Earlier this year (see archives, dated May 29, 2008) in an entry with a theme similar to that headlined above I mentioned the strong similarities between the propaganda slogans that militant workers had to fight under now and those which formed the core agitational political program of the Bolsheviks in the Russian Revolution in 1917, obviously taking all historical proportions and differences taken into consideration.
In thinking through some of the points that militant workers will have to fight for in Obamian times I re-read that entry and found that in the intervening months the points made there retain their relevance and can serve to form the axis of our left oppositionist program for the impeding Obamiad. Naturally, there are other slogans that we will need to fight under but we might as well prepare now, especially on that peace point when Obama pulls the hammer down in Afghanistan and escalates the war there. More, much more later. For now here is a repost of that May 29, 2008 entry ([ ] indicates comment added today).
Has Markin gone senile on us with the headline slogans above? Has Markin been in a time warp and gone back to the spring and summer of 1917 in Russia to appropriate the day-to-day slogans that the Bolsheviks grafted onto their program and which led to their success in the October revolution? No, Markin is not senile nor has he gone back in a time machine to the glory days of 1917. Markin has just taken a glance at some recent daily headlines and ‘creatively’ encapsulated those stories. Hear me out.
Bread- In Russia in 1917 the initial sparks that set off the February revolution that overthrew the Czar were the demonstrations of working women, housewives and soldiers’ wives for bread. Literally. A look, on any given day, today at the worldwide rise in prices of basic foodstuffs due to a myriad of factors but mainly caused by the anarchy of the “free” market place brings that old fight against starvation in stark relief. Literally. Add to that food crisis the lunatic increase in the price of fossil fuels [even if temporarily abated at present] and other forms of energy needed to produce the world’s goods and the situation cries out today for a fundamental change in the way the world’s finite resources are apportioned. Conclusion: propaganda centered on the need for a rationalization of the world economy through centralized planning under workers’ control is on the order of the day.
Land- In Russia in 1917 the peasants cried out for resolution of their land hunger after centuries of near starvation tilling of their tiny plots and their serf-like subservience to the landed interests. Today that land hunger has taken a different form, at least in America- ownership of single family homes. The current and ongoing housing, crisis with its foreclosures and steep declines of prices in the housing market, has placed working people up against the wall. Whether working people were right or wrong in their desire for private home ownership they are the ones taking it in the neck today. An immediate long moratorium on foreclosures and restructuring of mortgages is called for. No evictions for those renters affected by the turmoil. Conclusion: Again, fighting propaganda on the question of rationalization of the housing market under the central planning principal through local workers councils is called for.
Peace- In Russia in 1917 the slaughter of World War I had finally hit home and the peasant-based army was falling apart under the direct military thrust of German imperialism, the inane goading of the Western imperialist powers, especially Britain and France, and the sheer madness of continuing the war by a broken army. Today Iraq and Afghanistan, to speak nothing of a plethora of other localized wars and disputes like the still far from resolved Palestinian question, have made the world an extremely dangerous place where war-like conditions can set off an explosion in an instant. [Most dramatically, President-elect Obama had made it clear from the beginning of his candidacy and since the elections has taken actions to ensure that Afghanistan is HIS war. I have mentioned elsewhere in this space that that he has taken a very calculated risk to, above all other issues, stake his presidency on this question.] Conclusion: Short and sweet- it is time to make class war on the warmongers, and in the first instance, the American military goliath. The beginning of wisdom for today’s propaganda fight is the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all American/ Allied troops and their mercenaries from Iraq and Afghanistan!
These three slogans point to the more general conclusion implicit in their exposition. All of this is merely a pipe dream or a Markin delusion if the fight does not include the fight for an independent working class party of our own that fights for a workers government so we can begin to fight like hell to turn things around. In short, and here is where the 1917 analogy really comes into focus- we have to start talking Russian, circa 1917, to the bosses. Pronto!