The Leap: New Ideas are Key
Human beings make history in a certain time and place. Today, objectively, revolution has taken place in the base of society as the instruments of laborless production are bringing about a qualitative leap in human history. Robots are displacing human labor and many people find themselves without work, without money, and unable to buy goods to meet their needs. The destruction of capitalism begins in its very foundation and works its way into the superstructure of society itself. Polarization is developing, where the ruling class and the working class are actually antagonistic to one another, but the working class is still tied to the ruling class ideologically. These ideas that tie the working class to the ruling class have to be broken and are being broken. Class consciousness is the linchpin that can break that ideological hold that the ruling class has on society.
The new technology has the potential to create untold abundance. However, while laborless production has increased, the distribution of the things it produces has remained the same. With unemployment high, more and more people can’t afford what they need. There were 14 million youth in poverty in this country before the current economic crisis began. Two years later, 2 million more youth have been added. There are 25 million elementary and middle school-age children who come to school hungry each day. Not only has the gap between wealth and poverty increased but also the social contract is being eliminated. Funding for healthcare, education, affordable housing, food stamp programs, WIC, and Medicaid has decreased and, in addition, public entities are being privatized for profit.
We are in an epoch of fundamental qualitative change. The destruction of society demands a solution. The spontaneous response to the objective economic revolution taking place has to enter the political sphere in order to reorganize society in the interests of all humanity. The working class must become conscious of its own interests and learn to fight as a class in its own interest. The role of the revolutionaries who are conscious of the revolutionary process must be to imbue the class with that consciousness so it can develop to the level where it wages the fight to attain the political power to reconstruct society.
Revolutionaries need to change people’s minds. We must enter into the mass struggle with a vision of a society where the abundance of goods now being produced can be distributed to all. We have to introduce new ideas and influence people’s actions to become more political. These battles for the needs of our class are producing thousands of revolutionaries but many don’t yet see these as class battles. We must fight for our class interest and this is a must in order to give revolutionaries the vision that will ultimately move the process forward and not backwards.
The subjective element is key in these times, in the sense that only human beings make history. The main antagonism is between the abundance that these productive forces produce and the limitations on the distribution of these commodities. We have to understand what is happening objectively and our role is to influence the movement with new ideas.
What do we choose to do in this period of time? We are really in a time of history when we can and we must change the world. The outcome is not guaranteed. The destruction in the base of society has unleashed the forces of private property to seek a fascist solution to the crisis, making the propaganda war for the minds of the people ever more urgent.
We are in a qualitatively new period of time when revolutionaries can introduce new ideas and a new vision of society.
There are no more reforms under capitalism. The demands of the working class for health care, education, food, and affordable housing are revolutionary due to the fact that we have to change society so we can meet the needs of the people. The government represents the interests of the ruling class. Government is protecting private property at the expense of the people’s needs.
The doctrine of the leap describes the objectively epochal, qualitative revolutionary process that is unfolding before our very eyes. If we understand what is happening objectively, we know that we can transform society. The subjective aspect of the leap is indispensable to its completion. This is the task of revolutionaries.
The real destruction of society means we have to fight for a new society – we can’t go back to the old one. This is not utopian but a very real society that, because of the technological advances, could meet the needs of all the people. We are entering into a period when there is a battle of ideas, and we must impart our message in effective ways to help the masses become aware of their class interests. We must be engaged in this process and point to the next steps of battle to clear the path to navigate the stages of the leap to its completion – a new cooperative society where distribution of the abundance of society is according to the needs of all.
At certain times in history something new is introduced that changes the course of history – that destroys the base of society — and a period of revolution ensues. We are in such a time of an epochal nature, a time of transition from the old society to a new one. Our time is a time of fundamental change and transition. Our role is to carry this process to completion. This understanding is critical. It describes the real world we are in and has to be a guide in all of our work. We are really in a time of history where we can and we must change the world and only human beings can make that change.
(This Building Block article on the Leap is the second in a series of four. The focus of the next article will be on why the Leap is a time of extreme instability.)
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