by Sean O' Torrain
There are a number of factors involved in the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Miss. We who run this blog have been explaining for years now that US capitalism is in a new period. That it cannot any longer afford guns and butter. That is it cannot afford its close to 200 bases abroad and at the same time keep its own working class at home at the standard to which it has become accustomed and expects. So they have decided to cut the butter. That is the living standards of its own working class. Cheney one of the major figures in the most vicious section of the the US ruling class has openly said that food stamps, social security, health spending must all be cut and what is saved must go to military spending. This is the period we are living through. The cutting of the butter and the maintaining of the war machine.
The US ruling class know that the US working class will not accept being put on rations without a fight. We already have had some sparks of storm lightning which show what will happen. Over a decade ago we had 40,000 workers and youth in street fighting against the cops at the WTO conference in Seattle. More recently we have had the Occupy Movement. And in the recent period we have had the beginnings of a movement to increase low wages. And we have also had the movements against police brutality and racism and sexism. The US ruling class is being warned, and it knows, that the US working class will not accept being pushed into poverty again, losing all they won in the 1930's and 1960's without a major fight.
Knowing this they have consciously prepared. This is what is shown in the streets of Ferguson. Miss. It was shown also in the Occupy Movement. That is that the US ruling class have equipped its cops and National Guard with full body armor. The cops that were on the streets in Ferguson were equipped with sniper rifles and heavy weaponry and full body armor. They were an invading occupying force. The Pentagon has given the country's cities huge armored vehicles which were formerly used in Iraq and Afghanistan. These are supplied free of charge to the cities, the cities only have to maintain them. US capitalism is digging in to take on its own working class.
This weaponry and strategy is being tested at this stage mostly on the large poverty stricken areas with high minority populations. This is what we see in Ferguson. Racism is being used to try and confuse the white working class as to the nature of the problem with which they are faced. But white workers should not be fooled. US capitalism cannot get by unless it drives the white working class into poverty also. These full body armored cops and the huge army vehicles will be headed for the suburbs also. White and Latino and workers of all ethnic backgrounds must take their stand in support of the mainly black workers in Ferguson and in all the other areas where black workers and youth are being murdered in the streets.
But all is not lost. The big heavy battalions of the working class have not yet moved into action. These forces can stop production in the country, bring it to a halt. They will have no choice but to act when they see what is coming for them. There is also the situation in the state apparatus. In Ferguson it was relatively simple. The cops were overwhelmingly white and being used against the black population. In the major cities of the country the cops are much more diverse and faced with a movement of the working class will begin to crack and split.
The US ruling class is gravely concerned about social unrest spreading such is the level of anger beneath the surface of US society. Obama has just appeared with efforts to calm the situation. We are "All part of the American family" he tells a national audience. We are "United in common values, including a belief in equality under the law". But few workers really believe this, the propaganda falls on deaf ears. The concern is deep. We must all step back says Obama. We must all come together to "go forward" and such nonsense. He made it clear that there is "Never an excuse for violence against the police" the armed body of the state the function of which is to defend capitalism and the ruling class. In an attempt to appear fair he says it is also not acceptable for the police to "arrest peaceful protestors" this means participating in protests that are passive and ineffective. Direct action, occupations, strikes, tactics that built our unions and won us everything we have to this point will not be subject to such protection. Obama's mealy mouthed phrases do not fool anyone, they do not negate what we say here that as part of the capitalist offensive he is arming the police and National Guard to the teeth with weapons and military technology recently used in and Afghanistan.
The US labor leaders have the power to stop what is going on. But they are completely in bed with US capitalism and its offensive. They are a criminal disgrace in their refusal to mobilize their members and all workers to fight. A new opposition movement has to be built in the workplaces, the union rank and files, the communities and the schools and colleges. This must identify the offensive of US capitalism and take it on with mass direct action, throw it back and open up a new offensive of the working class instead.
- AFSCME Local 444 negotiations assesment 1997
- Preparing for Revolution: A discussion document
- The Internal lives of Revolutionary Organizations
- Socialist Alternative members: Questions and Answers
- Sanders: Our Alternative
- The Nature of the New European Left
- University of California workers and Unions
- An Invitation to Our Readers
- Facts For Working People Weekly Phone Conferences and Discussions
- Help open The AFL-CIO AIFLD Archives