Closing the consciousness gap

HELP ENLIGHTEN YOUR FELLOWS. BE SURE TO PASS THIS ON. SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON IT.

By The Editor, posted on November 29, 2017

The billionaires are getting richer and richer. But their time at the top of the pyramid may be cut short sooner than mos realise.

At the Workers World Party conference, 2017.

Social consciousness often lags behind reality. Things change, but our understanding of them is hampered by old conceptions, born out of previous conditions.

And then, when the gap becomes utterly preposterous, there can be great leaps forward as consciousness overtakes reality in what seems like a dizzying whoosh.

Marxists have long understood that societies progress not evenly or in a straight line, but by what some call “combined and uneven development.” Lenin wrote about the extremely rapid capitalist development of Germany and Japan in the era of imperialism, when they caught up to and even surpassed some of the more established European colonial powers in a few decades.

What is true of material development is also true of consciousness. It progresses not slowly and evenly, but by leaps forward — and sometimes backwards — as conditions change.


The consciousness of tens of millions has been changed by these struggles, to the point where capitalist liberalism has to make itself appear to be on the side of justice. Alongside this are the many polls in recent years showing that capitalism has become a dirty word. 

Are we seeing the beginnings of a broad and deep change in consciousness inside the U.S.? There are many reasons to think so.

First, of course, is the emergence into prominence of popular movements that have long been suppressed. The ongoing struggles of Black and Brown people against racism and national oppression, of women against the patriarchy, of LGBTQ people against queer bashing, all continue, for these conditions are reinforced by both the state and the way capitalism functions. Yet the consciousness of tens of millions has been changed by these struggles, to the point where capitalist liberalism has to make itself appear to be on the side of justice.

Alongside this are the many polls in recent years showing that capitalism has become a dirty word. Why else would a demagogic but calculating billionaire politician like Trump talk so much about workers? He is trying to refurbish the image of capitalism by linking it to “good jobs,” blaming other countries for “stealing our jobs.”

At a time in history when automation, robots, self-driving trucks and a zillion other labor-saving innovations are dazzling the owners of capital with the promise of shedding workers so they can rake in even bigger profits, Trump’s tweets are bound to wear thin.

Right now, young workers are on the cutting edge of consciousness. We saw some of them on Nov. 18-19 in Newark, N.J., at the Workers World Party national conference. Proudly multigendered and multinational, they did a splendid job of defending and explaining the need for revolutionary change in this country. And they weren’t afraid of making it known to the whole world — via social media. What a change from the days when progressives feared being hounded and isolated!

This struggle is only beginning. But already the outlines of an immeasurably better future are clear. We humans have progressed in our knowledge to the point where we have the means to end backbreaking labor so everyone can have what they need without being worked to death. An increasingly smaller class of increasingly richer individuals stand in our way.

Wrap your head around that, and revolutionary consciousness is sure to follow.

https://www.workers.org/2017/11/29/closing-the-consciousness-gap/


Marxists have long understood that societies progress not evenly or in a straight line, but by what some call “combined and uneven development.” Lenin wrote about the extremely rapid capitalist development of Germany and Japan in the era of imperialism, when they caught up to and even surpassed some of the more established European colonial powers in a few decades.

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Parting shot—a word from the editors
The Best Definition of Donald Trump We Have Found

In his zeal to prove to his antagonists in the War Party that he is as bloodthirsty as their champion, Hillary Clinton, and more manly than Barack Obama, Trump seems to have gone “play-crazy” — acting like an unpredictable maniac in order to terrorize the Russians into forcing some kind of dramatic concessions from their Syrian allies, or risk Armageddon.However, the “play-crazy” gambit can only work when the leader is, in real life, a disciplined and intelligent actor, who knows precisely what actual boundaries must not be crossed. That ain’t Donald Trump — a pitifully shallow and ill-disciplined man, emotionally handicapped by obscene privilege and cognitively crippled by white American chauvinism. By pushing Trump into a corner and demanding that he display his most bellicose self, or be ceaselessly mocked as a “puppet” and minion of Russia, a lesser power, the War Party and its media and clandestine services have created a perfect storm of mayhem that may consume us all. Glen Ford, Editor in Chief, Black Agenda Report

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