[Marxism] La Botz from the Nation series on Socialism
markalause at gmail.com
Fri Mar 27 18:13:16 MDT 2009
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From: <DanLaBotz at cs.com>
Date: Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 7:35 PM
Subject: [CPAction] La Botz article in The Nation series on Socialism
To: CPAction at yahoogroups.com
Reimagining Socialism: A Nation Forum
By Dan La Botz
March 26, 2009
Jack London wrote more than 100 years ago: "We are all tied to the
same machine--only some of us are tied to the top." And that, of
course, makes all the difference.
The crisis of capitalism that we are experiencing unfolds as two
parallel crises. One crisis for them, the corporate elite, the CEOs
and CFOs and the Boards, their lobbyists and politicians, and all
those who make up the upper echelons of American economic, social and
political life. And another crisis for us, often called "the middle
class," but better described as our country's working people and, of
course, the poor.
The crisis has quickly led to a struggle between the two groups, first
over the question of who will pay for the crisis; second over how the
economy will be reorganized through the crisis; and third over the new
state of affairs that will prevail when the crisis ends. They want us
to pay for the crisis, of course. Meanwhile, they want to consolidate
economic power through the crisis, while we lose our homes. And
finally, they want a new state of affairs tomorrow that will return
them to profitability--and leave us broke.
The auto bailout, for example, is conditioned on union givebacks.
Similar things are happening across the country, where state
governments plan to make public employees pay the price for the
crisis. Government and industry don't intend to let this crisis go to
waste, not when it can be used to strengthen capital at the expense of
So a struggle has begun--but it is an unequal contest. The corporate
elite that has run this country for a hundred years controls all the
governmental machinery, dominates the two major political parties, the
lobbyists, and business and commercial associations. We have...well,
in truth, we don't' have much except our numbers and our disparate
locations in the workplace, communities and society of working class
How do we use what little we have in this unequal fight over the
future of our country? How in the face of their vast economic and
political power do we build the people's power to confront them? We
believe the answer is for socialists to work to build and to support
militant minorities. Think of the Abolitionists. Think of the sit-down
strikers. Think of Martin Luther King, Ella Baker and Cesar Chavez.
Or take the workers at Republic Windows and Doors in Chicago and their
union, the United Electrical Workers (UE) as an example. Those workers
refused to accept the closing of their plant. But they didn't just
file a grievance, or bring a lawsuit. Three hundred workers in one
factory organized democratically, from below, and built a grassroots
movement that took action. They trespassed, seized private property,
occupied a factory, called for solidarity, and got it. And in the end
they kept their jobs, and for a brief moment inspired working people
throughout the country and the world. They should be our model.
The task of socialists today is to build and support such militant
minorities so that tomorrow we can set larger groups into motion. We
know from experience that when large numbers go into motion, they
develop new tactics and strategies, as well as the new political
alternatives without which we cannot succeed in changing this society.
Most important, when millions go into motion, they actually have the
power to change society.
Dan La Botz
Dan La Botz is a Cincinnati-based teacher, writer, and activist, and a
leader of the Solidarity.
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