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Engraving of Lenin busy studying

Economic and Philosophic Science Review

Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is the touchstone on which the real understanding and recognition of Marxism is to be tested. V. I. Lenin

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No 1395 24th October 2011

Fascist war-crime depravity of Gaddafi's killing and thousands more by Nazi NATO's blitz (and counter-revolutionary stooges) is the true face of capitalist "freedom & democracy", eagerly swallowed by the foul fake-"lefts". Libya foretells total war that world economic collapse is driving the capitalist ruling class to, culminating in inter-imperialist conflict already surfacing in vicious chauvinism and diplomatic breakdown around Europe. "99%" protest of value but going nowhere while saturated in pacifism and anarchic "anti-leadership" anti-communism. Huge debate needs to reach class-based revolutionism – meaning Leninist polemical struggle for scientific understanding and leadership

The slide into degenerate fascism by the western "free world" continues apace from the foul destruction of tiny Libya, the nazi torture and slaughter of Gaddafi and the Sirte 53 (and thousands more) to the racist and violent scapegoating of gypsy evictions in Britain, Italy, and elsewhere Europe, the persecution of Hispanics in the US and police violence and intimidation everywhere against protests and strikes.

It is destined to get far worse yet as the unstoppable and catastrophic failure of the capitalist finance system implodes into slump conditions that as yet have only just begun (despite massive unemployment and deprivation for millions already).

The slow-motion disaster of the Euro collapse, now taking down Greece and many others, is only the latest and most immediate expression of a complete meltdown failure of the capitalist profit-seeking system that has been brewing for decades, held off only by endless printing of dollars to prop things up and which erupted in 2008 and has not stopped since.

Demented pumping out of ever more credit (and now even more with "quantitative easing") has simply stored up greater and greater problems, feeding back even worse failure into a system which is disintegrating the entire world economy on a scale and pace never before seen in history.

It is the disastrous collapse of the entire interconnected world monopoly market system which is driving endless war and increasing domestic repression and it is unstoppable.

It will drive the ruling class to foulest of degeneracy and destruction seen in history if they are to keep their dominance, wealth and sweet power and privilege.

In other words it is guaranteed.

And only revolution can stop it.

The upheavals in the Middle East and internationally spreading anti-capitalist protests in cities from New York to Sydney, Madrid to London, are interesting early signs of mass rebellion (a step upwards from years of "terrorist" fightback).

But these spontaneous mass revolts are still a million miles yet from the revolutionary consciousness needed for the working class to take power, the only way to prevent world devastation.

That will only be achieved when the working class begins once more to take seriously the battle for revolutionary clarity and understanding about just what is happening in the world and how it is to be solved.

The unfolding developments are the greatest crisis in all of history, which are set to tear the world apart, and will do so until the old order of class domination and exploitation is ended.

The protestors and all the "99%" need straight away to pay especial attention to the realities of violent and fascist suppression by capitalism of the mounting rebellion against it, which is exactly a key point of its intervention in Libya.

It is also the latest stage in a now ten year war (13 including Serbia) which Washington has been waging as its way to stay on top and capitalism's "answer" in general to its epochal collapse.

The frenzy is already being whipped up against Syria and Iran and any number of other potential victims that can be demonised to keep the war momentum rolling.

The end point is war between the great capitalist powers, signals of which are already surfacing in the demented right wing Tory EU revolt to whip up chauvinist hatreds (to blame "foreigners"), in Sarkozy's sneering at Cameron over the Euro, in the equal snub of Germany's Merkel and Sarkozy again to Berlusconi, Obama's open contempt for the European politicians voiced over the Euro collapse (as if the dollar had not precipitated world meltdown!!), Germany's refusal to be drawn into the Libyan blitzkrieg and dozens of other signs of the blame-game (for the collapse of the system they all participate in) now beginning to reach major hostility proportions, exactly the pattern of the run-up to World War Two.

Capitalism needs total world war to solve its problems, diverting attention from its own historic failure, and attempting to destroy the surplus capital which has clogged the system solid.

The challenge facing "the 99%" is titanic and far beyond the notions of "making the system fairer" or "redistributing some of the wealth" or "living outside the system".

The fatuous and ineffectual "leadership" offered by the likes of Canadian academic Naomi Klein, for the "Occupy movement" is not only utterly inadequate in its "kumbayah" pacifist reformism but a deadly and dangerous misguiding and disarming of the great "99%" it lauds.

What is demanded is the total reshaping of human society, culture and mass relationships across the entire planet, starting with the complete destruction of the old order of class ownership and exploitation and the building of a new planned socialist world.

To even begin such a task requires the greatest debate, discussion and forging of understanding, on the steps of St Paul's, Syntagma in Athens, Cairo, Bangkok, Santiago de Cuba and everywhere else, to develop revolutionary theory and grasp.

But for as long as the great majority remain bemused by pacifist and "democratic" notions, or hoodwinked by the petty bourgeois capitulations and betrayals of the fake-"lefts" (Labourite, Trotskyist and revisionist flavours all) these demonstrations will be either completely ineffectual or, as soon as they cause too much disruption to the ruling class, will be broken up and dispersed with as much violence as capitalism deems necessary (as already done in Sydney for example).

And for as long as they remain taken in by every shallow intelligence agency-fed "freedom and human rights" pretence from Solidarnosc anti-communism in Poland to endless reactionary "colour revolutions" and now the pseudo-"Arab Spring" pretences in Libya and Syria (while the real upheavals headed off in Egypt and Tunisia or shot down in Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Somalia) they will be led around in circles by the ruling class.

Anarchist rejection of the need for a major struggle to build a disciplined understanding and grasp of the world to inspire and lead a disciplined working class struggle to overturn capitalism, and hold power with the dictatorship of the working class to allow building socialism, leaves growing movements equally vulnerable.

The anarchist spirit, of hatred of ruling class authority and destructive hostility to capitalism erupting in riots and so forth, is not the problem.

Destructiveness is an inevitable symptom anyway of the upheavals that capitalism has been setting up by its arrogant exploitation and oppression for centuries and a healthy expression of the mass anger and hatred that will finally turn it over.

But it is not a solution in itself.

Klein's middle class gush about "flat movements" "with no leaders" is a disingenuous nonsense, deliberate dissembling which heads off Marxism and Leninism. To begin with, her articles, widely disseminated by the capitalist press (which knows what it is doing) are in themselves leadership since they declare a philosophy and guidance to be followed by others.

So too are the actions of the "flat organisation" campers in Wall Street or St Paul's.

The debate they have started is excellent and vital.

But the anti-leadership argument is a nonsense.

The anarchists and anti-leaders are themselves asserting a philosophy in as public a space as possible in order to get the majority to follow that philosophy.

That is a bid for leadership.

By all means let the debate erupt.

But the pretence that "we just want rank-and-file" action has always been the pseudo-naïve pose of the anti-communists "innocently" trying to knock down the discipline and coherence of the working class movement, from the moment of the 1921 Kronstadt counter-revolutionary revolt against the new communist power with the fraudulent slogan of "socialism without the Bolsheviks" aimed at overturning the Soviet state (an incident beloved of the anti-communist Trotskyists).

There is no virtue in "anti-leaderism", which usually just reflects hostility to theory and backwardness, or covers up as much middle class anti-communism as any other shade of fake-"leftism".

Rejection of didactic and instructionalist "leaders" has a healthy side of course, where it reflects disillusion with the decades of fake-"left" rigid and mechanical "party" building.

But that has emerged precisely because of weakness and failure of understanding in such groups and their degeneration into outright opportunism and even anti-communism, with cover-up and evasion the method (see below and many past Bulletins such as issue 1118).

It requires an even stronger and more coherent fight for theory and scientific grasp than ever before, more not less Leninism.

What is needed is the deepest going constant debate and analysis of the world class forces and what they are really up to, and to understand and clarify what has already been achieved by the working class and socialism (in the USSR's titanic 70 years for example), and equally what went wrong in its retreat from revolutionism under Stalin, and eventually pointless Gorbachevite self-liquidation into "free market" oligarch chaos (and savage reductions in living standards for the majority).

The highest form of struggle is the battle for theory through polemic and argument to sort out what has happened and what is actually going on, starting constantly with the events in the real world and re-assessing all grasp constantly in the light of what has been grasped and new development.

It will inevitably focus around those battling hardest, most coherently and above all correctly, to guide and lead such discussions.

Leaders in other words are inevitable and a party dedicated to the struggle for understanding.

That is the great discovery and achievement of Lenin, building on the huge scientific understanding of Marx and Engels, a knowledge which lies in over 100 volumes of crucially important writings and theory, the foundation for revolutionary progress.

Right now the world's masses should learn huge lessons from the degenerate fascist triumphalism of the Western world over Libya and the savage nazi parading, torturing and killing of the captured Gaddafi, a new level of grotesquery and fascist vindictiveness on the most "civilised" world TV screens.

Like the death-squad assassination of Bin Laden (ordered by the great "Black hope" Obama, as much of a fascist as Bush before him) this was a glaring de facto war-crime in itself, quickly glossed over by ruling class politicians and the monopoly capitalist media machine flunkeys alike, so eager at other times with their hypocritical calls for the "rule of law" and "trials in the Hague"against alleged "dictators" on the flimsiest propaganda lies when they are whipping up yet another invasion.

New Goebbels lies are being punted out already by the capitalist media to pretend it was "cross-fire" against the evidence of mobile phone footage gleefully shown hours earlier.

Most of all there is yet further exposure of the Trotskyists, reformist and assorted revisionists who make up the motley hued fake-"left" and, with a few honourable exceptions, are smeared with the stinking filth of class collaboration and collusion as they "celebrate" the downfall of the bourgeois nationalist revolution in Libya and pour out the vitriol against Gaddafi.

Their behaviour has been even more degenerate than the jostling for position to "denounce terrorism" ten years ago after 9/11, a betrayal which has helped imperialism destroy Iraq, Afghanistan, parts of Pakistan, Somalia, and more already and train the world to accept bombing, war stories and invasion as the norm once more, ready for much worse to come.

The idiotic and craven acceptance by the "lefts" of the alleged virtues of "democracy" (capitalism's most brilliant confidence trick in half a millennium of rule) and the shallow philistine "opposition to dictators" irrespective of what class forces they represent and where they stand (for or against imperialist rule in this case) has played right into the hands of the crisis-driven war drive by western imperialism.

The "lefts" endless repetition in their papers of the Goebbels lie campaign that was used to stampede this counter-revolutionary "rebellion" in the first place has been crucial to give it a "left" cover in the working class and swing round and confuse public opinion.

But the nazi realities of the death-squad killer, racist and reactionary "rebels" (no such thing but recruited counter-revolutionary scum) has been growing clearer as the destruction has raged on even trickling out occasionally into the bourgeois press.

It is now so glaring that it has had to print some of the popular revulsion over these pretences:

David Cameron hailed Gaddafi's death as a step towards a "strong and democratic future"(Death of a dictator, 20 October). Gaddafi was shot, stripped naked, dragged round the street covered in blood while being filmed on a mobile phone. Clearly western democratic values have arrived.

Phil Warson London

26,000 air missions and nothing shown on TV (Nato winds down, 21 October). We have more published visual records of the fighting in the Crimean war than we have of Nato's actions in Libya. So much for a free and inquisitive press.

Colin Burke Manchester

As the second letter alludes to, even Muammar Gaddafi's death as a personification of the barbarism of the NATO onslaught (from the air and via secret ground forces and agents) shrinks into insignificance compared to the general slaughter imposed on Libya and deliberately ignored and censored by the western press, which was so eager for weeks on end to pump up every hearsay nonsense of alleged "atrocities" when the war drive was being instigated in February and March, and which is now pumping out the same Goebbels hatred fabrications against Syria and Iran (such as the ludicrous Saudi ambassador "assassination plot" story).

More than 50 000 bombs have been dropped, every one far bigger, more damaging and more terrifying than any "terrorist atrocities" in London, Tel Aviv, etc. The heroic city of Sirte alone, with 100 000 residents has been completely destroyed for daring to stand firm against the Nazi onslaught raining down, a resistance to imperialism already far more dogged and determined than anything mounted by the European bourgeois regimes against German Nazi invasion in the Second World War (which they largely collaborated with, from Vichy to Jersey, when push came to shove).

It was led honourably and bravely on-the-spot by Gaddafi (giving the lie to endless "on-the-run" propaganda and disinformation about self-seeking corruption) whatever past flakiness there may have been in his leadership.

Equally and illegally pulverised has been the a huge amount of the painfully built infrastructure of the country (which had built one of the highest living standards in Africa, comparable to Europe), wiping out thousands of lives and millions of future livelihoods.

The pretence of "protecting civilians" (the allegedly legal basis for the invasion through the UN figleaf motion for the whole vicious invasion) constituted nothing more than casual radio and loud-hailer 24-hour warnings to the Sirte population to "leave because they were going to see their neighbourhoods bombed".

Such cynical "humanitarian concern" – fascist contempt – has left tens of thousands as homeless refugees, while others who feared leaving their homes have been pounded, shelled, shot and bombed by the high altitude hi-tech weaponry of the rich west.

But if the western press has dutifully kept total silence on Sirte while hyping up "our boys" in a style fit for a 1940s Hitler saluting Berlin parade, so too have the massacres and destruction equally been ignored by most of the posturing fake-"lefts".

Instead they have rushed to prove their petty bourgeois "soundness" to the ruling class, from Respect leader George Galloway's pompous and vile "good riddance" denunciation of Gaddafi to the SWP's idiot parroting of the "dancing in the streets" lying hype about supposed "Libyan joy", a glaringly wild exaggeration of the minority stooge monarchist and middle class opportunist "rebellion" built around footage of small groups of the reactionary "rebels" declared to be "tens of thousands" by the criminal and knowing cynicism of the reports and presenters but in film footage obviously tiny groupings sometimes no more than half a dozen declared to be "the people of Libya".

Even now it is supposedly over, the Transitional National Council stooges dare not move to Tripoli from Benghazi because there is mass hostility.

What "popular revolution"???

Whatever is finally concluded about Gaddafi, it is anyway not the point. Leninism did not call for his victory anyway, but for defeat of the imperialist onslaught.

It is capitalism which is the problem in the world, and anything that supports it (including the fake-"lefts").

NATO's victory does not make the world a better place but adds to the momentum towards war and destruction.

This monstrous Libya fraud has been a complete racket from the beginning anyway, a deliberately provoked "mass rebellion" (no such thing) long being prepared by CIA/MI6 infiltration and the bribery of assorted disaffected petty bourgeois and exile reactionaries.

It was hastily swung into action because of the crisis driven outbreak of genuine revolution in Egypt and Tunisia as at least one or two of the more level headed "lefts" have been able to say like the academic American professor James Petras (see Socialist Review following).

But while Petras' excellent detail is useful, including the grasp of the way imperialism has headed off reform in Egypt and Tunisia (where the old trick of swamping the latest election with non-choices while leaving capitalism intact, is now being pulled) his political conclusions echo all the limp "democracy" illusions of late revisionist degeneration, a million miles away from any revolutionary understanding.

With three thousand words to play with he does not even mention the overall driving crisis of capitalism and its relentless pushing of the entire planet towards not just renewed warmongering, but the all-out destruction of world war, as an even more important reason for the blitzkrieg than the anti-Arab spring counter-revolution he correctly pins down.

Just listen to these last two fatuous and pious paragraphs (edited out from the pages further on):

Is it too much to hope that a War Crimes Tribunal could be organized to prosecute NATO leaders for crimes against humanity, for genocide against the people of Libya? Can the brutal link between costly imperial wars abroad and increasing austerity and domestic decay lead to the revival of an anti-imperialist peace movement based on withdrawal of imperial troops abroad and public domestic investments for jobs, health and education for the working and middle class?

If the destruction and occupation of Libya marks a time of infamy for the NATO powers, it also establishes a new awareness that a people can struggle and resist 6 months of intense, massive bombings from all the NATO powers. Perhaps when their heroic example becomes clear and the fog of media propaganda is lifted, a new emerging generation of fighters can vindicate the battle of Libya, as a continuation of the struggle for the definitive emancipation of the Afro-Arab and Islamic peoples from the yoke of Western imperialism.

And by whom and how, pray, is such a future "tribunal" to be organised and how will it bring these capitalist leaders to account if it is not by revolution, in which case they will be answering for a lot more than Libya alone.

What hopeless tokenist reformism!

Leaving such a question open in the abstract simply feeds illusions of some kind of airy-fairy "democratic" magic happening which is the disastrous garden path that revisionism has been leading the working class along for sixty years, and which led all the way to the liquidation and capitulation of the Soviet Union and its workers state by Gorbachevism relying on the "free market" "democracy" and no doubt the "kindness of strangers".

Bourgeois democracy is the dictatorship of capital masked by parliamentary pretence and that will soon be stripped away more and more too.

This "Marxism" does not have the remotest clue about the overall world shattering epochal changes of which Libya is a mere warm-up, and its "well meaning" conclusions on the future perspectives for struggle are, like all such comfortable "solidarity", saturated in complacency and totally disastrous as a perspective.

Its hopes are for other people, "over there" and not explained at all as part of a world revolutionary development that is brewing everywhere and most of all into the heartland of capitalist power, the US itself where deprivation and slump poverty is rising rapidly (see Socialist Review second item).

The question is not one of victory to Africa, Arabia or anywhere else, it is one of defeat for imperialism.

In true revisionist form Petras slides quickly over the shaming role of the Beijing revisionist leadership of China's workers state, in playing along with capitalism's Goebbels campaign against Libya, voting for sanctions in the UN and then refusing to use its veto on the no-fly zone motion which everyone knew would morph into total invasion by NATO (including Petras himself).

Slyly he even talks up China's economic ascendancy and trade war competitiveness while knowing full well what the politics have been.

Some EPSR comrades have recommended Petras in the past but they should look more closely. Useful detail is one thing but as the EPSR has said in the past about other such worthy academics like Terry Eagleton in the UK "such 'Marxist' reputations are a serious menace to civilisation's health."

The few limited sections of the fake-"left" which to their credit have avoided the craven and shaming collusion of the majority of the "swamp" in the Libya destruction are no better in practice.

As the EPSR has analysed already (without an answer) the Lalkar/Proletarian has been making much of its "support" for Libya to hype up is claims to be "the revolutionary general staff" as it woodenly and bureaucratically describes the role of the revolutionary party (instead of grasping the role of the Leninist party to be one of stimulating, leading and guiding the constant debate and struggle openly in front of, and within, the working class for understanding and establishing the truth, – with the battle for constantly developing theory the very heart of leadership, not some overall "£command" structure).

Like all Stalinists, Lalkar/Proletarian long ago abandoned the open polemic (which it why it never responds to the EPSR's scientific argument).

Its latest lengthy piece on Libya is even less perceptive than Petras, listing five, count them, five reasons for the attacks on Libya all of which miss out the suppression of the Arab Spring and equally like Petras the overwhelmingly important significance of the capitalist crisis.

Here they are:

To grab its oil wealth and water resources; to stop the Libyan example of a country using its resources for the betterment of the lives of its people spreading; to thwart the project for African unity, aimed at freeing this rich continent from the clutches of imperialism - for which Gaddafi's Libya was the leading protagonist and financier; to punish the Libyan regime for the generous and self-less support it has rendered to anti-imperialist and liberation struggles across the world; to grab Libya's huge sovereign wealth funds as a warning to other regimes as to the consequences of pursuing an independent and anti-imperialist economic and foreign policy.

Which is fine but missing the point - they are all subsidiary issues.

The suppression of world revolution is the critical matter, which itself follows from the fact that world revolution is both stirring and vitally needed.

And that is because of the world crisis unstoppably unravelling.

But that does not even emerge in Lalkar's five page article until the last paragraphs, a token add-on instead of the central issue.

And its formalised statements about "the worst ever crisis" it is clearly seen only as "yet another" crisis, instead of the latest sickening lurch in an unravelling of the class domination system that has been underway for more than a century and particularly in the last 30 years of the post-war period, and which is unstoppable.

And this failure to understand and explain an epochal collapse is why it warns simply that "under the hammer blow" of its crisis capitalism will launch a "series of wars" against victim countries.

So it will, as the EPSR's lone voice has warned for 30 years, but not just that.

This is not "a series of wars" but the unfolding of one giant warmongering disintegration which the ruling class consciously grasps, as the Pentagon's deliberate declaration of "endless war" at the start of the Iraq blitzkrieg, makes clear.

It is where the Euro-squabbling is heading.

Just another way of phrasing it and just saying the same thing?

It is utterly different.

One is a perspective of the revolutionary collapse of society which can only be stopped by revolutionary transformation, the other a restatement of Stalin's disastrous revision of Marxism in the 1952 book "Economic Problems", suggesting that a "weakened" capitalism could be "contained" and while still aggressive and warmongering, was no longer threatening total destructive world war.

What was needed was a sufficiently vigorous "peace struggle" the entire post-war world "communist movement" was encouraged to believe, a strategy which led directly to the "peaceful roads" and "democratic ways" which have been utter disaster for the working class, and which culminated in the disastrous liquidation of the Soviet Union by Gorbachevism.

And, for all that Lalkar/Proletarian declares that capitalism must "be overthrown" (in a single paragraph at the end of its Libya piece) ,it is still declaring that workers can "stop capitalism making war".

It may now have been thrown out of the completely degenerate Trotskyist dominated "Stop the War" movement because of the foul collusion of these petty Trot groups with imperialism but Lalkar stills fails to make the revolutionary point and continues to advocate the same pacifist methodology.

This has nothing to do with Marxism as the EPSR has many times pointed out: is carried off by using a similar, sinister, sleight-of-hand that Stalin uses in "Economic Problems" (see previous EPSRs), - by pretending that "world war" is something totally different from "imperialist wars" when the two are obviously one-and-the-same thing (e.g. every year from the 1931 Japanese invasion of China to the 1941 invasion of the USSR, and Pearl Harbour attack, are confidently given in HUNDREDS of serious and worthy history books as "the start of World War II" when "imperialist wars" supposedly "turned into something else").

[It is]..the total lack of seriousness about maintaining Marxist-Leninist international revolutionary THEORY which Stalinism is most plainly and disastrously guilty of, compared to all its other mistakes and crimes.

Minus theory, the "centralised leadership" of ANY kind of communist international could only be an ongoing disaster.

But Stalinist complacency could not even be bothered to continue the Cominform fake "international" such was its philistinism.

The Lalkar/SLP circles are Revisionism degenerated a thousand times WORSE.

Imperialist warmongering is rising towards a crescendo again, but the utterly useless "stop the war" peace protesting and "strike-boycott" posturing is now the ONLY sound heard.

Not even the word "revolution" survives, - "peaceful" or otherwise.

(EPSR 1193 15-07-03)

The philosophy of class revolutionary education in this clearly stated Leninist science is that if thousands of cadres are needed to "persuade workers in their workplace to block war efforts"; "to stop the anti-communists from shielding Labourism's responsibility for the war"; "to make sure that large anti-war mobilisations are not frustrated by reformism"; "to stop Labour being any longer seen as the party of the working class"; etc, etc, etc, - - then those cadres can ONLY be recruited, organised, and inspired by the NON-STOP propagation of REVOLUTION, and nothing else.

Lalkar is pure reform agitation, - 20 pages solid, every issue.

And if that scabby little gesture of throwing in a subordinate clause posture about "overthrow of imperialism" is interpreted as a sign of life in this Stalinist museum, then it could equally be a WORSE sign of some deliberate belated attempt to carry on fooling would-be "revolutionary" followers who are stifling under Lalkar SLP hypocrisy.

Potential forces in revolutionary workers movement cannot convincingly be assessed on the basis of individual worthwhileness. But a difference can be examined in how any perspective can demonstrably be shown to be endlessly openly inquiring and re-inquiring into every aspect of the historical class struggle, - past, present, and future, including its own mistakes, believing that polemicising on everything IN FRONT OF THE WORKING CLASS is the only way to a longterm reliable revolutionary party of leadership, ------ and how other perspectives or tendencies are ONLY motivated by sectarian self-justification and self-preservation. (EPSR 1170 04-02-03)

To the odd casual 'Marxist', the fullscale revolutionary crisis is just an occasional and very 'unusual' event instead of seeing it properly as THE GREAT MOTIVE FORCE of all historical development, and as THE BIG EVENT in all history.

From this lack of conviction that the capitalist system really does collapse in total economic chaos from time to time, the fake-'left' chorus, posturing 'anti-war' on air, virtually NEVER insists that the real issue is economic catastrophe for Western imperialist rule and that the universal warmongering hysteria is bourgeois propaganda's chosen method for the big 'free- market' world leaders to get out of their humiliation, virtually unscathed and with most of their wealth intact while the rest of the world gets blitzed, destroyed, boycotted, betrayed, dumped-on, and eaten up with recriminations, false blame, guilt, shame, or suicidal misery, etc, etc.

This inability or unwillingness by the fake-'left' to see that it is imperialist crisis which needs to be permanently on the defensive in all arguments, means that it is the anti-war pleading which always comes across as somehow just "avoiding unpleasantness" with no "real gravitas" about where the world can seriously start heading next if not to war, - just all a bit do-gooding, heartfelt amateurishness with really little to say except condemn violence. (1168 21-01-03)

The posturing has become a little more vigorous with the unravelling of the crisis but there is still not the slightest effort by Lalkar/Proletarian to stimulate and guide the giant open discussion in the working class that is urgently needed (most of all to understand what were the achievements of the Soviet Union (gigantic) but equally its disastrous mistakes).

The working class does not need a "general staff", it needs open political and philosophical guidance to build its own understanding, which is real leadership.

Lalkar/Proletarian simply does the opposite, covering up its mistakes as always.,

E.g. like Petras it does not mention Beijing in five pages on Libya, let alone try to get to the nub of why Beijing is capable of such a betrayal.

Instead like Petras it continues to laud and praise Chinese workers state development, covering up completely this disastrous expression of the "permanent peaceful coexistence" strategy of Stalinism manifest in the Chinese actions.

It takes some cheek to conclude with a call for "a determined and relentless struggle against opportunism" even lifting a quote from Lenin to do it.

That is not just hypocrisy, but adds a further opportunist sleight of hand, pretending that Lenin himself was a reformist by slyly suggesting that he would "not yet" have called for the dictatorship of the working class.

Unless the revolutionary section of the proletariat is thoroughly prepared in every way for the expulsion and suppression of opportunism it is useless even thinking about the dictatorship of the proletariat... The Constituent Assembly Elections and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat- Dec 1919 ---

quotes Lalkar, leaving the implication hanging in the air that somehow it is "premature".

This turns Lenin's meaning on its head. Lenin's works start, begin and end with the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat (see quotes page 6). It is always central.

What he is calling for is a re-doubling of the struggle against opportunism precisely because the dictatorship of the proletariat can only be built firmly if that is done.

It is foul, deliberate cynical opportunism by Lalkar/Proletarian to pretend that Lenin means dropping such slogans "for now" just at the point when it has never been more possible to challenge the reformist and pacifist illusions which have hampered the class struggle for decades.

It is a shallow, debasing and philistine insult to then declare Lenin's words justify pacifism and can "guide us in the anti-war movement".

Lenin had nothing but contempt for pacifism (see EPSR 1193 for Lenin quotes on war in a previous (unanswered) polemic).

A struggle against opportunism should start with this CPGB-ML cynical trickery.

Build Leninism.

Don Hoskins


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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

(edited extracts from a variety of anti-imperialist struggles).

14th September 2011

NATO's War Crimes in Libya: Sanctions against defiance

by James Petras

The NATO invasion of Libya was basically a response to the "Arab spring" : the popular uprisings which spread from North Africa to the Persian Gulf. The NATO assault formed part of a general counter-attack designed to contain and reverse the popular democratic and anti-imperialist movements which had ousted or were on the verge of overthrowing US-client dictators.

Political and military considerations were foremost in motivating the NATO invasion: As late as May 2009, the U.S. and European regimes were developing close bilateral military, economic and security agreements with the Gaddafi regime. ... official Libyan documents found in its Foreign Office described how on December 16, 2003, the US CIA and British mi6 established close collaboration with the Gaddafi government. The mi6 provided Gaddafi with details on Libyan opposition leaders exiled in England and even drafted a speech for him as he sought rapprochement with the outside world.

U.S. Secretary of State Clinton presented Mutassin Gaddafi to the Washington press during a visit in 2009 stating, "I am very pleased to welcome Minister Gaddafi to the State Department. We deeply value the relationship between the United States and Libya. We have many opportunities to deepen and broaden our co-operation and I am very much looking forward to building on this relationship."

Between 2004-2010 the largest oil and petroleum service multinational corporations, including British Petroleum, Exxon Mobil, Halliburton, Chevron, Conoco and Marathon Oil joined with military-industrial giants like Raytheon and Northrop Grumman,

Dow Chemical and Fluor and signed enormous investments and sales deals with Libya.

In 2009, the U.S. State Department awarded a $1.5 million dollar grant to train Libyan civilian and government security forces. The White House budget for 2012 included a grant for training Libyan security forces. General Dynamics signed a $165 million dollar deal in 2008 to equip Libya's elite mechanized brigade.

On August 24, 2011 Wikileaks released US embassy cables from Tripoli, which described the positive assessment a group of leading Republican senators had made of US-Libyan relations in during their visit in late 2009. These cables highlighted ongoing security training programs involving Gaddafi's police and military, as well as the US' strong support for the regime's repression of radical Islamists, many of whom are now leading the NATO-backed 'rebel forces' now occupying Tripoli.

What caused the NATO countries to shift abruptly from a policy of embracing Gaddafi to launching a brutal scorched-earth invasion of Libya in a matter of months? The key is the popular uprisings, which threatened Euro-US domination. The near total destruction of Libya, a secular regime with the highest standard of living in Africa, was meant to be a lesson, a message from the imperialists to the newly aroused masses of North Africa, Asia and Latin America: The fate of Libya awaits any regime which aspires to greater independence and questions the ascendancy of Euro-American power.

NATO's savage six-month blitz - over 30,000 air and missile assaults on Libyan civil and military institutions - was a response to those who claimed that the US and the EU were on the "decline" and that the "empire was in decay". The radical Islamist and monarchist-led "uprising" in Benghazi during March 2011 was backed by and served as a pretext for the NATO imperial powers to extend their counter-offensive on the road to "neo-colonial restoration".

The Phony "Rebel Uprising"

Nothing is more obvious than the fact that the entire war against Libya was in every strategic and material fashion NATO's war. The casting of the rag-tag collection of monarchists, Islamist fundamentalists, London and Washington-based ex-pats and disaffected Gaddafi officials as "rebels" is a pure case of mass media propaganda. From the beginning the "rebels" depended completely on the military, political, diplomatic and media power of NATO, without which the de facto mercenaries would not have lasted a month, holed up in Benghazi.

...NATO launched brutal air and sea attacks destroying the Libyan air force, ships, energy depots, tanks, artillery and armories and killed and wounded thousands of soldiers, police and civilian militia fighters. Until NATO's invasion the mercenary "rebel" ground forces had not advanced beyond Benghazi and could barely "hold" territory afterwards. The "rebel" mercenaries "advanced" only behind the withering round-the-clock air attacks of the NATO offensive.

NATO air strikes were responsible for the massive destruction of Libyan civilian and defensive military infrastructure, bombing ports, highways, warehouses, airports, hospitals, electrical and water plants and neighborhood housing, in a war of "terror" designed to "turn" the loyalist mass base against the Gaddafi government. The mercenaries did not have popular backing among Libyan civilians, but NATO brutality weakened active opposition against the "rebel" mercenaries.

NATO won key diplomatic support for the invasion by securing UN resolutions, mobilizing their client rulers in the Arab League, procuring US mercenary trained 'legionnaires' from Qatar and the financial backing of the rich rabble in the Gulf. NATO forced "cohesion" among the feuding clans of self-appointed "rebel" mercenary leaders via its ("freezing") seizure of overseas Libyan government assets amounting to billions of dollars. Thus the financing, arming, training and advising by "Special Forces" were all under NATO control.

NATO imposed economic sanctions, cutting off Libya's income from oil sales.. NATO ran an intensive propaganda campaign parading the imperial offensive as a "rebel uprising"; disguising the blistering bombardment of a defenseless anti-colonial army as "humanitarian intervention" in defense of "pro-democracy civilians". The centrally choreographed mass media blitz extended far beyond the usual liberal circles, to convince "progressive" journalists and their newspapers, as well as intellectuals to paint the imperial mercenaries as "rebels" and to condemn the heroic 6-month resistance of the Libyan army and people against foreign aggression. The pathologically racist Euro-US propaganda published lurid images of Libyan government troops (often portrayed as "black mercenaries") receiving massive quantities of "Viagra" from Gadhafi while their own families and homes were, in fact, under aerial assault and blockade by NATO.

The main contribution of the mercenary "conquerors" in this grand production was to provide photo opportunities of rag-tag "rebels" waving rifles in Pentagon-style Che Guevara poses riding around in pickup trucks arresting and brutalizing African migrant workers and black Libyans. The mercenary "liberators" triumphantly entered Libyan cities and towns, which were already scorched and devastated by the NATO colonial air force. Needless to say the mass media "adored" them.

In the aftermath of NATO's destruction, the "rebel" mercenaries showed their true talents as death squads: They organized the systematic execution of "suspected Gaddafi supporters" and the pillage of homes, stores, banks and public institutions related to the defeated regime. To "secure" Tripoli and snuff out any expression of anti-colonial resistance, the "rebel" mercenaries carry out summary executions - especially of black Libyans and sub-Saharan African workers and their families. The "chaos" in Tripoli described by the mass media is due to the "self-styled liberation" forces running amok. The only quasi-organized forces in Tripoli appear to be the Al Qaeda-linked militants, NATO's erstwhile allies.

Consequences of the NATO Conquest of Libya

According to "rebel" mercenary technocrats, NATO's policy of systematic destruction will cost Libya at least a "lost decade". This is an optimistic assessment of how long "reconstruction" will take for Libya to regain the economic levels of February 2011. The major petroleum companies have already lost hundreds of millions in profits and over the decade are expected to lose billions more due to the flight, assassination and jailing of thousands of experienced Libyan and foreign experts, skilled immigrant workers and technical specialists in all fields, especially in view of the destruction of Libyan infrastructure and telecommunication systems.

Sub-Sahara Africa will suffer a huge set-back with the cancellation of the proposed "Bank of Africa", which Gaddafi was developing as an alternative source of investment finance and the destruction of his alternative communication system for Africa. The process of re-colonization involving imperial rule via NATO and UN mercenary "peace keepers" will be chaotic given the inevitable strife among hostile armed Islamist fundamentalists, monarchists, neo-colonial technocrats, tribal warlords and clans as they carve up their private fiefdoms. Intra-imperial rivalries and local political claimants to the oil wealth will further enhance the "chaos" and degrade civilian life, in a nation which had once boasted the highest per capita income and standard of living in Africa.

Complex irrigation and petroleum networks, developed under Gaddafi and destroyed by NATO, will remain in shambles. As the example of Iraq has vividly proven, NATO is better at destroying than constructing a modern secular state rooted in a modern civil bureaucracy, universal free public education, secular judicial system and modern health services. The US policy of rule and ruin reigns supreme in NATO's juggernaut.

Motivation for the Invasion

What motivated NATO to initiate a massive, six-month long aerial bombardment of Libya, followed by invasion and crimes against humanity? Civilian deaths and the widespread destruction of Libyan civil society by NATO flies in the face of its claims that the air assaults were meant to "protect civilians" from imminent Gaddafi-led genocide, "rebel" claims which were never substantiated. Bombing Libya's critical economic infrastructure allows us to categorically conclude that the NATO assault has little to do with "economic rationality" or any such consideration. The primary motivation for NATO's actions can be found in earlier policies related to a spring counter-offensive against the mass popular movements that overthrew US-EU puppets in Egypt and Tunisia and were threatening client regimes in Yemen, Bahrain and elsewhere.

Despite the fact that the US-NATO were already engaged in several colonial wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia) and Western public opinion had been demanding withdrawal in light of the costs, Western imperial leaders felt too much was at stake and calculated that losses could be minimized.

NATO's overwhelming mastery of the air and sea made short work of Libya's puny military defense capability, allowing them to bomb the cities, ports and vital infrastructure with impunity and enforce a total economic blockade. They calculated that massive bombing would terrorize the Libyan people into submission and bring about a quick colonial victory without any NATO military losses, the prime concern of Western public opinion, and permit a triumphant "rebel" mercenary army to march into Tripoli.

The Arab popular rebellions were the central concern and the motor force behind NATO's destruction of Libya. These mass popular uprisings had toppled the long-standing pillars of US-Israel-EU dominance in the Middle East. The fall of the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak and his Tunisian counterpart Ben Ali sent tremors through the imperial foreign offices. These successful uprisings had the immediate ripple effect of inspiring similar movements throughout the region. Bahrain, housing the key naval base for the US navy in the Middle East and neighboring Saudi Arabia (the US key strategic ally in the Arab world), witnessed a prolonged massive uprising of civil society, while Yemen ruled by the US- puppet Ali Saleh, faced mass popular movements and militant resistance. Morocco and Algeria were experiencing popular demands for democracy. The common thread in the Arab peoples' movements was their demands to end EU, US and Israeli domination of the region, an end to massive corruption and nepotism, free elections and a solution to wide-spread unemployment via large-scale job programs. As anti-colonial movements grew in breadth and intensity their demands radicalized from political to social democracy, from a democratic to an anti-imperialist foreign policy. Workers' demands were enforced by strikes and calls for the prosecution of repressive police and internal security and military officials guilty of crimes against their citizens.

The U.S., E.U. and Israel were caught by surprise - their intelligence agencies so deeply embedded in the smelly crevices of their clients' secret police institutions failed to detect the popular explosions. The popular uprisings came at a critical and inopportune moment, especially for the US where domestic support for NATO wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had declined sharply given the economic crises and major social cutbacks to pay for these wars. Moreover, in Iraq and Afghanistan the US-NATO troops were losing ground: The Taliban was, in effect, the real "shadow government". Pakistan, despite its puppet regime and compliant generals, faced overwhelming popular opposition to the air war against its citizens in frontier villages and towns. The US drone strikes killing militants and civilians were answered with the sabotage of vital transport supplying the occupation forces in Afghanistan. Faced with the deteriorating global situation, the NATO powers, decided that they needed to counter-attack in the most decisive and visible manner by destroying an independent, secular regime like Libya and thereby re-affirming their global supremacy, countering the image of defeat and retreat and, above all, re-energizing the "declining imperial power".

The Imperial Counter-Attack

The US led the way in its counter-offensive in Egypt, by backing the power grab by the military junta led by Mubarak loyalists, who then proceeded to disperse and repress the pro-democracy and workers movements and to end all talk of restructuring the economy. A pro-NATO collective dictatorship of generals replaced the personal autocratic rule of Hosni Mubarak. The NATO powers provided "emergency" billions to float the new regime and "derail" the Egyptian people's march to democracy. In Tunisia a similar process took hold: The EU, especially France and the US, backed a reshuffling of the ousted regime bringing to the fore a new/old cast of neo-colonial politicians. They plied them with funds, insuring that the military-police apparatus remained intact despite continued mass discontent with the conformist policies of the "new/old regime".

In Bahrain and Yemen, the NATO powers followed a dual track, unsure of the outcome between the massive pro-democracy movements and the pro-imperial autocrats. In Bahrain, the West called for "reform'"and "dialogue" with the majority Shia population and a peaceful resolution, while continuing to arm and protect the Bahraini royalty - all the while looking for a pliant alternative if the incumbent puppet was overthrown. The NATO-backed Saudi invasion of Bahrain in support of the dictatorship and the subsequent wave of terror effectively showed West's true intentions. In Yemen the NATO powers continued to support the brutal Ali Saleh regime.

Meanwhile the NATO powers were exploiting internal discontent in Syria by arming and providing diplomatic support to the Islamic fundamentalists and their minority neo-liberal allies in an effort to overthrow the Bashar al-Assad regime. Thousands of Syrian civilians, police and soldiers have been killed in this simmering civil war, which NATO propaganda presents as a case of state terror against "peaceful civilians", ignoring the killing of soldiers and civilians by armed Islamists and the very real threat to Syria's secular population and religious minorities.

The destruction and invasion of Libya reversed seven years of accommodation and co-operation with Gaddafi. There were no "incidents" in Libya or elsewhere that had threatened the NATO countries' economic and military interests. Libya was still an independent country, pursuing a pro-African agenda which had spearheaded and funded the establishment of an independent regional bank and communications system designed to bypass IMF and World Bank control. Libya's close ties to all the major NATO oil companies and to Wall Street investment banks as well as its ongoing bilateral military programs with the US did not shield it from the NATO's attack. Libya was deliberately destroyed by a 6-month campaign of relentless bombing by NATO air and naval forces to serve as an example to the Arab popular movements.

NATO's message to the Arab pro-democracy movements was that it was prepared to launch new offensive wars with the same devastating consequences as the Libyan people just endured; the imperial powers were not in decline and any independent anti-colonial regime would suffer the same fate. NATO's message to the African Union was clear: There will be no independent regional bank organized by Gaddafi or anyone else. There is no alternative to imperial banks, the IMF or the World Bank.

Through the devastation of Libya, the West was telling the Third World that, contrary to the pundits who chattered about "the decline of the US empire", NATO was willing to use overwhelming and genocidal military power to establish puppet regimes, no matter how backward, vicious and regressive the puppets, because they will ultimately obey NATO and answer to the White House.

NATO's invasion and destruction of a secular modern republic, like Libya, which had used its oil wealth to develop Libyan society, was a stern message to democratic popular movements. Any independent Third World regime can be rolled back; colonial puppet regimes can be foisted onto a devastated people; the end of colonialism is not inevitable, imperial rule is back.

NATO's invasion of Libya sends a message to freedom fighters everywhere: There is a high cost to independence; acting outside of imperial channels, even if only to a limited degree, can bring swift destruction. Moreover, the NATO war on Libya demonstrates to all nationalist regimes that making concessions to Western economic, political and military interests— as Gaddafi's sons and their neo-liberal entourage had pursued full accommodation—does not offer security. In fact concessions may have encouraged imperial penetration. The West's burgeoning ties with Libyan officials facilitated their defections and promised an easy victory over Tripoli. The NATO powers believed that with a regional uprising in Benghazi, a handful of defectors from the Gaddafi regime and their military control of the air and sea, Libya would be an easy victory on the way to a widespread rollback of the Arab Spring.

The "cover" of an orchestrated regional military-civilian "uprising" and the imperial mass media propaganda blitz against the Libyan government was sufficient to convince the majority of western leftist intellectuals to take up the cudgels for the mercenary "rebels": Samir Samir Amin, Immanuel Wallerstein, Lowy, Juan Cole and many others backed the mercenary "rebels" ... demonstrating the irrelevance and bankruptcy of the remnants of the old left.

The invasion and conquest of Libya marks a new phase in Western imperialism's drive to reassert its primacy in the Arab-Islamic world. The ongoing offensive is clearly evident in the mounting pressures, sanctions, and arming of the Syrian opposition to Bashar al-Assad, the ongoing consolidation of the Egyptian military junta and the demobilization of the pro-democracy movement in Tunisia. How far "backwards" the process can be pushed depends on the revitalization and regrouping of the pro-democracy movements, currently in ebb.

Unfortunately, NATO's victory over Libya will strengthen the arguments of the militarist wings of the US and EU ruling class who claim that the "military option" brings results, that the only policy that "the anti-colonial Arabs" understand is force. The Libyan outcome will strengthen the hand of policymakers who favor a continued long-term US-NATO presence in Iraq and Afghanistan and promote a military offensive against Iran and Syria. Israel has already capitalized on NATO's victory against Gaddafi via its expansion of huge colonial settlements in the West Bank, increasing bombing and missile raids on Gaza, a major naval and army build-up in the Red Sea region adjoining Egypt and confrontational posturing toward Turkey.

As of early September, members of the African Union, especially South Africa, have yet to recognize the mercenary "transition" regime imposed by NATO on Libya. Aside from the Libyan people, Sub-Saharan Africa will be the biggest immediate loser in the overthrow of Gaddafi. Libya's generous aid, grants and loans, bought the African states a degree of independence from the harsh conditions of the IMF, World Bank and Western bankers. Gaddafi was a major sponsor and backer of regional integration - including the African Union. His large scale development programs, especially oil and water infrastructure and construction projects, employed hundreds of thousands of sub-Saharan African immigrant workers and specialists who remitted billions to their home countries, helping the balance of payments and reducing deficits and poverty at home. In place of Gaddafi's positive economic contribution, Africa now faces Tripoli transformed into a colonial outpost, fortifying US military command in Africa and a new push to strengthen military ties with the empire.

However, beyond the present-day celebrations of their imperial military success in Libya, the war only exacerbates the weakening of Western economies by diverting scarce domestic resources to wage prolonged wars with no decisive victories. Ongoing social cuts and harsh austerity programs have undercut any ruling class efforts to whip up phony mass chauvinist celebrations for "democratic victories over tyrants". The naked aggression against Libya has heightened Russian, Chinese and Venezuelan security concerns. Russia and China will veto any UN Security Council sanctions on Syria. Venezuela and Russia are signing new multibillion dollar military co-operation agreements, strengthening Caracas's military defense in the wake of the Libyan invasion.

For all the ruling class and mass media euphoria, the "win" over Libya, grotesque and criminal in the destruction of Libyan secular society and the ongoing brutalization of black Libyans, does not solve the profound economic crises in the EU-US. It does not affect China's growing competitive advantages over its western competitors. It does not end US-Israeli isolation faced with an imminent world-wide recognition of Palestine as an independent state. The absence of left-wing western intellectual solidarity for independent Third World nations, evident in their support for the imperial-based mercenary "rebels" is more than compensated by the emergence of a radical new generation of left-wing activists in South Africa, Chile, Greece, Spain, Egypt, Pakistan and elsewhere.

These are youth, whose solidarity with anti-colonial regimes is based on their own experience with exploitation, "marginalization" (unemployment) and repression at home.[...]


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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

(edited extracts from a variety of anti-imperialist struggles).

US: One in six in poverty

Number increased by 2.6 million, reaching 46.2 million poor

David Brooks

NEW YORK. - One in six people in the United States now lives in poverty, with 2.6 more joining the ranks of the poor in 2010, reaching the highest number in more than 50 years, according to official figures. At the same time, the middle class has been eroded to the extent that inequality in the country is comparable to that in Mexico.

Meanwhile, large corporations which have for decades depended on the enormous U.S. middle class market believe that this is a long-term trend and are adjusting their strategies to focus on two growing markets, the country's poor and the richest.

The figures released will no doubt further fuel the intense debate about unemployment and the stagnant economy which both President Barack Obama and the two parties in Congress must confront, as well as contributing to the view that there isn't much hope for economic recovery in the short term.

The U.S. Census Office reported September 13 that 46.2 million people in the country were living in poverty in 2010 (an increase of 2.6 million over the previous year) to reach a 15.1% level, the highest poverty rate since 1993, as well as being the third consecutive yearly increase. In terms of sheer numbers, this is the highest total ever recorded by the Census since it began gathering this kind of information 52 years ago. The official poverty line, in 2010, was defined as $22,113 for a family of four.



At the same time, the new data also reveals a significant decline in the middle class, with a reduction in real income of 2.3% in 2010, as compared to 2009. Average yearly household income was calculated as $49,400, 7% less than in 1999.

Several analyses over the last few years have shown that, despite significant increases in productivity, the average incomes of workers have remained, in real terms, at levels reached during the 1970's, given that wealth has continued to be more and more concentrated in the hands of the richest.

In fact, the Census reported that reductions in average household income were much more significant among the poor than among the rich: 10% of those at the lowest income levels suffered a 12.1% loss in income between 2009 and 2010, while the 10% at the highest income levels experienced only a 1.5% decline.

Worse off, as always, were minorities, women and children. The Census reported that, among Latinos, the poverty rate increased to 26.6% (25.3% in 2009) and for Afro-Americans it rose to 27.4% from 25.8% the previous year. Among whites the rate was estimated at 9.9%, up half a point since 2009.

In 2010, more than one of every five minors lives in poverty, 22%. Close to 35% of Latino children and 39% of Black children fall within this category.

Given the deteriorating economic situation, it can be assumed that all of these figures have only worsened during the last year.

All of this is an obvious outcome of the escalating unemployment rate, with 14 million out of work, 10 million underemployed and many who have given up, no longer looking for a job. The unemployment rate has been above 9% (16% when the underemployed are included) for more than two years. "Families are struggling to put food on the table and do not have the purchasing power to support an economic recovery," according to Isabel Sawhill, from the Brookings Institution, commenting on the new data in an interview with the Bloomberg news service.

These figures only serve to highlight growing economic inequality in the country. The United States remains one among those with the highest rates of poverty within the 34-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Only Chile, Israel and Mexico have higher rates and for two years now, the U.S. had the greatest inequality except for Mexico and Turkey, among countries in this group. On a list of 136 countries ranked according to the Gini coefficient, which places the country with the most inequality at number one, the U.S. ranked 39th in 2010, with a coefficient of 0.469. The Gini system is a statistical measure of inequality within a country's household incomes. A coefficient of zero would represent complete equality among all households and a one would indicate an extreme range of inequality. Mexico is ranked as number 27.

Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz, has reported that, in the last 10 years, the incomes of the 1% richest in the U.S. have risen 18%, while those of industrial workers have fallen 12%. One percent of households possess a third of the nation's wealth and in 2009, this 1% had a net worth 225 times greater than that of average households, according to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute.

The situation has reached such extremes that some of the largest companies in the U.S. have designed market strategies based on the reality of a shrinking middle class. According to the Wall Street Journal, Procter & Gamble, which once focused on promoting products to the middle class, has now shifted its focus to the less prosperous and the wealthy, both of which are expanding groups.

The company which estimates that its products are found in 98% of U.S. homes (detergent, toothpaste, etc.) is the largest consumer product producer worldwide and is projecting that the middle class, defined as households with annual incomes between $50,000 and $140,000, representing 40% of U.S. families, will continue to decline. "It has obliged us to think differently about out portfolio of products, by targeting the high-end and low-end markets. Frankly, that is where most growth is occurring," said Melanie Healey, president of the company's North American division, to the Wall Street Journal, which reported that various companies are perceiving the same trend. Tiffany's and other purveyors of luxury products enjoyed a great year in 2010.

The Journal reported that executives are studying the notorious Gini index which has recorded a 20% increase in inequality over the last 40 years, a trend which is now even more accentuated.

"We now have a Gini coefficient similar to that of the Philippines and Mexico; we never would have imagined that," Phyllis Jackson, Procter & Gamble vice president, told the Journal. •

GRANMA 25th September

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