“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx
Apr 15, 2019
The following article is the editorial from The SPARK’s workplace newsletters, for the week of April 8, 2019.
People focus on Trump. But, really, what is he? Nothing but a clown in the political circus. Those circuses have been around as long as this capitalist system we live under, distractions from the reality of our lives.
We need to consider our lives, not a smirking buffoon with sleight-of-hand tricks.
Our lives are fenced in by the lack of decent jobs, and wages that fall further behind our weekly bills. Our children’s lives are defined by schools that don’t give them an adequate education. Our well-being is threatened by public services that long ago stopped serving the public – leaving behind tainted water in Flint Michigan, unrepaired levees in the Missouri flood plain, or burnt out towns in California.
Our lives are blocked because the capitalist class, a tiny minority, controls and hoards society’s wealth. That’s reality. The state apparatus funnels public money to the corporations and banks. That’s also reality. The political circus is just a diversion.
Wealth floods through all the channels of this society – more than enough wealth to provide real education to every child; more than enough to let every person work a decent job, with decent pay; more than enough to guarantee our wages keep up with inflation.
But here is the problem: the wealth that exists is not used for the population today. Instead it drains into the hands of a few people whose lives are stuffed with luxury. It fuels speculation in crazy new financial instruments – like Bitcoin. It chases after a flash return from a 30-second “investment” in fluctuating currencies. It finances the drug trade and sex trafficking – trades in which some of the largest banks have an indirect stake.
Unimaginable amounts of wealth are stolen from labor around the globe, pushing more of the world’s people into misery. Money chases after more money, threatening to bring down the whole global economy – as it almost did in 2008, and absolutely did in 1929.
Even if the capitalist economy hasn’t yet collapsed again, it already is pushing us backwards, driving down our standard of living.
This is reality today. None of the political clowns will fix it for us. They all make it worse.
Working people have the power to transform the situation by struggling. But struggle isn’t enough. We have to know what to struggle for. We have to put our hands on the wealth that exists. We have to fight to take it back from the ones who stole it from our labor: the capitalist class. We have to fight to get rid of capitalism itself, this system that impoverishes labor for the benefit of capital.
Capitalism is a worn out system. It already was dying in the 1930s. It survived only by taking the whole world to war, killing off many tens of millions of people, destroying whole countries, leveling the productive apparatus in many countries.
We won’t defend ourselves by fighting against other working people – not in this country, nor in other countries. We will defend ourselves when we fight to get rid of the class that hoards all the wealth our labor has produced: the capitalist class. It is an international class, but a major part of it is in this country.
Today, when few people are fighting, to talk about a struggle seems like wishful thinking. But sometimes when people begin to move, they move faster than anyone believed possible. And that can include us.
The power to get rid of capitalism resides in us, the working class. We produce all the goods and services necessary for modern life. Organized together as a class, we have the power to shut down capitalism. Working in the heart of production, we can reorganize it to provide what the population needs. Working in offices and warehouses, we can reorganize the distribution of goods and services so all people get what they need. Together, we have power. This is reality also.