The class struggle does not end with the so-called “end of history” in 1991. All over the world – even in the center of global imperialism, the United States – the poor and working class continue to fight and hope for a future better, despite the deep economic despair that the working class has experienced in the US.
300 visionaries, including social organizers, community leaders and workers gathered at the “Humanity Dilemmas: A Socialist Horizon” conference in Atlanta to discuss how the existence of social movements in the US can harness the energy of the working class to rise up with the masses and drive revolutionary change. Manolo De Los Santos, co-executive director of the People’s Forum in New York City and researcher at Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, outlines six key conclusions that emerged from these discussions.
Dear comrades, our day of debate and dialogue is almost over. But not the fight. The class struggle never ends. They once told us that history ended in 1991. They said there was no reason for people to keep fighting or to talk about socialism again. But here we are, in 2023, 300 people in the same room talking about socialism. And it’s not just the people in this room. There are thousands of people all over the planet. Young people, workers, black people, people who refuse to remain living under the yoke of the same masters.
Why do we call this conference A Socialist Horizon? Our enemies keep telling us that socialism has failed. That socialism is a utopia, a very distant concept. But when we talk about horizon, what do we mean? Horizon is the vision of that line where the Earth and the sky meet, where the impossible meets the possible. Where what we thought could not be done yesterday becomes increasingly realistic and concrete in our ongoing struggles.
They said young people would never rise up in this country. Ferguson happened. 2020 happened. And even the idea of revolting scared some of these people a lot. However, what we achieved today through the debates and working groups revealed a series of conclusions that I want to share with all of you today. These are not my words, they are the results of all the discussions we had, both formal (developed in groups) and informal.
There are six key conclusions that we want to summarize.
First: there is a force capable of transforming the world, and this is the working class. Only the masses, the workers, the black people and the poor in our society are capable of making this society better.
Second: it is not a coincidence that we are holding this conference in the south of the United States, in the city of Atlanta. This region was a driving force in the development of American capitalism and therefore will need the leadership of southern movements and organizations to bring the system down.
I want to be more precise with something I said earlier: we built this society ourselves; we can destroy this system and build a new one. But this is only possible through popular internationalism, through working class internationalism. We will not defeat capitalism apart from the southern United States. It is impossible to do so far from the United States. We have a role to play, however we have to unite with the revolutionary forces on the planet.
Third – and this was a much debated issue today: we saw a prophet on stage, Eugene Puryear, who brought everything very clearly. We need a communist party. We need organizations. It is not enough to continue building organizations as we have been doing. We have to take another step, a renewed step in building a new type of organization capable of taking on the aspirations of millions of people in a dynamic process towards revolution.
Fourth (and this came from all different groups): the solutions we seek are already present in our daily movements and struggles. Someone aptly said today that we have to be able to name our enemies and the solutions in the same breath.
Fifth: that political and popular education are necessary elements for us to build unity and awareness among our classes and struggles.
Sixth and last: this conversation we begin today is part of an ongoing struggle that goes back centuries. We are the accumulation of all the struggles that failed and that succeeded throughout the history of humanity and the planet. We have to continue building a collective conversation. We need to continue to forge and build collective actions. We have to leave this room with a commitment to construction as an initial premise, a sense of tactical unity as we move forward. This is not an easy task. It is not easy knowing that we have a variety of organizations, more than 40 different organizations that are here, in this room, representing different sectors, different struggles, different movements and ways of fighting. But if we were able to stay in the same space together for a whole day building common definitions, then that in itself is the promise that we can begin to build a tactical unit
This text is part of the Voices of Dilemas series, which seeks to bring the perspectives and main debates of the different organizations, intellectuals and political leaders that are part of the Humanity Dilemmas process.
Editing: Patrícia de Matos