Truth and Consequences: Socialist Ideas and Organizing Workers

Transport workers are on the move under global capitalism. This fact points to the continuing relevance of Lenin’s argument in Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism that in the major imperialist countries heavy industry will have a tendency to decay and be replaced with light manufacturing and transportation accompanied by the incredible growth of finance capital as the principal motor of imperialist development. The great weight and latent power of the transport trades logically becomes even greater as these tendencies unfold. As the role of transport workers develops in this period of capitalism, it is worth considering the role of Communists in this key industry and how these considerations might affect their work generally.

The Communist Party USA does well as a small party of the working class building essential coalitions for the advancement of the working class and the great mass of the people. However, in this historic period of intensifying global crisis of imperialism, Communists should more carefully define and develop their work. We can look to the theoretical contributions of Antonio Gramsci for help.

Gramsci showed that the primary method of ruling-class control in the imperialist democracies was through cultural hegemony or the manufacture of the consent of the ruled. He demonstrated that the only class capable of saving and advancing civilization from the horrors of imperialism was the organized working class united through a mass Communist party. This movement would prove effective and relevant when it openly organized the working class into a new ruling class on political, industrial, social, spiritual and intellectual grounds. Communists are not, in Gramsci’s view, just sophisticated coalition builders that workers can 'tolerate or relate to.' Communists are sophisticated defenders of all the humane gains of civilization and the organizers of a new one where human need and not profit are first.

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