Revolution: What it is and why we need it
The situation we’re in
It’s no secret that we are plagued by a myriad of problems.
Inequality is at an all time high. The richest 500 people on earth now have more than poorest 50 percent of the world population combined.
Despite the fact that the world can produce enough to meet the needs of all, billions suffer from hunger, homelessness, and lack of medical treatment, simply because they cannot afford to buy what they need.
Everyday some 30,000 children die from starvation or curable disease. The number of children under five years old that dies each year is equal to the combined number of children living in France, Germany, Greece and Italy.
Half of the world’s population lives on less than 2 U.S. dollars a day. One of every five people on earth has no access to clean water, while three times that number has no access to sanitation. At the same time, 1 trillion dollars – more than double the amount needed to provide everyone on earth with clean water, sanitation, healthcare and education – is spent on advertising.
Of course major problems do not just affect the poorest countries.
Inequality is especially rife in the United States, the richest country in the history of the world … and it’s only growing.
While worker productivity in the U.S. has increased 30 percent per hour over the last ten years, wages have not even kept up with the rate of inflation. At the same time, the rich continue to get a lot richer. The share of total income going to the richest 1 percent of the U.S. population has grown from 8 percent in 1980 to 16 percent in 2004. And while ten years ago CEOs earned 30 times as much as the average worker, today they earn around 300 times as much.
In the “land of opportunity,” 36 million people are poor by official standards, 43 million have no access to healthcare, and one of every five children lives in poverty.
Today, countless people are loosing their jobs and even their homes with no assistance forthcoming. Meanwhile, the government is bailing out huge banks with tax dollars taken from the very people that are most in need of help!
This is the face of capitalism, a system based on the exploitation of the majority by a small financial elite.
Capitalism is a system of exploitation
As financial reporter Dianne Maley once remarked, “In capitalist society, the only winners are capitalists.”
Under capitalism human beings are divided into classes. The main two classes are the capitalist class and the working class.
The capitalist class is a small class made up of those who own the factories, mines, stores, utilities, and means of communication and transportation.
Because the capitalists control the factories, etc., the majority of society’s wealth, and the livelihoods of the working majority, they also control society.
The majority of the population belongs to the working class (also known as the proletariat), which is made up of all of us who work in those factories, mines, stores, etc., whether or not we are currently able to find employment. We do not have anyway to make money other than to work for a capitalist for a wage, thus we are wage-slaves.
Workers create all wealth through our labor, but we only receive a small portion of that wealth in return. The capitalist keeps the rest, which is called profit. This process of exploitation is the basis of capitalist society.
The parasitic capitalists' society is organized around their drive for profits at any cost. This leads to wars, layoffs, “out sourcing,” and a host of other ills.
Capitalism is not “broken,” and it cannot be “fixed”
When working people are exploited, a section of the working class is forced into unemployment, prices increase and wages and benefits fall, and wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people, it is not because capitalism is “broken.” This is exactly how capitalism functions!
When the CEOs of corporations take home huge bonuses while at the same time the rank and file workers under them are forced to take pay cuts, capitalism is working exactly as it is supposed to. Capitalism is organized to continually create profit for the financial elite. It cannot be transformed – through minor modifications – into a system that benefits the majority. Those who pretend such a change to the capitalist system is possible are either confused themselves or are working to confuse the rest of us by building illusions in this wretched system.
The very best we can hope for under capitalism are a few gains here or there. Such gains – such as shorter work days – only come out of serious struggles and in special circumstances. Even then, all such gains are temporary and can - and eventually will be - rolled back. The fundamental character of the system itself cannot be changed. This system must discarded.
What we need is a new kind of system – a truly democratic system – organized to meet human need.
Democracy literally means “rule by the majority.” How can such a thing exist under a system in which a small elite class controls society and the resources within it while the majority must sell themselves to a boss by the hour just to survive?
Despite the rhetoric of some politicians looking for votes, the working class has no representatives of its own among the various capitalist parties. These parties differ only in their view of how the capitalist class should rule, not which class should rule.
Going into a booth every few years and selecting which representative of the capitalist class will serve as the head of the capitalist state is not democracy. In a real, proletarian democracy we would all decide together how society should be run.
To create such a democracy, we must break away from the circus that is “mainstream politics” under the multi-party capitalist dictatorship.
Only revolution can bring about genuine, lasting change
The only way society can be changed in the way that it needs to be is through revolution.
The elite which currently rules society will not just give up its power because we ask them to. History has shown that fundamental change can only be brought about through the revolutionary transformation of society.
Those of us who work, as well as those of us who want to work but are not given the opportunity, make up the vast majority of society, yet we are excluded from power. We must organize ourselves to take power out of the hands of capitalist parasites so that we can wield it ourselves in order to create the kind of society we want and need.
The working class is weak right now, as a result of the many defeats we have suffered, but we are on the rebound. Capitalism is falling in on itself. All over the world working people are getting together and standing up for themselves. Once again the word revolution is on the lips of millions. The more of us that rally together, the better our chances.
So what are you waiting for?