Unite on Common Economic Interests
Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa. Kelly Thomas in Fullerton. Manuel Diaz in Anaheim. James Boyd in Albuquerque. Mike Brown in Ferguson. These are but a few. Latino, Black, white. The police have killed hundreds more across the country. Men, women, even children. Thousands more beaten, tortured and maimed. What do they have in common? They are all part of a class for which the capitalists no longer have any use.
It is revolutionaries’ mission to explain why this is so, and to present the means by which these problems can be solved once and for all.
Deep processes underlie the flux and motion of escalating violence of the police and the widening protests against them. Qualitatively new technologies are replacing labor, separating the working class from the means of making a living, and creating a new class of workers. A recent study showed that 4 out of 5 adults in the U.S. struggle with “joblessness, near-poverty, or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.” The growing breadth of equality of poverty, within the working class across previous lines of division, is something qualitatively new in the United States, and is a threat to the way the U.S. is ruled. This new class is a threat to private property. The only way they can survive is take over the massive means of production and distribute the wherewithal of life on the basis of need.
The militarization of the police, out-of-control cops, the raft of laws that have restricted political rights and destroyed legal rights are all part of containing the uprisings that the fascist economic and social conditions are inspiring. The ruling class can put down uprisings. They have proven that over and over.
What they cannot do so easily is suppress ideas, especially in such times of transformation, ideas that explain and point the way forward. Thinking, ideas, values – these things determine what people do. How people – as a class – understand their situation, whom they consider friend or foe and their vision of what’s possible – this is what makes the difference between victory and defeat.
Experiencing growing poverty and the refusal of the government to redress their grievances, workers are losing their faith in the government and beginning the process of separating from the political system. Their reaction to the escalating police violence around the country is part of the growing polarization in society. Fighting back is no longer enough. Here and there, workers are starting to put forward programs in their class interests.
At the same time, there is polarization within the class along racial lines. They do not see clearly their common class interests, and still cling to the notion that the ruling class and the capitalist system will save them. They have not yet come to understand that their survival depends upon them consciously taking up communism as a solution.
The ruling class must make sure they don’t. The goal of the ruling class is to establish a social and political order that is capable of protecting and advancing private property under the new conditions created by qualitatively new means of production. It has to prevent the class from uniting in any effort to combine against it. It has to win over a section of the class to the goals of the ruling class.
The ruling class does not have to create anything new. It has only to make use of the history of racial division – a division that they as a class have historically created – to shape the polarization along the lines that will advance their goals. Racial ideology is always about dividing the workers to control them, and guaranteeing their exploitation in whatever form possible. For the ruling class, racial ideology is thus a means to an end. It is not the end in itself.
The ruling class cultivates a debate that pits the full history and reality of racial injustice against the necessity to unite around common economic interests. But we should not allow it to be presented in this way to our class. It is not possible to fight racism unless we fight poverty. It is not possible to fight poverty unless we fight racism. They are linked. History has made them so.
The answer is to get out of the box the ruling class creates. The reality is that all workers, regardless of color, are being thrown out of the economy and into the struggle for the basic necessities of life. They cannot survive unless they come together with others in the same economic boat. Revolutionaries prove that capitalist ideologies – racial ideology especially – have to be replaced with ideas that reflect this new reality that demands that workers abolish capitalist property relations.
Revolutionaries show that the answer is to create a society where poverty no longer exists and where no one has to fight for the daily bread of existence, a society where cooperation and fulfilling the demands of humanity are the guiding principles. This is a communist society, and revolutionaries show that it is the only practical solution to any of the problems of today.
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