Standing at a crossroads

“We stand at a crossroads.   We can either continue down the path of greater income inequality, ceding our voices and our democracy to the wealthy and the powerful.  Or we can fight back. That is what men and women across America have chosen to do to make this Main Street’s moment.”

That quote comes from the new book, Fighting Back to Save the American Dream. The book was written by Gerald McEntee and Lee Saunders the past and current presidents, respectively, of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Their union has lost thousands of members in the war waged by the right wing against the union rights of the American people.

“Casino Capitalism,” driven by the unbridled greed of the 1%, caused the current crisis.   

It is the parasitic drive for maximum profits waged by finance capital in particular that brought the country down, not the benefits of public and private workers whose wages have been stagnating over the last three decades. During those three decades of stagnation for the vast majority, the 1% has accumulated fabulous and unprecedented wealth.

In their book, the two labor leaders put forward some real beefs with some Democrats and with the administration on some of the issues. The make it clear, however, that an historic setback for the 99% will result if the Republicans take the White House and U.S. Congress in November.

All of the organized progressive movements are on high alert. They know that they must unite and fight or face dire consequences. There is no “neutral” in this epic battle. “We stand at a crossroads.”

The right wing has more dough then Nabisco and it is using it to spread racism, McCarthyism, immigrant bashing, homophobia and sexism. All of this aims to confuse, demobilize, demoralize and divide the people.

It is also out to steal this election Jim Crow style.  The right is afraid that if the democratic and progressive majority of voters get to the polls, it will go down to defeat.

If the ultra right is defeated at the polls new possibilities for real change will open up.   Hopefully, labor and peoples movements will be able to take the offensive.

Being able to take the offensive in the struggles for jobs, health care, peace and equality are critical to the survival of the 99%.

I am an American Communist and we as Communists believe that the American people in their majority will, in their time, find their way to transforming our economic system into Bill of Rights Socialism.

The battle today, however, is not for Socialism but for a higher form of democracy.  It is a righteous struggle to avoid a social and economic catastrophe.

The aim of that struggle now is to change course, improve working people’s lives and build the unity and power of the 99% while harnessing and weakening the dominance of the 1%.

Things cannot continue as they are.

For millions of working people, racial minorities, women,  youth, immigrants and seniors this is a fight for  survival.

This is the worst crisis since the 1930’s.  But it is happening at a more advanced stage of capitalist decline and decay and it is a worldwide crisis.

U.S. capitalism is 80 years older than it was during the Great Depression. Since then there have been many subsequent economic crises and also a structural crisis which exported much of the nation’s manufacturing base.

Since then the Wall street parasites have been given even freer reign, causing unparalleled insecurity, deprivation and poverty for workingclass and middle class families. 

We now live in a country where over half of the jobs pay less then $33,000.  A quarter pay less than the federal poverty line.  One hundred and three million live below twice the poverty line and 20.5 million have income less than half the poverty line.  (Peter Edelman, “Worse than we Thought..”, “The American Prospect”, Poverty Issue,  July/Aug. 2012, pg.12)

Other studies show that 146 million or nearly half the population are either poor or near poor.  This is the American Dream? 

Edelman says that we have become a low wage economy “to a far greater extent then we realize.”

There is a big hole in the social safety net.  Fifty million have no health care.  Twenty five million are unemployed or underemployed.  Millions have run out of benefits and in some cases hope.   

Forty-nine million are hungry.  That’s one in six, for and for children one in five.

According to the National Center on Homelessness, 1.6 million children are homeless. That’s one in 45. 

We are number one in the world, however, when it comes to putting people in prison (2.3 million).

Because of economic racism black, Latino and immigrant communities are living in a permanent state of economic crisis. 

This is the mess that the capitalist class has made of this nation, a nation built by the labor if its multi-racial, multi- national working class. 

Yet, as bad as things are for so many, if the Republicans win, things will get even worse.

But this battle can be won.  

Yes , “We are at a crossroads,” but through a united fightback, a turning point in a good direction is possible.

Photo: Reversing a situation where 50 million have no health care is believed by many to be impossible if Romney wins the 2012 election. / CC BY 2.0


Jarvis Tyner
Jarvis Tyner

Jarvis Tyner is the former executive vice-chair of the Communist Party USA and a long-time member of the party's national board. Tyner has been an active public spokesperson against racism, imperialism, and war. He has written numerous articles and pamphlets and appeared on the media, campuses, and in other public venues advocating for peace, equality, and the socialist alternative.