Fight for the Unity of the Class
Once material conditions change, people become open to a new way of thinking. Some of the core ruling class beliefs and ideas that have held American society together are losing their hold. The immensity and rapidity of such changes — and the significance of this process for revolution — cannot be overestimated.
The idea of the “American Dream,” which says life will be better for everyone, is waning. The idea that all you have to do to succeed is “pull yourself up by your bootstraps,” the idea that blames the poor for their poverty is also waning, as “hard work” is no longer seen as a guarantee of success.
Other indicators of the broad and objective changes in the thinking of the American people are: a majority believe the economic system is unfair, and a growing majority does not trust the government or political leaders. Corporations are seen as holding too much power. There is an eroding of confidence in the police. This is seen in the tremendous reaction developing against the police killings. And more recently is the widespread national outrage at the government over the poisoning of the water of the entire city of Flint, Michigan.
Underlying these changes in thinking is the dramatic influence of the worsening economic conditions of the American people. More than half of Americans have less than $1,000 to their name and nearly a quarter have less than $100. Fifteen thousand people become homeless every month in Los Angeles, a city with 22 billionaires and more millionaires than anywhere in the country. One-third of America is without healthcare. Government austerity policies continue to be implemented, as the rulers transfer whatever wealth remains to the rich.
Most significant for revolutionaries at this moment is the potential for the new class to unite as a result of these conditions. As robotic production spreads, for the first time an unprecedented equality of poverty is creating the basis for real class unity. Although poverty rates for Blacks and Latinos are almost three times higher than whites, the rates are narrowing. More than 19 million whites, or 41% all people living in poverty, live below the official poverty line. Today, a significant share of all high school graduates cannot get a job that allows them to survive.
The rulers are aware of the danger posed by these changing conditions. Of immediate concern 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.
Containing the awakening of the new class is the number one political task of the ruling class. They are using every divisive ideology history has handed them. However, the people’s awakening is part of an objective process and cannot be stopped. The current electoral process must be viewed within this context.
The rulers are unleashing a massive propaganda war to keep the thinking of society tied to private property. The elections are a means for them to test ideas, deepen divisions, crush the impulse for class unity, consolidate a social base for fascism, and build a fascist movement. Such a movement will be made up of not only the more backward workers, but also the forces from within the corporate-government and the military.
While many workers are being moved by the rulers toward a more fascistic outlook, a growing number within the new class are moving toward a more class-based position. Revolutionaries have to grab hold of, and develop, these arising seeds of class awareness, no matter how contradictory and embryonic they are.
Like all processes, consciousness develops in stages. The awakening underway is moving from the awareness that something is drastically wrong with society, to an understanding that workers are a class, rather than identity group based on color, sex and so forth. This is a necessary step in their development, to break their ties to the capitalist class and put forward an independent political program that represents their class interests. Class consciousness, where the workers grasp the necessity of taking political power to create a new society, is the next stage. These stages interpenetrate and are developing at the same time.
Workers of all colors throughout the country are beginning to express their common plight and their need to act together. From coal miners in West Virginia, to descendants of slaves in the Mississippi Delta, to the smaller towns and cities throughout the North, such as Flint, Michigan, and the struggles in the suburbs like Ferguson, Fullerton and Anaheim, along with the workers in the large cities, there is a growing recognition of this reality.
As one woman said, “my primary concern is putting food on my family’s kitchen table.” In a town where the powerful coal industry denies that coal chemicals are poisoning the water, another woman said, “People are stepping up and saying we deserve better. [W]hen you are poor, you’re ready to unite against injustice. We are willing to stand with any community to make it better.”
In the Rust Belt, workers are joining together to fight for water rights and for life itself. They are fighting against the Emergency Manager dictatorship and the politicians that support the corporations, despite attempts to divide them. “I think they should lock Snyder up,” said one woman from Benton Harbor Michigan, which like Flint is also under an Emergency Financial Manager. She went on to say, “Others are locked up for nothing and their lives will never be reversed. It’s one of the ways of genocide against the poor, especially the Blacks. I know a lot of whites are affected also. As soon as all of us realize if you are working class, if you are poor, whether, Black, green, or gray, we’re in the same boat. As long as they keep us divided they win.”
In another city, a fascist group came to a homeless encampment to pass out flyers blaming the undocumented and calling on the homeless to demonstrate against them. The flyers had zero impact because many of the homeless were undocumented themselves and regarded as integral members of the community.
The rulers must block the developing impulses toward unity. They use the history of racial division to divide the class, a division the ruling class created. As the robot sheds more jobs permanently, this historic tactic is losing its grip on many. For example, a 2014 Pew poll reported that 46 percent of Americans agreed with the statement, “Our country needs to continue making changes to give Blacks equal rights with whites.” By July 2015, that figure had risen to 59 percent.”
The new conditions are forcing the rulers to concentrate their attack on the new class itself. They are trying to divide the new class, stigmatize it and isolate it from society. Using history, they begin their attack against the poorest Black workers first. They are portraying Blacks as “shiftless, can’t hold a job, won’t finish school, use drugs, and criminally inclined.” As this beachhead is established, they move on to put the so-called white “trailer trash” and “illegal” immigrants into the same category. If accepted by the American people, these views would set the basis for the rulers to impose fascism on society as a whole.
The strategy of the League of Revolutionaries for a New America is to rely on the spontaneous impulses of the class for its economic survival, to bring unity and consciousness of the ultimate solution to the new class and society. This is possible, because the movement today is objectively headed in the direction of communist revolution. Forced out of society and increasingly denied the ability to survive, no one can bribe the new class away from defending its class program.
Revolutionaries raise the demands of the new class in every venue, challenge the propaganda and immorality of the ruling class and put forward solutions in the interests of the workers. Production with electronics is creating the potential for an abundance of everything needed for all human beings to thrive. It is private property that stands in the way. The program of the new class can be summed up as the abolition of private property. This means that all have access to a decent life — a safe place to live, good food and nutrition, quality health care and education – regardless of where you come from, what color or sex you are, or how much money you have.
Accomplishing this strategy, and the widespread propaganda war that it demands, points to the urgent need for the unity of a broad core of revolutionaries. Revolutionaries need to unite around the practical demands and the program of the new class to carry history forward. The League’s mission in every struggle is to find the leaders in these emerging struggles and win them to this solution and the strategy to get there.
Excerpted from Political Report of the LRNA Central Body, LRNA, February 2016
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