United States and World Politics

What Is To Be Done Now

By Joe Johnson

In the short period of time since the last publication of Socialist Viewpoint the intensity of the class struggle has increased.

These struggles are still mostly defensive, but they are defensive in a vigorous style and sometimes there are minor victories; it is not all defeats.

One on-going struggle that is greatly inspiring is the prison struggle in California. As of this writing there are hundreds of California prisoners still taking part in a mass hunger strike that began with over 30,000 prisoners participating. This represents an extremely high level of class-consciousness, courage and organizational ability.

That this is developing among California prisoners means that it is quite possible that it will develop in other states among the more than 2.5 million prisoners in the United States. This will be a prison revolt the likes of which has never been seen in the United States before. If it can unite, as it must to be successful, with the other struggles going on it will mean a major, perhaps fatal, defeat for the U.S. ruling class.

In Jackson Mississippi another inspiring struggle is taking place. Chokwe Lumumba1 has won by 87 percent a victory in the Jackson mayoralty race, a capitol city of over a 150,000 population. What are of great significance are Lumumba himself and the program he won his victory on. Lumumba has a long history of militant leadership and integrity of the highest level. His People’s Assembly program and his Jackson Plan, a struggle for self-determination, participatory democracy and economic justice is, in my opinion, a plan that has a real possibility to defeat the U.S. ruling class.

This attack on the ruling class will not go unanswered by them for long. The counter attack led by the capitalists will take the form of soft cop, hard cop. The soft cop will be in the form of an approach by the Democratic Party to give support and help to Lumumba, perhaps by an offer to him to be a Senator on the Democratic ticket with full political and financial support. To get this he need not even change one of his words, just water down his actions and his People’s Assembly’s actions. I do not think this bribe will work; Lumumba knows the Democratic Party. He ran for Mayor as a “Fannie Lou Hamer Democrat.”

The hard cop will be through the banks and the “U.S. Justice Legal System.” The city is certain, as most all U.S. cities, to have a big debt to the banks, so big it cannot pay it off immediately. The banks, with the full support of the State and Federal government, will call these due, and due with interest, now. They will call in the National Guard to act as debt collectors. Then do some legal “thuggery” to get Lumumba out of office, into prison and destroy the People’s Assemblies.

This attack can be defeated but it will take mass organizing, the raising of people’s consciousness and the willingness to actively struggle. An important part of this is the understanding that the City of Jackson cannot exist as a separate city surrounded by a state and nation that are absolutely hostile to it. Yes, it must organize itself and raise its consciousness and willingness to actively struggle, but it needs also to reach outside itself.

A way to do this is for Lumumba to reach out to his birthplace, Detroit. Detroit, its unions and its people, are being ground up and made into hamburger by the banks. The once strong United Auto Workers (UAW) has tried to defend itself from being ground up, but cannot do it as long as it is tied to the butcher, the Democratic Party, which is doing the grinding. It must unite with, for example, the 50,000 fast food, low wage and non-union workers of Detroit. A way for it to do so is through a Detroit People’s Assembly that is connected to Lumumba’s Jackson People’s Assembly.

Nationally there are many large groups that are in life and death defensive struggles that can unite with Jackson, Detroit and the prisoners. For example, the capitalist ruling class no longer needs or wants an educated working class, so it attacks education. It cuts down on public education at all levels; it fires and cuts the wages of the teachers. The teachers find themselves fired from their jobs, their wages cut and their pensions (deferred wages) stolen from them. The students find extremely poor schools, with fewer teachers and they must pay for what little they do get.

The teachers and students are fighting back and actively looking for support in the community and from the unions. They will, if given the opportunity, unite with the People’s Assemblies and with such unity greatly strengthen themselves and the People’s Assemblies.

Another example is the environmental movement. They see in depth and with scientific accuracy that capitalism as a system is destroying all life on Earth. With the capitalists’ massive destruction of the air, water and soil, the environmental movement has become larger—with larger groupings of workers, scientists, small business capitalists and even a very few large capitalists. They however need the leadership of the working class and are now beginning to understand this, so many of them will work with the People’s Assemblies.

There are many very large groups of others, such as the very low wageworkers, the unemployed, and the professionals who do not want to destroy their professions for the capitalists, who through unity can forge the Socialist future of the United States.

We shall win!

This is an addendum to the article, “Today’s Situation and What Is To Be Done Next,” by Joe Johnson that appeared in the May/June 2013 issue of Socialist Viewpoint, Vol. 13, No. 3.

1 “Chokwe Lumumba: New mayor, new era for Jackson, Mississippi?”

By Askia Muhammad -Senior Editor, August 19, 2013 - 5:09:53 PM