The World Is A Ghetto: Revolution Is the Solution

by Carl Dix

Revolutionary Worker #957, May 17, 1998

Following are excerpts from the May 1st presentation in Chicago by RCP national spokesperson Carl Dix:

We're here today to celebrate May Day, the revolutionary holiday of our class, the working class worldwide. May Day is the day that we, the slaves who are determined to be slaves no more, come together and rededicate ourselves to our historic mission--to wipe the bloodsucking capitalist system off the face of the earth once and for all, and build a whole new world on the ashes of this messed up one. It's the day when we take stock of how far we've come in our fight for world revolution and plan concrete steps to bring this new world into being.

Today, on May Day, we send special revolutionary greetings to our beloved comrades in Nepal, in Peru, and in the Philippines, who are engaged in the crimson path of Maoist people's war. And we send out a red embrace to all the workers and peasants around the world who, like us, are struggling to bring dreams of a better world into reality.

To do this, we gotta be organized. Our enemy, the capitalist class, is organized. Our class is organized too--we have a political center for the world revolution in the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM), a movement which groups MLM parties and organizations in different parts of the world. It was formed in 1984. It's just an embryo of what it needs to become, and one of the important concrete steps we need to make in the year to come is to strengthen this important organization of revolutionary proletarians worldwide.

This year is the 150th anniversary of the Communist Manifesto, and it's fitting that the RIM has issued its call today, "Workers of all countries unite." This ain't a call for scratching each other's back or for mutual sympathy. It's a call to make the world revolution our starting point in our struggle to wipe out the injustice and misery we see around us every day. This call is based on the fact that in today's world, only a revolution led by our class, the proletariat, can visualize and realize a world without rich nations exploiting and feeding off the people and resources of poorer nations; a world where there's no oppression, no racism, no male domination, no elite classes; a world where common people struggle and work in common for a better life for all. This kind of world has a name, sisters and brothers: Communism....

Although the rule of our class was overturned in the Soviet Union in the 1950s and in China in 1976, we ain't discouraged. Why should we be? It took capitalism hundreds of years to establish its rule, and this was just one system based on exploitation and oppression replacing another one. What Communism represents--doing away with exploitation and oppression and the division of society into antagonistic classes once and for all, all over the world--is a far more radical rupture with the past. So we should expect our revolution to involve a complex process of advances followed by setbacks and then more advances. Our movement is like a baby that took some impressive first steps, but then got knocked down. This baby is gonna get back up, and not only will it walk some more, it's gonna run and gonna climb till it storms the heavens and makes revolution. The ideals of our class, as embodied in the Communist Manifesto, are far superior to the decadent, historically obsolete ideals of capitalism. Our ideals are more realistic too because they correspond to where human history is at and what is necessary and possible today to free humanity from the dog-eat-dog existence that capitalism enforces.


This system is a disaster and a total failure for the great majority of people on this planet.... Trying to make capitalism more human is like trying to tame a pool of piranhas. It can't be done.

Today, you get the imperialists talking about globalization, like it's going to mean everybody's going to get rich because they're going to invest in the stock market, get on the Internet, use their cell phones, and all that. Well this is a cruel lie. You want to get down to what globalization really means? Let's talk about Nike. That's a global corporation. Nike moved their factories to South Korea because that was the way to jack up their profit margins--move to a place where they could exploit labor by paying a lot less. But once they were set up in South Korea, they saw some new opportunities open up. So they closed down in South Korea. They opened up in Thailand where they could pay the workers 70 cents an hour. They opened up in Indonesia so they could pay them 40 cents an hour. They opened in Vietnam where they could pay them 20 cents an hour. They opened up in China where they could pay them 14 cents an hour. Most of these workers are women, some as young as 14. Many have recently moved from the countryside to the cities in search of work. Like all capitalists, Nike is always looking for new countries where they can exploit the workers more intensely and jack their profit margin even higher. Phil Knight, the top man at Nike, is worth over $6 billion and is the sixth richest man in the world. A Nike worker in Vietnam would have to spend every single penny of her salary for three months to buy a pair of the shoes she makes!

Globalization has created a world where workers and oppressed people all over the world are more bound together. Bound together by ruin and misery, but more importantly bound together by a common enemy and a common future. Capitalism forces its competitive values on us by pitting us against each other in a desperate struggle to survive. In this way, they breed chauvinism among the workers of the rich, oppressor nations. They even get us on the battlefields, fighting and killing workers of other lands. But what we have in common is stronger than what divides us. This is why, when we see people struggling against harsh, brutal conditions in other lands, our hearts go out to them. Workers and oppressed people in any particular country have more in common with the workers and oppressed in other countries than with the capitalists in their own nation.

Sometimes you run into people and they don't buy it. They say, "Nah, I don't see what I have in common with them, I go, more in common with this dude over here, he's my countryman." But there's a little check we can run on them. If you get laid off your job, go to the American capitalist and say you deserve work because you're an American. See if they'll give you a job on that basis.

Here's another check you can run. Don't pay your rent this month. And then you tell your landlord, "You and I are part of the same nation. Let me stay here even though I didn't pay this rent." See how much unity you're going to be able to forge on that basis. If you don't believe it...don't pay your rent and see if an American landlord would give you a place to stay cuz you're an American.

The impact of globalization, of the capitalists moving their investments around the world with the flick of a computer button in search of higher profits, has created an unprecedented human migration. Every year 75 million people from poor countries migrate to other countries in search of work. Five years ago, the United Nations reported that 100 million people were living in countries other than the one they were born in. In the 1980s, 10 million people immigrated to the U.S., with and without papers. The economic pressures caused in poor, oppressed countries by imperialism have forced 20 to 30 million people a year to move from the countryside to the cities in search of survival. This is creating giant cities where millions are forced to scavenge just to get by. In Lima, Peru, a garbage dump became a shantytown of 10,000 people in six months. This is giving new meaning to the old song by War, "The World Is A Ghetto."

But throwing millions of poor and desperate people from all around the world together makes the system very vulnerable. Look at the rebellion in Los Angeles in 1992. It got sparked off when the cops who beat Rodney King got let off scot free--and that single spark started a massive prairie fire, not only in L.A. but across the country. It began with Black people taking to the streets in rage, but soon everybody else joined in. Most of the people arrested during the rebellion were Latinos from many different parts of South and Central America. Whites and Asians got involved too. And the L.A. rebellion sparked off rebellions and protests in over 150 cities across the U.S. And it was even echoed worldwide as people's eyes lit up to see the masses rise up in L.A. and other cities in the "belly of the beast." This points to the fact that we might look different and speak different languages, but we all know the language of oppression and the sweet song of resistance. The L.A. rebellion showed powerfully the potential for the proletariat to unite all the have nots and rise up against our common oppressor. It also showed that when we do that, we can win sympathy, support and allies from the middle class who are also victimized by the brutal workings of the system.


In a May Day message, Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the RCP, says, "Today, more and more, among the oppressed people you hear it said: `The system will never change. They will never stop doing what they are doing--it only gets worse. If they want war, let's give them war!' Yes, but let's do it right! and let's do it for real. Let's do it to win--and be clear on what winning means." When our leader, Chairman Avakian, says let's do our revolution right, he means it has to be a proletarian revolution, a revolution led by the working class and its party....

It is very important that right here in the U.S., in the belly of the mightiest imperialist beast, there's a party that's been down with the RIM ever since it was formed in 1984. I'm talking about the RCP, a party that does all its work from the perspective of preparing for revolution in this country as part of the world revolution.

Again, as Chairman Avakian says: "Let's do it--make revolution--when the time is ripe. When the situation is most favorable for revolution. Let's get prepared for this. Whenever the time comes--and it will come--we must be ready. We have work to do to get ready. And the work we do to get ready can make this time come sooner."

Today millions of people hate what's going on in U.S. society. They hate the growth of the right-wing in and around the government, the growth of racism and sexism, the attacks on the poor and on immigrants, the criminalization of the youth, the police brutality and repression, the plant closings and downsizing, the polarization between the haves and have nots, the attacks on women's right to abortion. Many are keenly aware of the efforts by the ruling class to turn the anxiety and fear of the middle class about their increasingly unstable position in society against the poor by promoting hysteria about crime. There is growing resistance to what Refuse & Resist! correctly calls the politics of cruelty. Significantly, the youth are more and more taking center stage--from joining protests in support of political prisoners, like the recent Jericho march and the fight to stop Mumia Abu-Jamal's execution to joining efforts against police brutality like the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality and the fight for abortion rights for women. Here in Chicago the youth are an important feature of the fight against the attempt to force people out of public housing.

This growing resistance is dealing powerful blows to the system. We need much more of it. And we need to go beyond resistance, because resistance by itself can never end the criminal rule of this bloodsucking system. We need a revolutionary movement. The RCP stands shoulder to shoulder with the people as they fight back against the system's attacks today, but as it says in the Communist Manifesto, in the movement of the present we're looking to and taking care of the interests of the future. As revolutionaries, as we unite with the people to fight the system today, we're building organization, we're forging unity among people from different backgrounds and of different nationalities, we're helping people to get a sense of their own strength, the strength we have when we unite and fight back, we're spreading the understanding that the system is the problem and revolution is the only real solution. This sense of our strength and the enemy's weakness and vulnerability, this organization, this unity and this revolutionary understanding will help us beat back some of the enemy's attacks today and get in a better position to continue to fight. And it will all be crucial when the time comes, when the system is deep in trouble and the masses refuse to go on putting up with this shit any longer, when it's time to launch the all-out revolutionary assault. This time is coming, as Chairman Avakian said, and we gotta get ready for it because it would really be criminal to miss the chance to rise up and do this rotten system in once and for all through revolution.

An important part of being ready is having a vanguard MLM party that can bring together all the discontent that's out there among different sections of the people and weld it into a powerful revolutionary movement capable of making revolution. And we've got that kind of vanguard in the RCP. And everybody who's had it with this system and the shit it brings down on the people, who can't wait for the day when nobody has to live like this anymore--when we can rise up, make revolution and wipe this mess off the face of the earth once and for all--needs to get down with the RCP. Work with it, join it and help build it as part of getting ready for the great revolutionary storms that are on the horizon.

I especially want to say something to the young people in the audience. Cuz any serious revolutionary movement has got to have the youth at the forefront. It's good that we've got veterans like me and a party like the RCP who can impart our experience, our understanding, and be right there with you shoulder to shoulder struggling against the enemy. But it ain't mainly going to be the older generation that makes the revolution. It's going to be the young generation that does it. This is how it was back in the 1960s when my generation was young and when we forged the revolutionary movement that rocked the imperialist system back on its heels. Well your generation, you young people, have got to take up this responsibility today, and you've got to take it further than my generation. We don't need to just rock this system this time. We need to take it down once and for all. That's the responsibility your generation has got to take up.

In looking at it, it's positive that among the young people of this generation there are many fearless fighters. People ain't afraid to take on the enemy. But you gotta step it up. You've got to step up taking on the enemy. And you've got to rise up out of the trap of turning your rage on each other. But there's a way to do that--by coming together and taking on the real enemy. If you want to get on that tip, you've got an advantage that my generation didn't have back in its day. Because there's a party, a party that's got some experience in the struggle against the enemy, that you can work with, get down with. A revolutionary vanguard that can help lead in waging resistance against the system's attacks today as part of getting ready for revolution. Like I said, this is something my generation didn't have. Something that's very important and precious.

The RCP is our party--a party that's serious about winning and knows what winning means. A party that can take the pulse of the people and determine when the time to strike arises. A party that can handle the twists and turns that getting ready for revolution in a country like this will inevitably throw in our path. A party that can forge the alliances we'll need to have a real shot at winning. A party that has developed a strategy for taking on the military might that these imperialists have to throw at us...

The revolution we're talking about is the most radical, thoroughgoing break with all traditional property relations and traditional ideas. It's no wonder that carrying through this kind of revolution has been a process that involved advances and setbacks. But it's the only revolution that's based on the way society has actually developed and where things are really headed, and it's the only real way out of the madness of today. Like Mao Tsetung said, the road is tortuous, the future is bright.

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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