While the disastrous fallout within America from Covid-19 is thoroughly exposing the contradictions of capitalist society, it’s limiting our options as revolutionary agitators and encouraging complacency. Protesting in public is now unsafe and largely illegal, and the virus risks are making people too afraid to step out of line. If we don’t act, the following months will be perfect for the government to suspend civil liberties and for corporations to exploit the crisis.
This is why class conscious people need to unify around a concrete plan for taking action against the capitalist class. The current chaos is potentially a great opportunity for moving society towards socialist revolution, but we’ll first need directions.
For the next month or so: participate in the planned strikes
On April 1st begins the planned rent strike. If you’re not receiving income as a result of the lockdowns, you shouldn’t have to pay rent-even if America’s government tries to buy your complacency by sending you partial relief money. The same applies to how you should treat the other aspects of our economic system. This crisis has demonstrated that wealth is produced by the workers, and that our society’s ruling institutions are willing to leave behind those in the lower classes. We should respond by cutting off our support for the system, specifically for the landlords who continue to demand people support their illegitimate income gathering arrangement during this time of scarcity.
On April 2nd, a general strike is planned, one that like the rent strike has the following demands: universal healthcare, guaranteed sick leave and food stamps, free universal housing, deactivation of ICE, release of detainees, cancellation of student debt, a halt on parking enforcement, and suspension of mortgages, evictions, and rent. The store workers, who are instrumental in holding up the current economy, should be sure to participate in this strike. They and others should also take part in this year’s May 1st strike.
Further strikes should be organized in the coming months. But a strike isn’t how we’ll ultimately take power, and the demands I’ve mentioned above no doubt won’t all be met. We should use these events to galvanize the organizing power of the poor and working classes.
For the coming months: build the institutions for revolt
These strikes have such potential for furthering class struggle because if they’re big enough, they’ll show the ability of the masses to unite and defy our circumstances. The quarantines are leading to a joblessness crisis unlike anything the U.S. has ever seen, with unemployment filings skyrocketing and jobless rates estimated to soon potentially get to 30%. At the same time, banks and corporations are working to exploit the crisis at the expense of the economic victims. Taxpayers are again bailing out wealthy insiders. The hospitals that lower class people rely on are being overwhelmed due to America’s corporatist healthcare system. The big banks have called for more Wall Street deregulation, and for healthcare firms to raise prices on critical drugs. There’s even been a trend of insider trading among America’s oligarchic senators amid the collapse of the stock market.
Such exploitation and corruption, facilitated by a growing agenda among capitalist powers like the U.S. and the U.K. to push through repressive measures, embody the ways capitalism is disregarding the interests of the have-nots during this pandemic. Class antagonism is thus being exacerbated, not just on a political and economic level but on an interpersonal level. Hamptons residents are reporting how the people from the wealthy neighborhoods have been hoarding supplies and recklessly venturing into public, inflaming long-standing resentment from those who lack the resources to act so carelessly. We won’t be able to respond to these slights and injustices until we unify more of our class behind the organizations for socialist revolution.
I recommend that you join or attempt to join the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the Workers World Party, the African People’s Socialist Party, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, or the Communist Party USA. There are also many local or smaller communist organizations throughout the country, such as the Pan-American People’s Liberation Party. If you’re persistent, you’ll become part of one or more of these parties (depending on whether what you join allows dual membership) And you’ll be able to get others to join these parties if you advocate online for people to do the same as you.
This is where the bulk of our organizing will be able to take place in the coming months, and where you’ll be able to join any organizations: through the Internet. We must concentrate the extra time we’ll be spending online into recruiting for revolutionary institutions, spreading information about the coming strikes, and educating people about the need for proletarian revolution. This way, we’ll build up the institutions that we’ll need for translating the growing class consciousness of the masses into a revolutionary force.
For the coming year and the years that follow: mobilize towards overthrowing the capitalist state
I don’t want to too explicitly advocate for the more drastic actions that I believe will be necessary for accomplishing our task, though many of these actions are mentioned throughout this article about the history of civil disobedience. But as Lenin wrote, “The supersession of the bourgeois state by the proletarian state is impossible without a violent revolution. The abolition of the proletarian state, i.e., of the state in general, is impossible except through the process of ‘withering away.’” This describes our strategy for overcoming capitalist power as America’s revolutionary crisis intensifies.
After the current quarantine ends in the U.S., we should organize vast public protests against the egregious new capitalist abuses that will no doubt be happening at that point. We should also plan to put together road blockades, occupations of buildings, sit-ins, and more general strikes. We should do so while spreading the message that capitalism is broken and that socialist revolution is our only option, like has happened with France’s protests as Marxist imagery has been incorporated into the displays of the gilets jaunes.
The three pillars of our long-term strategy should be disrupting the system through these civil disobedience tactics, spreading class consciousness while building the revolutionary institutions, and getting the members of the proletarian revolutionary movement armed and trained. In the coming years, our movement will be met with violence from the state, the right-wing paramilitaries, and likely lone wolf attackers. We’ll succeed by keeping the movement’s participants physically safe, building the organizations that can help us be resilient amid state repression, and spreading awareness of what exactly a socialist revolution will entail.
By this, I mean spreading awareness that the U.S. is a settler-colonial state which exploits other colonized parts of the world, and that this reality is at the root of why we’re living in this broken capitalist system. To free ourselves from capitalism, we’ll need to carry out an anti-colonial revolution. One that works in solidarity with socialist states like China, Cuba, the DPRK, and Vietnam, which have long been under attack to various degrees by U.S. imperialism.
This crisis is making all of these things abundantly clear. China has all but defeated the virus due to its socialized healthcare system, Cuba hasonly a few dozen Covid-19 cases because of its socialized healthcare system and unique anti-viral medicine, Vietnam is handling it similarly, and the DPRK has barely been in contact with the virus so far. Chinaand Cuba in particular are taking the lead in sending medical assistance to other countries. At the same time, the United States is letting the virus explode among its citizens due to its neoliberal healthcare system, using sanctions to block medical resources from the people of Venezuela and Iran, and slipping into a depression in contrast to the relative economic resilience of the socialist nations.
It’s getting clearer to a lot of people that capitalism isn’t the system we need, and it’s clear to those who pay attention that socialism, specifically Marxism-Leninism, is the solution that can save society from the catastrophe we’re facing. If you’re a U.S. resident who’s committed to the cause of proletarian revolution, your job is to utilize the present conditions best you can towards developing the class struggle in your country.
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