Short for Combat Battalion for Resolute Action. This is yet another Indian government paramilitary force attempting to suppress the Naxalites (Maoist revolutionaries).
CODE SWITCHING [Linguistics]
Varying your use of language when speaking to different types of people, or in different situations, or on different topics, etc.
COGNITIVE DISSONANCE [Psychology]
Internal psychological conflict which arises from incongruous ideas and beliefs held simultaneously. Thus the confusion which results from holding incompatible or incoherent ideas.
Cognitive dissonance often develops for a period after someone initially changes their mind about some one important idea. For example, if a religious person abandons their irrational belief in God, they might for a time be confused about morality (assuming they previously thought that God’s word was the source of moral principles). Making one change in a person’s ideas often leads to a necessary cascade of further related changes, as the person switches from one general outlook to another, and tries to develop a new coherent overall worldview. Anybody who learns to seriously think at all has to go through this sort of thing. Thinking necessarily involves periods of confusion that take time and further thought and/or investigation to clear up.
[In ethics:] The first big division among all the various ethical theories that have been developed over the centuries is between cognitivism and non-cognitivism. Cognitivism holds that moral judgments are meaningful, and that they are either true or false. Non-cognitivism, incredibly, denies these facts! MLM Class Interest Ethics is of course a cognitive ethical theory. Thus we say a sentence such as “The U.S. imperialist war against Iraq is wrong!” is both clearly meaningful, and definitely true!
A secret program within the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the U.S. federal government to frame revolutionaries for crimes they didn’t commit, foment suspicions and conflict within revolutionary and radical groups, and blacken the reputations of revolutionaries with all sorts of false accusations and rumors. Although this sort of thing has gone on at one level or another within the government for well over a century and continues to happen today, the official COINTELPRO program ran from 1956 to 1971.
COINTELPRO (an acronym for Counter Intelligence Program) was a series
of covert, and often illegal, projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau
of Investigation (FBI) aimed at investigating and disrupting dissident political
organizations within the United States. The FBI used covert operations from its
inception, however formal COINTELPRO operations took place between 1956 and 1971. The
FBI’s stated motivation at the time was “protecting national security, preventing
violence, and maintaining the existing social and political order.”
According to FBI records, 85% of COINTELPRO resources were expended on infiltrating, disrupting, marginalizing, and/or subverting groups suspected of being subversive, such as communist and socialist organizations; the women’s rights movement; militant black nationalist groups, and the non-violent civil rights movement, including individuals such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and others associated with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Congress of Racial Equality, the American Indian Movement, and other civil rights groups; a broad range of organizations labeled “New Left”, including Students for a Democratic Society, the National Lawyers Guild, the Weathermen, almost all groups protesting the Vietnam War, and even individual student demonstrators with no group affiliation; and nationalist groups such as those “seeking independence for Puerto Rico.” The other 15% of COINTELPRO resources were expended to marginalize and subvert “white hate groups,” including the Ku Klux Klan and National States’ Rights Party.
The directives governing COINTELPRO were issued by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who ordered FBI agents to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” the activities of these movements and their leaders. [From the Wikipedia entry on COINTELPRO.]
See also: GERONIMO PRATT, RAINBOW COALITION, and COINTELPRO: FBI’s War on Black America(1989) [high quality 50 min. documentary video by Denis Mueller & Deb Ellis].
The long post-World War II contention between United States imperialism (and its bloc) and the Soviet Union (and its bloc). This contention came very close to becoming an inter-imperialist nuclear war at several points, most notably during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. But fortunately (and rather surprisingly!), all-out war did not happen. The contention was fierce, however, and involved a number of “proxy wars” by each side against the other, an enormous military arms race, major economic struggle, and so forth. During the first period (up until the mid-1950s), the Soviet Union was still a socialist country—though one with many serious defects—and from then on the Soviet Union was a social-imperialist country (i.e., socialist in name only, but capitalist-imperialist in actual fact). Thus most of the Cold War was an inter-imperialist contention between the two capitalist superpowers armed to the teeth. Humanity was lucky to have survived it!
[More to be added... ]
COLLATERALIZED DEBT OBLIGATION (CDO)
A type of financial security often composed of the riskier portions of mortgage-backed securities; i.e., a share in a package of bonds or mortgages which is most often created in order to hide the high-risk nature of these particular bonds or mortgages. Since the risks of the underlying debt are hidden from view, both credit rating agencies and investors can be fooled into treating these CDOs as more conservative and valuable investments than they really are. The financial institutions issuing the CDOs can therefore trick unsuspecting (but greedy) investors into buying very risky debt by promising high interest rates. Thus even in their actual purpose, CDOs are yet another form of capitalist financial fraud.
See also: SECURITIZATION
“COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY” (In the Russian Village Commune)
See: VILLAGE COMMUNE—Collective Responsibility In
1. Living and working together as a group (as opposed to individualism).
2. An ethical theory based on the collective interests of groups of people (such as classes), rather than on the separate interests of individuals.
See: FARC-EP, WAR ON DRUGS
See: HISTORY—As Comedy
See: COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL
A term used by bourgeois economists to describe planned economies (socialist or state-capitalist) where there is no (or very limited) open market for commodities at least within the sphere of production. (Even under socialism distribution of consumer goods to the public is still mostly through commodity markets until we get to a communist society.) Bourgeois ideologists oppose these “command economies” to the so-called “free market” economy, and therefore view “command economies” as inherently authoritarian and opposed to “freedom”. What they have failed to notice is that within virtually every capitalist corporation itself, there exists this very same sort of “command economy”! Thus every automobile corporation makes detailed and elaborate plans about how many cars to build, in a given period, the processes and materials to use, the design and location of its new plants, etc. State capitalism in the Soviet Union was also a planned economy for the most part, and in a sense “one big corporation” with multi-leveled layers of detailed planning. The commandist (anti-democratic and anti-mass line) structure and operation of revisionist Soviet industry has colored the conception of bourgeois economists about what a “command economy” must be like.
Under genuine socialism, and communism too, it will be important to oppose any actual commandist aspects that may develop in production, especially within the individual workplaces (where they are nearly universal and mandatory in capitalist production today). Emphasis on the mass line, proletarian democratic management of industry, and obtaining ideas and input from all the workers involved are our main tools to combat the possible secondary bad aspects of economic planning.
See also: PLANNING (Economic), DECENTRALIZATION—Socialist
Ordering, or even forcing, people to do something, rather than using the method of discussion and persuasion to convince them to act. Commandism is a bourgeois method of leadership, not a proletarian method. But unfortunately, some revolutionaries have not been adequately trained and educated in the use of proletarian democratic methods. For this reason commandism within our own ranks is a continuing problem to be struggled against.
“Marxists have always held that the cause of the proletariat must depend on the masses of the people and that Communists must use the democratic method of persuasion and education when working among the laboring people and must on no account resort to commandism or coercion. The Chinese Communist Party faithfully adheres to this Marxist-Leninist principle.” —Mao, “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People” (Feb. 27, 1957), SW 5:391.
“Commandism is wrong in any type of work, because in overstepping the level of political consciousness of the masses and violating the principle of voluntary mass action it reflects the disease of impetuosity. Our comrades must not assume that everything they themselves understand is understood by the masses. Whether the masses understand it and are ready to take action can be discovered only by going into their midst and making investigations. If we do so, we can avoid commandism.” —Mao, “On Coalition Government” (April 24, 1945), SW 3:316.
Certificates (IOUs) for unsecured short-term loans, often for a 3-month period, from one corporation to another. Holders of these IOUs can also sell them to other corporations.
A government minister (high official) in the Soviet Union.
A ministry (government agency) in the Soviet Union.
COMMITTEES OF CORRESPONDENCE FOR DEMOCRACY AND SOCIALISM
The Committees of Correspondence is a social-democratic (i.e., revisionist and non-revolutionary) organization, originally organized within the revisionist Communist Party USA as a pro-Gorbachev, anti-Gus Hall faction, and opposed to what was called “Leninism” in the CPUSA milieu. They were led by Gil Green and included many prominent members and close associates of the CPUSA, such as Herbert Aptheker, Angela Davis and the folk singer Pete Seeger. In 1991, at the time that Soviet social-imperialism was collapsing, they split off from the CPUSA to form an independent organization. Their name (appropriately) comes from the committees organized by the governments of the American states during the American bourgeois revolution for the purpose of promoting coordinated action against Britain. In the year 2000 they added the phrase “for Democracy and Socialism” to their name, which is ridiculous since they have no idea what either genuine democracy or genuine socialism even are! They are sometimes referred to by their initials as CCDS, and allow dual membership with the reformist so-called Socialist Party USA.
1. The transformation (as in a pre-capitalist society) towards the production of more commodities (goods produced for sale) rather than goods produced for use by the maker of them.
2. [Modern bourgeois sense:] The transformation of a product into a commodity in the narrow bourgeois sense [See definition 3 in the entry for COMMODITY below.]
“And while societies can be more capitalist or less capitalist, they are the most capitalist when all inputs (including labor-power) and outputs of the production process are completely commodified.” —Robert Albritton, Economics Transformed: Discovering the Brilliance of Marx (2007), p. 10.
1. [In Marxist political economy:] A product of labor made for sale, rather than for direct use. “[A] commodity, that is, a use-value which has a certain exchange-value.” —Marx, TSV, 1:399.
2. [Widespread broad bourgeois sense:] Any product, regardless of whether it is produced to be sold or not.
3. [Narrow bourgeois sense:] A product which is produced by a large number of seriously competing companies, the sale of which therefore cannot create extra profits for any monopolistic or oligopolistic producer. Thus we see comments such as: “PC’s have become a commodity, which is why IBM got out of the business of selling them.”
Economic production in which goods and services are produced in order to be exchanged for each other in some form of market. The commodities are produced by individuals or groups of people who engage in their activities more or less separately and independently from one another. The most widespread form of commodity production today is of course capitalism, but commodity production existed in more primitive and limited forms before capitalism developed, and long before capitalism became the dominant socioeconomic system in the world.
The mental skills and ideas that most people in a given society or social era share. Common sense is much more extensive and complex, and includes vastly more implicit knowledge, than most people realize. However, it also includes the biases and erroneous conventional opinions of the given age as well.
“It [common sense] is the mode of thought of its time, containing all the prejudices of this time.” —Hegel, Lectures on the History of Philosophy; quoted in Lenin, LCW 38:273.
This means violence between different “communities” (ethnic or religious groups) in a society, and is most commonly referred to in connection with India.
See also: BJP, and HINDUTVA
See: PARIS COMMUNE, PEOPLE’S COMMUNES (China), UTOPIAN COMMUNE, VILLAGE COMMUNE (Russia)
1. Communist society.
2. A social ideal and theory of society in which there are no social classes.
3. [In bourgeois usage:] Any government or political movement which is at least vaguely or nominally influenced by Marx, Lenin or Mao Zedong, regardless of its real nature.
COMMUNISM — Among Early Christians
“Christianity knew only one point in which all men were equal: that all were equally born in original sin—which corresponded perfectly to its character as the religion of the slaves and the oppressed. Apart from this it recognized, at most, the equality of the elect, which however was only stressed at the very beginning. The traces of community of goods which are also found in the early stages of the new religion can be ascribed to solidarity among the proscribed rather than to real equalitarian ideas. Within a very short time the establishment of the distinction between priests and laymen put an end even to this incipient Christian equality.” —Engels, Anti-Dühring (1878), MECW 25:96.
COMMUNISM — Bourgeois Objections To
[To be added... ]
See also: FREE RIDER PROBLEM
[Marxist sense:] A person who works to bring about the overthrow of capitalism by the working class, and the transformation of capitalist society into socialism and then into communist society. Communists attempt to do this collectively, which means they form and promote revolutionary parties.
“They [Communists] have no interests separate and apart from those
of the proletariat as a whole.
“They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own, by which to shape and mold the proletarian movement.
“The Communists are distinguished from the other working-class parties by this only: 1. In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different countries, they point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality. 2. In the various stages of development which the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole.
“The Communists, therefore, are on the one hand, practically, the most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement.” —Marx & Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), Ch. II, MECW 6:497.
COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL (COMINTERN)
An international association of communist parties established under the leadership of Lenin... Also known as the “Comintern” for short, as the “Third International” (since it followed the Second International), and often simply as “the International”. [More to be added... ]
See also the sub-topics below.
“The Communist International, that is, the Third International, was a
united international body of the world’s Communist Parties and communist organizations.
After the outbreak of World War I the revisionists who had usurpted the leadership of
the Second International were further unmasked. In unity with the revolutionary Leftists
of various countries, Lenin waged an unrelenting struggle against these types. On March
2, 1919, under his leadership, the First Congress of the Communist International was
held in Moscow, at which the founding of the Third International was officially
announced. In the 24 years from its founding to its dissolution, the Third International
defended Marxism-Leninism and helped the advanced elements of the working class in all
lands to organize revolutionary Marxist-Leninist Parties. It supported the Soviet Union,
the world’s first socialist state, lent assistance to the liberation movements of the
oppressed nations in the East, and carried on an international struggle against fascism.
During World War II, in view of the fact that the growing complexity of the changes
taking place both in various countries and in the international arena had made it
impossible for the existing organizational form to answer the needs of the new situation,
the Communist International, with the unanimous approval of the Communist Parties of all
lands, announced on June 10, 1943 its official dissolution.” —Reference note, Peking
Review, #47, Nov. 18, 1977, p. 26.
[Whether it was actually correct to dissolve the Comintern in 1943 is a contentious issue, as are many questions about how the organization actually operated, such as its complete domination by Stalin, and so forth. —S.H.]
COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL — First Congress
“The First Congress of the Communist International was held on
March 2-6, 1919, in Moscow. Fifty-two delegates attended, 34 with the right to vote and
18—with voice but no vote. The following Communist and Socialist parties, organizations
and groups were represented: the Communist Parties of Russia, Germany, German Austria,
Hungary, Poland, Finland, the Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Byelorussia, Estonia,
Armenia, of the German colonies in Russia, the Swedish Left Social-Democratic Party,
the Norwegian Social-Democratic Party, the Swiss Social-Democratic Party (Opposition),
the Revolutionary Balkan Federation, the United Group of the Eastern Tribes of Russia,
the French Zimmerwaldian Left, the Czech, Bulgarian, Yugoslav, British, French, and
Swiss Communist groups, the Dutch Social-Democratic Party, the American League of
Socialist Propaganda, the American Socialist Labor Party, the Chinese Socialist Labor
Party, the Korean Workers’ League, the Turkestan, Turkish, Georgian, Azerbaijan and
Persian Sections of the Central Bureau of Eastern Nations and the Zimmerwald
“The first meeting of the Comintern passed a decision ‘to consider this meeting as an international communist conference’, and adopted the following agenda: 1) the inauguration, 2) reports, 3) the platform of the international communist conference, 4) bourgeois democracy and proletarian dictatorship, 5) the Berne Conference and the attitude towards socialist trends, 6) the international situation and the policy of the Entente, 7) the Manifesto, 8) the White terror, 9) elections to the Bureau, and various organizational questions.
“The conference, whose work centered on Lenin’s theses and report on bourgeois democracy and proletarian dictatorship, unanimously expressed solidarity with Lenin’s theses and adopted a decision to refer them to the Bureau for dissemination in the various countries. The conference also adopted a resolution tabled by Lenin, in addition to the theses.
“On March 4, after the theses and the resolution on Lenin’s report had been adopted, the conference decided to constitute itself as the Third International, and to take the name of the Communist International. On the same day a resolution was unanimously passed to consider the Zimmerwald Left dissolved, and the Comintern platform was approved, on the following main principles: 1) the inevitability of the capitalist social system being replaced by a communist system; 2) the necessity of the proletariat’s revolutionary struggle to overthrow bourgeois governments; 3) the abolition of the bourgeois state and its replacement by a state of a new type, i.e., the state of the proletariat, of the Soviet type, which will ensure the transition to a communist society.
“One of the most important documents of the Congress was the Manifesto to the world proletariat, which declared that the Communist International was the successor of Marx’s and Engels’s ideas as expressed in the Communist Manifesto. The Congress called upon the workers of the world to support Soviet Russia, and demanded non-interference by the Entente in the internal affairs of the Soviet Republic, the withdrawal of the interventionist troops from Russian territory, recognition of the Soviet state, the raising of the economic blockade, and the resumption of trade relations.
“In its resolution on ‘The Attitude Towards the “Socialist” Parties and the Berne Conference’, the Congress condemned the attempts to re-establish the Second International, which was ‘an instrument of the bourgeoisie only’, and declared that the revolutionary proletariat had nothing in common with that conference.
“The establishment of the Third, Communist International played a tremendous part in restoring links between the working people of many countries, in forming and consolidating Communist parties, and in exposing opportunism in the working-class movement.” —Note 73, LCW 31.
COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL — Second Congress
“The Second Congress of the Communist International met from
July 19 to August 7, 1920. The opening session was held in Petrograd and the
subsequent sessions in Moscow. It was attended by over 200 delegates who represented
workers’ organizations of 37 countires. Apart from delegates representing the
Communist parties and organizations of 31 countries, there were delegates from the
Independent Social-Democratic Party of Germany, the Socialist parties of Italy and
France, Industrial Workers of the World (Australia, Britain and Ireland), the National
Confederation of Labor of Spain and other organizations.
“Lenin directed all the preparatory work before the Congress. At its first session he made a report on the international situation and the fundamental tasks of the Communist International. Throughout the Congress, in his reports and speeches, Lenin fought uncompromisingly against the opportunist Centrist parties, who were attempting to penetrate into the Third International, and levelled sharp criticism at the anarcho-syndicalist trends and ‘Left’ sectarianism of a number of communist organizations. Lenin took part in the work of various commissions and delivered reports and speeches on the international situation and the fundamental tasks of the Communist International, the national and the colonial questions, the agrarian question and the terms of admission into the Communist International. Lenin’s theses on the fundamental tasks of the Second Congress of the Communist International, the national and the colonial questions, the agrarian question and the terms of admission into the Communist International were endorsed as Congress decisions.
“The Second Congress laid the foundations of the programme, organizational principles, strategy and tactics of the Communist International.” —Note 77, LCW 31.
The first international organization of the revolutionary proletariat, which was founded in London in the summer of 1847.
“The League was organized and guided by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, who, on instructions from the League, wrote its programme—the Manifesto of the Communist Party. The Communist League set itself the aim of overthrowing the bourgeoisie, destroying the old bourgeois society founded on the antagonism of classes and establishing a new society without classes and without private property. The Communist League played an important historical role as a school for proletarian revolutionaries and as the embryo of the proletarian party; it was the predecessor of the International Working Men’s Association (the First International). It existed until November 1852, its most prominent members later playing a leading role in the First International.” —Note 7 to Lenin, Selected Works, vol. I, (Moscow: 1967).
The world-famous and deeply profound document written by Marx and Engels in 1847 and first published in February 1848. Its formal title is The Manifesto of the Communist Party. It contains the first and probably still the best overall summary of the theoretical principles of Marxism and the strategy and tactics of the Communist revolutionary movement.
The Communist Manifesto is online in numerous places, including: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/
“It [the Communist Manifesto] was commissioned by the Second
Congress of the Communist League in November 1847, and it was first published in February
“This was a stormy period: the period of the February 1848 Revolution in France and of the climax of the Chartist Movement in Britain, when the working class appeared for the first time on the stage of history as an independent force.
“Readers who want to know something of the background of the Manifesto should read the various prefaces—written by Marx and Engels to different editions (published with the Manifesto), and should also turn to Engels’ History of the Communist League and Marx’s Class Struggles in France, 1848-50.
“The Manifesto was an epoch-making document. Up to that time, socialists had been putting forward utopian schemes (imaginary projects for an ideal society) or were engaging in secret conspiracies, while the rising working class movement lacked a revolutionary theory. The Manifesto signified the union of scientific socialism with the mass working-class movement.
“The fundamental ideas of the Manifesto may be summed up under five main headings:
1. The Theory of the Class Struggle
“The history of all societies since the break-up of the primitive communes has been the history of class struggles.
“In capitalist society a stage has been reached when the victory of the exploited class, the proletariat, over the ruling exploiting class, the bourgeoisie, will once and for all emancipate society at large from all exploitation, oppression, class distinctions and class struggles.
“The conception of the working class struggle set forth in the Manifesto follows from Marx’s materialist conception of history, the essentials of which are summarized in Engels’ prefaces to the English edition of 1888 and to the German edition of 1883.
2. The Development of Capitalist Society
“Capitalism itself developed out of feudalism, and the capitalist class is itself the product of a long course of development, of a series of revolutions in the mode of production and exchange.
“The capitalist class has conquered exclusive political sway in the modern parliamentary state. In its development, it has played a most revolutionary role. It has brought into being the great new productive forces of modern industry. But in creating modern industry it has created its own gravediggers, the proletariat.
3. The Development of the Proletariat
“The growth of the proletariat as a class is accompanied by the growth of its organization, both economic and political.
“At first the proletariat is incoherent and scattered. It is originally dragged into the political arena by the bourgeoisie, which must appeal to the proletariat to help fight the remnants of feudalism. The Manifesto deals with the stages of political development through which the proletariat becomes organized into a class, and consequently into a political party, combined against the bourgeoisie.
“While the proletariat fights against all relics of feudalism and for the fullest extension of democracy, it leads the struggle for socialism against the capitalists, a struggle which must culminate in the proletariat conquering power and becoming itself the ruling class.
4. From Socialism to Classless Society
“With power in its hands, the proletariat makes drastic inroads into the power of the capitalists and into capitalist property relations.
“From the rule of the proletariat will come classless society, in which will arise new people, new human relations—‘an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.’
5. The Aim of the Communist Party
“The Manifesto contains a trenchant defense of the aims of Communism, and it exposes various fashionable brands of ‘socialism’ as expressions, not of the working-class standpoint, but of the reactionary standpoints of other classes—of the decaying aristocracy, the petty-bourgeoisie or the bourgeoisie itself. The ideas of Communism, on the other hand, are not inventions of any would-be reformers, but spring from the existing class struggle.
“Communists have no interests apart from those of the working class as a whole. Their policy is to fight for the immediate aims of the class, to form an alliance with every movement opposed to the existing social order, and in the movement of the present always to take care of the future, striving to unite the class for the overthrow of capitalist class rule and for the conquest of power.”
—Maurice Cornforth, Readers’ Guide to the Marxist Classics (London: 1952), pp. 6-7.
“The Communist Manifesto of 1847 is an extraordinary document, full of insights, rich in meanings and bursting with political possibilities. Millions of people all around the world—peasants, workers, soldiers, intellectuals as well as professionals of all sorts—have, over the years, been touched and inspired by it.” —David Harvey, in his introduction to an edition of the Communist Manifesto.
1. The morality of people in communist society.
2. The morality of communists (i.e., the same thing as proletarian morality while classes still exist). [I personally try to use the term only in the first sense, in order to avoid confusion. —S.H.]
COMMUNIST PARTY OF CHINA
[Usually referred to in short as the “CCP”, for Chinese Communist Party, rather than the “CPC”.] This is the great revolutionary party founded in 1921, and which—under the leadership of Mao Zedong—led one of the greatest revolutions in world history, achieving state power on the mainland of China in 1949. During the 1950s it transformed China into a socialist country, both in industry and through cooperatives and the people’s communes in the countryside. It then engaged in a massive ideological struggle against the revisionist Soviet Union, and against revisionists and capitalist-roaders within its own ranks. These revisionists were pushed from positions of power in China during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and until Mao’s death in 1976. Unfortunately, at that point the proletarian revolutionary followers of Mao were defeated. Under the leadership of the arch villain Deng Xiaoping, China was transformed back into a capitalist country.
[More to be added...]
See also the sub-topics below.
COMMUNIST PARTY OF CHINA — Party Congresses
|National Congresses of the Chinese Communist Party|
|First||July 23-31, 1921||Shanghai and (on the last day
only) Jiaxing, Zhejiang
|12 delegates representing 50 party members. Zhang Guotao & Chen |
Duxiu are top leaders; Mao represents Hunan.
|Second||July 16-23, 1922||Shanghai||12 delegates; 195 party members. Mao absent.|
|Third||June 12-20, 1923||Guangzhou||About 30 delegates; 420 members.|
|Fourth||Jan. 11-22, 1925||Shanghai||20 delegates; 994 members.|
|Fifth||April 27-May 9, 1927||Hankou||About 80 delegates; 57,967 members.|
|Sixth||June 18-July 11, 1928||Moscow||About 84 delegates (plus 34 alternates); membership about 40,000. |
Held outside China because of reactionary GMD attacks. Mao absent.
|Seventh||April 23-June 11, 1945||Yan’an [Yenan]||544 reg. delegates; 1.21 million members. Mao named undisputed |
leader & Mao Tse-tung Thought added to Party Constitution.
|Sept. 15-27, 1956||Beijing||1,026 delegates; 10.73 million members. Mao Tse-tung Thought |
removed from Constitution.
|May 5-23, 1958||Beijing|| |
|Ninth||April 1-24, 1969||Beijing||1,512 delegates; 22 million members. Liu Shaoqi & Deng Xiaoping |
removed; Lin Biao becomes Vice-Chairman. Mao’s Thought added back
|Tenth||Aug. 24-28, 1973||Beijing||1,249 delegates; 28 million members. Lin Biao condemned. This is the |
high tide of proletarian revolutionary power in the CCP.
|Eleventh||Aug. 12-18, 1977||Beijing||1,510 delegates; 35 million members. Deng Xiaoping reinstated in |
all previous posts.
|Twelfth||Sept. 1-11, 1982||Beijing||1,600 delegates; 40 million members. Hu Yaobang replaces |
transitional figure Hua Guofeng.
|Thirteenth||Oct. 25-Nov. 1, 1987||Beijing||1,936 delegates; 46 million members. New generation revisionist |
Zhao Ziyang replaces partially retiring Deng Xiaoping.
|Fourteenth||October 12–18, 1992||Beijing||1,989 delegates; 51 million members. Jiang Zemin is CCP General |
Secretary. Hu Jintao elevated to Politburo Standing Committee.
|Fifteenth||September 12–18, 1997||Beijing||2,074 delegates; 60 million members. Jiang Zemin announces plans |
to sell or close most state-owned enterprises.
|Sixteenth||November 8–15, 2002||Beijing||2,114 delegates; 66 million members. Hu Jintao becomes General |
Secretary. Jiang Zemin’s “Three Represents” nonsense added to
|Seventeenth||October 15–21, 2007||Beijing||2,217 delegates; 73.4 million members. Hu Jintao’s bourgeois ideas |
enshrined in Party Constitution as the official guiding ideology.
[Sources: Colin Mackerras & Amanda Yorke, The Cambridge Handbook |
of Contemporary China (1991), and various Internet sites.]
COMMUNIST PARTY OF CHINA — Revisionist Period (1977-?)
[To be added...]
“We are the Communist Party, and we will decide what communism means.” —Chen Yuan, a top banker and a leading member of the contemporary CCP. Quoted in “‘The Party is like God’”, The Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 2, 2010, p. 42; originally quoted in Richard McGregor, The Party (2010).
COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA (MARXIST)
The largest revisionist so-called “Communist” party in India, most often referred to by their initials as the “CPM”. [More to be added... ]
“How uncivilised, if the wave of ‘boss-napping’ in France is indeed
sinister. [Referring to the article “Vive la différence!”, The
Economist, May 9, 2009.] It was different in West Bengal in the 1970s when the
Communists [CPM] took power. One afternoon, a colleague was informed that he and I
would be gheraoed (sourrounded, literally) at close of day
by the staff at the Calcutta office in protest at our regressive management policies.
Alarmed at what would be a delayed start to the usual whisky session at our club, we
negotiated and were granted permission by the protestors to leave early, go home to
shower, change into comfortable clothing and return suitably armed with our favoured
“And so we spent our evening surrounded by 35 staffers who made impassioned speeches and gave high-decibel calls for death to capitalists as we depleted a bottle of Black Knight. It didn’t much improve the taste of the whisky, and the calls for our demise did at times seem over the top. But sinister? Not at all.” —Letter from Stanley Pinto of Bangalore, India, to the editor of the British ruling class business magazine, The Economist, May 30, 2009, p. 20. [It is clear that even back in the 1970s the CPM was merely pretending to be revolutionary. Their calls for the “death of the capitalists” were merely part of their stage play secretly conducted along with the capitalists and designed to fool the masses.]
COMMUNIST PARTY OF IRAN (MARXIST-LENINIST-MAOIST)
A Maoist party founded on May 1, 2001, as a continuation of the Union of Iranian Communists (Sarbedaran). Its party organ is called Haghighat [“Truth”]. It was a member of RIM while that organization existed, and has often been viewed as being closely aligned with the RCPUSA.
COMMUNIST PARTY OF NEPAL (United Marxist-Leninist)
A totally revisionist and politically decadent bourgeois party, which has long since given up any serious pretense of being a revolutionary party. It is one of the three largest parties in Nepal and provides a rather transparent “left cover” for bourgeois forces there, and generally takes very similar positions to that of the openly bourgeois party, the Nepali Congress.
“The Vice Chairman of Nepal Communist Party-United Marxist Leninists (UML) Mr. Bam Dev Gautam has opined that there exists no difference between his own party and Nepali Congress. He made this remark in the district of Dang, November 3, 2010. ‘People have begun feeling that there is no difference between my party and the Nepali Congress’, he said and added, ‘We have failed because we cannot differentiate between our friends and foes.’” —Telegraph Nepal, Nov. 4, 2010.
COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION
[To be added... ]
COMMUNIST PARTY OF TURKEY/MARXIST-LENINIST [TKP/ML]
The largest and most important revolutionary (anti-revisionist) Communist party in Turkey. Note that this Party uses a slash (“/”) in its name; there are (or have been) other similarly named parties which use other punctuation.
The TKP/ML was founded in 1972, and its great founding leader was Ibrahim Kaypakkaya who was tortured to death in prison in 1973. The TKP/ML’s most important periodical is called Partizan [“Partisan”]. It has a military wing, “TIKKO” (Liberation Army of Workers and Peasants of Turkey), which is engaged in guerrilla warfare.
Many of the documents and statements of the TKP/ML are available online at: http://www.bannedthought.net/Turkey/index.htm
COMMUNIST PARTY OF TURKEY (MARXIST-LENINIST) [TKP(ML)]
A different party than the TKP/ML. One of its documents, “Maoism—Lives, Fights, Wins and Keeps Winning!”, from 1997, is posted at: http://www.bannedthought.net/Turkey/index.htm This party later renamed itself as the Maoist Communist Party of Turkey and North Kurdistan.
COMMUNIST PARTY OF TURKEY/MARXIST-LENINIST — Hareketi [“Movement”]
A party which split off from the TKP/ML in 1976. It renounced Maoism and people’s war in 1980, and leaned strongly toward Hoxhaism and the Albanian Party of Labor. In 1994 it merged with the Communist Workers Movement of Turkey (TKIH) to form the Revolutionary Communist Workers Movement of Turkey.
COMMUNIST PARTY OF TURKEY/MARXIST-LENINIST (Maoist Party Centre)
A party founded in 1987 as a split off from the TKP/ML. One of its documents (from 1990) is posted at: http://www.bannedthought.net/Turkey/index.htm
COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA [CPUSA]
A liberal-radical reformist political party which has been hopelessly revisionist for most of its history. When the Soviet Union existed it slavishly followed orders from Moscow. [More to be added... ]
The social revolution which transforms capitalism into communism, via a transitional stage of socialism, and in the process eliminates all social classes and therefore all exploitation of one class by another. The “Four Alls” listed by Marx state the four essential points of communist revolution.
COMMUNIST REVOLUTION — Bourgeois Fear Of
[Intro material to be added...]
“A spectre is haunting Europe—the spectre of Communism. All the Powers
of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Czar,
Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies.
“Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as Communistic by its opponents in power? Where the Opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of Communism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?” —Marx & Engels, opening words to the Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), MECW 6:481.
A classless socio-economic system in which all the means of production are owned and controlled by the people as a whole. The basic economic principle of communist society is “From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.”
See also: SOCIALIST SOCIETY
COMMUNISTS — Aims Of
The long-term goal of communists to is bring about communist society. However, there are many more immediate tasks which must be carried out for this to occur, each of them with many sub-tasks and sub-sub-tasks. The communists must:
Organize themselves into a political party;
Connect themselves up closely with the class struggles of the working class;
Educate the working class on the need for social revolution and what that means;
Help the working class organize itself for revolution;
Lead the working class and its allies in seizing political power;
After this seizure of power, transform capitalism into the transitional stage of socialism;
Lead the working class in struggling against any attempts by the old (or any newly developed) bourgeoisie to return to power; and,
Lead the working class in transforming socialism into communism, where no social classes exist any longer.
“The immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that of all the other proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat.” —Marx & Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), Ch. II: MECW 6:498.
“In short, the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things.” —Marx & Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), Ch. IV: MECW 6:519.
“The Communists fight for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the enforcement of the momentary interests of the working class; but in the movement of the present, they also represent and take care of the future of that movement.” —Marx & Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), Ch. IV: MECW 6:518.
“While actively leading immediate struggles, Communists in the capitalist countries should link them with the struggle for long-range and general interests, educate the masses in a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary spirit, ceaselessly raise their political consciousness and undertake the historical task of the proletarian revolution. If they fail to do so, if they regard the immediate movement as everything, determine their conduct from case to case, adapt themselves to the events of the day and sacrifice the basic interests of the proletariat, that is out-and-out social democracy.” —A Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement: The letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in reply to the letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of March 30, 1963 (Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1963), p. 19.
“The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.” —Marx & Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), Ch. IV, final paragraph: MECW 6:519.
“We Communists do not conceal our political views. Definitely and beyond all doubt, our future or maximum programme is to carry China forward to socialism and communism. Both the name of our Party and our Marxist world outlook unequivocally point to this supreme ideal of the future, a future of incomparable brightness and splendour. On joining the Party, every Communist has two clearly-defined objectives at heart, the new-democratic revolution now and socialism and communism in the future, and for these he will fight despite the animosity of the enemies of communism and their vulgar and ignorant calumny, abuse and ridicule, which we must firmly combat.” —Mao, “On Coalition Government” (April 24, 1945), SW 3:282.
A community that is created and dominated by a single capitalist corporation which often owns the homes of the residents as well as the stores, city agencies and services. The people living in company towns usually have no choice but to work for the one dominating company, and are at risk of not only losing their jobs but of also being forced to move away with nothing if they say or do anything that the company dislikes.
Under capitalism in general, workers are in effect the property (wage slaves) of the capitalist class as a whole. But those living in company towns are often not merely wage slaves, but in a condition a step closer to complete slavery.
Company towns were once fairly commonplace, especially in the U.S., but over the past century they have become less common, especially with the great decline of U.S. manufacturing.
“America has had more experience with company towns than any other country
(though presumably China will eventually catch up with America in this, as in everything
else).... At their height there were more than 2,500 such towns housing 3% of the
“Company towns usually came in one of two forms—the satanic and the Utopian. The satanic type were little better than gulags, where workers were forced to live in company shacks and spend their money in company shops. You could pass a lifetime in a company town without knowing any real freedom. But many other towns were monuments to the Utopian spirit. Benevolent bosses such as Milton Hershey, a chocolate king, and Henry Kaiser, a shipping magnate, went out of their way to provide their workers not just with decent houses but with schools, libraries and hospitals. This Utopian impulse inevitably went hand-in-hand with benevolent bossiness. Hershey served as his town’s major, constable and fire chief and employed a squad of ‘moral police’ to spy on the workers.” —The Economist, Oct. 16, 2010, in a review of the book by Hardy Green, The Company Town: The Industrial Edens and Satanic Mills that Shaped the American Economy (2010).
A labor union, usually of workers at a single company, which is actually controlled (to a degree or totally) by the management of that company, and which—despite its claims to the contrary—actually represents the interests of the company and not those of the workers. Company unions are only possible where at least a significant portion of the workers can be fooled with regard to what their real interests are.
It should be noted, however, that most unions, even those which militantly represent the short-term and immediate interests of its members and which therefore cannot properly be called “company unions”, nevertheless do not really represent all the interests of their members and the working class as a whole. Typically even militant labor unions, especially in advanced capitalist countries, do not at all promote the true political and long-term interests of the working class, and especially their most central long-term interest—seizing working-class political power through social revolution.
The philosophical view that free will is compatible with determinism. In other words, the view that although everything (including each of our own decisions) has definite causes, we are nevertheless still able ourselves to decide what actions to take. Dialectical materialism supports this compatibilist viewpoint.
Of course, there are normally reasons (either explicit or implicit, and either important or trivial) which determine what we consciously decide to do, but far from precluding a free choice, these reasons are what help us decide what choice to make. Conscious human beings (and also many other animals, for that matter) are themselves part of the causal chains that lead to the choices that they make. The parts of the causal chains that are internal to them, and which they are conscious of, are the parts they have control over, and therefore manifestations of their free will.
The opposite view, incompatibilism, holds that if determinism is true (i.e., if everything has causes—including each choice we make), then free will is impossible. But this is a simple-minded or naïve conception of what “free will” might plausibly be construed as. Philosophical idealists often subscribe to incompatibilism, because they do not wish to view people’s actions as being determined by physical causes. On the other hand, naïve materialists also sometimes subscribe to incompatibilism because they have a simplistic notion of what “free will” must mean, a notion similar to that of the idealists. Thus these naïve materialists accept the fact that everything, including each of our own choices, has causes, but falsely conclude that this means there can be no such thing as free will.
1. Under capitalism: The antagonistic struggle between different commodity producers for more advantageous conditions of production and sale of commodities and for higher profits.
2. SOCIALIST COMPETITION: A non-antagonistic sport-like contest between different production teams or enterprises to see which is capable of producing more and better goods for the people while at the same time striving to use less labor and fewer raw materials. The better methods developed by the winners are then freely communicated to all other socialist enterprises.
COMPLEMENTARITY (Quantum Mechanics)
A set of related philosophical concepts especially associated with the idealist Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics. On a gross level, complementarity can simply refer to wave-particle duality in which the view of entities in the microworld as behaving as waves in some situations complements the view that these entities behave as particles in other situations. Here the concept of complementarity can be innocuous, and might only mean that in some experiments and situations it is useful to view electrons and other subatomic particles as waves instead of as particles.
However, complementarity usually implies an idealist philosophical stance, such as the view that microworld entities like electrons are in fact both waves and particles, or the view that they are “neither” until they are observed or measured, or the view that electrons and the like actually do not even have any definite properties at all until they are measured, and so forth. Here is one description of this conception of complementarity with an unsupported idealist philosophical conclusion at the end:
“A profound aspect of complementarity is that it not only applies to measurability or knowability of some property of a physical entity, but more importantly it applies to the limitations of that physical entity’s very manifestation of the property in the physical world. All properties of physical entities exist only in pairs, which Bohr described as complementary or conjugate pairs (which are also Fourier transform pairs). Physical reality is determined and defined by manifestations of properties which are limited by trade-offs between these complementary pairs. For example, an electron can manifest a greater and greater accuracy of its position only in even trade for a complementary loss in accuracy of manifesting its momentum. This means that there is a limitation on the precision with which an electron can possess (i.e., manifest) position, since an infinitely precise position would dictate that its manifested momentum would be infinitely imprecise, or undefined (i.e., non-manifest or not possessed), which is not possible. The ultimate limitations in precision of property manifestations are quantified by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle and Planck units. Complementarity and Uncertainty dictate that all properties and actions in the physical world are therefore non-deterministic to some degree.” —From the Wikipedia article on Complementarity.
This idealist conclusion that “all properties and actions in the physical world are therefore non-deterministic to some degree” simply doesn’t follow! This is only a limitation on the formulas of quantum mechanics to determine properties and actions beyond a certain level of accuracy, not a limitation on the reality or definiteness of reality itself.
The comprador bourgeoisie, or comprador capitalists, refers to that section of the bourgeoisie within a country (especially a Third World country) which acts as the local agents of one or another foreign imperialist power and/or the corporations headquartered in one of those imperialist countries. Thus in China in the period leading up to World War II there was a major group of comprador capitalists working in league with the Japanese imperialists, and another major group of compradors working in league with the U.S. capitalists.
[Intro material to be added... ]
“The proletarian party must be flexible as well as highly principled, and on occasion it must make such compromises as are necessary in the interests of the revolution. But it must never abondon principled policies and the goal of revolution on the pretext of flexibility and of necessary compromises.” —A Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement: The letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in reply to the letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of March 30, 1963 (Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1963), p. 24.
A data or information processing machine or entity, capable of performing mathematical calculations and other operations on the input information, and giving output information as a result.
The first things that were called “computers” were the human beings who performed mathematical calculations, and especially those who were set to work on the more complex calculating tasks such as preparing tables of logarithms. Then mechanical calculators were invented to do some of the computing chores that humans can do (such as multiplications and divisions). Finally, around the time of World War II and shortly afterwards, programmable electronic digital computers were invented which soon became able to perform most or all of the mathematical calculations that humans can do (but vastly faster and more reliably than humans can), and also an ever larger part of the other intellectual operations that humans can perform—including image processing, pattern recognition, semantic processing, recognition of analogies, and so forth.
Though the term “computer” today most often still refers to the present digital electronic machines with only moderately sophisticated programming and capabilities (though rapidly improving), there is also the more abstract philosophical concept of a computer that includes not only existing machines, and the much more powerful ones that will be constructed in the future, but also the brains of the higher animals and of human beings ourselves. On this general philosophical conception of what a computer really is, a human brain is also a computer (or a complex of multiple computers working together).
See also the topics below.
COMPUTERS — and Society
The development of ever more sophisticated computers is having a profound effect on human society. It is a major factor in these and other regards:
* Computers are leading to a qualitative increase in the productivity of human labor, and very rapidly so in a historical time frame.
* Computers are rapidly leading to the automation of mental work as well as physical labor. [See entry below on COMPUTERS AND UNEMPLOYMENT.]
* Computers, through their networking aspect, are allowing the shifting of more and more jobs to low-wage countries overseas.
* Computers are aggravating the fundamental contradiction of capitalism, that between social production and private appropriation.
* Computers, therefore, are making the need for social revolution and the transformation of capitalism into socialism and then communism all the more urgent.
* Computers will make it all the easier to construct socialism and then communism, once the working class is able to achieve political power.
The advent of computers is perhaps the culmination of the technological revolution that is a prerequisite for social revolution and the successful full transformation of capitalism into communist society.
Even in socialist and communist society computers will continue to have long-term profound transformative effects on humanity, though surely in generally more positive ways than they often have now.
COMPUTERS — and Unemployment
The mechanization of work has been a major and growing trend in society since the industrial revolution. For a long time the types of work which were moved to machines were hard physical labor and routine physical operations that were performed over and over again in production. Human beings were still necessary to guide and control these sorts of machines. So though these early types of machines did substantially decrease the total amount of human labor necessary, they did still require some new jobs to be opened up, jobs which often required higher levels of skills and provided better pay.
Digital computers first began to be utilized in corporations in the 1950s. In the first few decades of their use they were mostly employed to do new tasks which were not feasible before, and especially in the preparation of many detailed business reports to aid managers (which mushroomed far beyond their level of true usefulness). Only a relatively small number of clerical jobs were lost, and these were more than made up by the large number of jobs which then arose in data processing and in the manufacture and servicing of computers and related equipment. This phenomenon led to a dogma among bourgeois economists and social observers that claimed that while computers (and technology in general) did eliminate many jobs, on balance they led to more and better jobs. This, however, was only a temporary situation.
By the 1990s computers were clearly eliminating more jobs than they were creating, and this trend has really taken off in the new 21st century and under pressure from the developing economic crisis. The bloated levels of management and management reports are now being trimmed (under the rubric of “restructuring”). And the availability of much improved software for the management of capitalist businesses, along with ever cheaper computer power, is automating more and more clerical sorts of jobs, and now even much intellectual work (including within data processing and the computer industry itself!).
In addition, the combination of computers and industrial machines, which now very frequently take the form of industrial robots, is also eliminating many of the remaining manufacturing jobs.
We could put the overall situation this way: The first wave of automation starting in the mid-20th century mostly eliminated many “blue-collar” manufacturing jobs. The second wave of automation, made possible by computers, began also eliminating large numbers of “white-collar” clerical jobs, especially from the 1990s on. And now this second wave of automation is also being extended to so-called “knowledge workers”, or intellectual work, middle-level management, and so forth. As just one example of this newest trend, many former extremely well paid Wall Street financial analysts are now losing their jobs because their work can be done vastly more cheaply (and generally more reliably) by computers.
The end result is that computers are enormously intensifying the trend towards higher unemployment under capitalism. Under socialism, of course, the elimination of onerous work through the employment of computers, robots, and other advanced machinery, is an extremely good thing, and the benefits from this will be spread among the entire population. But under capitalism it leads to enormous unemployment and desperate poverty, and is thus a disaster for the working class. The root problem is not really with computers, of course; it is instead due to the private appropriation of wealth by a tiny class of exploiters under capitalism.
COMTE, Auguste (1798-1857)
Reactionary French bourgeois philosopher and sociologist, best known as the founder of positivism.
“The danger of conceit. Don’t play the braggart. Our cause depends on the many for its success and the few play only a limited role. While the few, that is, the leaders and cadres, play a role that should be recognized, it is not a role of signal importance. The role of signal importance is played by the masses. The correct relationship between the cadres and the masses is such that, necessary as the cadres are, it is the masses who do the actual work, with the cadres giving leadership, a role which should not be exaggerated. Would things be in a mess without you? Things can get along without you, as history and many facts of life can testify.... Confucius has been dead for ages and today we have a Communist Party in China, which is surely wiser than Confucius; this goes to show that we can do better without Confucius. As for good people, they are not indispensable either. Would the earth stop turning without them? The earth will go on turning all the same. Things will proceed as usual or perhaps even better.” —Mao, “Speeches at the National Conference of the Communist Party of China: Concluding Speech” (March 31, 1955), SW 5:166.
Concentration camps made their appearance with the advent of capitalist imperialism. Where there is imperialism, there is the resistence to it on the part of the subjugated peoples. This always presents a serious problem for the conquerors, to find some method to keep the oppressed masses of people under control, docile, and unable to organize and fight against the imperialists. One method imperialist powers everywhere have learned to use is to force the people to leave their homes and villages and to live within concentration camps. These are essentially big prisons, where the inmates activity can be continuously monitored, and where the people can be kept away from revolutionary ideas and organizers.
In addition, since imperialist wars are always, in essence, wars against the people of the subjugated country, concentration camps have very frequently functioned as death camps in actual practice, and even purposeful genocidal mass extermination camps at times (as by the Nazis).
Concentration camps are of undoubted use to imperialists, and certainly do make organizing the people to struggle against their foreign oppressors more difficult. And yet, the use of concentration camps by the imperialists is also a self-exposure. And the experience of anti-imperialist struggles over the past century and more shows that a determined anti-imperialist revolutionary movement can overcome not only the enemy’s use of concentration camps, but all their vicious tactics.
“The laws governing warfare and conflict make no reference to
concentration camps. But for more than a century, concentration camps have been a
venue for wholesale war crimes and the symbol of the worst abuses against civilians
“It was a Spanish general, Valeriano Weyler, who established the first reconcentrados or ‘concentration centers’ in Cuba in his drive to suppress the 1895 rebellion. Britain introduced concentration camps on a massive scale during the Boer War from 1899 to 1902. To deny the Boer guerrillas food and intelligence, Gen. Lord Kitchener ordered the British Army to sweep the Transvaal and Orange River territories of South Africa ‘clean.’ Civilians—women, children, the elderly, and some men of fighting age—were herded from their homes and concentrated in camps along railway lines, with a view to their eventual removal from the territory. The Boers, to whom these camps became a symbol of genocide, called them laagers.
“The Nazis developed a vast network of Konzentrationslager, using them at first to hold political prisoners, later slave labor, and finally to annihilate European Jewry and to kill large numbers of Poles, Russians, and Gypsies. Of the nearly 6 million Jews killed under Hitler’s ‘Final Solution,’ 2 million died in Auschwitz, the main extermination camp.”
[The writer then describes over a number of paragraphs the wretched humanity he personally witnessed when he and others from the British TV network ITN arrived at an Serbian concentration camp for other ethnic groups in Bosnia in 1992.]
—Ed Vulliamy, “Concentration Camps”, in Roy Gutman, et al., eds., Crimes of War (2007), p. 121.
[There have been many other horrible examples of concentration camps over the past century, including those used by the Japanese imperialists in World War II in China, the Philippines, and other countries; and by the United States in its long imperialist war against Vietnam. In Vietnam some of these were given the euphemistic name of “Strategic Hamlets” by the U.S. military.]
CONCENTRATION OF WEALTH
See: WEALTH DISTRIBUTION—U.S.
CONDILLAC, Étienne Bonnot de (1715-1780)
French philosopher and economist who was a follower of Locke.
CONDUIT [Contemporary Capitalist Finance]
A “special purpose vehicle” (dummy corporation) set up by a bank or financial corporation in order to: 1) keep risky assets and deals off of their own books (to circumvent the legal requirement that they keep larger reserves on hand, which would cut into their profits); and/or 2) for the purpose of engaging in misleading or fraudulent financial maneuvers and shenanigans. There are various financial deals that banks and financial corporations want to profit from, but which are too risky for them to engage in under their own name, so they set up these dummy corporations to do the same thing under a different name and to conduct the profits back to the mother corporation.
Conduits typically hold asset-backed debt (such as mortgages and car loans), credit card receivables, etc., and often borrow money from third parties (most commonly in the form of “commercial paper”) in order to buy these risky assets. Structured Investment Vehicles (SIVs) are one particularly devious type of conduit.
CONFUCIUS (551-479 BCE)
[To be added...]
CONFUCIUS SHOP, The
A term used in China to describe Confucius and the reactionary political and cultural ideology he represented. The slogan “Down with Confucius’ Shop”, which became especially prominent in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, meant breaking down the worship of Confucius and criticizing Confucius and the reactionary ideology associated with him.
See also the article, “Ghost of Confucius’ Shop and Actual Class Struggle”, by Chi Fan-hsiu, in Peking Review, #50, Dec. 12, 1969, pp. 18-21. Also available separately online at: http://www.massline.org/PekingReview/PR1969/PR1969-50-ConfuciusShop.pdf
[To be added...]
See also: Nikolai KONDRATIEV
The internalization of morality within an individual to the degree that it becomes an automatic response, akin in some ways to an emotion. (The physical location of the conscience within the brain has been found to be in the prefrontal cortex.)
[To be added... ]
CONSCIOUSNESS — In the Labor Process
“We pre-suppose labor in a form that stamps it as exclusively human.
A spider conducts operations that resemble those of a weaver, and a bee conducts
operations that puts to shame many an architect in the construction of her cells. But
what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees is this, that the architect
raises his structure in imagination before he erects it in reality. At the end of
every labor-process, we get a result that already existed in the imagination of the
laborer at its commencement. He not only effects a change of form in the material on
which he works, but he also realizes a purpose of his own that gives the law to his
modus operandi, and to which he must subordinate his will. And this subordination is
no mere momentary act. Besides the exertion of the bodily organs, the process demands
that, during the whole operation, the workman’s will be steadily in consonance with
his purpose. This means close attention. The less he is attracted by the nature of
the work, and the mode in which it is carried on, and the less, therefore, he enjoys
it as something which gives play to his bodily and mental powers, the more close his
attention is forced to be.” —Marx, Capital, vol. I, ch. VII, sect. 1,
(International Pub. ed., p. 178; Penguin ed., pp. 283-4).
[This passage deserves much closer attention and careful reflection than it is usually given by readers. Marx seems to be suggesting that not only is this conscious intent and purpose in the labor process the thing that distinguishes human labor from the activity of spiders, bees, etc., but—in the context of his conception of the labor theory of value as whole—he seems to be implying that this somehow explains why human labor, and only human labor, can create surplus value in the capitalist production process. But Marx does not explain here, or elsewhere, why this difference in labor consciousness allows human labor alone to create new value. Why does this matter? Moreover, if this difference nevertheless does somehow explain why human labor power can generate surplus value, then we would be forced to admit that some future computer consciousness controlling machinery might also be able to create surplus value in a capitalist system of production. In other words, labor which was definitely “exclusively human” on this definition in Marx’s era may not always be so! (This idea will be explored further in Android Thought Experiment and some sub-entries about the Labor Theory of Value.) —S.H.]
General agreement; much more than “mere” majority agreement, and often pushed close to meaning near or total unanimity.
Social change requires struggle, and by far the greatest part of social change must occur when a strong majority favors it, even though there may still be at that point a significant minority that opposes the change. If changes can only be made when there is near or total unanimity, then most changes cannot be made at all. This is a point that infantile anarchists are unable to appreciate. The demand for a consensus before any changes are made is an anti-democratic stance. It obstructs the will of a majority, and even of an overwhelming majority. It is also undialectical from a philosophical perspective.
1. The view that only the consequences of an act are relevant in determining its moral justification, not the motives or intentions or “duty” of the person performing the act. Marxist ethics is an example of a consequentialist ethical theory, while Kant’s ethics is an example of one which is not.
See also: DEONTOLOGY
“In examining the subjective intention of a writer or artist, that is, whether his motive is correct and good, we do not judge by his declarations but by the effect of his actions (mainly his works) on the masses in society. The criterion for judging subjective intention or motive is social practice and its effect.” —Mao, “Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art” (May 1942), SW 3:88.
A theory that a secret conspiracy existed (or continues to exist) which led to some event, most often some well-known event such as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Generally conspiracy theories are foolish nonsense cooked up by individuals who may or may not be right in being suspicious about some event, but who often construct elaborate stories to explain the event which are based on little or no evidence or investigation. Thus, while an occasional conspiracy theory might turn out to be true, in general such theories are a triumph of suspiciousness over investigation.
Sometimes young or naïve revolutionaries will construct or adopt conspiracy theories about capitalist society. Thus when first learning about social classes and the dictatorship of the ruling capitalist class, they might jump to the silly conclusion that this means that there are periodic secret meetings of all the important capitalists in a big room somewhere where all the important decisions are made. Such folks are not sophisticated enough to understand that all the ordinary public institutions of American society, including the Presidency and executive branch, the Congress and the judicial system, are themselves the means by which the capitalist class makes its decisions and rules. While there may indeed sometimes be secret meetings of important big-shots, for the most part the mechanisms of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie are quite open and public. However, the fact that this system of rule is actually the dictatorship of one class, the bourgeoisie, is something that is almost never openly admitted, and may not even be fully understood by all of those who are actually exercising that class dictatorship.
The sum total of the value of the means of production: the factories, machines, raw materials, fuel, electrical power, and other necessary products and material inputs used up in the production process, but not including labor-power which is placed in a separate category, variable capital.
[The above description is the standard definition of constant capital, as presented by Marx. However, on another interpretation still within the Marxist milieu, machinery can also be considered to be variable capital. For discussion of this point see the entries for variable capital and the Labor Theory of Value.]
Properly speaking, a parliament, congress or Convention elected for the purpose of drawing up a constitution. Often the difference between a constituent assembly and an ordinary parliament is quite blurred, as in the case of Nepal in the period from 2008 on. The Nepal Constituent Assembly has been unable to agree on a new constitution, and so has merely functioned as an interim parliament.
A very influential modernist school of painting, sculpture and architecture during the period of the Russian Revolution and in the early Soviet Union, which itself was influenced by the slightly earlier modernist school of literature and art known as Futurism. Constructivism strove to create a three-dimensional version of Cubism using modern industrial materials such as steel and glass. It rejected traditional easel painting, and realistic representations of people and nature. Its “constructions” were instead abstract and non-objective. One of the most prominent artists involved in this artistic movement was Vladimir Tatlin, who designed a huge tower, “The Monument to the Third International”, which, however, was never built.
Although the Constructivists opposed “art for art’s sake”, and sought to promote the revolutionary reconstruction of Russia, their works tended to appeal much more to the bourgeois intelligentsia than to ordinary workers and peasants. Trotsky was the most influential political patron of Constructivism, even though he was hostile to the Proletkult movement which was closely connected to it. Constructivism remained very influential in the Soviet Union until around 1934, when the major promotion of Socialist Realism began.
See also: POST-CONSTRUCTIVISM
CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI)
An index of the change in the cost of living in the U.S. which is issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics each month. (The CPI-U is for urban areas, and is the one most commonly referred to.) If the price of a weighted basket of goods and services of the sort that the “average person” supposedly regularly buys goes up by 1.5% from the month before, the CPI is said to rise by 1.5%. This figure is distorted by the government in a variety of ways, including in the selection of which goods to include in this “basket”, the mathematical weight given to each item, and so forth. Up until the 1990s this index was somewhat more reliable, though even then no separate statistical series were kept for different classes and class strata. (Thus the true cost of living can be going up much faster for the poor than it is for the rich.) But starting in the Clinton Administration the statistical distortions became qualitatively worse. More recently, with the “chained CPI” technique now being used, cheaper goods are regularly substituted for more expensive goods in the basket, making the published CPI even more phony.
The graph at the right, for the years 2001-2007, compares the official CPI increase percentages with what they would have been if the method used up until the Clinton years had been continued. As you can see there is a difference of roughly 3 percentage points between the two! [This graph is taken from Kevin Phillips, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism (2008), and is based on calculations by the Shadow Government Statistics website.] A good rule of thumb, therefore, is to add 3 percentage points to whatever the government claims the CPI inrease rate is.
See also: ECONOMIC STATISTICS—Distortion Of
“The U.S. consumer price index continues to be a testament to the art of economic spin. Since wages, Social Security cost-of-living increases and some agency budgets are tied to it, the government has a vested interest in keeping it as low as possible.” —Columnist John Wasik, Bloomberg News, 2007.
CONSUMER SPENDING (Consumer Share of the Economy)
It is frequently claimed that consumer spending constitutes about 70% of the U.S. economy (i.e., 70% of GDP). Upon closer inspection, however, this claim does not hold up.
“We often hear consumer spending is 70% of economic activity since ‘personal consumption expenditures’ total $10 trillion out of $14 trillion in GDP. But this overstates the importance of consumers to the U.S. economy. PCE includes imported goods such as consumer electronics, which mainly stimulate foreign production. It also includes nonconsumer items, such as spending by religious groups. All told, household ‘out-of-pocket’ spending drives roughly 40% of U.S. economic activity.” —Michael Mandel, “Reconsidering Consumers’ Impact on the U.S. Economy”, Business Week, Sept. 28, 2009, p. 17. [The 40% estimate is based on the consumer outlays for domestically-produced goods and services, plus half of import-intensive goods, plus 15% of health-care services.]
As that article also notes, the official “personal consumer expenditures” (PCE) portion of
U.S. GDP includes:
• Operating expenses of private organizations, such as religious groups, and other nonprofit organizations (NGOs) in excess of sales of goods and services (2% of GDP): However, most of this expenditure is actually controlled by boards of directors or government funders rather than by households.
• Imputed services (10% of GDP): Items like the “rental of owner-occupied nonfarm housing”—what, according to idiotic bourgeois economic theory, you “pay yourself” to live in your own home! But imputed services do not actually represent household cash outlays or any direct support whatsoever to U.S. economic activity.
• Import-Intensive Goods (12% of GDP): Includes clothes, electronics, motor vehicles and parts, gasoline, and other goods with large import components. But half or more of this expenditure supports foreign production rather than U.S. production.
• Health-Care Goods and Services (15% of GDP): Includes almost all health-care outlays by not only consumers, but also by HMOs and government programs like Medicare. Only about 15% of this category comes directly from households (though they pay for it all through wage deductions, taxes, or other types of ripped-off value that workers create).
• Domestically Produced Goods and Services (31% of GDP): Any consumer good or service produced mainly in the U.S. for sale here. This category does directly feed into domestic economic activity.
Thus while all wealth comes ultimately from workers acting on the natural resources of the world, the direct contribution of consumer-controlled expenditures to the U.S. economy is only in the neighborhood of 40%.
A term often used by both leftists and bourgeois commentators to describe the current mania in capitalist society for accumulating material possessions. Often, the term will be used when the commentator in question is too timid (or ignorant) to use the other ‘c’ word. The term conveniently lets the basic relations of production of capitalism off the hook, because it makes it seem as though the drive towards commodification and endless buying and selling is a pathology deriving from outside capitalism (perhaps emanating from “human nature”, a lack of religious values, or some such. Proposing that capitalism itself should be done away with is clearly too scandalous for many of these commentators); it also instills the notion that capitalism is sustainable, so long as people employ “sensible” consumption. Those who push such notions seem to want to feel that they are “doing something” to alleviate the horrible damage that capitalism does to the planet and the people on it, while leaving the basic relations of production, which provide the objective conditions out of which consumer mania arise from, intact.
Corollaries of consumerism have also been identified, for example the “marketing orientation” as elucidated by the late Swiss psychoanalyst and socialist Erich Fromm. He wrote of how the structures and habits of thought associated with the production and sale of commodities has seeped into human-to-human relations, affecting even the most intimate aspects of human existence. These are in fact organic extensions of capitalist production (not simply by “allowing”, as Fromm suggested, “our means to become our ends”), for capitalism must, by necessity, always seek new ways of converting capital into more capital and henceforth breaking down every barrier to capital’s expansion. One of the most insidious examples of the utter depravity of consumerism (i.e., the current mode of capitalism as it relates to human psychology and social life) is the modern advertising industry, which constantly aims to find new ways of exploiting personal vulnerabilities and fears—indeed, engendering such pathologies which it then promises to “fix”—as a means of cajoling the target audience to buy the product in question. As the writer and activist Noam Chomsky has remarked, the current system aims to make people as stupid as it’s possible for a human being to be. Consumerism is part-and-parcel of a society that has reached such extremities of sickness and filth that many people are even willing to riot over Nike shoes, as happened recently across the United States when the company released a line of “special edition” sneakers! Providing a systemic critique of this alienation and bringing it to the masses is one of the most urgent tasks for revolutionaries, within the broader and more long-term framework of fighting against material incentives as primary motivations for work.
Material possessions are one of the things that capitalism has dangled in front of the proletariat to trick them into thinking that they have a fundamental, objective stake in maintaining the system. Unfortunately, this has worked quite effectively for a long time, though this is perhaps reaching its limits as the negative aspects of work under capitalism (such as longer working hours, psychological problems, and stress and work-related illnesses) have become overtly associated with the self-evidently mindless and destructive drive to subjugate all of life towards the production of more stuff. Many people are increasingly turning towards job security and quality of life rather than money as their ideal reward system for work. Under socialism, there would be a clear drive to improving the overall material state of the society (in particular in oppressed and poor parts of the world), but this would be geared towards facilitating cooperative human relations, eliminating hunger and disease, emancipating work, and bringing culture and intellectual fulfillment to the masses. —L.C.
[To be added... ]
CONTRACEPTIVE PREVALENCE RATE
The percentage of women who are practicing, or whose sexual partners are practicing, any form of contraception. As defined by the World Health Organization, this is usually measured only for married women of ages of 15 through 49.
CONTRADICTION — Antagonistic
CONTRADICTION — Dialectical
[To be added...]
See also: DIALECTICS, ONE-INTO-TWO and Philosophical doggerel about dialectical contradiction.
“The law of contradiction in things, that is, the law of the unity of opposites, is the basic law of materialist dialectics.” —Mao, opening sentence in his famous essay, “On Contradiction” (Aug. 1937), SW1:311.
CONTRADICTION — Fundamental
In any entity or process there is (according to Marxist dialectics) always one contradiction which is the most fundamental, and which determines the fundamental nature of the thing or process. [More to be added... ]
See also: FUNDAMENTAL CONTRADICTION OF CAPITALISM, WORLD CONTRADICTIONS (Fundamental)
CONTRADICTION — Logical
[To be added...]
See also: Philosophical doggerel about logical contradiction.
CONTRADICTIONS — In Nature
The dialectical contradictions which exist in nature (the physical world) itself. According to Marxist dialectics, there are contradictions not only in human thought and human society, but also in the physical world. Those who don’t understand the basic idea of dialectical contradiction often fail to understand this. Thus Engels quotes Eugen Dühring as saying “Contradiction is a category which can only appertain to a combination of thoughts, but not to reality.” [Anti-Dühring, MECW 25:110.] Engels responds by pointing out that Dühring incorrectly identifies contradiction with absurdity, and therefore says that contradiction cannot occur in the real world. In short Dühring is not talking about dialectical contradiction at all, but rather about logical contradiction. Dialectical contradiction is a matter of oppositions (or conflict) within things and processes, while logical contradiction is simply a matter of simultaneously affirming a statement and denying it. Yes, it is unfortunate that the same term, ‘contradiction’, is used for these two very different things, but we are stuck with this situation for historical reasons. An educated person must come to understand that the term ‘contradiction’ means something different in different contexts. In speaking of contradictions in nature we are of course talking about dialectical contradictions, and not logical inconsistencies.
[More to be added... ]
CONTRADICTIONS — Within Socialism
See: SOCIALISM—Contradictions Within
One of the most important works by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, which was published in Amsterdam in 1762. The full title is Du contrat social; ou, Principes du droit politique [The Social Contract; or the Principles of Political Law]. The central theme of the book is the claim that every society should be the result of a social contract between the people. This is obviously a bourgeois perspective, and a philosophically idealist conception. But in the context of feudal France in the 18th century this ideology played a very progressive revolutionary role. It put forward the demands for bourgeois equality, the abolition of the privileges of the land-owning aristocracy, and the establishment of a bourgeois republic to replace the monarchy. It thus helped prepare the ground for the great French Revolution of 1789.
CONVICTIONS [Of Crimes]
Being convicted of a crime under a bourgeois legal system does not always mean that the person is actually guilty of anything; there are many false convictions in the contemporary American “justice” system, for example. Furthermore, there are many actions which bourgeois governments call crimes which should not be so called. This often includes people “illegally gathering” to protest wars, racism and other forms of injustice in society, “illegally speaking out” at times and places where they are not allowed to do so, “illegally” attempting to stop people from harming them (such as scabs crossing a picket line or employer’s goons sent to attack them), etc., etc.
“More than 2,000 people [in the U.S.] who were falsely convicted of serious crimes have been exonerated in the past 23 years, according to a new archive compiled by two law schools. The most common causes of erroneous convictions were false testimony, mistaken eyewitness identification, and the planting of guns and drugs by police.” —Associated Press news report, quoted in The Week magazine, June 1, 2012, p. 16. [Of course most people who are falsely convicted are never fortunate enough to be exonerated.]
“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” —Anatole France, Le Lys Rouge [The Red Lily] (1894), chapter 7.
COOPERATION — In Nature
[Intro material to be added... ]
“Of Darwin’s doctrine, I accept the theory of evolution, but assume Darwin’s method of verification (struggle for life, natural selection) to be merely a first, provisional, incomplete expression of a newly discovered fact. Before Darwin, the very people who now, wherever they look, see nothing but the struggle for existence (Vogt, Büchner, Moleshott and others), once laid particular stress on co-operation in organic nature, the way in which the plant kingdom supplies oxygen and food to the animal kingdom and, conversely, the latter supplies plants with carbonic acid and manure, as indicated notably by Liebig. Both conceptions are to some extent justified, but each is as one-sided and narrow as the other. The interaction of natural bodies—both dead and living—comprises harmony as well as strife, struggle as well as co-operation. Hence, if a self-styled naturalist takes it upon himself to subsume all the manifold wealth of historical development under the one-sided and meagre axiom ‘struggle for existence’, a phrase which, even in the field of nature, can only be accepted cum grano salis [with a grain of salt], his method damns itself from the outset.” —Engels, Letter to Pyotr Lavrov, November 12-17, 1875, MECW 45:106-7.
Being absorbed or assimiliated into a group or into a new ideological perspective. Sometimes the meaning is innocuous, as in “she was co-opted into the central committee”, where it just means that the person was brought into an existing central committee as a new member. But often the term implies a sinister intent on the part of those doing the co-opting, such as in effect bribing someone to change their ideas. Thus the capitalist ruling class co-opts many young activists into its ideological perspective and system of governance through such means as offering them paid jobs in political or social work, offering them respect and acclaim as authors if they say “acceptable” things, etc. So being “co-opted” in this sense means essentially the same thing as being bought off.
COPENHAGEN INTERPRETATION (of Quantum Mechanics)
The absurdly idealist philosophical interpretation of quantum mechanics put forth by Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, and their supporters. According to this bizarre conception, there is no such thing as an objective world until it is perceived (or “measured”) by someone. Heisenberg, for example, stated that “Some physicists would prefer to come back to the idea of an objective real world whose smallest parts exist objectively in the same sense as stones or trees exist independently of whether we observe them. This however is impossible.” Another physicist, David Mermin of Cornell University, under the spell of the Copenhagen Interpretation even went so far as to claim: “We now know that the moon is demonstrably not there when nobody looks.” It is difficult to believe that anyone can seriously put forward such nonsense!
In response to this sort of foolishness, Albert Einstein commented: “The belief in an external world independent of the perceiving subject is the basis of all natural science.” And he added, more specifically, that “The Heisenberg-Bohr tranquilizing philosophy—or religion?—is so delicately contrived that, for the time being, it provides a gentle pillow for the true believer from which he cannot very easily be aroused. So let him lie there.” [All these quotations are taken from Nick Herbert, Quantum Reality: Beyond the New Physics (1987).]
See also: COMPLEMENTARITY, SCHRÖDINGER’S CAT
COPERNICUS [KOPERNIK], Nikolaus (1473-1543)
Great Polish astronomer who founded the modern heliocentric conception of the solar system.
CORPORATE TAXES [U.S.]
“How much tax do corporations pay? In theory, their top tax
rate is 35 percent—one of the highest in the world. In reality, most U.S. companies
pay far less by exploiting tax breaks and loopholes. Of the 500 major companies in
the S&P 500 stock index, 115 paid a tax rate of less than 20 percent over the past
five years. Nearly 40 paid less than 10 percent. Boeing, for example, paid 4.5
percent in taxes on its profits over the past five years, Southwest Airlines paid
6.3 percent, and Yahoo paid 7 percent, according to research firm Capital IQ. General
Electric, one of America’s largest corporations, reportedly will pay little or no
federal tax on its $14.2 billion in global profits for 2010.
“Has it always been this way? No. As a result of the loopholes and deductions added to the byzantine tax code in recent decades, corporations pay a far smaller share of total U.S. taxes than they once did. In the 1950s, Washington collected 30 percent of all its federal revenue from business taxes. Last year, it was just 9 percent.” —The Week [a bourgeois news magazine], Sept. 2, 2011, p. 13.
[Of course it is only liberals who argue about whether corporate taxes are “too low” or not; Marxist revolutionaries don’t think capitalist corporations should exist at all. —S.H.]
“Corporations are paying the lowest level of taxes in four decades. Last year companies paid taxes of just 12.1 percent on their U.S. profits, the lowest share since at least 1972 and far lower than the 25.6 percent they paid on average from 1987 to 2008.” —A Wall Street Journal report quoted in The Week, Feb. 17, 2012, p. 38.
See also: TAX LAWYERS
[To be added... ]
CORPORATION — As a “Person”
In 1886 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company that a corporation has some of the same legal rights as a person, a human being, has. Since then this absurd doctrine has been expanded by the courts as well as in actual practice to cover other legal rights of persons under the U.S. Constitution. At present this has reached the point where corporations now ridiculously claim to have the right of “free speech”, and thus supposedly cannot be prevented from spending millions of dollars to promote politicians who are in their pocket, nor from indoctrinating the public with reactionary ideas and opinions that suit them. Corporate capitalism already essentially controls the U.S. and the world, but this is not enough for them. They want to keep expanding their control and power until it is absolute, and the masses have no say whatsoever. Thus one liberal bourgeois constitutional scholar, Garrett Epps, after attending Supreme Court hearings in 2009, expressed the opinion that some Justices (such as John Roberts and Antonin Scalia) now seem to feel that corporations do not simply enjoy the same rights as persons, but rather that they actually enjoy greater rights than mere people do!
“Corporations are people, my friend!” —Mitt Romney, leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, while campaigning in Iowa, Aug. 11, 2011.
CORRECTION [In bourgeois finance]
A substantial fall in a stock market, or other financial market, after a previous large run up in average prices. Often a fall of 10% in these circumstances is considered to be a “correction”. The general assumption of speculators is that this correction will soon reverse itself and the “bull” market will resume.
The extra-legal expropriation of wealth by some group or individuals (usually capitalists and their servants) for their own benefit and personal aggrandizement. Corruption is officially regarded as an evil in bourgeois society because it degrades the credibility of the system in the eyes of the proletariat (and in some cases even destabilizes and threatens the viability of the system itself). Corruption is supposed to be “policed” by various regulatory and investigative bodies of the state. However, in the era of monopoly-finance capitalism, the large enterprises and banks have become so powerful that most “punishments” they receive are effectively little more than slaps on the wrist designed to placate public hostility. Occasionally, however, some capitalist or servant of capitalism is convicted of a particularly brazen crime and much fanfare is devoted to the need for subsequent reforms intended to “prevent” people like this from being empowered. Of course, corruption—and the personalities that partake in it!—are themselves organic outgrowths of the basic relations of production in capitalist society, and are another manifestation of how capitalists become “the embodiment of capital”. —L.C.
“It is hard to say which has sunk lower in the last three years, the monarchy or the republic. The monarchy—on the continent of Europe, at least—is everywhere assuming its final form. Caesarism, at an increasing pace. Everywhere sham constitutionalism with universal suffrage, an overgrown army as the buttress of government, bribery and corruption as the chief means of government, and enrichment through corruption and fraud as the sole end of government, are irresistibly undermining all the splendid constitutional guarantees, the artificial balance of forces of which our bourgeois dreamt in the idyllic days of Louis Philippe, when even the most corrupt were still angels of innocence compared with the ‘great men’ of today. As the bourgeoisie daily loses the character of a class temporarily indispensable in the social organism, shedding its specific social functions to become a mere gang of swindlers, its state turns into an institution for the protection, not of production, but of the overt theft of products.... The republic, however, is not faring any better.” —Engels, “The Republic in Spain” (Feb. 1873), MECW 23:417. [We wonder what Engels would have thought of the vastly more extreme corruption in America today, when Wall Street swindlers control the government and have been literally able to loot it and the public of trillions of dollars over the past few years!]
CORRUPTION — Political
“In the last days of the [parliamentary] session, which ended on Saturday, the Lower House was concerned almost exclusively with election scandals, which have sprung up like mushrooms out of the ground and covered every wall of the Houses of Parliament. There was a fearful stench of corruption, which harmonized excellently with the odors of the Thames and would have nauseated the honorable members if they had not been accustomed to such things. In some cases it was a question of individuals who had bought or sold herds of British voters openly (and that was the offence) like so many herds of sheep...” —From the “Political Review” section of Das Folk, Aug. 19, 1859, MECW 16:637. [This German-language newspaper was published in London and was at this time under the editorship of Marx, who may have written this item.]
Unpaid labor which feudal serfs or peasants are forced to supply for whatever purposes a feudal landlord demands. The amount of such corvée labor required is most often a traditional arrangement (such as so many days/month).
A term of derision for fully consistent internationalists, used primarily by those (including Stalin) who seek to combine nationalism and Marxism.
[To be added...]
COST OF LIVING INDEX
See: CONSUMER PRICE INDEX
COUNCIL FOR MUTUAL ECONOMIC AID (CMEA)
An intergovernmental council, known familiarly as Comecon, originally set up in January 1949 by the USSR, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Romania, to promote mutual trade and the coordination of the economic plans of the member countries. Even during the Stalin era the organization tended to serve the economic interests of the Soviet Union more so than any of the other member countries. (This was an aspect of the “great nation chauvinism” that Stalin was sometimes guilty of.) But in the revisionist period in the Soviet Union (mid-50s on) Comecon became more and more simply a means for the social-imperialists to exploit the other nominally socialist countries under their thumb. This occurred through bullied and unfair trade agreements, international planning decisions more favorable to the development of the Soviet Union than to the other countries, and so forth.
Albania joined CMEA in February 1949, East Germany (the German Democratic Republic) in 1950, Mongolia in 1962, Cuba in 1972 and Vietnam in 1978. Yugoslavia became an associate member in 1964. In the late 1950s North Korea and China acquired observer status, though after 1961 China no longer sent observers. After 1961 Albania also no longer participated. Romania weakened its connection to Comecon in 1973 and moved closer to the European Community.
Comecon was initially hailed by supporters of the Soviet Union as “the Russian Marshall Plan”. In its early days it did help to develop the economies of the Eastern European countries. Besides developing general goals for trade and technical assistance, Comecon organized joint scientific research and development.
In 1954 Comecon moved more in the direction of economic integration of the member countries through the coordination of the various five-year economic plans, and in 1955 production priorities were set for each country. Energy policies were also coordinated. In 1961 “Basic Principles” for the long-term development of member countries were drawn up. But Khrushchev’s proposals in 1962 for the creation of a single economic plan and single planning authority for all the countries was rejected by the other Comecon countries on the grounds that it was a major encroachment on their national sovereignty. Romania was especially outraged by the Soviet “suggestion” that it should specialize in agriculture instead of any all-round development of its economy.
In the Brezhnev era the Soviet social-imperialists further stepped up their efforts to integrate the Comecon economies under Soviet direction, but there was much resistance to this from all the countries except Bulgaria whose lacky rulers seemed happy with its assigned agricultural role.
In 1963 Comecon set up the International Bank for Economic Cooperation as an alternative to the IMF, and in 1970 the International Investment Bank to finance projects that were part of coordinated five-year plans, and as an alternative to the World Bank.
The Comecon countries agreed in 1970 to medium and long-term economic cooperation up to 1980, and a central planning bureau was set up in Moscow to direct this. In 1987 joint Comecon ventures between some productive enterprises and research institutes in the USSR and Eastern European countries were established. But the still crude forms of economic cooperation were illustrated by the fact that profits from these joint enterprises could be returned in the form of commodities because of the problems involved in currency negotiations. Overall, trade and economic cooperation and integration within Comecon declined during the Gorbachev period.
By 1989 the increasingly market-oriented ideology in all the Comecon countries led to many calls for less economic planning, and there no longer seemed much point to CMEA to the revisionists. In June 1991 CMEA was formally dissolved.
See also: “INTERNATIONAL DIVISION OF LABOR”, “INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST OWNERSHIP”, “STRUCTURAL INTEGRATION”
1. [In bourgeois society:] Opposition to social revolution, and defense of the oppressive and unjust status quo.
2.The replacement of one socioeconomic formation with another, lower one (or attempts to do so). This implies a return to an earlier, more oppressive form of society, and hence a change which is very much against the interests of the people. After every successful revolution the forces of counter-revolution must be contended with, and suppressed. (See: DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT)
“COUNTRYSIDE SURROUNDING CITIES”
See: FOREIGN EXPERIENCE
See: COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA (MARXIST)
See: COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION
Dictionary Home Page and Letter Index
MASSLINE.ORG Home Page