Capitalism and Socialism

Workers make and handle technologies which could produce more than enough food, clothing and shelter to keep all humans in luxury. Advances in nutrition and health care raise average life expectancy in the industrialized countries past 80 and climbing. Advances in communication and computing make world-wide economic planning and co-ordination possible. All these advances, if put at the disposal of the working class would make war and racism things of the past: who would fight over jobs or wage war for resources if we all had what we needed? But the capitalist system in its long decline wastes all these potential advances, plunging humanity into depressions, unemployment, poverty and war.

Advanced communications enable the bosses to police our work, speeding us up and eliminating jobs. Off work, electronic surveillance helps the cops spy on and repress workers. This lays the basis for a future police-state dictatorship.

The lower that profit margins become in the powerful, imperialist counties, the bitterer the competition between them over resources grows, the greater the drive to invade and occupy the poorer, neo-colonial countries. Hence the US war against Iraq, in part to control their European imperialist rivals’ access to oil. As time goes on, this imperialist fight to redivide the world will lead to a third world war and the destruction of humanity – unless the working class stops it through socialist revolution.

In order to win the inevitable clashes with the capitalists, workers will have to understand that there can be no lasting concessions from the capitalist system. To win security and abundance for all, the working class must seize control of production – mines, factories, farms, transport, etc – from the capitalists. In order to defeat the capitalists’ police and military counter-attack, the workers will have to overthrow the capitalist state and government. We will have to build our own state, with our own workers’ militia to repress the counterrevolution. Workers at our places of employment and in our neighborhoods will have to organize and arm ourselves. When we show we can fight back and have something worth fighting for, we’ll be able to win the enlisted personnel in the armed forces to join us against the officer corps which sends them to die killing and robbing poor workers of other countries. Already some rank-and-file US troops in Iraq are growing disaffected.

The workers’ revolution can’t be successful without a leadership which understands and explains dangers and opportunities at each step, and shows the way forward through the workers’ own experience. That leadership must be a revolutionary working class party. The nucleus of this party, based on the politics of the League for the Revolutionary Party, fights in the struggles and organizations of the working class and oppressed. Revolutionaries expose the current pro-capitalist misleaders and counterpose a winning strategy for each struggle. We hope thereby to find and work with the most revolutionary-minded elements and with them build the necessary revolutionary party.

Revolutionaries don’t do this by putting forward socialist revolution and saying “take it or leave it:” rather, we fight to retain any past gain or win any new gain. But revolutionaries don’t spread illusions that we can permanently win this or other gains under capitalism. We explain that we can only win gains and keep them by continuing the fight through to socialist revolution. Otherwise the capitalists will soon counterattack and take back what we have won, as they do now.

Unions, the only mass working class organizations in the US, could be a lot more powerful than they are, even with their current reduced numbers. They could be starting to fight and grow, not continuing to surrender and shrink. Revolutionaries advocate that unions carry out struggles for immediate demands to show what they could do with a fighting, revolutionary leadership. We expose the union bureaucrats for not carrying out even defensive struggles. We hope thus to group the best elements to pressure and ultimately oust the pro-capitalist union leaders and, with the support of the majority, replace them with the best fighters, proven over time in struggle to the ranks.

In this spirit, we address ourselves to some of the main issues now facing the whole working class and transport workers in particular. We advocate the necessary struggles to break out of the current impasse and start moving forward again. We emphasize that any gains from these struggles will be only temporary unless we move forward to socialist revolution. As we fight alongside our fellow workers in these and other struggles, our shared experience will show over time that the revolutionaries are correct. The best fighters, seeing this, will join with us to build the revolutionary party we need to lead the workers’ struggles and organizations.