This Moment Calls for an Organization of Revolutionary Propagandists
It is a challenge to build a serious revolutionary organization during an epoch of social revolution. As the League of Revolutionaries for a New America reaches out to the revolutionaries of America, we have to clearly describe the real world and what is possible. As Karl Marx wrote, “People make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past.” Let us take a look at the circumstances we face.
Everything has changed or is changing. No aspect of life, human or otherwise, is untouched by the transformation the world is going through. While all of this seems new to us, change in the economic and social life of human beings has always been a part of our human development.
History is made of revolutions
Society rests upon an economic foundation – the way that people produce what is necessary to sustain life such as food, clothing and shelter. Upon that economic foundation people create social relations and distribute the fruits of their production. Historically, revolutionary changes in the economy have produced political revolutions to settle how people will organize themselves to use new methods of production. The implements of agriculture destroyed the society based on hunting and gathering. Massive electro-mechanical industrial production destroyed the society based on agriculture. Over the past 40 plus years, the introduction of the computer chip and its application to all spheres of production has been step-by-step destroying the capitalist economic system based on the buying and selling of labor power. People who have been replaced by robots do not work, and cannot buy food, clothing or shelter. Now we have producers that do not [cannot] consume, and consumers that do not [cannot] produce. The microchip and robot have broken the circle.
This presents a huge challenge for both the rulers and the ruled. The productive capacity of the robot is providing unheard of wealth for those who own the robots, and unheard of poverty for those who have been replaced by the robots. The fact that the productive forces are owned and controlled by private corporations accounts for this “starvation in the midst of plenty.” In 1985, the wealthiest 5 percent had a net worth of $8 trillion. Today, the top 5 percent have a net worth of $40 trillion. The top 5 percent have gained more wealth than the whole human race had created prior to 1980. For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.
A vision of the future and a strategy to achieve that vision cannot be left up to the very same ruling class who is leading us to war all over the world and to a fascistic merger of the corporations and government at home. Their goal is to maintain private ownership of the means of production and to maintain their death grip on their wealth and privilege. The consequence of their vision is that those people who can no longer find jobs, and never will, can have no access to the basic necessities of life.
These are revolutionary times in which the dilemma of what society is changing into will be resolved. The rulers have to turn toward fascism to control the masses. The masses must fight to take control of the means of production.
Communism only solution
Just as the industrial revolution created the industrial worker as a new section of the working class, today’s electronic revolution is creating a new section of the working class. This new section of the working class is created by electronics; that section numbers in the millions. They have lost everything they once had, and their ranks grow daily. The problems of this new class cannot be solved without the public ownership of the socially necessary means of production and the distribution of the social product according to need.
The very nature of electronic production – production without human labor – demands distribution of its products without money. This is a system of communism. Over decades, the American people have been convinced to fear such a thing by the very ruling class that has everything to lose with the overthrow of private property. It is time to stand the world on its feet.
The economic revolution is compelling people into a struggle over how to construct society on the new foundation. Who wins will not only determine how people live, but whether or not we will survive as a species.
The new class is not a growing collection of poor people; it is the destroyer of the relations of production that have been constructed upon a system of the buying and selling of labor power. The solutions to the problems faced by the new class form a vision of a new society, a society formed on the basis of the new methods of production. The demands of this new, impoverished class for food, housing, education, health care and an opportunity to contribute to society are summed up as the demand for a cooperative society.
New ideas light the way
The struggles over immigration reform, public education, health care, unemployment benefits and foreclosures are the beginning of an embryonic consciousness on the part of the American people. There is some sense of resistance to, and loss of faith in, the permanence of the capitalist system that has long oppressed and exploited the working class. But there is also disorientation amongst the people as to who are their friends and who their enemies. They cannot visualize a different system.
The ruling class certainly does not discuss and decide things “by the seat of their pants.” They have think tanks, schools, writers, and propagandists who are constantly analyzing what is happening in the world and what is possible to do. They are already waging a war against the American people to maintain power. The productive capacity of the microchip and robots is far outstripping the ability of any one corporation to manage them. The government has nationalized parts of the economy, and will have to continue to do so. The government has to provide the means to keep wealth and power in the ruler’s hands and control the mass of people who have no means to get what they need.
How do we turn things around? How do we guarantee that the debate becomes about how to get control over the socially necessary means of production to benefit all of society?
People’s activity reflects their level of understanding. The more clearly they understand the meaning of the changes taking place, the more their activity can reflect their class interests. The revolution in the economy is disrupting the entire world. Things cannot remain as they are and they cannot return to the past. There will have to be a political revolution to bring society in alignment with the new economy and the outcome will depend on the consciousness of the combatants.
Political revolution is an intellectual act, and organizations are created to answer in whose interests that revolution will be conducted. Becoming more resolute and fighting harder will not win this war. We have to use our intellect to assemble and educate the forces that can win.
League of Revolutionaries for a New America
In this struggle what do we do as revolutionaries? What kind of organization do we need? The League of Revolutionaries for a New America is building an organization of revolutionaries with a program based on the demands of the new class, and that is committed to the introduction of new ideas. These new ideas rest on the real possibility of constructing a society that is truly politically and economically democratic – wherein the marvels of the new technology are used to benefit all of society, and not to profit a handful of wealthy individuals and corporations. This is the heart of the mission of the League. We are meeting other revolutionaries who are battling in the streets on behalf of the common people, and beginning the process of winning them over to the communist solution to the problem – the program of the new class. If we can accomplish this task, the League will be able to make a contribution to history.
The League is where revolutionaries come together to assess the stages of the leap from a system of production and distribution based on human labor to one where production without human labor is emerging. It is where we gather to assess how to reach the tens of thousands of revolutionaries who are fighting the social destruction. It is where we make plans to politically educate the revolutionaries and develop the propaganda to teach our class their true interests.
It is only when the masses understand the new ideas that are an outgrowth of a new economic and political situation will they pass over from “fighting back” against intolerable conditions to fighting forward to a new world. This is why the League concentrates on the dissemination of new ideas – or propaganda – as its sole role. It is why we constituted the League of Revolutionaries for a New America. Every meeting, discussion and plan of the League addresses how and where to take our propaganda to the people.
Creating and imbuing the American people with a vision will take the collective effort, thinking and skill of all revolutionaries who seek to end the destruction around us and build a new world. The future of humanity depends upon it.
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