Thursday, July 5, 2012

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

I put a piece on another list yesterday about the 4th of July and the declaration of independence. As well as the general democratic demands the declaration raises it also raises the right of the people to overthrow the government. I explained that I thought we should build on these statements made in different circumstances by US capitalism. Another contributor disagreed. Here is my response. 


I feel that we have to be clearly associated with democratic demands. And of course link these to demands for better economic conditions and control of the economy state etc. I feel that we must not allow the capitalists to pose as the democrats and we the non democrats. I feel we are in danger of doing this if our emphasis is always to explain the limits of democracy rather than to say yes we are all for democracy but that for us this means different from what it means to the capitalists. Look here in the US. The way the states all have two senators regardless of their populations, the way the electoral college is undemocratic, the way the politicians are bought by the bribers for the corporations. Yes we need a workers party but for most people this is not in their consciousness, they do not know what it is. We need to have transitional demands related to the undemocratic nature of the US capitalist state. Before apartheid was brought down one of the South African leaders was explaining that they wanted a state like the US.  

To go back to the Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness again. I think we have to say that we are of course for life, but for us it means the right of all worldwide to have a good life with enough to eat and shelter and free education and health care, it also means the right of all women to have control over their own bodies and this means the right not to have a child or to have a child. That is the right to have an abortion or the economic means to have a child. Look at the way the right have chosen their slogan the "right to life." 

Liberty: I do not think we should allow the capitalists to claim this word as theirs. We should say of course we are for liberty but liberty for the capitalists is different from our liberty. Their liberty is liberty for capital to go where it likes, to exploit whom it likes liberty, it is global capitalism, it is the right for their class to rule whether through the ballot box or the fist, for us liberty means the right of the working class, the overwhelming majority to rule and to plan and to build a democratic socialist society. 

The pursuit of happiness, yes we are overwhelmingly for this. For the capitalists it is an empty phrase or if it means anything it means the pursuit of happiness only for their class. We are for the pursuit of happiness for everybody on the planet. This again means the economic means to have a good life, the democratic control to make collective decisions, the free time for all  to access art and all the finer things in life.

I believe this should be our approach. Not starting off by a negative explanation of how the ideas such as democracy, liberty, freedom, happiness, life etc are just capitalist propaganda, which of course in their hands they are but in our hands they can be something entirely different and positive. Only the working class by carrying through the revolution on a world scale can move towards these aims and principles. We have to make these ideas ours and not get cornered into being painted as being undemocratic etc. Look at how Bush and Obama and co go round the world slaughtering under the name of democracy. I believe the left have allowed them to get away with this due to their wrong approach to this issue, their non transitional approach to this issue. 


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