by Tim Hall
. (Editorial from the Winter-Spring, 2003-4 issue of Struggle, a magazine of proletarian revolutionary literature.)
. The response of you, the readers, to the fund appeal we sent out with the last issue of Struggle has been excellent. Enough support has come in to allow us to publish this double issue that you hold in your hands. This means that the poetry and prose of many deserving writers, who have been patiently waiting for publication, can now appear -- and that you readers are getting a somewhat hefty piece of rebellious literature. Thanks to all the generous proletarian rebels out there! We need you to continue your support of progressive and revolutionary literature.
. A number of readers have generously paid for subscriptions for prisoners (we can no longer afford to send it to them for free). Some prisoners have managed to scrape up the $5 for a prisoner sub. Struggle will continue to circulate among that super-oppressed section of society.
. Meanwhile, Bush's war quagmire in Iraq deepens and the crisis intensifies. Fast-talking Democrats pretend to offer an alternative, but the best they can propose is an international imperialist occupation of Iraq (Kucinich's U.N. proposal) in place of Washington's unilateral occupation. A U.N. occupation would involve other big imperialist states, such as Russia and France, who are not known for gentleness when their beloved profits are at stake. And at home the rich continue to grind down the workers and no one in power is doing anything about it, not even the leaders of the AFL-CIO, the UAW and the Teamsters, who merely act as shoehorns to help the capitalists don their boots to step on us. The Democrats promise pie in the sky if we get rid of Bush, but they, too, serve the rich and will bring little substantive change from Bush's program of war, domination and robbery.
. Only the workers and masses are fighting back. Supermarket workers in California continue to strike for health care. Black masses protest police murders. Anger deepens, small-scale ferment is everywhere.
. Creative writers who want to contribute to rebellion may or may not deal with immediate issues. They may take up topical questions or they may meditate on broader issues. But one thing that is needed is a deeper grasp of the role of class in society. The core problem in the U. S. and the world is the exploitation of the working class -- the proletariat, the vast majority of all industrial societies -- by the capitalists. This creates the immense wealth of billionaires, it directly or indirectly motivates their politics, including their repression, wars, racial discrimination, etc. And this relationship of exploitation creates the only force -- the propertyless proletariat that must sell its labor-power to the capitalists in order to live -- that can overthrow the rich and re-organize society on a fully humanist, socialist basis. The issue today is to use the political interest stirred up by the election circus to encourage people to begin to build a movement of the working class and for the working class, that fights for the workers and all oppressed, independent of both the Republicans and the Democrats.
. Every issue of Struggle contains many works about specific problems faced by the oppressed masses. In our view, even though these writings may not mention proletarian revolution (and their authors may not even envision it), they play a very important part in building that wave of rebellion that will someday set things right. Struggle is a sort of literary tribune of the people. Struggle considers the fights against racism, sexism, war and such as vital to the over-all struggle of the working class. A revolutionary proletarian magazine must emblazon these slogans on its banners. The present issue, for example, opens with a number of pieces denouncing racism.
. At the same time, Struggle is a literary tribune of the proletariat. We bring to the fore the class issue, not only in the proletariat's direct confrontation with the employers, but also within other mass issues as well. A number of pieces in this issue linger on the workers' struggles. One, the story "All Bagged Up," shows American workers overcoming prejudice to appreciate a small fight of immigrants against the oppressor they share. Another story, "Helen Mowers of Warrenton," traces the psychological consequences of a worker's layoff. Another, "A Long Row to Hoe," shows the vigor of a spontaneous worker rebellion. And still another, "A Glimpse," gives a snapshot of how the ability to organize a world without capitalist bosses slumbers in ordinary workers' breasts.
. We encourage our readers and writers to think more deeply on the role of class in the world of today and to use their courage and their creativity to fight for the oppressed.
* * * * * * * * * *
. Well, apparently I have caused a bit of controversy in another sphere. A few months ago I wrote an article for Communist Voice journal criticizing the declaration made by a Trotskyist group, the League for the Revolutionary Party, that it did not oppose a possible renewal of conscription. As you probably know, murmurs are rising about a renewal because the Iraq adventure, coming on top of the Afghanistan war, has begun to strain Washington's military resources. Shockingly, the liberal darling of the anti-war coalitions, Rep. John Conyers, introduced a bill to reinstate the draft. (I criticized Conyers in a second article at the time. ) In response to my article, the LRP recently issued a lengthy reply, declaring to the anti-war movement that all draft resistance, indeed (unbelievably!) All opposition to militarization, would be a negative tactic, a middle-class pacifist position, a violation of Leninism.
. In my article I showed how one wing of the draft resistance movement in the 60's -- in which I was a leader -- was a vigorous current in the anti-war movement and helped push it to the left. In its reply, the LRP heaps scorn on the anti-war and anti-draft struggles of the 60's. This is a wrong attitude towards the mass movement. Yes, there were problems, confusion, dead-ends and different class viewpoints in this movement, but that's what you find in any profound upsurge that stirs new sections of the masses to action. Revolutionaries must work among those who are striking blows against the war-makers and the exploiters, supporting their struggle while fighting its negative side. And indeed, within the anti-war movement and other struggles of that time, a pro-working class revolutionary trend emerged.
. Contrary to the LRP's assertions, the pro-working-class wing of the 60's anti-draft movement influenced many young workers in an anti-war and anti-imperialist direction, drew activists into work in the proletariat and culminated in a trend embracing Marxism and Leninism. But the controversy over my CV article has more than a historical significance. The LRP opposes not just the anti-draft movement but all anti-militarism, and anti-militarism is a live issue today, one that is likely to grow. A hysteria about the "war against terrorism" being promoted by capitalist shills of every stripe. Repression is being carried out under the Patriot Act and by the immigration authorities, the courts and the police. The capitalists are strongly pushing militarism and empire-building, and may reinstate the draft. People with anti-war sentiment, discontented workers, oppressed women, people of color and immigrants, anti-imperialist left activists -- all should vigorously fight every aspect of this reactionary assault.
. For those who are interested, my anti-draft articles appear on the CVO website at
www.communistvoice.org. The LRP articles are available from them at SV Publishing, Box 769,
Washington Bridge Station, N.Y., NY 10033. A reply to LRP's answer will appear in the next
issue of Communist Voice and will be posted on the CVO site in late winter or early spring.
Last modified: April 15, 2004