Inside: R – E – S – P – E – C – T
The soulful song of Aretha never rang truer than today. The American people just want to be able to contribute, provide for their families and participate in a society where every human being is valued. The reality is that America is becoming the most unequal nation on earth. The “American Dream,” the view that anyone can make it if they just work hard enough, has become the American illusion.
At the beginning of this year, Philip Alston, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Economic Inequality and Human Rights, completed his study on extreme poverty in the United States, in which he reported that “contrasts between private wealth and public squalor abound.” In September 2017, 40 million Americans were living in poverty. Of those, almost half are living in deep poverty. Addressing the matter of rising joblessness, the report entitled, “Statement on Visit to the USA” says, “The U.S. poverty population is becoming a more deprived and destitute class, one that’s disconnected from the economy and unable to meet basic needs.”
“From the Editors: Right from Wrong ” speaks to the appalling immorality of a system that places millions in destitution, while at the same time demonizing them: Morality is defined by capitalist logic – if you do not work you do not eat. If you lose your family, your house, turn to self-medication or crime, or even die – well, that’s all on you. American lives are being torn apart, but also something new is fighting to be born. Ruling class morality is standing in the way. A new world of abundance is possible, where human beings can contribute to individual and human development.
The LRNA Political Resolution “Illuminate the Path to a New World” addresses the questions of why and how American society is in the throes of a deep social and moral crisis today. Automated production today, which is increasing exponentially, is laborless production. Millions of workers are being made superfluous. Unprecedented production and unprecedented want describe our time.
What the Special Rapporteur describes as a destitute class, disconnected from the economy, the “Political Resolution” identifies as a new class, forced outside of private property relations. While forced to fight to obtain the basic needs of life, this new class begins to fights as a class for a new society, where the social product is distributed according to need.
The U. N. Report also points out that homelessness is on the rise in America. “Winning the War to House our People” shows that the idea that America cannot house its people is patently absurd. The fact that anyone today would even suggest such a thing is proof that our economic system is broken and needs to be replaced.
There is a mounting attack taking place across the country to isolate, criminalize and obliterate the homeless. They face police sweeps, harassment, violence and incarceration. They are being forced to confront the system, and they are rising to the occasion. A new leadership is arising, readying itself not only for the day-to-day battles for survival, but for the fight to build a new society where all human needs are met.
Public education is also where the consequences of extreme inequality and impoverishment of the new class are deeply felt throughout society. All across this country school lunches are the only meals some children get. Then they have to go to school where deep cuts in education funding provide an environment in which there are not enough books to go around, facilities are run-down, school time is reduced to four days a week, and teachers are so underpaid they have to work second jobs to make ends meet. As “Teachers Fight Forward” shows, the growing inequality in American society is expressed as a two-tiered education system, where the rich receive the best education money can buy, and the destitute majority receive little to nothing.
The teachers have had enough of this. From West Virginia to Kentucky, Arizona, Colorado and the Carolinas, they have revolted. They are demanding better pay, and they are demanding full funding for a quality education for all of their children. Their demand is that government be held accountable, and that it operate in the interests of the people, not the corporations.
As the LRNA Political Resolution “Illuminating the Path to a New World,” also points out, the people cannot just give up and go home. They need housing, food, health care and other basic necessities of life. The Resolution describes a rising movement, coming together with others to fight for their common interests. Their fight is for a new morality, a new society, where every human being is valued, and can contribute to the building of a society in which abundance is distributed to all in need.
That is what R E S P E C T is really all about.
September/October 2018 Vol28.Ed5
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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