Monday, July 07, 2008

Survival Socialism: Action program on food and fuel

For the workers to live, capitalism must die!

Our immediate needs demand a revolutionary program. No market socialism, no fake Marxism, no reforms that cannot change anything –like carbon trading which is business as usual. Carbon trading has been upstaged by human starvation. What if the stink is not methane released by global warning, but the stink of human corpses.

Who’s going to clean up the stink? Well the workers are not dying on their bellies holding out their hands to parliament, but dying on their feet facing the riot cops and the bosses’ armies. What they want now is food, houses, and jobs. They are rapidly learning that what they will
have to do to survive is overthrow the capitalist system and replace it with socialism.

Emissions are the not problem, starvation is the problem. And the cause is not global warming but global profiteering. The cost of food is not due to any shortage but the failure of capitalist production to meet demand for food when it can profit from biofuel, or speculating in hoarding food and fuel.

To get the food and the fuel we need to get control of the production system. There is no way we can do this without destroying the market which puts profits before people, and replacing it with a planned socialist economy.


Socialist Planning

Socialist planning can start to cut carbon emissions the day after the capitalist system is overthrown. First on our list are big oil and gas, second agriculture, third banks and fourth industry. Attempt to tax big oil and gas to force them to adopt clean renewable energy is utopian. They will not do it as the decline in investment in alternative fuels by big oil shows. Big oil and gas must be nationalized without compensation under workers control.

Food can be provided immediately by nationalizing the food multinationals and expropriating the large landholdings under workers control. Energy and land can be developed under a socialist plan by nationalizing the banks and the major sectors of industry.

To do this we need a party and a program that is capable of leading the proletariat in its struggles against capitalism all the way to the socialist revolution.


Action Program on food and fuel

The Trotskyist Transitional Program has the method we need to make an action program for workers to fight for our needs today. By fighting for food, fuel, housing, jobs, wages, workers will learn that to win these demands we must mobilize the working class and its allies as a force capable of taking power.

The main transitional demand to face falling wages and rising prices is the sliding scale of wages and hours. Wages must be pegged to inflation and hours reduced without cuts in pay to provide jobs for the unemployed. However, these are not enough to confront rapid inflation
such as workers face with rising food and fuel prices.

Food prices are rising because of increased demand in Asia, land being used for biofuel, hoarding and speculation in food commodities. Fuel prices are rising rapidly because of demand but mainly because of speculation in oil as a commodity of value.


For state subsidies all food and fuel prices so they can be afforded.
While some regimes (Egypt etc) have introduced subsidies, no nation state can keep the price affordable to the masses. In NZ the unions should demand that the Labour Government immediately remove GST (goods and services tax) from food and fuel.

Workers committees to confiscate and distribute food and fuel supplies.
Where food is being hoarded, exported or destroyed, workers must demand that this food is nationalized under workers control. Small producers and transport owners who are bankrupted by prices should be compensated. Supplies of fuel should be nationalized and the distribution of fuel put under workers control. Oil and gas production in NZ should be nationalized under workers control with no compensation.

Nationalise large capitalist agricultural businesses under workers control.
Large capitalist corporations that employ managers and wage workers should be nationalized without compensation and placed under the management of the workers. In NZ, Fonterra and other cooperatively owned companies would not have their producer shareholdings nationalised, but they would operate in partnership with a state shareholding that reflects the real level of state investments in food production.

Class Struggle 78 May/June 2008
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