. First, some business. The mailing of the last issue was disastrously screwed up by our (former) mailer, so we don't know if you got it or not. If not, let us know and we'll send you one. It was a double issue, yellow, dated Winter-Spring 1999-2000 (Vol. 15, # 2 -- Vol. 16, #1).
. The present issue carries some vigorous writing about the recent wave of protests against corporate rule which emerged at Seattle last winter and continued at Washington, Detroit/Windsor and recently at the conventions of the two allegedly different capitalist political parties. (As Marx said somewhere, we get to choose which gang of thieves will rob us for the next four years.) Or, as our poet Timothy Carter writes on page 42, "My vote/rode the weight of a penny/in a thousand plate dinner.") The slogan used for the headline of this editorial (above) was chanted during the demonstrations against the International Monetary Fund meeting in Prague, Czechoslovakia in late September.
. The protagonist Anna in our story "When the Center Began to Hold" by Carl Dimitri (p. 4), is participating in a march against sweatshop labor that could have been part of any of these campaigns. Interestingly, as Anna's march confronts the police she begins to wonder why these forces of the state machinery (government, in popular parlance) are protecting the stores and businesses. Clearly they are not only protecting the property of small businesses but also sweatshop labor itself, which enriches big capitalists like Nike. Similarly, in Seattle, Washington DC, Prague and elsewhere, the forces of the state attempted to crush the protests to protect the anti-labor, anti-people and anti-environment policies of the big world capitalists who compose the WTO. In these actions the state revealed itself as the protector of big wealth, just as Marxism teaches, and not as an autonomous institution acting solely in its own interests.
. The present issue also carries some eloquent writing protesting the growing repression of minorities, including works by prisoners.
. Struggle receives a lot of topical writing, that is, poems or stories referring to specific events. For example, this issue has a poem condemning the U.S. imperialist massacre of unarmed Koreans at Noh Gun Ri during the Korean War (p. 50), a poem denouncing the destruction of the rain forests (p. 53), and so on. This is fine, but we want writers to know we also look for what you might call "fictional" material, in poetry as well as prose.
. Mass movements have been at a low level in recent years compared to the 1960's, so it is very encouraging to see a series of protests break out against corporate capitalist world domination and also against racist atrocities committed on African-Americans. We support these movements, participate in them where we can, and hope they grow. Both of these movements are facing serious problems.The activists organizing the actions are very determined, but many harbor illusions that the Democratic Party, the union leaderships or the black bourgeois politicians are forces for progressive change and should be followed or at least given a respectful listening. These illusions are bound to grow now that Al Gore, the Tennessee patrician, his campaign financed by billionaires just like Bush's, has put on his populist hat.
. While some activists have a soft ear for these big shots, they are also unsure whom to appeal to for support, on whose shoulders to build the movements. Struggle's view is that building the movements requires exposing the Democrats as flunkeys of the same big capitalists who bankroll their open servants, the Republicans. Gore will never fight capitalist exploitation or racism -- he will only give lip-service to the struggle in order to weaken and destroy it, as he did in his speech to the Democratic Convention. Nader talks of mild progressive reforms but does not call on the working class for the vigorous mass struggle needed to enforce them. The union bureaucrats and sold-out politicians are the Democrats' overseers to control the masses. These misleaders tie the hands of the workers and minorities, keeping their struggles within bounds entirely safe to the capitalists. Activists should fight these misleaders and turn to the masses of the working class as their main base for the anti-corporate struggle as well as the anti-racist struggle. None of the issues we are facing can be seriously tackled, not to mention solved, without bringing the working masses, the nitty-gritty people as we used to call them, into motion. It is the working class that has the numbers, the experience in struggle and the anger towards the rich that are needed for an effective fight. And the working class will only go into serious motion to the degree that it breaks the stranglehold of the Democratic politicians and union bureaucrats.
. Struggle aims to raise the fighting spirit and sharpen the class-consciousness of the working masses of all backgrounds and to inspire the activists to break with the sell-outs and go to the masses. We do not view literature as outside the struggle. We want literature to arouse people emotionally to great deeds and also to help them form a picture of the relationships among the classes and other forces of society. The conflict between the workers and the rich, which underlies all the struggles of modern society, is irreconcilable; it will only be resolved by a revolution which places the working masses actually in power. Such a revolution will have to avoid the path of bureaucratic state-capitalism followed in the Soviet Union and other supposedly communist countries and bring about instead a genuine working-class power like that envisioned by Marx, Engels and Lenin.
. Creating literature of rebellion such as we publish in Struggle aims at helping the battles of today and also at preparing for such a revolution. When Shelley wrote "Men of England, wherefore plow/For the lords who lay you low?" he envisioned a rising of the English working people against the arrogant rulers of the time. Today we write:
Working people, why still slave
For men who ride you to the grave?
Why still toil, drip sweat, shed blood
For lords who tramp you in the mud?
By Tim Hall
Last modified: October 15, 2001.