Part of the intention of this article is to combat the kind of senseless anti-Americanism
that one encounters all too frequently in left circles. Marxists are
internationalists and do not take up a negative stance in relation to the people
of any country. We stand for the unity of all working people against oppression
and exploitation. What we oppose is not Americans, but American capitalism and
American imperialism. The American people and above all the American working class have a great revolutionary tradition. On the basis of great historical events they are destined to rediscover these traditions and to stand once more in the front line of the revolution, as they did in 1776 and 1860. The future of the entire world depends ultimately on this perspective. And although today it may seem very far off, it is not so incredible as one might think.
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.