By Malcolm Martin
The people of the United States are struggling with a marked escalation of the class war. Maybe no one has a firm grip on “what is to be done,” to borrow Lenin’s phraseology. But it is for sure a time to reject fatalism, defeatism, nihilism and any other current which involves the people in rolling over to die quietly.
If Karl Marx was right, we have reached the end times not of humanity but of the capitalist economic system. It is a time when the working class was, through its collective discipline and might, supposed to conduct and win a war with the bourgeoisie and establish its rule. Then the building of socialism was to commence. War, racism and poverty would be banished in the ensuing years along with all of capitalism’s pathological influences on man.
What are the prospects for this scenario? However likely or remote, the idea should not be given up on because the other choices are too horrific to passively accept–the Orwellian state, bands of survivalists roaming a scorched landscape, the extinction of the human being.
So it comes down to a must win for the working class and its allies among the petty bourgeois over the capitalist ruling class and its allies among the petty bourgeois (those intellectuals that spread hopelessness and confusion among working people for 30 pieces of silver).
There are, it seems, two loci of power in the ruling class. First are members of the class based on the ownership of the means of production–the financiers, the industrialist, and the other human repositories of massive wealth (Gates, Cheney, Paulson, the Bush Family, the Walton Family…). Then there is the military high command, the last card in the capitalist deck, without which, the civilian side of the ruling class is essentially powerless once their economic superstructure collapses.
An important question would seem to be, what is the potential for splitting the not wealthy military top brass from their masters? The rank-and-file soldier has already been deemed unreliable and so the formation and building of Blackwater, a private bourgeois shadow army. It’s possible that rather than writing the bourgeoisie’s errand boys in the Congress we should try to reach Petraeus, Fallon, Mullen, Odierno, Powell, Wilkerson and others and remind them of Cheney’s five Vietnam deferments before they acquiesce in his commands to the brigade shipping from Iraq in October to serve as “an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks” here inside the United States.
Meanwhile, on our side of the class struggle, there is admittedly no US political party or other formation which expresses the destiny of the working class to power and socialism. Class consciousness would seem to be an endangered sentiment. But think about it, would not the United States be the last place where a consciousness of themselves as a class would seize the minds of working people? That’s what empire, that’s what imperialism, that’s what racism functions to do.
Class consciousness can develop very quickly in a people though! It is on the rise in the US right now in the reaction to the proposed Wall Street bailout. It will accelerate as the material cocoon provided by the world’s dominant economy wears out.
Workers, united across all artificial boundaries created by capitalism, whether nation, race, sex, or religion are the only hope now. This is the only force capable of staying the hand of the bourgeoisie and insuring the human experiment “shall not perish from the earth”, to borrow Lincoln’s phraseology.
In your circle, however large or small that may be, in everything you write and say, draw the boundary lines clearly for people between the opposing forces in this final class war. Don’t confuse them with Democrats and Republicans. The ruling class is wealthy; we work for a living. Build our forces by raising class consciousness and giving every worker the best chance of making the right decisions in the battles just over the horizon now.