The People’s Forum co-executive director reflects on the future of class struggle in the US and across the globe
Class struggle did not end with the so-called “end of history” in 1991. All over the world, even in the center of global imperialism, the United States, poor and working people continue to struggle and hope for a better future—despite the deep economic despair that the working class has been experiencing in the US.
300 visionaries including organizers, community leaders, and workers met in the Dilemmas of Humanity: A Socialist Horizon conference in Atlanta to discuss how the existing social movements in the US can seize the energy of the class struggle to stand with the masses of people and drive revolutionary change. Manolo De Los Santos, co-executive director of the People’s Forum in New York City and researcher at the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, outlines six fundamental conclusions emerging from these discussions.
Dear comrades, our day of debate and dialogue is almost coming to an end. But not the struggle. The class struggle never ends. They told us once that history ended in 1991. That there was no reason for people to keep fighting, or to ever talk again about socialism. But here we are, in the year 2023, with 300 other people in this room, talking about socialism. And it’s not just the people in this room. It’s millions of people all over the planet. Young people, working people, Black people, people who refuse to continue living the same way under the same masters.
Why did we call this conference A Socialist Horizon? Our enemies keep telling us that socialism has failed. That socialism is a utopia. That socialism is a far away concept. But when we talk about horizon, what is a horizon? It’s that line of sight where the Earth and the sky meet. Where the impossible meets the possible. Where what we think couldn’t be done yesterday becomes evermore realistic and concrete in our ongoing struggles.
They said that young people would never rise up in this country. Ferguson happened. 2020 happened. And even just the thought of uprising scared some of these people in their boots. But what we’ve come to today through our debates, through our group work, has revealed a series of conclusions that I want to share with all of you today.
These are not my words, these are the results of all of the discussions we’ve had today. Both the formal ones, where we’ve met in groups, but also the informal discussions that have taken place.
And there are six key conclusions that we wanted to synthesize.
One, there is a force capable of transforming the world. That is the working class. Only the masses of people, of working people, of Black and Brown people, of poor people in our society are capable of actually making this society better.
Two, it’s not a coincidence that we’re holding this conference in the US South. That we’re holding this conference in Atlanta. This region was a motor force in the development of capitalism in the United States, and therefore it will be necessary for the leadership of the movements and organizations of the South to bring this system down.
I want to be more precise with something I said earlier. We built this society, we can destroy this system, and we can build a new one. But that is only possible through people’s internationalism. Through working class internationalism. We will not defeat capitalism alone from the US South. We will not defeat capitalism alone from the United States. We have a role to play, but we must unite with the revolutionary forces around the planet.
Third, and this was a hot topic today. We had a prophet onstage, Eugene Puryear, who brought it out so clearly. We need a communist party. We need organizations. It is not enough to continue building organizations as we have now. We have to take another step, a renewed step into building a new type of organization capable of taking in the aspirations of millions of people in a dynamic process towards revolution.
Four, and this came out throughout all the different groups. The solutions we’re looking for are already present in our movements and in our everyday struggles. Someone aptly said today, that we have to be capable of naming our enemies and the solutions in the same breath.
Five, that political and popular education are necessary elements in order for us to build unity and consciousness among our class and struggles.
Six, and lastly, this conversation that we have started today is part of an ongoing struggle that goes back centuries. We are the accumulation of all the struggles that have failed, and that have also won, throughout the history of humanity and this planet. We have to continue building a collective conversation. We have to continue forging and building collective action. We have to come out of this room with a commitment to building as a beginning premise, a sense of tactical unity as we move forward. This is not an easy task. This is not an easy task knowing that we have a diversity of organizations, over 40 different organizations that are here in the room, representing different sectors, different struggles, different movements, different forms of fighting. But if we have been able to be in one room together throughout a day, building common definitions, then that in itself is already the promise that we can begin to build tactical unity.
Manolo De Los Santos is the co-executive director of the People’s Forum and is a researcher at Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He co-edited, most recently, Viviremos: Venezuela vs. Hybrid War (LeftWord Books/1804 Books, 2020) and Comrade of the Revolution: Selected Speeches of Fidel Castro (LeftWord Books/1804 Books, 2021). He is a co-coordinator of the People’s Summit for Democracy.
Republished from Peoples Dispatch.