“What Road to Socialism?” is a new Workers World anthology released in paper and other formats on May 16, just days before the massive international movement erupted in protest against the horrific police murder of George Floyd. This book expresses confidence that militant, new people’s movements will inevitably arise against oppression and stresses the power of those movements to transform political thinking overnight.
More than three weeks of demonstrations, marches and confrontations in thousands of towns and cities in every U.S. state have sent shockwaves throughout the U.S. power structure. This explosive new movement confirms in real life the points reiterated in most chapters in “What Road to Socialism?”
The book confronts the burning questions and key contradictions that have arisen during this deadly pandemic and global capitalist meltdown. On these pages, long-time activists and organizers discuss the strategy of consciously linking the struggles in their protests against capitalism.
A lively read, a fresh view
What makes the book such a lively read is that it contains a selection of articles written in the moment by a wide diversity of authors with a fresh view of developments as they were unfolding. The 40 chapters were selected from over 1,000 articles a year that WW newspaper publishes.
The tone throughout the book is not polemical or caustic. It maintains a respectful approach toward different currents in the U.S. working-class movement, while expressing a hatred of capitalist looters and profiteers.
The collection provides a framework for a socialist study group or for classes on the role of the police and the repressive capitalist state. A study guide is being prepared for future use.
The authors include veteran activists and Marxist thinkers who have decades of experience, as well as new voices of those who are grappling with the challenges of being gig workers, rapidly changing technology and powerful new social movements.
Cartoons drawn by Tony Murphy, whose works are published in WW newspaper, highlight many of the book’s sections.
‘10 Socialist Demands’
“What Road to Socialism?” opens with “10 Socialist Demands for the COVID-19 Crisis” that are revolutionary, while addressing the most basic needs workers are struggling to meet during the current crisis. They include calls for national health care under community control and the suspension of all debt, rent and mortgage payments.
Advanced political demands that today are front and center in the mass movement against racist killer cops, such as abolishing the racist police and prisons, are part of WW’s 10-point COVID program. (See workers.org.)
Again and again “What Road to Socialism?” returns to the theme of revolution versus reform. This is the fundamental debate: How to win real change and not end up with the same two corrupt ruling-class political parties which are both committed to protecting capitalist property relations.
Social democracy and its enmeshed relationship with the Democratic Party are counterposed to reliance on the power of people’s movements. Several authors discuss the enthusiasm about and the limitations of the Bernie Sanders campaign.
Articles examine the deepening global capitalist crisis and capitalism’s inability over 300 years to break free of the vicious boom-and-bust cycles that worsen as capitalist economies are increasingly interconnected globally and far more technologically productive.
The role of the state as the essential enforcer and protector of capitalist property is taken up in several chapters, which are relevant to the immediate struggle against the brutal, racist police.
‘Centrality of Fighting Racism’
What has always defined Workers World Party is the critical importance of fighting racism and having a revolutionary understanding of national oppression. These issues are integral to the book and are the focus of not only one section titled the “Centrality of Fighting Racism,” but constitute a theme reinforced throughout.
Additionally, WWP pays special attention to special oppressions based on gender, sexuality, disability and age in the working class, while always aiming to build class solidarity. This is confirmed in several chapters.
There is discussion of the working class today, its changing character and demographics, and the problems so many workers face, including growing impoverishment and the lack of union representation. This section exudes revolutionary confidence, set during today’s period of radical resurgence.
Socialist countries and those with mass-based movements are better prepared to protect their populations from the current coronavirus pandemic. The ability of people’s mobilizations to more effectively combat a pandemic — when compared to capitalist countries with more advanced technology, but chaotic, competitive, unplanned infrastructure — is thoughtfully discussed in many articles.
The need to promote international solidarity and to defend our class gains on a global scale takes on great urgency and is a major theme in these pages.
The publication’s final section provides a historic sweep about the long global struggle for revolutionary change and the reorganization of society based on prioritizing people’s needs in a socialist economy.
Your help is needed!
What this book needs is hundreds of mini-reviews and commentaries on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, as well as 5-star ratings on the KDP publication site. It is true with this publication, as with everything in the working-class movement that is produced entirely with volunteer labor and limited resources, that help is needed to spread the word about it.
That’s where our readers come in. We ask that you promote this vital book on social media and among friends, co-workers and political allies.
“What Road to Socialism?” can be read for free in EPUB, PDF and Kindle formats at workers.org/books/. To purchase the paper book, go to tinyurl.com/y9wrnw6v. Please take a minute to include a short review of the book or send a copy to a friend.