“How is the discipline of the proletariat’s revolutionary party maintained? How is it tested? How is it reinforced? First, by the class-consciousness of the proletarian vanguard and by its devotion to the revolution, by its tenacity, self-sacrifice and heroism. Second, by its ability to link up, maintain the closest contact, and—if you wish—merge, in certain measure, with the broadest masses of the working people—primarily with the proletariat, but also with the non-proletarian masses of working people. Third, by the correctness of the political leadership exercised by this vanguard, by the correctness of its political strategy and tactics, provided the broad masses have seen, from their own experience, that they are correct.” -Vladimir Lenin, Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder (1920)
Vladimir Lenin was the leader of one of the most profound and powerful revolutions that the world has ever seen. Today he has been turned into little more than a goblin of the past by the powers that be. Comprised, defiled, and disposed by the masses due to a century of relentless propaganda against his ideas, and communism itself, most have never read anything of Lenin’s, but will still tell you his ideas were a failure. If we can take the time separate the filth from the facts, we can see that Lenin presented the revolutionary praxis through which the State can be destroyed. Over the course of the 15-years after Lenin released, “What is to be Done?” he build the largest vanguard party in history and destroyed one of the most powerful nation-states that ever existed. The tactic that allowed for Lenin to accomplish this is called vanguardism.
The Digital Vanguard and Proletarian Internationalism
To have a deeper understand of what exactly the vanguard is, we can look to international revolutionary and hero Che Guevara, who implemented Lenin’s ideas to help liberate millions across the globe:
“The vanguard group is ideologically more advanced than the mass; the masses understand the new values, but not sufficiently. While among the vanguard there has been a qualitative change that enables them to make sacrifices in their capacity as an advance guard, the masses see only part of the picture and must be subject to incentives and pressures of a certain intensity… All of this means that for total success a series of mechanisms, of revolutionary institutions, is needed.”
What strikes me about this comment is this is the same sort of ideological position that Anonymous and other hacktivist groups have taken without exposing their statist identities. Though the ‘institutionalization’ of the revolutionary values found within digital technology, activist have been able to strip their physical bodies from the struggle, and enshrined them within digital practice. This allows for the entirety of the revolutionary vanguard to exist solely upon digital means alone. What makes this so incredible is that it allows for the fusion of anarchist and communist principals through practice alone. This practice allows for organization around the principals of strong crypto; which blinds the state, and stripped them of their ability to bring violence to revolutionaries.
The second important principal that comes from this digitization of the vanguard is the completeness in which it embraces proletarian internationalism. Through stripping our physical selves from the revolutionary praxis of the internet, we are forced to operate on only a global scale. There is no way to see our nationalities; only our mutual humanity–we can only deduce from our online interactions that the other person is human, and that is it. With the physical protection that is afford to us through this medium, it allows for us to see the full vulnerability of other humans within this system. Though we may not know the physical bodies of those we interact with, we can still see the fundamental properties that make them as flesh and blood as you and I. To see humans first and foremost as humans, and not as nationalities, sexes, races, or labor, is what forces the perspective of proletarian internationalism on to the digital vanguardism. This principal is forced upon from without, unlike communist vanguardism which vulgarizes its own principals in the name of one official power.
To Build a New Way Forward
When we can understand the internet as a revolutionary apparatus to destroy the state and usher in a new epoch based upon digital practices alone, we can see that the first two of Lenin’s principals of the vanguard have already formulated themselves. Heros like Ed Snowden and Julian Assange among many others, have seen the truly revolutionary power of the internet, and have used that power to show the world what a single human can do against the catastrophe of governments. They have set an example that shows the truly revolutionary power of the internet. This is why they have been so ruthless pursued by states, because they show how vulnerable their corrupt system is to our digital power. This power has been know for the better part of a decade, but it has only been with the advent of strong crypto that a single person can stand against the supposed omnipotence of the state; and prove that omnipotence to be little more than smoke and mirrors.
The second of Lenin’s principals (to organize with the broadest swaths of society) has been seen in the Arab Spring, and the failed Occupy uprisings. It proved that the internet can be used to communicate, and organize around revolutionary change. Since 2011 we are seeing more and more direct action being taken by hacktivist groups and individual strikes against various aspects of the state capitalism machine. Each victory in the form of data theft, a site take down against a major corporation, and the advent bitcoin all are displaying the weakness of the political-economic system. However, we also know from the aftermath of these events that the final, and most essential component of Lenin’s theory has not been enacted: Political leadership, strategy, and tactics.
The Need For A Revolutionary Vanguard
To quote Che again, “At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality. Perhaps it is one of the great dramas of the leader that he or she must combine a passionate spirit with a cold intelligence and make painful decisions without flinching. Our vanguard revolutionaries must idealize this love of the people, of the most sacred causes, and make it one and indivisible.”
We must know and understand that is through our conviction that people shall always matter more than money, that we can change the world. To know that it is we who will fight against the wicked and corrupt, that it is us that shall liberate the impoverished and smash the chains of the oppressed! We do not do this for our hatred of those who oppress us, but for the love of those that we demand to be given the freedom they are rightfully entitled to. It is only through the revolutionary zeal and infinite capacity of our love for humanity over all else, that we can create a new, and better world.
Today we have a choice: we can continue to work within the system, when all evidence points to the corruption, and impossibility of creating substantial change, or we can take it upon ourselves to start actively organizing against this system. The only way that we will be able to create revolutionary change is through embracing the third and final principal of Lenin’s revolutionary vanguard: through political leadership, strategy, and tactics to help steer the masses towards liberation. The only way that this can be done is through the open organization and promotion of revolutionary tactics against the machine. By using the power of bitcoin, and the censorship-resistant blockchain we can create an alternative economy and society that is fully outside of the hands of the state.