“Workers of the World, Unite!”
I am writing this from the United States of America, where on this International Workers’ Day, the union movement is failing, worker wages are down, and the brutal attack on the middle class and workers is taking on new strength akin to the Roaring 20s right before the Great Depression. By all objective measures, conditions for American workers are looking very grim. Even more grim is the brutal reality that, among advanced and industrialized nations, America is one of the most unequal. Wealth inequality is at its highest level in American history since the 1920s.
Yet, we are led to believe from those in the Obama Administration that things are getting better. I am not denying that the American economy has improved since President Obama took office. However, at some point our president needs to engage in a full frontal attack on America corporations and stop the endless assaults on American workers. He should stop by the Senate the next time Sen. Bernie Sanders or Sen. Elizabeth Warren are giving a speech. We need their brand of democratic socialism, not pragmatism that continues to benefit the uber rich.
All that said, I am very happy today. How could anyone who stands with workers possibly be happy today? Well, I will tell you.
I am a Marxist and, more specifically, a Democratic Socialist. At their core, the ideas of Marx are about hope. They were written by a man who enthusiastically believed that a better world lie ahead for workers. Every word written by Marx was written with a spirit of love, brotherhood, comradeship, and (yes) hope for a better world and better conditions for workers. This means embracing hope when everything around you is falling apart. Even if the plight of American workers is looking grim and even if wealth inequality is growing, there is still reason to hope. In fact, this hope can be most effective when it is being attacked on all sides. It is at those times that we really learn to embrace our hope and vision for a better world.
As did Marx believe, so do I; and that hope is the only thing keeping me smiling on this May Day. Things will get better, they must get better. They cannot get worse. We on the left, and those of us who still proudly wave the Marxian banner, must embrace Marx’s call for a better world and we must use his ideas to fight for this better world. In the ensuing insanity, we must embrace Marxism as a shining light and build a niche of sanity that will inspire us to continue fighting and to finish the fight.
I wish I could say it as well as my professor, but I cannot. Below is a quote from “Dialectics of Disaster,” by Dr. Ronald Aronson, a man with whom I have had the great privilege of studying under.
“If our final victory is not foreordained, neither is our defeat. And so we fight on, sometimes grimly but some times joyously. There are, after all, many reasons for joy. Our own self-empowerment, our learning to appreciate each half-step of victory, our experiencing the richness and depth of the we– these are some of the joys of struggle. We wish it were not so, but today the commitment to sanity, to truth, to humanity, to survival, means doing battle. Accordingly, we must learn to cultivate the pleasures of collective action.”
Similarly, we must take increased inspiration from Marx’s call to workers in the final lines of the “Communist Manifesto.”
“The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. WORKERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!”
Let that be our call today. Let that be our call forever. Solidarity and love to all my comrades. The fight goes on!