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Walk This Road With Us— a speech
by Prairie Fire
Marx and beyond
Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto in 1848, a book recently described as “one of the most dangerous ever written” in the mainstream press. As Marx pointed out in that very book, the bourgeoisie trembles in fear in the face of communism. They are still trembling today.
Marx wrote of contradictions, of social tensions. Marx lived in the middle of the industrial and scientific revolutions. He looked around and saw the tremendous possibilities science opened up. He saw the potential of science to be used for human benefit. He saw the potential for human liberation in science. Yet, because of the prevailing social relations, because of how power works, because of inequality, science was not being used to benefit humanity. Rather, it was being used to grind people into the ground. At the same time that capitalism was destroying the feudal order, destroying the stagnant order, and helping to propel technology forward in some instances. In other instances, technological and scientific progress were being held back by capitalist social relations.
Marx also saw increasing socialization of production. More and more people were being brought into a single production process. Peasants driven off their land and turned into armies of workers. Factories. Modern production. Today, this continues as globalization. A person in Indonesia can be involved in the same production process as someone half the way around the world in Mexico. Even though production was becoming ever more socialized, distribution remained private. Power remained private. In other words, even though society was unifying, power was held in the hands of the few.
The capitalist system was crisis ridden. Cycles of boom and bust. Human lives at the mercy of irrational market forces. Production organized to serve profit, not the people. Marx called this the anarchy of capitalist production. This anarchy is irrational from the standpoint of human need.
Marx also spoke of a great divide in the world, a few people grew wealthy and the vast majority were ground into the dirt — a polarization between the haves and the have nots. In his day, this was a polarization between the factory owners and the industrial workers. Capitalists versus proletarians. The rich grew richer and the poor poorer.
Such an irrational system could not survive forever. He predicted these contradictions, these tensions, would explode into revolution. Much of Marx’s analysis rings true today. However, the world has polarized a bit differently. The world is not as even as Marx predicted. The world is a bit different than 150 years ago. There is a great polarization today. There is a great divide. However, the world is much different today.
Global class analysis
The principal contradiction, the main divide that shapes our world is the wealthy countries versus poor countries. A global city versus a global countryside. The exploiter countries versus exploited countries. The First versus Third World. This is what we need to understand to make revolution today. And revolution is the only answer to the problems facing our world.
In 1820, the difference between the richest and poor countries was about 3 to 1. Today, it is about 72 to 1. The gap between the global poor and the global rich grows. The divide between the Third World and First World grows. The First World peoples live lives of luxury. The Third World people suffer.
Underdevelopment. Poverty. Starvation. Cruelty. War. Rape. Violence.
Half the world lives and dies on less than 3 dollars a day. The population in India making .80 cents a day or less is greater than the population of the United States. 40 percent of the world’s population, in the Third World, receives only 5 percent of the world’s income. The richest 20 percent, almost all in the First World, receive 75 percent of the world’s income.
22,000 children, all in the Third World, die due to poverty each and every day.
Approximately 800 million people in the Third World world are still chronically undernourished, almost two-thirds of whom reside in Asia and the Pacific. Around 30 percent of all children in the Third World are underweight or stunted — mostly in Africa and Asia.
10 million children die in the Third World each year before they reached the age of 5. The same as child population in France, Germany, Greece and Italy.
A mere 12 percent of the world’s population uses 85 percent of its water, and these 12 percent do not live in the Third World. 1 in 3 people has trouble accessing water, mostly in the Third World. 1.1 billion people in the Third World do not have adequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation. For tens of millions of people, just finding water is a life and death struggle. Hours, each and every day, just looking for water. Half of Third World people suffer from health problems related to unsafe water or lack of water at some point in their lives.
14 million people die every year from preventable diseases, mostly in the Third World. 95 percent of new HIV infections occur in the Third World world, mainly in Africa. Only 12 percent who have HIV are getting anti-HIV treatment. By 2020, AIDS will have killed more people than in both world wars. These victims are mostly in the Third World.
Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names. 121 million in the Third World have no formal education. Revolution is the only answer.
World War 3
We are in the middle of a world war, World War 3. The First World wages war against the Third World. There is a genocide against the Third World. Every year, far more people die in the Third World than died in the Holocaust. We must not be like the “good Germans” who sat silently as their neighbors disappeared into the ovens. People are burning and the Earth is burning.
Every year. Every month. Every week. Every day. Every hour.
Grueling poverty. Famine. Wars. Death. Ecological catastrophe. Inflicted by the wealthy countries against the poor countries. The wealthy countries get richer. The poor are thrown away. Revolution is the only answer.
The imperialists will stop at nothing to keep their power. The First World wages a war against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. And now Obama extends his wars to Pakistan, and Libya and Iran. The history of imperialism is a long and bloody one — from Columbus to today. A whole continent of peoples was exterminated to make way for Uncle Sam’s empire. Half of Mexico stolen. Millions of Blacks and Africans enslaved to create the American way of life, to create the First World.
The imperialists wage their wars all over the globe: Guatemala, El Salvador, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Angola, Ethiopia, Somalia, Palestine, Lebanon, Korea, China, Indonesia, Philippines. 4 million killed by imperialism during the Vietnam war. And on and on and on. When will it end? Revolution is the only answer.
The problems seem so big. The injustice so unstoppable. The First World and their agents will do everything they can to stop the poor peoples. Lenin said that we have to be as radical as reality itself. If we are to really make a change, we too must be as radical as reality. We have to really make a break with narrow, small-minded thinking. We must break with dogma. We have to make big changes within ourselves. Everyone says they are open minded, but we have to be willing to really open up our minds, to get over our fears. We need to leave our pettiness behind. We have to get serious. We have to revolutionize ourselves.
Ideology is a weapon. The people of the Third World and their allies fight back with whatever weapon they have. If they have a knife, they use a knife. A brick. A gun. Mao’s general, Lin Biao called revolutionary science the spiritual atom bomb that will save the world. Whenever the masses have been given science, they have picked it up. Marx. Lenin. Mao. They have changed the world. A red wave has broken out across the world. We must be willing to study the question of revolution. We must understand what past revolutions have done right, and what they have done wrong. We must reject the mainstream bullshit that has taught us that socialism and communism are dirty words. We must not be afraid to be Leading Lights, to lead, to be the vanguard. History has placed this role on our shoulders. We are condemned to lead. This is our responsibility.
New Power of the Leading Light
Our revolution will come from the darkest places — where revolution is not simply one option among many, but from where it is the only option, it is survival. From the poor places, the indigenous places, from the mountains and jungles and slums of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Che Guevara once called the United States “the belly off the beast.” The First World, including the United States, is a beast that cannibalizes oppressed peoples. First World peoples as a whole are beasts. They live off the suffering of others. First World consumption is killing the planet, our common home. Even so, there are a few anomalies in the First World who will join the global struggle for communism. A few will break out of the matrix of consumerism, the matrix of the American way of life. A few anomalies in the First World will take the red pill. These anomalies in the First World, who have privilege, they too have a duty to fight for a better world alongside the people of the Third World. Everyone, but especially First World peoples, have to give up the consumerist dream, the individualist lifestyle that has consigned half of humanity to starvation and is pushing the world toward ecological collapse. Everyone, but especially First World peoples, must take a serious look at the way they live. First World people are entitled to less, not more. Humanity will impose socialism and communism on the First World whether the First World populations desire it or not. Global people’s war will come. The First World will cease to exist as it has. There will be a reconing. A New Power of the Leading Light will rise.
Walk the road to communism
A new world! A New Power! The end of ALL oppression. No exploitation. No rich. No poor. No national oppression. No gender oppression. The liberation of the poor, women, the youth. No more egoism, no more individualistic consumerism, no more me, me, me. Total liberation.
Equality. Collectivism. Altruism. A society organized around human needs and sustainability, not greed and not profit. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Mao said , “Serve the people.” Sustainability. A new way of relating to each other and the earth, our common home. Peace. Justice. Communism. Only the leading light of revolutionary science can truly unite this world. A storm is coming, a storm like no other. The third wave of revolution. A new breakthrough for humanity. We must bring the light to a world cloaked in darkness.
We can’t help where we are from. White. Black. Blue eyes. Brown eyes. First World. Third World. But, we can help where we are going. We need to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. We need to create real revolution.
People have made revolution before us. They will make revolution after us. But we are, now, on this own long march together. The march is full of twists and turns. It is full of errors and retreats. It is a protracted struggle. We will not win overnight. But there is no greater journey. We will walk this road together. Walk this road with us because revolution is the only solution.