and tactical focus in the face of spontaneous popular upsurges and changes in the objective situation.
Criteria for Evaluating Mass Work
CounterPower is committed to building a united front that brings together people's mass organizations, defense organizations, and party organizations in a protracted revolutionary struggle for communism. When evaluating the progress of our mass work, there are several questions that all comrades should ask themselves, both individually and collectively:
Does our mass work center the pressing demands of the most exploited and oppressed masses? Does it uphold, sustain, and defend the leadership of frontline communities?
Does our mass work help workers and oppressed peoples understand the historical character of our social reality? Does it identify and explain the specific contradictions generated by capitalist-imperialism, and the structural inability of this social system to resolve these contradictions?
Does our mass work cultivate a historical materialist analysis of exploitation and oppression, grounded in a critique of the political economy of capitalist-imperialism? Does it build a common understanding of the ways heteropatriarchy, colonialism, white supremacy, capitalism, the nation-state, and environmental devastation are historically entangled and interconnected?
Does our mass work enable and support the people in understanding the interconnections between their local situation and the broader historical context?
Does our mass work develop the political autonomy of the working class and all oppressed social groups? Does it lay the groundwork for the masses to assume direct responsibility for the governance and administration of society? Does our mass work build autonomous mass organizations through which the working class and oppressed social groups can exercise political power directly?
Does our mass work develop the skills, capacities, and knowledge which allow people to lead?
Does our mass work build unity and solidarity among the working class and all oppressed social groups, across all divisions within the masses?
Does our mass work prefigure the social relations and institutions of the socialist people's commune? Is our mass work guided by a robust communist vision?
It is our hope that by elaborating these guiding principles, goals, and criteria, our comrades will be better prepared to participate in mass social struggles, assisting the masses of workers and all oppressed peoples in developing the skills and capacities necessary for them to lead the socialist transition to communism.