A World to Win
Any approach to planning, whether it is a corporation, a military unit or an organization, has to start off with an estimate of the entire situation. Once we understand what we are facing we are then able to talk in terms of the specifics of what and how. This approach allows revolutionaries to think strategically about what the ruling class is doing and to use the objective processes that are underway to defeat them.
Today capitalism is on the strategic defensive. This wasn’t true 50 years ago. Then, the means of production were such that there was still room for the expansion of the capitalist system. The means of production were such that value – not just money – but value, could still be created.
As a result, the capitalist ruling class was on the strategic offensive everywhere. This was clearly seen in the breaking up of the direct colonial system and its replacement by a system of neo-colonies throughout the world. National liberation movements arose on the side of the people that were tactically offensive, but most of these were absorbed into the orbit of capitalism’s domination of the world economy. There is a fundamental change in the world situation today.
Ruling Class on the Strategic Defensive
Why is the ruling class on the strategic defensive? The fundamental reason is that the capitalist system as a process of creating social value is coming to an end. The historical evolution of the productive process has brought it to a point where it no longer relies on the creation of value in order to make money. Money is now being created without creating value. The result is polarization that the world has never seen before.
According to the OXFAM’s January 2014 report, “Working for the Few”, 85 people own more wealth than 3.5 billion of the world’s poorest population. World leaders consider the situation serious enough that the growing gap between global wealth and poverty became a prominent topic at the Davos World Economic Forum in January. The ruling class understands the explosive situation they have on their hands. Its leaders are discussing how they are going to take control of the world’s growing social upsurges, including those beginning to develop in the U.S. These upsurges are a reflection of the growing polarization, and their spread is absolutely inevitable.
The ruling class can neither reverse the technology nor save the capitalist system. It is forced to deal with the social results of the inequality. That is, tactically, they have to go on the offensive against the people. They have to secure the ways and means of controlling them. We see this offensive all around us – people being beaten to death by the police, tanks patrolling the streets, the government moving against those who are speaking out.
This tactical offensive is an admission of weakness on the part of capital, not of strength. It shows us that the ruling class is so weak that it has to turn to naked and open violence in order to enforce some element of social cohesion.
Every step the ruling class takes only makes the situation worse. They have to keep developing the technology and producing more with less and less labor. In turn, less and less value is being created and more and more money is being created throughout the whole world. Globalization is undercutting the system of social bribery everywhere. For the first time in American history the objective base is developing for a major section of the working class to unite.
Fascism in America today is developing in a different way than in the past.
In Germany in the late 1920s, for example, there was a battle in the streets for the political power to control the fascist relationship between production and the State, to move the State into a position of absolutely protecting and being an arm of industry. The political and social features were created first, and on that basis, the capitalists were able to create the economic foundations of fascism, that is, the unity of the government administration and the State, and the corporations.
It has happened upside down in America. Here there has grown spontaneously a development between the unity of the corporations and the State. The objective foundation of fascism developed first. Everything else that has followed is the subjective expression, a feature of this reality. America has always been a capitalist country, so there has always been a unity between the monopolies and the government, but today we are seeing the emergence of fascism on a higher level.
A social movement is arising in response to the ruling class’ fascist offensive. This rising social movement is anti-fascist. The problem is that it is also anti-communist. It is directed toward restructuring the capitalist system. The reality is that objective factors make reform of the capitalist system impossible.
So this is what revolutionaries face: the established foundation of fascism and its growing social and political features, and the rising of an anti-fascist movement that does not have the slightest possibility of success without a recognition that communism is the solution. This outlines the very difficult situation in which the revolutionaries find themselves. Yet this outlines our strategy and tactics.
Defeat the Enemy’s Strategy
Whether in military war or in political war, it is not possible to defeat an enemy without defeating that enemy’s strategy. Simply attacking the enemy’s tactics cannot win the war.
What is the strategic goal of the ruling class today? It is to protect private property. It is not to defend capitalism. Whether they want to or not they are going to have to let the capitalist system go. This is because objective factors are absolutely putting an end to the capitalist system. The ruling class understands that they cannot go on in the same way. They know they cannot continue to create money and not create any social worth, where the people of the world are becoming poorer and poorer as the world becomes awash with money.
If we look at the history of the world we can see that the letting go of one system and fighting to rebuild another has happened over and over. Feudalism, slavery, and capitalism are quantitative stages in the development of private property. But they themselves were not strategic. The strategic goal was private property. If the rulers have to change the form in order to maintain that content, they have proven they will do that. They are doing that now.
What are their tactics to achieve this? They are going on the offensive, attacking the rights and standard of living of the masses of people while at the same time, step by step, evolving a new system based on private property.
Frederick Engels wrote of this new system in his Socialism: Utopian and Scientific. He described a society in which the State controlled the major sections of the economy, the corporations were owned by billionaire “coupon clippers” who sat back and collected profits from these corporations, and the working class was reduced to a service element. This new system is evolving right in front of our eyes.
Tasks of Revolutionaries
Revolutionaries recognize that to win, our class must move from the defensive – defending the capitalist system and what they once had – to the offensive – fighting for a cooperative society that is possible.
The last trench of the ruling class is the defense of private property. Therefore, it is here that we must orient all our tactics. Sections of the intelligentsia are already questioning capitalism. Revolutionaries do not have to make that our line of attack, but we can take advantage of that opening to go on the offensive with our tactics. We want to add what others cannot.
Revolutionaries attack the system of private property. We point out the necessity, this time, of overthrowing private property and transferring these gigantic means of production into public property.
The attack against private property cannot succeed without vision. The goal of all of our work today is to give the American people a vision of what is possible. It is a vision of a world where no one has to fight another for the daily bread of existence. It is a vision where cooperation and fulfilling the needs of humanity are the guiding principles.
The first step is that the American people have to be won over to the reality that private property can be brought to an end. We can take inspiration from the famous statement by the former slave and abolitionist Harriet Tubman when she said, “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” The workers do not understand they are slaves. The first thing in liberating the slaves is to make them understand their slavery.
That can only be done if revolutionaries have an answer. In the past, it was sectarian to say that what we need is communism. Today, proposing communism is not sectarian, but the practical solution to the problems the workers face.
It is only through widespread propaganda that we can get this vision over. This propaganda must reach into the life of the workers. It must bring the message that private property can be brought to an end. It must show that a cooperative society is not only possible, but is the only practical solution to the problems they face.
Nothing has been done in America except in small groups, but it is small groups relying on gigantic processes that are underway. If we can grasp that dialectic we can do something important in history.
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