Sunday, 18 March 2012

Class Struggle in Contemporary USA

The above website belongs to a group named the Socialist Alternative, who describes themselves as 'a national organization fighting in our workplaces, communities, and campuses against the exploitation and injustices people face every day.' Their slogan, 'Bail out workers, not Wall Street!' reveals their attitude toward the US government and their recent policies, and in an echo of Charlotte's previous post, they 'believe the Republicans and Democrats are both parties of big business.' Whereas they campaign for an alternative, independent party of workers and young people, in what they describe as' fighting for the millions, not the millionaires' - much like the Occupy Wall Street movement.

I found this article written amongst the many in their archives and thought it contained a lot of useful information on the issue of class lines and class struggle within contemporary USA. It discusses in detail the issues the world faces on the whole, and it says this of the Occupy movement currently sweeping the USA:

'The highlighting of searing inequality against the background of mass impoverishment synonymous with ‘modern’ capitalism has evoked a powerful echo among broad sections of the population... In the US, for instance, average wages of manual workers– still referred to as ‘middle class’ by the capitalist media as a means of blunting growing class consciousness – are at the level of the 1950s in real terms; the religion of everlasting capitalist progress has been shattered. The unrestrained piling up of wealth by the ‘1%’ – perhaps the greatest concentration and centralisation of capital in history, foreseen by Marx – has fuelled the protests.'

Within this, Socialist Alternative reveal their views on the existence of a middle class in America; something they believe has been arisen from the Government and encouraged by the media, in an effort to stop class consciousness and an inevitable revolt. Their ideas are highly linked with Marxism and Socialism, though they do not appear to fully support either movement. And of the Occupy America movement, whilst championing its demands, they also describe it as 'not firmly based either ideologically or with deep roots and a presence in the organisations of the working class' - the sudden popularity it is experiencing, they attribute to the American youth of today.

Socialist Alternative go on to say, ' Never before in history has it been more necessary to stress the need for organisation, for a mass workers’ party, as a vital step in the development of class consciousness; ground won in the past has to be reconquered again and again.' Championing a political awakening of the class divide in America, and a revolution to blur the class lines to what the founders of America first hoped for. They declare that, 'a mass party will be necessary for the working class to conquer and hold power,' and believe 'we have entered a period of revolution and counter-revolution because of the incapacity of the bourgeoisie to solve this underlying crisis.'

They also hold the belief that, 'the economic catastrophe of the US today is also alarming the bourgeois of other countries because of the still pivotal position of the US ruling class for world capitalism,' and predict a revolution in other countries influenced by the US as a result. They suggest that the US government is dysfunctional and the US constitution outdated, and as a result, the population can only choose between which millionaires and billionaires will dominate and exploit workers for years to come, if something is not done about it.

Two other things I thought worth mentioning, was their attitude towards the Tea Party movement - something they call an 'incredible phenomenon' with 'ludicrous and crazed ideas and leadership,' that only garnered support because they took advantage of the political vacuum created by an absence of any left-wing challenge to Obama. And also, their feelings towards the lack of unionisation in America - something they feel strongly attributes towards 'increased class polarisation' and helps the popularity of Occupy America, as it provides an important catalyst.

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