Let’s make 2014 a year of struggle
The past few months, I have not had the time and energy to post to this site as often as I would have liked. This is the time of year where different publications attempt to sum up the past year and inspire folks to renew their commitment to the struggles for a better world.
Workers and oppressed peoples across the globe have been the targets of a ruling class offensive aimed wrenching every last drop of profit imaginable from the hides of the exploited. The past year has seem inspiring mobilizations in Bangladesh, Greece, Egypt and elsewhere.
Here in the States, we witnesses the election of a socialist, Kshama Sawant, to city council in Seattle. Kshama is already front and center in the fight to raise the minimum wage both in Seattle and nationally. The gap between the one percent and the rest of us has widened. Despite a so-called recovery from the great recession, unemployment and underemployment still plague the lives of working people. Millions remain trapped in the prison-industrial complex in the US — second class citizens under the New Jim Crow.
We also saw the tragic and infuriating acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin, as well as the police murders of many more people from oppressed nationalities. These outrages were met with mass mobilizations of thousands determined to fight back against racist violence. The Zimmerman verdict sparked a huge turnout for the 50th anniversary commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington.
My purpose, however, is not to make a laundry list of the year’s events. I want to make 3 main points.
An unorganized socialist is a contradiction in terms. I am an “independent” socialist. All that said, my intention is to join and build a revolutionary socialist organization in the coming period. In my opinion, the political life of a radical independent is hampered by the lack of collective discussion and collective activity that is necessary to develop a rounded world view. Without organization, socialists are without the anchor that comrades provide.
Organization helps to prepare us for the struggles to come. With organization comes the mutual support, activism and education that helps to train and test the revolutionary leadership of the future. As I said before, the “really existing” US left amounts to deck chairs on the Titanic. None of the existing left has the social weight to become “the Party” on its own. The Party we need does not exist yet, but it is crucial that we fight to make it happen. All this said, if you wait for the “perfect” organization to appear as if by magic, you have a long wait. No left organization is perfect. Find one that is in the ballpark of what you agree with and work to make it better. Also, whatever group you might choose, remember that our enemies are on Wall Street and not on the left.
We need a revolutionary socialist party worthy of the name — a party that is able to lead struggles in the streets and workplaces, as well as contesting elections. We need a democratic organization that is capable of reaching collective decisions and taking action collectively. This means, in my opinion, regaining the real meaning of democratic centralism and discarding top-down distortions of the revolutionary party. We have to be able to take a fresh look at the way mass revolutionary parties were actually built in the past. We have to learn the lessons of the Bolsheviks, the early CPUSA and the Black Panther Party.
We need to pick a spot and fight. Here in the US, we have been the victims of a one-sided class war waged by our ruling class with the collusion of a class-collaborationist trade union bureaucracy. Criticizing the Democrats and the labor tops, however, isn’t enough. Producing propaganda isn’t enough. As a friend pointed out, the main activity of the Bolsheviks wasn’t selling papers, it was organizing workers.
Pick a spot and fight- whether it is a police brutality struggle in your community, for abortion rights, for LGBT equality, for immigrants rights, for a $15 minimum wage, or a contract fight in your workplace. So, let’s make 2014 a year of struggle.