Illuminating the Way out of Today’s Social Crisis Content:
Our country is being divided now more than ever before. The ruling class creates this conflict. It then sells it as a battle between left and right, but the mental health crisis, the drug crisis, the rise in suicide and mass incarceration all reveal something almost everyone can agree on: the old world is falling apart.
The world most Americans grew up in is already gone. The economic basis for the country was that people could make a living based on the labor they could provide an employer. The capitalist system is being destroyed by labor replacing technology, causing capitalist society as a whole to be destroyed. The automation of virtually every field of work is making the workers superfluous. Globalization has generalized these conditions around the world.
More Americans than ever before are fighting a war for survival. That war is taking place on many different fronts – workers fight for a living wage, affordable health care, a healthy environment, clean water, food, and housing, as well as for respect and common decency.
A System Proppsed Up By New Ideas
With the electronic revolution, we are seeing the most dramatic shift in the way goods are produced and distributed since the birth of private property. The capitalist system that private property created is finished, and those who accumulated wealth under that system are desperately fighting to hang onto that wealth, while the society around them collapses. Their only solution is to use the destruction of the old society as a tool to justify and create a new fascist system.
Financed by the corporations, both political parties sell fear of the other party to divide and conquer the people. The ruling class strategy keeps the people blaming each other’s failures for everything that’s wrong. The ruling class sells us old, useless soap that cannot wash away the problems growing out of the new economy. They hasten the destruction of society by turning to the permanent war economy and the drug economy amongst other things.
Casualties of War
Americans share a great dissatisfaction with the status quo because it does not address their needs, and they can feel the social fabric of the country tearing apart. The country as a whole exists on a footing of never-ending war. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have all but destroyed both countries and fueled the destruction of bordering states such as Syria. Meanwhile, Americans are becoming more aware of the war at home. They experience greater violence, political brutality, and poverty, and are demanding the government address their plight. They have protested against low wages, poisoned water, and the mass shootings that have now made active shooter training part of our schools’ curriculum.
Aggressively recruiting young people with few job prospects, the ruling class sells the military and war as a viable career option. The United States has the largest military budget in the world, and it has more than doubled that spending over the past decade, creating unprecedented profits for corporations. USA Today reports 100 companies alone make $410 billion in war profits annually.
A steady flow of veterans return to America suffering the trauma of war and the difficulty of an abrupt transition to civilian life. These veterans also face the same social destruction their families are facing at home. Large numbers wind up homeless. It should be no surprise that veterans are twice as likely to commit suicide as the average American, at a time when the mainstream media talks about America undergoing what is being called “a suicide epidemic.”
Since 1999 the United States suicide rate has risen by 24 percent. Forbes recently reported that this phenomenon is worldwide. The majority of suicides in the U.S. are among young people, both in the civilian population and among military veterans. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Americans between the ages of 15 to 34. As the America the working class once believed in ceases to function, such losses are casualties of the war being waged against them.
The high number of suicides among white males is just one gauge of America’s working class crisis. Parallel to the increases in suicide, the rate of overdose has doubled. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has linked opioid overdose to suicide by noting a 40—60 percent increased chance of suicidal thoughts among those who use opioids. Every day, 115 Americans die because of these drugs. A national public health study found most rural Americans rank the problem of drug abuse as a deeper concern than the economy. As a result, growing numbers of Americans have begun to sue pharmaceutical companies.
Since 1999, when suicide began to skyrocket, sales of antidepressants have increased by 65 percent, with 16 million Americans diagnosed with clinical depression. In the same period, opioid producers such as Purdue Pharma have seen exponential increases in sales, up around 700 percent. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Purdue Pharma’s OxyContin (Oxycodone) is the most popular. The Sackler family, who owns that product, also owns the leading generic. Now that heroin addiction is beginning to outpace OxyContin sales, the Sackler’s lead the market with buprenorphine, the latest way to treat opioid addiction. Today’s ruling class sells anxiety and pain, then anxiety and pain relief, and then relief from addiction to the drugs it sold us in the first place.
The Destruction of the Old and the Potential for Unity
As Americans, it’s not hard for us to see what’s driving the working class crisis behind these addictions. Despite upticks in the number of people getting new jobs, most of which are part-time and low wage, the overall unemployment rate remains high. The real unemployment rate is 7.5 percent, about twice the government’s estimate of 3.9 percent if we take into consideration those workers who need, but do not have full-time work, as well as those who have temporarily or permanently given up seeking work.
Tellingly, the CDC has found no clinical mental health issues in over half of today’s suicides. What the CDC has found are that financial troubles and other stressors can be traced to the lack of financial security. The ruling class is killing us, regardless of political affiliation, race or gender. The suicide rate among all ethnicities of Americans hovers at around the same rate.
The reality of the ruling class war being waged against society allows for and demands a new level of consciousness among the American working class. By furthering the destruction of the old social fabric, the ruling class has also exacerbated the social divisions of the capitalist era. Working class Americans are in pain, and all deal with fear and anxiety. We increasingly hit the streets to fight for our needs and defend our freedoms, with a growing awareness of different pieces of the ruling class agenda to protect private property. To win the war for our future, we must unite against the ruling class agenda in its entirety, understanding the commonality of our different struggles is what must bring us together. Our hopes, dreams and our very survival depend upon it.
Revolutionaries understand the leap from one system to another makes a new society possible, a society where everyone can use the new technology to provide for one another. In the midst of the struggle for a new society, revolutionaries offer a vision of class unity, hope and human potential. With this vision, the American people have a practical basis to fight forward to the new world that is struggling to be born.
January/February 2019. Vol29.Ed1
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