This is a call for all working-class Americans to move towards a vast protest effort. There are many ways to contribute to this project; a few options are helping civil disobedience organizing groups like the Poor People’s Campaign and Extinction Rebellion, directly organizing sit-ins and traffic blockades, and simply spreading the word about the need for mass revolt. But however people can help, I believe that this kind of mass uprising is our only option for defeating the corporate oligarchy.
We know that we won’t be able to meaningfully affect change by working within the system. The leadership of the new Democratic House majority is essentially just as pro-war and pro-Wall Street as the Republicans are. Click To Tweet
They’re going to continue to assist in passing Trump’s policies while blocking progressive change. Democrat Richard Neal, who’s soon to become chair of the Ways and Means Committee, has said that Medicare for All is “not realistic,” with Neal’s donors in the health insurance industry no doubt having a say in his position. Nancy Pelosi also refuses to support single-payer health care and has proposed a plan that would make it almost impossible for the House to pass an increase on the individual income taxes of the bottom 80 percent of taxpayers.
Pelosi’s proposal is a poorly disguised attempt to prevent a potential future implementation of socialism. This kind of tax system would prevent Medicare for all from passing, along with the other reforms that are needed to eliminate poverty. The paradigm of perpetual war, which is also incompatible with these reforms, is also not going to be challenged by the Democratic Party. Many Democrats in the House and the Senate have supported Trump’s Syria strikes, and most have voted for the recent military budget increases.
And most of the recently elected “progressive” Democrats have so far been completely silent on foreign policy, with the rest of them having only vaguely mentioned foreign policy in their campaign websites. This shows us that there won’t soon be much of a push from within Washington to close America’s 1000 military bases around the world, end the drone program that’s currently killing unprecedented amounts of civilians, or end the U.S./NATO aggressions against Syria, Russia, Iran, and numerous other countries.
Our political system is set up to perpetuate war and corporate capitalism while absorbing outsider politicians. The millionaires and billionaires run this game. And every day we keep playing their game by giving them our cooperation, all the while our species moves closer to climate annihilation; a report published this October by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows that to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, the world will need to reduce carbon emissions by at least 40% within the next 12 years.
When the political landscape is this entrenched with corporate power while we’re dangling on the precipice of extinction, we only have time to crush corporate power by attacking it from the outside. And since record inequality and widespread poverty have already made America into a social tinderbox, our job is to channel the inevitable unrest in a politically coherent and well-organized direction.
As we engage in the actions mentioned in the first paragraph, there also has to be an effort to remind people exactly who we need to rebel against. The military/industrial complex and the national security state, the big banks and corporations, and the billionaires who control these entities need to be exposed to the public eye. This can be done by promoting independent journalists and alternative media outlets, who are countering the corporate networks which seek to distract people from the sources of the problem.
This will make the American population better prepared to take on these centers of power. When they break out, the protests will need to be specifically targeted at these power centers to be effective. And the protests, despite the differing views of those participating in them, will need to be accompanied by an outline of specific demands: the end of all U.S. military involvement, the abolishment of corporate money in politics, the breaking up of the largest financial institutions, the total transition towards renewable energy, the end of the drug war and mass incarceration, and the creation of a social safety net that completely eliminates homelessness, hunger, and untreated health problems.
I hope the revolution goes a lot further than this, with my other goals including the abolishment of capitalism and the prosecution of all war criminals. But for now, our most direct path to freedom is to organize civil disobedience events, and to continue doing this until the people in power are forced to give in.
Before that happens the state, of course, will use violence to shut down the rebellion, as is happening in France right now with the Marcon government’s brutal police attacks against peaceful anti-austerity protesters. At that point, our goal will be to maintain a sense of solidarity between the members of the rebellion that gives people the courage to keep attacking the system.
That is why it’s so important to build the institutions for revolt before and during the uprising, and why we should also avoid engaging in violence during the uprising so that the state won’t have an excuse to violently retaliate. Making personal alliances with police officers and armed service members will also make it harder for the elites to repress our movement.
I don’t think the American people are cowards compared to the French. We just haven’t reached the stage where we fight our overlords on a large scale. That stage is close, and the catalyst for it could come as soon as enough people decide they’re ready to take action in this way.