Nationalization: Meeting the Demands for Life
Millions of people have taken to the streets in the U.S. in response to their growing poverty and to end the growing violence. Due to labor-replacing technology, people are losing their jobs, and they end up working part-time, if working at all. Capitalism is actually dying. The ruling class has merged the corporations with the State to protect private property. The new technology produces an abundance that could meet the basic needs of all, yet the ruling class refuses to provide for the people. Today healthcare, education, pensions, housing, and water are being transferred into corporate hands at the expense of the working class.
Recent evidence that the government is acting in the interests of the corporations occurred in August, 2018, when the government trashed the Clean Power Plan, which aimed to cut power sector emissions. This deregulation allows each state to choose how, or even whether, to set standards for coal-fired power plants. Pollution control upgrades were reduced. Additionally, the U.S. pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord that nearly 200 other nations signed.
The Trump Administration proposed a 2019 federal budget that increased military spending to a $777 billion boost over the next 10 years. There will be a 42.3 percent cut to all non-defense discretionary spending. The currently planned $756 billion for government agencies will be reduced in 2028 to $436 billion. This includes funding for agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department and other programs like Head Start. The budget for education is $63.2 billion, which is a 5 percent reduction from the 2017 spending levels and it includes increased funding for private school vouchers and the expansion of charter schools.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is being cut by 30 percent, amounting to $213 billion over a decade. The cuts in SNAP and its food stamp program are a matter of life and death for millions of children. There is to be a 7.1 percent cut to Medicare and a 22.5 percent cut to Medicaid and Obamacare subsidies. The Trump budget will also cut Section 8 housing by $47 billion. The president’s 2019 budget proposal also prevents federal assistance to Planned Parenthood, a key provider of women’s healthcare, by excluding funding to any clinic or healthcare facility that offers abortion services.
The Keystone pipeline is another example of the government turning over public lands to private corporations for exploitation. The Keystone pipeline has leaked 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota since 2015. Other privatization schemes include opening national parks and other public lands to private exploitation. Fracking and the expansion of offshore oil drilling are also part of the plan to expand privatization of the public domain.
Nationalization in the Workers’ Interests
People are becoming aware that the problems of society require national solutions from the government. They are demanding jobs, housing, food, clean water, healthcare, quality education and other basic needs. They are demanding the government stop the killings by police and the growing culture of violence in America. They are demanding a program for nationalization in the interest of the people, even though they may not be consciously expressing it in this way.
The workers are losing any hope for a good future. They are joining with others who face the same plight. Some are still tied to the ruling class, trying to get back what they have lost, but a growing number within the class are beginning to see themselves as part of a class, and are developing a more socially conscious perception of class unity. This is the stage where the class is beginning to separate from the ruling class. They are beginning to demand a society that guarantees justice, equality, democracy and access to the necessaries of life.
Fighting for the Basic Necessities
There are many examples of how people are fighting the cuts in basic necessities. In Michigan, the residents of Flint protested against the poisoning of the water from the Flint River. When water from the Flint River was pumped into the pipes of the city water system, city officials addressed the bacterial problem by pumping extra chlorine into the system, but did not add any corrosion control treatment. The highly corrosive water caused lead to leach from the pipelines and home plumbing. The fight to make clean and safe water a public resource available to the people based on need is continuing, not only in Flint but across the country.
Another example of a growing awareness of the role of the corporations and the government is the developing revolutionary consciousness of our youth. The youth from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 members of their school community were killed, are among those leading the demand to change the culture of violence. These students are making demands directly to the government and the National Rifle Association that they do not want their schools militarized. These young people led the March for Our Lives! in Washington, D. C., while hundreds of thousands across the country raised the same demands to stop the killings. The youth joined with the Black Lives Matter movement to declare the need for gun control and to end the police violence.
Teachers in West Virginia went on strike, demanding a 5 percent raise for all state employees, and tens of thousands of teachers in Oklahoma, Arizona, and Kentucky shut down schools across their states when they walked out on strike and rallied at their state capitols. They were demanding more funding for the public school systems. In Oklahoma, not only did the legislature give the teachers raises, but hiked taxes on the oil and gas industries to fund the raises.
The main question facing the working class today is in whose interest does the government operate, the corporations or the workers? Nationalization can be used as a vehicle by the ruling class to maintain control over the economy to protect private property and continue reaping profits, or for the working class to operate the economy in the interests of the vast majority, the working class.
Class Awareness Indispensable for the New Class
Those who make up the ranks of the new class are those who are unemployed, or minimum wage workers, including those contingently employed or working part-time, due to the new labor-replacing technology. They are demanding food, clothing, housing, clean water, healthcare, and decent jobs from the government. They are seeking a solution to their situation, but they are really fighting for a new society. Revolutionaries must help the workers to align their thinking with the reality that this new society is possible.
The struggles for clean and affordable water, food, clothing, housing, healthcare, and education all have a common cause. Combined, they are politically summed up as a program for nationalization in the interests of the people. Public access to clean and safe water means the nationalization of the nation’s water supply, just as public control of quality healthcare and housing and free, quality public education require nationalization in the interests of society and not the private interests of the corporations.
A new fascist State form, the rule of corporate power is arising to protect private property. Society must take over the corporations or the corporations will continue to take over society. Revolutionaries point out the necessity of overthrowing private property and transferring the resources of society into public property. It is a necessity for the future of humanity itself.
The struggle for nationalization in the interests of society is a political step toward the development of the consciousness of our class about the need to abolish private property. Nationalization raises the issue of which class the State serves. Nationalization becomes a battlefield where class consciousness can be taught.
The fight against the hold of private property over society cannot succeed without a vision. Revolutionaries provide a vision of what is possible today, based on the new content of the times in which we live.
To maintain private property, the ruling class must continue to control the economy and political order. It needs the government to intercede in the economy in the interests of the corporations. The workers need the government to operate in the interests of the people. For the workers, this means public access to clean and safe water, public control of healthcare, housing, and free, quality public education.
The task of the revolutionaries is to work within this process to develop the stages of consciousness along the line of march from scattered economic struggles to united political struggles against the State. Such a task requires widespread propaganda within this growing movement that provides a vision of what’s possible and a strategy of how to get there.
November.December 2018 Vol28.Ed6
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