Happy Birthday Tribute to Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, “Lenin” April 22, 1870

(En Español desplazarse hacia abajo / For Spanish scroll down)

Carlos “Carlito” Rovira

V.I. Lenin was born on April 22, 1870. He was the leader of the October 1917 Russian Socialist Revolution – one of the most monumental events of the twentieth century. The militant rise of the Russian people on this occasion sent shockwaves throughout the world. Tyrants, colonizers, exploiters, and oppressors were left in disbelief.

His leadership inspired hundreds of millions oppressed and exploited people on every continent. The Russian Revolution under Lenin’s leadership impacted the Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Cuban revolutions, as well as many progressive movements throughout the world.

Lenin’s tactical prowess is revered by revolutionaries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. As a result of his influential and strategic direction, Leninism became a guiding principle among revolutionary leaders, such as Amilcar Cabral, Celia Sanchez, Ho Chi Minh, Claudia Jones, Madame Nguyễn Thị Định, Fidel Castro Ruz, Nguyễn Thị Bình, Ernesto Che Guevara, Mao Zedong, Steve Biko and many more international historic figures.

A beautiful painting depicting Lenin address armed workers Soviets at the moment of revolution.

Moreover, renown Puerto Rican activists like Juana Colon and Nationalist Juan Antonio Corretjer, African American leaders like Cyril Briggs, W.E.B. Dubois, Harry Haywood, Paul Robeson, and others, were all influenced by what Lenin represented politically – the necessity to bring about a socialist society.

In the 1960’s-70’, both the Black Panther Party and the Young Lords Party (Puerto Rican/Latinx allies of the BPP) read Lenin’s writings as part of their mandatory political education classes. Their study curriculum included Lenin’s Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism,” andState and Revolution.”

After a century since the Bolshevik leader’s death, his legacy never stopped posing a threat to the capitalist system. And because Lenin’s persona is viewed with disdain by the mainstream, his name continues to be vilified by the anti-communism of bourgeois historians, educators, news media, and religious institutions.

In 1934 the billionaire John D. Rockefeller expressed precisely that contempt. Rockefeller ordered the destruction of a mural at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, because it contained a portrait of V.I. Lenin. The mural was the creation of renown Mexican painter Diego Rivera, who Rockefeller himself had commissioned.

Lenin standing with other Bolsheviks a few days after the seizure of power.

One of Lenin’s most fundamental principles was the need for the working class to create its own political and organizational system, with the highest sophistication. Despite attempts to trivialize and distort his teachings, Lenin was firmly consistent in his belief that human suffering could only end by denying the billionaire class the “right” to political power, that is, by working people eliminating the capitalist state.

Lenin was stern about eliminating the police, courts, prisons, and military under capitalist rule, due to its inherent disregard for the well-being of working class and oppressed people.

Given the current situation in the United States, with rampant police violence, food prices and rents skyrocketing, including the devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic, the lessons drawn from Lenin’s leadership and teachings continue to prove applicable to the reality of today’s world.

My portrait of V.I. Lenin. 24″ X 30″, acrylic paint on canvas. Completed March 2022.

Part and parcel to stripping the capitalist class of their power is denying them “ownership” to the wealth they robbed from the people over many generations. According to Lenin “The expropriators would be expropriated.” His vision of a future socialist society was based on the Marxist premise where working people produce and provide services while also taking part in managing all aspects of the economy.

Today, Lenin’s views on the state and bourgeois “property rights” are targeted by enemies of socialism – including by some who claim to be “socialists” but are insidiously hostile to his teachings.

In addition, with the premise that the world is comprised of many nations, is why Lenin was adamant and uncompromising about respecting the right of self-determination for all oppressed national entities, specifically conquered and colonized people.

Lenin often spoke out about racism in the United States, specifically, the plight of the African American masses and their fight against racist discrimination and all forms of violence, especially the heinous act of lynching.

Lenin understood that the persecution of African Americans and the downtrodden economic position they have been kept in has served to perpetuate racial divisions. He also understood how the centuries-long enslavement of Black labor became the impetus for the economic might of United States imperialism.

At a meeting of the Communist International (Comintern), a body made up of representatives from various Communist Parties, Lenin voiced support for a proposed resolution that raised the right of African Americans to succession. That is, the right of Black people to break away and create their own state in a separate territory, presumably in the Southern part of the United States. Lenin believed that if African Americans wished to succeed it would be perfectly within their right to self-determination.

Additionally, Lenin was critical of the United States for launching the 1898 Spanish-American War, in which Guam, the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico were militarily invaded and colonized. It was Lenin who characterized that event as “the first Imperialist war.”

What V.I. Lenin demonstrated with his character and genius was the power freedom fighters possess when they fight for a better world. His teachings will undoubtedly continue to influence working class struggles and national liberation movements everywhere, until the emancipation of humanity is finally achieved.

LONG LIVE THE LEGACY OF V.I. LENIN!

Feliz Cumpleaño Tributo a V.I. LENIN, 22 de abril 1870

By Carlos “Carlito” Rovira

V.I. Lenin nació el 22 de abril de 1870. Fue el líder de la Revolución Socialista Rusa de octubre de 1917, uno de los acontecimientos más monumentales del siglo XX. El levantamiento militante del pueblo ruso en esta ocasión provocó una conmoción en todo el mundo. Los tiranos, los colonizadores, los explotadores y los opresores quedaron incrédulos.

El liderazgo de Lenin inspiró a cientos de millones de personas oprimidas y explotadas en todos los continentes. La Revolución Rusa bajo el liderazgo de Lenin tuvo un impacto en las revoluciones china, vietnamita, coreana y cubana, así como en muchos movimientos progresistas de todo el mundo.

Como resultado de su influyente y estratégica dirección, el leninismo se convirtió en un principio rector entre líderes revolucionarios como Amilcar Cabral, Celia Sanchez, Ho Chi Minh, Claudia Jones, Fidel Castro Ruz, Madame Nguyễn Thị Định, Ernesto Che Guevara, Nguyễn Thị Bình, Amilcar Cabral, Mao Zedong, Steve Biko, y otras figuras históricas internacionales.

Una hermosa pintura que representa a Lenin dirigiéndose a los sovieticos de trabajadores armados en el momento de la revolución.

Además, renombrados activistas puertorriqueños como Juana Colón y el nacionalista Juan Antonio Corretjer, líderes afroamericanos como Cyril Briggs, W.E.B. Dubois, Harry Haywood, Paul Robeson y otros, se vieron influenciados por lo que Lenin representaba políticamente: la necesidad de llevar a cabo el socialismo.

La destreza táctica de Lenin sigue siendo venerada por los revolucionarios de África, Asia y América Latina.

En los años 60-70, tanto las Panteras Negras como el Partido de los Young Lords, integrado por puertorriqueños de Estados Unidos, leían los escritos de Lenin como parte de sus clases obligatorias de educación política. Su plan de estudios incluía “El imperialismo, fase superior del capitalismo” y “Estado y revolución” de Lenin.

Después de un siglo desde la muerte de este líder bolchevique, su legado sigue siendo una amenaza para el sistema capitalista. La persona de Lenin sigue siendo vilipendiada por historiadores, educadores, medios de comunicación e instituciones religiosas burguesas.

A pesar de los intentos de trivializar y distorsionar sus enseñanzas, Lenin fue firmemente coherente en su creencia de que el sufrimiento humano sólo podría terminar negando a la clase multimillonaria su “derecho” al poder político, es decir, mediante la eliminación del sistema capitalista por parte del pueblo trabajador.

Lenin de pie con otros bolcheviques unos días después de la toma del poder.

Dada la situación actual en Estados Unidos, incluida la devastación de la pandemia de Covid-19, las lecciones extraídas del liderazgo y las enseñanzas de Lenin siguen siendo aplicables a la realidad del mundo actual.

Uno de los principios más fundamentales de Lenin era la necesidad de que la clase obrera creara su propio sistema político y organizativo. Hoy en día, sus puntos de vista sobre el Estado son los más atacados por los enemigos del socialismo, incluso por aquellos que dicen ser “socialistas” pero que son insidiosamente hostiles a sus enseñanzas.

Mi retrato de V.I. lenin 24″ X 30″, pintura acrílica sobre lienzo. Completado en
marzo de 2022.

Lenin fue severo con la eliminación de la policía, los tribunales, las prisiones y el ejército bajo el dominio capitalista, debido al inherente desprecio por estas instituciones a la clase obrera y los oprimidos.

Además, con la premisa de que el mundo se compone de muchas naciones, es por lo que Lenin fue inflexible e intransigente sobre el respeto al derecho de autodeterminación de las entidades nacionales oprimidas.

Lenin habló a menudo sobre el racismo en Estados Unidos, específicamente, sobre la difícil situación de las masas afroamericanas y su lucha contra la discriminación racista y todas las formas de agresión, especialmente el atroz acto de linchamiento a negros. Comprendió cómo el trabajo esclavizado de los negros servía de impulso al poderío económico del imperialismo estadounidense.

Además, Lenin criticó a Estados Unidos por lanzar la Guerra Hispanoamericana de 1898, en la que Guam, Filipinas, Cuba y Puerto Rico fueron invadidos y colonizados militarmente por Estados Unidos. Caracterizó ese acontecimiento como “la primera guerra imperialista”.

Lo que V.I. Lenin demostró con su carácter y su genio fue el poder que poseen los luchadores por la libertad al tener una visión de un mundo futuro mejor. Sus enseñanzas, sin duda, seguirán influyendo en las luchas de la clase obrera y en los movimientos de liberación nacional hasta que se logre finalmente la emancipación de la humanidad.

 ¡VIVA EL LEGADO DE V.I. LENIN!

Happy Birthday to Karl Marx. Born on May 5, 1818, and the significance of his life.

By Carlito Rovira

On May 5, 1818 in the city of Trier, Prussia, a great historic figure was born who would eventually send shock waves towards every school of thinking. Karl Marx would impact all of society, including those who served to protect the insecure class of oppressors, tyrants and exploiters, during his time.

This gallant revolutionary eventually formulated ideas that would serve to provide oppressed and exploited people with a comprehensive revolutionary theory, based on the social and economic status of the working class.  It was in collaboration with his most trusted comrade and friend, Friedrich Engels, that Marx was able to develop a scientific approach for examining capitalism — in order to expedite it’s overthrow.

One of the greatest achievements made by Marx was his analytical conclusions of how capitalist profits are created. The capitalist class were not the lords of society because they worked harder or were smarter than anyone else. Their position was thanks to their theft of surplus value — the value of commodities above and beyond what is socially necessary to produce them. This surplus value is the fruit of unpaid labor, which becomes the nucleus of the vast wealth stolen by the capitalists.

The rapidity of production that resulted meant that abundance tended to cause scarcity, when overproduction caused job layoffs thus making commodity goods unaffordable for workers, while capitalists were only interested in satisfying themselves with a lust to maximize the rate of surplus value.

Once these commodity goods circulated in the market and sold the already created surplus value would then be realized as profits.

And because capitalism collectivized commodity production with concentrations of workers organized for a distribution of labor, a socialization of production was introduced. The magnitude of production gradually reached levels never before seen in human history. The capability of the productive forces meeting the needs of everyone in this society several times over revealed why poverty and want are an absurdity that is inherited in this system. This is a phenomenon that shall inevitably compel working people to rebel.

In the words of Karl Marx: The essential conditions for the existence and for the sway of the bourgeois class is the formation and augmentation of capital; the condition for capital is wage-labour. Wage-labour rests exclusively on competition between the labourers. The advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of the labourers, due to competition, by the revolutionary combination, due to association. The development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own gravediggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.

It was this analysis that led Marx and Engels to become adamant and unforgiving in their critiques of Political Economy, that is, the deceitful methods and hypocritical overtures used by the rulers to justify their parasitic behavior in the brutal exploitation of working people.

This analysis was also central in Marx’s world outlook that defined his conceptions in philosophy, ideology, politics, history, culture, but most important of all his attitude towards the antagonistic relationship between opposing social classes.

KARL MARX’S TREMENDOUS IMPACT ON THE WORLD

Marx’s ideas impacted progressive and revolutionary movements on every continent throughout the 20th Century, long after his death. Thanks to the political leadership of the Russian V.I. Lenin, Marx’s ideas guided the developments of the Soviet Union, the world’s first experiment in socialist planned economy.

Russian revolutionary leader, V.I. Lenin, at the Marx & Engels monument
in the Soviet Union, 1918.

For the most part Marx’s theories proved consistent with his expectations as workers in industrialized capitalist countries rose up in fierce rebellion while in the plundered and colonized regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America capitalist imperialism was challenged by the fury of national liberation struggles.

It is no wonder why revolutionary figures like Amilcar Cabral, Celia Sanchez, Ho Chi Minh, Claudia Jones, Madame Nguyễn Thị Định, Fidel Castro Ruz, Patrice Lumumba, Nguyễn Thị Bình, Ernesto Che Guevara, Mao Zedong, Steve Biko, Kim Il-Sung and many others, resorted to embrace Marxism and sought ways to apply it’s many lessons to their respective realities.

Contained in Marx and Engel’s earliest writings like the Philosophical & Economic Manuscript, The Communist Manifesto, The Origins of the Family, Private Property & the State, The Civil War in the United States, Utopia and Scientific Socialism, On Religion, Wage, Price and Profit, along with the rest of their vast collection of writings, are many valuable lessons which are indisputably applicable in our experiences today. That is why, to this day, 138 years after his death, Karl Marx continues to be despised and dreaded by the capitalist rulers.

comman62cov.jpg
The classic writing that continues to haunt the ruling class.

In the United States, African American figures like Cyril Briggs, Harry Haywood, W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, and many more, were able to see how the Black liberation struggle had natural affinities with the fundamental analysis of Marxism. By the 1960’s-70’s Marxism’s most notable writing “The Communist Manifesto” became one of several political education study requirements for members of the Black Panther Party and the Young Lords.

KARL MARX & THE CIVIL WAR IN THE UNITED STATES

One of the most notable of Marx’s political involvements was his intervention in the events of the Civil War in the United States. African chattel slavery in the U.S. was the most lucrative and most brutal in all of history. It was a system that served as the economic impetus for capitalism and allowed it to grow into the colossal wealth it comprises today.

Through his correspondence with President Abraham Lincoln and through his column in the New York Tribune Karl Marx sought to build pressure by being firmly insistent about the need for a decree that made slavery technically illegal.

On January 1, 1863 Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This monumental document became the legal precedent for recruiting and arming former slaves. Although Lincoln’s motives were of military consideration the Emancipation Proclamation hastened the outcome of the war and would eventually guarantee the defeat of the Southern Slavocracy.

Sectors of the British ruling class who had vested economic interest in the South’s slave economy had desired to militarily intervene in support of the Confederacy. Thanks to Karl Marx’s leadership in the powerful International Workingmen’s Association of England the British rulers were prevented from coming to the aid of the Southern slave owning class.

Karl Marx’s leading role mobilizing the English working class to prevent the prolongation of African chattel slavery in the United States was in every objective sense a profound act of solidarity to the African American people. Marx’s convictions were firm, it is why he stated, “Labor in the white skin can never free itself as long as labor in the black skin is branded.”

MARXISM MORE RELEVANT TODAY THAN EVER BEFORE

The revolutionary contributions of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels continue to be the target of bourgeois philosophers, economists and historians. Ruling class scholars demonstrate their contempt for working class people by falsely accusing Marxism of being “totalitarian” or by asserting that it is filled with nothing but “unrealizable fantasy,” etc.

Similarly, there are those even within the predominantly white socialist left of this country who claim, dripping with social arrogance, that Marxism and the nationalism of oppressed people are contradictory, and can never be reconciled to complement one another, in the fight against the capitalist rulers. Others in the more conservative sectors of the national movements, strictly concerned with the narrowest, cultural sentiments of nationalism, mistakenly assert that Marxism is a European or “white thing” and is therefore irrelevant to national liberation struggles.

Both of these views only serve to promote the reactionary notions of white supremacy and anti-communism. Objective material facts prove the opposite. Under the intense circumstances of imperialism today all oppressed entities have a definite class relationship to capitalism. It is a phenomenon which no one can escape.

People of color in the United States are the most exploited, persecuted communities. They are victims of police violence and imprisonment. If anyone is to have a greater stake and say in the downfall of this vile system and the establishment of a new society, it is those who have been historically on the bottom of social and economic disparity.

It is an absurdity and a reflection of how deeply embedded white privilege is in the culture to believe that mastering Marxism requires that people of color dismiss their self-identity as historically constituted national groupings within the broader population. This distortion of the meaning of Marxism dismisses the necessity of socialism coming about on equal terms and has resulted in preserving bourgeois traditions disguised under the mantle of upholding working class “unity.”

The teachings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels are today more relevant than ever before to the liberation struggles of Black, Latino, Asian, Arab and Indigenous people, especially because of the super-exploitation and increasing numbers of these national groups coming into the U.S. working class.

The capitalist ideological institutions like the church, the mass media, public education, etc., will implicitly and explicitly encourage us to accept what exist, that is, to be submissive to the racist injustices of the police state and the rule of wealthy exploiters. It was precisely the social class oppression, bringing so much suffering in our world that Karl Marx selflessly devoted his entire life to condemn and worked towards undoing.

If Karl Marx were alive today, he would have surely been part of the movements condemning the persecution of immigrant and undocumented families in the United States, the racist police killings of African Americans, the U.S.-backed Israeli occupation of Palestine as well as the U.S. colonization of Puerto Rico.

It is Marx’s uncompromising devotion to revolution on behalf of the workers and oppressed people of the world that explains the ruling class’s utter hatred for the conceptions he developed, including the relevance of Marxism to every question facing the world today. The rulers cannot bear the thought of a well-articulated analysis that calls for an end to capitalism and points towards the only direction for bringing about the complete emancipation of the human race.

Karl Marx tomb at Highgate Cemetery, London, England.