It’s become a common sentiment that 2020 has been a disaster. What do we learn from it, and how do we move forward? We must guarantee that the fight to resolve the pandemic, end the killings by police, end homelessness and hunger, and heal the earth results in a new and better America.
Fires are sweeping through the western U.S., from San Diego to Seattle, as far east as the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Texas. There are more than 25,000 firefighters in the field. The U.S. has asked Mexico and Canada for help. A fire in northern California made 25,000 people homeless in four hours. One Battalion Chief firefighter said that their priorities are changing from fighting the fire to rescuing people because climate change has made it impossible to stop the actual fires. The air quality in the Western states is creating an unlivable environment. The government has failed to act appropriately to the urgency of the situation, with Trump pointing fingers at the states’ forest management.
In the near future, 30-40 million people in the U.S. are at risk for eviction. The moratorium on evictions only goes through the end of this year. Thousands have already been evicted after losing their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. has more than 6.5 million cases of COVID-19, and over 193,000 have died. Survivors of the more severe cases face huge debt from the care they received. Millions have lost jobs permanently.
Behind the numbers are the real lives of individuals that have been upended and changed forever.
As millions participate in the wave of protests across the country, we hear new cases of people being gunned down and brutalized by the police. Jacob Blake is paralyzed after being shot seven times in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Thirteen-year-old Linden Cameron, who has Asperger syndrome, was shot by police in Salt Lake City, Utah, after his mother called for help as her son experienced a mental health crisis. He was running away from the police in fear. He is now in serious condition with injuries to his intestines, bladder, shoulder, and ankles.
Police in Houston, Texas fatally shot Nicolas Chavez, kneeling on the ground already injured, as he also went through a mental health crisis. Michael Forest Reinoehl was killed by a joint federal fugitive task forced when they opened fire on him in Portland, Oregon. Daniel Prude had a mental health episode and died a week after being pinned down and suffered complications of asphyxia at the hands of police in Rochester, New York. Rochester’s Mayor Lovely Warren stated, “Institutional structural racism led to Daniel Prude’s death. I won’t deny it.”
Linden Cameron and Michael Forest Reinoehl are white. The police act as judge, jury, and executioner in our neighborhoods and cities. Millions are beginning to understand that the police are out of control.
In July, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency planned to launch a six-week “Citizens Academy” in Chicago. According to ICE, the academy would conduct scenario-based training on “defensive tactics, firearms familiarization, and targeted arrests” so that Chicago residents could see how ICE agents do their work. It would also include training for citizens on how to arrest undocumented immigrants. It was postponed until 2021 following political pressure by local activists. Customs Border Patrol agents are still being used to grab protestors off the streets in Portland, Oregon. They were also sent to LA during the uprisings in response to the Rodney King beating by police in 1991.
The various police forces are part of a bigger thing going on in America. Alongside the robots and the new technology being used in every part of the economy, a new class of workers is being created. This class faces permanent unemployment and impoverishment and is made up of all colors and ethnicities. The ruling class absolutely must stop the awakening of this new class and prevent their political organizing. They must deepen the poverty and, at the same time, prevent social upheavals. This can only be done with a fascist police state.
We are faced with new times and choices in what direction to go as a country. Our country has entered a political, moral, social, cultural, and economic crisis. As technology advances, the further development of the means of production creates new causes, visions, and demands amongst the new generation. There is no reason to have people without homes when housing can be constructed within hours. No child should be denied food, shelter, or clothing when there is an abundance of those things.
A young woman interviewed by National Public Radio in Chicago said that her experience is that America is a country of surveillance, where police are free to kill people in the streets, where communities and the environment is being destroyed. She is dedicating herself to reimagining a new America and fighting for that at the grassroots level.
What stands between a new America and us is a ruling class compelled to keep the power and wealth, even if that means the United States becoming a fascist country.
We face a harsh reality with no easy path forward. But there is a growing political awakening taking hold. Revolutionary-minded workers are starting to recognize that our movement’s goals to distribute homes, food, and society’s cultural wealth because they are needed is a real possibility today. We come to our class brothers and sisters aid with the understanding that we can win a whole new world. We can stand with arms locked, united with common aims not be torn apart because of gender, color, ethnicity, or age.
Published: September 23, 2020
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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