The Struggle Against Police Violence and the Fight for Class Unity
The recent uprising in Baltimore showed African American, Latino, and white workers with their children out in the streets protesting the Baltimore police murder of Freddie Gray. What we saw in Baltimore was an impulse toward unity around the issue of police brutality and police killings.
It is significant that this uprising took place in Baltimore. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was forced to evade assassins on his journey to Washington D.C. for his inauguration. Baltimore was rife with defenders of slavery who were determined to halt Lincoln’s presidency.
The fact that today the mayor of Baltimore, the prosecutor, the police commissioner, and three of the six police involved in Freddie Gray’s murder are African American undercuts the attempt to make this case and others about race only. The ruling class however, is thwarting any effort to make the outcries against the police more than a question of the police themselves. They must stop any impulses toward class unity around the conditions of life the people are facing — the poverty, lack of health care, and especially homelessness.
It is in the best interests of the ruling class to keep people fighting around specific issues, such as police brutality, separate from those conditions that call into question their rule. They are determined that the unity against police terror never advances to unity founded on a struggle of the class for the basic necessities of life. The ruling class can take an issue like police terror and tie it up in a morass of legality.
The League of Revolutionaries for a New America aims to show the true meaning and purpose of the escalating police terror. Modern fascism is more than a political system hostile to democracy. It is more than monopoly capitalism without the restraints of democracy. It is the political attempt to maintain a social system of privilege by force and violence after its corresponding economic base has changed. Ruling class privilege rises from scarcity. How is it possible to maintain those privileges while the emerging economic structure produces undreamed-of abundance? Today, this social motion is taking the characteristics of a police state, a state wherein the police, charged with protecting the social relations, become a law unto themselves answerable to none. This fascist danger is real and it is near.
The ruling class does everything in its power to disrupt any impulses toward working class unity. Their future depends upon this. The police murders in Baltimore, Ferguson, North Charleston, New York, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, and Anaheim have stirred people to speak out and protest. Within the struggle over the police, some people are trying to interject the question of class, the growing commonality of poverty, unemployment and homelessness. They are being blocked by leaders who tell them that race and police brutality are the cause of their problems.
In every instance of brutality, oppression and exploitation the League of Revolutionaries for a New America fights for the unity of our class. The League gets out its message far and wide. We seek out those who have a sense that no degree of concession within this system will resolve these killings.
At the same time, we stay firmly grounded where the ruling class has no standing. When it comes to providing the workers with basic necessities, they have nowhere to go. They will not feed, clothe or house workers who are making no contribution to production and their profit. They will not even allow access to water.
What is the League’s strategy? In general, our strategy is to rely on the spontaneous movement, which is the objective movement of the working class for food, clothing, shelter and other basic necessities of life. We rely on the spontaneous movement because it is already objectively headed in the direction of communist revolution. More specifically, our strategy is to strike the enemy where he is weak, by waging a propaganda war that focuses on the inability of the system to provide the workers with the basic necessities of life, and in the process we put forward a vision of the new society that is both possible and necessary. Technology is replacing labor, and the bourgeoisie has no intention of feeding labor they don’t need. Thus, on the one hand, the objective process is for the bourgeoisie to allow the workers who are no longer needed to starve to death (or massacre them); on the other hand, the workers are forced to fight for the necessities of life. The confrontation between classes is inevitable, and from the workers’ perspective, it can only be resolved by making the means of production public property and building a cooperative society. Our strategy (striking the enemy at the weak point in his lines) is based on what is objective; we align ourselves with the direction history is already moving. We show that a cooperative society is the only solution to the problems of today.
We are living in a country where children living in cars leave “home” to go to school. Thirty nine percent of the homeless are made up of families. Homelessness extends into every aspect of life. Millions are on the verge of becoming homeless. Deteriorating conditions of work, education, health care, and access to food and water are all tied to homelessness.
Homelessness is the clearest indictment of the failure of a system based on private property. There is an element of class unity that has emerged around the question of homelessness, and the immorality of the laws and brutality directed at the homeless.
As an organization of revolutionaries the LRNA is about influencing how the new class – a new communist class – thinks of itself and its historic role. As issues come to the fore we take this perspective to the participants, but do not lose our connection to the fight for the basic necessities of life. At each stage of these struggles, we introduce the new ideas that can move the thinking of the class towards unity based on their common interests as a class and prepare that class to reorganize society in its own interests.
LRNA Central Body, May 2015
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