From the Editors: Flint – Water is a Human Right
The poisoning of the people of Flint, Michigan—especially the children—with lead and other toxins in the drinking water is just the latest ugly example that shows that this corporate ruling class is unfit to rule. Lead poisoning can cause irreversible brain damage and other health issues for a whole generation of children—and their children’s children. Flint shows the immorality of the system of private property and a rising fascism. It shows that in this new epoch based in automation, capitalism has no need for a sector of workers and cares nothing about their livelihood.
With claims of “saving money,” all the while charting a path to outright privatization, Flint’s water system was switched to a cheaper source, the filthy Flint River. This decision was made by Flint’s governor-appointed dictatorial Emergency Manager and the governor. Michigan’s Emergency Manager system eliminates democracy, replaces democratically elected officials with state appointed officials, shatters labor organizations and restructures cities, all for the benefit of the corporations. And if you sound the alarm to this attack on democracy you could be jailed without any evidence of a crime. This is what happened to Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor (one of the first Michigan cities to go under the wrath of Emergency Managers.) He was among the first to warn of the dangers of fascism in Michigan.
The development of a new kind of economy based on electronic technology that eliminates human labor has created the conditions for these attacks on the working class to occur. As industry automates, shuts down or moves, workers in the Rust Belt, once well taken care of by the capitalists, are discarded by the class to which they have given their loyalty. The rulers have no solution to the mass poverty, foreclosures, water shutoffs and homelessness the system is creating—except fascism. And, as Flint shows, the rulers will not provide anything—not even clean water—to workers they no longer need. The rulers are implementing a fascist state to secure their private property interests in the face of a dying system. The Emergency Manager model is the form this process is taking in Michigan. As a result, a revolutionary struggle of the class for its basic needs, including access to water, is emerging.
Our class needs to build an independent political movement to make water a public trust not subject to private ownership. Such a movement will protect access to water for everyone and won’t allow private control that threatens our planet’s ecosystem, while polluting the lifeblood of our people. Gaining control over public access to water means nationalization of the water, where the government is made responsible for guaranteeing everyone has access to clean, safe water.
The Michigan workers are showing they are up for the challenge. In Flint, they are filing class action suits, putting forth demands for the jailing of the governor, demanding that the federal government declare the city a disaster area so that they can get the necessary funds to replace the city’s pipes and make the water safe, and demanding Medicare for the children. In Detroit, the people are in a huge battle to stop the tens of thousands of water shutoffs. In Highland Park, people are fighting to get their water back. Water bills are constantly going up and people face losing their homes.
Only with public ownership can the people be provided clean and safe water to all who need it, regardless of the ability to pay. The only practical solution to this problem is communism. Communism is the public ownership of the socially necessary means of production and the distribution of the social product according to need.
The fight for clean and safe water is along the path towards building a powerful movement to take over the corporations, before the corporations take over the entire society. Then, the abundance that technology makes possible can be used to guarantee that no one is homeless or hungry or having to drink polluted water.
The workers who are poisoned, without running water, forced into the streets, denied medical care and facing starvation are moving toward a common struggle around a program for their very survival. If they are united around a vision of what is possible, they can lead. Private property in the hands of the corporate class must be ended if humanity is to survive.
–– League of Revolutionaries for a New America
For further analysis of what the battle in Michigan means for the country, please visit our page on the Rally, Comrades! Web site “Flint on the Front Lines in the Fight for a New America” at http://rallycomrades.lrna.org/ .
March/April 2016 Vol26.Ed2
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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