New Stage of the Movement, Build an Organization of Revolutionaries
One out of five children in America are at risk of hunger while 442 billionaires wallow in obscene wealth. People are in desperate need of food, water, shelter, healthcare and other necessities. They are beginning to fight. Everywhere their demands are coming into conflict with a militarized police State that is standing between them and their needs.
The struggle in Ferguson, Missouri is a case in point. It showed the world that the police in America — the land of the free — are a law unto themselves, divorced from society, but determined to control it. “I will fucking kill you,” screamed one police officer, while aiming his assault rifle at protesters in this impoverished town.
Ferguson is not an isolated case. The same police State, that openly kills more and more people, is sending refugee children fleeing U.S.-inspired drug wars and poverty in their countries back to possible death. It jails community leaders who are leading a valiant fight for what little democracy is left. And it oversees massive water shut-offs to thousands of families too poor to pay the skyrocketing price. When Detroit protesters tried to block water shut-offs, police jailed them.
The police under capitalism are the watchdogs of the private property of the billionaires, the owners of the corporations that have taken over the government and our nation. The danger is that the struggle has escalated to a new stage; people are going into battle and coming up against a violent police State. They have little understanding of what they are fighting for, or who are their friends and enemies. Given the history of America, a history that pits one section of the workers against the other, many can unknowingly be won to a fascist program that targets the victims and defends the billionaire’s private property. This new situation makes the need for an organization of revolutionaries even more pressing.
Revolutionaries stand on the moral outrage these life and death battles kick up to propagate the communist solution and a strategy to get there. Communism is an economic system, where the socially necessary means of life are owned publicly, not privately. Within the social turmoil revolutionaries convey a consciousness of the solution and common class interests — everyone needs publicly owned water, healthcare and food. Only private property and the State that protects it stand in the way. In this way revolutionaries help forge the scattered battles into one political struggle for the power to create a new society.
This is possible today. The capitalist system, based on the buying and selling of labor power, is coming to an end. New electronic means of production are eliminating the need for labor. If the workers cannot sell their labor power, the system cannot continue. These new means of production, which are creating a world of plenty – there’s no reason for even one person to go without any necessity – are also creating a new section of the working class that has no possibility of survival outside of a communist reorganization of society. If educated about its historic role, it has the power to unite all who can be united and lead society to that new world.
Minds Open as Economy Changes
In the previous period of industrial development, when capitalism was expanding globally, it was sectarian to say the solution is communism. Super-profits from the exploitation of the world’s workers allowed the capitalists to make concessions to a section of American workers. In return, they provided support for the capitalists’ policies and war efforts. Those days are ending.
A recent survey shows that people are losing faith in the government — only 7% have confidence in Congress. People are beginning to think independently of their rulers. This is a necessary step in the development of their class consciousness. In addition, they are beginning to reject the misleaders and politicians who tie them to their rulers. In Detroit’s water wars, people were outraged at the city’s deceptive claims that the water would keep flowing. In Ferguson, agents of the capitalists who came to town to preach “calm” were told to leave the city. People are also beginning to put forward their own programs in the anti-police brutality, water and immigration struggles, to name a few. This shows that people’s minds are opening.
There is no guarantee, however, that people will fight as a class for a vision of a totally new way to organize society based on the interests of all. The rulers have a powerful anti-communist propaganda machine. Ruling class “solutions” sound good but actually protect private property. Without an understanding of the real motives of the class that stands in opposition to them, people’s thinking can be pulled off course. This once again points to the urgency of the propaganda tasks of revolutionaries.
Michigan is Key
What is happening in Michigan is important because it illuminates the progress of fascism in the volatile “Rust Belt,” (where the largest concentration of dispossessed workers exists), and people’s awakening. Michigan shows how the State — an instrument of force in the hands of the ruling class — is changing its form to guarantee the billionaires’ private property. Michigan is a harbinger of what could come to the rest of the country. It shows the pressing need for revolutionaries to help the class move from the defensive –- defending what they once had –- to the offensive, fighting for a cooperative society.
Michigan, like the rest of the “Rust Belt,” has experienced tremendous job loss, resulting from globalization and the replacement of human labor with robots. In the face of rising poverty (67 percent of Detroit families are either under the poverty line or employed in low-income jobs), a movement for people’s needs is drawing many into struggle that are new to social activity. They are coming face to face with a State that enforces water shutoffs, condones police murders, jails leaders who fight for democracy, and allows corporations to buy up Michigan’s public assets. This fascist environment is made possible by Emergency Manager laws that give private property a free reign and allow the State to rule without the consent of the governed. These laws, and people’s awakenings to the danger, have made the situation even more explosive. They also open the way to show that communism, and the ending of a system based on private property, is the actual solution to the struggles for water, housing, education and other immediate needs.
Benton Harbor was one of the the first Michigan cities to install an Emergency Manager system (under the version of the new law). It allowed the unleashing of a wave of terror on the community. The government attacked the democratic right of the community to recall a mayor bankrolled by the giant Whirlpool Corporation. Rev. Edward Pinkney, a leader of the people, was charged with felonies for allegedly changing the date on recall petitions to oust the mayor. Militarized police forces converged on his home to arrest him. At a hearing to determine if there was evidence to bring him to trial, the Judge told the defendant, Rev. Pinkney, that in Michigan evidence to convict is not needed. Democracy is under attack. The movement must defend its leaders.
In Detroit the Emergency Manager initiated water cutoffs to the poor, some say to make the water and sewerage company more marketable to private investors. Corporations want to profit by buying up the water. The cutting off of water to thousands has laid bare the immorality of private property interests.
The denial of drinking water to children, the sick and elderly — it doesn’t matter who — is tapping a nerve all over the country and world. People are outraged that families don’t have access to running water. This allows revolutionaries to raise the question of why private entities should have the right to own a basic necessity, and why anyone should be denied drinking water simply because they are unable to pay.
This exposes the nature of a private property system. The capitalists will not provide for workers they no longer need. They cannot give away free food or water, as this would undermine their private property system. The question is: is there any other way to solve the problem, outside of distributing water and other necessities to all based on need? Communism is the practical solution to the inability of people to purchase water, healthcare or food. Necessities must be distributed to all based on need, not money.
Strategy and Tactics of the Rulers and Workers
A social order near death is more dangerous because it strikes out, destroying anything that stands in its way. The rulers have no solution. In the face of the destruction of the capitalist system they must guarantee that their private property, worth trillions of dollars, is secured. They plan to put billions into a war economy to try to save their collapsing economy. But this will not solve the problem of a lack of jobs and an inability of people to buy necessities, and could lead to nuclear destruction. Above all they have to crack down on the rising movement with a militarized police State, and at the same time try to keep the moral outrage from proceeding on a class basis.
An organization of revolutionaries is urgently needed to bring vision, strategy and tactics to the class. A spontaneous movement that is going into battle without an understanding of where society is going, or that a system based on private property can actually end, cannot win. An organization of revolutionaries is needed that is embedded in all of the Fergusons, all of the water, justice and other spontaneous struggles. Such an organization would propagate one common message far and wide about the central enemy and the solution. It would guarantee that every uprising, battle over immediate interests, and critical fights such as the resistance in Benton Harbor, Ferguson, Detroit, and at the border become a school for revolutionary ideas.
The League of Revolutionaries for a New America is building such an organization. Today tens of thousands of revolutionaries are stepping forward, searching for answers and for organization. The League aims to reach these revolutionaries with a program based on the demands of the new class for a new society. This program rests on the real possibility of constructing a society wherein the marvels of the new technology are used to benefit all of society.
Join the League of Revolutionaries for a New America! Help build an organization of revolutionaries that does something important in history.
Editors’ Note: As we go to print — without evidence presented at the trial — Rev. Edward Pinkney was found guilty of the felony charges. There will be an appeal.
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