This is part 2 of Alan Woods' 4 part article on Marxism and the United
States. In this part Alan concentrates on the 'Second American Revolution'
more commonly known as the Civil War. Like every other serious conflict, at
bottom the American Civil War was a class struggle. The Northern
manufacturers necessarily had to come into conflict with the Southern
landowning classes. The conflict of interest between the two lasted for
sixty years and finally ended in civil war. However, the mutual hatred
between the northern capitalists and the slave owners of the South, grounded
in economics, was only half the story. There was a genuine sense of moral
outrage among sections of the northern working class and middle class
against the evils of slavery.
This is part 3 of Alan Woods' 4 part article on Marxism and the United
States. In the USA in the nineteenth century there was an unprecedented
development of the productive forces and this brought into being a mighty
working class with its labour organisations, starting with the Knights of Labor
in 1869. The list of working class martyrs of American Labor is endless, the
most celebrated being the Chicago martyrs of 1886 - as a result of which the
American working class gave May Day to the rest of the world. This was followed
by the IWW, the AFL and later the CIO. There is a rich history of working class
struggles in the United States that we can draw lessons from.
This is the final part of Alan Woods' 4 part article on Marxism and the United States where he looks at the situation in the USA today, with immense polarisation of wealth between the extremely rich and the extremely poor. The years of boom have come to an end. Unemployment is rising. In spite of its immense power US capitalism has entered a phase of terminal decline, together with the rest of the world. And this is reflected in a questioning on the part of many ordinary working Americans of the society they live in. Marxism can explain why all this is and also offer a way out to the American workers.