by Sean O' Torrain and Richard Mellor
There is a non stop struggle for the consciousness of the working class. The capitalist class uses all its power to convince the working class that capitalism and the capitalists are the only road to take. Because of the refusal of the union leaders to combat these ideas and also because of the enormous power of capitalism the idea that capitalism is the only way is dominant. Although we have to be cautious. Between 30 and 40 per cent of Americans favor socialism over capitalism, whatever they mean by this. But to go back to my original point, and in doing so to look at the role of the left in this struggle for consciousness.
I have increasingly felt that the socialist left of whom there are tens and tens of thousands have failed to connect with the mass of the working class and as a result have given a further advantage to capitalism in this struggle for working class consciousness. One of the failures of the left has been its ultra leftism. I mean by this not recognizing the existing consciousness of the working class, connecting with this and then seeking to draw conclusions such as the need to end capitalism and establish a democratic socialist society.
It is the 4th of July, the day is being celebrated by the capitalist mass media propaganda machine hammering away at peoples' consciousness with the The Declaration of Independence which was drawn up on July 4th, 1776 and declared the independence of the US from British rule. The union leaders tend to respond to this drawing the same conclusions as the capitalists, that is that the declaration is a declaration in favor of US capitalism. But how do the left respond? In the main they either ignore it or focus only on the racist and sexist nature of the declaration of independence and condemn it. I believe this is an ultra left mistake. By all means and unconditionally we have to bring up the racist and sexist nature of the declaration but we also have to look at other issues and use these to take on and combat the capitalist propaganda offensive. The inaction of the left to do this is an ultra-left mistake. Below are prominent parts of The declaration of Independence.
"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that amongst these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted amongst men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, - That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of theses ends, it is the Rights of the People, to alter or to abolish it and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness"
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness - you cannot have these without a decent well paid job, affordable housing, free health care and education. This is what the left should be doing today, making concrete what the struggle for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness actually means. This should also be linked to an end to racism, to sexism. Along with this the left should be emphasizing the Declaration's unambiguous statement that when any government becomes "destructive of these ends", that is "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness," it is the "Right of the People to alter or to abolish it (such a government) and to institute new government..."; that is that the people can overthrow the government.
It is not possible to imagine any government much more in conflict with the peoples' struggle for Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, that the present governments, both Republican and Democrat. Both are the parties and servants of the corporations, both loot the Federal, State and local treasuries on behalf of the corporations, both pass laws to support the corporations. The peoples Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness is never even considered.
The Union leaders in this country are blinded by their subservience to capitalism and their lack of confidence that the working class can build a new society. The top layers of these also have generous perks from the existing system. The left are blinded by their ultra-leftism, sectarianism and at times also opportunism. On this day, the 4th of July the unions and the left should be on the streets with their amended version of the Declaration of Independence, with the struggles against racism and sexism added, and build a new movement. It is important to take the positive aspects from US history and show how capitalism contradicts these. And show how socialism is much more in the tradition of the best aspects of US history. The Tea Party outfit know this. They have been seeking to claim US history as belonging to them. They have been smarter in this than the union leaders and lefts.
For Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
For a guaranteed job for all.
For a $20.00 minimum wage for all or a $5.00 wage increase whichever is the greater.
For equal pay for equal work.
For free health care and education.
End foreclosures, return people to their homes
For an end to Racism and Sexism.
For an end to all foreign wars and occupations.
For an end to the militarization of US society and the increased surveillance and repression.