Sunday, July 29, 2018

How to Fight Fascism in Aotearoa/New Zealand

rednecks
Fascism is back on the agenda with a vengeance. Not merely because two Canadian ‘alt-right’ activists want to spread their message in Aotearoa. Of course ‘alt-right’ is a euphemism for fascism. But when someone actively attempts to stop refugees from Africa and the Middle East from reaching Europe by attacking their boats there is no denying fascism is ‘alt-right’.

Today, capitalism is dying and is thrashing about destroying everything it touches. It deserves to die, but not to take us with it. Fascism is the political response of last resort against the overthrow of capitalism by the working class. It will not give up its fight peacefully, logically, rationally, but resorts to undemocratic and illegal actions, wars and genocide.

Yet it wants its working class enemy to fight peacefully and respect bourgeois human rights – including ‘free speech’. Never mind the right to life of African refugees. It wants fascism to be normalized as just another ideology that deserves equality before the law. Meanwhile it builds and organizes a reactionary social movement against refugee rights, workers’ rights and socialist revolution.

The denial of a platform to fascists is a longstanding question, first raised with the rise of the fascist movement in Germany in 1920, rapidly followed by Italy and then Spain. If you look at these movements its clear that they took advantage of the pacifism and disorganization of the workers to put up resistance to its armed shock troops.

Remember Bertolucci's film, 1900, set in Italy during the early 1900s. The communists were a powerful political force but no match for armed fascist bands that attacked their union halls and murdered labour leaders defeating their movement. In Germany the same methods were used to weaken, divide and destroy the labour movement. Revolutionary leaders like Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were assassinated and workers armed uprisings put down.

The fascists succeeded because workers were divided along ideological lines. Social Democracy was committed to parliamentary socialism and the rule of law. It looked to the state to protect them from fascists, denying the fact that the state supports fascism in defending capitalism against socialist revolution. Since social democracy prefers fascism to communism the Communists were isolated. Fascists even appealed to workers and declassed petty bourgeois as ‘socialist’ to deceive them.

Fascism is the militant, violent, undemocratic and unlawful instrument of brutal bourgeois class rule. It doesn’t defend bourgeois freedoms even while it attempts to hide behind them. Its main purpose is to smash the working class as the only class that can overthrow capitalism and build a new society free from exploitation and oppression.

Therefore, since we must learn from history or die, it is stupid to ignore that lesson and fall for the ploy that fascism is somehow an aberration that is equally at home on the ‘alt-right’ and ‘alt- left’ against the law-abiding, pacifist, moderate middle. That is to separate the symptoms of fascism from its cause.

The only language that fascists understand is that of force – class force. Either they use that force against us and win the class war, or we organize our own class force and defeat fascism in its embryo before it gains the upper hand.

Marxists do not call on the bourgeois state to ban fascists because we have learned that historically the state sides with fascism to smash the working class. We organize as a class to use every bourgeois freedom that advances our class interests in socialism. That is why we do not fetishize ‘freedom of speech’ when it disarms us in the face of the rise of fascism.

Those who want to survive capitalism’s decline and fall need to work out where their class allegiance lies now before it is too late, and build a working class anti-fascist movement to defeat fascism on the streets.

See also
https://situationsvacant.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/how-not-to-smash-fascism/
Leon Trotsky summary of key writings on fascism: What is Fascism and How to Fight It. https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/works/1944/1944-fas.htm




The Helsinki Deal and the American Empire


Helsinki Trump Putin

There is a lot of confusion about Trump’s behavior in Helsinki. Is he crazy, a traitor, or dupe of Putin? Nah. It’s not that hard. It’s still about the Great Game for Eurasia. Trump is picking a fight with China which is the main economic threat to US imperialism. China has said it will ignore the sanctions on Iran. Trump wants to test the loyalty of Putin to Xi in the hope of weakening the China/Russia bloc. He wants a new deal.


The confusion is compounded by making this about Trump-the-man and not US national interests. It’s not an oligarch love fest. It’s not about the world conspiracy of White Supremacists or about Trump’s private business empire. It’s about the future of the US Empire.

But empires are passe you might ask, thinking about historical examples like Ancient Greece or Ancient China. You would be wrong. Empire today means a capitalist empire which has its own special characteristics that can be summed up as ‘state monopoly capitalism’.

As the main capitalist nations industrialized in the 19th century, they grew too big for their national markets and began to evolve strong states to aggressively expand at the expense of their rival empires. They had to export capital to escape falling profits at home. The object was to grab global resources and markets from their colonies to boost their profits by any means necessary including trade wars and military wars.

The template was set early in the 20th century as the Great Game between capitalist imperialist Britain and feudal imperialist Russia for control of Eurasia and then the world! It was the rivalry between the European powers to re-divide the colonial world that led directly to World War 1. Britain and France had stolen a march on their rivals pouring capital into pre-capitalist Russia leaving Germany and Japan behind the game.

World War 1 did not resolve this clash of interests – the Russian Revolution created the Soviet Union, and the draconian peace terms imposed on Germany created deep resentments which led ultimately to World War 2.

In both wars the US remained isolationist until its economic interests were directly threatened. In April 1917 the US reacted to the loss of its merchant ships to German submarines, and the threat of Mexico joining the Axis.

In December 1941, the US reacted to Japan’s attack on Peal Harbor. But by this time the US was the dominant global power and assumed that role in framing the post-war settlement at Yalta.

The dominant US occupied Europe and Japan setting the terms of the peace by forming a military ring around the USSR and soon-to-be ‘Red’ China. US isolationism was over and the epoch of US as the global hegemonic power began. The mission of the post-WW2 US imperialism was to defeat the USSR and China and add them to its global domain.

Yet despite its steel ring around Eurasia and the ‘cold war’, which eventually brought the USSR and China to their knees in the 1990s, neither the US nor its EU and Japanese ‘allies’ succeeded in converting them into neo-colonies. On the contrary they re-entered the global capitalist economy largely on their own terms.

Decades of bureaucratic state planning allowed both Russia and China to develop the centralized state economies able to resist penetration and domination by the Western imperialist powers. The usual methods of imperialist penetration of capital to subordinate weaker powers to Western finance capital came up against well buttressed state capitalist regimes. Military domination was checkmated by nuclear weapons. Both Russia and China emerged as new imperialist powers threatening to limit and even challenge US hegemony.

The US responded by doubling down on its aggressive expansionism as the neo-conservatives pushed for war with Russia and China to contain the ‘red menace’. From Reagan to Bush Junior, NATO expanded to the Russian borders, but this together with wars against Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran failed to isolate the Russia/China bloc. In the East, the ring of military bases around China from Japan to Guam was reinforced.

All failed to break down the political and economic barriers to Western imperialist penetration and domination. The neo-conservative mission to recover Eurasia had timed out. Obama’s ‘Pacific Pivot’ was largely a propaganda exercise.

Under Obama, the US Democrats pulled back on expensive military invasions, in preference for limited special ops adventures, standing by while both Russia and China expanded their imperialist spheres of influence in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.

With the neoconservatives seething over the Ukraine and the Democrats stuck in the swamp of unresolved conflicts, neither could halt the erosion of US hegemony. Along came Donald Trump as a cartoon amalgam of former US presidents both isolationist and expansionist to make America Great Again. His brief was to drop the failed policies of the neo-conservatives and the globalisation of the Democrats by balancing the costs and benefits of imperialist hegemony in a period of global capitalist terminal crisis.

As Michael Klare on “Trumps Grand Strategy” points out, this brief fitted with the Russian and Chinese plan for a tripolar world.

Klare argues that Trump for all his bizarre behavior is into a serious bid to solve US imperialism’s problems by joining the Putin and Xi in a trilateral deal between Russia, China and the US. He thinks that there is nothing stopping the US from ending both neo-liberal and Democratic ‘imperialism’ as bad policy options, and that with the ‘good will’ of Putin and Xi Jinping he could persuade the US to join this deal to end the threat of nuclear war.

However ironic it might seem, this is, of course, the gist of the Sino-Russian tripolar model as embraced and embellished by Donald Trump. It envisions a world of constant military and economic contention among three regional power centers, generating crises of various sorts, but not outright war. It assumes that the leaders of those three centers will cooperate on matters affecting them all, such as terrorism, and negotiate as necessary to prevent minor skirmishes from erupting into major battles.
Read more: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176451/tomgram%3A_michael_klare%2C_trump%27s_grand_strategy/
This left-liberal analysis, drawing on Henry Kissinger, at least gives Trump the credit for having a geopolitical strategy. But it is limited by its focus on geopolitics separated from the laws of capitalist economics. It does not trace Trump’s ‘strategy’ back to the limits of US of post WW2 economic expansion and assumes that it has nothing to gain from military aggression and can realize its national interests in such a peace pact.

Yet this is misreading the nature of imperialism as outlined above and assumes that with good advice Trump can join with Putin and Xi Jinping in a new epoch of world peace. This would mean that the history of wars over the last two centuries were the results of bad leadership and that all that is needed is some good leadership. Here the author indulging in magical thinking in place of the reality that imperialist powers cannot survive in rational Kissinger-type ‘win-win’ deals but must defeat their rivals to survive the ‘zero-sum’ game.

It fails not only to account for the underlying US economic expansionism that pushed Presidents like Wilson and Truman from isolation towards globalism. It also misunderstands Putin’s and Xi’s imperialist interests in promoting their ‘globalist’ policies. And it misreads Trump’s own ‘strategy’ of seeking new methods of restoring America’s greatness by penetrating and dominating its rivals. One can only understand his policy moves towards other imperialist powers and other nations as designed to reduce the costs and boost the gains of the US Empire.

So, for Trump it’s about how much of the globe you can still dominate by making weaker states and the worlds’ workers pay for the declining US economy. His intervention over Brexit shows he wants the UK out of EU so he can weaken both. He wants to force a re-alignment of his former ‘allies’ and ‘foes’ to see how US can come out on top.

Specifically, he is testing Putin on his alliance with China to see if he can weaken it and play them off against each other. Iran is likely to be a big test, as China is ignoring US sanctions. The EU has caved on US pressure to observe the sanctions. Will Putin follow or offer a hand to the EU to evade the sanctions? The latter is most likely as Iran is now part of the Security Cooperation Organization- the Eurasian military bloc led by Russia and China.

Can they reach agreement on the Middle East? The Syrian revolution has seen a realignment of the region towards the Russia/China bloc. The US bloc has been reduced to Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The Russia/China bloc now includes Syria, Turkey, Iran and Qatar. Al Monitor has a theory that Trump is subcontracting the Syrian war to Russia to allow a further US disengagement.

Maxim Suchkov reports that “prior to the Helsinki meeting, Russia had been expected to deliver primarily three things: guarantee Israel’s security from what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sees as a growing Iranian presence on the Syrian-Israeli border, curb Iranian influence in the rest of Syria and open up to some kind of engagement with the United States and interested European states — all to ensure America’s own military pullout from Syria. Hence, the statements and moves Russian officials have made in the few days following the Helsinki meeting are meant to signal that Moscow has been delivering on what appears to have been its promises to each party: security for Israel, cooperation with Iran and engagement with the West.”
Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/07/helsinki-meeting-trump-putin-next-chapter-syria.html#ixzz5MMF7fj94
This may be one part of the new tripolar deal. But what’s in it for the US? Will Kurdistan be traded for a united Korea on terms set by Trump? And how will the two rival blocs deal with the current threat of a working class uprising in Iraq? Can that be managed as part of a Tripolar world? Certainly, they will collaborate in suppressing any renewed Arab revolution as part of the war on terror. But such regional cooperation cannot survive any real test of the core interests of the rival great powers.

This, as ever, is the Great Game between the great powers. It cannot be a “win-win” game. There can be no benign tripolar deal that unites Israel and Iran any more than their imperialist backers. Facing an unstable crisis ridden global economy the rival imperialisms are inevitably locked into a “zero-sum” game. Today it is between the US and a reborn Russian empire, in a bloc with the new Chinese empire, with the EU powers pulled in two both directions.

The imperialist powers are driven by falling profits into trade and military wars which download their crises of falling profits onto the backs of their rivals and everywhere onto the backs of the working people. Workers everywhere must organize internationally to get ahead of the game and fight all such imperialist maneuvers.

Protesting Trump is a start, but it will go nowhere unless it becomes a global anti-imperialist movement against all imperialist trade wars, hot wars, genocides, climate collapse, and for a global socialist revolution. And for that to happen we all need to wake up and realise that for humanity to live, capitalism and all of its destruction to lives and planet, must die. We must organize internationally for survival socialism!


https://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/trump-kissinger-russia-putin-232925
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/07/helsinki-meeting-trump-putin-next-chapter-syria.html#ixzz5MMF7fj94


First published: https://situationsvacant.wordpress.com/2018/07/26/the-helsinki-deal-and-the-american-empire/

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Yarmouk and Gaza, Palestinians under Continuous Attack

"Yarmouk starves and we see faux solidarity" from https://sarabiany.wordpress.com/tag/yarmouk-camp/

Victory to Palestine! Long live the Syrian revolution!

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

Gaza is a pawn in the growing inter-imperialist rivalry between the declining U.S. and the rise of Russia and China, a pawn where Israel and Iran are the main regional proxies. As the focal point of the only post WW2 colonial settler conquest in the Middle East, Palestine remains at the center of the Arab revolution against the imperialist counter-revolution.

As Russia gains over the U.S. in Syria and draws Turkey, Iran and Qatar into its Eurasian bloc, the U.S. is devoid of even a Kurdistan protectorate. Trump wants out of Syria and wants to keep his promise to “let Russia handle Syria.” But U.S. troops are still in Syria and Assad wants them gone now (there are oil fields there) and is willing to attack. The U.S./Russia “Bromance” agreement to put their differences to one side and collaborate in a “war on terrorism” was always just this problematic in practice. But assuming no large scale Assad attacks on Deraa, the agreement now looks more likely, as Russia grumbles about its ally Iran’s intentions in Syria and across the Levant. The U.S./Russia agreement is to smash the Arab revolution. As the military defeat of the Syrian revolution looms the prospects for revolution in Iran are growing, which has to make Putin contemplate his cost projections! For now we can expect Russia’s Astana plan for a new constitution and the likely partition of Syria to embed the Russia/China bloc.

We nevertheless foresee a widening of the inter-imperialist conflict and more possibilities for full-on proxy wars developing. These conflicts are driven by bigger economic frictions that cannot be put aside. In this light, the success of el Sadr in the Iraqi elections could mean that the U.S. and Russia/China might clash over Iraqi oil, where both imperialist blocs have about equal stakes. It is possible that Iraq will once more become the focal point of their “Great Game” for the whole of Eurasia, throwing the Iraqi masses once more into the crucible.

“Moscow did not condemn Israel’s strikes, as it had in the past, instead calling on Israel and Iran to resolve their differences diplomatically.” NYT (May 10)

Russia has been making a play to neutralize Israel for several years and has an agreement to develop offshore gas fields near Haifa. If for the moment Netanyahu plays blood brother to Trump after the embassy move, he is nevertheless seeking ways to inveigle the U.S. into war with Iran, a strategy the Zionist regime has pursued since 1990. A former Mossad general has revealed to Eliot Engel on MSNBC (5/25/18) that Israel now is engaged in a “rolling escalation” of attacks on Iranian forces in a war with Iran that “already exists,” with the aim of making it impossible for the U.S. to stay out of this war. Like Trump, Netanyahu wants to break Russia out of its alliance with China, so as to permit this war with Iran without world war. But Trump has not taken the bait yet and has only given the green light to use up some U.S. furnished military supplies on Iranians in Syria.

And just because we of the Communist Workers Group (CWG) oppose Iranian and Russian intervention in Syria, don’t think for a minute that we condone or refuse to condemn the Israeli escalation. Without support from Russian bombers, Iranian “Revolutionary Guards” and the Hezbollah, the people of Syria would have toasted the overthrow of Assad years ago. While Assad bombs Palestinians in the Yarmouk refugee camp Israel guns down peaceful protests in Gaza. Israel is not bombing Iranian positions in Syria to support the Syrian masses. Rather, taking the cue from Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement with Iran, Israel is showing it knows when it is obliged to use up stockpiles of “equipment” which U.S. taxpayers (the most generous people in the world) will be required to replenish. On both sides of the aisle Democrats and Republican legislators are preparing to sell us World War 3 in hopes of securing new sales orders to keep their benefactors, the military industrial capitalists in the black. As a reward for its great death-dealing customer, the U.S. administration picks exactly this moment to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the colonial settler state! As long as they can deceive the U.S. masses they do not care that the world knows the U.S. has no more interest in Middle East peace than its pet monsters Netanyahu and Assad.

Lest anyone do any critical/historical thinking on the subject of Middle East imperialist criminality, Senator Schumer of New York introduced a bill to make advocacy of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement a crime and to explicitly outlaw criticism of Israel, with staggering financial and jail penalties! This proposed law follows the enactment of a similar South Carolina statute. And if some in the Knesset right get their way, it will be illegal to even photograph the Israeli troops, since photos are used to shame them!

While branding Palestinians as aggressors, the U.S. regime simultaneously cut off aid funds for humanitarian organizations in Syria. Far from the fake left’s alternative facts mantra that the U.S. is trying to overthrow Assad, the funds cut slashes the budget of the White Helmets (Syrian Civil Defense) by one third!

For decades liberal Zionism has argued that there is no one on the Palestinian side to negotiate with as they are all terrorists.  Holding high the banner of Israeli “democracy” they admonish the Palestinians and the left to use non-violent civil-disobedience in the tradition of Martin Luther King and Gandhi to address their concerns, just as their latest allies in the USA, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) do. This ruse is again being exposed this spring in Gaza, just as when Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by a Zionist home demolition with a Caterpillar backhoe.  In 2018 Gazans bravely face gradual extinction due to contaminated water, limited electricity, brutally restricted access to the world, limited food and medical supplies. Today, when peaceful protests are launched at the barbed wire, IDF snipers are given orders to shoot to kill unarmed civilians. The true program of Zionism is to eliminate the Arab presence inside the green line and ultimately across the West Bank, and by making Gaza unlivable, to ethnically cleanse the refugee camps just as Assad is doing in Yarmouk.

Learn and remember that despite the apparent animosity between Israel and Iran they are both undemocratic counterrevolutionary capitalist theocratic regimes.  Pragmatically and strategically they are united with Putin, Trump and Assad in their opposition to the resurgent Arab National Revolution going permanent as it runs up against the limitations of imperialism/capitalism and seeks a socialist solution. We call on the international working class to rise to the defense of the Palestinian people, of the Syrian people and the working masses of the Middle East.
Victory to Palestine! Long live the Syrian revolution!
U.S./NATO and Russian/Chinese imperialists out of the Middle East now!

Down with the proxy regimes that divide and rule their masses!

For non-sectarian unity of all popular Arab, Iranian and Kurdish forces for national self-determination!

For an international communist movement that can intervene militarily for the Permanent Revolution throughout the Middle East!

For a Socialist Federation of the Middle East!
Communist Workers Group (USA)  http://www.cwgusa.org/?p=2115

Sunday, May 13, 2018

May Day! Workers of the World Unite to Smash Fascism and Imperialism! End Capitalism and Build Socialism to Stop Climate Catastrophe!


Happy International Workers Day 2017 Wishes Quotes Images ...
 
Comrades, International Workers Day, or Mayday, has been celebrated since 1886, three years after the death of Marx. But what are we celebrating? This year is 200 years since Marx’s birth, 180 years since the Communist Manifesto, 100 years since the Russian Revolution and 80 years since the foundation of the Fourth International. There is plenty to celebrate. But where is the ‘spectre of communism’ haunting the bourgeoisie today? True, the bourgeoisie fear communism. They fear the revolutionary proletariat as their ‘grave diggers’. But we, the international workers, have yet to turn that fear into the reality. Mayday has become less than a celebration of victorious revolutionary advances and more of a ritual occasion for the bureaucratic leaderships of the labour movement to hold ‘Sunday speeches’. Meanwhile the masses resistance to the rise of counter-revolution and fascism all over the world is isolated, and defeated.
 

We should remember that ‘Mayday’ is also an international emergency call sign. This is how we should ‘celebrate’ Mayday, by disrupting the ritual and calling for international workers to unite in action to overcome a global emergency of climate collapse and human existence. Everywhere capitalism is in crisis. It can no longer rule in the same old way. In fact every day capitalism survives only by destroying humanity and nature. And workers will no longer submit to extreme exploitation without fighting back. There is no way out for the bourgeoisie other than destruction and barbarism. To survive as a dying mode of production, capitalism is thrashing about destroying everything that has been won over centuries. It threatens to destroy humanity and nature unless stopped by the global socialist revolution. It is clear that for workers to live and humanity to survive, capitalism must die. But where is the international proletariat rising up to smash capitalist imperialism, and to build world socialism?

Syria: Revolution or fascist genocide



This is no more obvious than in Syria, the Paris Commune of the 21st Century, where the promise of the Arab Spring has been driven back to near defeat by the combined forces of counter-revolution. The bosses fear more than anything the spread of a victorious Arab Revolution setting an example to the rest of the worlds workers – the imperialist powers and their murderous client regimes have resorted to fascist genocide. Whole cities and regions have been turned into bloody rubble because the Syrian Revolution has been ignored and isolated from any campaign by the international working class to join the revolution arms in hand. Most of those who claim to be international socialists have turned out to be social chauvinists and social imperialists. They condemn the popular Arab Revolution as a counter-revolution against Western democracy. The two imperialist blocs led by the US and by Russia have combined forces to smash the leading armed edge of the Arab and international revolution, by propping up a fascist dictator, and the servile Western ‘left’ has provided a ‘left’ cover for genocide.

This Mayday we are into the 8th year of the Syrian civil war and the approaching defeat of the revolution which will be a defeat also for both the Arab revolution and the world revolution. So we must ask what are the prospects for the international revolution right now. Let’s reject Mayday as a ritual ‘celebration’ and make it a call to a global emergency. Then we can act to overcome that emergency by organising international workers as a revolutionary force able to defend every basic democratic right being destroyed by imperialism in its death throes and rebuild the ‘world party of socialism’ called for by Trotsky in 1938 based on the Transitional Program.

This means fighting for a Marxist program that can guide workers in every fight for their most basic rights and needs, across the bridge to the formation of soviets and militias, all the way to socialist insurrection and a world federation of workers states. For example, in Syria we need an international party strong enough to mobilise military support for the revolution for basic freedom and link it to all other Arab resistance. It means uniting the Palestinian revolution to defeat the Zionist settler state with the workers movements in every other country. We need international brigades in Syria, and militant uprisings against the imperialist ruling classes threatening world war.

In other ‘hot points’ where the crisis is bringing workers to their feet to fight, that new international party has to have the forces to intervene with a program that works to advance the revolution against the counter-revolution and make it ‘permanent’. The forces of counter-revolution are the imperialist ruling classes, their client states ruled by national bourgeoise factions and their political parties, and the treacherous fake ‘left’ of all shades that always sides with the bourgeoisie against socialist revolution.

Under today’s crisis conditions, the imperialists and their client lackeys are exposed as naked class enemies. The fake ‘left’ however provides a left cover to fool the workers. They are the most dangerous enemies. We must expose and defeat these bosses’ agents in our ranks. In every revolutionary situation where workers are mobilising they are on the side of the class enemy, demobilising the masses. Let’s illustrate this by using examples that demonstrate the way forward in both semi-colonies and imperialist nations.


Zimbabwe, South Africa and Africa


The African continent alongside other semi-colonial continents like Latin America and Asia (a from Japan and China) have been hard hit by the double burden of capitalism and imperialism. The over reliance on the export of raw materials and trapped as cheap labour havens causes acute suffering for the workers and the common poor. The dictatorial and openly ruthless regimes in most African states make it difficult for the common masses to fight for their interests and against dictatorship, poverty, capitalism and imperialism. So, as we celebrate International Workers day or May Day it is important to appreciate that workers, poor peasants and the poor oppressed and exploited masses can conquer a good life only through socialism which must inevitably come through the strategy of permanent revolution.

Two countries can help illustrate the condition of the working class and poor masses in Africa. In Zimbabwe the workers are under intense attacks by the post-Mugabe pro-austerity bourgeois regime that is delicately balancing between western and eastern imperialism. A 2016 Supreme Court judgement, despite nominal ‘reversals’, has made it easier for employers including the government to fire workers without compensation or real chances of redress. Over 30,000 workers have lost their jobs as a result of this ruling championed by the current President of the main opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC Alliance). As a result of the judgement and the intransigence of the bosses, workers have been forced to resort to militant actions such as those at the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and Grain Marketing Board (GMB) where workers staged prolonged protests at the companies headquarters. Workers at the Hwange Colliery and ZESA (a public utility power company) are currently engaged in a vicious struggle to get their overdue wages and allowances. But most importantly, the strikes by doctors and nurses has brought to the fore the true colours of the regime, despite claims that this is a “new era”. Nurses were summarily dismissed before being reinstated. In a clear show of what workers have to expect from this government it displays for imperialism its willingness to continue Mugabe’s alliance with imperialism and to crush workers struggles.

In South Africa the situation is even more delicate. The formal political independence of 1994 has failed to change the lives of the poor masses that are still faced with exploitation and poverty. The reformist African Nationalist Congress (ANC) party and its partners have failed to resolve the key aspects of apartheid which include subordination of the masses to the interests of imperialist investment enforced by the state, racism and exploitation of local and migrant labour as well as the continued plunder of natural resources. Despite a constitution that was hailed by imperialism and their middle class and petit bourgeois surrogates, the material conditions of workers and the poor masses has remained dire forcing workers, communities, students and poor peasants to rise in revolt. The most notable and watershed revolt of the suffering masses was the Marikana strike which resulted in the murder of workers by the state in collaboration with capitalist mine owners. The fight for a living wage, better working conditions and the unfettered right to strike has taken centre stage in the class dynamics of the state. The strike by bus drivers has dragged into the third week as workers reject slave wages and attempts at dividing the working class.

Zimbabwe and South Africa to a large extent reflect the current situation in most African states in relation to the conditions of the workers, poor peasants and poor masses. Slave wages, land privatisation, commodification of education and services, plunder of local resources, rampant corruption and dictatorial regimes are the hallmarks of African societies. May Day gives us the opportunity to take stock of our position as workers and the common poor and be able to chart a way forward that ensures a better life for the masses. Only independent mass action of the working class and oppressed can win a better life. For this to happen workers have to be militantly organised and armed with a revolutionary strategy and program.


Brazil and Latin America


In Brazil and Latin America, considered a “backyard” by US imperialism, the workers and oppressed people resisted neoliberal policies with militant class struggle in the streets. The reformist Left channeled this fight into parliamentary socialism or “socialism of the XXI century”, placing in power several populist Popular Front governments which continued to apply neoliberal policies and the dictates of imperialism.


The global crisis of capitalism has hit Latin America, and Brazil in particular, shaking governments that attack the working class as a way to resolve the crisis. The economic instability, political and social, is growing. Far from meaning “stability”, the return of the traditional rightist governments in Argentina and Brazil is met with the growing discontent of the working class, with their living conditions deteriorating, being hit by unemployment, “reforms” that remove their rights, and repression.

Unable to mitigate the economic crisis in Brazil, the ruling capitalists could no longer afford the luxury of the popular front.Thus Lula and the Workers Party (PT) suffered a “coup” by their bourgeois allies. Vice President Temer, in power today now has low approval ratings, faces protests, strikes and occupations of workers and social movements in the struggle for better conditions of life and work and against the “reforms” that remove rights such as the pension reform. The PT, even suffering the maneuver that led to the impeachment of Rousseff and Lula in prison, continues to defend the popular front and acts in the labor movement through the Unified Workers Central (CUT) and trade unions, demobilizes workers (as in the dismantling of the general strike against the welfare reform) and channels the struggle into bourgeois democracy and the elections in October. The Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL), in alliance with the reformist leader of the MTST (Homeless Movement) entered into the Popular Front, along with PT and the “democratic” bourgeoisie in the struggle for “democracy” and “sovereignty” during the government attacks and the growth of the extreme right and fascism.

The solution for the workers and oppressed peoples of Brazil and Latin America is the independent political struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie and imperialism. We must build the revolutionary party that fights for the organization of rank and file committees of all kinds: grassroots, factory, tenants’ and price committees, neighborhood committees, and workers self-defense guards that prepare the General Strikes to win in the struggle for the expropriation of the bourgeoisie and a true socialism. The Popular Front does not fight fascism, it paves the way for fascism. The so called left-wing governments in Latin America apply the imperialist policy and harshly attack the working class. Conflicts with the US government like Venezuela’s do nothing to break with imperialism, and the linkage with the increasing imperialist bloc of China/Russian no way means “sovereignty” or “anti-imperialism.”

Latin American workers need to break with the reformist leaderships, which divide workers, prevents class solidarity, as is shown by the isolation of the Syrian masses’ revolution against Al Assad’s regime and how the restoring of capitalism in Cuba supports the repressive government of Venezuela. The Popular Frontists all together denounce as “C.I.A. agents” the workers in Nicaragua fighting against the government’s pension reform, just like Assad labels his revolutionary opponents agents of the west. This same “left” defends the Popular Front in Brazil against the right and the threat of dictatorship.


USA


Every “disaster capitalism” calamity visited upon the world by the federal government is an index of the decline of U.S. imperialism. The seldom seen side of ‘populist nationalism’ is its inherent autarchy. The retreat from such minimal world consensus as is represented by the Paris Accords is a pennant on the Titanic smokestack! The missile attack by the U.S., Britain and France on Assad’s empty facilities only highlights the growing ineffectuality of the U.S.-led bloc while Trump on more typical occasions calls for U.S. withdrawal, leaving Syria to Russia. Crooks of the new “swamp” have more personal interests to satisfy and are getting theirs while those “qualified” to look out for U.S. imperial interests are fired by Trump. Ideologues replace professionals and the U.S. loses market share. This results in trade war, the prelude to world war. And Trump floats the idea of becoming a Bonaparte for life after hearing of Xi’s lifetime appointment. Nothing Trump says or tweets is a joke, but signals that he knows the various reactionary options. The Tendency of the Rate of Profit to Fall has U.S. imperialism by the short hairs.

Bourgeois talking heads won’t tell you the real effects of a 10% drop of stock market prices in the U.S. These losses have taken place post tax cut, i.e. THIS YEAR. They take place while investment lags and almost all economists say corporations are hoarding cash. Trump threatens protectionism while flip flopping on TPPA and NAFTA. None of his moves hide the fact that the recovery is an empty shell that keeps tens of millions of working poor people and their families in an endless cycle of poverty while wages have stagnated for decades. Workers often need to take two or three jobs just to pay the rent, while the ruling class continues it assault on meager and humiliating public assistance programs. The institutional hatred and state repression of the working poor and people of color is magnified by environmental racism and housing costs which trap people in zones of danger to their health. The lead poisoning of the water in Flint Michigan is just the tip of the iceberg of industrial pollutants toxifying life sustaining elements of the environment. Meanwhile, it is only a harbinger of the environmental threat the survival of capitalism inescapably poses to human and other species’ survival in the near future. The capitalists prepare for World War III, yet insanely retail the ICBMs of North Korea and reactors in Iran as the gravest dangers facing humanity to those who follow their kept media. They incite the MAWAs (Make America White Again mob) against immigrants and jail refugees while putting the recovery of Puerto Rico from a century event hurricane on rations, and all the “friends of labor” have to say is vote for us in November. Workers need our own party now, not some day!

Some recognition that piles of money sit idle has resulted in revolts of the base in some organized sectors, revolts the bureaucrat/Democrats have so far been able to run around in front of. Thus the United States has seen outbreaks of social and class struggles. The 2011 Wisconsin struggle, followed by Occupy and the Longshore ILWU EGT struggles, the Ferguson stand off, the self-defense actions of the Black and Brown communities nationwide that launched #BlackLivesMatter, the fight of the First People’s Water Protectors against the Dakota Access Pipeline, pre and post Charlottesville mobilizations against alt-right fascists, the women’s marches and #MeToo movement, the broad defense of immigrants with social-media-organized spontaneous direct actions at the airports against the Muslim Ban and against torture committed at San Francisco Airport by Homeland Security, and the spread from state to state of teachers strikes and a growing resurgence in class struggle organizing and strike action by nurses and airline workers as we march on May Day.

While Zionism doubles down in its daily war against Palestinian lives, Israel can no longer count on the unconditional support from Americans of Jewish heritage who seek out and march in solidarity with their Palestinian comrades. Yet a blood oath is still required of the labor bureaucracy which is tied to the imperialist Democratic Party’s projects including unwavering support for Israel, Saudi Arabia and the ruling class’s never-ending wars against workers abroad and at home, both overt and covert. Likewise the labor bureaucracy is do-or-die committed to the idea that police are workers and not the slave patrols who daily terrorize Black and Brown communities. Today’s struggles provide a glimpse of what could be, except at every turn they are limited or derailed due to lack of revolutionary leadership. The pro-capitalist trade union bureaucracy behaves as if the power of the workers and the oppressed is small and has negligible possibilities beyond legalistic self-defense. And everywhere the bureaucrats are willing to sacrifice your right to healthcare, even in otherwise victorious strikes!

They permit no self-consciousness about how successful their strategy has been. It is a free fall cataclysm. The rights of the midwest labor movement which used class struggle methods to build the Teamsters and the CIO are mostly history now, ignored by labor officialdom and contained among arcane academics and nostalgic Reds. This is exactly because class struggle methods of combating the exploiters are treated as impossible to carry out today.

Not only the strategy but the psychology the bureaucracy projects is a supine weakness! The Trump administration teeters legally even as it carries out the real bourgeois program of “disaster capitalism,” slashing every protection the masses have won since the 1870s and now even threatening the existence of public education. Trump’s presidency really is only sustained at this point by public relations. Both parties are guilty of defending it with faint damnation: it becomes clearer all the time that Democrats are not interested in impeaching Trump this year, talking increasingly that they will not seek to impeach him next year, while many echo the former FBI chief and now celebrity Comey who wants the voters to sort Trump out in 2020. This talk is fine with leaderships of central labor councils who never have struggled for impeachment, despite Nixon lawyer John Dean calling the present crisis “Watergate on steroids.” They organize labor walks for Democrat candidates. And the Democrats’ entire project is now transparently the co-optation of the masses’ self-defense movements!

The masses are hungry for direct action, but this is constantly used for politically limited pressure street protests and election campaigning. The “socialist” left is not able to contest for leadership. They refuse to fight for a workers party, as they tail after, or like the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), outright support Democratic Party liberal politics and the labor bureaucracy. The worst of them, the Assad/Putin socialists, also abandon the Marxist program for world socialist revolution as they gush over the brutal Syrian dictator Assad and promote Syrian conspiracy theories that would make Alex Jones blush. The fake left therefore loses whatever credibility it ever had with American workers and oppressed people and could not mobilize any real numbers of them in the April “anti-imperialist” actions following Trump’s missile attack stunt.

The revolutionary fight to defeat U.S. imperialism at home and abroad, the main enemy of the international international working class, also means linking up to the workers struggles in the Middle East and everywhere in the fight for world socialist revolution, not abandoning them to their own brutal comprador bourgeoisie. As for the anarchists, they are largely mute on smashing the state as they engage in “propaganda of the deed” militant but non-violent street actions, thinking they will eventually replace the capitalist state by building democratic assemblies and a utopian alternate society within the current capitalist system.

The leadership of the class is up for contest as demonstrated in the rank-and-file-led actions of the teachers in right to be enslaved states. To defeat the ruling class and fight for socialism, we have to defeat the fake leaders of the working class who keep driving us back into the Democratic Party in our unions and in our mass movements.The fight for working class political independence leads through the formation of rank and file class struggle committees in the unions challenging to bring class struggle methods back.

The present moment is a rare historical opportunity for workers to organize their own party, to see colossal corruption and perfidy for what it is and to see that what is required is uncompromising class struggle and the fight for a revolutionary socialist political program, the understanding of the class-for-itself political tasks of fighting for humanity’s future.


Socialism is the last, best and only hope against the drive for imperialist war and climate destruction!

For a New Revolutionary Workers International Based on Trotsky’s 1938 Transitional Program : the World Party of Socialist Revolution!


LCC May 1 2018

Revolutionary Worker No 4, May 2018.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Zimbabwe: Revolutionary Workers Group statement on Dismissal of Nurses

Why Zimbabwe needs its nurses despite high rates of unemployment

GOVERNMENT HANDS OFF NURSES! REINSTATE ALL FIRED NURSES NOW! ALL GOVERNMENT WORKERS STRIKE! FORWARD TO A GENERAL STRIKE!

Yesterday, the eve of the independence celebrations, the government through the Vice President and former army general announced the dismissal of all striking nurses. In an opaque statement the government tried to shift the blame to the workers who are justly and legally fighting for their rights. The main reason for the dismissal was that the government view the action as political hence the measures.

The nurses have been on strike for about a week now demanding better working conditions, payment of overdue allowances and a review of their salaries and all legal procedures relating to the strike were followed. The real reason for the dismissal is to instill fear in other civil servants especially teachers who are set to strike when schools open on May. In essence this is the logic of class warfare which must be met with equal force.

The post Mugabe military based coup government is intent on attacking workers to lay the basis for renewed investor confidence and protection of the interests of capitalists. They want to send a clear message that indeed Zimbabwe is open for business and they can guarantee massive profits for their masters. In contrast to the workers and poor masses living from hand to mouth, the bosses and their surrogates are living large and can afford to charter planes for routine medical checkups whilst the masses die due to lack of medicine, proper facilities and money.

The Revolutionary Workers Group of Zimbabwe (RWG-Z) salutes the gallant nurses who are fighting a class war on behalf of other workers in government and generally against austerity and slave conditions. We salute the nurses union for remaining resolute in the face of such attacks and also support the call by the main trade union federation for a general strike. The nurses must be defended. We call on all nurses not to bow down to this intimidation and instead intensify the strike. Workers should support the picket lines to stop scab labour. All government workers must down tools in support of the nurses and send a clear message to the government. A general strike is now a must if the working class is to survive.

We further call for:
  • The immediate and unconditional reinstatement of all dismissed nurses!
  • An all-out strike and solidarity action to defeat the government!
  • Payment of all outstanding allowances and timely payment of allowances!
  • The opening of all books of the medical services for public view!
  • A living Wage! Workers fight for a living wage and better working conditions through mass action controlled by ordinary workers!
  • Against the ever rising prices and inflation we demand a sliding scale of wages!
  • Against unemployment and destitution we demand a sliding scale of working hours to provide decent jobs for all through massive public works programs to provide housing, education and medical care for all!
  • Organise the unorganised! Form unions of the unemployed as fully affiliated unions!
  • Workers take back your unions!
  • Militant workers to form class struggle caucuses in the unions to fight for this program!
  • The government must stop the attack on the vendors!
  • Workers to form strike committees to lead the resistance to the growing attacks on the wages and working conditions of the poor and the livelihood of the majority poor!
  • Workers to form workers defence guards for defence against state violence!
  • A national strike committee to organise and plan for a general strike!
  • For a workers government on the basis of the armed people to implement decisions that benefit the workers and the poor!
  • Nationalisation of all companies without indemnification to the big shareholders under workers control!
  • Land to be distributed to all poor peasants together with a state bank to provide inputs to all small farmers!
  • A workers state that defends workers, peasants and the poor masses against the local and foreign capitalists!
  • An African socialist revolution as part of the international revolution that alone can guarantee a better life for all!
  • A new WORLD PARTY of socialist revolution based on the TRANSITIONAL PROGRAM of 1938 to lead the revolution to end capitalism and open the road to socialism!
Revolutionary Workers Group of Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe section of the Liaison Committee of Communists)
18 April 2018
Harare