Elections 2016: Fight for Basic Needs is the Fight Against Fascism
The 2016 Presidential elections are unlike anything this country has seen in decades. The question on everyone’s mind is why, and for those dedicated to making a better world, what is to be done?
The 2016 Presidential election is happening within the growing polarization that is taking place throughout the world capitalist system. The world concentration of wealth has reached obscene proportions, while the capitalist class does nothing to redress the grievances of the mass of workers.
Domestically, the lowering of wages and rising unemployment continues, and the ruling class refuses to provide health care, education or even such basics as housing and water to a growing mass of workers. Internationally, the U.S. is losing its dominance over the global economy. It is locked in a fierce competition with other powers over markets and resources. All of this is conditioning the electoral process and what the ruling class is trying to accomplish through the elections. While there may be tactical differences within the ruling class (some of them expressed in the candidates’ positions on issues), they are united on a common objective: to remain in power and to defend private property at all costs. The only methods they have to accomplish their goals under these conditions are fascism and war.
Underlying all this turmoil is the massive transformation in the economy, as labor replacing technologies destroy the capitalist system. Electronic production is doing away with human labor in one sector of the economy after another. It is creating an untenable situation for those workers pushed out of the economy. We refer to these workers as a new part of the working class; a new class. The new class has no choice but to fight for their basic needs in order to simply survive. The ruling class has to contain and destroy that fight.
A Way Being Opened for New Ideas
The LRNA is going into this election with the purpose of arousing as much revolutionary thinking as possible, connecting with those who are serious about not just changing an elected official, but changing a system. The workers are being pulled into the process of the elections (working in the campaigns themselves, participating in the rallies, bringing up the issues in their churches, schools, organizations and communities), seeking redress of their grievances. At the community level, people are raising issues such as homelessness, hunger, unemployment, health care and they want these problems solved. Peoples’ lives are being wrecked and they are demanding the government do something. They need to understand the process they are part of, the solution to their problems and what they must do to resolve them.
The rulers are aware of the danger posed by these changing conditions, especially the groundswell of the workers demanding that their government and their elected officials act in the interests of society and not the corporations. Most alarming to the rulers is the potential for a section of these workers to unite politically. Such unity could awaken larger sections of society to the plight of the new class. This could intensify a process already underway – for society to group around the demands of this new class, rather than the fascist solution the rulers are offering.
Within this struggle and debate over the future of America, we can see the significance of the Sanders campaign to the revolutionary process of developing consciousness, regardless of the outcome of the Democratic National Convention or who wins the general election.
The message of the Sanders’ campaign appeals to the democratic and economic aspirations of people. A section of the working class is using this message as a vehicle to fight for its concrete demands. The rising demand that the government resolve the problems of the people and the open discussion of socialism is a development of extreme significance. It paves the way for a real discussion about what it will take to reorganize society in the interests of humanity and the steps to achieve it. The message of the Sanders campaign has opened the door to talking about socialism, about what it really is – an economy where the means of production are government owned (under a government controlled by the people) and the necessities of life are distributed to the people. Socialism is simply the practical solution to a crisis brought on by labor-replacing technology. It is a step toward a cooperative society and a new humanity.
Fight for the Unity of the Class
Of course the unity of the class will not automatically take place. History shows us dying ideological systems fight to stay alive. The longing for the “good old days” becomes a social vision in periods of transition. This reactionary longing is automatic. The revolutionary vision – a vision based on the capacity of the new means of production – must be fought for. Special organizations must be created to carry out this fight. Until there is a new vision, even the most “revolutionary” fighter’s end up looking backward and fighting to recover what was lost.
The ruling class is fighting to build a mass base for fascism. Just as importantly, we can also see that a class-based position has emerged among the ranks of the new class, as the workers struggle for the basic necessities of life and against the destruction of their lives. Revolutionaries must grab hold of and develop these arising seeds of awareness of class interests, no matter how contradictory and embryonic they may be.
Objectively, what is beginning to take shape is a class struggle for political power. There is no longer any meaningful struggle between polarities within classes. Instead, there is a growing struggle between economic classes. That struggle is not “fight the right,” which implies supporting one section of the capitalist class against another. The struggle is over which class will control the State and restructure society and for what purpose?
Revolutionaries need to take the demands of the new class into every possible forum, using these demands to build unity on a class basis. Class unity is possible today because the new class is objectively united across lines of color and nationality by its common economic condition. However, history only creates the possibility of class unity – this unity still has to be fought for by conscious people.
Revolutionaries play a role in preparing the workers for this struggle. The demands and program of the new class have to become part of the debate during the elections. The propaganda and immorality of the ruling class must be challenged.
Revolutionaries rest on the basic demands of the class to show that a cooperative society is not only possible, but is the practical solution to the problems of today. Revolutionary propaganda plays the role of finding and influencing the emerging leaders, so they can influence others.
Looking to the Future
The elections have highlighted the developing polarization within, and perceived ineffectiveness of, the Democratic and Republican parties, which is setting the stage for the breaks in the continuity of the current political party system. Whether and when the polarization is expressed in the formation of a centrist party, a social-democratic party or a fascist party (or some combination) some sort of bourgeois political party realignment will set the conditions to accelerate the political polarization and political formation of the new class. A third party is an absolutely indispensable stage in the revolutionary process. It will serve to further develop the consciousness of the separate interests of the masses of American people against those of corporate interests, a prelude to fighting for a cooperative society.
A key tactic along the strategic path of getting the workers to see that they are in a fight for a cooperative society is nationalization. For the workers, “nationalization” simply means forcing the government to intervene in society to guarantee that the needs of the people are met. Nationalization is a battlefield that both classes need – to serve their economic and political interests. Calling for nationalization leads the people into a political struggle not only against the government, but it forces the government to act as their government. The political demand must be: since the corporations can’t or won’t provide for the people, then the government must. Ultimately, society either brings these corporations under its control, or the corporations will control society – with all of the devastating consequences. With conscious revolutionaries politicizing these battles, the people will come to see that their livelihood depends on actually taking over the corporations and creating a new society.
The LRNA is trying to build the revolutionary forces by making it clear to the workers where their interests lie. Revolutionaries utilize the struggle and the ferment created by the election and the propaganda and actions of the ruling class, to advance the process of moving our class from the defensive – defending the capitalist system and what they once had – to the offensive, fighting for a cooperative society that is possible.
Regardless of who wins the election, the ruling class is step by step imposing a fascist order on society. “Fighting the right” is the natural impulse of well intentioned people, but we have shown how this tactic no longer fits the conditions of today. Today, fighting for the basic necessities of the class is the fight against fascism. This means focusing on fighting for the immediate demands of the workers, and insisting that the government provide for their basic needs.
July/August 2016 Vol26.Ed4
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