This will be a brief post explaining my thoughts and opinion on socialist revolution. This text was not proof read nor revised, some grammatical errors and writing errors in general may still be found in these texts. I will probably build upon and expand this post over time.
Thoughts On Revolution
In what conditions has socialist revolutionary activity always taken place? When and wherever the contradictions of capitalism come to an extreme point in their development. When the contradiction between labour and capital becomes obvious to all of the working class and they become class conscious, turning into the revolutionary proletariat — When the people are starving, wages are low, thousands or millions are impoverished and there is no sense of hope for a better tomorrow under the current system — that’s when the majority of the population loses faith in the ruling class and their governing power and the proletariat realizes their place in society as the exploited and they take up arms against the exploiters. That’s when the conditions for revolution are met.
The revolutionary action by the working people of tsarist Russia, of China, of Cuba and more, are all historical evidences of these being the conditions for revolution. All of these, being heavily exploited nations and not first world nations. Marx predicted revolution would happen in the most advanced nations by the industrial workers, but throughout history, you will see that socialist revolutionary action always happens by the most exploited classes of the most exploited nations; the third world nations and their working classes.
With this being said; Is the first world today in revolutionary conditions or can we foresee revolutionary conditions in the distant future? No. As i have stated earlier, socialist revolution has only ever taken place in the most exploited of nations by the most exploited of classes.
In the United States there has not been any revolutionary potential whatsoever since the 1930s’. The only time the working class in the United States were faced with revolutionary conditions was in the 30s’ and conditions for revolution since then have only been delayed with concession after concession. The New Deal, for example, is what prevented what would have been the socialist revolution of the United States and since then there has only been more and more concessions and delays, raising the minimum wage to solve short term problems, improving or building upon a social welfare program for the working class.
We’ve reached the point to where socialist revolution in the United States in virtually impossible. For revolutionary spirit to grip the masses, class consciousness is vital and they have to feel first hand the worst of conditions that the capitalist system perpetuates. A large segment of the people need to be in extreme poverty, which our welfare system prevents. There has to be noticeable food shortages or lack of funds from people to purchase food they need to live, food stamps prevent that. People need to be educated and informed about their current conditions and how to fix those conditions, which our school system completely destroys the independent thought needed within the majority of the students and deliberately lies about other systems and even edits history to make it seem as if “Capitalism is the only way! Communism and socialism are evil! It’s when the government owns everything and you have no freedom! The only system that provides you with freedom is the one we have now where 63 people own more wealth than half of the planet and millions of people are slaughtered every decade in the name of profit for the elites. And government serves only the interests capitalist class and mercilessly exploits the working class! But hey? At least you have an iphone!”
Not to mention the absolute control the media has over the population, always distracting the masses with unimportant issues like restrooms and celebrity gossip and spewing out massive amounts of irrational fear to the point where the people will give up their own freedoms as seen in gun control activists and people who support government surveillance of the population.
First worldists will argue that all we Marxists need to do is educate the people, but what they don’t understand is that the Marxist movement in the first world is so small, slandered, insignificant, ignored and misunderstood to the point where we have become essentially nothing more than a joke. The whole of the people will not, and have not, been catching on to our ideas because they seem useless to them given their material conditions. Why would the average person, who makes between 48 and 51 thousand dollars a year, owns a house, a car or two, clothes, has a family with kids and has enough food and money to feed his own family tens of times over just suddenly pick up a gun and fight to government simply because they read a few articles about Marxism online? The material conditions aren’t there. Marx said the working class has nothing to lose but their chains, and where revolution and revolutionary activity have taken place and are taking place that is true. But in the first world where the average citizen has way more to lose than their chains, revolution will not occur. And no matter how much you push and educate your peers on Marxism, they will not see it as necessary or reasonable until they are faced with proper conditions. Concerning this, Fidel Castro has said; “Men do not shape destiny, Destiny produces the man for the hour.”
Our lives here in the first world are made possible only because of the labor and suffering that happens the third world. How can someone even think for a second that revolution will be first world when history has proven otherwise, when the workers of the first world have very good living standards in comparison with the third world and when the systems that they live under deliberately prevent and delay any revolutionary conditions and activity. The average poor American still has access to water, clothes, food (though limited), and a job with a high wage (by global standards). The working poor in Asia that makes most of your items and makes your high wages possible works 14 hours a day for a few cents an hour and can just barely afford the things they need to stay alive and still work. That’s all you’re paid when you work in the third world, just enough to keep yourself working. And in the first world, you’re paid just enough to not question your conditions.
Even Friedrich Engels, in his work on the conditions of the working class in England, admits that the English working class, even in the 1800s when hours were longer and working conditions were very poor, had little to no revolutionary potential. Therefore, with all this said, i conclude that socialist revolution, contrary to what Marx predicted, will not occur in the advanced capitalist nations — but instead, in the more exploited third world.
Today in the first countries the only “revolutionary forces” are small groups of 3 or 20 people that claim they are the revolutionary vanguard that will lead the proletariat to victory. And that, i’m sorry to say, is absurd and insane. Your circle of college Marxist friends will not be leading a revolution any time soon. The best we Marxists in the first world can do is support third world revolutionary forces that actually are uniting the people, spreading class consciousness and fighting exploitation. The Naxalites in India, the Zapatistas in Mexico, the communist party of Nepal and many more, are all real revolutionary groups around the world that are fighting exploitation and that we, as modern marxists must support.