Spiritual Qualities of StrugglePosted: January 16, 2012
The ruling class has material power to structure society in its own selfish interests. Their material power over us comes in many forms, one being the cultural hegemony they have over our minds that they execute in our bourgeois public education system, where they teach us to celebrate the ‘brilliance’ of our slave-owning, bourgeois fore fathers who founded ‘democracy’. We are taught that this is the best and only system. There is no exploration of our ancestors and what other societies looked like before Europeans begin to colonize the world and give birth to the global capitalism that rules our world today. That knowledge is there, but it is knowledge that we must seek out and share, and we can! We must reclaim our minds and spirit to nurture visions and dreams of a different way of living. Different, but familiar; a way closer to our origins on this earth before capital and all its destruction and exploitation existed. We must carry these visions in practice challenging our material chains. We will no longer participate in this domination that alienates us from each other and ourselves. That alienates us from the earth and the abundance of nature. Understanding and valuing our own spirit and our collective spirit, and fighting for it in practice are what will change the world. Our spirit is material. It is our beating heart; our restless mind; it is our love frequencies interacting with each other and the environment. It is the inspiration to fight back against a foreign system birthed from spells of greed and hate. We can no longer live in a society structured along such values, and the only solution is to fundamentally restructure society so that we are living and working for the survival of each other, and the planet, and striving for love and balance with all things living. People’s labor would contribute to the reproduction of these values within our communities through the way society is organized. Everyone would have a position within the division of labor, but labor would not be grounded in an exploitative power dynamic, which is what exists under capital. People would not be paid in wages, but with an equal share of resources for their survival. Everyone would collectively contribute to the reproduction of society through their skills and talents. This vision will only manifest through a serious worldwide revolutionary overthrow of the global capitalist system, whose very structures are responsible for all suffering, harm, exploitation and oppression that has been happening in this world for centuries.
When looking for the solutions to a problem it is important to be scientific, and find the root of a problem so that you may get rid of it and the problem will cease. For an example, when you have a tree that is rotting from the root, but you only see the problem from the surface, because the bark looks off. You can continue to cut away the infected parts that show in the bark, but it only changes the appearance of the rotting tree; it doesn’t stop the rotting that is happening at the roots. In order to fix the problem you must go deep into the earth and pull out the roots and the tree in its totality, before it infects the soil and other plant life. You lose the one rotting tree so that you may continue to reproduce the soil and have more healthy trees and plants for the future. This is the approach that we must take with capitalism. There are no solutions to the crisis of capital except to go deep and take out the problem, which is capital itself. Capital is not only responsible for creating a harmful exploitative economic system, but its very structures also impact the social relations between people, and the unhealthy ways we interact with each other.
In chapter 23 on simple reproduction in Karl Marx’s Capital Volume I, in a very logical manner he reveals how the economic system is also a sociological system that influences the social relationships within society. Economics and people are clearly interwoven, which is why we must look at the politics of the economic system we live under. Our political system is a bourgeois government that has been put in place to protect the interests of capital and capitalists. This is why our government will continually support legislation that bails out and/or protects banks and corporations over the people and the earth. We must stop being surprised by this and pushing recall elections and other solutions that lie within the preservation of the current system, because the current system is opposed to us at its roots. We must develop our own revolutionary politics through our shared experience as proletarians (employed and unemployed) to fight back and build a new world. Marx inspired us through his dialectic to fight for these dreams in struggle. Through his very important analysis of capital he gave us clarity on the inner workings of the system, and how exploitative relationships are at the heart of it. He writes,
“In reality, the worker belongs to capital before he has sold himself to the capitalist. His economic bondage is at once mediated through and concealed by, the periodic renewal of the act by which he sells himself; his change of masters and the oscillations in the market price [wages] of his labor.
The capitalist process of production, therefore, seen as a total, connected process, i.e. a process of reproduction, produces not only commodities, not only surplus value [profit], but it also produces and reproduces the capital-relation itself; on the one hand the capitalist, on the other the wage-labourer.” (brackets added by me)
It is difficult to see capital as one connected system, because it divides us all from each other through a hierarchical division of labor that reproduces racial, gender, age, and countless other privileges and oppressions. We are spatially alienated from each other in different schools, workplaces, jails and detention centers. Marx examined every aspect of the system in order to reconnect it as a totality for the working-class to study and understand so that they may fight back stronger with knowledge of their position in the world, and their historic task to transform that position. This is the dialectic. The subject’s relationship to the object, aka a person’s interaction with their objective conditions. Understanding the development of the working-class and ruling class historically, and how capital has been able to enslave the vast majority of the people on this planet in order to reproduce itself is key to understanding how to destroy such a harmful system.
In order to be successful in this task we must come together as a fighting class demonstrating our shared experience through struggle. We must constantly strive to transcend the divisions that the system places on us materially and internally so that we may see ourselves as a collective against the system consciously and practically through revolutionary struggle. We come together once we begin to see our commonalities and shared human experiences. We reject the divisions placed on us by the system, and begin to live for each other. This can be a very spiritual thing, because it is a recognition of our common experience and shared spirituality; an understanding of the life energy that flows through us all. We can come together in order to use this energy in harmony with each other, and not in antagonisms. There are beautiful souls out there already committed to living differently through their spiritual practices, which they may share with others through group meditation, workshops, various retreats and countless other spiritual community resources. Often I find these communities to be more grounded in individual self-care work in community settings. This work is important, because we must heal and take care of ourselves, and self-care comes in many forms depending on the individual. However, this work can become counterproductive when it remains solely in the realm of your personal life; it fails to become revolutionary. We must heal and take care of ourselves so that we may be able to build and sustain a healthy revolutionary movement. Therefore, a real liberating spiritual movement is one connected to a holistic class struggle that inspires and develops people’s consciousness and spirit collectively.
Just as we must be intentional about connecting spiritual movements and communities to revolutionary struggles waged by the workers of the world, we also must be mindful of developing our spiritual practices within our practical work. That involves allowing space for that culture to develop within our movements so that we are simultaneously healing and fighting and healing. We must relate to each other differently and reject the selfish principles of bourgeois individualism. I am a communist and a revolutionary, and that means that I am against capitalism, but I don’t solely express my politics through negation of the current system. I also want to affirm what I am for, which is a communal system based on principles of love and collectivity.
Organizations that are dedicated to this revolutionary project of building a new world should demonstrate that vision within the structures of their organization. It is important to not neglect matters of the mind and heart, because that is what our oppressors do, and that is one way that they keep us mentally and spiritually weak. And when our spirit is weak it can be harder to become inspired to fight back. We want to wage militant powerful struggles that can tear down the walls of capital. We can have this militancy and discipline without reproducing hierarchical social relations within our organizations and movements. Unfortunately we all live under the same system that reproduces domination within our relationships that we internalize and project onto each other. We must relate to each other differently and love and support each other so that we can sustain ourselves through the ebbs and flows of struggle. To commit your life to building struggle takes serious work outside of the work you are already forced into as a proletarian to survive. This is why we must come together with our communist hearts to support each other. Finding the balance between collective spiritual healing and reproductive work and political organizing is key to building a healthy holistic communist revolutionary struggle and world.