Future Turns on What We Do Now
We live in a time when a fundamental antagonism is destroying the very basis of society. Our economic system depends on the exploitation of human labor. Laborless production therefore means that for the first time since our founding as a nation we face an objective revolutionary situation. America’s government of and by the people must overcome government for and by private property.
It is a time when fundamental transformation, the goal of every revolutionary, is also possible. Transformation becomes a reality when it becomes the cause of the mass of society, when the scattered demands for food, housing, education, health care and an opportunity to contribute to society are summed up as the political demand for a cooperative society. It is a transformation made possible when a new class created by laborless production achieves the political power to give life to a new society based on a new economy.
The future will unfold based on how mass consciousness develops at each stage of quantitative development of society towards class or political consciousness. Revolutionaries who understand objective laws of development can guarantee that the new world that is possible will in fact take place.
Revolution develops in stages
These laws of development are knowable but they must be studied in motion and in context. There are two aspects to any quantitative process of change, the objective side and the subjective side. In an objectively revolutionary period, revolutionaries emphasize the development of the subjective side of the process because that is where revolutionaries can and must play their role. The context for subjective development is the objective development, the stages of the quality of the time we live in.
Revolutionaries study the line of march that describes this process and these stages. In general, this process is from scattered economic to united political struggle. Each stage is the result of an increasing class polarization and instability throughout society.
Every process is based on the relationship between the poles that make it what it is. The process of growth of capitalism was the result of a give and take between two class poles, between workers and capitalists. Antagonism creates a process of polarization. As the struggle polarizes, both sides become increasingly implacable, creating new political conditions. What is destroyed is ultimately any and all connection between the two poles that made the process what it was. The process of destruction also allows new connections to form, for the possibility of reconstructing society on a new basis.
The recent upsurge in activity of Occupy Wall Street is a concentrated expression of the beginning of the wrenching apart of the poles in the class make-up of our society. The general understanding of the 99% as “us” vs the 1% as “them” reflects the initial stages of awareness within the mass movement that something is wrong in society today.
Revolutionaries who are guided by a deep understanding of this objective process keep the revolution itself on course.
Consciousness and revolution
The task of revolutionaries is to guarantee that an intellectual leap takes place as a reflection of the leap in the objective sphere. While the process of destruction is a more or less automatic process, the process of transformation is not. It consists of a leap forward, stagnation, backsliding, polarization, destruction, and leap forward. The struggle must pass from the defensive to take the offensive against a system that is itself the central problem.
Revolutionaries politicize through propaganda that anticipates at each stage what is the next step for the movement and why. Each stage of development of the objective process kicks up revolutionaries created by this process of polarization. The more concrete and specific the connection to these leaders, the more effective the propaganda can be.
Our class can go no further until it learns to fight politically in its own interests. Developing consciousness is a process of politicization, of guaranteeing the political formation of the class.
Revolutionaries know what our society is up against. Either the corporations will control society or society will control the corporations.
The American people are angry at the two-party system but they still believe that political parties can represent all classes and that they need to “work together” to reflect national interests. Our class needs to identify what the government will do, what class it serves, and that class itself is based in a relationship of production and therefore is a relationship of power (i.e. that the “1%” holds “99%” of the power). The political coalescence, identity, voice, and consciousness of independent class interests is still several steps away. The subjective, conscious understanding of any new situation lags behind objective reality. But it can catch up in waves and leaps.
The developing polarization within the main political parties is setting the stage for breaks in the continuity of the current political party system and creation of a revolutionary process that leads to a political rupture overall. The formation of a third party will accelerate this political development, and it is in this context that the struggle for a third party can be considered a school for revolutionaries. It is part of the struggle of the mass as it becomes conscious of the need for class power.
For the first time an objective communist economic class is forming to become the foundation for a communist political movement. In spite of worsening economic conditions, nothing can be accomplished until the American people hold a vision of where they want to go, what they want to be and how they can get there. Providing this is the overriding tasks of revolutionaries.
This Building Block article is one of a series which explains a basic concept of the revolutionary process, challenging readers to explore its meaning for political work in today’s environment.
This article originated in Rally, Comrades!
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The age-old vision of a world without scarcity, without exploitation, class domination, organized violence, and stultifying labor has been the dream of millenia. The new completely socialized labor-eliminating means of production ... sets the basis for its realization. Now human history can begin, the light of the individual shining in the full brightness of liberated life, that can only be realized within true equality and cooperation: communism, a cooperative society.'Without Vision, the People Perish'
Rally, Comrades ! May/June 2011