FIST photo: Larry Hales
Excerpted from a talk given by Larry Hales, FIST National Leader, at the WWP National Conference in New York City, Oct. 8-9.
We have been talking about the crisis and that, eventually, people’s consciousness will lead them into action in response to the deepening crisis that we see as intractable and continuing. The release of the job figures for last month shows that they are nowhere near being able to replace the 8 million jobs that were bled from the system because of the crisis, and they can’t keep up with the new workers entering into employment age. I think last month 400,000 people became of age to enter into the job market.
In the U.S., the conditions are especially hitting young people. The occupiers down on Wall Street and in other places are majority white but young. The reason is because a lot of young people that have graduated from high school or college and have never had a job, have no prospects for a job. So, you enter into your adult life, hoping to have a family, wanting to strike out on your own, but you don’t have the means and resources for which to do so.
As conditions get worse, the prospects for uprising and struggle increase.
I was just in Georgia and went to the funeral for Troy Davis. A preacher talked about how evil has the tendency to create its own demise, and it always goes too far. We say that capitalism creates its own demise.
We have been involved in the struggle for the occupation from the beginning. The seeds are sown by the objective conditions of capitalism, right? But we have been involved in pushing the movement to fight austerity and to respond to the crisis since it began. We formed Bail Out the People shortly after the markets crashed.
We were instrumental in pulling together the national student struggle, calling for nationally coordinated actions. We were instrumental, here in New York City, in coalescing unity of labor, students and community, which at that time was the cutting edge of the struggle here in the city. It was the liberal movement that had to catch up.
When we first received word of the proposed occupation of Wall Street, because organizers came to a meeting of New Yorkers Against Budget Cuts, we began talking about it and planning.
We have to admit that as great as it is, there are contradictions within this movement. The voices of oppressed people have been marginalized and have been tamped down.
The movement in general is progressive and left leaning, but there are elements hanging around the fringes, some of which are fascistic. Sometimes, when you are too inclusive, it creates a dangerous situation of letting certain political elements take advantage of the anger and frustration and use demagogy that sounds similar but that is fundamentally different and poisonous.
The cops have done a number of things like lead people on to the Brooklyn Bridge, trap them in and then arrest hundreds of them. The cops have tried to make it a war of attrition, but each time the numbers only grow. New York City may have a police force larger than most militaries around the world, but we saw almost 100,000 people march through the streets of New York on Wednesday, so the city does not have enough police to contain the rising anger and the numbers that are merging into the streets in excitement over the occupation on Wall Street.
Our task as revolutionaries is, within this movement, to wage an ideological struggle. To say that we have to be against capitalism. It’s the capitalist system that has created the conditions. The capitalist needs and uses racism as a weapon. It is a capitalist government that forces austerity on the masses and uses the state against people of color and workers in general. It is the state of the capitalists that murdered Troy Davis, an innocent man, that wants to kill Mumia Abu-Jamal and that locks up 2.3 million people in dungeons all around the country — primarily oppressed people.
If it is capitalism that is the problem. We have to put something forward to replace it. We have to say that the development of society is a scientific thing, that things don’t happen out of nowhere, and that the system has built within it its own end, and that the only way forward is for the workers to go forward in confidence, to seize control, smash the state and build a society based on solidarity, that provides for all our needs and that such a society is a socialist society.
Occupy everything! Demand everything! All Power to the People! Fight Imperialism! Stand Together!
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