The unraveling of capitalism
Published May 26, 2010 1:38 PM
Capitalism just doesn’t work. A recent Pew Research Center poll
illustrated this reality when the results showed that fewer and fewer people in
the U.S. view capitalism in a positive light, especially among the younger
generation. Consider the following facts: Workers by the tens of millions are
being downsized out of their jobs or never have had a job to begin with; they
cannot afford health care and nutritious food; they are losing their pensions;
and they are being foreclosed and evicted out of their homes, all while global
warming and pollution, as the BP oil disaster reflects, run amok.
Young people in particular are losing faith in capitalism as public high
schools are being closed in alarming numbers, especially in large urban areas.
College tuition is out of reach for the vast majority of poor and working-class
And what are the alternatives for young people when education is not an option?
The economic military draft and jail. Studies show that a growing number of
U.S. states are railroading more Black and Latino/a youth to prison, especially
for drug convictions, than are graduating them from state universities. In
reality, a whole generation of young people is being criminalized.
And since capitalism is a worldwide system that is sustained by making profits
for a small clique of multimillionaires and billionaires, it needs a well-oiled
repressive apparatus to try to keep the workers and oppressed disunited and
disempowered. This apparatus, also known as the state, includes the mainstream
media; all branches of government including local, state and federal; the
prisons, jails and courts; the Pentagon and military; and much more.
The ruling class controls these repressive institutions with bourgeois laws and
funds them. It uses them as a buffer between themselves — the rich
— and the masses.
The most glaring repressive institution is the police. From the first day that
children go to school in the U.S., it is engrained into their psyche that the
police are there to “protect and serve” the people. But in reality
the police as an armed body exist to serve and defend the private property and
profits of the capitalist ruling class.
Just as the U.S. military and its puppets oppress the world’s people from
Iraq to Afghanistan to Somalia, the police in all their forms oppress the
masses at home. For immigrant workers, particularly if they are undocumented,
this repression comes in the form of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement
and its armed border patrols carrying out raids and terror in the Southwest and
Millions of youth are stopped and frisked by the cops all over the country for
no other reason than for being Black or Latino/a in a poor neighborhood. In New
York City alone, 55 percent of the 575,000 people stopped by the police in 2009
were Black. An estimated 25 percent of the overall New York population is
Aiyana Jones, a 7-year-old African-American girl, was fatally shot by Detroit
cops after they threw a grenade into her home while she was sleeping with her
grandmother. Two Black high school students and sisters, DeAsia and Destiny
Bronaugh, were protesting against school closings in Cleveland when they were
physically attacked recently by racist police and then arrested.
Ask any striking worker trying to stop a scab from crossing the picket line
which side the police are on and they will nine times out of 10 answer, not
Police may have unions but workers they are not. Workers produce a product or
service that is useful and necessary for the whole of society. The police serve
as an armed, repressive force above the same laws that exist to keep the
workers and oppressed down.
The same Pew poll showed that more and more people are viewing socialism in a
less negative way. This encouraging shift in thinking within the most powerful
imperialist country bodes well for forwarding the class struggle. But thinking
must turn into action and organization in the radical process of replacing
capitalism and its rotten class of rich parasites, root and branch, with a
socialist system that will empower the workers and meet all of the needs of the
Only revolutionary workers’ power can realize a new society that will
provide jobs, housing, health care and education as rights and bring an end to
police and state terror once and for all.
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