Thursday, 23 October 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

Redefining Political Terms for a Revolutionary Age

Tuesday, 27 August 2013 11:43 By E. Douglas Kihn, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Words can have various meanings, depending on who is doing the defining and for what purpose. Word definitions can strongly influence how we think and act. The author George Orwell made this point devastatingly clear in his classic dystopia 1984, in which the English language was turned on its head in order to protect the interests of "Big Brother." Employing the methods of doublespeak and doublethink, the language created by this fictional totalitarian government was called "Newspeak."

Today's governments and news sources and their ready usage of doublespeak and doublethink is revealed in such otherwise whimsical turns of phrase as Department of Defense, War on Terror, the peace process, progressive Democrat, fair and balanced reporting, and job creators, to name a few.

The human race is privileged to be living in the Age of Revolution, which some historians would say began with the American Revolution of 1776 that "turned the world upside down," and has continued right up to this hour. The pace of revolutionary change, like all evolutionary change, is increasing. Today, mass revolts are breaking out in country after country. Every continent is witnessing wave upon wave of huge public protests against the current conditions of poverty, war, inequality, and injustice.

It is no coincidence that just as the old order, also known as class society, is breaking asunder, the yearning on the part of the masses for liberté, égalité, et fraternité is reaching a fever pitch. Our 7,000 year-old trial has finally gone to the jury, and the soon-to-be-announced verdict will be either freedom or death for humanity.

Many words and phrases with political implications have been twisted into meanings that support the capitalist order, or expunged from public discourse altogether. This dictionary aims to redefine and rehabilitate those terms so that they are useful for revolutionaries in our struggle to create a better world. At this time in history, the ranks of revolutionaries will be composed exclusively of members of the working class and those who sympathize with the working class. This is a revolutionary working class dictionary.

As of 2013, the residents of the United States do not currently find themselves in a revolutionary period or even a pre-revolutionary period. It might be called a "pre-pre-revolutionary period" in which the objective conditions for revolution are steadily unfolding, but the subjective requirements lag far behind. Still forming in the minds of the massive majority of toiling Americans is a revolutionary class consciousness that will allow for self-discovery, for self-empowerment, and for an accurate identification of the enemy – the accumulation of concentrated private wealth in all its forms and manifestations.

The great disparity between objective and subjective conditions means that when American workers finally catch up with their comrades in Latin America, Europe, the Muslim world, and elsewhere – who are ahead in the race, but nowhere near the finish line yet - the result will be sudden and explosive, just like an earthquake long delayed. This kind of dynamism is typical of the American character anyway. So working class fighters need to get our political vocabulary in order now.

American Syndrome: The American habits of worrying, hurrying, and overeating that have been keeping American noses to the grindstone since the current ruling class offensive began in the 1970s. (For more details, see "The American Syndrome" by this author.)

Bill of Rights: The only part of the US constitution that revolutionaries will elect to keep and defend, all the rest having been written and maintained for the purpose of defending the American oligarchy. (See Democratic rights.)

 

Boss: The opposite of worker. A business owner or manager who enjoys the legal right to isolate, harass, impoverish, and injure workers, and even deprive them of a livelihood altogether, all a stark reminder that there are no democratic rights in the capitalist workplace.

Capitalism: The final stage of class society in which greedy families legally steal wealth from the producers of wealth – the working class – in order to endlessly enrich and empower themselves. Capitalism, a dynamic system in a constant state of change and growth, has passed through three distinct phases, namely mercantile, industrial, and now financial.

Capitalist class: The opposite of working class. The tiny group of billionaire and millionaire families who currently dominate the world through their ownership and control of the means of production and the wealth and power thereby created.

Civil disobedience: A protest tactic in which participants deliberately get arrested in order to draw attention to their cause. Elevated to a strategy or principle by those impatient progressives who believe they can substitute themselves for the proletariat. Usually has the effect of keeping working people at home.

Class society: A 7,000 year old system of human organization whose purpose was and is to regiment and specialize labor in order to advance productive capacity to the objective degree at which all material scarcity can be eliminated forever worldwide.

Class, socioeconomic: A term that refers to a person's relationship to the means of production. Members of the same class, regardless of income level, have similar needs, interests, and perspectives, and thus tend to act as a political bloc on the world political stage. A doublethink substitute for income level.

Climate change: (See Global warming.)

Coalition building: The creation of a temporary alliance of groups around a specific set of demands that support the interests of the working class. This is an inclusive strategy crucial for preventing sectarianism, generating maximum participation, and achieving goals. (See United Front.)

Collaboration, class: Refers to the watering down and perversion of working class interests and demands in order to form electoral alliances with alien classes, especially "good" capitalists. Often used to gain government posts in capitalist governments by working class politicians. Class betrayal, similar to crossing a union picket line.

Colonial-settler state: A nation formed by invaders, usually light-skinned with advanced technologies, who, in order to establish themselves as a new ruling class, will need to dominate, steal from, and terrorize the indigenous inhabitants. Three examples in the modern era would be the Unites States, apartheid South Africa, and Israel.

Communism: A global order of egalitarianism that needs no government, classes, or hierarchies, in which all material wealth and decision-making are shared equally. (Read The Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels for more information.) Not to be confused with actually eisting "communism."

Communism, primitive: How our pre-class society ancestors lived, sharing poverty and decision-making equally.

Communism, advanced: Our theoretical post-class society destination, when we will be sharing super-abundance and decision-making equally.

Communist: A person or political formation that fights for a community-based world of the future. Also, doublethink for Stalinist. The Stalinists stole the worthy title and promptly dragged it through the slime and muck. (If you call yourself the Pope, and your enemies call you the Pope, does that make you the Pope?)

Comrade: A co-thinker with whom, shoulder to shoulder and across all divisions, we fight the Good Fight. A fellow revolutionary.

Conservative: A section of the ruling class that fights against innovation and would usually prefer the stick approach in dealing with an insurgent working class. Also, anyone who sympathizes with this point of view. In the US, most conservatives flock to the standards of the Republican Party.

Conspiracy theories: Schemes cooked up by folks desperate to explain political events that are the more likely result of the interaction of broad social forces. Endemic with those who lack class consciousness. The effect is to render the true believers powerless to combat the machinations of imaginary, secretive, and supposedly all-powerful cliques.

Democratic Party (US): A thoroughly capitalist party whose politicians are particularly adept at using doublespeak to lull the working class to sleep while defending capitalist property relations and the American ruling class. (See Liberal.)

Democracy: From the Greek, meaning "rule of the people." The term itself makes no sense, because animals and rocks cannot rule, while oligarchies are composed of people. It can be a useful term if we choose to define it as a type of class society in which the rule of the majority prevails. Because ancient Athens and modern industrialized nations were and are plutocratic oligarchies, democracy has never existed up until the formation of healthy workers' states. (Not to be confused with Democratic rights.)

Democracy, bourgeois: An oligarchic government ruled by the capitalist class, such as those found in North America, Western Europe, and Japan. Hallmarks are the existence of democratic rights forced on the ruling class by the toilers, as well as carefully managed parliamentary-style elections dominated by pro-capitalist political parties and capitalist-owned media.

Democratic centralism: An organizational system used by the revolutionary vanguard party in which all issues are fully discussed and voted on by the entire membership, and then tested by all for a specific period of time, at the end of which, another full discussion and polling occur and a new party line is implemented and once again tested by all.

Democratic rights: Concessions imposed on the ruling class by the working class, allowing for a measure of political rights such as universal suffrage and freedoms of speech, press, assembly, religion, privacy, and the rest. In the US, these rights are embodied in the Constitutional Amendments, and are under attack. Falsely hailed by oligarchies as evidence of democratic government.

Depression, economic: What we are now living through, with working class living standards declining worldwide, jobs disappearing, wealth concentrating at the top, and no end in sight. (See Overproduction, crisis of.)

Dictatorship: A style of government in which some people have absolute authority to rule over other people. Inherent in all forms of class society. We are currently living under the Dictatorship of Capital. The immediate revolutionary goal is the establishment of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, i.e. democracy. (See Democracy.)

Doublespeak: Saying one thing and meaning the opposite, as capitalist and Stalinist con artists often do, some even winning Nobel Prizes for their efforts.

Doublethink: Saying or hearing one thing and thinking the opposite. Self-deception, which is more dangerous than doublespeak.

Dystopias: Negative futures fictionalized in film and literature, which saturate modern capitalist culture and which reflect the unconscious pessimism of the ruling class regarding its hopeless prospects. Future scenarios in which no one wants to live, not to be taken seriously by those working to build a better world. The opposite of the original Star Trek universe of the hopeful 1960s.

Egalitarian: Sharing everything equally, as Nature intended for homo sapiens.

Electoral politics: One of the most important weapons in the capitalist arsenal, useful for keeping the working class from organizing independently and for disguising police states as democratic. Can also be turned around and used as public rostrums for revolutionary ideas and programs.

Enemy, political: The capitalists, as a class.

Evolution: The growth of the universe and everything in it, from minimal order and understanding to maximal order and understanding. Since the Big Bang, develops at an exponential rate, not a linear one. (For more, see "Human Evolution is Right On Schedule" by this author.)

Farmer: A middle class owner of a business that produces food.

Farm worker: A wage-earner who works on a farm. Often immigrants who are paid subsistence wages and are treated with utter disrespect.

Fascism: The last card played by a sector of a desperate capitalist class to stop a socialist revolution in its tracks. A totalitarian mass movement in an advanced industrial country that despises theory and ideas, is motivated by fear, employs doublespeak on a massive scale, worships violence as "cleansing," and whose immediate aims are to smash all working class independence while harnessing every atom of society to the service of the capitalist state. Unstable in the extreme, its inevitable result is global war.

Feminism: A broad, revolutionary movement of women aimed at defending and extending equal rights for women, who compose half of the working class. An enemy of class society by its very nature.

Feudalism: The dominant economic system during the European Middle Ages based on agriculture, serfdom, and a model of  land ownership that allowed for the birth of its replacement - mercantile capitalism.

Forager-hunter: A term that accurately describes our ancestors before the advent of agriculture. Primitive communists who shared their poverty and decision-making equally.

Global warming: An exponentially creeping crisis that threatens to destroy the biosphere upon which human life depends. The indisputable result of the overuse of fossil fuels by a greedy capitalist class whose sole interest is the private accumulation of wealth. A profound problem whose only solution is to be found in the planned economy of a socialist world.

Imperialism: The political, economic, and cultural domination of underdeveloped societies by the ruling classes of rich industrialized countries. Has the effect of maintaining poverty and repression in the Third World while promoting warfare between competing capitalist classes.

International community: Doublespeak for the ruling classes of the Western imperialist powers.

Internationalism: The opposite of patriotism and nationalism. The natural perspective of the working class, whose politics start with the world.

Labor Party: A powerful weapon that will unite the international working class against all capitalist oligarchies. Funded solely by union dues, it will answer only to the working class, and will use capitalist elections for propaganda purposes while pulling together all sectors of society that are independent of the ruling class and eager for class combat.

Leftists: Originally referred to members of the revolutionary French government of 1789 who sat on the left side of the aisle and who campaigned for rapid change.

Liberal: Describes a sector of the ruling class that believes that the best way of stopping working class resistance is with the carrotapproach. Also describes those who usually flock to the Democratic Party standards and who want to fix or save capitalism. A liberal is someone who doesn't like what capitalism does to people, but likes capitalism. Liberals strongly oppose socialist revolution and instead try to steer workers' struggles into the morass of capitalist elections.

Libertarian: American nationalists who seem to champion liberté,  but militantly oppose égalité et fraternité. Future recruitment material for fascist outfits.

Lumpenproletariat: People living on the margins of society, particularly criminals and the long-term unemployed. Prime recruiting material for fascist parties.

Maoism: The Asian version of Stalinism.

Marxism: The political/economic methods of analysis first developed by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels that advance theories which explain and forecast social change through the central concept of class struggle.

Means of production: The physical tools that the working class uses to create and distribute wealth, such as factories, mines, commercial real estate, farms, railroads, trucks, cargo ships and planes, refineries, warehouses, and retail outlets. Where the jobs and social power are to be found.

Middle class: Owners and managers of small and medium-sized businesses, as well as students who are the sons and daughters of middle class parents. The middle class typically yearns to join the ranks of the ruling class. Also, doublespeak for middle income workers, cherished by capitalist politicians and media for the purpose of confusing and dividing the working class.

Mixed economy: Doublespeak for an economy dominated by the capitalist class and retaining capitalist property relations, but that exhibits various economic concessions to the working class such as government benefits, worker collectives, and publically owned non-profit enterprises.

Nation-state: An invention of capitalism for the protection and extension of international profiteering.

Nationalism: A religious belief in the inherent goodness of the nation-state in which all class divisions are blurred. The major motivating factor that transforms workers into obedient citizens and capitalist cannon fodder. The opposite of internationalism. (See Patriotism.) For more, see the video "Let Your Life Be a Friction to Stop the Machine."

Nutritionism: The distinctly American belief that most or all problems can be solved by putting the right things in the mouth. Weakens self-trust, boosts consumerism and profits, maintains obesity, and debilitates the working class with feelings of deprivation and guilt. (For more, see the "The Curse of American Nutritionism.")

Obesity: Originally a widespread American phenomenon. A weapon inadvertently benefiting the American capitalist class in its efforts to keep the working class subdued and self-hating. (For more, see "The Political Roots of American Obesity." )

Oligarchy: Rule of a very small minority over a majority. Except for healthy workers' states, all class societies are oligarchies, including ancient Athens and the United States since its founding. Most oligarchies are also plutocratic, i.e. the ruling cliques derive their powers from their disproportionate accumulation of wealth.

Opponent, political: Class collaborators and sectarians who compete with the revolutionary vanguard party for the allegiance of the working class. (Not to be confused with Enemy, political.)

Overproduction, crises of: A situation in which consumer items are produced in such quantities that they can no longer be sold for a profit, causing widespread unemployment and suffering. Periodically responsible for capitalist recessions and depressions. The current "Great Depression 2.0" began in the 1970s involving the entire world economy, and will continue to develop until resolved with either a fascist holocaust or a socialist revolution.

Overpopulation: A ruling class lie that seeks to shift the blame for poverty and poorly managed resources to working people, blaming them for having too many children. The unspoken but logical solutions to this supposed overpopulation are starvation and war.

Patriarchy: The rule of men over women and children, violently established 7,000 years ago at the dawn of class society. (See Sexism.)

Patriotism: Doublespeak for nationalism.

 

Petite bourgeoisie: French for "small capitalist," which today means middle class.

Plutocratic: An adjective that describes the rule of the rich.

Police: An elitist armed force whose primary functions are to defend capitalist property relations and to terrorize the working class. Police are not workers.

Police state: A society that is dominated by police repression, in which the working class has few political freedoms with which to organize. Can easily be disguised with staged elections and media propaganda. (Never to be confused with the catastrophic phenomenon of fascism.)

Politics: Concentrated economics, from a revolutionary perspective.

Poverty: Economic deprivation that will forever end as the result of the planned economy of the socialist revolution and the equal distribution of the enormous wealth created by capitalism.

Progressive: A person who strongly sympathizes with the desperate plight of the working class, but lacks class consciousness and is not yet ready to commit to a revolutionary path.

Proletariat: From the Latin/French, meaning wage-earning workers. In the history of ancient Rome, it refers to toilers who owned no property. (See Working class.)

Propaganda: Information that favors only one side in a conflict. Commercials and mainstream news are examples of capitalist propaganda, in a sea of capitalist propaganda. This dictionary is an example of working class propaganda, which, unlike capitalist propaganda, can never pretend to be impartial.

Racism: An institution invented by mercantile capitalism for the purpose of justifying the enslavement of non-Caucasian toilers for private profit. Under modern capitalism, an institution that employs white supremacy in order to divide the working class and terrorize a sector of the working class. Will be eliminated in the fight for socialism.

Recession: For the capitalist class, it means two consecutive quarters of no or minimal growth in the Gross Domestic Product. For the working class, it means increased unemployment, homelessness, sickness, and poverty.

Reformism: The delusional belief that modern capitalism can be repaired. Reformists oppose revolution and fear the working class more than they fear the ruling class. (See Liberal.)

Republican Party (US): A thoroughly capitalist party that is adept at frightening the working class while defending capitalist property relations and the American ruling class. (See Conservative.)

Revolution: A speedup of the evolutionary process. The violent or peaceful displacement of one ruling class and its beliefs by another. One example would be the first American revolution, when the American slavocracy teamed up with their junior partners, the Northern mercantile capitalists, to expel the British capitalist class from the seat of power. Another example would be the second American revolution, a.k.a. the US Civil War, when the emergent Northern industrial capitalists ruthlessly and violently destroyed the Southern slavocracy as a class.

Revolutionary: A person who is committed to the welfare of the working class and the principles of socialism.

Revolutionary vanguard party: A disciplined revolutionary party that is combat-tested and that transmits the political lessons of the past to the proletariat while simultaneously learning new lessons from the proletariat. The majority of its members are workers in key industries.

Rightists: Originally referred to members of the revolutionary French government of 1789 who sat on the right side of the aisle and campaigned for slow or no change.

 

Ruling class: A group of people – usually an oligarchy - who erect the institutions that determine the political and cultural norms of a society that help to maintain their rule.

Sectarian: Describes political activists and formations that refuse to collaborate with allies, insisting instead on assuming sole leadership of a movement. The effect is to keep the movement small and without influence.

Serf: A toiler under the feudal system whose profession is farming. Unlike a slave, a serf has the right to a home, to a family, and to protection from arbitrary violence. Consequently, a serf is a more productive toiler than a slave.

Sexism: A ruling class weapon that reaches back 7,000 years to divide the toiling masses. It propagates the view that men are inherently superior to women and consequently deserve more privileges. Sexism will be eliminated through the struggle for a socialist world.

Slave: A toiler who is owned by another person and has virtually no political or economic rights.

Slavocracy: A ruling class that is composed of slave-owning land owners, such as in ancient Rome and Greece and in the United States prior to the second American revolution. (See Revolution.)

Social Democracy: A type of bourgeois democracy found in the industrialized nations of Western Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand whose capitalist overlords have been forced by organized workers' struggles to concede significant economic benefits, such as universal health care, paid vacations, retirement pensions, housing assistance, and the like. These concessions are now under attack owing to the current capitalist crisis.

Socialism: A theoretical global economic system, the final stage of class society, in which the accumulation of private wealth and the nation-state will be abolished while all wealth will be owned collectively and managed democratically by the new ruling class – the working class. The Dictatorship of the Proletariat whose goal is the classless society of advanced communism.

Socialist country: A logical absurdity, since the establishment of socialism will mean the abolishment of all nation-states. (See Workers' state and Social democracy.)

Steering committee: The leadership of a group or coalition that makes decisions in between general meetings.

Surplus, agricultural: That which enabled the establishment of class society and the first ruling classes composed of priests and warriors seven millennia ago.

Surplus value: The value of a product or service after overhead costs, including labor costs, are subtracted. Appropriated by the capitalists as profit and forms the basis of capital accumulation.

Stalinism: A top-down-managed workers' state, ruled by a thuggish clique of bureaucrats who believe they can build socialism within the confines of the nation-state. An infamously failed experiment, never to be repeated on a massive scale. Responsible for the degeneration of the Russian Revolution and for German fascism seizing state power in the early 1930s. (Not to be confused with the doublethink usage of communism.)

Strike, labor: The withholding of labor power, which is the labor union's most important tactic against the bosses for achieving demands. Can manifest as a picket line or a sit-down action. Honored and supported unreservedly by revolutionaries.

Strike, general: A labor strike in which an entire community, region, or country participates. Extremely effective in bringing the ruling class to its knees. The first general strike in North America occurred in PhiladelphiaPennsylvania in 1835. After little more than three weeks, striking workers won their goal of a ten-hour workday and an increase in wages.

Technology: Knowledge accumulated by human beings for our potential betterment. By itself, it is neither helpful nor hurtful, but rather depends on who controls it for its effects. Like everything else, it is evolving at an exponential rate.

Technology, green: Renewable energy resources like solar, wind, and geothermal that, because of global warming, must eventually replace the fossil fuel energy resources of oil, gas, and coal that currently power the capitalist economy. After equipment installation, sunlight, wind, and earth heat are free, thus precluding the universal application of green technology under profit-driven capitalism.

Totalitarian: A regime in which an insecure oligarchy employs advanced technology to totally control the thoughts and actions of its citizens. Examples are fascism, Stalinism, and the dystopian governments in George Orwell's fictional 1984. The 180 degree opposite of communism.

Ultra-leftist: An impatient leftist with sectarian tendencies who will easily resort to acts of violence and criminality against capitalist institutions or individuals in the mistaken belief that he/she can substitute themselves for the working class. A candidate for class collaboration.

Underdeveloped countries: The majority of nations in the world, a.k.a. the "Third World." These populations have been prevented from developing advanced capitalism by the ruling classes of the imperialist powers, who have grown rich through various schemes of domination and exploitation. Also known in doublethink as "developing countries."

Union, labor: The most basic weapon in the arsenal of the working class in its life-and-death struggle with the bosses. A phenomenon that can be temporarily and partially subdued with repressive laws and violence, but can never be finally eliminated as long as there are workers and bosses.

United Front: The widest possible coalition protesting against a ruling oligarchy. Includes all groups and individuals who agree with specific demands, but march to their own banners. Can even include the Devil himself.

United Nations: Doublespeak for a disunited collection of representatives from mostly capitalist governments, whose purpose is to further the interests of their respective oligarchies.

United States: World headquarters for modern capitalism, owned and controlled solely by the American capitalist class. Number one imperialist nation, the bully in the schoolyard, and the greatest purveyor of terrorism and poverty in the world. The concept alone can initiate religious hysteria in the minds of those Americans with little or no working class loyalty. The lynchpin in the socialist revolution.

War on Drugs: A valuable weapon in the arsenal of the capitalist class for the foreign and domestic suppression and imprisonment of their mortal enemy, the working class.

War on Terror: World War III, used by all imperialist powers and their paid henchmen/client rulers to suppress any segment of insurgent toilers anywhere.

White supremacist: A rightist who believes that Caucasians are genetically and/or culturally superior to all others and consequently deserve more privileges. Potential recruits for fascism.

Workers' state: A country that has undergone a socialist revolution in which the capitalist class has been eliminated and the majority of the means of production are socially owned. Whether healthy, degenerated, or deformed, it is transitional and unstable, since socialism, based as it is on cooperation, cannot be successfully built within the confines of a nation-state that is continually forced to compete against other nation-states.

Working class: The proletariat, capitalism's greatest invention, created for its own replacement as a new ruling class. An international socioeconomic class that includes all people who have jobs or need jobs and have to answer to the whims of a boss. The only sector of industrialized society which actually have their physical hands on the wealth-producing machinery and thus have the access, know-how, and formal education that will enable them to expropriate the wealth and power of the capitalist class. The only class whose real needs require the absolute elimination of poverty, war, and injustice. (For more on the working class, "Why Aren't Americans Fighting Back?")

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

E. Douglas Kihn

E Douglas Kihn is a Doctor of Oriental medicine and a licensed acupuncturist with 25 years of experience in Chinese medicine who lives and works in Los Angeles. He has written three books: Chinese Medicine for AmericansAvoiding Death Indefinitely, and The Workbook of Chinese Herbs. He can be reached through his website at www.drkihn.com.


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Redefining Political Terms for a Revolutionary Age

Tuesday, 27 August 2013 11:43 By E. Douglas Kihn, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Words can have various meanings, depending on who is doing the defining and for what purpose. Word definitions can strongly influence how we think and act. The author George Orwell made this point devastatingly clear in his classic dystopia 1984, in which the English language was turned on its head in order to protect the interests of "Big Brother." Employing the methods of doublespeak and doublethink, the language created by this fictional totalitarian government was called "Newspeak."

Today's governments and news sources and their ready usage of doublespeak and doublethink is revealed in such otherwise whimsical turns of phrase as Department of Defense, War on Terror, the peace process, progressive Democrat, fair and balanced reporting, and job creators, to name a few.

The human race is privileged to be living in the Age of Revolution, which some historians would say began with the American Revolution of 1776 that "turned the world upside down," and has continued right up to this hour. The pace of revolutionary change, like all evolutionary change, is increasing. Today, mass revolts are breaking out in country after country. Every continent is witnessing wave upon wave of huge public protests against the current conditions of poverty, war, inequality, and injustice.

It is no coincidence that just as the old order, also known as class society, is breaking asunder, the yearning on the part of the masses for liberté, égalité, et fraternité is reaching a fever pitch. Our 7,000 year-old trial has finally gone to the jury, and the soon-to-be-announced verdict will be either freedom or death for humanity.

Many words and phrases with political implications have been twisted into meanings that support the capitalist order, or expunged from public discourse altogether. This dictionary aims to redefine and rehabilitate those terms so that they are useful for revolutionaries in our struggle to create a better world. At this time in history, the ranks of revolutionaries will be composed exclusively of members of the working class and those who sympathize with the working class. This is a revolutionary working class dictionary.

As of 2013, the residents of the United States do not currently find themselves in a revolutionary period or even a pre-revolutionary period. It might be called a "pre-pre-revolutionary period" in which the objective conditions for revolution are steadily unfolding, but the subjective requirements lag far behind. Still forming in the minds of the massive majority of toiling Americans is a revolutionary class consciousness that will allow for self-discovery, for self-empowerment, and for an accurate identification of the enemy – the accumulation of concentrated private wealth in all its forms and manifestations.

The great disparity between objective and subjective conditions means that when American workers finally catch up with their comrades in Latin America, Europe, the Muslim world, and elsewhere – who are ahead in the race, but nowhere near the finish line yet - the result will be sudden and explosive, just like an earthquake long delayed. This kind of dynamism is typical of the American character anyway. So working class fighters need to get our political vocabulary in order now.

American Syndrome: The American habits of worrying, hurrying, and overeating that have been keeping American noses to the grindstone since the current ruling class offensive began in the 1970s. (For more details, see "The American Syndrome" by this author.)

Bill of Rights: The only part of the US constitution that revolutionaries will elect to keep and defend, all the rest having been written and maintained for the purpose of defending the American oligarchy. (See Democratic rights.)

 

Boss: The opposite of worker. A business owner or manager who enjoys the legal right to isolate, harass, impoverish, and injure workers, and even deprive them of a livelihood altogether, all a stark reminder that there are no democratic rights in the capitalist workplace.

Capitalism: The final stage of class society in which greedy families legally steal wealth from the producers of wealth – the working class – in order to endlessly enrich and empower themselves. Capitalism, a dynamic system in a constant state of change and growth, has passed through three distinct phases, namely mercantile, industrial, and now financial.

Capitalist class: The opposite of working class. The tiny group of billionaire and millionaire families who currently dominate the world through their ownership and control of the means of production and the wealth and power thereby created.

Civil disobedience: A protest tactic in which participants deliberately get arrested in order to draw attention to their cause. Elevated to a strategy or principle by those impatient progressives who believe they can substitute themselves for the proletariat. Usually has the effect of keeping working people at home.

Class society: A 7,000 year old system of human organization whose purpose was and is to regiment and specialize labor in order to advance productive capacity to the objective degree at which all material scarcity can be eliminated forever worldwide.

Class, socioeconomic: A term that refers to a person's relationship to the means of production. Members of the same class, regardless of income level, have similar needs, interests, and perspectives, and thus tend to act as a political bloc on the world political stage. A doublethink substitute for income level.

Climate change: (See Global warming.)

Coalition building: The creation of a temporary alliance of groups around a specific set of demands that support the interests of the working class. This is an inclusive strategy crucial for preventing sectarianism, generating maximum participation, and achieving goals. (See United Front.)

Collaboration, class: Refers to the watering down and perversion of working class interests and demands in order to form electoral alliances with alien classes, especially "good" capitalists. Often used to gain government posts in capitalist governments by working class politicians. Class betrayal, similar to crossing a union picket line.

Colonial-settler state: A nation formed by invaders, usually light-skinned with advanced technologies, who, in order to establish themselves as a new ruling class, will need to dominate, steal from, and terrorize the indigenous inhabitants. Three examples in the modern era would be the Unites States, apartheid South Africa, and Israel.

Communism: A global order of egalitarianism that needs no government, classes, or hierarchies, in which all material wealth and decision-making are shared equally. (Read The Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels for more information.) Not to be confused with actually eisting "communism."

Communism, primitive: How our pre-class society ancestors lived, sharing poverty and decision-making equally.

Communism, advanced: Our theoretical post-class society destination, when we will be sharing super-abundance and decision-making equally.

Communist: A person or political formation that fights for a community-based world of the future. Also, doublethink for Stalinist. The Stalinists stole the worthy title and promptly dragged it through the slime and muck. (If you call yourself the Pope, and your enemies call you the Pope, does that make you the Pope?)

Comrade: A co-thinker with whom, shoulder to shoulder and across all divisions, we fight the Good Fight. A fellow revolutionary.

Conservative: A section of the ruling class that fights against innovation and would usually prefer the stick approach in dealing with an insurgent working class. Also, anyone who sympathizes with this point of view. In the US, most conservatives flock to the standards of the Republican Party.

Conspiracy theories: Schemes cooked up by folks desperate to explain political events that are the more likely result of the interaction of broad social forces. Endemic with those who lack class consciousness. The effect is to render the true believers powerless to combat the machinations of imaginary, secretive, and supposedly all-powerful cliques.

Democratic Party (US): A thoroughly capitalist party whose politicians are particularly adept at using doublespeak to lull the working class to sleep while defending capitalist property relations and the American ruling class. (See Liberal.)

Democracy: From the Greek, meaning "rule of the people." The term itself makes no sense, because animals and rocks cannot rule, while oligarchies are composed of people. It can be a useful term if we choose to define it as a type of class society in which the rule of the majority prevails. Because ancient Athens and modern industrialized nations were and are plutocratic oligarchies, democracy has never existed up until the formation of healthy workers' states. (Not to be confused with Democratic rights.)

Democracy, bourgeois: An oligarchic government ruled by the capitalist class, such as those found in North America, Western Europe, and Japan. Hallmarks are the existence of democratic rights forced on the ruling class by the toilers, as well as carefully managed parliamentary-style elections dominated by pro-capitalist political parties and capitalist-owned media.

Democratic centralism: An organizational system used by the revolutionary vanguard party in which all issues are fully discussed and voted on by the entire membership, and then tested by all for a specific period of time, at the end of which, another full discussion and polling occur and a new party line is implemented and once again tested by all.

Democratic rights: Concessions imposed on the ruling class by the working class, allowing for a measure of political rights such as universal suffrage and freedoms of speech, press, assembly, religion, privacy, and the rest. In the US, these rights are embodied in the Constitutional Amendments, and are under attack. Falsely hailed by oligarchies as evidence of democratic government.

Depression, economic: What we are now living through, with working class living standards declining worldwide, jobs disappearing, wealth concentrating at the top, and no end in sight. (See Overproduction, crisis of.)

Dictatorship: A style of government in which some people have absolute authority to rule over other people. Inherent in all forms of class society. We are currently living under the Dictatorship of Capital. The immediate revolutionary goal is the establishment of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, i.e. democracy. (See Democracy.)

Doublespeak: Saying one thing and meaning the opposite, as capitalist and Stalinist con artists often do, some even winning Nobel Prizes for their efforts.

Doublethink: Saying or hearing one thing and thinking the opposite. Self-deception, which is more dangerous than doublespeak.

Dystopias: Negative futures fictionalized in film and literature, which saturate modern capitalist culture and which reflect the unconscious pessimism of the ruling class regarding its hopeless prospects. Future scenarios in which no one wants to live, not to be taken seriously by those working to build a better world. The opposite of the original Star Trek universe of the hopeful 1960s.

Egalitarian: Sharing everything equally, as Nature intended for homo sapiens.

Electoral politics: One of the most important weapons in the capitalist arsenal, useful for keeping the working class from organizing independently and for disguising police states as democratic. Can also be turned around and used as public rostrums for revolutionary ideas and programs.

Enemy, political: The capitalists, as a class.

Evolution: The growth of the universe and everything in it, from minimal order and understanding to maximal order and understanding. Since the Big Bang, develops at an exponential rate, not a linear one. (For more, see "Human Evolution is Right On Schedule" by this author.)

Farmer: A middle class owner of a business that produces food.

Farm worker: A wage-earner who works on a farm. Often immigrants who are paid subsistence wages and are treated with utter disrespect.

Fascism: The last card played by a sector of a desperate capitalist class to stop a socialist revolution in its tracks. A totalitarian mass movement in an advanced industrial country that despises theory and ideas, is motivated by fear, employs doublespeak on a massive scale, worships violence as "cleansing," and whose immediate aims are to smash all working class independence while harnessing every atom of society to the service of the capitalist state. Unstable in the extreme, its inevitable result is global war.

Feminism: A broad, revolutionary movement of women aimed at defending and extending equal rights for women, who compose half of the working class. An enemy of class society by its very nature.

Feudalism: The dominant economic system during the European Middle Ages based on agriculture, serfdom, and a model of  land ownership that allowed for the birth of its replacement - mercantile capitalism.

Forager-hunter: A term that accurately describes our ancestors before the advent of agriculture. Primitive communists who shared their poverty and decision-making equally.

Global warming: An exponentially creeping crisis that threatens to destroy the biosphere upon which human life depends. The indisputable result of the overuse of fossil fuels by a greedy capitalist class whose sole interest is the private accumulation of wealth. A profound problem whose only solution is to be found in the planned economy of a socialist world.

Imperialism: The political, economic, and cultural domination of underdeveloped societies by the ruling classes of rich industrialized countries. Has the effect of maintaining poverty and repression in the Third World while promoting warfare between competing capitalist classes.

International community: Doublespeak for the ruling classes of the Western imperialist powers.

Internationalism: The opposite of patriotism and nationalism. The natural perspective of the working class, whose politics start with the world.

Labor Party: A powerful weapon that will unite the international working class against all capitalist oligarchies. Funded solely by union dues, it will answer only to the working class, and will use capitalist elections for propaganda purposes while pulling together all sectors of society that are independent of the ruling class and eager for class combat.

Leftists: Originally referred to members of the revolutionary French government of 1789 who sat on the left side of the aisle and who campaigned for rapid change.

Liberal: Describes a sector of the ruling class that believes that the best way of stopping working class resistance is with the carrotapproach. Also describes those who usually flock to the Democratic Party standards and who want to fix or save capitalism. A liberal is someone who doesn't like what capitalism does to people, but likes capitalism. Liberals strongly oppose socialist revolution and instead try to steer workers' struggles into the morass of capitalist elections.

Libertarian: American nationalists who seem to champion liberté,  but militantly oppose égalité et fraternité. Future recruitment material for fascist outfits.

Lumpenproletariat: People living on the margins of society, particularly criminals and the long-term unemployed. Prime recruiting material for fascist parties.

Maoism: The Asian version of Stalinism.

Marxism: The political/economic methods of analysis first developed by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels that advance theories which explain and forecast social change through the central concept of class struggle.

Means of production: The physical tools that the working class uses to create and distribute wealth, such as factories, mines, commercial real estate, farms, railroads, trucks, cargo ships and planes, refineries, warehouses, and retail outlets. Where the jobs and social power are to be found.

Middle class: Owners and managers of small and medium-sized businesses, as well as students who are the sons and daughters of middle class parents. The middle class typically yearns to join the ranks of the ruling class. Also, doublespeak for middle income workers, cherished by capitalist politicians and media for the purpose of confusing and dividing the working class.

Mixed economy: Doublespeak for an economy dominated by the capitalist class and retaining capitalist property relations, but that exhibits various economic concessions to the working class such as government benefits, worker collectives, and publically owned non-profit enterprises.

Nation-state: An invention of capitalism for the protection and extension of international profiteering.

Nationalism: A religious belief in the inherent goodness of the nation-state in which all class divisions are blurred. The major motivating factor that transforms workers into obedient citizens and capitalist cannon fodder. The opposite of internationalism. (See Patriotism.) For more, see the video "Let Your Life Be a Friction to Stop the Machine."

Nutritionism: The distinctly American belief that most or all problems can be solved by putting the right things in the mouth. Weakens self-trust, boosts consumerism and profits, maintains obesity, and debilitates the working class with feelings of deprivation and guilt. (For more, see the "The Curse of American Nutritionism.")

Obesity: Originally a widespread American phenomenon. A weapon inadvertently benefiting the American capitalist class in its efforts to keep the working class subdued and self-hating. (For more, see "The Political Roots of American Obesity." )

Oligarchy: Rule of a very small minority over a majority. Except for healthy workers' states, all class societies are oligarchies, including ancient Athens and the United States since its founding. Most oligarchies are also plutocratic, i.e. the ruling cliques derive their powers from their disproportionate accumulation of wealth.

Opponent, political: Class collaborators and sectarians who compete with the revolutionary vanguard party for the allegiance of the working class. (Not to be confused with Enemy, political.)

Overproduction, crises of: A situation in which consumer items are produced in such quantities that they can no longer be sold for a profit, causing widespread unemployment and suffering. Periodically responsible for capitalist recessions and depressions. The current "Great Depression 2.0" began in the 1970s involving the entire world economy, and will continue to develop until resolved with either a fascist holocaust or a socialist revolution.

Overpopulation: A ruling class lie that seeks to shift the blame for poverty and poorly managed resources to working people, blaming them for having too many children. The unspoken but logical solutions to this supposed overpopulation are starvation and war.

Patriarchy: The rule of men over women and children, violently established 7,000 years ago at the dawn of class society. (See Sexism.)

Patriotism: Doublespeak for nationalism.

 

Petite bourgeoisie: French for "small capitalist," which today means middle class.

Plutocratic: An adjective that describes the rule of the rich.

Police: An elitist armed force whose primary functions are to defend capitalist property relations and to terrorize the working class. Police are not workers.

Police state: A society that is dominated by police repression, in which the working class has few political freedoms with which to organize. Can easily be disguised with staged elections and media propaganda. (Never to be confused with the catastrophic phenomenon of fascism.)

Politics: Concentrated economics, from a revolutionary perspective.

Poverty: Economic deprivation that will forever end as the result of the planned economy of the socialist revolution and the equal distribution of the enormous wealth created by capitalism.

Progressive: A person who strongly sympathizes with the desperate plight of the working class, but lacks class consciousness and is not yet ready to commit to a revolutionary path.

Proletariat: From the Latin/French, meaning wage-earning workers. In the history of ancient Rome, it refers to toilers who owned no property. (See Working class.)

Propaganda: Information that favors only one side in a conflict. Commercials and mainstream news are examples of capitalist propaganda, in a sea of capitalist propaganda. This dictionary is an example of working class propaganda, which, unlike capitalist propaganda, can never pretend to be impartial.

Racism: An institution invented by mercantile capitalism for the purpose of justifying the enslavement of non-Caucasian toilers for private profit. Under modern capitalism, an institution that employs white supremacy in order to divide the working class and terrorize a sector of the working class. Will be eliminated in the fight for socialism.

Recession: For the capitalist class, it means two consecutive quarters of no or minimal growth in the Gross Domestic Product. For the working class, it means increased unemployment, homelessness, sickness, and poverty.

Reformism: The delusional belief that modern capitalism can be repaired. Reformists oppose revolution and fear the working class more than they fear the ruling class. (See Liberal.)

Republican Party (US): A thoroughly capitalist party that is adept at frightening the working class while defending capitalist property relations and the American ruling class. (See Conservative.)

Revolution: A speedup of the evolutionary process. The violent or peaceful displacement of one ruling class and its beliefs by another. One example would be the first American revolution, when the American slavocracy teamed up with their junior partners, the Northern mercantile capitalists, to expel the British capitalist class from the seat of power. Another example would be the second American revolution, a.k.a. the US Civil War, when the emergent Northern industrial capitalists ruthlessly and violently destroyed the Southern slavocracy as a class.

Revolutionary: A person who is committed to the welfare of the working class and the principles of socialism.

Revolutionary vanguard party: A disciplined revolutionary party that is combat-tested and that transmits the political lessons of the past to the proletariat while simultaneously learning new lessons from the proletariat. The majority of its members are workers in key industries.

Rightists: Originally referred to members of the revolutionary French government of 1789 who sat on the right side of the aisle and campaigned for slow or no change.

 

Ruling class: A group of people – usually an oligarchy - who erect the institutions that determine the political and cultural norms of a society that help to maintain their rule.

Sectarian: Describes political activists and formations that refuse to collaborate with allies, insisting instead on assuming sole leadership of a movement. The effect is to keep the movement small and without influence.

Serf: A toiler under the feudal system whose profession is farming. Unlike a slave, a serf has the right to a home, to a family, and to protection from arbitrary violence. Consequently, a serf is a more productive toiler than a slave.

Sexism: A ruling class weapon that reaches back 7,000 years to divide the toiling masses. It propagates the view that men are inherently superior to women and consequently deserve more privileges. Sexism will be eliminated through the struggle for a socialist world.

Slave: A toiler who is owned by another person and has virtually no political or economic rights.

Slavocracy: A ruling class that is composed of slave-owning land owners, such as in ancient Rome and Greece and in the United States prior to the second American revolution. (See Revolution.)

Social Democracy: A type of bourgeois democracy found in the industrialized nations of Western Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand whose capitalist overlords have been forced by organized workers' struggles to concede significant economic benefits, such as universal health care, paid vacations, retirement pensions, housing assistance, and the like. These concessions are now under attack owing to the current capitalist crisis.

Socialism: A theoretical global economic system, the final stage of class society, in which the accumulation of private wealth and the nation-state will be abolished while all wealth will be owned collectively and managed democratically by the new ruling class – the working class. The Dictatorship of the Proletariat whose goal is the classless society of advanced communism.

Socialist country: A logical absurdity, since the establishment of socialism will mean the abolishment of all nation-states. (See Workers' state and Social democracy.)

Steering committee: The leadership of a group or coalition that makes decisions in between general meetings.

Surplus, agricultural: That which enabled the establishment of class society and the first ruling classes composed of priests and warriors seven millennia ago.

Surplus value: The value of a product or service after overhead costs, including labor costs, are subtracted. Appropriated by the capitalists as profit and forms the basis of capital accumulation.

Stalinism: A top-down-managed workers' state, ruled by a thuggish clique of bureaucrats who believe they can build socialism within the confines of the nation-state. An infamously failed experiment, never to be repeated on a massive scale. Responsible for the degeneration of the Russian Revolution and for German fascism seizing state power in the early 1930s. (Not to be confused with the doublethink usage of communism.)

Strike, labor: The withholding of labor power, which is the labor union's most important tactic against the bosses for achieving demands. Can manifest as a picket line or a sit-down action. Honored and supported unreservedly by revolutionaries.

Strike, general: A labor strike in which an entire community, region, or country participates. Extremely effective in bringing the ruling class to its knees. The first general strike in North America occurred in PhiladelphiaPennsylvania in 1835. After little more than three weeks, striking workers won their goal of a ten-hour workday and an increase in wages.

Technology: Knowledge accumulated by human beings for our potential betterment. By itself, it is neither helpful nor hurtful, but rather depends on who controls it for its effects. Like everything else, it is evolving at an exponential rate.

Technology, green: Renewable energy resources like solar, wind, and geothermal that, because of global warming, must eventually replace the fossil fuel energy resources of oil, gas, and coal that currently power the capitalist economy. After equipment installation, sunlight, wind, and earth heat are free, thus precluding the universal application of green technology under profit-driven capitalism.

Totalitarian: A regime in which an insecure oligarchy employs advanced technology to totally control the thoughts and actions of its citizens. Examples are fascism, Stalinism, and the dystopian governments in George Orwell's fictional 1984. The 180 degree opposite of communism.

Ultra-leftist: An impatient leftist with sectarian tendencies who will easily resort to acts of violence and criminality against capitalist institutions or individuals in the mistaken belief that he/she can substitute themselves for the working class. A candidate for class collaboration.

Underdeveloped countries: The majority of nations in the world, a.k.a. the "Third World." These populations have been prevented from developing advanced capitalism by the ruling classes of the imperialist powers, who have grown rich through various schemes of domination and exploitation. Also known in doublethink as "developing countries."

Union, labor: The most basic weapon in the arsenal of the working class in its life-and-death struggle with the bosses. A phenomenon that can be temporarily and partially subdued with repressive laws and violence, but can never be finally eliminated as long as there are workers and bosses.

United Front: The widest possible coalition protesting against a ruling oligarchy. Includes all groups and individuals who agree with specific demands, but march to their own banners. Can even include the Devil himself.

United Nations: Doublespeak for a disunited collection of representatives from mostly capitalist governments, whose purpose is to further the interests of their respective oligarchies.

United States: World headquarters for modern capitalism, owned and controlled solely by the American capitalist class. Number one imperialist nation, the bully in the schoolyard, and the greatest purveyor of terrorism and poverty in the world. The concept alone can initiate religious hysteria in the minds of those Americans with little or no working class loyalty. The lynchpin in the socialist revolution.

War on Drugs: A valuable weapon in the arsenal of the capitalist class for the foreign and domestic suppression and imprisonment of their mortal enemy, the working class.

War on Terror: World War III, used by all imperialist powers and their paid henchmen/client rulers to suppress any segment of insurgent toilers anywhere.

White supremacist: A rightist who believes that Caucasians are genetically and/or culturally superior to all others and consequently deserve more privileges. Potential recruits for fascism.

Workers' state: A country that has undergone a socialist revolution in which the capitalist class has been eliminated and the majority of the means of production are socially owned. Whether healthy, degenerated, or deformed, it is transitional and unstable, since socialism, based as it is on cooperation, cannot be successfully built within the confines of a nation-state that is continually forced to compete against other nation-states.

Working class: The proletariat, capitalism's greatest invention, created for its own replacement as a new ruling class. An international socioeconomic class that includes all people who have jobs or need jobs and have to answer to the whims of a boss. The only sector of industrialized society which actually have their physical hands on the wealth-producing machinery and thus have the access, know-how, and formal education that will enable them to expropriate the wealth and power of the capitalist class. The only class whose real needs require the absolute elimination of poverty, war, and injustice. (For more on the working class, "Why Aren't Americans Fighting Back?")

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

E. Douglas Kihn

E Douglas Kihn is a Doctor of Oriental medicine and a licensed acupuncturist with 25 years of experience in Chinese medicine who lives and works in Los Angeles. He has written three books: Chinese Medicine for AmericansAvoiding Death Indefinitely, and The Workbook of Chinese Herbs. He can be reached through his website at www.drkihn.com.


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