Engels said about the task of carrying out proletarian revolution that “It is of the highest necessity to stake everything on the decisive moment, whatever the odds may be. There is not a single successful revolution that does not prove the truth of these axioms. It is a matter of course that, in every struggle, he who takes up the gauntlet risks being beaten; but is that a reason why he should confess himself beaten, and submit to the yoke without drawing the sword?”
For we Marxists in the United States, this decisive moment is going to come within our lifetimes. With the way that conditions here have gotten so far, there’s no longer any doubt about this. After taking on the role as the greatest purveyor of imperialist violence, and building up by far the costliest military in the world as a result, the U.S. has made itself into by far the most vulnerable country when it comes to pandemics. When the climate crisis produces even worse disease outbreaks, natural disasters capable of wiping out massive chunks of the power grid, and economic disruptions far bigger than anything we’ve ever seen, this military-heavy, neoliberal system won’t be able to remain stable.
When will we know that this dynamic has brought about the decisive moment? When the social order within the U.S. is destabilized to a far greater and more irreversible extent than has been the case during the last year. When the electricity goes out for long periods of time not just in certain municipalities, but throughout entire regions. When the food and product delivery systems start to break down for much of the population. When the mass migrations from the coastlines and the abandoned desert localities balloon to the millions, and the humanitarian crisis this produces combines with soaring unemployment and public health catastrophes. When the present order breaks down so much that an opening for large switches in territorial control appears.
What will we need to do when this moment comes? Activate revolutionary cadres that are equipped both to survive attacks from the U.S. national security state, and to seize control during the stage when a new system of governance becomes needed. We Marxist-Leninists must prepare to defend our organization members and our communities when the army invades the U.S., a scenario which military analysts confirm is inevitable sometime in these next few decades. And while we’re defending ourselves, we’ll need to apply the approaches towards holding territory from a tyrannical government which Che Guevara described in his accounts of the Cuban revolution.
We need to gather ballistic helmets, ballistic goggles, protective vests, military earplugs, and safety gloves, hyperlinks for purchasing each of which I’ve provided in this sentence. We need to assemble Individual First Aid Kits, directions for which are included in this link. We need to attain radio-based communications tools for when the internet becomes inaccessible, which this link includes instructions for. Visit this link for a guide on the self-defense tools you’ll need to get.
We who intend to establish a new system must get all of these resources in addition to the standard prepper materials, because in addition to having to survive a social breakdown, we’ll need to survive the full brunt of the U.S. military apparatus and the reactionary vigilantes. We’re going to be entering into this with enormous targets on our backs. Our backs already have quite big targets. And there are things we’ll need to attain in order to stay alive and realize our goals.
These things aren’t just items to stock up on, but physical skills and intelligence practices we need to integrate into our cadres. We need to start regularly working out and building up muscle. We need to train ourselves in martial arts. We need to implement physical regimens that at the very least match those of U.S. military personnel, which include two minutes of push-ups, two minutes of sit-ups, and a two-mile timed run. We also need to emulate the recommended diets for U.S. army personnel. Let’s not go into this with any physical disadvantages compared to the footsoldiers of the state.
We’ll need to do everything we can to turn our houses into homesteads, gathering seeds and studying self-sustaining gardening practices. The traditional food supply chains may well become cut off in many parts of the country during the transitional period, so it’s our responsibility to keep people from going hungry. We’ll also need to focus on guarding and maintaining the electric plants and public utilities, which reactionary terrorists might try to seize so that they can deprive the population of power and water. If any of these reactionaries momentarily succeed, we’ll need to have a backup disaster preparedness plan in place.
We must map out the terrain and urban areas which surround us so that we’ll know where we’ll be able to hide if necessary, where the threats we’re facing will come from, and where territorial lines might become drawn. For the more dire scenarios, it will be good to gather hammocks and other wilderness survival supplies. But barring outcomes where we’re driven to hiding out in the woods, the mountains, or the deserts, what we’ll need to focus on is building a new system within the zones that have been switched towards our side. Che Guevara explained the initial stage of this mission:
The first task is to gain the absolute confidence of the inhabitants of the zone; and this confidence is won by a positive attitude toward their problems, by help and a constant program of orientation, by the defense of their interests and the punishment of all who attempt to take advantage of the chaotic moment in which they live in order to use pressure, dispossess the peasants, seize their harvests, etc. The line should be soft and hard at the same time: soft and with a spontaneous cooperation for all those who honestly sympathize with the revolutionary movement; hard upon those who are attacking it outright, fomenting dissentions, or simply communicating important information to the enemy army.
I’ve quoted this line in a past article, and I also quoted the one which follows. This is because both are extremely important to the day-to-day actions we’ll need to be taking. As Che explains, we’re going to have to factor in economics and trade as well:
It is also necessary to organize a line of supply from distant areas. These organizations should produce the money needed for making purchases and also the implements that cannot be produced in small towns or provincial cities. The organization will be nourished with direct donations from sectors sympathetic to the struggle, exchanged for secret “bonds,” which should be delivered. A strict control over the personnel charged with the management of this operation should always be maintained. Serious consequences should follow any neglect of the indispensable moral requisites involved in this responsibility. Purchases can be made with cash and also with “bonds of hope” when the guerrilla army, having departed from its base of operations, menaces a new zone. In these cases there is no way to avoid taking the merchandise from any merchant; he must rely on the good faith and capabilities of the guerrilla armies to make good on his account.
As you prepare for this stage, organize your cadre in the same model as the units of the Vietnamese communist resistance movement: a buddy system where people work in groups of three so that they build up a sense of intimate solidarity, a policy where all of the organization’s members are allowed to openly criticize plans of action, a dynamic where group leaders keep the members frequently engaged with studying revolutionary theory to reinforce their commitment, and an adherence to the democratic centralist system where if the majority of the group decides upon a policy, everyone in it will have to conduct themselves according to that policy. This way the organization is able to function as a cohesive unit, regimented in a way that doesn’t allow for hyper-individualistic acts of reckless disobedience.
Through this approach, we can carry out the initial stage of our task, which the communist YouTuber Hakim summarized last year as follows:
State repression will only get worse. The people not only should, but need, to fight back. Do not let fascism take hold, the U.S. is only a step away. Arm yourselves. Establish armed wings of revolutionary organizations. Start coordinating armed actions across the country with as many organizations as you can. Remember, never terrorist activity-only military and state targets. Establish Red bases around the country, and begin building dual power. People’s war is the solution.
And lastly, take to heart Mao’s rallying cry: “Firstly, do not fear hardship. And secondly, do not fear death.” This is how we fulfill the duty of revolutionaries that Engels talked about. This is how we stand up for ourselves in spite of all the system’s attempts to crush us.