|Yamuna River in New Delhi. Photo: Manan Vastsyayana|
Yesterday I wrote the following comment on this blog:
"At this time of year families in many parts of the world give a lot of their attention to their children. It is important to think about this. The children who are born today or who are in their early years, what kind of future will they have? If capitalism still exists life on earth will be collapsing around them when they get to their teens and early twenties. If we are to look after our children, if we are to work to have a future for our children then we have to work to build an international socialist movement which can end capitalism. This is our parental responsibility."
I would like to develop this a bit more.
We live in a period of history when capitalism is destroying the planet. The capitalist class which runs this system is incapable of stopping this catastrophe. What is necessary is for the progressive class, the working class, to overthrow capitalism and the capitalist class and take power in its own hands and establish an international socialist world. The problem is that the leadership of the working class, the trade union and labor leaders are committed to capitalism and block all efforts by the working class to end capitalism and change the world for the better. What is necessary is to overthrow this pro-capitalist leadership in the working class and establish instead a revolutionary international socialist leadership. What is necessary is to change the working class from where it is a potentially powerful force but prevented from realizing this potential by its own leadership. The working class is like a huge chisel. It is potentially powerful, spread all over the world, it makes the wheels of industry and the world economy turn. The problem is this huge chisel does not have a cutting edge. It is blunt. The task for all workers is to put an edge on the chisel by creating a new revolutionary international leadership.
We have to make sure we put the blame where it belongs: On the shoulders of the leadership of the working class. It controls the mass organizations of the working class and prevents the potential of the working class from being realized. It is this force that holds back the working class and prevents the world from being changed for the better. It is this force that will allow the capitalist class to remain in power, continue to preside over its diseased system and destroy life on earth as we know it. This leadership has to be identified, confronted and removed. It has to be replaced by a leadership that will fight capitalism and make whatever sacrifices are necessary to change the world, to take it forward from the present phase of capitalism to the new progressive phase of international socialism.
|Bangladesh rivers poisoned by tanneries|
However while standing form on this and putting the blame firmly where it belongs, that is on the shoulders of the labor leaders, I would also like to address the working class as a class. Leon Trotsky, the Russian Revolutionary leader murdered by one of Stalin's agents, once said that there are times when the working class needs a good shaking. I believe this is one of these times. The working class as a class needs to consider what the future will be if capitalism continues. In particular it needs to consider what the future for its children will be. Let us be clear, all the major reports from major scientific bodies and 97% of the world's scientists predict that life on earth as we know it will be destroyed in the next decades if capitalism continues. So what is the conclusion? If we are to provide a future for our children then we have to end capitalism. When we hold their little hands, when we take them to buy a present, when we look after their illnesses, we have to also see that these kindnesses and this care is not enough. We have to change the world in which they live, in which they will live as they reach into their teens and onwards, we have to change their environment.
There are different layers in the working class. There are the most conscious and thinking and combative layers. There is the large mass of the working class that is inactive for long periods before moving into action. There are other layers which can for a time even act against their own interests. The task is to organize the most active and combative layers around a revolutionary anti capitalist program and strategy, orient these layers to give leadership to the mass of the working class and draw all these layers into united struggle and in this way also draw in the less advanced layers and create a united revolutionary working class movement internationally.
These days as we look after our children, in whatever continent, in whatever religion or none, we have to focus on the big central picture. Unless capitalism is ended life on earth as we know it will be destroyed. Then our children will have no future. All of us in the working class must face up to this reality.