We live in an epoch of imperialist wars, the ruthless super-exploitation of the peoples and resources of the global peripheries by imperialist capital, racist police violence and mass incarceration, femicide, widespread indebtedness and recurring financial crises, ecocide and climate change, global pandemics, mass shootings, omnipresent state and corporate surveillance, and fascism's creeping resurgence. These are all manifestations of a deeper systemic crisis whose source is to be found within the internal dynamics and laws of motion of the imperialist world-system itself. On the agenda today is the reconstruction of an international communist movement that can wage a successful revolutionary struggle against capitalist-imperialism in order to secure humanity's universal emancipation and planetary survival through the construction of a world commune of communes.
Members of CounterPower are united on the basis of the following points:
We are communists. We understand communism as both the expression of a living historical process, and a vision of an alternative social system. As a living historical process, communism is the real movement for the self-emancipation of the working class and all oppressed peoples. This real movement is expressed in everyday acts of collective refusal, resistance, and re-appropriation. It manifests in every strike against exploitation and uprising against oppression. It announces itself with the formation of every workers’ council and people’s assembly. The task of revolutionary organizers and militants is to give coherence to this real movement, arming it with a theoretical and strategic framework. As a vision of an alternative social system, communism proposes the establishment of a free association of social individuals, in which the hierarchical division of humanity into antagonistic classes and social groups has been overcome, and the contradiction between the individual and society has been resolved. Communist society will be organized to achieve the direct satisfaction of human needs, the integral development of human capacities, and the sustainable stewardship of our planetary ecosystem. Institutionally, this vision will be realized in the form of collectivized means of social production and reproduction, or commons; the direct participation of the masses in the general administration of social life through a system of federated communal councils, including the democratic, rational, and ecological planning and coordination of economic activity by federated councils of workers and consumers; and the establishment of a territorial people's commune as an alternative to the bourgeois nation-state and an embryo of the world commune.
Dialectical materialism is a theoretical framework and method of analysis and synthesis applied by communists to the study and transformation of our objective reality, emphasizing that material conditions are in a perpetual state of movement and flux: change is constant in our universe. From the various forms taken by matter in motion emerges a complex web of life, of which human society forms a part. We are committed to the development and application of a dialectical materialist social science that recognizes the complex interdependence of nature and society, the shaping of human consciousness by social relations, the transformation of social relations by conscious human activity, the dynamic entanglement of multiple spheres of social activity, and the interconnected and often contradictory processes which organize and structure everyday social life. By identifying and analyzing the historical contradictions which shape the various social systems and relations we aim to transform or abolish, materialist dialectics can help us identify systemic dynamics, laws, and tendencies, and inform the summation of lessons learned through previous cycles of revolutionary struggle. By applying the theoretical framework of dialectical materialism to the practice of social investigation and the self-critical assessment and summation of our mass political work, the communist movement can improve its overall effectiveness by identifying strategic sites for the insertion of communist militants and elaborate corresponding programs of action appropriate to the conjuncture encountered. There can be no revolutionary practice without revolutionary theory, nor revolutionary theory without revolutionary practice: this is the dialectical meaning of praxis.
We struggle for the revolutionary overthrow and abolition of the imperialist world-system and all forms of exploitation and oppression. We understand imperialism as a unitary social system based on the historical-geographical entanglement and mutual accommodation, reciprocal determination, and generalized reproduction of capitalist, colonial and neocolonial, heteropatriarchal, authoritarian, and bureaucratic social relations. The exploitation and super-exploitation of the global working class by imperialist capital, colonial and neocolonial domination, gender, sexual, racial, and caste oppression, political repression, environmental destruction, an authoritarian and bureaucratic state, and imperialist war are thus integral to the normal functioning of this system and logical consequences of its internal dynamics. Imperialism has partitioned the world into a complex network of hierarchically-ordered zones of social activity, in which the corporations and nation-states of the metropolitan core systematically dominate and exploit the resources and labor-power of the global peripheries where the vast majority of the human population resides. Though its hegemony is in crisis, the U.S. empire is the dominant political, military, economic, and cultural power within the world-system, and thus the main enemy of the workers and oppressed peoples of the world. Viewed through the lens of dialectical materialism, we can see that imperialism is rife with contradictions. On the one hand, imperialism has systematically eroded the living standards of the global working class, deepened social divisions, and put the very reproduction of complex life into question through the destruction of our planetary ecosystem. On the other hand, imperialism has furthered the global integration of human society and advanced the development of the productive forces, thereby laying a material foundation that, if seized by a revolutionary movement of the oppressed and exploited masses, could be reconfigured to serve the construction of a communist social system. Thus a central contradiction of capitalist-imperialism is between the global integration of social production and reproduction, and the private appropriation of the wealth generated through the creative social activity of the working masses by the imperialist bourgeoisie.
We recognize that the communist social revolution within the imperial core and on a world scale will be a protracted process. This process will encompass several historical periods, and traverse multiple developmental phases, from laying the groundwork for the emergence of a dual-power situation, to initiating an insurrectionary rupture that smashes the imperialist bourgeoisie's state power and establishes a revolutionary counterstate based on the people's federated communal councils. At our present phase of struggle, this necessarily requires that communists commit to a program of (a) base-building that roots cadre among the masses, (b) militant social investigation that maps the terrain of struggle and scaffolds the basic infrastructure of a revolutionary people's movement, and (c) ongoing mass political work conducted among the working class and popular sectors that leads to the construction of a system of counterpower that can challenge the imperialist state for hegemony. With the emergence of a dual-power situation, the revolutionary people’s movement must lead an insurrectionary rupture capable of smashing the imperialist state, delinking the territory from the imperialist world-system, and bringing the people to power in the revolutionary transition to communism.
We understand that the most important scientific weapon communists have at our disposal is social investigation. Informed by dialectical materialism, social investigations should be conducted by communist organizers to study the changing composition of the working class and oppressed social groups to guide our political interventions, and develop revolutionary theory and strategy grounded in the lived experience of the masses. In contrast to the disinterested and disengaged posture of bourgeois social science, militant social investigation is unapologetically partisan, unfolding through the direct participation of communist organizers and militants in the autonomous social struggles of the exploited and oppressed. By conducting social investigations, revolutionaries engage with forms of everyday resistance that emerge organically within the confines of capitalist-imperialism to map the terrain of social conflict, hone the movement’s skills and tactics, and locate strategic chokepoints. We understand militant social investigation as our most valuable tool for developing revolutionary consciousness, the success of which hinges on the direct involvement of the masses in simultaneous struggle and study. By sustaining a cycle of social analysis, militant political practice, and self-critical reflection, communists can catalyze the emergence of a collective revolutionary subject capable of connecting disparate sectors of social struggle into the multi-sector united front needed to directly challenge capitalist-imperialism for social hegemony and power.
We are committed to the construction of a revolutionary movement of movements, or multi-sector united front, composed of the people’s autonomous mass organizations, people's defense organizations, and revolutionary party organizations to emerge from the liberation struggle of the proletariat and all oppressed peoples. This revolutionary united front will be the main instrument for smashing the imperialist state, and the nucleus of a revolutionary people's government in the transition to communism. We recognize that the revolutionary process will be led by an internally heterogeneous social bloc of the oppressed and exploited, uniting the proletariat with all oppressed social groups and the autonomous liberation movements they create. This revolutionary people's movement will encompass the global working class in all its diversity, nations and peoples oppressed by colonial and neocolonial domination, migrants, women, trans people, queer people, prisoners, disabled people, and youth.
We stand for the political independence of the revolutionary people’s movement. While under particular conditions, political struggles in the electoral arena can and should be utilized by revolutionaries to develop a pole of anti-imperialist opposition and build support for the platform and program of the communist revolution, there is no electoral road to communism. Furthermore, the existence of a mass revolutionary people's movement is a necessary precondition for the principled and accountable participation of revolutionary organizers and militants in electoral struggles.
We struggle against all attempts to assimilate the revolutionary people’s movement into the structures of imperialism. With the rise of the neoliberal phase of imperialist governance, policies of austerity were combined with state repression to destroy the autonomous political composition of the organized workers' movement, national liberation movements, and a diverse range of grassroots struggles fighting for gender, sexual, disability, and youth liberation, people's control of healthcare and housing, the rights of welfare recipients, prisoners, and elders, and environmental justice. 'Non-profits', also known as 'non-governmental organizations' (NGOs), stepped in to fill the void by providing grant-funded services. The non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) is a system of relations among the imperialist ruling class, the state, capitalist-sponsored foundations, and non-profit service providers. The NPIC serves to pacify the masses and defuse class struggle without addressing the root causes of oppression and exploitation, while redirecting potential revolutionary organizers and militants into the surveillance, policing, and management of oppressed communities through grant-funded careers. Non-profits are structurally dependent on funding from imperialist capital and the state; no matter how progressive they appear, there are intrinsic limitations to what can be achieved within the NPIC-NGO framework. The imperialist ruling class will not bankroll the anti-imperialist revolution. Instead, the communist movement must build its social base among the proletarian and popular masses by breaking the hegemony of the NPIC-NGOs, and constructing a people's revolutionary united front that is autonomous from the imperialist world-system.
We are committed to building a revolutionary party organization that can assist and guide the construction, defense, and territorial generalization of a system of revolutionary people’s power. Such a system of counterpower can only emerge from below, growing from the workplace, school, and neighborhood to the local and regional levels until it converges at the territorial level, armed with the capacity to directly challenge capitalist-imperialism and the state which defends it. This will be achieved through the strategic insertion of communist organizers and militants, who will conduct social investigations and mass work at these sites of insertion with the aim of constructing autonomous mass organizations, people’s defense organizations, and a revolutionary united front. For our organization, the construction of a revolutionary party begins with the patient construction of local organizations composed of cadre committed to building a base of proletarian and popular power through social investigation, strategic social insertion, and mass work, as well as the self-critical assessment and summation of this work. We view a party organization as an indispensable tool for developing the autonomous capacities of the masses, building the power of the people, and fighting for material improvements in the present while simultaneously preparing the people for self-governance in the future. Such a party can constitute a focal point for the political recomposition of the working class and oppressed social groups in their struggle for liberation. The party is thus a catalyst for uniting the revolutionary people's movement, and functions as a guide and defender of the communist vision and program throughout the revolutionary process.
We believe the revolutionary people’s movement in general, and a communist political organization in particular, must maximally prefigure the relations of a communist society. This means the development of an ethical praxis grounded in feminist principles, and an organizational culture grounded in participatory democracy. Members of a communist political organization must be accountable to each other and to the mass revolutionary movement of which we are a part. Abusive behavior by members of our organization will not be tolerated in any context. When oppressive social relations are reproduced within the ranks of a revolutionary organization, they must be confronted directly and not brushed under the rug “for the sake of unity.”
We are committed to constructing an internally pluralistic, multi-party communist movement. We stand for the principled unity of communists and the construction of national, transnational, and global networks of revolutionary party organizations. Embedded within the revolutionary people's movement, a multi-party coordinating network should facilitate the comradely exchange of theoretical and strategic perspectives, summarize lessons learned through past and present experience, and bolster the unity of all revolutionary communist organizations, ultimately converging upon a common platform and program of action.
We are committed to constructing autonomous mass organizations for the defense and advancement of the people's collective needs and interests, and as vehicles for the future exercise of power by the proletarian and popular masses. From tenant councils and labor unions to student and community associations, the strategic aim of communist participation in mass organizations is to transform them into genuine organs of counterpower. Utilizing an assembly-based model of mass participatory democracy, such organizations can scaffold the skills necessary for the people to autonomously solve their own problems, develop and implement their own programs of action, and exercise their own power as a collective revolutionary subject in the governance of the territorial people's commune.
We recognize that the imperialist ruling class and the legions of fascist reaction will never allow the revolutionary people’s movement to peacefully dismantle the imperialist world-system. Therefore, the revolutionary people’s movement must develop self-defense capacities among the masses in order to repel and defeat counter-revolutionary violence, exercise proletarian and popular power, and safeguard the revolutionary process during the phase of transition.
We are committed to supporting, accompanying, and participating in the global liberation struggle of all colonized nations and peoples. This includes the liberation struggles of the Indigenous, Black and New Afrikan, Xicanx, and Boricuan peoples imprisoned, oppressed, and exploited within the continental borders of the U.S. empire. We work for the overthrow and abolition of white supremacy, antiblackness, settler-colonialism, neocolonialism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, and all other forms of racism, jingoism, and xenophobia. We maintain that the autonomy of oppressed nations and peoples is foundational to the communist vision. We support self-determination for all territories annexed and oppressed by the U.S. empire, including Hawai'i, Puerto Rico, Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands, and uphold the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples. From Palestine to the Philippines, we are committed to the liberation and independence of the nations and peoples of the global peripheries oppressed by imperialism’s colonial and neocolonial policies, and to the complete disbandment of the imperial core’s military outposts. We support struggles for migrant autonomy, the freedom of movement of all peoples, and an end to border imperialism.
We stand against all forms of heteropatriarchy, including women's oppression, transmisogyny, and queerphobia. Specifically, we support transfeminist liberation struggles, sex-worker organizing, and the struggles of all women against gender violence. We are against all forms of "feminism" which exclude trans women and sex-workers. We are for the revolutionary transformation of the relations of social reproduction, and the communization of domestic labor, childrearing and childcare, and all kin-making social activities.
We stand against all forms of class exploitation and the domination of the global working class by capital. We support, accompany, and participate in the liberation struggle of the proletariat, and support the establishment of organs of proletarian counterpower, such as fighting labor unions, autonomous assemblies, action committees, and workers’ councils, as well as the establishment of proletarian self-defense organizations. By seizing and collectivizing the means of social production and reproduction, the working class can initiate the transition to a classless, stateless society. During this transition to communism, the proletariat must assert its agency as the leading class in the revolutionary process, struggling against the restoration of capitalist class power or the emergence of a new class of bureaucrats. Throughout the revolutionary process, the struggle continues within the class itself against the reproduction of oppressive social relations (such as those formed on the basis of race, nation, gender, sexuality, and ability), and for the prefiguration and realization of a communist ethics. With the successful construction of a world commune of communes, this transitional process will culminate in the proletariat’s self-abolition as a class along with all other classes and forms of state power.
We are committed to the construction of a system of revolutionary people’s power based on federated communal councils, federated workers’ councils, and the autonomous mass organizations, defensive military formations, and revolutionary parties coordinated by the united front. We call this system of revolutionary people’s power a counterstate or semi-state, for it functions as a shield for the defense and stabilization of the territorial people’s commune, and a leading element in the process of communist social reconstruction. The imperialist bourgeoisie will never surrender their wealth and power voluntarily nor peacefully. Furthermore, the social relations inherited from capitalist-imperialism will not be overcome instantaneously. The transition to communism will thus be a protracted and intentional process, during which the initial gains of the social revolution must be consolidated and expanded, the proletarian and popular masses empowered to govern society, the resistance of the former ruling class decisively broken, and the counter-revolution roundly defeated and disarmed. This will require that the masses of revolutionary workers and popular sectors exercise power directly in the process of reorganizing social life, seizing and collectivizing the means of social production and reproduction, integrating non-proletarian classes into socially-useful productive activity, and laying the foundations for the emergence of the world commune of communes. So long as the struggle between antagonistic classes and social groups persists, so long as the battle between revolution and counter-revolution rages on, then so too will the social relations of state power continue to exist, albeit a revolutionary counterstate or semi-state of the commune type based on a federated council system. Only the victory of the world revolution and the successful construction of a world commune of communes will secure the complete abolition of the state as a social relation. In order to prevent the bureaucratization of the counterstate and to advance the revolutionary process towards the world commune, a continuous revolution must be unleashed from below through which the masses seize power in all areas of social life in order to construct a free association of social individuals, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.