Take Up the Vision of a New America!
A group of scientists will be giving United Nations’ leaders a New Year’s gift that some may want to give back. Investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed reports that an analysis, prepared for the U.N.’s 2019 “Global Sustainable Development Report,” will warn that we may be witnessing “capitalism’s imminent demise.” These scientists claim that disturbing worldwide trends, such as “rising inequality, unemployment, slow economic growth, rising debt levels, and impotent governments,” are all linked.
These trends are linked, because the new electronic means of production are undermining the economic basis of capitalism and making its destruction inevitable. But the scientists stopped short of such a revolutionary conclusion, warning only that capitalism is being disrupted because “the era of cheap energy is coming to an end.” Leading capitalists like billionaire investor Jeremy Grantham have also cautioned members of his class, that “we face a form of capitalism that has hardened its focus to short-term profit maximization, with little or no apparent interest in social good.” He and the U.N. scientists both imply that the system can avoid collapse through developing less greed and more cheap energy.
As 2019 dawns, millions of workers in the U.S. and around the world are fighting to survive the economic and social consequences of the maximization of ruling class profits that Grantham refers to. Some workers organize against economic attacks like wage cuts and layoffs, or a lack of food, housing, and clean water. Others confront political attacks like police abuse, rampant imprisonment, and violence against women and youth.
Some of the biggest protests in American history have taken place in the last two years. This indicates that social awareness, the stage of consciousness that recognizes the need to get out and mobilize against problems, is growing rapidly. But protests cannot produce lasting solutions if people remain locked into the belief that this system can be fixed, or return to some mythical “good old days.”
Fighting Forward to Abundance
More and more fighters are understanding this, and as they discuss and study what’s happening, their thinking is starting to develop past social awareness taking steps towards the stage of social consciousness. This stage means knowing we belong to one class, and that each of our struggles are actually pieces of an overall struggle against the same ruling class, whose interests are contrary to ours. It means understanding that we can only win by developing class solidarity across the divisions of color, gender, and nationality that have kept the working class divided. It means understanding that we can’t trust our class enemy to look out for us.
An historic transformation is underway, as the electronic revolution generates robotic production and artificial intelligence. New ways of producing everything people need are not only destabilizing the energy industry but every industry. Ruling class leaders know this and are maneuvering to keep society under their control, even as the foundation of capitalism is being destroyed. Revolutionaries must explain that the fight is to control the economic abundance the new technology makes possible. We don’t need to recreate the jobs economy of the past.
Last summer, Foreign Affairs, the magazine of the Council on Foreign Relations, advised its readers to “Make no mistake: the digital revolution is going to be the biggest geopolitical revolution in human history. The Industrial Revolution changed the world, and all it did was replace human muscle. Human brains were still needed to build, operate, and maintain the machines, and that produced plenty of well-paying jobs for everyone. But the digital revolution will replace the human brain … And unlike the Industrial Revolution, which took more than 100 years to truly unfold, job losses during the digital revolution will accelerate in mere decades…The two most important developments of the twenty-first century will be AI-driven mass unemployment and fossil-fuel-driven climate change.”
Most Important Social Force
Though the U.N. analysis does identify aspects of today’s economic revolution, it leaves out the most important political development: a force is now emerging that can ensure that digital tools are used to create abundance for humanity and not just more wealth for the ruling class. This force is the section of the working class being created by electronic production that is increasingly driven outside of the property relations of capitalism. This is a new class that cannot live securely until society as a whole owns the new means of production and distributes the fruits of social production according to people’s need.
This is a program, for the good of humanity, to abolish private ownership of the economy’s means of production. It is objectively a communist program for the era of electronics. When this program is in place, decisions about providing for society’s needs will no longer be dictated by what increases the wealth of the rulers. Energy production and all arenas of production will no longer be allowed to poison the people’s air and water. Housing, food, and health care will be produced for all the people. The new technologies can actually do all this already, but have been held back by the ruling class.
Whether the new class can lead all those who can be united in a struggle for such a new world will depend on it achieving consciousness, both of itself as a class, and of its historic mission. The League of Revolutionaries for a New America was created to participate in facilitating the development of that consciousness. The League’s mission is to unite the scattered revolutionaries of the new class on the basis of their actual demands, while fighting alongside them to educate and win them over to the cooperative, communist resolution of their problems.
No one can predict the details of how 2019 will unfold. We can be sure that the electronic revolution will continue to destroy the old capitalist forms of social organization, driving millions of Americans toward poverty, sickness and violence that will force them to struggle for society’s future. Armed with the class consciousness which revolutionaries bring them, they can take steps to ensure that 2019 brings America closer to realizing its revolutionary potential.
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