[Marxism] Fwd: What is to be done? An invitation for submissions to North Star

Manuel Barrera mtomas3 at hotmail.com
Sun Feb 26 11:49:14 MST 2017

My reply on the North Star:
I invite any of you out there to examine this question and post, discuss, and  submit your thinking to multiple venues. I believe the The North Star Network is an open space for multiple perspectives. However, here are my initial comments:

1. it is is well and good for people to talk, to analyze, and think broadly about what "should be done". But it CANNOT be "done" in contradiction to ongoing action. There is collectively a "mass ferment" as well as a mass level of shock and paralysis as even our largest actions seem (I say "seem") unable to keep Trump and his willing (and unwilling) accomplices (Republican and Democrat) from rushing headlong into barbarism and the dismantling of democratic rights and protections. It is at one most uncomfortable for some sections of the capitalist class to try  to roll back class relations to before thee 1930's and at the same time, the capitalists see this event of Trumpism as a singular opportunity to do that very thing. The reformist-minded rulers (headed by the Democrats of all ilk) likely fear that such a rollback is not possible because they fear the backlash of the masses to defend Our gains. Trump and his followers are, in fact, calling our "bluff" betting that mass discontent will be quelled by a combination of Trump-inspired repression and the Democratic Party's historic role in encompassing mass movements and dissipating them into support for "realistic" electoral politics. In short, Trump and the Democrats hope to use the next four to eight years to effect a new era of  "class peace" where all of US can learn to expect even less than what we've become increasingly used to accepting today. We Must Not talk and stop acting. Even directionless, the mass movements that are emerging create a different context. Indeed, the recent "debate" within the Democratic Party National Committee to elect a new chair received far too much attention by people who were just a month ago in the streets beginning to feel our power. "Discussing and analyzing" devoid of action, no matter how less effective such action might be without leadership, creates breathing room for the oppressors. Those of us who see ourselves as revolutionaries must continue to participate in every form of struggle no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. In this period, every struggle, every town hall meeting, every issue becomes a basis to "stop Trump", which equals today to meaning stop capitalism's assaults.

2. Those of us who consider ourselves "leftists" or socialists need to unite not simply "in spite" of our differences, but BECAUSE of our differences. We need to show the masses both how to fight and how to make united decisions, especially when we disagree. The Trumps and the Democrats have historically relied (knowingly and unknowingly) on this very real propensity of internecine warfare "in the streets" among those who have become moved to oppose them. Indeed, the rise of the trade union bureaucracy during earlier revolutionary times has been a model, not necessarily fomented by the rulers but certainly been used to their advantage. The ruling class has historically had a singular weapon of mass (movement) destruction; their ability to open and close the "spigot" of reforms that created the material basis to buy off large sections of the working masses that allowed for the dissipation of mass movements. Capitalist greed is inexorable, but it is wholly capable of using its greed--and its vast stores of accumulation--to protect and defend itself. Its best weapon is that which can foment discord and disruption among the revolutionary class across all its potential fault lines of division. The longer we take--as potential revolutionaries--to find a way to unite in discussion, debate, decision-making and ACTION, the longer it will take to overcome the "crisis of leadership" of the masses that so many have "analyzed" is a problem. The results of our inability to unite are already apparent; they are bloody and the more consciously we refuse to change, the more that blood is also on our hands.

3. While there is not as yet an effective and permeating fascist threat, the attempts by Trump and his base of highly ignorant and fearful "petit bourgeois and lumpens" to create an "authoritarian" state raise the real possibility of such a fascist movement. That movement of reaction will NOT look like Hitler's fascism or Mussolini's or even of previous "American" attempts. However, such a movement will SURELY be aided by a) the continued "leaderlessness" of mass ferment b) the resulting demoralization and descent into despair of the currently democratic-moving masses as they see that their efforts are falling on deaf ears and Trump remains in power to continue his descent into barbarism (make not mistake, Trump will remain in power absent an increased and militant change of the relationship of forces) and c) the "success" of the liberal bourgeois to demobilize the mass movements for their ends to replace Trump with yet another Obama or such ilk. The rulers hope to find an equilibrium, the more docile and accepting we are about whatever context is created--more Trump or less--the better for them and the more devastating for the rest of us.

In the end, if we do not continue moving (#1 above) and find a way to create a truly revolutionary tradition and leadership founded in democracy of action (#2 above), we will find a "new equilibrium" where the masses will be even poorer, leaderless, and living in a tacit occupation state within the world where acts of desperation become the only source of respite.

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