Inside: Economic and Social Crisis Reveals Solution
As the world responds to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the majority of people need the intervention of the government to survive. We need safe housing to “shelter in place” and healthcare to get tests and treatment for COVID-19, regardless of our ability to pay. Children need their public schools to provide meals even though they aren’t attending school physically. Nurses and doctors need protective equipment to stay alive while working. The many people who have lost their jobs or are unable to work need economic intervention on their behalf to keep their homes and get food, clean water, and other basic necessities to survive.
Even before the COVID-19 crisis, many Americans were on the edge of economic survival. For example, in Flint, Michigan, electronic production began eliminating good paying auto factory jobs in the 1980s. It continued over the years, leaving more than one third of its population in poverty today. Six years after the lead poisoning crisis caused by a state-appointed emergency manager implementing austerity, the article “Six Years Later, Flint is Still Broken,” shows that Flint residents are still dying from a lack of affordable clean, safe water.
Just as COVID-19 exacerbates the economic and social crisis, it also illuminates the solution. When people do not have sufficient income or jobs to provide for their needs, their needs must be provided for by the government. Automated production within the wage labor value system is polarizing society with unheard-of wealth on one side and unheard-of poverty on the other, as pointed out in “Electoral Battles Reflect Growing Polarization.” The struggle to contain the coronavirus has exacerbated vast historical processes underway.
The coronavirus has revealed the necessity for a new communist economic system, as noted in “From the Editors: The Coronavirus and the Necessity of a Communist Vision.” A communist society operates on the principle, from each according to their ability, to each according to their need. Today’s advanced technology makes this possible. Standing in the way of this vision is a tiny ruling class with the political power to force the government to act in its economic interests.
The only way to protect our families and communities is by coming together politically as a working class, all those who need systemic change to survive and thrive. As noted in “Next Steps in the Battle of the Ballot,” the political battle over the bailout has just begun, whether to use public money to save corporate profits or to save human lives. There is a social force powerful enough to pull a huge segment of workers forward to fight, a force that can solve the social crisis.
It is the new class of millions of unemployed and underemployed workers created by advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, and other labor-replacing technology. Without sufficient income from work, this new section of the working class cannot survive private property relations.
The unity of the new class is needed to obtain the political power to construct a cooperative economic system. The ruling class does not want us to unite on a class basis. Fascist efforts at dividing our class are obvious in the virulent anti-Mexican, anti-African and recently, anti-Chinese statements of Donald Trump. Revolutionaries play a role in showing the need and basis for class unity. The growing hitherto unknown breadth of equality of poverty is creating the basis for real class unity.
The article, “Juneteenth 2020 – Seeds of Revolutionary Unity,” explains that during the struggle to end slavery, Black and white revolutionaries were teaching that the enslavement of Blacks didn’t help Southern whites, but instead helped capitalists force them to accept their own poverty. Today, a new type of economic communism is no longer just a wish but is the only solution to the social crisis developing out of the death of capitalism.
Either the tiny fascist ruling class will violently maintain itself in power, or the emerging new class will unite to create a society that ensures economic survival and equality. Our survival as a class depends on the consciousness of our class catching up with the objective reality of what we are facing together and the possibilities it offers. Developing this consciousness is the role of revolutionaries. Today’s crisis calls for the practical solution of a cooperative society where the needs of all people will be met. RC
May/June 2020. vol.30. Ed3
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