The People’s Conquests and the Capitalist State

By the Editorial Board

The mass uprisings which have rocked the US have begun snatching conquests from the ruling class. These come mainly by way of reforms to the existing, oppressive and inhuman system. The banning of ‘less lethal’ rounds used on demonstrators and increased discussion among the ruling class to discontinue the use of tear gas as well as chokehold restraints are a few among many conquests. The old rotten capitalist state will attempt to use these to appease the mass anger and put an end to the struggle against the police, but this must be prevented.

The US monopoly capitalist state has waged a war against Black people since its founding. It has always been a deeply racist state, developed on slavery and colonialism, the scars of which still affect the psychology of the entire population. Such a state exists to manage and ensure inequality, so that those who own everything continue owning, and those who don’t are prevented from taking what they need. This means that nothing the state does is magnanimous, human, or decent. All of its maneuvers rely on either the carrot or the stick, and when one tool fails, the scoundrels grasp frantically for the other, a fact that is becoming increasingly apparent to everyone.

Nothing in nature or society develops through peace, resistance compels change and in fact transformation can only be brought about by upheaval and struggle. This is an objective law, it is reality, and those who ignore it are hobbled from asserting change, and what is worse, they turn it into its opposite. For those who call for it in words only, their ‘transformation’ can only assist in preservation of the old, racist, decrepit, and decaying state. Intentions matter, but they cannot conceal the fact of consequence.

It was not candlelight vigils, silent assemblies, or the police ‘taking a knee’ that forced the lethargic, reactionary old state to grumble into slow-motion reforms. The idea that it ever was is a fabrication designed by those desperate to cling to their crumbling power structures.

What does it take to accomplish the bare minimum of demands in the US? That is, what does it really take to convince the enemy to begin scaling back their wanton murder of the most oppressed and exploited people in the country? In the simplest terms it takes mass rebellion. This means that the voters, the prayers, the singers, and the collaborators have failed where the burners, the blockaders, the raiders, the vandals, and mainly the fighters have succeeded.

The old state has made concessions, desperately hoping that the people will be satisfied with these minimum conquests and be convinced that they can achieve no more than this. The old state will always give credit to those who served them in the crisis; non-profits, the ruling class-owned media, the police, and the city governments are all complicit. Those who encourage the workers, Black people, and other oppressed and exploited groups to be satisfied with what little they have and surrender the fight are exposed in the light as traitors.

Of course, there are the ‘peaceful protesters’ who genuinely side with the people. While they limit their tactics to conform to ruling class law (most of the time), they still refuse to denounce the rebellion and ultimately side with it, even though for a variety of reasons they cannot or will not participate in combative acts. These are certainly friends of the people who are part of wresting conquests, provided they are steeled against serving the police, the state, and classes which depend on them. Unfortunately there are also the ‘peace police’ (to use the popular term), those who insist on enforcing the law without the benefit of a uniform. These volunteer corps for the state must be vigorously demarcated from the movement. They stand behind police lines and blame the protest movement for the state’s use of force.

Violence against the people at the hands of police is due to nothing other than the fact that the police exist to preserve inequality, and they must oppose and cow anyone fighting for it. It was not any action of George Floyd’s that caused the police to ‘take a knee’ on his neck for 8 full minutes, in what became a mass broadcast torture and execution. It is not water bottles that compel the police to fire on crowds; they have shields, helmets and body armor to protect their fragile skin from plastic bottles. The reason for firing on protesters is the existence of crowds, saying what the police want kept silent, standing where the police do not want them to, and the fact that these crowds are self-aware and target racist and symbolic infrastructure and culture. In short, it is the ideas inside the skull that compel the police to fire projectiles at that skull. When this backfires, they will take a different sort of knee, and remain too stupid to surrender.

Conquests, even small ones like the mass movement has accomplished, must still be fought for in order to maintain, because every time the ruling class allows for reforms, it is a stalling tactic to reverse them, if they are ever enforced to begin with. The old state also relies on the backward ideas that exist among the people to allow this. These ideas include separating all struggles into distinct and opposed expressions, separating all identities into counterpoised forces which lack cohesion or a common enemy. The state acts through elected officials, to announce the reforms and take credit for them, so that next time the people will reach for a ballot and not a brick, bottle, or oil soaked rag.

Inversely, for a moment, imagine what could be accomplished with even more intense struggle. The current concessions are not meaningless, they are hard-earned with the blood of the people as well as the blood spilled from the enemy. The capitalist mode of production and its final rotting stage, imperialism, will not be swept away with reforms. Anything is possible when the people dare to fight for it and realize the lengths to which they must go to abolish racism, which means abolishing economic inequality in the final analysis. If inequality exists, it festers and expresses itself in every way possible, be it racism, sexism, hatred for minority groups or the disabled etc.; taking these on in a bubble cannot and will not accomplish collective liberation.

It is time to begin discussing the unification of the oppressed, and this means revisiting Marxism in a popular way. Today this means asserting Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, mainly Maoism, as the command and guide of the people’s struggles. To insist and be sure that socialist revolution is the only solution to ending the economic and racial inequalities that will exist even when the people snatch their humble conquests. The great Lenin taught, and all should learn this now, that the old state, its police and governmental bodies, its media apparatus etc., must all be dismantled and destroyed, and new one must come to take its place, one run by and for the people. One where it does not take millions in the streets to end chokehold restraints and weapons drawn on innocent people.

The police have been taking a knee on the necks of the people for too long, they have earned the ire of the people and we already know this. With this knowledge, what is there to do now? Do what other oppressed people have done when their backward and outdated rulers were overthrown: build an anti-racist society without rich or poor by conquering, not just reforms, but state power.

Reach out to Tribune of the People to join Support Committees and attend political study groups, get organized with those on the streets who are tired of hearing that those who beat, kill and traumatize our communities can be worked with. In short, stand up for revolution.