(hit the escape key if you want to turn off the sound)

What's on this page?

Proletariat Ascendant
A hint of what the next
50 years will bring.

cyberLeninist Manifesto "information wants to be free" fits Leninism as a bullet does a rifle

What can you do to help ?

Exit Poll
(temporarily disabled--
pending site automation)

A word on security
Big brother can watch
your clickstream.

An introduction to
Our mission is to correct
the wrong conceptions
which grew out of
the 1917 revolution
and to lay
the theoretical foundation
for the 21st century

What's on
other pages ?

Home Page
of cyberLeninism

recommended by us
and by our readers

What do our readers think?
(frozen now for 15 months)

The Digital Fire
Will the dictatorship of the proletariat
censor the internet ?



Beam me up, Scotty


The Proletariat Ascendant

(A hint of what to expect in the next 50 years)

Consciousness is primarily the process
of collecting, concentrating and refining information
for the purpose of transforming it into a guide for action.

We are going to create something which,
for technical and political reasons,
has never existed in the history of the world.

Digital infrastructure will make the world transparent (estimated penetration of digital communications: percentage of world population vs. time)
100%|............................................********* ....|......................................******::::::::: .80 |...................................***::::::::::::::: ....|.................................**:::::::::::::::::: .60 |................................*:::::::::::::::::::: ....|...............................*::::::::::::::::::::: .40 |..............................*:::::::::::::::::::::: ....|.............................*::::::::::::::::::::::: .30 |...........................**:::::::::::::::::::::::: ....|.........................**:::::::::::::::::::::::::: .20 |......................***:::::::::::::::::::::::::::: .10 |..................****::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: ..5 |.............*****::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: ..1 |........*****:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: ..0 |--+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+ .....1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 '40
The cost of digital technology plummets, following Moore's law,
and the price of hardware approaches the price of sand.
This results in the familiar "S" curve of penetration
characteristic of the adoption of most new technology.
Immense cultural and political changes will inevitably follow
as even the most isolated populations in grinding poverty
become plugged into and interactive with the rest of humanity.

The world will become very interesting as the proletariat comes online.

With the enthusiastic, interactive participation of many thousands,
we are going to perfect the "ultimate virus",
the theoretical foundation of the idea
that the laws of the marketplace and commodity production
are not destined to dominate humanity until the end of time
but will become extinct in the course of the events of the 21st century.

Riding the crest of the wave of the communications revolution,
we are going to bring information warfare
(as a battle of ideas, as a struggle for consciousness)
to the masses, as a vehicle for their aspirations.

The proletariat is the only class
with the will, the ability and the material interest,
to see that the digital communications revolution
(with its promise of immense relief to all the problems of humanity)
is carried through to the end.


Beam me up, Scotty


You've heard about it, here it is:
The cyberLeninist Manifesto

The principle of "information wants to be free"
fits Leninism as a bullet does a rifle
in what turns out to be
the ultimate nightmare for the bourgeoisie.

Leninism, as a continuation of the practical
and theoretical work of Karl Marx,
had two stages in the period while Lenin was alive.
The period from Lenin's death to approximately the present period
has represented the third stage of Leninism.
Now, as the coming revolution in digital communications
promises to link-up class-conscious workers in every country,
we are entering the fourth stage.

  • Leninism I . . . . . . (1896 - 1917)
    • Building a party that withstood repression
      and fought emergent social-democracy
  • Leninism II . . . . . (1917 - 1923)
    • State power under harsh conditions
  • Leninism III . . . . (1924 - approximately today)
    • Leninism in the hands of its enemies
  • Leninism IV . . . . (after the fall of the Soviet Union
                                      and the development of the web)
    • Classical Leninism plus "information wants to be free"

Beam me up, Scotty

Leninism I
Building a party that withstood repression
and fought emergent social-democracy

he period from the late 1890's until 1917 represents the first stage of Leninism, in which Lenin developed the outlines of a party of a new type--able to maintain extensive ties with the workers (create, publish and widely distribute in illegal conditions an underground press--build underground organizations of workers in the factories capable of organizing strikes and other actions) and carry out a complete program of revolutionary work despite heavy repression from the Tsarist government. During this period Lenin led the fight against social-democracy--which got its start in life as most of the mainstream leaders of the marxist movement in Europe betrayed the proletariat, went over to the side of the bourgeoisie and supported the mutual slaughter of worker by worker now known as the first world war.

Beam me up, Scotty

Leninism II
State power under harsh conditions

he period after the conquest of state power in October 1917 represents the second stage of Leninism. During this period the survival of the young revolution, (engaged in a brutal civil war and international intervention, surrounded by enemies and in the midst of a population which--after the defeat of the white armies by 1921--grew increasingly restless and disenchanted with the existing misery, hunger and general harsh conditions and engaged in a series of armed revolts) necessitated a series of emergency measures in which all political opposition to the bolsheviks, whether representing the efforts of the international bourgeoisie or the misguided strivings of petty bourgeois trends (which would have worked to the advantage of the bourgeoisie and ushered in bourgeois rule), was ruthlessly suppressed.

he harsh conditions during this period necessitated that the "normal" democratic rights associated with bourgeois democracy, such as freedom of the press and freedom of political association, were suspended for the entire population and even for members of Lenin's own bolshevik party. Any election during this period would have proven that the popular support the bolsheviks had initially enjoyed had long since eroded. The bolsheviks were living atop a lighted stick of dynamite. The revolutionary government had the right and the duty to carry out these repressive measures, as emergency measures for a temporary period of time. But such measures, necessary as they were, constituted a grave and severe threat to the long-term health of the revolution and led to its eventual suffocation.

uring this period, many serious mistakes were made. Some mistakes, such as the practice of confiscating from peasants, at gunpoint, all grain beyond the most minimal necessary for survival, were recognized and repudiated by Lenin in March 1921. But Lenin did not have time to recognize from practice and correct all the mistakes of this period, nor to lead the transition away from the temporary emergency repressive measures and toward a more open system allowing workers to more freely organize, improvise and experiment politically and economically from below and learn from their own mistakes. Lenin was incapacited by a series of strokes beginning in May 1922 and his political life was over in less than a year. Two months before his stroke, however, in his last major address to the party, Lenin warned the 11th Party Congress that "History knows all sorts of metamorphoses" and that "the real and main danger" was that the party might degenerate along bourgeois lines but retain "communist flags inscribed with catchwords stuck all over the place".

And this, in a very approximate way, is what happened.

Beam me up, Scotty

Leninism III
Leninism in the hands of its enemies

istory has not necessarily made clear whether conditions existed for the 1917 revolution to defeat its enemies and reach the stage where it could have afforded the relaxation of the restrictions on independent political activity which would have been necessary for its long-term health.

Possibly with a few good harvests and some restoration of the economy the bolsheviks would have had enough of a breathing space to begin the process of opening things up.

n the other hand, if--after several years--it became clear that such conditions did not exist--that the population was not ready to undertake the sacrifices necessary for economic development on a voluntary basis (ie: without severe repression and the continued denial of essential democratic rights)--a correct course for the bolsheviks to take may have been to prepare for a retreat from power. If long-term repression of the population was a necessity of economic development--it may have been better to have let the bourgeoisie undertake this task--and to take the credit for it also--rather than to allow generations of workers to associate "communism" with a permanant, repressive police-state.

hile it may not be possible to know for certain whether conditions existed for the long-term success of the revolution and a gradual thaw of repressive measures--it can be said that historically--this is not what happened. Instead, following Lenin's death, the bolshevik leadership began to become increasingly and narrowly preoccupied with its own immediate survival. The easing of the repression of "normal" democratic rights appears to never have been put on the agenda. By the late 1920's or early 1930's it was becoming more clear that the revolution had been compromised and its principles betrayed. A new class of privileged functionaries acquired a permanent existence and--to complete the process--in the mid and late 1930's the bulk of the bolshevik leaders of Lenin's time were shot.

uring this period, Leninism continued to evolve--but it evolved in the hands of its enemies. Leninism was mummified and turned into a set of dead dogmas by the counter-revolution. The principles for which Lenin had fought were codified and transformed into a political religion given the name "Marxism-Leninism" (a phrase never used by Lenin). All of the temporary emergency repressive measures taken during the time of greatest emergency and hardship were enshrined as permanent features of the "proletarian" dictatorship. The workers' political party must not, it was proclaimed, ever have different sections organized on the basis of differing political views or overall assessment. No real debate, involving the masses, on issues of fundamental principle could ever be allowed. All political life must be channeled thru and approved by a supreme directing center--a single point of control. Political life itself was seen as a severe threat and the greatest necessity was for society to be completely inert politically--to be politically dead.

Beam me up, Scotty

Leninism IV
Classical Leninism plus
"information wants to be free"

his brings us to the fourth stage of Leninism: Leninism not only as it is neeeded today but as it would have evolved in the event that the 1917 revolution had not been suffocated but instead had been successful. This stage of Leninism would have brought about genuine proletarian democracy--a phenomena that historically has only existed fleetingly and never in any developed sense. This stage of Leninism would correspond to the objective requirements of developing a complex economy via worker initiative and would involve a ceaseless search for bottom-up methods by which the interdependent (simultaneously competing as well as cooperating) economic and political actions of many thousands and millions of workers would at all levels be an indispensable component of orderly and planned (as well as chaotic and unplanned) economic development.

propose that this fourth stage be called cyberLeninism. CyberLeninism would be those principles corresponding to the objective necessity for organizing a complex economy under modern conditions--free of the rule of the market or the laws of commodity production. CyberLeninism corresponds to the unleashing of mass initiative in the period where information goods and services will dominate the economy.

yberLeninism represents the repudiation of the third stage of Leninism (ie: Leninism in the hands of its enemies, Leninism as a political religion, Leninism as "Marxism-Leninism") and goes back to the basic living principles for which both Marx and Lenin fought.

yberLeninism involves the explicit addition, to classical Leninism, of the principle of "information wants to be free". In a modern, developed, complex society, the principle of "information wants to be free" fits classical Leninism as a bullet does a rifle --and in the age in which information is increasingly flowing in ways which cannot be stopped--restores to Leninism the status of a weapon which, in the hands of the proletariat, will prove to be invincible.



Beam me up, Scotty


This site created by Ben Seattle (also known as cyberRed).

Recently I put together a useful index to my current (and past) work including the email lists that I run, my theoretical work and my work with digital infrastructure. You are welcome to check this index out at http://struggle.net/ben

To get on the Party of the Future email list
(sent out a few times a year) send email to



What can you do to help ?

How you can help to build
a powerful and healthy communist movement

A number of readers have sent email asking my opinion on what they can do to help build a communist movement. Unfortunately, I am too incompetent to give more than very general answers. Here are the suggestions I was able to come up with:

Learn about the communist movement

Use the potential of cyberspace to learn about the history of the communist movement and the vital issues that are important for its development. Check out the websites, the activity and the positions (ie: "political line") of various groups on all the important questions. Check out both groups that do and do not claim to be communist.

Here are some other things you can do:

  • keep a private political journal to record observations and focus your mind on the kinds of questions you need to be asking yourself
  • take part in the various forums (usenet, email lists or web-based discussion boards) which are popping up to discuss marxism and/or issues relating to the class struggle
  • survey the web sites of radical organizations, read, ask questions via email and see if you can get answers (sometimes you can and sometimes you can't)
  • create your own political web site so that others you may want to talk with can easily see what's on your mind, where you are coming from and what sites you link to. (Anonymous web sites are best--to avoid harassment at present or future schools or workplaces.) You can set up free, anonymous email and websites by using: www.hotmail.com, www.geocities.com, www.tripod.com, or www.angelfire.com.
  • keep informed about important national and international news events

Make contact with radical political organizations

Nearly all countries have a variety of leftist organizations. If you live in a country where leftist activity is illegal or is punished by government-supported death squads (ie: many parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America) you would, of course, want to be extremely cautious about this.

For everyone else, however, making contact with (and working with) left organizations may be the best way to gain practical experience in the class struggle. At the same time, however, it is important to keep in mind that nearly all leftist organizations are severely flawed from one direction or another, usually by one or another degree of reformism or sectarianism or both.

This does not mean that you should refrain from getting involved with a leftist group. On the contrary, without first-hand experience with the flaws of groups on the left, it would be much more difficult to understand the nature of the existing problems. But do keep your eyes open. Try to become familiar with as broad a variety of leftist groups as you can. Read their press (leaflets, newspapers and web sites), talk to their supporters, try to form a general picture of their activity, the type of work they do, the issues they do or do not deal with and the struggles with which they are involved.

Do not: "drink the kool-aid"

Unfortunately, some organizations have an internal life which is similar to that of a cult. In their competition with other political trends, they may use tactics which tend to cut their supporters off from meaningful political interaction with rival trends. One aspect of this tactic (which I call "information isolation") is to incite their supporters against other trends in such a way that intelligent discussion is no longer possible. This is usually accomplished by conditioning their supporters to think of rival trends as "black hats" and their own trend as "white hats".

Activists who fall into this trap are known as sectarians. Unfortunately, it is not that uncommon for supporters of rival trends to do nothing but trade "political" insults when they meet one another. The best antidote to sectarian attitudes is to recognize that all trends have strengths as well as weaknesses and to always maintain the kind of honest curiosity that allows intelligent discussion to take place between activists of competing trends.



Beam me up, Scotty


A Word on Security

Big Brother can monitor your clickstream

The use of "cyberspace" as a arena of organizing activity by communists (and, more generally, progressives) raises many questions. Repressive governments have the ability to tap the internet. (I am hardly an expert in these matters--but I know that if bright, 16 year-old "hacker" teenagers can use a packet sniffer--then so can the CIA, NSA and their non-US counterparts.) Therefore, activists who browse here (or anywhere) should know that "big brother" has the ability to monitor and record your clickstream.

The stand of revolutionary and progressive activists is not to be intimidated by this but instead to take full advantage of the abundant opportunities for political organization provided by cyberspace. In some cases, however, caution is advisable.

I am not an expert in these areas but am including here what may hopefully represent a certain amount of common sense (ie: educated guesswork) to guide activsts who may be a bit new to this or who live or operate in areas of the world where heavy-duty repression is a part of daily life. I have arranged this section in a question and answer format. Readers who believe that I may be in error can publically correct me (provided of course that they can communicate with this site without endangering themselves).

Beam me up, Scotty

Some questions
  • Question:
    How likely is it that I am being monitored when I browse the web?

  • Answer:
    The short answer is: I don't know.

    You are more likely to be monitored while visiting a site like this than the Disney site or the Playboy site (please see the next question and answer below). From a technical point of view it is easy to do (that is why most people do not want to use their VISA cards to buy stuff on the web until adequate security protocols are in place).

    Your "clickstream" (ie: a record of where you visit and what pages you call up) can be monitored in the U.S. (where this site is located) as well as in the country where you are located right now. In addition, U.S. and other intelligence agencies typically monitor the vast volumes of internet traffic that travel via satellite, ground-based microwave and other channels. Messages may be recorded on the basis of the electronic address of the sender or reciever or on whether certain words in the message are in a search list (reference: Covert Action Quarterly, #59 Exposing the Global Surveillance System). This monitoring can be done relatively easily by governments (and often by knowledgeable individuals at transit points using techniques such as "packet sniffing" (ie: using a computer to monitor packets as they travel and recording the packets that have selected destinations). Because of the volume of internet traffic, however, most governments, even with their considerable resources, are probably unable to monitor and record everything.

  • More questions

  • Question:
    How likely is it that I am being monitored when I visit this site in particular?

  • Answer:
    Again, I don't know.

    However, it is known that analysts at the Pentagon and quasi-governmental "think tanks" like Rand have, in the last few years, been recommending that the security agencies of the U.S. government take an active interest in studying the uses of the internet by political activists. The bourgeoisie views information war as including the struggle to shape the public consciousness on key issues. Recent changes in law were designed to eliminate cumbersome legal obstacles (and future technical obstacles) which made it awkward (and sometimes technically illegal or potentially scandalous) for government intelligence agencies to monitor, archive and study an immense volume of internet traffic to political sites.

    This site (being dedicated to the overthrow of all bourgeois governments as well as the aggressive and relentless pursuit of "information war" as a struggle to shape the public consciousness) would be a likely target of surveillence along with many thousands of other sites.

    If this site is not being monitored today--it probably will be eventually. As the potential of political organizing on the internet reveals its power, governments will eventually take more of an interest in who visits this (and related) sites.

    So your visit here could be on a tiny piece of magnetic tape. What conclusions should we draw from this ? Should we be afraid ? I don't think so (although if you live in a country with a repressive government then you may want to be cautious). As the number of people visiting sites such as this increases from tens of thousands to tens of millions and more, it will become more clear that, even in the event of severe crisis which threatens its class rule, the bourgeoisie will have fewer and fewer options to use tactics of fear, intimidation or harassment to stop an irresistable force.

  • More questions

  • Question:
    What factors increase the chances that some government security agency would want to monitor me?

  • Answer:
    If you live in a part of the world where the government censors the press (most of Asia, the middle east, most of Africa, many parts of South and Central America) or where an insurgency or civil conflict is taking place, your government has an official interest in watching what you do over the internet. In some cases, a government may not have the technical ability to monitor internet traffic. But this will change.

    If you support (or visit the web sites of) oppositional political groups, especially those which are engaged in an insurgency--then your browsing habits may be of heightened interest. For example, organizations such as the Communist Party of Peru (often refered to as Sendero Luminoso or Shining Path in the popular and bourgeois press) are (I think) officially classified as a "terrorist organization" by the U.S. government.

    (Note to readers: I do not consider this organization to be communist nor do I agree with all of its actions--but it seems to have a significant amount of popular support and is engaged in an armed struggle against the very brutal regime in Peru. Here are some links to some websites which support or oppose this organization.

    If you are not a citizen of the country where you live (and in particular have a delicate legal status or are "undocumented") and are politically highly active, then you are more vulnerable to government harassment and may wish to be cautious. For example, in the U.S. (where there is a fairly high level of civil liberties) immigrants can be arbitrarily harassed, jailed or deported without the great majority of the legal protections available to citizens.

    Finally, if your e-mail or on-line comments make references to (even joking) or suggest the possibility of specific illegal acts, including references to weapons, drugs or illegal travel then government intelligence agencies would be more likely to find you to be "of interest".

    Note also: if you consider yourself to be a "professional revolutionary" then, even if you live in a country with a relatively non-repressive government, there are arguments that you should be cautious. My own opinion, however, is that what is most important is to speak out publically on the burning issues.

  • More questions

  • Question:
    What can I do to protect myself from government snooping on my on-line activity?

  • Answer:
    A few things. In the U.S. there are an increasing number of "cyber cafes" where you pay money to browse or use e-mail and no identification is required. I assume this is also happening elsewhere. If you browse from such a place, it would be far more difficult for anyone to track your activity.

    Also, you can get anonymous e-mail, web pages and use the "anonymizer" service (see the "Web Resources" section of links). These resources may not provide protection against government snooping, but they make the task somewhat more difficult.

    Finally, if you are in the "high risk" categories mentioned above, be very careful about posting your e-mail address here or indicating sympathy for this site. Everything posted here is permanent and can be seen by intelligence agencies of repressive governments just as easily as the general public. We want expressions of support, but not if they endanger our readers. Comments which are marked "private--do not post" will not be posted but could still be intercepted so in some cases should not be sent.

  • More questions

  • Question:
    What is the easiest information to monitor ?

  • Answer:
    This depends on who is monitoring your browsing and what part of the internet they have access to. If some agency can monitor the traffic between your PC and your internet service provider (ISP) -- they would probably be able to see everything you do. More likely may be a watch on the traffic to certain sites. This would be the connection between your ISP and the site you are visiting. In most cases this may not reveal who you are--only what ISP you use. Sometimes (not that often--depending on how your machine is set up) your e-mail address can be read also. The routing address of your ISP will in most cases reveal what country you are from and often what region or university. For example, I can look at a log of ISP addresses of people who visit this site and 2/3 of the time can tell what country visitors are from. If you want to see what sites can see about you--check out anonymizer.
  • More questions

  • Question:
    If the U.S. government monitored my activity at this site--would it give that information to the repressive government where I live?

  • Answer:
    Sometimes yes and sometimes no. There are a lot of diplomatic and other factors involved. In general, the U.S. intelligence agencies have little qualm about giving information to repressive or fascist regimes. But circumstances (and alliances between governments and intelligence agencies) vary. The U.S. government would be more likely to share information with the Israeli government than with the Chinese government. A country like Indonesia would probably fall somewhere in between. But governments (and intelligence agencies) sometimes make deals and exchange information in what might seem to be unlikely circumstances.
  • More questions

  • Question:
    What about the possibility that information gathered today by a government that allows many civil liberties could be used in the event of severe repression in the future ?

  • Answer:
    Good question. Sometime between now and who-knows-when, all current governments will be pushed aside or overthrown as part of the process of the working class seizing control of society. History shows that the bourgeoisie in various countries has not hesitated to carry out the most severe repression in order to prolong their rule. A great many examples could be given. The U.S. bourgeoisie killed two million people in Vietnam as part of safeguarding their class interests. I doubt they would hestitate to carry out similar bloodshed inside the U.S. were they convinced that it were necessary to prolong their class rule. So this is an argument against being very active in radical politics on the internet--where the government can keep track of what sites you visit and what you say to people.

    I believe the counter-argument is more compelling. Mass participation in radical politics on the internet is inevitable. One of the greatest deterents against measures of fascist repression is the knowledge by the bourgeoisie that all measures of repression would be instantly known and result in mass outrage that would more quickly and with greater certainty end their class rule. This deterent develops more quickly and becomes more powerful the more the masses use the internet for radical politics.

  • More questions

  • Question:
    If I am browsing from work, can my boss tell where I am browsing?

  • Answer:
    Browsing on company time ? Shame on you ;-)
    But to answer your question--in many cases yes. I think it depends on whether your company is using a "proxy" or "firewall" to connect to the internet, how it is configured and your company's policy on this.
  • More questions

  • Question:
    If my browsing were being monitored, could someone tell that I clicked on this section about security?

  • Answer:
    That's not too likely if you are using a PC. All clicks which take you from one part of a page to another part of the same page, are local clicks which take place entirely on your own machine. There is no packet traffic over the internet involved in these clicks (which is why they are instantaneous instead of the "normal" dumb wait).
  • More questions

  • A comment:

  • The following is an excerpt related to this from discussion on an internet mailing list in which the risks of progressive journalism and political activity in the third world were discussed:

    Date: December 1996

    "The problem is that very often internet anonymity is not good enough for third-worlders. Internet addresses can be tracked down with sufficient effort. ... In any political activity, there'll be some people who have to be known publicly, and they may well do the "public" jobs, like getting involved in mailing lists. If anyone really needs to remain undiscovered, they'd probably be better off staying out of the internet."

  • More questions


Beam me up, Scotty