As each generation moves forward through history, new lessons are learned and the lessons of the past are reinforced or revised, forgotten and re-remembered. It has been 30 years since the fall of the Soviet Union and the demise of the Stalinist project. In these 30 years, new generations have been born and have come of age, never having lived In the oppressive years of the Cold War and its toxic ideology of “real existing socialism;” the terrible, manipulative lie that was peddled on both sides of the world, equally by the Stalinists and by the anti-communists. Today, In the midst of a crisis encompassing the whole capitalist system and bringing the human race headlong into World War 3, generations continue to be born. Will these generations grow up, if even given the chance, in a barbarous, ruined world, or in a new, socialist one? Will these generations themselves lead us on to socialism, or will we betray them as we ourselves were betrayed by previous generations?
The past 30 years has seen endless war perpetuated by the imperialist powers, above all emanating from the United States of America, as its economic hold over the world economy fails. An entire generation has grown up under endless overseas wars. The economic turn In 2008 perpetuated a period of extreme pressure on the millennial generation, during which they were faced with the reality in which they could not expect to maintain the living standards of previous generations. In the 2010s there were a succession of popular expressions of discontent, including the Arab Spring, the Occupy protests and various populist movements. On the other side, world capitalism reached new depths of reaction in economic and domestic policy. A new period of fascistic policies and movements spurred on by the ruling class emerged. The lumpen proletariat and the petite bourgeoisie were driven into a furor of xenophobic and identitarian reaction. In 2020 came the Covid-19 pandemic, during which the governments of the West and throughout the world pursued a policy of malign neglect in which they allowed millions to perish to preserve the rate of production and ensure a continuing flow of profits at the expense of scientific common sense. This period can only serve as a lesson as to the value of life for the capitalist class. The consideration for the lives of the working class for the capitalist class is almost zero. There is no doubt that with the expansion of hostilities between the west and its chosen enemies, that no loss of life would be too much to ensure a greater share of the world’s resources and a greater control of potential profit for themselves.
The new generations being born and coming into this world can expect no succor from the capitalist governments or the capitalist class. Without the intervention of the working class to overthrow capitalism, they can only expect a life of low-paying labor, cuts to health care quality, the ability to retire, and a lack opportunities enjoyed by previous generations. Perhaps for this generation that is coming into existence, the Gilded Age will seem like a fairy tale. Class will be pitted against class, and it is inevitable that this will lead to the fiercest confrontations on the plane of the class struggle. Unlike their great-grandparents, pressure put on the capitalist governments will yield nothing in terms of reforms. They can expect only the harshest policies and chiefly austerity from the capitalist governments; if not life, death and outright destruction during wartime, such has not been seen since the Second World War.
There are, however, positive aspects to this chain of events that has been unfolding since the last World War. This is a generation which will grow up with no illusions. Those illusions that may linger today will be shattered by the force of events. The only reality, one which will become clearer and clearer as they grow older, will be the reality of the class struggle. The ideas of Socialism, which year by year increasingly position themselves front and center, will only spread and become more clarified by the march of the world crisis. The current preoccupations of the petite bourgeoisie and the lumpen ideology it espouses will become ever more unreal to the daily experiences of the millions of people coming into this world.
The duty of the present generation, the millennial generation, is to teach and present a realistic portrayal of the world to their children. They must instill in the new generation not only a distrust of capitalism and its governments, which already pervades daily life, but a new militancy. Both that springing from their own experience, which is daily growing, but that which will come from seeing their children put into an impossible position by the decline and crisis of world capitalism. History has yet to record which generation will bring about socialism, whether it is the millennial generation, in league with the youthful generation that has come of age in the last few years, or whether it will be our children. Surely, the transformation of the world into a united socialist world order is impossible without the cooperation of these generations together. As the prior generations pass on, so too will pass memories of the post-war period of peace and relative prosperity in the West that they experienced in their own youths. That is not to say the earlier generations have nothing to contribute, but a change of perspective is certainly coming. No longer will the question present itself as reform or revolution, but only of Socialism or barbarism. Either way, this may be the last or one of the last generations born under capitalism. The crisis of capitalism that has been taking grip over the last 30 years and longer is more and more expressing itself as a mortal crisis for either capitalism or for the human race. Great vistas of opportunity remain open to the coming generation, in the form of socialism, and its powerful possibilities, which are the innate possibilities of the human race. With modern technology, scientific knowledge and the globalized nature of human life it is possible to create a world free from hunger, from poverty and homelessness, from lack of access to healthcare, from lack of housing, from lack of jobs and lack of rest and expression, from war, and from the threats of climate change and epidemics.
To the coming generation we must say, welcome to the world, you are inheritors of a great tradition of human struggle, all that is progressive and revolutionary in human history. You are uniquely positioned to change this world, to shake this world to its foundations and create a new world in which everyone and the human race as a whole can reach their full potential. The dead weight of capitalism and the veil of the darkness of ignorance which still haunts this world can be lifted by you, your generation and your class – the vast majority – the working class. Out of the world crisis of an outmoded and out of control way of life, dominated by cold and indifferent egotistical calculations, you can remake society into something profoundly beautiful and really deserving of the name, human.