Perspectives for the U.S. Revolution 2007 - The Immigrant Workers Movement

Last spring, millions of immigrant workers, their families, and allies took to the streets of the U.S. in a spontaneous movement against the draconian anti-immigrant measures being proposed in the form of the Sensenbrenner Bill (HR4437). But this was only the spark that lit up the inflammable material that had accumulated for decades. Some 12 to 14 million undocumented immigrants, a majority of them from Mexico and Central America, live in the shadows of U.S. society, doing back-breaking and dangerous work for low wages, under poor conditions, with few rights. HR4437 was simply the last “last straw” after decades of indignities, and the pent up frustrations exploded to the surface. Hundreds of ad hoc committees were organized in factories, schools, and workplaces to plan for May Day 2006 - which was almost certainly the largest national strike / boycott in the history of the U.S.

The movement was inevitably heterogeneous at first, with “immigrants” of from all layers of society participating in its early days.  Business owners and factory workers marched together in the “spring time” of the movement; there was a carnival atmosphere as millions of oppressed workers felt the strength of their unity for the first time. Latino radio stations and business owners jumped on board, pushing the movement forward. But the seeds for the future division of the movement along class lines were present from the beginning, and have intensified in the months since May Day 2006. Because at root, this was not a movement of “immigrants” – it was a movement of immigrant workers, and the slogans and banners reflected this: “We are workers not criminals!” “You accept our labor, now accept us!”

Perspectives for the U.S. Revolution 2007 - The Labor Movement

Compared with most of the world, American workers enjoyed higher standards of living for several decades, due largely to the fierce union struggles of the past. Although there has always been a vast sub-stratum of the class, working in minimum wage, non-union jobs under poor conditions, for a significant sector, it seemed that things weren’t so bad under capitalism after all.

However, with population growth and the emergence of new markets such as China, India, and Eastern Europe, where rock-bottom wages and poor conditions prevail, the capitalist class is forcing U.S. workers to compete for increasingly low wages, benefits and deteriorating conditions.  The IMF recently reported that the “effective global labor force” has risen fourfold over the past two decades. This has served to push down wages in the advanced industrialized countries, particularly among unskilled workers. Some analysts predict that the mass layoffs and “offshoring” of the past period are just the beginning - as many as 30 to 40 million more jobs could be lost in the coming years.

Perspectives for the U.S. Revolution 2007 - The U.S. Economy

For several years we’ve analyzed the sluggish course of the world’s most powerful economy. After the short-lived recession of 2001, the economy has limped along for several years, never technically dipping back into recession, but never really taking off as it did in the 1990s.  This “jobless” expansion has been based entirely on the relentless squeezing of the U.S. and world working class. Over this period, worker productivity and corporate profits have increased tremendously while wages and job growth have stagnated or fallen behind. In other words, fewer workers are doing more work for less pay, leaving more profits in the pockets of the capitalists. So although overall GDP has continued to grow, very little has “trickled down” to the mass of the population.  In fact, things are far worse now for the majority than they were just 25 years ago. For millions of U.S. workers, this boom has seemed more like a prolonged recession.

Perspectives for the U.S. Revolution 2007 - The Iraq War

The war in Iraq is at the heart of the instability in the Middle East – and the U.S. It is now the third-longest-running war in U.S. history: longer than the American Civil War, the First and Second World Wars, and the Korean War.  Only the Philippine-American and Vietnam Wars have lasted longer. Although control over Iraq’s oil was a major reason for the invasion, it was not the main factor.  Overall strategic control over the region and teaching a “lesson” to any country that dares “step out of line” was the main objective. However, none of U.S. imperialism’s political, economic, or military objectives have been achieved.  Far from demonstrating its power, U.S. imperialism has demonstrated the limits of its power. The results will be far-reaching both internationally and within the U.S. itself.

Perspectives for the U.S. Revolution 2007 - Introduction & the International Situation

This year’s U.S. Perspectives will bring up to date key aspects of last year’s extensive World and U.S. Perspectives documents. Last year’s documents retain their validity on all fundamental points, and should be read in conjunction with this year’s perspectives. However, the overall process has accelerated.  In the past 12 months, the contradictions of the world capitalist system have continued to build up, resulting in violent explosions of the class struggle in one country after another, and preparing even more explosive developments for the coming period. Above all, we must understand the profound effect these events are having on the consciousness of the U.S. working class.  Long gone are the days of relative stability and “class peace”.  Right here, in the heart of world imperialism, colossal explosions of the class struggle are being prepared.