Clarifying Our Party’s Position and Fixing a Mistake Made by the Central Committee Bureau
Nearly every event in the class struggle represents a test for communists and their organizations. How we respond to unfolding events, even if they are a great distance away, speaks directly to the importance of our program and offers an opportunity to explain how we translate our principles into methods of practical action (if not allowing us to do so directly). Such events also expose areas of weakness or inconsistency between program and action, and allow communists the chance to review, analyze and ultimately correct the errors and divergences that may arise.
As austerity measures have swept across the globe, budget cuts, tax hikes and gutted social services are not the only things we have seen. There is something more sinister behind the facade of “shared sacrifice” built up by the exploiting and oppressing classes.
The imposition of austerity measures that began following the Panic of 2008 has without question been a barbaric attack on the rights and living standards of workers around the world. In the United States and European Union, austerity measures have contributed to a massive decline in workers’ overall economic well-being.
1. The question of the impact that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, has had on the political landscape is one that is, at once, obvious and shadowy. On the one hand, the latent shadow of the attacks continues to hang over the collective political conscious of the American public, regardless of class, and distorts the body politic by acting as an intellectual singularity, siphoning off more nuanced and thoughtful analysis of the current political situation and trapping it in a black hole of stock phrases, sound bites and empty patriotic slogans. The term “9/11” has itself become a universal mantra by the exploiting and oppressing classes; it is used to stop or alter the course of discussion into “appropriate” channels — “appropriate,” that is, for those ruling classes. Likewise, “inappropriate” discussions are relegated to the fringes of political discourse, where they can be easily dismissed or, when necessary, held up for scorn.
The ongoing negotiations over the federal budget and debt ceiling have become as much a media sensation as a recent marriage or death of a celebrity. The 24-hour cable news channels, the various and sundry bloggermouths, and the army of pundits, commentators and media bobbleheads, have all chimed in, offering a blow-by-blow summary of the status of the discussions.
Indeed, virtually every voice attributable to one of the two classes ruling in alliance (the capitalists and their junior partners, the “middle class” managers — the bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie), including those of the bulk of the self-described socialist and communist organizations, have made it a point to give their audience a regular slice of “the latest developments.” These voices concentrate on the shifting figures, costs and percentages that are being added, left alone or eliminated from the federal budget, with the axis of their analysis and agitation (if one can even call it that) running through specific proposals over cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as well as the tax rates for the wealthy.
For three weeks last February and March, tens of thousands of workers and young people gathered at the Capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin, to protest against a bill proposed by Republican Governor Scott Walker that would strip unionized public workers of their rights to collectively bargain. Unlike in recent memory, when such actions only provoked token responses, working people took to the streets in mass numbers demanding that the state legislature “kill the bill.”
During the first week of protests, the number of workers participating in the marches, rallies and occupation of the Capitol grew by leaps and bounds, from a few thousand the first day to over 50,000 by the end of the week. By the next week, upwards of 100,000 workers and young people were surrounding and occupying the Capitol.