Inside: We Have Been Naught We Shall Be All
Come, I will make the continent indissoluble,
I will make the most splendid race the sun ever shone upon,
I will make divine magnetic lands,
With the love of comrades,
With the life-long love of comrades.
– Walt Whitman, “For You O Democracy”
Nelson Peery, was a founding member of the League of Revolutionaries for a New America and of the Rally, Comrades! Editorial Board, who continued to contribute until the very end of his life, when he died on September 6, 2015. It is fitting that we publish two of his talks given just weeks before his death. It is also fitting that we begin with a fragment of one of his favorite poems, one that spoke to the revolutionary character of America.
The commemorative statement from the League on the significance of Nelson’s life and contribution, “Nelson Peery: American Revolutionary,” will introduce new readers and refresh the memories of others, as to Nelson’s contribution to the world communist movement. His was a contribution spanning some 75 years that engaged with every major upheaval and struggle in America and the world during those times. A contribution that yielded philosophical, theoretical, political, and literary works that sought to clarify events, to teach the workers their interests, with an aim to fit them for their historic mission of leading humanity to a cooperative, communist society. The statement speaks of how Nelson dedicated his entire life to building an organization of revolutionaries worthy of the American people. All of his work, including these talks were products of a collective process that reflect the meaning, purpose, and program of the League of Revolutionaries for a New America.
The talks we publish here, “Break with the Past, Prepare for the Future,” and “On Syndicalism,” are not unique in their expansive knowledge of history or philosophy, or of the emerging questions of revolution in a new epoch, nor in the objectivity of their approach to causality, investigation and conclusion. They are in fact, typical of Nelson’s work overall, reflecting to the end, the openness of a true scientific mind in his examination of the qualitative changes taking place in the real world and the potential these changes hold for our class to achieve what it has long fought to achieve.
Taken together, the two talks provide revolutionaries with an outline to key questions they face, including the character of the revolutionary process, the history of America and those ruling class ideas that impede the impulses toward class toward unity, while illuminating strategy and tactics to help prepare our class for the future stages of development of the revolutionary process. The talks emphasize the reality of an objective communist movement. Despite the disorientation, hate and division, with which the ruling class saturates the class, the weak flank of the ruling class is that it cannot provide for the suffering and poverty-stricken millions. These talks show that this arising new class – if made conscious of itself as a class – will become the social force to overturn the existing state of things to create a peaceful and cultured existence for all.
In this issue, we also include two articles written by others, which apply the themes sketched out in the talks. “Strategy and Political Power in America: The Role of the South,” shows how the ruling class has historically used the South to politically control all of America. It shows how the most impoverished and exploited section of Southern workers – Black and white – is an integral section of the new class throughout America and as such, its pivotal role in overturning the historical formula of rule, as the new class forms itself to be the force to contend for political power. Central to this is the process of class unity.
Our cover article, “Homelessness: Front Line in the Fight for Class Unity,” shows how clear the equality of poverty of the homeless is, and how that makes their political unity and the unity of the people around them more readily possible today. Their shared economic situation creates ties that can become stronger than what may have divided them in the past. Reaching revolutionaries among the most exploited section of white workers is decisive to succeeding in uniting this section of the class.
As we do with every issue, we place the Rally, Comrades! before the world communist movement, mindful always that our international responsibilities lie in the fight with our own bourgeoisie. We raise once again the rallying cry for which Nelson devoted his life, to which millions have committed their lives, and to which millions more will someday see the full fruits of that devotion.
Arise ye pris’ners of starvation
Arise ye wretched of the earth
For justice thunders condemnation
A better world’s in birth!
The earth shall rise on new foundations
We have been naught we shall be all.
So rally comrades
’tis the last fight we face
Shall be the human race.
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