By the Steering Committee of the League of Revolutionaries for a New America
On May Day 2006, the working class of the United States marked a new round in its awakening. Years of despair and swelling anger over the devastation sweeping the industrial Rust Belt in mid-America. Months of worried pleas and urgent demands over the government’s criminal betrayal before and after Hurricane Katrina. Then a Bill in Congress that would criminalize undocumented immigrants and anyone who extends to them even some common human kindness.
All this built up to May day – a celebration of our class but, at the same time, a serious response to the social destruction resulting from the profound economic changes circling the globe and ripping through this country.
An estimated four million people took to the streets. Not only the Latino immigrants, but also immigrants from Nigeria, Korea, Poland, and every country whose economy cannot give them the work they need to sustain their families. Not only the immigrants and their families, but also thousands of workers who have a heart for their fellow human beings and who recognize that an injury to one is an injury to all.
The global economy is undermining the ability of people to survive in their own countries. Driven by starvation wages and World Bank-mandated “austerity” measures, people from all over the world come here to find a better life. Once in the U.S. they find themselves again among the new class of the dispossesed, fighting for basic rights, water, health care and a living wage. This is the class that marched on May 1st.
The impulse of the movement is to go beyond the leaders and organizations that seemed to deliver the good life when the economy was expanding and times were good for so many in this country. The old answers don’t work, and people are looking elsewhere for new ones. Why follow the Democratic Party when these so-called friends in Congress voted for the immigration bill, the Patriot Act, the Iraq war? Why trust the Democratic Party when it was a Democratic President who took the harshest steps in recent history to criminalize the undocumented worker and instituted “welfare reform” that cut millions of children and unemployed out of needed benefits?
This May Day, millions have begun to cut their own path. They are saying “no” to those who do not promote their interests. Even the fears of some of the most vulnerable workers that “immigrants take the jobs” have proven to be only superficial. Yes, our class is in motion, and it’s time to celebrate.
But it’s also time to beware. Won’t various actors in Congress use the demonstrations to foment support for the measures that serve business interests? Won’t the Democratic Party try to scare people into dropping their principles and their class interests in order to fight some more dramatic danger? Won’t opportunists of all sorts try to build their own organizations and careers?
Of course. This is nothing new. There are always forces that assess a social motion and calculate how to move politically to accomplish their own personal agenda or class program.
But when there is motion, consciousness of class interests is possible. People are learning that this system won’t take care of them. The impulse is to unite and fight for what they know they are entitled to. It is possible to break people free – ideologically and organizationally free – from their class enemies.
Ensuring that our class has the consciousness to fight in its own interests won’t happen automatically. We face a powerful ruling class that lets no person, country, laws, or morality get in its way. A whole system of organizations and so-called leaders colludes to hold people hostage to old ideas.
This moment calls for an organization of revolutionaries. Such an organization will be forged in the process of accomplishing this step in the revolutionary movement. We invite you to get in touch with us so that together we can figure out how to arm our class with the understanding it needs to fight in its own interests. We invite you to join the League of Revolutionaries for a New America.