Preparation for Historic Revolutionary Change
Millions of people are struggling against the State apparatus for the basic necessities of life. The underlying motion of these struggles is toward the distribution of the necessaries of life according to need, not according to money. The political and ideological preparation of the people for such revolutionary change can only come through the struggle for reform. However, lasting reform can only be won with the political power to get that reform, as the result of a revolution.
The task of those fighting for revolutionary change today is to develop the consciousness of those fighting for reform, while at the same time showing them a vision and the necessity of gaining the political power to achieve it. Therefore, revolutionaries fight for the immediate demands of our class, while also introducing those ideas that explain the actual quality of the struggle our class is engaged in. This takes an organization of revolutionaries dedicated to that effort.
However, we must first determine the stage in which our class finds itself, and the level of development of the revolutionary movement in order to understand what it means to be an organization of revolutionaries inseparably connected with the spontaneous movement. The demands of people to satisfy their immediate, specific practical needs create the spontaneous struggle.
Global Capitalism — The Current Stage
The U.S., indeed, the world, is currently in the throes of capitalist crisis. Given that the level of development of the productive forces is unprecedented in human history by virtue of the electronic revolution, a new class has arisen. The majority consists of contingent workers, minimum wage workers, the chronically unemployed, and the homeless. This new class is growing daily. The global financial crisis of 2008 that started in the U.S. and quickly engulfed global capitalism further ruptured the political system of bourgeois democracy. In the U.S. the merger of the corporations and the State (fascism) is now complete. Currently, the ruling class is at the stage of devising laws to consolidate the gains it achieved in the merger of the corporations and the State. It is critical to note that all political groupings of the ruling class operate to protect private property.
Political and social movements struggling for reforms are fighting to regain that which had been lost through the development of the productive forces driven by the electronic revolution. Workers became homeless, unemployed, or are in a weaker economic and financial position due to labor replacing technologies. In such a political environment, that is based on the objective electronic revolution, we have to use today’s revolutionary changes as a lever to free people’s minds to create a new world.
This new situation calls into question the entire system of private property. However, the ruling class is compelled to establish a new system of private property. Fascism is the first stage in the creation of such a system. Here the role of the revolutionary organization in preparing the people for revolution is crucial: Introducing class consciousness and a new vision to those in struggle against the ruling class and private property.
The Spontaneous Movement in the Age of Global Capitalism
In the U.S., people’s organizations fighting for different causes (free education, free health care, etc.) occupy a huge political space, and struggle hard to improve the conditions of life of the people. Many leaders in the spontaneous movement understand that capitalism is the problem. Some even understand that private property itself needs to be abolished.
The role of the revolutionary organization is to spread that consciousness throughout the new class and show that the fight needs to be for a cooperative communist society – the public ownership of the means of production and distribution of the necessaries for life according to need. Revolutionaries fight shoulder-to-shoulder with our class to win the immediate demands of the moment, while simultaneously explaining the class content of the fight. The ongoing development of political consciousness and a vision of a new society amongst the combatants, is what taking care of the future aims of the revolution is all about.
The interest of the ruling class is to maintain its hold on private property. It uses its own instruments to achieve its political goals. Two of those instruments are the Democratic and Republican Parties. Sections of the new class might be attracted to the Democratic Party to fight for better health care or education. But the Democrats might be interested in producing enough reform in health care, such as Obamacare, to hold on to the support of sections of the American people. The bigger question is how do we permanently win quality health care, housing, education, water for all of society? How should the struggle move forward to win the demands of the new class?
The Art of Politics
Historically, the line of march has been a critical concept in the revolutionary movement. In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels were precise in describing the role of the communists. Revolutionaries have to clearly understand the line of march – the trajectory upon which the new class needs to move in its fight against the owners of private property, to achieve the goals of the movement. Put differently, the revolutionaries point out to the new class what is possible given the stage of development of the revolutionary process. How do the revolutionaries do that? We can use the science of society to study the historical and material conditions of life to determine the stage of development of the revolutionary process. On the basis of that examination, we discern who comprises the revolutionary class in society and what are its demands at a particular stage.
Society is going through a leap from economies based almost entirely on labor, to a labor-less future. A new class is being created that is being pushed entirely outside of today’s economy or to its margins, with no way to exchange its work for a living wage. It is the revolutionary force created by the advancement of the productive forces within global capitalism.
The new class has no ties to any system of private property and so it is free to lead humanity toward a cooperative communist society. It is of the greatest importance to make this new class aware of its role in history and to spread that awareness throughout society.
Just as the electronic revolution began with the introduction of the computer chip from the outside of the process of production, similarly, new ideas need to be introduced for the revolutionary new class to complete its tasks.
Class consciousness and this vision can only be introduced into the spontaneous movement through mastering the art of propaganda. The organization of revolutionaries utilizes every expression of spontaneous struggle (the fight against police brutality, for free health care, etc.) to propagandize. How do revolutionaries operate, through and within the spontaneous movement to achieve the strategic goal at a given stage? It is critical to first win over the leaders of the spontaneous movement to the cause of revolution. Second, it is essential to determine where the center of gravity is, to direct all activity to that center, which if won to the cause of revolution, would draw to it the largest section possible of the new class.
The alternative to injecting class-consciousness through propaganda to the spontaneous movement is for the revolutionaries to work in the spontaneous movement, as other political and social movements do, by simply taking up what the new class already knows. However, to do this does not prepare the new class for its historic task. Instead, it would be working simply for implementing the program and goals of the ruling class. The new class has no other choice but to fight for a cooperative communist society and produce its own organizations and leaders. Through revolutionary propaganda, the revolutionaries can clearly understand the line of march, the conditions and the ultimate general results of the movement, to achieve the emancipatory vision of a world to be won. RC
September/October 2019 Vol29.Ed5
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