Newark: Nationalist ideas cooked by antiracist fightback

05 July 2024 172 hits

Newark, NJ, June 22- As the threat of World War III looms between the world’s superpowers—China, Russia, and the U.S.—and global warming intensifies, fourteen members and friends of the Progressive Labor Party (PLP), including high school students, gathered to celebrate 65 years of the Party's influence. The event featured struggle stories from workers both locally in Newark and internationally to promote a vision of a unified world under one party, PLP.

The opening speech underscored the significance of the gathering, particularly for those who had been invited from the Rutgers encampment struggles. They noted Rutgers University's decision to dismantle the encampment, as well as recent actions of other “liberal” universities and denounced it as a symptom of rising fascism faced not only by workers in the United States, but internationally for standing up to capitalist genocide of workers in Palestine. 

Drawing parallels between current struggles and historical fascism, the speaker contended that the existing capitalist state and political leaders, including liberals and progressives, are increasingly fascist.

For capitalists, ‘Free Palestine’ reform is a cry to create a new oppressive State

Someone asked, “What is the state?” One participant answered, “The state is an instrument in the hands of the ruling class, used to break the resistance of the rivals of that class.” A common liberal solution sold to workers in the Middle East is a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. It came out in the discussion that any state, ruled by Hamas or Zionists, would put wealthy rulers over workers.
Others present asserted that a Palestinian state would be one of ‘self-determination,’ and not exploitation. We discussed how nationalist revolutions in South Africa, Vietnam and many other places show ‘self-determination’ is an illusion meant to obfuscate capitalist exploitation. What were once open battle-grounds against the rule of the bosses are today nations ruled by their own bosses exploiting sweatshop workers to make commodities for profit. Similarly in the U.S., workers under capitalism face the illusion that the state can be reformed, framed as freedom to vote Republican or Democrat. This false sense of freedom extends to joining anarchist or reformist groups. Most reformists use gender, nationalist and identity politics to cater to a select group, alienating other groups. These other groups are then pushed to their own respective misleaders, creating a cultural battle of worker against worker with the only winner being the capitalists. The ideal that reforms will save everyone is just an illusion. 

Two high school students present, one of whom is involved in their school’s model U.N. club, noted how even the supposedly international organizations such as the U.N. just provide another illusion for workers. They said that while the U.N. appears to be a consensus-based organization made up of many states, it really is dominated by five ‘permanent members’ who have veto power over any proposal. These permanent members unsurprisingly include some of the wealthiest concentrations of capital on earth: The United States, China, Russia, The United Kingdom and France.

For workers in Palestine, only communism can bring freedom from class oppression

The discussion then highlighted the benefits of communist centralism. This approach, it was argued, examines issues from multiple angles, offering a comprehensive, class-conscious solution to material conditions. Someone talked about the important experience during the encampments of the communist-style organization of food, security, and prohibition of photographs by provocateurs. Resources were supplied and organized collectively based on those able to do so and distributed collectively based on need. History shows that such communist centralism is efficient enough to defeat capitalist enemies, such as the Red Army defeating the whites in Russia or the communists defeating the nationalist Kuomintang in China because of the fragmented nature of the capitalist opposition. One critique given about the encampments was that their demands often lacked clear organization and were often dominated by reformism—that is demands without a revolutionary end in sight and leave the capitalist state intact.

Local fights build a vision of a world led by workers

Also noted during the discussion was students’ courageous fight-back while police called by universities from California to New Jersey took hours to arrive only to stand idly by while armed provokers viciously attacked students.

Workers have a compelling choice to make: 1) Accept the “freedom” of self-determination: In this vision, capitalism with all its delusions, oppression, super-exploitation, apartheid, and mass genocide would prevail. OR 2) Join the FIGHT FOR A UNIFIED WORLD UNDER ONE PARTY LED BY PLP. Communism entails the Party leading every facet of society. To achieve this, millions of workers must become organizers for communism. Victory involves collaborating with the working class, recognizing both progress and shortcomings. It means organizing and educating others to resist capitalism at work, in our communities. It means involving in mass organizations, having friends over to your home and joining PLP in building a communist future.