U.S. and World Politics

Editorial Introduction

In this issue of Socialist Viewpoint we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the October 1917 Russian Revolution. We are featuring historical articles outlining the profound victories and failures of the first workers’ state based upon the ideas of Marxism and the vision of a socialist world free of war, wage-slavery, oppression, and starvation—a world where the full development of each is the condition for the full development of all. The momentous events that took place in Russia beginning in 1917 can be seen as an outline of what was successful and what failed on the road to a socialist world. 

The context of today in the USA

Only 55.4 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots in 2016—26.5 percent for Clinton and less, for Trump—with Trump getting 304 votes in the Electoral College, which resulted in his victory. 

Neither candidate nor their capitalist parties represent the people—the working class. In fact, the presidential election represents the complete inability of the U.S. capitalist class to even address the dire needs of working people in this country. Living conditions are deteriorating on par with the deterioration of our environment. Capitalism can offer only war and conquest on behalf of the ruling rich, at the expense of everyone else and the planet. 

In the face of an extreme housing shortage, a crumbling infrastructure, unemployment, and massive incarceration, the U.S. “…House and Senate Armed Services Committees are planning to propose a defense budget of $640 billion for 2018, a $37 billion increase over the Trump administration’s $603 billion request…along with a $65 billion war budget.”1 Trump wants to bolster America’s military with an amount not far short of Russia’s entire 2016 defense budget of $65.8 billion....”2

Clearly, the system of capitalism with the U.S. capitalist class at it’s helm, is incapable of improving life on Earth and, on the contrary, can only offer the most powerful destructive forces. We are in the throes of capitalism’s death agony.

The task of the working class is to take the power away from the capitalists and rule society in its own name and interests. On the way to this goal we must study history to find out what went wrong with the only democratic working-class revolution in the world and how to apply those lessons to our current struggle of survival against capitalism. 

The goal of socialism is to put an end to war, conquest, and imperialist domination paid for by the sweat and blood of wage-slavery. The wholly undemocratic system of capitalism only works in the interests of the capitalist class and is diametrically opposed to the interests of the vast majority of humanity and the health of the planet.

The massive outpouring of people against bigotry, hate, war and mass incarceration is a step in the direction of a peaceful world whose minimal requirement is to bring equality and justice to all, and a permanent end to war and environmental destruction.

We will be continuing this discussion of the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian revolution in coming issues.

1 “Congress proposes defense budget $37 billion higher than Trump’s,” by Jeremy Herb

2 “Trump’s proposed increase in U.S. military spending is almost as big as Russia’s entire defense budget,” by Max de Haldevang