Editorial From the Latest Issue of Workers World
Published May 26, 2010 1:38 PM
Capitalism just doesn’t work. A recent Pew Research Center poll illustrated this reality when the results showed that fewer and fewer people in the U.S. view capitalism in a positive light, especially among the younger generation. Consider the following facts: Workers by the tens of millions are being downsized out of their jobs or never have had a job to begin with; they cannot afford health care and nutritious food; they are losing their pensions; and they are being foreclosed and evicted out of their homes, all while global warming and pollution, as the BP oil disaster reflects, run amok.
Young people in particular are losing faith in capitalism as public high schools are being closed in alarming numbers, especially in large urban areas. College tuition is out of reach for the vast majority of poor and working-class youth.
And what are the alternatives for young people when education is not an option? The economic military draft and jail. Studies show that a growing number of U.S. states are railroading more Black and Latino/a youth to prison, especially for drug convictions, than are graduating them from state universities. In reality, a whole generation of young people is being criminalized.
And since capitalism is a worldwide system that is sustained by making profits for a small clique of multimillionaires and billionaires, it needs a well-oiled repressive apparatus to try to keep the workers and oppressed disunited and disempowered. This apparatus, also known as the state, includes the mainstream media; all branches of government including local, state and federal; the prisons, jails and courts; the Pentagon and military; and much more.
The ruling class controls these repressive institutions with bourgeois laws and funds them. It uses them as a buffer between themselves — the rich — and the masses.
The most glaring repressive institution is the police. From the first day that children go to school in the U.S., it is engrained into their psyche that the police are there to “protect and serve” the people. But in reality the police as an armed body exist to serve and defend the private property and profits of the capitalist ruling class.
Just as the U.S. military and its puppets oppress the world’s people from Iraq to Afghanistan to Somalia, the police in all their forms oppress the masses at home. For immigrant workers, particularly if they are undocumented, this repression comes in the form of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and its armed border patrols carrying out raids and terror in the Southwest and elsewhere.
Millions of youth are stopped and frisked by the cops all over the country for no other reason than for being Black or Latino/a in a poor neighborhood. In New York City alone, 55 percent of the 575,000 people stopped by the police in 2009 were Black. An estimated 25 percent of the overall New York population is Black.
Aiyana Jones, a 7-year-old African-American girl, was fatally shot by Detroit cops after they threw a grenade into her home while she was sleeping with her grandmother. Two Black high school students and sisters, DeAsia and Destiny Bronaugh, were protesting against school closings in Cleveland when they were physically attacked recently by racist police and then arrested.
Ask any striking worker trying to stop a scab from crossing the picket line which side the police are on and they will nine times out of 10 answer, not theirs.
Police may have unions but workers they are not. Workers produce a product or service that is useful and necessary for the whole of society. The police serve as an armed, repressive force above the same laws that exist to keep the workers and oppressed down.
The same Pew poll showed that more and more people are viewing socialism in a less negative way. This encouraging shift in thinking within the most powerful imperialist country bodes well for forwarding the class struggle. But thinking must turn into action and organization in the radical process of replacing capitalism and its rotten class of rich parasites, root and branch, with a socialist system that will empower the workers and meet all of the needs of the people.
Only revolutionary workers’ power can realize a new society that will provide jobs, housing, health care and education as rights and bring an end to police and state terror once and for all.
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