Road of the Party:
Taking New Steps

October 15, 2006

Earlier this year, practically overnight millions of Americans came out in the struggle for immigrant rights. This massive movement again gave a glimpse of the tremendous possibilities for change. The same is true of the new anti-war movement which over the last few years has spread to every city and town, embracing tens of millions of Americans.

In fact, even local, partial struggles have the potential of rapidly spreading and assuming a generalized character. For example, the recent Detroit teachers' strike not only won widespread support from parents and students. The capitalist media also expressed fear that the struggle could easily spread to nearby suburbs and school districts across the country.

Everyone should fully appreciate the breadth of these struggles. They are telling us something about the character of contemporary life.

From New York to Los Angeles nearly 300 million people live under the same conditions, face the same problems and look for common solutions. The necessity for change is arising from every pore of our society.

Our country has an advanced, modern economic infrastructure, capable of providing abundance for all; yet tens of millions of people go without such basic necessities as health care, secure jobs, a real education, etc. From the first days of our country, the working and oppressed people have been struggling to build a society which guarantees equal rights for all and in which the people themselves rule. But everyday, the capitalists tighten their monopoly over the political power and strengthen their apparatus of repression. In every country, people demand peace based on the sovereign equality of every nation, but the capitalists keep making new wars to extend their profits and empire.

The people will carry through the needed changes.

Daily life in the factories and large worksites, in the public schools and urban communities unite the American people in large collectives. These collectives are the real foundation of our society and, with modern means of communications, they have the capacity to reach out to every nook and cranny of the country. Once the people make up their mind to act, they have immense organizational potential and the power to transform the society.

The situation is like a dry field in which a single spark can ignite an enormous fire.

What, then, is holding back our struggles?

Firstly the capitalists bring the most intense pressure against any and every struggle of the people. Even small, local strikes are slandered by the media and repressed by court injunctions. The highest levels of government spew out racism while police violence creates an atmosphere of intimidation in immigrant and minority communities. The youth and students, precisely because they are such a vital, revolutionary force, are under all-sided attack.

Such attacks are relentless firstly because the capitalists are trying to throw us backward - to cut wages and benefits, slash investments in education and health care, launch new wars, etc. Secondly the capitalists are well aware of the potential of the people; to them even a small struggle represents the "danger of a good example." And once the people move, they can very rapidly challenge the very foundations of the exploiting, capitalist system.

A second difficulty facing our struggles is that although the people are deeply aware of the need for change, they have limited experience. What is more, the people are not simply unorganized they are being actively disorganized by the political parties of capitalism. The fact is that practically the entire organizational apparatus at the head of the unions, the anti-war movement, the immigrant rights movement, etc. is controlled by opportunist grouplets functioning as the "left-wing" of the Democratic Party. Opportunism continually works to divert or liquidate the people's struggles.

How do we change the situation?

Firstly, we need to keep fighting. Some people recoil from the enormity of the tasks or overestimate our weaknesses. Yes, we need to defeat the diversions and repression. Yes, we need more experience and need to learn new forms of organization and methods of struggle.

But all these things can be done. Each time we struggle we not only advance the immediate cause but we also learn more about how to fight and win. This is what humans do - they learn through experience and change the world.

The second thing is that in course of fighting we need to carry on nonstop ideological, political and organizational work; the people themselves must look into and sort out all the questions facing the struggle.

The Workers Party must exert the utmost energy to imbue the people with clarity about their own, independent, revolutionary aims. We must help people assimilate the vast experiences of the international working class and popular movements and help people see their own colossal strength. We must continually go broader and deeper to bring new sections of people into active political life.

We need to carry out deep-going investigations and tireless ideological work to defeat all diversions and pressures and strengthen people's conviction to fight and win.

We must carry on painstaking, daily organizational work to find the forms of organization and activity which can strengthen the people's unity and release their initiative.

Again, all these things can be done but they require tenacity.

The intensity of the contradictions in our country - the fundamental needs of the people - are forcing people to begin organizing for fundamental social change. We are still in the early stages of this process and it is the early steps which often are the hardest and, at the same time, the most important.

Creating the political clarity and independent organizations of the people are the key to sustain the broad, fundamental struggle for change which is the necessity of the times.