Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 50 Number 27, July 18, 2020 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

The United States

The Crisis in the United States and the Striving for Change

US protest at the killing of George Floyd in Columbus, Ohio

The main feature of the all-around crisis which is deepening in the United States is that all state institutions, including its governing institutions, bureaucracy, military and political system, are broken. The divisions in the ranks of the rulers are profound indeed, while they are more antagonistic than ever to the people despite the pretence of many to be on the side of the people, on the side of justice.

The major political parties in the US and their media are held in contempt by the multitudes, while pervasive disinformation leaves the polity with a deadening sense of anger confounded by indifference, a feature of depoliticisation intended to leave the people open to the worst demagoguery. Political and economic elites claim the right to speak in the people's name because they constitute a self-promoted "chosen few", a "natural aristocracy", who are entitled to rule and claim the privileges of office. This elite grants itself immunity as protection against incursions on their "right" to hold the monopoly on force by which they rule.

The degeneration in the United States is such that the clash between Condition and Authority is more glaring than ever before. US President Donald Trump is holding his first re-election rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma - the site of the worst racial massacre in US history in 1921. However, the people all over the United States, joined by peoples all over the world, continue to speak in their own name and their striving for empowerment reaches new heights of resistance to police and military violence.

How the likes of Donald Trump can seize the presidency of the United States, said to be the greatest democracy in the world, cannot be understood apart from analysing the US Constitution and its political system in the context of the actual historical situation. How else can one explain what is taking place?

In the actual historical situation, the conflict between the forces and social relations of production underlie the deepening economic crisis, instability and disequilibrium. The productive forces, including the modern working class, exceed by far the bonds of the capitalist social relations of production to which they are allegedly safely tied. This is especially true of the unfolding scientific, technological and industrial revolutions, whose development is in the main driven by competition among sources of capital. Without benefit to the people, these productive forces have grown to such an extent that the sustainability of the natural-social environment is threatened. Such threats result from capitalist social relations that fetter the productive powers. Society's fettered productive powers are actually a block to their organization by society to satisfy the claims of its members in order to meet their needs at a level consistent with the stage of social development.

If this problem is not sorted out, great tragedies face the people. The US government, with its military and bureaucracy, does not have an interest in sorting out these questions to the advantage of the people. The same is the case for Britain, France, Germany and other countries, said to be advanced democracies whose nation-states as constituted long ago have passed away, because only the claims of the owners of capital are deemed legitimate, which means that they compete to lay hold of the monopoly of force. This is how the claim to legitimacy is established by these decadent and corrupt forces as well as, according to them, the authority to use this force in the name of society.

The owners of capital place their claims on society by virtue of holding the right to the monopoly of force of the state machinery. Likewise, by claiming legitimacy and the authority to control the right to use the monopoly of force and coercion, the owners of capital restrict and limit the claims of the working class and people. But the claims to legitimacy are necessarily undermined if people in their conditions of life are completely restricted in terms of the satisfaction of their needs. On this basis, the claims of those who hold the authority that says they legitimately control the monopoly of force in the name of society are called into question.

This is what is happening today. It is what lies at the heart of the demands of the people in the United States when they call for the police to be defunded and disarmed.

The resistance struggle in the United States continues to militantly uphold the demands of justice and give expression to the peoples striving for empowerment even as the rulers, their pundits and media provide a circus to disinform them. It is therefore more necessary than ever to calmly view and analyse the actual historical situation so as to find the line of march which informs the polity. In this context, we reproduce below two articles from the United States Marxist-Leninist Organisation (USMLO) analysing recent developments in the US.

(Based on an article by Pauline Easton in TML Weekly)


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