Thursday, June 3, 2010

Radical Ideas, Real Politics: Some Thoughts on the Coming Period

By Joel Wendland and Peter Zerner

Due to the economic crisis, rapid technological developments, globalization, and the new political terrain that has emerged as a result of the election of Barack Obama, the present moment is quite unlike any other. Because it is so different, we require a new understanding of the moment, as well as a theoretical agenda that matches this new reality.

This brief essay does not pretend to be a comprehensive discussion of the changed political and economic terrain or a detailed policy road map. Rather, it is intended to launch a discussion in the web pages of Political Affairs of why Marxism remains an essential, objective, and working-class-based theoretical process for meeting the challenges that lie ahead.

Our aim is to develop a focus on the key questions related to social progress and working-class empowerment, a focus centered on building and strengthening a broad people's coalition, like the movement that brought Barack Obama into office, and a sober assessment of reality in its present form, and the potential for creating a new world: an economy, society and system of values that reflect the basic interests of the American people and its working families.

To do so, the theoretical basis of our work, the presentation of our view of the world and society, must accurately reflect the new objective reality, the economic and political crisis faced by working men and women, and the hundreds of millions of marginalized human beings who currently are excluded from the Wall-Street-ravaged global economy.

No one can deny the intensity of the economic oppression that the working class today confronts. We offer a theory of society and a political method that provides the working class, broadly conceived, with essential tools for understanding, joining together with its allies, and confronting the forces that now control most of the wealth and power, America's plutocracy. Our task is to develop the critical weaponry they need to resist and open a pathway to a new kind of society focused on meeting the needs of the people: good paying jobs, affordable housing and health care, universal access to education, racial, ethnic, gender and LGBT equality, and the establishment of a truly democratic political system.

We begin with thoughts on some central features of the present moment and the struggles arising from them.

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