Inside: An Epoch of Social Revolution
The events unfolding in the streets over police brutality and the COVID 19 crisis vividly express the crisis underway in the world. Its roots go to the tremendous upheaval in the economy. It is transforming from jobs-based industrial production to one based in electronics, requiring fewer of us to work in ever-expanding sectors. This issue of Rally, Comrades! covers the social results of the changes wracking the world, and the fight for a new America, wherein the products of electronic production are distributed according to need. We live in a time of significant change, in an epoch of social revolution.
Police brutality today is an expression of the power to shut off your water, evict you from or foreclose on your home, slash essential services, destroy food rather than distribute it, and turn you away from emergency rooms and send you home to die. With more and more jobs performed without human labor, more considerable sections of the population are out of work with no means to survive in this system.
As pointed out in our editorial, “Millions Worldwide Decry George Floyd Murder: Something New is in Our Grasp,” the ruling class is united in maintaining its power. The unity of the working class, expressed against police brutality under today’s conditions of mounting unemployment, homelessness, hunger, and declining health, can advance our class’s unity for the necessities of life.
“Healthcare Crisis: The Future is Up to Us” lays out both the problems exposed in this crisis and the way forward. The private ownership of the necessary tools required to fight the coronavirus’s spread has functioned to strangle the urgent need for mass testing and the protection of hospital workers. It’s not only the private ownership of life-saving supplies that’s putting us in jeopardy, but also the decisions about who gets Personal Protective Equipment or tests and who is deemed essential, that have been handed over to the chaos of a fractured for-profit only marketplace.
The immediate expansion of Medicaid and the passage of Improved Medicare for All are urgently needed in the face of 30 million newly unemployed and likely uninsured.
“Louisiana: Land of Beauty, and Crisis” brings to light the effects of chloroprene poisoning which are exactly the underlying conditions that have led to the people of St. John Parish having the highest death rate from the coronavirus in the country. St. John, which is majority African American and poor, is also where the Dupont/Denka petrochemical plant manufactures chloroprene, a known carcinogen used to create synthetic rubber. It is spewing poison into the air and environment at a rate of 25 to 100 times the safe rate. The elementary school of the Fifth Ward is only 1500 feet from the Dupont/Denka plant.
There is another side to this story: the workers of southern Louisiana are not cowed. They are in a fight for their very lives. And they are not alone. They are part of a growing response from all those workers across the country that have seen their lives wrecked, their access to even the most basic necessities of life blocked.
At the same time, COVID-19 is creating a rental housing time bomb that threatens to blow up the entire for-profit rental system as addressed in “COVID-19 Generates Housing Takeovers and Rent Strikes.” Tenant groups across the country have called for a rent strike, organizing car caravans, socially distant demonstrations, and actions at corporate landlord offices. Hundreds of localities have enacted eviction moratoriums to prevent people from being thrown out of their housing in the middle of the pandemic. Necessary as these moratoriums were, none of them included provisions to protect people from massive accumulated rent bills when the crisis is over. The reality of the situation is that millions of renters will be part of the “rent strike” whether they choose to or not because they will not have the money to pay.
Polarization is evident everywhere in society. It started with economic polarization, where the wealth of society is concentrated in ever fewer hands. Destitution is spread broadly to greater sections of the population. The government shutdown in 2019, the devastation of COVID 19, and the uprisings against the police exposed just how many people live paycheck to paycheck, or with no paycheck at all.
There is a growing sense that America is made up of classes whose interests are polarized. We embrace it. The transformation the world faces today is historic. The means to produce all the things we need has leapt forward, requiring less human labor. The economic revolution forces the beginnings of a social revolution. The disorganization of society pulls people into the struggle to reconstruct society based on the economic revolution. The participants belong to social classes and attempt to resolve the problem in favor of their class. Our class can unite around distribution of the economic wealth according to need and end homelessness, poverty and hunger.
Today, this transformation is so massive, it won’t be an adjustment; it is completely changing the world as we know it. The end of work as we have known it, the end of exploitation, the end of classes, and the beginning of something new. RC
July/August 2020 Vol30.Ed4
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