Nobody knows exactly what socialism is going to look like in a given society, until that society has actually undergone its workers revolution and had the opportunity for its people to build socialism. We can make educated guesses about what the character of socialism in North America will be, but a perfectly clear image of it won’t exist until we’re carrying out the project of socialist construction. Lately, though, we’ve been seeing advancements within the struggle which have given us more clarity on some parts of our proletarian-led future.
As more and more workers unite behind the effort to resist Biden’s Ukraine proxy war, and the other designs of U.S. imperialism, we’ve become able to tell that the socialism which emerges within our conditions will include a dynamic of mass cooperation; cooperation among many of the same elements within our society which used to be in conflict with each other.
The divides created by racism; by tribalistic political polarization; by the comparative levels of economic privilege among capitalism’s different types of victims; they’re being lessened by the anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly coalition which has arisen in response to the Ukraine conflict. We’ve been seeing Black nationalists come to work with orgs that conventional “left” thinking says aren’t compatible with; we’ve been seeing religious people who could otherwise have been manipulated by divisive culture war propaganda uniting with atheistic communists; we’ve been seeing libertarians who aren’t necessarily working class enter this coalition with Marxists as well, like how many smaller business owners came to support the Communist Party of China during the country’s revolutionary moment.
Why do these developments represent the beginning of longer-term historical trends within the effort to bring our society towards its next stages of progress? Because it’s in the spaces where this unity has been emerging; where the anti-monopoly coalition is being built; that the political forces exist which have hope for defeating our ruling institutions.
The “left” as modern America knows it is focused not on building a relationship with a majority of the people; on nurturing the anti-imperialist impulses of the workers; but on gaining influence within the existing “left” circles. In the worldview represented by these insular parts of the left, the majority of the people are fundamentally reactionary, thereby justifying the act of separating oneself from them. It’s a worldview which contradicts what the anti-NATO coalition has proven: that the people, including many among the societal elements which have more contradictions than others, are capable of uniting against imperialism. The only parts of the people the established “left” orgs seek to bring in are either radical liberals, who’ve already been turned into aggressive promoters of “progressive” imperialism; or regular liberals, who in too many cases aren’t willing to give up their ideological allegiance to the NATO-led order.
Most Americans have a primary material interest in defeating U.S. imperialism, and they’re detached from the niche circles which lead someone to become emotionally attached to defending the empire’s psyops. They have no incentive to fight a narrative war on behalf of the State Department, so they only ever believe the State Department’s narratives because these narratives are the only accounts of world events they’ve so far been exposed to. As soon as they see a reason to disbelieve these narratives, they change their minds, as we’ve seen with how most of the country has come to oppose sending more aid to Ukraine. The majority of Americans naturally get narrative fatigue when they keep getting told the same things, and reality doesn’t appear to support what they’re told; the media seemed to imply Washington’s side would win this war much sooner, and that victory still hasn’t come.
Even if victory in Ukraine did come, it wouldn’t be glorious for the working people, who are going to continue experiencing the effects of the inflation the conflict has exacerbated. Beating Russia is, to the average American, an ultimately meaningless idea. And when the rich pundits and politicians continue insisting we should care about beating Russia, even as inflation comes to so obviously be an issue which matters more, Americans can start to feel actively hostile towards NATO.
Out of this collective disillusionment is emerging a mass effort to overcome the power of monopoly finance capital by any means necessary. If uniting all the ideological forces which oppose monopoly is one thing we must do to win the class war, that’s what we’ll do. It’s the same strategy which the Black Marxist Henry Winston concluded is instrumental for oppressed and exploited people in the imperial center to adopt:
For colonial peoples, liberation starts with rejection of the myth that their fate can be determined “jointly” within the framework of the tight controls that link it to the U.S. economy. For the Black people in the US, on the other hand, liberation is realizable only on the basis of overcoming exclusion and inequality through an anti-monopoly movement, in which the Black people and all who are exploited by the common corporate enemy seek to establish joint control of the country’s economy, It is within such a revolutionary process that Black people will gain full and equal participation in the entire economy, and equality of representation in all aspects of the social, political, economic and governmental life of the country. The ideology of separatism, of determining “Black destiny” on a go-it-alone path—rejecting united action with non-Black opponents of monopoly power—is in today’s context equivalent to the idea of emigration to Canada or Africa counterposed by some as an alternative to Douglass’ strategy of forming an anti-slave power coalition—the strategy which did ultimately bring an end to chattel slavery.
This is why the anti-NATO coalition which the country’s pro-Russian communists have entered into represents something so counter to today’s conventional leftist thinking: according to such thinking, Winston was wrong. The defining trait of dogmatic opportunism within radical spaces is pessimism; pessimism about the ability of this country’s people to come together, and advance a project which successfully brings down the ruling class. Petty-bourgeois radicals, and those influenced by them, believe the anti-NATO ideological elements which have contradictions aren’t worth working with; as supposedly, these elements can only ever be expected to betray those who are lower within the hierarchy.
This is the central idea of Settlers, the ultra-left manifesto that asserted the white workers won’t ever be radicalized. To support this idea, the work’s author J. Sakai uses an analysis of our racial economic conditions which is so detached from reality that no serious Marxist would try to defend it; as the Marxist Comrade Ren has observed about the absurdity of this argument:
Sakai suggests that the poor whites were not only not poor, but that their interests are aligned with the slaveowners, a conclusion which directly contradicts Marx’s analysis of the contradictions inherent in the Antebellum South. The slaveowners needed constant territorial expansion in order to satisfy the landless whites, a fact which brought them into conflict with both the native population and northern industrialists. Sakai says in section 2 of the first chapter that, « What Marx saw in this class fluidity was the ultimate privilege of settler society – the privilege of having no proletariat at all. » Make no mistake, Sakai’s thesis is that there is no white proletariat in the US, a claim which flies in the face of Marx and the reality of life in the US. For Sakai’s thesis to be correct, he would have to prove that there is not one white person in the US whose income comes solely from wage labor, or he would have to redefine class according to income levels, which is the route he takes.
Because of the blatant disregard for scientific rigor which Settlers exemplifies, it doesn’t represent the primary ideological influence behind the left-wing hostility towards our anti-NATO coalition. The average ultra-leftist tries to distance themselves from Settlers, as it doesn’t reflect well on them. Yet the ultras all share the notion that building a coalition among the opponents of monopoly isn’t worthwhile, and therefore reaffirm Sakai’s thesis whether consciously or not.
Opposition towards constructing the anti-monopoly alliance depends on viewing entire sections of the working class as innate enemies; on imagining that revolution can happen while the workers remain fractured. The logical conclusion of this idea is that the drop in mass support for the proxy war has meant nothing; that because these workers who’ve come to oppose NATO’s goals haven’t yet become as knowledgeable as those within the activist niche, we shouldn’t see this development as a reason to build a relationship with them.
This popular shift away from pro-imperialist ideas will prove not to be a trivial thing at all; that is, if we decide not to treat it as trivial. If we continue to encourage the people’s doubts about the things the NATO propagandists tell them, the recent rise in working class antiwar involvement will hasten exponentially. Which will free the labor movement from the control of the Democratic Party, making communism relevant again. This is how we can reverse the balance of class power: by uniting the proletarians and their strategic allies, creating an unstoppable force for progress.
By Rainer Shea
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