Sunday, November 27, 2011

Defend Iran against the U.S., EU and Israel warmongers!


Resolution of the Revolutionary Communist Organization for Liberation (RKOB), 9. 11. 2011,

For several weeks now the European and U.S. imperialists and their Israeli henchmen have been threatening Iran with war. They call on Iran to abandon its program to develop nuclear power plants and threaten it with economic sanctions and, increasingly, with military aggression. The justification - that Iran will build secret nuclear weapons - is simply a lie that is used as a justification for a bloody imperialist war of aggression. Remember the claim of George W. Bush in 2003 before the imperialist invasion that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (which, according to the U.S. government, it could use within 45 minutes)! Today, Iran has neither nuclear weapons nor is it close to their completion.

In every criminal case the judge asks: "cui bono?" (Who benefits from the crime?) since that person is often guilty. Similarly we have to ask today: "Who benefits if Iran is not allowed to build nuclear power plants? Who benefits if – under the pretext of a ‘threatened peace’ – preventive strikes against Iran are prepared? Who benefits by waging war against Iran? Who benefits if the economic development of Iran is inhibited by international sanctions and restrictions on the peaceful use of nuclear energy?” It is pretty obvious that the beneficiaries and the culprits are the U.S., the EU and Israel!

But let us accept for a moment the scenario which the imperialists and their UN agencies are painting and assume that Iran is producing nuclear weapons. How can the U.S. (which possesses 9.400 nuclear warheads), France (300), Britain (200) and Israel (100) claim any legitimacy by accusing Iran of building nuclear weapons themselves?! In the history of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which was dictated by the U.S. – several countries have broken it – Israel, India, Pakistan and South Africa. None of these countries were threatened by war at that time. This is hardly surprising since all of the them were allies of the United States. Only stupid bureaucrats and people who can benefit from the imperialist policy can argue that the EU, the U.S., Israel or the United Nations has any right to blame Iran for its production of nuclear weapons.

But as in the preparation of any imperialist, unjust war, the issue is the economic interests of major powers – in particularly Iran's oil. Iran has, after Saudi Arabia, the world's second largest oil reserves (approximately 11.6% of global reserves). Iran also has an important geo-strategic position by which it controls the shipping and oil transport via the Strait of Hormuz. Likewise, the Western powers would, have through a compliant regime in Tehran, better access for oil pipelines from Central Asia, the Persian Gulf and the border with Russia.

Israel is currently the most aggressive warmonger against Iran. The strategic position of Israel in the last year has been significantly weakened by the Arab revolution. Its greatest ally in the region, Egypt and Turkey, turn more and more against this racist apartheid state and the U.S. also withdraws more and more economic and political support (due to its own massive economic problems and military defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan). Israel is trying to regain its lost political position by an aggressive war.

A war against Iran would very likely not end with its occupation. The current military and economic situation of the U.S. and the EU is in a too bad shape and Israel is already having difficulties keeping its own borders under control. What a challenge Iran would be with more than 75 million inhabitants and an area of 1.65 sq km! A bombardment by the air force against the economic lifelines of the country and on various military targets is more likely. The Iranian people are particularly in danger as Israel has threatened several times to use so-called mini-nukes (i.e. smaller nuclear bombs with an explosive force of less than 5 kilotons) against Iran.

If Israel and its supporters in Washington, London, Paris or Berlin really decide to start a war against Iran, then we Bolshevik-communists clearly stand for defense of Iran against imperialist aggression. We have no sympathy for the regime in Tehran. It is a bourgeois-Islamic dictatorship that must be overthrown by a revolution of the workers and peasants. But a victory of imperialism against Iran would strengthen the biggest exploiter of the world and worsen the conditions of the liberation struggle. That is why we fight against every form of interference and oppression of the major imperialist powers against Iran - whether by economic sanctions or by war.

We will explain to the masses: "Despite the fact that the Islamic regime in Tehran is suppressing the workers, peasants and national minorities, they are fighting a just war against those who want to oppress you even more. Every military air craft which is shot down by the Iranian armed forces, is an air craft which cannot be used any more against the people of Tehran, Beirut or the Gaza." We call on the oppressed Arab masses and the workers movement of the West: “Help your Iranian class brothers and sisters, organize "Red Aid" for those who have suffered from these attacks!” If possible, they must also arrange to send weapons for the Iranian Resistance.

In the case of a war mass demonstrations and solidarity strikes in all parts of the world must be organized. We call for the port workers to refuse loading the deadly cargo on NATO supply ships, to prevent these ships from refuelling and replenishing their supplies. The Iranian nation needs our international solidarity! If the imperialists dare to attack Iran with ground troops, we propose to set up International Brigades to support the Iranian Resistance.

In short, everything must be done to ensure that NATO loses such a possible war.


* Hands off Iran! Long live international solidarity with the Iranian people!

* No sanctions against Iran!

* In the event of war: For the defeat of the U.S., EU and Israel! For the military victory of Iran!

  [Note: The CWG position on Iran also opposes the military intervention of China (and its ally Russia) as imperialist rivals of the US for control of Iranian and Central Asian oil and other resources]

Aotearoa/NZ - End of Parliamentary Democracy?

Labour leader Phil Goff (left) and National leader and former Goldman Sachs banker John Key

In Aotearoa/NZ the National and Labour parties are both capitalist parties but they are not quite the same. Labour historically claims to represent working people, while National has always stood for international finance capital. Under the current crisis of global capital the NZ Labour Party like Social Democratic parties everywhere has almost exhausted its claim to represent the working class. In the face of this historic bankruptcy, support for Social Democracy has been falling as the largest sector of workers no longer vote. Capitalism in crisis is everywhere openly abandoning the figleaf of parliamentary democracy and installing Bonapartist regimes to impose mounting austerity attacks on workers. The results of the 2011 election in Aotearoa/NZ has confirmed the bankruptcy of Social Democracy with the number or voters falling to an historic low at 73% of eligible voters and Labour's share of the vote falling to an historic low in the traditional working class constituencies. 

Labour Party exhausted historic role?

Labour is being pulled left and right in the face of the global capitalist crisis. It’s torn between two masters. On the one hand it has to serve capitalism and manage capitalism by increasing the productivity of labour the creator of value. On the other it has to respond to its working class supporters and try to claim it serves their interests or it loses its reason for existence. This reveals that Labour like all Social Democratic parties is founded on a class contradiction between its bourgeois program and its labour movement base. Its function is to attempt to suppress that contradiction. In a crisis when that contradiction comes exploding to the surface, Labour has no option but to move right to attempt to solve the crisis at the expense of the working class. But in the process the contraction threatens to destroy Social Democracy.

This explains labour’s lurch to the right. Its new policy on pensions steals the extreme neo-liberal ACT party's policy of making workers work harder, longer, and die sooner. Pushing out the age of retirement from 65 to 67 is an open attack on the working class. To get elected Labour has again abandoned its working class roots and openly appeals to international finance capital to allow it to manage its affairs in NZ. It's another lurch to the right in response to a deep crisis echoing the 1980s crisis management at the expense of workers. Labour has gone so far to the right it even makes multi-millionaire Gareth Morgan’s Big Kahuna look positively leftwing.[see note]

Labour wants to make workers' pay for NZ's economic crisis in the same way as so-called 'socialist' parties in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland are making workers pay for the crisis of international finance capital. And like those parties which have been voted out or replaced by unelected politicians, Social Democracy is exposed as political bankrupt. What this proves that when it comes to deciding which master it serves Labour always sides with the capitalists and their profits rather with workers and their needs. Let’s prove that this is historically true.

Labour was never a socialist party. It was formed in 1916 after the historic defeat of militant labour in 1913 to co-opt the labour movement into parliament. But under pressure from unemployed workers and destitute working farmers during the Great Depression of the 30's the First Labour Government came to power on a radical populist policy of economic protectionism and income redistribution. This policy prevailed under both Labour and National until the late 1960’s when falling export earnings and internal costs created a big balance of payments deficit. The National Government Prime Minister Muldoon's response to the deepening international crisis in the 1970s was to reinforce protectionism. He refused to concede control over NZs economy even in the face of the threat of massive capital flight. Not because he was pro-worker but because he was for the protection of farmers and manufacturers from rising world prices for energy etc. Hence the 'think big' economic nationalist policy of self-reliance which ironically echoed that of the First Labour Government of the '30s. NZ became a pariah for international finance capital. When Labour was elected in 1984 it found itself facing a double global structural crisis and a crisis of capital flight from a collapsing NZ economy.

Labour became the Government without declaring to its working class supporters that it would shortly adopt the shock therapy of monetarist deregulation. It claimed it had no option because of a crisis of confidence in the NZ economy on the part of international capital. 'Rogernomics', as it came to be called after Finance Minister, Roger Douglas, was the policy of international finance capital (neo-liberalism) designed to destroy protectionism and privatise public assets. It was driven by the crisis facing global capital of falling profits. Douglas prepared his plans as early as 1980 as anyone who read ‘There Must be a Better Way’ knows. Labour had the unions in its pocket so by the time its so-called ‘red’ [pro-Moscow 'socialist'] leaders woke up under their beds it was too late. They were rewarded by Labour stripping the unions of basic rights just before the 1990 election. The left split to form the New Labour Party while many workers refused to vote Labour. Labour was defeated and the 1990s became a decade of National-led governments that furthered the neo-liberal plan of deregulation.

Labour was in Government from 1999 until 2008 but did damn all to reverse its sell-out to monetarism of the '80s. It reformed the Employment Contracts Act to restore the 'balance of power' between employers and unions but the unions remained hollow shells and never recovered their mass membership. Labour had to live within the neo-liberal parameters it had imposed in the 1980s. Its ‘rescued’ some privatised state assets like AirNZ and NZRail but for the sake of business not workers. State provision of basic infrastructure has always been the role of the state in NZ as a subsidy to a weak national capital. So basically Labour accepted the neo-liberal ‘settlement’ of finance capital of the 1980s and imposed further limits on the sovereignty of parliament through fiscal and monetary policy constraints.

This is why it no longer has the tools (or the will) to tackle neo-liberalism and opts for fake ‘tough’ options like making workers work harder and longer. Labour’s tax adjustments are fiscal fiddling which do little to reverse steeply regressive taxation and the widening income gap. Labour introduced the Goods and Service Tax [GST] in the '80s as part of the neo-liberal shift of taxation from capital to labour. Taking GST off fresh fruit and vegetables will be eaten up by inflation in no time. The Capital Gains Tax [CGT] is another grim joke. It won’t do anything to stop speculation or boost productive investment in jobs. That’s why Labour’s excellently produced election advertisements try to cover up its historic sell-out to finance capital with clips from the Joe Savage and Walter Nash eras from 1935-1949 falsely claiming to be going back to Labour’s social justice historic roots.

It is the failure of Labour to reconcile the class contradiction that runs through it that has created the vacuum for the NACT regime to take power and dominate the political domain. Having co-opted the ‘middle class’ and labour aristocracy the NACTs are now resolving the class contradiction by dividing and splitting the working class between aspiring middle class and the ‘underclass’ in the name of national unity. The NACT regime now takes the form of an increasingly authoritarian Bonapartist regime.

Down with NACTs Bonapartism!

NACT PM John Key is a leader who appears to be able to stand above ‘partisan’ politics and represent the nation. He can change the law almost at will. He passes some urgent retrospective empowering legislation and sends a minister to ride shotgun. Some say it’s a feature of ‘presidential’ rule that spawns mini Tsars. His 'presidential' appeal however is that of finance capital and his reputation as a successful 'banker'. John Key the rich banker can pass himself off as above the nation because he represents the financial salvation of the nation. Of course this explains why Key is so popular and can get away with doing what he likes, laugh it off, smile and wave, and move on.

This is a well known phenomenon to Marxists who refer to it as ‘Bonapartism’ after the French Bonapartes who ruled as ‘strong men’ in the 1800s seemingly above classes, and therefore identifying with the nation as a whole. It is a feature of a period of social crisis when the open Tory parties are too much identified with the greedy, arrogant ruling class, so a populist figure, apparently straddling the classes, can for a relatively short period maintain a class balance and semblance of order and stability. Bonapartism provides a cover for creeping autocracy as the regime has to implement rapid reforms to make the working masses pay for its crises and restore its profits. In the current crisis, as the success of John Key shows, Bonapartism is taking the form of unelected Bankers assuming executive power by default allowing Social Democracy and Rightwing regimes to hide behind the figleaf of the authority of finance capital that is 'too big to allow nation states to fail'.

Yet Bonapartist figures cannot put the lid on class struggle in a serious prolonged crisis and the working class begins to resist the attacks on it. A very clever Bonapartist like Key can delay the shift to the right by simply smothering working class resistance. He won the ‘08 election as ‘Labour Lite’ keeping his Tory agenda under wraps. He has removed the wraps as his popularity and ability to maintain the class balance holds. He is well managed. The RWC and his photo op with the Mad Butcher continues to promote his stand for the national above classes. He drinks in the corporate boxes with the rugby bosses and sits in the stands with the heartland of working class NZ, the league fans, fraternising with another self made working class multi-millionaire. To make it easier the Labour Party under Goff is incapable of standing up for the most oppressed workers. And Mana has not yet been able to appeal to the disaffected hordes of Labour voters attracting only 1% of the vote in the 2011 election.

However, in one or two or three year’s time depending how rapidly the global crisis develops, the NACT regime will no longer be able to keep workers down. The Bonapartist regime will then move right to redefine the nation as excluding the ‘outsiders’- the 100s of thousands of workers who have been disenfranchised by Labour’s open pro-capitalist trajectory in the last 30 years and who in 2008 and 2011 stayed at home. Labour faces the ignominy of most of its traditional working class base alienated from 'their' historic Party.

The ‘outsiders’ are those sections of the working class mainly Maori, Pacifica, youth and women who are over-represented as unemployed, lowpaid, unpaid, precarious, casualised workers and labelled as the 'underclass'. The Bonapartist regime attacks these groups to victimise and demonise them in order to divide and smash their unity as workers. The NACTs have used Brash and will now use Banks to drive racist, sexist, anti-youth and homophobic wedges in this direction hoping to incite the formation of fascist currents. This opens the way for a fascist movement to demonise and physically attack the most militant sections of the working class and destroy its challenge to capitalist rule.

A serious working class opposition to capitalist class rule has therefore to unite all of these class elements as one single fighting force. This is what is under way with the wave of occupations that is spreading across the world. These occupations are all pointing towards growing support for general strikes from Egypt to Bolivia, Greece to the US etc, which if they become based on workers councils, militias and support from the ranks of the military, open the road to the smashing of the class power of the bourgeoisie and the rise to power of the working class globally. 

Global Revolution is the solution!
Just as we see growing layers of the masses around the world turning their backs on parliaments and the bankruptcy of social democracy, mobilising on the streets and Liberation squares to take their futures into their own hands, young people and workers are doing the same in Aotearoa. When it is clear that parliament is talk shop for the bosses and the state the committee to manage the affairs of the ruling class, the people are waking up to the reality that they have the power to make change by uniting, organising and campaigning for what they need.

The Arab Revolution that stood against political dictatorships sparked off the ‘indignados’ in Spain and Greece to stand up against the dictatorship of finance capital. The first tentative demand to emerge from the #OWS is the Robin Hood Tax but already it's clear that even to make this demand the movement needs to unite with workers everywhere and build for a general strike to bring down the capitalist regimes and open the road for real democracy. The general strike #OccupyOakland led on November 2 followed closely on the 48 hour general strike in Greece. There will be many more. Based on a revolutionary consciousness, program and action and lead by a global democratic mass workers' revolutionary party,  this can be the beginning of the revolution.

After the Robin Hood Tax comes the jailing of the Sheriff and his army of cops and then the deposing of King John and the ruling class.
[note] 

The Big Kahuna

Gareth Morgan and his collaborators have put out proposals for an Unconditional Basic Income to all (paid work or not) and a flat tax to pay for it which would incorporate a Capital Gains Tax. These proposals are an advance on modern social democracy that has conceded a tax regime that is highly regressive (poor pay a bigger % of income than rich). While the UBI challenges the fundamental presumption of capitalism that we must work or starve, and takes away the stigma attached to social welfare, in the end this is still a distributional solution to inequality that fails to get to the roots of capitalisms class structure. It is a proposal for re-allocating a social wage in a way that is more efficient for capital to make profits and to buy social peace. Nevertheless these proposals are ones that should be taken up by the left and debated as they can become the launching pad for mobilising working people to challenge the rule of capital, the ownership of private property, and the exploitation of labour-power as the source of profits.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Perspectives on the Greek Revolution

Solidarity march with migrant workers


The Greek tragedy is the lack of revolutionary leadership of the workers movement!

For Workers’ Councils, Workers’ Militias and a Workers’ Government!


1. Greece is currently the mirror image of the future of many countries in Europe and beyond in two senses. First, Greece has shown with what brutality and what devastating consequences monopoly capital in the stage of decaying capitalism tries to shift its economic and debt crisis onto the backs of the masses of the working class and peasantry. Second, we see that the existing reformist bureaucracies that control the labor movement lead our class to disaster. Either they execute the orders of the capitalist class as stooges, or they help these stooges indirectly by leading the workers with a strategy that cannot possibly win. Centrism in Greece demonstrates again its adaptation to bourgeois ideology and to the reformist bureaucracy. One must say outright: Greece proves again that without a revolutionary workers party based on a Bolshevik program the proletariat is helpless to defeat the blows of the ruling class.

Capitalist crisis and Politics of plunder


2. The crisis of capitalism pushes Greece to ruin. Already in 2010 the Greek gross domestic product shrank by 4.5% and by the end of the second third of 2011 a further 7.5%. In 2011 it is expected that there will be not enough tax revenue to service the current debt repayment. By March 2011 the debt of the country was over 340 billion Euros. This is against this background of a dramatic rise in unemployment and poverty. At the end of 2009 there were approximately 9.6% unemployed; today the official figure is 16.3%. According to the trade unions there are one million unemployed, i.e. 22% of the workforce! Among 15 - to 29-year-olds, nearly one third are without a job. Moreover, up to 30,000 wage earners in the state sector are threatened with dismissal till the end of the year. Public sector workers wages shall be cut on an average of 30-40%, and pensioners face a reduction of their pension by a fifth. The employers can now legally take advantage of high unemployment to undermine the industry collective agreements: the absolute lower limit of about € 740 gross wage for a full time job no longer applies for newly hired young adults under 25 years. You have to make do with just under €600 gross per month. At the same time the rich get their money out safety: according to the German news magazine Spiegel Greek millionaires in Switzerland alone, have deposited € 600 billion.

3. The attacks on the Greek working class are justified by the bourgeois governments, the EU bodies (including the Social-Democratic parties) and the media, by blaming allegedly high wages and government spending in Greece. This is of course one of the many lies the bourgeois ideological apparatuses uses to justify their austerity attacks. According to the French bank Natixis, the annual working time in Germany is on average 1390 hours yet in Greece it is 2119 hours. The gross wages in Greece are 30% less than in Germany. The share of government employment to total employment is in Greece (8%) below that of Germany (just under 10%) and is just over half the average of industrialized countries (15%). Similarly, the share of social spending of GDP is 36% and well below that of Germany (45%). The argument that Greece has taken too much debt and lives "beyond its means" is nonsense. It is in fact a prisoner of imperialist finance capital: in just the last 20 years the country has paid more than €600 billion in interest to the banks - twice as much as its national debt.

4. The actual cause of the devastating economic crisis and the massive austerity attack is not that of wrong neo-liberal policies as the leaders the left Social Democrats and Stalinists insist. For about 40 years global capitalism has been in a period of weak economic growth and crises, the result of the inevitable over-accumulation of capital and the tendency of the falling rate of profit. The neo-liberal policies were not the cause of this crisis because they arrived a long time after it began. There are and have been in the capitalist countries all imaginable forms of government – from a bourgeois government with the participation of radical right-wing forces (e.g., Italy with the National Alliance, in Austria, the FPÖ / BZÖ); Social Democratic governments ruling alone; governments with the participation of "communist" parties (the Jospin government in France, the PCF or twice the Prodi government in Italy with the Rifondazione Comunista); and the dictatorship by a Stalinist party (China, under the leadership of the CPC, where in the early 1990s there was a transition first from a degenerate workers' state to a capitalist state, and in the late 2000s to an imperialist power). But despite the differences in these forms of regime, they all reacted in the same way to the crisis of capitalism with the intensified exploitation of the working class and a massive redistribution of wealth in favor of the bourgeoisie.

Greece put on starvation rations

5. The crisis of the capitalist world system that erupted in 2008 with the worst recession for a long time has gone to a new level. The system has passed the stage of a crisis on its death bed and now approaches its grave where the only alternative is socialism or barbarism. During this period characterised by monopoly capital – the survival of the banks and corporations that dominate the state and economy depends on drastically cutting the value of labor power, screwing up the interest rate and looting the raw material reserves etc. to increase their profits. Weaker capitalist countries – like Greece – are the first victims of the relentless politics of this imperialist plunder. But ultimately it makes the working class and oppressed peoples of all countries pay for its crisis.

6. The aim of the imperialist EU in Greece is to put the workers and oppressed on starvation rations and to privatize the remaining state assets (and sell them mainly to large foreign corporations). So the Greek State offers for sale 39 airports, 850 ports, railways, highways, two energy companies, banks, thousands of hectares of land which the state lottery, etc. with a total value of US$71 billion. Furthermore, a significantly higher proportion of the Greek economy is transferred into the ownership of imperialist capital (so far around 90% of bank capital is still in local hands) and the rights and organizations of the working class are weakened to create a much cheaper labor force for the capitalists to exploit – not only by Western European capitalists but also Greek employers. Therefore, the Greek capitalists essentially support the EU's brutal austerity policies even if they ask for, of course, better terms for them from Brussels.

7. The political crisis in Greece and the events in the EU underline once more the thesis of Marxists that bourgeois democracy is not democracy for the workers class and the broad masses, but in reality a disguised dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. The "socialist" government in Athens can be commanded by the stock exchanges and the Greek capitalists in parliament to adopt the austerity package of the EU Commission, when it is obvious that the people are against it. Nor will the peoples of Europe have the slightest say in the austerity measures. So the government in Athens has just ruled against the so-called democratic or sovereign will of the people. The leaders of PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) and ND (New Democracy – the conservative party) vote to change the government, set the date for new elections, and decide the future of the people. How hypocritical were the "democrats" of Western governments (including the Social Democrats) and the monopoly capitalists, when in early November the then Greek President Papandreou dared to announce a referendum on the austerity package. An outcry over the "irresponsibility" of the government arose in the EU and the stock market tumbled down. Democracy for the capitalists is only viable as long as long as it does not affect their profits. Petty-bourgeois democrats a la ATTAC or the ideologues in the "Democracy Now" movement think that within capitalism a true democracy is possible. This is a childish illusion. In a society in which classes exist and one class exploits the other, there can be no true democracy. The state apparatus, the parliament, the government - they are all in a ‘bourgeois democracy’ controlled by the numerically small class of capitalists. Lenin's statement that "even the most democratic [of] democratic republic[s] is nothing but a machine for the oppression of the working class by the bourgeoisie, the masses of working people by a handful of capitalists" (‘Theses on Bourgeois Democracy and Dictatorship of the Proletariat’, 1919), is valid today than ever .

The class character of Greece

8. All this shows the hopelessness of bourgeois nationalism. It is a reactionary dead end, and chains the working class politically to the bourgeoisie. Bolshevik-Communists therefore reject the "patriotic" orientation of the Stalinists of the KKE (Communist Party of Greece) and many other left-wing reformists, towards the formation of an anti-EU "national bloc" in common with bourgeois forces, as completely reactionary and utopian.

9. In the Greek population there is a widespread mood that sees the EU as dictating a foreign austerity policy (not least Berlin-controlled) onto the country. This is reflected in numerous patriotic expressions at demonstrations and also at the celebrations marking the anniversary of the famous "NO" against Mussolini's dictatorship on 28 October 1940. Without doubt an element of national oppression exists in the current crisis, insofar as there are not equal relations between states, as the major powers in the EU – especially Germany and France, but also smaller imperialist powers such as Austria or the Netherlands – treat Greece unashamedly as a developed semi-colony whose government policy it can dictate.

10. At the same time the patriotic Stalinists of the KKE and other leftists, "forget" that Greek capitalism has also striven to take its place as an internationally active exploiter class. The Greek capitalists have traditionally been among the largest owners of ships (with a share of almost 16% of world shipping tonnage in 2010). Also since the early 1990s, Greek capital has established itself as a leading foreign investor in South Eastern European and Balkan countries and in Serbia, Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria it even takes the first place among foreign investors. Greece's leading four banks –National Bank of Greece, EFG Euro Bank, Alpha Bank and Piraeus – now control about 20% of the financial sector in Southeast Europe. In short, Greek capital is exploiting the proletariat not only domestically, but also through the super-exploitation of workers in poorer semi-colonial countries. It is however noted that part of the officially recognized "foreign investment" (referred to as capital exports) is in reality more capital flight in the face of severe economic crisis in Greece and represents less a sign of strength but of weakness of Greek capital. This shows incidentally, that the patriotism of the ruling class serves only as an ideological veil to fool the oppressed classes, but if it is conducive to their profits, they will – without batting an eyelid – readily submit to foreign masters.

11. Greek capitalism therefore has a contradictory character. While it has historically been oppressed by European and U.S. imperialism it has also made efforts to make parts of the Balkans its own semi-colonial hinterland. An overall picture of Greek capitalism is that – given the relatively low importance of the role of capital exports and repatriation of super-profits in proportion to the overall economy and the overall relatively underdeveloped nature of capitalist development in the country –Greece has no imperialist character. We reject the use of categories such as "sub-imperialism" (as used by the centrist IS/SWP tradition of Tony Cliff) as un-Marxist, because in the modern era of imperialism they blur and render indecisive the characteristic contradiction between oppressor and oppressed countries. Rather, Greece is an advanced semi-colony in subordination to the imperialist powers – especially the EU and the USA, and increasingly China. The current crisis in Greece and its open submission to the dictates of the big powers show that the efforts of the Greek capital in the past 20 years to become a small regional imperialist power were not crowned with success. The last years have confirmed the semi-colonial status of Greece.

12. The example of Greece also confirms the thesis of Bolshevik-Communists that China has now become a new imperialist superpower. The dramatic increase in its capital exports – China is now the world's fifth-largest foreign investor – shows that the country is neither a semi-colony nor a degenerated workers' state, and certainly not a socialist state. In the recent past, China has won through massive investments an influential role in Greece and thus gained a springboard into the EU. The state capitalist Chinese company Cosco controls with a US$5 billion investment the largest port in the country. China plans a number of other major investments in Greece and has already signed contracts for projects totalling more than US$5 billion for the purchase of larger sectors of the major trading fleet, telecommunications, railways, etc. For the Greek working class Chinese investment brings heavy attacks. For example, Cosco prohibits in “its” Piraeus harbor any union activity or even collective bargaining agreements. What a bizarre nonsense that many Stalinists and Chavez supporters admire China as a socialist, or at least still a progressive country!

13. The reactionary character of Greek chauvinism is also reflected in its history of oppression and partial expulsion of national minorities (Turks, Albanians, Macedonians, etc.). Founded in 1991, even the independent Republic of Macedonia was not recognized by Greece for many years. At the same time Greek chauvinism is also used to justify the exploitation of the many migrants and thus to deepen the split in the working class. This is even more serious given the fact that the migrants number officially a million (2 / 3 are Albanians) and amount to 20% of the total labor force.

Patriotism - the dead end of reformism


14. Shamefully, a large part of the reformist Left (left wing of PASOK, KKE, Synaspismos, etc.) subscribes to Greek patriotism. The KKE, for example, refers to itself in its program as a "patriotic party" and is committed to "defending the territorial integrity of the country against the new imperialist world order." The only "dangers" of the "territorial integrity" of Greece in the past few decades were the conflict with Turkey and some demands by the Macedonian minority in Greece to secede. In fact, the KKE on the Macedonian question supports "the safeguard of inviolability of borders; the avoidance of every irredentist propaganda and of actions that hinder the approach and cooperation of the two countries." (KKE Resolution 19.2.2008). In general, the KKE denies the existence of any national minority in Greece (Interview with the longtime KKE Secretary General Aleka Papariga, 02/26/2011). The commitment of the KKE to patriotism and the defense of the capitalist state against other states and against the self-determination of national minorities is nothing more than social-chauvinism and subordination to the capitalist fatherland.

15. Today the KKE calls for the withdrawal of Greece from the EU and the euro currency and the restoration of "independence" for Greece and the drachma currency. But in reality, the solution of the Greek crisis can only be international in character. A capitalist Greece outside the EU will face at least as tough austerity measures as those imposed by the present government. The reformist bureaucracy of the KKE preaches the illusion that Greece could be an independent nation because the country "has conditions to create a self-supporting developing national economy." (Aleka Papariga, 5.7.2010) Such a nation existing in isolation is not possible.

16. The struggle against the imperialist dictates of the EU must be fought internationally. The West European workers' movement must fight on the streets and in parliament against all austerity policies to “rescue” Greece and against anti-Greek chauvinism. Revolutionaries in Greece must reject the bourgeois-nationalist perspective sharply and the demand for withdrawal from the EU7 or the Euro zone and the reintroduction of the drachma. The slogan for Greece’s withdrawal from the EU and euro should be made only in connection with the slogan of a workers' government and as part of the process of socialist revolution.

17. We are opposed to ultra-left positions, which – because of the presence of Greek national flags in demonstrations and site occupations or the organized right – conclude that these mobilisations have a reactionary character. Of course, in a real popular movement, which is directed against the brutal subjugation of the country under the dictates of the imperialist EU, patriotism is understandable, in particular given the fact that the workers vanguard still does not have a revolutionary consciousness and therefore cannot decisively influence these mobilization with an internationalist perspective. Bolsheviks-communists argue against patriotism as such not with abstract teachings about the myth of the homeland and the moral superiority of internationalism. Rather, we point out that Greece can be saved only a) if it is free of rule by Greek and international capital, b) if the fight is on the basis of complete equality with the non-Greek parts of the working class in the country (immigrants, national minorities) and c) if it takes place as part of a common international struggle of the working class in the Balkans, in Europe and the Mediterranean, for a socialist federation.

18. It is particularly important, therefore, to underline the reactionary role of Greek capital in the Balkans and in the over-exploitation and national oppression of the migrants in their own country. To combat Greek chauvinism consistently, we make our program for the national self-determination (including the right of secession) for the minorities in Greece; for the full equality of migrants (full citizenship rights, equal pay, recognition of their language as equal at work and education, abolition of the official State language, etc.); for a socialist perspective for a Balkan Federation and the United Socialist States of Europe, a priority. Equally urgent is the unity of the Greek Revolution and the Arab revolution.

19. The importance of the revolutionary struggle for complete equality and integration of migrants is reflected especially in Greece. They are an important part, especially of the most oppressed sections of the working class. The struggle of the union of cleaners and domestic helpers in Athens (PEKOP) shows that migrants can play an important role in the class struggle. Its most famous representative, the Bulgarian migrant Kostantina Kuneva, was attacked in late 2008 during a labor dispute by paid assassins of the company concerned who threw sulfuric acid all over her face. She survived despite severe injuries and PEKOP – supported by a large wave of solidarity from other parts of the working class and the youth – was able to win the strike. The organization and mobilization of the lower sections of the working class – among which the migrants play a key role –is a crucial precondition for the victory of the Greek revolution.

Widespread pre-revolutionary crisis

20. The central question is: Why has the government been able to stay in power even after a string of very brutal austerity policies forced on the people against their will? Is it the lack of combat readiness of the masses? Certainly not! The massive attacks of the capitalist class were answered by the working class with a series of general strikes, demonstrations and site occupations. The statistical average in 2010 was two demonstrations per day in Athens!

21. Is Greek capitalism in such a strong position? No. Not only are the workers and the oppressed no longer willing to accept the series of savage packages. The ruling class cannot continue its existing politics unchanged. Greece is facing national bankruptcy. The political system is totally discredited in the eyes of the people. Each government crisis is followed by the next. No wonder that there is speculation among the political elite of Greece and the EU already about the need for a civil war, a military coup and a Bonapartist regime.

22. Greece is definitely facing a pre-revolutionary crisis. If we disregard the rebellion in Albania in 1997, we find in Greece the most advanced revolutionary development in Europe since Portugal 1974-75. Lenin's classic definition of a revolutionary situation clearly applies to Greece: "(1) when it is impossible for the ruling classes to maintain their rule without any change; when there is a crisis, in one form or another, among the “upper classes”, a crisis in the policy of the ruling class, leading to a fissure through which the discontent and indignation of the oppressed classes burst forth. For a revolution to take place, it is usually insufficient for “the lower classes not to want” to live in the old way; it is also necessary that “the upper classes should be unable” to live in the old way; (2) when the suffering and want of the oppressed classes have grown more acute than usual; (3) when, as a consequence of the above causes, there is a considerable increase in the activity of the masses, who uncomplainingly allow themselves to be robbed in “peace time”, but, in turbulent times, are drawn both by all the circumstances of the crisis and by the “upper classes” themselves into independent historical action." (VI Lenin, ‘The Collapse of the Second International’, 1915). From the Greek revolution to the Arab revolution since January 2011, the August uprising of the poor in Britain a few months ago, and the world-wide Occupation movement, there is further evidence for the Bolshevik-Communists assessment that the historical crisis of capitalism has opened a revolutionary period.

23. So the ruling class holds on to power not because of their strength and not because of the lack of combat readiness of the working class. The cause lies rather in the fact that the proletariat and the oppressed have no revolutionary leadership. Instead, at the head of the labor movement stand the reformist bureaucracies, with their policies to betray and sell out the struggle of the masses. Either they execute the orders of the capitalist class as direct agents (PASOK), or they help these lackeys indirectly by misleading the proletariat with a reformist strategy which must inevitably end in defeat (KKE, Synapismos). Centrism (which vacillates between reformism and revolution) is incapable of a raising a truly revolutionary program as a political alternative to the bureaucracy, such as the pseudo-Trotskyist forces (Marxistiki Foni / IMT, DEA) and Maoist organizations (such as KOE), with Synapismos/SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical reform left) or Antarsya (a coalition of SEK/IST, OKDE-Spartakos/Fourth International) and others. (Xekinima / CWI belonged to SYRIZA until a few months ago).

24. The pre-revolutionary crisis threatens to degenerate. A pre-revolutionary or revolutionary situation cannot last forever. The masses are weakened by loss of momentum and lose faith in the possibility of victory. At the same time, the ruling class can prepare for a decisive counterattack and for the establishment of a Bonapartist regime with wide-ranging executive powers. Against the backdrop of a deep economic and social crisis, the continued inability of the labor movement to take the initiative inevitably leaves space for the growth of a rabid nationalism and fascism. (e.g. LAOS and Chrysi Avyi). Only the timely construction of a revolutionary workers party based on a Bolshevik program can ensure that the resolute struggle of the masses leads to the proletarian seizure of power and not to a heavy defeat.

The Crisis of Leadership – treachery of PASOK, KKE and SYRIZA

25. The working class in Greece is bound on several sides. The ruling party PASOK in this crisis proves once more to be the direct agent of domestic and foreign monopoly capital. It plays a leading role within the big trade union federations - the Federation GSEE and the public sector union ADEDY. At the last congress of the Greek General Confederation of Labor (GSEE) in March 2010, PASKE – the trade union group close to PASOK – 48.2% of the delegates voted to unite behind PASOK’s social-democratic program to weaken and limit the struggle against austerity. The PASOK government does not shy away from using military repression to discipline the workers. It used the civilian mobilization orders to break the 17-day strike of the garbage workers by force out of fear of a solidarity strike by millions of workers against their policy. This law dates from the Second World War and allows the forced provision of government services. The striking workers were effectively subjected to military discipline. If they refuse, they can be thrown in jail for up to five years.

26. However, at the same time the internal contradictions intensify in the face of growing anger among the masses. A number of leading trade union officials now sees itself forced to break with PASOK. In different unions (teachers, municipal employees, railway workers) PASKE even splits from PASOK.

27. It is significant that PASOK is part of the Socialist International. It is a counterrevolutionary instrument like the other European social democratic parties that support the imperialist policy of robbing Greece through its various EU "aid packages".

28. The Communist Party (KKE) is a classic Stalinist party i.e. it is a bourgeois workers party, which is ruled by a bureaucracy that serves the maintenance of capitalism by promising reforms to its working class social base. Its union faction PAME won 20.9% of the delegates’ votes at the last congress of the GSEE. It has important bastions of support in the traditional core layers of the proletariat like the port and construction workers - and exerts an important influence on the class-conscious workers. However, PAME is does not have the strength of the GSEE and the ADEDY (Civil Servants Unions) to organize general strikes. The KKE played a central role in the anti-fascist struggle for liberation during the Second World War. In 1944 it formed a coalition government with the bourgeois and monarchist forces to disarm the partisans and install a capitalist regime during the revolutionary crisis of 1944-45. Also in 1990-91, the KKE participated in a coalition government with PASOK and ND. It now pursues the Stalinist strategy of establishing a "social popular front" - also called the "anti-imperialist, anti-monopolistic, democratic front of the people". To this end the KKE organizes not only workers and peasants, but also the petty bourgeoisie (it has created the PASEVE –the Anti-monopolist Protest Movement of All Greeks to organise “the Self-employed and the small Tradesman”).

29. The KKE bourgeois role was also evident during the uprising of the youth in December 2008 (a weeks-long mass revolt - not unlike the August uprising of the poor in Britain - after the murder of 15-year-old student Alexandros Grigoropoulos by two police officers). While tens of thousands of youths were fighting in the streets against the police, the KKE Secretary General Papariga slandered the militants as "hooligans" and "hoodies" led by “foreign intelligence." (Interview 17.12.2008)

30. The reformist policy of the KKE is based primarily on strengthening its position in Parliament. The class struggle in the streets and in the factories is subordinated to its parliamentary position. Papariga said in the 2010 "Proposal for Resolving the Crisis" that the party only puts its emphasis on the extra-parliamentary struggle if it sees no possibilities for parliamentary coalitions and maneuver; "...if the political balance of power allows us no effective intervention in favor of the people, then we focus on the extra-parliamentary movement." The KKE is often radical and likes to talk of socialism and the power of the working class. But instead of taking advantage of the present revolutionary crisis to orient the wave of strikes and general strikes and occupation movements to organize an uprising and the revolutionary seizure of power, it demands – along with the other reformist and centrist forces (e.g. SYRIZA) – the formation of a "transitional government" and new elections.

31. Bolshevik-Communists reject the slogan for new elections as it means in the present phase of the heightened class struggle and mass mobilizations nothing but a diversion from the revolutionary struggle on the streets and in the factories back onto the parliamentary road. It reflects an orientation of the reformist bureaucracy that solve the political crisis and the mass mobilizations of popular protests by electing a new civil government to parliament, rather than by an uprising and the overthrow of the ruling class.

32. Against this background we can assess the clashes during the two-day general strike on 19./20 October. The KKE used their forces to form a barrier of people to protect the Parliament and allow the deputies access so they could vote for the recent brutal austerity package. The radical forces of “The Plirono” (We do not pay) movement, the militant Union of Municipal Employees POE-OTA, the radical Left, and the autonomous/anarchists were trapped in Syntagma Square. In response to the bureaucratic and sometimes violent actions of the KKE security forces there were violent clashes between the KKE-stewards and radical parts of the demonstrators. This was the result of the role that the KKE on 20 October played: that of a middle-class auxiliary police who guarded the Parliament against the masses, while the new austerity package was agreed. (That is why the KKE/PAME security forces are often called "KNAT" –a combination of the terms KKE youth organization KNE and the special police MAT)

33. The KKE denounced the radical forces as "anarcho-fascists." Many centrists condemned both the KKE and the radical forces. Doubtless the autonomous/anarchist forces repeatedly caused a counter-productive escalation with the police. But this should not detract from the overall political context. Against the background of many general strikes and the widespread hatred of the people for parliament and the government, the repeated attacks by protesters against the parliament building in the past, it is absurd to justify the KKE/PAME behavior against the workers' demonstration on the pretext of stopping some ‘crazed anarchists’. No, the Stalinist bureaucracy wanted to prove to the ruling class its loyalty in the face of the government crisis and possible new elections. "We are a reputable, state-supporting force, protecting the Parliament in times of crisis and we can control the movement". The policy of the KKE is clearly reminiscent of the role of the Stalinists in the Spanish Civil war 1936-39, where they defended the bourgeois republic against the radical forces of the time. But if the KKE has played out its role, the reactionary forces will sweep it away as it happened in Spain also.

34. The “Coalition of the Radical Left” – SYRIZA – is dominated by the left-reformist party Synaspismos, a Euro-communist split from the KKE in 1991. The founding leaders of Synaspismos were at the forefront of the government coalition with New Democracy and PASOK of 1990-91. Synaspismos is now part of the European Left Party and follows a left-social democratic politics, which sees neoliberal policies as the cause of the crisis and advocates a reform program and government participation in the management of capitalism. Significantly, in the 1990s Synaspismos supported extremely chauvinistic propaganda towards Macedonia and mobilized with the Conservatives, PASOK and the church, for joint demonstrations under the slogan "Macedonia is Greek".

35. In 2010 there was a separation of the right wing of Synaspismos under the former Minister of Justice Fotis Kouvelis (in the coalition government of 1990-91), which formed the reformist Democratic Left party (DIMAR). DIMAR follows the logic of social democracy more consistently than KKE and SYRIZA. Kouvelis calls for new elections so that "the political crisis does not turn into a crisis of democracy". In early November the DIMAR deputy Grigoris Psarianos along with PASOK and ND called for the formation of a transitional government to restore “normal democracy” and to keep the country "on European course". Here speaks a party appealing to the bourgeoisie as a serious coalition partner to administer the capitalist state business.

36. Even if SYRIZA today is sometimes radical and may resonate with some layers of the militant workers and youth, it is basically a left-reformist force. Significantly SYRIZA in recent months did not demand the resignation of the government, but called for a referendum on the debt and the establishment of a committee to review how much of the debt should be paid and how much should be canceled. Similar to the KKE calls for new elections, it has a reformist-parliamentary strategy in response to the crisis. Its goal is to find a place in a bourgeois government ("a new coalition of power", SYRIZA president Alexis Tsipras 04/11/2011) is. That is why Tsipras appealed to President Karolos Papoulias to hold elections to defend the Constitution. Everyone had an obligation under the Constitution to undertake initiatives to preserve social cohesion and national integrity." One should take initiatives “avoid finding ourselves faced with unpleasant events that some times wrong people, institutions and our democracy.” (31.10.2011) Such statements of the supposedly "radical left" in times of severe crisis of capitalist democracy tells us much more about the thoroughly bourgeois-reformist character of SYRIZA than hundreds of rhetorical speeches about anti-capitalism and socialism. Those who think that SYRIZA is more left-wing than the KKE’ make a big mistake. Equally significant is the fact that for years several centrist organizations like Marxistiki Foni / IMT, DEA and KOE have been part of the left-reformist SYRIZA, afraid to break with the reformist Synaspismos and thus carry responsibility for its betrayal.

37. In Greece, anarchism is traditionally relatively strong. Its strength is a consequence of the bureaucratization of the labor movement and the treachery of its leaders in the past. Given the weakness of the revolutionary forces, it is no surprise that many young people and probably some workers turn to anarchism. What they see as ‘communism’ is nothing but the Stalinism of the KKE "Leninism" and the "working class discipline” of KKE stewards calling the rebellious youth "hooligans" as a pretext for protecting parliament. At the same time we must also see that many young activists are misguided in their involvement in the ranks of anarchism. For without a revolutionary (not Stalinist!) party no revolutionary overthrow of capitalism is possible. Without turning to the working class in the factories, without tactics against the organizations of the labor movement, the working class cannot be won to the revolution. Without a disciplined approach to demonstrations and street fighting the ranks can be mislead into police provocations and other counter-productive actions. In short, we are appealing to the anarchist activists to join the ranks of the working class party in the revolutionary struggle for the abolition of classes and the state.

Return of spontaneous movements

38. The massive upsurge of class struggle in recent months has brought very important and promising developments among the masses. Out of the dissatisfaction with the unsuccessful protests organized by the bureaucracy of the unions and the KKE, there arose the spontaneous mass movement Kinima Aganaktisménon Politón (KAP –Indignant Citizens' Movement) starting with the demonstration on 25 May 2011. The movement reached its climax in the summer when tens of thousands and sometimes hundreds of thousands attending their meetings and demonstrations. It calls for the cancellation of debts and the expulsion of the Government, the EU Troika, the IMF, the banks "and all who exploit us." Like so many spontaneous mass movements it is also politically contradictory. On the one hand it embodies a desire for "true democracy", a frontal rejection of government, EU, IMF and "exploiters" and its use of bourgeois legality to square occupations has an enormously progressive potential. On the other hand, it lacks roots in the factories and refuses to allow the formal participation in the meetings of political organizations, which is a petty-bourgeois element in this movement.

39. Because of the radical-democratic nature of the KAP and thus their lack of control by the bureaucracy, the KKE leadership sees this movement as a threat. Shamefully, they condemn it as "apolitical" and reject any involvement in, and support for the movement.

40. The attitude of Bolshevik-Communists to such spontaneous bourgeois-democratic protest movements is characterized by the combination of a) an active participation in, and support for the movement, b) a politically clear and educational criticism of its petty-bourgeois orientation, anti-party sentiment, etc., c) the open advocacy of an orientation to the working class and the establishment of action committees in the factories, neighborhoods and schools, and d) a clear perspective on the necessity of socialist revolution and the building of a revolutionary combat party of the working class.

41. Another very important phenomenon is the spread of rank and file assemblies and the formation of actions in many enterprises and neighborhoods. These committees are spontaneous and are barely linked together. Related actions are also the numerous occupations of public buildings.

Program of the Revolution


42. In the past year and a half Greece has gone through a pre-revolutionary development; numerous ‘general strikes’ (12 until now), occupations and demonstrations have proven beyond doubt the fighting spirit of the masses. But so far these heroic struggles have had no success: the PASOK government has been able to push through the brutal austerity packages in parliament.

43. The reason for this failure lies in the fact that at the head of the mobilization there is no revolutionary combat party of the working class, but rather, reformist bureaucracies with centrist appendages. They pursue a strategy of impotent dead-end mobilisations which are directed at winning lucrative power and privileges via new elections.

44. The key condition to overcome the current crisis is the building of a revolutionary party. Only with such a party at its head can the working class be won to a program for the socialist seizure of power and the road to liberation opened. The first step in this direction is the creation of a revolutionary party-building organization to develop such a program and to unite activists on the basis of this program.

45. The central tragedy of Greece to date lies precisely in the huge gap between the struggle and determination of the working class on the one side and the terrible political backwardness of the leadership of the workers' movement on the other side. There is no revolutionary party capable of leading the proletariat to take power. Today many militant workers and young activists support either reformist or centrist forces (e.g. trade unions close to PASOK, KKE/PAME, SYRIZA, DIMAR, Antarsya), the Autonomists/Anarchists, or they are unorganized. From this fact follows the centrality of the united front tactic. The battle for winning over first the vanguard and then the entire proletariat requires that the revolutionary forces do more than strike together with the workers. They must also direct their demands to the existing organizations and that includes also their leaderships. To direct demands to the leaderships does not imply we have any illusions in their reformist and centrist programs. On the contrary, revolutionaries explain openly to the working class why these leaders are not able to lead the liberation struggle to victory, why they are an obstacle to the revolution and why they must therefore be replaced by a revolutionary party. In a revolutionary crisis the working class can learn ten times as fast as in normal times of relative class peace. But the working class cannot be won over to the revolutionary program solely by means of propaganda - they must go through their own experiences with their leaders’ betrayals. Therefore it is necessary to direct the calls for the establishment of action committees, workers 'militias, etc., up and including the workers' government also to the current leaders of the Greek labor movement such as the pro-PASOK unions, KKE/PAME, SYRIZA, DIMAR and Antarsya.

46. A revolutionary program for the crisis in Greece must first of all explain the character of the current crisis and draw the correct conclusions. This crisis cannot be overcome by reforms and governmental coalitions within the framework of capitalism. The working class and the popular masses will experience a social massacre, a social and historical defeat, if the ruling capitalist class – regardless of whether ND, PASOK, KKE or SYRIZA administer their businesses – is not overthrown in time. The most important element of the current situation is therefore the question of power. Which class rules - the working class or the capitalist class?

47. This is understood by the parties and felt by the masses who want to get rid of the politicians and the government. Therefore the reformists and centrists put forward their answer to the question of power. They demand new elections and a "left" or "anti-monopoly popular government". Several centrists (e.g. CWI, IMT) do not share this orientation towards new elections. They propose a prolonged or even indefinite general strike to overthrow the government and the formation of a workers' government. Their rejection of the reformist electoral orientation is correct but their concept of the struggle for a workers' government is wrong and naive. It is a characteristic of centrism that it presents the seizure of power in a (pre-) revolutionary situation as a relatively peaceful transition, without rupture, in other words, in an opportunistic, non-revolutionary way. The indefinite general strike is seen as a weeks-long strike which forces the government to resign and then a workers government based on trade unions, leftist parties, action committee etc. delegates, emerges. In a (pre-) revolutionary situation this is a completely unrealistic view of the proletarian seizure of power. Moreover, it is a dangerous opportunistic illusion which is spread by centrism in the ranks of workers vanguard.

48. Not coincidentally, several centrist groups such as the CWI or the IMT share the revisionist theory of a peaceful transition to socialism. The scenario of civil war and the appropriate political and military preparation is outside of their horizon. But the ruling class will not voluntarily give up their power and a few street fights are not sufficient to win. Already the CIA speaks openly of the possibility of a military coup and the U.S. business magazine Forbes is acknowledging their sympathy for a coup in an article with the headline: "The Real Greek Solution: A Military Coup" (26/10/2011). We warn that the Greek proletariat is threatened by that terrible prospect like that of Chile in 1973. Whoever does not consistently promote the revolution is punished by a counter-revolution. Bolshevik-Communists do not conceal their views of the necessary steps to resolve the question of power. They openly say that power can only won by means of a socialist revolution. Revolution means the armed revolutionary uprising and civil war of the organized working class, led by a revolutionary party. Revolution means the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat. Only under such a regime can the masses of the people be freed from the yoke of capitalist domination, can industry be planned according to the interests of society, and can the class enemies of the revolution be suppressed and the revolution spread internationally. To propagate a workers 'government in a (pre) revolutionary situation as a concrete objective, without preparing the working class for the inevitably of civil war and armed rebellion won by a workers' militia, is to spread reformist illusions of a step-by-step, peaceful transition towards socialism. Bolshevik-Communists reject decisively such a policy of centrism.

49. The question of power is the central axis of the Programme of Action at the present stage of Greek politics. From this several consequences follow. The working class can take power only when it is organized accordingly, and learns to fight for power. The revolutionary action program must take up the most urgent questions of the immediate struggle for survival and demonstrate that they can be answered only by the seizure of power.

50. In order to take control of the defensive struggle themselves, the working class and the oppressed must form Action Committees in the factories, neighbourhoods and schools. At regular assemblies of employees, residents, school students, university students, etc., the most important local and national issues shall be discussed. The decisions will then be implemented by elected delegates who are held accountable to these assemblies and can be voted out by them at any time.

51. Such Action Committees are the first step to Councils (or Soviets as they were called in Russia in 1917). Councils/Soviets are the instrument of the working class by means of which they build their counter-power and lead the fight for workers’ control in the enterprises and the education system. Such Action Committees/Councils will then elect delegates and join together locally, regionally and nationally. Demand a national conference of delegates from all the action committees/councils! Demand that the KKE, SYRIZA, DIMAR etc mobilise for the establishment of such councils!

52. Especially in the current phase of economic collapse, where many enterprises dismiss workers or close down, the slogan of workers' control is of crucial importance. All companies that want to cut wages, lay workers off, or threaten to close down, must open the books. We advocate immediate nationalization of these enterprises under workers' control. Equally important are the slogans of factory occupations and the continuation of production under workers' management. The already existing initiatives to refuse payment of higher duties, taxes, rents, etc. are a very important step. They must be coordinated through Action Committees/Councils and expanded to an effective mass campaign.

53. Hardly a demonstration passes without the attacks of heavily armed police. We know the ruling class is already publicly talking about the possibility of a military coup. All this underscores the urgent necessity of arming the organized working class and youth. Immediately, of course, the construction of powerful self-defense units is needed to protect demonstrations, strikes, immigrant communities, etc. against police raids, fascists and provocateurs. But in the current situation where the question of power is clearly posed, it is necessary to go beyond the centrist slogan of self-defense committees. State power can only be conquered when the working class creates its own armed forces – i.e. workers' militias. Instead of protecting parliament against militant demonstrators, the KKE/PAME should put their forces in the service of the workers' militia! At the same time revolutionaries must organise subversive activity in the armed forces (army, police), to prevent them being used as a decisive blow against the people.

54. No demand for new elections, but for the overthrow of the government by an indefinite general strike and an armed uprising! For the formation of a workers government based on Workers' Councils and militias! As a first step: demand that the dominant labour organizations today – GSEE, ADEDY, PAME, KKE, SYRIZA, DIMAR and Antarsya – form a workers' government based on the mobilization of the masses! Down with the PASOK/ND-conspiracy against the people! The power lies not in parliament, but on the street! A real workers' government is based on the organs of workers’ power (Councils, Militias, etc.), and must expropriate the bourgeoisie and smash the state apparatus. Of course the creation and maintenance of a workers' government that implements such a revolutionary policy will face the determined and violent opposition of the ruling class. Therefore, a workers' government without armed organs is an impotent caricature that would fall immediately to a military coup as it happened in Greece in 1967 or in Chile in 1973. Although the sequence and pace of development cannot be predicted, it is obvious that the questions of the indefinite general strike, the armed struggle for power and the workers' government are inextricably linked.

55. Against the vice of the debt trap we raise the slogan of the cancellation of all debts. No halving of the debt, no moratorium (postponement of repayment), no committee to review the debt - but simply cancel all debt! Not only the public debt, but also the debt of private households, small traders and self-employed should be deleted immediately.

56. The economy must no longer be the victim of a small group of corporate masters and financial jugglers! For the expropriation of the super rich - this elite group of monopoly capitalists! For the nationalization of the domestic and foreign banks, large industrial and service companies as well as the large landowners (including the church property!) under the control of the workers! The labor movement must develop an economic emergency plan to secure the survival of the population and the country against the extortions of monopoly capital.

57. 35% of the workforce in Greece is self-employed. Many of them are non-exploitative peasants or small traders, who can be won as allies for the socialist revolution. This requires, however, that the working class takes the path of socialist seizure of power. A workers' government needs a program for the peasants and the lower middle classes: For the nationalization of the land! No small farmer and small trader will be expropriated against his/her will. For the cancellation of the debts of farmers and small traders - instead interest-free loans! Promotion of voluntary associations with the longer-term goal of voluntary collectivization!

58. International solidarity! The international workers' movement – first of all in Europe and the Balkans - must rush to their brothers and sisters in Greece to help. The unions and workers' parties of Europe and the Balkans have to organize an immediate campaign for total cancellation of all debts of Greece. Fight the governments and the EU Commission which openly tries to blackmail Greece! For a campaign within the labour movement against anti-Greek chauvinism in the media and Social Democracy! The international trade union of bank employees must initiate independent investigations and make public both the flight of capital of the Greek capitalists and the speculation and profit rip-off of international banks at the expense of Greece.

59. No to Greek chauvinism! For the recognition of full equal rights of national minorities and migrants! For the right of self-determination of national minorities up to and including the right to secede! For full citizenship rights for immigrants, equal pay, equal recognition of their language as in offices and schools, for the abolition of the state language! For the massive organization of migrants in the unions! Equal representation of migrants at all levels of management! 

60. Fight the oppression of women! Equal pay for equal work! Instead of cuts in public services, we demand a massive expansion of public child care facilities and public and inexpensive restaurants and laundries as a step toward the socialization of housework!

61. A workers' government would immediately break with the imperialist EU and the euro-zone and instead promote the building of socialism in Greece and the international spread of revolution to the Balkans and throughout Europe. For a socialist federation of the Balkans! For the United Socialist States of Europe!

62. Let us repeat: the Greek revolution will end in a serious defeat if a revolutionary combat party of the working class based on a Bolshevik program is not built in time. Time is short! The Bolshevik-Communists of the RKOB seek discussion and unity with all serious revolutionaries in Greece. Forward to the Fifth Workers International, the international revolutionary workers party!


Resolution of the Revolutionary Communist Organization for Liberation (RKOB-Austria), 11/10/2011

Endorsed by Communist Workers Group (CWG-Aotearoa/New Zealand)

[Note: CWG endorses the RKOB statement on Greece in all its fundamental points. At the same time we acknowledge programmatic disagreements over the question of Stalinism, capitalist restoration and centrism which we are continuing to discuss with a view to resolving]

Sunday, November 06, 2011

OAKLAND LEADS THE WAY


November 2nd the working class of Oakland outflanked the labor bureaucracy, the Democratic Party, the cops, the anti-labor Taft-Hartley law and kicked Wall Street where it counts by shutting down the Port of Oakland.

A racially diverse cross-section of Oakland 10-20,000 strong, made up of workers (organized and un-organized), unemployed, youth, students, parents, elders, disabled, marching bands, affinity groups, anti-police brutality groups, every variation of socialists, communists and anarchist and the OWS activists marched from between three and five miles to the furthest berths at the port of Oakland to assure adequate picket lines were formed up at each gate.

As each person crested the rise on the bridge over the train yard and saw the mass of picketers in front and behind them, they must have become aware of the unique nature of this mass picket line forming up, the enormity of the power of the so-called “99%” was becoming self evident. With that image an understanding, a shift in consciousness percolated across the crowd as the solidarity was experienced, the working class of Oakland was becoming self-aware and was self-expressing! We had broken out of our isolation, our atomization and demoralization and were putting our stamp on the international class struggle in a profoundly significant and exemplary manner! The union tops won’t fight the Taft-Hartley anti-strike laws but the working class showed that as a class we could!

WHY TODAY'S LABOR LEADERS CAN’T LEAD

  1. As the international crisis of capitalism imposes austerity on all the working people, dependent peoples, marginalized and specially oppressed communities the labor bureaucracies have displayed their inability to respond with appropriate class force to turn the tide against capital and in favor of labor. At least three factors prohibit labor, under the current leaderships, from launching the overdue counter attack. First: no working class political independence, second: anti-labor laws, third: professionalization, institutionalization and class collaboration of labors’ leadership
  2. Decades of ignoring the class divide between workers and capitalists in politics and thereby preventing workers’ independent political action by channeling labor into the “big tent” of the capitalist Democratic Party, this prevents independent working class political action and perpetuates class collaboration politics.
  3. Anti-labor laws such as Taft-Harley prohibit secondary strikes, sympathy strikes and ultimately General Strikes. Such laws are regularly evoked in the bosses’ courts to crush job actions, keeping the labor leaders from ever considering any strike action let alone secondary strikes, or a general strike. Once the strike is off the table labor is left toothless! Workers with signed contracts containing no-strike clauses have signed their class power away!

The labor tops are often sent to (or emerge from) academic training in labor relations at institutions which promote class peace! These labor academies do not view the historic interests of the working class as separate from and antagonistic to the interests of capital. They do not teach a critique of the political economy of capitalism. They accept as given the entrenched and perpetual nature of capitalism without ever entertaining the possibility that the contradiction between social production and individual profit accumulation is non-sustainable. They deny the historical inevitability of the deepening of capitalist crisis leading to barbarism and inter-imperialist war. All the while they are drumming into labor leaders heads what cannot be done instead of what has been done and what needs to be done. These institutions perpetuate the most backward forms of trade unionism. They promote class peace even while capital launches class war. Their assigned task is to keep the rank and file in line, disorganized, demobilized, atomized and demoralized and voting for the Democratic Party. To the extent that they are successful the unions serve capitalism, to the extent that workers break out of these constraints unions can become the schools for class struggle and worker’s power!

OUTFLANKING THE LABOR TOPS!

This week in Oakland the ranks of the working class and labor burst through the containment of the labor leaders edifice. Responding to the brutal police riot on Tuesday October 25th when police fired a “non-lethal” projectile point blank, critically injuring two term Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen, the dye was cast. News of Scott’s injury flashed twitter speed around the world and immediately all eyes were on Oakland. News that Egyptians were marching on the American Embassy in solidarity with Oakland swelled internationalist fervor across the OWS movement while live feeds flashed demonstrations across a thousand cities standing militant vigil for Olsen.

The Occupy Oakland (OOM) movement took the bold step of calling for a General Strike despite not having the social leverage to accomplish the task and shut down the entire city. It was quickly acknowledged that labor would not down tools but that with enough pressure the Port of Oakland could be closed, the mis-named general strike would manifest as a day of action culminating in a mass picket to shut the port.

Even though the labor unions respond to the call of the OOM not one union dared to defy Taft-Hartley by of calling their members to walk out in unison and join a General Strike. The Alameda Labor council, the SEIU 1021, OEA, Local Carpenters, the CNA and the ILWU all sent letters of support to the General Strike as a Day of Action rather than as a strike. Workers were encouraged to take vacation days to attend the General Strike!

Bottom line: if you have to take a vacation day to attend the General Strike-it’s not a General Strike. If you ride the BART train or AC transit bus to the General Strike and the fares are being collected it is not a general strike? Despite the inability of organized labor to launch a General Strike they were able to provide many of the amenities necessary for a Day of Action. OEA paid for the toilets and the Alameda Labor Council paid for a lunch for all while union member volunteers cooked and served. But when it came time to shut down the port it was the Oakland rank and file working class not the labor tops who took the lead!

THE INTERSECTION OF ANTI-POLICE BRUTALITY, LABOR AND OWS

When OWS emerged in Oakland, youth, the Black and Brown community and the most radical elements the labor movement were already primed to present the generally white “middle class” OWS with tasks that would challenge the movement on questions of special oppression, class exploitation and class struggle.

The Oakland community had been organizing against police brutality for the last three years following the BART police execution of Oscar Grant, a young black worker and father. As the racist and anti-working class nature of this police brutality unraveled, a block between labor activists and anti-police brutality activists developed into a one-day political strike by the ILWU local 10 on October 23rd 2010. This action shaped and promoted the development of an anti-racist class consciousness among many workers and youth in Oakland.

Again during the occupation of the Wisconsin Capitol last winter many of these same forces came together around the April 4th 2011 ILWU 10 port shut down in solidarity with public workers. These actions exemplified for many, the role labor could and should be playing in organizing actions to defend the most oppressed communities and the interests of the entire working class.

These actions over of the last two years as well as the fight against cuts in education funding, the struggle of public workers, the young, the old and the disabled brought many forces together who would play a role in the OWS and the General Strike/Day of Action.

In a feeder march from Laney College to join the noon General Strike rally, AFT and OEA and UTR teachers, two groups of high school students, the black student union, entire classes of students, Labor Black and Brown activists, and various socialist groups marched on and served a symbolic eviction notice to the Oakland School Board.

The spirited crowd swelled to over 1,000 and marched right past the giant and welcoming banner of the “Oakland Commune” at 14th and Broadway in order to march on the banks! At the Laney rally 40 posters were distributed calling for “Nationalization of the Banks under Workers Control”, “Break with the Republicrats” “Build a Workers Party that Fights for a Workers Government.” These signs could be seen throughout the duration of the march. When these posters were distributed recipients were encouraged to read carefully and choose only posters they agreed with. This indicated to us that the sea of “tax the rich” posters we always see at OWS actions could easily be replaced by posters with more advanced slogans and transitional demands.

INTERNATIONALISM ON THE RISE?

From the first pizza pie ordered by the Egyptian movement and sent to the public workers at the Wisconsin Capitol occupation last winter a new internationalism has been developing in the working class. For possibly the first time since the days of the Spanish Civil war American workers have started to look internationally for class inspiration. The uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa provide many warnings and lessons.

Despite the media focus on Tahrir square much of the background organization came from the working class quarter which engaged in rolling waves of strikes and the formation of neighborhood committees to defend both against the cops and thugs. Yet despite toppling Mubarak, the occupy movement has been disbanded, many anticipated openings and freedoms are restricted and the hated military still imposes the rule of imperialism over Egypt.

Despite many violent clashes and the hundreds killed and disappeared by state repression, illusions in pacifism and parliamentarianism disarmed the working class both politically and militarily and held back the rising demand of the most oppressed for working class power. Conversely weapons as we see in Libya often come at a price. The National Transitional Council in Libya made its peace with imperialism to affect the defeat of the hated Gadhafi regime. In turn the new government has taken the task to militarily disarm the revolutionary fighters whose self-organization and loose confederation allowed the NTC to assume the leadership role while the youth did the fighting and dying. And in Tunisia, where the first spark that set the stage for 2011 was struck, the constituent assembly model promoted by “Western Democracy” has shown it can be counted on to maintain neo-colonial servitude and has been given the task of and has managed to exclude the revolutionary youth who brought down the old regime from the newly forming bodies of governance!

Working class political independence is based on the formation of representative bodies composed of the democratically elected workers deputies subject to immediate recall, to form factory committees, neighborhood councils, and inter-factory and inter-district workers councils supplemented by the unemployed and marginalized layers of the population similarly organized which jointly take to themselves the tasks of seizing, defending and reorganizing the economy. The formation of workers councils of this sort are essential to centralize and guide the strike movement to win the soldiers to the peoples side and take united action to defend the socially created wealth from the prying hands of imperialist exploiters and their comprador lackeys enjoying the fruits of subservience to imperialist dictates. To be victorious is to establish a workers’ government and a workers’ state. The illusions in pacifism, gradualism, reformism and faith in the parliamentary road must all be navigated and swept aside by the concrete experience of the masses; this is the process of consolidating the lessons of the class struggle. Other wise the movement will be defeated, disarmed and the rule of capital will perpetuate with increased levels of exploitation and misery. Many of these same lessons in working class independence, in rank and file organizing, in workers’ democracy which need to be learned for successful revolutions in MENA need to be learned here as well. And just as the Egyptians sent pizza to Wisconsin and marched on the American Embassy in solidarity with Oakland and Scott Olsen, OWS needs to develop an internationalist consciousness and oppose and fight to defeat US imperialist wars, and interventions otherwise OWS falls into the trap of nationalism and social pacifism. THE VICTORY OF THE 99% MUST BE INTERNATIONAL OR NOT AT ALL!

THE ROLE OF REFORMISTS, CENTRISTS, PACIFISTS AND ANARCHISTS

Under the guise of adherence to process the OWS movement has developed many lists of the wrongs of capitalism but has assured discussion of demands are not entertained to define the movement. This echoes back to a debate at the turn of the last century in German Social Democracy between Rosa Luxemburg and Eduard Bernstein. Bernstein is famously remembered for arguing that the movement is everything and the program is not essential. Rosa Luxemburg on the other hand argued for making the program of social democracy concrete by clearly defining the nature of the economic crisis, the tasks of the working class and the need to adhere to class based and internationalist principles. The collapse of international social democracy in the face of the imperialist war that broke out in August 1914 (European socialists supported their national ruling classes instead of opposing the inter-imperialist war) was the consequence of Bernstein’s method. Today as the “99%” tries to self define the lesson of 1914 should not be ignored.

By perpetuating a programmatic vacuum, in the name of the openness of the process of the movement, the politics of the dominant paradigm, of the liberal/progressive critique are expressed as the “logical” or “common sense”, sometime spoken/sometimes unspoken, demands and direction of the movement and as such, without nary a hint of discussion, act to edge out, contain and prevent debate over working class program and revolutionary action.

To the “99%” who see the gross inequalities of wealth distribution as well as tax codes, which allow wealth to accumulate unencumbered by the 1% and their cronies, this awareness manifests across the OWS as the demand “tax the rich”. “Tax the Rich” posters are ubiquitous and it appears that all labor, liberals, progressives and socialists come together around this demand.

Despite reflecting the subjective desire of the “99%” for justice this demand actually perpetuates illusions in the ability of this decaying system to be reformed by simply adjusting the tax code. Significantly accompanying this demand is the admonishment of the corporate elite for their greed. This critique of capitalists as merely a cabal of mean and nasty, greedy thugs who can be brought into line by tax reform erects a roof before laying the foundation.

If greed alone were the problem, then indeed taxation could tweak the system. But greed is part of the super-structural alienation resultant from a system predicated upon and legally bound to enforce pursuit of profit above all else. This system of capitalism binds the process of production in a contradiction between social production and individual wealth accumulation. This basic contradiction cannot be taxed away. The task at hand to resolve this contradiction is therefore not to simply tax the rich but rather to expropriate the vast quantity of finance capital being horded and/or invested in speculation by the big banks and corporations and put it under the productive control of democratic councils convened by workers representatives and representatives of the specially oppressed communities, unemployed, and marginalized peoples.

But this basic working class perspective can only find voice under the watchful eye of the facilitators who either limit the time of the revolutionary socialists during vox populi or rule such discussion out of order when they are interjected in other “logistical” or “action” oriented discussions. For revolutionary workers it is a basic understanding that politics and program precede action and logistics. This primacy of program is necessary to assure we know where we are going the actions should flow from the program and not visa-versa. Whereas the “tax the rich” demand based on the “greed” critique has emerged as the unifying direction of the movement, in absence of a real debate over program, this reformist program dominates. But as our experiment, with distribution of posters at the Laney march and as the applause our speaker received while calling for nationalization of banks and finance capital under workers control and for a workers party that fights for a workers government during a limited one and a half minute speech during a vox populi reveled, the participants in the movement are open to demands which challenge the rights of capital to control production. “Tax the rich” does not challenge that right!

The reformists, pacifists, labor leaders come together to assure this vacuum continues as the content of demands and critique of the system they agree with ultimately feed into the rhetoric of the Democratic Party which sings this song when election time roles around but abandon it when they get power. As we head into the 2012 campaign the role of reformism, pacifism and liberalism join to corral the working class away from independent political action and back to the big umbrella of the Democratic party. The centrists and anarchists play along, by not challenging these reformists and fighting for demands and actions which draw working class solutions based on resolving the basic contradictions of capitalism.

The most egregious variants of these methods are displayed by ex Panther, ex CP member Angela Davis who, for all her experience offers no program other than self-actualization platitudes from author June Jordan, by Michael Moore who evokes the moral imperative against “capitalist greed”, by the ISO which in San Francisco has endorsed anti-working class proposition C and which freely distributes “tax the rich” posters. The ISO at least should have read the 1938 Transitional Program of the Fourth International which develops a program of transitional demands designed to guide workers to take production into the hands of the working class.

Then there are many strains of anarchists. When challenged to a discussion at the OWS in Oakland to compare Marxism and Anarchism the anarchists refused to show up. Most of the anarchists ignore or disparage discussion of program and there are about a hundred who self-isolate by “black-blocking” and refusing to discuss program or preparing for joint action. Rather they go on sprees of window smashing which are easily infiltrated by police provocateurs and used to evoke violent backlash against the entire movement.

Following the port shut down some anarchistic youth and squatters attempted to seize a vacant homeless facility to bring it back to the service of the homeless. This exemplary action challenges the irrationality of capitalism, which allows housing to remain vacant while people are driven out of their homes and onto the streets. This type of movement is essential and should have the support of labor and the communities of the oppressed. It is for that reason that we are convinced the so-called vandals are not real anarchists but are provocateurs and the young and naive easily swayed by these seemingly radical actions. Was the fire which was lit in the street and the window which were broken done by cops dressed as “black blockers” to assure the storm troops had excuse to crush the squatters. These outbursts of violence do nothing to organize the working class and prepare for the seizure of power and are therefore just as counter-revolutionary as the non program/program of the liberals and reformists.

Seemingly opposite are those pacifists who can be heard calling out to the cops, “Your part of the 99%”. These pacifists perpetuate the lie that the state is class neutral and the cops are workers just like the rest of us. This ignores a fact that every working class kid in the UK learns as a child, a fact that most people of color figure out some time in their teen years and that is that the role of the cops is to keep poor and working class people in their place especially when they organize strikes and community self defense or when the 99% decide to fight back. The cops are enforcers for Wall Street. They, as an institution can not be won over by moral arguments any more than stock holders can be convinced to elevate morals and ethics over profit. Ultimately this mythology perpetuated by the pacifists prevents workers and oppressed people from preparing workers, Black and Brown self defense guards and thereby allows the cops, ICE, the racists, the homophobes, and anti-Semites to brutalize our people our movements and smash our organizations and picket lines. The anarchists and pacifists the liberals and fake socialists all come together to disarm the working class by elevating the movement over program and allowing mystifications such as: cops being part the 99%, the crisis of capitalism seen as a moral failure rather than the trajectory of an outdated mode of production unable to contain its own contradictions, the denial of the need to clearly define a working class action program to create a class struggle movement leads the unaware into class collaboration and capitulation to our class enemies program, and adopting a modes of struggle leading to the defeat of our class. Neither window breaking nor turning the other cheek serve us!

THE LIMITS, COMPLICATIONS AND IMPEDIMENTS OF THE OWS PROCESS

“MIKE CHECK” “MIKE CHECK” “MIKE CHECK” This is how you take the floor during the general assembly. “DIRECT RESPONSE” “DIRECT RESPONSE” With a little chutzpah and these two phrases an individual can control the discussion. Is it expedient, yes at times it works and can be used to make group decisions which the majority can understand and decide upon quickly. Many decisions such as how to clean the plaza, to occupy city hall, or call for a general strike, move a crowed to form a strike line, or deciding to march left or right can be accomplished by this method.

At the same time this system combined with consensus and even modified consensus has effectively kept the OWS movement from charting a course toward working class action independent from the ruling class politics. Rather this system allows and promotes the ruling class ideology through the multiple transmission belts of the liberals, progressives, labor leaders, pacifists, fake socialists and anarchists. These political tendencies swim well in the OWS because their role is to prevent the working class from developing a program that guides the working class to the seizure of economic and political power.

The revolutionary workers’ movement since the days of the Paris Commune has a tradition of workers’ democracy which promotes the broadest democratic discussion leading to organized and centralized united class-wide action. This form of organization is derived from the nature of the class war, which has been launched upon us by the bosses. Our enemy is the most organized, centralized, militarized; national security state ever assembled and is united to take every action “necessary” in defense of private ownership of the means of production. Its defeat requires higher levels of organization.

Its defeat will not be accomplished by public assemblies where a handful of reformists can block the development of program or a handful of pacifist can block the formation of labor, Black and Brown self defense guards or the arming of pickets, or the formation of workers’ militias. Invariably in public assemblies using the OWS method a minority will block the assembly from drawing the class lines which are necessary to lead the working class past the illusions of pacifism, the class collaboration of the labor leaders, the moral imperative of the liberals, the ultra leftism and susceptibility to provocateurs of the so-called “black block” anarchists, and the pseudo anti-leadership philosophy being promoted.

Only workers assemblies based on democratic representation by elected workers deputies from the factories, offices, schools, and other workers organizations can mobilize the social power needed to take mass unified action in the form of the indefinite general strike action leading to the seizure of power by the working class. This lesson needs to be learned and relearned by each generation that comes into conflict with capitalism. Such assemblies have emerged in every worker’s uprising since the Paris Commune. But their emergence alone is no guarantee of victory. Indeed the same social forces we see holding back the OWS and “indignados” movements today will find their way into workers assemblies and will do their best to hold the workers back. But in the workers assemblies the working class will be seeking a road to class power and when the working class assembles it has a tradition of taking action based on majority vote not consensus. The revolution will be decided upon and launched by a majority of workers deputies so assembled, unlike the General Assembly of the OWS which has no social weight, the workers deputies assembled represent the power to produce or not!

ARE THE OWS ASSEMBLIES INCIPIENT WORKERS’ COUNCILS?

At this point the OWS has yet to self-define yet it does not lack a class character. Like any army of resistance assembled or assembling the OWS has to address all the logistical and political tasks and in so doing the inherent logic of democratic decision making and socialized work have emerged as a method which is both organic to the task at hand and familiar when looked at historically through the eyes of workers’ and communal resistance movements. Yet despite attracting many workers, unemployed, youth, homeless and specially oppressed people, despite the presence of many well known socialists, anarchists, and communists on the platform of OWS and even facilitating for OWS many apologists for capitalism and ideologically driven capitalists who have long supported the Democrats have made their way to the platform provided by OWS.

In an attempt to self define the movement identifies with the 99%. But that is clearly a rhetorical ploy based on fuzzy sociology. The real ruling class, the top oligarchs are more like 0.01% and they have a good 7-12% of the population materially dependent on and committed to the perpetuation of their rule. But what kind of movement could you build around the slogan “We are the 87.243%!”. This fuzzy sociology allows lots of fudge room which appears in the “Oakland Commune” as a class and racial divide between the most oppressed peoples and the largely Caucasian and often “middle class” OWS core group. Left to its own fuzzy sociology and its own interactive process the OWS is an expression of the radicalized petty bourgeois feeling the pressure capitalism’s implosion. At the same time and despite the fuzzy sociology the class character of the mobilization at OWS can change on a dime, with massive gathering of trade unionists and workers at the encampments. This has happened a number of times with masses of trade unionists coming to OWS in NYC and as happened in Oakland in the days after Scott Olsen was injured when the labor committee assembled.

REVOLUTIONARY LEADERSHIP AND THE ROAD FORWARD

Revolutionary Marxism today recognizes that to overcome the pitfalls of reformism, pacifism, liberalism, anarchism and centrism the working class must construct its own revolutionary party based in the working class and among the most oppressed peoples. The task of building a revolutionary leadership involves a concrete challenge and ongoing critique of these ideologies for leadership of the workers movement. All of these ideologies have a historic record which guides us to understand exactly how they will operate today.

The science of Marxism explains not only how they think, their philosophical foundations and the materialist basis for their ideologies but shows how due to their subjectivity they remain blind to the consequences of their method. Their ideologies are invariably expressions of the radical petty bourgeoisie and the labor aristocracy which feel the crushing weight of capitalism’s collapse but seek to maintain their privileges and to avoid the coming to power of the working class and the most oppressed and marginalized peoples both here and internationally. Note the absence of anti-imperialist demands or even mention of the current spate of attacks on Gaza or the Zionist colonialist plans to build 1000 more homes in East Jerusalem.

So the most pressing task is the construction of an internationalist workers party which hones a multi-national cadre of revolutionaries to intervene in and guide the workers movement to the seizure of power through the development of a living transitional program that expose the limits of capitalism and outlines the working class alternative.

As the OWS movement must outgrow its original base it will draw in more working class people. Revolutionary workers fight to bring a working class program to the mobilization and turn the anti-corporate rhetoric into an anti-capitalist understanding of the task at hand. Developing a program to unite the working class and OWS activists in independent political action must commence. To succeed an action program is needed that leads to the creation of class struggle caucuses intent on transforming the unions into class struggle organizations fighting for the historic interests of the entire working class. Independent workers organizations that unite the most oppressed and marginalized people with the ranks of labor and the OWS participants need to be formed.

Common working class demands should issue forth from independent class struggle organizations to guide the working class into taking actions that lead to class power!

The demand to “Break with the Democrats and all Capitalist Parties” must be in the forefront. The demand to “Build a Workers Party prepared to Fight for a Workers’ Government” follows and shows the road forwarded after breaking with the Democrats. The demand for “Jobs for All” based on shared work at “30 hours work for 40 hours pay” exposes the contradiction between the increased productivity of labor and the declining wages of labor. The demand for “Full citizenship rights for all immigrant workers” unites the most oppressed workers with the rest of the class. The demand for “labor Black and Brown self defense” opposes the viewpoint that the cops have any place in our future or that they are in any way part of the 87.243%. The demand to “open the books of the major finances houses and corporations” exposes the true value of and hoarding of social wealth. The demand to “nationalize finance capital, the big banks and major corporations and run them under the control of the democratic workers assemblies” is the response to the ever present reformist mantra “tax the rich”. The demand to take class struggle a level where we confront Taft Harley and all anti-labor laws through strike actions, general strikes and political strikes elevates the consciousness of the working class to the enormity of the tasks that lie ahead. But despite the enormity of the task it can be accomplished if dedicated and trained cadre unites to bring this method into the heat of the class struggle.

Shutting the Port of Oakland by the rank and file of Oakland’s working class is an opening blow using class struggle methods of direct militant action against the greatest imperialist power. To be victorious it needs to be followed up with armies of militants armed with a class program and clear understanding that only a workers’ government based on workers democracy can resolve this crisis in the favor of the working classes and oppressed people here and across the world. This task requires the building of local, national and international revolutionary leadership cadre united in a revolutionary workers international organization committed to the method of the 1938 program of the Fourth International.

IMMEDIATE TASKS FOR REVOLUTIONARY WORKERS IN THE OWS MOVEMENT!

  • Fight for organizing a real general strike building toward indefinite nationwide general strikes. That means that we need to struggle to convene Workers Assemblies or Workers Strike Committees. We must argue that OWS general assembly cannot substitute itself for Workers Assembly or a General Strike Committee. 
  • The Workers General Strike Committee (WGSC) must be built seriously and professionally not via the anarchist/pacifist petty bourgeois methods of OWS. Only when deputized representative rank-and-file militants from the Bart union, AC Transit, the supermarket workers, ILWU, OEA and other key unions, call for and attend a real strike committee can a general strike become a reality. In addition to representatives from these unions representatives from the oppressed black and brown communities must also have a sizable representation in the WGSC. This is so because without the mobilization of the oppressed and their communities for the general strike, it is not a real general strike. They are subjected to most of the police brutality, racism and poverty. Thus without the mobilization of Black and Brown workers in the communities for the general strike there will not be a genuine general strike. WGSC must win the rank-and-file militants from the key unions who participated in the Nov. 2nd protest. This can be done by mass leafleting at job sites, use of indy-media, KPFA, black and brown media, the left press, labor/workers media, Facebook, twitter etc.
  • Such a combination of representatives of unions militants and Black and Brown community militants should constitute the core for the WGSC. The method of functioning should be workers democracy as it is the only method that has worked successfully in the struggle against capitalism since the days of the Paris Commune.
  • A series of transitional demands that unite the masses against capital should be advanced in the WGSC:

  1. Expropriate the banks and capitalist industries without compensation and place all socialized capital under workers’ control. 
  2. Cops out of Oakland! 
  3. For Labor Black and Brown communities to form Defense Guards against Police Brutality! 
  4. Restore all the cuts and lay-offs from the crisis. 
  5. Stop all the foreclosure. Occupy and defend all the houses stolen by the banks! 
  6. Free education from K1 to graduate school and PhD! For workers, teachers and Students control over all aspects of education! Down with the capitalist mis-education system! 
  7. Down with the twin parties of capitalism. Build a fighting workers’/labor party to fight for a workers’ government!


Humanist Workers for Revolutionary Socialism November 5, 2011
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