Inside: ‘Get Your Knee Off Our Necks’
“Sufferings and Struggles, Hopes and Prospects” reports on life-or-death threats people face. Nearly 14 million children in the United States went hungry in June, 10 million more than in 2018. Three in ten Black families don’t have enough food for their children.
The biggest protests in American history arose when Minneapolis cops murdered George Floyd. Now the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin shows how the State is doubling down on police terror as a response to the uprisings and demonstrations, which are also now intensified with armed vigilantes provoking violent confrontations. The response of the movement to these fascist attacks: Get your knee off our necks! The struggles over COVID-19, immigration, and police brutality are about what kind of society America is going to have, and the motion is toward the distribution of the resources of life on a different principle than how much money you have.
In “From the Editors: Beyond Devastation: New Ideas and the Way Forward” we salute the thousands of people in our country fighting to change it for the better, by taking over homes, and coming up with innovative ways to feed the hungry and protect the vulnerable. History also shows that we must add one more ingredient — new ideas. These new ideas help break up the old ways of thinking and give us new ways of seeing that are in line with what is now possible. They help us see ourselves for what we are — a class that has its own interests separate from the ruling class, who have our own vision of the kind of society that we need, and who are entirely capable of using these ideas to direct our struggle to achieve the political power to achieve that vision.
Articles from Georgia and California describe how these leaders are arising from the communities suffering the highest rates of poverty and illness. “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” discusses Albany, which is 73 percent African American and where 32 percent of the residents live below the poverty line, and Gainesville, where chicken processing plant workers have suffered high infection rates, most of them Latinx. But white workers have not escaped the poverty of the Black Belt region and the South either.
Legal and extralegal segregation enshrined a divided working class, united in a common poverty but unable to fight as one. However, the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Glynn County, and the police killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta spurred a massive uprising of all colors. In the South, “Black Lives Matter” has come to be an expression of unity, a glimpse of the power embodied in a class standing together in the fight for its own interests, and in defense of one another.
South East Los Angeles is another area where new leaders dare to challenge the old. Once, over 900 factories thrived there. Today the shuttered plants produce sickness and death from toxic chemicals they left behind. “LA’s Rust Belt” Fights For Representation” reports on new leaders who are working to defeat Donald Trump, but also throw out local Democratic misleaders. As one asks, “do we actually mean that Medicare for All is something that we’re going to have, do we actually mean that we’re going to have rent control and housing as a human right, do we actually mean that we’re not going to have mass incarceration”?
With Coronavirus cases spiking across the country, everyone from CEOs, the President, state governors, to the corporate media are calling for schools to open “to save the economy.” Most parents, teachers, and students face a brutal choice — physically reopen schools and risk their health or keep children home and not go to work. In recent years, government and corporate leaders backed closing neighborhood schools. Now they demand that schools closed because of the pandemic be reopened. The article “Public Education and the Fight for Our Children’s Future” explains this change. In higher education, as explained in “Pandemic Drives More Privatization of Higher Education,” the wealthiest universities and tech companies are partnering to dominate online learning, at the expense of accessible, quality education. Just as COVID-19 demands a national healthcare strategy, safely reopening public schools and colleges demands national solutions.
“Defeat Trump: Demand that Government Meet Basic Needs” points out that the movement for Black lives was able to trigger an epochal shift in attitudes toward police repression and racism, particularly among white workers. Black Lives Matter and virtually every social movement in America have called for the defeat of Trump in the November election, despite aversion and distrust by many of them for his corporate Democratic opponent, Joe Biden. The fact that Trump is openly committed to a fascist solution is an opportunity to educate those sections of the working class, still not awakened to the danger he represents. Trump must be defeated in order to be able to fight further fascist offensives that will arise in the future so long as the corporate private property system exists.
The coming together of the issues around class and race gives the movement its power. When white workers experience their own abandonment by the system, they become open to class unity with African Americans in the same position.
The historic advances of the George Floyd Black Lives Matter rebellion, on the one hand, and the fascist attacks on democracy on the other, have set up a titanic battle that will be fought out over the course of the fall of 2020.
The movement is wide open to revolutionary ideas.
September/October 2020 Vol30.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