Following on from J18 and Seattle, MayDay 2000 promises a global day of action against capitalism. From New York to Paris, from Auckland to London, thousands of people will be involved in actions aimed at protesting against the effects of capitalism. These events promise to build up a strong grass-roots movement for social change, a better environment and even an end to exploitation.
But can events such as MayDay 2000 really contribute to any radical social change? Can tactics like ‘guerilla gardening’, bike rides, co-operatives, or even ritualised riots in the financial centers really shake the power of the capitalist class?
Capitalism can destroy humanity
There is no doubt that if things stay as they are then humanity and the planet are doomed to destruction. This century has been the worst in history. Tens of millions have died in two World Wars and a long list of local conflicts. Famine and disease stalk the globe. Economic crises lay waste to whole regions ly waste to whole regions leaving poverty and unemployment in their wake. Inequality inreases every day. Environmental destruction reaches new depths. The capitalist system is rotting on its feet.
Its decomposition is tearing away at the social fabric, causing despair, hopelessness and an attitude of ‘every-man for himself’. There is no doubt then that the present system needs to be replaced if humanity is to survive into the next millenium.
Which social force can destroy capitalism?
For this to happen it is obvious that society will have to go through massive convulsions. The forces of the capitalist state will surely meet any radical social change with stiff resistance. They will defend their wealth and power with all the means of repression at their disposal.
Let no-one think that this change can be peaceful or take place through the ballot-box. But which social force is capable of leading the fight against the dictatorship of the rich and powerful? Which social force contains within it the perspective of a new society? An alliance of environmental groups, students, small farmers, t, students, small farmers, trade unions, anarchists, and any number of well-meaning individuals? No. Capitalism is the last class society in history, and it requires the action of a revolutionary social class to get rid of it.
The working class is the only revolutionary force
After the collapse of the Eastern Bloc in ’89 the ruling class proclaimed the ‘death of communism’ and the definitive victory of capitalism. They shamelessly spread the greatest lie of the century - that the horrors of Stalinist state capitalism were the direct result of the October revolution, and that any future attempt to oppose capitalism was bound to end in the same nightmare. In effect they announced the death of their mortal enemy, the working class.
Since ’89 these lies and ideological campaigns have indeed caused much confusion within the working class and it has to some extent disappeared from the social scene. But it is not defeated. This is the class that in 1917 rose up to establish the power of the workers’ councils in Russia and forced the warring states to stop the First World War.
This is mall>This is the class that from the end of the ’60s, and until ’89, launched waves of struggles at the international level. This is the only class in society that produces real wealth, that stands at the point of production and is capable of crippling the capitalist economy.
Through its collective activity and struggles in the workplace and the streets it is the only class that can become conscious of itself as a social force and lead the struggle against capitalism.
Communism is the only alternative to capitalism
There can be no ‘anti-capitalism’ which is not at the same time for communism. It’s not enough to be ‘anti-capitalist’ if that means being ‘against the multinationals’ but in favour of more ‘responsible’ and ‘democratic’ behaviour on the part of the capitalist state, which remains the focus of capitalist power, despite all the talk of globalisation.
It’s not enough to be ‘anti-capitalist’ if that means appealing to nationalist prejudices against ‘foreign’ capitalism, as the unoreign’ capitalism, as the unions are currently doing in the Rover affair.
To get rid of capitalism you can’t reform the capitalist state; it has to be demolished. To get rid of the capitalist economy, you have to strike at its roots - the whole set-up of wage labour, the world market, nation states. You have to create a world-wide community where all production is geared towards human needs. You need, in short, to create communism. Only a world-wide working class revolution can do that.
The need for communist organisations
Throughout its history the working class has created political organisations to point the way towards the communist goal, from the three Internationals to the left fractions who fought the degeneration of the Communist Parties to the groups of the communist left that exist today.
The International Communist Current is part of this tradition which, throughout the terrible crises and wars of the 20th century, has remained loyal to the genuine programme of communism against those who have betrayed and crossed the class line.
We are convinced that it’s impossible to by-pass the left communist tradition if you want to have a meaningful discussion about capitalism and its alternative.