League of Revolutionaries for a New America, 2014
We are living in rapidly changing, dangerous times. Instead of wringing our hands and stumbling along behind events, we in the League have kept up and maintained our orientation. Why? Because we early on understood that the leap from electro-mechanical production to robotics would necessarily bring about a leap from one social order to another. The foundation of all our social and economic relations, culture, and sense of identity has entered the process of change — destruction and re-birth. During such an epochal moment, no theory or ideology can serve as a revolutionary guide. Only a philosophy arising from science and illuminating change can serve to guide us. That first stage of change, the introduction of antagonism and polarization, has penetrated every aspect of life.
From the right and from the left, the people are becoming more disgusted with and distrustful of the government. All the elements of a social upheaval are moving into place.
The people are responding to, but do not yet understand, the root of the problems they face, or, as it engulfs them, the reality of fascism in America.
Revolutionaries cannot understand this moment and simply go on as before.
Capitalism at its End
The financial crisis brought on by the expanding use of electronics in production is continuing to tighten its grip both internationally and nationally. The cyclical crisis of under-consumption is developing. Automated production drives labor-produced commodities off the market. In this process, wages are dragged down to the cost of automated production. All production by labor, including the production of the workers themselves, becomes superfluous. Unprecedented production and unprecedented want describe our time. The electronic revolution in production combined with the cyclical crisis brings about an unprecedented crash of the capitalist system.
As electronics replaces labor, money — instead of production — is used to make money. The greater the use of electronics, the more valueless money becomes. As money ceases to express exchange value, it more and more becomes an instrument for speculation rather than investment in production. Less and less of this money is used for wages. The result is an unprecedented polarization of wealth and poverty. Hundred-million dollar mansions and trillions of dollars in national debt express the destruction of money as an expression of value.
How is production and exchange to continue under such conditions? The capitalist class has proven itself incapable of ruling. The death knell of capitalism has sounded.
Today fascism — the merger of the corporations and the State — is an objective reflection of an economic revolution which is destroying the foundation of private property itself. While there are subjective aspects to the development of fascism — things that are consciously engineered by the ruling class — the fascism we are experiencing in the U.S. and elsewhere today is not a subjective choice of the ruling class, but is an objective reflection of this economic development. As the economic base of society is transformed, the social and political superstructure that rests on and reflects the base must also be transformed.
This process has distinct, yet interrelated, aspects. The objective foundation of fascism developed first. These economic aspects of fascism are evidenced in the merger of the corporations and the State, and are now in place. Myriad laws have been and are being passed to contain the upsurges of the masses. These laws are transforming the legal structure to protect the interests of the corporations and the ruling class to the exclusion of the American people.
The growth of a new class of proletarians threatens private property. The ruling class cannot allow them to have a say in society’s direction. Even the limited bourgeois democracy we have had is forced to give way to the dictatorship of the corporations.
The ruling class can neither reverse the technology nor save the capitalist system. The world is now on a perpetual war footing. The economies and societies of the world are being militarized. Nuclear war is an ever-present danger. Ecological catastrophe is destroying the planet. The ruling class is forced to deal with the social results of profound inequality. The polarization of wealth and poverty has reached obscene proportions. Eighty-five people own as much wealth as the bottom half of the world’s population — 3.5 billion people. To control the growing upsurges taking place throughout the world, including the U.S., their tactics must be to go on the offensive against the people. They have to secure the ways and means of controlling them.
People are being beaten to death by the police, tanks are patrolling the streets, and the government is moving against those who are speaking out. We are seeing the creation of an environment in which the lives of a growing section of the American people are considered worthless.
This offensive — what we call the social face of fascism — is an admission of their weakness, not evidence of their 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.
There is no possibility of “overturning fascism” today and “restoring democracy.” No reform is possible. There is nothing to go back to. With the ongoing elimination of human labor from production, the contradictions in the economy have reached such an extreme that the merger of the State and the corporations necessarily evolved to prevent the collapse of the capitalist economy. The old society is being destroyed by objective forces, and the only way to have real democracy and access to the necessities of life is to fight forward into a cooperative society.
New Class and the Dispossessed
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.
New means of production are creating a new class of proletarians. It is a new section of the working class, a new quality within it. The majority are contingent, minimum wage, below-minimum wage, and part-time workers — over a third of the workforce. This employed sector of the class is constantly drawn into the growing unemployed sector that ranges from the structurally unemployed to the absolutely destitute, homeless workers.
Increasingly driven out of the relationship between worker and capitalist, the new class is forced to fight for a new society where society owns the means of production and the social product is distributed according to need. The actual program of this new class is to abolish private property, and this communist program is in the interest of the whole of society.
The historic role of the new class is to unite all those who can be united and lead society toward a new world. The ability to fulfill its historic role will depend on it achieving consciousness of itself as a class and of its historic mission.
The world is in constant motion. Revolutionary politics conform to change. Change in the economy creates shifts in the center of political gravity. Revolutionaries concentrate on the current center of gravity and shift with it. As the new class created by electronics was first being formed, the downgraded and newly unemployed represented that center of gravity.
The progression of electronics has now hit the center of American politics. This bribed sector of the industrial working class and a section of the intelligentsia bound the mass to the capitalist class. The destruction of this middle is of the greatest political importance. This recently dispossessed section of the new class is educated, socially conscious and used to organization. They are the current center of gravity. Our program is the program of the new class. Our current point of concentration is the newly dispossessed.
The ruler’s goal is to stop the revolution from proceeding on a class basis. Their aim is to guarantee that the new class does not unite. They use every divisive ideology history has handed them. At the same time, the hitherto unknown breadth of equality of poverty is creating the basis for real class unity.
Restrained by ideology, the political Left in America is confused concerning the changing role of race. Changes in the economy present the problem to the ruling class of maintaining working class disunity.
Race is a political not a scientific concept. It is used for identification and can be used in any manner that suits the political needs of the ruling class. Irreversible changes in the world economy, expressed as globalization, are incompatible with race as color. Color as racial identification still exists, but is being replaced by identification based on culture and class differences.
New Stage of the Movement
Experiencing growing poverty and the refusal of the government or the politicians to redress their grievances, the workers are losing their faith in the government and beginning the process of separating from the political system. This is a necessary step in their development as a class and for their independence from the capitalist class. Simply fighting back is no longer enough, and the workers are beginning to put forward programs in their interests. This means something fundamentally new for the revolution in America.
The rise of third parties is inevitable given these conditions. These parties will not simply be one or another of the individual third party formations in existence today, but will reflect the broad social motion as it develops.
The demands of this rising movement are objective; the people cannot give up and go home. They need housing, food, health care and other basic necessities of life. Their demands are coming into conflict with the State, which is standing in the way of them securing these basic necessities. This movement is, in fact, if not in understanding, struggling to transfer capitalist property to itself in order to feed, clothe, house and care for itself.
The ruling class is daily proving that it can no longer manage the gigantic productive forces created by qualitatively new technologies. To protect private property, the State has to take over control of the economy, that is, nationalize it. The final battle of the revolutionary process will be fought over the control of the State, in no small part because of its control of the economy. Nationalization prepares the ground for the eventual battle to be concentrated against the State rather than directed at thousands of scattered capitalists. Nationalization raises the issue of which class the State serves, and nationalization becomes a battlefield where class consciousness can be taught.
It is in the process of the movement’s realization that the State will not redress its grievances, that demands for new solutions will arise. Revolutionaries work within this process to develop the stages of consciousness along the line of march, from scattered economic struggles to united political struggles against the State. Such a task requires widespread propaganda within this growing movement, that offers a vision of what’s possible and a strategy of how to get there.
Defeat the Enemy’s Strategy
Any approach to planning, whether it is within a corporation, a military unit, or an organization, has to start off with an estimate of the entire situation. We look at the relationship of forces, the strategy and tactics of the enemy, their weaknesses and strengths, as well as our own. Once we understand the situation we are facing, then we are able to talk in terms of what we must do 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.
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. Fighting back without putting forward a vision of what is possible today only disarms our class.
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 for the last thousands of years, we can see that the letting go of one system, and fighting to rebuild another, has happened over and over. Slavery, feudalism, 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 capitalists have to change the form in order to maintain that content, they have proven they will do that. They are doing that now. While they attack the rights and standard of living of the masses, they are evolving, step by step, this new system based on private property.
Tasks of the League
Strategically, the enemy is on the defensive. The entire world has been pulled into the capitalist system. Qualitatively new means of production are destroying that system. Capitalism can only exist as long as it can expand. Capitalism has reached the limits of its expansion. Tactically, the ruling class is on the offensive. The purpose of this offensive is to prevent the workers from uniting around a common cause.
Strategically, our class is on the offensive. This is so because qualitatively new means of production are destroying the capitalist system and creating the foundation for a world without private property. Tactically, our class is on the defensive. It is preoccupied with defending what it had, because it does not understand what is possible.
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.
We 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. It is a vision that satisfies the deepest yearnings of the people for peace.
Revolutionaries face real difficulties: the established foundation of fascism and its growing political and social features, and the rise of an anti-fascist movement that does not have the slightest possibility of success without a recognition that communism is the solution. Yet these realities must outline our tactics.
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. Communism is the public ownership of the socially necessary means of production and the distribution of the social product according to need.
Communism is no alien proposition, but an expression of the deepest strivings of the people: independence from the chains of exploitation, the guaranteed ability of every person to contribute to society, freedom from want and an expectation of a better life.
Americans have fought for this vision, but it could only be partially realized. At one time, Americans worshipped King George. Conditions changed, and they fought a revolution to break away from monarchy and English domination. At one time, the American people embraced slavery. Conditions changed. They came to understand they had to end slavery, and they fought a war to do so. Today conditions are changing once again. New technologies make possible the realization of the vision for which generations of Americans have fought.
It is only through widespread propaganda that we can get this vision over. We must reach into the life of the workers. We must bring the message that private property can be brought to an end. We must show a cooperative society is not only possible, but is the only practical solution to the problems they face.
Causality is the philosophical foundation of our organization. Our understanding, that the events of today are the basis for the events of tomorrow, demands that we not only carefully examine today, but use that knowledge to prepare for tomorrow. The progression of political events follows the dialectical process — that is, from quantitative to qualitative stages. It is not possible to deal with qualitative change without adjusting thinking and activity with each quantitative stage of development.
Thus far, events over the past period have shown the correctness of our general line. Fundamental to the League’s thinking is that a new motive force (the micro-chip) has allowed for the development of new means of production that are destroying value as the basis of exchange. Value-less production is marginalizing a new class of proletarians who cannot exist without distribution according to need. The destruction of value and the emergence of a communist class have shifted the communist party — the subjective expression of the actual movement — from an ideological to a concrete and practical, i.e., political, base. The old ideological communist party is obsolete and must be replaced by a practical, political communist party that represents the motion of an actual communist class. Such a party does not exist. History cannot move forward without it. How is such a party to be built? What kind of an organization of revolutionaries is needed to build such a party? These are some of the questions this growing social motion has thrust upon every revolutionary.
Nothing has been done in America except in small groups, but it has been small groups relying on gigantic processes that are underway. If we can grasp that dialectic we can do something important in history.
FORWARD TO VICTORY!
September.October 2014 Vol24.Ed5
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