Discussion at the North Texas Communist Party Club on June 25 took the Marxist route. We went from the general to the specific -- from the world situation to our own situation.
Worldwide, all eyes are on Europe. Will they hold their economic union together? What solutions are posed? What would we recommend to workers who ask? How pertinent is the fascist threat? We had a recent report on the situation in Greece, but the crises in Spain, Italy, Ireland, and other European nations were also our topics. We decided that the capitalists of those countries are sharply divided between two general directions: austerity and deficit spending. Obviously, neither is a long-term solution for anybody. If austerity is imposed, as it is being imposed in Greece and elsewhere, the capitalists just want more. Deficit spending, by their own capitalists accounts, cannot continue. In the short term, however, different capitalist leaders think that one of the two solutions would provide a short-term solution (for capitalists) in their own home territory.
Another way of looking at the schism is to see it as debtor nations versus creditor nations. Creditor nations like Germany want "tight money" solutions like austerity. That way they debts that they are owed will increase beyond their face value. Debtor nations, like Greece, want "easy money" solutions like deficit spending because inflation would actually serve to decrease their debts lower than the face value.
Neither idea would do a lot for the working class, but most of the leaders of the organized sector favor more deficit spending. A much better slogan for working people is "tax the rich." After all, the rich have all the wealth that our burgeoning productivity has created. There is plenty to go around, but the wealthy, the "1%" are holding it back from those who created it, deserve it, and need it desperately now. But even "tax the rich" is essentially a capitalist solution, not a revolutionary one. The only actual answer for working people is socialism.
The international differences are repeated in the United States, although possibly not as sharply. President Obama and most Democrats are arguing for deficit spending and "tax the rich" to solve the economic crisis here. The Republicans are virtually unanimous in calling for austerity. In our discussion, the idea was put forward that the working class is basically choosing between capitalist solutions and has no clear, united purpose of its own. Also, and probably even more importantly, the public disgust with "business as usual" politics has not taken a political direction. Many Americans, even the youth, are not even taking the most elementary political step -- voting.
That brings us to Texas where the May 29th elections showed extremely low participation. Only 15% of the Texas electorate, about 10% Republican and 5% Democrat, voted at all on May 29th. We didn't have figures on the municipal elections May 12 and runoff June 23 during our discussion, but I have found out since then that they were even more discouraging. The May 12th NONPARTISAN elections only drew about 5% of the potential voters, and a 25% dropoff occurred for the runoff!
We aren't having good experiences in the courts, either. Courts ruled against SEIU on being able to set and collect their own dues, and they ruled against the CWA on their organizing drive at American Airlines. Expectations are not positive for what the American Airlines bankruptcy judge will eventually do, nor on what the Supreme Court will say about the Affordable Care Act.
Turnout at street actions in North Texas still hovers in the double digits, even though there are a lot more actions called recently. Concerted action by unions face great difficulties, and organizing drives are really uphill. In summary, people may be terribly upset with the economic and political situation they have to live with, but they haven't manifested sufficient serious fightback yet. The ruling class knows this much better than we do, so we can expect more attacks and more vicious attacks against our class until such time as an adequate fightback mounts. We have to do everything we can to make that fightback happen!
When we look at trends, we can see more fightback than ever in our lifetimes, but we don't see it rising to an effective level so far. We believe that the disease of anti-communism is not nearly as enervating for our class as it used to be. It still exists as a problem, as does racism, male chauvinism, homophobia and the other diseases of division; but the body is getting more healthy.
The new club in Austin and the continuing increase in on-line membership bodes well for our Party. But a list of the immediate tasks before us and an honest assessment of our present resources shows that we need to be a lot stronger and we need that strength as fast as we can get it!
--JIm Lane 6/26/12