Let America Be America Again

The secret is that the people matter more to the historical changes as well as to the progress and social evolution of a society than the class that is in power, yet the people are seen as virtually non-existent or are cancelled. “We The People” did not come out of the blue. Without the people, both economy and society would cease to operate. And if a former president is cancelled from the public sphere and is being made non-existent, then it is obvious that everyone else will be cancelled and made to seem non-existent as well. Arguably, there are economic considerations which force the people to accept such a situation. As Vivek Chibber wrote: “The proletarian’s acceptance of his new role is effectuated by the economic pressure of his class position. He experiences it as a kind of economic compulsion. In this, the forces acting upon him are quite different from most any other social relation.” And as Mao said: 

“Changes in society are due chiefly to the development of the internal contradictions in society, that is, the contradiction between the productive forces and the relations of production, the contradiction between classes and the contradiction between the old and the new; it is the development of these contradictions that pushes society forward and gives the impetus for the supersession of the old society by the new.” 

Class is therefore the “final analysis” to be made and the people are the ultimate subject or object of our analysis. As Mao said: “In the final analysis, national struggle is a matter of class struggle. Among the whites in the United States it is only the reactionary ruling circles who oppress the black people. They can in no way represent the workers, farmers, revolutionary intellectuals and other enlightened persons who comprise the overwhelming majority of the white people.” 

As Howard Zinn wrote, race is actually made to be a hot topic by these “reactionary forces” in order to weaken the people as a result of dividing the people based on race. Race is a lightning fuse that is lit by “reactionary forces” in the media and in other elite institutions in order to create divisions in society so that the unity and power of the people is weakened relative to the power of the ruling capitalist class. Zinn highlighted a poem written by the famous black poet Langston Hughes titled “Let America Be America Again” where Hughes highlighted how the people are juxtaposed against a class of “leeches” who are dividing people based on race which in turn compels the people to take back control of the country’s affairs:

“…I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,

I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars. 

I am the red man driven from the land,

I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek – 

And finding only the same old stupid plan.

Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak…

O, let America be America again –

The land that never has been yet –

And yet must be – the land where every man is free.

The land that’s mine – the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s 

ME – 

Who made America,

Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain, 

Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,

Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose –

The steel of freedom does not stain.

From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives, 

We must take back our land again,


We tend to deny and ignore the fact, reality, and truth that capitalism is ultimately “a system resting on a class structure; that the structure imposes real constraints on social actors; that those constraints are facts of life, not symbolic constructions; and that political contestation is fundamentally about harnessing political interests to political objectives.” And ultimately, we cannot underestimate the power of the people when it comes to waging the “political contestation” that is inherent or innate in a class structure. As Mao famously said: “Classes struggle, some classes triumph, others are eliminated. Such is history, such is the history of civilization for thousands of years.” 

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