The Politics of Power

Power itself is not the problem. It never has been and never will be. Power is a constant and will not disappear within any society whether capitalist, socialist, communist or anarchist. There will always be a power, a controlling force of some nature. Even anarchism is subjected to the power of those within such a system to decide that such society will be anarchist. For if someone decided they wished to live within a communist society or a capitalist society, the power of the prevailing anarchist society would deny such change that the person wished.

Power will not cease. Individual theologies of the moral uprightness of eschewing power does not negate the fact that power itself will exist. Eschewing power – whether individual or group – simply means that some other person or group will wield power. And again, power itself is not the problem.

Historically, power has been wielded by the propertied classes and those with access to money and finance. Indeed, it has been the struggle for power between classes that has propelled history – for class struggle is history. It is too simplistic to say that a “ruling class”, by nature, is the enemy. Rather, it is “the ruling class within a capitalist state and society” that is the enemy for this specific ruling class is the one that wields an oppressive power against the masses. Indeed though, even oppressive power is not by nature a negative force as it depends on what class is the oppressor and what class is being oppressed. It is without compunction that I say it is a material good for the working class to have power. It is a material good for the working class to have oppressive power when that oppressive power is used to oppress the structures of the capitalist system that subjugates the masses.

It is inherently just for the ills of the capitalist system – nay, the capitalist system itself – to not only be rejected by vitriolic words and defensive measures, but for the working class to engage in active suppression and, subsequently, at the point at which the working class becomes the ruling class, to engage in active oppression of those who would seek to reverse the power of the working class which has now become the ruling class. Without initial suppression and later oppression of reactionary capitalists, the human rights of the working class would once more be trampled under the foot of the capitalist.

No amount of liberal electoral democracy will guarantee the rights of the masses to be secure in the face of reactionary capitalist reversal. It takes one electoral cycle for the capitalist to legally come to power and legally reverse the democratic gains of the working class. One electoral cycle – bought and stolen by the capitalist class – to bring the capitalist elite back into power legally. For electoral democracy in the bourgeois capitalist stage simply means that the capitalist ruling class can legally be elected and legally legislate and legally adjudicate that their legislation is licit and thus legally oppress the working class since bourgeois capitalist democracy provides the “liberal freedom” to change any law – especially those that respect the working class – it sees fit to change. So it is that the working class is forever kept under the heel – legally and liberally – of the capitalist ruling class that wields its power in such a manner.

Power must not be eschewed by the working class. The working class must struggle for power. The working class must struggle to become the ruling class. The current pyramidal structure in which the capitalist ruling class elite sits on top of the masses must be inverted. The working class, which permeates the majority of the pyramid, must invert the pyramid so that the masses at the bottom will now occupy the highest level and the capitalist class, previously alone in its perch, will now be at the bottom, to not merely be sat upon by the masses, but to be driven into the ground by the weight of the masses – the new ruling class.

Do not reject the idea of a ruling class.

Become the ruling class!

Do not reject power.

Seize power!

Andrew Kahn is Editor of the Voice of America Blog.