May 1ST: International Workers’ Day
Socialism or Death!
For workers to survive, capitalism must die!
Capitalism as a social system is breaking down. It has long passed its use-by date. Capitalism is well into its terminal crisis. Every month and year brings with it more death and destruction.
The two imperialist blocs led by the US and China are engaged in a life and death struggle for survival. They now pit workers against one another from Bosnia to Venezuela and threaten a new world war. The threat of such a war is most evident in the build up of US military encirclement of China in the Pacific. Never before has the alternative “Socialism or Death” carried the same urgency.
Capitalism was a huge advance over the previous societies because it allowed humanity to create sufficient wealth from nature to establish the conditions for a socialist society to emerge. For the first time in history humanity could look forward to living in a state of plenty, abundance and freedom, rather than a state of scarcity, poverty and misery.
Capitalism could do this because the profit motive drove individual capitalists to compete to revolutionise industry. To do this they had to increase the rate of exploitation of wage labor which increased the productivity of labor to undreamed of heights.
But the inevitable consequence of this was that massive wealth was accumulated in the pockets of the capitalist class, while the producing class, the great mass of society, became relatively impoverished. All those who say that this obscene disparity of income can be corrected by means of reforms sow illusions in a peaceful outcome of capitalism’s decline and fall.
In reality capitalists are incapable of backing off the drive for profits which brings with it the destruction of those same forces of production that create the basis for socialism. Fracking and deep-sea drilling for oil and gas is proof of this. Not only must capitalism destroy itself it will destroy humanity and nature in its blind struggle to survive.
For humanity to prevent this destruction it must destroy capitalism first. The working class, the great majority of humanity, must overthrow capitalism to allow a new socialist society to emerge capable of stopping the earth’s climate catastrophe and the extinction of the human, and most other, species.
We can see that this realisation is what underlies the many manifestations of worker and peasant uprisings and revolutions taking place around the world. While the capitalist system tries to make workers and peasants pay for its crisis by destroying jobs, living standards and the lives of workers, workers are rising up in resistance.
Everywhere we look we can see workers rising up. The global crisis means that the imperialist powers can no longer rely on the bosses’ ‘democracy’ to impose austerity in every country. This has produced uprisings against dictatorships such as the Arab revolutions that were sparked by the suicide of Mahomed Bouazizi in Tunisia in December 2010, including the Syrian revolution that broke out in March 2011, against the regime of Bashar al Assad.
In other places workers have gone on strike against the austerity attacks of bosses such as the miners of Marikana, South Africa, in August 2012, who were then shot down in cold blood by the ANC regime; the Greek popular resistance to extreme austerity that led to many general strikes; the youthful indignados of Spain and Italy who are still occupying squares; and the local wars such as in Syria and South Sudan that are driven by the rival imperialist blocs’ grab for cheap resources and cheap labor.
In every case, workers resistance is met by capitalist force. Capitalism has no alternative but to physically destroy the class that can dig its grave, the proletariat. To make this destruction more efficient, capitalism uses the false leaders of the workers movements to divide and rule the proletariat along national, race, ethnic and religious lines.
This typically means capitalist regimes use the labor bureaucracy that controls the unions on behalf of the ruling class to trap workers in popular fronts with one or another imperialist power like the US Democratic Party, and popular front parties such as ZANU-PF allied to China in Zimbabwe and the Bolivarian PSUV allied to China in Venezuela.
These reactionary fronts and divisions destroy the class independence, unity and organisation of the proletariat, so that workers begin to fight one another instead of the class enemy. We can see such divisions exploding in Thailand, the Ukraine as well as Egypt, Sudan and Syria.
To prevent these destructive divisions, the proletariat needs a revolutionary socialist party and program to unite and guide workers internationally to a victorious socialist revolution. The current leadership of workers movements internationally are incapable of such a task as they share the ideology of the ruling classes to some degree. They promote national, race, ethnic and religious divisions in the name of the ‘democracy’ or the ‘lesser evil’ of one or another ruling class.
A revolutionary party and program is necessary to fight for the independence of the working class from all such ruling class influences. In every struggle across the world, the international unity of the proletariat is the immediate aim. Its organisation into one world socialist movement led by a revolutionary party and program is the means, and the end is the socialist revolution and the building of a world socialist society.
This requires that all healthy revolutionary currents that are fighting towards this objective urgently join forces in such a party and program. For us this has to be a party and program based on the Bolshevik Party of Lenin and Trotsky. For today the Transitional Program of the Fourth International founded in 1938 embodies the method and tasks of the revolutionary party we need.
Trotsky referred to Marxism as synonymous with dialectics, the method of analysing the dynamics of social change, and the method of applying this was a democratic centralist party. Not only is this the basis for true workers’ democracy where collective decisions are arrived at after all positions have been debated, the centralising of the collective actions of the party is the only means of testing theory in practice and enabling the workers to come to power in the socialist revolution.
While the Transitional Program was never intended as a blueprint for all time its guiding transitional method is to combine the immediate demands for what workers need to survive and live, such as a living wage and basic democratic rights and freedoms, and while fighting the bosses’ resistance to these demands, workers are led to escalate the fight to challenge the bosses’ power by building their own organisations of armed workers’ power ultimately capable of overthrowing the capitalist state and creating a workers state.
In this way the working class destroys capitalism, saving its advanced development of the forces of production as the basis for a new society where production is for need, and each and everyone is rewarded according to the formula: from each according to their ability, to each according to their need!
Such is the future communist society envisaged by Karl Marx in which humanity and nature can live in harmony. “In place of the old bourgeois society with its classes and class antagonisms we shall have an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.” –Karl Marx The Communist Manifesto
Liaison Committee of Communists
May 1, 2014.