The People Are the Motive Force of Change
March 9, 2016
One of the vital, glorious things about the history of the American people is our democratic traditions. Our country emerged as part of the historical struggle against medievalism, and, more than 200 years ago, took up the banners of equality and democracy. Despite the obstacles created by the reactionary classes – despite the imposition of slavery, the armed conquest of the Southwest and other territories, despite Jim Crow and the whole system of discrimination and inequality imposed on the peoples – the American people, gathering together the democratic and progressive traditions of the peoples from many lands, always fought for the realization in practice of equal rights for everyone.
Today, when the drive to “increase the international competitiveness” of U.S. capitalism is accompanied by an intensification of discrimination of all kinds and when the monopoly capitalist class is trying to erase the victories of the historical struggles for equal rights, the working class must carry forward its great democratic heritage to the point of coming out as a class-for-itself, organized in its own political party and independent political movement, with the aim of winning the battle for democracy by gaining the political power.
Thus it is no surprise that today the capitalist-class is waging an all out political and ideological war to de-politicize the workers and prevent the development of their self-conscious, independent organization and movement. People are told in a million and one ways that they really have no independent political role to play. People are told that the working class is a backward class – a slave class – incapable of thinking and acting independently on the basis of its own aims and agenda.
This claim is a complete denial of reality.
Today, every day and every minute, the American working class and people are in motion. At the workplace, workers are continually in struggle against capitalist exploitation – fighting against wage and benefit cuts and winning; fighting against downsizing and winning; fighting against restructuring and winning; fighting against contracting out and winning; fighting against privatization and winning; fighting against the substitution of part-time employees for full-time and winning; etc. So too, over the last several years, large-scale movements have emerged to defend social programs such as social security and public education. Ever-wider sections of people are opposing the government's aggressive foreign policy and war programs. Many struggles are breaking out to defend democratic rights against unprecedented attacks by the Obama administration. So too, many activists are already linking the demand for cancellation of the debt with the more generalized movement against the capitalist “free trade” program of economic penetration and domination of the entire world.
Yet more, many people have come forward and been inspired by the Workers Party and its revolutionary battle against the capitalist propaganda which defames the workers as “backward;” which tries to erase the memory of all the historical and present-day battles for enlightenment and emancipation; which tells the people to negate the pure aspirations of their hearts and to suppress their vision for a new society.
Showing complete contempt and opposition to the growing class consciousness of the workers and people, the labor aristocracy and opportunism, with Bernie Sanders as the figurehead, is cynically trying to cash in on the term “socialist” as part of the Democratic Party strategy to keep peace activists, trade unionists, and others under their tutelage. At the moment in history when the false promises and deceptive tactics of the capitalist politicians are more exposed than ever, the heads of the AFL-CIO and the trends of social democracy and modern revisionism are busier than ever trying to create the illusion that the Democrats “may change,” that the working class and people must “wage the good fight inside the Democratic Party.”
It is very interesting to note that the very people who wish to keep the movement under the tutelage of the bourgeois state and bourgeois politics are the same ones who never stop cursing the people. This election cycle there is even a big campaign to claim that, rather that getting media air time only because of the billions and billions of dollars spent on his electoral bid, Donald Trump is really a representative of a “popular movement” in America. Of course the top officialdom of the labor aristocrats (especially the AFL-CIO) who promote this Big Lie, do not explain why the masses of people, oppressed and exploited in social and economic life, would suddenly want to fortify their exploitation and oppression, only to remain at the receiving end.
Of course, the labor aristocracy does not want to admit that its politics originates with its position on the Board of Directors of various corporations and participation in “tripartite” cooperation with the government and big business. Nor do similar stratum placed at the head of other sections by monopoly capital – in the women's movement, in the oppressed minority communities, etc. – want to admit their political origins.
These stratum work to suppress the political independence of the workers. This is not a new lesson. As has been pointed out time and time again, the atmosphere fostered by opportunism is just as stifling and apolitical as the atmosphere created by the monopoly-controlled media. Genuine political discussion is ruled out of order and the thought and action of the people is kept within the narrowest possible framework. Not only do the opportunists create every illusion in the capitalist system and capitalist state. When push comes to shove – when a real crisis develops and the interests of capital are threatened – opportunism openly embraces the aims of the capitalists themselves. Thus, for example, the leaders of the AFL-CIO embrace the program of “increasing the competitiveness of U.S. capitalism.” Similarly, at key moments such as the wars in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan and Iraq, many “leaders” of the peace movement openly adopt the chauvinist positions of U.S. imperialism.
The experience of the Workers Party is this marginalization and de-politicalization of people is only broken by giving expression to the independent class aims of the workers. The Party's work is helping create the subjective conditions necessary to consolidate the political independence and organization of the workers. The Workers Party calls on everyone to join with us in using the election period to denounce the Democrats and Republicans for their attacks on the people. We must all involve ourselves in a broad political campaign to rally people around a genuinely modern definition of rights which includes recognition of the people's fundamental economic rights and demands that society guarantee the means necessary for people to exercise all their rights in real life. Such a concrete program of solutions recognizes that in the final analysis, the modern demand for equality – for equal economic, political and social rights for all human beings is the demand for the abolition of social classes.