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the role of monopoly capital in running the US state, and its client states like NZ. Dotcom’s own lawyers found that Mike Ellis boss of MPA of Asia and a “former extradition expert and former superintendent of the Hong Kong police”, was the contact between Biden, Dodd and MacBride, and the NZ Justice Minister Simon Power. We say that its time NZ workers woke up to the fact that NZ is being fought over by the two big imperialist rivals, the US and China and that to avoid being dragging into a war on the side of either the US or China we have to build common cause with US and Chinese workers to build a working class movement to stop the war at home.
Kim Dotcom has so far avoided extradition to the US on a charge of copyright infringement by his Megaupload operation. Monopoly media interests such as Hollywood want to make an example of him to smash competition and protect their media monopoly. NZ is a pawn in this game, already proven lackeys of Warner Brothers over the Hobbit films, attacking workers rights and offering a big bribe to get the studio to film in NZ. The NACT Government is a pathetic lackey to the US corporate giants, contracting NZ spies and cops to the FBI to illegally raid and arrest Dotcom and his associates. While they are busy smashing all democratic barriers to their rip, shit and bust policies on behalf of international monopoly capital, they haven’t yet bought the Courts’ compliance. The Appeal Court ignored NZ law which states that evidence of the charge must be presented and that charge be recognised by NZ law. It rejected Dotcom’s request to view the US evidence against him on the grounds that it wasn’t trying the case here. Dotcom has the right to appeal to the Supreme Court and that is likely to run since the Appeal Court ignored NZ law on the basis that the US authorities could be ‘trusted’. Meanwhile the Dotcom saga reveals much about the current global capitalist crisis winding up the rivalry between imperialist powers and forcing the US ruling class to resort to open abuse of democratic rights and abolishing the separation of the branches of state by fusing bank, corporate, and state power. The US monopoly capitalist system uses military and spy machine to sign up its allies in the mounting showdown with rapidly rising Chinese imperialism. As Gordon Campbell in Werewolf points out, this case is the first where copyright infringement has been made a criminal charge anywhere including the US itself. The power of Hollywood is evident in bringing this case. Campbell found that the senior Justice Dept prosecutor of Dotcom, Neil MacBride was formerly the “Business Software Alliance’s top antipiracy enforcer and general counsel”, and had been ordered to “take Mega[upload] down” by Vice-President Joe Biden, best mates with MPAA boss Chris Dodd. The NZ courts are small fry facing this barrage of US pressure at all levels. Let’s see how far the Supreme Court will go in standing up to this pressure. One thing is sure though, the case has opened many peoples’ eyes to
Who was Red Rosa?
Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (Die Linke) opened in New York “The opening event featured a keynote address by Gregor Gysi, one of Europe’s most well-known socialist politicians, known for barbs of wit and force of character. Gysi recounted his party’s struggles in making up the trustdeficit from the taint of the East German legacy. “I am a democratic socialist; I don’t like concentrated authority,” said Gysi. “State socialism has failed, but this does not mean that capitalism is the only game in town. Capitalism thought it won, but it didn’t—it’s just what remained.”” Oh the irony; taking the name of Rosa Luxemburg in vain against ‘concentrated authority’. Yes Rosa was against centralism and criticised the Bolsheviks. Yet the failure to build a mass Bolshevik-type party in Germany before 1919 was the main reason for the defeat of the German Revolution. So the Rosa that Die Linke wants to own was not the real Rosa who condemned the German Social Democrats betrayal of the German Revolution. We have to rescue the real Red Rosa from the modern day heirs of the SPD who were the real centralists who collaborated with the Freikorps in her political assassination in 1919! We say stop former Stalinists dragging Red Rosa’s memory through the mud! Long Live Rosa Luxemburg!
New Left Party
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the other former ‘workers states’, and the decline of social democracy, Euro-communism, anarchism and Trotskyism, new generations of youth looked for a new basis on which to renew the revolutionary left . The failure of the ‘old left’ was put down to the bad habits of
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hierarchy, patriarchy, and bureaucracy among other things. Those who remained loyal to Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolsheviks had a hard time getting a hearing if they didn’t change. The result has been a loose coalition of anti-capitalist currents looking for a social movement. This New Left has turned its back on 20th century socialism and looked forward to 21st century socialism. Various candidates have emerged in an attempt to find a model for a revolutionary party suited for today’s conditions. The most important examples are the PSUV in Venezuela, Die Linke in Germany, Left Party in France, and most recently Syriza in Greece. However there is nothing new or 21st century about these parties. They are a rerun of the broad working class parties of the 19th and 20th century combining reformist, centrist (preach revolution but practice reform) and revolutionary currents. They are no more immune from hierarchy, patriarchy and bureaucracy than their earlier prototypes. This is because they are parliamentary parties that tie workers to bourgeois state institutions which are designed to reproduce capitalism and all of its class exploitation and oppression. Even if the revolutionary wing is strong, it cannot jump over parliament while attached to the dead weights of Members of Parliament. The testimony is in the betrayals of such parties in the face of revolutionary crises yesterday, and today. The German SPD gave support to the German ruling class in WW1 though a small number of its revolutionary MPs voted against supporting the war. Today the PSUV includes the Bolibourgeoisie who limit the party to reforms despite its strong Chavista working class base. The German Die Linke (Left Party) is a ‘democratic socialist’ party proposing Keynesian reforms, while the French Left Party cobbles together social democrats and Greens and is a popular front party propping up the French state. Now Syriza enters a popular front with the nationalist Independent Greeks. Unless the revolutionaries break free of the reformists and centrists in these parties, they cannot fight to mobilise working class forces to overthrow the state. The result is that the anti-capitalism class party is dragged down to the lowest common denominator – parliamentary reforms. The first duty of revolutionaries is to build a strong, independent, internationalist, and revolutionary party. To do this it is necessary to win reformist workers by entering into united fronts with them to expose their rotten leaders and win them to a revolutionary program. Such united fronts also apply to voting for and even entering broad parties, to split the members from reformist and centrist leaders. Such a tactic would apply for example to Syriza to get it into office to expose it and destroy workers illusions in its reformist program. The purpose of such united fronts is to destroy these rotten leaders as agents of the bourgeoisie and traitors to the working class. We say beware the New Left, it is neither new, nor left!
Review: Marx at 193
Marx would be 193 if he was alive today. Reflecting the fact that Marx’s reputation is still alive and kicking, the reviewer says that Marx today got most things right, but that society it much more complex today than Marx could have envisaged. Yet the reviewer’s examples of ‘complexity’ are such as a more ‘complex’ class system with lots of mixed identities rather than fixed in any one class position. He claims that workers can also be bourgeois by virtue of being in pension funds. Tell that to the so-called middle class in the US whose Pension Funds have been stolen by owners who go bankrupt! This is perhaps the basis of his claim that in the West the bourgeoisie are the majority class!! Second, that the working class is fragmented between and within countries rather than being internationally united force. He cites the case of the massive Foxconn workforce in China which won a big wage increase not by striking but through a NYT article exposing the rash of suicides. Somehow the writer doesn’t make the connection between Apple being forced to respond to global public opinion of a world working class (of consumers yes) that condemned its super-exploitation driving young workers to suicide! Working class unity is also expressed in the power of a global consumption strike. Chinese workers are creative in their struggles. His third example is Marx failure to predict the destruction of nature. This is utterly wrong. Marx saw capitalism becoming increasingly destructive of the forces of production which are in the main nature, both as the source of raw materials, and human labour power. Global warming etc is the working out of this prediction in the deep structures of nature, just as is the rising global movement of humanity as workers to stop the destruction of capitalism. (See article in this issue) The relevant point here is that writer says that what let Marx down was his rejection of ‘empiricism’ as a preoccupation with surface forms rather than deep structures. I would say that ‘empiricism’ is the writer’s problem. It leads him to say that the nature of capitalism has qualitatively changed as it surface complexity has increased. Yet the deeper dynamics that are driving the surface changes in capitalism continue to deepen the class contradictions and I would suggest make Marx even more relevant at age 193. We say, today, 130 years after Marx’ death, “class struggle” is still the motor of history.
Class Struggle No 104
Fight Asset sales!
The NZ power network is a natural monopoly. The NZ state planned the development and effectively subsidised the capitalist farming & industry by providing access to use of cheap electricity. No individual capitalist in NZ’s history could have built this. NZs electricity system was built by the working class – an international working class at that, with migrant labour a central part of the construction workforce. Power utilities were paid for by the taxes of the working class - as well as producing the profits, (including the bosses’ taxes). The working class built these utilities and financed the Research & Development of two areas where NZ has special expertise, Geothermal and Hydro-Electrical power. There is massive social capital expropriated from the working class invested in infrastructure and intellectual property in the power SOEs. This is the stake that NZ workers have in state assets. We are against these assets being privatised and the monopoly profits going NZ or foreign capitalist ownership.
Capitalist asset grab Capitalism rules NZ and the NACT government (National, Act, Maori Party and Peter Dunne) represents the interests of the capitalist class unashamedly. Already they have part-privatisated by increasing the debt levels of the power companies and solid energy (35% of their value is owed finance capitalism), and taken that bank debt as a government dividend (profit). The further transfer of ownership from the capitalist state to the capitalist class (the class of owners) takes place with these sales. This is the theft from the poor of the pretence of ownership (held by the state). This will be the continued exploitation of the working and unemployed poor, and power prices that extract profit margins well above and beyond the costs of power production. Geoff Bertrand has researched the price gauging of the SOE's who have acted as a cartel and put up the price of power at least 50% above real cost. That is monopoly rent which currently goes to the state as dividends. Monopoly rent equals super profits from natural resources, so it amounts to a transfer of profits from other capitalists to monopoly capitalists. The other capitalists have tried to offload this loss of profits with prices concessions and higher prices for private consumers. This is just screwing workers at both ends. Why is the capitalist class stealing the power companies from the NZ state? When power services are sold the capitalist class will be able to take profits from their “investment” (that investment money is coming from the profits of the production of the working class in the first place). The capitalist system is so weak that capitalism is in search of “good investments” because their profit margins are falling. An electricity supplier is a guaranteed monopoly profit, because everyone uses electricity – so the capitalist is keen to get private ownership of the profits, a loss for all of us since it is a move away from the state dividends that can be reinvested in other infrastructure such as schools hospitals etc. Their crisis not ours! The global financial crisis was just the latest symptom of the failure of capitalism. Profits were low in productive sector and “financial” capitalism was promising bigger profits – however finance capital was unable to deliver on these as the many financial company failures proved. Capitalism is a stuffed system and their profits will continue to fall - Marx “Capital”). The capitalist class is in such crisis now seeking a “reliable” profit from exploiting the working class. The sale of power services will drive up the costs of electricity (which even a capitalist state can build and run more efficiently than a capitalist owner). The capitalist crisis means that the bosses want to milk that monopoly rent directly and not see it spent on schools, houses, welfare etc. It is total cynical bullshit to say that the proceeds of the sale of 49% will be spent on these social amenities. 49% will go straight into the hands of shareholders, while the states shares of rent will go to subsidising big capital and farmers as the plans for roading, irrigation and “Public Private Partnerships” (PPPs) that guarantee private profit. NZ workers have an historic stake in these assets. They are essential services to meet our need for cheap, reliable electric power to maintain our households. Take back control of power services and put them under the control of the working class and the power service workers.
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Reclaim our power! The language of the “asset sale” hides the fact that these are power services which provide an essential service to the whole NZ population. (99%+/ - anyone left off the grid?) It serves the working class by providing what has become a basic necessity for our living; keeping our food, water, clothing & ourselves clean and healthy, and communicating with each other. Electricity is now a basic need. Reclaim electricity as a need and a service! The ‘market’ is by definition not designed to meet needs: it is all about profits. The description of power providers as “assets” hides the fact that they were built to provide an electricity supply throughout the whole country, including delivering electricity to the milking sheds, an integral part of NZs efficient milking production. Electricity services are best planned to meet the needs of the population and of industry (an argument for socialist planning) and the NZ state has done that planning and development. The creation of an electricity market has only lead to price increases and profit taking by the state – a burden on the working class through household electricity prices. The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and current tools of imperialism will make it easy for imperialism rip off power super-profits, to concentrate capital in the crisis, e.g. Chinese dairying, and we will see these energy monopolies pass into imperialist hands. Appeals to Parliamentary Parties a dead end Labour in the 1980s set up these “State Owned Enterprises” (SOEs) the power companies, coal, and ran the first programme of privatisations / sell offs; BNZ, NZ Rail, Air NZ, etc. Labour MPs say they have learnt their lesson: but they did nothing in their 2000-2009 years in government to reclaim state control of the SOEs and reign in power prices. Labour’s failure to put the SOEs out of reach of sale is just an example of the Labour party’s commitment to capitalism. The “market” continued to price gouge from the working class as “residential customers” and subsidise big industrial users such as the bluff aluminium smelter. Labour party continues to fail the working class because it includes both working people and a pro-capitalist program and leadership. The bureaucracy within Labour controls the party programme and so will never really challenge the capitalist class. Labour is so weakened by the bureaucracy within its own ranks that it cannot put up a real fight against the “asset sales”. They are all talk and no action. Most state assets were sold by the Lange Labour Government in the 80s. Shearer will not commit to buying assets back even until he sees if he’s got the money. The Greens will not commit to buying assets back either. The only parliamentary parties that have committed to buying back state assets are NZ First a centre right nationalist party, and Mana. The Aotearoa is not for Sale Coalition is also weakened by its strategy of directing is protests at parliament. Parliamentary parties following capitalist programs take
the resistance off the street and into petitions and votes for parliament. So long as Mana and Socialist Aotearoa put their energy into begging parliament to stop asset sales their opposition to sales will not win mass support for direct action. This type of coalition politics is a popular front that ties workers to pro-capitalist parties like Labour and the Greens instead of mobilising a mass movement to occupy the SOEs under workers’ control. Occupy the SOEs and put them under Workers Control The key demand that should be taken up by all groups opposed to assets sales is “Occupy!” This is the only language that the bosses’ state understands. They proved this by breaking the law to violently evict Occupy form its sites in Auckland in 2012. The NACTs are so determined to sell the SOEs that they are prepared to subsidise Rio Tinto’s Pacific Aluminium to stay at Tiwai Point under the pretext of saving jobs. This is because if Rio Tinto pull out of NZ the 12% of electricity it currently uses will be diverted to all other consumers creating an oversupply, falling profits and prospect for privatisation nil! This sort of total sellout of NZ workers to foreign monopolies cannot be answered unless by occupations and pickets to defend the stake of generations of NZ workers in state assets. To protect the occupations workers will need to build solidarity the local community, call on sympathy strikes, mass pickets and self-defence squads. Then they need to put them under workers control. The workers who maintain and run our power services are in the best position to continue to run them. Maori who labour on the power services need to be represented in this leadership and by the right to caucus. The local working class and all workers who consume power services would form in alliance with the power service workers to plan production and service provision. Representation can be based in workplace democracy electing and recalling delegates to a workers council. The local workers council is the forum for making democratic decisions about planning to meet the needs of all. Local Maori from both the end user and production end of power services need to be represented on workers councils. No compensation to the Capitalist Class Buyers beware! Don’t line up to buy stolen property – these assets belong to working people. We will take them back with no compensation to the capitalist class. No compensation to the bankers, financiers, or grandma and grandpa investors who have a spare $1000. No compensation to the “institutional” investors or retirement funds. No compensation to any investors since they all gambled to make a profit from the congealed sweat of the generations of workers in the first place. No compensation whatsoever in any circumstances! No compensation flies in the face of capitalism and imperialism through treaties such as the TPPA (Trans
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Pacific Partnership Agreement) would try to force compensation through international law. The TPPA will try to block renationalisation. So taking back the assets means breaking the free trade agreements. Socialising the assets is getting them back; it is expropriating back to the workers who built and paid for the SOEs in the first place. They are our assets and we will take them back to meet our needs. Socialise our power services! We are for the overthrow of the capitalist system, which hides the fact that workers are the creative force in capitalist society. Socialism means the end of this capitalist model of ownership and a move to social ownership - by all. State ownership is still capitalist ownership. This is shown by the fact that they are run to meet the needs of all capitalists by subsidising the cost of power as Bertram’s research proves. Rio Tinto is a classic case. Nationalised assets are easier to socialise under workers control than expropriating individual shareholders. We need to start now to win support for
socialising all former state assets as well as the strategic assets of large NZ and foreign corporations. We can do better than state ownership; we can throw capitalism out altogether and plan the whole economy to meet the needs of all. The meeting of the electricity needs of just part of one basic economic plan that needs to be implemented at a national level: Smash the capitalist electricity market. Plan to meet the electricity needs of all and for industry that meets our needs. Stop the asset sales! Occupy our SOEs! Smash the TPPA! Socialise all former state assets and all major NZ and foreign corporations! For a Workers State to implement a national planned socialist economy! Online http://redrave.blogspot.co.nz/2013/04/fightasset-sales.html
Zimbabawe after the Boycott, Organise to defeat the Popular Front!
The referendum on the new constitution was held on the 16th of March 2013 with only around 40% of eligible voters voting on the acceptability or otherwise of the draft written by the three parties in government together with their imperialist masters through UNDP. Over half of the eligible voters boycotted the referenda in a clear sign of protest to the GNU and the policies of the three parties that have wrecked the lives of the ordinary poor and were using the referendum to create the political basis for further attacks on the poor masses through brutal austerity measures demanded by imperialism. Of those who voted 92% were in support of the document with only about 5% rejecting it and the remainder filled by protest votes and/or spoiled papers. Even on this basis the draft cannot be regarded as legitimate given the number of people who one way or the other saw through the tricks of the inclusive dictatorship and rejected the referendum farce. All the parties in the GNU have welcomed the results as historic and now calling for the entrenchment of constitutionalism, i.e. acceptance of the culture of capitalist domination. Those calling for a No vote have rejected the outcome and vow to continue to oppose the constitution until a democratic and people driven one is in place. For us the number of people who boycotted the process represents a latent political force in Zimbabwe of workers and the ordinary poor who are opposed to the policies of the current regime but with no clear answer as to the real solution given the historical domination of reformism and centrism. The popular front regime has brought untold suffering to the people and this must end through smashing the regime and its social basis in order to conquer the interests of the ordinary poor. Workers, students, poor farmers, poor resident, unemployed and the informally employed must mobilise now for a UNITED FRONT to oppose the popular front regime that is now preparing to launch another round of attacks on the living conditions of the poor. In our campaign for a boycott and the meetings we held with workers, students and the ordinary poor we reiterated the need to launch the UNITED FRONT to spearhead the responses of the poor and exploited masses with the two meetings endorsing the call. To that end the RWG (Zim) will be agitating for the creation of local struggle committees in unions and struggle organisations to call for the convening of the UNITED FRONT of struggle organisations and individuals dedicated to the defeat of the policies being championed by the regime and those being proffered by those intending to replace the regime without replacing the capitalist basis. We congratulate the ordinary people of Zimbabwe for boycotting the referendum and now call upon them to organise to smash the capitalism and its agents. Revolutionary Workers Group-Zimbabwe 21 March 2013 This article is online at redrave http://redrave.blogspot.co.nz/2013/03/zimbabwe-afterboycott-organise-to_22.html
Class Struggle No 104
After Chavez: The Revolutionary Way Forward
After the death of Chavez the left around the world is making a balance sheet of Chavez and the Bolivarian movement, looking for the way ahead. We add our voice to this discussion.
With the following observation from the thespec.com we hope we can dispense with the illusions of what ‘Bolivarianism’ and ‘21st Century Socialism’ are presented as and identify the actual class character of the state that the Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV) administers, what road-blocks still exist for workers on the path to socialism, and what defending and advancing the social gains already made in the anti-imperialist struggle means and how it can be done. “Venezuela today has the fairest distribution of wealth in the Americas, with the obvious exception of Canada. Venezuela’s “Gini coefficient,” [see graph] which measures the wealth gap between the rich and the poor, is 0.39, whereas the United States is 0.45 and Brazil, even after 10 years of reforming left-wing governments, is still 0.52. (A lower score means less inequality of income.) For all of Chavez’s ranting about class struggle and his admiration for Fidel Castro, this was not achieved in Venezuela by taking money from the rich and giving it to the poor. It was accomplished by spending the oil revenue differently. He changed the political psychology of the country, and it now has the potential to be a Saudi Arabia with democracy”. Despite “liberating” their oil, through compensated nationalization, Venezuela has not escaped the clutches of imperialism. World capitalism in the imperialist epoch dominates and must super-exploit the semi-colonies to survive. Even the most self-sufficient workers collectives are dominated and exploited via the imposition and financialization of markets, the commodification of labor, overt military threat of intervention and covert subterfuge and counter-revolutionary instigation. Venezuela has been subject to all these obstacles to liberation and socialism. To overcome these obstacles, nationalization without compensation of imperialist and big national capital is paramount: the establishment of workers control of production, the establishment of a social-economic plan under workers control and the imposition of a monopoly of foreign trade are all required to hold off the exploitative consequences of the international dominance of the law-of-value (which commodifies labor power making profit and capitalism possible) on any nation seeking to escape imperialist control. In addition a conscious policy to spread these transformative measures across borders is essential because such a system, as was proved with the USSR and China, cannot long have a peaceful coexistence with imperialism. On a world scale either the working class takes ascendancy and abolishes the capitalist mode of production or the capitalist reaction acts in every way possible to crush the rise of the working class, ideologically, economically, militarily, and subordinate it to the barbarism of the domination of the law-of-value. Between two Imperialist Blocs Today the same forces that call Obama socialist peg Venezuela as such, but by any scientific or Marxist measure we must conclude Venezuela remains a semi-colony of imperialism looking for the best deal between its two major trading partners, the competing imperialist powers US and China. While Chavez hand-in-hand with Hu JinTao in April 2009 cut oil deals while trumpeting the “New 5th International” and the building of “21st Century Socialism” the Chinese Development Bank (CDB) had something else altogether in mind. The Financial Times bloggers comment: “State-owned CDB has agreed to lend Venezuela $42.5bn since 2008, or around half the loans the country received during that period. Almost all of those loans are backed by sales contracts for crude oil…, Shipments of oil to China by Venezuela’s state energy giant PDVSA have increased nearly ten times since 2006 and the country now sells around 19 per cent of its oil output to China, … Venezuela’s second biggest trading partner after the US. But a glance at the terms of the loans extended by CDB so far show that the Chinese lender has been thinking for a long time about how it would get its money back when Chávez eventually left the stage. As well as securing most of the loans with oil contracts, CDB has insisted that most of the loans are spent on
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projects that directly benefit the Venezuelan people, particularly housing and public infrastructure projects. Part of CDB’s stated mandate is to support Chinese businesses to expand overseas and so large chunks of the loans it gives to Venezuela and other countries are also conditional on Chinese companies getting the contracts to build that housing and infrastructure. (emphasis ours) Sources close to CDB have told the FT that the bank’s thinking in Venezuela was that as long as the money was spent on projects that obviously benefit the nation then whoever comes after Chávez will not be able to easily default on the loans.” Rather than building socialist internationalism the Chinese foreign investment/trade model is relatively indistinguishable from that of the IMF loan-to-build model except that it is wrapped in Red Flags, easily embraced by the populist and eclectic leader, yet rendering long term and disastrous effects for the people of Venezuela whose wealth it is that will be paying off the Chinese contracts. This week’s Latin America Herald Times reports: “Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said Thursday that Venezuela is sending 640,000 barrels a day of oil to China, of which 270,000 barrels a day are used to repay the loans, according to Ramirez. A confidential US cable from the US embassy in Caracas to the State Department in Washington revealed by WikiLeaks in 2010 documented that a PDVSA director had revealed that the state oil company “had analyzed its crude sales to China and determined that China had only paid $5 a barrel of crude on a couple of deals.” (emphasis ours) According to the Venezuela Central Bank, in December there was a 78.1% shortage of sugar; 76.8% of wheat flour; 86.1 shortage of sunflower seed oil; 56.8% shortage of corn oil; 67.1% shortage of mixed vegetable oil; and a 43.3% shortage of pre-cooked corn flour. Shortages worsened in January.” Defend and Extend the Gains of the Venezuelan ‘Revolution’ While joining in the worldwide mourning among the workers and oppressed, the major gains made during Chavez’s term have been highlighted and celebrated by much of the left. One Mike P., on a San Francisco Bay Area chat thread’s sentiments exemplify the views of much of the left: ”The past 13 years of President Chavez rule has seen Venezuela improve by all economic indicators education indicators, health care indicators, housing indicators and especially the building from the bottom, a true democracy. The latter is in danger today as USA is
currently spending tens of millions of dollars inside Venezuela to defeat the Bolivarian Revolution and reinstate the old oligarchy… Many of us will miss Chavez greatly, but we take solace in knowing he did all he could to prepare his country for this moment…the people of Venezuela will defend the gains against our government’s coming assault…. …we can stand shoulder to shoulder with the people in Venezuela to protect their gains, while learning form the good people of Venezuela what it means to build a 21st century socialism…” We salute the enthusiasm of comrade Mike and join his defense of the gains accomplished in Venezuela and agree that Obama (Chavez’s choice in the last US election) will mobilize the might of imperialism to
undermine those gains. Our duty as internationalists is to defeat imperialism’s interventions against the people of Venezuela; be they overt military, covert, diplomatic, economic, ideological, propagandistic etc. To support the people of Venezuela we advocate a united front of workers organizations to educate American workers and their allies about imperialist interventionism and set networks in place to launch the types of mass actions, political and general strikes needed to stop the imperialist intervention. To put an end once and for all to imperialist intervention workers must put an end to imperialism and this requires the socialist revolution in the imperialist homelands. A Sober Assessment: Limits on the Bourgeois Nationalist Revolution We disagree with Mike’s assessment however that Chavez “did all he could to prepare his country for this moment.” A sober assessment of Chavismo, the “Bolivarian Revolution” and “21st c. Socialism” is required if workers in Venezuela or here at home can be mobilized to defend and advance its gains described above. Chavez came to power as a radical populist democrat, a Venezuelan nationalist. And as is the history of radical democracy in Latin America, populists who come to
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power quickly run up against the limits imperialism sets for the semi-colonies. Seemingly democratic and nationalist tasks such as purchasing the wealth of the nation back from imperialism exposes the limits which the world’s billionaires will allow radical nationalist/democrats in semi-colonies to go before attempting to destabilize and replace them. From Arbenz to Pinochet to Zalaya, from Mosaddegh to Lumumba to Aristide imperialism has shown over and again it has only so much patience. The aspirations of the liberal national bourgeois in the semi-colonies for ‘modern democracy,’ ‘freedom’ and ‘opportunity’ are limited by imperialism’s insatiable thirst for profit and the numeric and material weakness of their class. Modern revolutions against imperialism in these nations depend on populist mobilizations of the masses which can be either constrained by a populist leader committed to defending capitalist property for the national bourgeoisie but willing to make concession to the populace, or become unleashed (think Fidel Castro) resolving the contradiction of the semi-colonial bourgeois revolution by making the revolution against imperialism permanent by seizing the power and wealth of the national bourgeoisie and spreading the revolution beyond its borders. Had Bush/Cheney not gotten US imperialism bogged down in Afghanistan, which served as a jumping off point to invade Iraq, and had the masses not been mobilized, the 2002 coup-d’état against Chavez might have been successful. Despite the media blackout of the anti-war movement building internationally with millions out on the streets in February 2003, the imperialists knew they were pushing the patience of the masses and as dim-witted as Bush was, there were some real calculating bastards running the show who understood how far they could push our patience and that military intervention in Venezuela, at least for a time, would not be an option. Chavez survived the failed 2002 coup, came back reinvigorated with anti-imperialist sentiment and committed to building his version of ‘Bolivarian Socialism.’ For this he created a popular front/cross class party, the PSUV, which rejected Marxism and established its version of socialism based on the state’s ‘conquest’ of the nation’s oil wealth. Chavez rejected the lessons of revolutionary Marxism and under the guise of developing a new road to socialism contained the proletariat’s revolutionary movement, confined the revolution to capitalism with welfare and minimal distributional gains of the oil rent. Today much of the left embraces this without saying directly, “it is the best we can do under the current conditions.” Some long-time socialists even praise Bolivarianism as a socialist revolution and Chavez as the first great Socialist leader of the 21st century. The US Communist Party (CP-USA) which long ago abandoned the revolutionary road to socialism states:
“…we were delighted with the progress that Venezuela made, under Chavez’ wise and firm leadership, in eliminating poverty and illiteracy, in providing for the health care and housing needs of the Venezuelan people, and in rechanneling the country’s oil wealth away from corporate greed and toward meeting the needs of the people. We were no less enthusiastic about President Chavez’s role in international affairs. His work in creating ALBA) (the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples’ of our America), PETROCARIBE and CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), as well as his government’s activities to develop MERCOSUR and UNASUR, have had a revolutionary impact in correcting the imbalance of power between the Latin American and Caribbean countries on the one hand, and the United States, Canada and Europe on the other.” Thus, like the Bolivarians the CP sees these new capitalist trade alliances, rather than socialist revolution (the expropriation of the capitalists and the construction of a planned economy,) as the road to liberating the masses from imperialism. Alongside the Bolivarians they ignore or willfully hide from the masses the fact that even these ‘liberated trade zones’ are mediated by the constraints of the capitalist production cycle and that their reliance on an alliance with their own weak comprador bourgeoisie, traps the workers as wage slaves in a multi-class party and popular front government which enforces the capitalist property relations at the point of production through the vehicle of the state. Revolutionary Bonapartist? Socialist or Bourgeois
Chavez, is quoted in Aporrea (7/29/07) as stating that the PSUV will not be Marxist-Leninist, as Marxism is a dogmatic thesis that is now over and is not in accord with today’s reality. He went on to say the working class is not the motor of socialism. The following day Jorge Giordani, Minister of People’s Power and Planning stated, “There does not exist any contradiction between private enterprise and Venezuelan socialism.” To which Earl Gilman, long time revolutionary worker and editor of El Nuevo Topo, commented: “If the working class is not the motor of the revolution, then apparently the officer corps are that motor. Though he may make justified criticisms of Marx, by rejecting the Marxist method he is following the footsteps of such figures as General Velasco of Peru and General Juan Peron of Argentina.” Contrary to common view of most “socialists” the Revolutionary Communist Internationalist Tendency (RCIT) pointed out in their obituary for Chavez:
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“The truth is that Chavez was no socialist. He was rather a bourgeois-Bonapartist politician who used socialist rhetoric but led a capitalist regime for 14 years. Under his government, between 1998 and 2008 the private sector’s share of the economy grew from 64.7% to 70.9% at the expense of the public sector. In particular, the parasitic sector of “finance and insurance”, i.e. money capital, grew rapidly in this period, by 258.4%…. According to United Nations UNCTAD and other sources, the share of workers’ wages in national income is today below the level when Chavez took power…. In addition, militant workers who organized strikes or factory occupations faced reprisal, dismissal, jail or even murder. A well known example for this is the union leader Ruben Gonzalez, a member of the Chavez’s party PSUV, who was sentenced to 7 years in prison, which accused him of violence during a strike at the stateowned Ferrominera Orinoco. While he was freed after one year in prison because of mass protests, at least 125 worker militants remain in prison for being involved in various strike actions or occupations and more than 2,500 activists have faced criminalization.” The RCIT goes on to answer the question that if he was not a socialist “why was he despised by the rich and powerful?”: “…They hated him because Chavez stood at the top of a regime which had the support of only a minority of the Venezuelan capitalists and which had to rest on the lower grades of the army and the millions of workers and poor. It was a regime similar to those which Trotsky analyzed in Mexico in the late 1930s and which he characterized as “Bonapartist sui generis of a distinctive character”. Therefore the Chavez regimes was forced – given the massive pressure from the workers and urban poor – to subsidize certain social reforms (“misiones”) which were beneficial for the poorest strata of the population and which have contributed – at least according to official statistics – to a certain reduction of the extreme inequality of income in the country. The regime could do so because Venezuela is the fifth largest oil producer of the OPEC member states and its oil production and trade accounts for roughly 30% of GDP, 94% of export earnings, and more than 50% of the central government’s budget revenues. This gave the regime the material basis to finance certain social reforms.” In their rejection of Marxism not only does the PSUV abandon the centrality of the working class in making its own revolution, they reject the need to end capitalist exploitation at the point of production, to expropriate the big bourgeoisie and foreign capital-without compensation. They reject the Marxist theory of the state as they ignore the lessons of the Paris Commune-that the working class cannot just lay its hands on the bourgeois state and administer it for its own historic interests and that instead, the capitalist state apparatus (the military,
the legislature, the judiciary, the executive, the bureaucracy, the police and the prisons) must be smashed and replaced by the armed workers assemblies, guiding the task of social and economic reorganization to advance and protect the process of the expropriation of the bourgeoisie and the socialization/negation of capital. Chavez rejected building up the workers assemblies to replace bourgeois legislative and executive institutions. The popular assemblies in Venezuela were not organized to replace the rule of the bourgeois state but rather to buttress it. In the Pantheon of Socialist Leaders Taking his place alongside the defunct socialism of the Kautskyian Social Democrats, the Mensheviks, Stalinists and Maoists, Chavez rejected the revolutionary Marxist insistence upon the political independence of the working class. In his theory and practice he opposed the workers organizing their own party and forming their own working class dictatorship. His populist democratic credentials were exposed as mere rhetoric as he rejected the best traditions of worker’s democracy (the right to form political factions) inside the PSUV while drawing to it layers of the national bourgeoisie including former coup plotters. Indeed embryonic stirrings of the new proletarian state (emergent whenever class independence, self organization, and self armament takes place, such as in cordones industriales and workers councils) inside the old state run counter to Chavez’s project and needed to be manipulated and declawed. The theoretical foundation upon which Chavismo is based is flawed and will have to be defeated theoretically and organizationally replaced with a revolutionary socialist workers party in order to fight back the counterrevolution and make the socialist revolution possible. It follows, like the cart follows the horse, that if the task of expropriating the big capitalists is taken off the table and foreign capital is compensated for properties nationalized, there is no need for the workers to have their own class independent party, or their own mass assemblies, or their own armed brigades. The bourgeois legislature, the bourgeois courts, the professional army are, in the Chavez theory and practice, the agency of ‘Bolivarian Socialism’; the entire history of class struggle under capitalism teaches us this is a formula for the defeat not the triumph of the working class. “…The second time as farce” Instead of basing the Bolivarian Revolution firmly on materialist footing as Lenin had in 1917, Chavez, a moralist and idealist used his charisma, his moral certitude (in himself-a strength of will) based upon his roots from among the impoverished. His democratic credentials became heroic when he led the failed coup against the oligarchy in 1992, winning to himself a
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following among a small layer of the capitalist class, the “Bolibourgeoisie.” This layer was fed up with the power of the oligarchy and the subservience of the economy to imperialism, yet was too weak itself to fight for independence from imperialism and to establish sufficient national democracy to meet their needs and desires. Today in the power vacuum following Chavez’s death, it will aim to drive the PSUV further to the right. This alliance that formed around Chavez of a sector of the capitalist class on one side, the strong populist Bolivarian revolutionary leader mediating the state and the unfulfilled masses striving for socialism on the other is not an original historical drama. Chavez ignored Marx’s analysis of the French Revolution wherein Bonapartism was identified. Therein Chavez may have glimpsed a mirror image of himself bridging the gulf between irreconcilable social classes, limiting the drive of the most downtrodden toward socialism by sharing some of the wealth recouped from the oil rent bought back from imperialism, yet maintaining the social relations inherent in the capitalist mode of production, through which the workers exploitation is perpetuated. The Populist Alliance buries the Workers Program turning Marxist theory inside out! In Chavez’s theory and practice he drew around him all the forces of the left who traditionally join or give left cover to popular fronts and cross-class alliances. Among those who have abandoned the fight for class independence there is a coalescence of anti-Leninism, neo-Kautskyianism, World Social Forum (WSF) and layers of fake Trotskyists (like Alan Woods whose IMT drops its programmatic independence to join the PSUV,) and those who argue that underconsumption rather than overproduction is the explanation for the cause of the capitalist crisis replacing the need for social planning with Keynesian pump priming on the consumption side This intersection of “Bolivarian Revolution”-“21st Century Socialism” and the “Market Socialist” example of China is held up by both the Bolivarians and the International Communist League (ICL/Spartacist) as a model of a post capitalist state, albeit one which is market-driven and fully integrated into the world of capitalist system of finance, production for profit and market-driven distribution. If preparing the masses for the task of socialist construction is what Mike P. was referring to, then despite the gains made by the masses during the era of Chavismo, el Commandante did not prepare the people for the task ahead. Not unless his intention was to replicate the super-exploitation for capitalist accumulation which, for a strange confluence of the Bolivarians, Marcyites, Robersonites, Castroites, and even the Chinese Stalinist-capitalists themselves, is passed off to the international workers as varied and sundry forms of a post-capitalist Workers State–that is China today (21st C. Socialism for the Bolivarians, Market
Socialism for the CCP, and Deformed Workers State for the ICL.) To build socialism the workers need their own revolutionary socialist party which must build a revolutionary international which refuses to compromise with exploiters and oppressors. How can the exploited Venezuelan workers make common cause with and expect the support of the workers revolution in Colombia, for example, when the PSUV collaborates against the FARC; or solidarity with the super exploited diamond miners of Zimbabwe when Chavez embraces their exploiter-Mugabe; otherwise the international proletarian unity needed to overthrow imperialism and all their lackeys will not be assembled.
Strange Bedfellows As a leftist icon Chavez and his movement became a magnet for professed anti-capitalist, progressives, the WSF, leftists, self-styled socialists, and even the Hollywood set. From Oliver Stone, Danny Glover, and Sean Penn, to Tariq Ali (one time leader of the USECFourth International and current editor of New Left Review,) Madea Benjamin (Code Pink,) Cindy Sheehan (the Peace mom,) Alan Woods (leader of the fake Trotskyist IMT) and the Castro brothers (capitalist restorationist leaders of the beleaguered Cuban people); ‘progressives’ of all stripes found something in Chavez to celebrate, encourage and support-a spark of hope in a dark world. And as could be expected, Chavez sought allies among the enemies or supposed enemies of imperialism. He famously gave out copies of Simon Bolivar’s sword to heads of state whose anti-imperialism and nation building he likened to Bolivar’s. Befriending imperialism’s list of ‘bad boys,’ Ahmadinejad, Gaddafi, al-Assad, Castro, Mugabe, Morales as well as the moderates Lula, Zalaya, Kirchner and others, Chavez sought protection for Venezuela building alliances with other semi-colonial states. Yet, aside from Cuba, all these nations were capitalist, in the worst of them crony capitalism elevated the leaders families, clan and tribes while the masses and/or migrant labor were exploited and oppressed. In an advanced semi-colony like Brazil the Workers Party’s (PT’s) socialism had been reduced to
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“la bolsa de familia,” (a minimum grocery package for the poor.) In “socialist Cuba” a privileged bureaucracy, rather than the masses, ruled and were finding the maintenance of their privileges threatened by the isolation of the Cuban deformed workers state, so they were busily restoring capitalism, turning beachfront property over to imperialist hoteliers, inviting Spain, Canada and China to reap profit at the expense of the Cuban people who, in the name of liberalization and reform, found themselves thrown out of work by the tens of thousands! It was in Castro that Chavez found his “special friend,” mentor and trading partner. Indeed it was the oil for doctors and educators trade that resulted in the most progressive advances for Venezuela and helped alleviate some of the economic (read oil) isolation Cuba had felt since the counter-revolution in the USSR. Of course you can’t blame the President of a nation with one of the world’s largest oil reserves for being feted and photographed with every imperialist thug and practically every comprador bourgeois tin pot dictator on the planet. When you are in the oil business and the social programs you promised to the people depend on your selling and burning every drop of fossil fuel rather than expropriating big capital and negating the exploitative relations of production, you have to be very friendly; so friendly in fact that this unsustainable aspect of ‘Bolivarian Socialism’ and its inherent threat to the environment is ignored by the Greens and Green/Red alliance. As the unfolding events in the Middle East and North Africa have shown, imperialism will tolerate, many a tin pot dictator if they provide a service and are able to contain the national revolution by keeping the working class in check. Mubarak contained the Egyptian masses and kept a lid on the Palestinian Revolution, Gaddafi, a thorn in the side of imperialism for decades made nice and was accepted back into the fold in 2003 and Syria’s al Assad, like Mubarak was a contract torturer for the CIA and both kept the Palestinian revolution in check for Zionism. The imperialists stand by these thugs until it becomes clear they could no longer contain the masses, sending imperialism to look for a new strongman, or comprador layer, who while posing as democrats, step into the leadership vacuum over the top of unfolding revolutions and contain them and restore capitalist “stability” for imperialist exploitation. So it should have come as no surprise to the supporters of Gaddafi who place the responsibly for his downfall and death on imperialism rather than on the righteous uprising of the Libyan masses, or to Cindy Sheehan, whom Chavez dubbed “Senora Esperanza,” that rather than supporting her campaign for vice president in which she presented herself as a “revolutionary socialist,” antiimperialist and a friend/supporter of Chavez, He chose to support Wall Street’s pick for the CEO of US imperialism, calling Obama a “good guy” and stating
that, “If I were American, I’d vote for Obama.” Ironic? Go Figure! The Revolutionary Socialist Road Forward While socialists oppose the interventions and exploitation by imperialism of the semi- colonies we do not for a moment abandon the masses there who, in order to survive find themselves in revolutionary struggle against capitalism as it is brutally maintained by the likes of Ahmadinejad, Gaddafi, al-Assad, Mugabe, Morales as well as Dilma, Kirchner and others. Yet there are many fake socialists who fawn obsequiously and abandon the socialist revolution wherever a national liberation movement arises that forms a bloc of classes, makes some progressive gains against direct imperialist domination and exploitation, even when these regimes support and maintain the power of the local bourgeoisie and cut new deals with imperialism at the expense of socialist revolution. These self-styled Marxists from Alan Woods to Tariq Ali and Cindy Sheehan, make common cause, through their uncritical alliance with Chavez, with the criminal exploiters of the masses in Syria, Libya, Zimbabwe, Iran, Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Nicaragua, Cuba and China. Overcoming the legacy of Chavez the international working class –that of Latin America and of Venezuela in particular –must come to a clear theoretical understanding of the role of a Bonaparte. A Bonaparte is a strongman who mediates between social classes but allows the dominant mode of production to remain intact. Out of such a theoretical re-evaluation an international revolutionary Marxist workers party must be built to re-establish the working class program. Comrade Earl Gilman warns that today following the passing of Chavez a period of ‘dual power’ is opening as the Bolibourgeoisie in the PSUV and the government seek to appease the counter-revolution. We do not see this as ‘dual power’ in the classical sense. For dual power to emerge the workers need to break from the popular front and assert class independence. To defend the gains of the workers movement, revolutionary workers in Venezuela need to advocate for the formation of workers, farmers and soldiers councils and militias and for seizing all power by a workers council government. That demand will split the working class base of the PSUV and the regime away from the Bolibourgeoisie and state bureaucracy. Then we would have dual power. Which will open the road to socialism? To advocate for and make this real the workers need their vanguard to be organized as a combat party of professional revolutionaries. March 10, 2013 LiaisonCommittee of Communists. Online http://redrave.blogspot.co.nz/2013/03/hugochavezs-death-and-way-forward-for.html
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Zimbabwe: Boycott the Smash the Popular Front!
Zimbabwe is still reeling under the effects and impact of the more than a decade long socio- economic crisis that has impoverished the working people and the ordinary poor. Most workers were thrown out of employment with those few in employment facing starvation wages and increased attacks on their conditions. Students have witnessed the erosion of the right to education whilst the poor residents face the wrath of expensive and unavailable social services. Inspite of the so called land reform poor peasants continue to suffer with no meaningful provision of inputs. Those in the informal sector are being harassed on a regular basis by the police and authorities for exercising the right to earn an income. With the global economic crisis showing no sign of abating, the hope that the GNU will provide respite to workers and the poor has been shattered as the civil servants and workers in the private sector are still earning way below the living wage and face intensification in the attacks on their working conditions and livelihood. Instead all the parties in the GNU have shown their true colours and intentions to intensify the attacks in order to stabilise the capitalist system and semi colonial dictatorship on behalf of their imperialist masters through putting the burden of paying for the crisis on the shoulders of workers and the ordinary poor. The draft constitution finally agreed upon by the three parties together with their imperialist masters as well as the coming elections will act as the political basis to further entrench exploitation and brutality on the masses. The draft Constitution, a result of a long imperialist scheme, was finally agreed upon in January this year paving the way for a referendum on the 16th of March 2013. It is clear to everyone that the final document is a result of negotiations and compromises by the parties on secondary political aspects after having agreed on the basic capitalist nature of our society and their mission to manage the capitalist state through oppression of the masses and outright lies reflected by the initial July 2012 draft. Both parties are claiming that the constitution is a product of the people’s views but at the same time promise their supporters to change it once elected into office. So the three political parties in the GNU and an array of civic organisations in tow are calling for a Yes vote on the draft as the best way forward in terms of resolving the challenges facing the country.
This is not surprising, the civic groups aligned to ZANU (PF) who have benefitted from the patronage system and those aligned to the MDC receiving funds from the same imperialist donors are clamouring that the people accept the charter so that they protect their privileges and also continue to receive donor funds. That the imperialist masters have agreed to raise funds for the referendum and the elections testifies as to whom the draft seeks to protect and the capitalist nature of the political regime that is a popular front of the national bourgeoisie and petit bourgeoisie. On the other hand the NCA, ISO, PTUZ, ZINASU, ZCTU and other civic organisations are calling for the rejection of the draft through a No vote at the referendum and they have formed a ‘United Front “ for the purpose. Their main contentions are that the draft is a result of an elitist driven process and besides this the draft itself is not a reflection of what the people said as well that the draft is not democratic and further does not protect the interests of the workers and the masses. Instead they are calling for the government to facilitate the convening of an independent commission to spearhead the drafting of a “people driven” constitution. On top of that the NCA is challenging the referendum date saying it does not offer the people enough time to look at the draft and make an informed decision. As the Revolutionary Workers Group(RWG) we strongly reject both the call for a Yes or No vote meant to hoodwink the workers, poor peasants, students and youth, informal workers and the poor masses into believing that a good constitution can ,in a capitalist society , advance or even protect their interests. A No vote simply suggests that proposed draft is not good for the ordinary poor and therefore must be rejected so that pressure is put on the government to incorporate the wishes of the people or that a new so called people driven process is instituted. This is utterly wrong and misleading to the working people and the poor masses that have to be told that a constitution will not offer them a living wage or a decent life but only an independent struggle by the workers and the poor can conquer their interests. Our position from the inception of the constitutional reform process has been to urge for a boycott of the whole process calling for the setting up of independent
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working class action organs to fight for jobs, land, free education and real democracy. The reform process has been used by both the national bourgeoisie and their imperialist backers to stabilise the capitalist regime using the popular front government supported by various civic groups and pseudo leftist groups who have been exposed by their participation in the process and now are calling for a Vote No and thereby seeking to protect the basis of the popular front and capitalist oppressions. We call on all struggle organisations to meet as soon as possible and constitute a United Front to spearhead the demand for an active Boycott of the referendum. The RWG calls for these demands: 1) Active BOYCOTT against this referendum! 2) Break with the MDC and ZANU (PF) popular front that serves in Zimbabwe the plans of the imperialist super exploiters! 3) Build an independent organisation of workers, students, poor peasants and urban
poor based struggle committees coordinated nationally to prepare for a National Congress of Delegates of all organisations in struggle. 4) Forward to a national General Strike and Workers and Poor Farmers government based on struggle committees. 5) Forward to the expropriation without compensation and under workers control of all the assets of imperialism and the national bourgeoisie. 6) Forward to a Federation of Socialist Republics of all Africa. REVOLUTIONARY WORKERS GROUP (RWG) Zimbabwe 25 February 2013 Online http://redrave.blogspot.co.nz/2013/03/boycottreferendum-smash-popular-front.html
Socialism vs Climate Catastrophe
The standard social democratic view of ‘eco-socialism’ is that we can reform capitalism to avoid Climate Catastrophe (CC). For example: “Ecosocialism is at the junction of anti-capitalist environmentalism and socialism free from productivism, in a project that proposes an alternative society of hope. This is no utopia with which reality should comply, but a rational human response to the double impasse of capitalism and the obsession with productivity. Our thoughts and political actions are radical: they go to the root causes. We therefore fight what drives the system: consumerism geared towards material accumulation thus widening social inequalities, the productivity-oriented system which exhausts our ecosystem’s resources, the globalisation of the economy that allows for social and environmental dumping. We point to the real culprits: the financial oligarchy and the ideologists who advocate "free and fair" competition and trade.” Yet if we continue to use fossil fuels in this way for the next 20 years while re reform capitalism this will guarantee we have no future. Why, because 2 degrees becomes 6 degrees and with catastrophic consequences. The most recent scenario from Guy McPherson shows that we are headed for ‘near-term’ human extinction whatever we do. He says that we can prolong the term of the extinction by collapsing industrial society now. But of course as a non-Marxist he does not say it is capitalism rather than industrialism as such that is the problem. While McPherson talks of stopping Arctic drilling as the one positive feedback that we could control, he does not envisage the link between this and a wider social revolution globally that can make a difference on how long we have got. The point is we need a socialist revolution to take advantage of the advances in green technology. For example mining Lithium in Bolivia is open to technical improvements in method of production while the Morales populist government is in power. A left Government in NZ could enter into a progressive trade swap, but obviously this has to take place on a global scale to have any effect on climate change. We don’t think that China is a socialist regime but its working class can demand major changes if mobilised. China is actually leading in green technology purely in order to avoid the increasing costs of extracting fossil fiuels. Of course to catch up and pass its rivals China has become the the biggest emitter. That’s why who rules China is decisive. The biggest factor that we should be pushing hard is the capacity of the Chinese working class to overthrow the CCP and implement a socialist plan for survival.
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When science tells us what is necessary to survive, then it becomes clear that this requires collective action to remove the barriers to survival. The problem with even the most radical CC position (eg McPherson) is that its economic assumptions are still based on the market and bourgeois individualism. They may be top climate scientists but they are still no more than bourgeois individuals appealing to other individuals to refuse to participate in capitalism rather than organising to smash capitalism The biggest barrier is the capitalist system, its state apparatus and its corporate media that treats CC as a technical or market problem. Any political party that still thinks that bourgeois parliament is a means of escaping or limiting CC is part of the problem. It is invested in a political institution that is the sum of its individual citizens. It’s designed to facilitate and defend the market, not eliminate it as the agent of human extinction! How to stop human extinction How to stop human extinction? It’s obvious that this requires a social revolution and who is going to do that other than revolutionaries? Revolution as the alternative to human extinction doesn’t get the usual ‘leftwing nutter’ response today except from right wing nutters. Nothing is worse than extinction. Nothing concentrates the mind like the fear of losing everything. We need a socialist plan now to work out how to collectively get rid of capitalism and implement the necessary survival measures. Here is a proposed plan for discussion: First: Energy. All production based on fossil fuels needs to stop and be replaced by renewable fuels. The energy sources will need to be those which don’t put carbon into the atmosphere. We need to renationalise under workers control the power companies, and the national grid and plan renewable energy use. Solar power and electric technology can be developed more rapidly if they don’t depend on the profit motive Second: Industry. Most capitalist owners of industry will never agree to immediate conversion to non-carbon burning fuels so will have to be nationalised under workers control and management. Those that do use HEP can be converted such as the Tiwai Pt Aluminium Smelter to produce aluminium for solar panels and vehicles etc. NZ Steel would be renationalised and upgraded to the latest electric smelters based on local iron sand. Third: Land-use. Intensive dairying and other monocrop production needs to be diversified and converted to organic to stop chemical pollution and despoliation of land and water. This will mean a state policy of nationalising land and allocating resources like water, and replacing capitalist production with collective production, while compensating small producers. Fourth: Work. We need a state run policy of Public Works that creates full employment. All work would be
divided among those who want to work and hours reduced until there was full employment. There would be a guaranteed living wage based on the average wage, and no worker would earn more than double the living wage. Fifth: Social Security. State provided secular education, comprehensive health and housing would meet the need for fit, healthy and skilled workers. Technical education and Research would be directed at new technologies. For those who cannot work there will be a social wage at set at the level of the living wage. All private provision of health, education and other social services will be phased out without compensation. Sixth: Transport. Transport would be converted to electricity and public transport expanded. Converting cars and short range trucks to electricity is feasible. Biodiesel would be a stopgap measure. NZR workshops could produce aluminium rolling stock, buses and containers.. Reviving coastal shipping using biodiesel is another option. Seventh: Finance. All banks would be nationalised and turned into a single State Bank. Farmers who chose to lease nationalised land collectively or individually would get bank loans to convert their production. All ACC, EQC and insurance would be nationalised under workers control. Eighth: Trade. Planning the economy cannot be done in isolation of the global economy. Nobody wants to go back to pre-industrial self-reliance based on outdated technology. NZ can develop its economy to produce what is most efficient and sustainable, and trade with other countries for their products. For example let’s trade our dairy products for Bolivia’s lithium for batteries and for China’s rare earths. A state-managed plan capable of the above would clearly be based on a ‘socialist’ plan. All of this is possible if we have the will to survive. None of this is compatible with capitalism which is hell bent on destruction. It would take a socialist revolution backed by the majority working class to put a Government of Workers’ Councils in power to conceive, plan and implement this survival strategy. To achieve this plan would require a process of democratic planning able to assess and prioritise people’s needs and resource use to meet those needs. This would include the use of human labour and the how much of the product went to workers for their labour compared to collective savings for a social development fund to increase productivity and reduce work hours. The only thing between us and extinction is socialism. Online http://redrave.blogspot.co.nz/2013/04/socialism-vsclimate-catastrophe.html
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What We Fight For
Historically, capitalism expanded world-wide to free much of humanity from the bonds of feudal or tribal society, and developed the economy, society and culture to a new higher level. But it could only do this by exploiting the labour of the productive classes to make its profits. To survive, capitalism became increasingly destructive of "nature" and humanity. In the early 20th century it entered the epoch of imperialism in which successive crises unleashed wars, revolutions and counter-revolutions. Today we fight to end capitalism’s wars, famine, oppression and injustice, by mobilising workers to overthrow their own ruling classes and bring to an end the rotten, exploitative and oppressive society that has exceeded its use-by date.
For a Revolutionary Party
The bourgeois and its agents condemn the Marxist party as totalitarian. We say that without a democratic and a centrally organised party there can be no revolution. We base our beliefs on the revolutionary tradition of Bolshevism and Trotskyism. Such a party, armed with a transitional program, forms a bridge that joins the daily fight to defend all the past and present gains won from capitalism, to the victorious socialist revolution. Defensive struggles for bourgeois rights and freedoms, for decent wages and conditions, will link up the struggles of workers of all nationalities, genders, ethnicities and sexual orientations, bringing about movements for workers control, political strikes and the arming of the working class, as necessary steps to workers' power and the smashing of the bourgeois state. Along the way, workers will learn that each new step is one of many in a long march to revolutionise every barrier put in the path to the victorious revolution.
Fight for Socialism
By the 20th century, capitalism had created the preconditions for socialism –a world-wide working class and modern industry capable of meeting all our basic needs. The potential to eliminate poverty, starvation, disease and war has long existed. The October Revolution proved this to be true, bringing peace, bread and land to millions. But it became the victim of the combined assault of imperialism and Stalinism. After 1924 the USSR, along with its deformed offspring in Europe, degenerated back towards capitalism. In the absence of a workers political revolution, capitalism was restored between 1990 and 1992. Vietnam and China then followed. In the 21sst century only Cuba and North Korea survive as degenerate workers states. We unconditionally defend these states against capitalism and fight for political revolution to overthrow the bureaucracy as part of world socialism.
Fight for Communism
Communism stands for the creation of a classless, stateless society beyond socialism that is capable of meeting all human needs. Against the ruling class lies that capitalism can be made "fair" for all; that nature can be "conserved"; that socialism and communism are "dead"; we raise the red flag of communism to keep alive the revolutionary tradition of the' Communist Manifesto of 1848, the Bolshevik-led October Revolution; the Third Communist International until 1924, the revolutionary Fourth International up to 1940 before its collapse into centrism. We fight to build a new, Fifth, Communist International, as a world party of socialism capable of leading workers to a victorious struggle for socialism.
While the economic conditions for socialism exist today, standing between the working class and socialism are political, social and cultural barriers. They are the capitalist state and bourgeois ideology and its agents. These agents claim that Marxism is dead and capitalism need not be exploitative. We say that Marxism is a living science that explains both capitalism’s continued exploitation and its attempts to hide class exploitation behind the appearance of individual "freedom" and "equality". It reveals how and why the reformist, Stalinist and centrist misleaders of the working class tie workers to bourgeois ideas of nationalism, racism, sexism and equality. Such false beliefs will be exploded when the struggle against the inequality, injustice, anarchy and barbarism of capitalism in crisis, led by a revolutionary Marxist party, produces a revolutionary classconsciousness.
Class Struggle is the bi-Monthly paper of the Communist Workers’ Group of
New Zealand/Aotearoa, in a Liaison Committee of Communists with Communist Workers’ Group (USA) and Revolutionary Workers’ Group (Zimbabwe)
Online at http://redrave.blogspot.com Phone +64 0272800080 Email email@example.com Archive http://communistworker.blogspot.com/
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