The following document was drafted by CounterPower's Political Committee, and approved by a vote of our Coordinating Council as a draft for discussion to be circulated among our comrades in the U.S. communist movement. It is second in a series of documents to form the basis of our organization’s political platform. Following a period of discussion and debate, CounterPower will convene an organizational congress to review all drafts for discussion, make the necessary amendments, and adopt a political platform. In this particular document, we outline our conception of global socialist revolution as a process of building the foundations of a communist social system.
CHAPTER IV: THE SOCIALIST TRANSITION TO COMMUNISM
4.1.1: We define socialism as the historical process of transforming a non-communist society into a communist society. This revolutionary transition to the initial phase of communism will be a protracted process, encompassing an entire historical epoch, through which all aspects of social life are progressively transformed in accordance with the logic of communism, and the foundations of communist society are systematically established to ensure full social provisioning to satisfy human needs, the free and integral development of human capacities, and the sustainable stewardship of our planetary ecosystem. Here, we must emphasize that this revolutionary transitional period cannot be neatly separated from the initial phase of communist society, nor can this initial phase be neatly separated from a more advanced phase of communism. Instead, the socialist transition to communism must be grasped as a dialectical process, in which there is both continuity and change between phases. Thus the elements of a communist society emerge in the course of the people's protracted revolutionary struggle against capitalist-imperialism; the initial phase of communist society is, in the words of Marx, "stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it emerges," as numerous social contradictions persist, and revolutionary struggle must continue; and a more advanced phase of communist society must necessarily develop upon the foundations established during the initial phase of communism.
4.1.2: The central task of the international communist movement is to organize and lead a global socialist revolution. Within a discrete geographic territory, the primary objective of this revolution must be the establishment of a socialist people’s commune. This socialist people’s commune will replace capitalist-imperialism's nation-state system with a federative council system democratically governed and administered by the masses of working people, in which the sovereignty and right to self-determination for historically oppressed communities is honored and protected, up to and including the right to establish autonomous self-governing territories. As the socialist revolution takes the offensive against capitalist-imperialism on a global scale, the newly-formed socialist people’s communes must progressively establish regional and global federations until the ultimate victory of world communism is secured.
4.1.3: During the socialist transition to communism, characteristics of both communist and non-communist social systems will coexist. However, this will not be a peaceful and harmonious coexistence. Rather, communist social relations and institutions must contend for hegemony with, struggle against, and ultimately overcome the social relations and institutions inherited from capitalist-imperialism. The proletariat and all oppressed peoples must consciously struggle to prevent both the usurpation of the people’s power by a new class of exploiters and oppressors, as well as the counter-revolutionary restoration of the old ruling class. Socialism is thus a transitional form of society, synonymous with the process of communization, through which the contradictions of capitalist-imperialism are systematically resolved, the enemies of the revolution are roundly defeated, and the material basis for the initial phase of communist society is progressively established.
4.1.4: The global socialist revolution is a people’s revolution in that it aspires to achieve the universal self-emancipation of all exploited classes and oppressed social groups. It is a revolution of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority, whose ultimate aim is the liberation of humanity—as well as our planetary ecosystem—from capitalist-imperialism’s system of global domination. It is a revolution that is at once proletarian, feminist, decolonial, democratic, and ecological.
4.1.5: During the socialist transition to communism, proletarian class struggle, feminist struggle, and decolonial struggle will continue, as the social contradictions of capitalist-imperialism will not be instantaneously or easily identified and overcome. Throughout the process of social reconstruction, a system of revolutionary people’s power will be necessary to prevent capitalist restoration, defend the socialist people’s commune from imperialist and fascist counter-revolution, and lead the process of building new social institutions and revolutionizing the totality of social relations.
4.1.6: This system of revolutionary people’s power can best be described as a counterstate or semistate, for it is not a state in the traditional sense of the term. Rather, it is an expression of socialist democracy, understood as the organized political power of the masses wielded in the service of building a communist society. As all genuine revolutionary communists have consistently emphasized, the dictatorship of the proletariat is synonymous with proletarian democracy, and proletarian democracy is synonymous with the dictatorship of the proletariat. In other words, the masses become the central protagonists of history only by expanding and deepening their direct participation in and democratic control of the governance and administration of society at all levels. We believe that during the period of revolutionary transition, this socialist democracy—the dictatorship of the proletariat—must take the institutional form of a federative council system based on direct democracy with delegations.
4.1.7: The socialist revolution aims to achieve the progressive resolution of the social contradictions inherited from capitalist-imperialism. However, while socialism will resolve the central contradictions produced by capitalist-imperialism's system of social organization—such as the contradiction between the social character of the production process and the private appropriation of the social product—it will inevitably generate new contradictions in the process of transitioning to the initial phase of communist society. The revolutionary people's movement must be prepared to identify and tackle these new challenges generated during the socialist transition to communism.
Laying the Groundwork
4.2.1: During the first phase of protracted revolutionary struggle, the key task of communists is to accumulate and consolidate revolutionary forces by building the nucleus of a revolutionary party organization, establishing roots among the masses, and building a mass base among the proletariat and all oppressed social groups, ultimately cohering a revolutionary communist tendency within the people's movement. From these strategic social positions, the party organization can lead the concentric construction of mass organizations, intermediate organizations, and defense organizations, and facilitate the convergence of these organs of struggle in a united front. With this united front as its basis, the organized communist movement can lead the process of constructing a revolutionary counterhegemony, instilling a new communist common sense among the masses and developing a new communist culture, and a system of counterpower, principally in the form of workers’ councils organized on the basis of industry and communal people’s councils organized on the basis of territory.
4.2.3: How do communists achieve these aims during this phase of struggle? Through mass work, communists assist the process of raising revolutionary consciousness among the people and soliciting mass participation in the revolutionary project, primarily through the construction of mass organizations as the main instruments of struggle for the immediate improvement of people's living and working conditions. As the socialist revolution progresses, these mass organizations will form the basic organizational units of a revolutionary people's movement, and the building blocks of the future socialist people's commune. Within the people's movement, communists must create a revolutionary culture in order to prepare the masses of people for the constructive tasks of the socialist transition to communism. On the widest possible basis, they must organize political education through study groups and forums, conduct social investigations that map the terrain of struggle and build organizational networks, initiate or participate in mass social struggles and campaigns with the potential to generate stable mass organizations, and facilitate the convergence and unification of diverse mass social struggles and campaigns under the banner of a revolutionary united front. With this infrastructure constructed, communists work to hasten the emergence of a dual-power situation in which the hegemony and political power of capitalist-imperialism can be directly challenged and subsequently broken by the counterhegemony and political power of a revolutionary people's movement. In this context, the emergent system of counterpower generated by the people's movement must consciously strive to be accepted by the masses, in their millions, as a legitimate governmental and administrative alternative to the capitalist nation-state and multinational corporations.
4.2.4: Prior to the emergence of a dual-power situation, the organized communist movement cannot stand on the sidelines of struggles to win material improvements in the everyday working and living conditions of the masses. Communists must actively participate in mass social struggles to resist displacement and dispossession, reappropriate and redistribute the social surplus, expand popular democracy, and defend our planetary ecosystem. Using tactics such as strikes, blockades, boycotts, sabotage, and occupations, the revolutionary people’s movement can win concrete improvements in the everyday lives of the masses while simultaneously strengthening people's mass organizations, heightening mass combativeness, and deepening social antagonisms to their breaking point. Struggles to lower rent, raise wages, shorten the working day, build food sovereignty, repair local ecosystems, defend the rights of minorities, and win universal access to social housing, transportation, education, and healthcare systems that serve the people, are thus integral to the strategy of the socialist revolution.
4.2.5: All available resources, tools, and weapons must be deployed by the organized communist movement in order to build and unleash the power of the people against the power of the imperialist world-system and the capitalist state which defends it. The organized communist movement must utilize a combination of aboveground and underground methods, as deemed necessary by a sober assessment of the objective situation. It must forge itself to both withstand the inevitability of counter-revolutionary repression, and lead the people’s counter-offensive against capitalist-imperialism.
4.2.6: In historical conjunctures where such a possibility exists, the organized communist movement should establish electoral organizations for the purpose of winning material improvements in the living and working conditions of the masses, propagating the revolutionary communist platform and program, and giving the people’s movement maximum breathing room. This electoral organization could be established as the electoral wing of the united front, or the electoral wing of the organized communist movement.
4.2.7: Regardless of the specific organizational forms adopted and the political strategies and tactics deployed in the electoral arena, under no circumstances should the organized communist movement pursue a path that weakens its political autonomy from the capitalist state, nor place it in a situation in which it must preside over this state’s management of the capitalist economy and its attendant crises. Communists understand that the capitalist state and the economic system of exploitation from which it arises must be smashed by the revolutionary people’s movement, and in its place must be constructed a socialist people’s commune based on a democratic council system. Therefore, when representatives of the communist movement win and hold political office within the bourgeois state, they must use their official position and the resources afforded to them to develop the people’s revolutionary consciousness and organized resistance to capitalist-imperialism, aiding the construction of a system of counterpower, even if such actions run contrary to the logic and established laws of the capitalist state. As Lenin once said, it is better to take the road leading to Siberia than the road leading to ministerial portfolios in a bourgeois government.
4.2.8: The organized communist movement must immerse itself in the struggle to build a system of counterpower prior to launching an offensive against the capitalist state. However, there are conjunctures in which social crises will occur when the people’s movement is in a state of disarray. There will be upsurges of popular resistance in which the communist movement is not a central protagonist. There will be historical periods in which fascism is on the march against the proletariat and all oppressed peoples of the world, and the forces of social progress are in a state of retreat. We must prepare ourselves to swim in the sea of spontaneous mass action, providing support wherever possible, and offering political guidance and leadership where appropriate. By agitating for the formation of popular democratic institutions such as workers’ councils and communal people's councils, and by taking positions on the frontlines of unfolding mass social struggles, we can influence and assist the development of the revolutionary consciousness and organizational capacities of the masses. From the frontlines of struggle, the organized communist movement can win the trust of the people, unite with the most advanced sections of the masses around a coherent communist platform and program, and emerge from the wave of popular resistance in a stronger position, armed with a larger sense of purpose and direction.
4.2.9: Through persistent mass work—including social investigation, popular education, direct participation in mass social struggles, and the construction and consolidation of a revolutionary united front composed of people’s mass organizations, defense organizations, and party organizations—the organized communist movement sows the seeds of revolutionary base areas. In the global peripheries, it is conceivable that in the isolated regions of the countryside such base areas can become relatively stable and autonomous, as has been the case with the establishment of the Red Corridor in India and the Autonomous Administration in Rojava. In contrast, within the imperial core it is likely that revolutionary base areas will be more diffuse—limited to specific neighborhoods or workplaces, or perhaps connected as a patchwork—with more restricted administrative powers until the ultimate destruction of the capitalist state and the seizure of political power by the revolutionary united front. Historical experience reveals that base areas can be either open or clandestine, as objective conditions allow.
4.2.10: In the global peripheries it is possible for a combination of rural and urban base areas to emerge, as has been the case in most contemporary revolutionary struggles. In the colonial and neocolonial context of the global peripheries, rural base areas removed from the immediate reach of the state can operate as spaces in which a system of popular democratic governance and administration is established, and in which the social relations and institutions of a communist society begin to emerge. Even in the periurban shantytowns of the global peripheries, semi-stable base areas can be established among the masses of working people.
4.2.11: As a general rule, urban base areas will predominate in the imperial core. These base areas will be less stable and have a more limited series of functions than rural base areas formed in the global peripheries of imperialism, at least prior to the emergence of a dual-power situation. The central aim of communists operating within an urban base area in the imperial core should be to achieve both the maximum concentration and unity of people’s mass organizations, intermediate organizations, and defense organizations—such as tenant unions, labor unions, cultural associations, and eventually councils, defense groups, and popular courts—with the aim of increasing workers’ control of agricultural and industrial production, and people’s communal control of housing, healthcare, education, childcare, eldercare, communication, energy, and transportation, alongside achieving a critical mass of communist cadre concentrated in key strategic sectors of mass struggle. In many cases these urban base areas will operate as bastions of popular support for the socialist revolution, rallying masses to the revolutionary counter-offensive against the capitalist state, with rather limited governmental and administrative functions until the arrival of a revolutionary crisis and emergence of a dual-power situation. Nonetheless, to the maximum extent possible, the masses of people must be trained and prepared in advance to assume responsibility for the democratic governance and administration of society upon the destruction of the capitalist state.
4.2.12: As this phase of struggle progresses, within a particular locale the communal people’s councils and industrial workers’ councils will be formed as points of convergence for all organs affiliated with the revolutionary united front, and as the primary means for the proletariat and all oppressed peoples to exercise political power against their local class enemies and fascist reactionaries. Through these councils, the masses learn to govern and administer society prior to the establishment of the socialist people’s commune.
4.2.13: As the Italian communist revolutionary Antonio Gramsci emphasized, the revolutionary struggle within the imperial core will be of a protracted nature, akin to trench warfare. He termed this a war of position. By war of position, Gramsci meant that the organized communist movement must systematically construct a revolutionary counterhegemony to contend with the hegemony of capitalist-imperialism. This will require building a new revolutionary culture prior to the seizure of political power by the people, through which a mass base of support for the socialist revolution is systematically constructed and the masses are adequately educated, trained, and prepared for the tasks of revolutionary social reconstruction. This war of position must encompass all spheres of social life, culminating in the emergence of a new communist common sense among the masses. Only upon this basis will the revolutionary people’s movement be capable of successfully launching and sustaining a revolutionary offensive against the capitalist state and the imperialist world-system. Gramsci termed this offensive pivot a war of movement.
The Emergence of Dual Power
4.3.1: With the proliferation of people’s mass organizations and defense organizations throughout the fabric of society, and equipped with the leadership of an organized communist movement and its party organizations, the revolutionary united front will have the capacity to contend directly with the capitalist state for power during a period of systemic crisis. In such a scenario, the hegemony and institutional viability of capitalist-imperialism falters, and the elements of a communist alternative begin to coalesce. Not only does the united front serve as an alliance of all progressive forces struggling against capitalist-imperialism’s global system of exploitation and oppression, but contains within it the nucleus of the socialist people’s commune: a system of revolutionary people’s power based on federated councils.
4.3.2: The apex of this struggle is reached when the masses of working people, organized in councils, assume direct responsibility for the governance and administration of society, emerging as an effective counterpower against capitalist-imperialism's system of state power, ultimately developing the people’s collective capacity to overthrow and smash the capitalist state, and establish the socialist people’s commune in the revolutionary transition to communism.
A Revolutionary Uprising of the People
4.4.1: A dual-power situation is inherently unstable, resulting either in the establishment of a new power or the reestablishment of the old power. The role of the organized communist movement in a situation of dual power is to lead the revolutionary united front into a mass insurrectional struggle or successive waves of insurrectional struggle against the capitalist state. Upon the successful destruction of the capitalist state, the socialist people’s commune will be established.
4.4.2: The destruction of capitalist state power in tandem with the seizure of political power and collectivization of the means of social production and reproduction by the revolutionary united front are the necessary preconditions for initiating a socialist transition to communism. While the proletariat and oppressed social groups can gain important education, training, and direct experience in governing and administering society in the course of the revolutionary struggle itself through their mass organizations, it is only with the seizure of political power by the revolutionary united front and the establishment of a socialist people’s commune that the transitional period can be begin.
4.4.3: This insurrectionary rupture will be led by the revolutionary united front. Its primary local organs will be communal people’s councils organized on a territorial basis, and workers’ councils organized on an industrial basis, which will serve as points of convergence and coordination for the people's mass organizations. This united front will be protected by people's defense organizations, and crucial political leadership functions will be performed by the organized communist movement.
4.4.4: The spark igniting an uprising of the people could be an economic strike triggered by deteriorating economic conditions and the subsequent transformation of this economic struggle into a political struggle. Alternatively, popular protest against police terror, attacks on reproductive freedom, the horrors and depredations of imperialist war, or the capitalist state's inept response to a natural disaster could set into motion a popular revolutionary uprising. Regardless of the particular catalysts, the material conditions for the successful initiation and coordination of a revolutionary uprising include the emergence of a dual-power situation in the context of a systemic crisis of capitalist-imperialism, and the existence of a revolutionary united front, rooted among the proletarian and popular masses, composed of people's mass organizations, defense organizations, and a fighting communist party or organized network of parties, capable of leading the uprising to victory.
4.4.5: With the unleashing of a popular revolutionary uprising, the united front must see to it that strategic infrastructure is immediately seized and secured both to enable the effective coordination and generalization of the uprising, and to ensure that social reproduction can continue at a basic subsistence level with minimal interruptions. The organized communist movement must ensure without hesitation or delay that political power is placed firmly into the hands of the united front and its associated organs of popular power.
4.4.6: To ensure that the uprising is successful and results in the establishment of a socialist people’s commune, it is essential for the organized communist movement to exercise leadership within the united front. As we have emphasized, this leadership must be earned and tested in struggle, exercised democratically, and repeatedly verified by the masses.
Building and Defending the Socialist People’s Commune
4.5.1: Socialism is the process of transforming a non-communist society into a communist society. In the period following an insurrectional rupture that delinks a social formation from the imperialist world-system by overthrowing and smashing the capitalist state, culminating in the seizure of political power by the revolutionary united front, the socialist transition to communism makes a major breakthrough. Initially, this insurrectional rupture may be restricted to the territorial borders of a nation-state or a fraction of that territory, or may traverse multiple nation-states and whole regions.
4.5.2: Through the revolutionary process of socialist transition, the initial premises of a self-reproducing communal social system based on a free association of social individuals are progressively established in the form of a socialist people’s commune, and the foundations are laid for the emergence of a classless, stateless, decolonized, feminist, and ecological society. During this phase of socialist transition, emergent communist social relations and institutions will struggle against and contend for hegemony with the social relations and institutions inherited from capitalist-imperialism, such as private property, markets, and hierarchical divisions of labor. As this process unfolds, the organized communist movement must play a leading role in the struggle to win the masses to the revolutionary road that leads to communism against tendencies pulling towards roads that objectively lead to the restoration of capitalist-imperialism or the emergence of a new form of hierarchical class society.
4.5.3: There is not one model for a socialist transition to communism, and the peoples of different countries must find their own path in accordance with circumstances encountered. At different points in history the masses of working people have and will continue to chart their own path to communism using the resources available to them and drawing upon their own experiences. Nonetheless, we can identify certain general characteristics of the socialist transition to communism, basing ourselves upon a critical analysis of accumulated historical experience. With this aim in mind, we should carefully study both the successes and failures of the socialist and national democratic revolutions in Mexico, Ireland, Russia, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Yugoslavia, Albania, China, Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Burkina Faso, Namibia, South Africa, Venezuela, Nepal, India, Rojava, the Philippines, and so on.
4.5.4: In order to initiate a socialist transition to communism following the destruction of the capitalist state, the revolutionary united front must seek the immediate founding of a socialist people’s commune and the establishment and consolidation of a commune-wide system of revolutionary people’s power. This system of people’s power must base itself on the growth and development of the organs of counterpower constructed in the preceding phases of revolutionary struggle, principally in the form of communal people’s councils organized on the basis of territory, and workers’ councils organized on the basis of industry.
4.5.5: This communal system of revolutionary people’s power must take immediate and direct responsibility for the general administration and coordination of the commune’s social life during the period of revolutionary transition. Upon founding the socialist people’s commune, there will be many urgent tasks confronting the masses of working people: collectivization of agriculture and industry, democratic planning of the economy in order to meet people’s basic subsistence needs while simultaneously developing society’s productive capacities, a sweeping reduction of carbon emissions, protection and restoration of our planetary ecosystem's biodiversity, coordination of the commune's defenses in the face of the inevitable counterrevolutionary onslaught, and establishment of the commune as a beacon of hope and base area for the world revolution.
4.5.6: Within social formations where antagonistic contradictions persist between exploiter and exploited classes, as well as between oppressor and oppressed social groups (colonizer and colonized, men and women, etc.), the dominant classes and social groups will consciously organize to defend their material interests and leading social positions by means of a system of state power. The commune’s system of revolutionary people’s power could be described as a counterstate or semistate, for while it advances the collective interests of the working class and all oppressed social groups, and it maintains a monopoly on legitimate armed force through the people’s defense organizations, it is not a state in the traditional sense of the term. Rather, the socialist people's commune deploys political power for the purpose of overcoming the social relations and institutions of capitalist-imperialism while simultaneously aiding the growth and development of a communist social system. Whereas traditional forms of state power and their corresponding state apparatuses serve to maintain, defend, and reproduce the privileged rule of a minority class of exploiters and oppressors, a revolutionary counterstate or semistate is based on a system of revolutionary people’s power—a federative council system governed and administered directly by the masses of working people—which serves as a shield for the defense and stabilization of the socialist people’s commune, a rampart with which to break the stubborn resistance of the imperialist bourgeoisie and their comprador lackeys, as well as a catalyst and guide in the process of social reconstruction during the socialist transition to communism.
4.5.7: In addition to an organizational structure based on realizing the principle of direct democracy with delegations through a federative council system, what distinguishes the revolutionary counterstate from the bourgeois state are the political programs, policies, and campaigns pursued by the government of the socialist people's commune in order to establish the initial premises for the emergence and stabilization of a self-reproducing communal social system. The socialist people’s commune does not aim to create another alienated and parasitic state power. Instead, the commune arises from the reabsorption of state power as an organic force by society itself during the process of socialist transition. Thus the commune's character as a counterstate dissolves once the exercise of political power over and against the former exploiters and oppressors is no longer necessary, because classes cease to exist and a more advanced form of communist society has been attained on a world scale.
4.5.8: The central question of every social revolution is the question of political power: Which classes and social groups hold political power? How is political power maintained by these classes and social groups? How is political power exercised, and in order to achieve what objectives? These are important questions with which the revolutionary people’s movement must grapple during the period of socialist transition. It is the task of the organized communist movement to ensure that political power rests firmly in the hands of the proletariat and all oppressed peoples, and that it is exercised through a federative council system to the exclusion of all reactionary classes and social groups.
4.5.9: Historical experience proves conclusively that the ruling class will never surrender their wealth and power voluntarily or peacefully, nor will the social relations and institutions inherited from capitalist-imperialism be overcome easily or spontaneously. Civil war, sabotage, blockades, and the ideological allure of the imperial mode of living—alongside the imperative to mitigate the effects of climate change (flooding, drought, etc.), control epidemics and pandemics, eliminate mass illiteracy, implement agrarian reform, pursue restitution and reparations for colonized peoples and nations, and restore and protect biodiversity—are all challenges that require swift, decisive action on the part of the government of the socialist people’s commune. The socialist transition to communism will thus be a protracted process, during which the initial gains of the socialist revolution are consolidated and progressively expanded, the masses of working people are empowered to assume increasing responsibility for the governance and administration of society, and the counter-revolution is roundly defeated and disarmed. A communal counterstate is thus an expression of organized political power established on the basis of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority. It is synonymous with the organized power of the people engaged in the process of building the initial foundations of a communist society, expressed in the form of a communal council republic governed and administered by a free association of working people.
4.5.10: Among the first steps to be taken by the government of the socialist people’s commune will be the expropriation and collectivization of the means of social production and reproduction; the abolition of the police and army of the capitalist state and the establishment of a people’s army and militia under the direct control of the communal council system; the abolition of the bourgeois judicial system and the establishment of people’s courts and tribunals; the immediate redistribution of land and resources to colonized peoples and nations and the legal codification of the right of all historically oppressed peoples and nations to autonomy and self-determination—up to and including the right to secession—in the communal constitution.
4.5.11: To the greatest extent possible, communist social relations and institutions should be immediately established. However, for the first socialist people’s communes created in the twenty-first century, an arduous path awaits. In this context, a mixed economy will likely prove to be inevitable—and indeed, a vital necessity—during the first stages of the socialist transition to communism. To the extent that social relations and institutions such as markets are deemed provisionally necessary, they must be completely subordinated to the commune's federative council system, and all economic units operating within the context of a market allocation mechanism must be progressively collectivized and integrated into a democratically planned economy by means of material incentives and, most importantly, waging mass political struggles.
4.5.12: The tasks of the socialist transitional period necessitate for the masses of revolutionary workers and all oppressed peoples to exercise political hegemony over the commune. This will be achieived through the process of social reconstruction by transforming organs of counterpower into a communal system of revolutionary people’s power, seizing and collectivizing the means of social production and reproduction, integrating non-proletarian classes into socially-useful productive activity, defeating the counter-revolution, and laying the material foundations for the emergence of a world commune of communes. Only the victory of the world revolution and the successful construction of a world commune of communes will secure the complete abolition or withering away of the state as a social relation, as humanity enters the initial phase of communist society.
4.5.13: In order to prevent the bureaucratization and corruption of the political apparatuses through which revolutionary people’s power is exercised during the socialist transition, and in order to advance the global revolutionary process towards the world commune of communes, a continuous revolution must be unleashed from below. The masses of working people must mobilize to seize power in all areas of social life in order to construct the social relations and institutions of communism, ultimately advancing society towards a condition in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all. This continuous revolution should touch upon all aspects of social activity: politics and economics, arts and culture, kinship and ecology, science and technology.
4.5.14: However, if the means employed for resolving contradictions inherited from the old society during the socialist transition destroy the very core characteristics of communism we aim to develop by either reinforcing the social relations and institutions inherited from capitalist-imperialism, or leading to the creation of new exploitative and oppressive social relations and institutions, it will be unnecessary to speak of a transitional phase from the socialist present to a future communism, because the germ of communism will cease to exist and we will transition to an entirely different (or all-too-familiar!) social system. Therefore, we must ask ourselves: what concrete organizational form might a communal system of revolutionary people’s power take?
4.5.15: In the phase immediately preceding the revolutionary uprising of the proletariat and oppressed social groups, the united front should aim to establish without hesitation or delay a revolutionary defense council to lead the formation, construction, consolidation, and defense of the socialist people’s commune. This defense council should be composed of democratically-elected and immediately recallable delegates, chosen from the ranks of territorial federations of communal people’s councils, industrial federations of workers’ councils, and the various mass organizations, defense organizations, and party organizations affiliated with the revolutionary united front. Under no circumstances should the bourgeoisie and their counter-revolutionary lackeys be allowed to elect, run for, or serve as delegates to the commune’s defense council, nor at any other level of the communal government. These exclusionary measures remain necessary so long as the former ruling class of exploiters and oppressors continues to exist as a defined social entity with a material basis for a future return to power (and thus posing an active threat to the commune’s stability and survival).
4.5.16: The revolutionary defense council will be tasked with leading the immediate formation and consolidation of the socialist people’s commune, facilitating the process of drafting and ratifying a social charter and constitution for the commune, arming the masses and coordinating the commune’s military defenses, maintaining social cohesion and public order, conducting a revolutionary foreign policy, and taking measures to implement a communist program of social reconstruction. This program will include but is not limited to the stabilization of the communal polity and economy, expropriation and collectivization of the means of social production and reproduction (especially large corporations and key strategic industries), establishment of a commune-wide system of democratic economic planning, continued expansion of social provisioning of essential goods and services for the general population, and the revolutionary transformation of education, culture, carework, science, and technology. This revolutionary defense council must establish itself as a real working collective assigned both legislative and executive functions and duties. As new councils are formed and integrated into their corresponding federations, and as new municipal and regional communal administrations are established, additional delegates will be elected to the commune’s defense council, thereby ensuring that grassroots direct democracy is continually deepened as the socialist people’s commune grows and develops.
4.5.17: In addition to the central all-commune defense council, municipal and regional defense councils should be established in order to implement the policies, projects, and programs of the socialist people’s commune in their respective operational areas, assisting the construction and federation of municipal and regional communes as key administrative units of the commune. The structures of these regional and municipal defense councils should mirror those of the central revolutionary defense council, being composed of elected and recallable delegates chosen from the ranks of federated communal people’s councils, federated workers’ councils, and the full spectrum of popular organizations affiliated with the revolutionary united front.
4.5.18: In order to play a constructive role in the transition to a communist social system, the class standpoint and program of the socialist people’s commune—which we shall again emphasize is synonymous with a system of federative council democracy—must be proletarian. The commune is guided by the necessity to abolish the exploitation of labor by capital, expropriate the capitalist class, collectivize the means of social production and reproduction, overcome the division between manual and intellectual labor, and establish an economic system based on workers’ control and democratic planning. Beyond its proletarian class standpoint and program, the commune's policies must be informed by the liberation struggles of all oppressed social groups residing within the territory—particularly colonized peoples and nations, women, queer people, trans people, people with disabilities, elders, and youth—who, united with and within the class struggle of the proletariat, constitute a revolutionary people. The commune’s program of social reconstruction during the period of socialist transition must be informed by an integral communist vision and strategy as well as a scientific analysis of the concrete material situation faced within the territory and globally.
4.5.19: A communist social system will not immediately produce all its premises. Rather, the socialist people’s commune inherits the premises of the old social system. The socialist transition to communism is therefore a process of transcending the historical premises inherited from capitalist-imperialism. The commune becomes an organic and self-reproducing social system only by consciously subordinating all elements of society to communism's programmatic imperatives, including the direct satisfaction of human needs, the integral development of human capacities, the radical expansion of people’s democratic participation in social administration and coordination, and the sustainable stewardship of our planetary ecosystem. This forms the criteria for assessing the progress or regress of the socialist people’s commune in the direction of communism.
4.5.20: As transitional tasks are completed, the communist program implemented, and the social relations and institutions of the communal political economy are stabilized on a self-reproducing basis, the path will be cleared for the eventual supersession of the commune’s revolutionary defense council by a central administrative council, itself merely one node in a more expansive world commune of communes. In this context, the defensive political and military functions of the commune will recede, its educational and cultural features will greatly expand, and alongside exploitative and oppressive social relations and institutions, state power as such will cease to exist. Thus begins the initial phase of communist society.
4.5.21: In accordance with our strategic framework, revolutionary parties should be conceptualized as component parts of a revolutionary united front and, with the establishment of a socialist people’s commune governed by a revolutionary defense council, as component parts of a revolutionary counterstate, with equal rights and equal responsibilities. Within this bloc of social forces, a revolutionary party’s leadership role must be earned, tested, and constantly verified by the masses via the federated council system.
4.5.22: While the polity of the socialist people’s commune will be characterized by federative multiparty council democracy, all counter-revolutionary parties fighting to advance the interests of the former ruling class, advocating the restoration of capitalist-imperialism, or representing any expression of fascism would be banned. However, the freedom of dissent, media, association, and mobilization for the masses of workers and all oppressed social groups must be encouraged, not restricted.
Continuous Revolution and the Socialist Transition to Communism
4.6.1: How do we advance from the seizure of political power by the revolutionary united front to the initial construction of a socialist people’s commune? How do we proceed from the initial construction of the socialist people’s commune to the victory of the world revolution and subsequent transition to communism? How can we prevent the usurpation of the people’s power by a new ruling class? How can we ensure that the revolutionary process is not subverted by authoritarian and bureaucratic social relations and institutions? How can we ensure that the social relations and institutions of capitalist-imperialism are not restored? Certainly, the revolutionary transition to communism will be characterized by numerous contradictions, including both the persistence of contradictions inherited from capitalist-imperialism, as well as the emergence of new contradictions generated during the process of communist social reconstruction. Climate change, resource scarcity, counter-revolutionary sabotage, decolonization, the feminist transformation of social reproduction, the continuation of proletarian class struggle, and the necessity to raise new generations of revolutionary successors are all factors which will produce complex challenges for the revolutionary people’s movement. Such challenges can only be overcome by relying upon and mobilizing the masses of people to continue to seize power in all areas of social life, and to deepen people’s direct participation in the governance and administration of the commune.
4.6.2: With the smashing of the old state, the seizure of power by the revolutionary united front, and the establishment of a socialist people's commune, the struggle between revolution and counter-revolution will continue. Social relations and institutions inherited from capitalist-imperialism will continue to exist throughout the phase of socialist transition, especially prior to the consolidation of a self-reproducing communal social system. During the socialist transition to communism, the struggle to overcome old ways of thinking and living will continue—indeed, they will intensify—and so long as capitalist-imperialism exists as both a hegemonic global force and articulated social system, it will continue to pose an ongoing existential threat to the emerging realm of freedom unleashed by the socialist revolution.
4.6.3: To resolve these contradictions, the proletariat and all oppressed social groups must unleash a continuous revolution, both within the territory of the socialist people's commune, and on a world scale through the counter-encirclement of capitalist-imperialism. In the period of socialist transition, continuing the revolution ensures that the socialist people’s commune maintains its autonomous, self-governing character through anti-authoritarian and anti-bureaucratic mass mobilizations. Furthermore, by waging a battle of ideas, the organized communist movement can ensure that a revolutionary orientation and line of march are maintained by the people's movement, and that mistakes are openly acknowledged and effectively rectified. A continuous revolution will progressively resolve important social contradictions and expand the ethical, cultural, and educational foundations of communist society. As new socialist people's communes are constructed, stabilized, and federated on a world scale, the defensive political and military functions of the communal counterstate will be made increasingly superfluous and gradually dissolve as mass movements carry the revolution forward in all spheres of social life until the ultimate victory of the world commune of communes is achieved.
4.6.4: The grassroots organs of popular power which constitute the institutional foundation of the socialist people’s commune must exercise hegemony and control over the apparatuses of the counterstate. While the socialist people’s commune must take decisive action to contain and suppress the counter-revolution, as well as initiate emergency measures to secure and protect both the sustainability of life on this planet and the general welfare of the masses, the revolutionary people’s movement must not allow the consolidation of power by a new ruling class of exploiters and oppressors based on a political or economic bureaucracy. History has shown that it is necessary for the masses to engage in continuous struggle in order to prevent or reverse this outcome.
Regional Revolutions, Communal Federations, and the Initial Phase of Communism
4.7.1: With capitalist-imperialism having furnished the material preconditions for the emergence of a communist society, and as the first socialist revolutions establish the premises of a communal social system, the historical stage will be set for humanity’s transition into the initial phase of communism. This will begin with the formation of regional federations of socialist people’s communes, within which a sufficient material base will be established from which to construct a communist society.
4.7.2: During this phase, the epicenter of world revolution will pivot from a handful of socialist people’s communes restricted to limited geographic territories, to regional federations of communes spanning the geographic boundaries of multiple nation-states within the current world-system. At this stage regional federations of communes will become the leading base areas of the world revolution, from which the final battle with capitalist-imperialism will be waged. It will be of the utmost importance for the first socialist people’s communes established to spark regional revolutionary waves, culminating in the victory of the world revolution over capitalist-imperialism. For example, we envision the eventual establishment of Pan-African, Pan-American, Pan-Asian, and Pan-European federations of socialist people's communes.
4.7.3: The strategic implications of regional revolutions should not be underestimated. For example, a socialist revolution in West Asia and North Africa would effectively cut-off the imperial core from its primary natural gas and oil supply. A regional revolution in Latin America would cut off the imperial core from extracting important raw materials such as lithium, a central input for batteries. The world-historic significance of an African revolution cannot be understated, as the continent is home to a majority of the world's arable land, as well as a majority of the world's reserves of platinum, cobalt, diamonds, and uranium. And we must remember that the partitioning of the continents of Africa, Asia, and Latin America into separate nation-states (and internally on the basis of warring ethnic and ethno-religious communities) was primarily a project initiated by the colonizer nation-states of the imperial core, who sought to prevent the autonomous development of the peoples and nations of the global peripheries. The delinking of whole regions from the capitalist world-economy and their unification as regional federations of socialist people’s communes would have effects reverberating throughout the whole imperialist world-system, hastening imperialism's ultimate downfall and overcoming.
4.7.4: Within a regional federation of communes, economic life will be fully socialized and planned democratically in order to satisfy human needs, develop human capacities, and sustain the planetary ecosystem. This economic integration will enable the production of a social surplus at a level sufficient to enable the transition to a classless society, in which workers are remunerated in accordance with the principle "from each according to their abilities, to each according to time, effort, intensity, and sacrifice," with labor time operating as the primary means of economic calculation within a system of rational and democratic planning of economic activity by federated councils of workers and consumers.
4.7.5: As regional federations of socialist people's communes are formed and connected across multiple continents, the defensive functions of the revolutionary counterstate within these liberated territories will become increasingly superfluous, as the political organs of society assume greater administrative, cultural, educational, and ethical functions.
4.7.6: Within a regional federation of socialist people’s communes, the goal will be to integrate economic life to the maximum degree possible, in accordance with a common plan, as democratically formulated by the masses of working people directly through a federative council system.
4.7.7: Only by establishing expansive regional units based on economic, political, and cultural integration, can we expect to transition to a higher phase of communist society. This integration is necessary economically in order to generate a social surplus sufficient to overcome class society; politically in order to maintain a united front in the global revolutionary struggle against capitalist-imperialism; and culturally in order to engender a new revolutionary ethics and morality, and to support the development of a new communist humanity forged in the process of resolving the major historical contradictions formed along lines of class, race, gender, nationality, sexuality, and ecology.
4.7.8: With the globalization of the socialist revolution and the consolidation of regional federations of socialist people’s communes, it will be possible for humanity to transition to the initial phase of communist society.
The World Commune of Communes
4.8.1: The victory of the world revolution will establish a world commune of communes based on a unified global polity and economy, and comprehensive economic planning on a world scale for the purpose of meeting human needs, developing human capacities, and sustaining our planetary ecosystem. The world commune will advance humanity beyond the ravages of war and poverty, beyond commodity production and exchange, bringing the social relations of exploitation, oppression, and alienation to a definitive end. A whole series of separations will be overcome: the separation of intellectual labor from manual labor, the separation of the individual from society, and the separation of society from nature. The world commune of communes will thus herald the victory of a free society, in which free time will become the social measure of real wealth and the necessary condition for the integral development of social individualities.
4.8.2: In this higher phase of communist society, material production to meet needs will no longer be the central defining feature of social life. Instead, the all-sided development of the individual will become an end in itself, and society will be governed by the principle: from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs. In this advanced phase of communist society, labor will no longer be simply the means of sustaining life, but life’s prime want. No longer compulsory drudgery, creative productive activity will be transformed into creative self-expression, fully integrated with the autonomous development of the social individual. The free and integral development of human sensuousness will be made an end in itself.
4.8.3: While it is obvious that a higher phase of communist society will be superior to the preceding initial phase and the socialist transition through which communism’s preconditions are established, the world commune of communes should not be misunderstood as the terminal endpoint of humanity’s historical development. Indeed, with the victory of world communism, humanity will enter a new stage of social development, and a new chapter in our history will unfold. A united humanity will thus be free to utilize communal abundance to intensify scientific efforts to further explore and expand our knowledge of the cosmos and our place within it.