Second Joint Statement of Mid-Atlantic Revolutionary Socialists and Socialist Workers Alliance of Guyana, also distributed May 1, 2017.
On this May Day, we are seeing the end of the recovery of capitalist world power and the fastest uptick in mass struggles toward socialist revolution in many decades. A long term general strike in France’s colony of Guiana has been followed by a decisive, continuing general strike next door in Brazil. In both cases the working masses were fighting austerity attacks on their standards of living. Workers have blocked roads and airports, shut down the subway system, and fought against state repression. In Europe, a recent poll showed that a majority of young people would join an uprising against the capitalist state—and we wait to see where this will first happen. Capitalism will be brought down when the international working class follows the road of the rising workers of the global South. US workers must join the struggle of the most oppressed in the US, who are steadfastly fighting against Trump’s attacks on workers, immigrants, refugees, LGBTQ people, women, and people of color.
A revolution rests on a foundation of strengthened working class organizations, and it takes a revolutionary socialist party to lead the working class successfully in the fight against capitalism. Putting workers— immigrants, women, Black and Brown, LGBT—in a position of power to defend themselves is a goal best served by independent working class organizations and revolutionary socialist politics.
In the United States, more people support socialism than at any time in the recent past, with many supporting candidates who say they are socialists, or organizations calling themselves socialist. But to successfully organize a general strike or a revolution, the working class needs strong unions and movements that do not sell themselves out to the capitalists, especially the Democratic Party. So we need a socialist party to coordinate the fight against the capitalists, and we need it to be revolutionary so it will not take the temptation of joining the capitalists in power.
Right now, capitalism is suffering from self-inflicted wounds–a crisis of profitability–and since we don’t have a revolutionary socialist movement as yet, many workers are turning to different kinds of populism. ‘Democratic Socialists’ like Bernie Sanders claim to offer a kind of capitalism that protects the interests of US workers, never mind the rest, and never mind that US capitalists will not allow it to happen. And right-wing populists like Trump direct resentment against immigrants and the oppressed.
Socialism starts with active social movements, including actions around stopping deportation raids, organizing protests against politicians who allow them to happen, defending sanctuary locations—and much more beyond that. We support equal rights for all immigrants, and an amnesty from all charges, but the fundamental socialist perspective is to open the borders and ultimately end the division of the world into nation-states. If workers can cross borders or create an opportunity to break down walls, we absolutely support them—someday soon, they may need to on a large scale.
In today’s marches, labor unions are participating, but their bureaucratic leaders have barely mobilized and insisted on a separate location from the immigrants’ rights marchers. This is because labor bureaucrats don’t follow a strategy of unifying the working class, but look out for their own interests as sidekicks to the Democratic Party. Obama deported more people than any prior president, and the Democrats intend to continue that policy whenever they return to power. For a labor movement that includes immigrants and actively organizes the unorganized, we will have to take down the labor bureaucrats and reorganize the unions on a socialist basis.
As the Communist Manifesto says, the workers of the world have no country. But world capitalism only makes its profits by exploitation– and in some countries, exploitation of workers is deeper than in others. Imperialism is the system by which countries like the United States keep other countries oppressed, so that this deep exploitation can continue.
Globalization has meant that capital and investments can move freely almost anywhere in the world. But workers cannot move freely because of borders and immigration controls. That means most of the world’s working class has to face lower wages in the countries oppressed by imperialism.
Sometimes, imperialism decides it is best to destroy a country to make an example. This has happened to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria. When Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad kills 500,000 Syrians and makes 10 million of them refugees, US and Russian imperialism are fully responsible because of their role in trying to make sure the Syrian Revolution fails—just as they are responsible for those refugees looking to Europe and other countries for good paying work. Imperialism creates the conditions in which workers need to move for work, even facing hardship, violence, exploitation, separation and state repression. To side with refugees and immigrants means to oppose Assad, the capitalists of the global South, and the imperialists on which they all rely to hold power.
Some workers in the imperialist countries, and many union officials, support immigration restrictions. What this means is to take advantage of the lower level of exploitation, at the expense of all the workers who are not able to get that advantage. But deeper exploitation of others only eventually leads to deeper exploitation everywhere, and the working class needs to unite internationally to fight against what capitalism is bringing them.
Capitalism has been stagnating for more than 40 years, and only continues to grow based on exploitation in places like China and India. A severe economic crisis and depression is almost certain to happen in the next few years. Capitalism is also literally burning up the environment’s ability to support us, and no capitalist government has the power to stop them.
Only a socialist revolution throughout the world can reengineer the economy for sustainable use of resources and a better quality of life. Automation will soon make it possible to live comfortably with much, much less time working—do we want to see those benefits go to a few capitalist lords protected by armed guards, or the world’s population and environment?
We do not have time to be half-way socialists or let history take its course. A socialist revolution, or else continued degradation and repression, with irreparable harm to the world. Join the socialist movement and build a revolutionary party!
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