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Budget: a Fig-leaf

Defend Public Health!

Zimbabwe and China
South Africa in Crisis
Reclaiming Marx at 200
LCC Mayday Statement
Review/OCTOBER pt 4

Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

Action to defend public health

The result is cutting social spending on public health

A legacy of neglect reduces taxation and forces more and more workers
Both National led and Labour led governments have into the private system where health is provided for
allowed the public health system to be undermined profit. A Capitalist model of health provision: only
by private health providers. Since the 1980’s they if you can afford it – have the correct insurance.
have pursued the neo-liberal agenda of shifting the The Labour Coalition treats health as just another
burden of taxes onto workers away from corporates budget item that has to compete with all others
to free up pressure on falling profits. within the constraints of 'fiscal responsibility' i.e.
This means real falls in spending on health, the neo-liberal euphemism for balancing the budget
education and social welfare (social spending) and by cutting social spending to allow cuts in business
the social wage (i.e. state provision of social taxes.
services that represented a 'social' component to While Labour voluntarily confines its social spending
the market wage). Health services have been by a fiscal cap, then it can never find the money to
rationed! pay for restoring the social wage of public sector
Why is public health run down? workers, nor the capital funding to maintain a
healthy state system.
In reality, workers pay for both bosses’ profits and
the taxation that is diverted to pay for social Support Nurses vote for Strike Action!
services out of both wages and profits. Neo-liberal Already, as the Nurses prepare for strike action, PM
ideology lies about this. It claims that profits are Ardern is backpedalling from promises to fund the
squeezed by wages and demands that taxes on deficit in public health. Labour calls for
profits should be cut and the social wage eliminated “independent” help to paper over the chasm
as a drain on profits. between living wages for health workers and those
However, falling profits are not caused by rising rich enough to have a bob each way on private
wages. If that were the case then how do we explain healthcare. Never considering the charity from
the massive increasing gap between ‘rich and poor’ health workers (in unpaid labour) that keeps public
– that is the rising gap between wages and profits? health services running.
The fact is that despite cutting real wages, profits Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s move was for an
still fall because capitalists cannot exploit workers ‘independent’ panel; nothing independent about it!
enough to maintain their profits. Their object is to Our employer is the government on behalf of the
avoid paying taxes entirely and to run-down and people, who we provide health care to. Finance
privatise the public system so that bosses can profit Minister Robertson will have a veto over any level
from making workers pay for their health-care out of health spending that puts pressure on the budget
of their market wage. cap. Health Minister has an amount of money set
Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

aside in the budget. Unless workers organise to bust healthcare. Is it any change in role for him? As
the fiscal cap, it will not be just Nurses and patients Minister of Health he was pushing DHBs targets and
who suffer but all workers in every sector. that meant public money going to private providers!
Ardern talks about being a compassionate Now Coleman is chief of private health company
government. Yes, we provide compassionate that takes public money to meet DHB elective
healthcare but under increasing pressure of surgery targets (that he set). Of course, private
underfunding, understaffing (unsafe workloads). providers also give the rich or well insured a way to
Time to deliver on compassion! Unlock the fiscal shortcut the obscene waiting lists he helped to
cap to provide adequate funding for safe staffing create in the public system.
levels and real wages that attract enough workers
Health workers don’t like to take strike action
to these jobs.
because it effects the public. But defending public
NZNO members, we support rejecting the DHB health is for the benefit of the public. Reject media
offer. Health care assistant wages should not be left scares about strikes causing deaths by proving that
behind, below the living wage. Again, the DHBs have it will save lives! Win support from all other unions
tried to divide members against one another, for for strike action and get the public onside in the
managements’ benefit. defence of the public health system. Send flying
pickets to private hospitals to stop them cashing in
When members are, ready to act, sometimes the
on elective surgery.
paid organisers get in the way. We expect paid
union officials (of any union) to act in the interests Hint: places to picket. Jonathon Coleman went to
of the members democratic wishes. The reality is, ‘Acurity Health’ which runs Bowen and Wakefield
some block members struggle for fair wages and Hospitals in Wellington, and Royston Hospital in
conditions. Replace sell-out union officials! Hastings. ‘Acurity’ proudly boast about how they
received Hawkes Bay DHB money for elective
Gendered labour and the caring professions surgery services. Where to hurt the rich is in their
For historical and cultural reasons more women pockets, since they are more concerned about
than men work in caring professions. Women are money than health. Cancelling elective surgery at
statistically earning less than men. The state has the private hospitals will hurt the rich more than
come up with a redistribution approach to even cancelling elective surgery at public hospitals.
wages up – ‘gender pay equity’ settlements. Now
• Defend the public health system and
both the NZNO and PSA are pursuing legal paths to
oppose privatisation that profits from ill-
gender pay equity as a short cut to large pay rises
for healthcare workers.
• Heath workers should fight for a free, fully
This is a weakness when an organised workforce is funded, healthy and safe public system. At
the only power of real use to force employers to pay the same time, they should oppose all
what the workforce need - living wages! Real gender attempts at privatisation and stop public
equity of roles would see equal value and subsidies to the private system.
opportunity for men and women (and non-binary • Put people before profits! Bust the fiscal
individuals) working in all the roles and professions cap! Pay All Health workers a living wage!
(i.e. including men in caring). • We support an 18% increase now; Start
Don’t delay. Start closing the gender pay gap now closing the gender gap Now!
by delivering sizable wage rises. We all need to • Safe Staffing: We need adequate staff
organise and value women’s work and take action in numbers to meet the demand for health
support of pay equity. Organise for Industrial care!
Action! • For a free, comprehensive public health
system! Including taking over private
What to Do? health facilities (without compensation) –
The public health workers campaign needs to take to meet the needs of the public.
on private health parasites to highlight the real To end the rationing of health services will
differences between a neglected public system and require the working class to take over the whole
private healthcare. economy. Working class control can organise all
Former Minister of Health for the ruling class, society to produce goods and services to meet
Jonathon Coleman moves sideways from his role needs; instead of capitalists who fixate on
running down the public system infrastructure and profits. Only socialism has the potential to run
still demanding outputs, to a new job in private the economy to meet needs.
Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

Labour’s Budget: a fig-leaf for naked capitalism

Budget for business Bourgeois Ideology

Labour’s budget has been condemned by left and
Bourgeois ideology is a system of beliefs that
right as breaking its promises to spend more on
misrepresents the social reality as egalitarian when
restoring funding in health, education, housing and
it is in fact fundamentally unequal. It holds that
income support. Labour’s excuse is its ‘fiscal
economics is based on the free exchange of value
responsibility’. This in turn is widely criticised as a
between equal citizens who buy and sell
major concession to the right, as if any political
commodities as workers, capitalists and landlords.
party in NZ could survive in parliament today
But this is a fiction based on the way capitalism
without ‘balancing the budget’. This means that
appears in everyday life where the sphere of
the state can only spend what it gets via taxes and
exchange masks the underlying class inequalities in
other income.
the sphere of production. It obscures the fact that
What it actually means that capital does not want labour is the only component of economics that
to pay taxes at all, never mind that these taxes are creates value. The role of landowners and
deducted from profits created by wage-labour. capitalists is to take advantage of their historical
Because such taxes are a drain on profits, and dispossession of workers and peasants of land and
profits are falling as capitalism itself is in decline. tools as a means of production. To subsist workers
Look beneath the fiscal cap and find the truth – then have to agree to work for capital where they
profits rule. are paid out of their future labour value and work
for longer hours than is necessary to pay their own
Therefore, it is not enough to hold the Labour
wage, to provide surplus value which is the basis of
coalition to some impossible dream to live up to
profit (and its ‘overheads’ interest and rent.)
its promise of a ‘human face’ for capitalism. It is
not enough to claim Labour is hostage to The bourgeois state
‘bourgeois ideology’ without understanding what
The same material conditions that produces the
this actually means, because to talk of getting rid
of bourgeois ideology is to talk revolution. ideology of market equality, produces the ideology
of the bourgeois ‘citizen’ – the sovereign individual
who acts freely politically to represent his/her
private interests in the market. Yet neither can be
Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

the case when capitalist social relations are and today by the destruction of the ecosystem that
reproduced by the state. That is why Marx talked sustains most life on the planet.
of the bourgeois state as the “organising
NZ Labour today is no longer the social democracy
committee of the ruling class.” The bourgeois state
that contained the working class by promising
exists as the guardian of this fundamental class
equality and security. It is now in a liberal coalition
relation and to reproduce capitalism as an
with other parties who are all committed to
exploitative system. The state and its various
defending the naked rule of capital, but with a so-
apparatuses, parliament, the bureaucracy, the
called ‘human face’. But this is a glaring
judiciary, the military, and above all the
contradiction. How can capitalism have a ‘human
executive, are all devoted to protecting private
face’ when it is destroying humanity?
ownership of the means of production, and hence
the production of profits. So, what to do?
This obviously The working
means containing majority in
and repressing Aotearoa needs to
opposition on the throw off the yoke
part of the of bourgeois
working class to ideology and its
its exploitation. sham democracy
The main means and organise
of containing independently to
workers is to end the rule of
present bourgeois capital. We do not
parliament as need the bosses to
‘class neutral’, organise
i.e. representing production. The
the democratic free market is a
will of the fiction as profits
majority of equal citizens, voting for parties that have always been based on the social compulsion
claim to represent the ‘national’ interest. This of wage labour and the expropriation of surplus
presents policy making as a political contest on the value.
terrain of the ‘nation state’ between parties who
represent the majority at any given time. However, • We need workers control of
as the class struggle intensifies the state’s ability production based on workers councils
to contain opposition peacefully within the and the socialisation under workers
framework of parliament is strained. control of all basic industry without
compensation for centuries of
Parliamentary sham exposed
Parliament is a front behind which the power of the
state is mobilised by one class against the other – • We need workers democracy in which
surveillance, media manipulation of events, the producers of value also make the
criminalisation of workers etc etc. Parliament is decisions over the economy to plan
exposed as the democratic facade of what is really production for need and not greed.
a bourgeois dictatorship – the dictatorship of
capital. The historic role of social democracy is to • We need a central bank that prints a
attempt to contain workers in parliament pinning currency whose function is to act as a
their hopes on reforming capitalism when measure of value and medium of
objectively it needs to break with bourgeois exchange.
ideology for form independent working-class These and other fundamental transformations of
parties to challenge the rule of capital. our economy and society will follow once the
“Objectively” in this context, means that working majority is in power in a workers’ state.
capitalism is manifestly in decline and destroying But to make this happen we need first to destroy
its own productive base. The 20th century is the the material basis of bourgeois ideology – our
history of capitalism mired in depressions and wars compliance as wage slaves of capital.
that could only prolong its life at the expense of
the lives of the world’s workers and poor farmers,
Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

Yarmouk and Gaza: Palestinians under continuous attack

Victory to Palestine! Long live the Syrian Revolution!
The trigger for the latest Zionist barbarity in Gaza was Trump’s change of position on
Jerusalem, which was a clear signal that the U.S. is not interested in a Palestine solution. The
U.S. has junked the UN resolutions on getting a settlement before arriving at a solution for
Jerusalem. That caused a massive- and angry Arab response which fueled the mass Gaza
protest. It licensed Netanyahu to go after Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah and Iranian forces in
Syria. Netanyahu got the green light to ramp up the rivalry between Israel and Iran and he
repaid Trump in kind with ‘evidence’ of WMDs in Iran as a pretext to break the nuclear deal
and impose more draconian sanctions. This forces the EU powers to make a decision either to
stick with the U.S. bloc or risk the loss of U.S. markets by moving towards Russia and China.
That dilemma faces them now, (e.g.) as Nord Stream pipeline from Russia to Germany nears

Fallout of US vs Russia rivalry

Gaza is a pawn in the growing inter-imperialist
rivalry between the declining U.S. and the rise of
Russia and China, a pawn where Israel and Iran are
the main regional proxies. As the focal point of the
only post WW2 colonial settler conquest in the
Middle East, Palestine remains at the centre of the
Arab revolution against the imperialist counter-
As Russia gains over the U.S. in Syria and draws
Turkey, Iran and Qatar into its Eurasian bloc, the
U.S. is devoid of even a Kurdistan protectorate. put aside. In this light, the success of al Sadr in the
Trump wants out of Syria and wants to keep his Iraqi elections could mean that the U.S. and
promise to “let Russia handle Syria.” But U.S. Russia/China might clash over Iraqi oil, where both
troops are still in Syria and Assad wants them gone imperialist blocs have about equal stakes. It is
now (there are oil fields there) and is willing to possible that Iraq will once more become the focal
attack. The U.S./Russia “Bromance” agreement to point of their “Great Game” for the whole of
put their differences to one side and collaborate in Eurasia, throwing the Iraqi masses once more into
a “war on terrorism” was always just this the crucible.
problematic in practice.
Israel and Iran - proxies of US and Russia
But assuming no large-scale Assad attacks on
Deraa, the agreement now looks more likely, as Russia has been making a play to neutralize Israel
Russia grumbles about its ally Iran’s intentions in for several years and has an agreement to develop
Syria and across the Levant. The U.S./Russia offshore gas fields near Haifa. “Moscow did not
agreement is to smash the Arab revolution. As the condemn Israel’s strikes, as it had in the past,
military defeat of the Syrian revolution looms the instead calling on Israel and Iran to resolve their
prospects for revolution in Iran are growing, which differences diplomatically.” NYT (May 10). If for
has to make Putin contemplate his cost the moment Netanyahu plays blood brother to
projections! For now, we can expect Russia’s Trump after the embassy move, he is nevertheless
Astana plan for a new constitution and the likely seeking ways to inveigle the U.S. into war with
partition of Syria to embed the Russia/China bloc. Iran, a strategy the Zionist regime has pursued
since 1990. A former Mossad general has revealed
We nevertheless foresee a widening of the inter-
to Eliot Engel on MSNBC (5/25/18) that Israel now
imperialist conflict and more possibilities for full-
is engaged in a “rolling escalation” of attacks on
on proxy wars developing. These conflicts are
Iranian forces in a war with Iran that “already
driven by bigger economic frictions that cannot be
exists,” with the aim of making it impossible for
Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

the U.S. to stay out of this war. Like Trump, Down with Zionism and Iranian theocracy!
Netanyahu wants to break Russia out of its alliance
For decades liberal Zionism has argued that there
with China, so as to permit this war with Iran
is no one on the Palestinian side to negotiate with
without world war. But Trump has not taken the
bait yet and has only given the green light to use as they are all terrorists. Holding high the banner
of Israeli “democracy” they admonish the
up some U.S. furnished military supplies on Iranians
Palestinians and the left to use non-violent civil-
in Syria.
disobedience in the tradition of Martin Luther King
And just because we of the Communist Workers and Gandhi to address their concerns, just as their
Group (CWG) oppose Iranian and Russian latest allies in the USA, the Socialist Workers Party
intervention in Syria, don’t think for a minute that (SWP) do. This ruse is again being exposed this
we condone or refuse to condemn the Israeli spring in Gaza, just as when Rachel Corrie was
escalation. Without support from Russian bombers, crushed to death by a Zionist home demolition with
Iranian “Revolutionary Guards” and the Hezbollah, a Caterpillar backhoe. In 2018 Gazans bravely face
the people of Syria would have toasted the gradual extinction due to contaminated water,
overthrow of Assad years ago. While Assad bombs limited electricity, brutally restricted access to the
Palestinians in the Yarmouk refugee camp Israel world, limited food and medical supplies. Today,
guns down peaceful protests in Gaza. Israel is not when peaceful protests are launched at the barbed
bombing Iranian positions in Syria to support the wire, IDF snipers are given orders to shoot to kill
Syrian masses. unarmed civilians. The true program of Zionism is
Rather, taking the cue from Trump’s withdrawal to eliminate the Arab presence inside the green
from the agreement with Iran, Israel is showing it line and ultimately across the West Bank, and by
knows when it is obliged to use up stockpiles of making Gaza unlivable, to ethnically cleanse the
“equipment” which U.S. taxpayers (the most refugee camps just as Assad is doing in Yarmouk.
generous people in the world) will be required to Learn and remember that despite the apparent
replenish. On both sides of the aisle Democrats and animosity between Israel and Iran they are both
Republican legislators are preparing to sell us undemocratic counterrevolutionary capitalist
World War 3 in hopes of securing new sales orders theocratic regimes. Pragmatically and
to keep their benefactors, the military industrial strategically they are united with Putin, Trump and
capitalists in the black. As a reward for its great Assad in their opposition to the resurgent Arab
death-dealing customer, the U.S. administration National Revolution going permanent as it runs up
picks exactly this moment to recognize Jerusalem against the limitations of imperialism/capitalism
as the capital of the colonial settler state! As long and seeks a socialist solution. We call on the
as they can deceive the U.S. masses they do not international working class to rise to the defense
care that the world knows the U.S. has no more of the Palestinian people, of the Syrian people and
interest in Middle East peace than its pet monsters the working masses of the Middle East.
Netanyahu and Assad.
Lest anyone do any critical/historical thinking on • Victory to Palestine! Long live the Syrian
the subject of Middle East imperialist criminality, revolution!
Senator Schumer of New York introduced a bill to • U.S./NATO and Russian/Chinese
make advocacy of the Boycott, Divestment and imperialists out of the Middle East now!
Sanctions movement a crime and to explicitly • Down with the proxy regimes that divide
outlaw criticism of Israel, with staggering and rule their masses!
financial and jail penalties! This proposed law • For non-sectarian unity of all popular
follows the enactment of a similar South Carolina Arab, Iranian and Kurdish forces for
statute. And if some in the Knesset right get their national self-determination!
way, it will be illegal to even photograph the Israeli • For an international communist
troops, since photos are used to shame them! movement that can intervene militarily
for the Permanent Revolution throughout
While branding Palestinians as aggressors, the U.S. the Middle East!
regime simultaneously cut off aid funds for • For a Socialist Federation of the Middle
humanitarian organizations in Syria. Far from the East!
fake left’s alternative facts mantra that the U.S. is
trying to overthrow Assad, the funds cut slashes the Communist Workers Group (USA)
budget of the White Helmets (Syrian Civil Defense)
by one third!

Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

Zimbabwe: China’s Coup?

The recent coup was supported by China. What is China doing in Zimbabwe today?

Semi-colony of China increasingly the evidence shows that China uses

cheap loans and swap deals where repayment is in
Under the years of Mugabe rule in Zimbabwe, China
minerals and other resources, to extract surplus-
became a substitute for the old Anglo-American
profits at no lesser rate than the old Western
imperialist interests when Zimbabwe defaulted on
imperialist powers. Imperialist Russia’s role as a
its debt and had economic sanctions imposed on it
rising investor in Zimbabwe confirms this
in 2002. China’s role was to rescue Zimbabwe,
conclusion and the fact that the two main
providing cheap loans and investment in
imperialist blocs US/EU and Russia/China are
construction and infrastructure as well as
competing for ownership and control of the world’s
extraction of minerals, tobacco and cotton.
declining resources.
Mugabe presented this relationship as a
continuation of “socialist” China’s aid during the Workers need to have a clear analysis of China’s
liberation war in the 1970s, and one in which role in Zimbabwe in order to develop a political
China’s motive was the “win-win” strategy of program that opposes China’s super-exploitation of
helping Zimbabwe to ‘develop’ along the same their labour-power and the scarce resources of the
lines as ‘socialist’ China. country. It also means opposing the complicity of
the political ruling class that still hides behind the
However, since the beginning of the early 1990s,
myth that China is a ‘all weather friend’ and that
China’s role had qualitatively changed from a the ruling ZANU-PF government is not sharing in the
bureaucratically deformed workers state providing
booty extracted by China at the expense of the
aid to a similar one-party ‘developing’ country, to
working masses. In every struggle that the
that of an emerging capitalist imperialist power
Zimbabwe workers and oppressed make they
whose interest is to extract and export surplus-
should be aware that their enemy is both the
value back to China. In other words, China’s imperialist powers, West and East, and the
involvement in Zimbabwe is much less a “win-win”
national client regime, whichever party or party
relationship than a “zero-sum” deal in which China faction is in power.
reaps the big benefits of Zimbabwe’s natural
wealth and Zimbabwean workers pay for this out of From Mugabe to Mnangagwa
the exploitation of their labour-power.
The military coup that removed Mugabe and
Zimbabwe is not alone in facing this quandary. installed Mnangagwa in December 2017 proves that
Other African states, notably South Africa, now rely Chinese imperialism is the main enemy of
on the intervention of China to underwrite the Zimbabwean working masses. Mugabe’s regime
developmental programs of their national ruling remained in power due only to China’s colonizing
classes. It is this national oppression by imperialist influence. But China’s super-profits were
powers that requires a ‘comprador’ ruling class in endangered by Mugabe’s corrupt economic
the semi-colonies to claim a share of the profits in nationalism – the indigenization laws that specified
payment for overseeing the super-exploitation of foreign investors must give 51% of shares to
the masses and the suppression of mass discontent. Zimbabwe citizens (chosen by Mugabe), and his
China also provided the means of repression by proposal to nationalize the diamond industry in
supplying and training Zimbabwe’s military. This which the Chinese military have a strong interest,
parasitic comprador role explains why ‘corruption’ not for the benefit of the working people of
on the part of these client regimes is endemic, Zimbabwe, but of Mugabe’s cronies. China was
creating factional rivalry and political instability. unhappy with this and played a key role in
engineering the coup to replace Mugabe with
China a new imperialist power another old friend of China, Mnangagwa. Mugabe
The question of China’s role in Africa has provoked was taking advantage of sunk Chinese investment
a widespread debate about whether or not it has to increase his factional cronies share of the
become a new colonial power replacing the profits. That is why there was a slowing down of
Western colonial powers. There are those who stick new Chinese investment in the last few years while
to the old version of China as a ‘socialist’ a smooth ‘succession’ could be arranged. Mugabe’s
benefactor of developing countries, but sacking of China’s choice of successor, Mnangagwa,
Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

was the cue for a coup. Both Mnangagwa and army exploitation. Nor will the IMF and Western banks
General Chiwenga flew to China to get approval for remove the sanctions unless they get guarantees of
the coup which once obtained gave the go ahead further attacks on workers living standards to make
for Chiwenga to act. the workers pay for Zimbabwe’s ‘recovery’.
The questions we are left with are these: will For Workers to live, Capitalism must die!
Mnangagwa be China’s man and remove all threats
In the last analysis the arrangements between
of indigenization and nationalisation as risks to
imperialist powers and the Zimbabwe comprador
future Chinese investment in which case Zimbabwe
regime matter less than what really is at stake.
is reduced to a virtual colony. Or will he also
Whatever imperialist alliances Mnangagwa jacks
attempt to leverage a greater share of the booty
up, this is only about how to divide up the proceeds
for his factional cronies? If the latter, will
Mnangagwa try to restore friendly relations with of the super-exploitation and oppression of the
working masses. As always under capitalism it is
the US/EU powers and play them off against China
the workers that pay the price for capitalist crises.
and Russia? China has forgiven debt in the past and
may continue to write o future debt as part of its From Revolutionary Worker, Zimbabwe.
economic strategy in Zimbabwe, but this won’t be
on the basis of any ‘socialist’ principle. It will be 018-05-RW00005-FINAL-001#from_embed
on the basis of the principle of imperialist super-

Douma: Robert Fisk will lie for Assad and Putin until the last Syrian Child!
the rebel armies fought for basic democratic rights
The fake anti-imperialists are trotting out their
of freedom of speech and assembly which they
conspiracy theories about the Douma gas attack on
then tried to practice as local democracy created
7 April. They parrot the claim of Robert Fisk that it
in the occupied cities.
wasn’t a gas attack but a lack of oxygen. We
wouldn’t believe anything Fisk says about Syria. So the reversal of the popular uprising resulted
His celebrated ‘journalism’ has been to parrot the from the imperialist intervention of Russia and
Assad regimes line that he is against imperialism, hordes of sectarian mercenaries. Assad was saved
and that the rebels are jihadis trained by the CIA by criminal genocidal bombing and use of chemical
for ‘regime change’. This is a lie that repeats weapons against the popular revolution. Over
Assad’s justification for turning his military against 500,000 dead and yet he cannot refrain from using
peaceful, popular, democratic uprisings so that chemical weapons to destroy all resistance. He
children and women became labelled as terrorists gassed the only hold out town in East Ghouta,
and tortured and killed. Fisk’s latest lie is to Douma, to force the rebels out. All the imperialist
provide an alibi for Assad by claiming that the gas powers including the US and Russia are the enemy
attack on Douma was not gas but ‘oxygen of the Syrian people. They divided up and ruled
starvation’ caused by dust and rubbish. He did the over the Middle East after the defeat of the
same to claim that Assad’s 2O13 gas attack was a Ottoman empire and are now joined in Syria by
rebel attack. And we don’t have to wait for the Russia Today.
chemical warfare experts to tell us the truth.
It’s time the ‘anti-imperialists’, who write off
The Islamophobia is not very deep here. Syrian people to champion the ‘secular, socialist’
Islamophobes cannot credit that the Syrian people Assad, started to fight their own imperialism at
can fight their dictator because they must be the home. They may be surprised to find that they are
dupes of sectarian jihadis and ‘Islamic fascists’ supported by the Syrian people and attacked by
(created by the US and its lackeys). The irony is the fascists who support Assad. Only the popular
the Assad up to 2016 was losing his war on the revolution of the Arab peoples can rid the region
people despite the fact they didn’t have an of imperialism and their local lackeys from
airforce and didn’t even have effective SAMS Netanyahu to Khomeini. For a genuine left critique
against barrel bombs. Proving that the US support of Fisk’s role as an embedded Assad ‘journo’ read
for regime change was a figment of the fake anti- Idrees Ahmad’s article Robert Fisk’s Crimes
imperialists and RT socialists. Then, imperialist Against Journalism from 2016, and Louis Proyect’s
Russia stepped in as did its client state Iran, so article Fisking Duma written one week after the
that the depleted ‘secular’ Syrian Army became gas attack. See also
made up of mainly sectarian foreign mercenaries.
Yet far from being dominated by foreign jihadis, break-siege-of-ghouta.html
Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

Review of Mieville: The Story of October

Part 4: Was Russia ready for revolution?

Was the revolution “historically necessary”? Mieville says that by October 1918 the
Mensheviks come around to this position. In fact, it was only a few ‘internationalist’
Mensheviks wanting to rejoin the Soviet Government to fight the civil war and influence the
outcome. Their object was to increase the pressure on the Bolsheviks from within to steer
the revolution back to the bourgeois Constituent Assembly.
Meanwhile, the majority of Mensheviks remained
hostile to the Government and sided openly with
the imperialist counter-revolution. They claimed
that the Bolsheviks had hijacked the bourgeois
revolution by excluding all non-Bolshevik parties
from the Soviet government. They fought on the
side of the Whites in the Civil War 1918-1920. When
in 1921 the Kronstadt garrison rebelled against the
Bolsheviks and declared for the Constituent
Assembly – without the Bolsheviks – they were on
the side of the rebels. Clearly, the Mensheviks were
hostile to the bourgeois revolution ‘going over’
immediately to socialist revolution (permanent
revolution) and sought to replace the Soviet
Government with the Constituent Assembly
(halfway house).
Did Lenin think the socialist revolution was
‘historically necessary’? Of course. Without Soviet
power the bourgeois revolution would have fallen
to the counter-revolution. But Mieville states
wrongly that:
“Lenin startlingly claims as ‘incontrovertible’ that
Russia had not been ‘ready for revolution’”
In fact, Lenin is not referring to ‘revolution’ but
‘socialism’. Lenin is stating that Russia is ready for
socialist revolution, because the bourgeoisie are
too weak to overcome the fact that “the objective
premises for socialism do not exist in our country”. to power, but they would be incapable of
He actually says: completing the bourgeois revolution to create the
“The development of the productive forces conditions for socialism. This was the historic task
of Russia has not attained the level that of the proletariat. The Mensheviks refused to
makes socialism possible. All the heroes of accept that the bourgeoisie could not play this role
the Second International, including, of and would inevitably acted as a prop for this
course Sukhanov, beat the drums about this counter-revolutionary class. This explains their
proposition. They keep harping on this class-collaboration with the bourgeoisie to ‘push it
incontrovertible proposition in a thousand leftwards’.
different keys, and think that it is the The Bolsheviks, however, knew that the bourgeois
decisive criterion of our revolution.” revolution must be completed by the working class
(emphasis ours) Our Revolution, 1923. by means of the proletarian revolution (land
Here, Lenin is merely repeating the position that reform, national self-determination, peace). From
the Bolsheviks have held for a decade. The as early as 1905, despite other differences, Lenin
overthrow of the Tsar would bring the bourgeoisie (uninterrupted revolution) and Trotsky (permanent

Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

revolution) understood this continuous revolution explanation of this necessary act as a subjective
to be necessary. How long this transition would adventure in a ‘hopeless situation’. He [Lenin]
take (‘a whole historic epoch’) would be decided wonders pugnaciously, however, whether a people
by the class struggle under the specific concrete ‘influenced by the hopelessness of the situation’
conditions. The proletariat would take over the could be blamed for ‘fling[ing] itself into a struggle
historic role of the bourgeoisie and leading the that would offer it as least some chance of securing
peasantry would set up a ‘democratic conditions for the further development of
dictatorship’. civilization that were somewhat unusual’.
However, after the February revolution, the Mieville agrees that:
Bolshevik leadership in Russia, notably Stalin,
“Russia had no choice but to act, on the
Kamenev and Zinoviev, interpreted this to mean
chance that in so doing they might alter the
the proletariat leading the bourgeoisie in a
very parameters of the situation. That
‘socialist coalition’ in the Provisional Government.
things might thereby improve. The party’s
shift after Lenin’s death, from that
plaintive, embattled sense that there had
been little alternative but to strive in
imperfect conditions, to the hope of
Socialism in One Country, is a baleful result
of recasting necessity as virtue.”
This interpretation misreads history seriously. The
Bolshevik’s program did not leave things to
“chance” or “hope”. As Marxists they understood
what they were up against and the prospects for
success. They were on the side of history against
all those who sought to destroy the revolution
internally and externally. If they failed to
‘construct the socialist order’, it was not because
of anything that the Bolsheviks did, or failed to do,
despite many errors and mistakes as Lenin always
acknowledged. It was because the enemies of the
proletariat in the working class and petty bourgeois
conspired with the bourgeoisie and the surviving
feudal ruling class to smash the European
revolutions that could have rescued the
‘embattled’ Russian Revolution.

Lenin in Hiding in Finland Here’s the full passage Mieville cites from Our
Revolution above:
Lenin’s return in April junked any compromise “But what if the situation, which drew
between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie Russia into the imperialist war that
(which also included capitalist peasants). This involved every more or less influential
would be a treacherous popular front with the West-European country and made her a
class enemy that was too weak to rule except in witness of the eve of the revolution
alliance with the Tsarist restorationists and maturing or partly already begun in the
foreign imperialism. It was necessary that the East, gave rise to circumstances that put
proletariat, leading the poor peasants, would take Russia and her development in a position
power from the craven bourgeoisie, declare peace, which enabled us to achieve precisely that
and force-march the development of state combination of a “peasant war” with the
capitalism. April’s slogan “All power to the working-class movement suggested in 1856
soviets” became October’s, “We shall now proceed
by no less a Marxist than Marx himself as a
to construct the socialist order.” possible prospect for Prussia?
Misreading Lenin What if the complete hopelessness of the
As if the ‘uninterrupted’ or ‘permanent’ revolution situation, by stimulating the efforts of
was not part of the Bolshevik program for over a workers and peasants tenfold, offered us
decade, Mieville interprets Lenin’s clear the opportunity to create the fundamental
Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

requisites of civilization in a different way civilization – so far. But this culture is ‘ruling class
from that of the West-European countries? culture’ which will inevitably destroy the gains of
Has that altered the basic relations capitalist civilization unless overthrown and
between the basic classes of all the replaced by a ‘proletarian culture’. The
countries that are being, or have been, proletarian culture represents its class interests
drawn into the general course of world and is expressed scientifically by the Marxist
history? method – dialectics. Lenin rips into the petty
bourgeois democrats. They are ‘faint-hearted
If a definite level of culture is required for
pedants’, have failed to understand ‘revolutionary
the building of socialism (although nobody
dialectics’, are ‘cowardly reformists’, and cannot
can say just what that definite “level of
understand that the West-European path of
culture” is, for it differs in every West-
development is not the only road to revolution.
European country), why cannot we begin
They refuse to understand that backward countries
by first achieving the prerequisites for
dominated by the European ruling classes do not
that definite level of culture in a
have the luxury of realizing socialism unless they
revolutionary way, and then, with the
declare independence from imperialism and from
aid of the workers’ and peasants’
social-imperialist fake socialists!
government and the Soviet system,
proceed to overtake other nations?” “You say that civilization is necessary for
(emphasis ours) the building of socialism. Very good. But
why could we not first create such
Here Lenin, in replying to the Menshevik Sukhanov,
prerequisites of civilization in our country
is directing his remarks to all the “petty bourgeois
as the expulsion
democrats” who
of the
are stuck in the
landowners and
old dogma that
the Russian
Russia is “not
capitalists, and
yet ripe for
then start
moving towards
There is nothing
‘plaintive’, or
Where, in what
books, have you
about the
read that such
prospect of
variations of the
having a
sequence of
revolution in
events are
Russia to
advance the
or impossible?
‘culture’ of
Napoleon, I
Europe where Figure 1Lenin declaring the socialist insurrection to be a success
think, wrote:
the revolution has been aborted by the treacherous
“On s’engage et puis…on voit.” Freely
betrayal of social democracy. It could have been
rendered this means: “First engage in a
taken directly from Marx and Engels in the
serious battle and then see what happens.”
Communist Manifesto where they argue that
Well, we did first engage in a serious battle
communists represent both the historic and
in October 1917, and then saw such details
international interests of the proletariat. If the
of development (from the standpoint of
Bolsheviks were ‘embattled’ this was following an
world history they were certainly details)
imperialist invasion and occupation of parts of
as the Brest Peace, New Economic Policy,
Russia during the civil war which laid waste to large
and so forth. And now there can be no
tracts of the country. Meanwhile, the ‘cultured’
doubt that in the main we have been
European petty bourgeois democrats, and their
victorious.” (emphasis ours)
Russian counterparts, taking advantage of their
Our Revolution.
bourgeois freedoms, did nothing, or actively
conspired against the revolution as ‘premature’. [Concluded in next Issue]
Talking of ‘civilization’ and ‘culture’ Lenin means
that capitalism and its culture is the high point of

Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

Reclaiming Marx at 200

Part 1: “I am not a Marxist”
A famous dead white man indulges us by coming back from the grave on his 200th
birthday for a bit of celebrity haunting. Why? Should we be impressed when the
interest in Marx is on the rise among academics, students and journalists? Not only
in the liberal bourgeois press such as the Guardian, or The Daily Blog, in myriad
‘left’ journals, like Jacobin, but also in the US colleges where The Communist
Manifesto is the most read book in college libraries. Not only that the ruling Chinese
Communist Party has held an official celebration and funded a statue of Marx
erected in Trier, Germany, his home town, upsetting some of the locals.

Reclaiming Marx from the Graverobbers capitalism and arrive at communism. But how do
we decide who was right on this and other
Yet if Marx was alive today I don’t doubt that he
would react much as he did shortly before his death
in 1883. “Just as Marx used to say, commenting on To know who was, and is right today, the
the French “Marxists” of the late [18]70s: “All I evaluation of Marx 200 years after his birth needs
know is that I am not to be based on how well his ideas have been tested
a Marxist.”” This in practice and
rebuff was the last proven correct or
of many times that not, rather than the
Marx castigated ideas of ‘self-
various “self- proclaimed’
proclaimed” Marxists, no matter
Marxists for how well
misrepresenting his intentioned. Here I
ideas in their am not dealing with
attempts to anti-communists,
‘improve’ or hostile to Marxism.
‘update’ them. Let’s We can leave the
see why Marx found aversion to Marx of
this necessary. But people like Ana
to do that we have Stankovic to stew in
to reclaim Marx from its own juice.
the grave robbers. We should also make passing reference to life
Any evaluation of Marx cannot be left to the President Xi Jinping whose celebration of Marx is
superficial idea that “Marx was right” without grotesquely contradicted by ‘socialist’ China’s
setting out what it means to be “right”. It means restoration of capitalism and rapid rise as the
knowing how he used the scientific method to world’s second biggest economy and chief rival of
understand capitalism and how he applied this US imperialism. Such blatant caricatures of
knowledge in a program for revolutionary Marxism are so grotesque as to be already headed
communism. His dispute with the French ‘Marxists’ for the dustbin of history.
in 1883 was over their practical demand for wage More dangerous is the social/liberal left that pays
increases, without making it clear that the struggle its respects to Marx’s life work only to disarm him
for higher wages must lead to the overthrow of the and inoculate workers against his revolutionary
wage-system itself. Class struggle was not about message. But most dangerous are the self-
adjusting to capitalist exploitation but developing proclaimed Marxists or all shades, Stalinist, Maoist
the class consciousness needed to overthrow and fake Trotskyist, who drag his name in the mud
Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

rendering him a common liberal. How do we decide regimes’ collapsed in embarrassing deals with the
between Marx and anti-Marx? One example: Anti- feudal ruling classes.
Capitalist blog does a good job deconstructing
This default on the part of the European
Yanis Varoufakis Introduction to a new issue of the
bourgeoisie left the proletariat with the
Communist Manifesto which covers Marx with faint
responsibility for completing the task of developing
praise while trying to bury him -from Yanis to Karl,
the forces of production in the name of socialism.
with love.
For the first time Marx spoke of ‘the permanent
Marxism vs pseudo Marxism revolution’ signifying that the proletariat had to
step onto the stage of history and take over the
Marx considered himself to be a scientist whose
task of the reactionary bourgeoisie of completing
critical ideas had to be put into practice by the
the bourgeois revolution and creating the
class struggle to test and develop them. It was the conditions for socialism. But how to do this: reform
class struggle that would prove his, rather than his
or revolution? It was the Paris Commune of 1871
political rivals and opponents, right or wrong.
that put the Marxist program and the various
Remember the 11th thesis of the Theses of
reformist programs to the test with a bloody ruling
Feuerbach: “The philosophers have only
class vengeance.
interpreted the world… the point, however, is to
change it.” The lessons of the Commune were clear. First,
disproving the reformists it was proof that the
Marx’s critical theory of capitalism was of an bourgeois state had to be overthrown by
historically limited form of society based on the
proletarian armed force or it would physically wipe
exploitation of labour that must sooner or later
out all working-class opposition. Second,
exhaust its potential to develop the forces of
disproving the anarchists, the overthrow of the
production (using labour to increase productivity)
bourgeois state had to be replaced by an armed
as they were in contradiction with the social
workers’ state to defend the revolution. The
relations of production (capitalist ownership of the
Marxist program was amended in the light of these
means of production). This would ultimately lessons but the defeat of the Commune ushered in
destroy the forces of production including throwing
a period of capitalist reaction. The First
living labour out of work and necessitate a
international collapsed after bitter in-fighting with
proletarian revolution to overthrow capitalism and
Bukharin and the anarchists. And Marx had to fight
replace it with socialism.
the retreat of ‘Marxists’ back to reformism, most
To activate his theory a program of action was notably at Gotha in Germany in 1875.
necessary to represent and advance the interests
Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program
of the proletariat. The Communist Manifesto of
1848 was the result. Here Marx and Engels Marx’s “Critique of the Gotha Program” was an
described the overthrow of bourgeois rule by the angry attack on those who followed Lassalle’s
revolutionary proletariat which would open the “falsification” of the Communist Manifesto. But it
road to communism. Marx and Engels saw the was largely futile and the Marxist party was only
Communist Party not as substituting for the revived when the Second International was
proletariat, but as part of the proletariat, founded in 1889. Engels carried forward the
embodying the program and separated from other defence of the program until his death in 1895.
workers’ parties only by its program advancing the Then the task of defending and developing the
historical and international interests of the program became that of the next generation of
proletariat. Marxists – in particular, Kautsky, Lenin, Luxemburg
and Trotsky to name the most important. We can
Paris Commune: “storming heaven” judge whether Marx would have disavowed or
The first major test of Marx’s program came in 1871 accepted these new leaders as worthy of real
with the Paris Commune when the working people Marxism starting with their position on the lessons
of Paris rose up against the bourgeois government of the Commune, and then what they did to apply
after the defeat of the Emperor Louis Bonaparte the theory and practice of Marxism in the 20th
(Napoleon’s great-nephew) by the Prussians. century. [15]
Already by that time Marx was convinced that the
[to be continued: Part 2, “Marxism after Marx”
proletariat has succeeded the bourgeoisie as the
and Part 3, “Marxism Today”.]
revolutionary class. The failure of the 1848
attempts by European bourgeois classes to make
their “French” revolution against their ‘ancient

Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

South Africa: Ramaphosa takes charge of the ANC

Break with the ANC and Capital!

South Africa (SA) has entered a critical stage in the development of capitalism under the
reformist comprador bourgeoisie African National Congress (ANC) leadership. Class and race
tensions have been sharpened by the crisis of capitalism expressed in SA by the fall of
commodity prices. The end of apartheid only signified the formal political independence and
the transfer of nominal political power to the blacks whilst economic power remained firmly
in the hands of imperialists and local white capitalists. The election of Cyril Ramaphosa as the
head of the ANC and president of SA early this year as well as the on-going raptures between
the ANC and its alliance partners, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and
South African Communist Party (SACP), reflects the challenges facing the ruling class amidst
growing poverty and inequality. COSATU and SACP are in a difficult position following their
uncritical support of Ramaphosa in the ANC power struggles. The base of these two
organisations is pushing the leaders to denounce the policies of the ANC government that
seeks to intensify the attacks on the poor masses.
After a fierce political struggle Ramaphosa was reformist politician who believes that foreign
elected by a small margin as the head of the ANC investment and “economic growth” bring
ahead of Nkosazana Dhlamini-Zuma with the prosperity to the majority of the people.
electors splitting by almost half along factional
lines. The contest which essentially was (and is) But, to all intents and purposes this latest round of
about how best to control the masses and ensure political gimmicks is the culmination of a
massive profits for the various wings of capitalists protracted factional struggle within the ruling
was however projected as a fight between those party as well as the incessant struggles between
fighting against corruption (Ramaphosa faction) the ruling party and the opposition parties most
and those fighting for radical economic notably the liberal Democratic Alliance (DA) and
transformation (Dhlamini-Zuma faction). the radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) which
is a reflection of the struggle between different
In essence it was about how best to protect the imperialist camps as well as big and small
interests of imperialism be it western (US, EU and capitalists.
Japan) or eastern (Russia and China). The critical
role in the election of Ramaphosa was played by The EFF is highly critical of Ramaphosa who they
big business and the Stalinist SACP and pro-business rightly consider to be a puppet of both Chinese and
COSATU trade union. But, also important were the Western imperialism and is prepared to do
tainting of the Zuma faction on corruption charges whatever is necessary to ensure massive profits for
and the worsening economic situation. The his bosses. The Shanduka (owned by Chinese firms)
election of Ramaphosa as the head of the ANC has case, were he recently divested from citing conflict
not essentially changed the political premise of the of interests, is just one example of the capture of
ANC. The recent death of Winnie Madikizela- the president by big money.
Mandela brought to the fore the simmering tensions Workers resisting the crisis break with the
in the ANC and society at large between those who ANC
prostrated before capital and the masses who feel
they have been cheated. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa
(NUMSA) spearheaded the formation of a militant
Rather, it has put to the fore the neoliberal and pro trade union independent of the ANC (the South
big business agenda at the expense of the radical African Federation of Trade Unions, SAFTU) and is
and pro small capitalist agenda that was being
facilitating the formation of a worker’s party,
championed by Zuma and allies as a political
albeit based on the Freedom Charter, a radical
manoeuvre to maintain grip on power and ensure nationalist document that masks the class
that they got more crumbs from the capitalists' contradictions. Last month SAFTU led a strike
table. Ramaphosa is an openly pro market
against a proposed minimum wage and restrictions
Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

to the right to strike. For their part, both the All this was dramatically exposed by the murder
Workers and Socialist Party (WASP) and the of workers at Marikana together with the clear
Workers Internationalist Vanguard Party (WIVP) complicity of the ANC government and its
have been consistent in their critique of the Zuma partners in the tripartite arrangement.
government and now the Ramaphosa one. Regimes
can only be judged on the basis of their policies and What Party and Program do the masses need?
programs and not the colour and temperaments of Today we are witnessing massive struggles by
leaders. The real basis of the crisis within the ruling communities against poverty and social exclusion,
party is the long-stretched crisis of the capitalist students and bus drivers. The stage has been set
system that has also affected the so called for a decisive struggle between workers and
emerging economies like South Africa, which are in imperialism in the form of a general strike. We
fact advanced semi colonies. salute the workers of South Africa who are leading
The worsening economic situation as a result of the the way in the regional struggles against
slow international recovery and stagnating prices imperialism both western and eastern and inspiring
of minerals and other natural resources has workers in other countries to take independent and
affected the working class and the poor mostly. militant action as the only weapon to conquer a
South Africa is considered the most unequal society decent life for all. Workers should not be fooled by
in the world regardless of the rhetoric of the black either section of the capitalists who all seek to
comprador leadership of ANC and its alliance exploit them for their own benefit. Workers must
partners. Twenty-four years into formal political fight for an independent program that puts the
independence nothing has changed for the poor question of power and control of resources at the
majority. centre.

To the contrary, China does not offer better or Such a program can only be based on the theory of
different deals compared to the traditional permanent revolution which places no artificial
western imperialists. The so-called win-win deals distinctions between the fight against corruption
are in fact win-win situations between the China and the fight for socialism. The reformist Freedom
and the South African ruling class. Only a handful Charter cannot be the basis for such a fight as it
of the political leaders and their cronies have champions the interests of the black middle class
managed to get some crumbs from the table of and emerging capitalists. Furthermore, the fight
bloody capitalists and imperialists. Workers and against monopoly capital cannot be left to the
the poor masses have been left with no choice but black capitalists who are only interested in getting
to fight even for such basic rights as the right to a bigger share of the profits squeezed from the
strike, education, health and shelter. The crisis has workers. Workers should indeed move towards
squeezed the profits that the monopoly capitalists forming their own mass workers party on the basis
and emerging comprador capitalists have been of a revolutionary program and not the centrist
sharing over the years since the end of apartheid in program proposed by NUMSA and WASP, who are
1994. The fall and later slow rise in the prices of both intent on driving the workers into the arms of
minerals, which account for most of the national the trade union bureaucracy.
income, has severely affected the relationship The program that champions the interests of
between the two capitalist wings. workers and the poor masses can only be advanced
South Africa is an advanced semi colonial country through a mass workers party that pose transitional
heavily dominated by international imperialism demands which must essentially culminate in a
and presided over by a popular front ANC workers’ socialist republic of South Africa in a
government with the support of the Stalinist SACP federation of socialist republics of Southern Africa.
and pro- government/employers COSATU • A living Wage! Workers fight for a living
federation. The workers and the ordinary poor still wage and better working conditions
suffer deprivation and extreme poverty as through mass action controlled by
multinational companies rake in billions of Rands ordinary workers!
yearly. The black government only serves to
• Defend the right to strike! Against the
stabilize the capitalist system that is under attack
rising prices we demand a sliding scale of
from the black majority as well as to co-opt a few
black and formerly oppressed groups into the
• Against unemployment and destitution,
native bourgeoisie circle to ensure continued
we demand a sliding scale of working
plunder of the natural and human resources of the
hours to provide decent jobs for all
Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

through massive public works programs to • Nationalisation of all companies without

provide housing, education and medical indemnification to the big shareholders
care for all! under workers control! -Land to be
• Organise the unorganised! Form unions of distributed to all poor peasants together
the unemployed as fully affiliated unions! with a state bank to provide inputs to all
• Workers take back your unions! -Militant small farmers!
workers form class struggle caucuses in • For a workers’ state that defends
the unions to fight for this program! workers, poor peasants and the poor
• Workers form strike committees to lead masses against local and foreign
the resistance to the growing attacks on capitalists!
the wages and working conditions of the • For an African socialist revolution as part
poor and the livelihood of the majority of the international revolution that alone
poor! can guarantee a better life for all!
• Workers form workers defence guards for • For a new WORLD PARTY of socialist
defence against state violence! revolution based on the TRANSITIONAL
• A national strike committee to organise PROGRAM of 1938 to lead the revolution
and plan for a general strike! to end capitalism and open the road to
• Workers break with the ANC Alliance and socialism!
build a worker’s party!
Revolutionary Worker, May 2018
• No to US and Chinese imperialism fronted
by mainstream parties!
• For a workers’ government on the basis of
the armed people to implement decisions FINAL-001.pdf
that benefit the workers and the poor!



Acturus mine former workers and their families are benefits. Late last year the company was purported to
sleeping in the cold after being forcibly evicted from have been sold to Nyambirai despite the fact that pay
their company homes. This is being done by the slips still bear the Metallon details. Workers believe
purported new owner of the gold mine, TN Holdings Metallon colluded with Nyambirai to dismiss them and
owned by businessman and lawyer Tawanda Nyambirai, evict them.
who claims to have bought the entity from Metallon. As
The issues at hand are clear: Bosses and the state are
we speak over fifty families have been evicted and are
taking advantage of the Zuva ruling (which allowed for
sleeping in the cold with babies and young children.
workers to be dismissed on notice without benefits),
Only last week a tent provided by a well-wisher was
compromised unions and isolated workers to push the
forcibly removed by the company security and
burden of paying for the crisis of capitalist crisis on the
impounded. The evictions follow the unfair and callous
shoulders of the workers and poor masses. This is but a
dismissals of workers without any benefits and without
clear class struggle that must be fought in terms of the
following even the basic requirements of bourgeoisie
class means and not through reformist and legalistic
labour rules guiding retrenchments and dismissals.
means. Workers dismissed and evicted should not move
A brief context of the situation is as follows: In 2016 the an inch from the mine premises until proper procedures
spouses of workers at the mine blockaded all entrances are followed and all their dues and outstanding wages
to the mine thereby preventing workers and and allowances are paid in full. This should be the basis
management from working. This was in protest to the for the legal fight currently under way and in no way
prolonged salary arrears and lack of commitment on the should workers rely solely on legal tactics which can be
part of the management to resolve the wage issue. The manipulated and frustrated by the bosses and the state.
blockade was defeated after the betrayal of workers by But above all this, workers still in employment should
their union which agreed to a memorandum putting the realize that it’s only a matter of time before they too
blame for the work stoppage on the workers and not the are targeted so a full blown indefinite strike is
owners who had provoked the spouses into action. The necessary to reverse the losses suffered by the workers
management went on to use the memoranda as well as since 2016.To sustain the strike and the sit in working
the complicity of the union to isolate workers and class solidarity is paramount. [Full statement of
victimize them. Since then workers have been orally demands to defeat the mine bosses is here.]
and summarily dismissed without due process and
Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

Mayday: International Workers’ Day!

Workers’ Unite to smash Fascism and Imperialism, End
Capitalism, and Build Socialism to Stop Climate Catastrophe!

Comrades, humanity to survive,

International capitalism must die.
Workers Day, or But where is the
Mayday, has been international
celebrated since proletariat rising up
1886, three years to smash capitalist
after the death of imperialism, and to
Marx. But what are build world
we celebrating? This socialism?
year is 200 years
since Marx’s birth,
Syria: Revolution
180 years since the or fascist genocide
Communist This is no more
Manifesto, 100 years obvious than in
since the Russian Syria, the Paris
Revolution and 80 Commune of the 21st
years since the Century, where the
foundation of the Fourth International. There is
promise of the Arab Spring has been driven back to
plenty to celebrate. But where is the ‘spectre of
near defeat by the combined forces of counter-
communism’ haunting the bourgeoisie today? True,
the bourgeoisie fear communism. They fear the revolution. The bosses fear more than anything the
revolutionary proletariat as their ‘grave diggers’. spread of a victorious Arab Revolution setting an
But we, the international workers, have yet to turn example to the rest of the worlds workers – the
that fear into the reality. Mayday has become less imperialist powers and their murderous client
than a celebration of victorious revolutionary regimes have resorted to fascist genocide. Whole
advances and more of a ritual occasion for the cities and regions have been turned into bloody
bureaucratic leaderships of the labour movement rubble because the Syrian Revolution has been
to hold ‘Sunday speeches’. Meanwhile the masses ignored and isolated from any campaign by the
resistance to the rise of counter-revolution and international working class to join the revolution
fascism all over the world is isolated and defeated. arms in hand. Most of those who claim to be
We should remember that ‘Mayday’ is also an international socialists have turned out to be social
international emergency call sign. This is how we chauvinists and social imperialists. They condemn
should ‘celebrate’ Mayday, by disrupting the ritual the popular Arab Revolution as a counter-
and calling for international workers to unite in revolution against Western democracy. The two
action to overcome a global emergency of climate imperialist blocs led by the US and by Russia have
collapse and human existence. Everywhere combined forces to smash the leading armed edge
capitalism is in crisis. It can no longer rule in the of the Arab and international revolution, by
same old way. In fact every day capitalism survives propping up a fascist dictator, and the servile
only by destroying humanity and nature. And Western ‘left’ has provided a ‘left’ cover for
workers will no longer submit to extreme genocide.
exploitation without fighting back. There is no way
out for the bourgeoisie other than destruction and This Mayday we are into the 8th year of the Syrian
barbarism. To survive as a dying mode of civil war and the approaching defeat of the
production, capitalism is thrashing about revolution which will be a defeat also for both the
destroying everything that has been won over Arab revolution and the world revolution. So we
centuries. It threatens to destroy humanity and must ask what are the prospects for the
nature unless stopped by the global socialist international revolution right now. Let’s reject
revolution. It is clear that for workers to live and Mayday as a ritual ‘celebration’ and make it a call
Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

to a global emergency. Then we can act to suffering for the workers and the common poor.
overcome that emergency by organising The dictatorial and openly ruthless regimes in most
international workers as a revolutionary force able African states make it difficult for the common
to defend every basic democratic right being masses to fight for their interests and against
destroyed by imperialism in its death throes and dictatorship, poverty, capitalism and imperialism.
rebuild the ‘world party of socialism’ called for by So, as we celebrate International Workers day or
Trotsky in 1938 based on the Transitional Program. May Day it is important to appreciate that workers,
poor peasants and the poor oppressed and
This means fighting for a Marxist program that can
exploited masses can conquer a good life only
guide workers in every fight for their most basic
through socialism which must inevitably come
rights and needs, across the bridge to the
through the strategy of permanent revolution.
formation of soviets and militias, all the way to
socialist insurrection and a world federation of Two countries can help illustrate the condition of
workers states. For example, in Syria we need an the working class and poor masses in Africa. In
international party strong enough to mobilise Zimbabwe the workers are under intense attacks
military support for the revolution for basic by the post-Mugabe pro-austerity bourgeois regime
freedom and link it to all other Arab resistance. It that is delicately balancing between western and
means uniting the Palestinian revolution to defeat eastern imperialism. A 2016 Supreme Court
the Zionist settler state with the workers judgement, despite nominal ‘reversals’, has made
movements in every other country. We need it easier for employers including the government to
international brigades in Syria, and militant fire workers without compensation or real chances
uprisings against the imperialist ruling classes of redress. Over 30,000 workers have lost their jobs
threatening world war. as a result of this ruling championed by the current
President of the main opposition party, Movement
In other ‘hot points’ where the crisis is bringing
for Democratic Change (MDC Alliance).
workers to their feet to fight, that new
international party has to have the forces to As a result of the judgement and the intransigence
intervene with a program that works to advance of the bosses, workers have been forced to resort
the revolution against the counter-revolution and to militant actions such as those at the National
make it ‘permanent’. The forces of counter- Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and Grain Marketing
revolution are the imperialist ruling classes, their Board (GMB) where workers staged prolonged
client states ruled by national bourgeoise factions protests at the companies’ headquarters. Workers
and their political parties, and the treacherous at the Hwange Colliery and ZESA (a public utility
fake ‘left’ of all shades that always sides with the power company) are currently engaged in a vicious
bourgeoisie against socialist revolution. struggle to get their overdue wages and
allowances. But most importantly, the strikes by
Under today’s crisis conditions, the imperialists
doctors and nurses has brought to the fore the true
and their client lackeys are exposed as naked class
colours of the regime, despite claims that this is a
enemies. The fake ‘left’ however provides a left
“new era”. Nurses were summarily dismissed
cover to fool the workers. They are the most
before being reinstated. In a clear show of what
dangerous enemies. We must expose and defeat
workers have to expect from this government it
these bosses’ agents in our ranks. In every
displays for imperialism its willingness to continue
revolutionary situation where workers are
Mugabe’s alliance with imperialism and to crush
mobilising they are on the side of the class enemy,
workers struggles.
demobilising the masses. Let’s illustrate this by
using examples that demonstrate the way forward In South Africa the situation is even more delicate.
in both semi-colonies and imperialist nations. The formal political independence of 1994 has
failed to change the lives of the poor masses that
Zimbabwe, South Africa and Africa
are still faced with exploitation and poverty. The
The African continent alongside other semi- reformist African Nationalist Congress (ANC) party
colonial continents like Latin America and Asia (a and its partners have failed to resolve the key
from Japan and China) have been hard hit by the aspects of apartheid which include subordination
double burden of capitalism and imperialism. The of the masses to the interests of imperialist
over reliance on the export of raw materials and investment enforced by the state, racism and
trapped as cheap labour havens causes acute exploitation of local and migrant labour as well as
Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

the continued plunder of natural resources. unemployment, “reforms” that remove their
Despite a constitution that was hailed by rights, and repression.
imperialism and their middle class and petit
Unable to mitigate the economic crisis in Brazil,
bourgeois surrogates, the material conditions of
the ruling capitalists could no longer afford the
workers and the poor masses has remained dire
luxury of the popular front. Thus Lula and the
forcing workers, communities, students and poor
Workers Party (PT) suffered a “coup” by their
peasants to rise in revolt. The most notable and
bourgeois allies. Vice President Temer, in power
watershed revolt of the suffering masses was the
today now has low approval ratings, faces protests,
Marikana strike which resulted in the murder of
strikes and occupations of workers and social
workers by the state in collaboration with capitalist
movements in the struggle for better conditions of
mine owners. The fight for a living wage, better
life and work and against the “reforms” that
working conditions and the unfettered right to
remove rights such as the pension reform. The PT,
strike has taken centre stage in the class dynamics
even suffering the maneuver that led to the
of the state. The strike by bus drivers has dragged
impeachment of Rousseff and Lula in prison,
into the third week as workers reject slave wages
continues to defend the popular front and acts in
and attempts at dividing the working class.
the labor movement through the Unified Workers
Zimbabwe and South Africa to a large extent Central (CUT) and trade unions, demobilizes
reflect the current situation in most African states workers (as in the dismantling of the general strike
in relation to the conditions of the workers, poor against the welfare reform) and channels the
peasants and poor masses. Slave wages, land struggle into bourgeois democracy and the
privatisation, commodification of education and elections in October. The Socialism and Liberty
services, plunder of local resources, rampant Party (PSOL), in alliance with the reformist leader
corruption and dictatorial regimes are the of the MTST (Homeless Movement) entered into the
hallmarks of African societies. May Day gives us the Popular Front, along with PT and the “democratic”
opportunity to take stock of our position as workers bourgeoisie in the struggle for “democracy” and
and the common poor and be able to chart a way “sovereignty” during the government attacks and
forward that ensures a better life for the masses. the growth of the extreme right and fascism.
Only independent mass action of the working class
The solution for the workers and oppressed peoples
and oppressed can win a better life. For this to
of Brazil and Latin America is the independent
happen workers have to be militantly organised and
political struggle of the working class against the
armed with a revolutionary strategy and program.
bourgeoisie and imperialism. We must build the
Brazil and Latin America revolutionary party that fights for the organization
of rank and file committees of all kinds: grassroots,
In Brazil and Latin America, considered a
factory, tenants’ and price committees,
“backyard” by US imperialism, the workers and
neighborhood committees, and workers self-
oppressed people resisted neoliberal policies with
defense guards that prepare the General Strikes to
militant class struggle in the streets. The reformist
win in the struggle for the expropriation of the
Left channeled this fight into parliamentary
bourgeoisie and a true socialism. The Popular Front
socialism or “socialism of the XXI century”, placing
does not fight fascism, it paves the way for fascism.
in power several populist Popular Front
The so called left-wing governments in Latin
governments which continued to apply neoliberal
America apply the imperialist policy and harshly
policies and the dictates of imperialism.
attack the working class. Conflicts with the US
The global crisis of capitalism has hit Latin government like Venezuela’s do nothing to break
America, and Brazil in particular, shaking with imperialism, and the linkage with the
governments that attack the working class as a way increasing imperialist bloc of China/Russian no way
to resolve the crisis. The economic instability, means “sovereignty” or “anti-imperialism.”
political and social, is growing. Far from meaning
Latin American workers need to break with the
“stability”, the return of the traditional rightist
reformist leaderships, which divide workers,
governments in Argentina and Brazil is met with the
prevents class solidarity, as is shown by the
growing discontent of the working class, with their
isolation of the Syrian masses’ revolution against Al
living conditions deteriorating, being hit by
Assad’s regime and how the restoring of capitalism
in Cuba supports the repressive government of
Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

Venezuela. The Popular Frontists all together industrial pollutants toxifying life sustaining
denounce as “C.I.A. agents” the workers in elements of the environment.
Nicaragua fighting against the government’s
Meanwhile, it is only a harbinger of the
pension reform, just like Assad labels his
environmental threat the survival of capitalism
revolutionary opponents agents of the west. This
inescapably poses to human and other species’
same “left” defends the Popular Front in Brazil
survival in the near future. The capitalists prepare
against the right and the threat of dictatorship.
for World War III, yet insanely retail the ICBMs of
USA North Korea and reactors in Iran as the gravest
dangers facing humanity to those who follow their
Every “disaster capitalism” calamity visited upon
kept media. They incite the MAWAs (Make America
the world by the federal government is an index of
White Again mob) against immigrants and jail
the decline of U.S. imperialism. The seldom seen
refugees while putting the recovery of Puerto Rico
side of ‘populist nationalism’ is its inherent
from a century event hurricane on rations, and all
autarchy. The retreat from such minimal world
the “friends of labor” have to say is vote for us in
consensus as is represented by the Paris Accords is
November. Workers need our own party now, not
a pennant on the Titanic smokestack! The missile
some day!
attack by the U.S., Britain and France on Assad’s
empty facilities only highlights the growing Some recognition that piles of money sit idle has
ineffectuality of the U.S.-led bloc while Trump on resulted in revolts of the base in some organized
more typical occasions calls for U.S. withdrawal, sectors, revolts the bureaucrat/Democrats have so
leaving Syria to Russia. Crooks of the new “swamp” far been able to run around in front of. Thus, the
have more personal interests to satisfy and are United States has seen outbreaks of social and class
getting theirs while those “qualified” to look out struggles. The 2011 Wisconsin struggle, followed by
for U.S. imperial interests are fired by Trump. Occupy and the Longshore ILWU EGT struggles, the
Ideologues replace professionals and the U.S. loses Ferguson stand-off, the self-defense actions of the
market share. This results in trade war, the prelude Black and Brown communities nationwide that
to world war. And Trump floats the idea of launched #BlackLivesMatter, the fight of the First
becoming a Bonaparte for life after hearing of Xi’s People’s Water Protectors against the Dakota
lifetime appointment. Nothing Trump says or Access Pipeline, pre and post Charlottesville
tweets is a joke, but signals that he knows the mobilizations against alt-right fascists, the
various reactionary options. The Tendency of the women’s marches and #MeToo movement, the
Rate of Profit to Fall has U.S. imperialism by the broad defense of immigrants with social-media-
short hairs. organized spontaneous direct actions at the
airports against the Muslim Ban and against torture
Bourgeois talking heads won’t tell you the real
committed at San Francisco Airport by Homeland
effects of a 10% drop of stock market prices in the
Security, and the spread from state to state of
U.S. These losses have taken place post tax cut,
teachers strikes and a growing resurgence in class
i.e. THIS YEAR. They take place while investment
struggle organizing and strike action by nurses and
lags and almost all economists say corporations are
airline workers as we march on May Day.
hoarding cash. Trump threatens protectionism
while flip flopping on TPPA and NAFTA. None of his While Zionism doubles down in its daily war against
moves hide the fact that the recovery is an empty Palestinian lives, Israel can no longer count on the
shell that keeps tens of millions of working poor unconditional support from Americans of Jewish
people and their families in an endless cycle of heritage who seek out and march in solidarity with
poverty while wages have stagnated for decades. their Palestinian comrades. Yet a blood oath is still
Workers often need to take two or three jobs just required of the labor bureaucracy which is tied to
to pay the rent, while the ruling class continues it the imperialist Democratic Party’s projects
assault on meager and humiliating public including unwavering support for Israel, Saudi
assistance programs. The institutional hatred and Arabia and the ruling class’s never-ending wars
state repression of the working poor and people of against workers abroad and at home, both overt
color is magnified by environmental racism and and covert. Likewise, the labor bureaucracy is do-
housing costs which trap people in zones of danger or-die committed to the idea that police are
to their health. The lead poisoning of the water in workers and not the slave patrols who daily
Flint Michigan is just the tip of the iceberg of terrorize Black and Brown communities. Today’s
Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

struggles provide a glimpse of what could be, revolution as they gush over the brutal Syrian
except at every turn they are limited or derailed dictator Assad and promote Syrian conspiracy
due to lack of revolutionary leadership. The pro- theories that would make Alex Jones blush. The
capitalist trade union bureaucracy behaves as if fake left therefore loses whatever credibility it
the power of the workers and the oppressed is ever had with American workers and oppressed
small and has negligible possibilities beyond people and could not mobilize any real numbers of
legalistic self-defense. And everywhere the them in the April “anti-imperialist” actions
bureaucrats are willing to sacrifice your right to following Trump’s missile attack stunt.
healthcare, even in otherwise victorious strikes!
The revolutionary fight to defeat U.S. imperialism
They permit no self-consciousness about how at home and abroad, the main enemy of the
successful their strategy has been. It is a free fall international working class, also means linking up
cataclysm. The rights of the mid-west labor to the workers struggles in the Middle East and
movement which used class struggle methods to everywhere in the fight for world socialist
build the Teamsters and the CIO are mostly history revolution, not abandoning them to their own
now, ignored by labor officialdom and contained brutal comprador bourgeoisie. As for the
among arcane academics and nostalgic Reds. This anarchists, they are largely mute on smashing the
is exactly because class struggle methods of state as they engage in “propaganda of the deed”
combating the exploiters are treated as impossible militant but non-violent street actions, thinking
to carry out today. they will eventually replace the capitalist state by
building democratic assemblies and a utopian
Not only the strategy but the psychology the
alternate society within the current capitalist
bureaucracy projects is a supine weakness! The
Trump administration teeters legally even as it
carries out the real bourgeois program of “disaster The leadership of the class is up for contest as
capitalism,” slashing every protection the masses demonstrated in the rank-and-file-led actions of
have won since the 1870s and now even the teachers in right to be enslaved states. To
threatening the existence of public education. defeat the ruling class and fight for socialism, we
Trump’s presidency really is only sustained at this have to defeat the fake leaders of the working class
point by public relations. Both parties are guilty of who keep driving us back into the Democratic Party
defending it with faint damnation: it becomes in our unions and in our mass movements. The fight
clearer all the time that Democrats are not for working class political independence leads
interested in impeaching Trump this year, talking through the formation of rank and file class
increasingly that they will not seek to impeach him struggle committees in the unions challenging to
next year, while many echo the former FBI chief bring class struggle methods back.
and now celebrity Comey who wants the voters to
The present moment is a rare historical opportunity
sort Trump out in 2020. This talk is fine with
for workers to organize their own party, to see
leaderships of central labor councils who never
colossal corruption and perfidy for what it is and to
have struggled for impeachment, despite Nixon
see that what is required is uncompromising class
lawyer John Dean calling the present crisis
struggle and the fight for a revolutionary socialist
“Watergate on steroids.” They organize labor walks
political program, the understanding of the class-
for Democrat candidates. And the Democrats’
for-itself political tasks of fighting for humanity’s
entire project is now transparently the co-optation
of the masses’ self-defense movements!
Socialism is the last, best and only hope against
The masses are hungry for direct action, but this is
the drive for imperialist war and climate
constantly used for politically limited pressure
street protests and election campaigning. The
“socialist” left is not able to contest for leadership. For a New Revolutionary Workers International
They refuse to fight for a workers’ party, as they based on Trotsky’s 1938 Transitional Program:
tail after, or like the Democratic Socialists of The World Party of Socialist Revolution!
America (DSA), outright support Democratic Party
liberal politics and the labor bureaucracy. The Liaison Committee of Communists -- May 1 2018
worst of them, the Assad/Putin socialists, also
abandon the Marxist program for world socialist
Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

What we Fight For

appearance of individual "freedom" and "equality".
Overthrow Capitalism It reveals how and why the reformist, Stalinist and
Historically, capitalism expanded world-wide to centrist mis-leaders of the working-class tie workers
free much of humanity from the bonds of feudal or to bourgeois ideas of nationalism, racism, sexism
tribal society, and developed the economy, society and equality. Such false beliefs will be exploded
and culture to a new higher level. But it could only when the struggle against the inequality, injustice,
do this by exploiting the labour of the productive anarchy and barbarism of capitalism in crisis, led by
classes to make its profits. To survive, capitalism a revolutionary Marxist party, produces a
became increasingly destructive of "nature" and revolutionary class-consciousness.
humanity. In the early 20th century it entered the
epoch of imperialism in which successive crises For a Revolutionary Party
unleashed wars, revolutions and counter-
The bourgeois and its agents condemn the Marxist
revolutions. Today we fight to end capitalism’s
party as totalitarian. We say that without a
wars, famine, oppression and injustice, by
democratic and a centrally organised party there
mobilising workers to overthrow their own ruling
can be no revolution. We base our beliefs on the
classes and bring to an end the rotten, exploitative
revolutionary tradition of Bolshevism and
and oppressive society that has exceeded its use-by
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
Fight for Socialism capitalism, to the victorious socialist revolution.
By the 20th century, capitalism had created the Defensive struggles for bourgeois rights and
pre-conditions for socialism –a world-wide working freedoms, for decent wages and conditions, will link
class and modern industry capable of meeting all up the struggles of workers of all nationalities,
our basic needs. The potential to eliminate poverty, genders, ethnicities and sexual orientations,
starvation, disease and war has long existed. The bringing about movements for workers control,
October Revolution proved this to be true, bringing political strikes and the arming of the working class,
peace, bread and land to millions. But it became as necessary steps to workers' power and the
the victim of the combined assault of imperialism smashing of the bourgeois state. Along the way,
and Stalinism. After 1924 the USSR, along with its workers will learn that each new step is one of many
deformed offspring in Europe, degenerated back in a long march to revolutionise every barrier put in
towards capitalism. In the absence of a workers' the path to the victorious revolution.
political revolution, capitalism was restored
between 1990 and 1992. Vietnam, China and Cuba Fight for Communism
then followed. Today only North Korea (DPRK)
Communism stands for the creation of a classless,
survives as a degenerate workers’ state. We
stateless society beyond socialism that is capable of
unconditionally defend the DPRK against capitalism
meeting all human needs. Against the ruling class
and fight for political revolution to overthrow the
lies that capitalism can be made "fair" for all; that
bureaucracy as part of world socialism.
nature can be "conserved"; that socialism and
communism are "dead"; we raise the red flag of
Defend Marxism communism to keep alive the revolutionary
While the economic conditions for socialism exist tradition of the' Communist Manifesto of 1848, the
today, standing between the working class and Bolshevik-led October Revolution; the Third
socialism are political, social and cultural barriers. Communist International until 1924, the
They are the capitalist state and bourgeois ideology revolutionary Fourth International up to 1940
and its agents. These agents claim that Marxism is before its collapse into centrism. We fight to build
dead and capitalism need not be exploitative. We a new, Fifth, Communist International, as a world
say that Marxism is a living science that explains party of socialism capable of leading workers to a
both capitalism’s continued exploitation and its victorious struggle for socialism.
attempts to hide class exploitation behind the
Class Struggle #125 June-August - 2018

For the World Party of Socialist Revolution!

Liaison Committee of Communists

Class Warrior: Theoretical Journal of LCC
Revolutionary Workers Group of Zimbabwe (RWG-ZIM)
Revolutionary Worker (Paper of RWG-Zimbabwe)

Communist Workers Group- New Zealand/Aotearoa (CWG-NZ)

Email: )
Websites: Class Struggle
Revolutionary Workers Group of Brazil (RWG-BR)
Guerreiro da classe Trabalhadora (Paper of the RWG-BR)

Communist Workers Group – USA (CWG-US):

Email: Website: Class War

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