The Need for Analysis
March 24, 2014
Most people know that workers' strike struggles, the struggles of the youth to assert their rights, the struggles against privatization, the struggles for relief for the poverty stricken and unemployed, the struggles against attacks on the rights of immigrants, etc, are most often ignored or distorted by the monopoly-controlled media. This is part of a conscious strategy to create an atmosphere of passivity and resignation amongst people. By maintaining a blockade of silence and disinformation about the struggles of people, the monopoly-controlled media tries to create the idea that things "can't change" because "no one cares." This is a "Big Lie."
It is the ideology of the capitalist class.
It is the ideology which pretends that the only human relations which exist – the only social system possible – is one based on the exploiting relations of the capitalist-imperialist system. It is the ideology which seeks to blockade the struggles of the people and slander all the forces fighting for progress. In short, a real war of terrorism is waged against the consciousness of the people with the aim of getting the people to forget even their own experience and the realities of the on-going class struggle, to drown out the people's aspirations to build a better society. Only ideas which perpetuate the status quo are to be remembered; the experience and ideas of the masses of people, which continually lead to the conclusion that the present social conditions must be changed are obliterated.
The solution is to take part in developing the independent politics of the working class. This is the politics which starts from the experiences and interests of the people themselves. This is the politics which arises from the aim of the workers to emancipate themselves and shows what must be done to win emancipation. This is the political program of economic rights, democratic renewal, a democratic foreign policy and socialism.
To guide the working class and popular struggles and merge them into a common front, to make our movement pro-active and find permanent solutions to the problems confronting us, requires that, in the course of fighting for change, that we continually politicize ourselves and our movement. The need is for the activists to develop discussion amongst themselves and the broadest sections of people. The need is for the activists to create an atmosphere in which people can get information and zero in on the root problems. The need is for the activists to create new space in which people can put forward their own aims and agenda. It means building up the independent political movement of the working class and people.
As obvious as this need is, there are very entrenched political forces, ideological reflexes and habits which are fighting tooth and nail to prevent such political discussion from developing.
Bill Foster, a leading member of the Workers Party, summarized experience of this kind in the summer of 2002 and wrote the following:
Believe it or not, I have been to several anti-war meetings in which an exchange like the following took place:
New Activist: "I want to become more active but I need to know more; we need more information and discussion in these meetings."
Anti-War "Leader:" "No, we can't have any political discussion here."
Instead of clarifying things so as to release people's initiative, an offhand atmosphere is created in which politics is "taken for granted." The conscious participation of people is suppressed and replaced by a superficial and false sense of security and unity.
Yet more. As the activists assert themselves they find that the discussion is continually being diverted into mindless talk about some bureaucratic details. This mindlessness is often justified in the name of "taking action."
But just what kind of actions can be planned or taken if the people are not conscious of their political objectives and the political balance of forces. The fact is that every day, new activists find themselves "burnt out" precisely because their profound anti-war sentiments have not been consolidated and turned into mature conviction through serious investigation and analysis.
In my experience the political forces that work to prevent serious discussion are the very same forces that organize "actions" designed to keep people under the political tutelage of the Democratic Party and to actually infiltrate chauvinism into the anti-war movement. In fact, this is the method behind the madness of "no political discussion." Opportunism seeks to hide its loyalty to capitalist politics by preventing people from taking a conscious attitude toward their own actions and own movement.
Of course, the entire attempt to separate discussion and analysis from action is a fraud.
Thinking is a basic human activity – in fact, one of the activities which empower human beings to know the laws of motion of the objective world and to change it. In particular, in regard to political life, it is precisely by de-politicizing people that the capitalist class excludes the majority from participating in the affairs of society. Capitalist politics tries to turn people into passive consumers or followers who may "vote" every 4 years or maybe "let off steam" in an anti-war protest while the real political decision-making remains the monopoly of the capitalist politicians.
It is precisely by having political discussion that we take the initiative into our hands. The activity of political discussion is an essential action which helps inform our entire political life by making it conscious.
Isn't this the decisive human factor which is missing from current American political life?