Take the Strategic Offensive
The dictionary defines strategy as “the art or science of the planning and conduct of a war,” and also as “a particular long-term plan for success, especially in business or politics.” The working class cannot win the developing class struggle in America without a strategy. The workers can’t win by simply fighting back—their activity must be organized around a strategy and a vision of what they’re fighting for.
A basic principle of strategy is that your strategy must be rooted in the real world. It must be based on an estimate that takes into account the relationship of the forces on the battlefield, the goals of each side, the strengths and weaknesses of each side, the enemy’s strategy and tactics, and what is actually possible. Secondly, you can’t win a war by fighting your enemy’s tactics; you have to fight their strategy to defeat them.
The capitalist’s overall strategy is to prevent class consciousness, and thus prevent the start of a real class struggle. The revolutionaries’ overall strategy is to bring class consciousness to the workers and give them a vision of what they’re fighting for. The class struggle cannot fully develop and come to fruition without the class becoming conscious of itself through revolutionary propaganda.
What is the general situation we face, and what are the possibilities? The ruling class is on the strategic defensive, because capitalism can no longer expand, and if it can’t expand it begins to die. Tactically, the ruling class is on the offensive. The purpose of this offensive is to prevent the workers from becoming class conscious and uniting around a common cause.
Strategically, the working class is on the offensive. This is so because qualitatively new means of production are destroying the capitalist system and creating the foundation for a world without private property. Tactically, the working class is on the defensive. It is preoccupied with defending what it had, because it does not understand what is possible.
To win, the workers must move from the defensive — defending the capitalist system and what they once had — to the offensive — fighting for the cooperative society that is possible.
The last trench of the ruling class is the defense of private property. Therefore, it is here that revolutionary propagandists must orient all their tactics. Revolutionaries attack the system of private property, pointing out the necessity of overthrowing private property and transferring the gigantic means of production into public property.
The attack against private property cannot succeed without vision. The goal of revolutionaries today is to give the American people a vision of what is possible. Revolutionary propaganda focuses on the fact that the system can no longer provide even the basic necessities of life for tens of millions. It strives to show that private property is making and keeping people homeless and depriving them of water; private property that is causing the unemployment, the poverty, the hunger, the lack of healthcare and the police violence that confronts us. Visionary propaganda concretely shows the practical possibility of ending private property, and of having an economic paradise for the workers if the workers owned the means of production.
Revolutionaries must also put forward a program that would solve the immediate crisis if it was to be implemented; that is the demand that the government intervene in the economy, to guarantee everyone the basic necessities of life. This program is summed up as “nationalization.” If the capitalists refuse to implement such a program, their failure to implement it exposes them and the system. Putting forward the demand for nationalization prompts a debate among the workers that revolutionaries can enter into—a debate about whom the State serves, and which points our class in the direction of confronting the ruling class, its State, and the whole question of who owns society’s productive property.
Revolutionaries are not free to simply pick a strategy out of the air. The strategy is dictated by the actual situation on the battlefield, by what actually exists in the real world, by what is both necessary and possible.
Revolutionaries focus on the fight for the basic necessities of life, because the system can no longer provide them. Revolutionary propaganda focuses on the new class because they are forced to fight for a new society that is being created by labor-replacing technology.
The enemy strives to prevent class consciousness and to hide the class struggle, by using every divisive ideology that history has handed them. Their goal is to isolate the new class and prevent them from playing their historic role. Revolutionaries fight to make the new class conscious of itself and its historic role, and to develop unity within the class around a common program. The possibility exists to build political class unity around a program that is objectively the program of the entire working class—to abolish private property and build a cooperative society.
Building Block articles help explain a basic concept of the revolutionary process, challenging readers to explore its meaning for political work in today’s environment.
March/April 2016 Vol26.Ed2
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