The Working Class is Moving Right, and the Left is to Blame

Zak Drabczyk Featured, The Commune 1 Comment

Introduction

In an attempt to build upon PunkJohnnyCash’s previous articles surrounding the anarchist alienation of the working class, its important to analyze the state of the working class today.

In short, the condition of the working class is not preferable. Much of the working class has fallen into the trappings of neoliberalism and right-wing authoritarianism. In the United States, where the working class was guided by openly socialist trade unions, we now have an disorganized, cannibalistic, and reactionary labor aristocracy that only alienates the working class which is becoming evermore and object of Capital.

So, what happened; and is the situation salvageable?

To immediately answer the latter question, yes. If I did not believe the situation was salvageable I would not waste time attempting to reconcile these failures.

This only begs the question. Why are we where we are now? The answer is simple: we tried to fix what wasn’t broken. In almost every way imaginable, the Old Left of radical labor unions, worker organizations, and parties was far more successful than this New Left of academic fetishism and infantile “movements”.

Sounds brutal, but it its truly nauseating having to deal with these lifestyle “revolutionaries” who think smashing windows before the block party every Thursday at the frat house is “radical”.

Analysis

Here are three simple reasons why the Imperialist parties and their bourgeois ideologies are dominating the working class:

1. They’re on the ground; in the workplace, in the neighborhood, in the school systems, in churches, at community events. The right-wingers are able to recruit the working class simply through association. The fact is that our numerical deficiency only compounds our duty to be out in the community; being involved in the social processes that bring awareness to political issues. We once had a clear advantage in the work place through labor unions that were dominated by socialist left propagandizing. We allowed ourselves to be undermined in the unions by moderates and liberals and now, if relevant at all, the left branches of labor are only shells of former influence.

2. They can relate. The fact is when most working class people turn on the television to find black clothed juveniles creating havoc in the city they don’t cry: “wow, I should be out there too!” Most, including myself, will simply sigh at the mess they will be cleaning up Monday morning. The right-wing pundits have a way of making themselves out to be populists; fair minded working men and women, just looking out for their best interests like you and I. The Left is painted, partly due to our own accord, as distant psuedo-intellectuals, idealists, and childish provocateurs who cannot relate to the average working person. What a sad reality this is.

The situation is so desperate some among the radical left are calling for us to abandon the working class, cut our losses, and focus on some sort of autonomous movement against the state and oppression.

I cannot fathom a worse idea. There is no way to inspire an anti-capitalist revolution without inspiring those who are most exploited by said capitalist property relations. If we cannot empower the working class to throw off her chains, then to whom shall we empower? I would rather not be a Communist and accept a completely passive existence than hope to inspire some non-working class autonomous “revolution” of likely middle class egoists.

3. They can deliver. Face it, although we now have some allies in the academia, the New Left has simply not delivered like the Old Left; and even our allies such as Chomsky and Zizek, become increasingly irrelevant and passive as time goes on.

The right-wingers, as well as liberals, make excellent use of politics. They campaign on the simplest improvements for the life of the average worker, and when those improvements are made, they ride that cow until election day. Clearly, these careerist politicians could care less for the struggle of the worker, but with their mastery of politics they are able to effectively secure their power and influence by feigning sympathy for working class struggles. How can we hope to deliver as such when we hardly attempt to influence the mainstream policy as much as the bourgeois politicians?

All of this builds into a strong allegiance to the right-wing (including the Democratic Party) among the working class.

What Can We Do?

To be fair, the situation looks grim. Far grimmer the more you take time to examine it. So what can we do?

First, get organized. This should be our foremost duty as revolutionaries. We must become an organized and popular front against capitalism. Organize your friends and local sympathizers into community action groups for workers interests and popular causes. Join an authentic socialist organization, association, or party. If there are several splinter groups, try to bring them together. Sectarianism at this point, especially among possible comrades, is our greatest enemy. Every attempt must be made to reconcile our differences and accept a reasonable and appealing program against capitalism and the capitalist political hegemony.

Do not let the call for a popular front be confused with a call for allying with the liberals or individualist, egoist, or bourgeois groups. The Popular Front should be a collective effort of communists, and non-communists; marxists and non-marxists, against capitalism. It should be lead by the most advanced in theory and those strongest revolutionaries within the working class.

Second, develop a program and stick to it. While it is very clear that our revolutionary movement has the goal of crushing capitalism, this is not an achievable goal at the moment. Possibly not in the next decade. What is possible is organizing the working class and its allies, and winning strategic victories over the capitalist class. Therefore, a program of socialists should be developed around winning these strategic victories, but not at the compromise of political subordination as has happened with the CPUSA. The revolutionary Left should not become henchmen of the Democratic Party or liberal politicians; nor should we place our faith in these bourgeois puppeteers.

The importance of strategic victories runs parallel to the importance of class consciousness. By creating a list of short-term goals, battles that can be won, we can create an illustration of our struggle. Tangible and visible achievements that can inspire the working class to take even bolder action against their oppressors.

Conclusion

We must find the strength among our own power to implement our program and win the battle against the capitalist class.

If one can take anything from this message it is a call for urgency. We are losing the battle. Even if the financial oligarchy were to tank tomorrow, there is no guarantee the working class could take power for itself. The organization, the theory, the consciousness, is just not there.

We cannot look to anyone but ourselves for the solution. We must be that solution to the problems we at least partially created.

Zak DrabczykThe Working Class is Moving Right, and the Left is to Blame

Comments 1

  1. tangent272

    Short answer: Read Deer Hunting with Jesus by Joe Bageant.

    Long answer: If you want to get the working class on side, talk to them. Most people on the left these days are from either the middle class and have few points of reference for the concerns of the working class, or from the educated sectors of the working class and more interested in escaping their origins and distancing themselves from their lumpen former neighbours.

    The class war has been recharacterized as a war of smarmy, elitist educated w**kers against honest, hard working ignorant folks. In this narrative George Bush is just one of the guys while the labor activist with the political science degree is the enemy.

    Yes of course it’s bulls**t, but when you rock up to the local bar and the first thing you do is pass judgement on everyone for their clearly ignorant, misguided viewpoints all it does is prove the other side right. So you have to hold your nose and talk, *really talk*, which means also listening, equal to equal about gun rights, fundamentalist religion and “patriotism”. Maybe then you can open the door and suggest that neo-feudal sweatshop working conditions are not the natural state of man.

    Joe Bageant wrote a book on exactly this and it is absolutely required reading for *everyone* with an interest in the class war, particularly in America. It’s an easy read, a laugh and cry page turner and you’ll knock it over in a weekend (I read it in a single sitting over about 10 hours; I’m not that big a reader, I just couldn’t put it down). It will change the way you think about the lumpen proletariat, and how you *talk with* them from then on.

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