The pandemic exposed the weaknesses that had been growing within our social order for decades up to when Covid-19 made America its biggest victim. Prior to then, the military had long been draining public service funds. Our healthcare system had long been thoroughly privatized, and therefore left vulnerable to a public health emergency. Corporations had long been hollowing out the people’s wealth. The climate crisis had long been allowed to damage our declining infrastructure unchecked. When the pandemic came, it showed just how huge the human costs of these destructive late capitalist policies would be. Over a million died, several million more were rendered disabled, and a large amount of the working class fell through the economy’s cracks, which were made far wider. And the pandemic still isn’t truly over, as several hundred continue to die each day.
Eviction, homelessness, hunger, multiplying debt, disease, and the other perils of being a proletarian during this stage of neoliberalism all became far more likely for the average worker to experience. This destruction is irreversible for as long as proletarian revolution gets delayed. Until the system is overthrown, things can only get worse.
Employment has not truly recovered. Joblessness, especially in the rural areas, has remained largely diminished since the pandemic’s beginning, and much of the workers have had to accept lowered wages compared to three years ago. This crisis came on top of a lingering working class-concentrated depression that started in 2008, on top of the Iraq War’s handicapping the country’s ability to economically recover, and on top of five decades of neoliberal warfare against the proletariat. So when U.S. imperialism decided to provoke Russia into intervening in Ukraine by setting up a proxy war state in Kiev, the consequential economic destruction was made many times more painful for the working class.
This has applied to the conditions of the proletariat under all bourgeois states since the war’s start. The profits that the oil and weapons companies have been getting from the conflict come at the cost of further decline in living standards for the proletariat in both the United States, and Washington’s partnered imperial countries. In addition to the energy crisis and the acceleration of inflation, the bourgeoisie have responded to the war by sacrificing the people’s livelihoods in even the most traditionally social democratic imperialist states. Sweden and Finland’s joining NATO has accelerated their transition into neoliberalism, their rising far-right parties embracing a program of austerity to please the EU.
Because of this war, these places will ultimately become as advanced in their neoliberal takeovers as the U.K. is. Then the social democrats, who support the proxy war, won’t have Scandinavia to point to as an example of reformist “socialism.” The liberals will have undone themselves, bringing about a crisis that heightens imperialism’s contradictions and therefore makes their political project untenable. The political center is going extinct. The capitalist world is headed for a confrontation between the communists and the fascists, who are gaining stronger presences among their respective demographics. The fascists are already destroying their own system’s stability through military adventurism, like the fascists of old did. They’ll weaken themselves, enough that the communists can take advantage of this weakness and defeat them.
By deepening capitalism’s ills during a moment when contradictions had already advanced not too far from a point which could collapse the system, this war has brought that collapse so much closer. Becoming hollowed-out, austerity-ridden militarized states is the fate of the imperialist countries that are the most well-off. For the United States, which has already been in that severe of a situation for a long time, the next step is going to be a breakdown of the social order.
On its own, without the influence of the communist movement, this breakdown would look like nothing more than an accelerated version of the living standards decline America’s people have already been experiencing since the 70s. And for a while, that’s what it will look like. The poverty rate will continue to go up, especially after this next financial and stagflation crisis becomes fully present. The pandemic, worsening natural disasters, and a ruling class campaign of economically destructive militarism will exacerbate the dysfunction. But so long as communists in the core properly navigate our conditions, these contradictions will in the end make capitalism’s demise speedier, as they’ll show the people that mobilizing towards workers revolution is the only way out of our ever more hellish situation. And at some point, our society’s collapse will give way to a rebirth.
Biden’s signing of a bill that forces through a deal on the rail strike, sabotaging the efforts of the workers who are fighting to fully gain their rights, represents the latest step towards that scenario of a successful class revolt. The working class is seeing that the Democratic Party won’t meet its needs during these increasingly dire times. The black community is experiencing the equivalent betrayal from the Democrats as Biden continues the military equipment transfer towards police departments. And all workers, black white and otherwise, are being subjected to a bipartisan austerity program after five decades of consistently anti-working class policies.
Democratic Party co-optation is the only thing delaying a full military crackdown upon the American people; the ruling class decided against Trump’s plan for such drastic measures in 2020 because the black liberation movement could at that point still be sufficiently redirected towards reformism. When the center further decays, these two biggest threats to the system—the internal colonies and the broader working class—will become impossible to adequately control.
Class and racial tensions will escalate to the point where our government has fully abandoned its pretenses of caring about the people’s lives, and wages outright war against marginalized communities in the style of its past anti-black bombings. So long as we’ve sufficiently built the institutions that can continue to educate the people, mobilize the working class, and cultivate trained revolutionary cadres, this survival attempt by the reactionaries will come too late. The revolutionaries will have already gained the tools which can reverse the power advantage, perhaps when those in power react out of fear and exact violence that loses them the people’s support.
The revolt will be concentrated in the urban areas. This is why U.S. national security strategists are most concerned about how their operations may soon fare in megacities, including the megacities within U.S. borders. There are too many people in these places for them to be able to control. In the assessment of one Pentagon training video, support for a rebel force among just 1% of a megacity’s population would still represent hundreds of thousands of individuals willing to aid the insurgents. Like in Cuba, unarmed mass actions like strikes will no doubt play a far bigger role in the revolution, but such a civil conflict could emerge within these densest zones.
Ukraine gives us a sense of how America’s coming confrontation will go. When the fascists start losing the cities, they’ll flee to the rural areas. They naturally have an advantage in these spaces, because rural revolutionaries are invariably outnumbered by the surrounding fascist landowners and sparsely inhabited soil is easy for a heavily militarized fighting force to gain. The primary social base for revolution is in the cities, where the fascists can most easily be overpowered despite having more weapons than the revolutionaries. Like how fascist Ukraine has been able to grow its territorial control in the short term, creating an illusion of “victory” in which it gains strategically unimportant chunks of land, the fascists in America will for a time perpetuate the same kind of illusion.
They’ll rampage through the less populated areas, carrying out cowardly attacks against the indigenous, black, brown, Asian, and LGBT people who haven’t managed to flee into the revolutionary-controlled cities. They’ll ransack the precious resources of these areas, then try to cut off water, food, and electricity to the communities they see as expendable. They’ll exploit the climate crisis to advance a genocidal campaign for grabbing up the remaining chunks of Native land, and continuing imperial extraction in the form of sheer primitive accumulation. The menace they pose will only end when the revolutionary forces in the cities manage to carry out an American equivalent of Russia’s denazification effort, allowing all corners of the continent to be returned to indigenous stewardship and developed towards socialism.
At every stage between now and then, liberation efforts will be met with reactionary violence of a desperately vicious caliber. The U.S. empire is consuming itself at an accelerating pace, but this won’t bring anything besides devastation unless we act to defeat the empire’s internal fascist reaction. The criteria for our success are whether we can win the people, and whether we can defend the people from the purge that the reactionaries try to carry out.
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