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Tue Apr 14, 2015, 12:20 PM

Can the working class still change the world?

Kyle Brown ~ April 14, 2015

IN HIS famous speech "Where Do We Go From Here?" Martin Luther King Jr. quoted the then-president of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, Walter Reuther, saying, "Power is the ability of a labor union like the UAW to make the most powerful corporation in the world, General Motors, say 'Yes' when it wants to say 'No.'"

This question of power continues to be posed for activists today. Where does the power lie to defend the Occupy encampments and the movement when the most powerful state in the world decides to carry out repression? Where does the power lie for the Black Lives Matter movement to actually realize the popular chant "shut it down" in order to win some of its demands for justice?

With labor unions and strike action at historic lows today, it's understandable that few people immediately think of the working class as the answer to those questions.

But contrary to the popular view, held even among people on the left, the vast social changes that have taken place since King's time and before haven't eliminated the potential of the working class as the key social force able to transform society and pose a radical alternative to capitalism. In fact, the working class is still, as Karl Marx and Frederick Engels put it in The Communist Manifesto more than 160 years ago, capitalism's potential "gravediggers." ...

More here: http://socialistworker.org/2015/04/14/can-workers-still-change-the-world

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Reply Can the working class still change the world? (Original post)
TBF Apr 2015 OP
daleanime Apr 2015 #1
guillaumeb Apr 2015 #2
eridani Apr 2015 #3
yallerdawg Apr 2015 #4
TBF Apr 2015 #5

Response to TBF (Original post)

Tue Apr 14, 2015, 12:28 PM

1. Hell yes....

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Response to TBF (Original post)

Tue Apr 14, 2015, 12:40 PM

2. Potential is there, but like many explosives, a fuse is needed to ignite it.

The 1% may be greedy, unscrupulous, and undemocratic in instinct and action, but they are not stupid. They were caught unaware by the protests and social movements of the 1960s but they recovered quickly. They are used to controlling, and once they figured out the proper methods they implemented their plans.

The 1% knows that whoever controls the narrative controls the argument. In any debate, the person who can best frame the issues will generally control the debate. The GOP may be terrible at actually governing for the benefit of most, but they know how to frame their ideas as acceptable to people.

The success at framing an estate tax that affects only the richest 1/10th of 1% as a "death tax", with the implication that every American family will be affected by it, is only one example.

Framing massive, structural income inequality as a natural and inevitable consequence of American life is another.

Starting in the 1960s, the GOP founded and funded many think tanks to present so-called objective analysis of issues that just happened to support what was most beneficial to the rich. How many people know that the Cato Institute actually started out as the Koch Institute?

The 99% does not have the money, but, at least for now, we have the votes. If we do not vote, the minority who do will continue to have a disproportionate influence on politics.

That said, HOW do we motivate people?

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Response to TBF (Original post)

Tue Apr 14, 2015, 01:20 PM

3. That change will have to come from the rest of the world, the lower tiers of which

--still have a working class in the traditional sense. In the developed world, technological unemployment is proceeding apace, and it's the superfluous who will have to be the change engine.

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Response to TBF (Original post)

Tue Apr 14, 2015, 03:21 PM

4. Where we are today! Great article, Marxism 101!

Because the divisions within the working class are used by the ruling class to increase the exploitation and oppression of everyone, the working class must directly challenge oppression in all of its manifestations and overcome those divisions if it wants to carry out the most effective fight against its own exploitation. This is why Marxists see the working class as the revolutionary agent--a class whose members, in struggling for their own interests, have the potential to lead the fight against class domination in general and for the liberation of all.


The answer to your question, then, is "Yes we can!"

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #4)

Tue Apr 14, 2015, 03:40 PM

5. I agree - the trick is convincing folks they

are the working class. WE are the working class. If you aren't parking your boat within your yacht, you are not in the top .01% - you are with US.

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