Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Study group meeting and impeachment actions this week

An interest meeting for a Marxism discussion group will be held Saturday, January 28, at 3pm at Duke's Center for Documentary Studies (1317 W. Pettigrew St., near the intersection with Swift Avenue/Broad Street, directions available at The group will combine
classical texts (probably starting with The Communist Manifesto and going on thematically) with modern or non-Marxist works on current issues and situations (possibly Thomas Franks' What's The Matter With Kansas?). It will look at Marxist economic, political, and social theories and practice. Organized by Alliance Marxist-Leninist ( but not limited to Alliance's viewpoint and discussion with members of other groups welcome (I asked local FRSO, Ray O. Light, and Solidarity groups if they would like to be involved, and others are welcome). There seems to be at least some individual interest in doing this, so there will probably be at least a handful of people at the first meeting. For more information email alliance_trianglenc at

Thursday at 7pm there will be a meeting at Internationalist Books (405 W. Franklin St.) in Chapel Hill to plan a group meeting with Representative David Price (D-NC), which will probably be Monday, the 30th at 1:30 at his Chapel Hill office. The meeting is to present a Bush impeachment petition (mainly relating to the Downing Street memos, available at petition to him. The petition is online at This Friday there will be a Triangle town meeting on impeachment at the Carrboro Town Hall (I think the address is 105 W. Main Street), possibly the first in a series, the next one being February 28th at the Chapel Hill Town Hall. For more information, see Things are starting to move more with this locally, and we will know better where we stand next week.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Defending the US Constitution

I believe in socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat (meaning the dominance of the working class, instead of the current domination of the bourgeoisie), but this doesn't mean I don't respect our Constitution or that I am hypocritical in saying the Bush Administration is unConstitutional.

The Constitution is bourgeois and designed to limit democracy, oppressing the lower classes, as are the constitutions of all capitalist states. For example, the two house Congress, Electoral College, Executive, illusion of an impartial judiciary, original protection of slavery, and other features. Some of these features might be useful in the future, but from what the Founding Fathers wrote, it looks like these were used to safeguard the wealthy classes. There isn't an abstract government system that is always best, it depends on the context of who that government serves.

That said, the Constitution was an improvement over the feudal remnants in Britain during the American Revolution and it makes classical fascism difficult to implement here. The Bill of Rights, which wasn't in the original draft of the Constitution, is democratic in many ways. The separation of powers, which will probably be reduced after a revolution (to combine the executive and legislative bodies in councils like communes and soviets), was designed to prevent change threatening the rich, but today it protects us against Bush's authoritarianism. I say it protects us, but really it is up to the people to safeguard the Constitution, otherwise it is just the scrap of paper Bush thinks it is. For worst case scenarios the Constitution allows citizens to be armed against tyranny (as did the Paris Commune, the original socialist government). A revolution within the Constitution and parliamentary means is unlikely, but the Constitution does allow that possibility.

We can respect the Constitution and demand that the bourgeoisie follow it, but for true democracy and the end of class oppression we must go beyond it. The working class and others, even part of the bourgeoisie, defend the Constitution against those who want to limit democracy to suit the era of monopoly capitalism (see Lenin's Imperialism). But even Jefferson, writing before the existence of a clear proletariat, acknowledged that to defend democracy there might have to be future watering of the "tree of liberty" with blood, which I assume would also mean new government. Following the second American Revolution, the a new constitution will probably be written, following American principles and establishing the rule of law, but not designed to legitimate the oppression of the working class (Capital and other works explain why the existence of wealthy capitalists is oppression and not just the way things are). As socialism develops into communism new constitutions might be needed, to better suit the economic system of the time, this time written without revolution to overthrow vested interests who prevent necessary change.

The Constitution is flawed, but one side wants to ignore or rewrite it to increase oppression and subvert democracy, while progressives want to safeguard the bourgeois democracy it creates and increase the power of the people, which I think will require going outside and beyond the Constitution.