ON THE 4TH OF JULY -HONOR SAMUEL ADAMS, JAMES OTIS, THOMAS PAINE, THE SONS OF LIBERTY AND THE WINTER SOLDIERS OF VALLEY FORGE.
REMEMBER THE LESSONS OF THIS EARLY STRUGGLE FOR NATIONAL SELF-DETERMINATION- YOU CANNOT WIN IF YOU DO NOT FIGHT.
FORGET DONKEYS, ELEPHANTS AND GREENS- BUILD A WORKERS PARTY!
SOME OF THE COMMENTARY USED HERE WAS USED PREVIOUSLY FOR JULY 4TH 2006. THE MAIN POINTS OBVIOUSLY STILL APPLY.
As we approach the 231st Anniversary of the American Revolution militants should honor the valiant fighters for freedom, many not prominently remembered today, like Samuel Adams, James Otis and Tom Paine who kept the pressure on those other more moderate revolutionary politicians such as John Adams who at times were willing to compromise with the British Empire short of victory. Every year their deeds and politcal acumen seem that much more striking, especially in comparison with today's politicans who so offhandedly invoke their names. Those revolutionaries were sparked by the principles of the Enlightenment. I will be damned if I know what principles motivate today's capitalist politicans. It sure in hell is not the Enlightenment. Something has gone terribly wrong when in the year 2007 serious politicans invoke God as their guiding hand.
We should also remember the valiant but mainly nameless Sons of Liberty who lit the spark of rebellion. And the later Winter Soldiers of Valley Forge who held out under extreme duress in order to insure eventual victory. Anyone can be a sunshine patriot; we desperately need militants in the tradition of the winter soldiers. No revolution can succeed without such fighters.
The 4th of July today is covered with so much banal ceremony, flag- waving, unthinking sunshine patriotism and hubris it is hard to see the forest for the trees to the days when, as Lincoln stated, during that other great progressive action of this country’s history- the Great Civil War of 1861-65- that this country was the last, best hope for civilization. Note this well- those men and women who rebelled against the king from Washington on down were big men and women out to do a big job. And they did it. A quick look at the political landscape today makes one thing clear. This country has no such men or women among its leaders today-not even close.
Rereading the Declaration of Independence today, a classic statement of Enlightenment values, and such documents as the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution demonstrates that these men and women were, hesitantly and in a fumbling manner to be sure, taking on some big issues in the scheme of human development. Today what do we see- half-hearted withdrawal programs to end the quagmire borne of hubris in Iraq, amendments against same sex marriage, the legal emasculation of the principle of equal education for all, the race to the bottom of the international wage scale bringing misery to working people, serious attempts to create a theocracy based on Christian fundamentalism, creation of a fortress against immigration in a nation of immigrants, among other things. In short, the negation of that spirit that Lincoln talked about. Today, the militants who fought the American Revolution would probably be in some Guantanamo-like cage. DEFEND THE ENLIGHTENMENT!
In earlier times this writer had been rather blasé about the American Revolution tending to either ignore its lessons or putting it well below another revolution- The Great French Revolution, also celebrated in July- in the pantheon of revolutionary history. However, this is flat-out wrong. We cannot let those more interested in holiday oratory than drawing the real lessons of the American Revolution appropriate what is the property of every militant today. Make no mistake, however, the energy of that long ago revolution has burned itself out and other forces-militants and their allies- and other political creeds-the fight for a workers party and a workers government leading to socialism- have to take its place as the standard-bearer for human progress. That task has been on the historical agenda for a long time and continues to be our task today. Yes, we love this country. No, we do not love this form of government. Forward.
Note- To learn more about the history of the American Revolution and the foundation of the Republic any books by Gordon S. Wood on the subject are a good place to start. Garry Wills in his book Inventing America also has some insights worth reading. Check Amazon.com