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Voice of the League of Revolutionaries for a New America

Examining, analyzing and drawing political conclusions about the most critical issues facing the revolutionary movement in the U.S. today

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The Way Forward: Unite Our Class

Unite the Revolutionaries, Unite the Class

In light of the outbreaks in various suburban areas and smaller cities around police violence, this report continues the League s examination of where the new class is in its development, objectively and subjectively. This is part of our ongoing assessment of the estimate of the entire situation revolutionaries  face. We look at the relationship of forces, the strategy and tactics of the enemy, their weakness and strengths, and our tasks. This approach allows us to think strategically about what the ruling class is doing, and to use the objective processes that are underway to defeat them.

The goal of the ruling class is to establish a social and political order capable of protecting and advancing private property under the new conditions created by qualitatively new means of production. Central to their tactical offensive is to both prevent the working class from uniting in any effort to combine against them, and to unite a section of the working class to support their goals.

The goal of the revolutionaries is a peaceful, cooperative society based on the material foundation of the new means of production. To do this, we have to develop and influence the social force that will inevitably have to fight for a new society. This social force is the new class. New means of production are creating this new class. 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. This employed sector of the class is constantly drawn into the growing unemployed sector that ranges from the structurally unemployed to the absolute destitute, homeless workers. This class cannot survive unless it changes the property relations. The actual program of this class is to abolish private property, and this communist program is in the interest of all society. This objectivity is its, and our, strength.

Historically, racial ideology has been backed up by social privileges granted to white workers over the Black workers. Unequally oppressed and exploited, they could not unite. Although it will be a long and difficult process, it is objectively possible today for the class to unite around the program that is in its common interest   regardless of historical divisions   thereby making it possible for them to lead society to communism.

Yet this class is divided by history, ideology and culture. While things are beginning to change, it is still tied in a thousand ways to the ruling class and the capitalist system. The task of revolutionaries is to teach this class its common interests as a class and to give them a vision of what s possible. It means revolutionaries have to drop their ideological preconceptions, rely upon the changes that are taking place in the real world, and make plans in accordance with that real world.

The Suburbs and Growth of the New Class

The once thriving and economically stable, industrial working class suburban communities that surrounded cities across the country, now account for the fastest growing poverty in the U.S. Central to this economic shift is the accelerating expansion of electronic, laborless production that is rapidly creating a new class of workers, who have been replaced in the production process and permanently separated from or thrown to the margins of the new electronic based economy. The 2008 Great Recession had its greatest economic impact on U.S. suburban centers, accounting for the largest rate of home foreclosures in the country. Suburban workers represent the fastest growing percentage of the newly dispossessed.

According to a report produced for the Brookings Institute, for the first time in U.S. history, suburban poverty outstripped urban poverty in 2013. Between 2000 and 2012 the poorest section of the working class in suburban areas grew by 65 percent   more than twice the pace of growth in the cities. Nationwide, the of official number of those living in poverty is 46.2 million, or 15 percent of the population. In the nation s largest metropolitan areas, the suburbs accounted for 55 percent of those living at or below the of official poverty line, exceeding the urban poor by 3.5 million.

While overall poverty rates for Blacks and Latino s are almost three times higher than whites, the rates are narrowing. More than 19 million whites, or 41% of all living in poverty, live below the of official poverty line, nearly twice that of Blacks. A 2013 Associated Press study showed that economic insecurity among whites is more pervasive than is shown in the government s poverty data,  engulfing more than 76% of white adults before they turn 60. Lower-income whites are dispersed in suburbs as well as in small rural towns, where more than 60% of the poor are white. They are concentrated in certain areas such as the Appalachian East, the industrial Midwest, the  heartland  of such states as Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and up through the Great Plains, but they can be found anywhere and everywhere.

The permanence of this new poverty sets the conditions for forging the bonds of political working class unity. It creates an environment to propagandize about how the ruling class works to divide our rapidly growing new class along racial lines, and furthermore, how the expansion of these new poverty conditions make our practical, economic class interests identical, regardless of race.

As economic conditions change, the economic laws of capitalism operate to create situations where neighborhoods are turned over in order to maximize pro t. Sections of workers are simultaneously driven out of the city, while others are brought back in, creating a never ending, back-and-forth, real estate turn-over cycle. For example, ruling class gentrification cation policies in most U.S. cities, including block-busting and red-lining is used to assign and isolate poverty housing to special c neighborhoods. These neighborhoods eventually bottom out and real estate interests buy the properties for pennies and rebuild them with state-of-the-art, expensive housing and retail centers. Take for instance, the federally subsidized public housing projects, constructed to house workers in cities across the country during the industrial economic expansion of the late 1940s through the 1960s. They were demolished over the next three decades. City housing authorities then issued housing vouchers to the displaced families, sending them into surrounding suburban communities.

Suburban communities lack the historically evolved institutions, along with the infrastructure and other sophisticated methods of social control that are common in the cities. Today, nearly two-thirds of all workers employed in low wage jobs   like retail sales, or food preparation and services, live in the suburbs. Limited transit options also make it difficult cult or impossible for these workers to access state sponsored public services like subsidized childcare, or other safety net services such as food pantries and affordable health care.

With no means to escape these conditions, these poverty wage workers remain isolated in their neighborhoods, under the thumb of local and county authorities. The combination of the new class rapidly growing in suburbia, with the violent and oppressive social control methods used by local political leaders and the police to repress them, we can expect more outbreaks to occur, like those in Ferguson, Missouri.

Breaking the Formula of Political Rule

We can see why the American ruling class has been so successful. It has been able to effectively control its own working class through selective social privileges, racial ideology and manipulation of the broader cultural worldview of the different sections of the class. Conditions in the past made it impossible to resolve the question of the division within the class. Capitalism was expanding, providing the material foundation for the economic and social privileges that were extended to white workers over Black workers, Northern workers over Southern workers, and men over women, keeping them apart.

Strategically, the ruling class has always sought to prevent the workers from uniting. As the bribery is taken away, the possibility arises of uniting a section of the new class. Unity is the key to any victory. Unity of the revolutionary section of the class stands on class consciousness. Unity rests upon objective equality and subjective consciousness. Our tactic is to bring consciousness to the white workers in the areas where they are economically equal to the Black workers. Our aim is to replace bonds of color with bonds of class. Nothing can be done without this unity and consciousness. Today, this impoverished section of white workers is decisive in bringing about this unity. They can unite with the Black workers in the same economic position because neither can survive any longer within the capitalist system. They are immobilized by the race question.

The ruling class has always understood the importance of this section, and how they can be used to secure the aims of the ruling class. We can use an example from history. Eugene Talmadge, the governor of Georgia from 1933 to 1937, opposed Franklin D. Roosevelt s New Deal and refused to implement its policies and programs. In a gathering of poor white workers, Talmadge used the race question to justify preventing the distribution of free surplus food under the New Deal s commodity distribution program. Because it was a federal program, he told them, Blacks would be getting free food right along with the whites. The next thing he warned them, Blacks would be  dancing with your daughters.  Talmadge was elected Governor for two consecutive terms. The consequences were that Southern workers, regardless of color, continued to starve and were forced to take whatever the capitalists would give them. Georgia, as part of the broader Black Belt region, was secured as a continued source of superprofits for the industrial-financial capitalists of the imperial North.

The control of these workers in the South was the basis for the control of the entire country. Scattered geographically, unorganized, and kept backward politically, this section was controlled by the Southern elite through a combination of force, social bribery and cultural appeals that rested on particular religious views and moral sensibilities as well as racial ideology. Southern Senators, elected term after term, with no accountability, came to constitute a political power bloc in Congress capable of obstructing any legislation that benefitted the workers of the entire country. In this way, this section of white workers was secured as the lynch-pin in the historical formula of using the South to politically control the entire country.

Today, the ruling class has no more need for the white worker than any other, no matter where they live or what sex they are. Electronic technology is making human labor obsolete. Why would the ruling class privilege what it no longer needs?

The ruling class understands the politically decisive role of these dispossessed white workers and is taking steps to both use and contain them. With no material incentives to offer, only ideology and force remain. The ruling class recognizes the threat this poses to their rule. They masterfully exploit the religious outlook, moral sensibilities and cultural views of this section of whites.

Their success is evident in the recent mid-term election results. A CNN exit poll found 54% of white workers making less than $50,000 a year voted Republican, while only 19% of  non-whites  voted that way. At the same time, the ruling class uses these same views to attack and isolate them.

In his 2013 article in Salon magazine  America s Angriest White Men , author Michael Kimmel argues that a potent cultural mix of pro-capitalism, patriotism, Christianity and American exceptionalism, including racial ideology, serves as the lens through which these workers viewed their deteriorating condition. Widespread among these workers was a  feeling of entitlement thwarted,  believing that others get all the resources in society,  while they get nothing and [are] often literally left out in the cold, homeless, jobless and helpless.  Kimmel warns of the extent to which the fascists are encouraging them to   x blame squarely on other  workers such as Blacks, Latinos, immigrants and women, and to hate so-called  big government.  The fascists are building on the grievances and ideas of these workers and are shaping them into a vision of society in the service of an outright fascist political revolution.

Revolutionaries have to ask ourselves: will we leave these workers to the fascists? They are growing increasingly angry at the corporations. On that basis, they can be shown that the roots of corporate domination lie in the capitalist system. They are anti-government and favor limiting  big government . But in reality, they cannot survive without the limited relief that government provides. On this basis, they can be shown the possibility of a government that defends their class interests. They see millions of others in the same situation as they are. They are losing their belief that they are responsible for their own worsening conditions. On this basis, they can be shown that if they want to secure the basic necessities of existence they have to get together with others in their same situation, regardless of color.

Revolutionaries do not pose  culture  against  economics . We do not pose class against race. Without a fight against racism the workers cannot rise out of poverty. Without a fight against poverty they cannot destroy racism. We aim our propaganda at the point where the connection between them and the ruling class is being broken. We show them a different and realizable vision of the future, and a strategy to get there.

Race as Class and Culture

Race is a political, not a scientific concept and it can be used in any manner that suits political needs. Racial designations serve to create an  other  that can be isolated from the rest of society, exploited by the ruling class, and used by them to win a section of the working class over to their program. This has been the case whether it is color (as with slavery), nationality (as in wars between nations) or even culture (for example, peoples might be the same color, but have a different culture).

A look at the real world shows that racial designations of the past do not reflect the realities of today. In the U.S. there are Black mayors, police chiefs, military generals. There have been two Black Secretaries of State. There are Black millionaires and billionaires. There is a Black President. They are all part of, or are carrying out the interests of the ruling class and have interests in common with that class. They are part of a developing global multi-national, multi-colored bourgeoisie. Electronic production and globalization is also creating a new class of proletarians around the world who have economic interests in common, regardless of color or nationality.

The ruling class is creating a new racial identification based on class and cultural differences. This kind of adaptation is nothing new. The ruling class has always utilized and manipulated American history, sublating the old forms in order to serve new conditions. The forms are changed according to the quantitative stages of development, but the content   the protection of private property   remains the same.

The ruling class, regardless of color, portrays itself as superior because of their culture   presenting itself as orderly, self-reliant, religiously moral and law-abiding. The emerging new class, regardless of color, is portrayed as inferior because of their culture   they are presented as violent, criminal, dependent, and unwilling to help themselves no matter how much help society gives them. Of course, these are actions created by the ruling class, but these ideas filter down amongst the workers. And the ruling class continues to use color as racial designation and skillfully so, as the polarization taking place around the police murder in Ferguson and within the working class generally shows. But whether in older or new forms, the purpose of racial ideology is the same: to divide and control the workers in order to guarantee their exploitation in whatever form possible.

Revolutionaries must influence the new class. To do so, we have to drop all preconceptions and rely instead on the inevitability of the objective process. Qualitatively new means of production are destroying the old social order, and creating a new class that cannot live without reorganizing society around these new means of production. The class is already being forced into motion one way or another. What they think, will determine what they do.

Rulers  Strategy and Police Violence

A new stage of the movement is developing based on qualitative changes in the economy. A polarization around wealth and poverty, such as the world has never seen, is developing. The demands of this embryonic movement are coming into conflict with both ruling class ideas that serve to divide and the State, which is standing in the way of the movement achieving its demands. The danger is that the workers have little understanding of the historic changes in the world, the strategy of the rulers, or that the ultimate solution is a communist reorganization of society. Thus, the movement can easily be swept off course.

The ruler s goal is to stop the revolution from proceeding on a class basis. One of their tactics is to pit one section of the working class against the other. They use racism, their historic weapon of control, to do this. This is happening at a moment in history when it is possible, for the first time, to unite a section of the working class: those who are displaced by electronic production.

The rulers  strategy can be seen in the unfolding struggle around the wave of police murders sweeping the nation. Police brutality and killings are the face of the drive toward a complete fascist takeover of the country. The killings are often occurring in those cities and suburbs hit the hardest by the electronic revolution. Today the victims of police murder and brutality are overwhelmingly minority workers. Given American history, it could not be otherwise. History also shows that as the majority accepts this brutality, it is inevitably used against everyone. Today, police violence will spare none.

Development of Consciousness

Like all processes, consciousness develops in stages. Albuquerque and now Ferguson, and other scenes of recent struggles over police killings, show the beginning of an understanding that society is composed of a ruling class and a subordinate class.

This consciousness can be seen in the moral revulsion to the lawlessness of the police, and the new awareness that the police will turn their weapons against anyone they deem undesirable. In Albuquerque, 36 police shootings took place in the last four years, with 22 resulting in death. Most of those killed were Latino. A struggle for justice, often led by the families, unfolded around many incidents. However, when the police shot a homeless man living in the foothills in the back after he had agreed to go with them, and the video of this execution went viral, things broke loose.

Many workers in the city faced Billy clubs and tear gas to join the protests. Workers who said they had previously been in support of law enforcement now said that, for the first time, they were questioning police behavior. An Albuquerque journalist summed up the sentiment of many when he wrote,  Are they [the police] taught there s a class of worthless people who don t matter, who don t deserve the bene t of the doubt, who don t deserve to be treated with the respect of a full human being? Who don t deserve the law?

Fundamental changes in the economy, the polarization of wealth and poverty, the growth of a new class forced out of society by the robot and the refusal of the government to redress the workers  grievances is creating an environment where the workers are beginning the process of of separating from the political system. This is important because revolution cannot proceed until the workers separate their thinking from their rulers and begin to think independently along class lines. This development of consciousness is also significant cant because it is happening in a state that was allied with the Confederacy during the Civil War and that itself had a brutal slave system.

One way the rulers attempt to restrict consciousness is to portray the struggle against the police as solely about racism. A protester from Ferguson, angry about in inflammatory media coverage, warned,  They are trying to make this a race war, when this is about justice.  No one can deny that racism is a key aspect of the struggle. Today, law enforcement or vigilantes kill a Black man in America every 28 hours. However, given the declining economic and social conditions for a growing section of workers, the impulses toward a broader understanding of the problem cannot help but come to the fore. One example can be seen in the response of a young man who was asked why he was in the streets protesting:  I m here to defend my people,  he said. The media asked,  Who are your people?  The man answered,  I don t care if you are purple, Black, Brown or white. This is about humanity.

Time is of the essence. On the other side of the polarization, all kinds of fascist groupings are on the rise. Many are anti-government, but also anti-Black and Brown, and allied with the police. The Southern Poverty Law Center follows 1,000 hate groups. In Missouri, a Darren Wilson Facebook support group claims to have over 80,000 members. Anti-communist groupings are also on the scene. Some articulately depict the dangers and brutality of the rising police State, but include anti-communist messages.

The danger is that some kind of crisis will erupt in the country that will allow for the coalescing of government, military and openly fascist forces in a full-blown fascist offensive. The legal power to take over the government and to declare unitary rule by the executive already exists.

Revolutionaries proceed from this quantitative stage of the thinking of the people in order to bring in the understanding that change can only come about when the workers themselves gain the political power to create a totally new society. Once this occurs, there is no force on earth that can stop the class from uprooting the old society and creating a new one.

Political Report of the LRNA Central Body, November 2014

In light of the outbreaks around police violence in various suburban areas and smaller cities, this report continues the League’s examination of where the new class is in its development, objectively and subjectively. This is part of the our ongoing assessment of the estimate of the entire situation revolutionaries face. We look at the relationship of forces, the strategy and tactics of the enemy, their weakness and strengths, and our tasks. 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.The goal of the ruling class is to establish a social and political order capable of protecting and advancing private property, under the new conditions created by qualitatively new means of production. Central to their tactical offensive is both to prevent the working class from uniting in any effort to combine against them, and to unite a section of the working class to support their goals.

The goal of the revolutionaries is a peaceful, cooperative society, based on the material foundation of the new means of production. To do this, we have to develop and influence the social force that will inevitably have to fight for a new society. This social force is the new class.  New means of production are creating this new class. 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. 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. This class cannot survive unless it changes the property relations. The actual program of this class is to abolish private property, and this communist program is in the interest of all society. This objectivity is its, and our, strength.

Historically, racial ideology has been backed up by social privileges granted to white workers over Black workers. Unequally oppressed and exploited, they could not unite. Although it will be a long and difficult process, it is objectively possible today for the class to unite around the program that is in its common interest – regardless of historical divisions – thereby making it possible for them to lead society to communism.

Yet this class is divided by history, ideology and culture. While things are beginning to change, it is still tied in a thousand ways to the ruling class and the capitalist system. The task of revolutionaries is to teach this class its common interests as a class and to give them a vision of what’s possible. It means revolutionaries have to drop their ideological preconceptions, rely upon the changes taking place in the real world, and make plans in accordance with that real world.

The Suburbs and Growth of the New Class

The once thriving and economically stable, industrial working class suburban communities, that surrounded cities across the country, now account for the fastest growing poverty in the U.S. Central to this economic shift is the accelerating expansion of electronic, laborless production that is rapidly creating a new class of workers, who have been replaced in the production process and permanently separated from, or thrown to the margins of, the new electronic based economy. The 2008 Great Recession had its greatest economic impact on U.S. suburban centers, accounting for the largest rate of home foreclosures in the country. Suburban workers represent the fastest growing percentage of the newly dispossessed.

According to a 2013 report produced for the Brookings Institute, for the first time in U.S. history, suburban poverty outstripped urban poverty. Between 2000 and 2012 the poorest section of the working class in suburban areas grew by 65 percent – more than twice the pace of growth in the cities. Nationwide, the official number of those living in poverty is 46.2 million, or 15 percent of the population. In the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, the suburbs accounted for 55 percent of those living at or below the official poverty line, exceeding the urban poor by 3.5 million.

While overall poverty rates for Blacks and Latinos are almost three times higher than whites, the rates are narrowing. More than 19 million whites, or 41% of all living in poverty, live below the official poverty line, nearly twice that of Blacks. A 2013 Associated Press study  showed that economic insecurity among whites is more pervasive than is shown in the government’s poverty data, “engulfing more than 76% of white adults before they turn 60.  Lower-income whites are dispersed in suburbs as well as in small rural towns, where more than 60% of the poor are white. They are concentrated in certain areas such as the Appalachian East, the industrial Midwest, the “heartland” of such states as Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and up through the Great Plains, but they can be found anywhere and everywhere.”

The permanence of this new poverty sets the conditions for forging the bonds of political working class unity. It creates an environment to propagandize about how the ruling class works to divide our rapidly growing new class along racial lines, and furthermore, how the expansion of these new poverty conditions make our practical, economic class interests identical, regardless of race.

Suburban communities lack the historically evolved institutions, along with the infrastructure and other sophisticated methods of social control that are common in the cities. Today, nearly two-thirds of all workers employed in low wage jobs – like retail sales, or food preparation and services – live in the suburbs. Limited transit options also make it difficult or impossible for these workers to access state sponsored public services like subsidized childcare, or other safety net services such as food pantries and affordable health care.

With no means to escape these conditions, these poverty wage workers remain isolated in their neighborhoods, under the thumb of local and county authorities. The combination of the new class rapidly growing in suburbia, with the violent and oppressive social control methods used by local political leaders and the police to repress them, we can expect more outbreaks to occur, like those in Ferguson, Missouri.

Breaking the Formula of Political Rule

We can see why the American ruling class has been so successful. It has been able to control effectively its own working class through selective social privileges, racial ideology, and manipulation of the broader cultural worldview of the different sections of the class. Conditions in the past made it impossible to resolve the question of the division within the class. Capitalism was expanding, providing the material foundation for the economic and social privileges that were extended to white workers over Black workers, Northern workers over Southern workers, and men over women, keeping them apart.

Strategically, the decisive political force in this country has always been the most exploited section of the white workers. Historically, this section has been the link between the capitalist class and the mass of workers. This most exploited section of the white workers is the only section that can unite the entire class. They can unite with the mass of Black workers because neither can survive any longer within the capitalist system. They can unite with the mass of whites for the same reason. They are immobilized by the race question.

The ruling class has always understood the importance of this section, and how they can be used to secure the aims of the ruling class. We can use an example from history. Eugene Talmadge, the governor of Georgia between 1933-1937, opposed Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and refused to implement its policies and programs. In a gathering of poor white workers, Talmadge used the race question to justify preventing the distribution of free surplus food under the New Deal’s commodity distribution program. Because it was a federal program, he told them, Blacks would be getting free food right along with the whites. The next thing, he warned them, Blacks would be “dancing with your daughters.” Talmadge was elected Governor for two consecutive terms. The consequences were that Southern workers, regardless of color, continued to starve and were forced to take whatever the capitalists would give them. Georgia, as part of the broader Black Belt region, was secured as a continued source of super-profits for the industrial-financial capitalists of the imperial North.

The control of the workers in the South was the basis for the control of the entire country. Scattered geographically, unorganized, and kept backward politically, this section of workers was controlled by the Southern elite through a combination of force, social bribery and cultural appeals that rested on particular religious views and moral sensibilities as well as racial ideology. Southern Senators, elected term after term, with no accountability, came to constitute a political power bloc in Congress capable of obstructing any legislation that benefitted the workers of the entire country. In this way, the most exploited section of whites was secured as the linchpin in the historical formula of using the South to politically control the entire country.

Today, the ruling class has no more need for the white worker than any other, no matter where they live or what sex they are. Electronic technology is making human labor obsolete. Why would the ruling class privilege what it no longer needs?

The ruling class understands the politically decisive role of the most exploited section of white workers today and is taking steps to both use and contain them. With no material incentives to offer, only ideology and force remain. The ruling class recognizes the threat this poses to their rule. They masterfully exploit the religious outlook, moral sensibilities and cultural views of this section of whites. Their success is evident in the recent mid-term election results. A CNN exit poll found 54% of white workers making less than $50,000 a year voted Republican, while only 19% of “non-whites” voted that way. At the same time, the ruling class uses these same views to attack and isolate them.

In his 2013 article in Salon magazine, “America’s Angriest White Men,”  author Michael Kimmel argues that a potent cultural mix of pro-capitalism, patriotism, Christianity, and American exceptionalism, including racial ideology, serves as the lens through which these workers viewed their deteriorating condition. Widespread among these workers was a “feeling of entitlement thwarted,” believing that others get all the resources in society, “while they get nothing and [are] often literally left out in the cold, homeless, jobless and helpless.” Kimmel warns of the extent to which the fascists are encouraging them to “fix blame squarely on other” workers such as Blacks, Latinos, immigrants and women, and to hate “big government.” The fascists are building on the grievances and ideas of these workers and are shaping them into a vision of society in the service of an outright fascist political revolution.

Revolutionaries have to ask ourselves: will we leave this section of the class to the fascists? Like the rest of the class, the most exploited section of the white workers is pro-capitalist. Yet they are growing increasingly angry at the corporations. On that basis, they can be shown that the roots of corporate domination lie in the capitalist system. They are anti-government and favor limiting “big government.” But in reality, they cannot survive without the limited relief that government provides. On this basis, they can be shown the possibility of a government that defends their class interests. They see millions of others in the same situation as they are. They are losing their belief that they are responsible for their own worsening conditions. On this basis, they can be shown that if they want to secure the basic necessities of existence they have to get together with others in their same situation, regardless of color.

Revolutionaries do not pose “culture” against “economics.” We do not pose class against race. Without a fight against racism the workers cannot rise out of poverty. Without a fight against poverty they cannot destroy racism. We aim our propaganda at the point where the connection between them and the ruling class is being broken. We show them a different and realizable vision of the future, and a strategy to get there.

Race as Class and Culture

Race is a political, not a scientific concept, and it can be used in any manner that suits political needs. Racial designations serve to create an “other” that can be isolated from the rest of society, exploited by the ruling class, and used by them to win a section of the working class over to their program. This has been the case whether it is color (as with slavery), nationality (as in wars between nations) or even culture (for example, peoples might be the same color, but have a different culture).

A look at the real world shows that racial designations of the past do not reflect the realities of today. In the U.S. there are Black mayors, police chiefs, military generals. There have been two Black Secretaries of State. There are Black millionaires and billionaires. There is a Black President. They are all part of, or are carrying out, the interests of the ruling class and have interests in common with that class. They are part of a developing global multi-national, multi-colored bourgeoisie. Electronic production and globalization is also creating a new class of proletarians around the world, who have economic interests in common, regardless of color or nationality.

The ruling class is creating a new racial identification based on class and cultural differences. This kind of adaptation is nothing new. The ruling class has always utilized and manipulated American history, sublating the old forms in order to serve new conditions. The forms are changed according to the quantitative stages of development, but the content – the protection of private property – remains the same.

The ruling class, regardless of color, portrays itself as superior because of their culture – presenting itself as orderly, self-reliant, religiously moral and law-abiding. The emerging new class, regardless of color, is portrayed as inferior because of their culture – they are presented as violent, criminal, dependent, and unwilling to help themselves no matter how much help society gives them. Of course, these are fictions created by the ruling class, but these ideas filter down amongst the workers. And the ruling class continues to use color as racial designation and skillfully so, as the polarization taking place around the police murder in Ferguson and within the working class generally shows. But whether in older or new forms, the purpose of racial ideology is the same: to divide and control the workers in order to guarantee their exploitation in whatever form possible.

Revolutionaries must influence the new class. To do so, we have to drop all preconceptions and rely instead on the inevitability of the objective process. Qualitatively new means of production are destroying the old social order, and creating a new class that cannot live without reorganizing society around these new means of production. The class is already being forced into motion one way or another. What they think will determine what they do.

Rulers’ Strategy and Police Violence

A new stage of the movement is developing based on qualitative changes in the economy. A polarization around wealth and poverty, such as the world has never seen, is developing.

The demands of this embryonic movement are coming into conflict with both ruling class ideas that serve to divide and the State, which is standing in the way of the movement achieving its demands. The danger is that the workers have little understanding of the historic changes in the world, the strategy of the rulers, or that the ultimate solution is a communist reorganization of society. Thus, the movement can easily be swept off course.

The ruler’s goal is to stop the revolution from proceeding on a class basis. One of their tactics is to pit one section of the working class against the other. They use racism, their historic weapon of control, to do this. This is happening at a moment in history when it is possible, for the first time, to unite a section of the working class: those who are displaced by electronic production.

The rulers’ strategy can be seen in the unfolding struggle around the wave of police murders sweeping the nation. Police brutality and killings are the face of the drive toward a complete fascist takeover of the country. The killings are often occurring in those cities and suburbs hit the hardest by the electronic revolution. Today the victims of police murder and brutality are overwhelmingly minority workers. Given American history, it could not be otherwise. History also shows that as the majority accepts this brutality, it is inevitably used against everyone. Today, police violence will spare none.

Development of Consciousness

Like all processes, consciousness develops in stages. Albuquerque, and now Ferguson, and other scenes of recent struggles over police killings, show the beginning of an understanding that society is composed of a ruling class and a subordinate class.

This consciousness can be seen in the moral revulsion to the lawlessness of the police, and the new awareness that the police will turn their weapons against anyone they deem undesirable. In Albuquerque, 36 police shootings took place in the last four years, with 22 resulting in death. Most of those killed were Latino. A struggle for justice, often led by the families, unfolded around many incidents.

However, when the police shot in the back a homeless man who was living in the foothills after he had agreed to go with them, and the video of this execution went viral, things broke loose.

Many workers in the city faced billy clubs and tear gas to join the protests. Workers who said they had previously been in support of law enforcement now said that, for the first time, they were questioning police behavior. An Albuquerque journalist summed up the sentiment of many when he wrote, “Are they [the police] taught there’s a class of worthless people who don’t matter, who don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt, who don’t deserve to be treated with the respect of a full human being? Who don’t deserve the law?”

Fundamental changes in the economy, the polarization of wealth and poverty, the growth of a new class forced out of society by the robot and the refusal of the government to redress the workers’ grievances is creating an environment where the workers are beginning the process of separating from the political system. This is important because revolution cannot proceed until the workers separate their thinking from their rulers and begin to think independently along class lines.

One way the rulers attempt to restrict consciousness is to portray the struggle against the police as solely about racism. A protester from Ferguson, angry about inflammatory media coverage, warned, “They are trying to make this a race war, when this is about justice.” No one can deny that racism is a key aspect of the struggle. Today, law enforcement or vigilantes kill a Black man in America every 28 hours. However, given the declining economic and social conditions for a growing section of workers, the impulses toward a broader understanding of the problem cannot help but come to the fore. One example can be seen in the response of a young man who was asked why he was in the streets protesting: “I’m here to defend my people,” he said. The media asked, “Who are your people?” The man answered, “I don’t care if you are purple, Black, Brown or white. This is about humanity.”

Time is of the essence. On the other side of the polarization, all kinds of fascist groupings are on the rise. Many are anti-government, but also anti-Black and Brown, and allied with the police. The Southern Poverty Law Center follows 1,000 hate groups. In Missouri, a Darren Wilson Facebook support group claims to have over 80,000 members.  Anti-communist groupings are also on the scene. Some articulately depict the dangers and brutality of the rising police State, but include anti-communist messages.

The danger is that some kind of crisis will erupt in the country that will allow for the coalescing of government, military, and openly fascist forces in a full-blown fascist offensive. The legal power to take over the government and to declare unitary rule by the executive already exists.

The League has based its strategy and tasks on the conception that there is a new quality of production, which is destroying the old society and laying the foundation for the reorganization to a new society. This is historically what happens in revolution. The process is irreversible.

Revolutionaries proceed from this quantitative stage of the thinking of the people, in order to bring in the understanding that change can only come about when the workers themselves, as a class, gain the political power to create a totally new society. Once this occurs, there is no force on earth that can stop the class from uprooting the old society and creating a new one.

Political Report of the LRNA Central Body, November 2014

January/February. Vol25.Ed1
This article originated in Rally, Comrades!
P.O. Box 477113 Chicago, IL 60647 rally@lrna.org
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Photo of Protest

30,000 March in Support of
Chicago Teachers Union Strike
Photo by Ryan L Williams
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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

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