The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Sam Johnson:
The Big Picture

Oct 27, 2014

The following is most of the second part of a speech Sam Johnson gave at a recent campaign meeting in Detroit. He is running for Congress in the 13th District.

....So like I said, the more we understand where we fit in the system, and what they’re doing, and where all this is coming from—when we start to fight we’ll know where to take it to. We will need a certain number of people that understand that to direct the fight.

Because you’re going to have fighters. Right now, you’ve got a lot of young people in the streets. They’re fighters. But they don’t know where to take it to. Who are they fighting? They’re fighting each other. Or they’ll fight some worker that may have a few dollars in his pocket—rob him, and take that few dollars. Like I said, they don’t know where to take that fight to. But if you get something started, when those young people see the numbers spread, they’ll be some of the best fighters.

I remember the rebellions of the sixties. That’s when I first understood what it means when you bring certain numbers together—that you have a force. We shut this whole city down. When workers today understand that … that they did that in the sixties? And we’re going through hell today? Worse maybe than in the sixties? And we’re not doing anything? Know what I’m saying—that’s what’s going to happen all over again.

Once it starts, it’s not going to just stop and stay here. It’s going to go from city to city, state to state. That’s what happened then—50 years ago. It went to different states when black workers began to fight.

Once you get that bigger picture … you realize that it really would do that, it would spread like that because you got all the big cities where people really want things to change. Once things get started, you better believe, they will spread. It’s not just about Detroit sending them a message. You’ll have other cities, other states, and workers will do more than send them a message.

We’ve Got the Forces

We don’t need to be going through none of what we are going through today. We’ve got the power to take it all out of their hands—out of the hands of this capitalist class that controls everything, take it away from this one per cent that grabs all the wealth.

We’ve got the power. But most of us feel like we don’t. Because, you know, THEY will say well there’s a law against this … What’s the law? That’s THEIR law. And who protects THEM? Who protects THEIR laws? That’s us, the working people, that protect THEM. The police officers, the troops, the National Guard, that’s all part of the working class that protects THEM. And then THEY say it’s not right for us? Why can’t we protect us against these attacks that are coming from THEM? When they won’t have the forces to keep this going, to keep themselves in power....

All of these problems with the schools, closing of the schools. We can stop all of that. We can stop that because we know the capitalists have got the money. They’re lying when they say they don’t have the money. They’ve got the money. They can spend billions somewhere for something else, but here’s the thing that working people right here need. And the capitalists are lying when they say they don’t have the money. We all know they’re lying.

Fight to Take it All Back

So when we’re ready to fight, we’ve got to fight to take it all back out of their hands. Take all their billions and trillions back. That’s what we’re going to have to do. We can bring jobs, bring schools, eliminate crimes.…

When we do that all of this, crime will stop. Because the conditions the capitalist class creates in this society, that’s what brings about the crime, when people are pushed to the level that they don’t have anything. That’s why young people rob their family, everybody. Just to get a few dollars. This rotten system that we live in has pushed them to that stage. So that’s got to change. We’ve got to change it.

Right now, we’ve lost most of the workers who were out there with the experience to carry out that fight. And then some that’s still around, like me one of them, we are getting to that age that we might not be around that much longer.

So that’s why we’ve got to really pass some of it down to the younger generation who really can take it further. And then don’t stop, where we took it to. Take it further. Because once you stop, what’s going to happen then, they just come back, and take it back. Just when you may have pushed them back, they’ll come right back and take it back. But once we understand that they’ll do that, then we ain’t going to stop. We should keep it going, until we take everything out of their hands

This city, this country, this whole country can be run by working people, in the working people’s interest. Because it should be in the first place, because all the wealth comes from our labor.

One Person Can’t Change Things

I’ve been a fighter all my life, I know I can’t change it all by myself. That’s why I say we need more people to understand what we did, and be fighters. And be able to direct it, so that a fight can spread. That’s what it’s really going to take. And all the problems that we see today—we’re going to have to stop waiting on these politicians because they’re the ones carrying out the policies that cause the problems....

They try to tell us communism is a problem. No, they lie. The issue that I get from that—it was the working class that went up against the capitalists in Russia. They went up against that capitalist class, back in 1917. They wanted to build communism. You understand, it was the working people that was organizing against the people who created the problems. That means that back then workers already understood that they had to fight against that upper class, that one percent. That fight, that’s what socialism and communism means.

And so we have to understand that. Because if we start something right here, it won’t just stop in this country. It will spread to other countries. Because a lot of those countries are being exploited by this number one imperialist country. This is the number one power now, right here. The U.S. is the number one power, the number one monster. That’s why everywhere you look at other countries, the U.S. is going there … they’re going there.

Bring Their War Home

They try to tell us that we’ve got a problem with some other country. No. They have a problem with it.

The war—see that’s another thing—the war. We’re going to go and fight a war for what the capitalists want. But when we get that bigger picture—there ain’t no way we’re going to fight that war. We’ll be fighting right here against the problems that the capitalists bringing at us here.

The workers in other countries will see that too. There won’t be no war. Why should we be going and fighting each other, killing each other for what the capitalists want, control of all the world’s wealth? The U.S. capitalists are controlling this country, and they exploit other countries and control the other countries too. And when we disagree, and won’t accept it, then they’re going to tell lies, and send us to war. And say we’ve got a problem—we’ve got to go fight for our country. No, they’re sending us to fight for more exploitation, for what they want.

I didn’t really get it, but I got some understanding of it when I was five or six years old. One of my uncles was in the Second War. He was coming back and he refused. He went AWOL. And they come everywhere. They come to our house looking for him, were trying to find him. But he said that he wasn’t going back in that war. Just like that.

And in the Vietnam War, I had cousins then that sat down and talked to me about the Vietnam War, and explained something to me about it.

And when I was in California at Northrup Aircraft. I was working there building the jets for Vietnam. One of my brothers was arguing with the supervisor, saying, before he let his son go in that war, he’ll kill him himself. “Before I let him go to Vietnam, I’ll just kill him myself.” We was working there building jets for Vietnam. Then the foreman said to me, “Well what about him? He’s a traitor to your race.” I said, “No man, I wouldn’t go in that war either.” I had heard Muhammad Ali speak out against that war. And so I got the bigger picture then about the war. The war wasn’t for us. I knew that way back then. And it’s still true.

In their wars, you give your life for them, for the capitalists, when you should be right here fighting against them. That’s the bigger picture that we’ll have to get. Our war is here at home against them.