What is Winning and Losing in the Midterm Elections?
The debate around the midterm elections opened up the discussion about how to resolve the problems of the vast majority of the American people.
About 44 million people have no health insurance, and another 38 million have inadequate health insurance. More and more of our children are denied quality education and go hungry. Homeless families comprise roughly 34 percent of the total U.S. homeless population. Approximately 1.6 million children will experience homelessness over the course of a year. As many as 63 million people – nearly one fifth of the of the U.S. population – from rural central California to the boroughs of New York City, were exposed to potentially unsafe water more than once during the past decade. In addition, 1.6 million do not have adequate access to water. Communities across the country are experiencing the brutal results of police that have become an occupying force. If you are part of the working class, you will be affected.
According to a CNN exit poll conducted on election day, 73% of those voting stated that they thought the country was going in the wrong direction. With polarization in the economy, where all of wealth is going to the ruling class and all of the poverty to the working class, the political life of the country also polarizes. The inability of growing sections of society to afford housing, food and water, lays bare the class society America really is. The divisions in the country are based on the underlying inequality and polarization. The interests of the ruling class are completely antagonistic to not only those struggling for their very survival, but to the overall interests of humanity.
The ruling class uses every election to secure its class interests, and to gauge the development of any type of class awareness and consciousness on the part of the workers. They understand very well the implications of the transformation from an economy based on industry employing millions of workers, to one based on electronic production with less and less human labor. They are taking the necessary steps to guarantee that they remain the ruling class. The ruling class will defend its control of the means of creating wealth, to maintain its rule and privilege at all costs.
What really was at stake in the elections is whether the working class is able to see itself as a class, rather than as groupings with separate interests. There is no struggle for change today that can be won, if it proceeds on the basis of separation according to color, gender, or generation. On the other hand, the issues coming forth that are characterized as being about color, gender, or generation represent real working-class interests. Under the surface, in urban, suburban and rural communities, there is a growing sense of discontent, a need for change, and often unrecognized expressions of that. A vision of what that change becomes is all important.
We are living in an age of revolution. Every day, jobs that used to require human labor are being replaced with automation. Industrial production did away with manual labor. Today, electronic production is replacing human labor altogether, and in the process, an abundance of everything necessary to sustain life is being produced. This is why we are seeing the emergence of a corporate State. It is a new State form that guarantees the corporate well-being of the capitalists as a class, not simply the interests of individual capitalists or sectors of the economy as it used to do.
Within the elections, there was greater discussion of whose interests the government serves, and of socialism. A recent Gallup poll found that 57 percent of Democrats view socialism positively. People are pulled into the elections because of economic issues, in defense of democracy and human rights, and in opposition to fascism. New leaders are emerging who ran for office at the local, state and Congressional level. Many of them are ordinary workers pushed into motion by the worsening conditions the workers face. They ran under various labels as Democrats, as Greens, as democratic socialists and as independents. But the common theme among their campaigns was that they put forward the demands of the working class, and the demand that the government serve the needs of the people.
While they may be critical of Trump, many of these candidates are clear that Trump is not the main problem. In many cases they are also critical of the Democratic Party, even though they ran as Democrats. Some candidates separated themselves entirely from the Republicans and Democrats by representing alternative parties. They are focused on such issues as health care, education, water, skyrocketing rents, homelessness, environmental destruction, immigrant rights, police brutality, and wages that are too low to live on. They essentially ran on a program that is about guaranteeing that people’s basic needs are met. Many candidates raised the question of what kind of society are we going to have, and some candidates are were openly critical of capitalism and discussed the need for socialism.
Within the discussion, revolutionaries have to bring a vision to people; a vision that has been long held and fought for, as conveyed in 1877, by anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan, who wrote in his book, Ancient Society:
“Since the advent of civilization, the outgrowth of property has been so immense, its forms so diversified, its uses so expanding and its management so intelligent in the interest of its owners that it has become, on the part of the people, an unmanageable power. … The time will come, nevertheless, when human intelligence will rise to the mastery over property and define the relations of the state to the property it protects, as well as the obligations and the limits of the rights of its owners. The interests of society are paramount to individual interests, and the two must be brought into just and harmonious relations. … Democracy in government, brotherhood in society, equality in rights and privileges, and universal education, foreshadow the next higher plane of society to which experience, intelligence and knowledge are steadily tending.”
It is in the environment of the elections that revolutionaries show what our society really is and put forth such a vision. We workers have to identify with our class and stand in opposition to the ruling class which spreads the idea that the only choice is to vote for the “lesser of two evils.” A new vision of an America without the class antagonisms, without the poverty, without the ignorance, sickness, and prejudice is within our grasp. The wrong of want in the midst of abundance can be corrected when such a vision is fought for.
November.December 2018 Vol28.Ed6
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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