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Monday, June 15, 2015
USA. Consciousness. A couple of useful statistics.
by Sean O'Torain
The millenials, I recently learned, are those here in the US who were born either in the 1980's or 1990's. In the countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East I am not sure if they have such a concept as so many people die so young of starvation, wars and repression that the statistic would have to be broken down and examined more carefully. But back to the millenials in the USA. 36% of these have a favorable view of socialism. They may not and will not all be clear on what socialism is by any means but this is still a very important and impressive reality. Especially when there is no mass force campaigning for socialism. In fact all the mass forces, the corporations, their state and mass media, their political parties which have a monopoly over the political system, their education system, their churches all campaign against socialism. Yet in spite of that there is still 36% who have a favorable view of socialism. In the general US population overall the equivalent figure is 26%. This to put it mildly is not a bad position to be starting with, to be building on. Then there is the attitude to trade unions. In March of this year a national survey by the Pew Research Center found that 55% of 18 to 29 year olds viewed trade unions favorably while 29% viewed them unfavorably. Again not bad position to start building from. There is a mood for change in the USA.
So then why is there no mass socialist party in the USA and why is there such a low percentage of the workforce in trade unions. There are two reasons. The main one is the role played by the trade union leaders. This bureaucratic privileged caste control the 15 million strong trade unions and the 1,000 central labor councils and because they believe in capitalism and are doing well for themselves out of capitalism, keep this potentially powerful huge apparatus tied to the capitalist system and the capitalist Democratic Party, all wings of it. This applies to the warmonger Wall Street wing around Obama and the so called liberal wing around Warren and Sanders. They are all for capitalism and blocking a mass workers'
The other reason these moods favorable to socialism and trade unions are not reflected in mass organizations is due to the role of the left organizations over the past decades. Both the Stalinist Communist Party which had up to 100,000 members at the end of the 1930's and the left groups which claim to be non Stalinist and revolutionary socialist. through a combination of sectarianism, ultra leftism and opportunism these organizations were unable to build a mass workers movement to challenge capitalism and to organize the working class.
The lessons of the past have to be learned. A new mass workers movement organized in the workplaces in democratic fighting trade unions and a new mass democratic socialist Party has to be built. This is possible.