No 1466 20th April 2015
Weird unreal General Election mood reflects total avoidance of real world events, warmongering and the devastating catastrophic failure of bankrupt out-of-time monopoly capitalism. Party proliferation and shallow hype desperately try to keep “democracy” pretence going only to buy time for class war preparations against mass turmoil and upheaval which will erupt as the gigantic world crisis unrolls into real Slump. Post-2008 riots are a tiny hint of the spontaneous revolt to come. Fake- “left” plays reactionary role keeping illusions in parliament alive despite almost universal working class contempt. So too does “left” safe spaces and “no platform” shut down of polemic on single-issue reformism also aid bureaucratic ”Prevent” state censorship of alleged “extremism” – a Nazi catch-all for anti-capitalist ideology. But suppressing “free speech” and the election collapse underline the dictatorship reality of bourgeois rule, the real fascism. Leninist revolutionary politics urgently needed
Playing the Hillary Clinton “feminist” card for the American presidential election, and ludicrous “spending commitment” fantasies in the spin-doctored hype of the UK election signal increasing capitalist desperation to keep the burnt-out “democracy” racket going just a little longer.
A panicked ruling class is simply buying time to prepare its counter-revolutionary moves against the gigantic class upheavals it knows are coming, (and which are already widespread in Third World “jihadism” etc), once the unstoppable world crisis of its profit exploitation system unravels back to, and far beyond, the total credit collapse catastrophe that erupted in 2008.
But once again the entire spectrum of fake-“left” parties is helping them do it, playing along as they always do, with the idea of “voting for socialism” or “to stop austerity” or even just to “keep the Tories out” or to “Stop fascism and racism”.
Nothing could be more misleading and deadly for the working class, diverting them from the only possible path out of the historic crash into Slump and Third World War, socialist revolution to end capitalism by taking power.
Nothing less than firm working class rule taking control of banks, factories, land and mines and all the means of production, to allow the building of a planned world economy, can now stop disastrous economic breakdown and end the imposition of workhouse “austerity”, (only just begun).
Nothing less than proletarian dictatorship can “stop fascism” which is just the vicious face of the capitalist system itself in crisis, not caused by particular parties or other ideologies, but generated by capitalist slump reaction and warmongering itself.
But instead of declaring sharply and clearly that capitalism is finished historically, and denouncing all capitalist “democracy” stoogery from the cynical class opportunism of mainstream TUC/Labourism to the “lefter”, but equally class-collaborating “non-Labour” unions, the “left” prop it up further with calls to vote.
Sustaining illusions in parliament whatever “left” pressure is supposed to go with it, is to sustain the capitalist system itself, which is the very basis of all the degeneracy, torture, racism, blitzkrieging and exploitation tyranny routinely imposed on the world and now unstoppable Slump disaster and deliberate world war as well.
What is needed is its defeat, at home and internationally too by class revolt, including from the rising tide of anti-Western anti-imperialist struggles already erupting (however confused), from the Ukrainian anti-Kiev-Nazism to anti-capitalist Middle East rebellion against corrupt neo-colonialism, from revolutionary struggle like Colombia’s FARC to the Palestinian’s dogged fight against genocidal Nazi-Zionism.
The “left” facilitate capitalist warmongering and world terrorising by their “condemnations” of the spontaneous revolt and by their illusions in “proper democracy”.
The hoodwinking democracy fraud has always been the most important weapon of the bourgeoisie to cover up the dictatorship reality of its system, where all the significant decisions are taken by and for, big money capital and its interests, which are to exploit the working class and strip it of the value it creates by its labour – the only source of value there is, creamed off into the hands of the “owning” class.
But bourgeois democracy has become increasingly threadbare with voting turnouts dropping decade by decade, in the UK, the US and other imperialist powers too, and widespread contempt internationally for its “freedom”.
A century or more of painfully won class experience of betrayal, corruption, and manipulation has slowly taught the practical lesson that parliamentary (or presidential) “democracy” is a giant racket that changes nothing for the working class, at best throwing out a few token welfare “reforms” at critical moments when artificial boom conditions allow, and potential revolution has to be headed off, and always rescinding them (as now) driving the working class back down into poverty, ruthless exploitation and speed-up when inevitable Slump returns.
The now deeply embedded folk understanding is that “politicians are all the same”, a corrupt bunch of pocket-lining self-seeking shysters and “scratch-my-back” mountebanks and freemasons (of assorted types) out for their own interests and ready to sell their own grandmothers, if they are not too busy buggering little boys, or covering up for such depravity.
For all the broad brush crudity of such popular views, they are essentially right.
So far has the process gone that the old “two party” stitch-up no longer works, as expressed by the proliferation of “alternative” parties, all bolstered by the bourgeois media machine to keep the pretence of “voting change” going.
The reality of unstoppable world economic catastrophe and imposed “austerity”, stepped-up domestic repression and ever more fascistic war blitzings imposed from Ukraine to Yemen, has also hugely further exposed the monstrous hoodwinking LIE and hypocrisy of the supposed “rule of law”, free speech, and “democratic rule” etc. shown up as one giant pretence covering up the cynical profiteering and greed of the ruling class.
Workers have more and more (correctly) turned against the sleazy, corrupted and degenerate parliamentary circus, and particularly against the major “democratic parties” which have long held the ring, both directly for the ruling class or as class collaborating opportunist Labourite stooges running imperialism for the ruling class.
Such contempt could potentially translate into open struggle to completely overturn this vile oppressive and barbaric fascist imperialist system and establish total working class rule, firmly suppressing the old reactionary bourgeoisie and its inevitable constant counter-revolutionary disruption and coup attempts, to build a planned economy for socialism and a fair, peaceful rational and eventually fully communist society.
But of its own accord, the harassed, overworked, deliberately misled, mis-educated and imperialism corrupted working class cannot develop the required scientific grasp and philosophical understanding of the balance of class forces in the world, to spontaneously develop the leadership for the struggle the crisis is forcing upon it.
Nor can it overcome the endless non-stop brainwashing that “communism does not work” – the world’s greatest LIE ever – without reconsidering and re-examining the history of class struggle so far, including the gigantic triumphs such as the 70 years of the USSR workers state and its vast scientific, cultural, military and social achievements (outdoing the entire world in some respects and above all in the titanic sacrifice and victory against Nazi German imperialist fascist slaughter) as well as the huge philosophical mistakes and revisionist retreats from revolutionary perspectives the same leadership made from pre-WW2 days onwards, gradually sliding into the complacency and brain-dead total stupidity of Gorbachevism and its pointless liquidation of the workers state, leaving “market forces” gangster carpet-baggers to plunder the huge accumulated resources built up by the working class alone.
What holds workers back is the total absence in the world of any struggle for rational understanding and the rotten sectarian anti-theory hostility of the petty bourgeois fake-“left” groups who refuse to debate out any questions whatsoever, covering up their middle-class hatred of workers state discipline (the Trotskyists) or their dunderheaded “peaceful road” and “democratic path” misunderstandings and complacency, built on Stalinist revisionism and accumulating errors which wiped out the revolutionary spirit and perspective from so-called “communist leadership” in Moscow leaving the giant philosophical vacuum of today, and the temporary turn to barmy religion to fill the gap.
Until a conscious revolutionary understanding is fought for and developed, through building the Leninist cadre party of open polemical struggle for scientific objective clarity, to leading the struggle, the masses remain vulnerable to the capitalist propaganda and non-stop brainwashing which have filled heads with anti-communist bogeyman lies since the very first days when revolutionary working class rule was established in 1917 and poured out ever since against the 70 years of gigantic achievements by the Soviet Union and other workers states from China and Vietnam to Cuba and North Korea (and still being tapped for imperialist war purposes to demonise even the idiot bonapartist Putin despite his continuing anti-communism and support for gangster oligarch exploitation now running restored capitalism in Russia).
A basic step is to denounce and explain the fraudulent and bogus nature of “democracy” itself, not boost it up by voting calls just when the working class has seen through it.
And alongside that should be the clearest explanation of the unstoppable tsunami of economic disaster which the capitalist production for private profit system has inevitably produced once more (just as Marx spent a lifetime explaining – see Capital, the Communist Manifesto and Lenin’s Imperialism - the highest stage of capitalism, for example + EPSR box).
Disaster has been held off only by demented Quantitative Easing.
But this non-stop empty credit creation, essentially electronic printing of completely valueless Mickey Mouse dollars (and Yen and Euros too), massively increasing the already irreversible inflationary pollution of the dollar over decades, is only a temporary “solution” to the epochal and unsolvable disaster built in to capitalism – and makes the underlying crisis failure ten times, or 100 times worse.
As soon as that implodes again, all kinds of mayhem will break out, not least in the heart of imperialism, far beyond the “terrorist” or “jihadist” turmoil erupting in the Middle East and Africa, and Latin American anti-Yankee feeling.
It will be all the more intensive as the great pipe dream of a steadily improving prosperous life fed to the well-off “metropolitan” working class through consumerism and anti-communist brainwashing – the modern “opium of the people” – implodes too.
Spontaneous rebellion and revolt is inevitable as the 2012 UK riots hinted (in the very tiniest and most confused of ways), or the Ferguson anti-police demonstrations have shown in the States and the ruling class is well advanced in snooping state surveillance and repression preparations, (witness the militarisation of the US police, the water cannons for London, the “Prevent” censorship programme against all “extremist” (read rebellious) talk) to supplement its worldwide warmongering diversions.
But the longer the ruling class can hold off the eye-opening educative effects of the reality of capitalist dictatorship rule, the better.
Keeping the working class quiescent and lulled into passivity is the game, away from any serious grasp of the onrushing collapse which will far outdo the “austerity” and cutbacks seen so far (whatever parliamentary pretenders are “in power”) and war destruction too.
Hence the so-called “election debate” underway which presents the world (and the “special UK”) as some cosy bubble of “recovery” with just a few differences to be argued out over how much “belt tightening” is needed, what the “NHS spend” should be, how to achieve “more equality” for single-issue causes like feminism and “gay rights” etc.etc.
The aim is to fool the working class a moment more that life is “on a steady course” with only a few “bumps in the road”, all solvable “within the system” etc etc.
It is a gigantic confidence trick.
First, the farcical British (and US) “recovery” is built on sand, using every sly trick in the book to bolster unrepayable debt and credit, feeding artificial “growth” bursts into the economy with desperate moves like release of billions in locked up pension funds, for a short term consumer-spend; feeding an inflamed property market with government fantasy credit (on top of hundreds of billions in bank bailouts); tax incentive bribes for overseas landlords swamping London with empty “luxury flats”; laundering tens of billions of worldwide gangster and drug funds through the City; attracting the world’s oligarchs and fatcat coporations to settle with honeypot deals and, above all, driving the working class into the floor with vicious workhouse sanctions, slave-level work practices and ruthless undercutting of wages and conditions, using massive import of cheap foreign labour and Third World “outsourcing”.
Continuing Third Wold sweatshop slave-level exploitation remains fundamental.
It is all about as stable as the wooden tower in a Jenga game.
Everyone know that as soon as the election is over the desperate Tories (or its Labourite/TUC stooge shadows) will be imposing cutbacks and exploitation savagery on a scale dwarfing the panicked “austerity” seen so far.
And that is without the real crisis in the world.
The coming hurricane of international financial collapse will sweep through and wipe out all such “upturn”.
Entire countries will be flattened at the whim of a panicked “international market” while already deadly and inflamed international currency and trade war conflicts will escalate, creating massive inter-imperialist hostility, by orders of magnitude.
Explosive war conflict is just below the surface.
The scale of the crisis is constantly hinted at by nervous bourgeois press commentary:
The prospect that higher interest rates in the world’s largest economy could come this year has already sent the dollar surging against the pound and euro. It has also fuelled fears of a meltdown in countries that have borrowed heavily in the US currency.
Borrowing is inherently risky, all the more so when the interest rate can change at short notice. Higher costs for those that have borrowed in dollars could cripple companies in Brazil and Turkey that were enticed by cheap credit to fund a new factory or office building, or just to pay the wages.
At the International Monetary Fund’s spring meeting last week, chief economist Olivier Blanchard dismissed these concerns, arguing that companies may have hedged their position, while investors and finance ministers were well prepared. But a succession of market shocks in the last two years has convinced many in the financial community that a bigger crash is coming. There have been violent movements in currencies, bonds and commodity prices, especially crude oil and metals. A rise in US interest rates could add to this already volatile situation and drag stock markets towards another sudden crash.
The IMF discussed the context in which another financial crash could occur in its latest financial stability report. It highlighted how any shock can send investors fleeing; with only sellers in the market, the price keeps plunging until someone believes it has gone far enough and starts buying.
The nervous state of markets these days means there is generally either a surplus of buyers or a surplus of sellers; only rarely have we seen periods of calm with roughly equal numbers. Last January, for instance, the Swiss franc soared an unprecedented 30% after the central bank conceded that tracking the ailing euro was no longer possible.
The previous year, markets had been rocked by the first hint from the US that it would end the era of ultra-cheap credit. It happened after former Fed boss Ben Bernanke let slip that he might stop pumping funds into the US economy through quantitative easing. The “taper tantrum” – referring to the premature “tapering” of QE – sent shock waves through world markets and forced a clarification from the Fed to steady the ship.
The IMF’s financial stability report discussed the potential for Taper Tantrum II. The scenario was worse, yet the warning was described by Larry Fink, boss of BlackRock, the world’s biggest private investment fund, as too optimistic. He is concerned about the European insurance industry, which must pay returns on pensions and other products at a time when the European Central Bank has been driving interest rates in much short-term government debt below zero; in other words, rather than earning interest on government bonds, insurers are paying to park their money in such assets. How could they survive for long under this regime, he asked. The IMF posed the same question, but again expected everything to work out for the best, somehow.
Developing economies are suffering their biggest capital outflows since the financial crisis.
Faced with recession, decade high inflation, a fiscal crisis and water rationing, more than 1m Brazilians took to the streets last month to protest against corruption and mismanagement in their government. In China, growth is slowing as property prices fall, propelling more than 1,000 iron ore mines toward financial collapse. The patriotic citizens of Russia, meanwhile, are deserting their nation’s banks, switching savings into US dollars.
Such snapshots of growing distress in the world’s largest emerging markets are echoed among many of their smaller counterparts. Several countries in SubSaharan Africa are beset by dwindling revenues and rising debts. Even the turbopowered petroeconomies of the Gulf, hit by a halving in the price of oil over the past six months to $55 a barrel, are moving into a slower lane.
Though these expressions of distress derive from disparate sources, one big and insidious trend is working to forge a common destiny for almost all emerging markets.
The gush of global capital that flowed into their economies in the six years since the 2008-09 financial crisis is in most countries now either slowing to a trickle or reversing course to find a safer home back in developed economies.
On an aggregate basis, the 15 largest emerging economies experienced their biggest absolute capital outflow since the crisis in the second half of last year, as a strong US dollar drove emerging market currencies into a swoon and investors grew nervous over the prospect of a tightening in US monetary policy, according to data compiled by ING. At the same time, low commodity prices slammed GDP growth rates across the developing world.
These trends, analysts say, signal a “great unravelling” of an emerging markets debt binge that has swollen to unprecedented dimensions. Importantly, the pain inflicted by this capital flight is being felt beyond financial markets in the real economies of vulnerable countries and in a surging number of emerging market corporations that are forecast to default on their debts.
“Certain parts of the world are looking really vulnerable,” says MaartenJan Bakkum, senior merging market strategist at ING Investment Management. “Places like Brazil, Russia, Colombia and Malaysia, that rely heavily on commodity exports, are going to get hit even harder, while those countries that have borrowed most excessively like Thailand, China and Turkey also look risky.”
Analysts say that while emerging markets have been the setting for several recent financial squalls, the current exodus of capital could herald more fundamental changes. Indeed, although the “taper tantrum” of mid-2013 — triggered by the US Federal Reserve signalling its intention to unwind its monetary stimulus — caused turmoil in financial markets, its impact on real emerging market economies was transitory.
This time around, though, things look more serious. The International Monetary Fund said this week that total foreign currency reserves held by emerging markets in 2014 — a key indicator of capital flows — suffered their first annual decline since records began in 1995.
Without steady capital inflows, emerging market countries have less money to pay their debts, finance their deficits and spend on infrastructure and corporate expansion.
Real economic growth is set to suffer this year, analysts say. Capital Economics expects GDP growth in emerging markets to fall to 4 per cent from 4.5 per cent in 2014, as Russia slips deeper into recession, Brazil continues to struggle and China is hampered by its ailing property market.
Underlying such sober projections is a sense that an inflection point has been reached with the end of the commodity “supercycle” and the advent of low oil prices. “What is going on is a great unravelling of the market conditions of the past 15 years,” says Paul Hodges of International eChem, a chemicals and commodities consultancy.
Mr Bakkum also sees a significant reversal in the animating forces of global capitalism.
“The EM capital outflows represent the gradual unwinding of the excessive inflows into the emerging world during the years of zero interest rates in the US,” he says.
However, the outlook is not universally bad. Investors have flocked to India, which has a reform minded government and has gained from falling energy prices that have helped it slash its current account deficit. Indonesia and Mexico are also attracting investment for similar reasons.
Nevertheless, according to data collated by ING for the leading 15 emerging market economies, net capital outflows in the second half of last year totalled $392.4bn. This compared to a total of $545.9bn in capital outflows over three quarters during the 200809 crisis. If the first quarter of this year also shows a capital outflow, the total loss from emerging markets over three quarters could get close to that seen during the crisis. It is possible, analysts say, that outflows will not only continue in the first quarter of this year but may actually accelerate to eclipse the $250.2bn seen in the final three months of 2014.
There is, though, a more worrying explanation for the Conservatives, namely that ... [Tory] hardcore supporters are receptive to the cocktail of dodgy statistics, platitudes and uncosted promises that Cameron has served up. To amend Abraham Lincoln’s famous saying, in a UK general election you don’t need to fool all of the people all of the time, you just need to fool enough of the people for the duration of a six-week campaign.
[But] not enough voters are buying the idea that Cameron and George Osborne have miraculously transformed the economy from basketcase to world-beater in five years. And there’s a simple reason for that. It’s not true.
Let’s start with the coalition’s own record. The natural tendency of an economy is to grow a bit each year. A combination of better equipment and the development of new skills, together with innovation means that in only a handful of years since the second world war has the UK failed to grow. Since 1945, the economy’s average growth rate has been around 2.5% a year.
So it is not a miracle that the Conservatives have presided over a growing economy because that’s what economies do. They tend to grow particularly quickly during recoveries from recession, when there is plenty of spare capacity that can be used up and interest rates can be kept low without a risk of inflation. Yet despite the Bank of England keeping interest rates at 0.5% for the duration of the 2010 to 2015 parliament, the recovery has been weak, with growth averaging a bit more than 1.5% a year.
Even worse, most of the growth has been the result of a rising population rather than higher productivity. Growth per head has been nugatory, which explains why real incomes have been squeezed. It may also explain why voters are resistant to one of the Conservative party’s favourite soundbites, namely that the “long-term economic plan is working”.
An account of how and why the chancellor came up with his long term economic plan is contained in William Keegan’s smashing new book, Mr Osborne’s Economic Experiment, published by Searching Finance. My Observer colleague rightly notes that while it suited the coalition politically to paint the UK in the spring of 2010 as a country akin to Greece, the austerity measures imposed were needlessly harsh and counterproductive. Raising VAT and cutting back on capital spending were both serious blunders, and the result was that within two years, Osborne brought the economy to a standstill.
At that point, in 2012, the original long-term economic plan was quietly abandoned and another long-term economic plan took its place. Deficit reduction would no longer be achieved in one parliament but in two. The government’s original good intentions to rebalance growth towards investment, manufacturing and exports were overtaken by the need to get growth of any sort. If that meant ramping up the property market, so be it.
The process started with the Bank of England’s funding for lending scheme (FLS), under which commercial banks could get access to cheap funds provided they passed them on to small businesses and those seeking mortgages. The money went almost exclusively to the mortgage market. FLS was followed by help to buy, a Treasury plan that offered subsidised mortgages for those people trying to get on the housing ladder.
All the while, the Bank of England was sending out the message that there was little or no risk of interest rates going up. Unsurprisingly, the housing market started to motor and, because demand for housing far exceeded supply, property prices started to bubble up.
This was more a short-term than a long-term plan. House prices rose to levels that made them unaffordable even with official interest rates at 0.5%, and the property market lost momentum. In terms of the structure of the economy, the old imbalances remain. Manufacturing and construction output have yet to regain their pre-recession levels, while the service sector has expanded the number of low-pay, low-skill jobs.
Britain now has a triple deficit problem - a budget deficit of 5% of national income, a balance of payments deficit of 5.5% of national income and a productivity deficit that means output per hour worked is 30% lower than in rival nations.
Osborne rightly arrived in office warning that the UK had become far too dependent on consumer debt, but the independent Office for Budget Responsibility noted at the time of the 2015 budget: “Strong growth of residential investment and ongoing growth in house prices and property transactions leave households’ gross debt to income ratio rising back towards its pre-crisis peak” over the coming years. It said that could “pose risks to the sustainability of the recovery over the medium term.”
Or perhaps sooner. Albert Edwards, a strategist at Société Générale, is scathing about the handling of the economy since 2010. “After five years of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government, the UK economy looks like a ticking timebomb waiting to explode after the election.”
Edwards gives stick to both sides. In 2008 he described the UK as a Ponzi scheme, but adds: “At least back then the UK was not alone in reaping the sour fruits of economic mismanagement. The US and the eurozone periphery were all sailing in similarly unstable, leaky boats. But now the UK economy stands alone, up to its eyeballs in macro manure. Eventually the stench will fill the nostrils of the currency markets with the inevitable result – another sterling crisis.”
Kept totally out of sight in other words is the Nazi capitalist response to its humiliating failure,which for two decades has seen the world driven ever deeper into monstrous fascist blitzkrieg destruction of entire nations (direct and indirect), endless manic “war on terror” “kill-them-all” punishment slaughter, permanent death-drone terrorising in the Middle East, and the now open support for outright swastika-tattooed death squad thugs from Kiev to Athens, and deadly Middle Eastern chaos.
The aim is to intimidate the entire world into continuing to pay tribute to US empire, suppressing all revolt while making sure capitalist rivals understand the ruthless “shock and awe” threat of raising any serious challenge to American top-dog dominance.
But nothing has been solved. Appalling mayhem, like the latest callous Mediterranean migrant boat drownings – the direct result of nazi-NATO and proxy war destruction in the Middle East – has been spread through country after scorched-earth destroyed country, all ripped into warlordist chaos from Afghanistan and Iraq to Libya and Somalia.
Non-stop Goebbels aggression, turns reality on its head, flinging insane war allegations against Russia and demonising a rising Third World rebellion as alleged “devils” and “maniac jihadists” blaming them for the very destruction and chaos which is wrought by capitalism itself, writhing and twisting with the foulest aggressive torture, blitzing and genocidal mayhem.
But far from bringing responsibility of the capitalist system for this Nazi-imperialist destruction to the attention of the working class and the ever more urgent necessity it imposes of ending its rotten arrogance and tyrannical world exploitation, possible only by total revolutionary overthrow, the whole clutch of alleged “labour movement” and “left” groups continues to play the “democracy” game, playing along with the lying pretences of the ruling class.
The only valid use for the election platform is the Leninist tactic to use it to build revolutionary understanding.
But the “left” all trot out (to coin a phrase) their typical cowardly and excuses that the working class is “not ready”, “justifying” their lousy and cowardly evasions by blaming the very masses they are supposed to be leading and educating.
It is their evasions and continued tying of workers back to parliament in various ways –from “voting for the best of a bad lot” bolstering up such monstrous “left” Labour opportunist lags as Diane Abbott or Jeremy Corbyn, to “we have to do something in the meantime” which contribute to the lack of understanding in the working class.
“Keeping the Tories out” changes nothing about capitalism however much “left” pressure is applied to pretend “we will be ready when the time comes, comrade” – the crisis is here, and the need to build revolutionary clarity is immediate.
Such is the nudge-nudging about “we know all about revolution” that one group (Proletarian/Lalkar) even suggests that “the threat of revolution” be used as a means for exerting left-pressure!
This really does turn Lenin’s tactics inside-out, as only Stalinist blindness could do; Lenin’s (and Marx and Engel’s) understanding that reforms are sometimes won from the ruling class as a result of revolutionary pressure, a side-effect of revolutionary upheaval, is not a justification for class collaborating politics to treat revolution as just a tool for reforms. Only by revolutionary struggle can even reformist gains be achieved is the point – and those only for the purpose of strengthening the working class’s capacity to build up its revolutionary struggle it should be added.
To make the CPGB-ML argument reveals a petty bourgeois mindset completely unable to comprehend the ending of bourgeois rule, the overturning of 800 years of class domination, nor truly seeing the crisis as unstoppable.
“Left boldness” like the Trade Union & Socialist Coalition (a Trotskyist and non-Labour affiliated union alliance) calling for completely ending austerity is no better.
Its 100+ independent candidates are better than just “tactical voting” and by all means declaring, as TUSC chairman Dave Nellist (former “left” Labour MP) did, that if the ruling class can suddenly find £375bn for bailing out its banks, the £20bn scale of austerity cuts demanded is tiny, makes a good rhetorical point.
But the flaws are immediately obvious; beginning with the demand that the fruits of “their recovery” should be shared out and the billionaires and fatcats be reined in.
Firstly - what “recovery” other than a temporary manipulated fraud???
But secondly and far more importantly, this still presents nothing but a fight for socialism through democracy only “this time” more sincere and principled. But as the EPSR said a decades ago (Issue 1145 23-07-02):
The biggest fraud of all by the 57 fake-’left’ varieties is to pretend that once the ‘new militancy’ in the ‘new’ trade-union leaders gets as far as it can for the working class in pushing Blair & Co back from privatisation and speed-up, it will then start demanding “real socialism”.
This “left pressure” idiocy prevails throughout the 57 varieties from Scargillism to the Socialist Alliance and has seen no change to its ludicrously bankrupt philosophy since the old Stalinist days of CP Revisionism which led the whole working class to international spectacular defeat with its moronic “alternative economic strategy” and even more blithering “peaceful road to socialism behind a parliamentary combination of ‘left’ Labour and CP MPs”, etc, etc, - a philistine perspective of class-collaborative suicide which eventually brought the Soviet workers state itself to philosophical self-destruction.
The ‘left’ response goes: “But why can’t it be true next time? Why won’t modern society at last see reason and accept that a publicly-owned planned economy of justice and fair-shares for all is clearly henceforth the only publicly-acceptable way to run things?”, etc, etc.
Because of class-war, is the short answer, which, far from being abolished, is raging in more civil wars and national-liberation wars around the planet today than ever before in history.
Since when has capitalism ever allowed anything which truly favours the working class to go through?
Alleged “left” government “fighting for socialism and the working class” this way is either a giant confidence trick, as the entire record of the Labour Party has proven, treacherously running imperialism for the ruling class in practice (why else would the RMT union need to disaffiliate) or it will be overturned with whatever degree of barbarity the ruling class believes necessary and is able to impose.
History is delivering the lessons over and over again. The latest “bold” experiment, the Greek Syriza “left coalition” of euro-communist revisionism, Trotskyists and “left” reformists from the old opportunist Pasok party has more or less instantly capitulated to the capitalist finance interests, imposing assorted cuts despite its ringing declamations for its election, just weeks previously, that the people say “No to Austerity”.
If Syriza should belatedly stand up to capitalism it will face the same fate as dozens of governments throughout the post-war period, notably the Salvador Allende led “elected socialism” which came to power in a majority government in Chile 1970 and was toppled three years later after non-stop sabotage and disruption of the economy and then the eventual military coup of General Augusto Pinochet.
He [Allende] promised and even implemented some socialist changes but completely misled the working class with illusions that Chile was civilised and “different”, even inviting Pinochet into the cabinet to suppress the (CIA inspired) sabotage and disruption, thereby fostering trust in the state and military within the working class, instead of warning them that only the total overturn of the ruling class, and establishment of a dictatorship of the proletariat could prevent bloody counter-revolution.
Allende paid with his life but far more importantly so did thousands of the working class, with thousands more brutally tortured by subsequent fascist rule, all denied the weapons to defend themselves and the even more crucially important revolutionary understanding, by Allende’s revisionist influenced “parliamentary road” strategy.
A generation of barbaric genocidal fascist regimes and coups in Latin America since, (all trained by the US intelligence and military and slaughtering tens of thousand as from El Salvador to Guatemala and Argentina) and still the Stalinist and Trotskyist “left” are pumping out the same old disarming illusions, declaring for the last fifteen years that Venezuela and the “Bolivarian revolution” around it in “left” governments like Bolivia’s, represent a “new hope” and a “new path” for the world working class.
Hugo Chávez particularly has been hailed as a “great revolutionary hero” uncritically eulogised by the entire fake-“left”, philistinely taking up his demagogic notion that this is a new kind of “21st century socialism” which does away with all that “cranky old Marxist stuff from dead white European men” etc.
But while his redistribution of oil wealth to social improvement for the working class has been an advance for workers, it is still only “left” bourgeois nationalism and as vulnerable as Chile.
It is hated by American imperialism and the local bourgeoisie, which still owns the major part of the economy, the media and so on and has plotted coup after coup.
If it has not succeeded yet that is as much to do with the advance of the world crisis, and Third world revolt which has kept US monopoly capitalist hands full with the turmoil in the Middle East particularly (all wrongly denounced by the “lefts” as “reactionary jihadism” despite clearly being overall a major problem for the West, whatever the convoluted “it’s all run by the CIA” conspiracy theories idiotically declare) .
The “new way” is once again demonstrating that without building Leninism and fully taking power, the working class remains vulnerable.
Ever since the charismatic Chávez died two years ago (at a sinisterly suspicious early age), Venezuela has seen non-stop sabotage and disruption, along the same lines as Chile, paralysing the economy, and instigating violent demonstrations which have killed and injured many.
By chance a coup was foiled in February against the new president Nicolás Maduro but it underlines the point, that CIA and local bourgeois plotting will never stop:
An ex-air force general has been arrested and more than 10 other people implicated in a plot to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, officials say.
The group planned to attack the presidential palace and other buildings, Mr Maduro said.
Congress head Diosdado Cabello said soldiers, opposition politicians and a businessman were involved.
The alleged coup attempt came a year after major street protests.
Announcing what he said was the thwarting of the latest attempt to overthrow him, Mr Maduro said: “We have foiled a coup attempt against democracy and the stability of our homeland,”
Mr Cabello said in a television broadcast that 11 soldiers were implicated, including a retired general.
He said several had been arrested and implicated, including two opposition politicians, and showed photographs of weaponry and other items he said had been seized.
Since he came into office in March 2013 President Nicolas Maduro has alleged there have been seven attempted coups against his government.
This time, his announcement came on the day the opposition were commemorating the anniversary of mass anti-government protests that took over the country for months.
But the old illusions continue to be promulgated, courtesy of revisionist brain-rot, tragically affecting even the great revolutionary hero Fidel Castro declaring that:
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has stated in a very precise manner that it has always been disposed to talk with the United States, in a peaceful and civilized fashion, but will never tolerate threats or impositions on the part of this country.
I add that I have been able to observe the attitude, not only of the people of Bolivar and Chávez, but also a special circumstance: the exemplary discipline and spirit of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces. Whatever U.S. imperialism may do, it will never be able to count on them to do what they did for so many years. Today Venezuela can count on the best equipped soldiers and officers in Latin America.
When you met with officers recently, it was evident that they were ready to give their last drop of blood for the homeland.
Just as Allende said about the Chilean military!
Castro himself did not trust to “peaceful democratic” means in Cuba’s brilliant revolution, making sure to seize control and establishing a firm workers state which has correctly never remotely considered relinquishing the working class’ power, but has successfully and vigorously defended against US and other capitalist subversion ever since 1959.
For the moment the masses in Venezuela are holding out.
But the economic disruption has been telling on support for Maduro, due for re-election this year.
It would be a tragedy if he lost and calmly stepped down because of these revisionist illusions, (which Chávez also subscribed to) in the way that the Sandinistas gave up their ten year long struggle in Nicaragua to a Western manipulated “democratic” vote.
The unleashed bourgeois reaction to follow would have no such qualms about “fairness”, going all the way to concentration camp barbarity if it deemed it necessary, to reverse the reforms achieved.
And the same is true everywhere, including into the heart of “advanced” Europe.
But at a Venezuela Solidarity Campaign meeting recently, Trots like Lindsey German were still spouting this same eulogistic gush and failing completely to make any warnings about the need for workers states to be established; she said workers should first “test democracy to its limits”.
Would that be a test such as Chile where slaughtered and tortured workers’ families were used to mark where the “limits” were?
Such philistine crassness, refusing to learn any lessons from history and Marxist theory, is beyond stupidity – it is petty bourgeois treachery, the reality of all such Trotskyite posturing.
Challenging it has got nothing to do with “arrogantly telling Venezuelans what to do” as the equally opportunist cynicism of the VSC chairman Francesco Dominguez, sneered, with classic sophistry of one-time Moscow revisionism, blocking all debate and demanding unthinking compliant “loyalty”.
To begin with, as a Chilean exile himself, he is “telling others what to do” including informing the British working class that they should just quietly “show their support” and not raise any political issues.
Secondly, Chávez has been presented by the entire international Labour movement, including the VSC, as a “great revolutionary example for the world showing us all the new way forwards”.
Thirdly it is quite valid to demand of all such leading figures (and even more of the workers states), that they do develop, and speak out about, the widest and deepest international revolutionary analysis, just as Lenin did, and it is a further symptom of the revisionist weaknesses of China, Vietnam and North Korea that they do no such things.
Fourthly, world imperialism has no such qualms, interfering and invading anywhere it can (including Venezuela) to establish its diktat; and even more than ever the working class needs to understand it is in an international struggle.
Or is “workers of the world unite” just posturing if voiced by such “solidarity-ites”?
Finally and most importantly such political comments, made at a meeting in the UK are first and foremost for the British working class to take up anyway – carrying out exactly the “why don’t you build revolution here” task, Dominguez demanded.
He meant it as a supposed put down, but it is correct; the best solidarity is not tame and patronising “left charity” work but the development of revolutionary struggle in your own country as Lenin said.
Venezuela’s working class needs Leninist understanding not revisionist tainted illusions leaving it open to imperialist attack.
So does the working class everywhere as crisis bears down, the greatest ever.
Illusions in bourgeois “democracy” are deadly. Build Leninism.
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