Bail Out the People Movement
Draft Working Paper
Realizing the Fightback – Some Perspective and Plans
The following was adopted at the Jan. 17 Fightback Conference in NYC. It is a work in progress.
In many ways, the U.S.-financed genocidal siege of Gaza that many of us have been demonstrating against in recent weeks is a harbinger of the widening war against the workers and oppressed peoples of the planet that is sure to intensify this year. In 2009, more and more lives are going to be devastated by the biggest global economic crisis since the depression of the 1930s.
This crisis is the challenge of a lifetime for those of us who have made a commitment to fighting for the rights of people. What we do or fail to do will prove decisive in the coming battle over whose interests in society shall prevail.
The election of the first African-American president, Barack Obama, realizes a measure of Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream. But depression-level joblessness, evictions and foreclosures made worse by cutbacks, war, bigotry and racism are not a dream but a nightmare. This is a time of many contradictions. Many people feel that the new president will bring progressive change but at the same time, there are Black youth being summarily executed by police; Proposition 8; new attacks on reproductive justice; one of the biggest bigots presiding over the inauguration ceremony, the prospects of a widening war in Afghanistan and much more.
Part of the legacy of Dr. King is the understanding that no election or president--however historical and inspiring--can be a substitute for a mass movement in the struggle against war or for social and economic rights. There are signs that the workers understand this.
This past December the bankers and bosses got hit with a one-two punch. The workers at the Republic Windows and Doors Factory in Chicago occupied their plant to win some measure of their rights. One day after the workers victory in Chicago, the Smithfield meat processing workers in Tar Heel, North Carolina finally won their right to a union after a long and bitter struggle. These battles are part of the first chapter of the Fightback that must and will grow. How can we help the development of the Fightback?
There can be no honest discussion about fighting without posing the inevitable question--Is it not time to terminate the capitalist system that appears only capable of trapping the people of the world in a nightmare of endless chaos, violence, misery, suffering, inequality, oppression, environmental destruction and other crises all in the interests of the super rich? How can this question not become the burning question as the absurd rules of capitalism mandate that no effort can be spared to bailout the barons of capitalist finance even while much of the population is pushed into life-threatening poverty? No doubt this unavoidable question will be an essential and welcome part of our discussion during the conference. Even if the question is not openly addressed, it will be the subtext of our deliberations.
However, though its direction is most definitely radical, it is not the intention of this document to unite conference participants around a comprehensive ideological position. Nor does it attempt to analyze the capitalist crisis, or address many issues of importance to all of us. This document is a framework for planning action. read more