You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one

– John Lennon, “Imagine”

The laborer becomes poorer the more wealth he [and she] produces, indeed, the more powerful and wide-ranging his [her] production becomes. – Karl Marx, Economic & Philosophical Manuscripts, 1844

When Frederick Engels wrote Socialism: Scientific and Utopian, some 130 years ago, he said Marx uncovered two “secrets” that catapulted the years of human yearning for a just, equal and democratic world from wishful thinking into the realm of material existence and science.

The secrets that Marx uncovered were “the materialist conception of history and … the secret of capitalist production through surplus-value.” In other, more famous words: One, the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles, and two, labor creates all wealth.

Okay. I’ve been thinking a lot lately. I just got back from India where I attended not one, but two Communist Party conventions and met communists and revolutionaries from all over the world. I met comrades who had been underground and in jail, comrades who were leading mass democratic movements, running governments.

We were as diverse a group as you could get, coming together in a country with an incredible history, role, culture and diversity of peoples and languages. Yet what drew us together was scientific socialism which is so relevant for today’s struggles.

And relevant for us in the United States, one of the most developed capitalist countries on the planet with a huge, multi-racial working class of women and men. Our government and the corporations that dominate it are trying to run not only our country, but also the world, for the profit of a tiny few at the expense of the many. “Do as I say,” says W., “otherwise we will consider you our enemy and inflict the wrath of the military.” Imperialism by any other name still stinks.

Fortunately, our country’s working class and other social movements have a rich democratic, anti-imperialist and revolutionary heritage from which to draw. As a matter of fact, comrades from countries as diverse as Cuba and Bangladesh told me their optimistic outlook on the American working class and people. “The American people can play the same role as the Russian people did,” said one, referring to the 1917 socialist revolution that “shook the world.” You may say he is a dreamer. But he’s not the only one.

So why write about socialism now, when Bush is waging a relentless “war on terrorism” at home and abroad? Shouldn’t we concentrate on uniting the forces that can defeat this ultra-right, most reactionary segment of the ruling class? Yes! That’s our working class’ big responsibility. There’s a correlation between the two. In doing so we set the stage for higher forms of class and democratic struggles. ‘The Communists fight for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the enforcement of the momentary interests of the working class; but in the movement of the present, they also represent and take care of the future of that movement,’ Marx and Engels wrote.

Another world is possible, in fact it is necessary, and we are building the basis for it now in these class and social struggles of today. Scientific socialism is a guide for all of us who are striving to achieve it.

Terrie Albano is the associate editor of the People’s Weekly World. She can be reached at talbano@pww.org

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