First Published: Revolution, Vol. 1, No. 2, November 15, 1975.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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People in almost every major industrial city and other places across the country gathered in mid-October to celebrate the victories of the working class, especially the recent founding of the Party of the U.S. working class, the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (RCP).
These were the first public events held by the RCP, and they took place on the occasion of the anniversaries of two of the working class’ most historic victories: the Russian Revolution of October 1917, and the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in October 1949.
Many of the programs were preceded by pot luck dinners, and the programs themselves included speakers from the RCP and the singing of revolutionary songs, such as the Polish workers’ song, “Whirlwinds of Danger,” “Going Down the Road,” with its last verse, “We’re standing our ground and we’re fighting back, cause we ain’t going to be treated this way,” and ended with the Internationale, the anthem of the international working class. At different celebrations there were also skits, slide shows, musical performances and films.
These dinners and programs were truly celebrations of the working class, filled with the strength of working class revolution and the strength that workers feel every time they stand up to their capitalist tormentors, from the smallest shop floor confrontation to the mass strikes and other battles workers are now waging.
As a Party member who spoke at one of the celebrations put it, “There’s the sense that at times even brings you to tears, when after them telling us that we can’t get together and fight back, that we’ll never get united and we just have to go on living this way and letting them drag us through the mud, when we begin to rise up and fight back–everyone knows the joy. It’s in this same spirit, the spirit of a festival of the oppressed, that we’re celebrating the founding of our Party.”
At each of the programs a statement from the RCP Central Committee was read. This statement emphasized that the working class of this country, which emerged as a powerful force over 100 years ago, is made up of millions of workers sharing common struggles and goals, “a common situation and a common destiny”–the destiny of breaking our chains by smashing the capitalist class and capitalist system, and establishing the rule of the working class, socialism and then communism.
The statement points out that in order to carry out its great destiny, the working class needs a plan of battle, a strategy and programme, and its own general staff, its own Party. Now, through the working class’ struggle, this Party, based on the correct strategy and programme, has been formed.
Both speaking and in the audience at many of the celebrations were veteran revolutionary fighters, some of whom were in the Communist Party, USA in the years before it turned revisionist and sold out the struggle of the class. Their presence at the celebrations was a great inspiration and reflected the deep history of the working class’ struggle, the great amount of experience our class has accumulated through the struggle, and the determination of our class to fight against all enemies and all obstacles until complete victory.
At the celebrations there were also younger workers who have also taken part in and led battles against the capitalists in the factories, mills and fields all over the country. In addition, there were many people there who have come forward from the mass movements of the 1960s.
For the people who have come forward out of these mass movements, and also today for a growing number of workers, there is a common sentiment and outlook that was expressed at the programs. As one RCP speaker put it: “They found something that was like a light in the dark–the science of revolution. Once this science – Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought, based on lessons learned through the struggle of the working class in this country and internationally – is grasped, there’s nothing we can’t transform and change in the interest of our class and humanity.”
The RCP speakers at the celebrations focused on the question of whether things can really be changed in a fundamental, revolutionary way and pointed out how all the changes and advances of which history is made have come only from the struggle of the exploited and oppressed. Almost since the beginning of mankind, most human beings have had an oppressor, most of them have had to work for someone else, one speaker explained. And throughout all this, the masses of people have never accepted this arrangement, never stopped fighting against it.
And now, today, the development of large-scale industrial production and the modern working class means that for the first time in history it is possible to do away with exploitation and oppression altogether, and to develop society to its fullest extent so that poverty and misery become things of the past. The rule of the capitalist exploiters is the obstacle which keeps the majority of mankind in slavery and prevents mankind from eliminating this poverty and misery. They claim that the continuation of capitalism is inevitable, but it is capitalism’s overthrow that is inevitable because capitalism itself has created its own gravedigger–the working class.
Already the working class has made revolution and established its rule in several countries, and despite setbacks in some countries, as in the Soviet Union where capitalism has been restored, the working class has learned how to defend and continue the revolution, as in the People’s Republic of China.
All the celebrations showed how every struggle of the working class in this country today points to the revolutionary potential of our class and the day when it will overthrow the oppressor. “While we celebrate our advances,” one Party member said, “our greatest celebration is yet to come.”
The certainty of that victory was what brought the greatest joy to these celebrations. As one worker remarked afterward, “Before I thought this was all a dream. Now I’m sure it can really happen.” And as another said, “Never have I been prouder of my class.”
One of the Party members ended his speech with these words: “They force us to struggle. We will fight alright, and we will shed our blood because they force us to, but from now on we will not shed it for them. We will shed it for ourselves and the advances and the liberation and emancipation of our class and humanity.
“That’s what it’s all about and what the Party stands for. The Party is the Party of struggle. It’s the Party of the slaves determined not to be slaves any longer. It’s the organized general staff and the leadership of our class, to lead it in its historic mission of advancing human society to a completely new stage, to end wage slavery and all the evils and suffering of the capitalist system, and rip out the roots of exploitation and oppression so that they can never grow again.
“This is what, in celebrating the founding of our Party, we are celebrating tonight. This is our festival, this is the spirit, the festival of the oppressed determined not to be oppressed any more. Together with the leadership of our Party, the Party of our class, and together with the hundreds of millions of our class all over the world, nothing can stop us. We will free ourselves and we will free all mankind.”