The Third International after Lenin

Saturday, June 11, 2016

New book: Are They Rich Because They're Smart? Class, Privilege, and Learning under Capitalism By Jack Barnes

From the Introduction by Steve Clark:

....There is as yet no rising working-class social movement in the United States in response to assaults on our wages, living conditions, and political rights. But over the past few years there have been strikes and resistance to lockouts by members of the United Steelworkers, Communications Workers of America, Teamsters, farmworkers organizations, and other unions. Fast-food and other low-paid workers are demanding a $15 hourly minimum wage.

Tens of thousands have come into the streets to protest police killings and brutality and demand the arrest and prosecution of the cops responsible. Workers and their families are raising their voices against the massive penal system in the US, with its draconian sentences, brutalizing solitary confinement, and official barbarities. Immigrant workers and their supporters have organized to speak out against deportations, E-Verify victimizations, and other indignities. Mounting attacks on a woman’s right to choose abortion continue to be met with protests.

Above all, there is growing confidence and openness among workers everywhere in the United States to discuss and debate the broadest social and political questions, including the stakes for the working class in organizing the unorganized and rebuilding our unions as instruments of solidarity and struggle.

These political opportunities are not an impression from outside the working class. They’re the practical conclusion from half a decade of efforts by members and supporters of the Socialist Workers Party going door to door in working-class neighborhoods of all kinds across the country to talk with and exchange experiences and views with fellow workers.

The heart of these discussions — whether on a porch, at an apartment door, at a strike picket or social protest, or life on the job — is never simply about “issues,” even political questions of great importance to the working class. It’s about the way forward. It’s about what Jack Barnes points to in the closing article in this book as “preparing the working class for the greatest of all battles in the years ahead — the battle to throw off the self-image the rulers teach us, and to recognize that we are capable of taking power and organizing society.”

That’s the conclusion that’s decisive for workers everywhere today. To act on the necessity, as we gain confidence and experience fighting alongside each other, for the working class to recognize our humanity, our capacities, and the traditions our class has forged during well over a century and half of struggles, including revolutionary battles and victories. “To broaden our scope,” to discover our “own worth,” as Malcolm X was always explaining.

“Learning as a lifetime experience,” as the author puts it in these pages — what better reason to make a socialist revolution? “What better reason to get rid of the capitalist state and use the workers state to begin transforming humanity, to begin building human solidarity? And we have the living example of the Cuban Revolution to show how it’s possible to start down that road.”

http://www.pathfinderpress.com/Are-They-Rich-Because-Theyre-Smart-Barnes

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