If you glanced at the headlines in the corporate media today, you would never know it, but anti-capitalist ideologies like socialism, communism, Marxism, anarchism — whatever you want to call them — are surging in popularity among today’s youth. Roughly half of Americans under forty years of age now hold hostile views toward capitalism, and with the climate apocalypse looming on the horizon, with China’s Belt and Road Initiative spreading across Africa and Eurasia, and with Latin America electing one communist government after another, it seems possible — inshallah — that capitalism, liberalism, progressivism, fascism, and even techno neo-feudalism will all soon be departing the stage of history. And let’s be honest, all of this nonsense should have exited decades ago, but as Marx teaches us, ruling classes tend to require a bit of coaxing before they finally end up in the waste bin where they belong.
A wise person once said that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. This article is intended for those people who are on the fence about the kind of muscular leftism embodied in places like China, Vietnam, Bolivia, and Cuba. America’s own homegrown Red Army is already on the march, it just hasn’t arrived yet. If you want to avoid spending a few years meeting with the victims of your crimes in a re-education camp — and if you want your children spared a similar fate — it’s time to brainwash yourself, and them as well. Here are some tips on making yourself and those around you into good little communists.
First, take a break from corporate media. There’s nothing wrong with checking in to see what hilarious new antics the ruling class is up to in places like The Washington Post, The New York Times, Fox News, Vox, or other billionaire-owned sources, but to accept without skepticism even a single claim the corporate media makes is little different from lobotomizing yourself.
In my lifetime alone, the ruling class has dropped the bomb (literally) on the Iraq War, Trump’s rise to power, and coronavirus. Millions of people have died needless violent deaths in the last twenty years (and beyond) because American journalists’ jobs depend much more on toeing the line than telling the whole truth. And today, if you really believe their conspiratorial claims about the Wuhan Lab Leak or the Uighur Genocide, it’s time to check yourself into re-education pronto. See here for a list of billionaire-free news and social media sources.
Second, begin reading Marxist theory and history. If these texts are too dense, try spending your daily three-hour commute (undertaken in the name of helping your boss buy his next yacht) listening to Marxist podcasts. A list can be found here.
Knowledge is a weapon. Understanding dialectical materialism will mean that you will no longer feel bewildered and confused when you look at the headlines, or when random people ask you why Africa is poor. (Hint: it never has been!)
Third, recognize that you hate your job for many good reasons, and that every job under capitalism has elements of meaningless misery baked right into its source code (to mix my metaphors). Express solidarity with fellow workers at your workplace and also around the world — especially those who are the most marginalized. Remember that when there are problems at work, the workers themselves are never the problem: only your boss, only the management, only the system which cannot exist without stealing your surplus labor.
If you don’t have a union, start learning about unionization. If you have a union, but it only kowtows to your boss, learn about how to radicalize it. And if you’re lucky enough to belong to a radical militant union, protect it with everything you’ve got. (In this last case, I should be taking advice from you.)
Fourth, think systematically. “The system” does not mean “things I don’t like.” It means everything connected to capitalism. If you live in the USA, you are on Native land. The money in your bank account is derived exclusively from centuries of ongoing slavery, genocide, imperialism, and capitalism. All of us are part of the most successful colonial project in history. This kind of terror — an awe-inspiring story of extermination and profit the Nazis could only dream of — cannot be reformed any more than the Confederacy could be reformed. And if you doubt that we live in the Confederacy right now (beneath the rapist segregationist Alzheimer’s patient tool of the 1% who occasionally remembers that he is the president), recall that the 13th Amendment legalizes slavery throughout the United States, and that millions of people are enslaved in America’s prisons at this very moment. If you ever wanted to know what it was like to live in the Confederacy, look around. This is what it was like!
Fifth, talk about politics with your kids. Let them teach you. They are almost certainly extremely frustrated with the backward nature of capitalist school: the sleazeball administration, the teachers who are terrified of losing their jobs, the out-of-touch libs and chuds furthering the intolerable status quo on the school board, and — yes! — the armed pigs on patrol in their hallways. Remember that democracy at work means democracy at school and also at home. Encourage your children to form student unions. Remember that nothing terrifies your boss and nothing terrifies the 1% more than the idea of the global 99% linking arms together. The only path to freedom, shared prosperity, and a total reversal of climate change lies in each other.
Sixth, watch leftwing movies with your kids. The Battle of Algiers is a good place to start. A list of some leftwing films can be found here. Important note: The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Hamilton are rightwing (and historically nihilistic) films.
Seventh, do daily acts of praxis — if you can. As you learn more about Marxism, the United States is going to become increasingly intolerable to you. Being forced to drive every day in a gas-guzzling car past wastelands of private business, watching libs happily chow down on brunch and talk about how America Is Back! as though a million mostly Black and Brown Americans didn’t just die preventable deaths thanks to systematic failures, and seeing chuds regroup and grow in strength — all of this and much more really can drive people out of their minds once they put their ideology glasses on.
Make sure, also, to join (or start) leftwing organizations. If you feel yourself spiraling into depression, speak with a leftwing (and not a liberal) therapist. Overthrowing capitalism is the biggest project in history. All of us have a part to play, and no one can do this alone.
If you implement these strategies, you and everyone around you will become as brilliant and beautiful as Che Guevara before you know it!