(Editorial of the Summer-Fall 2009 issue of Struggle, an
anti-establishment literary journal oriented to the working-class
struggle, and it also appears in CV #43, June 2009.)
It seems like just yesterday that the establishment news media was confidently preaching that capitalism in the U.S. and the world would go on expanding, the stock market would keep rising, home values would continue to climb and life would continuously improve for the fortunate ones -- indefinitely, maybe forever. If any problems arose anywhere, the market would solve them. History, with its poverty, racism, exploitation, wars and revolutions, was over. (Well, there might be a war here and there, but the poor would fight them and the rest of the public could just go on shopping.) Other than a few blemishes, capitalism was perfect.
Now that bubble has burst.
With the worldwide economic crisis, capitalism has once again revealed its insane, bankrupt nature. The capitalist system is once again proved to be a hell on earth of desperation, robbery, insecurity and war for the huge working majority of the planet, including ourselves here in the United States, the land of "the American Dream." The capitalist politicians, Republican and Democrat, are handing over literally trillions of the wealth created by the workers to a bloated class of parasites who do no honest work but believe that the world owes them a mega-fortune.
This is capitalism. This is not an aberration; this is its true nature, robbing behind the scenes for years of "normal" times, nakedly staring us in the face today a monster.
This is a nature that none of the bourgeois analysts can grasp or explain; only Marxism and the Marxists can explain it. And, as Marxism has taught for 161 years, it is a nature that can only be changed by a working-class revolution. Newsweek magazine and other establishment pundits claim that the bail-out maneuvers of the Obama administration constitute socialism; this is a lie. These are merely government maneuvers re-shuffling resources within capitalism. Various political and media figures, such as Paul Krugman of The New York Times, advocate going beyond Obama and actually nationalizing the banks, while we hear horrified screams from Republicans that this, too, would be "socialism." But again, the label does not apply. Actual socialism is far more, far different, from some maneuvers by some people at the top, even though the masses must fight to get whatever crumbs that can be squeezed out of the Obamas of the world.
Actual socialism will be an upswelling of many centuries of struggle by the working people of different countries, the U.S. included, to take their destiny into their own hands. A real socialist revolution is an uprising in which the masses of workers and poor take power and suppress the rich. Such a revolution would bring about a transition toward a genuine workers' socialism that involves the dispossession of all the rich, swindling capitalists and real control of society by the working people. Such a revolution would not only have to fight the well-known capitalists and bourgeois reformists but also capitalists-in-communist-clothing like those who brought the great Russian Revolution to grief under Stalin and who lead China and Cuba today. Such a revolution would be very difficult, but there is no other way. Only such a revolution can eliminate economic crises, poverty, racism and wars like those of the present once and for all.
All through the last thirty years the Republicans, the open party of the rich, lauded the capitalist crooks and financial double-dealers to the skies and hid their criminal speculations. And all through the past thirty years the cowardly Democrats cozied up to the Republicans and helped them increase the stranglehold of the rich financiers over the working class and people. Ronald Reagan, who was against big government except when it helped the rich, slashed the taxes of those poor, impoverished billionaires and inspired them with the dream of robbing the workers of everything won through hard struggle since World War II. Then the so-called "first African American President," Bill Clinton, helped his chum, Robert Rubin, CEO of the Wall Street swindlers at Goldman Sachs, to steer the economy, against all warnings, down the disastrous path of leveraged speculation. Slick Willie, whose buddies fill the Obama administration, revised the criminal code to over-charge and imprison thousands of poor Black working men, and used his union bosses to leverage down the wages of the workers. Then came the infamous G.W. Bush, invading Iraq on fraudulent grounds while showering still greater tax cuts on those poor, abused plutocrats as they leveraged their speculations into the trillions with nothing to back it all up.
The bubble burst before GW left office, so the lame duck handed out a trillion or so to his "base" without a peep of protest from Obama the elected. And now we have Obama pledging to fix it all and giving a few crumbs to the workers but still handing out hundreds of billions to the financiers, throwing good money after bad, even allowing Democratic Senator Dodd and Secretary of the Treasury Geithner to permit the AIG bloodsuckers to give each other billions of the workers' tax money as bonuses, a charity that may only be stopped by the outrage of the people. For Obama and the Dems (as well as the Republicans) it's OK for the bankers to give each other million-dollar bonuses, but when it comes to auto workers, they get job loss and homelessness.
Enough! It is time for the working class to rise up! We built this country, we move the goods, we make the products, we nurse the sick, we clean the streets, we teach the children, while these worthless, bloated leeches speculate with our money, spit on us and drag our country into the dirt. It's our country, not theirs! Let us rise up and defend ourselves as a class against the misery brought on by this crisis!
We face a great world crisis, greater than any since our grandparents battled the bosses during and after the Great Depression of the 1930's. We face this crisis in a very difficult situation: our mass struggles, which surged in the 30's and again in the 60's, have been at a low ebb for a long time, making it difficult to envision rising up effectively. The leadership of the organizations that supposedly fight for us -- the unions, civil rights groups, etc. -- are in the hands of opportunists committed to supporting the capitalist system and the Democratic Party. Our struggle will be extremely difficult, difficult even to launch, given the tight control that the union bureaucrats and other reformists exercise over rebellious workers. Our struggle will be filled with setbacks and zig-zags that will try the will, the confidence and the perspectives of the best of us. But we must begin. We must and will persevere, sooner or later, through thick and thin, just as our forerunners arose as the unemployed, living in tent cities, to build the workers' movement and the industrial unions in the 1930's.
Let us raise our voices in protest! Let us learn how to organize and fight! Even where we may be small in numbers at the start, let us take action where we can, in whatever way we can, despite the stranglehold of the union hacks and other misleaders who don't want to rock the boat! Let us network, let us learn to form organizations of our own, organizations that will fight militantly for the working people, for all the oppressed! Workers of other countries have gone into action -- in Latin America movements of the workers and poor have been seething. Recently we have seen strikes and actions in Greece, Guadeloupe, Martinique, France, London! Let us learn from them and support them! Let us unite native workers and immigrants, Black, white, all colors and ethnicities, men and women, religious and non-religious, whatever the sexual orientation -- we need all the workers, all the oppressed! We face a common enemy and a great crisis!
Let us fight for our immediate needs and let us also prepare through struggle for the day when we shall throw these arrogant aristocrats into the dirt and run this country ourselves, in harmony with the workers of other countries who will certainly do the same! The rich capitalist exploiters don't give a damn about us! They are leaving us and our children literally out in the cold!
It is time for us to fight!
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