In Support of Public Options

The capitalist crisis is worldwide engulfing every capitalist country on every continent. While the crisis impacts in some ways on the economies of the socialist countries, it is not the same as a capitalist crisis. The main impact comes from the fact that the socialist countries are part of international trade relations and therefore imbalances in trade may occur. The laws of capitalism operate independent of the will of people as Karl Marx said in the Communist Manifesto. Therefore, the struggle of the people against the ravages of the crisis is for immediate survival since there are no permanent solutions to the crisis within capitalism itself. Thus, we hear about recovery, but for the working class it is a jobless recovery.

Dual economic forms to bring about more basic relief from the crisis are necessary at this time. Public options, that is public forms, operating alongside of and in competition with their private capitalist counterpart, such as what is being proposed in health care are an extremely important step in that direction. These options become an absolute necessity in each economic sphere where capitalism fails to serve the people’s needs. Such failures have already taken place and are the cause of the current crisis, such as in health care, banking, housing, transportation, energy, etc.

In order to win these options, sharp class battles will have to take place as the ruling class will not share its stranglehold on the economic life of the country. All we need do is look at the insurance companies’ determination to kill the proposed health care public option, witness the vile and threatening attacks on the Town Hall meeting on health care reform.

The nature of the struggle for public options is anti-monopoly in content. The anti-monopoly struggle will not necessarily be a conscious movement; rather a broad based all people’s front survival movement.

This struggle embodies in it an ability to sharply change the balance of economic forces. But that’s not enough to bring about fundamental change. It is necessary to infuse the movement with the missing ingredient, its conscious ideological content – that is seeing the monopolists as the class enemy, seeing the capitalist failure as being of a permanent nature with no real recovery possible. The struggle becomes one of creating class consciousness on a mass scale. It is critical to winning public options.

While the immediate aim of the struggle is for public options and does not place socialism as its goal, nonetheless socialist consciousness develops, especially with the struggle for working class ideology, Marxist-Leninist thought and the role of the Communist Party in this connection. We should remember that polls show that 20 percent of the American people already think that socialism is better than capitalism and another 27 percent are ready to look at socialism.

This will nourish the seeds of the anti-monopoly stage in the struggle against monopoly capitalism. That’s what lies within the struggle for survival and public options.

We should not miss the moment.