Thursday, March 29, 2018

Youth throw NRA and its capitalist gun industry onto defensive.

Chicago March 24

Facts For Working People (FFWP): Thanks to the magnificent movement against gun violence led by the Youth.

On March 23
rd, 800,000 people marched against gun violence in Washington DC. The protests were in response to irresponsible gun laws and the ease with which people can buy just about any kind of weapon in US society. Tens and tens of thousands more marched in another 800 locations throughout the US. Many solidarity marches took place around the world. 

This movement in the US is led by the youth. Only youth speakers were allowed to address the 800,000 at the march in Washington D.C. so the platform was not dominated by millionaire celebrities. Speaker after speaker in Washington and around the country condemned the NRA, the lobbying group for the gun manufacturers, the bribers of politicians, the bag men and women for the profit addicted gun capitalists. Speaker after speaker called for people to get out and vote and to vote against any candidate, Republican or Democrat or of any other party that took money from the NRA and that did not support common sense gun regulation. 

It appears that a new movement has begun and one that represents a new phase in US society. A phase which will be marked by the anger that exists amongst the majority of the population in US society expressing itself in great struggles and also through the electoral process. This represents a change in the consciousness in sections of US society.  

When Trump was elected President through the fraudulent, undemocratic Electoral College in 2016, Facts For Working People Blog in the weekly Conference Calls of our Think Tank, explained that in our view, Trump's election would result in a stepping up of the offensive of US capitalism against the working class, against minorities and women, against the environment and against the albeit minor regulations that exist to try and restrain the worst excesses of capitalism. Part of this stepped up offensive has been the massive tax cut to the rich, the removal of regulations from Wall Street and the big banks, industry and the environment and also the increased talk of war. On top of this, Trump's own racism and sexism has encouraged the most backward elements to show their faces. 

There is an extreme overconfidence and arrogance among the US and international capitalist classes. This results from the collapse of Stalinism and the refusal of the leaders of the workers' organizations, in the US the leadership of the trade unions, to fight. This arrogance, over confidence and stupidity was summed up in the recent statement of former Republican Senator and former candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, Rick Santorum. He condemned the youth for walking out of their schools to demand a change in the gun laws and told them instead that they should learn CPR. In other words, he advocates that nothing be done to try and stop the shooting of the students, instead students should learn CPR to try and help their classmates who would continue to be shot as the present status quo remains. This is Rick Santorum’s insulting contribution to a much needed debate.

This overconfidence and arrogance of Santorum's and of the capitalist class in general, is coming back to haunt them, is giving life to the movements now taking place. 

The view of Facts For Working People at the time of Trump's election was that the increased capitalist offensive that Trump represented would be met with an increase in struggles against that offensive. This is what we are now seeing. The women's marches for women rights and against sexual harassment and discrimination, the anti-racist movements and the anti-police violence movements, the 40,000 who marched against the Nazis and racists and chased them out of Boston, the defend the environment movements, the movements to increase the minimum wage, the victorious West Virginia teachers and education workers strike in defiance of their own union leaders, the threat of more teachers strikes, the uptick in union organizing such as the vote to unionize at the viciously anti union Los Angeles Times and there are now calls from sections of the high tech industry as coders are attempting to organize. And most recently and most dramatically we have the youth led movement on guns. All these developments are the beginnings of the counter-offensive of working people, minorities, women and youth against the capitalist offensive presently led by the racist and sexist thug, Trump.

In our weekly conference calls, one subject of discussion has been US working class history and its militant traditions.  After periods of defeat great explosive movements have taken place which have brought about changes in society. In the 1930's there was the rising of the working class that built the union movement from just over 2 million to over 12 million as the industrial workers entered the organized working class in huge numbers. In the 1960's there was the Black revolt which forced the US capitalist class to retreat on some of the worst racist aspects of their rule and the rise of the women’s movement that forced changes such as the legalization of abortion. Also in the 1960's there was the movement against the Vietnam war both at home and also with opposition and outright revolt in the ranks of the US military in South East Asia. 

It is likely that we are at the beginning of a similar period now in the US. A new period when great mass struggles will explode and when capitalism will be forced to retreat from its offensive, at least temporarily. It is a mistake to be too definite when we try to look into the future. It is necessary to be conditional as major events can cut across developing processes.  One such event could be an attack on North Korea. However it is highly unlikely that Trump will launch a war on North Korea or for that matter on Iran. The more sane sections of the US capitalist class will probably stop him. However, if he did, then this could change the process of events in the US and around the world. 

It also has to be kept in mind that the present economic situation will not last and a new deeper recession or possibly an outright slump lies ahead. This would also change the consciousness.  It is also inevitable that catastrophic events arising from climate change and the pollution of the planet’s water, land, air and food by capitalism will take place. All or any of these would come to dominate consciousness and events and cut across the existing processes. So activists have to be conditional. However while there is, and while there will be, reactionary elements in the unfolding events, most likely these events will influence developments in the direction of more criticism and action against the present unfolding catastrophe that capitalism means to life on earth. 

It has been said that the art of revolution is to combine analysis of the objective situation with subjective action. That is, revolutionaries have to try to figure out the phase through which we are passing and what should be advocated and what should be done. The youth led movement and the other movements referred to are magnificent. They must be fully supported. However it also has to be noted and pointed out that the leaders of these movements in the main are new to political struggle.
Maryland High Schoolers in Washington in February

They are under great pressure from opportunistic forces.  One such pressure is the liberal capitalist media which fawns over the leaders of this youth movement, present them on their TV shows and in doing so make every effort to ensure that there is no discussion about the realities that gun violence is driven by the wider crisis in capitalist society, alienation, despair and insecurity, and by the addiction to profit of the capitalist, market driven gun industry.

This liberal capitalist media plays the role it usually does when new movements arise, it seeks to direct them into safe channels for capitalism and prevent the issue of capitalism from being discussed at all. They played and play a similar role in the movement against sexual abuse in society. They kept all discussion of the need to organize into fighting democratic unions to fight the sexual predatory culture of capitalist and class based society off their airwaves and out of their newspapers. This liberal capitalist media seeks to channel all such movements, trap all such movements,  in the capitalist Democratic party.  

It is the task of revolutionary socialists to be part of these this youth movement and all these movements, to learn from these movements, to exchange ideas with these movements and to seek to assist these movements to see that capitalism is the problem, and seek to assist these movements to see that it is only a united working class through mass struggle that can end capitalism. 

Earlier this month, those of us that participate in the FFWP blog’s weekly conference calls discussed the gun rights question and out of that discussion issued a statement expressing what we think the approach should be. We would like to invite our readers to look at this, consider our views and see if they appear to be helpful to take the movement forward, and we also invite our readers to add to these views, strengthen and if necessary correct these views. Readers can also contact us and work together with us to these ends. 

In FFWP's view the greatest mistake at the moment would be to underestimate the effect of the events that are taking place in US society and the potential of these events for bringing about change. The youth movement in particular affects just about every area of US society. It challenges the gun capitalists and their lobbying arm, their bag men and women of the NRA. The NRA was used to funnel money from the Russian capitalist regime of Putin to Trump's campaign and Putin's capitalist regime influenced the 2016 election through the Internet. Trump is now being increasingly challenged by the Mueller investigation on this. The youth movement, by going after and weakening the NRA will add impetus to the investigation of Trump, increase the anger against Trump and increase the likelihood that he will be brought down. The weakening of the NRA will also weaken the most right wing section of the capitalist political machine - the Republican party.

The youth movement will also have an effect in the US military which is fighting its longest ever war and other wars abroad under the guise of US capitalism’s so called War On Terror. Some 40% of the military are minorities and women so the women's movement and the movement against sexual harassment will have its effect in the military where sexual harassment and abuse is endemic. The movement against racism and racist police and state violence and gun violence and the opposition to the attacks on immigrants and trans-gender, gay and lesbian people will also have its effects in the military. The impact the youth movement is having will also add impetus to the increasing calls of workers to organize into unions and also to the small up tick in strikes that is taking place. 

And all this is happening prior to the coming recession or slump and as environmental crises loom. These coming upheavals are being hurried along by Trump. Despite giving US capitalists their tax cut and deregulation, Trump is being abandoned by the most conscious sections of the US capitalist class. He cannot even get an efficient lawyer. US capitalism is not in good shape. US capitalism is under threat on the political, economic, military and environmental fronts. And things are only going to get worse. The struggles that are taking place will continue and new struggles will unfold.

However US capitalism has some breathing space. The reason is that the US working class is not acting as a class, does not see itself as a class, is not building an independent movement, is not organizing the unorganized, is not building a mass workers' party and taking on the capitalist offensive and capitalism. And the main reason for this is that the US trade union leaders who control organized labor are pro capitalist-----they see no alternative to capitalism. They do not believe that the working class can build an alternative to capitalism. They are also pro capitalist because they do not want to lose the perks they get from their positions as leaders of the trade union movement. So they cooperate with capitalism in its offensive. They prevent and repress any serious opposition to capitalism's offensive.

To win their demands, the West Virginia education workers had to defy and defeat their own union leaders. Read more here: West Virginia Educational workers defy union tops and defeat bosses. The shape of things to come. While recognizing the class collaboration role of the trade union leaders, these struggles such as the youth and women and anti racist, and anti police violence etc., that are now unfolding should seek to build a base in the working class, in the work places and in the rank and file of the 14 million strong union movement in order to draw this movement into the struggles that are unfolding as we explain in our article on Guns and US Society. 

While understanding that the trade union leaders are holding back the workers' struggles, FFWP advocates and works to build organized opposition movements in the rank and file of the existing unions and in the workplaces and link these to working class communities. Opposition forces, to be successful, must oppose the pro capitalist leadership with the aim of replacing them and their pro capitalist policies. The present trade union leadership not only hold back the struggles. They actually oppose any victories of workers. They do so because victories would expose the falseness of their policies of concessions, their claim that victories cannot be won, that concessions to the bosses are the only way.  There will only be any change in this when the pro capitalist union leadership  reach a place where an organized opposition is built which threatens to replace them. Then some sections of these leaderships may engage in struggle. But most likely only to be able to put the brakes on the struggle, to prevent it from challenging capitalism. The aim of building an organized opposition is not to pressure the pro capitalist union leaders but to replace them and their pro capitalist policies. 

Finally, a word on the various self styled revolutionary groups and also the leaderships of the recent activist struggles. Many of the leaderships of the activist movements have fallen into the trap of identity politics. FFWP while insisting at all times that the working class has to fight all special oppression wherever it exists has insisted that victory against all special oppressions can only come about by a united working class movement with an organized anti-capitalist leadership. For this FFWP has been accused of being class reductionist and other such epithets.  We respond to these criticisms here.

This youth movement shines the light on all those forces, groups and individuals who want change. In doing so this youth movement exposes the incorrectness of identity politics. Its leadership is made up of all races and all genders and all sexual orientations. Its leadership understands that in order for it to succeed it must unite students from all backgrounds in a united movement. Groups which push identity politics are silent in this youth movement. They are silent because if their politics were adopted by this movement it would divide and wreck it. This youth movement realizes the need for a united movement and is explaining that ending the violence in the schools is not enough. It is explaining that there must be an end to the violence in society and especially in the working class and minority neighborhoods where it is prevalent. The identity politics groups and individuals must draw the lessons from this movement. Their divisive policies would only splinter and wreck mass movements. This is why they are not heard, why they are irrelevant in this movement, why they do not fight for their position in this movement.  Their silence confirms the incorrectness of their policies. However their silence does not mean they recognize the incorrectness of their policies. They are keeping quiet for the moment but they will speak again when there is a lull in the youth movement. 

On the self styled revolutionary socialist groups - there are a myriad of these groups in existence. They have failed to put down roots in the working class. Some of the founders of FFWP Blog and Think Tank were once members of these groups. However, set backs, failures, defeats, inability to put down significant roots in the working class, and also it has to be said some victories, helped those of us who were once in those groups to drawn lessons and openly work to correct our mistakes and way of working. Some of the lessons we have drawn have allowed us to develop this Blog and our Think Tank and our conference calls and continue our work.

Just about all the self styled revolutionary groups have a number of things in common. One is they think they know everything and are always right on everything.  Despite when this, we should say un-Marxist position, un-dialectical position, of always knowing everything and being right on everything is inevitably and time after time shown by events to be incorrect, the leaderships of these groups refuse to admit their mistakes and suppress any voices in their ranks that refuse to go along with this denial. 
This is one of the reasons why the internal life of all these groups is undemocratic. Why leaderships exist who impose their will in one way or another. 

There is also the narcissism and egotism of the leaderships of these groups. Their narcissism and egotism pushes them to seek out the slightest difference, to exaggerate the slightest difference, they are only happy when they can find a difference, they only feel useful when they can find a difference. They seek to portray just about any difference as a fundamental difference and a reason to split. There are exceptions to this. We note the working together of different revolutionary groups in Argentina. 

FFWP wants to help build a new movement to challenge capitalism. We understand that such a movement will have to be a movement of tens and tens of millions. It is inevitable such a movement will have great debates, differences and internal struggles. The internal life and method of work in general of the existing self styled revolutionary groups will never be able to bring together the tens of millions of fighters in the mass revolutionary organizations that are necessary to end capitalism.  Such mass organizations will inevitably develop in an organic living fashion. This means they will have differences and debates within them and this in turn means they will have to have a democratic internal life. The self styled revolutionary groups that exist at present cannot tolerate differences and genuine debate and a democratic internal life and one which allows the formation of factions to organize debate on particular issues. They are continually seeking reasons to split instead of seeking to find a basis to work and struggle together, to identify which differences are fundamental and which are not and which can be lived within the one organization and which cannot. 

There are many more people who consider themselves revolutionary socialists outside the self styled revolutionary groups than are inside these groups. This is proof there is something wrong with how these groups function in their activity in the working class  and also internally. 

There are people inside these groups who are not content with this situation. There are many people who wish to build a revolutionary socialist group but have been put off or are repulsed by the undemocratic sectarian methods of the existing self styled revolutionary groups. FFWP wishes to help build a revolutionary socialist movement with a healthy democratic culture. A different culture, one which understands that different views are not only inevitable if a movement develops a mass base, but also are crucial and necessary if a movement is to clarify its ideas and to put down roots in and learn from and test its ideas with the working class. 

This new youth movement against the gun laws and gun culture in the US and all the  struggles that are unfolding are bringing and will bring millions more people into struggle. Those who consider themselves against capitalism and are for the working class internationally to use its collective power and collective brain to end capitalism and build a new democratic socialist sustainable planned world must learn the lessons of the past------must unshackle their thinking. Must help build within all these struggles and in a non-sectarian manner a revolutionary socialist current with a healthy democratic culture. 

FFWP seeks to help to this end. We wish to work with others to this end. We request all those who have similar views and objectives to contact us and discuss the possibility of participating in our weekly conference calls to further develop and clarify the ideas. And also contribute articles and reports of their work and struggles for FFWP's  Blog. 

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