“What’s with all the riot gear? We don’t see no riot here.”
Hundreds of thousands of people across the United States and around the world filled the streets demanding an end to police brutality and racial injustice. In 2017, the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights issued a report sharply criticizing U.S. human rights abuses. It noted that the United States has the highest rate of income inequality among Western countries.
“The persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power,” the report stated.
Are we witnessing the birth of a revolutionary movement and the downfall of capitalism? That is far too much to hope for, unfortunately, despite the rising inequality, the endless wars, the decades of discrimination. Protesting our oppression has been unfocused and at times contradictory. Some would like to say that we are at a turning point approaching a revolutionary moment. Sadly not. But it may possibly be a time for many to reflect upon the type of society we presently live under and how different it could be. Socialists do hope that the remarkable energy behind the protests can be transformed into a sustained movement for a radical change of everything. It is time to rethink the way we live.
On the economic field the masters are in a far stronger position than the workers and can beat them any time they decide to fight to a finish. Yet in this, as in so many other cases, they threaten to use the overwhelming power of the State for their purpose because it is so much more speedy and decisive. But how comes it that they can use the State for this purpose? Because the large majority of the other workers, placed the State in the hands of the masters when they voted the latter into possession of political power. While the workers accept the poisonous nonsense that “capital should have a fair profit,” while they swallow the lies and humbug that the interests of the master class are the interests of the “community,” or ”society,” they will be easily led to vote their masters into possession of the power to rule society. When working people rid themselves of this stupidity and find that the way to salvation lies through organisation for control of the political power. Not until that is assured can the workers own the means of life and operate them for their own benefit. When that lesson is learnt the day of socialism will be dawning.
Perhaps the dawn appears to be breaking, and at last our fellow-workers are showing signs of understanding their class position and the cause of their enslavement—the class ownership of the means of life. When they fully grasp this they will unite with us in the World Socialist Movement, realising that the emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself.