Adopted at the 9th Congress of Freedom Road Socialist Organization in spring 2022
The United States is an imperialist power in decline — what Lenin called “moribund capitalism.” While this decline has been taking place since the ‘70s, the rate of decline is accelerating. The last four years, (2017-2021) have encompassed the Trump presidency, a global pandemic, an economic crisis, the George Floyd Uprising, the refugee crisis at the U.S. border and globally, the election of Joe Biden, a coup attempt on January 6 with an attack on the U.S. Capitol, and continued rejection of the legitimacy of the election. If a Hollywood script writer had written the events of the last four years into one story it would be panned as amateur hour, too far-fetched and unrealistic to be a believable story. In fact, it is the reality of life in a declining imperialist power. “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen” — Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.
This decline of U.S. imperialism is the main factor shaping and sharpening all the contradictions in U.S. society, including political polarization.
Accelerating decline of empire
The characteristics in this period of accelerating monopoly capitalist decay are not particular to either of the bourgeois political parties and are not caused by the election of a particular bourgeois politician. The ruling class opts for one or another politician based only on their preferred strategy for managing the general crisis of imperialism.
This current phase of accelerating decline dates to the late days of the Obama administration, following the U.S. defeat in Iraq and the withdrawal of most troops. The U.S. could not gather a coalition to wage concerted war against Syria. Domestically, most of the means of production destroyed by the 2008 recession never came back. This pushed a large section of middle-aged workers, who had previously held middle and upper sector working class jobs, into the low–wage service sector.
By Obama’s second term, this economic and political weakness fueled the divisions in the ruling class and political developments that elected Trump in 2016. Trump’s election has been analyzed extensively. Still the significance of events becomes clearer with the passage of time, allowing us to use both the microscope and telescope to understand our conditions.
Humpty Dumpty can’t be put back together again
Trump was an arsonist, setting fire to imperialist projects constructed over the course of 75 years, all under the auspices of “Making America Great Again.” He abandoned and weakened U.S.-dominated imperialist institutions by attacking NATO, undermining the World Trade Organization, leaving the Paris Climate treaty, and dumping the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
No matter how hard he might try, it will be impossible for Biden or any future president in the foreseeable future to undo what Trump has done. Few countries will opt to make agreements with an unstable power who might put those agreements in the shredder in four years.
A defining feature of this phase of decline is the rise of People’s China. We can expect, from the Biden administration and the Democratic Party in general, the steady drumbeat of a New Cold War with China. This is international policy, but also for domestic consumption.
Domestic politics in the context of pandemic, crisis, and uprising
Attacks on immigrants and heightened national chauvinism characterized the entirety of the Trump presidency. Trump shut down the government when Congress refused to fund his wall at the U.S.-Mexico border; the shutdown was defeated by a strike threat from the Flight Attendants Union. The bourgeoisie, with all their discomfort with the sound and fury of Trump, were huge fans of the 2018 tax cuts and of extreme deregulation, particularly around the environment and extractive industries like oil and mining.
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic. The Trump administration advocated the most laissez-faire approach possible. He began by making a series of anti-China pronouncements, banning travel to the U.S. from China, and making a mess of contact tracing by refusing to use the non-profit-testing technology from the World Health Organization. This developed into an out-and-out anti-science attitude, with Trump mocking the use of masks while advocating the use of anti-malaria drugs.
Trump focused on China and politicized the situation. In the process, he ignored that the virus was also coming in from Italy and other parts of Europe. By March 2020, New York City was in a healthcare crisis, with SARS-COV2 in widespread community circulation. The remainder of 2020 and much of 2021 was spent in a mixture of country-wide lockdowns, remote schooling, work-from-home for a section of workers, social distancing, and masks.
Responding to calls from GOP politicians amounting to “grandpa needs to be willing to sacrifice himself for the good of the economy”, Trumpism opposed work and school closures, physical distancing policies, and began to create and disseminate wild conspiracy theories about the virus. Trump and GOP politicians drove reactionary anti-mask protests. In Michigan, a right-wing militia plotted to kidnap the governor to end pandemic restrictions. Trump’s blaming of China contributed to a sharp rise in anti-Asian violence, sparking a Stop Asian Hate campaign.
After a complete failure to contain the virus initially, vaccinations were the next public health strategy, but vaccination also became a polarizing issue. More than 18 percent of the US population remains unvaccinated due to concerns surrounding the legitimacy of the vaccine, but this is not the only reason the U.S. has not been able to overcome COVID-19. The Biden administration has consistently failed the most vulnerable populations in the face of the pandemic. Facing a lack of access to vaccines, inadequate PPE, almost no virtual options for education at all levels, and the rollback of remote work options, working class people have been thrust back into the public sphere. The CDC has rescinded mask and social distancing recommendations to accommodate the demands of corporations for a return to pre-pandemic conditions and profits. This contradiction between public health needs/scientific evidence and the capitalist drive for profit has dragged out the pandemic.
On the one hand, some easy-to-administer treatments are becoming available that should reduce serious illness and death. On the other hand, the full story on the development of variants is unwritten. Either way, the pandemic, endemic, or post–pandemic period will continue to shape domestic politics.
In the late spring and early Summer of 2020, 42 percent of the U.S. labor force worked from home full-time1, about 33 percent were unemployed, and the remaining 26 percent — mostly essential service and production workers — were working on their business premises. The pandemic caused the biggest economic crisis since the 1930s. Gross Domestic Product dropped 31.4 percent in the second quarter of 2020.2 This is an annual rate, so it can be misleading. The actual drop was 9 percent in those three months, probably the biggest one-quarter drop in U.S. history. Enormous and unprecedented federal stimulus payments to households kept the economy afloat. The real story, though, is the massive cash infusion given to big business. That is the main reason the pandemic–related recession only lasted for 2 months.3
The economic situation remains unstable. The work force has shrunk, and the bosses are complaining about pressures to raise wages. The impact on women workers has been profound in ways that are hard to quantify. What happened to women workers during the pandemic was polarized. A significant section had to leave their jobs to care for children and monitor online education. Another section of women are front-line workers, deemed essential during the pandemic — whether they be nurses, health aides, or cashiers. They have born the brunt of the consequences of an absent safety net, and are now dealing with an exponential increase in the cost of increasingly hard to find childcare slots.4
The available workforce shrunk at a larger-than-expected rate. There has been an increase of around 2 million retirees over what would have been expected if the retirement rate for those aged 55 and older had not changed. The combination of excess retirement, women not returning to the work force, and a significant national trend of workers quitting existing work in search of both better pay and better working conditions has been termed the “Great Resignation.” 5
While the wealth of the top 1 percent continues to grow exponentially, inflation in 2021 reached a 30-year high. Inflation hits the average worker hard. The rise in wages has not kept up with inflation, and greater job availability has not counteracted the loss in financial security for most people during the crises of 2008 and 2020. The economy has gotten better for the rich and worse for the working class. This will likely have an impact on the midterm elections of 2022.
George Floyd Uprising
On the night of May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis, MN, four Cops led by Derek Chauvin murdered an African American man named George Floyd. A teenager’s recording of the murder on Facebook Live hit a city and a country already enmeshed in the trauma and loss of a pandemic, all in the context of Donald Trump’s ugly promotion of white chauvinism and an unending series of murders of African Americans at the hands of the police.
The country took to the street day and night for more than a week, demanding the arrest and charging of all four killer cops. The Minneapolis 3rd precinct was destroyed by fire. Over 2,000 cities and towns in over 60 countries protested to demand justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in general. It is estimated that between 15 million and 26 million people participated at some point in the demonstrations in the United States, making the protests the largest in U.S. history.
As we said at the time, “The question of killer cops targeting African Americans isn’t just a story of Black people being more oppressed workers, it’s also the result of the system of national oppression, a system that chains down African Americans and subjects them to the most intense methods of brutality at the hands of the ruling class and its police force. From Minneapolis to Louisville, we see a disregard for Black life at the hands of the police, with the Minneapolis rebellion becoming a breaking point for the Black liberation movement, sparking nationwide protests.”
The George Floyd Uprising sparked a moment of social reckoning on racism and the national oppression of African Americans. It was an enormous upsurge that raised the level of struggle against police crimes to new heights. The system has resisted taking concrete measures or legislative reforms to quell police violence, but the George Floyd uprising brought the Black liberation movement to a forty-year high.
The development of the Black liberation struggle also exposed and highlighted secondary contradictions within the national liberation movement. LGBTQ individuals and women were given a greater spotlight than ever before in a movement often centered around Black cisgender, heterosexual men. Two examples are Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade. Taylor, a black cisgender woman, and McDade, a Black transgender man, both had national support.
While both the Democratic and Republican parties are parties of the bourgeoisie, the Biden victory in the 2020 presidential election was a good thing, and it has created a more favorable terrain for our work.
On January 6, 2021, reactionaries of all stripes, including white supremacists and fascists, attempted, by force, to prevent the Biden administration from taking power. This represented an attempt to negate votes cast by oppressed nationalities. It was a soft coup attempt by Trump to refuse to leave office. This is unprecedented in U.S. history. The Trumpist movement continues to claim that the election was stolen.
Biden is the main political representative of U.S. monopoly capitalism and the Democrats control the presidency, the Senate, and the House. They are the political party in power on a national level, be it on the issues of immigration, labor rights, social spending, etc. Biden has opted for more stimulus spending, including stimulus payments and expanded unemployment, an infrastructure bill, and a proposal that may or may not pass for “soft infrastructure” like childcare subsidies.
An additional similarity to both Obama and Trump has been Biden’s handling of the refugee crisis at the southern border. He continues the detention and turning back of families fleeing violence in Central America. Specific cruelty is demonstrated by his deportation of 1,000 Haitian refugees back to that country amid both natural disasters and the assassination of the President.
The Democratic Party has done nothing about police reform. They have been weak and ineffectual at stopping the destruction of voting rights in dozens of states or protecting abortion rights at the national and state levels. The party that ran on protecting the people, or at least the system, from Trump and Trumpism shows itself both unwilling and unable to do that each day. This reality will only amplify both polarization and radicalization in the Black Liberation Movement and radiate into all oppressed nationality movements and the working class as a whole.
Polarization continues and deepens
The past 4 years has seen a sharpening of class, national, and other contradictions that extend out of the economic base and into the political/ideological superstructure. This polarization is present both within ruling class politics and in the contradiction between the oppressed and oppressor. This polarization, or at least the government policies adopted in this context, cycle back and impact the economic base. For example, less regulation of finance capital has made possible greater profits from risky investments, which are then invested back into finance capital. Put another way, there is more money to be made by capital gambling in the stock market than putting capital into means of production — thus strengthening the parasitic aspect of imperialism.
Trump was the ideal political representative for a declining monopoly capitalism which brings together all things reactionary and backwards in a relatively unvarnished way. He and the political trend he leads will continue to be an important force in U.S. political life. Trump has built a constituency that believes he was the real winner of the election. Trump was largely deserted by the ruling class, but he may hold some sway in the next period for his advocacy of a somewhat “pure” corporate agenda: decreased taxes for the rich, wreck the environment, and so on.
Trump’s social base is the petty bourgeoisie. This is folks like the construction company owner who struggles to compete with the big monopoly firms, or the “broke-as-a-joke” petty bourgeois (you got a truck, you got a job). The Trumpist movement is mostly white, although it has made in roads with a reactionary section of Latinos. It plays off a sense of displacement caused by the 2008 economic crisis and the loss of the stable middle section of the working-class jobs that came with it. Most of its supporters are not going to go fight cops and ransack the capitol, but there is a wing of it that is radicalized and ready to go. This includes members of violent far–right and white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys.
The Trumpist movement influences the working class because the lower section of the petty bourgeoisie intermixes with the working class, socially and within families. This injects the ideology of the enemy within the class, including national chauvinism and anti-immigrant bias. Trumpism as an ideology and practice must be combated within the working class, specifically among white workers. Successful strategies for that, particularly outside the ranks of the relatively small, organized section of the class need to be further developed and tested.
The shape of reaction
As one would expect, different sections of capital have different views on how to deal with the decline of U.S. imperialism.
“Trumpism” is one response by the bourgeoisie to this decline and represents a particular, populist brand of politics this is extraordinarily reactionary, characterized by jingoism, national chauvinism, opposition to civil and democratic rights, and a loyalty to the primacy of capital over all things. Trumpism has attracted out-and-out white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
Trumpist forces are closely aligned with the Federalist Society. Founded in 1982 and linked from its outset to Reaganism, The Federalist Society advocates “states’ rights”, opposes federal enforcement of civil and workers’ rights, and supports the unfettered rule of capital. Its core funders are based in banking and capital-intensive extractive industries.
This unified group of Trumpists and Federalists have developed a legal and ideological justification for a theory of minority rule called a “constitutional majority.” This theory adds up to controlling the Federal government by leveraging the Electoral College combined with the courts to prevent majority voting and overturning the laws and policies of reactionary capital. Thanks to Trump, the Supreme Court has a majority of justices with Federalist Society ties – as does around 25 percent of the Federal judiciary at the Appellate and District Court level. These forces also have significant control of some state legislatures, with Texas being a prime example.
Not everything that is extremely reactionary is fascism, although there always exists within the capitalist system the seeds of fascism in an undeveloped form. We would be wise to keep an eye on how this political movement develops in the future.
The refusal of Trump to concede that he lost the election and his attempt to overthrow the orderly transfer of power is not a joke. The nature of the Texas abortion ban, with its tactic of enforcing the removal of democratic rights via vigilante rule, is dangerous. The current campaign against so-called “Critical Race Theory” is a backlash against the George Floyd uprising and the Black Lives Matter movement and needs to be treated as such.
What is needed right now is to is to fight fiercely and resolutely, with clear lines drawn between the forces of reaction and monopoly capitalism on the one side, and the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of the working class and oppressed nationalities on the other. There are many currents in the political waters designed to confuse and mislead. To hand any section of the bourgeoisie leadership of our rising movements would be a grave error.
The Loyal Opposition
Following January 6, the Democrats in the House impeached Trump, but he prevailed at his trial in the Senate, and so was not removed from office. Other attempts, such as the current hearings in the House to hold him and his supporters accountable, have been toothless and weak. The Republican Party and a section of the ruling class remains beholden to Trump. For them, Trump is only a means to an end. They see that as U.S. imperialism declines, their grip on power declines as well.
Congressional Democrats have taken no action to protect voting rights. They refuse to use their admittedly weak majority to push through meaningful legislation to protect democratic rights. They have just awoken to the reality of the decline they find themselves in. They and the portions of the bourgeoisie that back them have not settled on a plan or strategy. In fact, instead of measures that seek to implement police reforms at a federal level, Cory Booker and company are giving more money to the police and penalizing cities that reallocate even 1 percent of their budget to mental health workers.
The non-profit organizations (NGOs) that seek to displace mass movements are often a creation of the government and monopoly capitalist funded foundations in response to the oppressed nationality upsurge in the 1960s and 1970s. These NGOs are closely aligned with a section of the Democratic Party which has a strategy to pacify the masses, not through repression, but through toothless sloganeering and false promises, completely divorced from the felt needs of the masses. In one example, they poured tens of millions into an empty ballot initiative that took no action toward police accountability or community control of the police. The measure failed, despite a 40 percent vote in favor of the initiative. It was voted down in nearly every precinct with a large or majority oppressed nationality population.
NGO’s often reflect petit bourgeoise classes within national liberation movements. Our job is to emphasize working class leadership in oppressed nationality movements.
Many recognize that bourgeois politicians are not the answer. They can’t even protect their own institutions from reactionaries. They are weak, ineffective, and not on our side. We shouldn’t be shy about saying so.
The Bernie Sanders campaign for President and the rise of DSA represents the development of social democratic trends in U.S. politics. There are also some elected Democrats that are part of this trend within the Democratic Party that are perhaps less wed to the defense of the empire than traditional social democracy and the historical views of DSA. We may find some allies among these politicians and their supporters, and need to be thoughtful about meaningful electoral alliances that advance the people’s struggle. We should, however, continue to make our home in the working class and oppressed national movements.
We reject the reformist notion that crisis in a capitalist economy is mainly the result of “human error” of the policies of this or that politician. It is the system of monopoly capitalism itself that has failed. As such, capitalism is the enemy, and we can never entirely agree with those who favor a purely reformist approach. Our answer can only be party building. Winning the advanced to revolution and socialism is the path out of the turmoil.
The high tide of struggle in the national movements lifts all boats
Even as Derek Chauvin was on trial, we learned of the police killings of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, 20-year-old Daunte Wright, and 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant. In this country, there is a long history of racist vigilantes, many of them local police or sheriffs, who put on their hoods and sheets to lynch African Americans to enforce a system of Jim Crow segregation. Jim Crow is gone, but the system of national oppression — economic inequality, segregation in housing, separate and unequal schools, lack of political rights, and police terror — remains.
We know that a strategic alliance of African Americans, Chicanos, Native Americans, and other oppressed nationality movements such as Latinos, Asian, and Arab Americans, united with the multinational working class and its political party, a new communist party, will be at the center of a broad united front to topple the system of monopoly capitalism and bring about socialism. We can only win this fight by struggling in the streets with all those who fight for justice, including the families of those taken from us by police crimes and those fighting for community control of police.
The struggle against police crimes, centered within the Black Liberation Movement, will continue to be the fulcrum of struggle. The African American national movement is again serving as the tide that lifts all boats into struggle, as it has so many times in the past.
The fight against police terror has been sharp within the Southwest, the national territory of the Chicano nation, where major battles have been taken place from California to Texas. Police crimes serve to reinforce national oppression and inequality, The Chicano national movement has gained strength in this past period by challenging the repression carried out by police, sheriffs, and other arms of law enforcement, and has the potential to make still greater gains in the immediate future. The unity of oppressed nationalities in the struggle against police crimes is a positive development that makes our respective movements more powerful.
The working class and its organizations
Just as the strike wave of the 1960s that built public sector unions was inspired by the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, the uprising against police killings has inspired the multinational working class to stand up and fight for their rights. It also came as a result of the pandemic, when workers could see so clearly that the corporations did not care if we died, as long as they could continue to make profits.
COVID is the number 3 cause of death in the U.S. in 2021. There were large disparities in cases and deaths for Black, Indigenous and Latino people compared to their white counterparts. Latino workers, who are disproportionately essential and front line workers, suffered higher death rates due to workplace exposure.
The pandemic has been devastating for women, and especially oppressed nationality women, who were the majority of the highest risk essential workers in health and education sectors. The majority of service sector workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic were women. And women face the additional burden of being primary caregivers for families as well as doing the majority of household labor that is required to reproduce the working class.
A lot of workers realized during the pandemic the importance of being in a union — the safety protections, the health insurance, etc. There has been an incredible surge in support for unions and in workers forming their own unions. Grad students at MIT and the University of New Mexico have successfully won union votes for recognition. Grad students at the University of Indiana struck to demand recognition. Workers at Half Price Books and at Apple are organizing. Across the country, workers at Starbucks are winning union elections every day. The most significant win, though, is at the Staten Island Amazon warehouse, where a militant group of rank and file workers beat the behemoth and won the first union at Amazon. These fights are being won because workers are organizing themselves and inspiring each other, and they are winning because they are carrying out militant fights against the boss. Workers clearly want unions that will build and win fights. And more and more workers want unions that are class conscious. The Amazon Labor Union leadership studied closely the writings of William Z. Foster, the historic U.S. Communist labor leader.
During the pandemic, workers really saw this capitalist system laid bare. That the bosses are indifferent to our health and safety. That they will quite literally work us to death. And so worker rage that had been dormant has now bubbled up. We are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Last summer and fall saw hundreds of thousands of workers walk off the job at Kellogg’s, John Deere, Frito Lay and Nabisco, University of Illinois Chicago, and UIC medical center. These strikes captured the imagination of not only other workers, but even the press, who dubbed it “StrikeTober.” Compared to historic strike data, this wasn’t really a wave. But it was significant, and it continues. Each strike inspires the next. The Chicago Teachers Union continues to lead the way, refusing unsafe teaching and learning conditions, striking when necessary, and supporting community control of the police. In March of 2022, Minneapolis educators in MFT59 shut the Minneapolis Public School system down and mobilized not only their members, but the working class throughout the city to support their struggle. Class conscious unions like CTU, MFT59, UTLA (United Teachers LA) have exposed the corporate ed reformers — so many of whom are tied to the Democrats — who are fighting to destroy public education.
Another important development is the new leadership of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Sean O’Brien, the new general president, won the elections in a coalition with Teamsters for a Democratic Union, a rank and file militant minority grouping within Teamsters. This is significant because the contract at UPS — the single largest union contract in the country covering 130,000 workers — is expiring in 2023. They are already talking about and organizing for a strike, which will shut down the logistics industry nationwide.
The capitalists know that strikes make working people recognize our power. That’s why they’ve made it so hard to strike, to fight and win. In addition to the capitalists trying to destroy our movement, elements within the labor movement hold back working class organization. In the U.S. labor movement today, there are three main ideological trends. There is a small number of class struggle oriented unions, who recognize that we must fight the boss, but also fight against the capitalist system and for socialism. Second, there are business unionists — the class collaborationists. The vast majority of U.S. unions are run on the business unionist model. There is a growing influence of what Joe Burns, author of Class Struggle Unionism, calls “Labor Liberals.” 6 These people have brought an NGO approach and ideology into the labor movement. They criticize the business unionists for being conservative but fear class struggle and militancy. They are mostly college graduates and have never held jobs as workers but instead take staff in unions and patronize actual workers. They talk about progressive politics, but do not have class consciousness. They think that a strike is just a protest of workers. They don’t trust workers to lead our own fights. They tightly control campaigns as PR actions. This mentality is a growing phenomenon and threat within the U.S. labor movement, and quite honestly is winning the battle of ideas. Class struggle oriented unionists must do more to battle against these ideas within the labor movement. We need to build unions that are fighting unions; that make sure workers define and lead our own fights; that are democratically run; and that see capitalism as the enemy and socialism as the solution. We need to build class struggle unions.
Voting rights and other democratic rights struggles
Ever since the Supreme Court’s conservative majority weakened the 1965 Voting Rights Act in 2013, Republicans and the right wing have tried to pass more and more legal restrictions on voting. The main aim of these efforts is to suppress the votes of African Americans, who have long fought the racism and reaction of the modern Republican Party. These efforts redoubled in the wake of the 2020 elections with Donald Trump’s loss in the presidential race and the election of one African American senator from Georgia. Trump and his allies’ falsehoods about voter fraud have merged with this campaign for voter suppression.
While some people who wish to marginalize the people’s movement try to pit voting rights against mass struggles, the fact of the matter is that people in the streets help the struggle for voting rights. It would also be wrong to pit the struggle for voting rights against our fight for socialism. As the Russian revolutionary V.I. Lenin said, “we are obliged for that reason to expound and emphasize general democratic tasks before the whole people, without for a moment concealing our socialist convictions.”
Community control of the police and voting rights are both democratic demands, made even more important here and now, because they are also demands of African Americans and other oppressed nationalities, who, along with the working class, make up the core of the struggle for socialism in the United States.
Republicans and the right wing have also launched a billionaire-funded, coordinated national attack on reproductive and LGBTQ rights. A main goal is to overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortions, and a draft majority opinion leaked in 2022 confirmed that the Supreme Court is poised to do just that. This is the biggest attack on women since they were pushed out of the workplace in the 1940s. If Roe is overturned, 26 U.S. states will likely enact bans on abortion. This will have the harshest impact on working class and oppressed nationality women and others who can get pregnant, who can’t afford to travel to states where abortion would remain legal. Overturning Roe could also open the door to the removal of other democratic rights guaranteed by the Supreme Court, such as the right to same-sex marriages.
The rights of LGBTQ people are already in the right’s crosshairs — bans on gender-affirming medical care, athletic participation, and supportive teaching are some examples. These attacks target all LGBTQ people, but specifically aim to isolate transgender minors. Murders against Black, Chicana, Central American, and Puerto Rican transgender women are on the rise. The right’s goals are to silence LGBTQ support, stifle the future of the LGBTQ movement in the South, and criminalize the existence of gender non-conforming and transgender people, and then LGBTQ people in general.
Young students walked out of class against anti-LGBTQ laws, just as pro-reproductive rights protests across the country sprang up against the majority opinion leak. As the Supreme Court approaches its final ruling on Roe v. Wade, the reproductive rights movement may develop into a significant mass upsurge. We support trans people’s struggle for inclusion in the women’s movement, as a woman’s identity is not determined by the ability to have children, and many trans men and non-binary people can have children as well. The women’s and LGBTQ movements are broad and multi-class. They both need more working-class leadership to help them look towards street protests and strong alliances with oppressed nationality and labor movements.
The democratic rights of immigrants and refugees are also under attack. We see the Chicano, Mexicano, and Central American communities at the core of the movement, making up 70 percent of the undocumented immigrants that are the central issue of the immigrant rights movement. At the same time, the percentage of Asian, South American, Caribbean, and African undocumented immigrants have doubled in the last 15 years.
Refugees from Central America and other countries are also under attack. The U.S.-Mexican border remains militarized, and many of the inhumane policies of the Trump administration continue under the Biden administration. Perhaps most deplorable was the deportation of Haitian refugees to a country racked with natural disaster, extreme poverty, and political chaos by the Biden administration.
The Biden Administration and the Democratic congress have again failed to pass any measures to legalize the more than 12 million undocumented, who on average have lived in the United States for 13 years. As with the Obama administration, they have put all their efforts into passing economic programs. Although these reforms, such as expanding health insurance and rebuilding infrastructure, are needed, there has been a marked lack of attention to immigrants and refugees.
Climate change is not only a problem of the future but has concrete impacts today. Oppressed nationality communities are struck disproportionately hard by climate destruction such as oil spills from pipelines and extreme weather events like Hurricane Ida. Struggles for indigenous sovereignty and to protect the climate often place Native nations and peoples at the forefront of today’s fight for climate justice. This struggle will continue and be an area of growth to take part in.
The reality is that imperialism is destroying the planet. Monopoly capitalism and its law-driven imperative for profits over all other considerations cannot offer any solutions to the ongoing tide of environmental destruction. Socialism, with its ability to carry out economic programs and developments, will have the capability to drastically reduce carbon emissions that we see today. China has become a shining example of this as a leader in production as well as in green initiatives and development of sustainable energy technologies. Capitalism will always produce to the point of catastrophic excess, but socialism can provide real solutions to sustainable production and innovation. To truly be liberating for working class people in the U.S. and around the world, the movement to end climate change must be approached from the perspective of proletarian internationalism.
Some final notes
There are many important areas of struggle that are not reflected in this paper. Our aim is to capture the most dynamic elements of the most recent motion that we think will continue to push contradictions forward, rather than to produce a comprehensive summary of all the people’s movements.
A People‘s Response
Going forward, we expect to see a growing radicalization of the broad masses of people — and more polarization. We always apply the mass line and as communists we always draw a distinction between friends and enemies. We need to be out front and in the lead. We need to lead campaigns and draw lines of demarcation between what the rich would like us to settle for and what we need.
We must guard against any repressive measures (including legislation) that could be used against left and progressive forces. We oppose attempts to restrict the second amendment.
We see heightened attacks against the people’s movements. Reactionary policies must be met with mobilization. The more intense the attacks, the more ungovernable the people must make the streets. Communists should fight back and win all we can win, build a new communist party, and bring forward into the struggle all elements willing to join the united front against imperialism.
6 Joe Burns, Class Struggle Unionism (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2022)