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Tallahassee FRSO presents Socialism 101: From Marx to Now

By Shivaani Ehsaan

Tallahassee, FL – Members of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) presented a basic crash course on the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism and socialism to 15 students on Feb 4. The presenters covered basic concepts of socialism, explained important historical figures and events, described current revolutionary struggles and made clear the FRSO strategy for revolution in the U.S.

The presentation started with a brief look at class exploitation, the basis of capitalism. The fundamental reality is that workers create wealth through hard labor and toil, yet the bosses are the ones who take home the profits. Around the world, the working class struggles for basic survival.

“ You can see this today in the U.S. where the working class is working harder, yet they have seen their wages plummet while the 1% minority takes home the wealth,” commented an attendee from Students for a Democratic Society.

Other basic ideas, such as the concept of class struggle, in which the interests of the owning class and the interests of those who work for the owning class are diametrically opposed, were also covered.

The presentation then transitioned into a historical overview of the struggle for socialism that took place in the 19th and 20th centuries. During the 19th century, in the heat of the industrial revolution, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote the famous Communist Manifesto, outlining the basic ideas of communism.

In the beginning of the 20th century, when Western imperialist countries were seeking to expand their power and profits in World War I, the Russian people tired of their oppressive conditions under the czar. The people overthrew the monarch’s rule and later created a socialist country led by Lenin and the Bolsheviks. This was first time in history that working class and everyday people took power. As the Russian revolution struggled to end war and starvation, all were eventually guaranteed employment, housing, health care and education and were able to put food on the table. Great gains were made for oppressed nationalities and women. Racism and anti-Semitism were punishable by law and women made great advances towards full equality, leaping ahead of the imperialist countries.

After World War II, imperialism around the world took a huge hit. Colonized nations in Asia were slowly gaining their independence and throwing out the foreign exploiters. In China, after a victorious fight against the Japanese imperialists, the Chinese Communist Party under the leadership of Mao Zedong again showed the world how working-class power can be established in alliance with the peasantry and other class forces. China went through many social changes. Practices like foot binding, a tradition harmful to girls and women, were outlawed. Students and intellectuals fused their lives with the working class and farmers in the countryside. The Communist Party of China developed the economy into the powerhouse that China is today.

“Though many gains were made, we must analyze both the positives and the errors that were made during this time and figure out how we can establish socialism today in the U.S.,” said Regina Joseph, a member of the Dream Defenders.

The presenters wrapped up the short course by going over current struggles against capitalism, including in Asia, where revolutionary forces in the Philippines, India, Nepal and other countries are all fighting to end oppression and inequality in their lands.

In the U.S., the Freedom Road Socialist Organization seeks to organize for revolution through uniting the working class and oppressed nationalities in a strategic alliance to overthrow the rule of Wall Street and its government. We will need a new revolutionary party, a communist party, using the ideas of Marxism-Leninism to forge this strategic alliance, to lead the people’s movements and win power.

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